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Home » Jonathan Edwards Sermon: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (Transcript)

Jonathan Edwards Sermon: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (Transcript)

Full text of American theologian Jonathan Edwards’ sermon: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” which was preached on July 8, 1741 in Enfield, Massachusetts (now Connecticut).

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(Jonathan Edwards Sermon):

The text is from that great book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 32 and verse 35:

“To Me belongeth vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: For the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.

In this verse is threatened the vengeance of God on the wicked, unbelieving Israelites that were God’s visible people, and who lived under means of grace; and that notwithstanding all God’s wonderful works that He had brought towards that people. Yet they remained, as is expressed in verse 28: ‘void of counsel, having no understanding in them. And that under all the cultivations of heaven brought forth bitter and poisonous fruit, as in the two verses next preceding the text.

The expression that 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 that these wicked Israelites were exposed to.

Firstly, it implies 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 destructions coming upon them, being represented by their foots sliding.

This same thought is expressed in Psalm 73:18: ‘Surely Thou didst set them in slippery places, Thou castedst them down into destruction.’

Secondly, 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 can’t foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the next and when he does fall, he falls at once without warning.

This is also expressed in the same Psalm 73, but verse 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?’

Another thing that is implied is that they are liable to fall by 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.

And it also implies that the reason why they are not fallen already and don’t 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 won’t 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 in such slippery, declining ground on the edge of a pit, that he can’t stand alone, and 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.

First, consider that there is no want, or lack of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any moment. Men’s hands can’t 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 that 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 defense 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?

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Consider secondly, that 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.

Consider third, ‘But they are already under a sentence of condemnation to hell.’ They don’t only justly deserve to be cast down there, 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 have.

The Gospel of John 3:18, states “he that believeth not is condemned already”, so that every unconverted man properly belongs to hell, that is his place from thence he is.

The Gospel of John 8:23, ‘ye are from beneath’ and thither he is bound, it’s the place that justice and God’s word, and the sentence of His unchangeable law assigns to him.

Consider in the fourth case that they are now the objects of that very same anger and wrath of God that is expressed in the very torments of hell. And the reason why they don’t go down to hell at each moment is not because God, in whose power they are, is not then very angry with them, as angry as He is with many of those miserable creatures that He is now tormenting in hell, and do 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, yeah, doubtless with many that are now in this congregation, that it may be are at ease and quiet, than he is with many of those that are now in the flames of hell. So that it is not because God is unmindful of their wickedness, and don’t resent it, that He don’t 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 don’t 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 wet and held over them, and the pit hath opened her mouth wide under them.

Consider in the fifth case, that the devil stands ready to fall upon them, and sees 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 11:21) 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.

Consider in the 6th case that 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 man 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 and 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, as the same enmity does in the hearts of damned souls, and would beget the same torments in them as they do in them.

The souls of the wicked are, in Scripture, 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 afore 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 a thing which is immoderate and boundless in its fury. And while wicked men live here, it is like fire pent up by God’s restraints, one as 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 a fiery oven, or a furnace of fire and brimstone.

And consider in the 7th case that it is no security to wicked men for one moment, but that there are no visible means of death at hand. ‘Tis no security to a natural man that he is now in good health, that he don’t 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 that this is no evidence that a man is not on the very brink of eternity, and that the next step he takes won’t 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 won’t bear their weight, and these places are not seen. The arrows of death fly unseen at noonday, the sharpest sight can’t 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 are so universally, absolutely subject to His power and determination, that it don’t depend at all less on the mere will of God whether sinners shall at any one moment go to hell, than if ways and means were never made use of, or at all concerned in the case.

And consider in the 8th case that all natural men’s prudence and care to preserve their own lives, or the care of others to preserve them, don’t secure them a moment.

To this divine providence and universal experience does 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 politick men of the world and others with regard to their liableness to early and unexpected death.

But how is it in fact, Ecclesiastes 2, verse 16: ‘How dies the wise man? The same as the fool.’

In the 9th case. Consider that all wicked men’s pains and contrivance they use to escape hell, while they continue to reject the Lord Jesus Christ, and so remain wicked men don’t 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, or in what he is now doing, or in what he intends to do. Everyone 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 won’t fail.

They hear indeed that there are but few saved, and that the bigger 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 doesn’t intend to come to that place of torment. He says within himself that he intends to take care that shall be effectual, and to order matters so for himself as not to fail.

But the foolish children of men do miserably delude themselves in their own schemes, and in their confidence, in their own strength and wisdom, they trust to nothing but a shadow.

The bigger part of those that 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 that are now alive. It was not because they did not lay out matters as well for themselves to secure their own escape.

If it were so that we could come to speak with them, and could 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 that 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 out witted me. God’s wrath was too quick for me. Oh, my cursed and 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.’

And consider in the 10th case that 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 that are not the children of the covenant, and that don’t believe in any of the promises of the covenant, that have no interest in the Mediator of the new covenant. So that whatever some have imagined and pretended about some promises made to natural man’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 when 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 of 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 un-covenanted, unobliged forbearance of an incensed God.

The use of this awful subject may be of 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 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 to take hold of. There is nothing between you and hell but the air; ’tis 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 don’t 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 protection and 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 does 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 your earthly possessions and your purses of silver and gold. 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 that so is 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 don’t willingly shine upon you to give you light to serve sin and Satan. The earth don’t willingly yield her increase to satisfy your lusts, nor is it willingly a stage for your wickedness to be acted upon.

The air don’t willingly serve you for breath, to maintain the flame of life and 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 don’t willingly subserve to any other purpose. And they groan when they are abused to purposes so directly contrary to their nature and their 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 of the summer threshing floor.

