Jonathan Edwards made a very intense speech to a congregation in Enfield, Connecticut, in 1741. Despite the harsh content of his sermon, it was actually reported that he spoke in a level voice, staring above the heads of his audience at the bell rope that hung on the back wall. Even then, his listeners were said to have screamed in terror and Edwards stopped multiple times to ask for silence. His purpose was to instill fear in the people to make them live solely for God, and I believe he was successful in this.
Edwards appealed to the people's strongest emotion: fear. He basically told them that without God, they would fall into the fiery pits of hell. While there is some truth in this, it's a very harsh thing to say and an even harsher thing to hear. It definitely isn't the right way to bring a congregation to Christ. Back then, they were driven only by fear. .
Edward also made them feel like worthless, lowly creatures that God was just in complete and utter disgust with, yet he made it known that they needed God. He made them think that they needed to earn God's love. God has already died for us, he has loved us ever since the beginning of time. This makes me wonder how and where these poor people got their information from, and when I did some more research, I learned that Edward and his listeners read the King James Version daily. This version had very haunting language and powerful imagery that I will discuss more later on. It's sad that these people were scared into following God. They didn't really follow Him out of love.
"The God that hold you over the pit of Hell, much as one holds a spider, or some insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand time more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent ours." Now you could imagine why the people would be screaming in terror.