Of Man By Nature
From God he's a backslider,
Of ways he loves the wider;
With wickedness a sider,
More venom than a spider.
In sin he's a considerer,
A make-bate and divider;
Blind reason is his guider,
The devil is his rider.
Meditation Upon The Day Before The Sun Rising
But all this while, where's he whose golden rays
Drives night away and beautifies our days?
Where's he whose goodly face doth warm and heal,
And show us what the darksome nights conceal?
Where's he that thaws our ice, drives cold away?
Let's have him, or we care not for the day.
Thus 'tis with who partakers are of grace,
There's nought to them like their Redeemer's face.
Upon The Vine Tree
What is the vine, more than another tree?
Nay most, than it, more tall, more comely be.
What workman thence will take a beam or pin,
To make ought which may be delighted in?
Its excellency in its fruit doth lie:
A fruitless vine, it is not worth a fly.
What are professors more than other men?
Nothing at all. Nay, there's not one in ten,
Either for wealth, or wit, that may compare,
In many things, with some that carnal are.
Good are they, if they mortify their sin,
But without that, they are not worth a pin.
Upon A Lowering Of Morning
Well, with the day I see the clouds appear,
And mix the light with darkness everywhere;
This threatening is, to travellers that go
Long journeys, slabby rain they'll have, or snow.
Else, while I gaze, the sun doth with his beams
Belace the clouds, as 'twere with bloody streams;
This done, they suddenly do watery grow,
And weep, and pour their tears out where they go.
Thus 'tis when gospel light doth usher in
To us both sense of grace and sense of sin;
Yea, when it makes sin red with Christ's blood,
Then we can weep till weeping does us good.
On The Rising Of The Sun
Look, look, brave Sol doth peep up from beneath,
Shows us his golden face, doth on us breathe;
He also doth compass us round with glories,
Whilst he ascends up to his highest stories.
Where he his banner over us displays,
And gives us light to see our works and ways.
Nor are we now, as at the peep of light,
To question, is it day, or is it night?
The night is gone, the shadows fled away,
And we now most sure are that it is day.
Our eyes behold it, and our hearts believe it;
Nor can the wit of man in this deceive it.
And thus it is when Jesus shows his face,
And doth assure us of his love and grace.
Of The Going Down Of The Sun
What, hast thou run thy race, art going down?
Thou seemest angry, why dost on us frown?
Yea, wrap thy head with clouds and hide thy face,
As threatening to withdraw from us thy grace?
O leave us not! When once thou hid'st thy head,
Our horizon with darkness will be spread.
Tell who hath thee offended, turn again.
Alas! too late, intreaties are in vain.
Our gospel has had here a summer's day,
But in its sunshine we, like fools, did play;
Or else fall out, and with each other wrangle,
And did, instead of work, not much but jangle.
And if our sun seems angry, hides his face,
Shall it go down, shall night possess this place?
Let not the voice of night birds us afflict,
And of our misspent summer us convict.
Upon The Barren Fig-Tree In God's Vineyard
What, barren here! in this so good a soil?
The sight of this doth make God's heart recoil
From giving thee his blessing; barren tree,
Bear fruit, or else thine end will cursed be!
Art thou not planted by the water-side?
Know'st not thy Lord by fruit is glorified?
The sentence is, Cut down the barren tree:
Bear fruit, or else thine end will cursed be.
Hast thou been digg'd about and dunged too,
Will neither patience nor yet dressing do?
The executioner is come, O tree,
Bear fruit, or else thine end will cursed be!
He that about thy roots takes pains to dig,
Would, if on thee were found but one good fig,
Preserve thee from the axe: but, barren tree,
Bear fruit, or else thy end will cursed be!
The utmost end of patience is at hand,
'Tis much if thou much longer here doth stand.
O cumber-ground, thou art a barren tree.
Bear fruit, or else thine end will cursed be!
Thy standing nor they name will help at all;
When fruitful trees are spared, thou must fall.
The axe is laid unto thy roots, O tree!
Bear fruit, or else thine end will cursed be.
On Promising Fruitfulness Of A Tree
A comely sight indeed it is to see
A world of blossoms on an apple-tree:
Yet far more comely would this tree appear,
If all its dainty blooms young apples were.
But how much more might one upon it see,
If all would hang there till they ripe should be.
But most of all in beauty 'twould abound,
If then none worm-eaten should there be found.
But we, alas! do commonly behold
Blooms fall apace, if mornings be but cold.
They too, which hang till they young apples are,
By blasting winds and vermin take despair,
Store that do hang, while almost ripe, we see
By blust'ring winds are shaken from the tree,
So that of many, only some there be,
That grow till they come to maturity.
This tree a perfect emblem is of those
Which God doth plant, which in his garden grows,
Its blasted blooms are motions unto good,
Which chill affections do nip in the bud.
Those little apples which yet blasted are,
Show some good purposes, no good fruits bear.
Those spoiled by vermin are to let us see,
How good attempts by bad thoughts ruin'd be.
Those which the wind blows down, while they are green,
Show good works have by trials spoiled been.
Those that abide, while ripe upon the tree,
Show, in a good man, some ripe fruit will be.
Behold then how abortive some fruits are,
Which at the first most promising appear.
The frost, the wind, the worm, with time doth show,
There flows, from much appearance, works but few.
Upon The Lark And The Fowler
Thou simple bird, what makes thou here to play?
Look, there's the fowler, pr'ythee come away.
