from Alan Taylor, American Colonies: The Settling of North America, v. 1:
Puritans were incorrigible doers, seeking out the preached word, reading the Scriptures, perfecting their morality, and proposing radical schemes for improving society and disciplining the unruly and indolent. To satirize Puritanism, the seventeenth-century dramatist Ben Jonson aptly named a Puritan character Zeal-of-the-Land Busy. Their prodigious energy expressed their conviction that godly doing manifested itself in those God had elected for salvation. One Puritan subtly explained, “We teach that only Doers shall be saved, and by their doing though not for their doing.” Because diligence and discipline honored God, Puritans labored even harder to perfect their morality and worship—and to extend both to others.
The Puritan movement especially appealed to residents of the most commercialized area in England: the southeast, particularly London, East Anglia, and Sussex. Puritans came from all ranks of English society, including a few aristocrats, but most belonged to the “middling sort” of small property holders: farmers, shopkeepers, and skilled artisans. The Puritan tended to be the self-employed head of a household, of whom Robert Reyce said that “though hee thriveth ordinarily well, yett he laboreth much.” Their own modest property put them a leg up on the impoverished and underemployed half of the English population.