Wretched Wights Ruined

Michael Wigglesworth (1631—1705)
The day of Grace now past


“With chords of love God often strove
your stubborn hearts to tame;
Nevertheless your wickedness
did still resist the same.
If now at last Mercy be past
from you for evermore,
And Justice come in Mercy’s room,
yet grudge you not therefore.


“If into wrath God turnéd hath
his long, long-suffering,
And now for love you vengeance prove,
is an equal thing.
Your waxing worse hath stopt the course
of wonted Clemency,
Mercy refus’d and Grace misus’d
call for severity.


“It’s now high time that ev’ry Crime
be brought to punishment;
Wrath long contain’d and oft restrain’d,
at last must have a vent.
Justice severe cannot forbear
to plague sin any longer,
But must inflict with hand most strict
mischief upon the wronger.


“In vain do they for Mercy pray,
the season being past,
Who had no care to get a share
therein, while time did last.
The man whose ear refus’d to hear
the voice of Wisdom’s cry,
Earn’d this reward, that none regard
him in his misery.


“It doth agree with Equity
and with God’s holy Law,
That those should die eternally
that Death upon them draw.
The soul that sins Damnation wins,
for so the Law ordains;
Which Law is just; and therefore must
such suffer endless pains.


“Eternal smart is the desert
ev’n of the least offense;
Then wonder not if I allot
to you this Recompense;
But wonder more that since so sore
and lasting plagues are due
To every sin, you liv’d therein,
who well the danger knew.


“God hath no joy to crush or ’stroy,
and ruin wretched wights;
But to display the glorious Ray
of Justice he delights.
To manifest he doth detest,
and thoroughly hate all sin,
By plaguing it as is most fit—
this shall him Glory win.“


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