Jonathan Edwards Rhetoric

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Jonathan Edwards, a preacher, wrote the sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God". In the sermon, Edwards argues that everyone was out of God's favor and they needed to return to a righteous path. The tone of the sermon is indignant and authoritative. Jonathan Edwards uses imagery, logos, and pathos to encourage the unconverted audience to turn to God in order to escape his wrath.
Elemental imagery is used in the sermon to inspire fear in the audience. “The wrath of God is like great waters that are damned from the present; they increase; more and more, and rise higher and higher, till an outlet is give; and the longer the stream is stopped, the more rapid and mighty its course, when once it is let loose." In this quotation, Edwards uses
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"This is the case that everyone one of you is out of Christ..." It is true, as according to the Puritan faith, that unconverted people will go to Hell." To further convince potential Puritans, he uses another logical appeal. Edwards points out something observable, that would seemingly contradict his assertion, and debunks it. “You probably are not sensible of this; you find you are kept out of Hell, but do not see the hand of God in it; but look at other things, as the good state of your bodily constitution, your care of your own life, and the means you use for your own preservation. But indeed these things are nothing; if God should withdraw his hand, they would avail no more..." This works as a counter-argument for the fact that the audience isn't currently feeling the effects of their sins and asserts that they are going to feel them eventually. Additionally, he evokes the audience's own memories. He utilizes personal experiences, both from himself and the audience. " Those that are gone from being in the like circumstances with you, see that it was so for them; destruction came suddenly upon most of them; when they expected nothing of it, and while they were saying peace and safety; now they see..." Thus, he shows that even people who thought they were safe were at mercy to…show more content…
"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..." God's hate is compared for how one might hate a spider, and as a spider is disposed of harshly, so is a sinners. In a spider's place in a human household, one is justified in being afraid, Fear is the most prevalent appeal throughout the sermon. "O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in!" Edwards fear to be a motivator in converting to Puritanism. He also describes the plights of those who didn't listen to their fear of God, but lived otherwise unobjectionable lives. The audience is meant to feel sympathy for them. "What would not these poor damned hopeless souls give for one day's opportunity such as you know enjoy!" The audience is meant to want to convert for themselves, but also their lost loved ones who did not get the same chance.
Jonathan Edwards's "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" argues that everyone was out of God's favor and they needed to return to a righteous path. The sermon is given in his famous "fire and brimstone" style, as many other sermons of the time period. He utilizes imagery, logical, and emotional appeals in order to encourage people to convert to
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