In Jonathan Edwards’ powerful sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God it is evident that Edwards sought to coax the members of his congregation into salvation as well as convince “natural men”, or those who had not had a spiritual rebirth that their sinful actions would ultimately lead to the wrath of a merciless God. To persuasively convey this notion, Edwards utilizes various metaphors to compare God’s wrath and the sinner’s evil to heightened circumstances and attempts to provoke religious revival through fear.
Edwards used an extended metaphor for emphasis as he described how “the bow of God’s wrath is bent […] and justice bends the arrow at [the sinner’s] heart” and that it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God […] that keeps the arrow one moment from being drunk with blood” (lines 1-3 pp. 6). This comparison of the relationship between God and the sinner to a bow and arrow shows how God has absolute control and has the power to unleash his wrath and condemn sinners at any time. Edwards also used a metaphor to express how “the wrath of God is like great waters that […] that […] increase more and more, and rise higher and higher” and that “it is the mere pleasure of God that holds the waters back” (lines 1-7, pp.5). This shows how God’s wrath, like great waters, after being continually contained, rises up and has the potential of destroying sinners with great fury at His own whim. When Edwards asks the rhetorical question, “For ‘who knows the power of God’s anger’” he is imploring the Christian to imagine what lengths God may go in punishing those weak willed servants of the Lord. The effect of posing such a question causes the audience to collectively feel the true omnipotence of the almighty. His sermon had to be strong in order to command the type of changes that he feels is needed in the modern church
Throughout the sermon it is evident that Edwards had strong concerns about the sinful nature of humans and to bring awareness he spread fear...
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