WARNING: Inattention to the ‘semblances of religion’ is not the failing of today’s Christianity


Churchiness and programs occupy large space in the thoughts, writings and discourses of many professing to be Christians.

While luxuries of world, the empty pride of life, and selfish interests in all of its multiple forms, grow as rank weeds, and overrun the surface of the church, they however, do not choke the lively interest in religiosity. Notwithstanding the chilling blasts of infidelity, and the enervating malaria of superstition, today’s Christian zeal for the ‘outward forms of devotion’ conspicuously holds its ground.

To look around gives proof. Is money not solicited to multiply and enlarge churches and schools, to endow districts, to embellish fabrics, to deck protrusive choirs in emulation of rock groups? And abundance generally responds to the appeal.

But the truth of the matter is, that this unprecedented liberality also includes the cold reality of indifference to the holy things of God in sacred matters. Hope, ever joying in its bright prospects, gladly marks these demonstrations of abundance, and trusts that the worldly visible Christian church is advancing to fulfill the dreams of her prophetic rapture, and to be a “crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of our God.” (Isaiah 62:3) But truth here cannot be wholly checked. In nature early appearances often raise fallacious hopes. Spring blossoms often promise more than the autumn yields. Means do not constitute the end. Steps that may enter the right path, do not guarantee that the Christian’s true home will be ultimately reached.

The application of this thought is obvious. Edifices may exhibit the highest of architectural skill in full perfection. The beauty of stone, steel, marble and skill may delight the beholder. Flowers and trees may decorate the landscape. The officiating minister may be arrayed splendid in attire, or simply dressed in his everyday jeans to show that he is above it all. Services may be as ornate as ingenuity can render them. Singers in conspicuous dress, and flashing lights, may dance and sound loud, singing enchanting melody. Verses of simple chants may repeated endlessly for the hypnotic entertainment of the crowd. But after all this, the benefits may not extend beyond the charmed eye and ear.

Let it be fully granted that many believe, that so long as such elaborations transgress not the cultural tastes of today’s society, suspicious distrust should not interfere. But there is an infinite peril to this approach.

The acceptable signs of abundant church life should not be mistaken for the signs of the spiritual reality of Godliness. Shadows are not substances. The sham and tinsel of fashionable religion is not the pure gold of heaven. Hence, when these extravagances exceedingly abound, caution should become so much the more vigilant, and spiritual wisdom should not slumber in its watchtower.

No folly has ever yet been denied in that religion which avails not. If the Spirit of Christ evaporates in the heated moments of emotion, it is excused as an innocent expression of excess. The long procession of carnal “saints” and the crowded pew are not necessarily the visible signs of the true strait gate and the narrow Christian way. Trivialities make triflers, and the concerns demonstrate clearly the lack of spiritual depths in many of today’s Christians; just as it shows exactly upon what type of foundation they have built. Solid biblical food gives strength. But if so, then the current of today’s modern Christians show that their propensities of carnality are a loud warning, a warning that their mind is preoccupied by the ‘mere external show’ of Christ, and not with Christ himself.

For apart from living faith in Christ, there is no pardon for sin, no cleansing from iniquity, no reconciliation with our heavenly Father, no access to Him, no welcome to the sacramental feast, no peace of conscience, no hope of heaven, no escape from hell!

Is it not as indisputably true, that outward means are not the link which join the soul to Christ, and that the senses gratified are not the heart converted, and salvation won? We are infallibly taught, that the proclamation of the Gospel is the heaven-appointed instrument to minister such blessings. No substitute can take its place. If Christless sermons fall on Christless crowds, allured by music and bewitching show, then the lifeless will remain lifeless, and their bubble will burst in woe.

Thoughts adapted from Henry Law, edited, and re-presented for today’s Christians. By Michael Pursley

A CHECK TO AN UNGOVERNED TONGUE: Part Seven, Final Part. How lewd, and filthy talk, is the breath of hell, and how to keep away from it.

Published in 1833.

Man pray for something over black background with space for text on right

Lewd, obscene, and filthy talk, is another of the vile evidence of an unsanctified, ungoverned tongue.

It is a thing to be greatly lamented, that this impudent sin, which bids open defiance to virtue and honor, and wages war with them, like a spreading leprosy, stains the beauty of our land, turns a Canaan into a Sodom, and is become an epidemical disease. For the relief of those who are infected with it, and who are not incurably unclean, I would in a few words show you the evil of it.

1     Consider what an offence it is to the pure and holy God, who takes notice of, and is much displeased with, the uncleanness of your lips, as well as of your hearts and lives. It is a violation even of the law of nature, which prescribes modesty, and teaches us to blush at everything that is immodest. The Law of Moses provided for the keeping up of this hedge of chastity, and in many instances punished that which broke through this hedge. It was one of the laws of Romulus, (some of the most ancient human laws that are extant,) Nequis obsccena verba facit—none should dare to speak an obscene word. But (which to us is above all) the law of Christ is very express against all filthiness and foolish talking and jesting, and appoints, that fornication and all uncleanness should not be once named among Christians without the greatest abhorrence, Eph. 5: 3, 4. And is the law of Christ nothing with you? Can you go so directly contrary to it, and yet hope to prosper? God has told you plainly there, (vs. 5.) that such unclean persons have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God, and (vs. 6.) that because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. And you cannot suppose that the fixed laws of heaven should be dispensed with to gratify your base lusts. The law of Christ shall either rule you or judge you.

2     Consider what an evidence it is against yourselves that you are possessed by the unclean spirit and are under his power. Out of the abundance of the filthiness that is in the heart the tongue speaks thus filthily, and from that root of bitterness arises this gall and wormwood. The abominable lewdness that is in the heart, and is harbored and indulged there, boils up in this noisome dross. Stinking breath is a sign of putrid lungs. While you please yourselves and your companions with this dirty language, you do but foam out your own shame, and sport yourselves with your own deceivings. You think you show your wit by it, but indeed you show your wickedness, and declare your sin as Sodom, as those who are not ashamed, and cannot blush. Chastity and modesty have been virtues, are so, and will be so, howsoever much they are despised and disdained by the first-rate sinners of the age; and that which is a virtue, is a praise, is an honor: which if you want, yet you need not proclaim that you do so, nor be proud of your shame.

Unclean thoughts may, through the infirmity of the flesh, and for want of watchfulness, come into the minds of those who disallow them, lament them, and strive against them, knowing that even these thoughts of foolishness are sin: but unclean discourse is much worse, and more exceeding sinful, for thereby you signify your approbation and allowance of those unclean thoughts; you put an “Imprimatur” to them, and consent to the publication of them for the common service of the devil’s kingdom.

3     Consider what a great deal of hurt it is likely to do to others. Though this sin does not so immediately reflect upon the blessed name of God as swearing does, and, therefore, has not so much malignity in its nature, yet it does more toward the corrupting of the minds of others, and the propagating of vice and wickedness, than perhaps any other tongue-sin whatsoever, and so is more mischievous in its consequences. Such tinder is the corrupt heart of man to these sparks, that one unclean word to an unguarded soul may be the unhappy occasion of a thousand unclean thoughts, which may produce a world of iniquity. If this root of bitterness thus spring up and sprout forth, thereby many are defiled, (Heb. 12:15) more than perhaps you are aware of: and your account in the great day will rise high, if you must be answerable for all that uncleanness which has been spawned in the minds of others by your lewd talk.

Filthy stories, and songs, and jests, are the pestilential breath of hell, which propagates the infection of sin; old Satan’s wiles, by which he betrays unwary souls into their own ruin. And those unclean lips which help to lay those snares, are factors for the unclean spirit, and by debauching the minds of others with their vile discourses, perhaps serve the devil’s kingdom, and the interests of it, as effectually as those who debauch the bodies of others with their vile adulteries. Evil communications corrupt good manners. If those who hear your lewd talk be not so bad as to be infected by it, certainly they are so good as to be offended at it. He is unfit for civil company, and breaks the law of good manners, who takes a pleasure in saying that which a wise and good man must frown upon, and hear with shame, or with an angry countenance.

Therefore, let all who have accustomed themselves to this language, be persuaded to leave it off, and henceforward to set such a careful watch before the door of your lips, that they never more offend thus with their tongue: and if at any time they think this evil, let them lay their hand upon their mouth, (Proverbs 30:32) that it go no further. That mirth is dear bought, which is purchased at the expense of the favor of God, the honor of virtue, and the purity and peace of our own consciences. Better to lose your jest, than to lose all these jewels. Dread the consequences of it, not to others only, but to yourselves. Those who allow themselves in the transgression of the laws of modesty, it is to be feared, will not long be governed by the laws of chastity.

The way of sin is downhill.

And let me bespeak all who are well-wishers to religion and virtue, not only to be very cautious themselves never to say anything that looks like lewdness, or looks toward it, but in all companies to contrive how they may put this vice to the blush, expose it to contempt, and dash it from your presence. They who would approve themselves strictly modest, must never seem pleased at the hearing of that which is otherwise, nor laugh at an immodest jest or story, lest they should have fellowship with these unfruitful works of darkness, which ought to be frowned upon, and reproved rather. Let it be seen that you can be merry and wise, merry and modest. Reckon it a burden to dwell among a people of unclean lips, (Isaiah 6:5) and pray to God that (according to his promise, Zeph. 3:9) he would turn our people to a pure language, that we may be fit to call upon the name of the Lord.

Having thus mentioned some of the vices of an ungoverned tongue, (especially those that are most common with such as are openly profane,) and given some particular hints of argument against them, I shall now close with some general directions for the reducing of the exorbitant power of an unruly tongue.

1     See that the heart be truly and thoroughly sanctified by the grace of God. If you would have the disease cured, you must lay the axe to the root, and meet it in its causes. The offensive humor within must be purged out, else these eruptions, though they may be checked for a time by external restraints, yet will never be healed. The right method prescribed by the great Physician, is first to keep the heart with all diligence, and then by that means to put away the disobedient lips. See Prov. 4:23, 24. The way to heal the poisonous waters is, like Elisha, (2 Kings 2:21.) to cast salt into the spring, Make the tree good, and then the fruit will be good. It is out of an evil treasure in the heart that evil things are brought; men speak slightly of God, and spitefully of their brethren, because they think so; let but the thoughts be rectified, and the language will be soon reformed.

If the law of holy love to God and your neighbor were written in your hearts, and you were, as you should be, actuated and governed by these as a living commanding principle, you would not dare to offend either the one or the other with your tongue; that good treasure laid up in the heart would bring forth good things to the use of edifying, which would manifest grace in him that speaks, and minister grace unto the hearers. The fear of God always before your eyes will be an effectual restraint upon you from saying that by which either his name is dishonored, or his law violated. The grace of God is a coal from the altar, which if it touch the tongue, the iniquity of it will be purged away, Isaiah 6:7.

Let the throne of Christ be set up in your hearts, and his love shed abroad there, and then you will not call it a needless preciseness to be thus careful of your words, but a necessary strictness, because by our words we must be justified or condemned. Then you will not call it a task and a slavery to be thus tied up, and to speak by rule, but an honor and a pleasure; for assuredly this blessed change, wrought in the soul by the renewing grace of God, will open such surprising springs of present joy and comfort, as will abundantly balance all the uneasiness which corrupt nature will complain of in these restraints.

2     Solemnly resolve against these and all other tongue-sins. Let holy David’s vow be yours, and bind your souls with it this day, “I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue”; and remember, as he does there, that you have said it, that you may not break your promise, Ps. 39:1, 2.

While the result of your convictions is no more but this, that you hope you shall govern your tongues better for the future, and that, for ought you know, you will not swear so much as you have done, and in the mind you are in, you will not speak so many idle filthy words as you have spoken—if this be all, you leave room for Satan to thrust in with his temptations; faint purposes are soon shaken, and prove to no purpose: but when you are come to a point, and without equivocation, or mental reservation, will solemnly promise that by the grace of God you will never swear nor curse anymore; you will never take God’s name in vain anymore; you will never speak a lewd or scurrilous word anymore; this fortifies the stronghold against the tempter, who (like Naomi, Ruth 1:18) when he sees you are steadfastly resolved, will leave off speaking to you.

Renew this resolution every day, especially if you have a prospect of any occasion which will be a more than ordinary temptation to you. Thus set a guard upon the door of your lips, and at some times double your guard, where you find yourselves weakest and most exposed. Try the strength of your resolutions, and do not for shame suffer yourselves to be baffled in them. Only remember to make and renew these resolutions, in a dependence upon the grace of Jesus Christ, which alone is sufficient for you. Peter resolved against a tongue-sin in his own strength, but it failed him, and he was made ashamed of his confidence; confide therefore in divine strength only.

3     Keep out of the way of bad company. Speech is learned by imitation, and so is corrupt speech. We are apt in discourse to conform to those will whom we do associate; and therefore, if we would keep those commandments of our God which relate to the government of the tongue, we must say to evil doers. Depart from us, Ps. 119:115. Converse not familiarly, and of choice, with those who accustom themselves to any evil communication, lest you learn their way, lest you learn their words, and get such a snare to your souls as you will not easily disentangle yourselves from.

That dread and terror, and abhorrence of swearing and cursing, and all profane discourse, which all who are virtuously and piously educated, are conscious to themselves of at first, is apt to wear off by frequent and free conversation with those who use such language. It is excused as a slip of the tongue, which does nobody any harm; nay, it I justified as a fashionable ornament of speech; and so by degrees the debauched conscience comes to be reconciled to it, and at last the tongue is taught not only to lisp the same cursed language, but, with a great deal of art and assurance, to speak it plain. Joseph himself, in the court of Egypt, had unawares got the courtier’s oath, by the life of Pharaoh.

If you love your souls, therefore, be very careful what company you keep; choose to converse familiarly with those of whom you may learn that which is edifying, and by those whose discourse and example you may be made wiser and better; and avoid the society of those by whom, without a greater degree of wisdom and watchfulness than you can pretend to, you will certainly get hurt to yourselves. Improper words are sooner learned than unlearned. Therefore, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not, (Proverbs 1:10) though they do not say, (as they there, v. 11 Come, and let us lay wait for blood,) “Come, and let us swear and curse, and bid defiance to all that is sacred;” but palliate the temptation, and make it look very harmless, “Come, and let us take a glass and be merry over it.” If they be such as are commonly profane and lewd in their discourse, fear a snare in their company, and keep at a distance from it. Walk not in their counsel, stand not in their way, sit not in their seat, Ps. 1:1. Make no friendship with those who make no conscience of their words, and who show that they have no veneration for the blessed name of God. Remember Solomon’s advice, (Proverbs 14:7) and be ruled by it; “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.”

4     Think twice before you speak once. We often speak amiss, because we speak in haste; when that comes out which comes uppermost, what can it be but froth and dross? Moses spoke unadvisedly with his lips, not consulting with himself before he spoke, and then he said that which shut him out of Canaan, Ps. 106:33. What we speak in haste, we often find cause afterwards to repent of at leisure. David more than once reflects with regret upon what he said in his haste, and we have all a great deal of reason to do so. Our second thoughts, if we would take time for them, would correct the errors of the first; and we should not offend with our tongues so often as we do, if we would but consider what we say, before we say it. The heart of the righteous studies to answer that which is fit and seasonable, while the mouth of fools pours out foolishness.

Be sparing of your words, and then you will not have so many bad words to answer for as most have; for, in the multitude of words there wanteth not sin, and different vanities. You have often been the worse for speaking, but seldom the worse for keeping silence. Many a thing which you have said, you would have smothered and suppressed if you had but allowed yourselves the liberty of a serious and impartial thought upon it. “Little said, soon amended.”

You dare not profane God’s blessed name with your unhallowed breath, if you would but think seriously what a God he is whom you thus blaspheme and provoke. You durst not curse yourselves or others if you would but consider the weight of the curse, and what a fearful thing it is to fall under it. You dare not scoff at religion if you did but consider how sacred and honorable it is. Reason in other cases is of use to rectify the mistakes of imagination; use it here then.

5     Have a care to the account that is now kept, and must shortly be given, of all your idle wicked words. You believe the Holy Scriptures, you do well. Now they tell you what will be in the end hereof. The word of God will judge you shortly, therefore, let it rule you now.

Notice is now taken of all you say, whether you are aware of it or not. There is not a word in your tongue, though spoken in haste, and not regarded by you, but God knows it altogether, and a book of remembrance is written. God told the prophet Ezekiel what the people said of him by the walls, and in the doors of their houses, (Ezek. 33:30) and he can make a bird of the air to carry the voice of that which is said in the heart, or in the bedchamber, Eccl. 10:20. You think you may curse and swear securely when you are out of the reach of those who would reprove you, or inform against you; and because God for the present keeps silence, you think he is altogether such a one as yourselves, as careless of his government as you are of your duty; but he will reprove you, and set them in order before you, and make it to appear that he kept an exact account of all you said: Now consider this, ye that forget God, (Ps. 1:21) stand in awe of this, and sin not with your tongues. Take heed, God hears; were you in the presence of some grave men that you had a reverence for, you would have a care what you say, and shall not the presence of the great God strike an awe upon you?

But this is not all, the day is coming when there will be a review; when the books that are written will be opened, and all your profane oaths and curses, and corrupt communications, will be found upon record there, and produced as evidence against you. He that is to be the Judge in that day, has himself expressly told us, (Matt. 12:36) every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment; and if for every idle word, much more for every profane and wicked word. What an account will they have to make, all whose breath was corrupt, till their days were extinct; who always allowed themselves a boundless liberty of speech from under the dominion of religion and right reason, and never took care by repentance, and prayer, and reformation, to empty the measure of guilt they had filled, nor to balance the account in the blood of Christ which cleanses from all sin.

Think not that any profession of religion which you make will excuse you, or stand you in any stead in that day, while you thus contradict it, and give the lie to it, by the extravagances of your tongues. The word of God has laid it down as a certain rule, (Jam. 1:26) If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, that man’s religion is vain; and if your religion be vain, it will never bring you to heaven, and then I need not tell you whither your irreligion will bring you.

