A PLEASANT AND PROFITABLE Treatise of HELL.

WRITTEN By Hieremy Drexelius. S. J.

Fear him that can destroy both Soul and Body into Hell. Matth. ch. 10. v. 28.

Printed, 1668.

The Translator to the Reader.

I Presume your intent is (I wish the event may correspond) to march on towards Heaven: Now that you may not miss your way, which is dangerous; I have provided you of a Guide, which is the Fear of God. You must not be­gin your journey, but by his Conduct; nor hope to finish it without erring, unless he go on with you hand in hand. Be not dismaid, if he lead you through the desert to the Land of Promise, through Hell to Heaven: for that is his Native Countrey, whose passages he is well acquainted with; and from whose desolate shades he is able to usher you to the comfortable splendour of Paradise. He requires no other Sa­lary [Page]for all his labour in the enter­prise, then your serious perusal of this slender Treatise of Hell. Startle not at this frightful word, least you disco­ver humane fear to be more prevalent with you, then that of God: If it chance to be, I fear, at the first sight, you will shrink back, and either not undertake to read, or quickly cast a­way the book, with an—I look for Novelties to chear me up, not for sad discourses of Hell to drive me into Melancholly: or, I have other busi­ness, and cannot attend to reading. But with your good leave, no business concerns you more, then your right progress towards a blessed Eternity. And it is undoubtedly a principal point of Wisdome, to go down into Hel alive, by reading, and a lively consi­deration; aswel to escape going thi­ther after Death, whence there is no return; as also to vanquish humane fear, which is prejudicial, and beget in your soul a wholesome fear of God: Without which you can neither begin, nor hold on with success, your intended [Page]journey towards eternal bliss. Lay hold then on this Manual Book, which if leisurely read, will not a little con­duce to attain the chiefest Good, and avoid the worst of Evils.

Farwel.

A Treatise of Hell.

CHAP. I. The Authors design in this Book, with Advice to the Reader.

LEarnedly spoke Philo the Jew: Lib. de som. The House of God is the thought of a Wiseman. This House the Eternal Wisdome enters into, this it Inhabits, in this it sweetly reposes. To see, to speak, to hear, to write, are humane actions, yet such as are not wholly denyed to Brutes: for Wild-Beasts do likewise hear and see, and herein some of them go far be­yond man himself. Amongst Animals, some are reported to have spoken; un­to the Elephant is ascribed something not unlike to writing: but to think and discourse with reason, is proper to Man alone. God associates himself to men [Page 2]whose thoughts are Holy and without spot, and here he abides as in his own Mansion-house: hence flowed that lear­ned saying of Philo, The House of God, is the thought of a wiseman.

Here now arises the dispute, what is fittest for man to busie his thoughts in, setting a part his Creatour. In this quarrel King David enters the Com­bate, and avers, I thought upon old dayes, and the eternal years I had in mind. Ps. 76.6. This thought is most profitable; this be­comes man, and is not unworthy of God. Here is discovered a plain of such vast extent to think on, that none was ever able yet to run it over with think­ing. One may seek an end in this mat­ter, which he shall never find: Eternity knows no end, its not acquainted with any bounds, and for limits it admits of none: Eternity best deserves to be thought on.

Ten years ago I exposed a draught of Eternity to the pulick view: it remains now for us to set before your eyes some­thing as to the eternity of the Damned: this requires our more serious reflexion; it being not sufficient for us to scrape somewhat from the outsides of it, which may serve us to hear, write, or talk of; [Page 3]we must proceed further, and lodge E­ternity in the very bosome of our souls. wherefore the task of this Chapter shall be, to declare what we mean, when we write on the eternity of the Damned.

SECT. 1.

THe wiseman of Rome friendly ex­postulates with Lucilius in this sort: Sen. ep. 102: ‘As he is troublesome, who awakes a man from a pleasant Dream, because he bereaves him of that counterfeit, which yet resembles real pleasure: So thy Epistle did me wrong, for it took me off once and oftner from conside­rations that suted with me. I was well pleased to enquire after, yea and beleive too the eternity of Souls: For well might I beleive the Opinions of great men. Besides I had so much hope, that I now began to be irksome to my self, now I despised the rem­nant of my feeble age, as being about to enter into that immense time, and the possession of all ages: But the re­ceit of thy Epistle awakned me, and so I lost my goodly Dream; which, not­withstanding i'le to again, when I have [Page 4]done with thee, and hereby redeem what formerly I lost.’

I am almost now of that Opinion, which Flavius Lucius Dexter of Bar [...]i­nona, an ancient Historian, one who had Command in the Eastern Empire, and an intimate friend to St. Hierom, deli­vers in a Chronicle of his at the year of Christ our Saviour sixty four in these express words: Lucius Annaeus Seneca native of Cordova in Spain, by inter­course of Letters betwixt him and St. Paul, had a good Opinion of Christian Religion, became a Christian private­ly, and is beleived to have been his Disciple; to whom he writ with much feeling during his abode in Spain.’

