Ethos In Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God

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Ethos, Logos, and Pathos in “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

Jonathan Edwards was a Puritan theologian who was a primary figure during the Great Awakening. Edwards delivered his fiery sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” to his puritan congregation in 1741 using powerful images of heaven and hell and a sense of urgency to convince sinners to come to Christ. To achieve his desired purpose of urging sinners to receive God’s grace before it is too late, Edwards employs ethos, logos, and pathos. Edwards uses ethos to appeal to his congregation to convince them to turn from their wicked ways. Edwards states, “So that thus it is, that natural men are held in the hand of God over the pit of hell. The fact that he invokes God’s name would lend to his credibility. There is no more credible authority in Puritan America than God. In the last two paragraphs of his sermon, Edwards shifts his tone and offers hope. “Haste and escape for your lives, look not behind
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“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….” This image would evoke the sense of urgency Edwards intended as the picture of God holding the sinner dangling over the pit of hell. This would certainly frighten those who know they have not accepted God’s grace. Edwards changes his tone to one of hope and appeals to the emotions of the congregation when he says, “And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has flung the door of mercy wide open, and stands in the door calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners.” Jonathan Edwards now gives the puritans hope that God loves them and is welcoming them with open arms. Edwards uses this powerful image to portray a sense of joy and peace. He employs pathos in his argument to either accept the grace of God or endure the wrath to

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