It will be the eternal doom of those who persisted in their tongue-sins, and would not be reformed, that their own tongues shall fall upon themselves, (Psalms 64:8) and if they do, they will sink them to the lowest hell, in which the remembrance of all the sins of an ungoverned tongue will be very bitter, and bring oil to the flames.  We read of it, as the misery of condemned sinners, that they are tormented in a flame, where they have not a drop of water to cool their tongues. Words are soon spoken, and when they are spoken are soon gone, and yet words spoken against an earthly prince, though repented of, have cost many a man his life; and shall it then be difficult to us to believe, that words spoken against the King of kings, and never repented of, shall exclude men from his kingdom, and lay them forever under his wrath? It is commonly said, “Words are but wind,” but wicked words will prove such a mischievous wind, as will not only keep the soul out of the blessed haven of rest and happiness, but sink it into the gulf of everlasting destruction.

6     Reflect upon it with sorrow and shame, and great regret, if at any time you have, ere you were aware, spoken any wicked word. Keep conscience tender in this matter, and if, through the surprise of temptation, you any way offend with your tongue, let your heart presently smite you for it, humble yourselves greatly before God for it, pass it not over with a slight careless, ” God forgive me,” but be in pain and bitterness at the remembrance of it; abhor yourselves, as holy Job, when he was reflecting upon his tongue-sins, and repent in dust and ashes. If you can easily forgive yourselves what is past, it is to be feared you will easily be brought to do the like again.

Lastly, Pray earnestly to God for his grace, to keep you from sinning with your tongue. Though the tongue be an unruly evil, yet he can tame it who sets bounds to the proud waves of the sea, and once stopped the lions’ mouths. To him, therefore, you must apply yourselves by faithful and fervent prayer, and put yourselves under the conduct and custody of his grace, which will be sufficient for you if you seek it, and improve it, and go forth in the strength of it. Let David’s prayer be yours daily, (Ps. 141:3.) Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, keep the door of my lips; for without his assistance we can do nothing. Pray against provocations to these sins, and pray for wisdom wherewith to govern yourselves in the midst of provocations; Watch and pray, that either you may not be led into temptation, or, however, not overcome by it. If any man lack wisdom, let him ask it of God.

And now what shall be the success of this endeavor? Shall all our reasoning with you, in love to your souls, be slighted and laughed at like the foolish banter of your vain companions? Can we not prevail for a reformation of your language, when we plead the honor of God, the law of Christ, the good of your brethren, and the welfare of your own souls, and you have nothing to plead to the contrary but a foolish, wicked custom? I hope better things, and things that accompany salvation.

Your tongue is your glory, do not turn this glory into shame, but use it as your glory, by honoring God and edifying one another with it; so shall the tongue which is thus accustomed to the language of Canaan, sing Hallelujahs eternally in the New Jerusalem.

The Lie of Unlimited Atonement

Taken and adapted from, “AN ANTIDOTE AGAINST ARMINIANISM or A TREATISE TO ENERVATE AND CONFUTE ALL FIVE POINTS OF IT” with extracts from Dr. John Gill, Dr. Isaac Watts, Augustus Toplady, John Newton, J. Hart, etc.  Recommended by Dr. John Owen, and published for the public good.
Written and edited by Christopher Ness
Fourth Edition published in London, in the Year 1700


The Extent of the Atonement

God imposed his wrath, and Christ underwent the pains of hell either for,

1    All of the sins of all men,
2    All of the sins of some men, or
3    Some of the sins of all men.

In which case it may be said:

A    That if the last is true, then all men have some sins to answer for, and so none are saved.
B    That if the second is true, then Christ suffered in their stead for all of the sins of all of the elect in the whole world – and this is the truth.
C    But if the first is the case, then why are not all men free from the punishment due for their sins?                                       –John Owen

You will say, “Because of unbelief; they will not believe.”

But this unbelief, is it a sin or is it not? If it is not a sin, then why should they be punished for it? If it is a sin, then Christ underwent the punishment for that sin or he did not. If he did, then why must that sin hinder them from partaking of the fruit of his death more than their other sins for which he died? If he did not die for it, then he did not die for all their sins. (John Owen).

Universal redemption, or asserting that Christ died for all men, cannot be a Gospel truth because of the following arguments and reasons.

1    God the Father’s election, God the Son’s redemption, and God the Holy Ghost’s sanctification, must all have equal extent and latitude; but universal redemption, in the Arminian sense of it, makes these operations unequal.

This is clear; for as the Father, Word, and Spirit are One in essence, so are they One in willing, working, and witnessing the redemption of sinners. Just as there are Three who bear witness on earth (the Spirit, the water, and the blood), so there are Three who bear record in Heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; “and these Three agree in one” (1 John 5:6-8). Those whom the Father elects, the Son redeems, and the Holy Ghost sanctifies. If then there is a universal redemption there must be a universal election, and a universal sanctification as well. And so, by consequence, there must be a universal salvation.

It is evident from two scriptures that the Son redeems no more than the Father elects. The first is John 5:23, which declares that the Son must be honored as equal with the Father; but, to say that the Son redeemed all, and the Father elected only a few, is to give greater honor to the One than to the Other, and to create an inequality in Their operations. The second scripture is John 17:9-10: “All yours are Mine and all Mine are yours,” etc. They were the Father’s by electing love, and they became the Son’s by gift and redemption: “Yours they were, and You gave them Me” (John 17:6). Christ redeems only those whom the Father gave to Him. Hence God’s “book of life” in which the number of the elect is recorded, is also called the “Lamb’s book of life,” intimating that the number of those elected by the Father is commensurate with those redeemed by the Son.

It is evident from 1 John 5:6-7 that Christ redeems no greater number than the Spirit sanctifies; there must be water to sanctify where there is blood to redeem. Christ’s oblation is no larger in extent than the Spirit’s operation. Thus it is most apparent that all three Persons in the Trinity have one object and one design of love. They are equal in essence, equal in honor, and equal in operation.

2    The benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection are of equal extent as to their objects; but the benefit of Christ’s resurrection is not extended to all.

It is acknowledged even by the Arminians that the benefit of Christ’s resurrection is not extended to all and everyone alike, but is specifically extended to believers. It is evident from Romans 8:33-34 (they are both put together) that the death and resurrection of Christ are equally extended to their objects. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect,” those for whom Christ died? Who can condemn those for whom Christ was raised? Those for whom Christ died and rose again cannot be condemned. “[Christ] was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25). Those that have the fruit of Christ’s battle have the fruit of His victory also; but this cannot be said of all men, for the wrath of God abides on some (John 3:36).

3    The benefit of Christ’s death and intercession are of equal extent as to their objects; but Christ does not intercede for all.

This is expressly declared in Scripture: “I do not pray for the world, but for those whom You have given Me; for they are yours” (John 17:9). “They are not of the world” (John 17:14). Christ’s intercession is “not for the world” at large, but only for those whom His Father has given Him. And reason confirms this, for if Christ interceded for Judas, Pilate, etc., then He would have been repulsed, and was not always heard of the Father; contrary to John 11:42. Again, Christ is a High Priest. The two parts of His priestly office, oblation and presentation, cannot be separated: and what has a part in the former has part in the latter also. For the presentation necessarily implies the oblation, and it gives a perpetual force to it in the sight of God (Hebrews 9:12). Christ must intercede on behalf of those whom He has reconciled to God by His death; and His intercession is a personal presentation of Himself to His Father on behalf of those whom He personated [represented] on the Cross. We cannot say that there are some for whom Christ offered Himself upon earth but for whom he does not intercede in Heaven; this would make Christ only a half-priest to some, and therefore not a faithful High Priest, contrary to a number of scriptures, Isaiah 53:11-12; 1 John 2:1-2; Hebrews 9:11-12, and Hebrews 10:19-21.

4    Those for whom Christ died have Christ for their surety; but all do not have Christ for a surety.

All are sinners: and every sinner must die, either by himself or by his Surety, for “the wages of sin is death.” And the suretyship of Christ consists of this, that He died for us (Romans 6:23). He was “made a curse for us,” that is, in our stead (Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Judah was surety for Benjamin’s safety (Genesis 44:32), and Christ is the surety of the new covenant (Hebrews 7:22); He took upon Himself our sins in His death (Isaiah 53:4-8; 1 Peter 2:24). If Christ was a surety for all, then He offered up a satisfaction for all in becoming sin, and bearing the curse and wrath of God in their stead. But this is not done for all; for Christ does not know workers of iniquity; of them He says, “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23); yet He knows His sheep, and He laid down His life for them (John 10:11-15).

5    If the covenant of grace does not extend to all, then Christ did not die for all.

Christ’s blood is called “the blood of the covenant” (Hebrews 9:20), and “the blood of the New Testament” (Matthew 26:28). It is evident that the covenant of grace is not extended to all, for it is made with the house of Israel only. “This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days; says the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jeremiah 31:33). The covenant is only with those in whose hearts the conditions are effectually worked, i.e., putting God’s fear in them, and writing His law in their minds, which only the election obtains. None dare say that God entered into a covenant of grace with the “seed” of the serpent, but only with those whose “heel” the serpent hurts (Genesis 3:15).

6    If Christ died for His sheep, His friends, and His church only, then He did not die for all.

This is plain from several scriptures. “The good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep … (I) know My sheep, and am known by My sheep … and I lay down My life for My sheep” (John 10:11-15). “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends” (John 5:13, 14). “Feed the church, which He has purchased with His own blood” (Act 20:28). “Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). Christ died for such as were Paul and Titus, not for such as were Pharaoh and Judas, who were “goats” and not “sheep” (Matthew 25:33). He died to save “His people from their sins,” and therefore His name was called Jesus (Matthew 1:21); who are called the “redeemed of the Lord” (Psalms 107:2). Now since those for whom Christ died are those who “hear His voice and follow Him,” to whom He “gives eternal life” (John 10:27-28), those He sanctifies and cleanses, and presents to Himself “without spot or wrinkle” (Ephesians 5:27), and those He has “redeemed from all iniquity, to purify to Himself a special people” (Titus 2:14). Such are His people, His chosen, His children. It cannot be intended for all unless we say that Pharaoh, Judas, etc., were of the sheep, friends, and church of Christ. It is true, He died for enemies (Romans 5:10), but it was to reconcile them to God; such were the believing Romans, who being Gentiles, Christ called “other sheep,” not of the Jewish fold.

7    It must be applied to those for whom Christ’s death was intended; but it is not applied to all, therefore it was not intended for all.

The end and the design cannot be severed from the action needed to accomplish that end. Christ’s aim is to bestow what he obtains; He obtains nothing that is not applied. He Himself speaks of some from whom the gospel was hidden, and of others to whom it was revealed or made known. “You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes” (Matthew 11:25). The sum total of the intercession of Christ is that what He has obtained may be applied to those for whom he intercedes, (see John 17 throughout).

8    If Christ died for all, then must all be reconciled to God; but all are not reconciled.

Sin hinders reconciliation; and Christ’s death is a propitiation for sin (Romans 3:25). So all for whom Christ died must be reconciled to God; the death of Christ is the cause, and reconciliation is the effect following the cause. If all are reconciled, then all must be saved, and nothing can be laid to the charge of anyone. Take away the sin, and you acquit the sinner. But to grant such an acquaintance and reconciliation to all brings in many absurdities; for upon this hypothesis it follows, 1st that Cain, Pharaoh etc., were reconciled to God by Christ’s death when they were (at the time of Christ’s dying) in the torments of hell, and never to be delivered from there. 2nd, that God damns reconciled persons. 3rd, that God takes double-pay for one fault, in punishing both the Surety and the debtor. 4th, that Christ’s reconciling of some is ineffectual, etc. But these things are not so; for repentance is granted to those for whom Christ died, and remission of sins (Act 5:31); to them is given freedom from the slavery of sin, and regeneration to newness of life (Romans 6:6; Hebrews 2:14-15); on them is bestowed purifying grace, “purifying their hearts by faith” (Act 15:9); they have the blood of Christ to purge their conscience from dead works, so that they may serve the living God (Hebrews 9:14), and theirs is life eternal: “I give to them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (John 10:28). All these fruits are evidences of our reconciliation by Christ’s death.

9    What Scripture does not affirm anywhere cannot be a truth; and it nowhere asserts that Christ died for all men, much less for every man individually; therefore it is not a truth.

It is true Christ is said to “give His life a ransom for all:” but not for all men, or for every man individually; the Scripture is the best expounder of itself, and the “all” is rendered “many in Matthew 20:28, and Mark 10:45: “The Son of man came to give His life a ransom for many.” “My blood is shed for many, for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). And it is so frequently restrained to His sheep, friends, church, believers, chosen, and those who are given to Christ, that it must mean some of all sorts; which, in equivalent terms, is clearly expressed in Revelation 5:9-10: “You have redeemed us out of every kindred and tongue, and people and nation.” Therefore the word “all” must be taken for all the elect, all His church, all His children that the Father has given Him, etc., not all men universally, and not every man individually.

10    Whatever opposes the attributes of God ought to be rejected; and universal redemption does so.

First, it opposes His justice. If Christ redeemed Pharaoh and Judas, then redeemed souls are unjustly damned; this hypothesis sets the death of Christ in direct opposition to God’s justice. And how could Christ die for Judas’ sin when Christ’s death was his very sin?

Second, it opposes His wisdom. As if God should love and hate the same person at the same time; Esau must be loved if Christ is given to die for him, yet hated, as being ordained to death from all eternity.

Third, it opposes His power. If Christ died intentionally for all, then God’s intentions are frustrated since all are not saved. God is not omnipotent if His designs are crossed by the work of His own hands. And to say that freedom was obtained by Christ’s death for those who are not set free is ridiculous; it makes a laughing-stock of religion.

Objections Against Particular Redemption Answered

Objection 1. What everyone is required to believe [about Christ] must be true, and it is the duty of all men to believe it; therefore Christ must have died for all men [or they would not be required to believe it].

Answer 1. Suppose we grant this position; would not the doctrine of discriminating love be destroyed by it? Would it not be poor comfort for a distressed soul to believe that Christ died for him no more than he died for Judas and all those who are damned in hell?

Answer 2. Those to whom the Gospel never came and who have never heard of the death of Christ are not bound to believe that Christ died for them. What God reveals is true; but God nowhere reveals that it is His intention that Judas should believe, or that all shall believe.

Answer 3. All do not have the Gospel preached to them; and many to whom it is preached only hear the sound of it with the outward ear: they come and go attending to it in the same way as a door swings on its hinges, in a way of mere formality. They are not impressed with a sight and sense of their state as sinners. They are not weary and heavy laden because of sin. The proclamation by the gospel trumpet of redemption for sin through Christ’s blood is not a joyful sound to them; they do not know their need of it. Evangelical repentance is the gift of free grace; faith is the gift of God. What is God’s, as a gift to bestow, cannot be man’s duty to perform, as a condition of salvation. Those who are invited to look to Christ, and to come to Him for salvation, are very minutely described: they are the weary and heavy laden with sin, the penitent, the hungry and thirsty soul, etc.; these are the characters invited to come to and believe in Christ, and not all men (Mathew 11:28; Isaiah 55:1; Mark 2:17).

Objection 2. The words “all” and “every,” often used in Scripture, must be taken universally.

Answer 1. “All” and “every” must not be taken for a universal affirmative collectively, nor for every man individually, in the commonly quoted scriptures; rather it is to be taken distributively, as in Mathew 9:35, where we are told that Christ went about healing every sickness and every disease among the people: that is, any and every kind of disease; for Christ did not heal every disease individually. This is also true in Colossians 1:28, where the word “every” is to be taken distributively, three times over, and must be restricted to those to whom Paul preached.

Answer 2. “All” in 1 Timothy 2:4, 26 cannot be taken for every man individually, since it is not the will of God that all men in this large sense should be saved: for it is His will that some men should be damned, and justly so, for their sins and transgressions. To some men it will be said, “Depart, you cursed, into everlasting fire.” If God wills all men to be saved, then all men will be saved, for “He (God) does according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth” (Daniel 4:35). God does not fail; He cannot be disappointed in His own will; for He works all things after the counsel of that will. Again, in Hebrews 2:9, Jesus is said to “taste death for every [man];” in the very next verse it is restricted to “sons brought to glory,” and in Hebrews 2:11, it is restricted to “sanctified” ones. 1 Timothy 2:6 (“who gave Himself a ransom for all”) is rendered in the parallel text in Titus 2:14, “who gave Himself for us.” Now, who are the persons called “us” in this text? Are they not particularized as “redeemed from all iniquity, purified, and made a special people?” Christ gave Himself as a ransom for “all” those described, and for no one else.

The prophet David says, “All men are liars;” if we take the word “all” strictly, then the one who said it must also be a liar.

Objection 3. In John 3:16, and in 1 John 2:2, it is declared that God gave Christ for the “world,” and for the sins of the “whole world;” which must be taken literally.

Answer 1. The word “world” has various meanings. A decree went out that “all the world should be taxed” (Luke 2:1); that is, it went out to all the Roman Empire and those countries in subjection to it. The faith of the Church of Rome was “spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8); that is, it was spoken of throughout all the churches, and among all the saints in the world. When the Pharisees said to Christ, “Behold, the world has gone after Him” (John 12:19), by reference we find that they meant “many people” went out of Jerusalem to meet Jesus, crying, “Hosanna” (John 12:12-13). The Pharisees themselves, who so said, had not gone after Christ; therefore the whole world had not gone after him. So John 3:16: “God so loved the world” cannot be understood to mean the whole world in a strict sense, for birds, beasts, fishes, and all inanimate things are comprehended in that world, and these cannot have everlasting life. Nor can it be the whole world of men, except in the sense that God is the Preserver of both man and beast (Psalms 31:6). There is God’s love to creatures, His love to men, and His love to good men. God’s love was the cause of His sending Christ, and the word “whosoever” (in the verse) restrains this love of God to some and not to others. It must therefore be properly God’s love to good men, the third love; it does not refer to those He found to be good, but to those He made so.

Answer 2. There is a world of believers (Revelation 5:9); just as manna was only for Israel, so Christ, the true manna, the Bread from Heaven, gives life only to the world of believers (John 6:33). Christ was believed in only in the world of believers (1 Timothy 3:16); the reconciled world (2 Corinthians 5:19): and “all men do not have faith” (2 Thessalonians 3:2). There is also the world of unbelievers. “All the world wondered after the beast. And “they worshipped the dragon” (Revelation 13:3-4). “The whole world lies in wickedness” (1 John 5:19). The believing world is a world in the world (“these are in the world,” John 17:11); and they are taken and chosen out of the world. They are in the world, and they sojourn among its inhabitants as strangers and pilgrims, because this is not their rest, their home; their desires are set towards a better country (Hebrews 11:13-16). It is clear from John 15:19 that they are taken and chosen out of the world and given to Christ: “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore, the world hates you.” Also from John 17:6-9: “I have manifested your Name to the men You gave Me out of the world … I pray for them; I pray do not for the world.”

