Jonathan Edwards 1703 – 1758
We are not Calvinistic, but we respected this man as a
preacher of righteousness.
1703 : Born October 5, at East Windsor, CT.
1716 - 20 : Undergraduate at Yale College (enters just shy of his 13th
birthday)
1720-22 : Studies Theology and earns Masters Degree (M.A.) from Yale:
Begins "Of Being"
1722 - 23 : Ministers in a Presbyterian Church in New York. It is at this time
Edwards begins his "Diary", "Resolutions", "Miscellanies", and writes "The
Mind"
1724 : Begins 2 year Tutorship at Yale
1726 : Becomes Associate Minister in Northampton, MA under his
popular grandfather Solomon Stoddard
1727 : Marries Sarah Pierpont in July.
1729 : February, becomes full pastor of the First Church of Northampton
upon the death of Solomon Stoddard
1734 : Revival breaks out in Northampton. Beginning with Edwards series
on "Justification by Faith"
1737 : Edwards publishes "A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of
God", defending the revival.
1740 - 41 : The Great Awakening - Whitefield first visits New England in
1740. Edwards preaches "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" in
Enfield, CT in 1741
1746 : Writes, "A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections"
1750 : Edwards dismissed as pastor of the Church in Northampton by a
20 -2 margin
1751 : Becomes Pastor and missionary to the Indians in Stockbridge, MA.
While in Stockbridge, MA for 6+ years Edwards does some of his greatest
writing. It is at this time that he writes: "Freedom of the Will", "Concerning
the End for Which God Created the World", "The Nature of True Virtue",
and "Original Sin"
1758 : Edwards accepts the Presidency of the College of New Jersey
(Princeton) in January, and dies of a smallpox inoculation on March 22.

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His sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, first preached at
Enfield, Connecticut, on Sunday, July 8, 1741, has long been recognized
as one of the great sermons of history. During the previous night godly
women had prayed for a spiritual revival. It came. A special service
had been called for by a group of ministers with Edwards as the speaker
for the afternoon session. As the ministers entered the meeting place,
they were shocked by the levity of the congregation. They appeared
thoughtless and vain, and hardly conducted themselves with common
decency. As Edwards preached, he used no gestures but stood
motionless. His left elbow leaned on the pulpit, and his left hand held his
notes. His text was Deuteronomy 32:35,
Their foot shall slide in due time!
Strong men held onto their seats, feeling they were sliding into hell! Men
shook, some losing their reason. His words would so grip the audience
that they felt, should he cease speaking, the doom he pronounced
would immediately come upon them. He flashed before the people the
fiery prospects of eternal damnation, as hell was a living reality to him.
Yet, unlike Whitefield, he did it with calm tones. So vivid was his
imagination that he could graphically picture the eternal torments of
the lost. The theme of the message was, "The God that holds you over the
pit of Hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect, over a
fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked." Men and women stood up
and rolled on the floor, their cries once drowning out the voice of the
preacher. Some are said to have laid hold on the pillars and braces of
the church, apparently feeling that at that very moment their feet were
sliding, that they were being precipitated into Hell. Through the night,
Enfield was like a beleaguered city. In almost every house, men and
women could be heard crying out for God to save them. Before it was
all over 500 were saved in the community that day. Someone has said
about that sermon, "New England might forgive it, but she could never
forget it."

By 1742 the revival movement had grown out of control, and for the next
60 to 70 years it had the effect on American religion of preventing any
attempt at a liberal interpretation of doctrine.

Eventually Edwards's congregation turned against him. He instituted
disciplinary proceedings in church against young people who had
been reading what he considered improper books; later, he objected
strongly to the Halfway Covenant, a New England church custom that
permitted baptized persons to have all the privileges of church
membership except communion although they had not openly
professed conversion. A council representing ten congregations in the
region dismissed Edwards in 1750.
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The sermon that changed America and started what is known
as the first great awakening. Remember that this is only the
sermon, during the preaching of this message the Holy Spirit
was upon Edwards and the congregation.  


        Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

Their foot shall slide in due time- Deut. 32:35

In this verse is threatened the vengeance of God on the wicked
unbelieving Israelites, who were God's visible people, and who lived
under the means of grace; but who, notwithstanding all God's
wonderful works towards them, remained (as vers 28.) void of counsel,
having no understanding in them. Under all the cultivations of heaven,
they brought forth bitter and poisonous fruit; as in the two verses next
preceding the text. -- The expression I have chosen for my text, their foot
shall slide in due time, seems to imply the following things, relating to the
punishment and destruction to which these wicked Israelites were
exposed.
1.  That they were always exposed to destruction; as one that stands or
walks in slippery places is always exposed to fall. This is implied in the
manner of their destruction coming upon them, being represented by
their foot sliding. The same is expressed, Psalm 72:18. "
Surely thou didst
set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction
."
2.  It implies, that they were always exposed to sudden unexpected
destruction. As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to
fall, he cannot foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the
next; and when he does fall, he falls at once without warning: Which is
also expressed in Psalm 73:18,19. "
Surely thou didst set them in slippery
places; thou castedst them down into destruction: How are they
brought into desolation as in a moment!
"
3.  Another thing implied is, that they are liable to fall of themselves,
without being thrown down by the hand of another; as he that stands or
walks on slippery ground needs nothing but his own weight to throw him
down.
4.  That the reason why they are not fallen already and do not fall now is
only that God's appointed time is not come. For it is said, that when that
due time, or appointed time comes, their foot shall slide. Then they shall
be left to fall, as they are inclined by their own weight. God will not hold
them up in these slippery places any longer, but will let them go; and
then, at that very instant, they shall fall into destruction; as he that stands
on such slippery declining ground, on the edge of a pit, he cannot
stand alone, when he is let go he immediately falls and is lost.

The observation from the words that I would now insist upon is this. --
"There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell,
but the mere pleasure of God." -- By the mere pleasure of God, I mean
his sovereign pleasure, his arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation,
hindered by no manner of difficulty, any more than if nothing else but
God's mere will had in the least degree, or in any respect whatsoever,
any hand in the preservation of wicked men one moment. -- The truth
of this observation may appear by the following considerations.
1.  There is no want of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any
moment. Men's hands cannot be strong when God rises up. The
strongest have no power to resist him, nor can any deliver out of his
hands. -- He is not only able to cast wicked men into hell, but he can
most easily do it. Sometimes an earthly prince meets with a great deal
of difficulty to subdue a rebel, who has found means to fortify himself,
and has made himself strong by the numbers of his followers. But it is not
so with God. There is no fortress that is any defence from the power of
God. Though hand join in hand, and vast multitudes of God's enemies
combine and associate themselves, they are easily broken in pieces.
They are as great heaps of light chaff before the whirlwind; or large
quantities of dry stubble before devouring flames. We find it easy to
tread on and crush a worm that we see crawling on the earth; so it is
easy for us to cut or singe a slender thread that any thing hangs by: thus
easy is it for God, when he pleases, to cast his enemies down to hell.
What are we, that we should think to stand before him, at whose rebuke
the earth trembles, and before whom the rocks are thrown down?
2.  They deserve to be cast into hell; so that divine justice never stands in
the way, it makes no objection against God's using his power at any
moment to destroy them. Yea, on the contrary, justice calls aloud for an
infinite punishment of their sins. Divine justice says of the tree that brings
forth such grapes of Sodom, "
Cut it down, why cumbereth it the
ground?
" Luke 13:7. The sword of divine justice is every moment
brandished over their heads, and it is nothing but the hand of arbitrary
mercy, and God's mere will, that holds it back.
3.  They are already under a sentence of condemnation to hell. They do
not only justly deserve to be cast down thither, but the sentence of the
law of God, that eternal and immutable rule of righteousness that God
has fixed between him and mankind, is gone out against them, and
stands against them; so that they are bound over already to hell. John
3:18. "
He that believeth not is condemned already." So that every
unconverted man properly belongs to hell; that is his place; from thence
he is, John 8:23. "Ye are from beneath:" And thither he is bound; it is the
place that justice, and God's word, and the sentence of his
unchangeable law assign to him.
4.  They are now the objects of that very same anger and wrath of God,
that is expressed in the torments of hell. And the reason why they do not
go down to hell at each moment, is not because God, in whose power
they are, is not then very angry with them; as he is with many miserable
creatures now tormented in hell, who there feel and bear the fierceness
of his wrath. Yea, God is a great deal more angry with great numbers
that are now on earth: yea, doubtless, with many that are now in this
congregation, who it may be are at ease, than he is with many of those
who are now in the flames of hell.

