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The Resurrection of the Dead, and Eternal Judgment
by John Bunyan
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1. You have not continued in that state of nature in which I did at first create you (Eccl 7:29); you have not liked to retain that knowledge and understanding of God, that you had, and might have had, by the very book of the creatures (Rom 1). You gave way to the suggestions of fallen angels, and so your foolish hearts were darkened and alienated, and estranged from God.

2. All the creatures that were in the world, have even condemned you; they have been fruitful, but you fruitless; they have been fearful of danger, but you foolhardy; they have taken the fittest opportunity for their own preservation, but thou hast both blindly, and confidently gone on to thy punishment (Prov 22:3).

3. Touching the book of my remembrance, who can contradict it? Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord. Was not I in all places to behold, to see, and to observe thee in all thy ways? My eye saw the thief, and the adulterer, and I heard every lie and oath of the wicked. I saw the hypocrisy of the dissembler. "They have committed villany in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbours' wives, and have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them; even I know, and am a witness, saith the Lord" (Jer 29:23).

4. God will also come in against them for their transgressing his law, even the law which he delivered on Mount Sinai; he will, I say, open every tittle thereof in such order and truth: and apply the breach of each particular person with such convincing argument, that they will fall down silenced for ever—"Every mouth shall be stopped, and all the world shall become guilty before God" (Rom 3:19).

[Second Witness.]—There is yet another witness, for the condemning the transgressors of these laws, and that is, conscience—"Their conscience also bearing witness," saith the apostle (Rom 2:15). Conscience is a thousand witnesses. Conscience, it will cry amen to every word that the great God doth speak against thee. Conscience is a terrible accuser, it will hold pace with the witness of God as to the truth of evidence, to a hair's breadth. The witnesses of conscience, it is of great authority, it commands guilt,14 and fasteneth it on every soul which it accuseth; and hence it is said, "If our heart [or conscience] condemn us" (1 John 3:20). Conscience will thunder and lighten at this day; even the consciences of the most pagan sinners in the world, will have sufficiently wherewith to accuse, to condemn, and to make paleness appear in their faces, and breaking in their loins, by reason of the force of its conviction. Oh, the mire and dirt, that a guilty conscience, when it is forced to speak, will cast up, and throw out before the judgment-seat! It must out, none can speak peace, nor health, to that man upon whom God hath let loose his own conscience. Cain will now cry, "My punishment is greater than I can bear;" Judas will hang himself; and both Belshazzar and Felix will feel the joints of their loins to be loosened, and their knees to smite one against another, when conscience stirreth (Gen 4:13; Matt 27:3; Dan 5:6; Acts 24:23). When conscience is once thoroughly awakened, as it shall be before the judgment-seat: God need say no more to the sinner than Solomon said to filthy Shimei, "thou knowest all the wickedness which thine heart is privy to" (1 Kings 2:44). As who should say, Thy conscience knoweth, and can well inform thee of all the evil, and sin that thou art guilty of. To all which it answereth, even as face answereth to face in a glass; or as an echo answereth the man that speaketh; as fast, I say, as God chargeth conscience will cry out, Guilty, guilty; Lord, guilty of all, of every whit; I remember clearly all the crimes thou layest before me. Thus, I say, will conscience be a witness against the soul, in the day of God.

[Third Witness.]—As God and conscience will at this day be most dreadful witnesses against the sinful man; so also will those several thoughts that have passed through man's heart, be a witness also against him. As he said before, "Their conscience also baring witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing, or else excusing one another; In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel" (Rom 2:15,16).

The thoughts come in as a witness for God against the sinner upon the account of that unsteadiness and variety that were in them, both touching God, and their own selves. Sometimes the man thinks there is no God, but that everything hath its rise of itself, or by chance, or fortune—"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psa 14:1).

Sometimes, again, they think there is a God, but yet they think and imagine of him falsely. "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself," saith God; "but I will reprove thee" (Psa 50:21).

Men think, that because they can sin with delight: that therefore God can let them escape without punishment. Nay, oftentimes they think, that God doth either quite forget their wickedness, or else that he will be pleased with such satisfaction as they are pleased to give him, even a few howling prayers (Hosea 7:14), feigned and hypocritical tears, and weepings, which pass from them more for fear of the punishment of hell-fire, than because they have offended so holy, so just, and so glorious a God, and so loving and so condescending a Jesus (Mal 2:13).

Sometimes again, they have had right thoughts of something of God, but not of him together; either thinking so of his justice, as to drive them from him, and also cause them to put him out of their mind (Job 21:14). Or else so thinking of his mercy as that they quite forget his holiness and justice. Now both these are but base thoughts of God, and so erroneous, and sinful thoughts.

Sometimes also, they have pretty right thoughts of God, both as to justice and mercy, but then, through the wretchedness of their unsatisfied nature, they, against this light and knowledge, do, with shut eyes, and hardened hearts, rush fiercely, knowingly, and willingly again into their sins and wickedness (Heb 6:4-6; 10:26; 2 Peter 2:20).

As men have these various thoughts of God, so also their thoughts are not steady about themselves.

Sometimes they think they are sinners, and therefore they have need of mercy.

Sometimes again, they think they are righteous, and so have not so much need; mark, and yet both alike rotten and base; because, as the last is altogether senseless, so the first is not at all savingly sensible (Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18:11,12).

Sometimes again, they think they are gods (Eze 28:1-6); that they shall never die; or that if they do die, yet they shall never rise again (1 Cor 15:12); or if they do rise again, yet they shall be saved, though they have lived vilely and in their sins all the days of their life (Deu 29:18-20). Now, I say, every one of these thoughts, with ten thousand more of the like nature, will God bring in against the rebels in the judgment-day. Which thoughts shall every one of them be brought forth in their distinct order. He sheweth to man what is his thought (Amos 4:13). And, again, "I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be with-holden from thee" (Job 42:2). We read, that when the strangers at Jerusalem did but hear the apostles speak to every one of them in their own language, how it amazed and confounded them (Acts 2:6-8). But, I say, how will they look and be amazed when God shall evidently, clearly, and fully speak out all their hearts, and every thought they have had before them!

Now the reason and strength of this witness will lie here, that God will by the variety and crossness that their thoughts had one to another, and by the contradiction that was in them, prove them sinners and ungodly; because that, I say, sometimes they thought there was a God, sometimes again, they thought there was none. Sometimes they thought, that he was such a God, and sometimes again, they thought of him quite contrary; sometimes they thought he was worth regarding, and sometimes they thought he was not; as also, sometimes they thought he would be faithful, both to mercy, and justice, and sinners; and sometimes again, they thought he would not.

What greater argument now can there be, to prove men, vanity, froth, a lie, sinners, deluded by the devil, and such as had false apprehensions of God, his ways, his word, his justice, his holiness, of themselves, their sins, and every action?

Now they will indeed appear a very lump of confusion, a mass of sin, a bundle of ignorance, of atheism, of unbelief, and of all things that should lay them obnoxious to the judgments of God. This will God, I say, by mustering up the thoughts of man, and by shewing of them, that every imagination and thought of their heart was only evil, and that continually, (by shewing of them what staggering, drunken, wild, and uncomely thoughts they have had, both of him, and of themselves,) convince them, cast them, and condemn them for sinners, and transgressors against the book of creatures, the book of his remembrance, and the book of the law. By the variety of their thoughts, they shall be proved unstable, ignorant, wandering stars, clouds carried with a tempest, without order or guidance, and taken captive of the devil at his will.

Now, while the wicked are thus standing upon their trial and lives before the judgment-seat, and that in the view of heaven and hell, they, I say, hearing and seeing such dreadful things, both written and witnessed against every one of them, and that by such books and such witnesses as do not only talk, but testify, and that with the whole strength of truth against them: they will then begin, though poorly, and without any advantage, to plead for themselves, which plea will be to this effect.

Lord, we did find in the scriptures, that thou didst send a Saviour into the world, to deliver us from these sins and miseries. We heard this Saviour also published, and openly proffered to such poor sinners as we are. Lord, Lord, we also made profession of this Saviour, and were many of us frequenters of his holy ordinances. We have eaten and drank in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. Lord, we have also some of us, been preachers ourselves, we have prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have we cast out devils, and done many wondrous works. Nay, Lord, we did herd among thy people; we forsook the profane and wicked world, and carried our shining lamps before us in the face of all men; Lord, Lord, open to us (Matt 7:21-23; 25:1,2,10,11; Luke 13:24-28).

