Postmaster Cuts Stamp For Colonial Preacher

Don't look for a postage stamp featuring colonial-era preacher Jonathan Edwards anytime soon.

Postal officials apparently had plans to release a stamp honoring Edwards in 2003, the 300th anniversary of his birth. Linn's Stamp News reported recently that the commemorative was dropped over fears that it might be controversial.

Edwards, a fire-and-brimstone Puri­tan preacher, was a major figure during the Great Awakening. His most famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," is a no-holds-barred blast against anyone who failed to measure up to Edwards' standards for godliness and Christian morality.

Edwards was prone to paint vivid pictures of hellfire for his congregation. In the famous "Sinners" sermon, he warns, "The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire.... O, sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread...."