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date: 22 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents an overview of early modern literary texts that address sin, when sin is understood as contempt levelled against the established order of the Church and public life. That salvation from sin might be achieved through individual effort, not exclusively through Divine grace, was a belief promoted by many sectarians but condemned by ecclesiastical and political authority, which saw only heresy and disorder in such belief. Judgement is seen in terms of penitence and confession, and of last things and end times. Scriptural warnings of the last days urge all people to be ready for imminent judgement; for the time is near when the unfaithful and wicked fall calamitously, but the faithful and obedient celebrate joyously in the Divine redemption. Eternity is described through epic, lyric, and prose texts that connect this earthly life to heavenly immortality, or light informing darkness, or the image of an unbroken circle.

Keywords: sin, judgement, penitence, end times, eternity, sermons, epics, circles, salvation, mutability

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