Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)

Enfield, Connecticut
July 8, 1741


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 ver. 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 lxxiii. 18. "Surely 
thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into 

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 lxxiii. 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 

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 xiii. 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 iii. 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 
viii. 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 xi. 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 

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. lvii. 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 me 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 

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 discem 
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. 
ii. 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 

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.


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 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 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 of 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 fumace 
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. xx. 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 xii. 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. lix. 18.  "According to their deeds, 
accordingly he will repay fury to his adversaries."  So Isa. lxvi. 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. xix. 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 
fastly 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. viii. 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. i. 25, 26, &c.

How awful are those words, Isa. lxiii. 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. ix. 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. xxxiii. 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. lxvi. 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 

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 bom 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 

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 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 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 

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."