Michael Wigglesworth (1631—1705)
Still was the night, serene and bright,
when all Men sleeping lay;
Calm was the season, and carnal reason
thought so ’twould last for aye.
“Soul, take thine ease, let sorrow cease;
much good thou hast in store:“
This was their Song, their Cups among,
the evening before.
Wallowing in all kind of Sin,
vile Wretches lay secure;
The best of men had scarcely then
their Lamps kept in good ure.
Virgins unwise, who through disguise
amongst the best were number’d,
Had clos’d their eyes; yea, and the Wise
through sloth and frailty slumber’d.
Like as of old, when men grew bold,
God’s threat’nings to contemn.
Who stopt their Ear, and would not hear
when Mercy warnéd them,
But took their course, without remorse,
till God began to pour
Destructi-on the World upon,
in a tempestuous show’r;
Who put away the evil day,
and drown’d their cares and fears,
Till drown’d were they, and swept away
by vengeance unawares;
So at the last, whilst men sleep fast
in their security,
Surpris’d they are in such a snare
As Cometh suddenly.
The suddenness, Majesty and Terror of Christ’s appearing.
For at midnight breaks forth a light,
which turns the night to day,
And speedily an hideous cry
doth all the World dismay.
Sinners awake, their hearts do ache,
trembling their loins surpriseth;
Amaz’d with fear, by what they hear,
each one of them ariseth.
They rush from beds with giddy heads,
and to their windows run.
Viewing this light, which shines more bright
than doth the noon-day Sun.
Straightway appears (they see’t with tears)
the Son of God most dread,
Who with his Train comes on amain
to judge both Quick and Dead.
Before his face the Heav’ns give place,
and Skies are rent asunder.
With mighty voice and hideous noise,
more terrible than Thunder.
His Brightness damps Heav’n’s glorious Lamps
and makes them hide their heads;
As if afraid and quite dismay’d,
they quit their wonted steads.
Ye sons of men that durst contemn
the Threat’nings of God’s Word,
How cheer you now? Your hearts, I trow,
are thrill’d as with a sword.
Now Atheist blind, whose brutish mind
a God could never see,
Dost thou perceive, dost now believe
that Christ thy Judge shall be?
Stout Courages, (whose hardiness
could Death and Hell outface,)
Are you as bold, now you behold
your Judge draw near apace?
They cry, “No, no, Alas! and woe!
our courage all is gone:
Our hardiness (fool hardiness)
hath us undone, undone!“
No heart so bold, but now grows cold,
and almost dead with fear;
No eye so dry but now can cry,
and pour out many a tear.
Earth’s Potentates and pow’rful States,
Captains and Men of Might,
Are quite abasht, their courage dasht,
at this most dreadful sight.
Mean men lament, great men do rent
their Robes, and tear their hair;
They do not spare their flesh to tear
through horrible despair.
All kindreds wail; all hearts do fail;
Horror the World doth fill
With weeping eyes and loud out-cries,
yet knows not how to kill.
Some hide themselves in Caves and Delves,
in places under ground:
Some rashly leap into the Deep,
to ’scape by being drown’d:
Some to the Rocks (O senseless blocks!)
and woody mountains run.
That there they might this fearful sight,
and dreaded Presence shun.
In vain do they to Mountains say,
“Fall on us and us hide
From Judge’s ire, more hot than Fire,
for who may it abide?“
No hiding place can from his Face
sinners at all conceal,
Whose flaming Eye hid things doth spy,
and darkest things reveal.
The Judge draws nigh, exalted high
upon a lofty Throne,
Amidst the throng of Angels strong,
lo, Israel’s Holy One!
The excellence of whose Presence
and awful Majesty,
Amazeth Nature, and every Creature
doth more than terrify.
The Mountains smoke, the Hills are shook,
the Earth is rent and torn,
As if she should be clear dissolv’d
or from her center borne.
The Sea doth roar, forsakes the shore,
and shrinks away for fear;
The wild beasts flee into the sea,
so soon as he draws near,
Whose Glory bright, whose wond’rous Might,
whose Power Imperial,
So far surpass whatever was
in Realms Terrestrial,
That tongues of men (nor Angel’s pen)
Cannot the same express;
And therefore I must pass it by,
lest speaking should transgress.
Resurrection of the Dead.
Before his Throne a Trump is blown,
proclaiming th’ Day of Doom;
Forthwith he cries, “Ye Dead arise
and unto Judgment come.“
No sooner said, but ’tis obey’d;
Sepulchers open’d are;
Dead bodies all rise at his call,
and’s mighty Power declare.
Both Sea and Land at his command,
their Dead at once surrender;
The Fire and Air constrainéd are
also their dead to tender.
The mighty Word of this great Lord
links Body and Soul together,
Both of the Just and the unjust,
to part no more for ever.
The living changed
The same translates from Mortal states
All that survive and be alive,
in th’ twinkling of an eye;
That so they may abide for aye,
to endless weal or woe:
Both the Renate and Reprobate
are made to die no moe.
All brought to Judgment.
His wingéd Hosts fly through all coasts,
Both good and bad, both Quick and Dead,
and all to Judgment bring.
Out of their holes those creeping Moles,
that hid themselves for fear,
By force they take, and quickly make
before the Judge appear.
The Sheep separated from the Goats
Thus every one before the Throne
of Christ the Judge is brought,
Both righteous and impious,
that good or ill hath wrought.
A separation and diff’ring station
by Christ appointed is
(To sinners sad) ’twixt good and bad,
’twixt Heirs of woe and bliss.
Who are Christ’s Sheep.
At Christ’s right hand the Sheep do stand,
his holy Martyrs, who
For his dear Name suffering shame,
calamity and woe.
Like Champions stood and with their Blood
their Testimony sealéd;
Whose innocence without offence
to Christ their Judge appealéd.