“Zion’s garden wall’d around,
Chosen and made special ground;
A little spot, enclosed by grace,
Out of the world’s wide wilderness.”

Answer 3. It is granted that God has a respect for all mankind. “We trust,” says Paul, “in the living God, who is the Savior,” i.e., the Preserver, “of all men, especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10). “The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Psalms 145:9). “He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good; and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mathew 5:45). This only implies temporal providence and preservation, not eternal preservation; for otherwise the wages of sin would have been paid at the birth of it all, and the world (through confusion by sin) would have fallen about Adam’s ears, if Christ had not been the glorious undertaker.

All that are redeemed are redeemed by Christ; but only the elect are given to Him; they alone have an interest in Him, and are redeemed by Him, and they shall be glorified with Him.

Answer 4. The word “world” is sometimes in Scripture to indicate Gentiles in opposition to Jews, and it is used this way in 1 John 2:2. John wrote to the Jews, and ministered to those of the circumcision (see Galatians 2:9). He says to them, “Christ is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world,” that is, not only for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles. The Jewish nation considered themselves to be the special people of God; and so they were, for to them “pertained the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises.” And Christ was a Jew, “who came according to the flesh” (Romans 9:4-5). The Jews were always taught to appropriate the Messiah exclusively to themselves, to the utter rejection of the Gentiles whom they called “strangers,” “uncircumcised,” “common,” “unclean,” “dogs,” etc. It was unlawful for a Jew to keep company or have any dealings with a Gentile (see Mathew 10:5; Mark 7:17; Act 10:28, and Act 11:3). The salvation of the Gentiles in various parts of Scripture is called a “mystery,” “hidden mystery;” the “mystery of Christ which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men … that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs” (Ephesians 3:4-6; Colossians 1:27). But when this mystery was revealed and made fully known by the divine mission given to Paul, who was sent by Christ to preach to the Gentiles (Act 26:17-18), and when it was declared in Peter’s vision of the unclean beasts and by the Lord’s consequent commission to Peter (Act 10:9-15, 20), then the contentions of the circumcision ceased (Act 11:2-3). They found “the middle wall of partition” between Jew and Gentile was “broken down;” the latter, who before were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise,” were now being “brought near by the blood of Christ.” They glorified God saying, “Then God has also granted repentance unto life to the Gentiles.” Jesus Christ is not only the propitiation for the sins of us Jews, but for the Gentiles also (Ephesians 2:11-18).

Answer 5. The foregoing is proved from Romans 11:12, where the two words, “world” and “Gentiles,” are both used as signifying one and the same thing. “If the fall of them (Jews) are the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them are the riches of the Gentiles, then how much more their fullness?”

“It was a controversy agitated among the Jewish doctors whether, when the Messiah came, the Gentiles, (the ‘world’) should have any benefit by Him. The majority was exceedingly large on the negative side of the question; only some few, such as old Simeon and others, knew that He should be ‘a light to lighten the Gentiles,’ as well as ‘the glory of His people of Israel.’ The rest concluded that the most severe judgments and dreadful calamities would befall the Gentiles; in fact, that they would be cast into hell in place of the Israelites” (Dr. John Gill).

Objection 4. Surely Christ has as much efficacy to save as to damn (see Romans 5:17).

Answer 1. There is a difference between a necessary extension and a voluntary one. Adam’s sin was a necessary extension, but salvation by Christ is of free grace, wholly of God’s pleasure, and it is therefore called the “free gift” (Romans 5:15).

Answer 2. Nowhere is Christ compared to Adam in the extent of the object [of his atonement], but only in the efficacy of His obedience. All and everyone are not radically in Christ as they were in Adam; all are not given to Christ; only “as many (says Christ) as You have given Me” (John 17:2). Just as all the offspring of Adam fell by Adam’s sin, so all who belong to Christ are saved by Christ’s death; just as all who are in Adam die, so all who are in Christ are made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Answer 3. So that the apostle might not be misunderstood, and so that the word “all” in Romans 5:18 will not be taken universally, the term which defines the object is varied in the following verse; and thus “all” is rendered “many”: “By the obedience of one, many shall be made righteous.”

Objection 5. In Romans 14:15, it is said, “do not destroy him for whom Christ died.” And in 2 Peter 2:1, persons are described as “denying the Lord who bought them.”

Answer 1. Everlasting destruction cannot be meant by the word “destroy” in Romans 14:15, and the context shows this; for the apostle, throughout the chapter, is exhorting the believing Romans not to condemn one another on account of things that are indifferent; nor to destroy the weak believer’s peace of mind by doing anything (which although it is indifferent and not evil in itself) may yet prove a stumbling-block to him. I “am persuaded,” says Paul, “that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him that esteems anything unclean, to him it is unclean. If your brother is grieved with your eating meat, then you are not walking charitably. Do not destroy” (by your conduct in eating meat considered by your brother to be unclean) the peace of mind of one of the weaklings of that flock “for whom Christ died.” Don not put a stumbling-block, or an occasion of falling or offence in your weak brother’s way (Romans 14:13-15). “Therefore, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no one offense” (1 Corinthians 10:31-32). 1 Corinthians 8 is written for the same purpose throughout.

Answer 2. The persons spoken of in 2 Peter 2:1, as “denying the Lord who bought them,” are described by the apostle as “false teachers” – these are hypocritical professors, tares among the wheat (Mathew 13:25, 38), those in whom the root of the matter was not present; they were not bought and redeemed by Christ from eternal death, but had merely escaped or abstained from the pollutions of the world through a theoretical knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 2:20). To answer certain purposes, they made an outward profession of the gospel, which obliged them for a time to be outwardly moral; they associated with the people of God and insinuated themselves into churches. They secretly introduced damnable heresies into the churches. Many followed their pernicious ways, causing evil to be spoken of the way of truth; and they made merchandise of true believers. They continued thus for a while, and then either their sheep’s clothing was stripped off them, or they threw it off themselves, and returned again into the world. All this while they were “goats” and not “sheep;” ravening wolves and not gentle lambs. And Peter closes the chapter concerning them by saying, “It has happened to them according to the true proverb. The dog has returned to its own vomit, and the sow that was washed has returned to her wallowing in the mire” (2 Peter 2:1-3, 17-22).

Answer 3. The apostle (2 Peter 2:1) does not appear to be speaking there concerning the purchase by the Redeemer’s blood. The name or title “Lord” (Greek depotes) is nowhere else applied to Christ in the New Testament, except to the Father, as it is in Luke 2:29; Act 4:24; 2 Timothy 2:22; and this is especially true in Jude 4, where “the only Lord God” is distinguished from “our Lord Jesus Christ.” And even though it could be proved to apply to Christ in the above text, it may be explained upon the principle that it is not an unusual thing with the inspired writers to speak of things not as they actually are, but only according to the profession of the party involved. Thus, for instance, (Matthew 13:12): “Whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whoever does not have, from him shall be taken away even what he has;” that is, “what he seems to have,” as explained in Luke 8:18.34 Thus apostates are said to be “twice dead,” which would seem to imply that they had been spiritually alive, though in fact that was never the case; it was merely what they professed to be.

Answer 4. So, even if we grant the premises, it only follows that those who think themselves redeemed, or are thought to be redeemed by others, may blaspheme and perish; yet this does not make all the world redeemed; this can by no means establish the doctrine of Universal Redemption.

The Christian Race

Written by J. C. Ryle

“Therefore let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

I wish to warn you against forgetting the sure foundation…

I wish to caution you most strongly against losing sight of the root of the whole matter — a simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You must not stumble at the outset by supposing I want you to set up a righteousness of your own. Some think their own endeavors after holiness are to make up their title to salvation; some think that when they come to Christ, their ‘past sins’ alone are forgiven, and for the time to come, they must depend upon themselves. Alas! there always have been mistakes upon this point: men toil and labor after peace with God as if their own exertions would give them a right to lay hold on Christ, and when they find themselves far short of the Bible standard they mourn and grieve and will not be comforted; and all because they will not see that in the matter of forgiveness, in the matter of justification in the sight of God, it is not doing which is required — but believing; it is not working — but trusting; it is not perfect obedience — but humble faith.

Now, once for all, let us understand, that all who have really fled for mercy to the Lord Jesus Christ are, as Paul assures the Colossians, complete in Him! In themselves they may be poor shortcoming sinners — but seeing they have laid hold on Christ, God looks upon them as complete — completely pardoned, completely righteous, completely pure — no jot or tittle of condemnation can be laid to their charge.

They have nothing more to do with the law as a covenant of works, as a condition they must fulfill or die: the Lord does not say, “Be perfect and then you shall live,” but” Christ has given you life, and for His sake strive to be perfect.” But you will ask me, “Why do they hunger and thirst so much after holiness, since all their debt has been paid?” I answer, They work for love’s sake — for gratitude; they do not work and strive after holiness in order that they may be forgiven — but because they are forgiven already, chosen and sealed and saved and redeemed and bought with a price, and they cannot help desiring to glorify Him with their bodies and spirits — who loved them and gave Himself for them. They thirst after holiness because their Father loves holiness; they thirst after purity because their Master loves purity; they strive to be like Jesus because they hope to be one day forever with Him.

But seeing they have many a difficulty in doing the things that they desire, and are continually warring with the world, the flesh, and the devil, and sometimes are so ready to faint that they doubt whether they really are of Christ’s family or not — seeing these things are so, I have tried to give you a faint outline of their experience on recent occasions, and I purpose this afternoon to lay before you, the advice which the apostle gives them in my text.

Now, I say that the text contains five points:

I. We have all a race to run.
II. Many have gone before us.
III. We must lay aside every weight.
IV. We must run with patience.
V. We must be continually looking unto Jesus.

The Lord pour down His Spirit upon each of you, and bow the hearts of all here present, as the heart of one man, that you may seek the Lord while there is yet time, and set your faces towards Jerusalem, and not die the death of the faithless and unbelieving.

I. We have all a race to run

By this you are not to understand that our own arm and our own strength can ever open for us the gates of everlasting life, and win us a place in heaven. Far from it: that is all of grace — it is another question. It simply means that all who take up the cross and follow Christ must make up their minds to meet with many a difficulty, they must calculate on labor and toil and trouble, they have a mighty work to do, and there is need for all their attention and energy. Without there will be fightings, within, there will be fears; there will be snares to be avoided, and temptations to be resisted; there will be your own treacherous hearts, often cold and dead and dry and dull; there will be friends who will give you unscriptural advice, and relations who will even war against your soul. In short, there will be stumbling-blocks on every side, there will be occasion for all your diligence and watchfulness and godly jealousy and prayer — you will soon find that to be a real Christian is no light matter.

Oh what a condemnation there is here for all those easy-going people who seem to think they may pass their time as they please, and yet be numbered with the saints in glory everlasting! Are those who show less earnestness about their souls than about their earthly amusements, and those who have much to tell you about this world’s business but nothing about heaven, and those who think nothing of neglecting the commonest helps towards Zion, and count it much to give religion a few Sunday thoughts — are these men running the Christian race, and straining every nerve after the prize? I leave the answer with yourselves: judge what I say!

And those who profess to have entered the course, and yet find time to rest by the wayside and trifle with temptation, and find fault with the anxiety of others — and those who stop to take breath and boast of their attainments, and look behind them — are such running the race set before them as if it was a matter of life and death? Oh no! They may get the name of Christians — but they are not so running that they shall obtain.

But those who are taught and called of God may soon be distinguished from the sleeping children of this world. These have no leisure for vain amusements; their eyes are fixed and their thoughts are engaged upon the narrow path they have to tread, and the crown they hope to receive. They have counted the cost, and come out from the world; and their only wish is that they may finish their course with joy.

II. The second thing you may learn from the text is this: Many have gone before us. “We are encompassed with a great cloud of witnesses.”

The witnesses here spoken of are those patriarchs and prophets who are mentioned in the eleventh chapter, and the apostle calls upon us to remember them and their troubles and take courage. Are we frail earthen vessels? So were they. Are we weak and encompassed with infirmities? So were they. Are we exposed to temptation and burdened with this body of corruption? So were they. Are we afflicted? So were they. Are we alone in our generation, the scorn of all our neighbors? So were they. Have we trials of cruel mockings? So had they. What can we possibly be called upon to suffer which they have not endured? What consolations did they receive which we may not enjoy?

You may talk of your cares and business and families — but their portion was just like yours; they were men of like passions; they did not neglect business, and yet they gave their hearts to God. They show the race can always be run by those who have the will. Yes, they were all flesh and blood like ourselves, and yet by grace they became new creatures; and so by faith they “obtained a good report; “ by faith they confessed themselves strangers and pilgrims on the earth; through faith they “quenched the raging of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength after being weak, became mighty in battle, and put foreign armies to flight. Some men were tortured, not accepting release, so that they might gain a better resurrection, and others experienced mockings and scourgings, as well as bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they died by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, and mistreated. They wandered in deserts, mountains, caves, and holes in the ground.”

But grace exceedingly abounded, and all fought a good fight and finished their course and kept the faith, and to God Almighty every one of them appeared in Zion.

Take courage, fainting Christians: you are encompassed with a great cloud of witnesses! The race that you are running has been run by millions before; you think that no one ever had such trials as yourself — but every step that you are journeying has been safely trod by others; the valley of the shadow of death has been securely passed by a multitude of trembling, doubting ones like yourself. They had their fears and anxieties, like you — but they were not cast away. The world, the flesh and the devil can never overwhelm the weakest woman who will set her face towards God. These millions journeyed on in bitterness and tears like your own, and yet not one perished — they all reached their eternal home.

III. The third point to be considered is the apostle’s advice, to “lay aside every weight.”

By this he means that we must give up everything which is really hurtful to our souls. We must act like men who throw off all their long and flowing garments, as an encumbrance, when about to enter a race. We must cast away everything which hinders us upon our road towards heaven — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life; the love of riches, pleasures, and honors, the spirit of lukewarmness and carelessness and indifference about the things of God — all must be rooted out and forsaken if we are anxious for the prize. We must mortify the deeds of the body, we must crucify our affections for this world. We must look well to our habits and inclinations and employments, and if we find anything coming in as a stumbling-block between ourselves and salvation, we must be ready to lay it aside as if it were a millstone about our necks, although it cost us as much pain as cutting off a hand or plucking out a right eye. Away with everything which keeps us back; our feet are slow at the very best, we have a long course to run, we cannot afford to carry weight, if we are really contending for everlasting life.

But above all we must take heed that we lay aside the sin which does most easily beset us, the sin which from our age — or habit — or taste — or disposition — or feelings, possesses the greatest power over us. I know of two which are always at our elbows, two sins which try the most advanced Christians even to the end, and these are pride and unbelief. Pride in our own difference from others, pride in our reputation as Christians, pride in our spiritual attainments. Unbelief about our own sinfulness, unbelief about God’s wisdom, unbelief about God’s mercy. Oh, they are heavy burdens, and sorely do they keep us back, and few really know they are carrying them, and few indeed are those who will not discover them at the very bottom of the chamber of their hearts, waiting an opportunity to come out.

But there are particular besetting sins, of which each separate Christian can alone furnish an account; each single one of us has some weak point, each one has got a thin, weak spot in his wall of defense against the devil, each one has a traitor in his camp ready to open the gates to Satan, and he who is wise will never rest until he has discovered where this weak point is.

This is that special sin which you are here exhorted to watch against, to overcome, to cast forth, to spare no means in bringing it into subjection — that it may not entangle you in your race towards Zion. One man is beset with lust, another with a love of drinking, another with evil temper, another with malice, another with covetousness, another with worldly-mindedness, another with idleness — but each of us has got about him some besetting infirmity, which is able to hinder him far more than others, and with which he must keep an unceasing warfare — or else he will never so run as to obtain the prize.

Oh these bitter besetting sins! How many have fallen in their full course, and given occasion to God’s enemies to blaspheme, from thinking lightly of them, from not continually guarding against them, from a vain notion that they were altogether cut off! They have been over-confident and presumptuous. They have said “We are the temple of the Lord, and we cannot greatly stumble,” and they have forgotten that hidden root, that branch of the old Adam; and so day after day, little by little, shoot after shoot, it grew, it strengthened, it filled their heart, it blighted their few graces; and suddenly, without time to think, they have slipped and fallen headlong in the race, and now they are hurrying down stream amidst that miserable party, the backsliders, and who can tell what their end may be?

But what was the simple cause? They disregarded some besetting sin. Go, child of God, and search the chambers of your heart! See whether you can find there some seed of evil, some darling thing which you have tenderly spared hitherto, because it was a little one. Away with it! There must be no mercy, no compromise, no reserve! It must be laid aside, plucked up, torn up by the roots — or it will one day trip you up, and prevent you running your race towards Zion. The gates of heaven are broad enough to receive the worst of sinners — but too narrow to admit the smallest grain of unforsaken sin!

IV. The fourth point to be noticed in the text is the frame of mind in which we are to run: “let us run with patience.”

I take this patience to mean that meek, contented spirit, which is the child of real living faith, which flows from a confidence that all things are working together for our good. Oh, it is a most necessary and useful grace! There are so many crosses to be borne when we have entered the course, so many disappointments and trials and fatigues, that, except we are enabled to possess our souls in patience, we shall never persevere unto the end. But we must not turn back to Egypt, because some bring up an evil report of the promised land; we must not faint because the journey is long and the way lies through a wilderness, we must press forward without flagging, not murmuring when we are chastened — but saying, with Eli, “It is the Lord: let Him do that which seems good to Him.”

Look at Moses, in Hebrews 11: “When he was come to years, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward; he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.”

Look at Job, when God permitted Satan to afflict him: “Naked,” he says, “I came out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there: the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” “What? Shall we receive good from the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?”

Look at David, the man after God’s own heart. How many waves of trouble passed over that honored head; how many years he fled from the hand of Saul, how much tribulation did he suffer from his own family; and hear what he says when he is fleeing from his own son Absalom, and a certain Benjamite came forth and cursed him. “Behold, my son seeks my life: how much more may this Benjamite do it? Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord has bidden him. It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day.” Mark too, as you read his Psalms, how often you come on that expression, “waiting upon God”: it seems as if he thought it the highest grace a Christian can attain to.

