About This Collection

Sermons were at the heart of much of the Great Awakening. This collections lets you read the famous sermons of the Great Awakening, by preachers like Jonathan Edwards, Gilbert Tennent, and George Whitefield.

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Jonathan Edwards preached this sermon at Enfield, Connecticut, on July 8, 1741. It is probably the most famous of all American sermons.

The sermon lays out the dreadful consequences of man's sin, and Edwards sought to persuade his listeners that they might at any moment be called to judgment for their sins. Reportedly some in Edwards's audience cried out in response to his terrible imagery. At the end of the sermon, though, Edwards preached about "an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open."

Jonathan Edwards preached this sermon in 1733 at Northampton, Massachusetts, and it was printed a year later. The sermon describes how people come to understand God's truth not merely through their reason. It deals with the question of how people experience God, especially in conversion. The application section asks listeners whether they have experienced the "divine and supernatural light" of salvation.

In this sermon that he preached in 1740, Jonathan Edwards describes the efforts that the unconverted should make before obtaining salvation. The doctrine of the sermon—the point that Edwards is trying to make—is that "we should be willing to engage in and go through great undertakings, in order to our own salvation." Edwards was not arguing for salvation by works, but he was pleading with his audience to care enough for their own souls that they would be sure to lay hold on God's saving grace.

Jonathan Edwards wrote this sermon in August, 1750. In it he describes the experience of Christians after their conversion. This sermon may be profitably compared to the much better-known "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." While "Sinners" does describe the anguish that people felt before their conversion, this sermon offers a complementary description of the peace they felt afterwards.

In this sermon, George Whitefield lays out the characteristics of true believers. His purpose is to explain what it means to "be converted, and become as little children." In contrast with theology before the Great Awakening, Whitefield argues that to be converted is to have "some great, some notable, and amazing change pass upon our souls."

The Great Awakening affected not just the individual, but also the family. In this sermon, George Whitefield urges his listeners to worship God not just in their churches, but in their homes. He describes the ideal experience of a true Christian family.

In this sermon, George Whitefield uses Christ's question to the Pharisees—"What think ye of Christ?"—and asks his listeners the same question. Whitefield's theme is to explain "what those who are truly desirous to know how to worship God in spirit and in truth, ought to think concerning Jesus Christ," especially concerning His deity, His humanity, and the justification he offers sinners. Whitefield closes with an appeal to "examine yourselves, therefore, my brethren, whether you are in the faith."

In this sermon, Presbyterian Gilbert Tennent made a strong argument that clergymen must first have experienced the grace of salvation themselves before ministering that grace to others. Tennent's sermon helped widen the divide between ministers who opposed the Great Awakening and those who supported it, but the sermon also encouraged revival among the clergy.
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