By Paul Hurh
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Extra info for American Terror: The Feeling of Thinking in Edwards, Poe, and Melville
The effect on the jeremiad was that, for the next forty years, its terrors became the expression of a people caught between an absolute theological imperative and an emerging capitalist expediency. The jeremiads, in Miller’s view, thus become accommodating and cathartic; through them the New England society found “a method for paying tribute to their sense of guilt and yet for moving with the times” (51).
To that end, I reconsider the difference in hellfire preaching between the late seventeenth century and the revivals of the early eighteenth century. I then go on in the second part of the chapter to address Gura’s intimation that Edwards was not really as obsessed with terror as the sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” would portray. In order to ascertain just how atypical his hellfire is, I survey Edwards’s sermons and situate his own brand of hellfire as central to the period’s changing conceptions of affect.
Noyes spoke once or twice and said, Mr. Davenport I forbid you Praying in my House without my leave; but he persisted and went on in the midst of the greatest Noise, Confusion and Consternation, and declared Mr. Noyes an unconverted Man, and his People to be as Sheep without a Shepherd” (3). After being subjected to censure in his own house, given by an upstart young preacher twenty-eight years his junior and a stranger to his community, Noyes told Davenport to leave and not come back. 32 AWA K E N I N G T E R R O R This relatively tame episode in the spectacularly tumultuous religious crises of American history now known as the Great Awakening illustrates the clash not only of differing doctrines but of different modes of discourse.