Upon Time And Eternity

Eternity is like unto a Ring.
Time, like to Measure, doth it self extend;
Measure commences, is a finite thing.
The Ring has no beginning, middle, end.

Heaven is a place, also a state,
It doth all things excel,
No man can fully it relate,
Nor of its glory tell.

God made it for his residence,
To sit on as a throne,
Which shows to us the excellence
Whereby it may be known.

Doubtless the fabric that was built
For this so great a king,
Must needs surprise thee, if thou wilt
But duly mind the thing.

If all that build do build to suit
The glory of their state,
What orator, though most acute,
Can fully heaven relate?

If palaces that princes build,
Which yet are made of clay,
Do so amaze when much beheld,
Of heaven what shall we say?

It is the high and holy place;
No moth can there annoy,
Nor make to fade that goodly grace
That saints shall there enjoy.

Mansions for glory and for rest
Do there prepared stand;
Buildings eternal for the blest
Are there provided, and

The glory and the comeliness
By deepest thought none may
With heart or mouth fully express,
Nor can before that day.

These heav'ns we see, be as a scroll,
Or garment folded up,
Before they do together roll,
And we call'd in to sup.

There with the king, the bridegroom, and
By him are led into
His palace chambers, there to stand
With his prospect to our view.

And taste and smell, and be inflam'd,
And ravished to see
The buildings he hath for us fram'd,
How full of heaven they be.

Its state also is marvellous,
For beauty to behold;
All goodness there is plenteous,
And better far than gold.

Adorn'd with grace and righteousness,
While fragrant scents of love
O'erflow with everlasting bliss,
All that do dwell above.

The heavenly majesty, whose face
Doth far exceed the sun,
Will there cast forth its rays of grace
After this world is done.

Which rays and beams will so possess
All things that there shall dwell,
With so much glory, light, and bliss,
That none can think or tell.

That wisdom which doth order all
Shall there be fully shown;
That strength that bears the world there shall
By every one be known.

That holiness and sanctity
Which doth all thought surpass,
Shall there in present purity
Outshine the crystal glass.

The beauty and the comeliness
Of this Almighty shall
Make amiable with lasting bliss
Those he thereto shall call.

The presence of this God will be
Eternal life in all,
And health and gladness, while we see
Thy face, O immortal!

Here will the Lord make clear and plain
How sweetly did agree
His attributes, when Christ was slain
Our Saviour to be.

How wisdom did find out the way,
How strength did make him stand,
How holiness did bear the sway,
And answer just demand.

How all these attributes did bend
Themselves to work our life,
Through the Christ whom God did send
To save us by his might.

All this will sparkle in our eye
Within the holy place,
And greatly raise our melody,
And flow our hearts with grace.

The largest thought that can arise
Within the widest heart
Shall then be filled with surprize,
And pleas'd in every part.

All mysteries shall here be seen,
And every knot, unty'd;
Electing love, that hid hath been,
Shall shine on every side.

The God of glory here will be
The life of every one;
Whose goodly attributes shall we
Possess them as our own.

By wisdom we all things shall know,
By light all things shall see,
By strength, too, all things we shall do,
When we in glory be.

The Holy Lamb of God, also,
Who for our sakes did die,
The holy ones of God shall know,
And that most perfectly.

Those small and short discoveries
That we have of him here,
Will there be seen with open eyes,
In visions full and clear.

Those many thousand acts of grace
That here we feel and find,
Shall there be real with open face
Upon his heart most kind.

There he will show us how he was
Our prophet, priest, and king;
And how he did maintain our cause,
And us to glory bring.

There we shall see how he was touch'd
With all our grief and pain
(As in his word he hath avouch'd),
When we with him shall reign;

He'll show us, also, how he did
Maintain our faith and love,
And why his face sometimes he hid
From us, who are his dove;

These tempting times that here we have,
We there shall see were good;
Also that hidden strength he gave,
The purchase of his blood.

That he should stand for us before
His Father, thus we read.
But then shall see, and shall adore
Him for his gracious deed.

Though we are vile, he without shame
Before the angels all
Lays out his strength, his worth, and name,
For us, who are in thrall.

