Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

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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 Angry God” 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 in his congregation with the words wicked, damnation, fire, and wrath. These words describe his attitude towards his parishioners. The words prey on their fears of being denied heaven. But he provides them with a light of salvation towards the end of his sermon. His attitude changes to one of enthusiasm as he describes the possibility of redemption. The words mercy, love, rejoicing, and joy display that he truly believes in the cleansing power of Jesus and that these transgressors can be born again in the blood of the Lamb. Edwards extensively uses imagery to inspire this need to be born again. He provides...
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