This article contends, through a reading of Thomas Shepard and Michael Wigglesworth, that puritan devotional practice contains a queer temporality that emphasizes the recurrent experience and recording of personal sinfulness. This queer temporality, articulated in puritan devotional literature in sacramental terms, poses an important challenge to the secularization account Charles Taylor offers in which puritan religious emphasis on righteous conduct leads to ultimately secular projects of social and individual reform.

The Scholarly History of New England Conversion

ACCOUNTS of the New England puritan model of Christian conversion have often narrated a temporally linear paradigm of the ordo salutis (order of salvation). These accounts emphasize the puritan need for a preparatory experience of abject confrontation with personal depravity, combined with a sensation of the absence of any real divine presence prior to the saving experience of free grace and subsequent progressive sanctification. Recent interventions in Puritan Studies have provided manifold new insights into how puritans understood conversion and sanctification, and this essay adds to these reassessments by examining the temporality of devotional life through readings of Thomas Shepard and Michael Wigglesworth. These puritans performed the obligatory experience of personal depravity—described as “humiliation” or “compunction”—in preparation for conversion, not as a necessary and discrete stage in the temporal progress of conversion and sanctification but rather as a recurrent, queer temporal experience necessary for the visible saint in repeated preparation for the sacrament of communion.

Early scholars saw in the New England puritan ordo salutis a decidedly linear and normative temporality. Perry Miller explains puritan preparation for conversion as “a period in time when a saint, working at his calling and listening to sermons, would suffer preliminary motions which sooner or later would eventuate in conversion” assuming that “there must be a moment in time, however infinitesimal, between absolute depravity and concluding the bond” between the believer and Christ. For Miller, puritanism's obsession with conversion and sanctification as a chronological and sequential temporal process reflected a broader “phenomenon of Calvinism everywhere” to “analyse the process of regeneration into a series of moments.” New England puritan divines worked to “distinguish and divide the temporal sequences of regeneration” precisely into “marked off chronological phases.”1 Following Miller's analysis, Edmund Morgan describes the New England puritan ordo salutis as measured by a linear model of temporal progression in secular, everyday, or “natural” time, tracing the now-famous “morphology of conversion, in which each stage could be distinguished from the next, so that a man could check his eternal condition by a set of temporal and recognizable signs.”2 To be sure, scholars have long recognized the fact that puritan piety was, in actual practice, often less neatly linear and progressive than it might have aspired to be.3 However, this influential early scholarship generally tends to avoid the idea that puritan devotional life was more ritualistic, recurrent, and even sacramental than linear, chronological, and covenantal in its temporality.

Recent scholarship on the puritan ordo salutis understands it in more complex terms. Michael Colacurcio calls it a “continuous process,” and Baird Tipson calls it a “progression” that was “endlessly repeated.” Matthew P. Brown has incisively attended to how the technology of the book in puritan New England piety encouraged “nonlinear temporalities” in devotional life.4 This recent body of work might be augmented by an examination of how the puritan obsession with conversion produced experiences of time that often rejected the linearity and empty homogeneity of dour reform in favour of queerly recurrent temporalities that revolved specifically around the sacrament of communion and experiences of personal sinfulness.

This essay joins the collection of recent reassessments of puritanism's relationship to American secular modernity by identifying a queer sacramental temporality in the works of Thomas Shepard and Michael Wigglesworth.5 This identification revises Charles Taylor's argument in A Secular Age (2007) that Protestant “Reform” forges secular modernity by emphasizing time as a homogenous empty medium in which subjects enact chronologically progressive narratives of the self. In his anatomization of secular modernity, Taylor defines secular experience as controlled by a sense of Walter Benjamin's “homogenous, empty time” in which “time has become a precious resource, not to be ‘wasted.’” Taylor claims that, paradoxically, it is religious reform movements—especially “Puritan Reformers”—that instigate this secular condition by enforcing “one relentless order of right thought and action, which must occupy all social and personal space.”6 This essay's identification of queer sacramental temporality in puritanism contends that a genealogy of queer religious resistance to the formation of Protestant-secular disciplinary time also appears in the puritan archive.

In the context of post-secular criticism, scholars have increasingly identified religiously inflected forms of queer experience. Jordan Alexander Stein argues that the term “queer” offers an “apposite way to describe Puritan forms of affiliation, attachment, desire, and bodily sensation, as well as the representation of any of these, which do not mirror modern, more squarely heterosexual or homosexual versions of similar social norms.” This observation can be further advanced by contending that when religious temporality in puritanism becomes cyclical, recursive, and sacramental rather than progressive and sequential, one detects in that temporality a queering of chronological time.7

Queer sacramental temporality in New England puritanism emerges within and against this archive's formation of a modern temporality emphasizing personal spiritual progress and sexual discipline. Elizabeth Freeman notes that “sexual dissidents have in many ways been produced by, or at least emerged in tandem with, a sense of ‘modern’ temporality.” This modern temporality is the “secularized, progressive” time of “heterosexually gendered … intimacy and genealogy.” The writings of Thomas Shepard and the diary of Michael Wigglesworth (1653–1657) display a notable reaction to the pressure of expectations that one's private temporal narrative adheres to a religious life of personal salvific progress increasingly measured by the secular time of days, months, and years, and associated with marriage and fidelity to an ideal of the family.8 These latter expectations are a precursor of modern secular, heteronormative, and progressive linear temporality as it begins to take shape from early modern religious origins of what Charles Taylor has identified as secularizing puritan reform, but Shepard and Wigglesworth provide examples of how a queer sacramental temporality both emerges from within and resists this process of heteronormativity's formation.

