Jonathan Edwards was a religious thinker and prominent figure in American evangelical revivals of the 18th century. Although he emphasized the power of the human will, he also spoke for the Puritans. His "Sinner in the Hands of an Angry God" is one of the most famous American sermons. However, Edwards' 1740 "Personal Narrative" is a description of his own faith journey. In the document, Edwards describes a time of personal awakening as a boy in his father's congregation. He tells of praying five times daily and finding special places in the woods in which to pray.
A Personal Faith Journey
In his "Personal Narrative," Edwards reveals that he had always wrestled with the doctrine of predestination, the belief that God chooses who will receive eternal life and who will be condemned to hell. Yet, Edwards achieves what he calls an "inward, sweet delight in God" and total acceptance of this tenet of Christianity through Bible study. He tells of a spiritual experience of Christ in the woods in 1737. Several times he references his own sinfulness in the narrative, although he doesn't list specific sins. Edwards writes lyrically, comparing the souls of true Christians to little white spring flowers and scripture to refreshing food.
Susie Zappia teaches humanities and research and writing courses online for several colleges. Her research interests include counterculture literature of the 1960 and instructional design for online courses and she enjoys writing about literature, art and instructional design. She holds a Master of Arts in humanities from California State University, Dominguez Hills and a Master of Science in instructional design from Capella University.