Benjamin Franklin vs. Jonathan Edwards
If you have ever read Jonathan Edward’s “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and Benjamin Franklin’s “The Autobiography” you will clearly see a difference in their ideas concerning moral perfection. You will notice one of them has a very pushy, forceful way of presenting their views, Jonathan Edward, and one has a more laid back, easy going way of presenting their views, Benjamin Franklin. Just in the way in which they present their views tells a great deal about their actual views. Jonathan Edward’s has a very religious, traditional view of moral perfection while Benjamin Franklin has a more ideological and simple way of viewing moral perfection.
It is extremely evident from “Sinners in the Hands of and Angry God” that Jonathan Edwards has a very traditional and religious view of moral perfection. Part of this most likely is due to the fact that he is a preacher. “There is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God; there in hell’s wide gapping mouth open; and you have nothing to stand upon, nor anything to take hold of; there is nothing between you and hell but the air; it is the only power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up.” As you can see from this quote of Jonathan Edward’s, he feels that God is the only power that is holding you from you going to hell. Later in the text he also states, “If God should withdraw His hand, they would avail no more to keep you from falling, than the thin air to hold up a person that is suspended in it.” This statement supports the previous statement that God is the one keeping you from going to hell. He is the one that is controlling your life.
Jonathan Edwards says, “Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downward with great weight and pressure toward hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottom...