Essay on Jonathan Edwards and the Puritan Mind

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Jonathan Edwards and the Puritan Mind If one were to study the idea of Puritan thought through only the reading of these three works of Jonathan Edwards, one could probably gather a good idea of the inner workings of the Puritan mind. These three works do well to disclose to the reader the inner and outer workings of Jonathan Edwards. The Personal Narrative displays to the reader Jonathan Edwards' view of himself as he progressed through life, and the ideals and the things that were most valuable to him, and the things that were a hindrance to himself. The sermon A Divine and Supernatural Light exhibits the nature of Jonathan Edwards' intellectual mind, and the view of expository preaching that he and the Puritan mind may have held …show more content…
Edwards paints for us a lifestyle of constant inner-reflection and a deep sense of disciplining the mind to think on things of an eternal nature. This striving almost borders on self-torture, as Edwards, towards the end of the narrative, explains that he never loses the awareness of his sin, and that awareness causes him to almost doubt his salvation (see p.185-186) and the position of his soul in regards to eternity. You will find with Edwards that along with the intense introspection and focus on piety, there is very rarely a mention of the grace of God. His faults are not seen as covered through forgiveness, but through a sense of "trying to do better next time," this is indicative of Edwards constantly comparing his spiritual state to that of a previous time in his life. Edwards' constant teeter-tottering between a state of a sensitivity and a delight in "divine things" and a state of "wickedness" in which Edwards gaze was not fixed fast upon the holiness of God, illustrates to us the kind of conflict that would exist in the minds of Puritan thinkers of the day. They would be seen as striving always to do good, yet always wondering if their good was good enough, and living in condemnation every moment that their mind was not entertaining thoughts of eternal bliss and the holiness of God.

If Edwards were our only key to understanding the Puritan mind, we would see that Puritan work ethic was not a high priority (which is far from the truth), Edwards

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