And this is a sore judgment of God upon men, when God shall, for the sins of such, give them up to be their own executioners, or rather to execute his judgment and anger upon themselves. And let me earnestly give this caution to sinners. Take heed, Sirs, break off your sins, lest God serves you as he served Mr. Badman's brother; that is, lest he gives you up to be your own murderers.
ATTEN. Now you talk of this; I did once know a man, a barber, that took his own razor and cut his own throat, and then put his head out of his chamber window, to show the neighbours what he had done, and after a little while died.
WISE. I can tell you a more dreadful thing than this; I mean as to the manner of doing the fact. There was, about twelve years since, a man that lived at Brafield, by Northampton, named John Cox, that murdered himself; the manner of his doing of it was thus. He was a poor man, and had for some time been sick, and the time of his sickness was about the beginning of hay-time, and taking too many thoughts how he should live afterwards, if he lost his present season of work, he fell into deep despair about the world, and cried out to his wife the morning before he killed himself, saying, We are undone. But quickly after, he desired his wife to depart the room, because, said he, I will see if I can get any rest; so she went out; but he, instead of sleeping, quickly took his razor, and therewith cut up a great hole in his side, out of which he pulled and cut off some of his guts, and threw them, with the blood, up and down the chamber. But this not speeding of him so soon as he desired, he took the same razor and therewith cut his own throat. His wife, the hearing of him sigh and fetch his wind short, came again into the room to him, and seeing what he had done, she ran out and called in some neighbours, who came to him where he lay in a bloody manner, frightful to behold. Then said one of them to him, Ah! John, what have you done? Are you not sorry for what you have done? He answered roughly, It is too late to be sorry. Then, said the same person to him again, Ah! John, pray to God to forgive thee this bloody act of thine. At the hearing of which exhortation he seemed much offended, and in an angry manner said, Pray! and with that flung himself away to the wall, and so, after a few gasps, died desperately. When he had turned him of his back to the wall, the blood ran out of his belly as out of a bowl, and soaked quite through the bed to the boards, and through the chinks of the boards it ran pouring down to the ground. Some said that when the neighbours came to see him, he lay groping with his hand in his bowels, reaching upward, as was thought, that he might have pulled or cut out his heart. It was said, also, that some of his liver had been by him torn out and cast upon the boards, and that many of his guts hung out of the bed on the side thereof; but I cannot confirm all particulars; but the general of the story, with these circumstances above mentioned, is true. I had it from a sober and credible person, who himself was one that saw him in this bloody state, and that talked with him, as was hinted before.
Many other such dreadful things might be told you, but these are enough, and too many too, if God, in his wisdom, had thought necessary to prevent them.
ATTEN. This is a dreadful story. And I would to God that it might be a warning to others, to instruct them to fear before God, and pray, lest he give them up to do as John Cox hath done. For surely self-murderers cannot go to heaven; and, therefore, as you have said, he that dieth by his own hands, is certainly gone to hell. But speak a word or two of the other man you mentioned.
WISE. What? of a wicked man dying in despair?
ATTEN. Yes, of a wicked man dying in despair.
WISE. Well then. This Mr. Badman's other brother was a very wicked man, both in heart and life; I say in heart, because he was so in life, nor could anything reclaim him; neither good men, good books, good examples, nor God's judgments. Well, after he had lived a great while in his sins, God smote him with a sickness, of which he died. Now in his sickness his conscience began to be awakened, and he began to roar out of his ill-spent life, insomuch that the town began to ring of him. Now, when it was noised about, many of the neighbours came to see him, and to read by him, as is the common way with some; but all that they could do, could not abate his terror, but he would lie in his bed gnashing of his teeth, and wringing of his wrists, concluding upon the damnation of his soul, and in that horror and despair he died; not calling upon God, but distrusting in his mercy, and blaspheming of his name.
ATTEN. This brings to my mind a man that a friend of mine told me of. He had been a wicked liver; so when he came to die, he fell into despair; and having concluded that God had no mercy for him, he addressed himself to the devil for favour, saying, Good devil, be good unto me.
WISE. This is almost like Saul, who being forsaken of God, went to the witch of Endor, and so to the devil for help (1 Sam 28). But, alas, should I set myself to collect these dreadful stories, it would be easy in little time to present you with hundreds of them. But I will conclude as I began; they that are their own murderers, or that die in despair, after they have lived a life of wickedness, do surely go to hell. And here I would put in a caution. Every one that dieth under consternation of spirit; that is, under amazement and great fear, do not therefore die in despair. For a good man may have this for his bands in his death, and yet go to heaven and glory (Psa 73:4). For, as I said before, he that is a good man, a man that hath faith and holiness, a lover and worshipper of God by Christ, according to his Word, may die in consternation of spirit; for Satan will not be wanting to assault good men upon their death-bed, but they are secured by the Word and power of God; yea, and are also helped, though with much agony of spirit, to exercise themselves in faith and prayer, the which he that dieth in despair can by no means do. But let us return to Mr. Badman, and enter further discourse of the manner of his death.
ATTEN. I think you and I are both of a mind; for just now I was thinking to call you back to him also. And pray now, since it is your own motion to return again to him, let us discourse a little more of his quiet and still death.
WISE. With all my heart. You know we were speaking before of the manner of Mr. Badman's death; how that he died still and quietly; upon which you made observation that the common people conclude, that if a man dies quietly, and as they call it, like a lamb, he is certainly gone to heaven; when, alas, if a wicked man died quietly, if a man that has all his days lived in notorious sin, dieth quietly; his quiet dying is so far off from being a sign of his being saved, that it is an uncontrollable proof of his damnation. This was Mr. Badman's case, he lived wickedly even to the last, and then went quietly out of the world; therefore Mr. Badman is gone to hell.
ATTEN. Well, but since you are upon it, and also so confident in it, to wit, that a man that lives a wicked life till he dies, and then dies quietly, is gone to hell; let me see what show of proof you have for this your opinion.
WISE. My first argument is drawn from the necessity of repentance. No man can be saved except he repents, nor can he repent that sees not, that knows not that he is a sinner; and he that knows himself to be a sinner will, I will warrant him, be molested for the time by that knowledge. this, as it is testified by all the scriptures, so it is testified by Christian experience. He that knows himself to be a sinner is molested, especially if that knowledge comes not to him until he is cast upon his death-bed; molested, I say, before he can die quietly. Yea, he is molested, dejected, and cast down, he is also made to cry out, to hunger and thirst after mercy by Christ, and if at all he shall indeed come to die quietly, I mean with that quietness that is begotten by faith and hope in God's mercy, to the which Mr. Badman and his brethren were utter strangers, his quietness is distinguished by all judicious observers by what went before it, by what it flows from, and also by what is the fruit thereof.
I must confess I am no admirer of sick-bed repentance, for I think verily it is seldom good of any thing. But I say, he that hath lived in sin and profaneness all his days, as Mr. Badman did, and yet shall die quietly, that is, without repentance steps in betwixt his life and death, he is assuredly gone to hell, and is damned.
ATTEN. This does look like an argument indeed; for repentance must come, or else we must go to hell-fire; and if a lewd liver shall, I mean that so continues till the day of his death, yet go out of the world quietly, it is a sign that he died without repentance, and so a sign that he is damned.
WISE. I am satisfied in it, for my part, and that from the necessity and nature of repentance. It is necessary, because God calls for it, and will not pardon sin without it. 'Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish?' (Luke 13:1-7). This is that which God hath said, and he will prove but a foolhardy man that shall yet think to go to heaven and glory without it. Repent, for 'the axe is laid unto the root of the trees, therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit,' but no good fruit can be where there is not sound repentance, shall be 'hewn down, and cast into the fire' (Matt 3:10). This was Mr. Badman's case, he had attending of him a sinful life, and that to the very last, and yet died quietly, that is, without repentance; he is gone to hell and is damned. For the nature of repentance, I have touched upon that already, and showed that it never was where a quiet death is the immediate companion of a sinful life; and therefore Mr. Badman is gone to hell.
Secondly. My second argument is drawn from that blessed word of Christ. While the strong man armed keeps the house, 'his goods are in peace,' till a stronger than he comes (Luke 11:21). But the strong man armed kept Mr. Badman's house, that is, his heart, and soul, and body, for he went from a sinful life quietly out of this world. The stronger did not disturb by intercepting with sound repentance betwixt his sinful life and his quiet death. Therefore Mr. Badman is gone to hell.