Post-secular assessments of the queer relationship of time, sex, and religious performance in American literature have thus far largely focused on American modernism's dalliance with Catholicism. In an illuminating essay for American Literature’s 2014 special issue “After the Postsecular,” Elizabeth Freeman identifies in Djuna Barnes's Nightwood a combination of modernist aesthetics and Roman Catholic sacramentalism which, with its focus on “bodies, desires, fantasies, and affinities,” could challenge the Protestant “New England” origins of a secular “regime of modern sexuality” in America. Freeman's assessment that “Nightwood uses religion to reject the [modern heterosexist] regime of sexuality” arises from the premise that “the monastic tradition of exagoreusis, or the verbal expression of sin” seen in this modernist novel runs counter to the puritan “desacramentalizing” of “confession” as it transforms into an “explicitly secular matter.”9 Tracy Fessenden has also explored the American modernist connection between Roman Catholic religious sensibilities and coded expressions of queerness. In “F. Scott Fitzgerald's Catholic Closet,” Fessenden notes the ways in which “Catholicism” and “queer sexuality”—or “Catholicism and other-than-heterosexual-desire”—often connect in Fitzgerald's writing. Fessenden finds two conflicting “registers” in Fitzgerald, one that is “WASP/heterosexual” and another that is “Catholic/queer.”10 Freeman and Fessenden identify a queer, modernist, and Catholic paradigm of American literary production that is opposed to a heteronormative, secular, and residually Protestant disciplinary norm.

Through readings of Shepard and Wigglesworth, this essay expands the link of sacramentality and queerness that Freeman and Fessenden find in American literature to include New England puritanism. It argues that from within this reformed proto-formation of a secular heterosexist discourse and temporality, a queer sacramental temporality emerges that resists it. The cyclicality of Shepard's pastoral and devotional style and Wigglesworth's deliberate connection of repeated preparation for communion with the dissident erotics of his body and its desires creates a queer temporality of recurrence, return, and repetition that is also confessional and sacramental in its close temporal association with the rhythm of the Lord's Supper. Queer sacramental temporality in puritanism is an early modern resistance to the development of Protestant American secular heteronormativity. The organizational relation of desire, religion, and time in New England puritanism produces forms of expression commonly supposed to be inimical to the discipline of the self as a sexually controlled and progressive chronological project of Taylor's secularizing “Reform.” And the identification of queer sacramental temporality in Shepard and Wigglesworth creates space for a conceptual, critical, and historical understanding of puritanism as something which produces and contains—in both the restrictive and inclusive sense—queer affects, spiritualities, and temporalities. Identifying these queer sacramental temporalities through modern formulations such as Fessenden's and Freeman's enables us to see them in Thomas Shepard and Michael Wigglesworth as well. These puritans are then, queerly, returned to the present as part of a puritan archive that is something other than a waypoint in the teleological and chronological unfolding of heteronormative secular progress.11

Queer Sacramental Temporality in Thomas Shepard

Thomas Shepard refuses a linear temporal model of the conversion process and articulates the ordo salutis primarily as a devotional method for the temporally recurrent and queer experiences and expressions of a felt sense of personal sinfulness. In his Autobiography, diary, and homiletic writings, he cultivates a temporally recurrent sense of personal depravity as both preparation and replacement for participation in the sacrament of communion.12 For Shepard, the believer continually returns to queer moments of abjection as temporally recurrent sacramental experiences.13 Although the sequential temporal logic of the ordo salutis is, on the surface, the model of conversion Shepard avows, his writing nevertheless discloses a repetitive sacramental drive to return that continually undercuts any temporality of linear soteriological and sanctifying progression. He instructs the individual to see repeatedly that the “heart is a foul sink of all atheism, sodomy, blasphemy, murder, whoredom, adultery, witchcraft, buggery; so that, if thou hast any good thing in thee, it is but as a drop of rosewater in a bowl of poison.”14 The believer does not develop in the ability to eliminate this catalogue of salacious vices but rather repeatedly to recognize them within.15

Shepard's personal devotional method of sacramental temporality first appears in an episode recounted in his autobiography and which occurred while he was studying in England at Cambridge. As Michael Warner has noted, the encounter might well have involved an erotic exchange with a fellow male student:16

And I drank so much one day that I was dead drunk, and that upon a Saturday night, and so was carried from the place I had drink at and did feast at unto another scholar's chamber, one Basset of Christ's College, and knew not where I was until I awakened late on that Sabbath and sick with my beastly carriage. And when I awakened I went from him in shame and confusion, and went out into the fields and there spent that Sabbath lying hid in the cornfields where the Lord, who might justly have cut me off in the midst of my sin, did meet me with much sadness of heart and troubled my soul for this and other my sins which then I had cause and leisure to think of.17

Shepard evidently enjoys this leisurely reflection on his sinfulness to such a degree that he formulates a “resolve to set upon a course of daily meditation about the evil of sin and my own ways.”18 This meditation on the evil and sin, which he later uses to instruct his congregants to cultivate by observing the salacious and often sexual nature of their own sins—“atheism, sodomy, blasphemy, murder, whoredom, adultery, witchcraft, buggery”—is temporally queer because it creates what Lee Edelman identifies as the “condition of a subject caught up in structural repetition.” This call to recognize the stubborn repetition of sin is the assertion of a queerness that refuses temporal resolution or progress in a stabilized, sanctified identity. It is also queer by virtue of its obsession with both documenting and enacting a catalogue of sexual sinfulness that poses a threat more broadly to the identity of a sanctified social order. Shepard's devotional imperative thus puts into play Edelman's queer temporal figure by envisioning religious devotion as the recurrent cultivation, recognition, and assertion of a persistent sinfulness that “comes to figure the bar to every realization of futurity.” The queer temporal recurrence of sin in Shepard's devotional model undoes from within the ostensible puritan aspirations towards a futurity of personal sanctification that is also part of the emerging social teleology that Charles Taylor calls “Reform.”19

The queer temporality of Shepard's documentation of his personal sinfulness is also sacramental because the repetition of experiencing and documenting it becomes intimately associated with preparation to receive communion; from the moment of his hung-over epiphany in the cornfield in Cambridge, Shepard's cultivation of his sense of personal depravity lives in uneasy but productive tension with the standard Sabbath devotional and sacramental practices of partaking in the bread and wine and hearing the word preached. In a way that Shepard himself would certainly disavow, his debauched contemplation of personal sinfulness in the cornfield appears in his own account of the episode as more spiritually effective than banal participation in a Sunday worship service, even as this negative revelation depends on the sacrament for spiritual meaning. Hungover Sunday reflection on one's sinfulness while missing church lying in a cornfield suggests itself as a sacramental supplement (both addition and replacement) for communion taken in church on a Sabbath.

