As a preacher, for what purpose does Edwards use his sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"?
Puritan preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards used his famous sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" as a "jeremiad," meaning he was calling his congregation to repentance from their sins. Edwards pulled no punches in his descriptions of Hell and God's wrath toward sinners. He told them God would not show mercy to them if they did not repent. He compared the sinners in his congregation to spiders dangling over a fire by a thread, a thread which God could drop at any moment. This made his congregation realize Judgement Day could come at any time; it was not necessarily an event far in the future. Edwards' sermon was incredibly effective; reports indicate members of his congregation were so scared they broke out in tears and even shouted in terror.