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MEDITATIONS OF THE MISERY OF A MAN NOT RECONCILED TO GOD IN CHRIST.
O wretched Man! where shall I begin to describe thine endless misery, who art condemned as soon as conceived; and adjudged to eternal death, before thou wast born to a temporal life? A beginning indeed, I find, but no end of thy miseries. For when Adam and Eve, being created after God’s own image, and placed in Paradise, that they and their posterity might live in a blessed state of life immortal, having dominion over all earthly creatures, and only restrained from the fruit of one tree, as a sign of their subjection to the almighty Creator; though God forbade them this one small thing, under the penalty of eternal death; yet they believed the devil’s word before the word of God, making God, as much as in them lay, a liar. And so being unthankful for all the benefits which God bestowed on them, they became malcontent with their present state, as if God had dealt enviously or niggardly with them; and believed that the devil would make them partakers of far more glorious things than ever God had bestowed upon them; and in their pride they fell into high-treason against the Most High; and disdaining to be God’s subjects, they affected blasphemously to be gods themselves, equals to God. Hence, till they repented (losing God’s image) they became like the devil; and so all their posterity, as a traitorous brood (whilst they remain impenitent, like thee) are subject in this life to all cursed miseries, and, in the life to come, to the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
Lay then aside for a while thy doting vanities, and take the view with me of thy doleful miseries; which duly surveyed, I doubt not but that thou wilt conclude, that it is far better never to have nature’s being, than not to be by grace a practitioner of religious piety.29
Consider therefore thy misery—
1. In thy life. 2. In thy death. 3. After death.
In thy life, 1. The miseries accompanying thy body; 2. The miseries which deform thy soul.
In thy death, The miseries which shall oppress thy body and soul.
After death, The miseries which overwhelm both body and soul together in hell.
And, first, let us take a view of those miseries which accompany the body in the four ages of life, viz. infancy, youth, manhood, and old age.
Meditations of the Miseries of Man from Infancy to Old Age.
What wast thou, being an infant, but an helpless unconscious creature, having the human form, but without speech or reason? Thou wast born in the stain of original sin, and cast naked upon the earth. What cause then hast thou to boast of thy birth, which was pain and anguish to thy mother, and to thyself the entrance into a troublesome life? the greatness of which miseries, because thou couldst not utter in words, thou didst express as well as thou couldst in weeping tears.
What is youth, but an untamed beast? all whose actions are rash and rude, not capable of good counsel, when it is given; and, ape-like, delighting in nothing but in toys and babies? therefore thou no sooner beganst to have a little strength and discretion, but forthwith thou wast kept under the rod, and fear of parents and masters; as if thou hadst been born to live under the discipline of others, rather than at the disposition of thine own will. No tired horse was ever more willing to be rid of his burden, than thou wast to get out of the servile state of this bondage—a state not worthy the description.
What is man’s estate but a sea, wherein, as waves, one trouble arises in the neck of another—the latter worse 30than the former? No sooner didst thou enter into the affairs of this world, but thou wast enwrapped about with a cloud of miseries. Thy flesh provokes thee to lust, the world allures thee to pleasures, and the devil tempts thee to all kinds of sins; fears of enemies affright thee, suits in law vex thee, wrongs of ill neighbours oppress thee, cares for wife and children consume thee, and disquietness betwixt open foes and false friends do in a manner confound thee; sin stings thee within; Satan lays snares before thee; conscience of sins past doggeth behind thee. Now adversity on the left hand frets thee; anon, prosperity on thy right hand flatters thee; over thy head God’s vengeance due to thy sin is ready to fall upon thee; and under thy feet, hell’s mouth is ready to swallow thee up. And in this miserable estate whither wilt thou go for rest and comfort? The house is full of cares, the field full of toil, the country of rudeness, the city of factions, the court of envy, the church of sects, the sea of pirates, the land of robbers. Or in what state wilt thou live, seeing wealth is envied and poverty contemned; wit is distrusted, and simplicity is derided; superstition is mocked, and religion is suspected; vice is advanced, and virtue is disgraced? Oh, with what a body of sin art thou compassed about in a world of wickedness! What are thine eyes, but windows to behold vanities? What are thine ears but flood-gates to let in the streams of iniquity? What are thy senses, but matches to give fire to thy lusts? What is thine heart, but the anvil whereon Satan hath forged the ugly shape of all lewd affections? Art thou nobly descended? thou must put thyself in peril of foreign wars to get the reputation of earthly honour; oft-times hazard thy life in a desperate combat to avoid the aspersion of a coward. Art thou born in a mean estate? Lord! what pains and drudgery must thou endure at home and abroad to get maintenance; and all perhaps scarce sufficient to serve thy necessity. And when, after much service and labour, a man has got 31something, how little certainty is there in that which is gotten? seeing thou seest by daily experience, that he who was rich yesterday, is to-day a beggar; he that yesterday was in health, to-day is sick; he that yesterday was merry and laughed, has cause to-day to mourn and weep; he that yesterday was in favour, to-day is in disgrace; and he who yesterday was alive, to-day is dead; and thou knowest not how soon, nor in what manner thou shalt die thyself. And who can enumerate the losses, crosses, griefs, disgraces, sicknesses, and calamities, which are incident to sinful man? to speak nothing of the death of friends and children, which oft-times seems to us far more bitter than present death itself.
What is old age, but the receptacle of all maladies? For if thy lot be to draw thy days to a long date, in comes old bald-headed age, stooping under dotage, with his wrinkled face, decaying teeth, and offensive breath; testy with choler, withered with dryness, dimmed with blindness, obsurded with deafness, overwhelmed with, sickness, and bowed together with weakness; having no use of any sense, but of the sense of pain, which so racks every member of his body, that it never eases him of grief, till it has thrown him down to his grave.
Thus far of the miseries which accompany the body. Now of the miseries which accompany chiefly the soul in this life.
Meditations of the Misery of the Soul in this Life.
The misery of thy soul will more evidently appear, if thou wilt but consider—1st, The felicity she has lost; 2d, The misery which she has brought upon herself by sin.
1. The felicity lost was, first, the fruition of the image of God, whereby the soul was like God in knowledge, enabling her perfectly to understand the revealed will of God (Col. iii. 10; Rom. xii. 2); secondly, true holiness, by which she was free from all profane error; thirdly, 32righteousness, whereby she was able to incline all her natural powers, and to frame uprightly all her actions, proceeding from those powers. With the loss of this divine image, she lost the love of God, and the blessed communion which she had with Him, wherein consists her life and happiness. If the loss of earthly riches vex thee so much, how should not the loss of this divine treasure perplex thee much more?
2. The misery which she drew upon herself, consists in two things:—1st, Sinfulness; 2d, Cursedness.
1. Sinfulness is an universal corruption both of her nature and actions: for her nature is infected with a proneness to every sin continually (Eph. ii. 3; Gen. vi. 5); the mind is stuffed with vanity (Rom. xii. 2; Eph. iv. 17); the understanding is darkened with ignorance (1 Cor. ii. 14); the will affects nothing but vile and vain things (Phil. ii. 3); all her actions are evil (Rom. iii. 12); yea, this deformity is so violent, that often in the regenerate soul, the appetite will not obey the government of reason, and the will wanders after, and yields consent to sinful motions. How great, then, is the violence of the appetite and will in the reprobate soul, which still remains in her natural corruption! hence it is that thy wretched soul is so deformed with sin, denied with lust, polluted with filthiness, outraged with passions, overcarried with affections, pining with envy, overcharged with gluttony, surfeited with drunkenness, boiling with revenge, transported with rage, and the glorious image of God transformed into the ugly shape of the devil (John viii. 44), so far as it once “repented the Lord, that ever he made man,” Gen. vi. 6.
1. Cursedness in part is that which is inflicted upon the soul in life and death, and is common to her with the body.33
2. The cursedness of the soul in life, is the wrath of God, which lies upon such a creature so far, as that all things, not only calamities, but also very blessings and graces turn to ruin (Rom. ii. 4, 5; Jer. xxviii. 13; Isa. xxviii. 13); terror of conscience drives him from God and his service, that he dares not come to his presence and ordinances (Gen. iii. 8, 10; iv. 14; Heb. ii. 15), but is given up to the slavery of Satan, and to his own lusts and vile affections (Rom. i. 21, 24, 26; Eph. ii. 2; Col. i. 13). This is the cursedness of the soul in life. Now follow the cursedness of the soul and body in death.
