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Similies and Metaphors in Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

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In his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” from the 1740’s, The American minister Jonathan Edwards, uses similes and metaphors to intimidate and manipulate the hearts of his puritan listeners. He uses a metaphor to dramatize human weakness. He states the human has as much chance of keeping out of hell ” as a spider’s web would have to stop a fallen rock.” Meaning that the sinners will be presumably going to hell if they don’t do something about it. Another metaphor reads, “ The wrath of God is like great waters that are damned for the present; they increase more and more, and rise higher and higher, till an outlet is given; and the longer the stream is stopped, the more rapid and might is its course, when once it is let loose .”, meaning that all the sins throughout the time have built up and eventually the damn will break and Gods wrath will be let loose upon the sinners of the world. What the sinners depended on peace and safety but to the angry god, “peace and safety were nothing but thin and empty shadows.”

Edwards states, “ you have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment.” The sinners have taken advantage of God, used him, manipulated him, but they are the ones that need him the most and they expect him to help them not enter the “wide and bottomless pit, full of fire and wrath.” “God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart and strains the bow, and it’s nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment away from being made drunk with your blood.” Edwards is saying that God would string a bow and point it at your heart to know he means commerce, and he is willing to stick that arrow up your heart just so you would know your lesson. Therefore, Edwards uses many similes and metaphors to intimidate and also manipulate the puritan listeners about Gods angry wrath towards the sinners.

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