Next unto whom there find a room
all Christ’s afflicted ones,
Who being chastis’d, neither despis’d
nor sank amidst their groans;
Who by the Rod were turn’d to God,
and lovéd him the more,
Not murmuring nor quarrelling
when they were chast’ned sore.
Moreover, such as lovéd much,
that had not such a trial.
As might constrain to so great pain,
and such deep self-denial.
Yet ready were the Cross to bear,
when Christ them called thereto,
And did rejoice to hear his voice,—
they’re counted Sheep also.
Christ’s flock of Lambs there also stands,
whose Faith was weak, yet true,
sound Believers (Gospel receivers)
those Grace was small, but grew;
And them among an Infant throng
of Babes, for whom Christ died;
Whom for his own, by ways unknown
to Men, he sanctified.
All stand before their Savi-or,
in long white Robes yclad,
Their countenance full of pleasance,
appearing wond’rous glad.
O glorious sight! Behold how bright
dust-heaps are made to shine.
Conforméd so their Lord unto,
whose Glory is Divine.
The Goats described, or the several sorts of Reprobates on the left hand
At Christ’s left hand the Goats do stand,
all whining Hypocrites
Who for self-ends did seem Christ’s friends,
but foster’d guileful sprites;
Who Sheep resembled, but they dissembled,
(their hearts were not sincere,)
Who once did throng Christ’s Lambs among,
but now must not come near.
Apostates base and run-aways,
such as have Christ forsaken,
Of whom the Devil, with seven more evil,
hath fresh possession taken;
Sinners ingrain, reserv’d to pain,
and torments most severe,
Because ’gainst light they sinn’d with spite,
are also placed there.
There also stand a num’rous band,
that no profession made
Of Godliness, nor to redress
their ways at all essay’d;
Who better knew, but (sinful Crew)
Gospel and Law despiséd.
Who all Christ’s knocks withstood like blocks,
and would not be adviséd.
Moreover, there with them appear
a number, numberless,
Of great and small, vile wretches all,
that did God’s Law transgress;
Idolaters, false worshippers,
Profaners of God’s Name,
Who not at all thereon did call,
or took in vain the same.
Blasphemers lewd, and Swearers shrewd,
scoffers at Purity,
That hated God, contemn’d his Rod,
and lov’d Security;
presumptuous men and proud,
Who never lov’d those that reprov’d;
all stand amongst this crowd.
Adulterers and Whoremongers
were there, with all unchast;
There Covetous and Ravenous,
that riches got too fast:
Who us’d vile ways themselves to raise
t’ Estates and worldly wealth,
Oppression by or knavery,
by force, or fraud, or stealth.
Moreover, there together were
And Parents who did them, undo
by nurture vici-ous.
False-witness-bearers and self-forswearers,
Murd’rers and Men of Blood,
Witches, Enchanters, and Ale-house haunters,
beyond account there stood.
Their place there find all Heathen blind
that Nature’s light abus’d,
Although they had no tidings glad
of Gospel grace refus’d
There stand all Nations and Generations
of Adam’s Progeny,
Whom Christ redeem’d not, whom he esteem’d not,
Who no Peace-maker, no undertaker,
to shroud them from God’s ire.
Ever obtain’d; they must be pain’d
with everlasting fire.
These num’rous bands, wringing their hands,
and weeping all stand there.
Filléd with anguish, whose hearts do languish,
through self-tormenting fear,
Fast by them stand at Christ’s left hand,
the Lion fierce and fell.
The Dragon bold, that Serpent old,
that hurried Souls to Hell.
There also stand, under command,
legions of Sprites unclean.
And hellish Fiends, that are no friends
to God, nor unto Men.
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:
That those whom they did wrong and slay,
must now their Judgment see!
Such whom they slighted and once despited,
must now their Judges be!
Thus ’tis decreed, such is their meed,
and guerdon glorious;
With Christ they sit, judging it fit
to plague the Impious.
The wicked brought to the Bar.
The wicked are brought to the Bar.
like guilty Malefactors,
That oftentimes of bloody Crimes
and Treasons have been Actors.
Of wicked Men, none are so mean
as there to be neglected;
Nor none so high in dignity
as there to be respected.
The glorious Judge will privilege
nor Emperor nor King;
But every one that hath misdone
doth unto judgment bring.
And every one that hath misdone,
the Judge impartially
Condemneth to eternal woe,
and endless misery.
Thus one and all, thus great and small,
the Rich as well as Poor,
And those of place, as the most base,
do stand the Judge before.
They are arraign’d, and there detain’d
before Christ’s Judgment seat,
With trembling fear their Doom to hear,
and feel his Anger’s heat.
There Christ demands at all their hands
a strict and straight account
Of all things done under the Sun,
whose number far surmount
Man’s wit and thought: they all are brought
unto this solemn Trial,
And each offense with evidence,
so that there’s no denial.
There’s no excuse for their abuse,
since their own Consciences
More proof give in of each Man’s sin,
than thousand Witnesses.
Though formerly this faculty
had grossly been abuséd,
(Men could it stifle, or with it trifle,
when as it them accuséd,)
Now it comes in, and every sin
unto Men’s charge doth lay;
It judgeth them and doth condemn,
though all the “World say nay.
It so stingeth and tortureth,
it worketh such distress,
That each Man’s self against himself,
is forcéd to confess.
Secret sins and works of darkness brought to light.
It’s vain, moreover, for Men to cover
the least Iniquity;
The Judge hath seen, and privy been
to all their villainy.
He unto light and open sight
the work of darkness brings;
He doth unfold both new and old,
both known and hidden things.
All filthy facts and secret acts,
however closely done.
And long conceal’d, are there reveal’d
before the mid-day Sun.
Deeds of the night, shunning the light,
which darkest corners sought.
To fearful blame, and endless shame,
are there most justly brought.
And as all facts, and grosser acts,
so every word and thought,
Erroneous notion and lustful motion,
are unto Judgment brought.
No Sin so small and trivial,
but hither it must come;
Nor so long past but now at last
it must receive a doom.
An account demanded of all their actions.
