Johnathan Edwards Rhetorical Devices

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Johnathan Edwards throughout his life time was able to captivate the attention and hearts of his audience with impactful speeches that boasted clever rhetorical devices. Using rhetorical devices to evoke emotional responses from his audience, Johnathan Edwards was able to maintain a potent role in his society throughout the early 1700’s. In “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Edward’s displayed the potential of rhetorical devices as he delivered his message of fear to the audience in an effective manner. Throughout the sermon Edwards utilized several forms of rhetorical devices including, similes and metaphors, repetition and alliteration, and parallelism.
To strike greater fear into the hearts of the puritan audience, Johnathan Edwards uses similes as well as metaphors to compare the wraths of hell and the power of God to more relatable scenarios. In the opening
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“The devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them, and would fain lay hold on them, and swallow them up.” The pattern in the parallelism has the similar structural ending with the phrase “for them” referring to the people and once again instilling fear. The people have no option except to place their faith in God and turn to religion. The parallelism is graphic as it describes the fiery mouth of hell opening and waiting to swallow up the people. Another parallelism used by Edwards states “However you may have reformed your life in many things, and may have had religious affections, and may keep up a form of religion in your families and closets, and in the house of God, it is nothing but his mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction,” This is one of the many bold statements Edwards makes as he implies that no matter what one does, good works is not enough to get accepted into
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