This is he who was mock'd and beat,
Spit on, and crown'd with thorns;
Who for us had a bloody sweat,
Whose heart was broke with scorns.

'Tis he who stands so much our friend,
As shortly we shall see,
With open face, world without end,
And in his presence be.

That head that once was crown'd with thorns,
Shall now with glory shine;
That heart that broken was with scorns,
Shall flow with life divine;

That man that here met with disgrace,
We there shall see so bright;
That angels can't behold his face
For its exceeding light.

What gladness will possess our heart
When we shall see these things!
What light and life, in every part,
Will rise like lasting springs!

O blessed face and holy grace,
When shall we see this day?
Lord, fetch us to this goodly place
We humbly do thee pray.

Next to this Lamb we shall behold
All saints, both more and less,
With whit'ned robes in glory roll'd,
'Cause him they did confess.

Each walking in his righteousness
With shining crowns of gold,
Triumphing still in heav'nly bliss,
Amazing to behold.

Each person for his majesty
Doth represent a king;
Yea, angel-like for dignity,
And seraphims that sing.

Each motion of their mind, and so
Each twinkling of their eye;
Each word they speak, and step they go,
It is in purity.

Immortal are they every one,
Wrapt up in health and light,
Mortality from them is gone,
Weakness is turn'd to might.

The stars are not so clear as they,
They equalize the sun;
Their glory shines to perfect day,
Which day will ne'er be done.

No sorrow can them now annoy,
Nor weakness, grief or pain;
No faintness can abate their joy,
They now in life do reign.

They shall not there, as here, be vex'd
With Satan, men, or sin;
Nor with their wicked hearts perplex'd,
The heavens have cop'd[8] them in.

Thus, as they shine in their estate,
So, too, in their degree;
Which is most goodly to relate,
And ravishing to see.

The majesty whom they adore,
Doth them in wisdom place
Upon the thrones, and that before
The angels, to their grace.

The saints of the Old Testament,
Full right to their degree;
Likewise the New, in excellent
Magnificency be.

Each one his badge of glory wears,
According to his place;
According as was his affairs
Here, in the time of grace.

Some on the right hand of the Lamb,
Likewise some on the left,
With robes and golden chains do stand
Most grave, most sage, and deft.[9]

The martyr here is known from him
Who peaceably did die,
Both by the place he sitteth in,
And by his dignity.

Each father, saint, and prophet shall,
According to his worth,
Enjoy the honour of his call,
And plainly hold it forth.

Those bodies which sometimes were torn,
And bones that broken were
For God's word; he doth now adorn
With health and glory fair.

Thus, when in heav'nly harmony
These blessed saints appear,
Adorn'd with grace and majesty,
What gladness will be there!

The light, and grace, and countenance,
The least of these shall have,
Will so with terror them advance,
And make their face so grave,

That at them all the world will shake,
When they lift up their head;
Princes and kings will at them quake,
And fall before them dead.

This shall we see, thus shall we be,
O would the day were come,
Lord Jesus take us up to thee,
To this desired home.

Angels also we shall behold,
When we on high ascend,
Each shining like to men of gold,
And on the Lord attend.

These goodly creatures, full of grace,
Shall stand about the throne,
Each one with lightning in his face,
And shall to us be known.

These cherubims with one accord
Shall cry continually,
Ah, holy, holy, holy, Lord,
And heavenly majesty.

These will us in their arms embrace,
And welcome us to rest,
And joy to see us clad with grace,
And of the heavens possess'd.

This we shall hear, this we shall see,
While raptures take us up,
When we with blessed Jesus be,
And at his table sup.

Oh shining angels! what, must we
With you lift up our voice?
We must; and with you ever be,
And with you must rejoice.

Our friends that lived godly here,
Shall there be found again;
The wife, the child, and father dear,
With others of our train.

Each one down to the foot in white,
Fill'd to the brim with grace,
Walking among the saints in light,
With glad and joyful face.

Those God did use us to convert,
We there with joy shall meet,
And jointly shall, with all our heart,
In life each other greet.

A crown to them we then shall be,
A glory and a joy;
And that before the Lord, when he
The world comes to destroy.