Do'st not behold the net? Look there, 'tis spread,
Venture a little further, thou art dead.
Is there not room enough in all the field
For thee to play in, but thou needs must yield
To the deceitful glitt'ring of a glass,
Plac'd betwixt nets, to bring thy death to pass?
Bird, if thou art so much for dazzling light,
Look, there's the sun above thee; dart upright;
Thy nature is to soar up to the sky,
Why wilt thou come down to the nets and die?
Take no heed to the fowler's tempting call;
This whistle, he enchanteth birds withal.
Or if thou see'st a live bird in his net,
Believe she's there, 'cause hence she cannot get.
Look how he tempteth thee with is decoy,
That he may rob thee of thy life, thy joy.
Come, pr'ythee bird, I pr'ythee come away,
Why should this net thee take, when 'scape thou may?
Hadst thou not wings, or were thy feathers pull'd,
Or wast thou blind, or fast asleep wer't lull'd,
The case would somewhat alter, but for thee,
Thy eyes are ope, and thou hast wings to flee.
Remember that thy song is in thy rise,
Not in thy fall; earth's not thy paradise.
Keep up aloft, then, let thy circuits be
Above, where birds from fowler's nets are free.
This fowler is an emblem of the devil,
His nets and whistle, figures of all evil.
His glass an emblem is of sinful pleasure,
And his decoy of who counts sin a treasure.
This simple lark's a shadow of a saint,
Under allurings, ready now to faint.
This admonisher a true teacher is,
Whose works to show the soul the snare and bliss,
And how it may this fowler's net escape,
And not commit upon itself this rape.
Of The Spouse Of Christ
Who's this that cometh from the wilderness,
Like smokey pillars thus perfum'd with myrrh,
Leaning upon her dearest in distress,
Led into's bosom by the Comforter?
She's clothed with the sun, crowned with twelve stars,
The spotted moon her footstool she hath made.
The dragon her assaults, fills her with jars,
Yet rests she under her Beloved's shade,
But whence was she? what is her pedigree?
Was not her father a poor Amorite?
What was her mother but as others be,
A poor, a wretched, and a sinful Hittite.
Yea, as for her, the day that she was born,
As loathsome, out of doors they did her cast;
Naked and filthy, stinking and forlorn;
This was her pedigree from first to last.
Nor was she pitied in this estate,
All let her lie polluted in her blood:
None her condition did commiserate,
There was no heart that sought to do her good.
Yet she unto these ornaments is come,
Her breasts are fashioned, her hair is grown;
She is made heiress of the best kingdom;
All her indignities away are blown.
Cast out she was, but now she home is taken,
but now, you see, she's cloth'd;
Now made the darling, though before forsaken,
Barefoot, but now as princes' daughters shod.
Instead of filth, she now has her perfumes;
Instead of ignominy, her chains of gold:
Instead of what the beauty most consumes,
Her beauty's perfect, lovely to behold.
Those that attend and wait upon her be
Princes of honour, clothed in white array;
Upon her head's a crown of gold, and she
Eats wheat, honey, and oil, from day to day.
For her beloved, he's the high'st of all,
The only Potentate, the King of kings:
Angels and men do him Jehovah call,
And from him life and glory always springs.
He's white and ruddy, and of all the chief:
His head, his locks, his eyes, his hands, and feet,
Do, for completeness
, out-go all belief;
His cheeks like flowers are, his mouth most sweet.
As for his wealth, he is made heir of all;
What is in heaven, what is on earth is his:
And he this lady his joint-heir doth call,
Of all that shall be, or at present is.
Well, lady, well, God has been good to thee;
Thou of an outcast, now art made a queen.
Few, or none, may with thee compared be,
A beggar made thus high is seldom seen.
Take heed of pride, remember what thou art
By nature, though thou hast in grace a share,
Thou in thyself dost yet retain a part
Of thine own filthiness; wherefore beware.
As 'tis appointed men should die,
So judgment is the next
That meets them most assuredly;
For so saith holy text.
Wherefore of judgment I shall now
Inform you what I may,
That you may see what 'tis, and how
'Twill be with men that day.
This world it hath a time to stand,
Which time when ended, then
Will issue judgment out of hand
Upon all sorts of men.
The Judge we find, in God's record,
The Son of man, for he
By God's appointment is made Lord
And Judge of all that be.
Wherefore this Son of man shall come
At last to count with all,
And unto them shall give just doom,
Whether they stand or fall.
Behold ye now the majesty
And state that shall attend
This Lord, this Judge, and Justice high
When he doth now descend.
He comes with head as white as snow,
With eyes like flames of fire;
In justice clad from top to toe,
Most glorious in attire.
His face is filled with gravity;
His tongue is like a sword;
His presence awes both stout and high,
The world shakes at his word.
He comes in flaming fire, and
With angels clear and bright,
Each with a trumpet in his hand,
Clothed in shining white.
The trump of God sounds in the air,
The dead do hear his voice;
The living too run here and there,
Who made not him their choice.
Thus to his place he doth repair,
Appointed for his throne,
Where he will sit to judge, and where
He'll count with every one.
Angels attending on his hand
By thousands on a row;
Yea, thousand thousands by him stand,
And at his beck do go.
Thus being set, the books do ope
In which all crimes are writ.
All virtues, too, of faith and hope,
Of love; and every whit
Of all that man hath done or said,
Or did intend to do;
Whether they sinn'd, or were afraid
Evil to come into.
