English II Honors
25 September 2017
An Analysis of the Sermon, “Sinner in the Hands of an Angry God”
In the sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, Edwards displays controversial viewpoints and ideas concerning heaven and hell. As Edwards speaks to the congregation he warns them of the misery and suffering they will face if they do not repent of certain sins. He also describes God as angry which probably struck fear into the hearts on many. To illustrate his own point that hell is unenviable without repentance Jonathan Edwards creates the idea of an angry God using intense similes, a harsh tone, and strong emotional appeal in “Sinners in the hand of an Angry God”.
Jonathon Edwards maintains his audience’s attention by creating intense and meaningful similes. Edwards uses these similes as a way for his audience to understand the points he is making and adds dramatic imagery and piercing words to get the audience to consider what he is saying. The first simile he uses says this, “…they were always exposed to destruction; as one that stands or walks in slippery places is always exposed to fall” (Edwards 1). Edwards includes this quote in his sermon to provoke the readers thought. The point he is trying to make is that God’s people are exposed to destruction which is a hard to imagine so he breaks it down for his audience by saying that just as they are exposed to destruction if you walk in a slippery place you will also fall. The next memorable simile Edwards uses says this, “The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked. His wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else but to be cast into the fire…” (6). Here Edwards compares his congregation to a “loathsome insect”. Edwards does this to try and describe how God views them. He continues his claim by comparing God’s wrath on them burning like fire, which would probably spark fear in the hearts of the people that they may repent. This simile helped further Edward’s main point, that hell is inevitable. One last simile Edwards uses is this, “Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend 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, and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell, than a spider's web would have to stop a fallen rock”(6). Edwards starts the simile by comparing the sins of the congregation to the heaviness of lead. He most likely does this for...