Prisoners of Hell: Doom

Michael Wigglesworth (1631—1705)


With dismal chains, and strongest reins,
like Prisoners of Hell,
They’re held in place before Christ’s face,
till He their Doom shall tell.
These void of tears, but fill’d with fears,
and dreadful expectation
Of endless pains and scalding flames,
stand waiting for Damnation.

The Saints cleared and justified.


All silence keep both Goats and Sheep
before the Judge’s Throne;
With mild aspect to his Elect
then speaks the Holy One:
“My Sheep draw near, your Sentence hear,
which is to you no dread,
Who clearly now discern and know
your sins are pardonéd.


“’Twas meet that ye should judgéd be,
that so the World may spy
No cause of grudge, when as I judge
and deal impartially.
Know therefore all both great and small,
the ground and reason why
These Men do stand at my right hand
and look so cheerfully.


“These Men be those my Father chose
before the World’s foundation,
And to me gave, that I should save
from Death and Condemnation;
For whose dear sake I flesh did take,
was of a Woman born.
And did inure myself t’ endure
unjust reproach and scorn.


“For then it was that I did pass
through sorrows many a one;
That I drank up that bitter Cup
which made me sigh and groan.
The Cross’s pain I did sustain;
yea more, my Father’s ire
I underwent, my Blood I spent
to save them from Hell-fire.


“Thus I esteeméd, thus I redeeméd
all these from every Nation,
That they may be (as now you see)
a chosen Generation.
What if ere while they were as vile
and bad as any be.
And yet from all their guilt and thrall
at once I set them free?


“My grace to one is wrong to none;
none can Election claim;
Amongst all those their souls that lose,
none can Rejection blame.
He that may choose, or else refuse,
all men to save or spill,
May this Man choose, and that refuse,
redeeming whom he will.


“But as for those whom I have chose
Salvation’s heirs to be,
I underwent their punishment,
and therefore set them free.
I bore their grief, and their relief
by suffering procur’d.
That they of bliss and happiness
might firmly be assur’d.


“And this my grace they did embrace,
believing on my Name;
Which Faith was true, the fruits do shew
proceeding from the same;—
Their Penitence, their Patience,
their Love and Self-denial,
In suff’ring losses and bearing Crosses,
when put upon the trial;—


“Their sin forsaking, their cheerful taking
my Yoke, their Charity
Unto the Saints in all their wants,
and in them unto me;—
These things do clear, and make appear
their Faith to be unfeignéd,
And that a part in my desert
and purchase they have gainéd.


“Their debts are paid, their peace is made,
their sins remitted are;
Therefore at once I do pronounce,
and openly declare,
That Heav’n is theirs, that they be Heirs
of Life and of Salvation;
Nor ever shall they come at all
to Death or to Damnation.


“Come blessed Ones and sit on Thrones,
judging the World with me;
Come and possess your happiness,
and bought felicity;
Henceforth no fears, no care, no tears,
no sin shall you annoy,
Nor any thing that grief doth bring:
Eternal Rest enjoy.

They are placed on Thrones to join with Christ in judging the wicked.


“You bore the Cross, you suffer’d loss
of all for my Name’s sake;
Receive the Crown that’s now your own;
come, and a Kingdom take.“
Thus spake the Judge: the wicked grudge
and grind their teeth in vain;
They see with groans these plac’d on Thrones,
which addeth to their pain:

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