Who is Edwards speaking to in his sermon?

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teachsuccess | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Jonathan Edwards originally wrote his sermon for his parishioners in Northampton, Massachusetts. So, initially, his address was to his own congregation.  His sermon was so successful that Edwards increased the dramatic intensity of his subsequent sermons through richer imagery depicting the horrors of hell. His intensely powerful illustrations of the suffering of the damned brought about many emotionally wrought conversions, although the jury is still out on how long-lasting those conversions were.

His continued success in Suffield, Massachusetts was followed by his preaching of Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God in Enfield, Connecticut. There, his preaching was so electrifying that the parishioners were begging for mercy before he had a chance to mention the mercies of God. Indeed, at hearing Edwards' terrifying warnings about impending judgment, all hell (literally) broke loose.

Consider the fearful danger you are in...you hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have...nothing to lay hold of to save yourself...nothing that you can do to induce God to spare you one moment.

After hearing this, the screechings, moanings, and howlings of those begging for salvation prevented Edwards from finishing his sermon at Enfield. So, Edwards originally addressed his sermon to his own congregation, but he further developed his themes of hellfire and brimstone to preach the same sermon to other congregations.

For more, please refer to:

A Short Life Of Jonathan Edwards by George Marsden.

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