An essay on Jonathan Edward's speech "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."

Essay by Radames501High School, 11th gradeA+, February 2003

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Many, and most, religious people believe that God protects them, and that by being religious they are "saved." In Jonathan Edwards' legendary sermon, that lasted six hours long, we get just the opposite impression. The church-goers of Enfield, Connecticut received quite a shock on July 8, 1741 when Edwards began preaching his monstrous oration. They were told stories of pure, extreme horror, and some even suffered from heart attacks or fainted from their terror. Edwards uses fear, shame, and annoyance to convey his concern and humiliation in their actions, and ultimately aid in his attempt to advocate Christian rebirth. He explains to the listeners what God's feelings for the congregation are, and also shines a ray of hope by providing them with options and a pleasant outcome if they choose correctly.

"God has laid himself under no obligation, by any promise to keep any natural man out of hell one moment.

God certainly has made no promises either of eternal life, or of any deliverance or preservation from eternal death..." As you can clearly see, according to Edwards, God has no pity or compassionate feeling towards the population of the world, and would quite easily send each and every one of them to Hell. Edwards makes it seem like God is not exactly the caring creator that we have always thought he was. He says repeatedly that God is "provoked" to drop us all into the fiery pit of Hell at a moments notice, and has little feeling toward whatever punishment we will receive when arriving in such a place of torment. Edwards continues to wreak havoc in the minds of his audience by explaining that "it is nothing but his mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction" and later...