Southern History Series: The Religious Origins of Virginia

I enjoyed reading this.

It is a nice complement to accounts which focus too much on the commercial or geopolitical motives of the colonization of Virginia. Christianity justified colonization.

The following excerpt is from Alexander B. Haskell’s book For God, King, and People: Forging Commonwealth Bonds in Renaissance Virginia

“The legitimizing force of commonwealth in this era cannot be overemphasized. The complex relationship of commonwealths with imperial kingship, and the related idea of a royal frontier, gave Renaissance colonization much of its distinctive logic. …

Of course, the name of a commonwealth was holy, because it appeared in the Bible. It appeared most significantly in the Apostle Paul’s second epistle to the Ephesians, where membership in the mystical body of Christ is described as transforming gentiles from their original fallen condition as the “children of wrath” who walked in the rebellious ways of the world, into godly persons, who “quickned” by the blood and love of Christ, possess the renewed capacity to walk true to their lawful vocations. Some of the key verses, taken from the King James Bible (1611), appear below:

12. That at that time yee were without Christ, being aliens from the common wealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.

13. But now in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ …

19. Now therefore yee are no more strangers and forreiners, but fellow citizens with the Saints, and of the houshold of God.

20. And are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himselfe being the cheife corner stone.

The notion of the “common wealth of Israel,” which began to appear in vernacular Bibles in the sixteenth century, still connoted the miraculous conversion suggested by the Latin Vulgate’s term “conservatione Israel,” or John Wycliffe’ fourteenth-century usage, “lyvyng Israel,” but it was also clearly different. The change appears to reflect the Christian humanists’ fresh appreciation for Israel as not simply a covenanted relationship with God but also a politeia. The return to Greek and Hebrew sources enabled them to better grasp the Bible’s meanings before its Latin corruptions. The change also derived from the broader Renaissance fascination with finding God’s truth in the world while also locating the world in scripture.

Israel, then, was the archetypal commonwealth, and it was the most richly imagined in relation to Paul’s conception of membership in Christ’s body as the ultimate path to worldly redemption. These premises gave a certain basic uniformity to Renaissance ideas of commonwealth and sovereignty, albeit with plenty of room, of course, for often profound disagreement about particulars. Focusing here on the broad common ground allowed by these basic presuppositions of the commonwealth’s archetypal status permits the identification of a few connotations to this outlook that were of special significance in the colonizing context.

The first was the redeeming importance attached to the ideal of incorporation. The redeeming bonds of commonwealth incorporated with a proper head allowed for the transformative experience from fallen man to faithful servant of godly offices. Even Christ in this formulation was intriguingly both the body itself and a member; as the body’s head, according to Paul, Christ’s role in the body was analogous to the husband’s own two-part office, joined to his wife through ties of love but also acting as head in their sanctified relationship. Contemporary efforts to explain the relationship between kingship and commonwealth often resorted to this complex Pauline reasoning, striving to explain how kings could be simultaneously ordained by God as heads of their people while also incorporated within the commonwealth’s own sanctifying bonds. …”

All of this is utterly foreign to 21st century Americans.

And yet, we are here today because 16th and 17th century Englishmen were motivated by their religion to plant “commonwealths” in Virginia and Massachusetts which became the beachheads for the conquest and settlement of the heartland of North America by subsequent generations.


    • Range- There’s either a typo on HW’s part, or the Editor of this tome was a jackass.

      St. Paul never WROTE ‘TWO’ Epistles to the Ephesians! Corinthians, yes….lol.

    • “It would be very interesting to examine the difference in faith and it’s application, between the New England settlers and the Southern colonies …..”.

      People have done that. The Entire Christian Reconstruction movement of the 1970’s and ’80’s compared/contrasted the Antinomian nature of Baptistic FAILURE in Society vs. the Calvinist SUCCESSES in England/Scotland, and then Colonial America; then, they also posited options for restoring the overt (90%) Calvinist Worldview, in their own ‘Morning in America’ Reaganist era. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of newsletters, pamphlets, magazines, and books (most now digitized and free to download) on sites such as:

      When you realize that Falwell, Robertson, the ‘Moral Majority’ and other godless Baptists STOLE THE COVENANTAL, POSTMILLENNIAL WORLDVIEW from RJ Rushdoony et al., and then tried to ‘strong arm’ their positions (none of which advocated forcible conversion, etc. (the talking point of the Christian Nationalism article HW posted) but the concrete CONVERSION OF THE HEARTS AND MINDS of White America, OVER DECADES to a Biblical Worlds and Life view, you can see that they were working for a centuries-long TRANSFORMATION of Culture, which they already saw in its’ present form, 50 or more years ago!

