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Throughout the sermon, Edwards employs metaphor, simile, and analogy to emphasize his initial thesis -- that the only reason man is not sent immediately to Hell is because of God's merciful hand. Edward's purpose in the sermon is to prove that man is innately evil and sinful, and therefore deserving of Hell. He also emphasizes the unlimited power that God has in casting man into Hell. Finally, he shows that God is merciful by not immediately casting man into Hell.
While there are several examples of imagery and figurative language in the sermon to support Edwards point, a few are more outstanding than the others. When discussing the power of God, Edwards compares God's ability to cast man into Hell to man's ability to step on a spider. Both actions are effortless, he says. Edwards again draws on the image of a spider when he describes man's ability to save himself. In this image, though, man is the spider. He says that man is no more able to save himself than a spider's web is able to stop a rock. Imagery is used in describing the intensity of Hell's fire. Finally, Edwards paints the picture of man standing on a ledge, and God's hand is the only thing holding them back from falling. While Edwards does emphasis that God is angry with man for sinning throughout the sermon, this image is meant to show that God is also merciful towards man.
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