So that it is not because God is unmindful of their wickedness, and does
not resent it, that he does not let loose his hand and cut them off. God is
not altogether such an one as themselves, though they may imagine
him to be so. The wrath of God burns against them, their damnation
does not slumber; the pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace
is now hot, ready to receive them; the flames do now rage and glow.
The glittering sword is whet, and held over them, and the pit hath
opened its mouth under them.
5.  The devil stands ready to fall upon them, and seize them as his own,
at what moment God shall permit him. They belong to him; he has their
souls in his possession, and under his dominion. The scripture represents
them as his goods, Luke 11:12. The devils watch them; they are ever by
them at their right hand; they stand waiting for them, like greedy hungry
lions that see their prey, and expect to have it, but are for the present
kept back. If God should withdraw his hand, by which they are
restrained, they would in one moment fly upon their poor souls. The old
serpent is gaping for them; hell opens its mouth wide to receive them;
and if God should permit it, they would be hastily swallowed up and lost.
6.  There are in the souls of wicked men those hellish principles reigning,
that would presently kindle and flame out into hell fire, if it were not for
God's restraints. There is laid in the very nature of carnal men, a
foundation for the torments of hell. There are those corrupt principles, in
reigning power in them, and in full possession of them, that are seeds of
hell fire. These principles are active and powerful, exceeding violent in
their nature, and if it were not for the restraining hand of God upon them,
they would soon break out, they would flame out after the same
manner as the same corruptions, the same enmity does in the hearts of
damned souls, and would beget the same torments as they do in them.
The souls of the wicked are in scripture compared to the troubled sea,
Isa. 57:20. For the present, God restrains their wickedness by his mighty
power, as he does the raging waves of the troubled sea, saying,
"
Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further;" but if God should withdraw
that restraining power, it would soon carry all before it. Sin is the ruin and
misery of the soul; it is destructive in its nature; and if God should leave it
without restraint, there would need nothing else to make the soul
perfectly miserable. The corruption of the heart of man is immoderate
and boundless in its fury; and while wicked men live here, it is like fire
pent up by God's restraints, whereas if it were let loose, it would set on fire
the course of nature; and as the heart is now a sink of sin, so if sin was not
restrained, it would immediately turn the soul into fiery oven, or a
furnace of fire and brimstone.
7.  It is no security to wicked men for one moment, that there are no
visible means of death at hand. It is no security to a natural man, that he
is now in health, and that he does not see which way he should now
immediately go out of the world by any accident, and that there is no
visible danger in any respect in his circumstances. The manifold and
continual experience of the world in all ages, shows this is no evidence,
that a man is not on the very brink of eternity, and that the next step will
not be into another world. The unseen, unthought-of ways and means of
persons going suddenly out of the world are innumerable and
inconceivable. Unconverted men walk over the pit of hell on a rotten
covering, and there are innumerable places in this covering so weak
that they will not bear their weight, and these places are not seen. The
arrows of death fly unseen at noon-day; the sharpest sight cannot
discern them. God has so many different unsearchable ways of taking
wicked men out of the world and sending them to hell, that there is
nothing to make it appear, that God had need to be at the expense of a
miracle, or go out of the ordinary course of his providence, to destroy
any wicked man, at any moment. All the means that there are of sinners
going out of the world, are so in God's hands, and so universally and
absolutely subject to his power and determination, that it does not
depend at all the less on the mere will of God, whether sinners shall at
any moment go to hell, than if means were never made use of, or at all
concerned in the case.
8.  Natural men's prudence and care to preserve their own lives, or the
care of others to preserve them, do not secure them a moment. To this,
divine providence and universal experience do also bear testimony.
There is this clear evidence that men's own wisdom is no security to
them from death; that if it were otherwise we should see some difference
between the wise and politic men of the world, and others, with regard
to their liableness to early and unexpected death: but how is it in fact?
Eccles. 2:16. "
How dieth the wise man? even as the fool."
9.  All wicked men's pains and contrivance which they use to escape
hell, while they continue to reject Christ, and so remain wicked men, do
not secure them from hell one moment. Almost every natural man that
hears of hell, flatters himself that he shall escape it; he depends upon
himself for his own security; he flatters himself in what he has done, in
what he is now doing, or what he intends to do. Every one lays out
matters in his own mind how he shall avoid damnation, and flatters
himself that he contrives well for himself, and that his schemes will not
fail. They hear indeed that there are but few saved, and that the greater
part of men that have died heretofore are gone to hell; but each one
imagines that he lays out matters better for his own escape than others
have done. He does not intend to come to that place of torment; he says
within himself, that he intends to take effectual care, and to order
matters so for himself as not to fail.