Before this bar each sinner now
In person must appear;
Under his judgment there to bow
With trembling and with fear:
Within whose breast a witness then
Will certainly arise,
That to each charge will say Amen,
While they seek and devise
To shun the sentence which the Lord
Against them then will read,
Out of the books of God's record,
With majesty and dread.
But every heart shall opened be
Before this judge most high;
Yea, every thought to judgment he
Will bring assuredly.
And every word and action, too,
He there will manifest;
Yea, all that ever thou didst do,
Or keep within thy breast,
Shall then be seen and laid before
The world, that then will stand
To see thy judge open ev'ry sore,
And all thy evils scann'd.
Weighing each sin and wickedness
With so much equity,
Proportioning of thy distress
And woful misery.
With so much justice, doing right,
That thou thyself shalt say,
My sins have brought me to this plight,
I threw myself away.
Into that gulph my sins have brought
Me justly to possess,
For which I blame not Christ, I wrought
It out by wickedness.
But O! how willingly would these
That thus in judgment be,
If that they might have help or ease,
Unto the mountains flee.
They would rejoice if that they might
But underneath them creep,
To hide them from revenging right,
For fear of which they weep.
But all in vain, the mountains then
Will all be fled and gone;
No shelter will be found for men
That now are left alone.
For succour they did not regard
When Christ by grace did call
To them, therefore they are not heard,
No mountains on them fall.
Before this Judge no one shall shroud
Himself, under pretence
Of knowledge, which hath made him proud,
Nor seeming penitence.
No high profession here can stand,
Hath been therewith commixed, and
Brought forth simplicity.
No mask nor vizor here can hide
The heart that rotten is;
All cloaks now must be laid aside,
No sinner must have bliss.
Though most approve of thee, and count
Thee upright in thy heart;
Yea, though preferred and made surmount
Most men to act thy part,
In treading where the godly trod,
As to an outward show;
Yet this hold still, the grace of God
Takes hold on but a few,
So as to make them truly such
As then shall stand before
This Judge with gladness; this is much
Yet true for evermore.
The tree of life this paradise
Doth always beautify,
'Cause of our health it is the rise
Here stands the golden throne of grace
From out of which do run
Those crystal streams that make this place
Far brighter than the sun.
Here stands mount Zion with her king.
That holy and delightful thing,
So beautified with love.
That, as a mother succours those
Which of her body be,
So she far more, all such as close
In with her Lord; and she
Her grace, her everlasting doors
Will open wide unto
Them all, with welcome, welcome, poor,
Rich, bond, free, high and low,
Unto the kingdom which our Lord
Appointed hath for all
That hath his name and word ador'd;
Because he did them call
Unto that work, which also they
Sincerely did fulfil,
Not shunning always to obey
His gracious holy will.
Besides, this much doth beautify
This goodly paradise,
That from all quarters, constantly,
Whole thousands as the price
Of precious blood, do here arrive;
As safe escaping all,
Sin, hell, and satan did contrive
To bring them into thrall.
Each telling his deliverance
I' th' open face of heaven;
Still calling to remembrance
How fiercely they were driven
By deadly foe, who did pursue
As swift as eagles fly;
Which if thou have not, down thou must
With those that then shall die
The second death, and be accurs'd
Of God. For certainly,
The truth of grace shall only here
Without a blush be bold
To stand, whilst others quake and fear,
And dare not once behold.
That heart that here was right for God
Shall there be comforted;
But those that evil ways have trod,
Shall then hang down the head.
As sore confounded with the guilt
That now upon them lies,
Because they did delight in filth
And beastly vanities.
Or else because they did deceive
Disguises, their own souls, and leave
Or shun that best of all
Approved word of righteousness,
They were invited to
Embrace, therefore they no access
Now to him have, but woe.
For every one must now receive
According to their ways;
They that unto the Lord did cleave,
The everlasting joys.
Those that did die in wickedness,
To execution sent,
There still to grapple with distress,
Which nothing can prevent.
Of which two states I next shall write,
Wherefore I pray give ear,
And to them bend with all our might
Your heart with filial fear.
The Sinner And The Spider
What black, what ugly crawling thing art thou?
I am a spider——————-
A spider, ay, also a filthy creature.
Not filthy as thyself in name or feature.
My name entailed is to my creation,
My features from the God of thy salvation.
I am a man, and in God's image made,
I have a soul shall neither die nor fade,
God has possessed me with human reason,
Speak not against me lest thou speakest treason.
For if I am the image of my Maker,
Of slanders laid on me He is partaker.
I know thou art a creature far above me,
Therefore I shun, I fear, and also love thee.
But though thy God hath made thee such a creature,
Thou hast against him often played the traitor.
Thy sin has fetched thee down: leave off to boast;
Nature thou hast defiled, God's image lost.
Yea, thou thyself a very beast hast made,
And art become like grass, which soon doth fade.
Thy soul, thy reason, yea, thy spotless state,
Sin has subjected to th' most dreadful fate.
But I retain my primitive condition,
I've all but what I lost by thy ambition.
Thou venomed thing, I know not what to call thee,
The dregs of nature surely did befall thee,
Thou wast made of the dross and scum of all,
Man hates thee; doth, in scorn, thee spider call.
My venom's good for something, 'cause God made it,
Thy sin hath spoiled thy nature, doth degrade it.
Of human virtues, therefore, though I fear thee,
I will not, though I might, despise and jeer thee.
Thou say'st I am the very dregs of nature,
Thy sin's the spawn of devils, 'tis no creature.