For my part I affirm nothing in this particular, but reverence the testimony of the Ancient Chronicler: Yet certain it is, Annaeus Seneca did not only begin to think of, but likewise to beleive an E­ternity. We may observe this mans deep-searching Wit; he attempted, and went on most attentively to weigh Eter­nity in its proper Ballance: The con­templation whereof he compares to a Dream, which lulls asleep the toylsome watches of the outward senses, and commands the inward to keep strict [Page 5]Centinel. This, this is to meditate, and to be withdrawn from this, Annaeus was much unwilling; in regard this kind of meditation proved so beneficial to him, as himself declares saying: ‘I contem­ned the small residue of my life, and stretched my self forward into that Volume of Ages never to be unfoul­ded.’

Seneca by this time had a loathing of all things, if compared to the sole possession of that never ending Cir­cle of times. When Heathens meditate in this manner upon Eternity, what does it behove us Christians to do? Our beleif of Eternity is bootless, if we sel­dome or tepedly think on it. Many are the reasons which may move us dayly to meditate upon eternity: take this one in lieu of many: Eternity mollifies our hearts when they are as hard as flint and Steel; it quite vanquisheth all the stubbornness of our Soul. That man is lost whom Eternity doth not draw to a better life; he may take his course, he may perish, who is in such a dead-sleep, as this dreadful thunder cannot awake him.

Here one may object: The Flames of Hell-fire may well be cast in their way, [Page 6]who run amain towards Hell: why do you with them terrifie those, that are dayly longing after Heaven; that abstain from sin not so much for fear of pu­nishment, as for love of God? What need these so frequently to contemplate those flames eternal? They need very much. Wherefore I shall lay down three documents, whereunto we are concerned often to look back in this en­suing discourse.

SECT. 2.

THe first Document is: All Holy men are partakers of no small com­fort by this contemplation of Hell: for whilest they assuredly trust themselves to be out of the reach of those scorching heats, their hearts even leap for joy; ac­companied with most amorous thanks­giving, most profound contempt of themselves, and a most ample extolling of the Divine bounty. But for as much, as men of an upright conscience do slip and have their faylings, therefore Eter­nity ever and anon plucks them, as it were by the sleeve, and sayes:—Be­ware, look to thy self, thou art not yet shot free: thou knowst not whether in [Page 7]Gods favour thou shalt give up thy Ghost: Final perseverance is a meer gift of God, a meer Grace, which we are not able by any actions of our own to merit: in this point it is not lawful to call God our debtour, he stands disingaged to every one. If then God deny to bestow this grace upon thee, thou art utterly undone for ever.

This serves as a strong bridle to eve­ry good man; since we are not ignorant, that divers have served God, some for­ty, some fifty years, some longer; and yet have sustained the loss of their for­mer Holiness by a sinful end; witness that unfortunate Hero, of whom Cassian makes mention. This, if seriously weighed, may stir up in each ones soul many pious affections.

The second Document is: Whereso­ever an attentive meditation of Eter­nity preceds, there must needs follow a great care, a fervour of spirit, and a wonderful exactness in doing all our works. This cogitation alone teaches manifestly, that we owe all to God, as to our Soveraign Lord; and that we can never serve him so worthily, as we ought; but must needs acknowledge, that what ever we do is not answerable [Page 8]to, but far below so great a Majesty. This same consideration of Eternity puts us in mind of the present condition of our life; and withal warns us, that now it is time to take pains in erning repose without end; that years eternal will en­sue, in which we may neither labour, nor merit any thing at all.

I remember to have read, and that with admiration, of a certain man, who framed this conceit of Eternity: What living man (said he to himself) endow­ed with reason, and in his wits, would lay claim to the Kingdome of France, Spain, Poland, such wealthy Dominions as these, upon condition, that before he came to be absolute Lord of them, he should lye with his face upward upon a delicate bed of Roses for forty years to­gether? It may so fall out, that some one may be found overjoyed with the bargain, and so may begin to throw himself upon that soft and well-sented lodging: yet questionless he will not continue his posture for the space of three whole years, but will forthwith depart from the former agreement, and say, Let me rise, I would be deprived of three, yea all Kingdoms rather, then be constrayned to lye continually, as I [Page 9]consented to do, upon never so soft a bed.

