The Classic Sermon


This is the classic sermon preached by Jonathan Edwards on July 8, 1741 in Enfield, Massachusetts (now Connecticut).

Deuteronomy 32:35— . . .their foot shall slide in due time 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 verse 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.
    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 Gods mere will had, in the last 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 consideration:
  5. 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 raises 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 in subduing a rebel,
    who has found means to fortify himself, and has made himself strong by the number of his
    followers. But it is not so with God. There is no fortress that is any defense from the power of
    God. Though hand join in hand, and a vast multitude 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 for us to cut or singe a slender thread that anything 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?
  6. They deserve the be cast into hell; so that divine justice never stands in the way; it
    makes no objection against Gods 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 the hand of arbitrary
    mercy, and Gods mere will that holds it back.
  7. 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 sentence of His unchangeable law, assign
    to him.
  8. 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 at present 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 some who may be hearing me speak now, who, it may be are at ease, than he is
    with many of those that are now in the flames of hell. So 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 a 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 whetted, and held over them, and the pit hath opened its mouth under
  9. 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 goals—Luke 11:21. 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.
  10. 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.
    The principles are active and powerful, exceedingly 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 corruption, 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 Scriptures
    compared to the troubled sea—Isaiah 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, and 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 the man is immoderate and boundless in its fury; and
    while wicked men live here, it is like fire pent up by 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 a fiery oven, or
    furnace of fire and brimstone.
  11. 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
    not 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 to
    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.
  12. 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 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? “. . .how dieth the wise man? as the fool.”— Ecclesiastes 2:16.
  13. All wicked men’s pains and contrivances 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 forms plans to effect his escape
    better than others have done. He does not intend to go 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 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 come to 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 subjects of that misery,
    we, doubtless, should hear one and another reply, “No, I never intended to come here: I had
    arranged 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 unexpectedly; 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 to quick for me O my cursed foolishness! I was flattering myself, and pleasing myself with
    vain dreams of what I would hereafter; and when I was saying peace and safety, then sudden
    destruction came upon me.”
  14. 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 promise 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
    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 those that
    are actually suffering the execution 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 for 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 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.
    The use of this awful subject may be for awakening unconverted persons to a conviction
    of their danger, this that you have heard is the case of every one out if Christ. That world of
    misery, that lake 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 anything between you and hell but the air; it is only the power and
    mere pleasure of God that holds you up.
    You are probably 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 who is suspended in it.
    Your wickedness makes you, as it were, heavy as lead, and to rend 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 to 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 any other purpose, 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 subject 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 they
    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 would be like the chaff of the summer threshing-floor.
    The wrath of God is like great waters that are restrained for the present; but 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 meantime 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 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
    directs the bow to your heart, and strains at 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 many 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 depend for peace and safety,
    were nothing but thin air and empty shadows.
    The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much in the same way 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 were suffered to awake again in this would, 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 arouse in the morning, but that God’s hand has held you up. There is
    no other reason to be given, but His mercy; yea, no other reason can be given 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 if the 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 have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment.
    And consider here more particularly.
  15. 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. Proverbs
    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 who 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 with 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 are to be despised. The wrath of the great King of kings, is as much more terrible than
    theirs, as His majesty is greater. “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 ye shall
    fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear
    him.”—Luke 12:4, 5.
  16. It is the fierceness of His wrath that you are exposed to. We often read of the fury of
    God; as in Isaiah 59:18 “According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his
    adversaries,” So Isaiah 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 so also in
    many other places. Thus we read of “. . .the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty
    God.”—Revelation 19:15. The words are exceedingly terrible. If it had only been said, “the wrath
    of God,” the words would have implied that which is unspeakably dreadful; but it is said, “the
    fierceness and wrath of God;” the fury of God! The fierceness of Jehovah! Oh how dreadful must
    that 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. O! Then, what will be the consequence? What will become of the poor
    worm 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 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 not forbear the execution 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. “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 will I not hear them.”—Ezekiel 8:18. Now, God stands ready to pity you; this is the day
    of mercy; you can cry now with some encouragement of obtaining mercy. But when once the day
    of mercy is passed, 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 may be continued in being to no other end! For you
    will be vessel of wrath fitted to destruction; and there will be no other use of this vessel, but only
    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.” “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my
    hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my
    reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear
    cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish
    cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early,
    but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the
    LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of
    the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the
    simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.”—Proverbs 1:24-32. How
    awful are those words of the great God. “. . .I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in
    my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my
    raiment:”—Isaiah 63:3. It is, perhaps, impossible to conceive of words that carry in them greater
    manifestations of these three things namely, contempt, 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 reward or favor, 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.
  17. The misery you are exposed to is that which God will inflict, to the end that He might
    show what the 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 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 order 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 suffering of His enemies. “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:”—Romans 9:22. And seeing this is His design, and what He has
    determined, even to show how terrible the unmixed, 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 the awful
    majesty and mighty power that is to be seen in it. “And the people shall be as the burnings of
    lime, as thorns cut up shall they be burned 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. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall
    dwell with everlasting burnings?”—Isaiah 33:12-14. 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. “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.”—Isaiah 66:23, 24.
    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 forever, a boundless duration,
    before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your souls; and you will absolutely
    despair of ever having any deliverance’s, and 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
    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. O, what 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 knoweth the
    power of God’s anger?” How dreadful is the state of those who are daily and hourly in danger of
    this great wrath and infinite misery! But this is the dismal case of every soul that has not been
    born again, however moral and strict, sober and religious, they may otherwise be. O that you
    would consider it, whether you be young or old! There is reason for fear that there are many who
    will hear this glorious Gospel, who will actually be the subjects of this very misery to all eternity.
    We know not who they are, 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, of those that we know, 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 every Christian lift up a lamentable and bitter cry over him! But alas!
    instead of one, how many is it likely will remember these solemn reflections in hell! And some
    may be in hell in a very short time, before this year is out. And it would be no wonder if some
    hearers, who are now in health, and quiet and secure, may be there before tomorrow morning.
    Those of you who finally continue in a natural condition who may 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, blessed with Bibles and Sabbaths, and ministers, 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 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 to 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 those who are flocking form day to day to Christ? Are there not many
    who have lived long in the would, who 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? O sirs! Your case, in an especial manner, is extremely
    dangerous. Your guilt and hardness of heart are extremely great. Do not you see how generally
    persons of your years are passed over and left, in the dispensations of God’s mercy? You had
    need to consider yourselves, and wake thoroughly out of sleep: you cannot bear the fierceness
    and wrath of the infinite God. And you, young man, and young woman, 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 opportunity, but if you
    neglect it, it will soon be with you as it is 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 of the children of the land are converted,
    and are becoming 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 great mercy 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. Never was there a period when so many means
    were employed for the salvation of souls, and if you entirely neglect them, you will eternally
    curse the day of your birth. Now, undoubtedly it is, as it was in the days of John the Baptist, the
    axe is laid at the root of the trees, and 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 flee
    from the wrath to come. The wrath of Almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging over every
    unregenerate sinner. Let every one flee out of Sodom: “Escape for your lives, Look not behind
    you, escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed.”

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