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This book reconsiders the existence of an early Stuart Puritan movement, and examines the ways in which Puritan clergymen encouraged greater sociability with their like-minded colleagues, both in theory and in practice, to such an extent that they came to define themselves as 'a peculiar people', a community distinct from their less faithful rivals. Their voluntary communal rituals encouraged a view of the world divided between 'us' and 'them'. This provides a context for a renewed examination of the thinking behind debates on ceremonial nonconformity and reactions to the Laudian changes of the 1630's. From this a new perspective is developed on arguments about emigration and church government, arguments that proved crucial to Parliamentarian unity during the English Civil War.