The Day of Doom by Michael Wigglesworth

1 January 2017

“The Day of Doom” by Michael Wigglesworth The Day of Doom is not just any ordinary poem. Michael Wigglesworth, the poet, wrote this poem in such a way that the reader in the end should ask themselves this question, what must I do to be saved? The words of each stanza are crafted in ordinance with scriptures of the Bible. “The Puritans believed that the Bible was God’s true law, and that it provided a plan for living” (Kizer). Wigglesworth’s ultimate goal in writing this poem as a Puritan minister was to stress the ramifications of sin but also to glorify the reward of salvation. Words of hell fire and brimstone flowed from the mouths of eloquent ministers as they warned of the persuasiveness of the devil’s power” (Kizer). Puritans viewed sin as vile in the eye sight of God.

“The Bible describes sin as the breaking, or transgression, of God’s law” Wigglesworth describes in stanza 2 how comfortable men and women became with sin in their life. “Wallowing in all kind of sin, /vile wretches lay secure:/The best of men had scarcely then/ their lamps kept in good ure. /Virgins unwise, who through disguise/amongst the best were number’d, /Had closed their eyes: yea, and the wise/ through sloth and frailty slumber’d” (9-16).The tone of this particular stanza is an attention getter because of three particular words that are used. Frailty, sloth, & vile all describe moral demeanors which Wigglesworth carefully placed at the beginning of this poem to capture foreshadow of something unexpected to come. Sloth in particular is a sign of an unexpected outcome because according to “Christian moral tradition, it is one of the seven deadly sins” (Spain). Wigglesworth is telling us that sin is apparent but the soul must be ready at all times because no man knows the hour or the day when God would come back to Judge his people.

The Day of Doom by Michael Wigglesworth Essay Example

He illustrates this revelation in stanza 4 which states “They put away the evil day,/and drowned their cares and fears,/Til drowned were they, and swept away/by vengeance unawares:/So at last, whilst men sleep fast/In their security,/Surprised they are in such a snare/as cometh suddenly (25-32). Puritan believers are taught to live a strict lifestyle and to adhere to the word of God. This is why the ramifications of sinful behavior are punished by God. Wigglesworth not only described the unfavorable side of sin, but he also included in his poem the reward of sustaining from it.Sustaining from sin was far harder than it seemed but “the regenerate would reign with Christ eternally” (Baym, and Levine 239). The Day of Doom speaks to the hearts and minds of all believers who sacrificed their “earthly” lifestyles in order to gain something more joyous than what couldn’t possibly be received here on earth. The Puritans believed “God was at the forefront of their minds, He was to motivate all of their actions” (Kizer).

This is why Wigglesworth voice about salvation in his poem spoke loud in reference to the precious reward of salvation.He not only wanted his readers to picture what it would be like to enter the Kingdom of Heaven but to realize that it is far better than entering the Kingdom of Hell. In stanza 221 he use words such as glorious, divine and bright to persuade us that Heaven is definitely where you want to end up after ascending from earth. “O glorious place! Where face to face/Jehovah may be seen, /By such as were sinners whilere/and no dark veil between. /Where the sun shine, and light divine, /of God’s bright countenance, /Doth rest upon them everyone, /with sweetest influence” (1761-1768).As a minister, Wigglesworth had a duty; a covenant with God to make sure the souls of the people did not perish. This poem is a very imperative message for all believers to make up their mind and decide what side they want to be sitting on when that final hour appear before them.

Do you want to sit on the right side, which is the symbol for Heaven or the left side, which is the symbol for Hell? The Day of Doom could definitely fit in the category of a Puritan Document. This poem speaks volumes in reference to the Puritan faith and how easy it is to forget about the Puritan morals and values if you are not careful.This is why the Puritan religion was not a religion that was “only practiced on Sunday; it was a way of life” (Emerson). By the amount of stanzas in the poem, it can be concluded that Wigglesworth wanted to make sure he covered all the important issues that Christians face with their lifestyle of salvation. He didn’t leave room for believers who backslid as well as nonbelievers to have any excuses as to why the Wrath was as it was. “One day, one week, wherein to seek/ God’s face with all your hearts, /A favor was that far pass/ the best of your deserts. You had a season, what was your reason/ such precious hours to waste? / What could you find, what could you mind/ that was of greater hast” (865-872)? I believe this poem was popular in its day because it kept the Puritans focused on their ultimate goal which was to ascend to Heaven with God.

This poem was a reminder of where you would spend eternity if you did or didn’t do the right things in the eyesight of God. Although the bible is truly a source that could be referred to in a time of uncertainty, The Day of the Doom brought bible verses to reality.I believe the Puritans memorized the poem so they would have a quick reference just in case the thought of backsliding occurred. “Actions spoke louder than words for the Puritan faith, so actions had to be constantly controlled” (Kizer). Not only was memorizing this poem important for the adults, but the children were taught to memorize it as well. Wigglesworth definitely poured his heart into this poem which was demonstrated by his word choices and the length of the poem. Salvation and only that, it was he stood for.

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