And all the while they are thus pleading, and speaking for themselves: behold, how earnestly they groan, how ghastly they look, and how now the brinish tears flow down like rivers from their eyes, ever redoubling their petition, Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord: first thinking of this thing, and then of that, ever contending, seeking, and striving to enter in at this strait gate. As Christ saith, "When once the master of the house is risen up," that is, when Christ hath laid aside his mediation for sinners, and hath taken upon him only to judge and condemn; then will the wicked begin to stand without, and to knock and contend for a portion among them that are the blessed. Ah, how will their hearts twitter while they look upon the kingdom of glory! and how will they ache and throb at every view of hell, their proper place! still crying, O that we might inherit life, and O that we might escape eternal death!

Fourth, But now, to take away all cavils and objections, that of this nature will arise in the hearts of these men: forthwith the book of life is brought out for a conclusion, and a final end of eternal judgment. As John saith, "The books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works" (Rev 20:12).

But this book of life, it is not at this time opened, because there are not any godly to be tried; for as I have shewed before, their judgment is past and over, before the wicked rise. The book of life, then, is now opened for further conviction of damned reprobates, that their mouths may be stopped for ever, as touching all their cavils, contendings, and arguments against God's proceeding in judgment with them. For believe it, while God is judging them, they will fall to judging him again; but he will be justified in his sayings, and will overcome when he is judged at this day (Rom 3:4-6). Yet not by a hasty and angry casting them away, but by a legal and convincing proceeding against them, and overthrowing all their cavils by his manifest and invincible truth. Wherefore, to cut off all that they can say, he will now open the book of life before them, and will shew them what is written therein, both as to election, conversion, and a truly gospel conversation. And will convince them that they neither are of the number of his elect, neither were they ever regenerate, neither had they ever a truly gospel conversation in the world.

By these three things, then, out of this book, thou, who art not saved, must at last be judged and overcome.

1. Here will be tried, whether thou art within that part of this book wherein all the elect are recorded; for all the elect are written here, as Christ saith, "Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20); and again, "In thy book," saith he to his Father, "all my members were written" (Psa 139:16; Heb 12:22,23). Now, then, if thy name be not found, either among the prophets, apostles, or the rest of saints, thou must be put by, as one that is cast away, as one polluted, and as an abominable branch (Isa 14:19); thy name is wanting in the genealogies and rolls of heaven (Ezra 2:62), thou art not pricked15 for everlasting life, therefore thou must not be delivered from that soul-amazing misery; for there are no souls can, though they would give a thousand worlds, be delivered at the day of God but such that are found written in this book. Every one of those that are written, though never an one of those that are not written, shall in that day be delivered from the wrath to come (Dan 12:1).

But, O methinks, with what careful hearts will the damned now begin to look for their names in this book. Those that, when once the long-suffering of God waited on them, made light of all admonition, and slighted the counsel of making their calling and election sure: would now give thousands of treasures, that they could but spy their names, though last and least among the sons of God. But, I say, how will they fail? how will they faint? how will they die and languish in their souls? when they shall still as they look, see their names wanting. What a pinch will it be to Cain to see his brother there recorded, and he himself left out. Absalom will now swoon, and be as one that giveth up the ghost, when he shall see David his father, and Solomon his brother written here, while he withal is written in the earth, among the damned. Thus, I say, will sadness be added to sadness, in the soul of the perishing world when they fail of finding their names in this part of "the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev 13:8).

2. The second part of this book, is that in which is recorded, the nature of conversion, of faith, love, &c. And those that have not had the effectual word of God upon them, and the true and saving operation of grace in their hearts, which is indeed the true life which is begun in every Christian, they will be found still not written in this book; for the living, the holy living souls, are they only that are written therein; as the prophet saith, "and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem" (Isa 4:3): Eternal life is already in this life, begun in every soul that shall be saved; as Christ saith, "He that believeth in me hath everlasting life." And again, "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:54). And hence they are called the living, that are written in this book. Here then, the Lord will open before thee, what conversion is, in the true and simple nature of it, which when thou beholdest, thou wilt then be convinced, that this thou hast missed of; for it must needs be, that when thou beholdest by the records of heaven, what a change what a turn; what an alteration the work of regeneration maketh on every soul, and in every heart, where the effectual call, or the call according to his purpose, is; that thou who hast lived a stranger to this, or that hast contented thyself with the notion only, or a formal, and feigned profession thereof: I say, it cannot be but that thou must forthwith fall down, and with grief conclude, that thou hast no share in this part of the book of life neither, the living only are written herein. There is not one dead, carnal, wicked man recorded here. No; but when the Lord shall at this day make mention of Rahab, of Babylon, of Philistia, and Ethiopia: that is, of all the cursed rabble and crew of the damned: then he will say, that this man was born there—that is, amongst them, and so hath his name where they have theirs; namely, under the black rod, in the king's black book, where he hath recorded all his enemies and traitors. It shall be said of this man, of this ungodly man, that he was born there (Psa 87:4), that he lived and died in the state of nature, and so under the curse of God, even as others: for as he said of wicked Coniah, "Write ye this man childless" (Jer 22:30), so he saith of every ungodly man that so departeth out of this world, Write this man graceless.

Wherefore, I say, among the Babylonians and Philistines; among the unbelieving Moors and pagans, his name will be found in the day when it will be inquired where every man was born; for God at this day, will divide the whole world into these two ranks—the children of the world, and the children of Zion. Wherefore here is the honour, the privilege, and advantage that the godly above the wicked will have at the day of their counting, when the Lord maketh mention of Zion, it shall be then acknowledged that this and that (good) man was born in her. "The Lord shall count," saith the prophet, "when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there" (Psa 87:6). This man had the work of conversion, of faith, and grace in his soul. This man is a child of Zion, of the heavenly Jerusalem, which is also written in heaven (Gal 4:26; Heb 12:23). Blessed is the people that is in such a case (Psa 144:15).

But, poor soul, counters16 will not go for gold now; for though so long as thou didst judge thyself by the crooked rule of thy own reason, fancy, and affection, thou wast pure in thine own eyes: yet now thou must be judged alone by the words and rule of the Lord Jesus: which word shall not now, as in times past, be wrested and wrung, both this way and that, to smooth thee up in thy hypocrite's hope and carnal confidence; but be thou king or keser,17 be thou who thou wilt, the word of Christ, and that with this interpretation only, it shall judge thee in the last day (John 12:48).

Now will sinners begin to cry with loud and bitter cries, Oh! ten thousand worlds for a saving work of grace. Crowns and kingdoms for the least measure of saving faith, and for the love, that Christ will say, is the love of his own Spirit.

Now they will begin also to see the work of a broken and a contrite spirit, and of walking with God, as living stones, in this world. But alas! these things appear in their hearts to the damned too late; as also do all things else. This will be but like the repentance of the thief, about whose neck is the halter, and he turning off the ladder; for the unfortunate hap of the damned will be, that the glory of heavenly things will not appear to them till out of season. Christ must now indeed be shewed to them, as also the true nature of faith and all grace; but it will be, when the door is shut, and mercy gone. They will pray, and repent most earnestly; but it will be in the time of great waters of the floods of eternal wrath, when they cannot come nigh him (1 Tim 6:15; Matt 25:10,11; Psa 32:6).

Well, then, tell me, sinner, if Christ should now come to judge the world, canst thou abide the trial of the book of life? art thou confident that thy profession, that thy conversion, thy faith, and all other graces thou thinkest thou hast, will prove gold, silver, and precious stones in this day? Behold, he comes as a refiner's fire, and as fuller's soap. Shalt thou indeed abide the melting and washing of this day? Examine, I say, beforehand, and try thyself unfeignedly; for every one "that doth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God" (John 3:21).

Thou sayest thou art a Christian, that also thou hast repented, dost believe, and love the Lord Jesus; but the question is, whether these things will be found of equal length, height, and breadth with the book of life, or whether, when thou art weighed in the balance, thou wilt yet be found wanting (Dan 5:27). How if, when thou comest to speak for thyself before God, thou shouldst say Sibboleth instead of Shibboleth: that is, though almost, yet not rightly and naturally the language of the Christians (Judg 12:6).

