Jonothan Edwards.. Essay, Research Paper
He was considered a genius, quoted as a man of formidable intellect and master of puritan revival. During his time, he was an uncompromising Calvinist and he had the power of single-handedly keeping the Puritan faith strong and alive for almost sixty years by using a sort of influential scare tactic to provoke his audience. His name was Jonathan Edwards and his use of imagery was exquisite. In one of his great sermons “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Edwards used phrases and parallelism that could simply move his listener or reader. Edwards described his view of a vengeful God and the consequences of sin with such strong emotion and vividness that it was sure too shaken up most, if not all of those who had the privilege of hearing or reading it. Edwards clearly portray an image of a fearful and powerful God in relation to a simple and weak man. Edward’s dialect was very mighty and yet handled with class and ease. Edward’s words were potent and astonishing and he was sure to shaken anyone who came across them.
First, many of the beginning and following entries of “Sinners in the hands of an Angry God,” by Jonathan Edwards, create many word pictures. Edwards begins by describing man, who was nothing other than insignificant and evil, and his relationship with God, who was angry and very much in authority. Edwards states, “There is no want of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any moment. Men’s hands cannot be strong when God rises up…” (Edwards,290). Edward’s view of man is not only poor, but also small. Edward’s view of God is very much almighty. Edward’s follows up his views by stating, “He is not only able to cast wicked men into hell, but He can most easily do it…” (Edwards,291). A reader can easily begin to see how Jonathan Edwards has a very negative feeling about man and a very strong and superior view of God. Edwards stresses that man is basically nothing, while God is almighty with the power to eliminate the evil man at any given moment. In one statement Edwards says, “What are we that we should think to stand before Him, at whose rebuke the earth trembles and before Whom the rocks are thrown down!” (Edwards, 290), which clearly shows God’s great strength and man’s irrelevance and weakness. Edwards also explains that evil man, “….are already under a sentence of condemnation to hell…” (Edwards, 290). Any reader can clearly see that Edward’s thought of God in a very competent manner while man was extremely vile and feeble. Edward’s points were very straightforward and firm. A reader could see and feel Edward’s imagery very effectively about God being in a much higher level than man.
Secondly, Jonathan Edwards gives his accounts of a vengeful and almighty God with an even more powerful use of imagery in middle parts of his sermon. Edwards states that, “God has so many different , unsearchable ways of taking wicked men out of the world and sending them to hell…, to destroy any wicked man, at any moment…” (Edwards, 293). Edwards shows a great respect for God’s power and he portrays God as being a less compassionate God as most religious persons view Him today. Edwards describes God as in a position of great superiority by saying that God has the weak and evil man in the palm of His hands. Edwards states, “God has laid himself under no obligation, by any promise, to keep any natural man out of the pit of hell one moment…,” and concludes his view by stating that God, “…has made no promises either of eternal life….or preservation from eternal death….” (Edwards, 294). Any audience of Edward’s words could easily see how much Edwards thought man had owed a great deal of reverence to God. When Edwards stated that, “…..natural men are held in the hand of God, over the pit of hell…,” (Edwards,294) a view of God’s supremacy was very vivid. Edwards used parallelism to drive his audience to see and feel God’s vindictiveness by stating that, “God is dreadfully provoked…,”(Edwards,294) and continues by later stating that, “The wrath of God is like great waters that are dammed for the present…” (Edwards,295). Edwards later states that his view of God as being, “…The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire…, and is dreadfully provoked…, He looks upon you as worthy of nothing else but to be cast in the fire….” (Edwards, 296). With Edward’s use of descriptive pronouns, his audience could feel God’s righteousness, fury and displeasure with out any exacerbation. Edwards portrayed a vengeful God with a lot of clarity.
Thirdly, Jonathan Edwards also portrayed a vile and evil man throughout his sermon in a very effective manner. Edward’s thoughts on a sinful and evil man were very negative. Edwards described man as being wicked and outright evil beings. Edwards states that man, “….deserves to be cast into hell….” (Edwards,291) It was almost as if Edwards had a distaste for the man in general. Edwards describes man in a position of being predestined for the worse by stating that man was, “….already under a sentence of condemnation to hell…” (Edwards, 291). Edwards goes on to state that that , “…wicked men’s pains and contrivance they use to escape hell…., do not secure them from hell one moment…) (Edwards 293). It was obvious that Edward viewed man as being very far from worthy to experience a heaven. Edward’s opinions about man were so straight forward and strong that he even included mere children in his views of pathetic and evil man without any exceptions in considering their youth. Edwards states that, “…the foolish children of men do miserably delude themselves in their own schemes and in their confidence and in their own strength and wisdom….” (Edwards, 293). Edwards nonchalantly and cold-bloodedly states that, “…The greater part of those that hertofore have lived under the same means of grace, and are now dead…” (Edwards,293). In addressing both man and children, Edwards describes man as being in a state of hopelessness by saying that man has, “….nothing to hold to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames…, nothing you can do, nothing that you have ever done…, to induce God to spare you one moment…” (Edwards,296). Edward’s words about the very pitiable and evil men was stated very clearly, boldly, and overall, effective.
In conclusion, Jonathan Edwards was extremely effective with his sermon “Sinners in the hands of an Angry God.” Edward’s use of pronouns and parallelism made his overall imagery just fabulous. Edward’s phrases were fierce, strong, and stated with such ease and smoothness that his audiences could easily feel his words weather heard or read. Edwards is undoubtedly due all praises and recognition as being a intellectual genius. The sermon “Sinners of an Angry God” alone, clearly proves Edward’s ability to control and imitate one’s views of a very strong and angry God that must be respected. It is no wonder that Edwards had the ability to keep the Calvinistic views of his time very dominate and alive. Edwards knew very well how to use words as a means of pure command, influence, and forcefulness. Edwards is amongst the top in deifying the highest levels of clever and prestigious dialect. In other words, Jonathon Edwards was a master at simply portraying the power of words.