©2004 Max McLean
The images in Edwards?s sermon send some part of us fleeing. This work hardly presents the gospel that the modern church has fashioned for itself; it is stark, pure, unyielding. This accurate portrayal of the Lord's righteousness shows the light into which our darkness, sin, will not come. It offers the message of John the Baptist and Our Lord - Repent! It does not deny man's total depravity, but offers a looking glass, into which we peer and tremble, and from which we hide.
Edwards mentions that man flatters himself with the good things he has done. The apostle Paul states that he could boast before men of his good life, but not before God. God, from scripture's perspective, and certainly Edwards?s, is utterly Holy. That's why men fall before mere angels, and why Moses was warned not to look upon the face of the Lord, lest he die. These men knew their sin, and had become "undone" in the presence of Holiness.
The good pastor shows us the true nature of man, and his extremely precarious state (hanging by a mere thread). So does God, "...He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."(John 3:36) If we deny Christ, the wrath "stays" on us. If it stays, was it not always upon us? If we die, being sinful as Adam, and Jesus comes to bear our sin as the second and blameless Adam, are we not by nature bound to sin and death? Can the Holy God tolerate sin? Edwards resounds: "no". He rightly says that we will be vessels full of God's wrath ? unless we accept Christ, who serves as our sinlessness.
The great mercy that Edwards shows is that God gives the self-righteous, by His restraining hand, a time in which to claim Christ-righteousness by faith. We?re shown the Holy Son, not a winking, nodding, false savior.
Edwards shows the light of the Holy God. We can react in two ways: flee and mock from afar, or fall down and confess Him, ?my Lord and my God?. Soli Deo Gloria!
Noted a few other reviews commenting on "mindless drivel" and one showing an appreciation for the "wacko" comedy of it all.
I've read the Bible a good bit over the past 20 years and have to admit I've come to respect the justice & judgement side of God as well as the nice grandfatherly image we all prefer.
Edwards' message is just as timely, and on target, today as it was in 1741.
I first heard of this sermon in grade school (1950s) but never read/heard it complete until I found it here. A powerful, fundamentalist argument for a "jealous" God who would "hold a sinner over the fires of Hell as one might dangle a spider over an open flame." Those words have always stayed lodged in my memory and, I think, lend themselves to an understanding of the evangelical spirit that drives many Christians to spread their faith via a "righteous anger" against the sins of the unsaved and the compelling need to cheat the Devil by winning souls already condemned to the fires of eternal damnation if they do not repent their sins and accept salvation. One will hear in the sermon the certainty of the true believer offering a live or die choice to the lowly sinner poised on the precipice of Hell.
Those who hold these beliefs will find here one of the most powerful arguments for their faith ever preached. Those who do not share these fundamental beliefs will find here a detailed exposition of beliefs that they should hear if they are to truly understand the core faith of many evangelical Christians. Know thyself, know thy enemy, or know thy brother - all of these are good reasons to purchase and listen to this sermon.
I have personally always had trouble reconciling the anger and vengeance of this viewpoint when compared directly to the words attributed to Jesus, but I found much to think about and to test against my own beliefs when listening to the words of the Reverend Edwards. The narrator gives a very good reading and, while a little fast-paced, it is clear and keeps one's interest throughout.
This is not for the fainthearted. Johnathan Edwards doesn't hold back in his message to us all. He must have been brave presenting this in 1741, today I can't imagine anyone doing the same. Its well worth listening too. The language is surprisingly modern, the narrator (Max MacLean) is excellent, and the message is clear and worth hearing.
Max McLean's reading, as usual, is first rate. The sermon is indeed one of the greats of all time. However, not everyone will want to hear this message. It stresses the wrath of God more than His Love and the doomed position of mankind more than the "Good News" of Jesus Christ. The "Good News" is all the more incredible when one understands the "Bad News." Edwards clearly lays out the "Bad News" and thus the necessity of the Gospel.
Sermons that still live after 250 years have power. However, the power is only unleashed if they are heard or read. Listen to this if you dare.
Associate Pastor at a Baptist Church
Never having spent much time on this sermon, this audible version was an eye opener. Listen several times and let it all sink in.
The intro to this sermon says that "Christians" would like it. As an atheist, I found it quite powerful as well. It is interesting that Edwards refers to those "born again," a term that I thought hadn't become popular until later. I can't decide if this angry god is appalling or terrifying or just a cartoon; but it is certainly worth pondering.
There are certain characters that everyone should come to terms with, and they are worth meeting regardless of whether one agrees with the character. Iago and Hitler, for example. This is well-read, and presenting this sermon to a modern audience is a significant service to the public. (I wonder if any attempt was made to imitate Edwards' style of speaking?)
I can imagine that the sermon was given with a little more fire in it than this narrator provided.Nevertheless, it was good. This message had the intent of scaring it's hearers into heaven and out of hell. As such the sermon required more emphasis on God's wrath. As it is God's mission to redeem mankind and not send sinful humans into eternal punishment my preference would have been to focus on God's grace through Christ. But I believe he was setting up his hearers for the punch line -- which is God's grace is sufficient to save the most evil heart when repentent.
This is well worth listening to, I read the book years ago on the advice of a Preacher and to listen to it on audio bought the book to life! I am serious it knocked my socks off and made me shudder, God was magnified in all his glory, totally amazing. Thank you audio for having this available.
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