Jonathan Edwards’ persona in this sermon is powerful, enforcing his view of God’s power and using imagery to describe God’s wrath vividly. The tone throughout the sermon is very intense, creating imagery for the audience to better understand his beliefs about how an angry God deals with sinners. This is an excerpt, depicting the key parts of the full sermon. Throughout the sermon, Edwards’ use of imagery gives the audience an image of God holding the sinners over the pits of hell, their fates decided upon God’s will.
Edward repeats ‘wrath’ numerous times to emphasize God’s power. Edwards also uses metaphors to compare God and humans to numerous things, “Peole who think they can escape Hell on their own have as little chance of doing so as a spider’s web has of stopping a falling rock. ” In this case, Edwards compares the chance of escape from God’s wrath to a spider’s ability to stop a falling rock. Edwards use of metaphors create another scene to allow the audience to get a visual thought through his words.
Edward creates an idea that we humans are just mere puppets that God has control over for his amusement, “… it is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up. ” Edwards applies pathos to create powerful emotion, “There is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God; there is hell’s wide gaping mouth open, and you have nothing to stand upon, nor anything to take hold of… ” Personification is used to bring hell to life. The use of ‘wide gaping mouth’ creates an idea that hell is not just a location, but something alive.
Edwards has compared God to numerous things, such as glowing flames, great waters, and fiery floods to express God’s wrath vividly. A similie that Edward uses is “The god that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over a fire. ” Edwards uses ‘loathsome insect’ as a comparison to those in God’s hand. Edwards creates an idea that we humans are vile by the fact that we are being compared to a ‘loathsome’ insect.
Edwards’ purpose is to portray his image of God to the audience which were those who did not follow and accept Christ. Edwards compares God’s wrath to a bent bow and mentions again that God’s wrath is nothing more than just His mere pleasure, “The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God… ” At any instant, God can release that ready bow and take one’s life, all for his own pleasure.