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The Puritans of early America were constantly reminded of the consequences of sinning.

One such dynamic pastor of the time was Jonathan Edwards whose mission was to convert and convince his congregation of sinners. He did this through his powerful sermons. In "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," Edwards uses several rhetorical devices that contribute to the effectiveness of his sermon. Edwards uses imagery to paint a horrifying picture of eternal damnation for unsaved souls. His use of graphic words describing the horrors and torment awaiting sinners has a remarkable effect on his audience. Even if Hell isn't a real place and all of the pain and suffering described is a lie, Edwards' way of delivering his message is so successful that it scares his listeners into believing and following his proposed method of redemption. Elsewhere, he uses imagery to give his congregation a mental picture of God holding sinners above the fiery pits of Hell. After filling their hearts with fear, he uses this image to show them that there is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of God's mercy and forgiveness. There is no doubt as to the effectiveness of his tactics in using imagery to penetrate into the hearts and minds of those who are present. Edwards uses figures of speech to compare abstract concepts of God's wrath and the sinner's evil to common experiences. His use of metaphors span over whole paragraphs, such as the one about the bow of God's wrath being drawn and held over the hearts of sinners. This metaphor shows that God could unleash his wrath at any moment but his kindness saves them. Later, Edwards compares sinners to spiders and serpents, creatures despised by humans just as sinners are despised by God. This shows his unconverted congregation how poorly God thinks of them. Jonathan Edwards uses these figures of speech to make his message easier to understand, which makes it hit much closer to home among the hearts of his listeners. Edwards conveys frightening images throughout his sermon to induce his congregation into believing they are vulnerable to God's wrath. He continuously uses images of pain and eternal damnation, such as going into detail about what Hell is like and what kind of tortures await sinners, in order to frighten those present into leaving their old ways and converting. Edwards' ingenious choice of words that he uses describes the power of God and the terrible Hell awaiting sinners with only the former keeping the damned away from the latter. These words easily penetrate into the minds of his congregation and frighten them beyond belief. These choices of words and his use of such horrible images are mostly successful in their intent, to scare his audience. Edwards held his audience captive with his promises of eternal damnation if proper steps were not taken. The congregation felt the intense impact of his rhetoric and lived on the fear of the power of God. In this way, he was able to keep his followers from sin. Background Before the Salem witchcraft persecutions, the supernatural was part of everyday life, for there was a strong belief that Satan was present and active on earth. This concept emerged in Europe around the fifteenth century and spread to Colonial America. Previously, witchcraft had been widely used as peasants heavily relied on particular charms for farming and agriculture. Over time, the idea of white magic transformed into dark magic and became associated with demons and evil spirits. From 1560 to 1670, witchcraft persecutions became common as superstitions became associated with the devil. In "Against Modern Sadducism" (1668) , Joseph Glanvill claimed that he could prove the existence of witches and ghosts of the supernatural realm. Glanvill wrote about the "denial of the bodily resurrection, and the [supernatural] spirits".[3] In his treatise, he claimed that ingenious men should believe in witches and apparitions; if they doubted the reality of spirits, they not only denied demons, but also the almighty God. Glanvill wanted to prove that the supernatural could not be denied; those who did deny apparitions were considered heretics for it also disproved their beliefs in angels.[4] Works from men like Glanvill's and Cotton Mather tried to prove to humanity that "demons were alive",[5] which played on the fears of individuals who believed that demons were active among them on Earth. Men and women in Salem believed that all the misfortunes were attributed to the work of the devil; when things like infant death, crop failures or friction among the congregation occurred, the supernatural was blamed. Because of the unusual size of the outbreak of witchcraft accusations, various aspects of the historical context of this episode have been considered as specific contributing factors. Political context he original 1629 Royal Charter of Massachusetts was canceled in 1684,[7] when King James II installed Sir Edmund Andros as the Governor of the Dominion of New England. Andros was ousted in 1689 when the "Glorious Revolution" replaced the Catholic King James II with the Protestants William and Mary. Simon Bradstreet and Thomas Danforth were elected Governor and Lieutenant Governor. At the same time tensions erupted between the English colonists settling in "the Eastward" (the present-day coast of Maine) and the