At this sad season, Christ asks a Reason
(with just austerity)
Of Grace refus’d, of light abus’d
so oft, so wilfully;
Of Talents lent, by them misspent
and on their Lust bestown,
Which if improv’d as it behoov’d
Heav’n might have been their own;
Of times neglected, of means rejected,
of God’s long-suffering
And Pati-ence, to Penitence
that sought hard hearts to bring;
Why chords of love did nothing move,
to shame or to remorse?
Why warnings grave, and counsels, have
naught chang’d their sinful course?
Why chastenings, and evils things,
why judgments so severe.
Prevailéd not with them a jot,
nor wrought an awful fear?
Why promises of Holiness,
and new Obedience,
They oft did make, but always brake
the same, to God’s offense?
Why still Hell-ward, without regard,
they bold venturéd,
And chose Damnation before Salvation,
when it was offeréd?
Why sinful pleasures and earthly treasures,
like fools, they prizéd more
Than Heav’nly wealth. Eternal health,
and all Christ’s Royal store?
Why, when he stood off’ring his Blood
to wash them from their sin,
They would embrace no saving Grace,
but liv’d and died therein?
Such aggravations, where no evasions,
nor false pretences hold,
Exaggerate and cumulate
guilt more than can be told.
They multiply and magnify
Men’s gross Iniquities;
They draw down wrath (as Scripture saith)
out of God’s treasuries.
Thus all their ways Christ open lays
to Men and Angels’ view,
And as they were makes them appear
in their own proper hue.
Thus he doth find of all Mankind,
that stand at his left hand,
No mother’s son but hath misdone,
and broken God’s command.
All have transgress’d, even the best,
and merited God’s wrath,
Unto their own perditi-on
and everlasting scath.
Earth’s dwellers all, both great and small,
have wrought iniquity,
And suffer must (for it is just)
Amongst the many there come not any,
before the Judge’s face.
That able are themselves to clear,
of all this cursed Race.
Hypocrites plead for themselves.
Nevertheless, they all express.
(Christ granting liberty,)
What for their way they have to say,
how they have liv’d, and why.
They all draw near and seek to clear
themselves by making pleas;
There Hypocrites, false-hearted wights,
do make such pleas as these:
“Lord, in thy Name, and by the same,
we Devils dispossess’d;
We rais’d the dead and minist’red
Succor to the distressed.
Our painful teaching and pow’rful preaching
by thine own wondrous might,
Did throughly win to God from sin
many a wretched wight.“
The Judge replyeth.
“All this,” quoth he, “may granted be,
and your case little better’d,
Who still remain under a chain
and many irons fetter’d.
You that the dead have quickened,
and rescu’d from the grave.
Yourselves were dead, yet ne’er needéd
a Christ your souls to save.
“You that could preach, and others teach
what way to life doth lead,
Why were you slack to find that track
and in that way to tread?
How could you bear to see or hear
of others freed at last
From Satan’s paws, whilst in his jaws
yourselves were held more fast?
“Who though you knew Repentance true,
and Faith is my great Name,
The only mean to quit you clean,
from punishment and blame,
Yet took no pain true Faith to gain,
such as might not deceive,
Nor would repent with true intent,
your evil deeds to leave.
“His Master’s will how to fulfil
the servant that well knew,
Yet left undone his duty known,
more plagues to him are due.
You against light perverted right;
wherefore it shall be now
For Sidon and for Sodom’s Land
more easy than for you.“
Another plea of the Hypocrites.
“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?“
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.“
The Judge uneaseth them.
The Judge incens’d at their pretens’d
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.
Another sort of Hypocrites make their pleas.
Then forth issue another Crew
(those being silencéd),
Who drawing nigh to the Most High,
adventure thus to plead:
“We sinners were,” say they, “’tis clear,
But did not we rely on thee,
O Christ, for whole Salvation?
“We did believe, and oft receive
thy gracious Promises;
We took great care to get a share
in endless Happiness.
We pray’d and wept, and Fast-days kept,
lewd ways we did eschew;
We joyful were thy Word to hear;
we form’d our lives anew.
“We thought our sin had pardon’d been,
that our Estate was good,
Our debts all paid, our peace well made,
our Souls wash’d with thy Blood.
Lord, why dost though reject us now,
who have not thee rejected,
Nor utterly true sanctity
and holy life neglected?“
“Thus from yourselves unto yourselves,
your duties all do tend;
And as self-love the wheels doth move,
so in self-love they end.“
Thus Christ detects their vain projects,
and close Impiety,
And plainly shews that all their shows
were but Hypocrisy.
Civil honest men’s pleas.
Then were brought nigh a Company
of Civil honest Men,
That lov’d true dealing and hated stealing,
ne’er wrong’d their Bretheren;
Who pleaded thus: “Thou knowest us
that we were blameless livers;
No Whoremongers, no Murderers,
no quarrelers nor strivers.
Church-robbers we were none,
Nor false dealers, nor cozeners,
but paid each man his own.
Our way was fair, our dealing square,
we were no wasteful spenders,
No lewd toss-pots, no drunken sots,
no scandalous offenders.
“We hated vice and set great price,
by virtuous conversation;
And by the same we got a name
and no small commendation.
God’s Laws express that righteousness
is that which he doth prize;
And to obey, as he doth say,
is more than sacrifice.
“Thus to obey hath been our way;
let our good deeds, we pray,
Find some regard and some reward
with thee, Lord, this day.
And whereas we transgressors be,
of Adam’s race were none,
No, not the best, but have confess’d
themselves to have misdone.“
Are taken off and rendered invalid.
Then answeréd unto their dread,
the Judge: “True Piety
God doth desire and eke require,
no less than honesty.
Justice demands at all your hands
If but in part you have come short,
that is a just offense.
“On Earth below, where men did owe
a thousand pounds and more.
Could twenty pence it recompense?
Could that have clear’d the score?
Think you to buy Felicity
with part of what’s due debt?
