Plea of the Hypocrites: Doom

Michael Wigglesworth (1631—1705)


“But we have in thy presence been,”
say some, “and eaten there.
Did we not eat thy Flesh for meat,
and feed on Heav’nly Cheer?
Whereon who feed shall never need,
as thou thyself dost say,
Nor shall they die eternally,
but live with Christ for aye.


“We may allege, thou gav’st a pledge
of thy dear Love to us,
In Wine and Bread, which figuréd
thy Grace bestowéd thus.
Of strength’ning Seals, of sweetest Meals,
have we so oft partaken;
And shall we be cast off by thee,
and utterly forsaken?“

The answer


To whom the Lord, thus in a word,
returns a short reply:
“I never knew any of you
that wrought Iniquity.
You say you’ve been my Presence in;
but then, how came you there
With Raiment vile that did defile
and quite disgrace my Cheer?


“Durst you draw near without due fear
Unto my holy Table?
Durst you profane and render vain,
so far as you were able,
Those Mysteries, which whoso prize,
and carefully improve,
Shall savéd be undoubtedly,
and nothing shall them move?


“How durst you venture bold guests to enter
in such a sordid hue,
Amongst my guests unto those Feasts
that were not made for you?
How durst you eat for spir’tual meat
your bane, and drink damnation,
Whilst by your guile you render’d vile
so rare and great Salvation?


“Your fancies fed on heav’nly Bread,
your hearts fed on some Lust;
You lov’d the Creature more than th’ Creator,
your souls clove to the dust.
And think you by Hypocrisy,
and cloakéd Wickedness,
To enter in laden with sin,
to lasting Happiness?


“This your excuse shews your abuse
of things ordain’d for good.
And doth declare you guilty are
of my dear Flesh and Blood.
Wherefore those Seals and precious Meals
you put so much upon
As things Divine, they Seal and Sign
you to Perditi-on.“

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