And does the matter stand even thus? Will no one of Reason, if he might enjoy three Kingdoms, take up his quarters, as aforesaid, during the space of thirty or forty years? what ra­ging madness then, and blind folly is it, for trifles, for toyes, for bables to will and do that, for which thou maist be tormented upon a hot-glowing-Grid-iron not for forty, nor four hundred, nor four thousand, nor yet four hundred thousand years, but for all Eternity? If therefore we provide not for our selves and affairs while we have time and space, we are worse then mad, and something more then Furies hath sei­sed on us.

SECT. 3.

THe third Document: I wish I could but obtain this one favour of all who read these things, that they would accustome themselves to make use of two sorts of Spectacles; the one Purple-coloured, the other blew; this later is to be used in this manner: when­soever matters go well with us, when [Page 10]the Body, Soul, or both, are well dispo­sed; as often as comely and beautiful Objects are represented to the sight, or harmonious concent tickles the Eares. or delightful attractives charm the tast, or Sabaean Odours satiare the Nostrils, or things of smoothest temper flatter our touching, or in brief, when ever any thing contributes to our delight, plea­sure or satisfaction; then, then is the time to lay hold of our Sky-coloured Spectacle, and reason thus with our selves: Behold, this pleases, that satis­fies, the other gives content; but what is all this compared to the Eternity of the Blessed? what is this drop of Honey to that Sea of Delights in Heaven? Wherefore do I debar my self from that Ocean of Pleasures above, by gathering scattered drops here below? O cast an eye up then towards that blessed Eterni­ty; aspire thither, where there is all plenty of pleasure, that either is or may be imagined.

Amongst Banquets and sporting, yea amidst great variety of Dainties, this Discourse may be serviceable unto us. This Secret of Art may be made use of, when we are soothed by any kind of Complacence whatever. Lo, this is the [Page 11]right use of the Azure Spectacle; to raise the mind from things present and terrene, to those to be met with here­after in Heaven: by this means we may be moderate amongst allurements to excess, and environed with Pleasures may pass without peril.

But now on the contrary, when we are not well at ease, when pain Arrests the Body, when sadness seizes on the Soul; upon occasion of what Corrasive or Affliction soever, take into your hand your Purple Glass, and speak to your self as followeth: Does this vexe thee, so much, does that Torture thee so far, as almost to make thee Frantick? Yet what a Flea-biting is this, if thou regard the Eternity of the Damned? Look down and take a view of Hell: what ever here molesteth by Sufferings, Cros­ses or Disasters, is and may be reputed one of the choicest Felicities on Earth, if we but lend an eye to those never en­ding Torments beneath.

Wherefore then dost thou burden Heaven and Earth with idle Com­plaints? This both discovers thy Impa­tience and Folly: Tis clear, thou know­est not what Hell is, otherwise these Complaints would cease. After all this [Page 12]thou tellest me thy Miseries are many, thy Callamities intollerable. What? For want of house-room, art thou en­forced to lye in a Stall? But the Damn­ed are confined to Swine-sties, which are replenished with Fire and unsuffera­ble stench for ever. What? Hunger and thirst frequently pinch thee? Know, that there is neither crumm of Bread, or drop of water to asswage either; they hunger, they thirst, and that for ever. What? Thou swimmest in thine own tears, through sharpness of Affliction? Even this, if thou wilt, may be turned into consolation. There is Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth for ever. What? Thy Enemies weary thee out, envious and slanderous people make havack of thy good name? Yet what is this to Hell? where the most hateful company of the Divels and Damned must be en­dured for ever? What? sadness and cares pine thee away? But there despair everlastingly will rent thy heart a sun­der. To make short; if here the hard­ness of lodging hinder thy repose: there an abysse of Flames will encompass thee on every side, without hope of one sole minute of rest for Eternity.

Who so employes these Spectacles, [Page 13]will not grumble though evils in their height rush in upon him: things bur­densome and ungrateful may befall o­thers, but what ever happens to him is welcome and easily supported, while he cryes out—O my God, All these Af­flictions, which have an end, are tolle­rable, are pleasing, yea and a Paradise too, when I remember the endless mi­series of the Reprobate.

SECT. 4.

THese kind of Spectacles have ever been, and are still in request with men of renowned Sanctity, St. Gregory ownes so much, ‘When (saith he) I renew the memory of Iob sitting on the Dunghil, of Iohn almost famisht in the Wilderness, of Peter hanging on a Cross, of Iames beheaded by He­rods sword: I think, how severely hereafter he will chastise the Repro­bate, since here he handles so sharply those whom he loves: If bosome-friends he so dealt with during the time of favour, what will become of Enemies in time of Fury and Re­venge?’

‘Out of experience in trifles (saies [Page 14]St. Tom. 5. ep. 5. Chrysostom) a scantling may be ta­ken as to matters of moment. If at a­ny time you have been in a Bath too hot, or been scorcht with a burning Feaver; step down to Hell, and then you will clearly perceive, that if a Bath or Feaver be so terrible and af­flictive to us; what shall we do when we shall fall into that Fiery Flood which issues from that Dreadful Tri­bunal? certainly we shall whet our teeth through excess of pain, wherein we shall find no releif.’