But the foolish children of men miserably delude themselves in their own
schemes, and in confidence in their own strength and wisdom; they trust
to nothing but a shadow. The greater part of those who heretofore have
lived under the same means of grace, and are now dead, are
undoubtedly gone to hell; and it was not because they were not as wise
as those who are now alive: it was not because they did not lay out
matters as well for themselves to secure their own escape. If we could
speak with them, and inquire of them, one by one, whether they
expected, when alive, and when they used to hear about hell, ever to
be the subjects of misery: we doubtless, should hear one and another
reply, "No, I never intended to come here: I had laid out matters
otherwise in my mind; I thought I should contrive well for myself -- I
thought my scheme good. I intended to take effectual care; but it came
upon me unexpected; I did not look for it at that time, and in that
manner; it came as a thief -- Death outwitted me: God's wrath was too
quick for me. Oh, my cursed foolishness! I was flattering myself, and
pleasing myself with vain dreams of what I would do hereafter; and
when I was saying, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction came
upon me."
10.  God has laid himself under no obligation, by any promise to keep
any natural man out of hell one moment. God certainly has made no
promises either of eternal life, or of any deliverance or preservation from
eternal death, but what are contained in the covenant of grace, the
promises that are given in Christ, in whom all the promises are yea and
amen. But surely they have no interest in the promises of the covenant of
grace who are not the children of the covenant, who do not believe in
any of the promises, and have no interest in the Mediator of the
covenant.

So that, whatever some have imagined and pretended about promises
made to natural men's earnest seeking and knocking, it is plain and
manifest, that whatever pains a natural man takes in religion, whatever
prayers he makes, till he believes in Christ, God is under no manner of
obligation to keep him a moment from eternal destruction.

So that, thus it is that natural men are held in the hand of God, over the
pit of hell; they have deserved the fiery pit, and are already sentenced
to it; and God is dreadfully provoked, his anger is as great towards them
as to those that are actually suffering the executions of the fierceness of
his wrath in hell, and they have done nothing in the least to appease or
abate that anger, neither is God in the least bound by any promise to
hold them up one moment; the devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping
for them, the flames gather and flash about them, and would fain lay
hold on them, and swallow them up; the fire pent up in their own hearts
is struggling to break out: and they have no interest in any Mediator,
there are no means within reach that can be any security to them. In
short, they have no refuge, nothing to take hold of; all that preserves
them every moment is the mere arbitrary will, and uncovenanted,
unobliged forbearance of an incensed God.

                                        
Application

The use of this awful subject may be for awakening unconverted
persons in this congregation. This that you have heard is the case of
every one of you that are out of Christ. -- That world of misery, that take
of burning brimstone, is extended abroad under you. There is the
dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God; there is hell's wide
gaping mouth open; and you have nothing to stand upon, nor any
thing to take hold of; there is nothing between you and hell but the air; it
is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up.

