Redemption of the spirit and soul, Eternity, Heaven, and Hell have always been solemn, undisclosed, and indirect subjects. Such important matters of life deserve a more appropriate approach. These subjects need to be clearly understood and firmly discussed. They are extremely urgent and must be elaborately explained to all that they may concern. In “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,’ Jonathan Edwards extensively enhances the urgency of turning lives over to God through a provocative style filled with vivid illustrations and elaborate imagery. One recognizes that the style of this work is extremely aggressive and graphic.
Edward’s word choice is quite negative, yet always followed by a “positive-to-come” or “resolution’ to his negativity. The repetition that Edward’s uses in his writing style emphasizes the seriousness and importance of the subject as shown in the phrase, “… the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God whose wrath is provoked… .’ In addition, the graphic imagery creates inescapable illustrations in the mind. For example, the passage, “If God should only withdraw his hand from the floodgate, it would immediately fly open, and the fiery floods of the fierceness and wrath of God, would rush forth with inconceivable fury…’ shows the almighty, all powerful, and all controlling might of the wrath of God. The sentence structure is lengthy; however, it is quite comprehendible. The excited punctuation grabs the attention of the reader and emphasizes the severity of their positions, as in the expression, “O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in… .’ Consequently, the style creates intensity with strong feeling through the imagery, which enhances the impact on the reader. The elements of this writing style suggest a severe warning, even a threat, towards the reader of the extravagant danger they face.
The 1880s to the 1940s marks a period in American Literature known as Realism and Naturalism. This was the time when most literary works reflected the ideas of pessimism and determinism, and where events and even God oppose human free will or remain indifferent to human desires. One author and poet of this era was Stephen Crane. Crane published “A God in Wrath” in 1905 in a collection of poems ...
The graphic and personal images create the atmosphere of urgency and strong feeling that help to explain the profound message and purpose of this piece. As soon as Edwards fills the reader’s head with all these overwhelming feelings and clear vivid images, he speaks optimistically of hope and redemption. This, in turn, affects the reader by showing the “way out’ of their apparent deadly damnation. Furthermore, this aggressive style of writing, created from the overwhelming illustrations, threatens the reader to consider seriously the uttermost severity and urgency of his relationship. Edwards’s writing style complements the importance and magnitude of his message. One must also consider the redemption and happiness that lies in the hope.
This threatening style is quite impact ful when carrying a well developed purpose and aimed at the right audience. It vividly discusses some of the most indirect and undisclosed topics of today’s religion. It helps to clarify and define the Redemption of the soul and spirit, Eternity, Heaven and Hell.