His use of graphic words describing the horrors and torment awaiting sinners has a remarkable effect on his audience. Even if Hell isn’t a real place and all of the pain and suffering described is a lie, Edwards’ way of delivering his message is so successful that it scares his listeners into believing and following his proposed method of redemption. Elsewhere, he uses imagery to give his congregation a mental picture of God holding sinners above the fiery pits of Hell. After filling their hearts with fear, he uses this image to show them that there is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of God’s mercy and forgiveness.
There is no doubt as to the effectiveness of his tactics In using Imagery to penetrate Into the hearts and minds of those who are present. Edwards uses figures of speech to compare abstract concepts of God’s wrath and the sinner’s evil to common experiences. His use of metaphors span over whole paragraphs, such as the one about the bow of God’s wrath being drawn and held over the hearts of sinners. This metaphor shows that God could unleash his wrath at any moment but his kindness saves them. Later, Edwards compares sinners to spiders and serpents, creatures despised by humans Just as sinners are despised by
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God. This shows his unconverted congregation how poorly God thinks of them. Jonathan Edwards uses these figures of speech to make his message easier to understand, which makes it hit much closer to home among the hearts of his listeners. Edwards conveys frightening Images throughout his sermon to Induce his congregation into believing they are vulnerable to God’s wrath. He continuously uses images of pain and eternal damnation, such as going into detail about what Hell is like and what kind of tortures await sinners, in order to frighten those present into leaving their old ways and converting.
Edwards’ Ingenious choice of words that he uses describes the power of God and the the latter. These words easily penetrate into the minds of his congregation and frighten them beyond belief. These choices of words and his use of such horrible images are mostly successful in their intent, to scare his audience. Edwards held his audience captive with his promises of eternal damnation if proper steps were not taken. The congregation felt the intense impact of his rhetoric and lived on the fear of the power of God. In this way, he was able to keep his followers from sin.