Look lastly at your blessed Lord Himself. Peter says, “He left us an example, that we should walk in His steps: who did no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth: who when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not — but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” Paul says: “For consider Him who endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds. You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children — My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of Him: for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”

O yes, beloved, we must run with patience — or we shall never obtain. There may be many things we cannot understand, much that the flesh could perhaps wish otherwise — but let us endure unto the end, and all shall be made clear, and God’s arrangements shall be proved best. Think not to have your reward on earth, do not draw back because your good things are all yet to come. Today is the cross — but tomorrow is the crown. Today is the labor — but tomorrow is the wages. Today is the sowing — but tomorrow is the harvest. Today is the battle — but tomorrow is the rest. Today is the weeping — but tomorrow is the joy. And what is today compared to tomorrow? Today is but threescore years and ten — but tomorrow is eternity. Be patient and hope unto the end.

V. The last point is the most important in the text. It is the object on which our eyes are to be fixed

We are to run our race “looking unto Jesus.” We are to run, depending on Him for salvation, renouncing all trust in our own poor frail exertions, and counting our own performances no better than filthy rags, and resting wholly and entirely, simply and completely, upon that perfect righteousness which He worked out for us upon the cross. We need not run uncertain of the end; we need not fight in ignorance of what shall follow. We have only to behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and believe that He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, and will soon present us spotless and unblameable in His Father’s sight.

And then we are to run, making Jesus our Example, taking no lower pattern than the Son of God Himself, endeavoring to copy His meekness, His humility, His love, His zeal for souls, His self-denial, His purity, His faith, His patience, His prayerfulness. And as we look — we shall daily become more like Him!

And then we are to run, looking for our blessed Lord’s appearing, praying always with all prayer and supplication that He will hasten His coming and kingdom and accomplish the number of His elect. Unto those who look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation; and their vile bodies in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, shall be made like unto His glorious body, and they shall be forever with their Lord!

Oh, this looking unto Jesus! Here is the secret cause which kept that cloud of witnesses steadfast and unmovable in this narrow way! Here is the simple rule for all who wish to enter on the course which lands a man in Paradise! Look not to earth: it is a sinful, perishable place, and they who build upon it shall find their foundation of the earth earthy; they will not stand the fire. Set not your affections upon it — or else you will perish together; the earth shall be burned up, and if you cling to it, in death you shall not be divided!

Look not to yourselves! You are by nature wretched and miserable, and poor and blind and naked; you cannot make atonement for your past transgressions, you cannot wipe out a single page in that long black list. And when the King shall ask you for your wedding garment you will be speechless. Look simply unto Jesus, and then the weight shall fall from off your shoulders, and the course shall be clear and plain, and you shall run the race which is set before you. Truly a man may be mistaken for a season, and walk in darkness for a time — but if he once determines to look to Jesus, he shall not greatly err.

Who now are the men and women in this congregation who have not entered on the grand struggle for life? This day, you Christless, sleeping ones, this day I charge you to be honest and merciful to your souls. Turn! O turn you from your evil ways! Turn from your self-pleasing and self-indulging; seek you the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near; cry mightily unto the Lord Jesus Christ, before the night comes and you sleep for evermore. I know the thoughts that are in the hearts of those among you who ever think, (for many come and go without thinking): I know your thoughts; you cannot make up your mind to lay aside every weight, you cannot throw overboard the sin that does so easily beset you. Alas! Like Herod you would do many things — but not all: you will not give up that Herodias. That darling bosom-sin — the world, the business, the drink, the pleasure — you cannot give it up, it must have the first place in your heart. I testify, I warn you, I take you to record that God has declared there shall never enter into heaven anything that defiles. And if you are determined not to give up your sins, your sins will cleave to you like lead and sink you in the pit of destruction. You need not wait: you must show some inclination; God will not convert you against your will; except you show the desire, how can you expect He will give you the grace?

But where are the men and women who are running the race and struggling towards the heavenly Jerusalem? Think not that you have anything which makes your journey more difficult than others. The saints at God’s right hand were perfected through sufferings; and you must run with patience. Millions have gone safely through, and so shall you.

Beware of cumbering yourselves with any weight of earthly cares. Examine your hearts most closely, and purge out each besetting sin with a godly prayerful jealousy. Remember that blessed rule, “looking unto Jesus.” Peter did run well for a time, when he left the ship to walk upon the sea to Jesus — but when he saw the waves and the storm he was afraid and began to sink. Thus many a one sets out courageously — but after a while corruptions rise high within, corruptions are strong without, the eye is drawn off Jesus, the devil gets an advantage — and the soul begins to sink. Oh, keep your eye steadily fixed on Christ, and you shall go through fire and water and they shall not hurt you.

Are you tempted? Look unto Jesus. Are you afflicted? Look unto Jesus. Do all speak evil of you? Look unto Jesus. Do you feel cold, dull, backsliding? Look unto Jesus. Never say, “I will heal myself and then look unto Jesus, I will get into a good frame and then take comfort in my Beloved.” This is the delusion of Satan. But whether you are weak or strong, in the valley or on the mount, in sickness or in health, in sorrow or in joy, in going out or in coming in, in youth or in age, in richness or in poverty, in life or in death — let this be your motto and your guide, “LOOKING UNTO JESUS!”

“The Day of Doom; or a Poetical Description of the Great and Last Judgment”

doom“The Day of Doom; or a Poetical Description of the Great and Last Judgment” written in 1662, by By Michael Wigglesworth, (1631–1705), was once one of the most popular books in Puritan New England. Many, many children memorized this entire poem. From Wiki: Eighteen hundred copies were sold within a year, and for the next century it held a secure place in New England Puritan households”. According to the Norton Anthology of American Literature (Volume 1), “about one out of every twenty persons in New England bought it”.

As late as 1828 it was stated that many aged persons were still alive who could repeat it, as it had been taught them with their catechism; and the more widely one reads in the voluminous sermons of that generation, the more fair will its representation of prevailing theology in New England appear.” The poem is the longest poem of the Colonial Period, with two hundred and twenty-four stanzas. I strongly recommend it to your careful reading, especially if you wish to understand the theological fervency and emphasis of this period.  –MWP


1: Still was the night, serene and bright,       The security of the World before Christ’s coming to judgement. Luke 12:19. 
2: when all Men sleeping lay; 
3: Calm was the season, and carnal reason 
4: thought so ‘twould last for aye. 
5: “Soul take thine ease, let sorrow cease, 
6: much good thou hast in store; 
7: This was their song their cups among 
8: the evening before. 

9: Wallowing in all kind of Sin, 
10: vile Wretches lay secure; 
11: The best of men had scarcely then 
12: their Lamps kept in good ure. 
13: Virgins unwise, who through disguise 
14: amongst the best were number’d,       Mat. 25.5. 
15: Had clos’d their eyes; yea, and the Wise 
16: through sloth and frailty slumber’d. 

17: Like as of old, when men grew bold 
18: God’s threat’nings to contemn, 
19: Who stopt their ear, and would not hear 
20: when Mercy warnéd them?       Mat.24:37,38. 
21: But took their course, without remorse, 
22: till God began to pour 
23: Destructi-on the world upon, 
24: in a tempestuous show’r 

25: Who put away the evil day       1 Thes. 5:3. 
26: and drown’d their cares and fears, 
27: Till drown’d were they, and swept away 
28: by vengeance unawares; 
29: So at the last, whilst men sleep fast 
30: in their security, 
31: Surpris’d they are in such a snare 
32: As cometh suddenly. 

33: For at midnight breaks forth a light,       The suddenness, Majesty, and Terror of Christ’s appearing. Mat. 25:6.       2 Pet. 3:10. 
34: which turns the night to day; 
35: And speedily an hideous cry 
36: doth all the World dismay. 
37: Sinners awake, their hearts do ache, 
38: trembling their loins surpriseth; 
39: Amaz’d with fear, by what they hear, 
40: each one of them ariseth. 

41: They rush from beds with giddy heads, 
42: and to their windows run, 
43: Viewing this light, which shines more bright 
44: than doth the noon-day Sun. 
45: Straightway appears (they see’t with tears) 
46: the Son of God most dread, 
47: Who with his Train comes on amain       Mat. 24: 29,30. 
48: to judge both Quick and Dead. 

49: Before his face the Heav’ns give place, 
50: and Skies are rent asunder, 
51: With mighty voice and hideous noise, 
52: more terrible than Thunder. 
53: His Brightness damps Heav’n’s glorious Lamps, 
54: and makes them hide their heads; 
55: As if afraid, and quite dismay’d,       2 Pet. 3:10. 
56: they quit their wonted steads. 

57: Ye sons of men that durst contemn 
58: the Threat’nings of God’s Word, 
59: How cheer you now? Your hearts, I trow, 
60: are thrill’d as with a sword. 
61: Now Atheist blind, whose brutish mind 
62: a God could never see, 
63: Dost thou perceive, dost now believe 
64: that Christ thy Judge shall be? 

65: Stout Courages, (whose hardiness 
66: could Death and Hell outface) 
67: Are you as bold, now you behold 
68: your Judge draw near apace? 
69: They cry, “No, no: Alas! and woe! 
70: our courage all is gone: 
71: Our hardiness, (fool hardiness) 
72: hath us undone, undone!”
73: No heart so bold, but now grows cold,       Rev. 6:15. 
74: and almost dead with fear; 
75: No eye so dry but now can cry, 
76: and pour out many a tear. 
77: Earth’s Potentates and pow’rful States, 
78: Captains and Men of Might 
79: Are quite abasht, their courage dasht. 
80: At this most dreadful sight. 

81: Mean men lament, great men do rent       Mat. 24:30. 
82: their Robes, and tear their hair; 
83: They do not spare their flesh to tear 
84: through horrible despair. 
85: All kindreds wail; all hearts do fail; 
86: Horror the World doth fill 
87: With weeping eyes and loud out-cries, 
88: yet knows not how to kill. 

89: Some hide themselves in Caves and Delves,       Rev. 6:15,16. 
90: in places under ground: 
91: Some rashly leap into the Deep, 
92: to ‘scape by being drown’d: 
93: Some to the Rocks, (O sensless blocks!) 
94: and woody Mountains run, 
95: That there they might this fearful sight 
96: and dreaded Presence shun. 

97: In vain do they to Mountains say, 
98: “Fall on us, and us hide 
99: From Judges ire, more hot then Fire, 
100: For who may it abide?” 
101: No hiding place can from his Face 
102: sinners at all conceal, 
103: Whose flaming Eye hid things doth spy, 
104: and darkest things reveal. 

105: The Judge draws nigh, exalted high       Mat. 25:21. 
106: upon a lofty Throne, 
107: Amidst the throng of Angels strong, 
108: lo, Israel’s Holy One! 
109: The excellence of whose Presence, 
110: and awful Majesty, 
111: Amazeth Nature, and every Creature 
112: doth more than terrify. 

113: The Mountains smoke, the Hills are shook,       Rev. 6:14. 
114: the Earth is rent and torn, 
115: As if she should be clean dissolv’d, 
116: or from her center born. 
117: The Sea doth roar, forsakes the shore, 
118: and shrinks away for fear; 
119: The wild beasts flee into the sea 
120: so soon as he draws near, 

121: Whose Glory bright, whose wond’rous Might, 
122: whose Power Imperial, 
123: So far surpass whatever was 
124: in Realms Terrestrial; 
125: That tongues of men (nor Angel’s pen) 
126: Cannot the same express; 
127: And therefore I must pass it by, 
128: lest speaking should transgress.       Thes. 4:16. 

129: Before his Throne a Trump is blown,       Resurrection of the Dead. John 5:28.29. 
130: proclaiming th’Day of Doom; 
131: Forthwith he cries, “Ye dead arise 
132: and unto Judgement come.” 
133: No sooner said, but ’tis obey’d; 
134: Sepulchers open’d are; 
135: Dead bodies all rise at his call, 
136: and’s mighty Power declare. 

137: Both Sea and Land at his command, 
138: their Dead at once surrender; 
139: The Fire and Air constrainéd are 
140: also their dead to tender. 
141: The mighty Word of this great Lord 
142: links Body and Soul together, 
143: Both of the Just and the unjust, 
144: to part no more for ever. 

145: The same translates from Mortal states       The living changed. Luke 20:36.       1 Cor. 15:52. 
146: to Immortality, 
147: All that survive and be alive, 
148: in th’ twinkling of an eye; 
149: That so they may abide for aye 
150: to endless weal or woe: 
151: Both the Renate and Reprobate 
152: are made to die no moe. 

153: His wingéd Hosts fly through all coasts,       All brought to Judgment. Mat. 24:31. 
154: together gathering 
155: Both good and bad, both Quick and Dead, 
156: and all to Judgement bring. 
157: Out of their holes those creeping Moles, 
158: that hid themselves for fear, 
159: By force they take, and quickly make 
160: before the Judge appear. 

161: Thus every one before the Throne       2 Cor. 5:10.       The Sheep separated from the Goats. Mat. 25:32. 
162: of Christ the Judge is brought, 
163: Both rightéous and impious, 
164: that good or ill hath wrought. 
165: A separation and diff’ring station 
166: by Christ appointed is 
167: (To sinners sad) ‘twixt good and bad, 
168: ‘twixt Heirs of woe and bliss. 

169: At Christ’s right hand the Sheep do stand, 
170: his holy Martyrs, who 
171: For his dear Name suffering shame, 
172: calamity and woe, 
173: Like Champions stood, and with their Blood       Who are Christ’s Sheep. Mat. 5:10,11. 
174: their Testimony séaled; 
175: Whose innocence without offence 
176: to Christ their Judge appealéd. 

177: Next unto whom there find a room, 
178: all Christ’s afflicted ones, 
179: Who being chastis’d, neither despis’d, 
180: nor sank amidsts their groans; 
181: Who by the Rod were turn’d to God,       Heb. 12:5-7 
182: and loved him the more, 
183: Not murmuring nor quarrelling 
184: when they were chast’ned sore. 
185: Moreover, such as lovéd much, 
186: that had not such a trial, 
187: As might constrain to so great pain, 
188: and such deep self-denial,       Luke 7:41,47 
189: Yet ready were the Cross to bear, 
190: when Christ them call’d thereto, 
191: And did rejoice to hear his voice, 
192: they’re counted Sheep also. 

193: Christ’s flock of Lambs there also stands, 
194: whose Faith was weak, yet true,       John 21:15.       Mat. 19:14.       John 3:3 
195: All sound Believers (Gospel receivers) 
196: whose Grace was small, but grew. 
197: And them among an Infant throng 
198: of Babes, for whom Christ died; 
199: Whom for his own, by ways unknown 
200: to Men, he sanctified. 

201: All stand before their Savi-or, 
202: in long white Robes yclad, 
203: Their countenance full of pleasance,       Rev. 6:11.       Phil. 3:21. 
204: appearing wond’rous glad. 
205: O glorious sight! Behold how bright 
206: dust-heaps are made to shine, 
207: Conforméd so their Lord unto, 
208: whose Glory is Divine. 

209: At Christ’s left hand the Goats do stand,       The Goats described, or the several sorts of Reprobates on the left hand. Mat. 24:51. 
210: all whining Hypocrites 
211: Who for self-ends did seem Christ’s friends, 
212: but foster’d guileful sprites; 
213: Who Sheep resembled, but they dissembled 
214: (their hearts were not sincere) 
215: Who once did throng Christ’s Lambs among; 
216: but now must not come near. 

217: Apostates base and run-aways,       Luke 11:24       Heb. 6:4-6       Heb. 10:29 
218: such as have Christ forsaken, 
219: Of whom the the Devil, with seven more evil, 
220: hath fresh possession taken; 
221: Sinners ingrain, reserv’d to pain 
222: and torments most severe 
223: Because ‘gainst light they sinn’d with spite, 
224: are also placéd there. 

225: There also stand a num’rous band, 
226: that no profession made 
227: Of Godliness, nor to redress       Luke 12:47       Prov. 1:24,26       Job 3:19 
228: their ways at all essay’d; 
229: Who better knew, but (sinful Crew) 
230: Gospel and Law despiséd, 
231: Who all Christ’s knocks withstood like blocks, 
232: and would not be adviséd. 

233: Moreover, there with them appear 
234: a number, numberless,       Gal. 3:10       1 Cor. 6:9       Rev. 21:8 
235: Of great and small, vile wretches all, 
236: that did God’s Law transgress; 
237: Idolaters, false worshippers, 
238: Profaners of God’s Name, 
239: Who not at all thereon did call, 
240: or took in vain the same. 
241: Blasphemers lewd, and Swearers shrewd,       Exod. 20:7,8. 
242: scoffers at Purity, 
243: That hated God, contemn’d his Rod, 
244: and lov’d Security; 
245: Sabbath-polluters, Saints-persecuters,       2 The. 1:6-8 
246: presumptuous men, and proud, 
247: Who never lov’d those that reprov’d; 
248: all stand amongst this crowd. 

249: Adulterers and Whoremongers 
250: were there, with all unchast;       Heb.13:4       1 Cor. 6:10 
251: There Covetous and Ravenous, 
252: that Riches got too fast: 
253: Who us’d vile ways themselves to raise 
254: t’Estates and worldly wealth, 
255: Oppression by or knavery, 
256: by force, or fraud, or stealth. 

257: Moreover, there together were 
258: Children flagiti-ous, 
259: And Parents who did them undo 
260: by nature vici-ous.       Zac. 5:3,4       Gal. 5:19-21 
261: False-witness-bearers and self-forswearers, 
262: Murd’rers and Men of Blood, 
263: Witches, Enchanters, and Ale-house haunters, 
264: beyond account there stood. 

265: Their place there find all Heathen blind 
266: that Nature’s light abus’d, 
267: Although they had no tidings glad       Rom. 2:13 
268: of Gospel grace refus’d. 
269: There stand all Nations and Generations 
270: of Adam’s Progeny, 
271: Whom Christ redeem’d not, whom he esteem’d [ not] 
272: throught Infidelity. 

273: Who no Peace-maker, no undertaker 
274: to shroud them from God’s ire 
275: Ever obtain’d; they must be pain’d       Acts 4:12 
276: with everlasting fire. 
277: These num’rous bands, wringing their hands, 
278: and weeping all stand there, 
279: Filléd with anguish, whose hearts do languish, 
280: through self-tormenting fear. 

