AP English 11
Drag Me Down To Hell
It is obvious that the role of preachers is to convert the unconverted and teach his congregation the ways of righteousness; however some preachers use tactics of using fear as a means to scare their congregation into conversion. One such Preacher who used fear to his advantage was Jonathan Edwards. Edward’s most famous sermon which he delivered on a trip to the congregation at Enfield, Connecticut was a perfect example of the use of the power of fear to create new converts to his church. Edward’s tone during his sermon was terrifying and demeaning, he used a number of rhetorical devices to create the horrified reaction of his audience.
Edward uses imagery to paint horrific scenes of eternal damnation for unsaved souls. His use of graphic phrases caused his congregation much fear. “Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downward with great weight and pressure toward hell.” Edward degraded his audience by repeatedly accusing them of much wickedness and saying that they will go down into a lake of fire and brimstone unless they take steps toward repenting of their sins. The repetition of the same cast into hell idea scared Edward’s audience into believing and following his proposed method of redemption. The God man knows today is a God of compassion, and has immense love for His children, however the God depicted in Edwards Sermon is quite different: “His wrath toward you burns like fire; He looks upon you as worthy of nothing else but to be cast into the fire.” Edward uses imagery to depict that God has a burning rage for the natural man for all their abominations. If burning in hell didn’t scare Man, then knowing that their one last savior they have, God, who hates them enough to dangle Man right over the pit of hell ought to scare them even more. Edward’s terrifying imagery caused many Puritans into becoming Born-Again Christians. Fort 2
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