The Puritans were earnest folk. They had little patience with those who had no depth, no deep conviction, no profound concern with what God was doing in their lives. They wanted everyone to become a believer, of course—to assent to the reality of God and God’s providence, justice and compassion, and thus find a confidence for living in this precarious world. Those in drift could not do that; they were like a bug on a leaf in a river during a storm. They had no sense of where they were or where they were going.
Jonathan Edwards was, to put it mildly, religiously serious, and he was so from an early age. He is so interesting for contemporary theologians because he developed a balance of brilliant intellectual honesty, fidelity to the biblical traditions, and an openness to new insight brought by personal experience.