The strong man armed is the devil, and quietness is his security. The devil never fears losing of the sinner, if he can but keep him quiet. Can he but keep him quiet in a sinful life, and quiet in his death, he is his own. Therefore he saith, 'his goods are in peace'; that is, out of danger. There is no fear of the devil's losing such a soul, I say, because Christ, who is the best judge in this matter, saith, 'his goods are in peace,' in quiet, and out of danger.
ATTEN. This is a good one too; for, doubtless, peace and quiet with sin is one of the greatest signs of a damnable state.
WISE. So it is. Therefore, when God would show the greatness of his anger against sin and sinners in one word, he saith, They are 'joined to idols; let them alone' (Hosea 4:17). Let them alone, that is, disturb them not; let them go on without control; let the devil enjoy them peaceably, let him carry them out of the world unconverted quietly. This is one of the sorest of judgments, and bespeaketh the burning anger of God against sinful men. See also when you come home, the fourteenth verse of the fourth chapter of Hosea, 'I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom.' I will let them alone, they shall live and die in their sins. But,
Thirdly. My third argument is drawn from that saying of Christ, 'He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them' (John 12:40). There are three things that I will take notice of from these words.
1. The first is, that there can be no conversion to God where the eye is darkened, and the heart hardened. The eye must first be made to see, and the heart to break and relent under and for sin, or else there can be no conversion. 'He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, lest they should see, and understand and' so 'be converted.' And this was clearly Mr. Badman's case; he lived a wicked life, and also died with his eyes shut, and heart hardened, as is manifest, in that a sinful life was joined with a quiet death; and all for that he should not be converted, but partake of the fruit of his sinful life in hell-fire.
2. The second thing that I take notice of from these words is, that this is a dispensation and manifestation of God's anger against a man for his sin. When God is angry with men, I mean, when he is so angry with them, this among many is one of the judgments that he giveth them up unto, to wit, to blindness of mind, and hardness of heart, which he also suffereth to accompany them till they enter in at the gates of death. And then, and there, and not short of then and there, their eyes come to be opened. Hence it is said of the rich man mentioned in Luke, 'He died, and in hell he lifted up his eyes' (Luke 16:22). Implying that he did not lift them up before; he neither saw what he had done, nor whither he was going, till he came to the place of execution, even into hell. He died asleep in his soul; he died besotted, stupefied, and so consequently for quietness like a child or lamb, even as Mr. Badman did. This was a sign of God's anger; he had a mind to damn him for his sins, and therefore would not let him see nor have a heart to repent for them, lest he should convert; and his damnation, which God had appointed, should be frustrate. 'Lest they should be converted, and I should heal them.'
3. The third thing I take notice of from hence is, that a sinful life and a quiet death annexed to it is the ready, the open, the beaten, the common highway to hell: there is no surer sign of damnation than for a man to die quietly after a sinful life. I do not say that all wicked men that are molested at their death with a sense of sin and fears of hell do therefore go to heaven, for some are also made to see, and are left to despair, not converted by seeing, that they might go roaring out of this world to their place. But I say there is no surer sign of a man's damnation than to die quietly after a sinful life; than to sin and die with his eyes shut; than to sin and die with an heart that cannot repent. 'He hath blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart' (John 12:40). No not so long as they are in this world, 'Lest they should see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them' (Acts 28:26,27; Rom 2:1-5).
God has a judgment for wicked men; God will be even with wicked men. God knows how to reserve the ungodly to the day of judgment to be punished (2 Peter 2). And this is one of his ways by which he doth it. Thus it was with Mr. Badman.
4. Fourthly, it is said in the book of Psalms, concerning the wicked, 'There are no bands in their death, but their strength is firm' (Psa 73:4-6). By no bands he means no troubles, no gracious chastisements, no such corrections for sin as fall to be the lot of God's people for theirs; yea, that many times falls to be theirs at the time of their death. Therefore he adds concerning the wicked, 'They are not in trouble [then] as other men, neither are they plagued like other men'; but go as securely out of the world as if they had never sinned against God, and put their own souls into danger of damnation. 'There is no bands in their death.' They seem to go unbound, and set at liberty out of this world, though they have lived notoriously wicked all their days in it. The prisoner that is to die at the gallows for his wickedness, must first have his irons knocked off his legs; so he seems to go most at liberty, when indeed he is going to be executed for his transgressions. Wicked men also have no bands in their death, they seem to be more at liberty when they are even at the wind-up of their sinful life, than at any time besides.
Hence you shall have them boast of their faith and hope in God's mercy when they lie upon their death-bed; yea, you shall have them speak as confidently of their salvation as if they had served God all their days; when the truth is, the bottom of this their boasting is because they have no bands in their death. Their sin and base life comes not into their mind to correct them, and bring them to repentance; but presumptuous thoughts, and a hope and faith of the spider's, the devil's, making, possesseth their soul, to their own eternal undoing (Job 8:13,14).
[WITHOUT GODLY REPENTANCE, THE WICKED MAN'S HOPE AND LIFE DIE TOGETHER.]
Hence wicked men's hope is said to die, not before, but with them; they give up the ghost together. And thus did Mr. Badman. His sins and his hope went with him to the gate, but there his hope left him, because he died there; but his sins went in with him, to be a worm to gnaw him in conscience for ever and ever.
The opinion, therefore of the common people concerning this kind of dying is frivolous and vain; for Mr. Badman died like a lamb, or, as they call it, like a chrisom-child, quietly and without fear. I speak not this with reference to the struggling of nature with death, but as to the struggling of the conscience with the judgment of God. I know that nature will struggle with death. I have seen a dog and sheep die hardly. And thus may a wicked man do, because there is an antipathy betwixt nature and death. But even while, even then, when death and nature are struggling for mastery, the soul, the conscience, may be as besotted, as benumbed, as senseless and ignorant of its miserable state, as the block or bed on which the sick lies. And thus they may die like a chrisom-child in show, but indeed like one who by the judgment of God is bound over to eternal damnation; and that also by the same judgment is kept from seeing what they are, and whither they are going, till they plunge down among the flames.
And as it is a very great judgment of God on wicked men that so die, for it cuts them off from all possibility of repentance, and so of salvation, so it is as great a judgment upon those that are their companions that survive them, for by the manner of their death, they dying so quietly, so like unto chrisom-children, as they call it, they are hardened, and take courage to go on in their course.
For comparing their life with their death, their sinful, cursed lives, with their childlike, lamblike death, they think that all is well, that no damnation is happened to them; though they lived like devils incarnate, yet they died like harmless ones. there was no whirlwind, no tempest, no band or plague in their death. They died as quietly as the most godly of them all, and had as great faith and hope of salvation, and would talk as boldly of salvation as if they had assurance of it. But as was their hope in life, so was their death; their hope was without trial, because it was none of God's working, and their death was without molestation, because so was the judgment of God concerning them.
But I say, at this their survivors take heart to tread their steps, and to continue to live in the breach of the law of God; yea, they carry it stately in their villainies; for so it follows in the Psalm; 'There are no bands in their death, but their strength is firm,' &c. 'therefore pride compasseth them,' the survivors, 'about as a chain, violence covereth them as a garment' (Psa 73:6). Therefore they take courage to do evil, therefore they pride themselves in their iniquity. Therefore, wherefore? Why, because their fellows died, after they had lived long in a most profane and wicked life, as quietly and as like to lambs as if they had been innocent.
Yea, they are bold, by seeing this, to conclude that God either does not, or will not, take notice of their sins. They 'speak wickedly, and speak loftily' (Psa 73:8). They speak wickedly of sin, for that they make it better than by the Word it is pronounced to be. They speak wickedly concerning oppression that they commend, and count it a prudent act. They also speak loftily. 'They set their mouth against the heavens,' &c. 'And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the Most High?' (Psa 73:11). And all this, so far as I can see, ariseth in their hearts from the beholding of the quiet and lamblike death of their companions. 'Behold these are the ungodly who prosper in the world,' that is, by wicked ways; 'they increase in riches' (Psa 73:12).
This therefore is a great judgment of God, both upon that man that dieth in his sins, and also upon his companion that beholdeth him so to die. He sinneth, he dieth in his sins, and yet dieth quietly. What shall his companion say to this? What judgment shall he make how God will deal with him, by beholding the lamblike death of his companion? Be sure he cannot, as from such a sight, say, Woe be to me, for judgment is before him. He cannot gather that sin is a dreadful and a bitter thing, by the childlike death of Mr. Badman. But must rather, if he judgeth according to what he sees, or according to his corrupted reason, conclude with the wicked ones of old, that 'every one that doth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?' (Mal 2:17).
