Jonathan edwards, is known as one of the most important religious figures of the great awakening, edwards became known for his zealous sermon “sinners at the hand of an angry god”. During his sermon he implies that if his congregation does not repent to christ they are in “danger of great wrath and infinite misery”. Throughout this sermon edwards uses literary devices such as strong diction, powerful syntax and juxtaposition to save his congregation from eternal damnation.
Jonathan Edwards uses fear in this sermon to terrorize his audience into thinking of God as someone to be feared, not someone to be loved. Throughout the sermon, Edwards uses figurative language along with imagery to frighten the audience. He does this by comparing God to a pack of “greedy hungry lions that see their prey” using imagery in this simile to portray Him as a hunter, hunting for the sinners in our world (Edwards, 1741, pg. 211).
Jonathan Edwards relied more on the composition of his writing rather than the execution of it which is why figurative language is found so often in this sermon. The majority of this sermon is dedicated to the audience whom Edwards views with repulsion. He uses imagery to describe the awful Hell that he believes the people in the congregation will end up in and calls it a “great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath” (Paragraph 8). He illustrates the never ending state of Hell in order to frighten everyone in the audience. He sees each and every person as damned and honestly believes they deserve be sent to Hell to burn for all eternity. He feels no sympathy for them because they are completely free to do what they want and he knows that what they do with their free will is commit sin. This
This was a time of religious revival in the 18th and 19th centuries. In other words, people started to become more religious and started to practice more religious beliefs than they did before. After the Salem Witch Trials, many people were beginning to think that Puritanism was not the right religion to follow and that it was easy to become misguided when trying to follow it. The Puritan ministers, of course, wanted as many people as possible to believe what they did because they were certain that their beliefs were the right ones that God wanted others to follow. They tried their best to get people to realize that the whole religion was not bad; just a few people got the wrong ideas and were mistaken on what the ideas actually meant. An article by Frank Lambert discusses how Edwards help start the Great Awakening and also explained some of his beliefs. He says“.. Edwards set forth one of his most original explanations: the divine impinges on the human when, through God’s grace, the saint undergoes a transformation of the heart that leads him or her to a new understanding of things divine” (Lambert). Edwards, as well as other Puritans, believed that God could help anyone through any kind of trouble they may have been having and God could also make one believe that they were capable of doing extraordinary things. They also believed that anyone who denied God would be in for some serious troubles. For example, author Brandon Withrow says “Edwards states: The vial of God's wrath is poured out on the throne of the beast, i.e., on his authority and dominion, to weaken it and to diminish it, both in extent and degree” (Withrow). In other words, Edwards believed that God’s wrath is cast upon all of the sinners in the world and he tries to weaken the sinner. God punishes those who have done wrong, whether it be by denying him and his faith or doing
Jonathan Edwards preaches that if people follow God and obey him they will experience his great mercy. “Sinners in The Hands of an Angry God,” he explains this concept in his sermon. Most people back in 1741 and to this day would be persuaded by his sermon about the Lord because of how passionately and strongly he spoke about his beliefs’. In this sermon Edwards refers to Gods everlasting wrath. He describes Gods anger towards those who do not follow and believe in Him. It is explained that God is the only one who is able to save people from going to Hell. Edwards wants people to imagine how evil and distressed life would be without Gods love and mercy. He explains that to not burn in Hell people need to ask for forgiveness from God, experience Gods mercy, and continuously practice the Lords word.
The great awakening was a religious revival that occurred in the 1730s and 1740s. It started in England and then gradually made its way over to the American colonies. During this time, many different preachers and religious speakers went around and gave speeches to the people. Jonathan Edwards was one of Americas most important and original philosophical theologians who also went around and gave speeches about God and hell. One of his well-known sermon is “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” preached at the meeting house in the village of Enfield, Connecticut, on Sunday, July 8, 1741, at the height of the great awakening. In this sermon, Edwards focused on the consequences of leading a sinful life, the power of God and repenting of ones sins, in order to be saved from hell. The purpose behind this piece of writing was not to terrorize or dismay the hearers, but to make them repent and believe in God again. This piece was aimed at those who lacked belief in God as well as churches. In “sinners in the hands of an angry God”, Jonathan Edwards uses different types of literary techniques, such as, imagery, metaphor, similes, repetition, and rhetorical questions to emphasize his point. His point is to scare the people and make them want to repent, which is the theme of the sermon.
"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.