Thou say'st man hates me 'cause I am a spider,
Poor man, thou at thy God art a derider;
My venom tendeth to my preservation,
Thy pleasing follies work out thy damnation.
Poor man, I keep the rules of my creation,
Thy sin has cast thee headlong from thy station.
I hurt nobody willingly, but thou
Art a self-murderer; thou know'st not how
To do what good is; no, thou lovest evil;
Thou fliest God's law, adherest to the devil.
Ill-shaped creature, there's antipathy
'Twixt man and spiders, 'tis in vain to lie;
I hate thee, stand off, if thou dost come nigh me,
I'll crush thee with my foot; I do defy thee.
They are ill-shaped, who warped are by sin,
Antipathy in thee hath long time been
To God; no marvel, then, if me, his creature,
Thou dost defy, pretending name and feature.
But why stand off? My presence shall not throng thee,
'Tis not my venom, but thy sin doth wrong thee.
Come, I will teach thee wisdom, do but hear me,
I was made for thy profit, do not fear me.
But if thy God thou wilt not hearken to,
What can the swallow, ant, or spider do?
Yet I will speak, I can but be rejected,
Sometimes great things by small means are effected.
Hark, then, though man is noble by creation,
He's lapsed now to such degeneration,
Is so besotted and so careless grown,
As not to grieve though he has overthrown
Himself, and brought to bondage everything
Created, from the spider to the king.
This we poor sensitives do feel and see;
For subject to the curse you made us be.
Tread not upon me, neither from me go;
'Tis man which has brought all the world to woe,
The law of my creation bids me teach thee;
I will not for thy pride to God impeach thee.
I spin, I weave, and all to let thee see,
Thy best performances but cobwebs be.
Thy glory now is brought to such an ebb,
It doth not much excel the spider's web;
My webs becoming snares and traps for flies,
Do set the wiles of hell before thine eyes;
Their tangling nature is to let thee see,
Thy sins too of a tangling nature be.
My den, or hole, for that 'tis bottomless,
Doth of damnation show the lastingness.
My lying quiet until the fly is catch'd,
Shows secretly hell hath thy ruin hatch'd.
In that I on her seize, when she is taken,
I show who gathers whom God hath forsaken.
The fly lies buzzing in my web to tell
Thee how the sinners roar and howl in hell.
Now, since I show thee all these mysteries,
How canst thou hate me, or me scandalize?
Well, well; I no more will be a derider,
I did not look for such things from a spider.
Come, hold thy peace; what I have yet to say,
If heeded, help thee may another day.
Since I an ugly ven'mous creature be,
There is some semblance 'twixt vile man and me.
My wild and heedless runnings are like those
Whose ways to ruin do their souls expose.
Daylight is not my time, I work in th' night,
To show they are like me who hate the light.
The maid sweeps one web down, I make another,
To show how heedless ones convictions smother;
My web is no defence at all to me,
Nor will false hopes at judgment be to thee.
O spider, I have heard thee, and do wonder
A spider should thus lighten and thus thunder.
Do but hold still, and I will let thee see
Yet in my ways more mysteries there be.
Shall not I do thee good, if I thee tell,
I show to thee a four-fold way to hell;
For, since I set my web in sundry places,
I show men go to hell in divers traces.
One I set in the window, that I might
Show some go down to hell with gospel light.
One I set in a corner, as you see,
To show how some in secret snared be.
Gross webs great store I set in darksome places,
To show how many sin with brazen faces;
Another web I set aloft on high,
To show there's some professing men must die.
Thus in my ways God wisdom doth conceal,
And by my ways that wisdom doth reveal.
I hide myself when I for flies do wait,
So doth the devil when he lays his bait;
If I do fear the losing of my prey,
I stir me, and more snares upon her lay:
This way and that her wings and legs I tie,
That, sure as she is catch'd, so she must die.
But if I see she's like to get away,
Then with my venom I her journey stay.
All which my ways the devil imitates
To catch men, 'cause he their salvation hates.
O spider, thou delight'st me with thy skill!
I pr'ythee spit this venom at me still.
I am a spider, yet I can possess
The palace of a king, where happiness
So much abounds. Nor when I do go thither,
Do they ask what, or whence I come, or whither
I make my hasty travels; no, not they;
They let me pass, and I go on my way.
I seize the palace, do with hands take hold
Of doors, of locks, or bolts; yea, I am bold,
When in, to clamber up unto the throne,
And to possess it, as if 'twere mine own.
Nor is there any law forbidding me
Here to abide, or in this palace be.
Yea, if I please, I do the highest stories
Ascend, there sit, and so behold the glories
Myself is compassed with, as if I were
One of the chiefest courtiers that be there.
Here lords and ladies do come round about me,
With grave demeanour, nor do any flout me
For this, my brave adventure, no, not they;
They come, they go, but leave me there to stay.
Now, my reproacher, I do by all this
Show how thou may'st possess thyself of bliss:
Thou art worse than a spider, but take hold
On Christ the door, thou shalt not be controll'd.
By him do thou the heavenly palace enter;
None chide thee will for this thy brave adventure;
Approach thou then unto the very throne,
There speak thy mind, fear not, the day's thine own;
Nor saint, nor angel, will thee stop or stay,
But rather tumble blocks out of the way.
My venom stops not me; let not thy vice
Stop thee; possess thyself of paradise.
Go on, I say, although thou be a sinner,
Learn to be bold in faith, of me a spinner.
This is the way the glories to possess,
And to enjoy what no man can express.