281: Fast by them stand at Christ’s left hand 
282: the Lion fierce and fell, 
283: The Dragon bold, that Serpent old, 
284: that hurried Souls to Hell.       1 Cor. 6:3 
285: There also stand, under command, 
286: legions of Sprites unclean, 
287: And hellish Fiends, that are no friends 
288: to God, nor unto Men. 

289: With dismal chains and strong reins, 
290: like Prisoners of Hell,       Jude 6. 
291: They’re held in place before Christ’s face, 
292: till He their Doom shall tell. 
293: These void of tears, but fill’d with fears, 
294: and dreadful expectation 
295: Of endless pains and scalding flames, 
296: stand waiting for Damnation. 
297: All silence kept, both Goats and Sheep, 
298: before the Judge’s Throne; 
299: With mild aspect to his Elect 
300: then speaks the Holy One; 
301: “My Sheep draw near, your Sentence hear, 
302: which is to you no dread, 
303: Who clearly now discern and know 
304: your sins are pardonéd. 

305: “‘Twas meet that ye should judgéd be, 
306: that so the world may spy 
307: No cause of grudge, when as I judge       2 Cor. 5:10.       Eccl. 3:17.       John 3:18. 
308: and deal impartially. 
309: Know therefore all both great and small, 
310: the ground and reason why 
311: These Men do stand at my right hand, 
312: and look so cheerfully. 

313: “These men be those my Father chose 
314: before the World’s foundation, 
315: And to me gave, that I should save       Job 17:6.       Eph. 1:4. 
316: from Death and Condemnation; 
317: For whose dear sake I flesh did take, 
318: was of a Woman born, 
319: And did inure myself t’endure 
320: unjust reproach and scorn. 

321: “For them it was that I did pass 
322: through sorrows many a one; 
323: That I drank up that bitter Cup 
324: which made me sigh and groan. 
325: The Cross’s pain I did sustain;       Rev. 1:5. 
326: yea more, my Father;s ire 
327: I underwent, my Blood I spent 
328: to save them from Hell-fire. 

329: “Thus I esteeméd, thus I redeeméd 
330: all these from every Nation, 
331: That they might be (as now you see)       Eph. 2:1,3 
332: a chosen Generation. 
333: What if ere while they were as vile 
334: and bad as any be, 
335: And yet from all their guilt and thrall 
336: at once I set them free? 

337: “My grace to one is wrong to none; 
338: none can Election claim; 
339: Amongst all those their souls that lose,       Mat. 23:13,15.       Rom. 9:20,21. 
340: none can Rejection blame. 
341: He that may choose, or else refuse, 
342: all men to save or spill, 
343: May this Man choose, and that refuse, 
344: redeeming whom he will. 

345: “But as for those whom I have chose 
346: Salvation’s heirs to be,       Isa. 53:4,5,11. 
347: I underwent their punishment, 
348: and therefore set them free. 
349: I bore their grief, and their relief 
350: by suffering procur’d, 
351: That they of bliss and happiness 
352: might firmly be assur’d. 
353: “And this my grace they did embrace, 
354: believing on my Name;       Acts 1:3,48.       Jam. 2:18.       Heb. 12:7.       Mat. 19:29. 
355: Which Faith was true, the fruits do shew 
356: proceeding from the same; — 
357: Their Penitence, their Pati-ence, 
358: their Love and Self-denial; 
359: In suff’ring losses and bearing Crosses, 
360: when put upon the trial; — 

361: “Their sin forsaking, their cheerful taking 
362: my Yoke, their Charity 
363: Unto the Saints in all their wants, 
364: and in them unto me; — 
365: These things do clear, and make appear       1 John 3:3.       Mat. 25:39,40. 
366: their Faith to be unfeignéd, 
367: And that a part in my desert 
368: and purchase they have gainéd. 

369: “Their debts are paid, their peace is made, 
370: their sins remitted are; 
371: Therefore at once I do pronounce,       Isa. 53:11,12.       Rom. 8:16,17,33,34.       John 3:18. 
372: and openly declare, 
373: That Heav’n is theirs, that they be Heirs 
374: of Life and of Salvation; 
375: Nor ever shall they come at all 
376: to Death or to Damnation. 

377: “Come blessed Ones and sit on Thrones, 
378: judging the World with me; 
379: Come and possess your happiness, 
380: and bought felicity;       Luke 22:29,30. 
381: Henceforth no fears, no care, no tears,       Mat. 19:28. 
382: no sin shall you annoy, 
383: Nor any thing that grief doth bring: 
384: Eternal Rest enjoy. 

385: “You bore the Cross, you suffer’d loss       Mat. 25:34. They are placed on Thrones to join with Christ in judging the wicked. 
386: of all for my Name’s sake; 
387: Receive the Crown that’s now your own; 
388: come, and a Kingdom take.” 
389: Thus spake the Judge: the wicked grudge, 
390: and grind their teeth in vain; 
391: They see with groans these plac’d on Thrones 
392: which addeth to their pain: 

393: That those whom they did wrong and slay, 
394: must now their Judgement see! 
395: Such whom they slighted and once despited, 
396: must now their Judges be! 
397: Thus ’tis decreed, such is their meed, 
398: and guerdon glorious;       1 Cor. 6:2. 
399: With Christ they sit, judging it fit 
400: to plague the Impious. 

401: The wicked are brought to the Bar. 
402: like guilty Malefactors,       The wicked are brought to the Bar. Rom. 2:3,6,11. 
403: That oftentimes of bloody Crimes 
404: and Treasons have been Actors. 
405: Of wicked Men, none are so mean 
406: as there to be neglected; 
407: Nor none so high in dignity 
408: as there to be respected. 
409: The glorious Judge will privilege 
410: nor Emperor nor King; 
411: But every one that hath misdone 
412: doth into judgement bring.       Rev. 6:15.16.       Isa. 30:33. 
413: And every one that hath misdone, 
414: the Judge impartially 
415: Condemneth to eternal woe, 
416: and endless misery. 

417: Thus one and all, thus great and small, 
418: the Rich as well as Poor, 
419: And those of place, as the most base, 
420: do stand the Judge before. 
421: They are arraign’d, and there detain’d 
422: before Christ’s Judgement seat 
423: With trembling fear their Doom to hear, 
424: and feel his Anger’s heat. 

425: There Christ demands at all their hands 
426: a strict and straight account 
427: Of all things done under the Sun; 
428: whose number far surmount       Eccl. 11:9,12,14. 
429: Man’s wit and thought: yet all are brought 
430: unto this solemn Trial; 
431: And each offence with evidence, 
432: so that there’s no denial. 

433: There’s no excuse for their abuse, 
434: since their own Consciences 
435: More proof give in of each Man’s sin; 
436: than thousand Witnesses. 
437: Though formerly this faculty 
438: had grossly been abuséd, 
439: (Men could it stifle, or with it trifle, 
440: when as it them accuséd.) 

441: Now it comes in, and every sin 
442: unto Men’s charge doth lay; 
443: It judgeth them and doth condemn, 
444: though all the World say nay. 
445: It so stingeth and tortureth, 
446: it worketh such distress, 
447: That each Man’s self against himself, 
448: is forcéd to confess. 

449: It’s vain, moreover, for Men to cover       Secret sins and works of darkness brought to light. Ps. 139:2,4,12.       Rom. 2:16. 
450: the least Iniquity; 
451: The Judge hath seen and privy been 
452: to all their villany. 
453: He unto light and open sight 
454: the work of darkness brings; 
455: He doth unfold both new old, 
456: both known and hidden things. 

457: All filthy facts and secret acts, 
458: however closely done, 
459: And long conceal’d, are there reveal’d       Eccl. 12:14. 
460: before the mid-day Sun. 
461: Deeds of the night, shunning the light, 
462: which darkest corners sought, 
463: To fearful blame, and endless shame, 
464: are there most justly brought. 
465: And as all facts, and grosser acts, 
466: so every word and thought, 
467: Erroneous notion and lustful motion,       Mat. 12:36.       Rom. 7:7. 
468: are into Judgement brought. 
469: No Sin so small and trivial, 
470: but hither it must come; 
471: Nor so long past but now at last 
472: it must receive a doom. 

473: At this sad season, Christ asks a Reason       An account demanded of all their actions. John 5:40     and       3:19.       Mat. 25:19,27. 
474: (with just austerity) 
475: Of Grace refus’d, of light abus’d 
476: so oft, so wilfully; 
477: Of Talents lent, by them misspent, 
478: and on their Lust bestown; 
479: Which if improv’d as it behoov’d, 
480: Heav’n might have been their own; 

481: Of times neglected, of means rejected, 
482: of God’s long-suffering 
483: And Pati-ence, to Penitence 
484: that sought hard hearts to bring;       Rom. 2:4,5. 
485: Why chords of love did nothing move, 
486: to shame or to remorse? 
487: Why warnings grave, and counsels have 
488: nought chang’d their sinful course? 

489: Why chastenings, and evil things, 
490: why judgments so severe,       Isa. 1:5. 
491: Prevailéd not with them a jot, 
492: nor wrought an awful fear? 
493: Why promises of Holiness, 
494: and new Obedience,       Jer. 2:20. 
495: They oft did make, but always break 
496: the same, to God’s offense? 

497: Why still Hell-ward, without regard, 
498: they bold venturéd,       John 3:19, etc.       Prov. 8:36.       Luke 12:20,21. 
499: And chose Damnation before Salvation 
500: when it was offeréd? 
501: Why sinful pleasures and earthly treasures, 
502: like fools, they prizéd more 
503: Than Heav’nly wealth, Eternal health, 
504: and all Christ’s Royal store? 

505: Why, when he stood off’ring his Blood 
506: to wash them from their sin,       Luke 13:34.       John 5:40,     and       15:22. 
507: They would embrace no saving Grace, 
508: but liv’d and died therein? 
509: Such aggravations, where no evasions, 
510: nor false pretences hold, 
511: Exaggerate and cumulate 
512: guilt more then can be told. 

513: They multiply and magnify 
514: Men’s gross Iniquities; 
515: They draw down wrath (as Scripture saith) 
516: out of God’s treasuries. 
517: Thus all their ways Christ open lays 
518: to Men and Angels’ view, 
519: And as they were makes them appear 
520: in their own proper hue. 

521: Thus he doth find of all Mankind 
522: that stand at his left hand       Rom. 3:10,12. 
523: No mother’s son but hath misdone, 
524: and broken God’s command. 
525: All have transgress’d, even the best, 
526: and merited God’s wrath, 
527: Unto their own perditi-on 
528: and everlasting scath. 

529: Earth’s dwellers all, both great and small, 
530: have wrought iniquity,       Rom. 6:23. 
531: And suffer must (for it is just) 
532: Eternal misery. 
533: Amongst the many there come not any, 
534: before the Judge’s face, 
535: That able are themselves to clear, 
536: of all this cursed Race. 

537: Nevertheless they all express, 
538: (Christ granting liberty,) 
539: What for their way they have to say, 
540: how they have liv’d, and why. 
541: They all draw near and seek to clear 
542: themselves by making plea’s; 
543: There Hypocrites, false-hearted wights, 
544: do make such pleas as these: 

545: “Lord, in thy Name, and by the same 
546: we Devils dispossess’d;       Mat. 7:21-23. 
547: We rais’d the dead, and minist’red 
548: succour to the distress’d. 
549: Our painful teaching and pow’rful preaching, 
550: by thine own wondrous might, 
551: Did throughly win to God from sin 
552: many a wretched wight.” 

553: “All this,” quoth he, “may granted be, 
554: and your case little better’d,       The Judge replyeth. John 6:70.       1 Cor. 9:27. 
555: Who still remain under a chain 
556: and many irons fetter’d. 
557: You that the dead have quickenéd, 
558: and rescu’d from the grave, 
559: Your selves were dead, yet ne’er needéd 
560: a Christ your souls to save. 

561: “You that could preach, and others teach 
562: what way to life doth lead,       Rom. 2:19-23. 
563: Why were you slack to find that track, 
564: and in that way to tread? 
565: How could you bear to see or hear 
566: of others freed at last 
567: From Satan’s paws, whilst in his jaws 
568: yourselves were held more fast? 

569: “Who though you knew Repentance true, 
570: and faith is my great Name,       John 9:41.       Rev. 2:21,22. 
571: The only mean to quit you clean, 
572: from punishment and blame, 
573: Yet took no pain true Faith to gain, 
574: such as might not deceive, 
575: Nor would repent with true intent, 
576: your evil deeds to leave. 

577: “His Masters will how to fulfil 
578: the servant that well knew,       Luke 12:47       Mat. 11:21-24. 
579: Yet left undone his duty known, 
580: more plagues to him are due. 
581: You against light perverted right; 
582: wherefore it shall be now 
583: For Sidon and for Sodom’s Land 
584: more easie then for you.” 

585: “But we have in thy presence been,” 
586: say some, “and eaten there.       Another plea of the Hypocrites. Luke 13:20. 
587: Did we not eat thy Flesh for meat, 
588: and feed on Heav’nly Cheer? 
589: Whereon who feed shall never need, 
590: as thou thyself dost say, 
591: Nor shall they die eternally, 
592: but live with Christ for aye. 

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

601: To whom the Lord thus in a word       The answer. Luke 13:27.       Mat. 22:12. 
602: returns a short reply: 
603: “I never knew any of you 
604: that wrought Iniquity. 
605: You say you’ve been my Presence in; 
606: but then, how came you there 
607: With Raiment vile that did defile 
608: and quite disgrace my Cheer? 

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

617: “How durst you venture bold guests to enter 
618: in such a sordid hue, 
619: Amongst my guests unto those Feasts 
620: that were not made for you?       1 Cor. 11:27,29. 
621: How durst you eat for spir’tual meat 
622: your bane, and drink damnation, 
623: Whilst by your guile you render’d vile 
624: so rare and great Salvation? 

625: “Your fancies fed on heav’nly Bread, 
626: your hearts fed on some Lust; 
627: You lov’d the Creature more then th’ Creator, 
628: your souls clove to the dust. 
629: And think you by Hypocrisy, 
630: and cloakéd Wickedness,       Mat. 6:21,24.       Rom. 1:25. 
631: To enter in laden with sin, 
632: to lasting Happiness? 
633: “This your excuse shews your abuse 
634: of things ordain’d for good;       1 Cor. 11:27,29. 
635: And doth declare you guilty are 
636: of my dear Flesh and Blood. 
637: Wherefore those Seals and precious Meals 
638: you put so much upon 
639: As things Divine, they Seal and Sign 
640: you to Perditi-on.” 

641: Then forth issue another Crew 
642: (those being silencéd) 
643: Who drawing nigh to the Most High 
644: adventure thus to plead: 
645: “We sinners were,” say they, “’tis clear, 
646: deserving condemnation; 
647: But did not we rely on thee, 
648: O Christ, for whole Salvation? 

649: “We did believe, and oft receive 
650: thy gracious Promises;       Acts 8:13.       Isa. 58:2,3.       Heb. 6:4,5. 
651: We took great care to get a share 
652: in endless Happiness. 
653: We pray’d and wept, and Fast-days kept, 
654: lewd ways we did eschew; 
655: We joyful were thy Word to hear; 
656: we form’d our lives anew. 

657: “We thought our sin had pardon’d been, 
658: that our Estate was good,       2 Pet. 2:20. 
659: Our debts all paid, our peace well made, 
660: our Souls wash’d with thy Blood. 
661: Lord, why dost thou reject us now, 
662: who have not thee rejected, 
663: Nor utterly true sanctity 
664: and holy life neglected?” 

665: The Judge incens’d at their pretens’d 
666: self-vaunting Piety,       The Judge uncaseth them. John 2:24,25. 
667: With such a look as trembling strook 
668: unto them made reply: 
669: “O impudent, impenitent, 
670: and guileful generation! 
671: Think you that I cannot descry 
672: your hearts’ abomination? 

673: “You nor receiv’d, nor yet believ’d 
674: my Promises of Grace,       John 6:64.       Psal. 50:16.       Mat. 15:26. 
675: Nor were you wise enough to prize 
676: my reconciléd Face; 
677: But did presume that to assume 
678: which was not yours to take, 
679: And challengéd the Children’s Bread, 
680: yet would not sin forsake. 

681: “Being too bold you laid fast hold 
682: where int’rest you had none,       Rev. 3:17.       Mat. 13:20. 
683: Yourselves deceiving by your believing, 
684: all which you might have known. 
685: You ran away but ran astray 
686: with Gospel Promises, 
687: And perishéd, being still dead 
688: in sins and trespasses. 
689: “How oft did I Hypocrisy 
690: and Hearts’ deceits unmask 
691: Before your sight, giving you light       Mat. 6:2,4,24.       Jer. 8:5-8. 
692: to know a Christian’s task? 
693: But you held fast unto the last 
694: your own conceits so vain, 
695: No warning could prevail; you would 
696: your own Deceits retain. 

697: “As for your care to get a share 
698: in Bliss; the fear of Hell, 
699: And of a part in endless smart, 
700: did thereunto compel.       Psal. 78:34-37. 
701: Your holiness and ways redress, 
702: such as it was, did spring 
703: From no true love to things above, 
704: but from some other thing. 

705: “You pray’d and wept, you Fast-days kept,       Zach. 7:5,6.       Isa. 58:3,4.       1 Sam. 15:13,21.       Isa. 1:11,15. 
706: but did you this to me? 
707: No, but for sin you sought to win 
708: the greater liberty. 
709: For all your vaunts, you had vile haunts, 
710: for which your Consciences 
711: Did you alarm, whose voice to charm 
712: you us’d these practises. 

713: “Your Penitence, your diligence 
714: to Read, to Pray, to Hear,       Mat. 6:2,5.       John 5:44. 
715: Were but to drown the clam’rous sound 
716: of Conscience in your Ear. |
717: If light you lov’d, vain glory mov’d 
718: yourselves therewith to store, 
719: That seeming wise men might you prize, 
720: and honor you the more. 

721: “Thus from yourselves unto yourselves 
722: your duties all do tend;       Zech. 7:5,16.       Hos. 10:1. 
723: And as self-love the wheels doth move, 
724: so in self-love they end.” 
725: Thus Christ detects their vain projects, 
726: and close Impiety, 
727: And plainly shews that all their shows 
728: were but Hypocrisy. 

729: Then were brought nigh a Company 
730: of Civil honest Men,       Civil honest men’s pleas. Luke 18:11. 
731: That lov’d true dealing and hated stealing, 
732: ne’er wrong’d their Brethren; 
733: Who pleaded thus: “Thou knowest us 
734: that we were blameless livers; 
735: No Whoremongers, no Murderers, 
736: no quarrellers nor strivers. 

