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Edwards’ compares God’s wrath to “great waters”, which have the potential to rise above and cause people great destruction, if God chooses to let the flood gates open. A similar image that was used is a comparison of God’s wrath to a bow and arrow, with the bow bent and the arrow waiting to penetrate the sinner’s heart. These two examples helped the congregation view Edwards’ purpose in a more familiar and relatable way. Simple and vivid metaphors were used and were also very effective. The corrupt ways of sinners and their state of evil were as “heavy as lead,” which is God pulling souls down to Hell. Another frightening message Edwards’ conveys is the likelihood of being accepted into heaven. He compares the acceptance with the chance of “A spider’s web would have to stop a fallen rock.” This metaphor shows the seriousness of sin, and why a sinner should want to repent. The comparison of a sinner to a serpent or spider portrays the way God despises a sinner. Spiders and serpents are hated by humans, which makes sinners highly despised by God. Throughout the sermon, Edwards’ has a judgmental and angry tone. He uses this tone in his arguments, to make the audience feel that sudden impact of guilt. Having this repetitive anger, he is able to have his lecture scare the congregation, and have it open their mind in a different way. He uses the words “you” and “your” as a direct target and blame to the audience. By doing this, the audience can sit back in their seats and feel the guilt hit them like a ton of bricks, just like Edwards would want. Another evident way of making the audience feel guilty is by simply calling them “sinner,” which Edwards has done multiple times in his piece. Edwards’ sentence structure grants another opportunity to make his audience suffer. The torture, torment, and destructiveness of Hell is heavily described and done in long and elaborate sentences, making the audience have to suffer through them. Edwards’ furious tone and picture of a Hell full of consequences captivated the minds of sinners, and scared them away from what could become their life eternally. The wrath and intimidation of God persuaded an audience to repent in a clever way. Related posts:
The immediate regeneration position outlined in the preceding pages is not popular in the Christian community. Undoubtedly, the most common view within evangelicalism is what might be termed "decisional regeneration". This view, often called "gospel regeneration", presents the preached gospel as the means that God employs to call dead sinners to life in Christ. The sinner, according to the gospel-means position, must hear and believe the gospel in order to be born again. He must make a conscious decision for Christ if he will be saved. I believe that this position is in error and now proceed to support that conviction by five theological arguments.