Now that we may not erre in the right use of these Glasses take to your consideration one only night, passed o­ver without Sleep or quiet, either through Troubles and cares which Goar the mind, or by reason of the Stone, the Gout, the Griping of the Gutts, or Tooth-ake, which rack the body: O what a night is this! how long? how painful? But tell me, what if we were to abide these Pangs, for one, ten, an hundred, a thousand, a Million of years? what if world without end?

Take likewise into your considerati­on what ever sad, wretched, horrible, or cruel hath been, or shall be to the worlds end, and compare it with that [Page 15]of Hell, Tom. 4. hom. 9. ad Cor. and you will be constrained to say with St. Chrisostome: ‘All we suf­fer here is meer matter of Laughter and Pastime, in comparison of their sufferings: because these are tempo­ral; there their worm dies not, nei­ther is their fire quenched. Imagine if you please the torments caused by Sword, Fire, Beasts: Alas! these are not so much as a shadow to the other. You may look upon Executioners ap­pointed by Magistrates for the puni­shing of Malefactors, how they Hale and Drag Offenders, how they tear in peices with Scourges, how they thrust them through the bodies, how they make the living Fuel for the merciless flames. When this is sum'd together, what is it? a Play-game, a sporting fit, to theirs in Hell: For these have an end, those endure for Eternity.’

In all things as well pleasing as dis­pleasing to sense, we are to take our pro­spective in hand, otherwise that only will appear to be great, which is near at hand; pain and pleasure present will have power to move, things to come, as far distant, will be of no force with us. Therefore in all things we See, Hear, Smell, Tast and Touch, these [Page 16]Prospectives are useful for a further dis­covery. Hom. 2. ep. 1. 2d Thessal.

SECT. 5.

IF any thing (saies St. Chrysostome) in ‘this life seem to thee of estimation and value, cast up an eye to Heaven, and it will become vile; if any thing seem terrible, think on Hell and it will be ridiculous. If at any time lust of the body assaile thee, think the plea­sure of that sin to be of no value, nor to deserve the name of pleasure: For if the fear of lawes on earth have pow­er to restrain us from impiety and wickedness; how much more forcible will the memory of things to come be, as, a never dying torment, a per­petual rack? If we dread an earthly King, and so forgoe many crimes; what effect with us should the terrour of an eternal Soveraign obtain? How then shall we conserve in our selves a continual fear? if we give eare con­stantly to what is written: For if the apparition of a dead man strike us so much, how much more should those unquenchable flames do▪ who carries [Page 17]a dayly remembrance of Hell, does not easily fall into it.’

Phalaris Bull was formerly reputed an horrid torment; its rise was in this manner. Phalaris being Tyrant of A­grigentine in Cicily, a skilful artisan framed a Brazen Bull, into which when any were cast, and fire made under­neath, their cryes resembled the Bel­lowing of a Bull. The hansel of this cru­el invention was first bestowed upon the Inventor of it. Into this Prison of Fire and Brass was St. Eustachius thrown, together with Theopiste his Wise and Children, where they finisht a glorious Martyrdome. Their Torments you might call Hell; but O mild, O short Hell! we are most sensible of what our selves feel, and therefore upon every occasion of tryal we may say—what is this to Hell, what to Eternity? Go too then, and suffer willingly. Much skill is required to meditate rightly on these things, before they come to pass.

CHAP. II. Darkness the first Torment of Eter­nity in Hell.

IN these Countreys, which we in­habite, the nights are longest in Winter, and shortest in Summer. Yet it may so happen, that to some one a Summers night may seem longer, then one in Winter. How long must that night needs be, which in a few hours made that Head hoaty, which was black before? This truth is made out as well by witness of credit, as experi­ence. Didacus Osorius by the King of Spain being imprisoned at Sevil, through grief in one nights space became white like Snow: at such an Exchange, Marti­al admiting sings—

One night, how long ere thou be gone?
Thou youth and old age joyn'st in one.

More truly may I say: O night how long art thou, which brings not old age, but Death a thousand times, and oftner! Such nights are in Hell, where the wretches are ever a dying, and never dead indeed. Alas! the night is long, which exceeds a year, and extends it self beyond the limits of an age. That night is excessive long, after which never day appears; that night is full of Horror, which is enveloped in eternal darkness: with such night, with such obscurity as this, does God revenge himself of his enemies; whose dwelling is remote from Sun, Moon and Stars: Job. 3. ‘A dark­some hurlwind possesses their night; it is not counted in the daies of the year, nor numbred in the Moneths: Darkness and the shadow of death obscure it, a mist possesseth it, and it is wrapped in bitterness.’ The Damn­ed neither see, nor ever shall see their Maker, for whose sight nevertheless they were made. This darkness is their first Torment, of which

SECT. 1

THere be two kinds; one called ut­ter darkness or of body, the other of the mind or inner darkness. Those farr surpass that of Aegypt, though ne­ver so horrid and palpable. Fire burns in Hell, but gives no light: so that all are shut up in a darksome Prison.

