Jonathan Edwards was active as a preacher during a period that came to be known as the Great Awakening. After the trauma of the Salem witchcraft trials in 1692, residents of New England were recovering and seeing themselves as attaining physical and spiritual comfort in their colonial surroundings. One indication of this change in attitude was a relaxing of the standards and expectations for members of the Puritan church.
Edwards was incensed by this change in outlook toward faith and how it shaped the colonial lifestyle. He undertook to educate the Puritans about the almighty strength of God and the severity of God's wrath, which was to be leveled against those who didn't understand their inability to meet God's requirements of them - which was all of sinful humanity.
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God was the title of the sermon he preached on July 8, 1741. It was filled with vivid descriptions of God's mighty power and of the impending consequences of his fury, which awaited all those unrepentant listeners in the congregation.