Shortly after the dawn of the eighteenth century, two types of Puritan heirs were visible. The spiritual heritage (as opposed to the worldly) fell to the children of the Great Awakening. The call for personal conversion as the basis of church membership soon echoed throughout the Connecticut River valley through the preaching of Jonathan Edwards. In Northampton, Massachusetts Jonathan had spiritual charge of two hundred families, suffering an extraordinary dulness in religion. Yet, in 1734 revival broke out in this little community. Soon Edwards and other ministers began to visit neighboring towns to deliver "revival sermons." When Edwards spoke at Enfield, Connecticut, about "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," he was merciless. He described god holding men over the flames in the way that one held a loathsome spider over a candle. He speculated on how it would feel to have the searing agony of a burn drawn out through eternity. He told listeners that the ground beneath their feet was a rotten flooring over a blazing pit, ready to give way in seconds. While many only remember Edwards as only one more dramatic preacher of hellfire and brimstone, Edwards was a keen psychologist, a brilliant theologian and the third president of Princeton.
[tags]BlogRodent, church-history, ChurchRodent, Great-Awakening, history, Jonathan-Edwards[/tags]