737: “Idolaters, Adulterers, 
738: Church-robbers we were none; 
739: Nor false dealers, nor cozeners, 
740: but paid each man his own. 
741: Our way was fair, our dealing square, 
742: we were no wasteful spenders, 
743: No lewd toss-pots, no drunken sots, 
744: no scandalous offenders. 

745: “We hated vice, and set great price 
746: by virtuous conversation; 
747: And by the same we got a name,       1 Sam. 15:22. 
748: and no small commendation. 
749: God’s Laws express that righteousness 
750: is that which he doth prize; 
751: And to obey, as he doth say, 
752: is more then sacrifice. 

753: “Thus to obey hath been our way; 
754: let our good deeds, we pray,       Eccl.7:20. 
755: Find some regard and some reward 
756: with thee, O Lord, this day. 
757: And whereas we transgressors be; 
758: of Adam’s race were none, 
759: No, not the best, but have confess’d 
760: themselves to have misdone.” 

761: Then answeréd unto their dread, 
762: the Judge: “True Piety       Are taken off and redered invalid. Deut. 10:12.       Tit. 2:12.       Jam. 2:10. 
763: God doth desire and eke require 
764: no less then honesty. 
765: Justice demands at all your hands 
766: perfect Obedience; 
767: If but in part you have come short, 
768: that is a just offence. 

769: “On earth below, where men did owe 
770: a thousand pounds and more, 
771: Could twenty pence it recompence? 
772: Could that have clear’d the score? 
773: Think you to buy Felicity 
774: with part of what’s due debt? 
775: Or for desert of one small part 
776: the whole should off be set? 

777: “And yet that part whose great desert 
778: you think to reach so far,       Luke 18:11,14. 
779: For your excuse doth you accuse, 
780: and will your boasting mar. 
781: However fair, however square 
782: your way and work hath been 
783: Before Men’s eyes, yet God espies 
784: iniquity therein. 

785: “God looks upon th’affecti-on 
786: and temper of the heart; 
787: Not only on the acti-on,       1 Sam. 16:7.       2 Chron. 25:2. 
788: and the external part. 
789: Whatever end vain men pretend, 
790: God knows the verity, 
791: And by the end which they intend 
792: their words and deeds doth try. 

793: “Without true Faith, the Scripture saith, 
794: God cannot take delight 
795: In any deed that doth proceed       Heb. 11:6.       1 Cor. 13:1-3. 
796: from any sinful wight. 
797: And without love all actions prove 
798: but barren empty things; 
799: Dead works they be and vanity, 
800: the which vexation brings. 

801: “Nor from true Faith, which quencheth wrath 
802: hath your obedience flown; 
803: Nor from true Love, which wont to move 
804: Believers, hath it grown. 
805: Your argument shews your intent 
806: in all that you have done; 
807: You thought to scale Heav’n’s lofty Wall, 
808: by Ladders of your own. 

809: “Your blinded spirit hoping to merit 
810: by your own Righteousness, 
811: Needed no Saviour but your behavior 
812: and blameless carriages.       Rom. 10:3. 
813: You trusted to what you could do, 
814: and in no need you stood; 
815: Your haughty pride laid me aside, 
816: and trampled on my Blood. 

817: “All men have gone astray, and done 
818: that which God’s Laws condemn;       Rom. 9:30,32.       Mat. 11:23,24 and       Mat. 21:41. 
819: But my Purchase and offer’d Grace 
820: all men did not contemn. 
821: The Ninevites and Sodomites 
822: had no such sin as this; 
823: Yet as if all your sins were small, 
824: you say, ‘All did amiss.’ 

825: “Again you thought and mainly sought 
826: a name with men t’acquire; 
827: Pride bare the Bell that made you swell, 
828: and your own selves admire. 
829: Mean fruit it is, and vile, I wiss,       Mat. 6:5. 
830: that springs from such a root; 
831: Virtue divine and genuine 
832: wonts not from pride to shoot. 

833: “Such deeds as your are worse then poor; 
834: they are but sins gilt over       Prov. 26:23.       Mat. 23:27. 
835: With silver dross, whose glist’ring gloss 
836: can them no longer cover. 
837: The best of them would you condemn, 
838: and ruin you alone, 
839: Although you were from faults so clear, 
840: that other you had none. 

841: “Your gold is brass; your silver dross, 
842: your righteousness is sin; 
843: And think you by such honesty       Prov.15:8.       Rom. 3:20. 
844: Eternal life to win? 
845: You much mistake, if for it’s sake 
846: you dream of acceptation; 
847: Whereas the same deserveth shame, 
848: and meriteth damnation.” 

849: A wondrous crowd then ‘gan aloud       Those that pretend want of opportunity to repent. Prov. 27:1.       Jam. 4:13. 
850: thus for themselves to say: 
851: “We did intend, Lord, to amend, 
852: and to reform our way. 
853: Our true intent was to repent 
854: and make our peace with thee; 
855: But sudden death stopping our breath, 
856: left us no liberty. 
857: “Short was our time, for in its prime 
858: our youthful pow’r was cropt; 
859: We died in youth before full growth, 
860: so was our purpose stopt. 
861: Let our good will to turn from ill, 
862: and sin to have forsaken, 
863: Accepted be, O Lord, by thee, 
864: and in good part be taken.” 

865: To whom the Judge: “Where you allege 
866: the shortness of the space,       Are confuted and convinced. Eccl. 12:1.       Rev. 2:21. 
867: That from your birth you liv’d on earth, 
868: to compass saving Grace; 
869: It was Free Grace, that any space 
870: was given you at all 
871: To turn from evil, defy the Devil, 
872: and upon God to call. 

873: “One day, one week wherein to seek 
874: God’s face with all your hearts, 
875: A favor was that far did pass       Luke 13:24.       2 Cor. 6:2.       Heb. 3:7-9. 
876: the best of your deserts. 
877: You had a season; what was your reason 
878: such precious hours to waste? 
879: What could you find, what could you mind 
880: that was of greater haste? 

881: “Could you find time for vain pastime, 
882: for loose, licentious mirth? 
883: For fruitless toys and fading joys,       Eccl. 11:9.       Luke 14:18-20. 
884: that perish in the birth? 
885: Had you good leisure for carnal Pleasure 
886: in days of health and youth? 
887: And yet no space to seek God’s face, 
888: and turn to him in truth? 

889: “In younger years, beyond your fears, 
890: what if you were surprizéd?       Amos 6:3-6.       Eph. 5:16.       Luke 19:42. 
891: You put away the evil day, 
892: and of long life deviséd. 
893: You oft were told, and might behold, 
894: that Death no Age would spare; 
895: Why then did you your time foreslow, 
896: and slight your soul’s welfare? 

897: “Had your intent been to repent, 
898: and had you it desir’d, 
899: There would have been endeavours seen       Luke 13:24,etc.       Phil. 2:12. 
900: before your time expir’d. 
901: God makes no treasure nor hath he pleasure 
902: in idle purposes; 
903: Such fair pretences are foul offences, 
904: and cloaks for wickedness.” 

905: Then were brought in and charg’d with sin 
906: another Company, 
907: Who by Petition obtain’d permission       Some plead examples of their betters. Mat. 18:7. 
908: to make Apology. 
909: They arguéd, “We were misled, 
910: as is well known to thee, 
911: By their example that had more ample 
912: abilities than we; 

913: “Such as profess’d we did detest 
914: and hate each wicked way; 
915: Whose seeming grace whil’st we did trace, 
916: our Souls were led astray. 
917: When men of Parts, Learning and Arts,       John 7:48. 
918: professing Piety, 
919: Did thus and thus, it seem’d to us 
920: we might take liberty.” 

921: The Judge replies: “I gave you eyes,       Who are told that examples are no Rules. Psal. 19:8,11.       Exod. 23:2.       Psal. 50:17,18. 
922: and light to see your way, 
923: Which had you lov’d and well improv’d 
924: you had not gone astray. 
925: My Word was pure, the Rule was sure; 
926: why did you it forsake, 
927: Or thereon trample, and men’s example 
928: your Directory make? 

929: “This you well knew: that God is true, 
930: and that most men are liars, 
931: In word professing holiness,       2 Tim. 3:5. 
932: in deed thereof deniers. 
933: O simple fools! that having Rules, 
934: your lives to regulate, 
935: Would them refuse, and rather choose 
936: vile men to imitate.” 

937: “But Lord,” say they, “we went astray, 
938: and did more wickedly, 
939: By means of those whom thou hast chose 
940: Salvation’s heirs to be.” 
941: To whom the Judge: “What you allege 
942: doth nothing help the case, 
943: But makes appear how vile you were, 
944: and rend’reth you more base. 

945: “You understood that what was good,       1 Cor. 11:1.       Phil. 4:8. 
946: was to be followéd, 
947: And that you ought that which was naught 
948: to have relinquishéd. 
949: Contrariwise it was your guise, 
950: only to imitate 
951: Good men’s defects, and their neglects 
952: who were regenerate. 

953: “But to express their holiness,       Psal. 32:5.       2 Chron. 32:26.       Mat. 26:75.       Prov. 1:24,25. 
954: or imitate their grace, 
955: Yet little car’d, nor once prepar’d 
956: your hearts to seek my Face. 
957: They did repent and truly rent 
958: their hearts for all known sin; 
959: You did offend, but not amend, 
960: to follow them therein.” 

961: “We had thy Word,” say some, “O Lord,       Some plead the Scriptures’ darkness, and difference among Interpreters. 2 Pet. 3:16. 
962: but wiser men then we 
963: Could never yet interpret it, 
964: but always disagree. 
965: How could we fools be led by Rules 
966: so far beyond our ken, 
967: Which to explain did so much pain 
968: and puzzle wisest men?” 
969: “Was all my Word abstruse and hard?”       They are confuted. Prov. 14:6.       Isa. 35:8.       Hos. 8:12. 
970: the Judge then answeréd; 
971: “It did contain much Truth so plain 
972: you might have run and read. 
973: But what was hard you never car’d 
974: to know, nor studiéd; 
975: And things that were most plain and clear 
976: you never practiséd. 

977: “The Mystery of Piety 
978: God unto Babes reveals,       Mat. 11:25.       Prov. 2:3-5. 
979: When to the Wise he it denies, 
980: and from the world conceals. 
981: If to fulfill God’s holy Will 
982: had seeméd good to you, 
983: You would have sought light as you ought, 
984: and done the good you knew.” 

985: Then came in view another crew, 
986: and ‘gan to make their pleas; 
987: Amongst the rest, some of the best 
988: had such poor shifts as these:       Others the fear of persecution. Acts 28:22. 
989: “Thou know’st right well, who all canst tell, 
990: we liv’d amongst thy foes, 
991: Who the Renate did sorely hate, 
992: and goodness much oppose. 

993: “We holiness durst not profess, 
994: fearing to be forlorn       John 12:42,43. 
995: Of all our friends, and for amends 
996: to be the wicked’s scorn. 
997: We knew their anger would much endanger 
998: our lives and our estates; 
999: Therefore, for fear, we durst appear 
1000: no better than our mates.” 

1001: To whom the Lord returns this word: 
1002: “O wonderful deceits!       They are answered. Luke 12:4,5.       Isa. 51:12,13. 
1003: To cast off awe of God’s strict law, 
1004: and fear men’s wrath and threats; 
1005: To fear hell-fire and God’s fierce ire 
1006: less than the rage of men; 
1007: As if God’s wrath could do less scath 
1008: than wrath of bretheren! 

1009: “To use such strife, a temp’ral life 
1010: to rescue and secure, 
1011: And be so blind as not to mind 
1012: that life that will endure! 
1013: This was your case, who carnal peace 
1014: more then true joys did savor; 
1015: Who fed on dust, clave to your lust, 
1016: and spurnéd at my favor. 

1017: “To please your kin, men’s love to win, 
1018: to flow in worldly wealth,       Luke 9:13-25.     and       16:2. 
1019: To save your skin, these things have been 
1020: more than Eternal health. 
1021: You had your choice, wherein rejoyce; 
1022: it was your porti-on, 
1023: For which you chose your souls t’expose 
1024: unto Perditi-on. 
1025: “Who did not hate friends, life, and state, 
1026: with all things else for me,       Luke 9:26.       Prov. 8:36.       John 3:19,20. 
1027: And all forsake and’s Cross up-take, 
1028: shall never happy be. 
1029: Well worthy they to die for aye, 
1030: who death than life had rather; 
1031: Death is their due that so value 
1032: the friendship of my Father.” 

1033: Others argue, and not a few,       Others plead for pardon both from God’s Mercy and Justice. Psal. 78:38.       2 Kin. 14:26. 
1034: is not God graci-ous? 
1035: His Equity and Clemency, 
1036: are they not marvellous? 
1037: Thus we believ’d; are we deceiv’d? 
1038: Cannot his Mercy great, 
1039: (As hath been told to us of old) 
1040: assuage his anger’s heat? 

1041: “How can it be that God should see 
1042: his Creatures’ endless pain, 
1043: Or hear their groans and rueful moans, 
1044: and still his wrath retain? 
1045: Can it agree with Equity, 
1046: can Mercy have the heart, 
1047: To recompence few years’ offence 
1048: with everlasting smart? 

1049: “Can God delight in such a sight 
1050: as sinners’ misery? 
1051: Or what great good can this our blood       Psal. 30:9.       Mic. 7:18. 
1052: bring unto the most High? 
1053: O thou that dost thy Glory most 
1054: in pard’ning sin display, 
1055: Lord, might it please thee to release 
1056: and pardon us this day! 

1057: “Unto thy name more glorious fame 
1058: would not such Mercy bring? 
1059: Would not it raise thine endless praise, 
1060: more than our suffering?” 
1061: With that they cease, holding their peace, 
1062: but cease not still to weep; 
1063: Grief ministers a flood of tears, 
1064: in which their words do steep. 

1065: But all too late; grief’s out of date, 
1066: when Life is at an end. 
1067: The glorious King thus answering, 
1068: all to his voice attend: 
1069: “God gracious is,” quoth he, “like his, 
1070: no mercy can be found: 
1071: His Equity and Clemency 
1072: to sinners do abound, 

1073: “As may appear by those that here       Mercy now shines forth in the vessels of Mercy. Mic. 7:18.       Rom. 9:23. 
1074: are plac’d at my right hand; 
1075: Whose stripes I bore, and clear’d the score, 
1076: that they might quitted stand. 
1077: For surely none but God alone, 
1078: whose Grace transcends men’s thought, 
1079: For such as those that were his foes 
1080: like wonders would have wrought. 

1081: “And none but he such lenity       Did also wait upon such as abused it. Rom. 2:4.       Hos. 11:4. 
1082: and patience would have shown 
1083: To you so long, who did him wrong, 
1084: and pull’d his Judgment down. 
1085: How long a space, O stiff-neck’d race!) 
1086: did patience you afford? 
1087: How oft did love you gently move, 
1088: to turn unto the Lord? 

1089: “With chords of love God often strove 
1090: your stubborn hearts to tame;       Luke 13:34. the day of Grace now past 
1091: Nevertheless your wickedness 
1092: did still resist the same. 
1093: If now at last Mercy be past 
1094: from you for evermore, 
1095: And Justice come in Mercy’s room, 
1096: yet grudge you not therefore. 

1097: “If into wrath God turnéd hath 
1098: his long, long-suffering, 
1099: And now for love you vengeance prove,       Luke 19:42,43.       Jude 4. 
1100: it is an equal thing. 
1101: Your waxing worse hath stopt the course 
1102: of wonted Clemency, 
1103: Mercy refus’d and Grace misus’d 
1104: call for severity. 

1105: “It’s now high time that ev’ry Crime 
1106: be brought to punishment;       Rom. 2:5,6.       Isa. 1:24.       Amos 2:13.       Gen. 18:25. 
1107: Wrath long contain’d and oft restrain’d, 
1108: at last must have a vent. 
1109: Justice severe cannot forbear 
1110: to plague sin any longer, 
1111: But must inflict with hand most strict 
1112: mischief upon the wronger. 

1113: “In vain do they for Mercy pray,       Mat. 25: 1-3.       Prov. 12:8,29,30. 
1114: the season being past, 
1115: Who had no care to get a share 
1116: therein, while time did last. 
1117: The men whose ear refus’d to hear 
1118: the voice of Wisdom’s cry, 
1119: Earn’d this reward, that none regard 
1120: him in his misery. 

1121: “It doth agree with Equity       Isa. 5:18,19.       Gen. 2:17.       Rom. 2:8,9. 
1122: and with God’s holy Law, 
1123: That those should die eternally, 
1124: that Death upon them draw. 
1125: The Soul that sins Damnation wins, 
1126: for so the Law ordains; 
1127: Which Law is just; and therefore must 
1128: such suffer endless pains. 

1129: “Eternal smart is the desert 
1130: ev’n of the least offense; 
1131: Then wonder not if I allot       Rom. 6:23.       2 Thes. 1:8,9. 
1132: to you this Recompense; 
1133: But wonder more that since so sore 
1134: and lasting plagues are due 
1135: To every sin, you liv’d therein, 
1136: who well the danger knew. 
1137: “God hath no joy to crush or ‘stroy,       Ezek. 33:11.       Exod. 34:7      and       14:17. 
1138: and ruin wretched wights; 
1139: But to display the glorious Ray 
1140: of Justice he delights. 
1141: To manifest he doth detest 
1142: and throughly hate all sin, 
1143: By plaguing it as is most fit —       Rom. 9:22. 
1144: this shall him Glory win.” 

1145: Then at the Bar arraignéd are       Some pretend they were shut out of Heaven by God’s Decree. Rom. 9:18,19. 
1146: an impudenter sort, 
1147: Who to evade the guilt that’s laid 
1148: upon them, thus retort: 
1149: “How could we cease thus to transgress? 
1150: how could we Hell avoid, 
1151: Whom God’s Decree shut out from thee, 
1152: and sign’d to be destroy’d? 

1153: “Whom God ordains to endless pains 
1154: by Laws unalterable, 
1155: Repentance true, Obedience new,       Heb. 22:17.       Rom. 11:7,8. 
1156: to save such are unable. 
1157: Sorrow for sin no good can win, 
1158: to such as are rejected; 
1159: Nor can they grieve nor yet believe, 
1160: that never were elected. 