If thou miss but one letter in thy evidence, thou art gone; for though thou mayest deceive thy own heart with brass, instead of gold, and with tin instead of silver, yet God will not be so put off (Gal 6:7). You know how confident the foolish virgins were, and yet how they were deceived. They herded with the saints, they went forth from the gross pollutions of the world, they every one had shining lamps, and all went forth to meet the bridegroom, and yet they missed the kingdom; they were not written among the living at Jerusalem; they had not the true, powerful, saving work of conversion, of faith, and grace in their souls: they that are foolish take their lamps, but take no oil, no saving grace, with them (Matt 25:1-4). Thus you see how sinners will be put to it before the judgment-seat from these two parts of this book of life. But,

3. There is yet another part of this book to be opened, and that is, that part of it in which are recorded those noble and Christian acts, that they have done since the time of their conversion and turning to Christ. Here, I say, are recorded the testimony of the saints against sin and antichrist; their suffering for the sake of God, their love to the members of Christ, their patience under the cross, and their faithful frequenting the assemblies of the saints, and their encouraging one another to bear up in his ways in the worst of times; even when the proud were called happy, and when they that wrought wickedness were even set up. As he there saith, "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name" (Mal 3:16).

For indeed, as truly as any person hath his name found in the first part of this book of life, and his conversion in the second; so there is a third part, in which there are his noble, spiritual, and holy actions recorded and set down. As it is said by the Spirit to John, concerning those that suffered martyrdom for the truth of Jesus, "Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord:—Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them" (Rev 14:13).

And hence it is that the labours of the saints and the book of life, are mentioned together, signifying that the travels, and labours, and acts of the godly, are recorded therein (Phil 4:3).

And hence it is again, that the Lord doth tell Sardis, that those among them that stood it out to the last gasp, in the faith and love of the gospel, should not be blotted out of the book of life; but they, with the work of God on their soul, and their labour for God in this world; should be confessed before his Father, and before his angels (Rev 3:5).

This part of this book, is in another place called, "The book of the wars of the Lord," (Num 21:14), because in it, I say, are recorded these famous acts of the saints against the world, flesh, and the devil.

You find also, how exact the Holy Ghost is, in recording the travels, pains, labour, and goodness of any of the children of Israel, in their journey from Egypt to Canaan, which was a representation of the travels of the saints, from nature to grace, and from grace to glory. King Ahasuerus, kept in his library a book of records, wherein was written, the good service that his subjects did for him at any time, which was a type also of the manner and order of heaven. And as sure as ever Mordecai, when search was made in the rolls, was found there to have done such and such service for the king and his kingdom (Esth 6:1,2): so surely will it be found, what every saint hath done for God, at the day of inquiry. You find in the Old Testament also, still as any of the kings of Judah died, there was surely a record in the book of Chronicles, of their memorable acts and doings for their God, the church, and the commonwealth of Israel, which still doth further hold forth unto the children of men, this very thing, that all the kings of the New Testament, which are the saints of God, have all their acts, and what they have done for their God, &c., recorded in the book of Chronicles in the heavenly Jerusalem.

Now, I say, when this part of the book of life shall be opened, what can be found in it, of the good deeds and heaven-born actions of wicked men? Just nothing; for as it is not to be expected that thorns should bring forth grapes, or that thistles should bear figs: so it cannot be imagined, that ungodly men should have anything to their commendations, recorded in this part of the book of life. What hast thou done, man, for God in this world? Art thou one of them that hast set thyself against those strong strugglings of pride, lust, covetousness, and secret wickedness, that remain in thy heart, like Job and Paul? (Job 1:8; 2 Cor 10:4,5). And do these strugglings against these things, arise from pure love to the Lord Jesus, or from some legal terrors and conviction for sin (Gal 5:6). Dost thou, I say, struggle against thy lusts, because thou dost in truth, love the sweet, holy, and blessed leadings of the Spirit of the Lord Jesus; its leadings of thee, I say, into his blood and death, for thy justification and deliverance from wrath to come (Phil 3:6-8; 2 Cor 5:14).

What acts of self-denial, hast thou done for the name of the Lord Jesus, among the sons of men? I say, what house, what friend, what wife, what children, and the like, hast thou lost, or left for the word of God, and the testimony of his truth in the world? (Matt 19:27,28; Rev 12:11). Wast thou one of them, that didst sigh, and afflict thyself for the abominations of the times? and that Christ hath marked and recorded for such an one? (Eze 9:4; Zeph 3:18).

In a word, art thou one of them, that wouldst not be won, neither by fear, frowns, nor flatteries, to forsake the ways of God, or wrong thy conscience? or art thou one of them that slightest those opportunities that Satan and this world did often give thee to return to sin in secret (Heb 11:15). These be the men whose praise is in the gospel, and whose commendable and worthy acts are recorded before the Judge of all the world. Alas, alas, these things are strange things to a carnal and wicked man. Nothing of this hath been done by him in this life, and therefore how can any such be recorded for him in the book of life? wherefore he must needs be shut out of this part also. As David saith, "Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous" (Psa 69:28).

Thus I say, the wicked will find nothing for their comfort, either in the first part of this book, where all the names of the elect are, neither will they find anything in the second part thereof, where are recorded the true nature and operation of effectual conversion, of faith, or love, or the like; and I say, neither can anything be found in this third part, wherein are recorded the worthy acts, and memorable deeds of the saints of the Lord Jesus. Thus, when Christ therefore hath opened before them this book of life, and convinced the ungodly at this day out of it, he will then shut it up again, saying, I find nothing herein that will do you good; you are none of my elect, you are the sons of perdition. For as these things will be found clear and full in the book of life, so they will be found effectually wrought in the hearts of the elect, all whose conversion and perseverance shall now be opened before thine eyes, as a witness, I say, of the truth of what thou here seest opened before thee, and also of thy unregenerate estate. Now, thou wilt see what a turn, what a change, and what a clinging to God, to Christ, and his word and ways; there was found in the souls of the saved ones! Here shall be seen also how resolvedly, unfeignedly, and heartily the true child of God did oppose, resist, and war against his most dear and darling lusts and corruptions. Now the saints are hidden ones, but then they shall be manifest; this is the morrow in which the Lord will shew who are his, and who they are that fear the Lord, and who that fear him not (Psa 83:3; 1 Sam 8:19; Num 16:5; Mal 3:18). Now you shall see how Abraham left his country (Heb 11:8); how close good Lot did stick to God in profane and wicked Sodom (2 Peter 2:7,8); how the apostles left all to follow Jesus Christ (Matt 19:29); and how patiently they took all crosses, afflictions, persecutions, and necessities for the kingdom of heaven's sake; how they endured burning, striving, stoning, hanging, and a thousand calamities; how they manifested their love to their Lord, his cause, and people in the worst of times, and in the days when they were most rejected, slighted, abused, and abased; "then shall the King say to them on his right hand, (and that when all the devils and damned sinners stand by,) Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (you are indeed the truly converted souls, as appears by the grace that was in your hearts) for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me" (Matt 25:34-36). You owned me, stood by me, and denied yourselves to nourish me and my poor members, in our low, and weak, and most despised condition. This, I say, the world shall see, hear, and be witnesses of, against themselves and their souls for ever; for how can it be, but these poor damned sinners should be forced to confess, that they were both Christless and graceless, when they shall find, both in the book of life, and in the hearts of the holy and beloved souls, that which themselves are quite barren of, and greatest strangers to. The saints, by the fruits of regeneration, even in this world, do testify to the world, not only the truth of conversion in themselves, but also that they are yet Christless, and so heavenless, and salvationless, that are not converted (1 Tim 6:12; 1 Thess 2:10; 2 Tim 2:2). But alas! while we are here, they will evade this testimony, both of our happiness, by calling our faith, phantasy; our communion with God, delusion; and the sincere profession of his word before the world, hypocrisy, pride, and arrogancy: yet, I say, when they see us on the right hand of Christ, commingled among the angels of light, and themselves on his left hand, and commingled with the angels of darkness; and, I say, when they shall see our hearts and ways opened before their eyes, and owned by the Judge for honest hearts and good ways, and yet the same ways that they hated, slighted, disowned and contemned, what will they, or what can they say, but thus—We fools counted their lives madness, and their end to be without honour; but how are they numbered with the saints, and owned by God and Christ!