In multiple instances in his journal, Shepard's musings on the nature and meaning of the Lord's Supper demonstrate in practical devotional life how personal depravity is a queerly recurrent experience both associated with and supplementary to the sacrament. Early in his journal on July 8, 1641, Shepard considers “the nature of the sacrament.” He seems, after contemplation, to arrive at a satisfactory understanding of it: “I saw Christ did command his ministers to do this in remembrance of him, and if for Christ's sake that he might be remembered and loved they do bless it, then he is faithful to make his body and blood present there and so to make the elements seals.” The clerical and devotional act of remembrance and love of the sacrament is the effective spiritual principle making Christ present. Shepard is so assured by this reflection on his regenerated spiritual desires as guaranteeing the symbolic power of the sacrament that he experiences immense confidence in the efficacy and presence of Christ in the meal: “I saw … that Christ by sacramental union was given to me.” But as the progression of this sacramental meditation continues, Shepard's thoughts move from spiritual confidence encountered in the sacrament to an intense experience of his private inadequacy, even to the point that he intimates to himself his personal state of affective (“heart”) depravity: “I saw also that my heart did say and conclude I shall fall from Christ after this sacrament and have no more strength against my sins or weaknesses to live to him.” Shepard moves from theoretical assurance about how Christ's body and blood are spiritually united in him as a means of grace by faithful participation in the sacrament to a practical reminder of his personal depravity in his actual participation. His experiences of personal sinfulness are thus sacramental because they comprise the temporal cycle of preparation for communion, and the sacramental cycle culminates at the point in which he focuses entirely on his interior state of sinfulness.20 The recurrent experience and documentation of his depravity both prepares him for and supplements the sacrament of communion.

Shepard's magnum opus on the ordo salutis is a collection of sermons preached from 1636–1640, published posthumously in 1659 as The Parable of the Ten Virgins; in these sermons, the experience of depravity becomes a distinctly recurrent temporal and sacramental affair.21 This experience of depravity is not a momentary stage of compunction or humiliation followed eventually by a conversion experience and subsequent sanctification. Rather, Shepard orients the experience of depravity around recurrent preparation for the Lord's Supper in which the ideal congregant should “taste the bitterness of sin, as the greatest evil.” Of course, Shepard recognizes that the constant present experience of personal sin may seem to obstruct a complete experience of grace in one's participation in communion: Thou mayst it may be wait on the Lord in his Ordinances, and go away with a sad heart.”22 Ultimately, however, Shepard does not want his followers to experience the power of the sacrament in any personal assurance of salvation that comes either through the elements of bread and wine or their signification of a spiritual process of grace. Instead, the spiritual force of sacramental experience comes simply from the temporally recurrent experience of personal depravity. Shepard declares that “a Christian ought to prepare for a Sacrament as he would prepare to die” and ultimately argues that his New England congregants will “feel a power” in the sacrament as they “mourn bitterly for the Lord's absence” by experiencing the “wilderness of sins and miseries … in their own hearts.”23 As Lisa M. Gordis has noted, Shepard's homiletic aesthetics are repetitive, “frenetic,” and “anxious,” ultimately disclosing through the experience of the sermons themselves that “the process of conversion is an anxious one” and the cyclical experience of “anxiety itself becomes a form of evidence.”24 This formal aesthetics of anxiety, freneticism, and repetition in Shepard's homiletics creates for his congregants a model of sacramental piety that is queerly temporal: cyclical, repetitive, and antithetical to any sustainable notion of an individual's sanctifying progress in time.

Queer Sacramental Temporality in Michael Wigglesworth

In his diary, Michael Wigglesworth adapts Shepard's sacramental temporality oriented around the recurrent experience of personal sinfulness to include a more explicit emphasis on the queerness of this process. On March 5, 1654, Wigglesworth enters into a meditation on his sinfulness prompted by reading “Mr shepard's sound Beleever.” In an earlier entry, on June 19, 1653, he describes a harrowing pastoral conversation with Jonathan Mitchell, Shepard's successor to the pulpit in Cambridge: “Mr. Mitchel shew'd me the danger and the vile sin of a careless spirit that hath little or no appetite unto Christ and communion with him such frustrate the very end of the ordinance which is communion.”25 As his documentation of the conversation with Mitchell indicates, Wigglesworth's experience of personal depravity is explicitly recursive in its temporality as he associates it with repeated and failed preparation for the Lord's Supper.

The most specific and clear symbol of depravity for Wigglesworth is the recurrent discovery of personal sexual dissidence as a sacramental temporal rhythm of his diary because that very sexual transgression verifies his religious practice. Wigglesworth's queer temporality is configured around his experiences of perceived sexual sin and is associated with his repeated preparation for the sacrament of communion. This sacramental preparation emerges within and against his efforts to achieve and recognize in himself a state of incremental Christian temporal progress from depravity to conversion to increasing sanctification in which his personal sinfulness diminishes in proportion to increased holiness and salvific assurance.26 Wigglesworth's sacramental rediscovery of personal transgression from Sabbath to Sabbath—especially the “filthiness” of recurring wet dreams, masturbation, and homoerotic attraction to his Harvard students—enacts a queer cyclical temporality, which operates both within and against the diary's secular temporality that assumes human progress in a linear chronology of months and years.

The opening sentence in Wigglesworth's diary, penned in early February 1653, moves immediately to its primary obsession of expressing a felt sense of erotic depravity, as he reflects on the “unnatural filthy lust that are so oft and even this day in some measure stirring in me.” Within the first paragraph, Wigglesworth expands the primary obsession of personal sexual depravity (“lust”) to its association with sacramental temporality: “The enmity and contrariety of my heart to seeking thee in earnest, with my want of dear affection to thee, these make me afraid. but thou did give thy self in the Lords supper.” One thus gets the sense that Wigglesworth associates the devotional act of preparation for participation in the sacrament—arguably Wigglesworth's following of “Mr shepard's” writings—with a devotional experience and expression of perceived sexual sin.27 Wigglesworth synchronizes the temporal rhythm of the experience of his sexual dissidence with his preparation for participation in the Lord's Supper, producing a queer sacramental temporality in which the sin and the sacrament are virtually indistinguishable.

