Jonathan Edwards’s sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and Anne Bradstreet’s “Upon the Burning of Our House” seem at first glance quite similar to one another regarding context, however, after taking a closer look, it becomes apparent that there are some substantial differences. These differences cannot be understood without the knowledge of cultural context concerning the Puritan belief system and their lifestyle. “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” was written with the sole purpose of scaring and intimidating the people that purtinans believed to be sinners. Edwards’s work contributed to a movement called “The Great Awakening”. It’s objective was to make the so-called ‘sinners’ aware of their wrongdoings and compel them to repent.
The Great Awakening and Enlightenment were two very different cultural phenomena that happened during the 1700s but they both had a similar effect on colonial society. The Enlightenment was based on reason, science, rationality and progress. Benjamin Franklin, an Enlightenment thinker from Pennsylvania, believed that science could benefit society. Other Enlightenment thinkers had rational views of God and viewed him as a clockmaker that controlled the universe. This clashed with religious people that were influenced by the Great Awakening. This was a religious movement that appealed to people’s emotions and cut through social, economic and educational lines. Jonathan Edwards was a charismatic follower of the Great Awakening but he scared people
Literary analysis of “The sinners in the hands of an angry god” The great awakening was a religious revival that occurred in the 1730s and 1740s. It started in England and then gradually made its way over to the American colonies. During this time, many different preachers and religious speakers went around and gave speeches to the people. Jonathan Edwards was one of Americas most important and original philosophical theologians who also went around and gave speeches about God and hell.
In search of religious freedom a group of devout Christians sailed across the ocean only to come across a new land, radically different from the one they left behind. From the initial journey, to the formation of the colonies, and finally their complicated relationship with “non-believers” Puritans strongly held religious convictions has played a key role in all of this. The Puritans were a group of reformed Protestants seeking to reform the English Church. After the fall of the Roman Catholic Church, a new church was established “The English Anglican Church”. While most Puritans sought to reform the church others wanted nothing to do with it these Puritans would eventually be known as Separatists.
On July 8, 1741 Jonathan Edwards delivered the sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” During this time many people were moving away from their Puritan beliefs and did not make God a priority. In the message he talked about how everyone was a sinner and how everyone belongs in hell. He also talked about how if God wanted to He would throw everyone in Hell, but since He gave us His Son we should take Him and repent. While delivering this message many people began to repent and ask for forgiveness.
An article by Frank Lambert discusses how Edwards help start the Great Awakening and also explained some of his beliefs. He says“.. Edwards set forth one of his most original explanations: the divine impinges on the human when, through God’s grace, the saint undergoes a transformation of the heart that leads him or her to a new understanding of things divine” (Lambert). Edwards, as well as other Puritans, believed that God could help anyone through any kind of trouble they may have been having and God could also make one believe that they were capable of doing extraordinary things. They also believed that anyone who denied God would be in for some serious troubles.
A religious movement, that made religion more popular, between 1730 - 1740. Jonathon Edwards and George Whitefield were the two who set off the great awakening. Jonathon Edwards helped set off the Great Awakening because of in his “powerful” sermons, he would call on colonists, also young people, to examine their lives. He would preach of god’s sweetness and beauty, but at the same time he would warn the listeners to pay attention to the bibles teachings. Otherwise, they would be sinners.
Evidence shows that the Puritans had politically influenced their colonies with their religious values. In the New World, a group of Puritans established the Massachusetts Bay Colony. There, the Puritans would create a government that would revolve around their covenant with God. On the way to the New World, John Winthrop, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, led a sermon, titled “A Model of Christian Charity”, about Puritan ideals (Winthrop). As well as determining Puritan ideals, the sermon urges colonists to unite as a “city on a hill” for others to look up to (Winthrop).
The New Englanders took religion seriously, making unitary laws according to Puritan standards. John Winthrop, later chosen as the first Massachusetts Bay Colony governor, was seeking religious freedom. Wishing to inspire the colonists to dwell in brotherly unity, he summoned them together to remind them “that if we [colonists] shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.” On the other hand, those in the Chesapeake region came for the wealth that America promised. They were there to become prosperous or die trying.
It is 1741. The Enlightenment is spreading worldwide. The puritan people are leaving God. Johnathan Edwards gives a sermon on July 8th , 1741, trying to convince his fellow Puritan people to come back to God. He is going to try and accomplish this by giving his famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God '.
“Independence, free will, and personal effort are considered primary virtues that contribute not only to personal achievement but also to the success and well-being of the nation.” This quote, stated by Charles Finney, means that people must be able to choose for themselves and make their own decisions in order for the country to become better than it is. The Second Great Awakening began for several different reasons, consisted of many different church revivals and leaders, and ultimately had a lasting impact for several more years after the end of the Second Great Awakening.
In crafting his highly effective sermon, Edwards utilizes his authority as a man of God and as an interpreter of the scriptures, a logical and direct organization of arguments, and violent imagery to convince his audience of the vengeance of God against man. Jonathan Edwards begins his sermon by quoting
Society’s values were challenged by new viewpoints of traditionalism as the old ways faded. It was easy for an individual to be absorbed into these new viewpoints and to question their beliefs. Again, this trial took a huge toll on people and many widespread changes arose in culture and throughout American society. Individuals began to reject religion and accepted these new viewpoints of modernism. This process of traditional views being rejected is still happening today, this has been evolving over a long period of time, starting in the 20’s.
At this point Edwards has grasped the attention of his listeners by using pathos to pertain to their emotions and feelings. Towards the end of the sermon his tone switches to one of reason in terms of not neglecting his words. He asks a series of rhetorical questions such as those who are unconverted and do not teach their children of Christ that they too will have to witness the wrath of God. As for literary devices such as metaphors, similes, and allegories, Edwards does not disappoint for his use of them most likely whipped a lot of Puritans back into their faith.
In the 1500s, the Protestant Reformation swept through England and caused people like John Calvin to make up their own religions. Henry VIII made the Anglicanism the official religion of England, and any dissenters, even dissenters who belonged to the Church of England, were persecuted. Puritans were some of these dissenters, and they migrated to the New World seeking religious freedom, a place to live the way they believed was pleasing to God. As the Puritans' lives were shaped by their religion, so too did their religious values and ideas influence the political, social, and economic development of the New England colonies. That their belief that people should obey religious authority and their value of unity shaped the northern colonies'