Early American writers first had to ensure their own survival before they could think about writing for entertainment. These early writings were more about keeping historical records than of creating something with literary value, so these works would be narratives, descriptions, observations, reports, journals, and histories. We need to be mindful of this when reading them in this current day.
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.
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.
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.
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.This course was created by Rebecca Epperly Wire. You can contact her through the Facebook community group with questions.
You can say thank you to her with a gift. Please review the FAQs and contact us if you find a problem. Credits: 1 Recommended: 10th, 11th, 12th (This is typically the 11th grade course.) Prerequisite: Literature.
By Jonathan Edwards Online Edition by: International Outreach, Inc. PO Box , Ames, Iowa () SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF AN ANGRY GOD Their foot shall slide in due time (Deut. xxxii. 35). are so in God’s hands, and so universally and absolutely subject to his power and.
In accordance with traditional sermon structure, Jonathan Edwards opens “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” with the two Biblical readings on which the sermon is based. One passage, from the Book of Amos, is about God ’s ability to find sinners and take them to hell no matter where they are.
God is angry with you, and He could let you drop like a spider over a fire, and an arrow let go toward you.
It shows the change of a wrathful God to a God of mercy. Reminding them of God. “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, wrote by Jonathan Edwards in the ’s uses literary devices such imagery, metaphors to get his congregation to understand his sermon easily.
This entices the congregation to repent for their sins. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.
A Sermon Preached at Enfield, July 8th, Jonathan Edwards Church of Christ in Northampton Edwards, Jonathan and Smolinski, Reiner, Editor, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.
A Sermon Preached at Enfield, July 8th, " ().