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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 and endorsed. Finally, Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God shows Jonathan Edwards' passion for people to come to the same understanding of God as he (and most other Puritans) held. Through these three literary pieces we will see how the Puritan mind struggles with the goals of inner and outer piety, and how they concern themselves with the eternal position of their soul.Jonathan Edwards, as a model of Puritan life, lived a life that concerned itself greatly with appearing and feeling godly. Most of the Personal Narrative shows Edwards in a struggle between delighting in God, and returning "like a dog to his vomit," (176) and going the way of sin. It seems, though, as Edwards grew in his faith, his concern for piety grew even further. At several points in his life he decided to "part with all things in the world for an interest in Christ" (177). Edwards struggled to delight himself in the things of God and surround himself with those things, often shutting other things out in order that he may refine his search. He took great delight in nature and stilling his mind in order to think on the majesty of God. Edwards paints for us a lifestyle of constant inner-reflection and a deep sense of disciplining the mind to think on things of an ...

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