Date of this Version
Presented here is Wigglesworth’s manuscript poem "God’s Controversy with New-England" (1871)—courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Composed in 1662 on the occasion of a terrible drought, the poem is a versified jeremiad bewailing the backsliding of the rising generation. Thus, God uses nature’s drought as a secondary cause to punish the exsiccation of the spirit among the offspring of New England’s patriarchs, whose children were either unable (or unwilling) to accept the Half-Way Covenant (1662) governing church admission. More than that, "God’s Controversy" encapsulates the Federal Covenant between God and Saints, whose chastisement, paradoxically, is a sign of God’s loving kindness for the whole colony.