Yea, this is enough to puzzle the wisest man. David himself was put to a stand by beholding the quiet death of ungodly men. 'Verily,' says he, 'I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency' (Psa 73:13). They, to appearance, fare better by far than I: 'Their eyes stand out with fatness,' they have more than heart could wish. But all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. This, I say, made David wonder, yea, and Job and Jeremiah too. But he goeth into the sanctuary, and then he understands their end, nor could he understand it before. 'I went into the sanctuary of God.' What place was that? Why there where he might inquire of God, and by him he resolved of this matter; 'Then,' says he, 'understood I their end.' Then I saw that thou hast 'set them in slippery places,' and that 'thou castedst them down to destruction.' Castedst them down, that is, suddenly, or, as the next words say, 'As in a moment they are utterly consumed with terrors'; which terrors did not seize them on their sick-bed, for they had 'no bands' in their death. The terrors, therefore, seized them there, where also they are holden in them for ever. This he found out, I say, but not without great painfulness, grief, and pricking in his reins; so deep, so hard, and so difficult did he find it rightly to come to a determination in this matter.
And, indeed, this is a deep judgment of God towards ungodly sinners; it is enough to stagger a whole world, only the godly that are in the world have a sanctuary to go to, where the oracle and Word of God is, by which his judgments, and a reason of many of them are made known to, and understood by them.
ATTEN. Indeed this is a staggering dispensation. It is full of the wisdom and anger of God. And I believe, as you have said, that it is full of judgment to the world. Who would have imagined, that had not known Mr. Badman, and yet had seen him die, but that he had been a man of an holy life and conversation, since he died so stilly, so quietly, so like a lamb or a chrisom-child? Would they not, I say, have concluded that he was a righteous man? or that if they had known him and his life, yet to see him die so quietly, would they not have concluded that he had made his peace with God? Nay farther, if some had known that he had died in his sins, and yet that he had died so like a lamb, would they not have concluded that either God doth not know our sins, or that he likes them; or that he wants power, or will, or heart, or skill, to punish them; since Mr. Badman himself went from a sinful life so quietly, so peaceable, and so like a lamb as he did?
WISE. Without controversy, this is a heavy judgment of God upon wicked men; one goes to hell in peace, another goes to hell in trouble; one goes to hell, being sent thither by his own hands; another goes to hell, being sent thither by the hand of his companion; one goes thither with his eyes shut, and another goes thither with his eyes open; one goes thither roaring, and another goes thither boasting of heaven and happiness all the way he goes (Job 21:23). One goes thither like Mr. Badman himself, and others go thither as did his brethren. But above all, Mr. Badman's death, as to the manner of dying, is the fullest of snares and traps to wicked men; therefore, they that die as he are the greatest stumble to the world. They go, and go, they go on peaceably from youth to old age, and thence to the grave, and so to hell, without noise. 'They go as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks'; that is, both senselessly and securely. O! but being come at the gates of hell. O! but when they see those gates set open for them. O! but when they see that that is their home, and that they must go in thither, then their peace and quietness flies away for ever. Then they roar like lions, yell like dragons, howl like dogs, and tremble at their judgment, as do the devils themselves. O! when they see they must shoot the gulf and throat of hell! when they shall see that hell hath shut her ghastly jaws upon them, when they shall open their eyes and find themselves within the belly and bowels of hell! Then they will mourn, and weep, and hack, and gnash their teeth for pain. But his must not be, or if it must, yet very rarely, till they are gone out of the sight and hearing of those mortals whom they do leave behind them alive in the world.
ATTEN. Well, my good neighbour Wiseman, I perceive that the sun grows low, and that you have come to a conclusion with Mr. Badman's life and death; and, therefore, I will take my leave of you. Only first, let me tell you, I am glad that I have met with you to-day, and that our hap was to fall in with Mr. Badman's state. I also thank you for your freedom with me, in granting of me your reply to all my questions. I would only beg your prayers that God will give me much grace, that I may neither live nor die as did Mr. Badman.
WISE. My good neighbour Attentive, I wish your welfare in soul and body; and if aught that I have said of Mr. Badman's life and death may be of benefit unto you, I shall be heartily glad; only I desire you to thank God for it, and to pray heartily for me, that I with you may be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
ATTEN. Amen. Farewell.
WISE. I wish you heartily farewell.
 Reynolds' preface to God's Revenge against Murder.
 Quirk, an artful or subtle evasion of a truthful home-thrust.—Ed.
 Butt, a mark set up to shoot at. 'Some are always exposed to the wit and raillery of their well-wishers, pelted by friends and foes, in a word, stand as butts.'—Spectator, No. 47.—Ed.
 The office of a Christian minister is like that of a king's messenger, not only to comfort and reward the king's friends, but to arrest his enemies. England was then overrun with the latter 'game.' Alas! there are too many of them now. May the revival of this shot 'light upon many.'—Ed.
 'Fire to the pan,' alluding to the mode of using fire-arms, by applying a lighted match to the pan, before the fire-lock was invented.—Ed.
 In the single combat of quarter-staff, he who held the best end of the staff usually gained the victory.—Ed.
: Pilgrim's Progress, Interpreter's House. This is a remarkable illustration of a difficult part of the allegory—faithful admonitions repaid by murderous revenge, but overcome by Christian courage.—Ed.
 'The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God' (1 Cor 6:9). Instead of Christ, the Prince of peace, being theirs, the prince of the power of the air is theirs; instead of the comforts of the gospel, the curses of the law are theirs; instead of heaven, hell is theirs and an exclusion from God and happiness for ever! Sinner, think NOW on these things.—Mason.
: These Scriptures have often been perverted to justify the most cruel punishments inflicted on helpless children. The word translated 'a rod,' is derived from the Hebrew verb 'to govern,' and, as a noun, signifies a sceptre, a pen, or a staff, the emblems of government. Brutal punishments, as practised in our army, navy, and schools, are not only inhuman and indecent, but have one direct tendency, that of hardening the mind and instilling a vindictive ferocious disposition. After bringing up a very large family, who are a blessing to their parents, I have yet to learn what part of the human body was created to be beaten. There are infinitely better modes of instructing, correcting, and governing children, than that of bruising their flesh, or breaking their bones, or even of a box on the ear.—Ed.
 Peculiarly awful are the denunciations of the Scriptures against the crime of lying. The liar and the murderer are joined together to receive the curse. 'Thou shalt destroy them that speak lies—the man of blood and of deceit are abhorred of the Lord' (Psa 5:6).
 The first edition has 'Saphhira and his wife.' It is not noticed in the errata, but was corrected in the later copies.—Ed.
 The solemn importance of instilling right principles into the mind, from the first dawn of reason, cannot be too strongly enforced. Many a wretched midnight burglar commenced his career of vice and folly by stealing fruit, followed by thieving anything that he could HANDSOMELY. Pilfering, unless severely checked, is a hotbed for the foulest crimes.—Ed.
 'Gloating,' staring sulkily; or with an evil eye.—Ed.
 Point, a tag or metal point fixed on the end of a lace. Fox narrates that a martyr, brought to the stake in his shirt, took a point from his hose, and trussed in his shirt between his legs.—Ed.
: 'Sin will at first, just like a beggar, crave One penny or one halfpenny to have; And if you grant its first suit, 'twill aspire From pence to pounds, and so will still mount higher To the whole soul.'—Bunyan's Caution against Sin.
 Christian assemblies are the life, food, and nourishment of our souls; consequently the forsaking of them, and the profanation of the Sabbath, are usually the forerunners of apostacy.—Mason.
 Profane swearers use the language of hell before they arrive at their awful destination. Were God to answer their imprecations they would be miserable beyond conception. 'Because of swearing the land mourneth.'—Ed.
 Profane cursing and swearing was awfully fashionable in Bunyan's days. This led many pious persons to denounce oaths altogether; and the time is fast coming when the world will agree with the Quakers that an affirmation is the best test of truth. It is like the controversy of the teetotallers; some who would be ashamed of taking intoxicating liquors, except as medicine, will soon throw such physics to the dogs or on the dunghill.—Ed.
 This is one of Bunyan's home-thrusts at Popery. Classing the mass, our lady-saints, and beasts, among the idols or objects of divine worship. He omits an oath very common among Irish labourers, which much puzzled me when a boy, 'bloodunoons,' meaning the bleeding wounds of the Saviour. How thankful ought we to be that, in our days, profane swearing stamps, upon any one who uses it, the character of a blackguard.—ED
 Out of public view—obscure, contemptible. See Imperial Dictionary.—Ed.
