Compare "God Glorified in Man's Dependence" by Jonathan Edwards and "Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose philosophy is shown in "Self-Reliance," was a thinker whose ideas were directly opposed to those of Jonathan Edwards.

As shown in "God Glorified..." Edwards believed that the fate of human beings was completely in the hands of God.  He was a Calvinist who believed in the doctrine of predestination, which says that God has already decided each of our fates (damnation or salvation) and there's nothing we can do to change that fate.

Emerson, on the other hand, is a Transcendentalist.  They believed (as is shown in "Self-Reliance") in the idea that people should rely on themselves and their own judgement.  In this view, people can and should be in control of their own destiny.  This is clearly opposed to Edwards' view.

It is important to note that Edwards wrote before the Revolution and that Emerson wrote afterwards.  Emerson's philosophy of self-determination is much more in keeping with a democratic nation like the US than is Edwards' much more passive message.

parama9000 | Student

Edwards believed that God decided our fates and nothing can be done to change it while Emerson believed that we ourselves decide our fate.