Elegantly speaks St. Ad The­od. laps. Chrysostome of this punishment saying: ‘We shall all mourn most sadly, when the Fire with vehemence oppresseth us: We shall see none, besides those who are fel­lows in damnation, and a vast solli­tude. Who can express what dread­ful frights will arise from this dark­ness? As that fire has no power to consume, so it cannot shine; other­wise there would be no darkness: which brings upon those Inhabitants Fear, Trembling, Solitude, and a numness with amazement.’

As for inward darkness, which School­men term Pain of loss, or a privation of the sight of God; this is so great a pu­nishment, that none greater can be in­flicted: For as to see God is bliss it self, and the top of Felicity, so to be deprived [Page 21]of the vision of God for ever, is the chiefest pain of the Damned; whence ariseth in their wills a marvellous kind of sorrow.

The Faulcon, while his eyes are co­vered with the hood, flies neither after Duck nor Mallard, Heron, nor other Prey: but so soon as the hood is pluckt off and he espies his game, to the per­suit whereof he is carried by Nature, tis not facil to keep him quiet on the Fist, he baits, he strives to break the Lures, and is in danger either to hurt himself, or weary his Faulconer; so violently is he carried after the Fowl he once sets Eye on.

Not unlike to this is mans condition: While we live in this world, we seem to be hoodwinkt, we walk in darkness. Hence tis no marvail, that we are not ravisht with desire to see God: there is a veil betwixt him and us, which takes off our eagerness: but immediately af­ter Death has rent the Veil, and the souls at liberty from bodily contagion, it being now plac'd in the vast extent of Eternity, and put into possession of its freedome, will forthwith be carried a­way with such violence towards its Creator, that of all Torments, this [Page 22]will be greatest, to be but one sole mi­nute debarr'd from the fruition of God. What then will it be, to be divorced for all Eternity from the beloved Center of Bounty? the very height of bliss is to see God: which King David prudently weighing saies, Ps. 16.15 I shall be filled, when they Glory shall appear: The extract then of all miseries will it be, for ever to be ba­nisht the presence of God.

SECT. 2.

Every loss is so much the greater, by how much the greater good it de­prives us of. Tis a great Fine to be en­forced to pay ten thousand Crowns, twenty or thirty is greater, but above all is an hundred thousand: Yet this is far exceeded by another damage, which robs one of many Millions of Gold, yea of all Treasures too, during life. Such a mulct as this is that penalty of darkness, which at one stroke divides from all good, not only for life, but O! for all Eternity.

Here St. Chrysostome astonisht ‘In this point (saies) if you mention a thousand Hells, Tom. 5. ad pop. you come short of the grief a Soul endures by her separati­on [Page 23]from Heaven. Hell, I must con­fess, is intollerable; yet far more un­sufferable is it to lose the Inheritance of Bliss. Let this matter serve to bu­sie thy thoughts in.’ Tom. 2. in Matt. He inculcates the same in another place. ‘A thousand hells put into one scale, weigh no­thing, to the being exild from Glory, to the being hated of Christ, and hea­ring from him, I know you not.’

Every tree that doth not yeild good Fruit, Matt. 3.10. shall be cut down, and cast into the fire. Here is a double punishment of the Tree: To be cut down, and cast into the fire. A tree were more gently dealt with, if it were singed with fire, then if it were so grubbed up by the roots, that hereafter you may despair to have it ei­ther flourish or bring forth fruit. The like is mans case in this particular, whose pain would be milder to undergo those scorching heats, then to be for ever ba­nisht from the Face of God.

A semblance, or shadow of what I say, may be met with even in this life: Such as have grievously sinned against God, are sometimes scourged with a twofold whip: The first of pain; so An­tiochus and Herod yet alive, burst out into swarms of Vermin, as if they had [Page 24]been dead Carcasses, or rotten Cheese, certainly they were smitten by God. The second is the scourge of Anguish or sadness, whereby all solace is taken from the offender, who by this time finds no comfort in God. This is an ante-past, or foretast of Hell: whereof notwithstan­ding eminent Saints have had their share: Therefore Holy David cries out Cast me not away from thy face: turn not away thy face from me. Now as it fares both with Saints and Sinners, who even in this life tast of the pain of Sense and Loss, that they may be informed what passes in Hell: So those whose wicked­ness hurls them down thither, groan un­der the heavy burden of both kinds of punishment, and shall see no light for ever.