You probably are not sensible of this; you find you are kept out of hell,
but do not see the hand of God in it; but look at other things, as the good
state of your bodily constitution, your care of your own life, and the
means you use for your own preservation. But indeed these things are
nothing; if God should withdraw 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.

Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend
downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God
should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and
plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and your
own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your
righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep
you out of hell, than a spider's web would have to stop a falling rock.
Were it not for the sovereign pleasure of God, the earth would not bear
you one moment; for you are a burden to it; the creation groans with
you; the creature is made subject to the bondage of your corruption, not
willingly; the sun does not willingly shine upon you to give you light to
serve sin and Satan; the earth does not willingly yield her increase to
satisfy your lusts; nor is it willingly a stage for your wickedness to be acted
upon; the air does not willingly serve you for breath to maintain the
flame of life in your vitals, while you spend your life in the service of
God's enemies. God's creatures are good, and were made for men to
serve God with, and do not willingly subserve to any other purpose, and
groan when they are abused to purposes so directly contrary to their
nature and end. And the world would spew you out, were it not for the
sovereign hand of him who hath subjected it in hope. There are the
black clouds of God's wrath now hanging directly over your heads, full
of the dreadful storm, and big with thunder; and were it not for the
restraining hand of God, it would immediately burst forth upon you. The
sovereign pleasure of God, for the present, stays his rough wind;
otherwise it would come with fury, and your destruction would come
like a whirlwind, and you would be like the chaff on the summer
threshing floor.

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; and the longer the stream is stopped, the more rapid and mighty
is its course, when once it is let loose. It is true, that judgment against your
evil works has not been executed hitherto; the floods of God's
vengeance have been withheld; but your guilt in the mean time is
constantly increasing, and you are every day treasuring up more wrath;
the waters are constantly rising, and waxing more and more mighty;
and there is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, that holds the waters
back, that are unwilling to be stopped, and press hard to go forward. If
God should only withdraw his hand from the flood-gate, it would
immediately fly open, and the fiery floods of the fierceness and wrath of
God, would rush forth with inconceivable fury, and would come upon
you with omnipotent power; and if your strength were ten thousand
times greater than it is, yea, ten thousand times greater than the strength
of the stoutest, sturdiest devil in hell, it would be nothing to withstand or
endure it.

The bow of God's wrath is bent, and 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. Thus all you that
never passed under a great change of heart, by the mighty power of
the Spirit of God upon your souls; all you that were never born again,
and made new creatures, and raised from being dead in sin, to a state
of new, and before altogether unexperienced light and life, are in the
hands of an angry God. However you may have reformed your life in
many things, and may have had religious affections, and may keep up
a form of religion in your families and closets, and in the house of God, it
is nothing but his mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment
swallowed up in everlasting destruction. However unconvinced you
may now be of the truth of what you hear, by and by you will be fully
convinced of it. Those that are gone from being in the like
circumstances with you, see that it was so with them; for destruction
came suddenly upon most of them; when they expected nothing of it,
and while they were saying, Peace and safety: now they see, that those
things on which they depended for peace and safety, were nothing but
thin air and empty shadows.

The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider,
or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully
provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as
worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than
to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more
abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in
ours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel
did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from
falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that
you did not go to hell the last night; that you was suffered to awake
again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no
other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you
arose in the morning, but that God's hand has held you up. There is no
other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have
sat here in the house of God, provoking his pure eyes by your sinful
wicked manner of attending his solemn worship. Yea, there is nothing
else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment
drop down into hell.