Wigglesworth's diary distinguishes itself from other puritan devotional literature immediately through the author's ability to affix the concrete language of experience to his feelings of personal depravity; thus he finds an “objective correlative” to give descriptive shape to his sinful feelings in a way most confessional literature of New England puritanism fails to do.28 Wigglesworth knows, feels, and expresses his own personal sinfulness in the documentation of his masturbation and wet dreams: “I find such unresistable torments of carnal lusts or provocation to the ejection of seed that I find myself unable to read any thing to inform me about my distemper because of the prevailing or rising of my lusts.”29 His description of onanistic behavior as an adequate representation of personal sinfulness functions as a temporal marker of recurrence and resonates as an external objective correlative with John Calvin's description of internal human depravity as the state of a soul that is “teeming with the seeds of vice.” This documentation of sexual sin is also how Wigglesworth satisfies the dictates of “Mr shepard's sound Beleever,” documenting and taking negative pleasure in his own “most special and most beloved sin.”30

Wigglesworth's masturbation and nocturnal emissions, connected to homoerotic desire for his Harvard pupils, are clearly the most notable temporal markers in the diary that allow him to remember his personal depravity. As early as Wigglesworth notes his “unnatural filthy lust,” he connects it to his state of personal depravity—“the enmity and contrariety of my heart.” Wigglesworth's recurrent moments of reflection on his state of personal depravity after experiences of masturbation and nocturnal emission comprise the most notable part of a more comprehensive course of discipline “seriously to meditate, and call over the sins of my whole life by catalogue.”31 His cataloguing of personal and sexual depravity almost identically follows Shepard's conception of this devotional method, a “resolve to set upon a course of daily meditation about the evil of sin and my own ways.” Wigglesworth's entire diary reads as a Shepardian catalogue of personal sinfulness, and besides his auto-erotic sexual sins, he notes too much “doting affection” for his students of Hebrew at Harvard College along with “filthy lust also flowing from my fond affection of my pupils.”32 The diary's inclusion of an explicit confession of homoeroticism is the indication of the sexually dissident element to Wigglesworth's catalogue of sins stemming from the original one of masturbation.33

Wigglesworth intensifies Shepard's devotional method, in which a deep sense of abject personal depravity fits a believer for participation in the sacrament and seems to give it its effective spiritual power; but Wigglesworth's intensification of this method turns it into a double-bind where a sense of abject personal sinfulness is a requirement for participation in communion even as it is an obstacle to it. Like Shepard, Wigglesworth strives to cultivate a sense of depth in his personal sinfulness to make himself fit for the sacrament. First, he finds in self-examination “a stupid heart that cannot feel the sting of sin.” This inability to feel his sin leads to the desire that through sharper spiritual discipline he may find “sin bitter (my own sin).” It is neither the absence nor the sense of sin that prepares Wigglesworth for the Lord's table but rather an adequate personal experience and expression of his sin—usually sexual. Yet when Wigglesworth finds that he has adequately prepared himself by fully experiencing the depth of his personal depravity, he believes that this very experience of sin he has worked so hard to have has in fact rendered him unfit for the sacrament: “I find sometimes such a monster of iniquity in my self that I can see nor tast no excellency in communion with god.” The devotional discipline of readying himself for the sacrament by an adequate spiritual experience and expression of his personal sinfulness ultimately compromises a full sacramental experience of the Lord's Supper in which he is supposed to feel himself, after “careful self-examination,” to be a worthy participant because of an interior state of “true repentance” bearing fruit in the passing of time by increased holiness.34

Wigglesworth's obvious but conflicted emphasis on the need to experience his sexual dissidence as a part of his fraught religious life challenges characterizations of him as simply attempting to suppress his sinfulness. While Richard Godbeer describes Wigglesworth as having “internalized the moral imperatives” bound up with his religious commitments to resist his sexuality, one might more accurately say that Wigglesworth has internalized a religious imperative, or repetition drive, to experience continually and express his auto- and homoeroticism as a temporal marker and symbol of his felt sense of total depravity. Godbeer's explanation of how puritan authority attempted to suppress sexual dissidence refrains from considering that religious authorization in puritan devotional life itself depends on the performance of prohibited behaviors. The behaviors and their recording in the Diary both legitimize and threaten Wigglesworth's preparation for communion.35

It is not simply Wigglesworth's sin that makes him feel unworthy for communion but its connection with his intellectual inability to understand how it efficaciously ministers grace through the work of signification:

I was exercis'd with strong strugglings in my spirit to make out to my self that God has instituted this ordinance as a seal that he gives christ to every believing receiver as really as bread and wine: I can see that ‘tis a representation of what christ has done for us, I cannot see so clearly that it sealeth the present gift of christ, as that it puts us in remembrance that christ has thus giv'n himself to us if upon examination we find that we belong to him. I longed to hear some means to help me over this simple, and because I could not therefore I was afraid I should partake unworthily.36

Wigglesworth never finds a permanent resolution to the intellectual problem, even though he knows the answer: “I am to believe that christ hath after this manner giv'n himself to me heretofore, which believing, I discern the Lords body and am ergo a worthy receiver.” But later, the same intellectual problem harries him as he struggles to see “[h]ow it appear's that the Lords supper is a seal as wel as a sign.” Wigglesworth associates his doubts about communion with what he considers his “Atheistic thoughts.” As Jonathan Goldberg points out, following Alan Bray, atheism in New England was closely associated with proscribed sexual desires and practices such as sodomy.37 Wigglesworth's recording of his inability to understand how the Lord's Supper signifies connects to his cataloguing of queer sexual life as these intellectual preparations for the Lord's Supper often accompany his deliberate articulations of personal depravity and unbelief. These connected intellectual and sexual failures together help to produce the queer temporal recursiveness of the diary upon which belief is both expressed and troubled.