Oh, now quiet your hearts and permit yourselves to be instructed. The wrath of God is like great waters that are damned for the present. They increase more and more, and rise higher and higher until 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 continually 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 floodgate, 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 10000 times greater than it is yeah, 10000 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 from being one moment made drunk with your blood.

Thus are all you that never passed under a great change of heart by the mighty power of the Spirit of God upon your souls; all that were never born again and made new creatures and become raised from being dead in sin to a state of new and before altogether unexperienced light and life.

However, you may have reformed your life into many things and may have had religious and spiritual affections and may keep up a form of religion in your families and in your closets and in the house of God, and may be strict in it. You are thus in the hands of an angry God.

‘Tis 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 that they depended on 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 your sins 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 a purer eyes than to bear to have you in His sight.

You are 10,000 times so abominable in His eyes as the most hateful, venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended Him by your continual rejection of His Son, infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince. And yet ’tis nothing but His hand that holds’ you from falling into the fire at every moment.

‘Tis to be ascribed to nothing else that you did not go down to hell the last night; that you were suffered and allowed 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 this morning but that God’s hand has held you up.

There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone down 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 and joyous worship. Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you don’t this very moment drop down into hell.

Oh, sinner, consider the fearful danger you are in. ‘Tis 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 ever can do to induce God to spare you one moment.

And consider here more particularly for a few moments longer, several things concerning that wrath that you are in danger of.

Consider it: 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 that 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 whosoever provoketh him to anger sins 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 in comparison to God’s is to be despised.

The wrath of the great King of Kings is as much more terrible than theirs as His Majesty is greater, as Christ Jesus has said, ‘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)

Consider ’tis the fierceness of His wrath that you are exposed to. We often read of the fury of God, as in Isaiah 59 and verse 18:

Isaiah 59:18: ‘According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay fury to His adversaries.’

So also in Isaiah 66:15: ‘For behold, the Lord will come with fire and with chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebukes with flames of fire.’

And so in many other places. So we read of God’s fierceness in Revelation, chapter 19 and verse 15, there we read of the winepress 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 ’tis not only said so, but 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 not only said so, but 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 omnipotent should be, as it were, enraged and exerted, as men are wont to exert their strength and 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, whose heart endure? To what a dreadful, inexpressible, inconceivable death 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 or backslidden state, consider it, 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 that only you shall not suffer beyond what strict justice requires. Nothing shall be withheld, because it’s so hard for you to bear.

The great book of Ezekiel, chapter eight, and verse 18 states:

Ezekiel 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, today God stands ready to pity you. Now, today 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 only to suffer misery.

You shall be continued in being to no other end, for you will be a vessel for 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 ’tis said, He will only laugh and mock. Proverbs 1:25-26.

How awful are those words of Isaiah 63 in verse three. 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.’

‘Tis perhaps impossible to conceive of words that carry in them greater manifestations of these three things: 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 regard or favor, that instead of that He’ll only tread you under foot. And though He will know that you can’t bear the weight of omnipotence treading upon you, yet He won’t regard that, but He’ll crush you under His feet without mercy. He’ll crush out your blood and make it fly, and it shall be sprinkled on His garment 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.

Will you consider that the misery you are exposed to is that which God will inflict to that 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 very much enraged with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and accordingly gave order that the burning fiery furnace should be heat 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.

Romans, chapter 9, in verse 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 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 had 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.

Isaiah, chapter 33, and the people shall be as the burning 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, etc. Etc.’

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 worms shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched, and they shall be an abhoring unto all flesh. (Isaiah 66: 23-24)

And finally, consider that 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, and 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 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 and millions of ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless vengeance.

And then, when you have so done with so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, then you will know that all is but a point to what yet 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 could 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 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 that 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 before this year is out.

And it would be no wonder if some person that now sits here in some seat of this meeting house in health and quiet and secure, should be there before tomorrow morning.

Those of you that finally continue in a natural condition that you’ll keep out of hell longest, will be there in a little time. Your damnation don’t 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 that heretofore 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, helpless, hopeless souls give for one day such opportunity as you now enjoy?

And now you have an extraordinary opportunity. A day where in Christ Jesus has flung the door of mercy wide open and stands in the doorway 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 in now a happy state with their hearts filled with love to Him that has loved them and has washed them from their sins in His own blood, and are rejoicing in hope of the glory of God.

How awful is it to be left behind in 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 caused 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 that have lived long in the world that are not to this day born again? And so are aliens and strangers 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 especially special manner is extremely dangerous. Your guilt and hardness of heart is extremely great. Don’t you see how generally 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 wake thoroughly out of sleep. You cannot bear the fierceness and wrath of the infinite God.

And you that are young men and young women, will you neglect this precious season that 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 it is with those persons that spent away all the precious days of youth in sin, and have now come to such a dreadful state in blindness and hardness.

And if there be any children beyond the age of innocence that are unconverted, don’t you know that you are going down to hell to bear that dreadful wrath of that God that 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 have become the holy and happy children of the King of Kings. And let everyone 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 harken to the loud calls of God’s word and providence.

This acceptable year of the Lord, that is, a day of such great favor 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 bigger 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 that great outpouring 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 that brings not forth good fruit may be hewn down and cast into the fire.

Therefore, that every one that is out of Christ now awake!

For Further Reading:

Derek Prince Sermon: The Two Harvests (Full Transcript)

God Will Shake All Things (Part 1- Nations): Derek Prince (Transcript)

The Righteous Judgement of God: Derek Prince (Transcript)

Discover Yourself In God’s Mirror – Who Am I? (Part 1): Derek Prince (Transcript)


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