SECT. 3.

ANy one mortal sin is sufficient to make us lose this blessed Vision of God: for, as the Master of Divines deli­vers, who ever commits a mortal sin, turns away his will from his last end, and thereby deserves never to attain that end, for which he was created. Long ago was the Sentence pronounced [Page 25]against thse, Matt. 7.23. Depart from me all ye that work Iniquity. This is a most grievous punishment, which by mans Fault is yet much increased: as will appear by the following example.

A certain person might have been possest of an Inheritance worth ten thousand Crowns, but through a sloath­ful carelesness lets the time slip, and so falls short of it. When tis too late, he perceives what a Fat Morfel has escaped him; whereupon he storms, he rages, he is ready to tear himself in peices; and sometimes by violence of greif dies in­deed. This same happens to each one of the Damned; I might, saies he, grace was not wanting, I was called upon: I might, Alas! I might, it was in my pow­er, but I would not. I am justly exclu­ded from that Soveraign Good, and for ever I shall not behold light, because I would not behold it.

A grief it is not to be exprest, for one to call to mind, how through his own fault he is deprived of so great a good. Wonder not, this cannot be exprest; for since our thoughts cannot dive into those hidden joyes of Heaven; since we comprehend not what it is to see God; no marvail we do not set a sufficient esti­mate [Page 26]upon the loss of it. An Infant, when the Patents die, knows not what it loses by their death: therefore it nei­ther sighs nor weeps. Thus we do, when we sin: we little know, poor wretches! what Treasures we cast a­way.

None in this life is overwhelmed with such extream Miseries, but he may find some slender space to breath in. Be­sides we have no exact knowledge how affairs stand in the World to come. Hence you may perchance find some one who, with Gilimer King of the Wan­dals, will laugh under a great burden of evils. But know, all Laughter is banisht from hell.

In every mortal crime, Aversion and Conversion are chiefly considerable. To speak with Divines, he that sins, averts himself from the Creatour, and converts himself to the Creature: which is a two­fold injury to God: To aversion there­fore corresponds the pain of loss, as to conversion that of sence; this yeilds to the other so much, that he, who felt the first alone, would be far from laughing, would have Hell e­nough in that one pain of loss. Gen. 4. ch. 14.

Wicked Cain anciently made this [Page 27]greivous complaint: Lo thou dost cast me out this day from the face of the Earth, and from thy face shall I be hid. And yet there was hope he might return to the state of Grace. What shall I say now of those Captives in Hell? they are cast out from the face of the Earth, they are hid from the Divine Countenance. God has now done, what he formerly threatned he would do: he has forsaken them, he has hid his face from them, they are left to be devoured; all evil and Affliction is come upon them; the grea­test whereof is, They are cast out from the Face of God. This which Holy David with iterated Vowes besought God, might never befall him, is now their Lott; they are cast away, never to be admitted to favour again.

He needs must have matter of exces­sive grief, who, being ready to be An­nointed King, should upon a suddain be hurried away, and made fellow-priso­ner with Theives. Look upon Nabu­chod [...]n [...]ser, the worlds terror, seated un­der the Canopy of Glory, from whence he was thrown headlong to be a Com­panion to Bruits, amongst them to learn how to play the Beast, who had acted his part so ill amongst men. Behold King [Page 28] Sedecias snatcht from his Royal Throne, whom, it was not thought sufficient to bereave of all the gifts of Fortune, unless he were deprived of both his eyes too. Then was verified that of Boetius, The greatest part of misery is to remember one has been happy. No otherwise shall the Damned be haled away into Infernal Dens for Eternity, when they might have been elevated as Kings amongst the blessed; never to have the least sense of any evil, alwaies to be in the perfect fruition of the cheifest good. The loss of this may rightly be termed a loss, and such an one as can never be worthily de­plored, because never to be recovered.

SECT. 4.

VVHat other Petition should one that wants his sight make, Luk. 18.41. but that of the blind man? Lord that I may see? In case one damned might have leave to ask some one of the Joyes of Heaven, he would ask none else but this Let me see God. I covet not a place more pleasant, I am not ambitious of better company, I do not refuse to abide still in these Flames, only — Let me see God. But this no Law permits, Still I [Page 29]crave, at least after a thousand years let my suite be granted. This is by no means lawful. I am content with a denial till ten thousand years be expired: Neither will this be allowed. O that I might af­ter twenty thousand years obtain my request! That will by no means be gran­ted. At least after fifty thousand years let my Petition take effect. Nor this neither. Ah! when a hundred thousand are come and gone, then—Let me see God. The Laws of God are opposite to this, as well as the former. O that my Prayer might be heard, when a hundred thousand thousand years are past! Here may nothing be obtained, tis in vain to sue for favour, the Gate of Grace is shut, the entrance to Heaven is close lockt, God thou shalt never see: Psal. 48. He shall not see light for ever.

