Jonathan Edwards, an eighteenth-century preacher and writer, attempted to revive the Puritan ideals in New England. His sermons about sin and salvation were received with enthusiasm and helped launch a religious revival called the Great Awakening, marking the beginning of evangelism in America. His sermon ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’ was delivered with the intention of making his listeners reexamine their beliefs about grace, salvation, and religion as part of their daily lives.
How would the following sentence be different if Edwards used “disobedience” instead of “wickedness”?
“Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell; …”
The word “disobedience” is a lot less harsh and negative than the word “wicked.
” The audience would have felt less fearful and guilty if Edwards had used a less negative and “nicer” word like “disobedience.” The use of the word “wicked” shakes the audience and makes them feel ashamed of their actions.
The word even makes them recognize and fear the consequences of their actions.
Edwards uses personification in this following instance: “There is hell’s wide gaping mouth open; and you have nothing to stand upon, nor any thing to take hold of, there is nothing between you and hell but the air; it is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up.” Identify the personification. Explain the function (effect) this image has on the audience. How can this help Edwards achieve his purpose
In Edwards excerpt, he personifies “hell.
” He describes it as someone or something with a ”wide gaping mouth.” He gives detailed descriptions within his personification, such as “ there is nothing between you and hell but the air” which truly brings “hell” to life. He makes it seem as if hell is an actual person or creature. Edward’s personification of hell creates a sense of shock and fear throughout the audience. By doing this, Edwards is attempting to make the audience fear sin and be faithful to God.