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Hammer and Nails

Late 1999 or Early 2000

I wrote this while we were studying Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) in our "Christianity in America" class at SPU. Though "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" is his most famous sermon, it was one of his very few "hellfire and brimstone" sermons. Contrary to popular modern American belief, the vast majority of them were not that negative.

This poem eludes to several parts of his life. As a child, he went out into the forest and built a treehouse, where he went to be alone to pray. He studied and devoted his life to God's service, and God used many of his sermons to awaken the people of Northampton Township, Massachusetts. His preaching spread throughout the American colonies, and he became one of the great preachers of the Great Awakening. He was dismissed from his church, and God led him to a new ministry to the Native Americans in Stockbridge, MA. He moved among them with his wife and children, and he ministered to them. He was then invited to serve as president of present-day Princeton University (then known as College of New Jersey), and he moved there ahead of his family and assumed his new position and prepared for them to follow him. He died of smallpox before his wife and children had the chance to join him.

A boy takes hammer and nails
A child builds a treehouse to pray to his God

A man studies the word of his God
He devotes his life to the service of his God

And God takes hammer and nails
And uses this man to bring others to Him

A township awakens and God builds His church
The colonies awaken and God's word is spread

With His hammer and nails God builds His church
In the American colonies, to the glory of God

A preacher takes hammer and nails
And moves from his church to a new neighborhood

With the hammer and nails God uses this man
To help the natives to follow His plan

The man is invited to serve at a seminary
Again he uproots and moves to a new ministry

And God takes His faithful servant
To New Jersey and soon to his heavenly home

A woman is left with her children
To remember the work of God in a man
Who was willing to take hammer and nails


All poetry © Steven Sauke. All Rights Reserved.