Ponder this well (saith St. Chry­sostome): Let us consider I beseech you, and weigh maturely, what difference there is betwixt these sober matters, and our Bables and Toyes. If a man had used his utmost endeavours, and left no wind unsailed, that he might compass Honours, Riches, or a beloved Espouse, and in this persuite had spared neither Labour nor Charges, till all things were [Page 30]in a readiness to Solemnize the Nupti­alls, and then another should unexpect­edly step between him and home: were not this enough to force the poor man off his Senses? Here Shame and Loss meet to his Destruction, which must be endured; or he must shake hands with fu­ry, or clash with his opposer.

Couple me now this man thus fru­strate of his hope, with another buried in everlasting darkness; and you will find a palpable difference: that may re­move his quarters, chase other Honors, and win a new Espouse; but this can neither change place, nor escape his torments, he is wholly void of hope and most desperate for ever. Nevertheless he is forced to acknowledge that God was careful of him, God called him ma­ny times into his way again; but he slighted the Call, and refused to follow his guide. He knows right well where­fore he was Created, wherefore by Christ redeem'd, wherefore Baptized, whitherto invited: hither forsooth that he would vouchsafe to come, and mount the Throne of Glory in that blessed Kingdome, where he might live eter­nally in the embracements of his Crea­tour. But I, saies he to himself, am in [Page 31]fault, I neglected, I plunged my self in­to these dreadful flames: whereupon my pain, fury and confusion is horrible, is immense. Esay exclaims: Esa. 32. Darkness and palpableness are made upon the Denns for ever.

Thus much the Devils themselves ac­knowledge, when they are upbraided in possest persons: O miserable wretches, you shall never see God. Whereat they will fume, fret, gnash the teeth, and by uncouth motions of the body manifest in some sort how incredibly they are tortured upon that sole account.

SECT. 5.

CHrist our Lord briefly explicates his most blessed Vision of God, when he teaches all the felicity of An­gels to consist therein: Mart. 18 They alwaies de see the face of my Father. When in a Sermon he expounded that Parable of the Kings Marriage, he concludes it with this saying of the King: ch. 22. Cast him into the utter darkness. In the Hebrew Phrase under the notion of darkness is signified a most loathsome Prison, such as we have none in this world. St. Au­stin discoursing hereof saies: He must [Page 32]needs be separated from God, Psal. 6. who while he has space, will not become better.

Such is the condition of this life, and pestered with so much sadness, that sometimes we are only minded to be sad: No Sirens charmes, no gracious entertainments, no Allurements of Pleasures past, are of force to cheere us up: so obs [...]inately are we sometimes bent to sadness. It is Authentically Recorded of an Emperour of the last Age, that he was so opprest with sad­ness, as no Musical Harmony, no Playes or Pastimes, no mirth or pleasing con­versation whatever, was able to reduce him to cheerfulness. Good Lord! what means all this? what instruction may we gather hence? This surely: O Mor­tals! Do you not perceive that all hu­mane affaires are a meer painted vanity? See you not now that your selves and all you have, wholly depends on God? Learn this after all, that all your Joyes amassed in one, are not powerful, with­out God, to raise up to mirth a Soul drenched in Melancholy.

The matter stands thus indeed: thou hast, O God! guilty persons enough who confess this truth. Nevertheless, [Page 33]if but for one sole moment, God did shew His Divine Countenance to a man overwhelmed with nere so much greif, all Clouds of sorrow would in a trice be quite dispersed: farr better, then his would be who suddenly awa­keing out of a dismal Dream, should find himself in some stately Palace sur­rounded with a joyful company of his Bosome-friends.

Moreover to see God is an Ocean of such immense delight, that, though a man were in Flames of fire, yet whilst he saw God, through excess of joy he would not be sensible of burning. If you search narrowly what effect the sight of God imparts to the beholder, it appears manifestly, that the loss of it, infinitely surpasses all sorrow, all Grief, all Calamity, all Punishment what­ever.

SECT. 6,

THis darkness or privation of the sight of God, is the first and cheifest punishment of the Damned eternally: herewith the blindness of mans heart is justly chastised, it being the first and last of evils in this life. He is altogether mi­serable [Page 34]who is possest with this blind­ness: For neither Admonitions, nor Examples nor Menaces, nor Instructi­ons, nor any other warning will take hold to do him good. This blind mad­ness hath seised on him, and leads him headlong into wickedness: Tis all one to commend a chast and sober life unto him, as to praise colours in presence of a blind man.