 Thank Heaven such enormous brutalities have fled before the benign enlightening influence of the gospel. To suffocate a man, in order to drive out an imaginary evil spirit, was like the popular trial for witchcraft. The poor woman, if cross, and old, and ugly, her hands and legs being tied together, was thrown into deep water; if she floated, it was a proof of guilt to hang her, if she sunk and was drowned, she was declared to be innocent!—Ed.
 Parallels to these important proverbs are found in all languages derived from the Hebrew. 'There is nothing hid from God,' and 'There is nothing hid that shall not be known' (Jer 32; Matt 10). In French, 'Leo murailles ont des oreilles—Walls have ears.' Shakespeare, alluding to a servant bringing in a pitcher, as a pretence to enable her to overhear a conversation, uses this proverb, 'pitchers have ears and I have many servants.' May that solemn truth be impressed upon every heart, that however screened from human observation, 'Thou God seest me.'—Ed.
 No period in English history was so notorious for the publication of immoral books, calculated to debauch the mind, as the reign of Charles II. It must have been more painfully conspicuous to Bunyan, who had lived under the moral discipline of the Commonwealth.—Ed.
: From chief, 'my worthy arch and patron.'—King Lear; or from the Teutonic 'arg,' a rogue. It usually denotes roguish, knavish, sly, artful.—Ed.
 This is one among a multitude of proofs of the popularity and high esteem in which Bunyan was held, even while a prisoner for Christ's sake.—Ed.
 Reader, bless God that you live in a happier day than that of Bunyan. The reign of Charles II was pre-eminently distinguished for licentiousness and debauchery. Still there were some who crucified the flesh, with its lusts, and held every obscene word in detestation and abhorrence; because it is written 'be ye holy, for I am holy.' Such must have sorely dazzled the owls of debauchery. Can we wonder that they tormented and imprisoned them?—Ed.
 How often is suicide committed without poison, suffocation, the knife, or firearms. About forty years ago one of my neighbours was told by his doctor that, unless he gave up the bottle, it would send him into another world. He called his servant and ordered wine, saying, I had rather die than give up all my enjoyments. In about six months I saw his splendid funeral.—Ed.
 The remorse and stings of conscience seducers will feel in the next life, for being the instruments of so much wickedness and desolation in others, will prove to them a thousand hells.—Mason.
 Ungodly, Christless, prayerless families are little hells—filthy fountains, whose waters cast up mire and dirt; they are the blind and willing captives of sin and Satan, going down to the chambers of death and endless despair.—Ed.
 'In grain,' material dyed before it is manufactured, so that every grain receives the colour, which becomes indelible.—Ed.
 By 'a piece of money' is here meant two hundred pounds. It probably means a portion or piece of his fortune.—Ed.
 From the Anglo-Saxon 'Eggian,' to incite, urge.—Ed.
 The Genevan or Puritan version of this passage is very striking: 'he that feedeth the gluttons, shameth his father.'—Ed.
 This is one of the numerous passages of Holy Writ which are more expressive without than with the words supplied in italics: women are not exempt from the 'rags' which must ever follow drowsiness.—Ed.
 'Glout,' to pout or look sulky; obsolete.—Ed.
 This is one of the hardest lessons a disciple has to learn in the school of Christ; not to hate the sinner, but the sin; especially under circumstances of such cruel deception.—Ed.
 Mixed, impure. ''Tis true, the cause is in the lurch Between the right and mongrel church.'—Hudibras.—Ed.
 Such were the sound reasons which animated the martyrs to resist unjust human laws, interfering with or directing the mode of divine worship; and such are the reasons which prevent conformity to national religions, to the payment of church rates, and similar ungodly impositions.—Ed.
 The Quakers braved the storm, met in public, and appeared to court persecution. Not so the Baptists; they met in woods and caves, and with such secrecy that it was not possible to detect them, unless by an informer. William Penn taunted them in these words: 'they resolve to keep their old haunt of creeping into garrets, cheese-lofts, coalholes, and such like nice walks.' And so would I, rather than be disturbed by constables.—Ed.
 Sink them is an unusual kind of oath, wishing that body or mind might be depressed. Shakespeare uses the word in reference to mental suffering: 'If I have a conscience, let it sink me.'—Ed.
 Noddy, a simpleton; see Imperial Dictionary.—Ed.
 Fraudulent bankruptcy is a sore and prevailing evil. It is thieving under the protection of the law. How many live in state, until their creditors get a few shillings in the pound, and the bankrupt gets the curse of God upon his soul!—Ed.
 Quean, a slut, a strumpet; see Imperial Dictionary.—Ed.
 Witness the shepherd boy's song in the Pilgrim:—
He that is down need fear no fall, He that is low, no pride; He that is humble ever shall Have God to be his guide.
This poor boy, in his very mean clothes, carried more heart's ease in his bosom, than he that was clad in silk and velvet.—Ed.
 For this use of the word lap, see Proverbs 16:33.—Ed.
 In the reign of Edward II, the price of provisions was regulated by Act of Parliament. Twenty-four eggs were ordered to be sold for one penny, but the penny of that period contained as much silver as the threepenny piece of Bunyan's, and of our time. I have bought, within the last forty years, the finest eggs at four a penny in Normandy.—Ed.
 'Slither,' slippery, deceitful; obsolete, except in Lincolnshire.—Ed.
 Purses were worn, in Bunyan's time, hanging to the girdle, or slung over the shoulder, as they now are in some parts of Germany. A pickpocket was then called 'a cut-purse.'—Ed.
 Many ecclesiastical instruments of terror, spoliation, and death, began with, 'In the name of God. Amen.' That sacred name has been, and now is, awfully profaned and prostituted to the vilest purposes.—Ed.
 This is a sad mistake; such getting is a curse: 'Cursed is the deceiver': 'I will curse your blessings,' saith Jehovah by his prophet Malachi.—Ed.
 Modern editors, not so well aware as Bunyan of the value of tar as a medicine for sheep, altered the word to ship. A halfpenny worth of tar will serve a sheep, but not a ship.—Ed.
 This was attempted when Bunyan was released from his cruel imprisonment by the King's pardon, which one instrument included the names of nearly five hundred suffers; and because the fees upon a pardon were twenty pounds, 'the covetous clerks did strive to exact upon us,' says Whitehead, 'by demanding that sum upon every name.' Further application to the King put an end to this exaction.—Ed.
 When the labourer's wages were eightpence or tenpence per day, in 1683, wheat averaged forty-five shillings per quarter. How comparatively happy is the present state of our agricultural labourers; and so would be that of the farmer, if rent was as low now as it was at that period.—Ed.
 To lie at catch, to watch for an opportunity to take an unfair advantage. See the conversation between Faithful and Talkative in the Pilgrim's Progress.—Ed.
 Augustine had so strong a sense of fair dealing, that when a bookseller asked for a book far less than it was worth, he, of his own accord, gave him the full value thereof!! See Clark's Looking-glass, edit. 1657.—Ed.
 'Fondness,' an inordinate desire to possess. 'I have such a fond fantasy of my own.'—Sir. T. More.—Ed.
 Cheating, either in quality, weight, or price of commodities, is not common in Mahometan countries, where the punishment is very severe; that of nailing the dealer's ears to his door-posts. It is a foul disgrace to Christian countries that these crimes are so common.—Ed.
 Malapert, dexterous in evil-speaking. 'It is blasphemous to say that God will not hear us for our presumptuous malapertness unless we invoke the saints.'—Tyndale.
 This is a phrase in heraldry to signify that the armorial bearings are marked with some sign of disgrace. Thus John de Aveones having reviled his mother in the King's presence, he ordered that the tongue and claw of the lion which he bore in his arms should be defaced. In many cases a baton is inserted as a mark of illegitimacy.—Ed.
 From a fine Persian drawing in the editor's cabinet, it appears that the nose jewel lies on the right cheek, and is fixed by a ring cut through to form a spring; one edge of the cut going inside, and the other meeting outside the nostril, so as to be readily removed as occasion required.—Ed.
 An attempt at something new, a foolish innovation, generally used with the word new; as, 'In holiday gown, and my new fangled hat.'—Cunningham.—Ed.
 A tuft of hair worn on a man's forehead, or a projecting conspicuous part of the women's caps worn by the fashionables of that time.—Ed.
 No one, except he has blown a ram's horn, or attended the Jewish ceremony of the New-year, Tizri 1 (Sept.), can imagine the miserable sounding of a ram's horn. Bunyan, with all his powers and popularity, was, to an extraordinarily degree, 'a humble man.'—Ed.
 A professor of Christianity who indulges in sin, is the worst of Atheists. Such conduct is practical hypocrisy and Atheism.—Ed.
