The Puritan Prayer In Jonathan Edwards's The Great Awakening

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The Great Awakening of the eighteenth century was mainly a time of Puritan revival in the young English colonies of North America. Many preachers, or circuit riders, traveled around giving long sermons to engage listeners and persuade them to a life of faithful and committed relationship with God. Jonathan Edwards, a respected circuit rider of the time, used the method of terror to persuade his audiences by giving examples of their impending doom in the afterlife. Edwards persuasion as a speaker was supported by his use of multiple rhetorical elements such as the rhetorical appeals, imagery, symbolism, and thematic discussion. Jonathan Edwards supports his claim of destruction throughout his sermon through his usage of ethos, pathos, and…show more content…
The "pit of fire" is repeated many times as a source of terror for the audience due to the choice of diction. As human instinct goes, a pit of flames is a horrific image to have in our minds, especially if it envisions ourselves inside of it. Edwards uses this because he understands the emotional effect it will have on the audience and that it will persuade them to become better in order to avoid such a heinous life ending. This imagery doubles as a symbol for hell, which to Puritans is where those who have been punished by the Almighty God are sent. Edwards describes hell as such a horrific, painful, hideous, gory, and gruesome place that his audience is almost forced to pursue the ideas of Edwards due to their desperate attempt to avoid this fate. Throughout the sermon, Edwards utilized the rhetorical strategies of rhetorical appeals, imagery, and symbolism to support his statement on the fate of sinners. The audience of Edwards was emotionally moved by his exemplification usage on the descriptions of afterlife punishment and were pushed toward the "purity" in their lifestyle. The Great Awakening was a time of enlightenment that was due to many rhetorically supported preachers who spoke to connect their audiences to the themes of their
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