At the very beginning of the sermon, Edwards explains, “there is nothing between you and Hell but the air; it is only the mere pleasure of G-d that holds you up.” Edwards personifies power to make a point that G-d is above everyone, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. This is the opening to the sermon, where the audience feels their inferiority to G-d right away, realizing that G-d is the only form of salvation they cam possibly receive. Additionally, “if your strength were ten thousand times greater than the strength of the stoutest, sturdiest devil in Hell, it would be nothing to withstand or endure it.” This time, Edwards personifies strength in relation to Hell, working up his audience mid-way through the sermon to get them to fight back against their guilt and petty attempts at ‘spirituality’; and therefore be in G0d’s good graces. The Puritans are also frightened by all the talk of G-d’s wrath and immense strength that they realize their subordination to this almighty G-d simply has to be accepted. G-d cannot be thwarted by man because man is just too helpless to math his inconceivable
It is 1741. The Enlightenment is spreading worldwide. The puritan people are leaving God. Johnathan Edwards gives a sermon on July 8th , 1741, trying to convince his fellow Puritan people to come back to God. He is going to try and accomplish this by giving his famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God '. He plys many different rhetorical strategies to convince his listeners to follow his word. He uses strategies including, repetition, appeal to fear, appeal to urgency and problem solution.
this point Edwards has grasped the attention of his listeners by using pathos to pertain to their
"Fear is an instructor of great sagacity and the herald of all resolutions."- Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” was a sermon written and delivered by American reverend Jonathan Edwards in 1741, and was an outstanding example of the potentially dominant convincing powers of the use of Rhetoric. The sermon, even when read silently, is effective in projecting a specific interpretation of the wrathful nature of God and the sinful nature of man. In crafting his highly effective sermon, Edwards utilizes his authority as a man of God and as an interpreter of the scriptures, a logical and direct organization of arguments, and violent imagery to convince his audience of the vengeance of God against man.
In order to emphasize God’s contempt for the audience, Jonathan Edwards utilizes inflammatory diction and comparisons of God’s anger to a bow and arrow and “black clouds” to instill fear in the audience so that they will accept God as their savior, provoking a religious revival. Throughout the sermon, Edwards utilizes “fiery” phrases such as “furnace of wrath”, “wrath…burns like fire”, and “glowing flames of the wrath of God” in order to establish a connection between God’s fury and a burning fire, reaffirming the reality of going to hell, as hell is commonly associated with fire. Because fires are also very devastating and unpredictable, Edwards emphasizes the power and degree of God’s disdain and his ability to cause drastic change at unexpected times, making God’s patience seem fragile.
The Puritans were a religious group who believed in total depravity and an unconditional election. This meant that mankind was solely dependent on God for salvation, and believed that there was absolutely no good within the world except through Him. Those who were of “the chosen people” were predestined to go to heaven and only had a glimpse of their faith through God’s signs and wonders. Jonathan Edwards, however, struggled with this idea. Throughout his childhood, he could not perceive how a loving and just God could send only a certain select to Heaven and the rest to Hell. Although he struggled with this for a very long period of time, eventually, he came to terms with God’s reasoning for punishing the unjust, due to their extreme lack of sovereignty. During the time of the Enlightenment, Edwards was a rather transitional figure and strongly felt as though the emotional experience of God was of utmost importance. In the Puritan minister Jonathan Edward’s sermons, “A Divine and Supernatural Light” and “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Edwards
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Puritan preacher, Jonathan Edwards, in his sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God transforms how the congregation sees their relationship with God. Edwardss purpose is to show the sinners an opportunity to obtain salvation (104). He adopts a cynical tone in order to save the otherwise damned and helpless souls (104).Edwards immediately starts his sermon by evoking fear and solicitousness into the congregation. He achieves this by appealing to ethos, presenting God and himself as an authority figure. Edwardss purpose by doing this is to help the sinners in the congregation come to realization that they are held in the hand of God (102) and it is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds them
“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” was written with the sole purpose of scaring and intimidating the people that purtinans believed to be sinners. Edwards’s work contributed to a movement called “The Great Awakening”. It’s objective was to make the so-called ‘sinners’ aware of their wrongdoings and compel them to repent. The most important feature of a sermon is the application of a scripture text to the personal experience of the listener. Especially this last part is what reduced many of Edwards’s listeners to tears. In Edwards’s sermon the scripture text is “Their foot shall slide in due time”. This meant that eventually, all sinners would be punished by God, which could be at any time. Edwards speaks of a wrathfull God, a God who by Puritan standards is considered forgiving for not letting all of humanity fall into the deepest pits of hell. Edwards reminds people that mankind is nothing compared to God and that that all of humankind is guilty and deserves to be punished.