Rhetorical Analysis Of Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God

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A Calculated Approach In the late 18th century, a vast religious renewal spread across the colonies of America, influencing people young and old to return to the foundation of their beliefs. Jonathan Edwards, a staunch Puritan minister, imposed a sense of urgency upon his congregation to obtain church membership. His audacity and conviction attracted many to his sermons who took his words to heart. In one of his sermons entitled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Edwards vividly describes how those who are impious cannot escape God’s wrath and eternal damnation. He addresses his audience’s common misconceptions about God’s place for them after their death and explains that their fate is placed solely “in the Hands of an Angry God.” Throughout…show more content…
Just before the end of Edwards’s six hour sermon, he gives his audience some hope by using loaded diction to emphasize the greatness that will come out of devoting their lives to God. “Opportunity”, “mercy”, “happy state”, “loved”, “rejoicing”, “hope” are the most positively connotated words Edwards uses throughout his sermon; making it clear how wonderful life is when they are devoted to God and vise versa. Through this diction, Edwards gives hope to his audience, all the while knowing it will have a greater impact when he pulls that hope away. Seconds later, Edwards retracts the blinding light of hope and focuses on the fearful aspects of life without God. He uses more loaded diction, but this time with the negatively connotated words seen in the previous sections of his sermon: “sin”, “unconverted”, “dreadful”, “hell”, “wrath”, “angry”, “devil.” Edwards’s clever sequencing and use of loaded diction creates the ultimate fear Edwards works towards throughout his sermon. The fear he invokes, of life without God, allows Edwards to impose his vision on his congregation, and persuades them to become pious

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