And truly, was it not that the world might, by seeing the turn that is wrought on the godly at their conversion, be convinced of the evil of their ways, or be left without excuse the more in the day of God, (with some other reasons) they should not, I am persuaded, stay so long from heaven as they do, nor undergo so much abuse and hardship as frequently befalls them. God, by the lengthening out the life of his people that are scattered here and there among men in this world, is making work for the day of judgment, and the overthrow of the implacable, for ever and ever; and, as I have said, will by the conversion, life, patience, self-denial, and heavenly-mindedness of his dear children, give them a heavy and most dreadful blow. Now, when God hath thus laid open the work of grace, both by the book of life and the Christian's heart: then, of itself will fall to the ground, their pleading what gifts and abilities they had in this world; they will now see that gifts, and grace, are two things: and also, that whosoever is graceless, let their gifts be never so excellent, they must perish and be lost for ever; wherefore, for all their gifts, they shall be found the workers of iniquity, and shall so be judged and condemned (Matt 7:22,23). That is a notable place in the prophecy of Ezekiel, "Thus saith he Lord GOD," saith he, "If the prince," the Prince of Life, "give a gift to any of his sons,"—that is, to any that are truly gracious—"the inheritance," or the profit that he gets thereby, "shall be his son's"—that is, for the exercise of his gift he shall receive a reward; "but if he give a gift of his inheritance to one of his servants," that is not a son, "then it shall be his" but "to the year of liberty; after, it shall return to the prince," &c. (Eze 46:16,17). This day of liberty it is now, when the Judge is set upon the throne to judgment, even the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom 8:21), wherefore then will Christ say to them that stand by, "Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. This servant must not abide in the house for ever, though with the son it shall be so" (John 8:35; Luke 19:24). A man may be used as a servant in the church of God, and may receive many gifts, and much knowledge of the things of heaven, and yet at last himself be no more than a very bubble and nothing (1 Cor 13:1-3).

But now, I say, at this day, they shall clearly see the difference between gifts and grace, even as clearly, as now they that have eyes can see the difference between gifts and ignorance, and very foolishness. This our day doth indeed abound with gifts; many sparkling wits are seen in every corner; men have the word and truths of Christ at their fingers' ends; but alas, with many, yea, a great many, there is nought but wits and gifts; they are but words, all their religion lieth in their tongues and heads, the power of what they say and know, it is seen in others, not in themselves. These are like the lord on whom the king of Israel leaned, they shall see the plenty, the blessed plenty that God doth provide, and will bestow upon his church, but they shall not taste thereof (2 Kings 7:17-20).

Obs. First. Before I conclude this matter, observe, [first,] that among all the objections and cavils that are made, and will be made, by the ungodly, in the day of the Lord Jesus, they have not one hump18 about election and reprobation; they murmur not at all that they were not predestinated to eternal life; and the reason is, because then they shall see, though now they are blind, that God could in his prerogative royal, without prejudice to them that are damned, choose and refuse at pleasure; and besides, they at that day shall be convinced, that there was so much reality and downright willingness in God, in every tender of grace and mercy to the worst of men; and also so much goodness, justness, and reasonableness in every command of the gospel of grace, which they were so often entreated and beseeched to embrace, that they will be drowned in the conviction of this, that did refuse love, grace, reason, &c.: love, I say, for hatred, grace for sin, and things reasonable, for things unreasonable and vain. Now they shall see they left glory for shame, God for the devil, heaven for hell, light for darkness. Now they shall see that though they made themselves beasts, yet God made them reasonable creatures, and that he did with reason expect that they should have adhered to, and have delighted in, things that are good, and according to God; yea, now they shall see, that though God did not determine to bring them to heaven against their hearts and wills, and the love that they had to their sins: yet then they shall be convinced, that God was far from infusing anything into their souls, that should in the least hinder, weaken, obstruct, or let them in seeking the welfare of their souls. Now men will tattle and prattle at a mad rate, about election and reprobation, and conclude, that because all are not elected, therefore God is to blame that any are damned: but then they will see, that they are not damned because they were not elected, but because they sinned; and also that they sinned, not because God put any weakness into their souls, but because they gave way, and that willfully, knowingly, and desperately, to Satan and his suggestions; and so turned away from the holy commandment delivered unto them; yea, then they will see, that though God at some times did fasten his cords about their heads, and heels, and hands, both by godly education, and smarting convictions, yet they rushed away with violence from all, saying, "Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us" (Psa 2:3). God will be justified in his sayings, and clear when he judgeth (Psa 51:4), though thy proud ignorance thinks to have, and to multiply, cavils against him.

Obs. Second. But secondly, as the whole body of the elect, by the nature of conversion in their hearts, shall witness a non-conversion in the hearts of the wicked; and as the ungodly shall fall under the conviction of this cloud of witnesses: so, to increase their conviction, there will also be opened before them all the labours of the godly, both ministers and others, and the pains that they have taken, to save, if it had been possible, these damned wretches; and now will it come burning hot upon their souls, how often they were forewarned of this day; now they shall see, that there was never any quarter-sessions, nor general jail-delivery more publicly foretold of, than this day. You know that the judges before they begin their assizes, do give to the country in charge, that they take heed to the laws and statutes of the king. Why rebel, thou shalt be at this day convicted, that every sermon thou hast heard, and that every serious debate thou hast been at about the things of God, and laws of eternity, they were to thee as the judge's charge before the assizes and judgment began. Every exhortation of every minister of God, it is as that which Paul gave to Timothy, and commanded him to give in charge to others—"I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels," saith he, "that thou observe these things;" and again, "I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Jesus Christ, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Tim 5:21; 6:13,14). These things give in charge, saith he, that they may be blameless. This, I say, hast thou heard and seen, and yet thou hast not held fast, but hast cast away the things that thou hast heard, and hast been warned of: alas! God will multiply his witnesses against thee.

1. Thy own vows and promises shall be a witness against thee, that thou hast, contrary to thy light and knowledge, destroyed thy soul, as Joshua said to the children of Israel, when they said the Lord should be their God. Well, saith he, "Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him." That is, if now you turn back again, even this covenant and resolution of yours will in the great day be a witness against you—"And they said, We are witnesses" (Josh 24:22).

2. Every time you have with your mouth said well of godliness, and yet gone on in wickedness; or every time you have condemned sin in others, and yet have not refrained it yourselves; I say, every such word and conclusion that hath passed out of thy mouth, sinner, it shall be as a witness against thee in the day of God, and the Lord Jesus Christ; as Christ saith, "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matt 12:37). I observe, that talk with who you will, they will with their mouth say, serving of God, and loving of Christ, and walking in ways of holiness, are best, and best will come of them. I observe again, that men that are grossly wicked themselves, will yet, with heavy censures and judgments, condemn drunkenness, lying, covetousness, pride, and whoring, with all manner of abominations in others; and yet, in the meantime, continue to be neglecters of God, and embracers of sin and the allurements of the flesh themselves. Why, such souls, every time they speak well of godliness, and continue in their sins; they do pass judgment upon themselves, and provide a witness, even their own mouth, against their own soul, at the judgment-seat—"Out of thy own mouth," saith Christ, "will I judge thee, thou wicked servant;" thou knewest what I was, and that I loved to see all my servants zealous, and active for me, that at my coming, I might have received again what I gave thee, with increase; thou oughtest therefore to have been busying thyself in my work, for my glory, and thy own good; but seeing thou hast, against thy own light and mouth gone contrary: Angels, take this unprofitable servant, and cast ye him into utter darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth; he sinned against his light, he shall go to hell against his will (Matt 25:26-31).

The very same I say, will befall all those that have used their mouth to condemn the sins of others, while they themselves live in their sins. Saith God, O thou wicked wretch, thou didst know that sin was bad, thou didst condemn it in others, thou dist also condemn, and pass judgment upon them for their sin, "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for" thou that judgest dost the same thing; wherefore, "wherein thou hast judged another, thou condemnest thyself." I must therefore, saith Christ, look upon thee to be no other but a sinner against thy own mouth, and cannot but judge thee as a despiser of my goodness, and the riches of my forbearance; by which means, thou hast treasured up wrath against this day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God (Rom 2:1-5). He that knoweth to do good, and doth it not, to him it is sin. Thus will God, I say, judge and condemn poor sinners, even from and by themselves, to the fire, that lake of brimstone and fire.

3. God hath said in his word, that rather than there shall want witness at the day of judgment, against the workers of iniquity: the very dust of their city, that shall cleave to his messengers that publish the gospel shall itself be a witness against them; and so Christ bid his servants say—"Into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you": &c. "But I say unto you," saith he to his ministers, "it shall be more tolerable for Sodom" at the judgment "than for that city" (Luke 10:10-12).