The rhythm of Wigglesworth's auto-erotic activities and his subsequent documentation of them as they connect to the temporal cycle of unsatisfying spiritual and intellectual preparation for the Sabbath comprises the structural backbone of the diary. Eventually, his sense of personal sinfulness, signified primarily by his sexual sins, becomes the elemental location of sacramental experience, rather than the act of participating in communion. Early in the keeping of his diary, Wigglesworth gauges his success—or, more accurately speaking, lack of success—in progressive sanctification according to the measure of the “approaching sabboth.” And although Wigglesworth measures time in his diary according to the secular yardsticks of months and years from 1653 to 1657, he also marks time much more closely according to the cycle of the Sabbath. He often measures days by their distance between Sabbaths. Therefore, within a default assumption of time as the secular empty chronology of months and years, Wigglesworth also marks time in a religious and sacramental manner, since his preparation for Sabbaths is often also “preparation to the sacrament.”38

Wigglesworth's experience and expression of personal depravity as sexual dissidence both enables sacramental participation and eclipses the actual experience of participation in communion. As a result, the sexual dissidence, although it remains throughout the diary associated in temporal cyclicality with preparation for the sacrament, becomes its own sacramental assurance disconnected from the theological and material content of the Sabbath Lord's Supper.39 In this way, the dialectical stages of conviction of sin and repentance that Daniel B. Shea Jr. recognizes as working together to effect conversion become separated from each other, and conviction of sin becomes a repetitive end to itself.40 As a result, near the end of the diary, one of Wigglesworth's brightest Sabbaths is not one in which he gains assurance of his progressive sanctification in secular time but one in which he comes to realize his personal depravity even more: “I receiv'd the Lord's Supper here on the Sabbath. Before and att which the Lord came in sweetly to discover and affect my heart with sin.”41 The initial clash and subsequent mingling of two contradictory temporal imperatives of puritanism comes clearly into focus in this remark: 1) to experience sanctification as what Gregory S. Jackson calls the “incrementalism of moral change” in Christian progress through secular time; and 2) to experience personal depravity in devotional practice ever more profoundly and express it ever more clearly as a principle of sacramental temporal recurrence that undoes progressive sanctification even as it verifies authentic religious experience.42 Ultimately, the whole point of devotional and sacramental practice for Wigglesworth is in preparation for the Sabbath, or on the Sabbath, “sweetly to discover” the depth of personal “sin”—his body and its dissident pleasures.43 The queer sacramental temporality of Wigglesworth's recurrent experience of personal depravity makes impossible the progressive goals of puritan sequential temporality that his diary also attempts to take up.

Wigglesworth practices a piety of depravity that, associated with the rhythm of the Lord's Supper, creates a sacramental temporality because it marks time as recurrent in structure and associated inextricably with communion itself. Wigglesworth's spiritual narrative refuses forward linear temporal movement as he is stuck in a queer cycle of repetition. Towards the end of the diary, on January 25, 1657, he notes his lack of progress in his attempts at sanctification through moral incrementalism: “yet I find my heart as carnal as some years since for ought I can tell.” Theoretically, in reformed religious discipline the recognition of sinfulness should simply be an empowering outlet into which the subjects plug the actual sacrament of the Lord's Supper so they experience grace in proportion to sinfulness. Indeed, Wigglesworth himself even claims this kind of rote, sin-grace dialectic earlier in his diary where he feels no evidence of grace in his “carnal and whoarish” heart: “the grace of god superabound's [sic] where sin abounded.” But he has intensified and crystalized the problem of personal sinfulness to the point that it becomes a substance that explodes the spiritual economy of the ordo salutis. The “poison” that Wigglesworth feels “working” in his “soul” erupts as the “ejection” and “filthy pollution” of sexually dissident “seed.” The poison seed of oneiric, onanistic, and homoerotic semen comes to “overshadow the seed of the word”—not merely the homiletic word of puritan exegesis, but also the sacramental word that allows for participation in the divine “glory of god.” When Wigglesworth hears in a sermon that “[t]he pure in heart shall see God,” he finds instead in himself a “sensual frame” which seems increasingly to comprise the most important temporal part of his religious experience, separated from resolution or redemption in an experience of sanctification.44

E. Brooks Holifield calls the puritan obsession with the Lord's Supper the Protestant articulation of a “sacramental” theology and “piety of sensation” oriented around the consumption of the elements.45 However, in Wigglesworth's diary, the content of the author's ejaculations becomes the abject element of a sacramental and embodied piety of sensation that replaces the elements of bread and wine at the Lord's table. Wigglesworth's cultivation of queer abjection through the writing of his wet dreams, masturbation, and homoerotic desire is the willed expression of dissidence in which sacramental experience and sexual sinfulness are, for all intents and purposes, one and the same. The physical content of Wigglesworth's queer desires, crystallized in his wet dreams, comprises his sacramental element and is the clearest mark of the queer sacramental temporality and piety of sensation that ultimately controls his religious life rather than the sensation of actual consumption of the Lord's Supper. Bryce Traister has observed that Wigglesworth's “sexual life authenticates and makes possible the drama of his own salvific narrative.”46 Indeed, Wigglesworth's recording of his sexual life pushes his private salvific narrative into a region unauthorized by what we would assume are viable models of a puritan's public piety.

The Queer Temporality of Wigglesworth's Refusal of Filiopiety and Family Time

Besides the recurrent sacramental temporality of dissident sexuality, there are two important non-sacramental episodes noted in the diary, both connected by Wigglesworth's auto-erotic ejaculations, that indicate the way in which the text's queer temporality rejects a narrative of linear and progressive Christian life. The first moment occurs on October 15, 1653 when Wigglesworth learns of his father's death and records that he does not feel the appropriate love and respect for him: “The very next morning news is brought me of my fathers death, whereupon I set my self to confess before the Lord my sins against him in want of naturall affections to, and sympathy with my afflicted parents.” Besides the fact that Wigglesworth possibly associates this moment with “some filthiness in a vile dream” three days later, his self-confessed lack of affection for his father demonstrates a personal sense of time that refuses an obligatory filiopiety, which, as Mitchell Breitwieser has demonstrated, is a temporality of New England puritan historical consciousness based on Christian progress and deep respect for the name of the father.47

The second non-sacramental episode that illustrates the queer temporality of his diary is Wigglesworth's documentation of his fraught decision to marry. In February 1654, he considers marriage as a progressive way out of exposure to “sin and temptations” such as “dreams and self pollution by night.” Besides the way in which singleness leaves him stuck in the temporal cycle of masturbation and nocturnal emission, he notes that remaining unmarried, as a Harvard tutor and aspiring minister, leaves him “lyable to the harsh sensure of the world that expecteth the quite contrary.” Marriage to a woman, if not explicitly a sacramental expectation in this Protestant context, is clearly a societal, religious, and temporal obligation that Wigglesworth believes he needs to meet. After the continued torment of “carnal concupiscence” and “lust” make him finally admit to himself that “marriage wil be necessary,” he marries on May 18, 1655. But, remarkably, in the same entry in which he records his marriage, he notes that, through the insistence of continued “stirrings” of his “former distemper,” his body and its desires refuse the temporality of marriage. The temporal recurrence of Wigglesworth's “carnal lusts also exceeding” continue to configure the narrative of his diary even after his attempt to assimilate marriage, family, and religious time into a temporality of progress. One might speculate that his guilt after marriage arises from perceived sexual hyperactivity with his new spouse, but as Richard Godbeer points out, “According to Puritan teachers, marital sex should be extolled as a necessary good, not conceded as a necessary evil.” Godbeer goes on to observe that “within the context of marriage, chastity meant fidelity to one's spouse (which was, of course, quite compatible with an active sex life).” It would seem, then, that the “temptations of another nature” that plague Wigglesworth both before and after marriage are a combination of autoeroticism and possibly homoeroticism that resists being calmned through a monogamous relationship with his wife.48