O sinner! Consider 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 and
incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell.
You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing
about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and
you have no interest in any Mediator, 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. -- And consider here more particularly,
1.  Whose wrath it is: it is the wrath of the infinite God. If it were only the
wrath of man, though it were of the most potent prince, it would be
comparatively little to be regarded. The wrath of kings is very much
dreaded, especially of absolute monarchs, who have the possessions
and lives of their subjects wholly in their power, to be disposed of at their
mere will. Prov. 20:2. "
The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: Whoso
provoketh him to anger, sinneth against his own soul.
" The subject that
very much enrages an arbitrary prince, is liable to suffer the most
extreme torments that human art can invent, or human power can
inflict. But the greatest earthly potentates in their greatest majesty and
strength, and when clothed in their greatest terrors, are but feeble,
despicable worms of the dust, in comparison of the great and almighty
Creator and King of heaven and earth. It is but little that they can do,
when most enraged, and when they have exerted the utmost of their
fury. All the kings of the earth, before God, are as grasshoppers; they are
nothing, and less than nothing: both their love and their hatred is to be
despised. The wrath of the great King of kings, is as much more terrible
than theirs, as his majesty is greater. Luke 12:4,5. "
And I say unto you, my
friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that, have no
more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: fear
him, which after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell: yea, I say
unto you, Fear him.
"
2.  It is the fierceness of his wrath that you are exposed to. We often read
of the fury of God; as in Isa. 59:18. "
According to their deeds,
accordingly he will repay fury to his adversaries.
" So Isa. 66:15. "For
behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a
whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of
fire.
" And in many other places. So, Rev. 19:15, we read of "the wine
press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
" The words are
exceeding terrible. If it had only been said, "the wrath of God," the
words would have implied that which is infinitely dreadful: but it is "the
fierceness and wrath of God." The fury of God! the fierceness of Jehovah!
Oh, how dreadful that must be! Who can utter or conceive what such
expressions carry in them! But it is also "
the fierceness and wrath of
almighty God.
" As though there would be a very great manifestation of
his almighty power in what the fierceness of his wrath should inflict, as
though omnipotence should be as it were enraged, and exerted, as
men are wont to exert their strength in the fierceness of their wrath. Oh!
then, what will be the consequence! What will become of the poor
worms that shall suffer it! Whose hands can be strong? And whose heart
can endure? To what a dreadful, inexpressible, inconceivable depth of
misery must the poor creature be sunk who shall be the subject of this!

Consider this, you that are here present, that yet remain in an
unregenerate state. That God will execute the fierceness of his anger,
implies, that he will inflict wrath without any pity. When God beholds the
ineffable extremity of your case, and sees your torment to be so vastly
disproportioned to your strength, and sees how your poor soul is crushed,
and sinks down, as it were, into an infinite gloom; he will have no
compassion upon you, he will not forbear the executions of his wrath, or
in the least lighten his hand; there shall be no moderation or mercy, nor
will God then at all stay his rough wind; he will have no regard to your
welfare, nor be at all careful lest you should suffer too much in any other
sense, than only that you shall not suffer beyond what strict justice
requires. Nothing shall be withheld, because it is so hard for you to bear.
Ezek. 8:18. "
Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare,
neither will I have pity; and though they cry in mine ears with a loud
voice, yet I will not hear them.
" Now God stands ready to pity you; this is
a day of mercy; you may cry now with some encouragement of
obtaining mercy. But when once the day of mercy is past, your most
lamentable and dolorous cries and shrieks will be in vain; you will be
wholly lost and thrown away of God, as to any regard to your welfare.
God will have no other use to put you to, but to suffer misery; you shall be
continued in being to no other end; for you will be a vessel of wrath fitted
to destruction; and there will be no other use of this vessel, but to be filled
full of wrath. God will be so far from pitying you when you cry to him,
that it is said he will only "
laugh and mock," Prov. 1:25,26,&c.

