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Jonathan Edwards Essay

953 words - 4 pages

Jonathan Edwards’s “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is the epitome of a fire and brimstone sermon. Edwards was able to deliver this speech with force, power, and charisma. However this sermon effectively portrays Edwards’s own interpretation of man’s sinful nature and God’s wrathful nature even when read silently. Jonathan Edwards is capable of effectively communicating that his position as a reverend is a means of legitimizing his ability to interpret the bible and all of its scriptures. Edwards finds success in his speech by his use of vivid and violent imagery. By doing this Edwards is able to do two things, one convince his parishioners that as a man of God he has the authority to be an interpreter of the bible. He forces his audience into trusting him by constructing strong emotional reactions that incites fear and panic into his audience. He thus plays on the audiences’ loyalties to the bible as well as biblical and religious authority figures.
Jonathan Edwards is careful to create a specific focal point throughout the sermon. This focal point quickly becomes his own interpretation of God and his wrath. Throughout the sermon Edwards creates and visualizes his own interpretation of God’s nature. Edwards expands on this in section 2 when he says, “We often read of the fury of God” as well as “And in many other places. So, Rev. 19:15, we read of "the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." The words are exceeding terrible. If it had only been said, "the wrath of God," the words would have implied that which is infinitely dreadful: but it is "the fierceness and wrath of God." The fury of God! the fierceness of Jehovah! Oh, how dreadful that must be! Who can utter or conceive what such expressions carry in them!” In order to legitimize his religious authority and ability to interpret the scripture he must convince the congregation that God is an angry and all-powerful being who does not have to grant mercy upon us humans. This quote shows how Edwards attempts to scare the congregation into believing that God is this vengeful and terrifying higher being.

“There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God." -- By the mere pleasure of God, I mean hissovereign pleasure, his arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation, hindered by no manner of difficulty, any more than if nothing else but God's mere will had in the least degree, or in any respect whatsoever, any hand in the preservation of wicked men one moment.”

Once Edwards has convinced his parishioners that God’s true character is made of wrathfulness he can then continue to manipulate the congregation into affirming his religious legitimacy. Once...

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