Mary Rowlandson's "A Narrative of Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

This idea was considered to be logical and reasonable, in contrast to ideas such as the Divine Right of Kings, which stressed that a king was ordained by God to be the ruler, and thus could not be opposed by his subjects. Jefferson suggests that there is a social contract between the ruled and the ruler, and when the ruler is abusive and transgresses the right of the ruled, the ruled should be able to throw off that yolk, regardless of custom and historical precedent.

While it is true that Jefferson does call the King a "tyrant," when he does so he immediately lists practical grievances, to show that this abuse is not hurled without some justification (Jefferson 118). For example: "He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly and continually for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people" (Jefferson 118). Rather than dealing with the colonists, the King has merely used his power in an arbitrary fashion. It is true that Jefferson's document lacks self-consciousness about some of the abuses perpetrated by the colonists. Jefferson agreed to strike out any references to the slave trade, despite his statements of universal equality of all men, based upon the protests of some of the Southern states. Jefferson himself was a slave owner. But as he understood rationalism (with a heavy dose of pragmatism), the document was worded in as rationalistic a manner as possible, so even idealistic notions such as inalienable rights were presented in terms of an argument, and in reference to specific events.

Q4. In Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners in the hands of an angry God," the Puritan philosopher and preacher Jonathan Edwards stresses that the will of God alone protects the vulnerable, sinful human soul -- nothing else. Foolishly, people take refuge from fear in their healthy constitutions but that is only because they cannot see the gaping pit
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of hell beneath them. Man is inherently fallen, according to Edwards, and only the grace of God, not good works, can save the human soul. Arrogantly, we believe that it is by our own force of will that we achieve salvation. It is not, instead we can only be saved if we depend on God and acknowledge our fallen nature. Even then, we may not be saved, unless we are one of the Elect. God is portrayed as holding the soul of the man like a spider in His hand and as an archer refusing to let forth the bow to take a man's soul. "There is nothing you can do to induce God to spare you for one moment" (Edwards 81). The purpose of human life is to submit and for the believer to accept his or her total dependence upon God.

The poet Anne Bradstreet, "Here Follow Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House, July 10, 1666" depicts Bradstreet confronting the horror of losing everything to a fire. Bradstreet confronts what Edwards speaks of -- humanity's inability to resist bad things from happening by force of will. Unlike Edwards, Bradstreet draws upon a personal example from her own life. "I blest his name that gave and took," says Bradstreet, knowing that as God gave her such worldly possessions, so he could take them away (Bradstreet 69). Bradstreet admits her emotional attachment to what she lost in the fire but then steels herself. The poet states that securing earthly possessions are not the purpose of human life. Wealth on earth is not important and ultimately everything on earth is transient "dust" (Bradstreet 69). The stateliest house is in heaven, not on earth. Like Edwards, Bradstreet acknowledges her dependence upon the divine and her inability to resist God's will, but she seems far more certain of God's mercy than Edwards. Bradstreet only mildly rebukes herself from fixating too much on her house, and does not call herself…

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