Jonathan Edwards, a famous preacher in pre-colonial times, composed a sermon that was driven to alert and inject neo Puritanical fear into an eighteenth century congregation. This Bible based and serious audience sought after religious instruction and enlightenment. Through the sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," Edwards offers a very harsh interpretation to humankind. Edwards utilizes various rhetorical techniques to evoke an emotional response in his audience and to persuade the members of his congregation that their wicked actions will awaken a very ruthless and merciless God.
Through the use of imagery and classical appeal of pathos, Jonathan Edwards effectively injects fear into his congregation of their destined fate. "The devils watch them; they are ever by them at their right hand; they stand waiting for them, like greedy hungry lions that see their prey, and expect to have it, but are for the present kept back" (Paragraph 11). The use of vivid imagery instills fear into Edward's congregation. Edwards appeals to pathos through this descriptive simile as he describes the devils like hungry lions, waiting for God's command to consume humankind. Edwards states: "The wrath of God burns against them, their damnation does not slumber; the pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them; the flames do now rage and glow" (Paragraph 10). Pathos is present as he descriptively characterizes hell and the pit in great detail. The audience is terrified by the reality of his words and are driven out of fear to listen to what he is saying. Jonathan Edwards compares this banishment and pit to a snake: "The old serpent is gaping for them; hell opens its mouth wide to receive them; and if God should permit it, they would he hastily swallowed up and lost" (Paragraph 11). The description of the serpent evokes despair through the congregation.... [continues]
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