The Great Awakening
The Puritans are encumbered by a caricature of strictness and dourness in our day and age. Their mention calls forth images of judgment, wrath, and superstition, and almost without doubt people look to Jonathan Edwards’ sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” as the paradigm of this group’s sentiment. Sadly, this caricature fails to do justice to Edwards and the Puritans, as it captures only a small part of the gospel they preached. Edwards and his Puritan contemporaries knew well the condemnation promised by God for disobedience, but they knew it in light of the great promise of salvation offered by the gospel. Edwards wrote more about the joy, pleasure, and happiness of salvation than anything else, and during the Great Awakening he poured out this message of grace that promises eternal life for undeserving sinners.