Jonathan Edwards Rhetoric

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Jonathan Edwards addressed the people, he said, “Unconverted men walk over the pit of hell on a rotten covering…and these places are not seen” (Edwards 122). He wrote his sermons with the intent of instilling fear in the audience by using sensory details and imagery. Edwards inspiration for this sermon was his belief that they should be more invested in their religious beliefs. The audience that he gave his sermon to were more interested in newly discovered scientific research rather than religion. Jonathan Edwards's sermon influenced people into reviving their religious beliefs by using methods such as emotional appeal, imagery, and tone. One of the most influential methods that Edwards used was his emotional appeal. He ingrained terror …show more content…
He provides the audience with descriptive images of what he believes are possible outcomes of their actions. His narration included, “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, and is dreadfully provoked” (Edwards 122). In this quote Edwards focuses on the how God hates us more than we could ever hate the loathsome insect, thus justifying sentencing us to a life in eternal damnation. As he goes on, he describes the unpredictable aspect of God’s wrath. He illustrates this in the quote, “O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it” (Edwards 124). The quote mentions how each person is hung on a slender thread. Edwards is portraying that God is holding each person over the fire ready to cut the thread at any moment. Edwards also addresses that every person could change their life and win over God. This quote explains the balance of God’s power, “The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and …show more content…
In the first part of the sermon Edwards convinces them of God’s terrifying power of wrath. He said, “thus easy is it for God when he pleases to cast his enemies down to hell....” (Edwards 121). His tone conveys God’s power over them causing them to be scared for the future. They are frightened by the intensity of his metaphors and imagery that he uses to describe God. Next, he explains that having faith in God was the only thing that could save them. “Thus all you that never passed under a great change of heart, by the mighty power of the Spirit of God upon your souls; all you that were never born again, and made new creatures, and raised from being dead in sin, to a state of new, and before altogether unexperienced light and life, are in the hands of an angry God” (Edwards 122). The quote portrays the difference in tone compared to the quote from the first part of the sermon. In the first quote Edwards in scaring the people and in this quote he pulls back on the intensity by explaining that they could still save themselves. The biggest shift in tone is when Edwards begins the third section of the sermon. This quote shows his change for the rest of the sermon, “How awful is it to be left behind at such a day! To see so many others feasting, while you are pining and perishing! To see so many rejoicing and singing for joy of heart, while you have cause to mourn for sorrow of

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