Meditations of the Misery of the Body and Soul in Death.
After that the aged man has conflicted with long sickness, and having endured the brunt of pain, should now expect some ease, in comes death, nature’s slaughterman, God’s curse, and hell’s purveyor, and looks the old man grim and black in the face; and neither pitying his age, nor regarding his long-endured dolours, will not be hired to forbear either for silver or gold; nay, he will not take to spare his life, skin for skin (Job i.), and all that the old man hath; but batters all the principal parts of his body, and arrests him to appear before the terrible Judge. And as thinking that the old man will not despatch to go with him fast enough, Lord! how many darts of calamities doth he shoot through him, stitches, aches, cramps, fevers, obstructions, rheums, phlegm, colic, stone, wind, &c. Oh, what a ghastly sight it is, to see him then in his bed, when death has given him his mortal wound what a cold sweat over-runs all his body—what a trembling possesses all his members!—the head shoots, the face waxeth pale, the nose black, the nether jaw-bone hangs down, the eye-strings break, the tongue falters, the breath shortens and smells earthy, and at every gasp the heart-strings are ready to break asunder. Now the miserable soul sensibly perceives her 34earthly body to begin to die; for as towards the dissolution of the universal frame of the great world, the sun shall be turned into darkness, the moon into blood, and the stars shall fall from heaven, the air shall be full of storms and flashing meteors, the earth shall tremble, and the sea shall roar, and men’s hearts shall fail for fear, expecting the end of such sorrowful beginnings; so, towards the dissolution of man, which is the little world, his eyes, which are as the sun and moon, lose their light, and see nothing but blood-guiltiness of sin; the rest of the senses, as lesser stars, do one after another fail and fall—his mind, reason, and memory, as heavenly powers of his soul, are shaken with fearful storms of despair, and fierce flashings of hell fire—his earthly body begins to shake and tremble, and the humours. like an overflowing sea, roar and rattle in his throat, still expecting the Woful end of these dreadful beginnings.
Whilst he is thus summoned to appear at the great assizes of God’s judgment, behold, a quarter-sessions and jail-delivery is held within himself; where reason sits as judge, the devil puts in a bill of indictment, as large as that book of Zachary (Zech. v. 2; Ezek. ii. 10); wherein is alleged all thy evil deeds that ever thou hast committed, and all the good deeds that ever thou hast omitted, and all the curses and judgments that are due to every sin. Thine own conscience shall accuse thee, and thy memory shall give bitter evidence, and death stands at the bar ready, as a cruel executioner, to dispatch thee. If thou shalt thus condemn thyself, how shalt thou escape the just condemnation of God, who knows all thy misdeeds better than thyself? (1 John iii. 20.) Fain wouldest thou put out of thy mind the remembrance of thy wicked deeds that trouble thee; but they flow faster into thy remembrance, and they will not be put away, but cry unto thee, We are thy works, and we will follow thee! and whilst thy soul is thus within, out of peace and order, thy children, wife, and friends trouble thee as fast, to have thee put thy goods in order; some crying, 35some craving, some pitying, some cheering; all, like flesh-flies, helping to make thy sorrows more sorrowful (Luke xii. 20.) Now the devils, who are come from hell to fetch away thy soul, begin to appear to her; and wait, as soon as she comes forth, to take her, and carry her away. Stay she would within, but that she feels the body begin by degrees to die, and ready, like a ruinous house, to fall upon her head. Fearful she is to come forth, because of those hell-hounds which wait for her coming. Oh, she that spent so many days and nights in vain and idle pastimes, would now give the whole world, if she had it, for one hour’s delay, that she might have space to repent, and reconcile herself unto God! But it cannot be, because her body, which joined with her in the actions of sin, is altogether now unfit to join with her in the exercise of repentance: and repentance must be of the whole man.