This is the place, this is the state,
Of all that fear the Lord;
Which men nor angels may relate
With tongue, or pen, or word.

No night is here, for to eclipse
Its spangling rays so bright;
Nor doubt, nor fear to shut the lips,
Of those within this light.

The strings of music here are tun'd
For heavenly harmony,
And every spirit here perfum'd
With perfect sanctity.

Here runs the crystal streams of life,
Quite through all our veins.
And here by love we do unite
With glory's golden chains.

Now that which sweet'neth all will be
The lasting of this state;
This heightens all we hear or see
To a transcendant rate.

For should the saints enjoy all this
But for a certain time,
O, how would they their mark then miss,
And at this thing repine?

Yea, 'tis not possible that they
Who then shall dwell on high,
Should be content, unless they may
Dwell there eternally.

A thought of parting with this place
Would bitter all their sweet,
And darkness put upon the face
Of all they there do meet.

But far from this the saints shall be,
Their portion is the Lord,
Whose face for ever they shall see,
As saith the holy word.

And that with everlasting peace,
Joy, and felicity,
From this time forth they shall increase
Unto eternity.

Of Hell And The Estate Of Those Who Perish

hus, having show'd you what I see
Of heaven, I now will tell
You also, after search, what be
The damned wights of hell.

And O, that they who read my lines
Would ponder soberly,
And lay to heart such things betimes
As touch eternity.

The sleepy sinner little thinks
What sorrows will abound
Within him, when upon the brinks
Of Tophet he is found.

Hell is beyond all though a state
So doubtful[10] and forlorn,
So fearful, that none can relate
The pangs that there are born.

God will exclude them utterly
From his most blessed face,
And them involve in misery,
In shame, and in disgrace.

God is the fountain of all bliss,
Of life, of light, and peace;
They then must needs be comfortless
Who are depriv'd of these.

Instead of life, a living death
Will there in all be found.
Dyings will be in every breath,
Thus sorrow will abound.

No light, but darkness here doth dwell;
No peace, but horror strange:
The fearful damning wights[11] of hell
In all will make this change.

To many things the damned's woe
Is liked in the word,
And that because no one can show
The vengeance of the Lord.

Unto a dreadful burning lake,
All on a fiery flame,
Hell is compared, for to make
All understand the same.

A burning lake, a furnace hot,
A burning oven, too,
Must be the portion, share, and lot,
Of those which evil sow.

This plainly shows the burning heat
With which it will oppress
All hearts, and will like burnings eat
Their souls with sore distress.

This burning lake, it is God's wrath
Incensed by the sin
Of those who do reject his path,
And wicked ways walk in.

Which wrath will so perplex all parts
Of body and of soul,
As if up to the very hearts
In burnings they did roll.

Again, to show the stinking state
Of this so sad a case,
Like burning brimstone God doth make
The hidings of his face.

And truly as the steam, and smoke,
And flames of brimstone smell,
To blind the eyes, and stomach choke,
So are the pangs of hell.

To see a sea of brimstone burn,
Who would it not affright?
But they whom God to hell doth turn
Are in most woful plight.

This burning cannot quenched be,
No, not with tears of blood;
No mournful groans in misery
Will here do any good.

O damned men! this is your fate,
The day of grace is done,
Repentance now doth come too late,
Mercy is fled and gone.

Your groans and cries they sooner should
Have sounded in mine ears,
If grace you would have had, or would
Have me regard your tears.

Me you offended with your sin,
Instructions you did slight,
Your sins against my law hath been,
Justice shall have his right.

I gave my Son to do you good,
I gave you space and time
With him to close, which you withstood,
And did with hell combine.

Justice against you now is set,
Which you cannot appease;
Eternal justice doth you let
From either life or ease.

Thus he that to this place doth come
May groan, and sigh, and weep;
But sin hath made that place his home,
And there it will him keep.

Wherefore, hell in another place
Is call'd a prison too,
And all to show the evil case
Of all sin doth undo.

Which prison, with its locks and bars
Of God's lasting decree,
Will hold them fast; O how this mars
All thought of being free!

