Metaphors: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathon Edwards is an important piece of early American literature. The purpose of this sermon, written in 1741, was to persuade congregations to devote themselves fully to Puritan beliefs. It is characterized by the author’s use of emotional language, strong imagery and intense metaphors to paint a horrifying picture of eternal damnation for unsaved individuals. Through these techniques, Edwards effectively creates a vivid picture for the audience, depicting Hell and God’s wrath if they do not repent. In the writing, three strong metaphors in particular exemplify the sharp tone of the author. The first example of a strong metaphor used to great effect in creating a vivid visualization for the audience is: “The God the 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: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours…” In this segment, Edwards’ goal is to gain hold of the congregation’s emotions. He goes on to describe how poorly God thinks of those unconverted individuals, comparing them to nothing more than “spiders and loathsome insects” and “venomous serpents”. It is a simple comparison used to evoke a complex response from his congregation. The audience is fearful that, like the spider or insect, they are small and helpless against the vengeful God. Also in this section, Edwards compares God’s wrath to that of a fire. This statement is used to create a visual connection with the intensity of a fire to God’s intense wrath. Edwards is saying that God is not kind or forgiving to humans living in sin. By wording the statement this way, the audience can...
...“Sinners in the Hands of an AngryGod” (102) is a speech given in a house of worship where Jonathan Edwards connects logical instances and literary rhetoric to attract and maintain the attention of his congregation. Edwards uses imagery to portray images of water, air, and fire, and to paint a picture. “…to see so many rejoicing…while you have cause to mourn for sorrow of heart”(106) casts fear upon the listeners and persuades them into his point of view, an “angry” god. In order to develop a positive relationship with unity between him and the multitude, Edwards uses diction and promises “…an opportunity to obtain salvation”(105) to re-engage listeners.
Jonathan Edwards utilizes figures of speech to enhance the two tones. The author uses imagery to express a fearful situation, describing to the people how in hell "..the pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot....". This can very well serve as a threatening aspect because the use of imagery indicates that all the information is imperative in depicting the horrid thought. Also portraying an intimidating tone, the apostrophe that describes how hell awaits all sinners with eagerness and how "...the devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them, and would fain lay hold on them...." The use of an apostrophe is practical because it is threatening to know...
Sinners in the Hands of an AngryGod
Jonathan Edwards was a talented and inspiring man. Throughout his life, he worked as an educator, a philosopher, a scholar, a theologian, a journalist, and even as a musician. There can be no denying his hard work and his contributions to each and every one of those fields; yet the one thing that makes him stand out from all the others was his input and leadership during the First Great Awakening of 1740-1742.
Around the time of Edwards delivering this speech, there was a great depravity of true religious meaning and accountability. There was only one practiced religion during this period of time, called the Church of England. All other religions like Catholicism, Judaism, and Puritanism were suppressed. Historians describe numerous accounts of church members, ’Going through the motions’, if you will. People’s faith and worshipping were ‘dry’, and there were no convictions of the heart when speaking to the Lord. There was a desperate need of change and revival in the church. Enter the First Great Awakening. Enter John Edwards.
On a sweltering day in Northampton, Massachusetts, July 1741, Jonathan delivered his speech to Christians and non-Christians alike. Noticing the general lack of fear for God among his people, he decided to ‘amp up’ the intensity of his sermons and capture the attention of his audience. Searching...
...Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an AngryGod”)
b. Thesis – Jonathan Edwards’s sermon portrayed Puritans as sinners of their religion through the use of rhetorical strategies such as ethos, pathos, and logos.
2. Body Points
c. Body 1
i. Topic Sentence - Ethos is referred to as the trustworthiness or credibility of the speaker and their tone of the literature.
d. Body 2
ii. Topic Sentence – Pathos is referred to as the literature’s emotional appeal to the audience’s senses or imagination.
e. Body 3
iii. Topic Sentence – Logos is referred to as clear the message is and how effective it is to the audience.
f. Re-Stated Thesis – Through the use of the rhetorical triangle, Puritans are portrayed as sinful people of their own religion in Jonathan Edwards’s sermon.
g. Clincher – “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (A quote from the bible Matthew 6: 14-15)
“Unconverted men walk over the pit of hell on a rotten covering” (Edwards, Jonathan). The Puritans of early America were constantly reminded of the consequences of sinning. They were told that sinning would lead them directly to hell where they would rot. Jonathan Edwards was a very dynamic preacher of his time...
...Rhetorical Analysis: “Sinners in the Hands of an AngryGod”
Preacher Jonathan Edwards does a great job at devoting the audience’s attention towards his speech. During the message, Edwards emphasizes that people will go to hell, but if you’re saved by the grace of God then the idea of spending eternity in the flames is dismissed. Although his choices of words were harsh, he managed to keep the audience entertained.