Now she sees that all her pleasures are gone, as if they had never been; and that but only torments remain, which never shall have end of being. Who can sufficiently express her remorse for her sins past, her anguish for her present misery, and her terror for her torments to come?
In this extremity she looks everywhere for help, and she finds herself every way helpless. Thus in her greatest misery, desirous to hear the least word of comfort, she directs this or the like speech to her eyes: O eyes, who in times past were so quick-sighted, can ye spy no comfort, nor any way how I might escape this dreadful danger? But the eye-strings are broken, they cannot see the candle that burns before them, nor discern whether it be day or night.
The soul, finding no comfort in the eyes, speaks to the ears: O ears, who were wont to recreate yourselves with hearing new pleasant discourses, and music’s sweetest harmony, can you hear any news or tidings of the least comfort for me? The ears are either so deaf, that they cannot hear at all, or the sense of hearing is grown 36so weak, that it cannot endure to hear his dearest friends speak. And why should those ears hear any tidings of joy in death, who could never abide to hear the glad tidings of the gospel in this life? The ear can minister no comfort.
Then she intimates her grief to the tongue: O tongue, who wast wont to brag it out with the bravest, where are now thy big and daring words? Now, in my greatest need, canst thou speak nothing in my defence? Canst thou neither daunt these enemies with threatening words, nor entreat them with fair speeches? Alas! the tongue two days ago lay speechless: it cannot, in his greatest extremity, either call for a little drink, or desire a friend to take away with his finger the phlegm that is ready to choke him.
Finding here no hope of help, she speaks to the feet: Where are ye, O feet, which sometime were so nimble in running? Can you carry me nowhere out of this dangerous place? The feet are stone-dead already: if they be not stirred, they cannot stir.
Then she directs her speech to her hands: O hands, who have been so often approved for manhood, in peace and war, and wherewith I have so often defended myself, and offended my foes, never had I more need than now. Death looks me grim in the face, and kills me—hellish fiends wait about my bed to devour me: help now, or I perish for ever. Alas! the hands are so weak, and do so tremble, that they cannot reach to the mouth a spoonful of liquid, to relieve languishing nature.
The wretched soul, seeing herself thus desolate, and altogether destitute of friends, help, and comfort, and knowing that within an hour she must be in everlasting pains, retires herself to the heart (which of all members is primum vivens, and ultimum moriens), from whence she makes this doleful lamentation with herself.
O miserable caitiff that I am! how do the sorrows of death compass me! how do the floods of Belial make me afraid! (2 Sam. xxii. 5.) Now have, indeed, the 37snares both of the first and second death overtaken me at once. O how suddenly has death stolen upon me with insensible degrees! like the sun, which the eye perceives not to move, though it be most swift of motion. How does death wreak on me his spite without pity! The God of mercy has utterly forsaken me; and the devil, who knows no mercy, waits to take me. How often have I been warned of this doleful day by the faithful preachers of God’s word, and I made but a jest of it! What profit have I now of all my pride, fine house, and gay apparel? What is become of the sweet relish of all my delicious fare? All the worldly goods which I so carefully gathered, would I now give for a good conscience, which I so carelessly neglected. And what joy remains now of all my former fleshly pleasures, wherein I placed my chief delight? those foolish pleasures were but deceitful dreams, and now they are past like vanishing shadows: but to think of those eternal pains which I must endure for those short pleasures, pains me as hell before I enter into hell. Yet justly, I confess, as I have deserved I am served; that being made after God’s image a reasonable soul, able to judge of mine own estate, and having mercy so often offered, and I entreated to receive it, I neglected God’s grace, and preferred the pleasures of sin before the religious care of pleasing God; lewdly spending my short time, without considering what accounts I should make at my last end. And now all the pleasures of my life being put together, countervail not the least part of my present pains: my joys were but momentary, and gone before I could scarce enjoy them; my miseries are eternal, and never shall know an end. O that I had spent the hours that I consumed in carding, dicing, playing, and other vile exercises, in reading the scriptures, in hearing sermons, in receiving the communion, in weeping for my sins, in fasting, watching, praying, and in preparing my soul, that I might have now departed in the assured hope of everlasting salvation! O that I 38were now to begin my life again! how would I contemn the world and its vanities! how religiously and purely would I lead my life! how would I frequent the church, and sanctify the Lord’s day! If Satan should offer me all the treasures, pleasures, and promotions of this world, he should never entice me to forget