How did Jonathan Edwards' sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" help to reinvigorate Puritanism in the 1740's?
Puritanism was a very strict and stringent way of looking at life the was a reform movement rooted in the Roman Catholic church. With all of the controversies surrounding Catholicism, including the feud between Henry VIII and the Pope that resulted in the formation of an entirely new church, The Church of England, those who would be known as Puritans felt the need for a more heart felt, serious religion. At first they were referred to as Precisionists, a derogatory term used by their opponents. That evolved into Puritan, a term that they continued to use to describe themselves. By the 1700's they had been through so many trials and tribulations that the movement had almost died out. Nobody seemed to be serious enough to put as much effort into their lives as Puritanism required.
But Edwards' fiery sermon that he presented in the 1720's to 1740's sparked the exact response that they needed. Its graphic and frightening terminology threatening Hell to those who did not follow God's will to the letter gave them a platform on which they were able to rekindle the dying interest in Puritanism. Thus giving it a new birth, especially in the new world.