Jonathan Edwards began his sermon towards the Puritan congregation by trying to scare the people. Edwards used loud words and an aggravated disposition in order to attempt to convert people to a new life. Jonathan Edwards’s purpose for writing the message was to change people’s beliefs and realize that the actions humans are taking part in are destroying a Holy God’s heart. By scaring the audience it makes people realize that all the bad stuff they have done in the past has destroyed their lives, and God’s. When you scare an audience during a message or sermon it shows the amount of trouble or the amount of help they need. Edwards performs very well in that style because not only did it scare people it brought a wonderful message as well.
Edwards starts off one of his paragraphs by saying “The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and strains the bow”. He then proceeds to say “only the mere pleasure of God keeps the arrow from releasing towards...
31 August 2012
A Ray of Hope
“Sinners in the hands of an angryGod” was preached by Jonathan Edwards during a time when the people were relying on science more than their saviour in heaven, a time when people were lacking in their spiritual needs. This speech opened the eyes of many, and was so powerful it may very well have been the trigger of the great awakening. But why was this speech so powerful? Why did this speech change the lives of thousands? As we can see he used plenty of persuasive techniques, he is very descriptive in his imagery and uses simple metaphors to persuade thousands to repent of their sinful ways and turn to Christ. He planted fear and guilt into their hearts. This sermon is a sermon full of anger and fright, a sermon powerful enough to make the strongest man cry and weep. But the true purpose of this sermon was to bring hope to a nation in need. It ultimately was a message of redemption, a message that Jonathan Edwards believed people needed to hear.
Although Edward’s message was designed to torment and terrify the listeners it was ultimately a message of hope to all people who were sinning and turning on God. He uses simple imagery to connect to his audience who were mostly illiterate. He compares God’s wrath to “Great Waters” he says “the wrath of God is like great waters that area dammed for the present, they increase more and more and rise higher and...
...and simple lives for God. In his sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an AngryGod", he addresses the issues of man as a sinner and God's resentment toward those sinners. Each sentence in his sermon aims for catching the congregation's attention in which he hopes to instill guilt and fear out of the people. Edwards uses a variety of persuasive techniques, including phrases, simple metaphors, and similes to persuade sinners to repent, in order to be saved and not be damned to Hell for eternity.
To attract the audience's attention, Edwards begins his sermon to the congregation by stating, "There is nothing between you and Hell but the air; it is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up." He conveys that there is no guarantee the people will not be dropped into the flames at any given moment, should God so decide. He can easily do it and let go, but whether or not one is sent to Hell simply depends on that persons actions towards God. Edwards also then states again, "tis nothing but his mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction." Edwards uses both of these phrases, similar to each other, to portray God as all powerful and all knowing.
Through his sermon, Edwards uses metaphors to express his feelings more clearly. An example of this would...
...The passages given from the Edwards' "Sinners in the Hands of an AngryGod" and the opening sentence of the Declaration both include many points such as the tone, diction, and syntax. The points shown throughout each sentence aims for the intent of obtaining the attention of the audience. The way each sentence is arranged with its own syntax can very well appeal to listeners, depending on its structure and imagery.
Within the given sentence excerpt from Edwards' "Sinners in the Hand of an AngryGod" you may perceive that the speaker is undoubtedly reaching for the audiences attention without sustaining his harsh yet fearful manner. Throughout this controlled harsh tone of voice, he captivates the audience through a deep sense of threat or harm. Within this deep threatening and captivating speech, the speaker uses God as the higher power in order to obtain the audiences attention, to grasp each person's emotions and fill them with fear. The speaker uses fear to complete the assurance of the people to do his intentions.
Although the Edwards excerpt sentence involved fear, emotional deception and mental deception to obtain the audiences full attention, the opening sentence of Jefferson's Declaration gives the audience a much different approach to procure the audiences focus. Jefferson's opening sentence has a mild tone of...
...Eternal damnation is assured to all who do not turn to God. The Great Awakening sought to break this assurance by bringing people to the light of God. Jonathan Edwards in his fiery sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an AngryGod” exasperates conviction for the eyes of the sinners. Edwards utilizes figurative language, tone, and imagery to manipulate his sinful congregation into repentance.
Repentance is depicted in the sermon through Edward’s use of figurative language. He prodigiously compares the human race to infinitesimal insects when he pronounces, “[t]he God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or a loathsome insect over the fire.” He indirectly references repentance through this extraction by alluding to the danger and pain that would come without salvation. He continues to employ figurative language when he states that “[t]he bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string.” He implies hell is ready for sinful persons, and little effort is required to cast them into the pit of eternal torture. In addition, Edwards suggests that they “are ten thousand more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in [mankind’s].” He conveys God’s disgust for the sinners.
The disgust for sinners becomes more apparent when considering Edward’s tone. Firstly, he condemns evil...