Or for desert of one small part,
the whole should off be set?
“And yet that part whose great desert
you think to reach so far,
For your excuse doth you accuse,
and will your boasting mar.
However fair, however square
your way and work hath been
Before men’s eyes, yet God espies
“God looks upon th’ affecti-on
and temper of the heart;
Not only on the acti-on,
and the external part.
Whatever end vain men pretend,
God knows the verity,
And by the end which they intend
their words and deeds doth try.
“Without true Faith, the Scripture saith,
God cannot take delight
In any deed that doth proceed
from any sinful wight.
And without love all actions prove
but barren empty things;
Dead works they be and vanity,
the which vexation brings.
“Nor from true Faith, which quencheth wrath,
hath your obedience flown;
Nor from true Love, which wont to move
Believers, hath it grown.
Your argument shews your intent
in all that you have done;
You thought to scale Heav’n’s lofty Wall
by Ladders of your own.
“Your blinded spirit hoping to merit
by your own Righteousness,
Needed no Savior but your behavior,
and blameless carriages.
You trusted to what you could do,
and in no need you stood;
Your haughty pride laid me aside.
And trampled on my Blood.
“All men have gone astray, and done
that which God’s laws condemn;
But my Purchase and offer’d Grace
All men did not contemn.
The Ninevites and Sodomites
had no such sin as this;
Yet as if all your sins were small,
you say, ‘All did amiss.’
“Again you thought and mainly sought
a name with men t’ acquire;
Pride bare the Bell that made you swell,
and your own selves admire.
Mean fruit it is, and vile, I wiss,
that springs from such a root;
Virtue divine and genuine
wonts not from pride to shoot.
“Such deeds as your are worse than poor;
they are but sins gilt over
With silver dross, whose glist’ring gloss
can them no longer cover.
The best of them would you condemn,
and ruin you alone.
Although you were from faults so clear,
that other you had none.
“Your gold is brass, your silver dross,
your righteousness is sin;
And think you by such honesty
Eternal life to win?
You much mistake, if for its sake
you dream of acceptation;
Whereas the same deserveth shame
and meriteth damnation.“
Those that pretend want of opportunity to repent.
A wondrous crowd then ’gan aloud
thus for themselves to say:
“We did intend, Lord, to amend,
and to reform our way.
Our true intent was to repent
and make our peace with thee;
But sudden death stopping our breath,
left us no liberty.
“Short was our time, for in its prime
our youthful pow’r was cropt;
We died in youth before full growth,
so was our purpose stopt.
Let our good will to turn from ill,
and sin to have forsaken,
Accepted be, Lord, by thee,
and in good part be taken.“
Are confuted and convicted.
To whom the Judge: “Where you allege
the shortness of the space,
That from your birth you liv’d on earth,
to compass saving Grace,
It was Free Grace that any space
was given you at all,
To turn from evil, defy the Devil,
and upon God to call.
“One day, one week wherein to seek
God’s face with all your hearts,
A favor was that far did pass
the best of your deserts.
You had a season; what was your reason
such precious hours to waste?
What could you find, what could you mind
that was of greater haste?
“Could you find time for vain pastime,
for loose, licentious mirth?
For fruitless toys and fading joys,
that perish in the birth?
Had you good leisure for carnal Pleasure,
in days of health and youth?
And yet no space to seek God’s face,
and turn to him in truth?
“In younger years, beyond your fears,
what if you were surprizéd?
You put away the evil day,
and of long life deviséd.
You oft were told, and might behold,
that Death no Age doth spare;
Why then did you your time foreslow,
and slight your soul’s welfare?
“Had your intent been to repent,
and had you it desir’d,
There would have been endeavors seen
before your time expir’d.
God makes no treasure, nor hath he pleasure
in idle purposes;
Such fair pretenses are foul offenses,
and cloaks for wickedness.“
Some plead examples of their betters.
Then were brought in and charg’d with sin,
Who by Petition obtain’d permission
to make Apology.
They arguéd, “We were misled,
as is well known to thee.
By their example that had more ample
abilities than we;
“Such, as profess’d they did detest
and hate each wicked way;
Whose seeming grace whilst we did trace,
our Souls were led astray.
When men of Parts, Learning, and Arts,
Did thus and thus, it seem’d to us
we might take liberty.“
Who are told that examples are no Rules.
The Judge replies: “I gave you eyes,
And light to see your way,
Which had you lov’d and well improv’d,
you had not gone astray.
My Word was pure, the Rule was sure;
Why did you it forsake,
Or thereon trample, and men’s example
your Directory make?
“This you well knew: that God is true,
and that most men are liars,
In word professing holiness,
in deed thereof deniers.
simple fools! that having Rules,
your lives to regulate.
Would them refuse, and rather choose
vile men to imitate.“
They urge that they were led by godly men’s Examples. But all their shifts turn to their greater shame.
“But, Lord,” say they, “we went astray,
and did more wickedly,
By means of those whom thou has chose
Salvation’s heirs to be.“
To whom the Judge: “What you allege
doth nothing help the case,
But makes appear how vile you were,
and rend’reth you more base.
“You understood that what was good,
was to be followéd.
And that you ought that which was naught
to have relinquished.
Contrariwise it was your guise
only to imitate
Good men’s defects, and their neglects
who were regenerate.
“But to express their holiness,
or imitate their grace.
You little car’d, nor once prepar’d
your hearts to seek my Face.
They did repent and truly rent
their hearts for all known sin;
You did offend, but not amend,
to follow them therein.“
Some plead the Scripture’s darkness, and difference among Interpreters.
“We had thy Word,” say some, “Lord,
but wiser men than we
Could never yet interpret it,
but always disagree.
How could we fools be led by Rules
so far beyond our ken.
Which to explain did so much pain
and puzzle wisest men?“
They are confuted.
“Was all my Word abstruse and hard?”
the Judge then answeréd;
“It did contain much Truth so plain
you might have run and read.