      RJ Rushdoony’s defense of Homeschooling, was the catalyst that started the ENTIRE HS MOVEMENT, back in Californication, in the 1960’s! Rush’s own racial self-awareness as well, was what first got me to think beyond MY multiculti worldview, forty years ago, to awaken to a White Racial/Christendom awareness. That his own children (Mark Rushdoony is a racial cuck, and coward) as well as some of the once-stalwart writers (Sutton of the ‘Deformed Episcopal Cult’/ACNA; Jim Jordan of the retreatist/pietist calvinist kind, etc.) have NOT upheld this early vision of Calvinist/White America Restoration, does not mean that YHWH God is not working out His Plan to either destroy or restore this nation (I’m not God, I can’t see the end, as of yet) per His Sovereign Will, nor does it give them license to piss on Rushdoony and North’s opus- or these men’s own desire to give White Racial ideals, their deserved purchase, IMHO.

      • Ft. John+, Thank you, for your comment, I appreciate your truthful, restorative, instruction, as the attack on Adamite, Christendom, intensifies, from within and without …

  1. For the record:

    Pennsylvania (lit.?’Penn’s forest’), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state spanning the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, Appalachian, and Great Lakes regions of the United States. Pennsylvania borders Delaware to its southeast, Maryland to its south, West Virginia to its southwest, Ohio to its west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to its northwest, New York to its north, and the Delaware River and New Jersey to its east.


    See also (Kentucky, officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky ….)

    • John, you probably know that William Penn wanted to call his colony “New Wales” (but the king wanted it to be called Penn’s Woodland) since he intended it for a refuge for persecuted Welsh Nonconformists (hence the so-called “Welsh Pale” of earliest Welsh settlement, still full of Welsh place names, just west of Philadelphia) and as the site of a Quaker “Holy Experiment” of peaceful Christian government of Christian settlers, who BUY land from, and coexist peacefully with the indigenous people. Pennsylvania was founded on the best moral principles, unlike any other British colony in North America or anywhere else in the world, and it has a truly unique name. However the western half of Pennsylvania which was called “Pennsyl-tucky” early on, was settled by Scots-Irish who did not want to coexist peacefully with the Indians, and were rebellious toward the tax demands of the government in Philadelphia. The experiment was short, and Penn’s “Quaker” sons who were corrupt ended it by carrying out the Walking Purchase (a massive theft) of Indian land. Quakers dropped out of the colonial government entirely at the beginning of the war with France. Note that Benjamin Franklin was never a Quaker.

      • Realizing that there were not enough Quakers and Welsh for his experiment, Penn went to the Rhine valley to invite the persecuted pacifistic German Anabaptists (mostly Mennonites) to settle in his colony. Moravians and Lutheran and Reformed Germans followed the Anabaptists to settle in eastern Pennsylvania, which was bi-ethnical and bilingual from the very beginning.

        • The idea that Pennsylvania was a Holy Experiment to be a multiracial multi-ethnic utopia is leftist balderdash. The fact is present day PA, like most of the rest of present day USA, was historically a scene of many wars between Indian nations who hated each other in a manner far exceeding what took place between Europeans. The Indians after all were pagan savages.

          In turn, various European nations established competing colonies which were the scene of conflicts between themselves and with the Indians as well. Not until Britain successfully prosecuted victory by force in a series of wars was full sovereignty established over present day PA by a single European country in 1676. The Indians of course disagreed over who had full sovereignty.

          This was all before William Penn’s time. A time difference roughly equivalent between our time and WWII to put in perspective. By that point, utopian progressive notions of Indians and Europeans being brothers under the skin were disabused. By 1676, three generations of horrific dastardly warfare by Indians on European settlers had disabused even the most idiot progressive that Indians as a rule could be treated as Brown skinned Englishmen.

          Thus, when in late 1600s Penn purchased British crown rights in PA for the purpose of establishing a colony for the public good and commonwealth of his Britannic majesty’s loyal and Protestant subjects, PA already had a history as a place of warfare not brotherly love. Penn’s ideals were to make it a refuge where Quaker ideals backed by force could help various Protestant sects loyal to his majesty, live in brotherly peace with one another and hopefully with SOME Indians. That’s its totality. Hardly a pascifistic prog utopia.

