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Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

by Jonathan Edwards

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What does the minister say to command the attention of those who think they are immune to God's wrath?

Quick answer:

God will not be impressed by your success, just as he was not impressed by the success of the Pharisees. You must believe in Jesus' sacrifice for you to be saved. Edwards' sermon ends with a narrative about God's creation of the world complete with descriptions of the Garden of Eden and the fall of man. It is the story that many are familiar with about Adam and Eve, but Edwards presents it in a slightly different light than most modern readers might expect. Edwards speaks at length about Adam and Eve's decision to disobey God, citing his own words from psalm 51:5: "

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Jonathan Edwards speaks at length about God's wrath for sinners and what Hell will be like for those who fail to actively seek salvation.  For those complacent folks who assume themselves to be among God's elect, Edwards has some sobering words:

"But the foolish Children of Men do miserably delude themselves in their own Schemes, and in their Confidence in their own Strength and Wisdom; they trust to nothing but a Shadow."

Edwards' point is that those who feel confident that they are, by their own estimation, living successfully and self-sufficiently, are deluding themselves. Edwards inveighs that a person's history of success and good intentions for the future won't matter to God on the day of judgment. Edwards wants to disabuse his listeners of their notions that God will spare them because of their cleverness and ability to succeed in their earthly lives.  Their faith in themselves will not impress God, and those who believe that it will are deceiving themselves.

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