these terrors of this last dreadful hour. But, O corrupt carcase and loathsome carrion! how has the devil deluded us! and how have we served and deceived each other, and pulled swift damnation upon us both! Now is my case more miserable than the beast that perisheth in a ditch; for I must go to answer before the judgment-seat of the righteous Judge of heaven and earth, where I shall have none to speak for me: and these wicked fiends, who are privy to all my evil deeds, will accuse me, and I cannot excuse myself; my own heart already condemns me; I must needs therefore be damned before his judgment-seat, and from thence be carried by these infernal fiends into that horrible prison of endless torments and utter darkness, where I shall never more see light, that first most excellent thing that God made. I, who gloried heretofore in being a libertine, am now enclosed in the very claws of Satan, as the trembling partridge is within the griping talons of the ravenous falcon. Where shall I lodge to-night—and who shall be my companions? O horror to think! O grief to consider! O cursed be the day wherein I was born, and let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed! Cursed be the man that shewed my father, saying, “A child is born unto thee,” and comforted him; cursed be that man because he slew me not! O that my mother might have been my grave, or her womb a perpetual conception! How is it that I came forth of the womb to endure these hellish sorrows, and that my days should thus end with eternal shame? Cursed be the day that I was first united to so vile a body! O that I had but so much favour as that I might never see thee more! Our parting is bitter and doleful, but 39our meeting again, to receive at that dreadful day the fulness of our deserved vengeance, will be far more terrible and intolerable. But what mean I thus, by too late lamentation, to seek to prolong time? my last hour is come, I hear the heart-strings break: this filthy-house of clay falls on my head; here is neither hope, help, nor place of any longer abiding. And must I needs be gone, thou filthy carcase? O filthy carcase! with fare-ill, farewell, I leave thee: And so all trembling she comes forth, and forthwith is seized upon by infernal fiends, who carry her with a violence torrenti simili to the bottomless lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; where she is kept as a prisoner in torments till the general judgment of the great day (Rev. xxi. 8; Jude, ver. 6; 1 Pet. iii. 19.)
The loathsome carcase is afterwards laid in the grave. In which action, for the most part, the dead bury the dead; that is, they who are dead in sin, bury them who are dead for sin. And thus the godless and unregenerated worldling, who made earth his paradise, his belly his god, his lust his law; as in his life he sowed vanity, so he is now dead, and reapeth misery. In his prosperity he neglected to serve God: in his adversity God refuses to save him; and the devil, whom he long served, now at length pays him his wages. Detestable was his life, damnable is his death. The devil has his soul, the grave has his carcase: in which pit of corruption, den of death, and dungeon of sorrow, let us leave the miserable sinner, rotting with his mouth full of earth, his belly full of worms, and his carcase full of stench; expecting a fearful resurrection, when the body shall be reunited with the soul; that as they sinned together, so they may be eternally tormented together.
Thus far of the miseries of the soul and body is death, which is but cursedness in part: Now follows the fulness of cursedness, which is the misery of the soul and body after death.40
Meditations of the Misery of a Man after Death, which is the fulness of Cursedness.
The fulness of cursedness, when it falls upon a creature, not able to bear the brunt of it, presseth him down to that bottomless deep of the endless wrath of Almighty God, which is called the damnation of hell (Luke viii. 28, & xvi. 23; 1 Thess. i. 10; Matt. xxiii. 33.) This fulness of cursedness is either particular or general.
Particular is that which, in a less measure of fulness, lighteth upon the soul immediately, as soon as she is separated from the body (Luke xvi. 22, 23; 1 Pet. iii. 19; Jude, ver. 6, 7;) for in the very instant of dissolution she is in the sight and presence of God: for when she ceaseth to see with the organ of fleshly eyes, she seeth after a spiritual manner; like Stephen, who saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at his right hand (Acts vii. 5;) or as a man who, being born blind, and miraculously restored to his sight, should see the sun, which he never saw before. And there, by the testimony of her own conscience, Christ, the righteous Judge, who knoweth all things, maketh her, by his omnipresent power, to understand the doom and judgment that is due unto her sins, and what must be her eternal state. And in this manner standing in the sight of heaven, not fit, for her uncleanness, to come into heaven, she is said to stand before the throne of God. And so forthwith she is carried by the evil angels, who came to fetch her with violence into hell, where she is kept, as in a prison, in everlasting pains and chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day; but not in that extremity of torments which she shall finally receive at the last day.
