Jonathan Edwards Essay Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

2231 Words Dec 17th, 2012 9 Pages
"Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" Rhetorical Analysis Essay Jonathan Edwards, a famous preacher in pre-colonial times, composed a sermon that was driven to alert and inject neo Puritanical fear into an eighteenth century congregation. This Bible based and serious audience sought after religious instruction and enlightenment. Through the sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," Edwards offers a very harsh interpretation to humankind. Edwards utilizes various rhetorical techniques to evoke an emotional response in his audience and to persuade the members of his congregation that their wicked actions will awaken a very ruthless and merciless God. Through the use of imagery and classical appeal of pathos, Jonathan Edwards …show more content…
Edwards states: "The wrath of God burns against them, their damnation does not slumber; the pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them; the flames do now rage and glow" (Paragraph 10). Pathos is present as he descriptively characterizes hell and the pit in great detail. The audience is terrified by the reality of his words and are driven out of fear to listen to what he is saying. Jonathan Edwards compares this banishment and pit to a snake: "The old serpent is gaping for them; hell opens its mouth wide to receive them; and if God should permit it, they would he hastily swallowed up and lost" (Paragraph 11). The description of the serpent evokes despair through the congregation. The use of descriptive language and imagery allows Edwards to alert his audience through fear and to make them repent for their evil behavior. Jonathan Edwards uses exemplification and compare and contrast as a rhetorical strategy from the patterns of development to clarify and elucidate his statements. "We find it easy to tread on and crush a worm that we see crawling on the earth; so it is easy for us to cut or single a thread that any thing hangs by: thus easy is it for God, when he pleases, to cast his enemies down to hell" (Paragraph 7). Edwards compares the easy task of God, banishing the humans to hell, to those of a human and a

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