 The general opinion, to a late period, was, that the frog or toad was poisonous. Bartolomeus calls the frog 'venomous,' and that in proportion to the number of his spots. Bunyan, who was far in advance of his age, throws a doubt upon it, by the words 'as we say.'—Ed.
 Outward reformation without inward grace is like washing a sow, which you may make clean, but never can make cleanly; it will soon return to the mire, and delight in filth more than ever.—Mason.
 Mr. Clark relates this singular story on the authority of 'Disci de Temp.' The writers in the Middle Ages are full of such narrations; see especially the first English book of homilies called The Festival.—Ed.
 Clark's authority for this account is Beard's Theatre of God's Judgments.—Ed.
 See the account of an Atheist in his pride in Pilgrim's Progress and notes.
 To let, prevent, or hinder. See Isaiah 43:13.—Ed.
 Terms of endearment: thus Shakespeare, in Henry IV, represents the hostess calling her maid, Doll Tear-sheet, sweet-heart. It is now more restricted to lovers while courting.—Ed.
 Uncertain was the liberty occasionally enjoyed by our pilgrim forefathers, who were always expecting 'troublesome times.' We ought to be more thankful for the mercies we enjoy; and to pray that the state may soon equally recognize and cherish every good subject, without reference to sect, or authorizing persecution.—Ed.
 The noble was a gold coin of Henry VIII; value six shillings and eightpence.—Ed.
 Bunyan's allegorical spirit appears in nearly all his writings. Diseases lay their heads together to bring Badman to the grave, making Consumption their captain or leader of these men of death.—Ed.
 'Haunt,' an Anglo-Norman word. Custom, practice; more commonly used as a verb, to haunt, or frequently visit.—Ed.
 An old tippling custom, more honoured in the breach than in the observance.—Ed.
 The dialogues between Hopeful and Christian in Doubting Castle admirably prove the wickedness of suicide. The unlettered tinker triumphs over all the subtleties of the Dean of St. Paul's. See Pilgrim's Progress.—Ed.
 This is the most awful of all delusions. It is exemplified in the character of Ignorance, in the Pilgrim's Progress, who was ferried over death by Vain Confidence, but found 'that there was a way to hell, even from the gates of heaven.'—Ed.
 Chrisom is a consecrated unguent, or oil, used in the baptism of infants in the Romish Church. It is prepared with great ceremony on Holy Thursday. A linen cloth anointed with this oil, called a chrisom cloth, is laid upon the baby's face. If it dies within a month after these ceremonies, it was called a chrisom child. These incantations and charms are supposed to have power to save its soul, and ease the pains of death. Bishop Jeremy Taylor mentions the phantasms that make a chrisom child to smile at death. Holy Dying, chap. i., sect. 2.—Ed.
 These two words are 'cease' and 'ceased' in the first edition; they were corrected to 'seize' and 'seized' in Bunyan's second edition.—Ed.
A Few Sighs From Hell;
The Groans of the Damned Soul:
or, An Exposition of those Words in the Sixteenth of Luke, Concerning the Rich Man and the Beggar
WHEREIN IS DISCOVERED THE LAMENTABLE STATE OF THE DAMNED; THEIR CRIES, THEIR DESIRES IN THEIR DISTRESSES, WITH THE DETERMINATION OF GOD UPON THEM. A GOOD WARNING WORD TO SINNERS, BOTH OLD AND YOUNG, TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION BETIMES, AND TO SEEK, BY FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST, TO AVOID, LEST THEY COME INTO THE SAME PLACE OF TORMENT.
Also, a Brief Discourse touching the profitableness of the Scriptures for our instruction in the way of righteousness, according to the tendency of the said parable.
BY THAT POOR AND CONTEMPTIBLE SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST, JOHN BUNYAN.
'The wicked shall be tuned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.'—Psalm 9:17
'And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.'—Revelation 20:15
London: Printed by Ralph Wood, for M. Wright, at the King's Head in the Old Bailey, 1658.
ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR
How awful is that cry of anguish which has reached us from beyond the tomb, even from the infernal realms, and on which Bunyan, with his singular and rare ability, fixes our attention. It is the voice of one who had received his good things in this fleeting life; who had fared sumptuously every day, without providing for eternity, and now cries for a drop of water to cool his parched tongue. Plunged into unutterable, inconceivable, and eternal torments, he pleads that the poor afflicted beggar, who had lain at his gate, might be sent from the dead to warn his relatives, that they might escape, and not aggravate his misery, by upbraiding him as a cause of their destruction, by having neglected to set them a pious example. He knows that there is no hope for his own wretched soul, and expresses no wish that his family should pay for masses to ease his pangs. No, such tomfooleries are limited to this insane world. His poor request is one drop of water, and a warning messenger to his relatives. The answer is most decisive—there is a great, an eternal gulf fixed—none can pass between heaven and hell; and as to your father's house, 'They have Moses and the prophets'; and now it may be added, They have Jesus and his apostles; if they hear not them, 'neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.' No; if Isaiah, with his mighty eloquence, again appeared among mortals, again would his cry be heard, 'Who hath believed our report?' 'What! seek the living among the dead? To the law, and to the testimony, saith God.'
Reader, these are solemn realities. He who came from the unseen world—from the bosom of the Father—reveals them unto us. O! that we may not mistake that voice for thunder, which called upon a trembling world to 'HEAR HIM.'
The rich man personates all the thoughtless and uncoverted who die in their sins, his wealth can neither bribe death nor hell; he is stricken, and descends to misery with the bitter, but unavailing regret of having neglected the great salvation. He had taken no personal, prayerful pains to search the sacred Scriptures for himself; he had disobeyed the gospel, lived in revelry, and carelessness of his soul; he had ploughed iniquity and sown wickedness, and reaps the same. 'By the blast of God he perishes, and is consumed by the breath of his nostrils.' 'They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.'
The opinion universally prevails, although the voice of infinite wisdom has declared it false, that miracles, or a messenger from the invisible world could awake the dead in sin. The world's eyes are shut, and its ears are stopped from seeing and hearing that most illustrious celestial messenger of mercy—'God manifest in the flesh'—who still speaks to us in his words. He revealed, and he alone could have revealed, these solemn, these heart-stirring facts—He performed the most astonishing miracles—His doctrines were truth—He required holiness of life to fit the soul for heaven; therefore He was despised, tortured, murdered. In the face of all this, the poor wretch cries, 'send Lazarus.' What refined cruelty! He had borne the cross and received the crown. Uncrown him, and send him back to lie at my brother's gate, and if he dares to tell him the truth, that my soul was in hell, even while the splendid funeral was carrying my body to the tomb, he will hurry him to death. Poor fool! are not thy kindred as hardened as thou wast? Send Lazarus from the dead! That, as Bunyan justly says, would be to make a new Bible, to improve the finished salvation. No, if they will not hear Moses and the prophets, our Lord and his apostles, they must all likewise perish. This is a very meagre outline of this solemn treatise; it is full of striking illustrations, eminently calculated to arouse the thoughtless, and to convey solid instruction to the thoughtful.
This was the third volume that Bunyan published, and, with modest timidity, he shelters himself under a strong recommendatory preface by his pastor, who, in the Grace Abounding, he calls 'holy Mr. Gifford.' So popular was it, as to pass through nine editions in the author's lifetime. The preface, by John Gifford, was printed only with the first edition. As it gives a very interesting account of Bunyan, and his early labours in the ministry, which has never been noticed by any of his biographers, and is extremely rare, it is here reprinted from a fine copy in the British Museum, and must prove interesting to every admirer of John Bunyan. I close with two short extracts—may they leave an abiding impression upon our minds. 'God will have a time to meet with them that now do not seek after him.' 'O! regard, regard, for the judgment day is at hand, the graves are ready to fly open, the trumpet is near the sounding, the sentence will ere long be passed, and then,' it will be seen whether we belong to the class of Dives, who preferred the world, or to that of Lazarus, who preferred Christ; and then, O then! time cannot be recalled.
PREFACE, BY THE REV. JOHN GIFFORD,
PASTOR OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST AT BEDFORD, OF WHICH JOHN BUNYAN WAS A MEMBER.
TO THE READER.