The general fulness of cursedness is in a greater measure of fulness which shall be inflicted upon both soul and body, when, by the mighty power of Christ, the supreme Judge of heaven and earth, the one shall be brought out of hell, and the other out of the grave, as prisoners, to receive their dreadful doom, according to 41their evil deeds (2 Pet. ii. 9; Jude, ver. 7; Rev. xi. 18; John v. 28, 29; Rev. xx. 13.) How shall the reprobate, by the roaring of the sea, the quaking of the earth, the trembling of the powers of heaven (Matt. xxiv. 29; Luke xxi. 24, 25), and terrors of heavenly signs, be driven, at the world’s end, to their wits’ end! Oh, what a woful salutation will there be betwixt the damned soul and body, at their reuniting at that terrible day!
O sink of sin, O lump of filthiness (will the soul say to her body), how am I compelled to re-enter thee, not as to an habitation to rest, but as a prison, to be tormented! How dost thou appear in my sight, like Jephtha’s daughter, to my great torment! Would God thou hadst perpetually rotted in the grave, that I might never have seen thee again! How shall we be confounded together to hear, before God, angels, and men, laid open all those secret sins which we committed together! Have I lost heaven for the love of such a foul carrion? Art thou the flesh for whose pleasures I have yielded to commit so many fornications? O filthy belly! how became I such a fool as to make thee my god! How mad was I, for momentary joys, to incur these torments of eternal pains! Ye rocks and mountains, why skip ye so like rams (Ps. cxliv. 4), and will not fall upon me, to hide me from the face of him that comes to sit on yonder throne; for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand? (Rev. vi. 16, 17.) Why tremblest thou thus, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, and will not open thy mouth, and swallow me up, as thou didst Corah, that I be seen no more?
O evil fiends! I would ye might without delay tear me in pieces, on condition that you would tear me into nothing!
But whilst thou art thus in vain bewailing thy misery, the angels (Matt. xiii. 41) hale thee violently away from the brink of thy grave to some place near the tribunal-seat of Christ; where being, as a cursed goat, separated to stand beneath on earth, as on the left hand of the 42Judge, Christ will pass sentence upon thee (Matt. xxv. 33.)
Within thee, thine own conscience (more than a thousand witnesses) shall accuse thee; the devils, who tempted thee to all thy lewdness, shall on the one side testify with thy conscience against thee; and on the other side shall stand the holy saints and angels approving Christ’s justice; behind thee, an hideous noise of innumerable fellow-reprobates tarrying for thy company; before thee, all the world burning in flaming fire; above thee, an ireful Judge of deserved vengeance, ready to pronounce his sentenoe upon thee; beneath thee, the fiery and sulphureous mouth of the bottomless pit. gaping to receive thee. In this woful estate, to hide thyself will be impossible, for on that condition, thou wouldest wish that the greatest rock might fall upon thee (Rev. vi. 16, 17;) to appear will be intolerable, and yet thou must stand forth, to receive with other reprobates, this sentence—“Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Depart from me.] There is a separation from all joy and happiness.
Ye cursed.] There is a black and direful excommunication.
Into fire.] There is the cruelty of pain.
Everlasting.] There is the perpetuity of punishment.
Prepared for the devil and his angels.] Here are thy infernal tormenting and tormented companions.