But what was hard you never car’d
to know, or studiéd;
And things that were most plain and clear
you never practiséd.
“The Mystery of Piety
God unto Babes reveals,
When to the Wise he it denies,
and from the world conceals.
If to fulfil God’s holy Will
had seemed good to you,
You would have sought light as you ought,
and done the good you knew.“
Others the fear of persecution.
Then came in view another crew,
and ’gan to make their pleas;
Amongst the rest, some of the best
had such poor shifts as these:
“Thou know’st right well, who all canst tell,
we liv’d amongst thy foes.
Who the Renate did sorely hate
and goodness much oppose.
“We holiness durst not profess,
fearing to be forlorn
Of all our friends, and for amends
to be the wicked’s scorn.
We knew their anger would much endanger
our lives and our estates;
Therefore, for fear, we durst appear
no better than our mates.“
They are answered.
To whom the Lord returns this word:
“O wonderful deceits!
To cast off awe of God’s strict law,
and fear men’s wrath and threats;
To fear hell-fire and God’s fierce ire
less than the rage of men;
As if God’s wrath could do less scath
than wrath of bretheren!
“To use such strife, a temp’ral life
to rescue and secure,
And be so blind as not to mind
that life that will endure!
This was your case, who carnal peace
more than true joys did savor;
Who fed on dust, clave to your lust,
and spurned at my favor.
“To please your kin, men’s love to win,
to flow in worldly wealth,
To save your skin, these things have been
more than Eternal health.
You had your choice, wherein rejoice;
it was your porti-on.
For which you chose your souls t’ expose
“Who did not hate friends, life, and state,
with all things else for me,
forsake and’s Cross up-take
shall never happy be.
Well worthy they to die for aye,
who death than life had rather;
Death is their due that so value
the friendship of my Father.“
Others plead for pardon from God’s Mercy and Justice.
Others plead Others argue, and not a few,
“Is not God graci-ous?
His Equity and Clemency,
are they not marvellous?
Thus we believ’d; are we deceiv’d?
Cannot his Mercy great,
(As hath been told to us of old,)
assuage his anger’s heat?
“How can it be that God should see
his Creatures’ endless pain.
Or hear their groans and rueful moans,
and still his wrath retain?
Can it agree with Equity,
can Mercy have the heart.
To recompense few years’ offense
with everlasting smart?
“Can God delight in such a sight
as sinners’ misery?
Or what great good can this our blood
bring unto the most High?
O thou that dost thy Glory most
in pard’ning sin display,
Lord, might it please thee to release
and pardon us this day!
“Unto thy name more glorious fame
would not such Mercy bring?
Would not it raise thine endless praise,
more than our suffering?“
With that they cease, holding their peace,
but cease not still to weep;
Grief ministers a flood of tears,
in which their words do steep.
They are answered.
But all too late; grief’s out of date,
when Life is at an end.
The glorious King thus answering,
all to his voice attend:
“God gracious is,” quoth he; “like his,
no mercy can be found:
His Equity and Clemency
to sinners do abound,
Mercy now shines forth in the vessels of Mercy.
“As may appear by those that here
are plac’d at my right hand,
Whose stripes I bore, and clear’d the score,
that they might quitted stand.
For surely none but God alone,
whose Grace transcends men’s thought.
For such as those that were his foes
like wonders would have wrought.
Did also wait upon such as abused it.
“And none but he such lenity
and patience would have shown
To you so long, who did him wrong,
and pull’d his Judgment down.
How long a space, stiff-neck’d race,
did patience you afford?
How oft did love you gently move,
to turn unto the Lord?
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 throughly hate all sin,
By plaguing it as is most fit—
this shall him Glory win.“
Then at the Bar arraignéd are
an impudenter sort,
Who to evade the guilt that’s laid
Upon them, thus retort:
“How could we cease thus to transgress?
How could we Hell avoid,
Whom God’s Decree shut out from thee,
and sign’d to be destroy’d ?
“Whom God ordains to endless pains
by Law unalterable,
Repentance true, Obedience new,
to save such are unable.
Sorrow for sin no good can win,
to such as are rejected;
Nor can they grieve nor yet believe,
that never were elected.
“Of Man’s fall’n race, who can true Grace
or Holiness obtain?
Who can convert or change his heart,
if God withhold the same?
Had we applied ourselves and tried
as much as who did most,
God’s love to gain, our busy pain
and labor bad been lost.“
Some pretend they were shut out of Heaven by God’s Decree.
Their pleas taken off.
Christ readily makes this Reply:
“I damn you not because
You are rejected, nor yet elected;
but you have broke my Laws.
It is in vain your wits to strain
the end and means to sever;
Men fondly seek to part or break
what God hath link’d together.
“Whom God will save, such he will have
the means of life to use;
Whom he’ll pass by shall choose to die,
and ways of life refuse.
He that fore-sees and fore-decrees,
in wisdom order’ d has.
That man’s free-will, electing ill,
shall bring his Will to pass.
“High God’s Decree, as it is free,
so doth it none compel
Against their will to good or ill;
it forceth none to Hell.
They have their wish whose Souls perish
with Torments in Hell-fire,
Who rather choose their souls to lose,
than leave a loose desire.
“God did ordain sinners to pain,
yet he to Hell sends none
But such as swerv’d and have deserv’d
destruction as their own.
His pleasure is, that none from Bliss
and endless happiness
Be barr’d, but such as wrong’d him much
by willful wickedness.
“You, sinful Crew! no other knew
but you might be elect;
Why did you then yourselves condemn?
Why did you me reject?
Where was your strife to gain that life
which lasteth evermore?
You never knock’d, yet say God lock’d
against you Heaven’s door.
“’Twas no vain task to knock and ask,
whilst life continuéd.
Who ever sought Heav’n as he ought,
and seeking perishéd?
The lowly, meek, who truly seek
for Christ and for Salvation,
There’s no decree whereby such be
ordain’d to condemnation.
