Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
Jonathan Edwards was a talented and inspiring man. Throughout his life, he worked as an educator, a philosopher, a scholar, a theologian, a journalist, and even as a musician. There can be no denying his hard work and his contributions to each and every one of those fields; yet the one thing that makes him stand out from all the others was his input and leadership during the First Great Awakening of 1740-1742.
Around the time of Edwards delivering this speech, there was a great depravity of true religious meaning and accountability. There was only one practiced religion during this period of time, called the Church of England. All other religions like Catholicism, Judaism, and Puritanism were suppressed. Historians describe numerous accounts of church members, ’Going through the motions’, if you will. People’s faith and worshipping were ‘dry’, and there were no convictions of the heart when speaking to the Lord. There was a desperate need of change and revival in the church. Enter the First Great Awakening. Enter John Edwards.
On a sweltering day in Northampton, Massachusetts, July 1741, Jonathan delivered his speech to Christians and non-Christians alike. Noticing the general lack of fear for God among his people, he decided to ‘amp up’ the intensity of his sermons and capture the attention of his audience. Searching through the Bible, Edwards found one particular verse that he believed he could use to achieve his goal. This verse was found in the book named Deuteronomy, chapter 32 verse 35, which states, “ Their foot shall slip in due time.” From this verse, he described ten implications of which he believed the author to have given, and wrote an application to this verse for non- believers to use.
Reading the entire sermon, it’s very obvious that Jonathan Edwards used the rhetorical device of Pathos, and the emotion he used to pull in his audience was appeal to fear....