Out at these brazen bars they may
The saints in glory see;
But this will not their grief allay,
But to them torment be.

Thus they in this infernal cave
Will now be holden fast
From heavenly freedom, though they crave,
Of it they may not taste.

The chains that darkness on them hangs
Still ratt'ling in their ears,
Creates within them heavy pangs,
And still augments their fears.

Thus hopeless of all remedy,
They dyingly do sink
Into the jaws of misery,
And seas of sorrow drink.

For being cop'd[12] on every side
With helplessness and grief,
Headlong into despair they slide
Bereft of all relief.

Therefore this hell is called a pit,
Prepared for those that die
The second death, a term most fit
To show their misery.

A pit that's bottomless is this,
A gulf of grief and woe,
A dungeon which they cannot miss,
That will themselves undo.

Thus without stay they always sink,
Thus fainting still they fail,
Despair they up like water drink,
These prisoners have no bail.

Here meets them now that worm that gnaws,
And plucks their bowels out,
The pit, too, on them shuts her jaws;
This dreadful is, no doubt.

This ghastly worm is guilt for sin,
Which on the conscience feeds,
With vipers' teeth, both sharp and keen,
Whereat it sorely bleeds.

This worm is fed by memory,
Which strictly brings to mind,
All things done in prosperity,
As we in Scripture find.

No word, nor thought, nor act they did,
But now is set in sight,
Not one of them can now be hid,
Memory gives them light.

On which the understanding still
Will judge, and sentence pass,
This kills the mind, and wounds the will,
Alas, alas, alas!

O, conscience is the slaughter shop,
There hangs the axe and knife,
'Tis there the worm makes all things hot,
And wearies out the life.

Here, then, is execution done
On body and on soul;
For conscience will be brib'd of none,
But gives to all their dole.

This worm, 'tis said, shall never die,
But in the belly be
Of all that in the flames shall lie,
O dreadful sight to see!

This worm now needs must in them live,
For sin will still be there,
And guilt, for God will not forgive,
Nor Christ their burden bear.

But take from them all help and stay,
And leave them to despair,
Which feeds upon them night and day,
This is the damned's share.

Now will confusion so possess
These monuments of ire,
And so confound them with distress,
And trouble their desire.

That what to think, or what to do,
Or where to lay their head,
They know not; 'tis the damned's woe
To live, and yet be dead.

These cast-aways would fain have life,
But know, they never shall,
They would forget their dreadful plight,
But that sticks fast'st of all.

God, Christ, and heaven, they know are best,
Yet dare not on them think,
The saints they know in joys do rest,
While they their tears do drink.

They cry alas, but all in vain,
They stick fast in the mire,
They would be rid of present pain,
Yet set themselves on fire.

Darkness is their perplexity,
Yet do they hate the light,
They always see their misery,
Yet are themselves all night.

They are all dead, yet live they do,
Yet neither live nor die.
They die to weal, and live to woe,
This is their misery.

Amidst all this so great a scare
That here I do relate,
Another falleth to their share
In this their sad estate.

The legions of infernal fiends
Then with them needs must be,
A just reward for all their pains,
This they shall feel and see.

With yellings, howlings, shrieks, and cries,
And other doleful noise,
With trembling hearts and failing eyes,
These are their hellish joys.

These angels black they would obey,
And serve with greedy mind,
And take delight to go astray,
That pleasure they might find.

Which pleasure now like poison turns
Their joy to heaviness;
Yea, like the gall of asps it burns,
And doth them sore oppress

Now is the joy they lived in
All turned to brinish tears,
And resolute attempts to sin
Turn'd into hellish fears.

The floods run trickling down their face,
Their hearts do prick and ache,
While they lament their woful case,
Their loins totter and shake.

O wetted cheeks, with bleared eyes,
How fully do you show
The pangs that in their bosom lies,
And grief they undergo!

Their dolour in their bitterness
So greatly they bemoan,
That hell itself this to express
Doth echo with their groan.

Thus broiling on the burning grates,
They now to wailing go,
And say of those unhappy fates
That did them thus undo.

