Here's another Puritan upstart, like Cotton Mather, who matriculates at an appallingly young age. He read, and understood, John Locke at 14. Most of us have just about figured out how to tie our shoes by then. He believed passionately in a loving God, and unlike his Puritan brethren, he was overtly evangelical. In other words, he wasn't buying this strictly deterministic view of the world, thanks to Locke. He treated his wife with outstanding tenderness and respect, in ways that were very uncharacteristic for the time. In fact, much of his work indicates that he felt women were intellectually and spiritually equal to men, and he often studied the women of the Bible as worthy examples of faith and practice. Finally, when he lost his church at Northampton, he went off to Stockbridge to be a missionary to the natives, a hardship post that he accepted with humility and grace. He almost made president of Yale, except that his smallpox vaccine went bad and killed him.
On the negative side, he did not understand the meaning of the word "compromise," and he struggled with a working definition of "tact." He so loathed the Halfway Covenant that he smashed his own reputation trying to abolish it, and his unswerving devotion to other people's holiness split the Presbyterian Church right down the middle for a while. (Yes, by this time the Puritans had morphed into Presbyterians, mostly, with a side order of Congregationalists.)
As a writer, Edwards takes after Locke in many ways. He is clear and direct. (Really, he is. It's just our unfamiliarity with 18th Century formal English that makes him seem difficult.) He relies on reason (Locke again), not emotion, most of the time. He always knows what he wants his writing to accomplish. It makes sense, which is very Lockian. A lot of his writing is still in use in seminaries and philosophy departments.
Keep in mind, as you read "Sinners," that Edwards is trying to wake up a church that has become complacent and spiritually dull. Yes, he describes God as a vengeful deity who would be completely within His rights to roast every human in hell, but at the end, he emphasizes God's love and grace as free to all who want it. (And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a HUGE departure from the strict predestination of the Puritans.) A fascinating man, and the first American philosopher and intellectual that I can stand. Cotton and Increase Mather just don't count. Sorry.