Comparing Edwards' Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God and Patrick Henry's Speech in the Virginia Convention: Who Made the Best Argument?
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Jonathan Edwards creates a more effective argument for the intended audience in “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” than “The Speech in the Virginia Convention” written by Patrick Henry, by utilizing various techniques. Patrick Henry makes a strong argument however in the end, Edwards’ sermon grows to be more effective. Edwards creates the argument by strengthening the writing through tone, structure, fallacies and knowledge of the congregation that became his audience. Henry’s piece uses methods of oratory persuasion but the actual topic of “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” has an advantage from the start by appealing to fear, a fallacy of logic. Even with the strong basis “The Speech in the Virginia Convention” by Patrick Henry, Edwards’ “Sinners in the hands of an Angry God” proves the more effective piece in the end.
Foreboding and dreadful describe the tone of “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. Edwards makes the tone very clear by saying “The God that holds you over the pit of Hell, much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire” (154). He tries to convey the wrath of god that will come upon them if they do not devoted themselves to Christ by saying “Thus all you that never passed under a great change of heart, by the mighty power of the Spirit of God upon souls, all you that were never born again, and made new creatures, and raised from being dead in sin, to a state of new, and before altogether unexperienced light and life, are in the hands of an angry God.” (154).
Edwards does however lighten the tone at the conclusion of the sermon by explaining how the people c...
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...not have believed him wholeheartedly because the President of the convention might have been previously biased from another’s opinion. Knowledge of the audience becomes one of the things that aide Edwards in delivering a more convincing argument.
“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” proves more effective because it creates more fear and worry in the audience, meanwhile “The Speech in the Virginia Convention” attempts to spark a need for liberty in the intended audience. Not to say that “The Speech in the Virginia Convention” becomes any less effective because of persuasion used in the piece, it’s just not as effective as “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. Both pieces get their points across quite well, but in the end “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” proves to be more effective for the intended audience than “The Speech in the Virginia Convention”.