Compare and Contrast

The Glorious Speeches of Two Glorious Men

A fire and brimstone preacher, Jonathan Edwards was a stalwart Puritan and much of his Calvinist background is apparent in the frightening imagery of his sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."   He used personification, hyperbole, and alliteration to strike the fear into his congregation. In fact, the image of the bottomless pit of hell whose fiery floods wax high enough to burn the gossamer thread that holds the unworthy souls over it evoked so much terror in the congregation of Edwards that women fainted and men became terrorized and trembled. Frederick Douglass tried to evoke a desire for Liberation amongst the African-American people in his writings and oratory. To many people, Douglass appeared to be the Moses of that time, leading his people to freedom not only physically, but mentally and getting there by non-violent means. Douglass believed that if he could successfully show that blacks were in fact equal to whites, he thought that in turn everyone would recognize this and put an end to slavery while using exaggeration, rhetorical questions, and emotional appeals in hopes of changing their minds about oppression. Even though both men have very different backgrounds, they both fight against misery, hypocrisy, and the sins of humanity; one trying to relieve people of their sins and making them see the light, while another relieving people from the grasp and corruption of slavery that its immoral and wrong.

Jonathan Edwards's sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" is moving and powerful. His effectiveness as an eighteenth century New England religious leader is rooted in his expansive knowledge of the Bible and human nature, as well as a genuine desire to "awaken" and save as many souls as possible. His understanding of this cornerstone of New England society enables him to reinforce a persuasive dissertation with biblical quotes and passages. These instances of manipulation occur in the a...