Puritian Sermon How do we determine a wicked man? Where does he come from, how does he act? How is he seen in God’s eyes? What does God do to the wicked man? These are all questions I have constantly struggled with, and these are questions, I personally feel, can be discovered within reading ‘Sinners in the hands of an angry God.’ A sermon created by Jonathan Edwards in 1741.
“The God … abhors you!” Imagine a preacher who would openly insult the congregation, tell them they were all damned, and that they could and should go to hell. Jonathan Edwards was one of these preachers. In “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Jonathan Edwards uses strong imagery to “excite” his audience into stronger religious devotion and sometimes even move them to hysteria. These powerful sermons sparked the religious revival in which people lived more devoted, spiritual lives. This “Great Awakening” spread throughout New England during the eighteenth century.
They used a very powerful ethos. By using their religion and quoting the bible. The people from the past were very religious and the bible had a great affect on them. They used the bible to gain their publics trust. And they said, "If we desegregate, violence will break."
In the sermon of sinners in the hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards tries to scare his listeners into believing in God and seeking salvation. He uses many literary devices to do this. The literary techniques he used to scare them were imagery, Symbolism, and also figurative language. He used all these techniques in his six-hour sermon in Enfield, Connecticut, in 1741. Jonathan Edwards spoke quietly and with no emotion.
Captivating someone’s emotions is most effective to catch and keep their attention. In the accomplished sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Jonathan Edwards applies extensive use of rhetorical strategies, but the most persuasive are metaphors utilized through pathos in an attempt to sway the acts of sinners, the natural men to be morally correct. While discussing the natural men’s wickedness, Edwards states “All your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold [the natural men], and keep [the natural men] out of hell, than a spider’s web would have to stop a fallen rock” (Edwards 8), giving his unconverted audience the idea that God is the single force who is the deciding factor of whether they are saved, or dropped to eternal damnation. Edwards compares sinners to spiders, creatures despised by humans just as sinners are detested by God, displaying to Edwards unconverted congregation how poorly God thinks of them. Righteousness is showcased as the natural men’s sin and weakness.
God reacts to the human decision to turn from him by consigning people to the consequences of their actions. As Paul will show, this involves an ever-increasing cycle of sin, but he highlights sexual sins. Just as God spoke to the original audience, so he still speaks to us through the pages of Scripture. The common humanity with the people of the Bible is evident, we discover a universal dimension in the problems they faced and the solutions God gave them. Those who fail to recognize that Scripture is both timely and timeless run into a host of problems.
Sermons were written and read so that even the simplest, or even illiterate of Colonist could understand, language that they could relate too. It was very sensory and vivid, used to evoke fear, pity and guilt in a group of people that had survived and were facing all manner of unknowns as the shaped a new nation. Like any writer that is trying to persuade his audience he begins his emotional appeal from the very beginning, as he very directly addresses the audience. "Yea, God is a great deal more angry with great numbers that are now on ear; yea, doubtless, with many that are now in this congregation, who it may be are at ease, than he is with many of those who are now in the flames of hell." This statement was not on an attention grabber, but evoked fear in the congregation, fear of hell and their own safety from Gods wrath, as well as fear and pity for those sitting around them.
Atticus utilizes Aristotle’s three persuasive appeals. He does this in his powerful speech targeting Maycomb’s values of religion, tradition and patriotism. Maycomb highly represents a true respect for religion. In Atticus's speech he gets the audience to feel guilty about accusing an innocent man of rape and reflect on what God would want them to do. Also, he's trying to get them to rethink what they are doing.
Additionally, the successive references establish a serious tone. Both the content and structure of this quote contribute to King’s argument by appealing to the religious background of his audience. Another instance of anaphora occurs further along his letter. King writes, “But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim…when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro” (15). The use of the word “when” enhances his argument because the repetition gives the already memorable, emotional statement a lasting impression on the audience.
Why do so many people misunderstand Christianity? The main reason is the actions of Christians themselves. We have public scandals involving high-profile Christian leaders, sexual escapades of evangelical pastors, Roman Catholic priests committing sexual molestation on young children (Towns, Cord Christianity, pp 97-98), fighting among Christians themselves, there’s stealing, and fraud. The list could go on and on. With all this going on, no wonder people lose confidence in the church.