Samuel Davies died 35 days after preaching this sermon at the age of just 37. ” Jeremiah 28:16
You must learn to think, to think seriously and solemnly upon your danger, and the necessity of a speedy escape. You must retire from the crowd, from talk, business, and amusement, and converse with yourselves alone in pensive solitude. You must learn to think seriously upon the most melancholy and alarming subjects: your present guilt and depravity, and your dreadful doom so near at hand, if you continue in your present condition.
The mind, fond of ease, and impatient of such mortifying and painful thoughts, will recoil, and fly off, and seek for refuge in every trifle! But you must arrest and confine it to these disagreeable subjects; you must force upon it this necessary discomfort—just as you may sometimes take bitter medicines when your health requires it. There is not any moroseness in this advice; no ill-natured design upon your pleasure and happiness. On the other hand, it is intended to procure you more pleasure and happiness than you can possibly obtain any other way! It is intended to prevent many sorrowful days and years, nay, a complete eternity of misery!
One midnight ” (towards the end of his life, too) Shepard was found lying on his face in ” a swoon of sweat and tears,” with a copy of the New England Gazette crushed together in his hands. He had just been reading an “especially beautiful sermon of Mr. Thomas Hooker’s! ” And Principal Whyte says that until I see myself to be ” the most to be abhorred, the most malicious, the most wolf-like, the most inwardly rent and distorted, the most hateful and the most hating, the most self-tormenting and the most Shepard-Iike sinner
on this side hell,” I must not pass judgment on Mr. T. S. for
his jealousy of Mr. T. H. Agreed. ” O my ransomed soul! ” Shepard cried on his death-bed, ” one hour in heaven will make me forget all my hell upon earth! ”
She was much weaker from the loss of blood, and her countenance bespoke the dreadful horror of her mind, which no doubt hastened her speedy dissolution. Oh asking her how she felt, she answered, ‘Miserable! miserable!’ I then repeated some encouraging passages of Scripture to backsliders, but alas! all in vain; her soul labored under the greatest agonies: she exclaimed, ‘ O! how I have been deceived! When I was in health I delayed repentance from time to time; O ! that 1 had my time to live over again. O! that I had obeyed the Gospel; but now I must burn in hell forever. O! I cannot bear it, I can not bear it.’ ” In this manner, she continued breathing outmost horrible expressions.
Men are naturally wicked men, as a viper is naturally poisonous. They are born with corrupt and wicked natures as a viper is brought forth with a poisonous nature. A young viper or serpent is of the same poisonous nature that the old one is. As soon as it begins to be, it begins to be of an exceedingly venomous and spiteful nature. Isaiah 14:39: “For out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruits shall be a fiery flying serpent.” Hence men are prone to all manner of wickedness, for men, being without love to God, seek everything that tends to gratify the body or to advance self in the world. The natural appetites, carnal delights, and worldly honor and interest are under no manner of government or regulation or restraint by any manner of regard or respect to God. And therefore what do they care how much He is dishonored?
The doctrine of the day of judgment, in which men are taught that Christ will come with glory, majesty and mighty power on the clouds of heaven to judge the quick and dead, and that all, both small and great, must stand before him to give an account, is a very awful and awakening doctrine, tending very much to rouse both saints and sinners, and excite to watchfulness and diligence that they may be ready for such a day. But this doctrine has been preached in the world now for many ages, but men see nothing of the accomplishment of it; and many that hear of it are the less moved by it, because they look upon [it] as at a great distance. They hear that there are many things yet to be accomplished in the world before the day of judgment, and they never expect to see it while they live, nor till a great while after they are dead.
From the sermon, ” Wrath will come upon them without any restraint or moderation in the degree of it. God doth always lay, as it were, a restraint upon himself. He doth not stir up his wrath. He stays his rough wind in the day of his east wind. He lets not his arm light down on wicked men with its full weight. But when sinners shall have filled up the measure of their sins, there will be no caution, no restraint. His rough wind will not be stayed nor moderated. The wrath of God will be poured out like fire. He will come forth, not only in anger, but in the fierceness of his anger; he will execute wrath with power, so as to show what his wrath is, and make his power known. There will be nothing to alleviate his wrath. His heavy wrath will lie on them, without anything to lighten the burden, or to keep off, in any measure, the full weight of it from pressing the soul. — His eye will not spare, neither will he regard the sinner’s cries and lamentations, however loud and bitter. Then shall wicked men know that God is the Lord. They shall know how great that majesty is which they have despised, and how dreadful that threatened wrath is which they have so little regarded.”
Revelation 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Preached April 1734
Sermon manuscript text is here. http://edwards.yale.edu/archive?path=aHR0cDovL2Vkd2FyZHMueWFsZS5lZHUvY2dpLWJpbi9uZXdwaGlsby9nZXRvYmplY3QucGw/Yy40NzoxMi53amVv
In this solemn lesson, the story of the casting out of Ignorance from the gate of heaven is explained. Quotes are given from Jonathan Edwards’s sermon Sinners in Zion Tenderly Warned, John Bunyan’s Barren Fig Tree, or the Downfall of the Fruitless Professor, and Samuel Davies, The Resurrection of the Dead. So as to not leave the hearers in despair, the lesson is finished off with a reading of The Holy War, Emmanuel Addresses the Inhabitants of Mansoul.