Sometimes I find the palace door uplock'd,
And so my entrance thither has upblock'd.
But am I daunted? No, I here and there
Do feel and search; so if I anywhere,
At any chink or crevice, find my way,
I crowd, I press for passage, make no stay.
And so through difficulty I attain
The palace; yea, the throne where princes reign.
I crowd sometimes, as if I'd burst in sunder;
And art thou crushed with striving, do not wonder.
Some scarce get in, and yet indeed they enter;
Knock, for they nothing have, that nothing venture.
Nor will the King himself throw dirt on thee,
As thou hast cast reproaches upon me.
He will not hate thee, O thou foul backslider!
As thou didst me, because I am a spider.
Now, to conclude since I such doctrine bring,
Slight me no more, call me not ugly thing.
God wisdom hath unto the piss-ant given,
And spiders may teach men the way to heaven.
Well, my good spider, I my errors see,
I was a fool for railing upon thee.
Thy nature, venom, and thy fearful hue,
Both show that sinners are, and what they do.
Thy way and works do also darkly tell,
How some men go to heaven, and some to hell.
Thou art my monitor, I am a fool;
They learn may, that to spiders go to school.
From Mount Ebal
Thus having heard from Gerizzim, I shall
Next come to Ebal, and you thither call,
Not there to curse you, but to let you hear
How God doth curse that soul that shall appear
An unbelieving man, a graceless wretch;
Because he doth continue in the breach
Of Moses' law, and also doth neglect
To close with Jesus; him will God reject
And cast behind him; for of right his due
Is that from whence all miseries ensue.
Cursed, saith he, are thy that do transgress
The least of my commandments, more or less.
Nothing that written is must broken be,
But always must be kept unto by thee,
And must fulfilled be; for here no man
Can look God in the face, or ever stand
Before the judgment-seat; for if they be
Convict, condemned too assuredly.
Now keep this law no mortal creature can,
For they already do, as guilty, stand
Before the God that gave it; so that they
Obnoxious to the curse lie every day,
Which also they must feel for certainty,
If unto Jesus Christ they do not fly.
Hence, then, as they for ever shall be blest,
That do by faith upon the promise rest,
So peace unto the wicked there is none;
'Tis wrath and death that they must feed upon.
That what I say may some impression make
On carnal hearts, that they in time may take
That course that best will prove when time is done,
These lines I add to what I have begun.
First, thou must know that God, as he is love
So he is justice, therefore cannot move,
Or in the least be brought to favour those
His holiness and justice doth oppose.
For though thou mayst imagine in thy heart
That God is this or that, yet if thou art
At all besides the truth of what he is,
And so dost build thy hope for life amiss,
Still he the same abideth, and will be
The same, the same for ever unto thee.
As God is true unto his promise, so
Unto his threat'ning he is faithful too.
Cease to be God he must, if he should break
One tittle that his blessed mouth did speak.
Now, then, none can be saved but the men
With whom the Godhead is contented when
It them beholds with the severest eye
Of justice, holiness, and yet can spy
No fault nor blemish in them; these be they
That must be saved, as the Scriptures say.
If this be true, as 'tis assuredly,
Woe be to them that wicked live and die;
Those that as far from holiness have been
All their life long as if no eye had seen
Their doings here, or as if God did not
At all regard, or in the least mind what,
Wherein, or how they did his law transgress,
Either by this or other wickedness;
But how deceived these poor creatures are,
They then shall know when they their burthen bear.
Alas, our God is a consuming fire;
So is his law, by which he doth require
That thou submit to him, and if thou be
Not in that justice found that can save thee
From all and every sentence which he spake
Upon mount Sinai, then as one that brake
It, thou the flames thereof shall quickly find
As scourges thee to lash, while sins do bind
Thee hand and foot, for ever to endure
The strokes of vengeance for thy life impure.
What I have said will yet evinced be,
And manifest abundantly to thee,
If what I have already spoken to
Be joined with these lines that do ensue.
Justice discovers its antipathy
Against profaneness and malignity.
Not only by the law it gave to men,
And threatenings thereunto annexed then.
But inasmuch as long before that day,
He did prepare for such as go astray,
That dreadful, that so much amazing place–
Hell, with its torments–for those men that grace
And holiness of life slight and disdain,
There to bemoan themselves with hellish pain.
This place, also, the pains so dismal be,
Both as to name and nature, that in me
It is not to express the damning wights,
The hellish torture, and the fearful plights
Thereof; for as intolerable they
Must needs be found, by those that disobey
The Lord, so can no word or thought express
Unto the full the height of that distress;
Such miserable caitiffs, that shall there
Rebukes of vengeance, for transgressions bear.
Indeed the holy Scriptures do make use
Of many metaphors, that do conduce
Much to the symbolizing of the place,
Unto our apprehension; but the case–
The sad, the woeful case–of those that lie
As racked there in endless misery,
By all similitudes no mortals may
Set forth in its own nature; for I say
Similitudes are but a shade, and show
Of those or that they signify to you.
The fire that doth within thine oven burn,
The prison where poor people sit and mourn,
Chains, racks, and darkness, and such others, be
As painting on the wall, to let thee see
By word and figures the extremity
Of such as shall within these burnings lie.
But certainly, if wickedness and sin
Had only foolish toys and trifles been,
And if God had not greatly hated it,
Yea, could he any ways thereof admit,
And let it pass, he would not thus have done.
He doth not use to punish any one
With any place or punishment that is
Above or sharper than the sin of his
Hath merited, and justice seeth due;
Read sin, then, by the death that doth ensue.
