Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

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Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”—English textbook pages 87-91

Example of text (quote)

What does the example means and how does it help with Edwards’ purpose?

Persuasive Appeal:

Emotional, Logic, Ethics, none

Rhetorical Device:

Restatement, Repetition, Parallelism, Antithesis, Rhetorical Question, none

Pg. 87:
“…you find you are kept out of Hell, but do not see the hand of God in it;…If God should withdrawal his hand, they would avail no more to keep you from falling than the thin air to hold up a person that is suspended in it.”

  • God is the only thing keeping the people from falling into Hell and nothing else is stopping the descent

  • Edwards’ purpose is to convince the listeners that they cannot do anything themselves to stop from going to Hell, only God can; this example provides a visual for the people to see that only God has the power to save them from Hell



Pg. 88:
“The wrath of God is like great waters that are dammed for the present; they increase more and more, and rise higher and higher till an outlet is given…the waters are constantly rising , and waxing more and more mighty…”

  • God is VERY angry and as time goes on he is getting more and more angry

  • This helps with Edwards’ purpose because it provides a simile for the listeners to picture the vastness of God’s anger



Pg. 89:

“…and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment…”

  • The listeners can do nothing on their own to save themselves from Hell or God’s anger

  • This helps with Edwards’ purpose because this quote uses the parallel structure to illustrate that all the actions that the listeners attempt will be equal in their results—nothing will happen to save them from Hell or God’s wrath



Pg. 89:

“God stands ready to pity you; this is a day of mercy; you may cry now with some encouragement of obtaining mercy.”

  • God is ready to give the listeners a chance, so there is hope that they can be saved from Hell because God feels sorry for them.

  • This helps in Edwards’ purpose because it provides a shift in the “persona” of God; he is not just an angry God but one that can be merciful as well, therefore making it easier for the listeners to follow God’s way and be saved from Hell.


Antithesis—tone only

Pg. 90:
“How dreadful is the state of those that are daily and hourly in the danger of this great wrath and infinite misery! But this is the dismal case of every soul in this congregation that has not been born again, however moral and strict, sober and religious, they may otherwise be.”

  • If, as a listener, you are not “born again” or Christian, then at any minute you could receive God’s anger—no matter how “good” of a life you lead

  • This helps in Edwards’ purpose because it provides a practical cause and effect situation for the listeners to understand what must be done in order to not go to Hell.

Logical and/or Ethical


Pg. 91:
“Haste and escape for your lives, look not behind you, escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed.”

  • The listeners need to run to God and not look back to their past sinful ways as a way to live, otherwise they will receive all of God’s anger and land in Hell.

  • This helps in Edwards’ purpose because it provides a clear and concise action for the listeners to follow in order to save themselves from God’s anger and Hell.



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