Sinners important. He was for a long
Sinners in the Hand of an angry God is a speech written by American theologian, Jonathan Edwards, in 1741.
Edwards was a very intelligent young man with profound spiritual sensitivities. He was born in East Windsor, Connecticut and graduated from Yale University. Edwards was interested in philosophy, but found spirituality more interesting and important. He was for a long time just a small preacher, but eventually became one of the most influential people during the Great Awakening. The Great Awakening was a time in early American colony times when 95% of the people in the colonies were attending church. The purpose of Edwards’s speech was to teach the small percent of people who were not attending church, the horrors and reality of Hell, the dangers of sin, and being lost from God.
Early on in the sermon, Edward reveals his audience, all unconverted men, while never actually referring to them. After building a threat against these unconverted men, Edwards exposes them to a direct blame, making them feel even more guilty. During the description of their eternal punishment, his voice becomes almost like mockery. The unconverted seem to feel hopeless, knowing that they were damned to hell even before they died. After using these threats and guilty language, Edwards begins to talk with a sense of hope in his voice by telling them all that they will receive if they will simply follow God. Those who have no hope, would jump for the opportunity for redemption when it’s inverse is condemnation. Edwards’s speech was driven by passion and his anger toward those who willingly mocked it by not accepting it as truth.
He used powerful language to isolate the audience and bring upon them great amounts of emotional distress, giving them one way out: Follow God.This speech was very effective and is considered one of the greatest theological works in American history. This piece of literature is a good piece of rhetoric because it displays ethos by using the wrath of God as a punishment and showing that their state of being unconverted is wrong, and this piece also uses pathos by playing on their emotions such as fear and guilt.
Edwards wrote this at a good time that worked to his advantage, he used the fact that most people were attending church, to guilt the unconverted into becoming converted.