• How does Edwards build a sense of horror in his sermon?

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    In his sermon, which he delivered on July 8th, 1741, Jonathan Edwards uses various Bible verses to build a sense of God’s fury and horror toward sinners. First, Edwards refers to Deuteronomy 32:35, which says, “Their foot shall slide in due time.” This is a verse that speaks of God’s vengeance against the wicked and sinful people of Israel. In his sermon, Edwards explains that this verse denotes the level of punishment and destruction that sinful people are bound to experience from God. He builds a sense of horror by further explaining that “such people are always exposed to destruction, just like someone who walks on a slippery ground is exposed to fall.” This means that even if such people do not fall now, their time is bound to come, and nothing can hold them back from experiencing the full force of God’s anger then. The only thing that holds back such people from the wrath of the Lord is His divine mercy, but at one point that will wear off, and they will face destruction.

    Edwards further makes reference to Luke 12:4–5, which states, “but I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: fear him who after he kills has the power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear him.” By referring to this verse, Edwards tries to depict the severity of God’s punishment by affirming to the sinners that God not only kills the body but has the power to cast sinners into hell, where the suffering is unfathomable; his punishment does not end at death, like the punishments inflicted by men, but goes on forever. This means that God’s wrath is eternal, which builds on the sense of horror.

    Additionally, Edwards makes reference to Revelation 19:15, which mentions “The winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” He states that these words are quite dreadful and that no one can utter or conceive of what such expressions truly mean. He further builds on the horror that comes with these words by stating that the terms used in Revelation 19:15 depict unimaginable fury toward sinners. This explanation further articulates the level of horror that sinners are bound to face from God. Thus, it is evident that throughout the sermon, Edwards uses various verses from the Bible to build a sense of horror.

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