It’s hard to imagine being told that one is going to hell, that God hates them, and that things will never get better for them. However, that’s exactly what Jonathan Edwards did. During colonial times, their lives were so miserable, that having a scapegoat or someone to blame for all their troubles was actually somewhat comforting. In Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Edwards is preaching his 6-hour work to a group of listeners. He performed it in a disheartening manner with little tone in his voice; it caused the audience to go insane. While essentially he did complete the purpose of his work by getting the point across. He also engaged the audience in a bad way and hurt them in the end. He used intense imagery and gory ideas to scare them. Overall Edwards work was successful yet cruel, while it may have been terrorizing to anyone listening he did get the point across and he completed what he wanted to complete. Through the blunt delivery and emotionless tone of such horrific and intense points, Edwards shows a disregard for the audience emotions, but still stays true to his purpose of the work
First, his delivery. Edwards delivered this information with a depressing and dispassionate tone. Something about him saying such terrible things in such a calm manner made it ten times worse for listeners of his 6-hour lecture. Edwards stated: “The bow of God’s Wrath is bent, the arrow made ready on the string and justice bends the arrow at your heart and strains the bow and it is 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 from being made drunk with your blood” (Edwards 109). Here he is talking about how at any moment God can snap his fingers and one would be off to hell and die. Now, this is a bold statement as it is however with the monotone voice and no feeling to it, the line becomes creepier. It seems as if he doesn’t care and that he really just wants to scare his audience and make this even further intense people who were already screaming in terror and fainting in the background of this blunt delivery that he had. He simply ignored it and moved on.
While his delivery from the audience’s point of view was petrifying, he at the same time did it successfully. Saying these things in such a blunt way maybe was the best choice to get his teachings across. Without scaring the audience he may have never been able to get such an effect and such a believable outtake. So from Edward’s point of view, this was probably a successful everyday lecture. It’s absolutely crazy to remove yourself from these emotions and simply say this is what’s going to happen. It scared the audience but gave them a small sense of purpose. He showed the audience that it could all be God’s fault as to why their lives are so atrocious; who knows maybe Edwards even did have an emotional connection to the things he was saying but just didn’t show them for the sake of the work. Edwards says: “When God beholds the ineffable extremity of your case and sees your torment to be so vastly disproportionate your strength…. and infinite extremality he will have no comparison upon you he will forbear the executions of his Wrath” (Edwards 110). This sounds absolutely terrible and scary however he was able to get his point across to the audience and get them to listen. Edwards was successful, but from the audience point of view, he was not, he was actually quite terrifying. Therefore creating an only half prosperous delivery and work.