1161: “Of Man’s fall’n race, who can true Grace 
1162: or Holiness obtain? 
1163: Who can convert or change his heart, 
1164: if God withhold the same? 
1165: Had we applied our selves and tried 
1166: as much as who did most, 
1167: God’s love to gain, our busy pain 
1168: and labor had been lost.” 

1169: Christ readily makes this Reply:       Their pleas taken off. Luke 13:27.       2 Pet. 1:9,10     compared with       Mat. 19:16. 
1170: “I damn you not because 
1171: You are rejected, nor yet elected; 
1172: but you have broke my Laws. 
1173: It is in vain your wits to strain 
1174: the end and means to sever; 
1175: Men fondly seek to part or break 
1176: what God hath link’d together. 

1177: “Whom God will save, such he will have       Acts 3:19,     and       16:31.       1 Sam. 2:15.       John 3:19.       Job 5:40.       2 Thes. 2:11,12. 
1178: the means of life to use; 
1179: Whom he’ll pass by shall choose to die, 
1180: and ways of life refuse. 
1181: He that fore-sees and fore-decrees, 
1182: in wisdom order’d has, 
1183: That man’s free-will, electing ill, 
1184: shall bring his Will to pass. 

1185: “High God’s Decree, as it is free,       Ezek. 33:11, 12.       Luke 13:34.       Prov. 8:33,36. 
1186: so doth it none compel 
1187: Against their will to good or ill; 
1188: it forceth none to Hell. 
1189: They have their wish whose Souls perish 
1190: with Torments in Hell-fire; 
1191: Who rather choose their souls to lose, 
1192: than leave a loose desire. 

1193: “God did ordain sinners to pain,       Gen. 2:17.Mat. 25:41,42.       Ezek. 18:20. 
1194: and he to Hell send none, 
1195: But such as swerv’d and have deserv’d 
1196: destruction as their own. 
1197: His pleasure is, that none from Bliss 
1198: and endless happiness 
1199: Be barr’d, but such as wrong’d him much, 
1200: by willful wickedness. 

1201: “You, sinful Crew! no other knew 
1202: but you might be elect;       2 Pet. 1:10.       Acts 13:46.       Luke 13:24. 
1203: Why did you then yourselves condemn? 
1204: Why did you me reject? 
1205: Where was your strife to gain that life 
1206: which lasteth evermore? 
1207: You never knock’d, yet say God lock’d 
1208: against you Heaven’s door. 

1209: “‘Twas no vain task to knock and ask,       Mat. 7;7,8. 
1210: whilst life continuéd. 
1211: Who ever sought Heav’n as he ought, 
1212: and seeking perishé? 
1213: The lowly, meek, who truly seek 
1214: for Christ and for Salvation, 
1215: There’s no decree whereby such be       Gen. 5:22,23. 
1216: ordain’d to condemnation. 

1217: “You argue then: ‘But abject men, 
1218: whom God resolves to spill, 
1219: Cannot repent, nor their hearts rent; 
1220: nor can they change their will.’ 
1221: Not for his Can is any man 
1222: adjudgéd unto Hell; 
1223: But for his Will to do what’s ill,       John 3:19. 
1224: and nilling to do well. 

1225: “I often stood tend’ring my Blood 
1226: to wash away your guilt, 
1227: And eke my Sprite to frame you right, 
1228: lest your Souls should be spilt. 
1229: But you, vile Race, rejected Grace,       John 5:40. 
1230: when Grace was freely proffer’d, 
1231: No changéd heart, no heav’nly part 
1232: would you, when it was offer’d. 

1233: “Who willfully the remedy, 
1234: and means of life contemnéd, 
1235: Cause have the same themselves to blame,       John 15:22,24.       Heb. 2:3.       Isa. 66:34. 
1236: if now they be condemnéd. 
1237: You have yourselves, you and none else, 
1238: to blame that you must die; 
1239: You chose the way to your decay, 
1240: and perish’d willfully.” 

1241: These words appall and daunt them all, 
1242: dismay’d and all amort, 
1243: Like stocks they stand at Christ’s left hand 
1244: and dare no more retort. 
1245: Then were brought near with trembling fear, 
1246: a number numberless 
1247: Of Blind Heathen and brutish men, 
1248: that did God’s Law transgress; 
1249: Whose wicked ways Christ open lays, 
1250: and makes their sins appear, 
1251: They making pleas their case to ease, 
1252: if not themselves to clear. 
1253: “Thy Written Word,” say they, “good Lord, 
1254: we never did enjoy; 
1255: We ne’er refus’d, nor it abus’d; 
1256: Oh, do not us destroy!” 

1257: “You ne’er abus’d, nor yet refus’d 
1258: my Written Word, you plead; 
1259: That’s true,” quoth he, “therefore shall ye 
1260: the less be punishéd.       Mat.11:22.       Luke 12:48. 
1261: You shall not smart for any part 
1262: of other men’s offense, 
1263: But for your own transgressi-on 
1264: receive due recompense.” 

1265: “But we were blind,” say they, “in mind; 
1266: too dim was Nature’s Light, 
1267: Our only guide, as hath been try’d, 
1268: to bring us to the sight       1 Cor. 1:21, Insufficiency of the light of Nature. 
1269: Of our estate degenerate, 
1270: and curs’d by Adam’s Fall; 
1271: How we were born and lay forlorn 
1272: in bondage and in thrall. 

1273: “We did not know a Christ till now, 
1274: nor how fall’n man he saved, 
1275: Else would we not, right well we wot, 
1276: have so ourselves behavéd. 
1277: We should have mourn’d, we should have turn’d 
1278: from sin at thy Reproof, 
1279: And been more wise through thy advice, 
1280: for our own soul’s behoof.       Mat. 11:22. 

1281: But Nature’s light shin’d not so bright 
1282: to teach us the right way: 
1283: We might have lov’d it and well improv’d it, 
1284: and yet have gone astray.” 
1285: The Judge most High makes this Reply: 
1286: “You ignorance pretend, 
1287: Dimness of sight, and want of light, 
1288: your course Heav’nward to bend; 

1289: “How came your mind to be so blind? 
1290: I once you knowledge gave, 
1291: Clearness of sight and judgement right:       Gen. 1:27.       Eccl. 7:29.       Hos. 13:9. 
1292: who did the same deprave? 
1293: If to your cost you have it lost, 
1294: and quite defac’d the same, 
1295: Your own desert hath caus’d the smart; 
1296: you ought not me to blame. 

1297: “Yourselves into a pit of woe, 
1298: your own transgression led;       Mat. 11:25     compared with       20:15. 
1299: If I to none my Grace had shown, 
1300: who had been injuréd? 
1301: If to a few, and not to you, 
1302: I shew’d a way of life, 
1303: My Grace so free, you clearly see, 
1304: gives you no ground of strife. 
1305: “‘Tis vain to tell, you wot full well, 
1306: if you in time had known 
1307: Your misery and remedy, 
1308: your actions had it shown: 
1309: You, sinful Crew, have not been true       Rom. 1:20-22. 
1310: unto the Light of Nature, 
1311: Nor done the good you understood, 
1312: nor ownéd your Creator. 

1313: “He that the Light, because ’tis slight, 
1314: hath uséd to despise, 
1315: Would not the Light shining more bright,       Rom. 2:12,15      and       1:32.       Mat. 12:41. 
1316: be likely for to prize. 
1317: If you had lov’d, and well improv’d 
1318: your knowledge and dim sight, 
1319: Herein your pain had not been vain, 
1320: your plagues had been more light.” 

1321: Then to the Bar all they drew near       Reprobate Infants plead for themselves. Rev. 20:12,15, compared with       Rom. 5:12,14     and       9:11,13.       Ezek. 18:2. 
1322: Who died in infancy, 
1323: And never had or good or bad 
1324: effected pers’nally; 
1325: But from the womb unto the tomb 
1326: were straightway carriéd, 
1327: (Or at the least ere they transgress’d) 
1328: who thus began to plead: 

1329: “If for our own transgressi-on, 
1330: or disobedience, 
1331: We here did stand at thy left hand, 
1332: just were the Recompence; 
1333: But Adam’s guilt our souls hath spilt, 
1334: his fault is charg’d upon us; 
1335: And that alone hath overthrown 
1336: and utterly undone us. 

1337: “Not we, but he ate of the Tree, 
1338: whose fruit was interdicted; 
1339: Yet on us all of his sad Fall 
1340: the punishment’s inflicted. 
1341: How could we sin that had not been? 
1342: or how is his sin our, 
1343: Without consent, which to prevent 
1344: we never had a pow’r? 

1345: “O great Creator why was our Nature 
1346: depravéd and forlorn? 
1347: Why so defil’d, and made so vil’d 
1348: whilst we were yet unborn? 
1349: If it be just, and needs we must 
1350: transgressors reckon’d be, 
1351: Thy Mercy, Lord, to us afford,       Psal. 51:5. 
1352: which sinners hath set free. 

1353: “Behold we see Adam set free, 
1354: and sav’d from his trespass, 
1355: Whose sinful Fall hath split us all, 
1356: and brought us to this pass. 
1357: Canst thou deny us once to try, 
1358: or Grace to us to tender, 
1359: When he finds grace before thy face, 
1360: who was the chief offender? 
1361: Then answeréd the Judge most dread: 
1362: “God doth such doom forbid,       Their arguments taken off. Ezek. 18:20.       Rom. 5:12,19. 
1363: That men should die eternally 
1364: for what they never did. 
1365: But what you call old Adam’s Fall, 
1366: and only his Trespass, 
1367: You call amiss to call it his; 
1368: both his and yours it was. 

1369: “He was design’d of all Mankind 
1370: to be a public Head, 
1371: A common Root, whence all should shoot,       1 Cor. 15:48,49. 
1372: and stood in all their stead. 
1373: He stood and fell, did ill or well, 
1374: not for himself alone, 
1375: But for you all, who now his Fall 
1376: and trespass would disown. 

1377: “If he had stood, then all his brood 
1378: had been establishéd 
1379: In God’s true love never to move, 
1380: nor once awry to tread; 
1381: Then all his Race my Father’s Grace 
1382: should have enjoy’d for ever, 
1383: And wicked Sprites by subtile sleights 
1384: could them have harméd never. 

1385: “Would you have griev’d to have receiv’d 
1386: through Adam so much good, 
1387: As had been your for evermore, 
1388: if he at first had stood? 
1389: Would you have said, ‘We ne’er obey’d 
1390: nor did thy laws regard; 
1391: It ill befits with benefits, 
1392: us, Lord, to so reward?’ 

1393: “Since then to share in his welfare, 
1394: you could have been content, 
1395: You may with reason share in his treason, 
1396: and in the punishment.       Rom. 5:12.       Psal. 51:5.       Gen. 5:3. 
1397: Hence you were born in state forlorn, 
1398: with Natures so depravéd; 
1399: Death was your due because that you 
1400: had thus yourselves behavéd. 

1401: “You think ‘If we had been as he, 
1402: whom God did so betrust, 
1403: We to our cost would ne’er have lost 
1404: all for a paltry lust.’ 
1405: Had you been made in Adam’s stead,       Mat. 20:15. 
1428: what I to some afford? 
1429: Will you demand Grace at my hand, 
1430: and challenge what is mine? 
1431: Will you teach me whom to set free, 
1432: and thus my Grace confine? 

1433: “You sinners are, and such a share       Psal. 58:8.       Rom. 6:23.       Gal. 3:10.       Rom. 8:29,30 and       11:7.       Rev. 21:27.       Luke 12:14,8.       Mat. 11:22. 
1434: as sinners may expect, 
1435: Such you shall have, for I do save 
1436: none but mine own Elect. 
1437: Yet to compare your sin with their 
1438: who liv’d a longer time, 
1439: I do confess yours is much less, 
1440: though every sin’s a crime. 

1441: “A crime it is, therefore in bliss       The wicked all convinced and put to silence. Rom. 3:19.       Mat. 22:12. 
1442: you may not hope to dwell; 
1443: But unto you I shall allow 
1444: the easiest room in Hell.” 
1445: The glorious King thus answering, 
1446: they cease, and plead no longer; 
1447: Their Consciences must needs confess 
1448: his Reasons are the stronger. 

1449: Thus all men’s pleas the Judge with ease       Rev. 21:4.       Psal. 58:10.       Behold the formidable estate of all the ungodly as they stand hopeless and helpless before an impartial Judge, expecting their final Sentence. Rev. 6 : 16, 17. 
1450: doth answer and confute, 
1451: Until that all, both great and small, 
1452: are silencéd and mute. 
1453: Vain hopes are cropt, all mouths are stopt, 
1454: sinners have naught to say, 
1455: Bit that ’tis just and equal most 
1456: they should be damn’d for aye. 

1457: Now what remains, but that to pains 
1458: and everlasting smart, 
1459: Christ should condemn the sons of men, 
1460: which is their just desert? 
1461: Oh rueful plights of sinful wights! 
1462: Oh wretches ali forlorn ! 
1463: ‘T had happy been they ne’er had seen 
1464: the sun, or not been born. 

1465: Yea now it would be good they could 
1466: themselves annihilate, 
1467: And cease to be, themselves te free 
1468: from such a fearful state. 
1469: 0 happy Dogs, and Swine, and Frogs, 
1470: yea, Serpent’s generation ! 
1471: Who do not fear this doom te bear, 
1472: and sentence of Damnation ! 
1473: This is their state so desperate ; 
1474: their sins are fully known ; 
1475: Their vanities and villanies 
1476: before the world are shown.       Psal. 139 : 2, 3, 4. 
1477: As they are gross and impious,       Eccl. 12 : 14. 
1478: so are their numbers more 
1479: Than motes in th’ Air, or than their hair, 
1480: or sands upon the shore. 

1481: Divine lustice offended is, 
1482: and satisfaction claimeth; 
1483: God’s wrathful ire, kindled like fire, 
1484: against them fiercely flameth.       Mat. 25 : 45. 
1485: Their Judge severe doth quite cashier, 
1486: and all their pleas off take, 
1487: That ne’er a man, or dare, or can 
1488: a further answer make. 

1489: Their mouths are shut, each man is put 
1490: to silence and to shame,       Mat. 22 : 12. 
1491: Nor have they aught within their thought,       Rom.2 : 5, 6. 
1492: Christ’s Justice for to blame.       Luke 19 : 42. 
1493: The Judge is just, and plague them must, 
1494: nor will Le Mercy shew, 
1495: For Mercy’s day is past away 
1496: to any of this Crew. 

1497: The Judge is strong, doers of wrong 
1498: cannot his pow’r withstand ;       Mat. 28 : 18. 
1499: None can by flight run out of sight, 
1500: nor’scape out of his hand. 
1501: Sad is their state ; for Advocate, 
1502: to plead their cause, there’s none;       Psal. 137 : 7 
1503: None to prevent their punishment, 
1504: or mis’ry to bemoan. 

1505: 0 dismal day ! whither shall they 
1506: for help and succor flee ? 
1507: To God above with hopes to move 
1508: their greatest Enemy?       Isa. 33 : 14.       Psal. 11 : 6.       Num. 25 : 19. 
1509: His wrath is great, whose burning heat 
1510: no floods of tears can slake ; 
1511: His Word stands fast that they be cast 
1512: into the burning Lake. 

1513: To Christ their Judge? He doth adjudge       Mat. 25 : 41, and 25 : 10, 11, 12. 
1514: them to the Pit of Sorrow; 
1515: Nor will he hear, or cry or tear, 
1516: nor respite them one morrow. 
1517: To Heav’n, alas! they cannot pass, 
1518: it is against them shut ; 
1519: To enter there (0 heavy cheer) 
1520: they out of hopes are put. 

1521: Unto their Treasures, or to their Pleasures?       Luke 12 : 20.       Psal. 49 : 7, 17.       Deut. 32 : 2. 
1522: All these have them forsaken; 
1523: Had they full coffers to make large offers, 
1524: their gold would not be taken. 
1525: Unto the place where whilom was 
1526: their birth and Education? 
1527: Lo! Christ begins for their great sins, 
1528: to fire the Earth’s Foundation; 
1529: And by and by the flaming Sky 
1530: shall drop like molten Lead 
1531: About their ears, t’ increase their fears, 
1532: and aggravate their dread.       2 Pet. 3 : 10. 
1533: To Angel’s good that ever stood 
1534: in their integrity, 
1535: Should they betake themselves, and make 
1536: their suit incessantly? 

1537: They’ve neither skill, nor do they will 
1538: to work them any ease; 
1539: They will not mourn to see them burn, 
1540: nor beg for their release.       Mat.13 : 41, 42 
1541: To wicked men, their bretheren       Rev. 20: 13, 15 
1542: in sin and wickedness, 
1543: Should they make moan? Their case is one; 
1544: they’re in the same distress. 

1545: Ah! cold comfort and mean support, 
1546: from such like Comforters ! 
1547: Ah! little joy of Company, 
1548: and fellow-sufferers !       Luke 16 : 28. 
1549: Such shall increase their heart’s disease, 
1550: and add unto their woe; 
1551: Because that they brought to decay 
1552: themselves and many moe. 

1553: Unto the Saints with sad complaints 
1554: should they themselves apply ? 
1555: They’re not dejected nor aught affected       Rev. 21 : 4.       Psal. 58 : 10. 
1556: with all their misery. 
1557: Friends stand aloof and make no proof 
1558: what Prayers or Tears can do; 
1559: Your Godly friends are now more friends 
1560: to Christ than unto you. 

1561: Where tender love men’s hearts did move 
1562: unto a sympathy, 
1563: And bearing part of others’ smart 
1564: in their anxiety,       1 Cor. 6:2. 
1565: Now such compassion is out of fashion, 
1566: and wholly laid aside; 
1567: No friends so near, but Saints to hear 
1568: their Sentence can abide. 

1569: One natural Brother beholds another 
1570: in his astonied fit, 
1571: Yet sorrows not thereat a jot,       Compare Prov. 1:26.     with       1 John 3:2,     and       2 Cor. 5:16. 
1572: nor pities him a whit. 
1573: The godly Wife conceives no grief, 
1574: nor can she shed a tear 
1575: For the sad state of her dear Mate, 
1576: when she his doom doth hear. 

