What are some examples of Edwards using fear to get his point across to the congregation in "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"?

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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Edwards set out many examples illustrating how the members of his congregation are in extreme danger during the course of his sermon. He based his sermon on a text referring to the sliding of people's feet over a period of time and interpreted this to be a reference to God's wrath at those who fall away from following His will as time goes by.

The Application portion of the sermon then explained exactly what awaited those whose feet had slipped off God's intended pathway.

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 any thing to take hold of; there is nothing between you and hell but the air;

Edwards made it very clear that no one was safe; no one was exempt from the punishment awaiting those who had sinned.

However you may have reformed your life in many things, and may have had religious affections, and may keep up a form of religion in your families and closets, and in the house of God, it is nothing but his mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction.


msashleydavis | Student

From Ms. Davis English Class

He used vivid imagery of hell.

"It would be dreadful to suffer the fearceness and wrath of Almighty God."

He used similes and other figurative language.

Example: Metaphor

"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, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood."

Read the study guide:
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

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