In "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," how does Jonathan Edwards personalize hell for his listeners?

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edcon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The bulk of Edwards's 1741 sermon proclaims that God is entirely disgusted with sinners and stands ready to damn them to hell. He uses the personal pronoun "you" copiously to speak directly to those hearing him preach, as when he warns,

there is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God; there is hell’s wide gaping mouth open; and you have nothing to stand upon, nor any thing to take hold of, there is nothing between you and hell but the air; it is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up.

Hell is personified with a mouth waiting to gobble up the souls of the unrepentant. Edwards intends to strike enough terror in the minds of his listeners to bring lapsed Christians back to their faith and convert the unconverted. His sermon is an epic, mass accusation that seeks to speak directly to sinners; he counsels each of them to "consider the fearful danger you are in."

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Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

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