When Jonathan Edwards gave his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (291-303) he used several analogies that would give his listeners a better understanding of the danger the non-believers were in.
He tells his congregation that “There is no fortress that is any defense from the power of God” (293). The use of this analogy he is tells his people that unbelievers have no protection against God. They have nowhere to hide; there is no place that is safe from God’s judgment of the wicked. By using the fortress analogy, Edwards is using a picture of something his listeners would be familiar with. There was probably at least one fort close to where these people lived and worked. They would see the fort as the best protection from local attacks. When Edwards states that “There is no fortress that is any defense from the power of God” (293), he is telling his people that God is everywhere and if God chooses the wicked are lost.
Later in the sermon Edwards states that “The Bow of God’s wrath is bent” (298), in using this analogy he is telling the unconverted that God has you in his sites and is ready to fire an arrow into your heart. Most of Edwards’ listeners would have had experience with archery, either by using a bow or by watching one being used. They would know that an archer does not “bend” a bow unless they are ready to shot the arrow. Edwards is effectively saying that it is up to God (the archer) wither he will let the arrow fly, and the target (non-believers) are as good as dead.
Edwards is very effective in his use of analogy in this sermon. He seems like a speaker that knows that a picture (analogy) is worth a thousand words. His analogies are timely; they talk about things that his listeners would have encountered every day. He could have said there is no cave or castle that is any defense from the power of God, but people in colonial America did not usually use caves for protection and many probably had never seen a castle....
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