Alas, my grief! hard hap had I
Those dolours here to find,
A living death, in hell I lie,
Involv'd with grief of mind.

I once was fair for light and grace,
My days were long and good;
I lived in a blessed place
Where was most heav'nly food.

But wretch I am, I slighted life,
I chose in death to live;
O, for these days now, if I might,
Ten thousand worlds would give.

What time had I to pray and read,
What time to hear the word!
What means to help me at my need,
Did God to me afford!

Examples, too, of piety
I every day did see,
But they abuse and slight did I,
O, woe be unto me.

I now remember how my friend
Reproved me of vice,
And bid me mind my latter end,
Both once, and twice, and thrice.

But O, deluded man, I did
My back upon him turn;
Eternal life I did not heed,
For which I now do mourn.

Ah, golden time, I did thee spend
In sin and idleness,
Ah, health and wealth, I did you lend
To bring me to distress.

My feet to evil I let run,
And tongue of folly talk;
My eyes to vanity hath gone,
Thus did I vainly walk.

I did as greatly toil and strain
Myself with sin to please,
As if that everlasting grain
Could have been found in these.

But nothing, nothing have I found
But weeping, and alas,
And sorrow, which doth now surround
Me, and augment my cross.

Ah, bleeding conscience, how did I
Thee check when thou didst tell
Me of my faults, for which I lie
Dead while I live in hell.

I took thee for some peevish foe,
When thou didst me accuse,
Therefore I did thee buffet so,
And counsel did refuse.

Thou often didst me tidings bring,
How God did me dislike,
Because I took delight in sin,
But I thy news did slight.

Ah, Mind, why didst thou do those things
That now do work my woe?
Ah, Will, why was thou thus inclin'd
Me ever to undo?

My senses, how were you beguil'd
When you said sin was good?
It hath in all parts me defil'd,
And drown'd me like a flood.

Ah, that I now a being have,
In sorrow and in pain;
Mother, would you had been my grave,
But this I wish in vain.

Had I been made a cockatrice,
A toad, or such-like thing;[13]
Yea, had I been made snow or ice,
Then had I had no sin;

A block, a stock, a stone, or clot,
Is happier than I;
For they know neither cold nor hot,
To live nor yet to die.

I envy now the happiness
Of those that are in light,
I hate the very name of bliss,
'Cause I have there no right.

I grieve to see that others are
In glory, life, and well,
Without all fear, or dread, or care,
While I am racked in hell.

Thus will these souls with watery eyes,
And hacking of their teeth,
With wringing hands, and fearful cries,
Expostulate their grief.

O set their teeth they will, and gnash,
And gnaw for very pain,
While as with scorpions God doth lash
Them for their life so vain.

Again, still as they in this muse,
Are feeding on the fire,
To mind there comes yet other news,
To screw their torments higher.

Which is the length of this estate,
Where they at present lie;
Which in a word I thus relate,
'Tis to eternity.

This thought now is so firmly fix'd
In all that comes to mind,
And also is so strongly mix'd
With wrath of every kind.

So that whatever they do know,
Or see, or think, or feel,
For ever still doth strike them through
As with a bar of steel.

For EVER shineth in the fire,
EVER is on the chains;
'Tis also in the pit of ire,
And tastes in all their pains.

For ever separate from God,
From peace, and life, and rest;
For ever underneath the rod
That vengeance liketh best.

O ever, ever, this will drown'd
Them quite and make them cry,
We never shall get o'er thy bound,
O, great eternity!

They sooner now the stars may count
Than lose these dismal bands;
Or see to what the motes[14] among
Or number up the sands.

Then see an end of this their woe,
Which now for sin they have;
O wantons, take heed what you do,
Sin will you never save.

They sooner may drink up the sea,
Than shake off these their fears;
Or make another in one day
As big with brinish tears;

Than put an end to misery,
In which they now do roar,
Or help themselves; no, they must cry,
Alas, for evermore.

When years by thousands on a heap
Are passed o'er their head;
Yet still the fruits of sin they reap
Among the ghostly dead.

Yea, when they have time out of mind
Be in this case so ill,
For EVER, EVER is behind[15]
Yet for them to fulfill.

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