1577: He that was erst a Husband pierc’d 
1578: with sense of Wife’s distress, 
1579: Whose tender heart did bear a part 
1580: of all her grievances, 
1581: Shall mourn no more as heretofore, 
1582: because of her ill plight, 
1583: Although he see her now to be 
1584: a damn’d forsaken wight. 
1585: The tender Mother will own no other 
1586: of all her num’rous brood, 
1587: But such as stand at Christ’s right hand, 
1588: acquitted through his Blood.       Luke 16:25. 
1589: The pious Father had now much rather 
1590: his graceless Son should lie 
1591: In Hell with Devils, for all his evils 
1592: burning eternally, 

1593: Than God most High should injury 
1594: by sparing him sustain; 
1595: And doth rejoice to hear Christ’s voice       Psal 58:10. 
1596: adjudging him to pain. 
1597: Thus having all, both great and small, 
1598: convinc’d and silencéd, 
1599: Christ did proceed their Doom to read, 
1600: and thus it utteréd: 

1601: “Ye sinful wights, and curséd sprights,       The Judge pronounceth the sentence of condemnation. Mat. 25:41. 
1602: that work iniquity, 
1603: Depart together from me for ever 
1604: to endless Misery; 
1605: Your portion take in yonder Lake, 
1606: where Fire and Brimstone flameth; 
1607: Suffer the smart which your desert, 
1608: as its due wages claimeth.” 

1609: Oh piercing words, more sharp then swords! 
1610: What! to depart from Thee, 
1611: Whose face before for evermore 
1612: the best of Pleasures be! 
1613: What! to depart (unto our smart), 
1614: from thee Eternally! 
1615: To be for aye banish’d away 
1616: with Devils’ company! 

1617: What! to be sent to Punishment, 
1618: and flames of burning Fire! 
1619: To be surrounded, and eke confounded 
1620: with God’s revengeful Ire! 
1621: What! to abide, not for a tide, 
1622: these Torments, but for Ever! 
1623: To be releas’d, or to be eas’d, 
1624: not after years, but Never! 

1625: Oh fearful Doom! now there’s no room 
1626: for hope or help at all; 
1627: Sentence is past which aye shall last; 
1628: Christ will not it recall. 
1629: Then might you hear them rend and tear 
1630: the Air with their out-cries; 
1631: The hideous noise of their sad voice 
1632: ascendeth to the Skies. 

1633: They wring their hands, their caitiff-hands, 
1634: and gnash their teeth for terror;       Luke 13:38.       Prov. 1:26. 
1635: They cry, they rore for anguish sore, 
1636: and gnaw their tongues for horror. 
1637: But get away without delay, 
1638: Christ pities not your cry; 
1639: Depart to Hell, there may you yell 
1640: and roar Eternally. 
1641: That word “Depart,” maugre their heart; 
1642: drives every wicked one,       It is put in Execution. Mat. 25:46. 
1643: With mighty pow’r, the self-same hour, 
1644: far from the Judge’s Throne. 
1645: Away they’re chas’d by the strong blast 
1646: of his Death-threat’ning mouth; 
1647: They flee full fast, as if in hast, 
1648: although they be full loath. 

1649: As chaff that’s dry, as dust doth fly 
1650: before the Northern wind,       Mat. 13:41,42. 
1651: Right so are they chaséd away, 
1652: and can no Refuge find. 
1653: They hasten to the Pit of Woe, 
1654: guarded by Angels stout; 
1655: Who to fulfil Christ’s holy Will 
1656: attend this wickéd Rout; 

1657: Whom having brought as they are taught, 
1658: unto the brink of Hell,       HELL. Mat. 25:30.       Mark 9:42.       Isa. 30:33.       Rev. 21:8. 
1659: (That dismal place, far from Christ’s face, 
1660: where Death and Darkness dwell, 
1661: Where God’s fierce Ire kindleth the fire, 
1662: and vengeance feeds the flame 
1663: With piles of Wood, and Brimstone Flood, 
1664: that none can quench the same,) 

1665: With Iron bands they bind their hands       Wicked men and Devil’s cast into it forever. Mat. 22:13 and       25:46. 
1666: and curséd feet together, 
1667: And cast them all, both great and small, 
1668: into that Lake forever, 
1669: Where day and night, without respite, 
1670: they wail, and cry and howl, 
1671: For tort’ring pain which they sustain 
1672: in Body and in Soul. 

1673: For day and night, in their despite,       Rev. 14:10,11. 
1674: their torment’s smoke ascendeth, 
1675: Their pain and grief have no relief, 
1676: their anguish never endeth. 
1677: There must they lie and never die, 
1678: though dying every day; 
1679: There must they dying ever lie, 
1680: and not consume away. 

1681: Die fain they would if die they could, 
1682: but Death will not be had; 
1683: God’s direful wrath their bodies hath 
1684: forev’r immortal made. 
1685: They live to lie in misery, 
1686: and bear eternal woe; 
1687: And live they must whilst God is just, 
1688: that he may plague them so. 

1689: But who can tell the plagues of Hell,       The unsufferable torments of the Damned. Luke 16:24.       Jude 7. 
1690: and torments exquisite? 
1691: Who can relate their dismal state, 
1692: and terrors infinite? 
1693: Who fare the best and feel the least, 
1694: yet feel that punishment 
1695: Whereby to nought they would be brought, 
1696: if God did not prevent. 

1697: The least degree of misery 
1698: there felt is incomparable, 
1699: The lightest pain they there sustain       Isa. 33:14.       Mark 9:43,44. 
1700: more than intolerable. 
1701: But God’s great pow’r from hour to hour 
1702: upholds them in the fire, 
1703: That they shall not consume a jot 
1704: nor by its force expire. 

1705: But ah, the woe they undergo 
1706: (they more then all beside) 
1707: Who had the light, and knew the right, 
1708: yet would not it abide!       Luke 12:47. 
1709: The sev’n fold smart which to their part 
1710: and porti-on doth fall, 
1711: Who Christ’s free Grace would not embrace, 
1712: nor hearken to his call. 

1713: The Amorites and Sodomites, 
1714: although their plagues be sore,       Mat. 11:24. 
1715: Yet find some ease, compar’d to these, 
1716: who feel a great deal more. 
1717: Almighty God, whose Iron Rod 
1718: to smite them never lins, 
1719: Doth most declare his Justice rare 
1720: in plaguing these men’s sins. 

1721: The pain of loss their souls doth toss, 
1722: and wond’rously distress,       Luke 16:23,25,      and       13:28. 
1723: To think what they have cast away 
1724: by willful wickedness. 
1725: “We might have been redeem’d from sin,” 
1726: think they, “and liv’d above, 
1727: Being possesst of Heav’nly rest, 
1728: and joying in God’s love. 

1729: “But woe, woe, woe our souls unto! 
1730: we would not happy be; 
1731: And therefore bear God’s vengeance here       Luke 13:24. 
1732: to all Eternity. 
1733: Experience and woful sense 
1734: must be our painful teachers, 
1735: Who’d not believe, nor credit give 
1736: unto our faithful Preachers.” 

1737: Thus shall they lie and wail and cry, 
1738: tormented and tormenting; 
1739: Their galléd hearts with poison’d darts, 
1740: but now too late repenting. 
1741: There let them dwell in th’ Flames of Hell: 
1742: there leave we them to burn, 
1743: And back again unto the men 
1744: whom Christ acquits, return. 

1745: The Saints behold with courage bold       The Saints rejoice to see Judgment executed upon the Wicked World. Psal. 58:10.       Rev. 10:1-3. 
1746: and thankful wonderment, 
1747: To see all those that were their foes 
1748: thus sent to punishment. 
1749: Then do they sing unto their King 
1750: a Song of endless Praise; 
1751: They praise his Name and do proclaim, 
1752: that just are all his ways. 
1753: Thus with great joy and melody       They ascend with Christ into Heaven triumphing. Mat. 25:46. 
1754: to Heav’n they all ascend, 
1755: Him there to praise with sweetest lays, 
1756: And Hymns that never end; 
1757: Where with long rest they shall be blest, 
1758: and naught shall them annoy, 
1759: Where they shall see as seen they be, 
1760: and whom they love enjoy. 

1761: O glorious Place! where face to face       1 John 3:2.       1 Cor. 13:12. Their eternal happiness and incomparable glory there. 
1762: Jehovah may be seen, 
1763: By such as were sinners while here, 
1764: and no dark veil between! 
1765: Where the Sunshine and light Divine 
1766: of God’s bright countenance, 
1767: Doth rest upon them every one 
1768: with sweetest influence! 

1769: Oh blessed state of the Renate! 
1770: Oh wond’rous happiness, 
1771: To which they’re brought beyond what thought 
1772: can reach or words express!       Rev. 21:4. 
1773: Grief’s watercourse and sorrow’s source 
1774: are turn’d to joyful streams; 
1775: Their old distress and heaviness 
1776: are vanishéd like dreams. 

1777: For God above in arms of love 
1778: doth dearly them embrace, 
1779: And fills their sprights with such delights       Psal. 16:11. 
1780: and pleasures in his Grace, 
1781: As shall not fail, nor yet grow stale, 
1782: through frequency of use; 
1783: Nor do they fear God’s favor there 
1784: to forfeit by abuse. 

1785: For there the Saints are perfect Saints, 
1786: and holy ones indeed; 
1787: From all the sin that dwelt within       Heb. 12:23. 
1788: their mortal bodies freed; 
1789: Made Kings and Priests to God through Christ’s 
1790: dear Love’s transcendency, 
1791: There to remain and there to reign       Rev. 1:6,     and       22:5. 
1792: with him Eternally. 



A CHECK TO AN UNGOVERNED TONGUE: Part Six. Tongue-Murder, and Reproachful Language

Published in 1833.


Scurrilous and reproachful language given to those you have dealings with, or power over, is another evidence of an ungoverned tongue.

This is that which our Savior has told us is a breach of the sixth commandment, Thou shall not kill; it is tongue-murder, a sin exceedingly sinful, and certainly damning to the sinner if it be not repented of and forsaken; so he has forewarned us, who is to be our Judge. We are sure that his judgment will be according to the truth of his word; and he has said, (Matthew 5:22.) Whosoever shall, in wrath and passion, say to his brother, “Raca,” Thou base, empty fellow, rogue, and rascal, (for Raca was used then as those opprobrious names are now,) he that does so shall be in danger of the council, that is, shall be exposed to the wrath and curse of the eternal God; and not only so, but if he had his desert should be called to an account for it by the civil magistrate, for it is an iniquity to be punished by the judge. And whosoever shall in like manner say, Thou fool; thou reprobate, thou wicked wretch, thou damned confounded fellow, shall himself be in danger of that hell fire, to which he so rashly condemns his brother.

Calling foul names, and giving foul language, especially to servants and inferiors, is grown so very common among us, that with those who live at large, and not only set their mouth against the heavens, but let their tongue walk at liberty through the earth, (Psalms 73: 9) it is looked upon as part of the accomplishment of a gentleman to be able to do it blusteringly, and with fluency and variety; and yet, perhaps, there are those of the meanest rank who may vie with them, and can do it with as good a grace.

But however common it is, and how much it is ever countenanced by the practice of some who make a figure, you see it is a sin expressly against the law of Christ, and is certainly included, and perhaps principally intended, in that bitterness and wrath, that clamor and evil speaking, which ought to be put far from us, lest we grieve the Holy Spirit of God, Eph.4:30, 31.

You who allow yourselves this liberty of abusing all about you, and of dealing nick-names, and names of reproach, at your pleasure among those you converse with, or have power over; shall I propound two or three things to your serious thoughts?

1  Consider who they are that you thus abuse and trample upon, thus taunt and hector over, are they not your fellow-creatures, of the same rank of beings with yourselves? Were not you made of the same clay that they were, and as mean as they in your original? Were not they made by the same great and mighty hand that you were, and as honorable as you in their relation to the Father of spirits? This consideration swayed with holy Job to carry it with all possible tenderness and respect, even to his own servant, when he contended with him, (Job 31:15.) Did not he that made me in the womb make him? And the same argument is urged in a case not much unlike, (Malachi 2:10.) Have we not all one Father? Why then do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?

Perhaps those whom you so readily, and with so great an assurance, call “fools “and “knaves,” have as much ingenuity and integrity as yourselves; nay it may be they are every way wiser and better. However, as the apostle argues, (James 3:9) they are made after the similitude of God, they are of that species of creatures which was at first so made; and therefore God is reflected on by the ignominious treatment you give them. If they have natural defects and infirmities of body or mind, which they cannot help, those ought not to he turned to their reproach, for they are as God made them, and he might have made you so. If their condition in the world be mean and despicable, and the distance that Providence has put between you and them seems great, it does not therefore follow that you may give them what language and what usage you please. Though God be high, yet has he respect unto the lowly; much more should you. He that mocks the poor, reproaches his Maker, (Prov. 17:5) not only him that made him, but him that made him poor.

The crime is much aggravated if those you thus abuse are pious and good, such as by grace are renewed after the image of God, and made partakers of his holiness, which possibly they may be, and yet not be numbered among either the witty or the wealthy part of mankind. Whatever you may think of yourselves, in comparison with those you thus insult over, a wiser than you, even infinite wisdom itself, has said it once, yea twice, (Prov. 19:1, and Prov. 28:6.) Better is the poor that walks in his integrity than he that is perverse in his lips, though he be rich. Will you then despise those whom God has honored, and lay those under your feet whom God has laid in his bosom? Dare you put those among the dogs of your flock, whom Christ has put among the lambs of his flock?

2  Consider, that there is no good done by this sort of language, -but a great deal of hurt. What desirable end can you propose to yourselves in it? You would be obeyed, you would be feared, and will not the meekness of wisdom command respect a thousand times better than the outrages of folly? It is certain there is nothing you say, which is introduced and accented with this rude and boisterous language, but the same thing might be better said, and to much better purpose, if it were not so prefaced. Solomon’s observation holds true, that the words of wise men are heard in quiet, more than the cry of him that rules among fools, Eccl. 9:17. Nay, you do a great deal of hurt by using yourselves to such language.

(1.) You disturb and provoke others by it. These grievous words stir up anger; and who knows how long that anger may last, what it may produce, and where it may end t nor how great a matter a little fire of this kind may kindle! Put your souls into their souls’ stead whom you thus abuse, and consider if you were in poverty and meanness, and in an inferior relation, how you would like it, and how you could bear it, to be rated and trampled on, and called by so many ill names: and do not that to others which you would not should be done to you.

(2.) You disgrace and disparage yourselves by it. While you think hereby to keep up your authority, and make yourselves great and formidable, you really prostitute your authority, and render your selves mean and contemptible, and give just occasion to those you abuse to think as ill of you as you say of them, though they dare not speak it out. You declare plainly,

[1.] That you are slaves to your own passions, which is as toilsome and dishonorable a slavery as a man can be in: you say that in the heat of passion, which you yourselves could scarce turn your tongues to if you were sober and calm, and thereby proclaim passion king over you, that great leviathan who is king over all the children of pride, Job 41: 34.

[2.] That you are not masters of your own reason; your anger is a fit of madness, and for the time your wisdom is departed from you. When in wrath you call others fools, the reproach returns upon your own heads. Some of this foul ill-favored language you use to give, carries along with it its own conviction of absurdity. You will call him a “dog,” whom you see to be a man, and a “bastard,” whom you really take to be legitimate: and what sense is there in this? Does this become one who pretends to reason? Blush at it for shame, and resolve never again to make such a fool of thyself.

3  Consider how obnoxious you yourselves are to the righteous judgment of God. If you seriously retire into your own hearts, and impartially reflect upon your own ways, you will find that you have much more reason to reproach yourselves for your provocations against God, than to fall foul upon your servants or others for their defects in their duty to you. We ought to forbear threatening, and to moderate it, (Eph. 6: 9) for what would become of us if God should enter into judgment with us? When we taunt others for their dullness and folly, their carelessness and forgetfulness, we ought to remember the same things against ourselves, and then we shall only give just and gentle reproofs, and not senseless and furious reproaches. Holy Job restrained himself from the heats of passion, with this consideration, (Job 31:14.) What then shall I do when God rises up? And when he visits, what shall I answer him? Think not that the strength of your passion will be a sufficient excuse for the indecencies of your language.

The sin of the heart will never justify the sin of the tongue; but on the contrary, the sin of the tongue will aggravate the sin of the heart. Resolve therefore for the future, whenever your heart is hot within you, that you will keep your mouth as with a bridle.

Spurgeon: Provoking Unjust Wars


Imagine a conqueror’s deathbed…

He has been a man of blood from his youth up. Bred in the camp, his lips were early set to the bugle, and his hand, even in infancy, struck the drum. He had a martial spirit; he delighted in the fame and applause of men; he loved the dust of battle and the garment rolled in blood. He has lived a life of what men call glory. He has stormed cities, conquered countries, ravaged continents, overrun the world. See his banners hanging in the hall, and the marks of glory on his escutcheon. He is one of earth’s proudest warriors.

But now he comes to die, and when he lies down to expire, what shall invest his death with horror? It shall be his sin. Methinks I see the monarch dying; he lies in state; around him are his nobles and his councilors; but there is somewhat else there. Hard by his side there stands a spirit from Hades; it is a soul of a departed woman. She looks on him and says, “Monster! My husband was slain in battle through thy ambition: I was made a widow, and my helpless orphans and I were starved.” And she passes by. Her husband comes, and opening wide his bloody wounds, he cries, “Once I called you monarch; but, by thy vile covetousness thou didst provoke an unjust war. See here these wounds “I gained them in the siege. For thy sake I mounted first the scaling ladder; this foot stood upon the top of the wall, and I waved my sword in triumph, but in hell I lifted up my eyes in torment. Base wretch, thine ambition hurried me thither!” Turning his horrid eyes upon him, he passes by. Then up comes another, and another, and another yet: waking from their tombs, they stalk around his bed and haunt him; the dreary procession still marches on, looking at the dying tyrant. He shuts his eyes, but he feels the cold and bony hand upon his forehead; he quivers, for the sting of death is in his heart. “O Death!” says he; “to leave this large estate, this mighty realm, this pomp and power” this were somewhat; but to meet those men, those women, and those orphan children, face to face; to hear them saying; ‘Art thou become like one of us?’ while kings whom I have dethroned, and monarchs whom I have cast down shall rattle their chains in my ears, and say, ‘ you were our destroyer, but how art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are brought down as in a moment from thy glory and thy pride!’

There, you see, the sting of death would be the man’s sin. It would not sting him that he had to die, but that he had sinned, that he had been a bloody man, that his hands were red with whole sale murder –this would plague him indeed, for “the sting of death is sin.”