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The Day of Doom A Poetical Description of the Great and Last Judgment_ With Other Poems

The Day of Doom
A Poetical Description of the Great and Last Judgment_ With Other Poems
Title: The Day of Doom A Poetical Description of the Great and Last Judgment_ With Other Poems
Release Date: 2019-01-18
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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Transcriber's Note:

Apparent typographical errors have been corrected.

The Table of Contents has been shifted to follow the title pages.

Lines in black-letter font, on the title page, have been bolded.

The sidenotes to the "Day of Doom" mostly comprise Scripturalreferences, but also include general comments on some of the verses. Thelatter have been shifted to follow the verse number.

The use of acute accents and hyphens in the poems is explained in theNote at the end of the Autobiography.



With Other Poems.

Teacher of the Church at Malden in New England,



Acts 17:31. Because hehath appointed a Day in the which he will judge the World inRighteousness by that Man whom he hath ordained.

Mat. 24:30. And thenshall appear the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven, and then shall allthe tribes of the Earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man comingin the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory.


New York:

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year of our Lord, 1867, by
in the Clerk's office of the District Court of the United States, for
the Southern District of New York.

C.S. Westcott & Co., Printers, 79 John street.


Memoir of the Author 3
Autobiography 10
To the Christian Reader 13
On the following Work 18
Prayer unto Christ 20
The Day of Doom 21
Security of the World before Christ's coming 21
Suddenness and Terror of his appearing 22
Resurrection—All brought to judgment 26
The Sheep separated from the goats 27
The several sorts of reprobates described 28
The Saints justified—Election—Atonement 32
They are placed on thrones 34
The wicked brought to the Bar 35
Secret sins brought to light 38
Hypocrites plead for themselves 40
Another sort of hypocrites 44
Civil honest men's pleas 47
Pretended want of opportunity to repent 51
Plea of examples of betters 53
Godly men's examples misleading 54
Scripture, darkness, and difference of interpretation 55
Fear of persecution 56
Plea of God's mercy and justice 58
Vessels of mercy 59
Mercy abused—Day of grace past 60
Shutting out by God's decree 62
The Heathen's plea 66
Reprobate infants' plea 68
The wicked all convinced and silenced 72
Hopeless and helpless estate of the ungodly 73
Sentence of condemnation 78
Sentence executed—The wicked cast into Hell 80
Their Insufferable torments 81
The saints rejoice thereat 83
They ascend in triumph to Heaven 84
A Short discourse on Eternity 87
A Postscript unto the Reader 93
Vanity of Vanities 107
Death expected 111
A Farewell to the World 112
Funeral Sermon 115
Epitaph 119


The following is the substance of anarticle published in the "New England Historical and GenealogicalRegister," for April, 1863, written by John WardDean, Esq., of Boston:

A century ago no poetry was more popular in NewEngland than Wigglesworth's Day of Doom. FrancisJenks, Esq., in an article in the Christian Examiner forNov., 1828, speaks of it as "a work which was taughtour fathers with their catechisms; and which many anaged person with whom we are acquainted can still repeat,though they may not have met with a copy sincethey were in leading strings; a work that was hawkedabout the country, printed on sheets like common ballads;and, in fine, a work which fairly represents theprevailing theology of New England at the time it waswritten, and which Mather thought might, 'perhaps,find our children till the Day itself arrives.'"

The popularity of Wigglesworth dated from the appearanceof his poem, and continued for more than a century.Expressing in earnest words the theology whichthey believed, and picturing in lively colors the terrorsof the judgment day and the awful wrath of an offendedGod, it commended itself to those zealous Puritans, whohad little taste for lofty rhyme or literary excellence.The imaginative youth devoured its horrors with avidity,and shuddered at its fierce denunciation of sin. In thedarkness of night he saw its frightful forms arise, andwas thus driven to seek the "ark of safety" from the{4}wrath of Jehovah. For the last century, however, thereputation of the Day of Doom has waned, and few atthe present day know it except by reputation.

The author of this book, whose wand had summonedup such images of terror, was neither a cynic nor amisanthrope, though sickness, which generally brings outthese dispositions where they exist, had long been hisdoom. His attenuated frame and feeble health werejoined to genial manners; and, though subject to fits ofdespondency, he seems generally to have maintained acheerful temper, so much so that some of his friendsbelieved his ills to be imaginary.

Rev. Michael Wigglesworth was born October 28,1631, probably in Yorkshire, England. He was broughtto this country in 1638, being then seven years old, butin what ship we are not informed. His father, EdwardWigglesworth, was one of those resolute Puritans who,with their families, found an asylum where they couldenjoy their religion without molestation in our thenNew England wilderness, the distance of which fromtheir English homes can hardly be appreciated now.Here they suffered the severe hardships of a rigorous climate,and the fearful dangers from savage tribes aroundthem, while uniting to build up villages which are nowcities, and which still retain some of the characteristicsof their Puritan founders. The determined purpose andstrength of principle that conquered every obstacle wasa school of severe training for the children of thatperiod. It was natural that a father who had enduredso much for conscience' sake should desire to see hisonly son a clergyman; and, although the father's meanswere not large, the son was devoted to the ministry andgiven a thorough education. Michael, after nearly threeyears of preparatory studies, entered Harvard Collegein 1647. Here he had the good fortune to have for a{5}tutor the excellent Jonathan Mitchell, "the glory ofthe college," and famous as a preacher. The friendshiphere begun appears to have continued after both hadleft the college walls. Probably the eight stanzas "onthe following work and its author," signed J. Mitchel,were written by that tutor and preacher, who was anative of Yorkshire, the county in which Wigglesworthis believed to have been born.

