Jonathan Edwards' Sermons

Generational Distress: Jonathan Edwards and Aaron Burr College

Jonathan Edwards straddled two definitive eras in American history: the hardline beliefs of the Puritans he was raised by in the Connecticut Valley and the freethinking, logical reasonability of the Age of Enlightenment (Norton Anthology 396). These ideas are blended fascinatingly in Edwards’s Personal Narrative, a seemingly day-to-day account of his ideas on The Bible and God thought through in the most logical manor he could conceive given the information at hand, and his upbringing as the son and grandson of famous reverends. His life was at great odds with that of his even more renowned grandson Aaron Burr, born into the middle of the Age of Enlightenment. Although Edwards only lived into the second year of his progeny’s life (Chernow 277), both his accomplishments and mistakes seem to have had a massive effect on the way Burr viewed religion, politics, and even writing itself.

Edwards’s mind was filled with thoughts of religion that he meticulously documented. In his Personal Narrative, he begins talking about his childhood views on religion, the reawakening of the spirituality of his father’s congregation, and his own dutiful religious practices. His worldview is purely Puritanical. There were certain expectations put...

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