O terrible sentence! from which the condemned cannot escape; which being pronounced, cannot possibly be withstood; against which a man cannot except, and from which a man can nowhere appeal: so that to the damned, nothing remains but hellish torments, which know neither ease of pain, nor end of time! From this judgment-seat thou must be thrust by angels, together with all the devils and reprobates, into the bottomless lake of utter darkness, that perpetually burns with fire 43and brimstone (Rev. xxi. 8:) Whereunto, as thou shalt be thrust, there shall be such weeping, woes, and wailing, that the cry of the company of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, when the earth swallowed them up, was nothing comparable to this howling: nay, it will seem unto thee a hell, before thou goest into hell, but to hear it. Into which lake, after that thou art once plunged, thou shalt ever be falling down, and never meet a bottom; and in it thou shalt ever lament, and none shall pity thee; thou shalt always weep for pain of the fire, and yet gnash thy teeth for the extremity of cold; thou shalt weep to think, that thy miseries are past remedy; thou shalt weep to think, that to repent is to no purpose; thou shalt weep to think, how, for the shadows of short pleasures, thou hast incurred these sorrows of eternal pains; thou shalt weep, to see how weeping itself can nothing prevail; yea, in weeping, thou shalt weep more tears than there is water in the sea; for the water of the sea is finite, but the weeping of a reprobate shall be infinite!
There thy lascivious eyes will be afflicted with sights of ghastly spirits; thy curious ear affrighted with hideous noise of devils, and the weeping and gnashing of teeth of reprobates; thy dainty nose will be cloyed with noisome stench of sulphur; thy delicate taste pained with intolerable hunger; thy drunken throat will be parched with unquenchable thirst; thy mind will be tormented to think how, for the love of abortive pleasures, which perished ere they budded, thou so foolishly didst lose heaven’s joys, and incur hellish pains, which last beyond eternity; thy conscience shall ever sting thee like an adder, when thou thinkest how often Christ by bis preachers offered the remission of sins, and the kingdom of heaven freely to thee, if thou wouldest but believe and repent; and how easily thou mightest have obtained mercy in those days; how near thou wert many times to have repented, and yet didst suffer the devil and the world to keep thee still in impenitency; and how the day of mercy is now past, and will never dawn 44again. How shall thy understanding be racked, to consider, that, for momentary riches, thou hast lost the eternal treasure, and changed heaven’s felicity for hell’s misery, where every part of thy body, without intermission of pain, shall be continually tormented!
In these hellish torments thou shalt be for ever deprived of the beatifical sight of God, wherein consists the sovereign good and life of the soul; thou shalt never see light, nor the least light of joy, but lie in a perpetual prison of utter darkness, where shall be no order, but horror; no voice, but of blasphemers and howlers; no noise, but of tortures and tortured; no society, but of the devil and his angels, who being tormented themselves, shall have no other ease but to wreak their fury in tormenting thee; where shall be punishment without pity; misery without mercy; sorrow without succour; crying without comfort; mischief without measure; torment without ease: where the worm dieth not and the fire is never quenched; where the wrath of God shall seize upon the soul and body, as the flame of fire doth on the lump of pitch, or brimstone. In which flame thou shalt ever be burning, and never consumed; ever dying, and never dead; ever roaring in the pangs of death, and never rid of those pangs, nor knowing end of thy pains. So that after thou hast endured them so many thousand years as there are grass on the earth, or sand on the sea shore, thou art no nearer to have an end of thy torments, than thou wast the first day that thou wast cast into them; yea, so far are they from ending, that they are ever but beginning. But if, after a thousand times so many thousand years, thy lost soul could but conceive a hope that her torments should have an end, this would be some comfort—to think that at length an end will come. But as oft as the mind thinketh of this word Never, it is as another hell in the midst of hell.
This thought shall force the damned to cry, οὐαὶ, οὐαὶ, as much as if they should say, οὐκ ἀεὶ, οὐκ ἀεὶ. O Lord, not ever, not ever torment us thus! But their 45conscience shall answer them as an echo, ἀεὶ, ἀεὶ. Ever, ever! Hence shall arise their doleful οὐαὶ, woe, and alas for evermore!
This is that second death, the general perfect fulness of all cursedness and misery, which every damned reprobate must suffer, so long as God and his saints shall enjoy bliss and felicity in heaven for evermore.
Thus far of the misery of man in his state of corruption, unless he be renewed by grace in Christ.
Now follows the knowledge of man’s self, in respect of his state of regeneration by Christ.
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