It may be, that when thou hearest that the dust of the street, (that cleaveth to a minister of the gospel, while thou rejectest his word of salvation,) shall be a witness against thee at the day of judgment: thou wilt be apt to laugh, and say, The dust a witness! Witnesses will be scarce where dust is forced to come in to plead against a man. Well sinner, mock not; God doth use to confound the great and mighty by things that are not, and that are despised. And how sayest thou? If God had said by a prophet to Pharaoh, but two years before the plague, that he would shortly come against him with one army of lice, and a second army of frogs, and with a third army of locusts, &c., and would destroy his land, dost thou think it had been wisdom in Pharaoh, now to have laughed such tidings to scorn? "Is anything too hard for the Lord? Hath he said it, and shall he not bring it to pass?" You shall see in the day of judgment, of what force all these things will be, as witnesses against the ungodly.

Many more witnesses might I here reckon up, but these at this time shall suffice to be nominated; for out of the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word shall be established (2 Cor 13:1). "And at the mouth of two or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death, be put to death" (Deu 17:6; John 8:17).

[Fourth—the sentence of the ungodly.] Thus then, the books being opened, the laws read, the witnesses heard, and the ungodly convicted; forthwith the Lord and Judge proceeds to execution.

[THE SENTENCE AND PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED.]

And to that end doth pass the sentence of eternal death upon them, saying, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt 25:41). You are now by the book of the creatures, by the book of God's remembrance, by the book of the law, and by the book of life, adjudged guilty of high treason against God and me; and as murderers of your own souls, as these faithful and true witnesses here have testified, every one of them appearing in their most upright testimony against you. Also, you never had a saving work of conversion, and faith, passed upon you, you died in your sins; neither can I find anything in the last part of this book that will serve your turn, no worthy act is here recorded of you—When "I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat": when "I was thirsty, ye game me no drink: when I was a stranger, ye took me not in: I was naked, but ye clothed me not: I was sick and in prison, but ye visited me not": I have made a thorough search among the records of the living, and find nothing of you, or of your deeds, therein—"Depart from me, ye cursed," &c. (Matt 25:42,43).

Thus will these poor ungodly creatures be stripped of all hope and comfort, and therefore must need fall into great sadness and wailing, before the Judge; yea, crying out, as being loath to let go all for lost; and even as the man that is fallen into the river, will catch hold of anything when he is struggling for life, though it tend to hold him faster under the water to drown him: so, I say, while these poor creatures, as they lie struggling and twining under the ireful countenance of the Judge; they will bring out yet one more faint and weak groan, and there goes life and all; their last sigh is this—Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and gave thee no meat: or when saw we thee thirsty, and gave thee no drink? when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee not in? or naked, and clothed thee not? or when wast thou sick, or in prison, and we did not minister unto thee? (Matt 25:44).

Thus you see, how loath the sinner is now to take a "nay" of life everlasting. He that once would not be persuaded to close with the Lord Jesus, though one should have persuaded him with tears of blood: behold how fast he now hangs about the Lord, what arguments he frames with mournful groans; how with shifts and words he seeks to gain the time, and to defer the execution: Lord, open unto us! Lord, Lord, open unto us! (Matt 25:11). Lord, thou hast taught in our streets, and we have both taught in thy name and in thy name have we cast out devils (Matt 7:22). We have eaten and drank in thy presence (Luke 13:26). And when did we see thee an hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? (Matt 25:10,11). O poor hearts! how loath, how unwillingly do they turn away from Christ! How loath are they to partake of the fruit of their ungodly doings! Christ must say, Depart once, and depart twice, before they will depart. When he hath shut the door upon them, yet they knock, and cry, "Lord, open unto us;" when he hath given them their answer, "that he knows them not," yet they plead and mourn. Wherefore he is fain to answer again, "I tell you, I know you not whence you are; depart" (Luke 13:25-27).

"DEPART." O this word, Depart! How dreadful is it! with what weight will it fall on the head of every condemned sinner! For you must note, that while the ungodly stand thus before the Judge; they cannot choose but have a most famous view both of the kingdom of heaven, and of the damned wights in hell. Now they see the God of glory, the King of glory, the saints of glory, and the angels of glory; and the kingdom in which they have their eternal abode. Now, they also begin to see the worth of Christ, and what it is to be smiled upon by him; from all which they must depart; and as I say, they shall have the view of this; so they will most famously19 behold the pit, the bottomless pit, the fire, the brimstone, and the flaming beds that justice hath prepared for them of old (Jude 4). Their associates also, will be very conspicuous, and clear before their watery eyes. They will see now, what and which are devils, and who are damned souls; now their great-grandfather Cain, and all his brood, with Judas and his companions, must be their fellow-sighers in the flames and pangs for ever. O heavy day! O heavy word!

This word "depart," therefore, it looketh two ways, and commands the damned to do so too. Depart from heaven, depart to hell; depart from life, depart to death: "depart from me"—now the ladder doth turn from under them indeed.20

The Saviour turns them off, the Saviour throws them down. He hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man (John 5:27). Depart from me: I would come to have done you good; but then you would not. Now then, though you would have it never so willingly, yet you shall not.

"Depart from me, ye cursed." You lie open to the stroke of justice for your sins; ye forsaken, and left of God, ye vessels of wrath, ye despisers of God and goodness, you must now have vengeance feed on you; for you did, when you were in the world, feed on sin, and treasure up wrath against this day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God (Rom 2:3-6).

"Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire." Fire is that which of all things is the most insufferable and insupportable. Wherefore, by fire, is shewed the grievous state of the ungodly, after judgment. Who can eat fire, drink fire, and lie down in the midst of flames of fire? Yet this must the wicked do. Again; not only fire, but everlasting fire. "Behold how great a fire a little matter kindleth." A little sin, a little pleasure, a little unjust dealing and doing; what preparation is made for the punishment thereof. And hence it is, that the fire into which the damned fall, is called the lake, or sea of fire—"And whosoever," saith John, "was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone" (Rev 20:15). Little did the sinner seriously think, that when he was sinning against God, he was making such provision for his poor soul; but now 'tis too late to repent, his worm must never die, and his fire never shall be quenched (Mark 9:48). Though the time in which men commit sin is short, yet the time of God's punishing of them for their sin, is long.

"Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." In that he saith, "prepared for the devil and his angels": he insinuates a further conviction upon the consciences of the damned. As if he had said, As for this fire and lake that you must go to, though you thought but little of it, because you were careless, yet I did betimes put you in mind of what would be the fruits of sin; even by preparing of this judgment for the devil and his angels. The devil in his creation is far more noble than you; yet when he sinned, I spared him not. He sinned also before man; and I, upon his sinning, did cast him down from heaven to hell, and did hang the chains of everlasting darkness upon him (Jude 6), which might, yea, ought to have been a fair item to you to take heed, but you would not (Gen 3:2-5). Wherefore, seeing you have sinned as he hath done, and that too, after he had both sinned, and was bound over to eternal punishment; the same justice that layeth hold on these more noble creatures, must surely seize on you (Rev 20:1). The world should be convinced of judgment then, "because the prince of this world is judged" (John 16:8). And that before they came to this condition of hearing the eternal sentence rattle in their ears; but seeing they did not regard it then, they must and shall feel the smart of it now. "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."

God would have men learn both what mercy and justice is to them, by his shewing it to others; but if they be sottish and careless in the day of forbearance, they must learn by smarting in the day of rebukes and vengeance. Thus it was with the old world; God gave them one hundred and twenty years' warning, by the preparation of Noah, for the flood that should come; but forasmuch as they then were careless, and would not consider the works of the Lord, nor his threatening them by this preparation: therefore he brought in the flood upon the world of the ungodly, as he doth here the last judgment upon the workers of iniquity, and sweeps them all away in their willful ignorance (Matt 24:37-39).

Wherefore, I say, the Lord Chief Judge by these words, "Prepared for the devil and his angels," doth as good as say, This fire into which now I send you, it did of itself, even in the preparation of it, had you considered it, forewarn you of this that now is come upon you. Hell-fire is no new, or unheard-of thing; you cannot now plead, that you heard not of it in the world, neither could you with any reason judge, that seeing I prepared it for angels, for noble, powerful, and mighty angels; that you, poor dust and ashes, should escape the vengeance.

"Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels": The sentence being thus passed, it remains now, the work being done, that every one goeth to his eternal station. Wherefore, forthwith this mighty company, do now with heavy heart, return again from before the judgment-seat: and that full hastily, God knoweth, for their proper centre, is the hell of hell; into which they descend like a stone into a well, or like Pharaoh into the bottom of the Red Sea (Exo 15:10). For all hope being now taken from them, they must needs fall with violence, into the jaws of eternal desperation, which will deal far worse with the souls of men, and make a greater slaughter in their tortured consciences, than the lions in the den with Daniel, could possibly do with the men that were cast in among them (Dan 6:24).

This is that which Paul calleth eternal judgment (Heb 6:2), because it is that which is last and final. Many are the judgments that God doth execute among the sons of men, some after this manner, and some after that; divers of which, continue but for awhile, and none of them are eternal; no, the very devils and damned spirits in hell, though there, is the longest and most terrible of all the judgments of God, yet on foot: yet I say, they must pass under another judgment, even this last, great, and final judgment—"The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day" (Jude 6). And so also it is with damned souls; for both Sodom and Gomorrah, with all other, though already in hell in their souls; yet they must, as I have before shewed, all arise to this judgment, which will be their final judgment. Other of the judgments of God, as they have an end, so the end of many of them prove the profit of those on whom they are inflicted, being I say, God's instrument of conversion to sinners; and so may fitly be compared to those petty judgments among men, as putting in the stocks, whipping, or burning in the hand: which punishments, and judgments, do often prove profitable to those that are punished with them; but eternal judgment, it is like those more severe judgments among men, as beheading, shooting to death, hanging, drawing and quartering, which swoop21 all, even health, time, and the like, and cut off all opportunity of good, leaving no place for mercy or amendment—"These shall go away into everlasting punishment," &c. (Matt 25:46). This word, "depart," &c., is the last word the damned for ever are like to hear—I say, it is the last voice, and therefore will stick longest, and with most power, on their slaughtered souls; there is no calling of it back again; it is the very wind-up of eternal judgment.

Thus then, the judgment being over, the kingdom ceaseth to be any longer in the hand of the man Christ Jesus; for as the judges here among men, when they have gone their circuit, do deliver up their commission to the king; so Christ the judge, doth now deliver up his kingdom to his Father (Matt 21:8), and now, all is swallowed up of eternity. The damned are swallowed up of eternal justice and wrath; the saved, of eternal life and felicity; and the Son also delivereth up, I say, the kingdom to the Father, and subjects himself under him that did put all things under him, that God may be all in all (1 Cor 15:24-28).

For now is the end come, and not before, even the end of the reign of death itself; for death, and hell, and sinners, and devils, must now [fall] together into the lake, that burns with fire and brimstone (Rev 20:14,15). And now is the end of Christ's reign, as the Son of man; and the end of the reign of the saints with him, in this his kingdom, which he hath received of his Father for his work sake, which he did for him, and for his elect. "Then cometh the end," saith Paul, "when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father;" But when shall that be? Why, he answers saying, "When he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign," saith he, "till he hath put all enemies under his feet," which will not be until the final sentences and judgment be over; for "the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he (God) hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, All things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all" (1 Cor 15:24-28).

All things being now at this pass—to wit, every one being in its proper place, God in his, Christ in his, the saint in his, and the sinner in his; I shall conclude with this brief touch upon both the state of the good and bad after this eternal judgment—

The righteous now shall never fear death, the devil, and hell more; and the wicked shall never hope of life.

The just shall ever have the victory over these things: but the wicked shall everlastingly be swallowed up of them.

The holy shall be in everlasting light: but the sinner in everlasting darkness. Without light, I say, yet in fire ever burning, yet not consumed; always afraid of death and hell, vehemently desiring to be annihilated to nothing. Continually fearing to stay long in hell, and yet certainly sure they shall never come out of it. Ever desiring the saints' happiness, and yet always envying their felicity. They would have it, because it is easy and comfortable; yet cannot abide to think of it, because they have lost it for ever. Ever laden with the delight of sin; and yet that is the greatest torture; always desiring to put it out of their mind, and yet assuredly know they must for ever abide the guilt and torment thereof.

The saints are always inflamed with the consideration of the grace that once they embraced; but the wicked, most flamingly tormented with the thoughts of rejecting and refusing it.

The just, when they think of their sins, they are comforted with the thoughts of their being delivered from them; but the ungodly, when they think of their righteousness, will gnaw themselves, to think that this would not deliver them from hell.

When the godly think of hell, it will increase their comfort; but when the wicked think of heaven, it will twinge them like a serpent. Oh, this eternal judgment! What would a damned soul give that there might be, though after thousands and hundreds of thousands of millions of years, an end put to this eternal judgment. But their misery is, they have sinned against a God that is eternal; they have offended that justice that will never be satisfied; and therefore they must abide the fire that never shall be quenched. Here is judgment, just and sad.

Again; as it will be thus with good and bad in general, so again, more particularly, when the wicked are thus adjudged and condemned, and also received of the fiery gulf, then they shall find, That as he that busieth himself to do good, shall have more glory than others; so they that have been more busy and active in sin than others, they shall have more wrath and torment than others. For as doing good abundantly, doth enlarge the heart to receive and hold more glory: so doing evil abundantly, doth enlarge the heart and soul to receive punishment so much the more. And hence it is that you have such sayings as these—It shall be more tolerable in the judgment for Sodom than for others (Luke 10:12)—that is, than for those that had sinned against much greater light and mercy. "For these," as he saith in another place, "shall receive greater damnation" (Luke 20:47). Yea, it standeth to reason, that he who had most light, most conviction, most means of conversion, and that was highest towards heaven, he must needs have the greatest fall, and so sink deepest into the jaws of eternal misery. As one star—that is, as one saint—differeth from another in heaven; so one damned soul shall differ from another in hell. It is so among the devils themselves; they are some worse than others; Beelzebub is the prince, or chief of the devils (Matt 9:34; Mark 3:22). That is, one that was most glorious in heaven; chief among the reprobate angels before his fall (Isa 14:12), and therefore sinned against the greater light, mercy, and goodness; and so became the chief for wickedness, and will also have as the wages thereof, the chief of torments. For that will be true of the damned in hell, which is prayed for against Babylon.—"How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her" (Rev 18:7). Can it be imagined that Judas should have no more torment, who betrayed the Prince of life and Saviour of the world, than others who never came near his wickedness by ten thousand degrees? He that knew his master's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes; with many more stripes, than others that through ignorance did commit sin worthy of many stripes. But what should I thus discourse of the degrees of the torments of the damned souls in hell? For he that suffers least, will the waters of a full cup be wrung out to him; the least measure of wrath, it will be the wrath of God, eternal and fiery wrath, insupportable wrath; it will lay the soul in the gulf of that second death, which will for ever have the mastery over the poor damned perishing sinner. "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Rev 20:14,15).

FOOTNOTES:

1 Bunyan quotes this from the Genevan or Puritan version; our present translation has "in our body."—Ed.

2 From the verb "to chit," to sprout—to shoot at the end of the grain; provincial and almost obsolete.—Ed.

3 These ideas are as new as they are striking and splendid. Our vile bodies, when raised from the dust, shall be spiritual—like that of Christ—with him in glory; "bright as the sun and stars and angels." How amazingly superior is our preaching mechanic, to all the fathers (so called) and dignitaries of state churches that ever wrote upon this subject. Bunyan proves his apostolic descent in the right line; he breathes the spirit—the holy fire of the inspired writers.—Ed.

4 I have continued this word as Bunyan spelt it, but he probably meant hog-herd, a keeper or driver of swine, one of the dirtiest and lowest employments.

"No boorish hog-herd fed his rooting swine" Browne's Pastorals.—Ed.

5 "Its possessing of us," or to give us possession. "This possesses us of the most valuable blessing of human life, friendship." Gov. of Tongue.—Ed.

6 This is an awful state of delusion; to imagine that God is the author of gross things, such as worshipping a wafer, or applying to a priest to forgive sins; and that a holy God prompts them to the doing thereof, and sanctions them by his presence!! "Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed," James 1:14. Christian, take care that you receive not any doctrine, nor conform to any practice in religion, without prayerful investigation, and a "thus saith the Lord" for its sanction.—Ed.

7 "Go to his grave in his banner," alluding to splendid funerals, the hearse being ornamented with banners captured in war, or armorial bearings.—Ed.

8 Unsanctified knowledge, accompanied by a degree of conformity in conduct, may be the portion of some who indulge soul-destroying heresies.—Ed.

