Date of this Version
Sherwood’s most popular sermon is his much cited The Church’s Flight into the Wilderness: An Address on the Times, containing Some very interesting and important Observations on Scripture Prophecies (1776)—here republished courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society. Delivering his oration in January 1776 in the presence of Gov. John Hancock, Sherwood freely mixes millenarian metaphors and political ideology to incite his listeners to action. Like many of his predecessors, Sherwood readily adapts the mythology of New England’s Puritan past to fit the new situation. The apocalyptic flight of the Woman into the howling wilderness of America a century and a half earlier was now reaching its climax in the cosmic battle against the British Antichrist. In this final stand against the English Gog of Magog, Sherwood invokes the Spirit of his Puritan ancestors and calls on all Protestants, all true Americans, to rise in defense of the Church: their sacred rights of religious freedom, political liberty, and the pursuit of property.