How awful are those words, Isa. 63:3, which are the words of the great
God. "
I will tread them in mine anger, and will trample them in my fury,
and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain
all my raiment.
" It is perhaps impossible to conceive of words that carry
in them greater manifestations of these three things, viz. contempt, and
hatred, and fierceness of indignation. If you cry to God to pity you, he
will be so far from pitying you in your doleful case, or showing you the
least regard or favour, that instead of that, he will only tread you under
foot. And though he will know that you cannot bear the weight of
omnipotence treading upon you, yet he will not regard that, but he will
crush you under his feet without mercy; he will crush out your blood, and
make it fly, and it shall be sprinkled on his garments, so as to stain all his
raiment. He will not only hate you, but he will have you in the utmost
contempt: no place shall be thought fit for you, but under his feet to be
trodden down as the mire of the streets.
3,  The misery you are exposed to is that which God will inflict to that
end, that he might show what that wrath of Jehovah is. God hath had it
on his heart to show to angels and men, both how excellent his love is,
and also how terrible his wrath is. Sometimes earthly kings have a mind
to show how terrible their wrath is, by the extreme punishments they
would execute on those that would provoke them. Nebuchadnezzar,
that mighty and haughty monarch of the Chaldean empire, was willing
to show his wrath when enraged with Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abednego; and accordingly gave orders that the burning fiery furnace
should be heated seven times hotter than it was before; doubtless, it was
raised to the utmost degree of fierceness that human art could raise it.
But the great God is also willing to show his wrath, and magnify his awful
majesty and mighty power in the extreme sufferings of his enemies.
Rom. 9:22. "
What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his
power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath
fitted to destruction?
" And seeing this is his design, and what he has
determined, even to show how terrible the unrestrained wrath, the fury
and fierceness of Jehovah is, he will do it to effect. There will be
something accomplished and brought to pass that will be dreadful with
a witness. When the great and angry God hath risen up and executed
his awful vengeance on the poor sinner, and the wretch is actually
suffering the infinite weight and power of his indignation, then will God
call upon the whole universe to behold that awful majesty and mighty
power that is to be seen in it. Isa. 33:12-14. "
And the people shall be as
the burnings of lime, as thorns cut up shall they be burnt in the fire. Hear
ye that are far off, what I have done; and ye that are near,
acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath
surprised the hypocrites,
" &c.

Thus it will be with you that are in an unconverted state, if you continue
in it; the infinite might, and majesty, and terribleness of the omnipotent
God shall be magnified upon you, in the ineffable strength of your
torments. You shall be tormented in the presence of the holy angels,
and in the presence of the Lamb; and when you shall be in this state of
suffering, the glorious inhabitants of heaven shall go forth and look on
the awful spectacle, that they may see what the wrath and fierceness of
the Almighty is; and when they have seen it, they will fall down and
adore that great power and majesty. Isa. 66:23,24. "
And it shall come to
pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to
another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And
they shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that have
transgressed against me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their
fire be quenched, and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.
"
4.  It is everlasting wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and
wrath of Almighty God one moment; but you must suffer it to all eternity.
There will be no end to this exquisite horrible misery. When you look
forward, you shall see a long for ever, a boundless duration before you,
which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will
absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any
mitigation, any rest at all. You will know certainly that you must wear out
long ages, millions of millions of ages, in wrestling and conflicting with
this almighty merciless vengeance; and then when you have so done,
when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner,
you will know that all is but a point to what remains. So that your
punishment will indeed be infinite. Oh, who can express what the state
of a soul in such circumstances is! All that we can possibly say about it,
gives but a very feeble, faint representation of it; it is inexpressible and
inconceivable: For "who knows the power of God's anger?"

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. Oh that you
would consider it, whether you be young or old! There is reason to think,
that there are many in this congregation now hearing this discourse, that
will actually be the subjects of this very misery to all eternity. We know
not who they are, or in what seats they sit, or what thoughts they now
have. It may be they are now at ease, and hear all these things without
much disturbance, and are now flattering themselves that they are not
the persons, promising themselves that they shall escape. If we knew
that there was one person, and but one, in the whole congregation, that
was to be the subject of this misery, what an awful thing would it be to
think of! If we knew who it was, what an awful sight would it be to see
such a person! How might all the rest of the congregation lift up a
lamentable and bitter cry over him! But, alas! instead of one, how many
is it likely will remember this discourse in hell? And it would be a
wonder, if some that are now present should not be in hell in a very short
time, even before this year is out. And it would be no wonder if some
persons, that now sit here, in some seats of this meeting-house, in health,
quiet and secure, should be there before tomorrow morning. Those of
you that finally continue in a natural condition, that shall keep out of hell
longest will be there in a little time! your damnation does not slumber; it
will come swiftly, and, in all probability, very suddenly upon many of
you. You have reason to wonder that you are not already in hell. It is
doubtless the case of some whom you have seen and known, that
never deserved hell more than you, and that heretofore appeared as
likely to have been now alive as you. Their case is past all hope; they
are crying in extreme misery and perfect despair; but here you are in
the land of the living and in the house of God, and have an opportunity
to obtain salvation. What would not those poor damned hopeless souls
give for one day's opportunity such as you now enjoy!