Wigglesworth's lack of appropriate filiopiety, along with the failure of marriage to temper his personal sense of sexual dissidence, is further evidence of the way in which the sacramental temporality of his sexual dissidence defines him. The dissidence emerges both within and against conformity to public expectations that he comply with a temporality of generational, personal, and religious progress increasingly written and accomplished under the aegis of the family. Wigglesworth's failures to cultivate appropriate affects of mourning over his father's death and to achieve family “futurity” offer themselves as early modern illustrations avant la lettre of the importance of “sin” to Edelman's concept of the “sinthomosexual”: the queer, antifutural, antisocial figure whose queerness as “sin” makes him “into something of a s(a)in(t).” Wigglesworth's projection in the diary of queer temporality that resists family time—which he understands as sin or the outward expression of internal depravity—is the very thing that, perversely, enables his tortured religious identity as a saint.49 His diary reveals just how far the queer sacramental rhythm of puritan piety is beyond the enforcement of what Charles Taylor sees in puritanism as a “relentless order of right thought and action” achieved in secular temporal measurements of progress.50

Queer Sacramental Temporality: A Defining Characteristic of New England Puritanism

Michael Wigglesworth's diary reveals an explicitly queer temporal form of religious discipline that, intentionally or not, repeatedly shatters ambitions of individual, social, and political reform and progress. If scholars take Shepard and Wigglesworth together as examples of religious discipline common to many puritans, queer temporality becomes a more defining characteristic of faith. Wigglesworth and Shepard are not outliers. Take, for example, the subjects of Shepard's “Cambridge Confessions”: most of the confessors describe the experience of abject personal depravity not as a passing interval or discrete stage prior to conversion and sanctification but rather as a repetitive or temporally cyclical experience permeating the devotional and sacramental life of the faithful puritan. In her confession to Shepard, Barbary Cutter concludes her account by reporting the value of her temporally recurrent discovery of doubt on “sacrament day” that emerges from a cultivated sense of personal sinfulness. This doubt becomes for Cutter a perverse form of sacramental certainty—“fresh evidence”—of spiritual vitality. The core value of sacramental religious experience for Cutter—as for so many of the Cambridge confessors—is the recurrent rediscovery of personal depravity.51

In “American Literary History and Queer Temporality,” Jordan Alexander Stein contends that “modernity arranges time and sex into normative relations: the rhythms of birth and death, the political and affective economies of publicity and privacy, the kinds of occurrences that count as life events, and the kinds of lives that are made by the counting.” Elizabeth Freeman has identified this disciplinary chronological time as “chrononormativity, the use of time to organize individual human bodies toward maximum productivity.” This chrononormativity is what Charles Taylor identifies as the primary mode of time-consciousness in secular modernity, a way of inhabiting and experiencing time that, in Taylor's account, emerges from “proto-totalitarian” early-modern religious movements of reform—especially puritanism.52 But when temporality in these religions of reform becomes cyclical and recursive rather than progressive and sequential, one observes in that temporality a queering of chrononormativity.

The most notable events of Wigglesworth's diary stand out as sacramental and queerly erotic. These two kinds of events are mutually constitutive (even indistinguishable at times), and their collusion together makes the achievement of progressive temporality and Charles Taylor's notion of puritanism as “Reform” impossible. Wigglesworth appears to want to mark his religious and sexual life temporally in terms of progress according to the chrononormative relations of reform, but puritanism for him instead facilitates a queerly sacramental temporality that resists assimilation into these normative relations. Despite Wigglesworth's best efforts to create and measure incremental personal religious and sexual progress in his diary by marking time according to days, months, and years, the constant interruption of this sequential chrononormativity by a queer sacramental temporality illustrates that “modernity's alignment of sex and time generates a queer counterdiscourse that continues to hold time and sex together, even as it challengingly reimagines their interarticulation.” In Wigglesworth's case, sacramental and queer temporality connect in a single religious refusal emerging within and against “contrary” chrononormative expectations of a societally dominant chronological, sequential, and progressive religious ordering of one's self through sex, family, and time.53

Queer sacramental temporality often operates in New England puritanism apart from any explicit expression of queer erotic desire. As Lee Edelman has put it, queerness understood in terms of temporality might best be understood not as “the positive assertion of a marginalized [sexual] identity” but as a recursive positing of negativity that refuses linear progress and the “leavening of piety.”54 In the search for queer sacramental temporality in New England puritanism, distinguishing between queer erotic desire and queer temporality is worthwhile not only because the two categories work together in Shepard and especially in Wigglesworth but also because queer sacramental temporality operates apart from any manifestly queer erotic desire in later puritan texts. Wigglesworth's attempt at epic poetry, The Day of Doom (1662), contains an emphasis on apocalypticism and sin that is arguably a form of queer temporality indulging a fantasy of annihilation at the returning judgement of Christ and the end of time. This queer fantasy in the poem clearly connects to a rejection by the elect of normative family intimacy and affect in those famous moments when the elect revel in the damnation of their spouses, siblings, parents and children.55