Most men do judge of sin, not by the fruits
It bears and bringeth forth, but as it suits
Their carnal and deluded hearts, that be
With sensual pleasures eaten up; but he
That now so judgeth, shortly shall perceive
That God will judge thereof himself, and leave
Such men no longer to their carnal lusts,
To judge of wickedness, and of the just
And righteous punishment that doth of right
Belong thereto; and will, too, in despite
Of all their carnal reason, justify
Himself, in their eternal misery.
Then hell will be no fancy, neither will
Men's sins be pleasant to them; but so ill
And bitter, yea, so bitter, that none can
Fully express the same, or ever stand
Under the burden it will on them lay,
When they from life and bliss are sent away.
When I have thought how often God doth speak
Of their destruction, who HIS law do break;
And when the nature of the punishment
I find so dreadful, and that God's intent,
Yea, resolution is, it to inflict
On every sinner that shall stand convict,
I have amazed been, yet to behold,
To see poor sinners yet with sin so bold,
That like the horse that to the battle runs,
Without all fear, and that no danger shuns,
Till down he falls. O resolute attempts!
O sad, amazing, damnable events!
The end of such proceedings needs must be,
From which, O Lord, save and deliver me.
But if thou think that God thy noble race
Will more respect, than into such a place
To put thee; hold, though thou his offspring be,
And so art lovely, yet sin hath made thee
Another kind of creature than when thou
Didst from his fingers drop, and therefore now
Thy first creation stands thee in no stead;
Thou hast transgressed, and in very deed
Set God against thee, who is infinite,
And that for certain never will forget
Thy sins, nor favour thee if thou shalt die
A graceless man; this is thy misery.
When angels sinned, though of higher race
Than thou, and also put in higher place,
Yet them he spared not, but cast them down
From heaven to hell; where also they lie bound
In everlasting chains, and no release
Shall ever have, but wrath, that shall increase
Upon them, to their everlasting woe.
As for the state they were exalted to,
That will by no means mitigate their fear,
But aggravate their hellish torment here;
For he that highest stands, if he shall fall,
His danger needs must be the great'st of all.
Now if God noble angels did not spare
Because they did transgress, will he forbear
Poor dust and ashes? Will he suffer them
To break his law, and sin, and not condemn
Them for so doing? Let not man deceive
Himself or others; they that do bereave
Themselves by sin of happiness, shall be
Cut off by justice, and have misery.
Witness his great severity upon
The world that first was planted, wherein none
But only eight the deluge did escape,
All others of that vengeance did partake;
The reason was, that world ungodly stood
Before him, therefore he did send the flood,
Which swept them all away. A just reward
For their most wicked ways against the Lord,
Who could no longer bear them and their ways,
Therefore into their bosom vengeance pays.
We read of Sodom, and Gomorrah too,
What judgments they for sin did undergo;
How God from heaven did fire upon them rain,
Because they would not wicked ways refrain;
Condemning of them with an overthrow,
And turned them to ashes. Who can know
The miseries that these poor people felt
While they did underneath those burnings melt?
Now these, and many more that I could name,
That have been made partakers of the flame
And sword of justice, God did then cut off,
And make examples unto all that scoff
At holiness, or do the gospel slight;
And long it will not be before the night
And judgment, painted out by what he did
To Sodom and Gomorrah, fulfilled
Upon such sinners be, that they may now
That God doth hate the sin, and persons too.
Of such as still rebellious shall abide,
Although they now at judgment may deride.
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 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 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 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;
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 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
Yet for them to fulfill.
From Mount Gerizzim
esides what I said of the Four Last Things,
And of the weal and woe that from them springs;
An after-word still runneth in my mind,
Which I shall here expose unto that wind
That may it blow into that very hand
That needs it. Also that it may be scann'd
With greatest soberness, shall be my prayer,
As well as diligence and godly care;
So to present it unto public view,
That only truth and peace may thence ensue.
My talk shall be of that amazing love
Of God we read of; which, that it may prove,
By its engaging arguments to save
Thee, I shall lay out that poor help I have
Thee to entice; that thou wouldst dearly fall
In love with thy salvation, and with all
That doth thereto concur, that thou mayst be
As blessed as the Blessed can make thee,
Not only here but in the world to come,
In bliss, which, I pray God, may be thy home.
But first, I would advise thee to bethink
Thyself, how sin hath laid thee at the brink
Of hell, where thou art lulled fast asleep
In Satan's arms, who also will thee keep
As senseless and secure as e'er he may,
Lest thou shouldst wake, and see't, and run away
Unto that Jesus, whom the Father sent
Into the world, for this cause and intent,
That such as thou, from such a thrall as this
Might'st be released, and made heir of bliss.
Now that thou may'st awake, the danger fly,
And so escape the death that others die,
Come, let me set my trumpet to thine ear,
Be willing all my message for to hear:
'Tis for thy life, O do it not refuse;
Wo unto them good counsel do abuse.
Thou art at present in that very case,
Which argues thou art destitute of grace:
For he that lies where sin hath laid him, lies
Under the curse, graceless, and so he dies
In body and in soul, within that range,
If God his heart in mercy doth not change
Before he goes the way of all the earth,
Before he lose his spirit and his breath.
Repentance there is none within the grave,
Nor Christ, nor grace, nor mercies for to save
Thee from the vengeance due unto thy sin,
If now thou dost not truly close with him.