9 A graphic writer, addressing us at the distance of two centuries, frequently makes interesting mention of manners and customs prevailing at the time wherein he lived. From the illustration here employed by Bunyan, we learn that the culprit before trial, and therefore before convicted of crime, was in a manner prejudged, and loaded with fetters. These extreme judicial severities belong to the past.

10 "Abundance," exuberance, more than enough.—Ed.

11 Bunyan's sanctified mind, well stored with the sacred scriptures, richly enjoyed the contemplation of nature. No writer, however blessed with extensive learning, sanctified by deep and glowing piety, has opened the book of creation with such a master mind, as a witness against man at the day of judgment. In this, as in many other things, Bunyan stands pre-eminent; a striking illustration of the ways of God, who poured such abundance of heavenly treasure into an earthen vessel, despised and persecuted of men.—Ed.

12 "Slethy," now obsolete, sly, cunning, stealthy. "Darkened with men's sleightie jugling, and counterfeit crafts." Bishop Gardiner.—Ed.

13 "Twenty and twenty years," a singular mode of expression, probably alluding to the forty years' trial of the Israelites in the wilderness.—Ed.

14 Conscience, at the day of judgment, will imperatively "command guilt," which had been committed, to appear, and will fasten it upon the soul, which it accuseth. This is a most impressive and solemn appeal;—there can then be no concealment, no subterfuge.—Ed.

15 "Pricked," nominated by a puncture or mark, as our sheriffs are pricked.—Ed.

16 "Counters," false coin—"Will you with counters sum The vast proportion of his infinite." Shakespeare.—Ed.

17 "Keser," Caesar or emperor.—Ed.

18 "Hump;" or "hump-back" is a deformity in nature, so Bunyan uses the word "hump" as a deformity in judgment.—Ed.

19 "Famously," plainly, openly; in this sense obsolete. Tillotson used the words "famous malefactors." Sermon on 1 John 4:9.—Ed.

20 Bunyan here alludes to men convicted of crime; but how many innocent, nay, pious servants of Christ, have been compelled to go up the ladder to the gibbet, and when the rope has been adjusted and the ladder turned, have been ignominiously murdered by the sanction of wicked laws.—Ed.

21 The physician looks with another eye on the medicinal herb than the grazing ox, which swoops it in with the common grass. Glanville.—Ed.

***

SOME GOSPEL TRUTHS OPENED, ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES; OR, THE DIVINE AND HUMAN NATURE OF CHRIST JESUS;

HIS COMING INTO THE WORLD; HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, DEATH, RESURRECTION, ASCENSION, INTERCESSION, AND SECOND COMING TO JUDGMENT, PLAINLY DEMONSTRATED AND PROVED.

AND ALSO,

Answers to several Questions, with profitable Directions to stand fast in the Doctrine of Jesus the Son of MARY, against those blustering Storms of the Devil's Temptations, which do at this Day, like so many Scorpions, break loose from the bottomless Pit, to bite and torment those that have not tasted the Vertue of Jesus, by the Revelation of the Spirit of God.

Published for the good of God's chosen ones, by that unworthy servant of CHRIST, JOHN BUNYAN, of BEDFORD, By the grace of GOD, preacher of the GOSPEL of his dear SON.

'Jesus saith,—I am the way, and the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.'—John 14:6

'Neither is there salvation in any other.'—Acts 4:12

EDITOR'S ADVERTISEMENT.

This was the first work published by the indefatigable servant of Christ, John Bunyan; and he modestly sought the patronage of his brethren in the ministry, and Messrs. Burton, Spencly and Child wrote prefatory recommendations. The latter of these, Mr. John Child, for some temporal advantages afterwards conformed; and became notorious for having, in a fit of despair, destroyed himself.

Well might Bunyan in this treatise, call the early period of his ministry 'distracted and dangerous times,' in which many a poor sincere inquirer stood 'tottering and shaking,' bewildered with the new din of sectaries, each boldly declaring his divine authority. In the midst of this storm of contending opinions, Bunyan stood forth conspicuously to declare 'Gospel Truths'; and to open and vindicate them these discourses were written. To enable the reader to understand and appreciate them, it will be needful to take a rapid glance at the state of society which then prevailed. The frivolities of dress and laxity of morals introduced by James the First, increased by the mixture of French fashions under the popish wife of Charles the First, had spread their debauching influence throughout the kingdom. George Fox, the founder of the Society of Friends, in an address 'To such as follow the world's fashions,' gives an almost incredible description of the tomfooleries of dress which prevailed. 'How doth the devil garnish himself, and the people are carried away with vanity—women plaiting their hair—men and women powdering it, making their backs like bags of meal. The men having store of ribbands of divers colours about their waists, and at their knees, and in their hats. The women with their spots on their noses, cheeks, and foreheads—rings on their fingers—cuffs double, like a butcher in his white sleeves—ribbands about their arms, hands, back, waists, knees—and hats like unto fidlers' bags—is not this the devil's adorning?'[1]

At this period the iron hand of tyranny and oppression over the worship of God had been suddenly paralyzed. The ruinous penalties, and even capital punishments, which had enforced attendance on a form of common prayer, and a pretence to believe articles, creeds, and catechisms, ordained by Acts of Parliament, were removed. Man, by nature averse to religious inquiries, was now stimulated, under a threat of eternal ruin, personally and individually, to seek for truth and salvation. At this time a little persecuted band of puritans had directed every inquirer after salvation to the sacred Scriptures, which alone were able to make wise unto salvation, by the aid of the Holy Spirit enlightening their minds to understand, and subduing their wills to receive those eternal truths. But a new light was now discovered—that which lighteneth every man that cometh into the world; and which, it was alleged, would alone, if cherished and followed, lead the honest inquirer into all truth. National religion, so called, had been propagated at an incredible expense of treasure, and by the sacrifice of the best blood in the country, to the shrine of infallibility—called uniformity. A hireling priesthood had limited to themselves the right to teach men how to be Christians. The result of all this was clearly seen, when the people were driven to think and choose for themselves. Their minds were in darkness and confusion, which quickly produced the most whimsical, mischievous, and even ludicrous opinions, mixed with truth.

National establishments, whether Pagan, Mohamedan, or Christian—be this latter either Greek, Roman, or Protestant—have a direct and natural tendency to repress and prevent personal inquiries, lest they should interfere with uniformity in faith and worship; which is a presumed incapability of error on the part of those who impose them. Systems, which IN FACT, although not in words, claim infallibility, by requiring implicit and absolute submission, must have had a direct tendency to hoodwink and blind the people; nor can we be surprised, that when their eyes were first opened, they saw indistinctly; or, to use a scripture phrase, 'men as trees walking.' They utterly failed in preparing the mind to receive divine truth, or in furnishing an antidote to extravagant speculations in religion.

The state of the millions can hardly be conceived; they had paid a priest to think on religion for them—to read the Bible for them—and to pray for them. They had paid the church to make them Christians—to confirm them—to forgive their sins—and to bury their bodies in sure and certain hope of heaven. From this fatal sleep of ignorance and error, they were aroused by itinerant preachers; many of whom were men of education, of irreproachable morals, and most benevolent habits. They went forth upon their mission at a fearful sacrifice of comfort, property, health, and even of life; calling all to repentance, and to obey the light within—to follow on to perfection in this life—and, at the same time, denouncing all hireling ministers. They were called in derision, Familists, Ranters, Quakers, New Lights, &c. The old leaven, which had led the people without inquiry to follow the priests, now operated on multitudes to follow those ardent and self-denying leaders. The Familists, or family of love, were consistent in their lives;—considered every day a sabbath, and baptized none under thirty years of age. The Ranters mingled a little truth with much error—abused their Christian liberty—and lived licentiously, and were a scandal to religion. The Quakers—so called from their trembling agitation when under a powerful sense of eternal realities, and because, in preaching, they admonished their hearers to tremble and quake at the word of God—considered the sacraments as mere ceremonies, inconsistent with spiritual worship—lived and dressed with the utmost simplicity, and took the lead in attacking error at all risks.

These itinerants went through the whole length and breadth of the land, and in every place of public resort they made proclamation. In fairs, markets, meetings, assizes, and steeple-houses, their voice was heard denouncing evil and exhorting to righteousness. Short weights and deceit were declared an abomination to the Lord, in fairs and markets. Every religious delusion was exposed in meetings and parish churches. The journals of George Fox, and others, are exceedingly interesting in recounting their hazardous adventures, zeal, and no ordinary degree of ready wit and talent. Some of these itinerants came to Bedford, and in the parish church, called 'the steeple-house,' in Bedford town, on the 23d of May, 1656, they met John Bunyan, probably after he had been ministering there. With him they held a public disputation or controversy, to which allusions are made by both parties,[2] and in Bunyan they met a master spirit who confounded them. The subjects in dispute were of the deepest importance—the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion—the authority of the Bible—the perfection of holiness in this life—and whether it was lawful to perform the work of the ministry for hire.