          Those Indians they looked on hopefully were the Lenape. A collection of Indian tribes and clans which indeed, had mostly been peaceful with the European settlers. Many contemporaneous writers commented on their respect, honor, and general peaceability as well as fighting strengths. This was especially true of the Delaware Indians on the Delaware peninsula and around present day Philadelphia whose chief, Tamenand, had been friendly with the early Dutch, Swedish, Baltic, and British colonies. It was the Lanape and Tamanend who provided protection to those earliest colonial inhabitants and in turn received protection from their enemies to the North and West.

          These Lanape had allied with the Europeans against the Indian nations to the North and West, mostly the Iroquois, and to the West, mostly the Hurons. Eventually, the Huron allied with the French and began waging war which eliminated most of the other Indian nations and heavily reduced the Lanape. Not till the British allied with the Iroquois were the Papist Franco-Hurons stopped and the Lanape saved from obliteration and the Protestant British, Swedish, Baltic, and Dutch colonials secured.

          It was only at this point that Penn got authorization to establish a new colony. Its main precepts were to secure freedom of Protestant religious conviction. Papists like Nick Fuentes and Joe Biden were forbidden from settling. Levellers (socialists), atheists, fags, troons, niggers, spics, progs, slavs, russians, guidos, and jews were forbidden. Most such creatures were considered little better than devils, and PA was not going to be established and ran by devils.

          Quakers were heavily encouraged to settle Penns new colony and many in the UK did migrate from the King’s dominion there to his new PA dominion. With all the Dutch, Swedish, and Baltic colonists there, the King also wanted to see more British settle there and so many English, Scottish, and Irish were encouraged to move and colonize it. As a German Protestant, he was also convinced to move many German Palatinate refugees, recently expelled from Germany by Papists a la what Fuentes wants to do to Protestant Americans, to PA from their refugee homes in the UK and Ireland.

          So, PA was indeed a considerably ethnically diverse colony. But this was a function of history between competing sovereigns trying to settle and gain control of the beautiful country. It was not created to be that way, but rather was already established that way by force of history. In that history, Huron, Lenape, Iroquois, were Indian tribes who fought to be supreme sovereign. French, British, and Scandinavian also fought. It took 75 years but it was the British who were successful by 1709.

          Their success was best owed to a near mythical Lanape Indian chief named Tamenand. Considered the first among Americans in American heritage societies today, it was Tamenand who when he saw the British, prophesied them to be deliverers of the land from bloodshed and ordered his people to ally with them fully. It was he and his people who allied with the British, provided intelligence about the country and the enemy, provided the interpreters and initial foragers, and together with the British colonists successfully secured the country as a Britannic possession.

          Even under these propitious conditions in 1676, with the area established as a single British colony, PA was far from initially successful. After decades it was still little larger than the environs of modern Philadelphia. Attempts to expand were always met with ferocious murderous Hamas style terror warfare by the Papist alliance of French and Huron. Not until the British unleashed the Protestant Scots-Irish in large numbers, did the British and their European and loyal Lenape subjects have the power to go on the offensive.

          William Penn had long obtained his reward in heaven when the boatloads of Protestant Irish, Lowlander Scottish, and northern English colonists started arriving in the first half of the 1700s and reaching a crescendo by 1745. Heavy fighting continued to the West of Philadelphia and into the Ohio river valley from then on. Spirited by their ministers, steeled by their Bibles, backed by their fervent British patriotism, and organized by their English laws, these Protestant British mostly Scots-Irish pushed the King’s domains westward.

          Armed women protected their children in block houses, bands of men organized in ranger companies swept the countryside, raids and counter-raids, hostage rescue missions, celebrations around small fortified churches and saloons, weddings surrounded by armed men in the forests and glens, and toasts to the image of Chief Tamanend, this was what made PA in the early 1700s and showed the beginning of America’s national culture. It was not a progressive multi-racial or Nick Fuentes mixed race Papist empire nor was it a pacifistic progressive utopia. It was muscular Protestant British Americanism. Americans roots history didn’t start in Civil Rights, WWII, the Civil War, or even Revolutionary war. It started centuries ago to a distinct people who made the ethnic core of America and we owe eternal thanks to their sacrifices.