French-supported Wabanaki Indians in what came to be known as King William's War. This was only 13 years after the devastating King Philip's War with the Wampanoag and other indigenous tribes in southern and western New England. In October 1690, William Phips led an unsuccessful attack on Quebec. Many English settlements along the coast continued to be attacked by Native Americans, including particularly the Schenectady massacre in the Colony of New York in 1690 and the Candlemas Massacre, an assault on York, Maine, on January 25, 1692. A new charter for the Province of Massachusetts was given final approval in England October 16, 1691.[8] News of the appointment of Phips as the new governor reached Boston in late January[9] and a copy of the new charter arrived in Boston on February 8, 1692.[10] Phips was formally voted governor on Election Day, May 4, 1692. Phips arrived in Boston ten days later, on May 14.[11] On May 16, Phips was sworn in as Governor and William Stoughton as Deputy Governor.[12] One of the first orders of business for the new Governor and Council on May 27, 1692, was the formal nomination of county justices of the peace, sheriffs, and the commission of a Special Court of Oyer and Terminer to handle the large numbers of people who were "thronging" the jails.[13] Boyer and Nissenbaum have postulated that without a valid charter, there was no legitimate form of government to try capital cases until Phips arrived with the new charter,[14] but this has been disputed by David Konig, who points out that between charters, according to the Records of the Court of Assistants, a group of 14 pirates were tried and condemned on January 27, 1690, for acts of piracy and murder in August and October 1689.[15] Religious context "The Puritans" were a political and religious party in England beginning in the mid-16th century. The party, influenced by Calvinism, opposed many of the traditions of the new Protestant Church of England, including the Book of Common Prayer, the use of priestly vestments (cap and gown) during services, the use of the Holy Cross during baptism, and kneeling during the sacrament, all of which constituted "popery". In the 17th century, England erupted in civil war, with the Puritan Party winning and executing King Charles I. This success was short-lived as the Commonwealth's failure under the Lord Protector's successor Richard Cromwell led to restoration of the old order under Charles II. Emigration to Massachusetts Colony by Puritans during this almost constant state of political upheaval resulted in a population of settlers both fervently religious and politically astute. Self-governance came naturally to them, and building a society based on their religious beliefs was their goal. The colony of Massachusetts was not technically a theocracy, although its leaders were all prominent members of their churches, and no non-churchgoing man could prosper in government.[20] However, in the small Salem Village as in the colony at large, all of life was governed by the precepts of the Church, which was Calvinist in the extreme. Music, dancing, celebration of holidays such as Christmas and Easter, were absolutely forbidden,[21] as they supposedly had roots in Paganism. The only music allowed at all was the unaccompanied singing of hymnsthe folk songs of the period glorified human love and nature, and were therefore against God. Toys and especially dolls were also forbidden, and considered a frivolous waste of time.[22] The only schooling for children was of religious doctrine and the Bible, and all the villagers were expected to go to the meeting house for three-hour sermons every Wednesday and Sunday. Village life revolved around the meeting house, and those celebrations permitted, such as at harvest time, were centered there.[23] Prior to 1692, there had been rumors of witchcraft in villages neighboring Salem Village and other towns. Cotton Mather, a minister of Boston's North Church (not to be confused with the Episcopal Old North Church of Paul Revere fame) was a prolific publisher of pamphlets and a firm believer in witchcraft. In his book Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions (1689), Mather describes his "oracular observations" and how "stupendous witchcraft"[24] had affected the children of Boston mason John Goodwin. Mather illustrates how the Goodwins eldest child had been tempted by the devil and stole linen from the washerwoman Mary Glover. Glover was a miserable old woman whom her husband often described as a witch; this is perhaps why Glover was accused of casting spells on the Goodwin children. After the event, four out of six Goodwin children began to experience strange fits or what some people referred to as "the disease of astonishment".[25] The manifestations attributed to the disease quickly became associated with witchcraft. These symptoms were things like neck and back pains, tongues being drawn from their throats, and loud random outcries; other symptoms included having no control over their bodies such as becoming limber, flapping their arms like birds, or trying to harm others as well as themselves. These symptoms would fuel the craze of 1692.