Thou art like him that sleepeth in the sea
On broken boards, which, without guide or stay,
Are driven whither winds and water will;
While greedy beasts do wait to have their fill
By feeding on his carcass, when he shall
Turn overboard, and without mercy fall
Into the jaws of such as make a prey
Of those whom justice drowneth in the sea.
Thou art like him that snoring still doth lie
Upon the bed of vain security,
Whilst all about him into burning flame
By fire is turned; yea, and while the frame
And building where he lies consuming is,
And while himself these burnings cannot miss.
Thou art like one that hangeth by a thread
Over the mouth of hell, as one half-dead;
And O, how soon this thread may broken be,
Or cut by death, is yet unknown to thee!
But sure it is, if all the weight of sin,
And all that Satan, too, hath doing been,
Or yet can do, can break this crazy thread,
'Twill not be long before, among the dead,
Thou tumble do, as linked fast in chains,
With them to wait in fear for future pains.
What shall I say? Wilt thou not yet awake?
Nor yet of thy poor soul some pity take?
Among the lions it hood-winked lies;
O, that the Lord would open once thine eyes
That thou might'st see it, then I dare say thou,
As half-bereft of wits, wouldst cry out, How
Shall I escape? Lord help, O! help with speed,
Reach down thy hand from heav'n, for help I need,
To save me from the lions, for I fear
This soul of mine they will in pieces tear.
Come, then, and let us both expostulate
The case betwixt us, till we animate
And kindle in our hearts that burning love
To Christ, to grace, to life, that we may move
Swifter than eagles to this blessed prey;
Then shall it be well with us in that day
The trump shall sound, the dead made rise, and stand,
Then to receive, for breach of God's command,
Such thunder-claps as these, Depart from me
Into hell-fire, you that the wicked be,
Prepared for the devil, and for those
That with him and his angels rather chose
To live in filthy sin and wickedness,
Whose fruit is everlasting bitterness.
We both are yet on this side of the grave,
We also gospel-privileges have;
The word, and time to pray; God give us hearts,
That, like the wise man, we may act our parts,
To get the pearl of price; then we shall be
Like godly Mary, Peter, Paul, and we
Like Jacob, too, the blessing shall obtain;
While Esau rides a-hunting for the gain
Of worldly pelf, which will him not avail
When death or judgment shall him sore assail.
Now, to encourage us for to begin,
Let us believe the kingdom we may win,
And be possess'd thereof, if we the way
Shall hit into, and then let nothing stay
Or hinder us; the crown is at the end,
Let's run and strive, and fly, and let's contend
With greatest courage it for to obtain;
'Tis life, and peace, and everlasting gain.
The gate of life, the new and living way,
The promise holdeth open all the day,
Which thou by Jacob's ladder must ascend,
Where angels always wait, and do attend
As ministers, to minister for those
That do with God, and Christ, and glory close.
If guilt of sin still lieth at our door,
Us to discourage, let us set before
Our eyes a bleeding Jesus, who did die
The death, and let's believe the reason why
He did it, was that we might ever be
From death and sin, from hell and wrath set free.
Yea, let's remember for that very end
It was his blessed Father did him send;
That he the law of God might here fulfil,
That so the mystery of his blessed will
Might be revealed in the blessedness
Of those that fly to Christ for righteousness.
Now let us argue with ourselves, then, thus
That Jesus Christ our Lord came to save us,
By bearing of our sins upon his back,
By hanging on the cross as on a rack,
While justice cut him off on every side,
While smiles Divine themselves from him did hide,
While earth did quake, and rocks in pieces rent,
And while the sun, as veiled, did lament
To see the innocent and harmless die
So sore a death, so full of misery.
Yea, let us turn again, and say, All this
He did and suffered for love of his.
He brought in everlasting righteousness,
That he might cover all our nakedness;
He wept and wash'd his face with brinish tears
That we might saved be from hellish fears;
Blood was his sweat, too, in his agony,
That we might live in joyful ecstasy;
He apprehended was and led away,
That grace to us-ward never might decay.
With swords, and bills, and outrage in the night,
That to the peace of heav'n we might have right.
Condemned he was between two thieves to die,
That we might ever in his bosom lie;
Scourged with whips his precious body were,
That we lashes of conscience might not fear;
His head was crowned with thorns, that we might be
Crowned with glory and felicity;
He hanged was upon a cursed tree,
That we delivered from death might be;
His Father from him hides his smiles and face,
That we might have them in the heavenly place;
He cry'd, My God, why hast forsaken me?
That we forsaken of him might not be.
Into his side was thrust a bloody spear,
That we the sting of death might never fear;
He went into the grave after all this,
That we might up to heav'n go, and have bliss.
Yea, rise again he did out of the earth,
And shook off from him all the chains of death;
Then at his chariot wheels he captive led
His foes, and trod upon the serpent's head;
Riding in triumph to his Father's throne,
There to possess the kingdom as his own.
What say'st thou, wilt not yet unto him come?
His arms are open, in his heart is room
To lay thee; be not then discouraged,
Although thy sins be many, great, and red;
Unto thee righteousness he will impute,
And with the kisses of his mouth salute
Thy drooping soul, and will it so uphold,
As that thy shaking conscience shall be bold
To come to mercy's seat with great access,
There to expostulate with that justice
That burns like fiery flames against all those
That do not with this blessed Jesus close;
Which unto thee will do no harm, but good,
Because thou hast reliance on that blood
That justice saith hath given him content,
For all that do unfeignedly repent
Their ill-spent life, and roll upon free grace,
That they within that bosom might have place,
That open is to such, where they shall lie
In ease, and gladness, and felicity,
World without end, according to that state
I have, nay, better than I, can relate.