You argue then: ’But abject men,
whom God resolves to spill,
Cannot repent, nor their hearts rent;
nor can they change their will.’
Not for his Can is any man
adjudgéd unto Hell,
But for his Will to do what’s ill,
and nilling to do well.
“I often stood tend’ring my Blood
to wash away your guilt,
And eke my Sprite to frame you right,
lest your Souls should be spilt.
But you, vile Race, rejected Grace,
when Grace was freely proflfer’d,
No changéd heart, no heav’nly part
would you, when it was offer’ d.
“Who willfully the remedy,
and means of life contemnéd.
Cause have the same themselves to blame,
if now they be condemnéd.
You have yourselves, you and none else,
to blame that you must die
You chose the way to your decay,
and perish’d willfully.“
These words appall and daunt them all,
dismay’d and all amort,
Like stocks that stand at Christ’s left hand
and dare no more retort.
Then were brought near with trembling fear,
a number numberless,
Of Blind Heathen and brutish men,
that did God’s Law transgress;
Heathen men plead want of the Written Word.
Whose wicked ways Christ open lays,
and makes their sins appear,
They making pleas their case to ease,
if not themselves to clear.
“Thy Written Word,” say they, “good Lord,
we never did enjoy;
We ne’er refus’d, nor it abus’d;
Oh, do not us destroy!“
“You ne’er abus’d, nor yet refus’d
my Written Word, you plead;
That’s true,” quoth he, “therefore shall ye
the less be punishéd.
You shall not smart for any part
of other men’s offense,
But for your own transgressi-on
receive due recompense.“
Insufficiency of the light of Nature.
“But we were blind,” say they, “in mind;
too dim was Nature’s Light,
Our only guide, as hath been tried,
to bring us to the sight
Of our estate degenerate,
and curs’d by Adam’s Fall;
How we were born and lay forlorn
in bondage and in thrall.
“We did not know a Christ till now,
nor how fall’n men be savéd,
Else would we not, right well we wot,
have so ourselves behavéd.
We should have mourn’d, we should have turn’d
from sin at thy Reproof,
And been more wise through thy advice,
for our own soul’s behoof.
They are answered.
“But Nature’s light shin’d not so bright
to teach us the right way:
We might have lov’d it and well improv’d it,
and yet have gone astray.“
The Judge most High makes this Reply:
“You ignorance pretend.
Dimness of sight, and want of light,
your course Heav’nward to bend.
“How came your mind to be so blind?
I once you knowledge gave.
Clearness of sight and judgment light:
who did the same deprave?
If to your cost you have it lost,
and quite defac’d the same,
Your own desert hath caus’d the smart;
you ought not me to blame.
“Yourselves into a pit of woe,
your own transgression led;
If I to none my Grace had shown
who had been injured?
If to a few, and not to you,
I shew’d a way of life,
My Grace so free, you clearly see,
gives you no ground of strife.
“’Tis vain to tell, you wot fall well,
if you in time had known
Your misery and remedy,
your actions had it shown:
You, sinful Crew, have not been true
unto the Light of Nature,
Nor done the good you understood,
nor ownéd your Creator.
“He that the Light, because ’tis slight,
hath uséd to despise,
Would not the Light shining more bright,
be likely for to prize.
If you had lov’d, and well improv’d
your knowledge and dim sight,
Herein your pain had not been vain,
your plagues had been more light.“
Reprobate Infants plead for themselves.
Then to the Bar all they drew near
Who died in infancy,
And never had or good or bad
But from the womb unto the tomb
were straightway carriéd,
(Or at the least ere they transgress’d)
who thus began to plead:
“If for our own transgressi-on,
We here did stand at thy left hand,
just were the Recompense;
But Adam’s guilt our souls hath spilt,
his fault is charg’d upon us;
And that alone hath overthrown
and utterly undone us.
“Not we, but he ate of the Tree,
whose fruit was interdicted;
Yet on us all of his sad Fall
the punishment’s inflicted.
How could we sin that had not been,
or how is his sin our,
Without consent, which to prevent
we never had the pow’r?
“O great Creator why was our Nature
depravéd and forlorn?
Why so defil’d, and made so vil’d,
whilst we were yet unborn?
If it be just, and needs we must
transgressors reckon’d be.
Thy Mercy, Lord, to us afford,
which sinners hath set free.
“Behold we see Adam set free,
and sav’d from his trespass,
Whose sinful Fall hath split us all,
and brought us to this pass.
Canst thou deny us once to try,
or Grace to us to tender,
When he finds grace before thy face,
who was the chief offender?“
Their arguments taken off.
Then answeréd the Judge most dread:
God doth such doom forbid,
That men should die eternally
for what they never did.
But what you call old Adam’s Fall,
and only his Trespass,
You call amiss to call it his,
both his and yours it was.
“He was design’d of all Mankind
to be a public Head;
A common Root, whence all should shoot,
and stood in all their stead.
He stood and fell, did ill or well,
not for himself alone.
But for you all, who now his Fall
and trespass would disown.
“If he had stood, then all his brood
had been establishéd
In God’s true love never to move,
nor once awry to tread;
Then all his Race my Father’s Grace
should have enjoy’d for ever.
And wicked Sprites by subtile sleights
could them have harméd never.
Would you have griev’d to have receiv’d
through Adam so much good,
As had been your for evermore,
if he at first had stood?
Would you have said, ’We ne’er obey’d
nor did thy laws regard;
It ill befits with benefits,
us, Lord, to so reward?’
“Since then to share in his welfare,
you could have been content,
You may with reason share in his treason,
and in the punishment.
Hence you were born in state forlorn,
with Natures so depravéd;
Death was your due because that yo
had thus yourselves behavéd.
“You think ’If we had been as he
whom God did so betrust,
We to our cost would ne’er have lost
all for a paltry lust.’
Had you been made in Adam’s stead,
you would like things have wrought,
And so into the self-same woe,
yourselves and yours have brought.
The free gift.
