06 February 2013
Analysis of Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”
The Great Awakening was a religious movement that spread throughout New England during the mid-eighteenth century, from about 1730 to 1745. The Great Awakening sought to make Christianity a deeply personal experience and pulled away from traditional ceremony, encouraging personal commitment and emotional involvement in faith. Jonathan Edwards was a Puritan and theologian; one of the most famous preachers of the Great Awakening. Edwards’ most famous sermon was “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, despite the fact that he had delivered the sermon to his own congregation, with little effect, he felt led to use it again when invited to preach at the neighboring town of Enfield, Massachusetts on July 8, 1741. During Edwards’ sermon he used vivid imagery of hell, the wrath of God, and the hope of salvation to reveal his perspective on the reality that awaited those that did not follow Christ.
During his sermon Jonathan Edwards used vivid imagery and descriptions to make his congregation see that hell was a real place. To make the congregation see just how close to hell they truly were Edwards stated, “That world of misery, that lake of burning brimstone is extended aboard under you (Cox).” He also wanted them to realize that the longer they went without Christ, the heavier they would become. “Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downward with great weight and pressure toward hell (Westerfield).” The ground beneath them would give way under the weight of their wickedness and they would plunge into hell where the Devil would be ready for them. “The Devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping, for them, the flames gather and flash about them and would fain lay hold on them, and swallow them up (Smolinski 11).”
If the descriptions of hell and the Devil weren’t enough, Edwards also used the power and wrath of a...