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Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

by Jonathan Edwards

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Who are the three people Edwards addresses in his sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God?

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In his sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," Jonathan Edwards is addressing the congregation whose sinfulness he compares with that of the early Israelites:

In this verse is threatened the vengeance of God on the wicked unbelieving Israelites, who were God’s visible people, and who lived under the means of grace; but who, notwithstanding all God’s wonderful works towards them, remained (as ver. 28.) void of counsel, having no understanding in them.

Edwards refers to the wicked men and natural men (meaning all humans) multiple times throughout his sermon, always emphasizing their precarious position between life and Hell—should they die as sinners. He also indicates that God is more angry with living humans than those who are already dead. Edwards makes it clear that all humans are subject to the wrath of God if they do not turn from their sin, and he expresses that God is angry with the great numbers of people on the earth.

Yea, God is a great deal more angry with great numbers that are now on earth: yea, doubtless, with many that are now in this congregation, who it may be are at ease, than he is with many of those who are now in the flames of hell. So that it is not because God is unmindful of their wickedness, and does not resent it, that he does not let loose his hand and cut them off.

At the very end of the sermon, Edwards differentiates his audience into three groups, differentiated by age. He divides humanity into old, middle-aged, and young/little children. However, he still emphasizes that everyone, regardless of age, faces the dangers of Hell.

And let every one that is yet out of Christ, and hanging over the pit of hell, whether they be old men and women, or middle aged, or young people, or little children, now harken to the loud calls of God’s word and providence. This acceptable year of the Lord, a day of such great favours to some, will doubtless be a day of as remarkable vengeance to others.

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