Solemn Warning to the Secure World from the God of Terrible Majesty, or the Presumptuous Sinner Detected, his Pleas Considered, and his Doom Displayed

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In this sermon preached during the Great Awakening, Presbyterian minister Gilbert Tennent pleads with his hearers to be awakened. Tennent's fervent, impassioned language and the directness of his call to conversion illustrate how the preaching of the Awakening changed from earlier preaching.


Beloved Brethren, You have often heard your Danger describ’d, you have had many a Call, by the Word, and Providence of God, as well as by your own Consciences, and are you not awaken’d yet? O strange! O mournful! Others have been (through Grace) convinc’d and chang’d effectually by the Means you enjoy, and won’t these be a Witness against you at the Tribunal of Christ? What will you be able to say in your own Vindication? Then won’t Blushing and Confusion cover you, and guilty Silence be your Answer? What, does the Word prove a Savour of Life until Life to others, and of Death unto Death to you? O dreadful! What do you intend to do dear Brethren? Will you sleep for ever? Will you sleep till Death and Hell awake you? Or do you think that you may go to Heaven in this Slumber of carnal Security? If you do you shall find your selves miserably mistaken! as is fully prov’d in the following Tract. Be not deceiv’d Brethren, The Kingdom of Heaven suffers Violence, and the violent (and they only) take by it Force, Matth. 11. 12. Let me address you as the Prophet Elijah did the People of Israel, I Kings 18. 21. How long halt ye between two Opinions? If the Lord be God follow him: but if Baal then follow him. Or as the Shipmaster to Jonah, who was fast asleep in the midst of a great Tempest, Jonah 1. 5. What meanest thou, O Sleeper? Arise, call upon thy God, if so be he will think upon us that we perish not, Verse 6. [——] just and pertinent Note of Mr. Henry, upon this Passage of Scripture, “That those who sleep in a Storm may well be ask’d what they mean?" Brethren, You sleep in a greater Storm than Jonah did; that only concern’d the Body, but this the precious Soul; that a temporal, but this an eternal Death. You are (whether you know it or not sensibly) every Moment ready to be swallow’d up by the boisterous Billow of God’s justly incensed Ire, and the Vessel of your Souls like to be broken by a dreadful Inundation of his vindictive Fury and Revenge: Deut. 32. 41, 35. Rom. 12. 19. “And yet will you sleep, what Metal are you made of? What God do you fear? Or are you deaf to all the Menaces of Heaven?” Will not the Terrors of an eternal God, and an eternal Hell make you afraid? What mean you? Are you yet wholly lost to Sense, to Reason, and to Consicence? Are you degenerated into Beasts? Or petrified unto Stones? Are you cover’d with the Leviathan’s Scales that no Arrow from the Bow of God will pierce you! Mayn’t the Example of Jonas’s Fellow Mariners make you asham’d? Jonah 1. 5. Then the Mariners were afraid, and cry’d every Man to his God, and cast forth the Wares that were in the Ship, into the Sea, to lighten it of them. But perhaps you mock at Fear, and are not affrighted, though the Heavens look black, and God’s Lightings and Thunders, from blazing, trembling Sinai, flash and groan, and rore hideously! Tho! God’s Law condemn you, and your own Consciences tell you, that you shall surely perish, if ye die in the same State you are now in, yet you boldy, or rather shall I say impudently, or stupidly brave it out in the Face of an angry Heaven! And run upon the thick Bosses of God’s Bucklers, and are not afraid when God’s great Ordnance is level’d at your naked Bosom. You won’t be perswaded by any Importunity to cast these Goods out of the Ship, (as the Mariners did) which will if retain’d sink it in Death. I mean your darling Lusts which you must forsake or perish. Mat. 5. 29. Again, the affrighted Mariners cry’d every one to his God, Ver. 5. Why don’t you awake poor Souls, and cry every one of you to God, with the utmost Vehemence, as the Disciples of Christ did in a Storm, when the Waves were like to overwhelm the Vessel, Lord, save us we perish! Mat. 8. 25. Or as Peter’s Hearers, Acts 2. 37. Men and Brethren, What shall we do to be saved? Sirs, Suffer me to accost you in the Language of Paul to the Ephesians, Chap. 5. 14. Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the Dead, and Christ shall give thee Light; for the Time past of our Life may suffice us, to have wrought the Will of the Gentiles. 1 Pet. 4. 3. Awake to Righteousness and sin not: for some have not the Knowledge of God: I speak this to your Shame. I Cor. 15. 34. And especially knowing the Time, that now it is high Time to awake out of Sleep. But I can’t in Regard of you add the Apostle’s Reason, Rom. 13. 11. For now is your Salvation nearer than when ye believed. No brethren! I am oblig’d in Faithfulness to God, and Love to you, to tell that inasmuch as you did not, and now do not believe, that your Damnation is nearer than when ye first heard the Gospel of Christ, and Salvation by his Blood; because of your unbelieving Obstinacy and presumptuous Security.

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