Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Analysis

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In his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Jonathan Edwards uses imagery to create a tone that is at once stern and benevolent. Through these tones, Edwards uses pathos to frighten his congregation out of complacency and compel them to repent and accept Christ. Edwards establishes ethos simply through his reputation. When he gave this sermon, Edwards was a well-known and well-respected preacher. He also presented his sermon in a church, filled with people who had chosen to be there and who respected him. This allowed him to say certain things he otherwise could not say. Since his audience is willing to be in the church setting, Edwards is able to use imagery to scare them into accepting Christ while knowing it will have a full effect on them. Pathos, another facet of writing, is the use of appealing to the emotions of the audience. Edwards applies pathos by using imagery that appeals to his audience's fear. Fear is a very potent emotion which can easily drive people to act. Edwards uses this to his advantage and creates a stern tone; his tone is grim and harsh throughout the sermon. One of Edwards's metaphors that best uses fear is his image of God's bow: “The bow of God's wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string...and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood” (47-48). The idea Edwards tries to convey is that God is ready to kill you, and your death could occur at any given moment. The words Edwards uses also serve in striking fear into the congregation: bow, arrow, angry, blood. Both the bow-and-arrow image and Edwards's diction combine to create a stern, harsh tone. While Edwards sets a stern tone, he also sets a benevolent, compassionate one. He doesn't write Elias and Nichols 2 this sermon
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