Fake Penitence: Doom

Michael Wigglesworth (1631—1705)
The Judge uneaseth them.


The Judge incens’d at their pretens’d
self-vaunting Piety,
With such a look as trembling strook
unto them made reply:
“O impudent, impenitent,
and guileful generation!
Think you that I cannot descry
your hearts’ abomination?


“You nor receiv’d, nor yet believ’d
my Promises of Grace,
Nor were you wise enough to prize
my reconciléd Face;
But did presume that to assume
which was not yours to take,
And challengéd the Children’s Bread,
yet would not sin forsake.


“Being too bold you laid fast hold
where int’rest you had none,
Yourselves deceiving by your believing,
all which you might have known.
You ran away but ran astray
with Gospel Promises,
And perishéd, being still dead
in sins and trespasses.


“How oft did I Hypocrisy
and Hearts’ deceits unmask
Before your sight, giving you light
know a Christian’s task?
But you held fast unto the last
your own conceits so vain,
No warning could prevail; you would
your own Deceits retain.


“As for your care to get a share
in Bliss; the fear of Hell,
And of a part in endless smart,
did thereunto compel.
Your holiness and ways redress,
such as it was, did spring
From no true love to things above,
But from some other thing.


“You pray’d and wept, you Fast-days kept,
but did you this to me?
No, but for sin you sought to win
the greater liberty.
For all your vaunts, you had vile haunts,
which for your Consciences
Did you alarm, whose voice to charm
you us’d these practices.


“Your Penitence, your diligence
to Read, to Pray, to Hear,
Were but to drown the clam’rous sound
of Conscience in your Ear.
If light you lov’d, vain glory mov’d
yourselves therewith to store,
That seeming wise men might you prize,
and honor you the more.

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