English III, Period 6
26 September 2012
God: Loving or Hateful?
Ann Bradstreet’s conception of a loving and giving God is not consistent with Jonathan Eduwards’, who views Him as evil and punishing. Even in the worst situation, such as the burning of her house and all of her possessions, she praises the Lord, and has enough faith to “bless His grace that gave and took” (Bradstreet 14). Bradstreet’s use of euphonious diction with soft s, c, v, and g sounds in phrases such as “bless His grace” give a tender, graceful mood to the poem. Also, her word choice has a positive connotation and suggests unconditional praise. She says that the world holds no promises for her, because her “hope and treasure lies above” (54). The irony in this line is relevant because Bradstreet has just lost everything she has ever had, but she realizes that her real treasure is found not in the material world, but in eternal salvation with God. Therefore, she views God as loving and giving due to the promises He has for her in heaven. Jonathan Edwards, however, does not view God in this way. He thinks that God, “the God that holds [him] over the pits of hell, much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors [him]” (154). Fearful and tormented, Edwards thinks that God promises nothing but eternal damnation, which contrasts greatly with Bradstreet’s conception of a loving God. By comparing a sinner to a spider, Edwards is insinuating that they are a worthless annoyance to Him. Sinners are helpless in the hands of an angry God, the way spiders are helpless in the hands of an angry person. For these reasons, Ann Bradstreet’s conception of a kind and faithful Lord is different than Jonathan Edwards’ belief in an angry, punishing God.
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