Critic H.L. Mencken once said, wrongly, “Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” On the contrary, Puritans read good books and enjoyed music. They drank beer with meals and rum at weddings. Puritans swam and skated, hunted and fished, and played at archery and bowling (as long as the games were not in a public tavern or on Sunday).
Leland Ryken wrote in Worldly Saints: The Puritans As They Really Were (Zondervan, 1986): “Puritanism was impelled by the insight that all of life is God’s. The Puritans lived simultaneously in two worlds—the invisible spiritual world and the physical world of earthly existence. For the Puritans, both worlds were equally real, and there was no cleavage of life into sacred and secular. All of life was sacred.”