Jonathan Edwards

On July 8, 1741, theologian Jonathan Edwards spoke the words of the sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” at a Congregational church in Enfield. He could not have known that he was delivering a sermon that has been called one of the most famous ever given on American soil, and about which whole books have been written. What Edwards saw as a falling away from the stern principles of his Puritan ancestors led him to the rousing exhortation of the sermon’s words, and to a frightening evocation of the suffering of hell. A leader of the first Great Awakening in colonial New England, and at that time a minister in Northampton, Massachusetts, Edwards sought to remind his listeners of the fiery punishment that awaited unbelievers, and to encourage them to follow the moral path he outlined.

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