An analysis of puritanism sinners in the hands of an angry god by jonathon edwards

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An analysis of puritanism sinners in the hands of an angry god by jonathon edwards

The infamy of the Salem witchcraft trials inwhich sent twenty persons to their death and another to prison, festered in the community for a generation as a tragic episode that exposed the excesses of misguided Puritan zeal.

In the early part of the century, New Englanders enjoyed a rising level of affluence that induced a sense of both material and spiritual comfort and eventually led to the introduction of the Half-Way Covenant. Whereas full church membership was the privilege only of those and the children of those who could testify to a personal experience of conversion, the Half-Way Covenant extended such membership to the third generation of those who confessed an experiential faith.

His sermons were intended as a wake-up call for those who underplayed the majesty of a holy God and overemphasized their own worthiness as decent, hard-working, successful citizens.

Edwards believed strongly that only a genuine conversion experience should qualify a person for church membership. Revivalist preachers, therefore, sought not only to address the intellect but also to engage the emotions so as to convince the listeners of the seriousness of their sin and activate them to seek salvation from the punishment they could expect from a righteous God.

The results were encouraging, but one congregation, that in Enfield, Connecticut, seemed to be immune to the call for radical conversion. Edwards was therefore invited to preach there. On July 8,at the height of the Great Awakening, he delivered a revival sermon in Enfield that became the most famous of its kind.

He followed the traditional three-part sermon structure: Edwards carefully selected the text for this occasion, for it was his single-minded intent to disturb profoundly the comfortable members of his audience.

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He found the words he wanted in Deuteronomy Edwards obviously wished to establish a close connection between those addressed in the biblical passage and those whom he addressed in his sermon.

He begins his sermon by pointing out four features of walking on a slippery slope: He is clearly establishing here the foolhardiness of those who choose to walk in such slippery places and the fact that a fatal slide into the yawning abyss is an inescapable certainty. He speaks to both the head and the heart in leading his hearers to recognize the nature of such foolishness and to fear the consequences.

The warning leads Edwards to his theme: Edwards knows, of course, that a cognitive persuasion does not necessarily lead to action.

An analysis of puritanism sinners in the hands of an angry god by jonathon edwards

True religion should be a matter of both head and heart, and the emotions, too, must be engaged and moved to reinforce the will to turn to God for mercy and to a spiritually transformed life. What distinguishes this most famous example of Puritan revival sermons is its use of imagery so vivid that it left people in the pews trembling and weeping.

The imagery in the first part of the sermon graphically underscores the theme of the lot of the unregenerated. They should not deceive themselves about their status or their strength.

Their vaunted trust in their own wisdom, prudence, care, and caution is but a self-delusion and will not save them. The glittering sword of justice is whetted and is brandished over their heads. Death is always but a breath away. For the unconverted, therefore, and for the unredeemed sinner and those who have not embraced Christ as savior, perdition is but a breath away.

Only faith in Christ will bear them up.

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That may not save their life, for they are mortal still, but it will save their soul and awaken the deluded souls in their sinful condition to the wonders of divine grace.

The third part of the sermon, the application, makes up the largest and, to Edwards, the most important part. If up to this point he describes the plight of the unsaved in general, he now turns directly to the congregation of Enfield and to the unconverted persons before him.

Through metaphors and images, Edwards links the spiritual world to the physical world of the listeners.

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Images of weight and tension dominate. The God whose hand is yet staying this ultimate doom is a righteous God of fury to all who reject him. All of his dire warnings lead up to what now follows: God will show them both how excellent his love is and how terrible his wrath is; the God whose hand of wrath will destroy the wicked is the same God whose hand of mercy will save the repentant.

In the concluding part of the sermon, Edwards addresses his invitation to receive salvation to everyone in the audience before him—the old, the young, and the children.Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Jonathon Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Analysis. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Analysis During the time of the Great Awakening, religious spirit flooded throughout America.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God - Wikipedia

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"Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" is a sermon written by British Colonial Christian theologian Jonathan Edwards, preached to his own congregation in Northampton, Massachusetts, to unknown effect, and again on July 8, in Enfield, Connecticut.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God | A Puritan's Mind