Benjamin Franklin Compared to Jonathan Edwards Essay

Words: 1767
Pages: 8

Kendra Hughes
Professor Machann
English 2327
March 24, 2010

Errata in the Hands of an Un-Angry God:
A Comparison of Edwards and Franklin

Oberg and Stout put it best in the introduction of their book Benjamin Franklin, Jonathan Edwards, and the Representation of American Culture, “It is difficult, if not impossible to, think of two more widely studied colonial figures than Benjamin Franklin and Jonathan Edwards. As Franklin and Edwards have been studied individually over generations, so also have they been looked at together” (Oberg and Stout 3). Through their influential writing and critical evaluations of how to improve oneself, Jonathan Edwards and Benjamin Franklin both encompass American themes that ultimately define them as
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Similarly, Edward’s efforts to overcome his sins enabled him to become closer to God and to set an example for his congregation. Both men documented the progress of their goals to follow their self-defined resolutions and both men hoped their comrades would adhere to the same principles. They desired to be influential and catch attention and esteem from their community by showcasing their sacrifices. Along with self-improvement and setting of goals Edwards’ and Franklin’s writings reflect the importance of cohesion as a society. While Edwards urges his congregation of the need to seek salvation and bind together during a time when America was redefining religion, Franklin, through his writing encourages society to move closer together after the Revolutionary War. In, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Edwards reciprocates with ferocity and anger to his congregation when faced with “The Great Awakening.” In the sermon to his congregation Edwards’ objective is to rationalize with the countless that are doomed to damnation and not saved. He preaches, “Now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open” (Edwards 435). Edwards begs for the cohesion of his congregational community in effort to defeat the influences of uncertified preachers and the impendence of damnation. Ursula Brumm explains in her essay “Jonathan Edwards and Typology,” In Early American Literature: A