It is sad to see how the most of men neglect their precious souls, turning their backs upon the glorious gospel, and little minding a crucified Jesus, when, in the meanwhile, their bodies are well provided for, their estates much regarded, and the things of this present life are highly prized, as if the darling was of less value than a clod of earth; an immortal soul, than a perishing body; a precious Saviour, than unsatisfying creatures. Yea, though they have been often wooed with gracious entreaties, glorious promises, and fresh bleeding wounds, to make choice of the better part, that shall never be taken from them; yet, alas! such influence hath this world, and the pleasures of it, and such is the blindness of their understandings, that they continue still to hunt after those things which cannot profit, nor be a help to them in the worst hour. Yea, that will prove no better than poison to their souls, and refuse that would be (if embraced) their happiness here, and their glory hereafter. Such a strange stupidity hath seized upon the hearts of men, that they will venture the loss of their immortal souls for a few dying comforts, and will expose themselves to endless misery for a moment's mirth, and short-lived pleasures. But, certainly, a barn well fraught, a bag well filled, a back well clothed, and a body well fed, will prove but poor comforts when men come to die, when death shall not only separate their souls from their bodies, but both from their comforts. What will it then avail them that they have gained much? Or what will they give in exchange for their souls? Be wise, then (O reader, to whose sight this may come), before it be too late, and thou repent, when repentance shall be hid from thine eyes; also it will be as a dagger to thine heart one day, to remember what a Christ, what a soul, what a heaven thou hast lost for a few pleasures, a little mirth, a short enjoyment of this present world; yea, and that after many warnings against many reproofs, and, notwithstanding the many tenders of a full Christ, instead of those empty vanities which thy soul closed with, hunted after, and would by no means be persuaded to part withal. No, but thou wouldst take thy time, and swim in this world's delights, though thy soul thereby was drowned in perdition and destruction (1 Tim 6:9). True, few there are that will be persuaded that this course they take, though their daily conversations do bear witness to it; for how much time is spent, and how much care is the hearts of men filled withal, after attaining, keeping, and increasing these things? And how seldom do they trouble their heads, to have their minds taken up with thoughts of the better? Cumbering themselves with many things, but wholly neglecting the one thing necessary; yea, whereby do they measure their own or other men's happiness, but by the large incomes of this world's good, accounting this the greatest, if not the only blessedness, to have their corn, wine, and oil increase in abundance, and reckoning those that are most serious about, and earnest after the world to come, men of foolish spirits, giddy brains, and worthy to be branded in the forehead for simple deluded ones. But surely he is the most fool that will be one at last; and he that God calls so (Luke 12:20) will pass for one in the end; yea, within a short time, they themselves shall change their notes. Ask the rich man spoken of in the ensuing treatise, who was the fool—he or Lazarus? and he will soon resolve the question, that he now sees, and by woeful experience finds (whatsoever his former thoughts were), that he, not Lazarus, was the silly deluded one; for he, fool-like, preferred the worse things before the better, and refused that which once might have been had; but now he hath slipped the time, it cannot be gained, when this poor man, knowing the day of his visitation, was making sure of that glory which he now enjoys, and shall enjoy for evermore. So that in this parable (if I may so call it) thou shalt find that Scripture confirmed, 'That the triumphing of the wicked is short' (Job 20:5). Together with that, 'That the temptations (or afflictions) of the righteous, which cause heaviness, are but for a season' (1 Peter 1:6). And in this treatise, both of these are largely opened and explained. Behold, here a rich man clothed in silks, fed with delicates, and faring deliciously every day; but look a little farther, and lo! this man clothed with vengeance, roaring under torments, and earnestly begging for a drop of water to cool his tongue; a sad change. On the other hand, here thou shalt see a poor, but a gracious man, with a pinched belly, naked back, and running sores, begging at the rich man's gate for a morsel to feed his belly, a sad state, yet but short; for look again, and behold this beggar gloriously carried, as in a chariot of triumph, by the angels into Abraham's bosom, shining in glory, clothed with beautiful garments, and his soul set down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of the Father; his rags are gone, his sores healed, and his soul filled with joy unspeakable, and full of glory; the one carried not his costly fare, and his gorgeous apparel with him into hell; nor the other his coarse diet, mouldy bread, filthy rags, and ulcerous body into heaven; but the happiness of the one, and the misery of the other, took their leaves at the grave; the worldly man's portion was but for his life, and the godly man's afflictions lasted no longer; 'For mark the perfect, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace; but the end of the wicked shall be cut off' (Psa 37:37,38). His present comforts, his future hopes, and his cursed soul together; yea, though he lives many days, and rejoices in them all, yet the days of darkness will overtake him, and his eye shall see no more good; in his life time he enjoyed his good things, and, at the hour of death, legions of devils will beset him, innumerable evils will befal him; and then shall he pay full dear for all the pleasures of sin, that have carried away his heart from closing with, and following the Lord in the day of his prosperity. Ungodly men, because they feel no changes now, they fear none hereafter, but flatter themselves with dying as the godly, though their life is consumed in wickedness, and their strength in providing for and satisfying the lusts of the flesh. But as it fared with wicked Balaam, so shall it fare with these, and their vain hopes will prove a feeding upon ashes through their deceived heart, that hath turned them aside (Isa 44:20). 'For they that sow to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption' (Gal 6:8). 'And they that plough iniquity, and sow wickedness, shall reap the same' (Job 4:8; Hosea 8:7). But they that sow to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Say ye then to the righteous, 'It shall go well with him; however it goes with him now, a few days will produce a happy change.' 'It shall go well with him that feareth the Lord' (Eccl 8:12). Go on then, O soul, thou that hast set thy face towards heaven, though the east wind beats upon thee, and thou find trouble and sorrow; these shall endure but for a night, joy will undoubtedly come in the morning; besides those sweet visits thou shalt have from thy precious Saviour, in this thy day of darkness, wait but a while, and thy darkness shall be turned into light. 'When the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire, wherewith he warmed himself, shall not shine' (Job 18:5). 'Grudge not to see the wicked prosper, and their steps washed with butter, but rather put on bowels of mercy and pity, as the elect of God, knowing that they are set in slippery places' (Psa 73:18). And their day is coming, when fearful horror shall surprise them, and hell be opened to receive them; nor yet be disquieted in thy mind, that troubles and afflictions do beset thee round; for, as a worser thing is reserved for them, so a better is prepared for thee. Do they drink wine in bowls? and dost thou mingle thy tears with thy drink? Do they live in pleasures, and spend their days in wealth? and dost thou sigh and mourn in secret? Well, there is a cup for them in the hand of the Lord, the wine whereof is red, and full of mixture, which they must drink up the dregs (Psa 75:8). And the Lord hath a bottle for thy tears (Psa 56:8). And a book for thy secret sighs, and ere long thy brinish tears shall be turned into the sweetest wine, which thou shalt drink new in the kingdom of the Father, and thy secret sighs into glorious praises; when thy mouth shall be filled with laughter, and thy eyes see the King in his glory.
Now, considering that these lines may be brought to the sight both of the one sort and the other, I shall lay a few things before the thought of each; and first to the worser sort.
First. Consider what an ill bargain thou wilt make, to sell thy precious soul for short continuance in thy sins and pleasures. If that man drives but an ill trade, who, to gain the world, should lose his soul (Matt 16:26), then, certainly, thou art far worse that sells thy soul for a very trifle. O it is pity that so precious a thing should be parted withal, to be made a prey for the devouring lion, for that which is worse than nothing! If they were branded for desperate wretches that caused their children to pass through the fire to Moloch, surely thou much more that gives thy soul to devouring flames, to be fuel for the everlasting fire, upon so unfit terms; what meanest thou, O man, to truck with the devils? Is there no better merchandise to trade in than what comes from hell, or out of the bowels of the earth? and to be had upon no lower rates than thy immortal soul? Yes, surely the merchandise of wisdom, which is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold (Prov 3:14, 8:19), is exposed to sale (Rev 3:18), and to be had without money or price; and if thou shouldest part with anything for it, it is such that it is better to part withal than to keep. The wise merchant that sought a goodly pearl, having found one, sold all that he had, not himself, not his soul, and all that he sold was in itself not worth a farthing, and yet obtained the pearl (Matt 13:45,46). Paul made the like exchange when he threw away his own righteousness, which was but rags, yea, filthy rags (Isa 64:6), and put on the garment of salvation, and cast away to the dunghill that which was once his gain, and won Christ (Phil 3:8). Thou needest not cast away thy soul for puddle pleasures; behold the fountain of living water is set open, and thou invited to it, to take and drink thy belly, thy soul full, without price or money (Isa 55:2).
