How is parallelism used in Jonathan Edwards' "Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God"?
Parallelism is a useful literary device in sermons and other persuasive works. Because of its rhythm and balance of grammatical structure, as well as its repetition of ideas, parallelism produces a powerful and lasting impression upon the listener. Jonathan Edwards makes use of this literary device in his emotionally stirring sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."
In his sermon, the Reverend Edwards employs parallelism, lending his words power as all phrases are equal in their importance and impact. Here is an example from an early part of his sermon:
The devil is waiting for them [the sinners], hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them.
This use of parallelism strongly emphasizes the idea that sinners live on the brink of hell, as well as describing some of the horrors that await them. Further in his sermon, the Reverend Edwards describes hell in more frightening terms, again using parallelism:
That world of misery, that lake of burning brimstone, is extended abroad...
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