Jonathan Edwards Fanaticism

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Jonathan Edwards was a fifth generation Puritan minister who was active during the time the influence of Puritan beliefs was on the decline. The shame of the Salem witchcraft trials in 1692 remained in the back of the Puritan minds for a generation. The trails were a tragic event that exposed the extremes of misguided Puritan fanaticism. During the early part of the eighteenth century, New Englanders relished in the rising level of wealth that prompted a sense of both material and spiritual ease eventually leading to the Half-Way Covenant. Where full church membership was the privilege of those and the offspring of those who could testify to an individual experience of conversion, the Half-Way Covenant stretched such membership to the third…show more content…
His sermons were made to serve as a wake-up call for those who dismissed God’s magnificence while exaggerating their own value as decent, hard-working individuals. Edwards strongly believed that only a sincere conversion is required for a person to join a church. Preachers like Edwards wanted not only to address their congregations’ intelligence but also to engage their emotions so as to convince them of the weight of their iniquity and motivate them to seek salvation from the wrath they could expect from a powerful God. The results were encouraging as revival was spreading throughout the colonies, but one congregation in Enfield, Connecticut, seemed to be resistant to the call for radical conversion. In response, Edwards was invited to preach there. On July 8, 1741, he delivered a revival sermon in Enfield that became the most famous of its kind Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. In order to draw parallels to his time Edwards use a section of Deuteronomy 32:35: “Their foot shall slide in due time.” To reinforce the idea that God’s anger toward the perversity and unfaithfulness of the people of Israel is going to happen will certainly be turned on them. Edwards obviously wished to establish a close link between those addressed in the biblical passage and those whom he addressed in his sermon. What distinguishes this example of a Puritan revival sermon is Edwards’ use of such vivid imagery that its audience trembling and weeping in their seats. In order to break down the will’s opposition and strengthen the idea of impending doom, Edwards releases a series powerful metaphorical weapons aimed at the emotions. Through potent metaphors and mental images, Edwards links the spiritual world with physical world of the
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