“I may deny you once to try,
or Grace to you to tender.
Though he finds Grace before my face
who was the chief offender;
Else should my Grace cease to be Grace,
for it would not be free,
If to release whom I should please
I have no liberty.
“If upon one what’s due to none.
I frankly shall bestow,
And on the rest shall not think best
compassion’s skirt to throw,
Whom injure I? will you envy
and grudge at others’ weal?
Or me accuse, who do refuse
yourselves to help and heal ?
“Am I alone of what’s my own,
no Master or no Lord?
And if I am, how can you claim
what I to some afford?
Will you demand Grace at my hand,
and challenge what is mine?
Will you teach me whom to set free,
and thus my Grace confine?
“You sinners are, and such a share
as sinners, may expect;
Such you shall have, for I do save
none but mine own Elect.
Yet to compare your sin with their
who liv’d a longer time,
I do confess yours is much less,
though every sin’s a crime.
The wicked all convinced and put to silence.
“A crime it is, therefore in bliss
you may not hope to dwell;
But unto you I shall allow
The easiest room in Hell.“
The glorious King thus answering,
they cease, and plead no longer;
Their Consciences must needs confess
his Reasons are the stronger.
Behold the formidable estate of all the ungodly as they stand hopeless and helpless before an impartial Judge, expecting their final Sentence.
Thus all men’s pleas the Judge with ease
doth answer and confute,
Until that all, both great and small,
are silencéd and mute.
Vain hopes are cropt, all mouths are stopt,
sinners have naught to say,
But that ’tis just and equal most
they should be damn’d for aye.
Now what remains, but that to pains
and everlasting smart,
Christ should condemn the sons of men,
which is their just desert?
Oh rueful plights of sinful wights!
Oh wretches all forlorn!
’T had happy been they ne’er had seen
the sun, or not been born.
Yea now it would be good they could
And cease to be, themselves to free
from such a fearful state.
O happy Dogs, and Swine, and Frogs,
yea, Serpent’s generation!
Who do not fear this doom to hear,
and sentence of Damnation!
This is their state so desperate;
their sins are fully known;
Their vanities and villanies
before the world are shown.
As they are gross and impious,
so are their numbers more
Than motes in th’ Air, or than their hair,
or sands upon the shore.
Divine Justice offended is,
and satisfaction claimeth;
God’s wrathful ire, kindled like fire.
against them fiercely flameth.
Their Judge severe doth quite cashier,
and all their pleas off take,
That ne’er a man, or dare, or can
a further answer make.
Their mouths are shut, each man is put
to silence and to shame,
Nor have they aught within their thought,
Christ’s Justice for to blame.
The Judge is just, and plague them must,
nor will he Mercy shew,
For Mercy’s day is past away
to any of this Crew.
The Judge is strong, doers of wrong
cannot his pow’r withstand;
None can by flight run out of sight,
nor ’scape out of his hand.
Sad is their state; for Advocate,
to plead their cause, there’s none;
None to prevent their punishment,
or mis’ry to bemoan.
O dismal day! whither shall they
for help and succor flee?
To God above with hopes to move
their greatest Enemy?
His wrath is great, whose burning heat
no floods of tears can slake;
His Word stands fast that they be cast
into the burning Lake.
To Christ their Judge? He doth adjudge
them to the Pit of Sorrow;
Nor will he hear, or cry or tear,
nor respite them one morrow.
To Heav’n, alas! they cannot pass,
it is against them shut;
To enter there (O heavy cheer)
they out of hopes are put.
Unto their Treasures, or to their Pleasures?
All these have them forsaken;
Had they full coffers to make large offers,
their gold would not be taken.
Unto the place where whilom was
their birth and Education?
Lo! Christ begins for their great sins,
to fire the Earth’s Foundation;
And by and by the flaming Sky
shall drop like molten Lead
About their ears, t’ increase their fears,
and aggravate their dread.
To Angel’s good that ever stood
in their integrity,
Should they betake themselves, and make
their suit incessantly?
They’ve neither skill, nor do they will
to work them any ease;
They will not mourn to see them burn,
nor beg for their release.
To wicked men, their bretheren
in sin and wickedness,
Should they make moan? Their case is one;
they’re in the same distress.
Ah! cold comfort and mean support,
from such like Comforters!
Ah! little joy of Company,
Such shall increase their heart’s disease,
and add unto their woe,
Because that they brought to decay
themselves and many moe.
Unto the Saints with sad complaints
should they themselves apply?
They’re not dejected nor aught affected
with all their misery.
Friends stand aloof and make no proof
what Prayers or Tears can do;
Your Godly friends are now more friends
to Christ than unto you.
Where tender love men’s hearts did move
unto a sympathy,
And bearing part of others’ smart
in their anxiety,
Now such compassion is out of fashion,
and wholly laid aside;
No friends so near, but Saints to hear
their Sentence can abide.
One natural Brother beholds another
in his astonied fit.
Yet sorrows not thereat a jot,
nor pities him a whit.
The godly Wife conceives no grief
nor can she shed a tear
For the sad state of her dear Mate,
when she his doom doth hear.
He that was erst a Husband pierc’d
with sense of Wife’s distress.
Whose tender heart did bear a part
of all her grievances,
Shall mourn no more as heretofore,
because of her ill plight.
Although he see her now to be
a damn’d forsaken wight.
The tender Mother will own no other
of all her num’rous brood,
But such as stand at Christ’s right hand,
acquitted through his Blood.
The pious Father had now much rather
his graceless Son should lie
In Hell with Devils, for all his evils,
Than God most High should injury
by sparing him sustain;
And doth rejoice to hear Christ’s voice,
adjudging him to pain.
Thus having all, both great and small,
convinc’d and silencéd,
Christ did proceed their Doom to read,
and thus it utteréd:
The Judge pronounceth the sentence of condemnation.
