Jonathan Edwards Essay

Submitted By aprilrodriguez
Words: 645
Pages: 3

Jonathan Edwards (October 5, 1703- March 22, 1758), a Christian preacher and theologian, is well known for his sermons during the period of Great Awakening, which is considered a time of religious revival. Edward’s sermons consisted of a variety of persuasive techniques, such as vibrant images (imagery) and simple metaphors in order to coax sinners to repent. Let’s take a look at Edward’s use of imagery in his work “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. Edwards compares God’s wrath to “great waters”, which after being regularly contained, would rise up and have the power to destroy the people with great fury if God chooses to open such a floodgate. Another commanding image compares God’s wrath to a “bow” that is bent, waiting to strike the heart of a sinner. Because many of the people in Edward’s congregation were illiterate and/or uneducated, he often utilized such images to convey the power of God to them. Although the people led simple lives, they had a common respect for the land and the water, as well as the skill of the bow. Therefore, Edward’s use of imagery was quite effective. Once Edwards established man’s increasing vulnerability to damnation, he gives many more examples of imagery. “There is no fortress that is any defense from the power of God” (Edwards 195). Through this humbling line, Edwards reminds the congregation that God is almighty, as well as omniscient. Edwards plants the seed of fear in the hearts of the people by describing how easy it would be for God to simply cast everyone into hell. Twice, Edwards refers to “slender thread” (Edwards 195). First, he says “it is easy for us to cut or singe a slender thread that anything hangs by”. Secondly, he says “hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it” (Edwards 200). Edwards presents these images of burning and fire as a reference to the flames of Hell. Let us now take a look at Edward’s use of metaphors in his work. Edwards effectively used metaphors by making comparisons to the peoples’ everyday lives. He preached about their wickedness as “heavy as lead”, pulling them straight down to Hell. He further instilled fear in the congregation by telling them that salvation would not be achieved through their “righteousness alone”. Edwards referred to the people’s chance of getting into Heaven on their own “contrivance” to the chances that “a spider’s web would have to stop a fallen rock”. Continuing to use metaphors that his congregation could relate to,…