Secondly. Take a short (yet let it not be a slight) view of the best of the things men prize so high, that for the love of, they lose their souls: what are they? Even painted nothings, promising vanities (like the apples of Sodom, fair to the eye, but being touched, turn to dust; or like our mother Eve's, that had a beautiful look, but, being tasted, brings forth death), which, from the most part, have proved snares to the owners, and always miserable comforters at the parting; they cannot satisfy in life, for the more of these things are had, the more (with a disquieted spirit) are they reached after, and what comes in serves but to whet up the greedy unsatisfied appetite after more. The world passeth away, and the lust thereof (1 John 2:17). Though most men content themselves with these, yet it is not in these to satisfy them, and had they but one glimpse of the world to come, one cranny of light to discern the riches of Christ, and the least taste of the pleasures that are at the right hand of God (Psa 16:11), they would be as little satisfied without a share in them, as they are now with what of worldly things they enjoy; much less can they ease from pain at death. Clap a bag of gold (as one once did) to thy sinking spirit, pained body, and tormented conscience, and it can neither cheer up the one, nor appease the other, least of all can they deliver from, or yield comfort after death; those cannot serve as a bribe to death to pass thee by, nor yet bring comfort to thy soul when thou art gone. The rich fool's large crop and great increase could not procure one night's respite, nor one moment's comfort. Besides, God regards them so little, that frequently he gives the largest share of them to whom he hateth most (Psa 17:14), and the least to them who are the excellent in the earth, in whom his soul delights, although he hath made them heirs of the kingdom (James 2:5). Yet doth he bestow such a small portion of these worldly things upon them, hereby declaring to all how little he sets by those things which most set so much by, and to draw up our hearts, minds, and affections to the things above; yea, His own Son that he appointed heir of all things (Heb 1:2) shall come forth neither of rich kindred, nor attended with gallants, nor yet accoutered with the world's glory, but in a low, mean, and abject condition, at whose birth a manger received him; and through his life sorrows, wants, and sufferings did attend, and at the end a shameful death, in the world's esteem, befals him, and by all this he shows his contempt of the worldly man's darling. Cast not away thy soul then, O man, in seeking after, solacing thyself in, and contenting thyself with this present world; for though thou mayest make gold thy hope, and put thy confidence in thy wealth, yet when this thy hope shall fail, and thy confidence slip from thee (as sure it will ere long), glad wouldst thou be of the least drop of the water of life, and the least filing of that precious gold (that thou art now called upon to drink of, and to buy for thyself); but, alas, they shall not be had. Then, O then, what profit will thy treasures of wickedness yield thee; and whereto will thy thick clay that thou hast hoarded up, and thy carnal pleasures which thou hast drunk down, as the fish drinks down water; whereto, I say, will they serve, unless to weigh thee the deeper into hell, and increase the fire, when it shall be kindled upon thee?
Thirdly. Look upon thy loss, too, which is such that ten thousand worlds cannot repair—thy soul, thy body, thy comforts, thy hopes, thy share in a crucified Jesus, the crown of life, and everlasting communion with the Father, Son, and Spirit, blessed angels, and glorified saints, and a soul-satisfying, soul-saving Christ, who came from the bosom of love, and gave himself to open a way to everlasting glory, by the sacrifice of himself, to whom thou art called, invited, and persuaded to come; whose heart is open, arms spread, and who hath room enough in his bosom to receive thee, grace enough to pardon thee, blood enough to justify thee, treasures enough to enrich thee, pleasures enough to delight thee (Psa 36:8), and glory enough to crown thee; in whom it hath pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell (Col 1:19); to make them perfectly blessed that come to him, so that there is no need to seek happiness among the creatures, which most do, and thereby lose true happiness, and their souls too. Turn in hither, and thou shalt eat of his bread, and drink of the wine which he hath mingled (Prov 9:4,5). Wouldst thou fare deliciously every day, and have thy soul delight itself in fatness? (Isa 55:2). Hearken diligently, and come to the wedding; the oxen and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready (Matt 22:5). I tell thee, whatsoever food thou feedest upon else, will prove no better to thee than the prodigal's husks (Luke 15:16). That will starve thee whilst thou feedest on them; and if thou drinkest of other wine, it will prove as a cup of wine mixed with poison, which though it be pleasant to the taste, it will be the death of thy soul. Wilt thou, then, lose this Christ, this food, this pleasure, this heaven, this happiness, for a thing of nought? Wilt thou drink out of a puddle, a broken cistern which leaks out the water, and holds nothing but mud, and refuse the fountain of living water, which, whosoever tastes of, shall live for ever?
Fourthly. Beware of persuading thyself into a conceit of the poor man's end, if thou livest the rich man's life, and diest his death. It is strange to see how many run swift by the very way to hell, yet are full of confidence of going to heaven, though Scripture everywhere shuts them out, and Christ at last will certainly shut them out for ever hereafter, living and dying in their present state. Let none, therefore, deceive you, neither deceive yourselves, for none such can enter into the kingdom of heaven. But for these things' sake cometh the wrath of God on the children of disobedience (1 Cor 6:9; Eph 5:5,6). And how sad will thy disappointment be, that goest on securely fearing nothing, being fully, yet falsely, persuaded of eternal life at last, and then drop down into the bottomless pit! Like wicked Haman, that dreamed of greater honour, but behold a gallows; or our mother Eve, who conceited to be as God, but became a cursed creature. Though the devil may persuade thee thou mayest live as in hell here, yet in heaven hereafter, believe him not, for he endeavours to keep thee in his snares, that he may drag thee to hell with him; and the better to effect his devilish design upon thee, he will present (and through his cursed subtlety knows how to do it) thy sins and this world in as lovely and taking a guise as may be, but will hide the evil consequences from thine eyes, that thou mightest be inveigled by gazing on the one, and not be affrighted by beholding the other; his bait shall be pleasant, but his hook hid, like the strumpet in Proverbs 7, that entices the simple with fair words, but conceals that the way to her house leads to the chambers of death; nothing appears but a bed richly furnished, and a promise of solacing him with loves; but he that followeth after her, goeth as an ox to the slaughter, and as a fool to the correction of the stocks.
Fifthly. This is thy day to prevent the loss of the one, and to get an interest in the other; this is the day of salvation, the accepted day of the Lord (2 Cor 6:2). Let the sun of this day be set before this work be done, and an everlasting night of darkness will close thee in, wherein thou, thou shalt have time enough indeed to bemoan thy folly, but none to learn to grow wiser. It is a sad thing, especially in soul concernments, to be wise too late, and to cry out when time is past, O that I had improved it when it was present. Then will the remembrance of thy former misspent time, and thy despair of ever gaining more, be like poisoned arrows drinking up they spirit. Amongst all the talents God hath entrusted man withal, this is not the least, because on it depends eternity; and according to the use we make of this, will our eternal condition be, though the most of men live at such a rate as if it was given them to no other end than to waste in wickedness, and consume in pleasures. What means else their spending days, weeks, months, years, yea, their whole life, in whoring, swearing, playing, coveting, and fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, so that when they come to die, the great work that they were sent to do is then to be done; their souls, Christ, eternity, was scarce thought on before; but now, when merciless death begins to gripe them, then do they begin to bethink themselves of those things which they should have got in readiness before, and that is the reason why we so often hear many that lie upon their death-beds to cry out for a little longer time; and no wonder, for they have the salvation of their souls to seek. O sad case! to have their work to do when the night is come, and a Christ to seek when death hath found them; take therefore the counsel of the Holy Ghost (Heb 3:7), 'To-day, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.' Mark, it is the Spirit's counsel. True, the devil and thine own heart will tell thee another tale, and be ready to whisper in thine ears, Thou mayest have time enough hereafter; what need of so much haste, another day may serve as well; let thy soul be filled with pleasure a little longer, and thy bags filled a little more; thou mayest have time for this and that too. O, but this is the suggestion of an enemy, that would cause thee to defer so long, that thy heart may grow too hard, and thine ear too heavy to hear at all; but, certainly, this being the greatest business, challengeth the first and greatest care (Matt 6:33). And let this be done; then, if thou shalt either have so much time to spare, or a heart to do it, take thy time for the other.