And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ
has thrown the door of mercy wide open, and stands in calling and
crying with a loud voice to poor sinners; a day wherein many are
flocking to him, and pressing into the kingdom of God. Many are daily
coming from the east, west, north and south; many that were very lately
in the same miserable condition that you are in, are now in a happy
state, with their hearts filled with love to him who has loved them, and
washed them from their sins in his own blood, and rejoicing in hope of
the glory of God. How awful is it to be left behind at such a day! To see so
many others feasting, while you are pining and perishing! To see so
many rejoicing and singing for joy of heart, while you have cause to
mourn for sorrow of heart, and howl for vexation of spirit! How can you
rest one moment in such a condition? Are not your souls as precious as
the souls of the people at Suffield, where they are flocking from day to
day to Christ?

Are there not many here who have lived long in the world, and are not
to this day born again? and so are aliens from the commonwealth of
Israel, and have done nothing ever since they have lived, but treasure
up wrath against the day of wrath? Oh, sirs, your case, in an especial
manner, is extremely dangerous. Your guilt and hardness of heart is
extremely great. Do you not see how generality persons of your years
are passed over and left, in the present remarkable and wonderful
dispensation of God's mercy? You had need to consider yourselves,
and awake thoroughly out of sleep. You cannot bear the fierceness and
wrath of the infinite God. -- And you, young men, and young women,
will you neglect this precious season which you now enjoy, when so
many others of your age are renouncing all youthful vanities, and
flocking to Christ? You especially have now an extraordinary
opportunity; but if you neglect it, it will soon be with you as with those
persons who spent all the precious days of youth in sin, and are now
come to such a dreadful pass in blindness and hardness. -- And you,
children, who are unconverted, do not you know that you are going
down to hell, to bear the dreadful wrath of that God, who is now angry
with you every day and every night? Will you be content to be the
children of the devil, when so many other children in the land are
converted, and are become the holy and happy children of the King of
kings?

And let every one that is yet out of Christ, and hanging over the pit of
hell, whether they be old men and women, or middle aged, or young
people, or little children, now hearken to the loud calls of God's word
and providence. This acceptable year of the Lord, a day of such great
favour to some, will doubtless be a day of as remarkable vengeance to
others. Men's hearts harden, and their guilt increases apace at such a
day as this, if they neglect their souls; and never was there so great
danger of such persons being given up to hardness of heart and
blindness of mind. God seems now to be hastily gathering in his elect in
all parts of the land; and probably the greater part of adult persons that
ever shall be saved, will be brought in now in a little time, and that it will
be as it was on the great out-pouring of the Spirit upon the Jews in the
apostles' days; the election will obtain, and the rest will be blinded. If this
should be the case with you, you will eternally curse this day, and will
curse the day that ever you was born, to see such a season of the
pouring out of God's Spirit, and will wish that you had died and gone to
hell before you had seen it. Now undoubtedly it is, as it was in the days
of John the Baptist, the axe is in an extraordinary manner laid at the root
of the trees, that every tree which brings not forth good fruit, may be
hewn down and cast into the fire.

Therefore, let every one that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the
wrath to come. The wrath of Almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging
over a great part of this congregation. Let every one fly out of Sodom:
"Haste and escape for your lives, look not behind you, escape to the
mountain, lest you be consumed."
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Acts 16:31  ..
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,
Roman  10:13  
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall
be saved.


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