“”The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked.
|—Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God|
Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758 CE) was the minister of a Congregational church in Northampton, Massachusetts during the First Great Awakening; he was later ousted from this position for grilling a parishioner too hard about his beliefs.
He is best known as the author of the classic "fire and brimstone" sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. However, his most important contribution to the Awakening was his book, A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God (London, 1737), which provided guidance to other clergy as to how to conduct a revival. He graduated first in his class from Yale University, and was serving as the president of Princeton University when he received a smallpox inoculation, having been assured it would be safe. Never in robust health, he died of the inoculation on March 22, 1758.
His inspiring preaching helped start the Great Awakening, which became a huge religious revival that helped unite the colonies prior to the American Revolution. Like most eighteenth century Congregationalists (who were derived from the seventeenth century "Puritan" church) Edwards was a Calvinist; however, traditional Calvinists maintain that only the Elect, who had been chosen before the creation of the world, could achieve salvation ("unconditional election"). By the time of the Great Awakening, most Calvinist clergy had altered their views to embrace the idea that one could alter their eternal fate (which was the point of many of Edwards's sermons).
 Other people you might have preferred to read about
Jonathan Edwards (a different one) is also a singer/songwriter, in case this article really confused you.
Jonathan Edwards (another different one) was also a British Olympic and World record holding Triple Jump athlete. He was formerly a devout Christian, and refused to compete on Sundays, but ended up questioning his beliefs after retiring from sport and is to all intents and purposes now an atheist.
There's also John Edwards, who is a former trial lawyer and Democratic senator, who ran for the Democratic nomination for President in 2008, and John Edward, who is a hack mentalist who pretends to talk to the dead by using bad cold reading and was named "biggest douche in the universe" by the prestigious celebrity auditing firm of Parker and Stone.
 See also
- Fun:Fire and brimstone, which cribs some of Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God's lines.
- Frank Lambert, Inventing the “Great Awakening” (Princeton University Press, 1999)