Jonathan Edwards was an American preacher born on October 5, 1703 in East Windsor, Connecticut. He was raised in an actively religious household as his father was a minister and his mother was the daughter of a reverend. At only 13-years-old, Edwards enrolled at Yale College to study theology. After he graduated, he became a full-time minister and would write his own sermons, which eventually became wildly popular amongst the masses. He is primarily known for supporting Calvinism and Puritan beliefs.
The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards is a compilation of the acclaimed preacher’s various speeches that inspired people during the Great Awakening, a period of Protestant revival during the 1730s and 40s. The sermons are prefaced with a chapter that explores the context of Edwards’ works and their significance in a time of religious upheaval. With this introduction, readers are provided with a rounded look into his life as a preacher.
One of Jonathan Edwards’ more well-known sermons is entitled Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. It is characterized by violent images of Hell that underscore the importance of an undying devotion to Christ. Edwards stated in his sermon that “the bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready to string and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood.” Edwards is blatantly explicit in his writing and never failed to make a lasting impact on his listeners.
Jonathan Edwards had a lasting legacy in theology and religion. Supporters of his doctrine were named New Light Calvinists. He ultimately died on March 22, 1758 due to a faulty smallpox vaccination. Yet, he lives on through his writings, which continue to be heavily studied and discussed in classrooms to this day.