In 1651 Mr. Wigglesworth graduated, and was soonafter appointed a tutor in the College. Some of hispupils were men of note in their day. Among themwere, Rev. Shubael Dummer, of York, Me.; Rev. JohnEliot, of Newton; and Rev. Samuel Torry, of Weymouth;but the chief of them, it will be admitted, wasRev. Increase Mather, D.D., pastor of the second churchin Boston, and for sixteen years president of HarvardCollege. That the tutor was faithful to his trust, wehave evidence from the sketch of the funeral sermonappended to this work, preached by Rev. Cotton Mather,D.D., son of Increase, who probably derived his informationfrom his father.

While a tutor, he prepared himself for the ministry,and before his father's death he had preached severaltimes. He was invited, probably in the autumn of1654, to settle at Malden, as the successor of Rev.Marmaduke Matthews, but owing to long-continuedsickness was not ordained there till 1656. The precisedate of his ordination is not known, but it must havebeen subsequent to August 25, 1656, for his letter ofdismission from the church at Cambridge bears thatdate. This letter, addressing the "Church of Christ atMaldon," states that "the good hand of Divine Providencehath so disposed that our beloved and highlyesteemed brother, Mr. Wigglesworth, hath his residenceand is employed in the good work of yᵉ Lord amongst{6}you, and hath cause to desire of us Letters Dismissiveto your church, in order to his joining as a member withyou."

The ill health which had delayed his ordination atMalden returned soon after his settlement there, andinterrupted his ministry several years. He took a voyageto Bermuda, sailing Sept. 23, 1663, and being absentabout seven months and a half. But the tedious andstormy voyage seems to have impaired his health somuch that the change of climate afforded him little relief,and he returned much discouraged. He met witha very cordial welcome from his friends and parishioners.

While he was thus withheld from his ministry, heemployed his time in literary labors. His Day of Doomwas published about 1662, the year before his voyage toBermuda. The first edition consisting of 1,800 copies,was sold, with some profit to the author, within a year,which considering the population and wealth of NewEngland at that time, shows almost as remarkable apopularity as that of Uncle Tom's Cabin.

While absent on his voyage in search of health, Dec.9, 1663, Rev. Benjamin Bunker was ordained pastor ofthe church at Malden. It seems that a distinction wasobserved at this time in New England between pastorand teacher. Wigglesworth calls Bunker "pastor" insome verses composed on his death, while on the title-pageof this work he calls himself "teacher." AfterWigglesworth became sole minister, he was probablyconsidered the pastor. Bunker held this office over sixyears, till his death, Feb. 3, 1669-70. In the elegy onthe death of his colleague, Wigglesworth highly extolsBunker's piety and usefulness. The next colleague ofour author was Rev. Benjamin Blackman, settled about1674. He supplied the desk four years and upward,{7}and left in the year 1679. His next colleague was Rev.Thomas Cheever, son of his early teacher, the celebratedNew England schoolmaster, Ezekiel Cheever, author ofLatin Accidence. These three ministers were all educatedat Harvard College, Bunker having graduated in1658, Blackman in 1663, and Cheever in 1677. Mr.Cheever began to preach at Malden Feb. 14, 1679-80, wasordained July 27, 1681, and was dismissed May 20, 1686.

Wigglesworth, though long prevented by sicknessfrom officiating, never resigned his ministerial charge,as appears from a letter which he addressed to SamuelSprague, July 22, 1687. He was now left alone asminister of the church. He had, however, recoveredhis health in a measure about this time, which had sufferedfor nearly twenty years, and for the remainder ofhis life he continued in public usefulness.

He died on Sunday morning, June 10, 1705, in the74th year of his age. The epitaph on the last page ofthis work is believed to have been written by CottonMather, as it appears in the appendix to his funeralsermon as by "one that had been gratified by his Meatout of the Eater and Day of Doom."

Mr. Wigglesworth had at least three wives: Mary,daughter of Humphrey Reyner, of Rowley; Martha,whose maiden name was probably Mudge; and Sybil,widow of Dr. Jonathan Avery, of Dedham, and daughterof Nathaniel Sparhawk, of Cambridge.

By his first wife he had (1) Mercy, b. Feb., 1655-6; m. 1st,[Samuel?] Brackenbury, by whom she had at least one son, William; m.2d, [Rev. Samuel?] Belcher.

By his second wife, Martha, who d. 11th Sept., 1690, a. 28, he had:—(2)Abigail, b. 20th March, 1681; m. Samuel Tappan, 23d Dec.,1700;—(3) Mary, b. 21st Sept., 1682; unm. in 1708;—(4)Martha, b. 21st Dec., 1683; m. —— Wheeler;—(5) Esther, b.16th April, 1685; m. 1st, John Sewall, June 8, 1708, who d. 1711; m.2d, Abraham Tappan, Oct. 21, 1713;—(6) Dorothy, b. 22d Feb.,1687-88; m. 2d June, 1709,

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