The distinguishing thrust of the queer sacramental temporality this essay has identified in Shepard and Wigglesworth persists in puritanism as it comes to value the temporally recurring experience, recollection, and documentation of sin for its own sake. For example, among Jonathan Edwards's list of life “Resolutions” written while he was a teenager, one stands out as illustrating a valuation of queer temporality that is a part of Edwards's spiritual rigor: “Resolved, to enquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied my self: Also at the end of every week, month, and year.”56 By assuming the repeated performance of both sin and self-denial and by positing their recognition in a cyclical nightly, weekly, monthly, and annual process of self-examination Edwards—strongly influenced by Shepard's Ten Virgins—initiates for himself a spiritual discipline that builds the temporally recurrent expression and repetition of sinfulness into it.57 This recurrence of sinfulness and its recognition is an instance of queer temporality in late puritanism. Indeed, this repetition of the experience and documentation of depravity is the culminating position of Edwards's own conversion account in his “Personal Narrative.” After recounting an ostensible conversion experience, Edwards discloses his persisting cultivation and experience of sinful feeling:

I have often since I lived in this town, had very affecting views of my own sinfulness and vileness; very frequently so as to hold me in a kind of loud weeping, sometimes for a considerable time together: so that I have often been forced to shut myself up. I have had a vastly greater sense of my own wickedness, and the badness of my heart, since my conversion, than ever I had before.58

Conversion for Edwards is not the progressive transforming of the converted self (sanctification) under the influence of grace so much as it is the recurring discovery of an ever-increasing magnitude of personal sinfulness.

Perhaps the great “success” of puritan devotional temporality in making itself available for appropriation into later evangelical genealogies of heteronormativity is its eventual ability to sublimate itself. Edwards's obsession with experiencing and documenting his own sense of sinfulness in a structure of temporal repetition certainly manifests as a queer form of temporality, but it erases the particular documentation of concrete sinful acts. In later puritan writers the persistence of a queer religious temporality in American secular modernity effaces its own discursive relationship to the devotional writings of figures such as Shepard and Wigglesworth, who document their feelings of sinfulness using specific examples.



Miller, The New England Mind: From Colony to Province (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1953), 55, 56–57.


Edmund S Morgan, Visible Saints; the History of a Puritan Idea (New York: New York University Press, 1963), 66. Norman Pettit, like Miller and Morgan, generally advances the idea that, in its aspirations at least, puritanism adheres to a linear model of salvation and sanctification in which, through a “series” of temporal “stages,” a “man first examined the evils of his sins, repented for those sins, and then turned to God for salvation.” Norman Pettit, The Heart Prepared: Grace and Conversion in Puritan Spiritual Life. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966), 15.


See especially Charles Lloyd Cohen, God's Caress: The Psychology of Puritan Religious Experience (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1986), 14–15, 77.


Michael J. Colacurcio, Godly Letters (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006), 222; Baird Tipson, Hartford Puritanism: Thomas Hooker, Samuel Stone, and their Terrifying God (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2015), 333; and Matthew P. Brown, The Pilgrim and the Bee: Reading Rituals and Book Culture in Early New England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007), 19.


Alan Bray and Michael Warner have explored the homoerotic elements of puritan New England, with Bray spending significant time on Wigglesworth's diary. See Bray, “To Be a Man in Early Modern Society: The Curious Case of Michael Wigglesworth,” History Worshop Journal 41 (1996): 155–65; and Warner, “New English Sodom,” American Literature 64 (1992): 19–47. Nicholas Radel has also explored the internalization of homoerotic desire in Wigglesworth's diary. “A Sodom Within: Historicizing Homoerotics in the Diary of Michael Wigglesworth,” in The Puritan Origins of American Sex: Religion, Sexuality, and National Identity in American Literature, ed. Tracy Fessenden et al. (New York: Routledge, 2001), 41–55. Bryce Traister has proposed another theoretical term—“feminine’ piety”—to describe “Wigglesworth's struggles with sexuality.” See his Female Piety and the Invention of American Puritanism (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2016), 158. See also Eva Cherniavsky, “Night Pollution and the Floods of Confession in Michael Wigglesworth's Diary,” Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory 45 (1989): 15–33; and Richard Godbeer, Sexual Revolution in Early America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002).


Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007), 54, 59, 542, 266. In many instances, Taylor attributes the rise of secular homogenous empty time on religious “Reform” in Reformation and counter-Reformation moral discipline.


Jordan Alexander Stein, “How to Undo the History of Sexuality: Editing Edward Taylor's Meditations,” Am. Lit. 90 (2018): 753–54. See also Kent Brintnall et al., eds., Sexual Disorientations: Queer Temporalities, Affects, Theologies (New York: Fordham University Press, 2018), 5.


Elizabeth Freeman, Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010), 7, 23. For a still relevant history of the puritan family, see Edmund S. Morgan, The Puritan Family: Essays on Religion and Domestic Relations in Seventeenth-Century New England (Boston: Trustees of the Public Library, 1956).


Elizabeth Freeman, “Sacra/mentality in Djuna Barnes's Nightwood,Amer. Lit. 86 (2014): 737–40.


Tracy Fessenden, “F. Scott Fitzgerald's Catholic Closet,” US Catholic Historian 23, no. 3 (Summer 2005): 31–33.


See Jonathan Goldberg and Madhavi Menon, ``Queering History,'' PMLA 120 (2005): 1608–1617; and Valerie Traub, “The New Unhistoricism in Queer Studies,” PMLA 128 (2013): 21–39.


For an overview of sacramental theology and practice in transatlantic puritanism, see E. Brooks Holifield, The Covenant Sealed: The Development of Puritan Sacramental Theology in Old and New England, 1570–1720 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974).


For a contrasting conclusion that “Shepard simply does not get off the treadmill” of preparation for conversion as opposed to the sacrament, see Baird Tipson, “The Routinized Piety of Thomas Shepard's Diary,” Early American Literature 13 (1978): 75.


Thomas Shepard, The Sincere Convert (1640), in Works of Thomas Shepard, vol. 1 (New York: AMS Press, 1967), 28; and Meredith M. Neuman, Jeremiah's Scribes: Creating Sermon Literature in Puritan New England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), 36.


For an alternative view that intensified recognition of sin brought Shepard's puritan subjects closer to Christ, see Lori Rogers-Stokes, Records of Trial from Thomas Shepard's Church in Cambridge, 1638–1649: Heroic Souls (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2020), 14.


Warner, “New English Sodom,” 37.


Thomas Shepard, Autobiography, in God's Plot: The Paradoxes of Puritan Piety Being the Autobiography and Journal of Thomas Shepard, ed. Michael McGiffert (Amherst and Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 1972), 41.


Shepard, Autobiography, 41.


