Jonathan Edwards, in 1741, preaches at Enfield Connecticut, to the congregation with a desire of converting men who thought too highly of themselves to Christianity. Edwards establishes points by using different strategies of figurative language with the intention of capturing the emotional side of his audience. By using a variety of styles to scare his audience, Edwards’ sermon, with powerful diction, had a great outcome of repenters.
Obviously, men depend on God to keep them out of hell, “Your wickedness makes you, as it were, heavy as lead, and to rend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell, and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf.” Following Edwards’ sermon further, mens’ wickedness is going to weigh them down. By comparing the congregation to the heaviness of lead, they are able to imagine how hard it is to not fall into hell and how much they need God.
Generally speaking, all men do dumb things and they have to face the consequences. “Their foot shall slide in due time,” Deuteronomy 32:35. Edwards wants the congregation to realize that their immature behavior will cost them in the long run. Clearly, it is their fault that the possibility of destruction is always present. They would be terminated if it were not for God’s hand holding them back.
Unquestionably, the wrath of God is constant like an arrow always ready to kill the wicked, “The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string; and justice directs the bow to your heart: and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God… that keeps the arrow one moment from being drunk with your blood.” In the light of bows and arrows being weapons for destruction, it is easy to see that God’s wrath can destroy man. Be comparing God’s wrath to a bow and arrow, Edwards causes fear in their eyes, and he stirs thoughts of arrows consuming the blood of their wicked hearts.
Undoubtedly, life is a daily struggle for everyone to do the right thing. “… Hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them; the fire bent up in their own hearts is struggling to break out; and they have no interest in any Mediator; there are no means within reach that can be security to them.” Pursuing this further, through powerful diction, Edwards gives human like qualities to hell and flames in order to let them represent other things. The flame swallowing them up represents the hell that will engulf them because of their sins. The fire pent up in their heart means that everyone struggles with sin and no one is perfect. Sin is in everyone’s hearts and is battling to escape. Further, no one is immune to the temptations of sin.
Certainly, Edwards manipulates the congregation’s emotions with his vivid and descriptive word choice. “The devils watch them; they are ever by them, at their right hand; they starred waiting for them, like greedy hungry lions, that are for the present kept...