      • Really, Merthyr, your knowledge of that history is far better than mine. I hadn’t known Penn wanted “New Wales” as the colony’s name, but the Welsh place-names you mention are conspicuous around here. Not far to my north, similarly, is Welsh Road, which runs east-west across Philadelphia’s northeast wing. It’s roughly alongside Pennypack Creek, whose beautifully-wooded banks have been preserved by the city for, oh, more than a century, I guess. If my sense of the history is correct, pre-Penn Swedes industrialized the creek near its mouth, i.e., where it empties into the Delaware. The Welsh, who, as you say, were settled to the west, would come down along that road to have their grain milled at the creek. In fact, there’s still a Mill Street, which branches from Welsh Road a mile or so short of the river.


        Several years ago, an historian in a suburb not far from me told me that many of the Episcopalians (Anglicans) who were residing in his municipality circa 1900 had been ancestrally Quaker. That, anyway, is my rough recollection of what he said. Guess they decided to get with the materialist program, as comports with your report that the Quaker element began to fade here. Of the thirteen colonies that became the U.S., Pennsylvania, I’m pretty sure, is the only one that NEVER proscribed any religion. Even Maryland, which had been founded, in effect, as a refuge for Catholics, eventually proscribed Catholicism, I think (though I don’t know for how long). One of Penn’s descendants—as you would know—came close to eliminating freedom of religion in Pennsylvania, but I guess something of Penn’s spirit, resident in the populace, made that politically impossible. Freedom of religion begins with Pennsylvania, I think it fair to say.

        I’ll repeat: Your knowledge of all this is greater than mine, but I think that what I’ve said, above, is basically accurate.

        PS Don’t know whether you’re familiar with “The Year 2440,” a time-travel novel of pre-Revolutionary France (1771). SPOILER: The Versailles of the future is in ruins, whereas “Philadelphia, the capital of Pennsylvania … where humanity, faith, liberty, concord, and equality, have taken refuge for more than eight hundred years, is covered with the most elegant and flourishing cities.”


        Meanwhile, in 2024 …
        MAN FALLS ONTO TRAIN TRACKS, DIES … Run Over By Subway

        You might want to check out the video there, to see whether “falls” is the apt verb.

          • You’ve reminded me, Merthyr, that I rode that bike path many a time, oh, half my life ago. Whether I could still ride it, I don’t know; but for cardiac safety, I’d probably walk the bike up the steep parts.

            In those days, when I was still a churchgoer, I would sometimes see, in church, a beautiful young woman whose legs must have been paralyzed. While I was fortunate enough to be able to engage in fun activities like bike-riding, she had to be wheeled into church by a man and woman whom I took to be her parents, though they looked older than I’d have expected her parents to be. I’ve wondered what became of her.

        • PA proscribed non-Protestant religions. Nick Fuentes and Joe Biden wouldn’t have been allowed. That changed due to Yankees forgetting themselves in the middle 1800’s and allowing Papists to come in, although there was strong dissent at all levels. When the Papist came that is when the evil began to spread in this country. Organized crime, industrial thievery, assassination, all this became common in America with their arrival just as it was common in Europe. The wars of religion in Europe and the street battles in America were fought for a reason.

  2. Essentially the New Englanders were puritans, and the Virginians were Anglicans.
    The New Englanders were, as David Hackett Fischer noted in his Albion’s Seed,
    mostly from East Anglia, far more commercial and religious. The Virginians were from mostly southern England, what Hackett Fischer called The Distressed Cavaliers.
    They tried to make Virginia as much like the aristocratic England they left.
    The puritans were less class oriented (with qualifications…they weren’t democratic, but theocratic), and the Virginians established a semi-aristocracy. These two societies began what would be the yankee and planter societies.
    Hackett Fischer argues that slavery was first first established in Virginia, not to oppress blacks, but because the Virginians wanted to replicate a class system they knew in England…white indentured servants were the first waves, then blacks came in. The point was to continue an aristocracy. One more egalitarian than in England, but one nonetheless. Neither Puritan nor cavalier thought the masses should control anything. The frontier made its own demands, but even as both societies moved west, they took their mores with them, much as all the new invaders…from Mexicans, Somalis, Muslims, whatever…bring their own mores and culture here and re-establish it under an Anglo-Saxon veneer.

    • A
      Dargeson, you hit the nail on the head. The origins of America are not only Anglo-Saxon but different ethnicities of the Anglo-Saxons. Over time they coalesced into a national American Anglo-Saxom culture but to this day, the ethnicities do remain. Unfortunately, we have a bunch of problem cousins called Yankees. Despite being mostly pushed out of their home turf in the North-East, they are still trying to foist their ethnicity as the sole representative of Anglo-Saxon American culture. The Book you mentioned Albion’s seed, should be required reading for any American historian and especially for American and yes, Southern nationalists.

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