After a very careful perusal of E. Burrough's answers to Bunyan, it is gratifying to find that the whole truth is set forth in the following pages;—some of the facts are worthy of a careful notice. The Baptists and Independents had long existed in this country, and had published confessions of faith. The Ranters and Familists existed not as sects but in name, and soon disappeared. The Quakers, who were confounded with the Ranters and Familists, were not at this time formed into a society; nor had they published any book of discipline. The Society of Friends were some years after united, and have been one of the most useful as well as the brightest ornaments to this kingdom. The works of Fox, Penn, Barclay, and others, with their books of discipline, and yearly epistles, shew that they, to a very great extent, agree with Bunyan in his sentiments; and it is well worthy of notice that, in the latter part of his life, when he wrote his admirable treatise on the resurrection of the dead, he does not accuse the Society of Friends with holding any false opinions. Bunyan is clear and scriptural upon the 'Light within,' or that conscience of right and wrong which all possess to their condemnation—as distinguished from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the gift of God to his people, revealing in them the pardon of sin and hope of glory, by opening their understandings to receive the truths of the Bible. When Ann Blakeley bid Bunyan 'throw away the Scriptures,' he replied, 'No, for then the devil would be too hard for me.'[3] And when accused of being a hireling priest, how triumphant was the reply—it ought to be printed in letters of gold. He was charged with making merchandize of souls, and he answered—'Friend, dost thou speak this from thy own knowledge, or did any other tell thee so? However, that spirit that led thee out this way is a lying spirit. For though I be poor, and of no repute in the world, as to outward things; yet through grace I have learned by the example of the apostle, to preach the truth; and also to work with my hands, both for my own living, and for those that are with me, when I have opportunity. And I trust that the Lord Jesus, who hath helped me to reject the wages of unrighteousness hitherto, will also help me still, so that I shall distribute that which God hath given me FREELY, and not for filthy lucre's sake.'[4] How does this contrast with the description of the state clergy, before the triers were appointed.[5]

Favoured by the kind assistance of Charles Bowden, the secretary to the Society of Friends, access was afforded me to the extensive library in Devonshire House, and upon collation of Bunyan's quotations with the original editions of Burrough's exceedingly rare tracts, my gratification was great to find that every extract made by John Bunyan was perfectly faithful.

Edward Burrough, called a son of thunder and of consolation, answered both these treatises of Bunyan's,—denying, on the part of the Quakers, many of the charges made against them, as connected with the Ranters. He was a man of great talent—fearless, devoted, and pious. He became extensively useful; and like thousands of most excellent men, was sacrificed at the shrine of that fanatical church over which the profligate and debauched Charles the Second was the supreme head. He died in the prime of life, receiving the crown of martyrdom, when his happy spirit ascended from Newgate in 1662: aged 28 years.

No sect was so severely tormented as the Quakers. A fanatical clergyman, Edward Lane, in a book called 'Look unto Jesus,' 1663, thus pours forth his soul, breathing out cruelty—'I hope and pray the Lord to incline the heart of his majesty our religious King, to suppress the Quakers, that none of them may be suffered to abide in the land.' A prayer as full of cruelty against a most peaceful and valuable part of the community, as it was hypocritical in calling a debauched and profligate man [Charles the Second] 'our religious king.'

Controversy was carried on in those days with extreme virulence; learned and unlettered men alike used violent language, which, in this enlightened and comparatively happy age, is read with wonder. Burrough called his answer 'The Gospel of Peace contended for in the spirit of meekness and of love.' He meekly commences with—'How long, ye crafty fowlers, will ye prey upon the innocent; how long shall the righteous be a prey to your teeth, ye subtle foxes; your dens are in darkness, and your mischief is hatched upon your beds of secret whoredoms.' He says, 'I own the words but I deny thy voice.' Such was the unhallowed spirit of controversy in that age. A harsh epithet was called faithful dealing: thus, a learned clergyman, writing upon Baptism, entitled his work—'The Anabaptists ducked and plunged over head and ears—washed and shrunk in the washing'; to which an equally learned Baptist replied, in his 'Baby Baptism mere Babyism.' All this unseemly violence has passed away, and with it much of the virulence of persecution; soon may it pass away altogether, only to be pointed at as the evidence of a barbarous age. We now look back to cruelties perpetrated in the times of Bunyan by the national religion, as a stigma upon human nature. 'What a church is this of yours, to be defended by gaols, and prisons, and whips, and stocks, and violent dealing.' 'Let us fairly try our spiritual weapons, and not carnal cruel tortures.' 'Let us not hurt or imprison each other, nor put in the stocks, nor cruelly whip and lacerate each others' bodies; but let us thrash deceit, whip and beat that and all false doctrines': these were the breathings of our pilgrim forefathers,—it is the language of common sense and of real religion. May such sentiments spread, and soon cover the earth!—GEO. OFFOR.

FOOTNOTES:

1. George Fox's Journal, folio, p. 144.

2. See Burrough's Works, p. 304.

3. Page 201.

4. Page 201.

5. Page 178.



THE AUTHOR TO THE READER.

Seeing the Lord hath been pleased to put it into my heart, to write a few things to thee (Reader) touching those things which are most surely believed by all those that are, or shall be saved (Luke 1:1; Acts 13:38). I think it meet also, to stir up thy heart by way of remembrance, touching those things that are the hindrances of thy believing the things that are necessary to the welfare of thine immortal soul. And indeed, this is the only thing necessary; it is better to lose all that ever thou hast, than to have thy soul and body for ever cast into hell; And therefore, I beseech thee to consider with me a few things touching the stratagems, or subtle temptations of the devil, whereby he lieth in wait, if by any means he may, to make thee fall short of eternal life (1 Peter 5:8).

And first of all, he doth endeavour by all means to keep thee in love with thy sins and pleasures, knowing that he is sure of thee, if he can but bewitch thee to live and die in them (1 Cor 6:9,10; 2 Thess 2:12). Yea, he knows that he is as sure of thee, as if he had thee in hell already (John 3:19). And that he might accomplish his design on thee in this particular, he laboureth by all means possible to keep thy conscience asleep in security and self-conceitedness, keeping thee from all things that might be a means to awaken and rouse up thine heart. As first, he will endeavour to keep thee from hearing of the word, by suggesting unto [thee] this and the other worldly business which must be performed; so that thou wilt not want excuse to keep thee from the ordinances of Christ, in hearing, reading, meditation, &c., or else, he seeks to disturb, and distract thy mind when thou art conversant in these things, that thou canst not attend to them diligently, and so they become unprofitable; or else if thou art a little more stirred, he labours to rock thee asleep again, by casting thee upon, and keeping thee in evil company, as among rioters, drunkards, jesters, and other of his instruments, which he employeth on purpose to keep thee secure, and so ruin thy soul and body for ever and ever.

If not thus, then peradventure he will seek to persuade thee it is but a melancholy fit, and will put thee upon the works of thy calling, or thy pleasures, or phys; or some other trick he will invent, such as best agreeth with thy nature. And thus thy heart is again deaded, and thou art kept in carnal security, that thou mightest perish for ever. But if notwithstanding these, and many cunning slights more which might be named, he cannot so blind, and benumb thy conscience, but that it doth see and feel sin to be a burden, intolerable and exceeding sinful; Then in the second place, his design is to drive thee to despair, by persuading thee that thy sins are too big to be pardoned; he will seek by all means possible to aggravate them by all the circumstances of time, place, person, manner, nature, and continuance of thy sins, he will object in thy soul, thou hast out-sinned grace, by rejecting so many exhortations, and admonitions, so many reproofs, so many tenders of grace; hadst thou closed in with them it had been well with thee, but now thou hast stood it out so long, that there is no hope for thee: thou mightest have come sooner, if thou didst look to be saved, but now it is too late. And withal, that he might carry on his design upon thee to purpose, he will be sure to present to thy conscience, the most sad sentences of the scripture; yea, and set them home with such cunning arguments, that, if it be possible, he will make thee despair, and make away thyself, as did Judas.

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