Sixthly. This day of thy mercy and Christ's importunity will not last long; it is but a day, and that a day of visitation. Indeed it is rich grace that there should be a day, but dally not because it is but a day. Jerusalem had her day, but because therein she did not know the things of her peace, a pitch night did overtake (Luke 19:42,43). It is a day of patience, and if thou despisest the riches of God's goodness, patience, and long-suffering towards thee, and art not thereby led to repentance (Rom 2:5), a short time will make it a day of vengeance. Though now Christ calls, because he is willing to save sinners, yet he will not always call; see then that thou refuse not him that speaks from heaven in this gospel day (Heb 12:25). But seek him while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near (Isa 55:6), lest thou criest after him hereafter, and he refuse thee. It is not crying, Lord, Lord, when the day of grace is past, that will procure the least crumb of mercy (Matt 7:21). No, if thou comest not when called, but stayest while supper is ended, thou shalt not taste thereof (Luke 14:24), though a bit would save thy life, thy soul; if thou drinkest not of the fountain while it is opened, thou shalt not when it is shut, though thou beggest with tears of blood for one drop to cool thy scorching flaming heart; thou that mightest have had thy vessel full, and welcome, shall not now have so much as will hang on the tip of a finger. O! remember, the axe is laid to the root of the tree (Matt 3:10). And although three years' time may be granted, through the vine-dresser's importunity, that will soon be expired, and then the axe that is now laid, shall cut up the tree by its roots, if it bring not forth good fruit. Seest thou not that many of late have been snatched away, on each side of thee (by that hand that hath been stretched out and is so still)? and though thou mayest escape a while, yet hast thou no assurance that the destroying angel will long pass by thy door. O then, neglect thy soul no longer, but consider time is short, and uncertain, eternity long, thy work great, thy soul immortal, this world vanishing, Christ precious, hell hot, and heaven desirable.
And if thou beest a Christian (to whom this may come) that hast not only had a prize in thy hands, but wisdom given thee from above to make use of it, and art one who (whilst others are seeking to make this world and hell together sure to themselves) spendest thy time, and makest it thy only business, to make sure of the one thing necessary, and heaven to thy soul, I shall lay two or three things before thy thoughts.
First. Walk with a fixed eye upon the world to come. Look not at the things that are seen, that are temporal, but at the things which are not seen, that are eternal (2 Cor 4:18). A Christian's eye should be upon his journey's end, as our Lord Jesus, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross (Heb 12:2). When the stones flew about Stephen's ears, his eyes were lifted up to heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God (Acts 7:55,56). What though thou at present mayest lie at the rich man's gates, yet a few days will translate thee into Abraham's bosom. Though Israel had a sharp voyage through the wilderness, yet Caleb and Joshua, men of excellent spirits, had their eye upon the good land they were going to. Though graceless souls are too dull sighted to see afar off (2 Peter 1:9), yet thou that hast received the unction from above, dost in some measure know what is the hope of thy calling, and what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.
Secondly. Be satisfied with thy present condition, though it be afflictive, for it shall not last always. Thy sorrows shall be short, and thy joys long; roll thyself upon the Lord, for there is a heaven will pay for all; Christ first endured the cross before he wore the crown. David, before he was a king, was a shepherd. The poor man spoken of in this ensuing treatise, before he was carried into heaven, had experiences of sorrow and sufferings on earth. Let the flesh be silent in passing judgment on the dispensations of God towards thee, and the men of this world, in this present life. David, by prying too far herein with his own wisdom, had almost caught a fall (Psa 73). Though God's judgments may be too deep for our reason to dive into, yet are they always righteous, and his paths mercy and truth to those that keep his covenants (Psa 25:10). When Jeremiah would debate with the Lord concerning his judgments in the wicked's prosperity, he would lay this down as an indubitable truth, that his judgments were righteous (Jer 12:1). And his end was not to charge God, but to learn understanding of him in the way of his judgments; and although the ways of his providence may be dark to his people, that they cannot discern his footsteps, yet are they always consistent with his everlasting covenant, and the results of the favour he bears to them. If the wicked flourish like the grass, it is that they should be destroyed for ever (Psa 92:7). And if the godly have many a wave beating upon them, yet will the Lord command his loving-kindness in the day time (Psa 42:7,8). And, after a little while being tossed to and fro in these boisterous waves, they shall arrive at the heavenly haven, this world being not their resting-place, but there remains one for them (Heb 4:9).
Thirdly. Let the faith and hopes of a glorious deliverance get thy heart up above thy present sufferings, that thou mayest glory in tribulation who hast ground of rejoicing in hope of the glory of God (Rom 5:2,3). For whatsoever thy present grievances are, whether outward afflictions, or inward temptations, this may be thy consolation that a few days will rid thee of them; when thou shalt sigh no more, complain no more, but those shall be turned into praises. Thou hast (if I may so call it) all thy hell here; let thy life be expired, and thy misery is ended; thy happiness begins, where wicked men's end; and when thine is once began, it shall have no more end.
Reader, I have an advertisement to thee concerning the following discourse, and the author of it. Thou hast in the discourse many things of choice consideration presented to thee in much plainness, evidence, and authority; the replications are full, the applications are natural. Be not offended at his plain and downright language, it is for the discharge of the author's conscience, and thy profit, besides the subject necessarily leads him to it. It is a mercy to be dealt thoroughly and plainly with in the matters of thy soul. We have too many that sow pillows under men's elbows, and too few who, dealing plainly, divide to every man his portion. Read it not to pick quarrels with it, but to profit by it; and let not prejudice either against the author, or manner of delivery, cause thee to stumble and fall at the truth. Prejudice will both blind the eye that it shall not see the truth, and close it in with it, and make them too quick-sighted, either to make faults where there is none, or to greaten them where they are; and so cause the reader to turn the edge against the author or his work, that should be turned upon his own heart. It is marvellous to see how the truth is quarrelled at that comes from one, that would be easily received it if did drop from another; and I doubt not, if this book had some other hand at it, there is scarce any expression that may be now carpt at by some, but would have been swallowed without straining. We are now fallen into such an age (the good Lord help us) that truth, upon its own account, can challenge but little acceptance, except the author be liked, or his lines painted with his own wit. But certainly truth is of so excellent a nature, of such singular advantage, and of so royal a descent, that it deserves entertainment for itself, and that not in our houses or heads only, but in our hearts too. Whatsoever the hand is that brings it, or the form that it appears in, men account gold worth receiving, whatsoever the messenger is that brings it, or the vessel that holds it.
If thou meetest (reader) with any passage that seems doubtful unto thee, let love that thinks no evil put the best construction upon it, and do not hastily condemn what thou canst not presently yield to; or if any expression thou meetest with may (haply) offend thee, do not throw aside the whole, and resolve to read of it no more; for though some one may offend thee, yet others (I hope) may affect thee; or if there be that which some may call tautology, be not displeased at it; for that word that may not fasten upon thy heart in one page, may in another; and although it may be grievous to thy eye (if thou beest nice and curious), yet bear with it, if it may be profitable to thy soul.
Concerning the author (whatsoever the censures and reports of many are) I have this to say, that I verily believe God hath counted him faithful, and put him into the ministry; and though his outward condition and former employment was mean, and his human learning small, yet is he one that hath acquaintance with God, and taught by his Spirit, and hath been used in his hand to do souls good; for to my knowledge there are divers who have felt the power of the word delivered by him; and I doubt not but that many more may, if the Lord continue him in his work; he is not like unto your drones, that will suck the sweet, but do no work. For he hath laid forth himself to the utmost of his strength, taking all advantages to make known to others what he himself hath received of God, and I fear this is one reason why the archers have shot so sorely at him; for by his and others' industry in their Master's work, their slothfulness hath been reproved, and the eyes of many have been opened to see a difference between those that are sent of God and those that run before they are sent. And that he is none of those light fanatic spirits that our age abounds withal, this following discourse, together with his former, that have been brought to public view, will testify; for among other things that may bear record to him herein, you shall find him magnifying and exalting the Holy Scriptures, and largely showing the worth, excellency, and usefulness of them.
And yet surely if thou shalt (notwithstanding this) stumble at his meanness and want of human learning, thou wilt declare thine unacquaintance with God's declared method, who to perfect his own praise, and to still the enemy and avenger, makes choice of babes and sucklings, and in their mouths ordaineth strength (Psa 8:2). Though men that have a great design, do, and must make use of those that in reason are most likely to effect it, yet must the Lord do so too? Then instruments (not himself) would carry away the praise; but that no flesh should glory in his presence, he hath chosen the foolish things of the world, to confound the wise, and base things of the world, and things that are despised, hath God chosen (1 Cor 1:27-29). Cast thine eye back to the beginning of the gospel dispensation (which surely, if at any time, should have come forth in the wisdom and glory of the world), and thou shalt see what method the Lord did take at the first to exalt his son Jesus: he goes not amongst the Jewish rabbis, nor to the schools of learning, to fetch out his gospel preachers, but to the trades, and those most contemptible too; yet let not any from hence conceive that I undervalue the gifts and graces of such who have been, or now are endued with them, nor yet speak against learning being kept in its place; but my meaning is, that those that are learned should not despise those that are not; or those that are not, should not despise those that are, who are faithful in the Lord's work: and therefore being about to leave thee, I shall leave with thee two Scriptures to be considered of. The one is John 13:20, Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that receiveth whomsoever I send (mark whomsoever) receiveth me; and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me. The other is Luke 10:16, He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me.