Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards

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Edwards shifts the focus of his sermon towards the end of "Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God." Describe it. 

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jameadows eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Edwards delivered this sermon in New England during the Great Awakening, a time when there was a movement to return Puritans to their original fervent faith. During his sermon, Edwards uses a passage from the Bible: "Their foot shall slide in due time (Deut. xxxii. 35)" to warn his parishioners that Hell is close at hand and that they can easily slip down into its depths. The tone of much of the sermon is admonitory and foreboding.

However, at the end of his sermon, Edwards shifts his tone from one solely of warning to one that also contains promise. He tells his congregation:

"And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open, and stands in calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners; a day wherein many are flocking to him, and pressing into the kingdom of God."

He says that people have flocked from all over to love God and to cleanse their sins with God's blood. He speaks to the elderly members of the congregation and says that they now have a special opportunity to flock to Christ; if they do not take this opportunity, they will soon find themselves subject to the wrath of God. Edwards says that God is now searching out his elect, or saved, in great numbers, and that people will rue this day if they do not choose to be saved. He says that as in the days of John the Baptist, people will either be saved or sent to Hell, so that they must make this choice now. This section of his sermon presents his parishioners with the immediate choice of whether to be saved or damned.

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edcon eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Beginning with the words "and now you have an extraordinary opportunity..." Edwards indeed shifts the focus from impressing upon his audience the likelihood of their eternal condemnation to what he really came to Enfield, CT to do that day: win new converts and win back those who have let their faith slide. Edwards's efforts to reinvigorate the Puritan faith required him to travel throughout New England and deliver fiery sermons as a visiting minister. In this sermon, the bulk of his remarks that day was a reminder of the omnipotence and omniscience of God and the horrors an eternity in Hell would bring to those unfortunate souls who failed to renounce their sinful ways. As he nears the end of his sermon, he has to make his listeners believe that there is something they can do to reverse their path, and so he urges people to act quickly to save themselves.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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For most of this sermon, Edwards is focused on how evil people are and how much they deserve the wrath and the condemnation of God.  It is a sermon that is meant to scare people and to emphasize to them how they are in grave danger of being damned for all eternity.  But then, at the end of the sermon, Edwards shifts focus to some degree.  He starts to present his listeners with a reason to hope. 

This starts when he says

And now you have an extraordinary opportunity…

This is the language of hope.  He says that Christ is calling to people and offering them redemption if they will only come to him.  This is a very different focus than that of the earlier part of the sermon.

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