Rhetorical Strategies in Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

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“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”-Essay

In the 1700’s the Puritans left England for the fear of being persecuted. They moved to America for religious freedom. The Puritans lived from God’s laws. They did not depend as much on material things, and they had a simpler and conservative life. More than a hundred years later, the Puritan’s belief toward their church started to fade away. Some Puritans were not able to recognize their religion any longer, they felt that their congregations had grown too self-satisfied. They left their congregations, and their devotion to God gradually faded away. To rekindle the fervor that the early Puritans had, Jonathan Edwards and other Puritan ministers led a religious revival through New England. Edwards preached intense sermons that awakened his congregation to an awareness of their sins. With Edwards’ sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” he persuades the Puritans to convert back to Puritanism, by utilizing rhetorical strategies such as, imagery, loaded diction, and a threatening and fearful tone.

Edwards applied masses of descriptive imagery in his sermon to persuade the Puritans back to their congregation. For example, he gave fear to the Puritans through this quote, “We find it easy to tread on and crush a worm that we see crawling on the earth, so it is easy for us to cut a singe a slender thread that any thing hangs by, thus easy is it for God when he pleases to cast his enemies down to hell…” (pg. 153) In this quotation, he utilized vivid imagery because he wanted the Puritans to visibly imagine what he was saying through his sermon, on how angry God is with them, which made them convert back to Puritanism. Through the use of vivid imagery such as “crush a w...

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...God”, by Jonathan Edwards successfully persuaded the Puritans to be converted back to Puritanism. Through Edwards’ sermon the Puritans were compelled to renew their faith back to God. Edwards gave the Puritans a sense of realization, which caused them to go back to their congregation. Edwards horrified the Puritans, with his use of vivid and descriptive imagery, which effectively persuaded them to return to the congregation. Through his utilization of numerous loaded and highly emotional diction, he petrified and convinced the Puritans to go back to the church of God. He also gloriously enhances his sermon with his utilization of threatening and fearful tone tormented the Puritans and convinces them to be pious once again. Jonathan Edwards’s utilization of numerous rhetorical strategies effectively persuaded the Puritans to convert back to their congregations.

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