“Ye sinful wights and curséd sprights,
that work iniquity,
Depart together from me for ever
to endless Misery;
Your portion take in yonder Lake,
where Fire and Brimstone flameth;
Suffer the smart which your desert,
as its due wages claimeth.“
The terror of it.
Oh piercing words, more sharp than swords!
What! to depart from Thee,
Whose face before for evermore
the best of Pleasures be!
What! to depart (unto our smart),
from thee Eternally!
To be for aye banish’d away
with Devils’ company!
What! to be sent to Punishment,
and flames of burning Fire!
To be surrounded, and eke confounded
with God’s revengeful Ire!
What! to abide, not for a tide,
these Torments, but for Ever!
To be releas’d, or to be eas’d,
not after years, but Never!
Oh fearful Doom! now there’s no room
for hope or help at all;
Sentence is past which aye shall last;
Christ will not it recall.
Then might you hear them rend and tear
the Air with their out-cries;
The hideous noise of their sad voice
ascendeth to the Skies.
They wring their hands, their caitiff-hands,
and gnash their teeth for terror;
They cry, they roar for anguish sore,
and gnaw their tongues for horror.
But get away without delay,
Christ pities not your cry;
Depart to Hell, there may you yell,
and roar Eternally.
It is put in Execution.
That word “Depart,” maugre their heart,
drives every wicked one,
With mighty pow’r, the self-same hour,
far from the Judge’s Throne.
Away they’re chas’d by the strong blast
of his Death-threat’ning mouth;
They flee full fast, as if in haste,
although they be full loath.
As chaff that’s dry, as dust doth fly
before the Northern wind.
Right so are they chaséd away,
and can no Refuge find.
They hasten to the Pit of Woe,
guarded by Angels stout.
Who to fulfil Christ’s holy Will,
attend this wickéd Rout;
Whom having brought as they are taught,
unto the brink of Hell,
(That dismal place, far from Christ’s face,
where Death and Darkness dwell,
Where God’s fierce Ire kindleth the fire,
and vengeance feeds the flame.
With piles of Wood and Brimstone Flood,
so none can quench the same,)
Wicked men and Devils cast into it forever.
With Iron bands they bind their hands
and curséd feet together,
And cast them all, both great and small,
into that Lake forever,
Where day and night, without respite,
they wail, and cry and howl,
For tort’ring pain which they sustain,
in Body and in Soul.
For day and night, in their despite,
their torment’s smoke ascendeth.
Their pain and grief have no relief,
their anguish never endeth.
There must they lie and never die,
though dying every day;
There must they dying ever lie,
and not consume away.
Die fain they would if die they could,
but Death will not be had;
God’s direful wrath their bodies hath
forev’r immortal made.
They live to lie in misery,
and bear eternal woe;
And live they must whilst God is just,
that he may plague them so.
The unsufferable torments of the Damned.
But who can tell the plagues of Hell,
and torments exquisite?
Who can relate their dismal state,
and terrors infinite?
Who fare the best and feel the least,
yet feel that punishment
Whereby to nought they would be brought
if God did not prevent.
The least degree of misery
there felt is incomparable;
The lightest pain they there sustain
is more than intolerable.
But God’s great pow’r from hour to hour
upholds them in the fire,
That they shall not consume a jot
nor by its force expire.
But, ah, the woe they undergo
(they more than all beside)
Who had the light, and knew the right,
yet would not it abide!
The sev’n fold smart which to their part
and porti-on doth fall.
Who Christ’s free Grace would not embrace,
nor hearken to his call.
The Amorites and Sodomites,
although their plagues be sore,
Yet find some ease compar’d to these,
who feel a great deal more.
Almighty God, whose Iron Rod,
to smite them never lins.
Doth most declare his Justice rare
in plaguing these men’s sins.
The pain of loss their souls doth toss,
and wond’rously distress,
To think what they have cast away
by willful wickedness.
“We might have been redeem’d from sin,”
think they, “and liv’d above.
Being possesst of Heav’nly rest,
and joying in God’s love
“But woe, woe, woe, our Souls unto!
we would not happy be;
And therefore bear God’s vengeance here
to all Eternity.
Experience and woful sense
must be our painful teachers,
Who’d not believe, nor credit give
unto our faithful Preachers.“
Thus shall they lie and wail and cry,
tormented and tormenting;
Their galléd hearts with poison’d darts,
but now too late repenting.
There let them dwell in th’ Flames of Hell:
there leave we them to burn,
And back again unto the men
whom Christ acquits, return.
The Saints rejoice to see the Judgment executed upon the Wicked World.
The Saints behold with courage bold
and thankful wonderment,
To see all those that were their foes
thus sent to punishment.
Then do they sing unto their King
a Song of endless Praise;
They praise his Name and do proclaim
that just are all his ways.
They ascend with Christ into Heaven triumphing.
Thus with great joy and melody
to Heav’n they all ascend,
Him there to praise with sweetest lays,
and Hymns that never end;
Where with long rest they shall be blest,
and naught shall them annoy,
Where they shall see as seen they be,
and whom they love enjoy.
Their eternal happiness and incomparable glory there.
Oh glorious Place! where face to face
Jehovah may be seen,
By such as were sinners while here,
and no dark veil between!
Where the Sunshine and light Divine
of God’s bright countenance,
Doth rest upon them every one,
with sweetest influence!
Oh blessed state of the Renate!
Oh wond’rous happiness.
To which they’re brought beyond what thought
can reach or words express!
Grief’s watercourse and sorrow’s source
are turn’d to joyful streams;
Their old distress and heaviness
are vanished like dreams.
For God above in arms of love
doth dearly them embrace.
And fills their sprights with such delights,
and pleasures in his Grace,
As shall not fail, nor yet grow stale,
through frequency of use;
Nor do they fear God’s favor there
to forfeit by abuse.
For there the Saints are perfect Saints,
and holy ones indeed;
From all the sin that dwelt within
their mortal bodies freed;
Made Kings and Priests to God through Christ’s
dear Love’s transcendency,
There to remain and there to reign
with him Eternally.