Searfoss, Preston AP English, Period 3 October 12, 2011 John Edwards Message of Damnation Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

by Jonathan Edwards is known to be one of the most well-known and influential sermons of all time. This eye-catching masterpiece raised many questions for American Colonists about fate after life on Earth, and many went away with an entirely different outlook on the matter. Many of the congregants wept gargantuan clouds of despair during and following the sermon and hysteria, chaos and a world-wind of hopelessness and despair frequented the audience. Edwards uses similes, metaphors and repetition to enhance the feelings of powerlessness and inferiority, to instill fear of damnation in the listeners, and emphasize that their sins have been predetermined by God and are irredeemable. Throughout his sermon, Jonathan uses similes to intensify the audience s feelings of inferiority and powerlessness, as well as the notion of burning in hell. Fire is used in comparisons throughout because of its association with hell as sin is like fire confined by God s restraints, but if let loose, would set ablaze the whole course of nature . This theme of God s minimal benevolence of preventing humans from burning or falling into hell and that God s limited restraints are preventing him from letting go and condemning sinners is expressed prevalently throughout. This concept of anger and invincible power is magnified by the emphasis of the powerlessness of human sinners in comparison to insignificant insects and spiders, which are also components of nature that would be set ablaze. God s wrath holds

and it strains the bow. as well as the comparisons between fire. In addition. God can take us out as easily as shooting an arrow.you over the pit of hell. The idea of human powerlessness is depicted tremendously to the audience members who perceive such creatures as insignificant. much as a spider. as well as at the idea that God only needs to let go or turn his hand over for a sinner to be damned. The understanding of God s power and the powerlessness and insignificance of human strength. Fire also represents God s wrath towards all of . hell. and that one has no control over his/her own fate regardless of his/her actions. Edwards also uses metaphors to make listeners cringe out of fear of being damned. The audience is also reminded that God can willingly choose one s fate without any promise or obligation at all . This display of human weakness plays an instrumental role in the audience s understanding of God s uncontestable strength and instills fear of damnation in the listeners. but it is only through his pleasure that he allows us to live. Akin to similes. Edwards is showing his audience that the disdain that people feel towards the lowest creatures such as spiders pales in comparison to the disdain that God feels towards sinners and that God can throw you into hell just as easily as you can kill a spider. or some loathsome insect over the fire . The bow of God s wrath is bent and Justice bends the arrow at your heart. and God s wrath all work together with the use of similes to paint a morbid and hellish image for the audience. blood and fire come together to represent death and hell. and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God is another metaphor that represents God s benevolence. and that God s hint of benevolence is the only thing keeping sinners on Earth.

and that God pre-determines the sins that people commit as well as the consequences of their . Edwards repeats the word wrath throughout the middle of his sermon to make it clear that with God s violent anger Nothing can keep you off of the flames of wrath (7) and that It is the wrath of infinite God (8). the meaning of wrath shifts from hell and fire to God s angry power. John Edwards uses repetition to express sharp tone and to glorify God s mighty and fierce power. as their damnation is considered negligible in comparison to God s merciless power. In the manner of their destructions coming upon them . destruction represents hell.the sinners of mankind. the destruction and miserableness of hell. thus grabbing the audience s attention. This use of repetition brings out the insignificance of humans. and the consequences of those sins. The word destruction possesses two meanings throughout. which instills fear of damnation in the audience members. Edwards uses repetition throughout to intensify God s power. In context. and second being the consequences of that sin. which insinuates that all sinners will be destroyed in hell. God s power and human minisculeness preached by Edwards causes the congregation to feel uncertain of its fate and to feel inferior to God s wrath. the sins committed by humans. while in exposed to destruction . Edwards also repeats the word destruction . Metaphors are used throughout Edwards sermon to augment the meaning of fire and hell. Edwards instills fear in his audience when preaching Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by declaring that God is all-powerful. destruction represents human acts that lead to one s damnation. the first being the act of sin. that God is unforgiving of anyone s sins. that human strength pales in comparison to God s strength.

This sermon is one of the most famous in history because of how horrified people became about their fate after life on Earth. Finally. which was a Christian revitalization movement. Edwards uses different rhetorical strategies to heighten the congregants feelings of inferiority.sins. This sermon also started the Great Awakening . and fear of damnation. . powerlessness. Edwards used this sermon as a way to brainwash his audience members.

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