Are You Comfortable Knowing You’re in God’s Hands?

“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (1741) by Jonathan Edwards

“People were so changed before the sermon was ended that they were ‘bowed down with an awful conviction of their sin and danger.””
George Whitefield preaching in the open air.

Within 100 years after the Pilgrims and the Puritans came to the New World and established their colonies at Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay, the spiritual condition in the American Colonies had fallen into a state of decline and lukewarmness. Several social and economic factors contributed to this. During the early 1700’s, the population and diversity of people and religion in the colonies was growing rapidly. As colonies became more populated, families began to settle further from the center of the community. As a result of this, church attendance and membership decreased due to distance. Families living in more isolated wilderness areas in the west developed a spirit of independence and self-sufficiency, and their dependence on church and civil government lessened. As efforts were focused on physical survival, attention to spiritual matters seemed less important, while on the other hand, an interest in materialism was on the rise. But towards the middle of the century God brought about a spiritual revival in New England known as The Great Awakening, an event that proved to actually be a key factor in uniting the colonies leading up to the Revolution. Continue reading “Are You Comfortable Knowing You’re in God’s Hands?”

Puritan Poetess: Anne Bradstreet

one of the more common paintings of anne brads...
one of the more common paintings of Anne Bradstreet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am obnoxious to each carping tongue
Who says my hand a needle better fits,
A poet’s pen all scorn I should thus wrong,
For such despite they cast on female wits:
If what I do prove well, it won’t advance,
They’ll say it’s stol’n, or else it was by chance.
– Anne Bradstreet, “Prologue”

Anne Bradstreet originally intended to share her verses only with her family and close friends. Without her prior permission, her brother-in-law John Woodbridge took them to England and published them in 1650 under the title The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up In America. Apparently, Mrs. Bradstreet anticipated the skepticism with which her poetry might be received. In her Prologue (above), she apologizes for her lowly attempts and begs the reader to forgive her for her simple verses. While she admits her poems cannot compare with those of the Greeks or other great poets, she humbly asks to receive due credit for her efforts. I imagine Mrs. Bradstreet would be amazed to know that her humble expressions of devotion for her family and her God are still read and admired today, since she didn’t initially intend to publish them at all. Continue reading “Puritan Poetess: Anne Bradstreet”