If thou shalt still object, thou yet art vile,
And hast a heart that will not reconcile
Unto the holy law, but will rebel,
Hark yet to what I shall thee farther tell.
Two things are yet behind that help thee will,
If God should put into thy mind that skill,
So to improve them as becometh those
That would with mercy and forgiveness close.
First, then, let this sink down into thy heart,
That Christ is not a Saviour in part,
But every way so fully he is made
That all of those that underneath his shade
And wing would sit, and shroud their weary soul,
That even Moses dare it not control,
But justify it, approve of 't, and conclude
No man nor angel must himself intrude
With such doctrine that may oppose the same,
On pain of blaspheming that holy name,
Which God himself hath given unto men,
To stay, to trust, to lean themselves on, when
They feel themselves assaulted, and made fear
Their sin will not let them in life appear.
For as God made him perfect righteousness,
That he his love might to the height express,
And us present complete before the throne;
Sanctification, too, of his own
He hath prepared, in which do we stand,
Complete in holiness, at his right hand.
Now this sanctification is not
That holiness which is in us, but that
Which in the person of this Jesus is,
And can inherently be only his.
But is imputed to us for our good.
As is his active righteousness and blood;
Which is the cause, though we infirm are found,
That mercy and forgiveness doth abound
To us-ward, and that why we are not shent
And empty, and away rebuked sent,
Because that all we do imperfect is.
Bless God, then, for this holiness of his,
And learn to look by faith on that alone,
When thou seest thou hast nothing of thine own;
Yea, when thy heart most willing is to do
What God by his good word doth call thee to;
And when thou find'st most holiness within,
And greatest power over every sin,
Yet then to Jesus look, and thou shalt see
In him sanctification for thee,
Far more complete than all that thou canst find
In the most upright heart and willing mind,
That ever man or angels did possess,
When most filled with inherent righteousness.
Besides, if thou forgettest here to live,
And Satan get thee once into his sieve,
He will so hide thy wheat, and show thy brun
That thou wilt quickly cry, I am undone.
Alas, thy goodliest attainments here,
Though like the fairest blossoms they appear,
How quickly will they lour and decay,
And be as if they all were fled away,
When once the east-wind of temptations beat
Upon thee, with their dry and blasting heat!
Rich men will not account their treasure lies
In crack'd groats and four-pence half-pennies,
But in those bags they have within their chests,
In staple goods, which shall within their breasts
Have place accordingly, because they see
Their substance lieth here. But if that be
But shaken, then they quickly fear, and cry,
Alas, 'tis not this small and odd money,
We carry in our pockets for to spend,
Will make us rich, or much will stand our friend.
If famine or if want do us assail,
How quickly will these little pieces fail!
If thou be wise, consider what I say
And look for all in Christ, where no decay
Is like to be; then though thy present frame
Be much in up-and-down, yet he the same
Abideth, yea, and still at God's right hand,
As thy most perfect holiness will stand.
It is, I say, not like to that in thee,
Now high, then low, now out, then in, but he
Most perfect is, when thou art at the worst
The same, the very same; I said at first,
This helpeth much when thou art buffeted,
And when thy graces lie in thee as dead;
Then to believe they are all perfect still
In Christ thy head, who hath that blessed skill,
Yet to present thee by what is in him
Unto his Father, one that hath no sin.
Yea, this will fill thy mouth with argument
Against the tempter, when he shall present
Before thee all thy weakness, and shall hide
From thee thy graces, that thou mayst abide
Under the fretting fumes of unbelief,
Which never yielded Christian man relief.
Nor help thyself thou mayst against him thus:
O Satan, though my heart indeed be worse
Than 'twas a while ago, yet I perceive
Thou shalt me not of happiness bereave,
Nor yet of holiness; for by the Word
I find that Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord,
Is made sanctification for me
In his own person, where all graces be,
As water in the fountain; and that I,
By means of that, have yet a sanctity,
Both personal and perfect every way;
And that is Christ himself, as Paul doth say.
Now, though my crazy pitcher oft doth leak,
By means of which my graces are so weak,
And so much spent, that one I cannot find
Able to stay or help my feeble mind;
Yet then I look to Jesus, and see all
In him that wanting is in me, and shall
Again take courage, and believe he will
Present me upright in his person, till
He humble me for all my foolishness,
And then again fill me with holiness.
Now, if thou lovest inward sanctity,
As all the saints do most unfeignedly,
Then add, to what I have already said,
Faith in the promise; and be not afraid
To urge it often at the throne of grace,
And to expect it in its time and place.
Then he that true is, and that cannot lie,
Will give it unto thee, that thou thereby
Mayst serve with faith, with fear, in truth and love,
That God that did at first thy spirit move
To ask it to his praise, that he might be
Thy God, and that he might delight in thee.
If I should here particulars relate,
Methinks it could not but much animate
Thy heart, though very listless to inquire
How thou mayst that enjoy, which all desire
That love themselves and future happiness;
But O, I cannot fully it express:
The promise is so open and so free,
In all respects, to those that humble be,
That want they cannot what for them is good;
But there 'tis, and confirmed is with blood,
A certain sign, all those enjoy it may,
That see they want it, and sincerely pray
To God the Father, in that Jesus' name
Who bled on purpose to confirm the same.