Analyzing “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” by Jonathan Edwards.
Jonathan Edwards was born in 1703, in East Windsor, Connecticut. He grew up in a very strict and disciplined puritan atmosphere, which would affect him throughout his whole life. Ever since he was young, he showed great interest in the puritan religion by preaching to his friends and his classmates. At the age of twelve, Jonathan Edwards had learned to speak three different languages: Latin, Greek and Hebrew. When he was thirteen, we was accepted to Yale University and graduated as the valedictorian of his class four years later. In 1727, he became an assistant for his grandfather in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he would eventually become the preacher after the death of his grandfather. Unfortunately, during the 1750’s, he was dismissed from the church because of his conservative beliefs. After he was dismissed, he moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where he preached to the Natives. Jonathan Edwards was later on accepted as the president in 1757 of what is now Princeton University. Jonathan Edwards is considered one of the leaders of the “Great Awakening” during the 1730’s and the 1740’s. “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” which was written during this time, is the most well known out of his numerous works.
In “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Edwards uses very powerful and convicting imagery words and techniques to describe God’s wrath very vividly. He uses similes, metaphors to compare the relationship between us people and God. One example of this is when he talks about how God is ten thousand times more disgusted with us than us being disgusted by the most vicious snakes. (p. 73) It says, “…You are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours…” From this it is visible that the way Edwards wrote was very convicting and was directed right at “us,” the audience. He also compares God’s wrath to “black clouds”, “fiery floods”, “great waters” and a bent bow with an arrow. From this, it could be proven that God’s image to Jonathan Edwards and the audience who were listening to this sermon was that God was just, angry, merciful and graceful with everyone’s sins. Also in his sermon, Jonathan Edwards also used quite a bit of repetition to get some of his points across. He has used this technique to bold and underline some of the beliefs he really wanted to tell the audience about. For example, in page 74 – the first full paragraph, he uses the repetition of the phrase “he will…” to point out that “…You shall not suffer beyond what strict justice requires…”
What I think of this sermon is that it was very effective to the kind of audience that he delivered to at a very appropriate time. The puritans were falling away from God and his standards, when their reason of moving to New England was to “purify” the corrupted Church of England. Through this sermon, he has told the people what kind of situation that they’re in. They have been compared to a spider, where the web is compared to God’s grace and mercy, which holds then from falling into eternal damnation. It’s pretty scary but Jonathan Edwards wrote about what was actually going on and what needed to be changed within everyone.