Edelman, No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004), 4; Carolyn Dinshaw et al, “Theorizing Queer Temporalities: A Roundtable Discussion,” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 13 (2007): 195; and Taylor, A Secular Age, 124, 265, 271, 737, 772.


Thomas Shepard, Journal, in God's Plot: The Paradoxes of Puritan Piety Being the Autobiography and Journal of Thomas Shepard, ed. Michael McGiffert (Amherst and Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 1972), 112.


Thomas Shepard. Parable of the Ten Virgins (1659) in Works of Thomas Shepard, vol. 2 (New York: AMS Press, 1967). For the publication history of the Ten Virgins, see Neuman, Jeremiah's Scribes, 104–5.


Shepard, Ten Virgins, 84, 156.


Shepard, Ten Virgins, 168, 172–73, 177. For the similar way in which English puritans prepared for the sacrament, see Alec Ryrie, Being Protestant in Reformation Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 338.


Lisa M. Gordis, Opening Scripture: Reading and Interpretive Authority in Puritan New England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 65–67.


Michael Wigglesworth, The Diary of Michael Wigglesworth 1653–1657: The Conscience of a Puritan, ed. Edmund S. Morgan (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), 68, 2.


For an alternative interpretation of Wigglesworth's documentation of sinfulness, see Nicholas Radel: “Wigglesworth must produce himself in sin, see himself as a sinner, in order to purify himself of sin.” “A Sodom Within: Historicizing Homoerotics in the Diary of Michael Wigglesworth,” in Fessenden et al., eds., The Puritan Origins of American Sex, 45.


Wigglesworth, Diary, 3, 68. As Elizabeth Maddock Dillon has noted, the sexual panic Wigglesworth expresses also arises out of the cognitive dissonance created by imagining his “piety” as a relationship to God in terms of a “feminized body” that forces him to admit “unacceptable images of homosexuality.” Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, “Nursing Fathers and Brides of Christ: The Feminized Body of the Puritan Convert,” in A Centre of Wonders: The Body in Early America, ed. Janet Moore Lindman and Michele Lise Tarter (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011), 129–43.


Patricia Caldwell, The Puritan Conversion Narrative: The Beginnings of American Expression (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 159.


Wigglesworth, Diary, 4.


Jean Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge and Robert Pitcairn (1845; repr. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2008), 2, 3; and Thomas Shepard, The Sound Believer, in Works of Thomas Shepard, vol. 1 (New York: AMS Press, 1967), 120.


Wigglesworth, Diary, 3, 58. Daniel B. Shea Jr. recognizes that the purpose of the puritan diary is to catalogue personal sinfulness. Spiritual Autobiography in Early America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1968), 142.


Shepard, Autobiography, 41; Wigglesworth, Diary, 9, 31.


As Michael Warner notes in his exposition of Samuel Danforth's execution sermon Cry of Sodom, masturbation was the most insidious form of sexual dissidence for a puritan, as the perverse gateway to ‘“impure thoughts and fancies in the day-time,’ ‘whoredome,’ adultery, incest, sodomy, and ‘Besitality, or Buggery.’” Michael Warner, “New-English Sodom,” Am. Lit. 64 (1992): 23. Richard Godbeer also points out the extreme attention New England clerics paid to masturbation as both a symptom of, and gateway to, much more serious forms of perversion. See Sexual Revolution in Early America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), 68–69.


Wigglesworth, Diary, 43, 29, 64; Holifield, The Covenant Sealed, 19.


Godbeer, Sexual Revolution in Early America, 88.


Wigglesworth, Diary, 43.


Wigglesworth, Diary, 44, 54, 45; Jonathan Goldberg, Sodometries: Renaissance Texts, Modern Sexualities (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992), 234.


See Wigglesworth, Diary, 10, 34. This phenomenon of assuming and marking secular time by involvement in a religious narrative is sacramental and hermeneutical for puritans in New England. As Lisa Gordis has pointed out in her description of puritan bible-reading aspirations, many a New Englander sought to fulfill an annual “schedule.” These puritans also marked secular time—days, weeks, months, and years—by their devotional progress through the sacred texts and their identification with the narrative they tell. Opening Scripture, 33, 99.


Andrew Delbanco, The Puritan Ordeal (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989), 182.


Shea, Spiritual Autobiography, 96.


Wigglesworth, Diary, 91.


Gregory S. Jackson, The Word and its Witness: the Spiritualization of American Realism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 140.


Wigglesworth, Diary, 91.


Wigglesworth, Diary, 98, 75, 30, 4, 5, 11, 20–21.


Holifield, The Covenant Sealed, 135.


Traister, Female Piety, 159.


Wigglesworth, Diary, 50; Mitchell Breitwieser, Cotton Mather and Benjamin Franklin: the Price of Representative Personality (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 179.


Wigglesworth, Diary, 79, 80–81, 87, 88. Godbeer, Sexual Revolution in Early America, 58, 59.


Edelman, No Future, 38--39. For further analysis of Edelman's articulation of the sinthomosexual as a concept available to the convergence of religious studies criticism and queer temporality, see Brintnall et al., eds, Sexual Disorientations, 10.


Taylor, A Secular Age, 266.


Thomas Shepard, Thomas Shepard's Confessions, ed. George Selement and Bruce C. Woolley (Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1981), 92.


Jordan Alexander Stein, “American Literary History and Queer Temporalities,” American Literary History 25 (2013): 866; Elizabeth Freeman, Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories (Duke University Press, 2010), 3; and Taylor, A Secular Age, 772.


Stein, “American Literary History and Queer Temporalities,” 866; Wigglesworth, Diary, 79.


Edelman, “Theorizing Queer Temporalities,” 195.


Michael Wigglesworth, The Day of Doom (1662), in The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Volume A: Beginnings to 1800, 7th ed., ed. Nina Baym (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2007), 130, 1466, 1571–92.


Jonathan Edwards, “Resolutions,” in Works of Jonathan Edwards Online, vol. 16, ed. George S. Claghorn (New Haven: Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University, 2008), 757, http://edwards.yale.edu/research/browse (accessed May 20, 2017).


Sacvan Bercovitch, The American Jeremiad (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1978), 97.


Edwards, “Personal Narrative,” in Works of Jonathan Edwards Online, 16:802, http://edwards.yale.edu/research/browse (accessed April 18, 2017).