Of this stamp were those two wicked old men, treacherous Judges of the chast Susanna, Dan. 13.9. who subverted their sence, and declined their eyes that they would not see Heaven nor remember just judge­ments. Impure Love had so besotted these men, that their Conscience, will, and reason were involved in a night of darkness: even as one, who begins to tumble in obscurity, sees not how to stop his course; so they, as they began to slide, fell at length into horrid wick­edness.

Hence let no man wonder, if many, polluted with foul offences, proceed without scruple; since blindness hath prepossest their souls. Their former faults bereaved them of day, so now they go on secure under the shadow of a wicked night: they subvert their sense, [Page 35]decline their eyes that they may not see Heaven. Iob made a Covenant with his eyes, that they should not behold a Vir­gin; they with theirs, not to look up to Heaven; fearing perchance least it should strike them with terrour, or a­mendment.

This is the property of a Soule plun­ged in darkness and sin, which therefore the pain of loss does most justly torture: you would not see God, you shall not see him for ever. Hereupon Hieremy the Prophet exhorts in this manner, Give the Glory to our Lord your God, before it waxe dark.

The Grecian Oratour St. ch. 13. v. 16. Chrysostome delivers this most worthy rule of Chri­stian Philosophy, This, tis true, is sweet; but not immortal: which may be thus applyed to all things. To Feast and pam­per the body, is sweet, but short. To please the Palate and seek after dainties, is sweet, but not permanent. To loose the Reines to Laciviousness, is sweet, but not lasting. To flow in wealth, is sweet, but changeable. To be honou­red and praysed by all, is sweet, but not eternal. To be revenged of our enemies is sweet, but not stable. To live as I list, and to follow my humor in every thing, [Page 36]is sweet and pleasing, but alas! not per­petual. Contrariwise, to be excluded from the sight of God, is most bitter and perpetual; afflictive above measure, and immortal. ‘Let us not therefore (saith St. Tom. 4. ep. in 2. ad Cor. Chrysostome) abandon our selves to floath and delicasies for a moment (for this present life is no more) and thereby incurr the torments of infinite ages: But let us take pains for a mo­ment to merit a Crown everlasting. Do not you see that even in worldly matters, most men walk this path, and prefer before a little toyl a long rest: albeit they often meet the con­trary? How much sweat do they fre­quently spend for a little fruit, and sometimes none at all? Take a view of the Husbandman who labours the year about, and in the end finds his Harvest shorter then his hopes. As­well the Commander, as Common Souldier, pass over their lives in perils, if they be cut off by untimely death; the one leaves his Wealth, the other his Trophies to be buried in dust. What excuse then shall we have, who in secular affairs undergo much hard­ship for a little, a very little, and that uncertain ease; and in spiritual mat­ters [Page 37]do quite otherwise, for a sloathful moment acquiring to our selves pains unexplicable? Wherefore I earnestly beseech you, awake at least now at length out of this dangerous Lethar­gy: for the time will come when nei­ther Father nor Brother, Child nor Friend, Neighbour, nor any other shall be of power to deliver us: but if we be destitute of good works, we shall be left in the Lurch to our utter de­struction.’

SECT. 7.

VVEE are therefore excellently well admonisht by Isidorus Pe­lusiota: Let us fix our eye upon Eterni­ty, as upon a mark, and learn wisedome dayly out of the Oracles of Heaven: let this alone terrify, while each one saies to himself, do I lose God in this mo­ment? I lose then all pleasure, all good together with him eternally. Let this alone comfort us, do I deserve in this minute to see the Face of God? with this I merit all pleasures, all good for ever.

St. Gregory affirms the same: you re­linquish and yet retain all; if you so [Page 38]make use of temporal things, that with all your heart you pass to eternal. ‘If you desire (saies St. Chrysostome) to enjoy the things of this world, [...]. Epist. ad Tim. seek after Heaven: will you get under your command these things present? De­spise them utterly.’

Ermenigildus, a most Holy young man, son to the Spanish King, when his Father Leuigildus had commanded this message to be brought unto him, that he should either dye, or receive the Communion after the Arrian fashion: He, sticking close to the true Religion, returned this answer to his Father, who was an Arrian: It is not hard to part from a Kingdome, which cannot be possest for any long time; for his part, his sole ambition was to enjoy that Kingdome, which makes the Kings thereof immortal.

In the self same manner we must make use of our discourse, Let us bid a­due for ever to all those things which debar us from the fruition of the cheifest good: for the loss of many things, we know, is gainful to the loser, and we must not count that lost, the privation whereof is recompenced in a most ample sort.

When King Demetrius made himself master of Athens, Lachares an Athenian Philosopher besmeared his face with ink, cloathed himself in a Countey weed and carried on his arm a basket covered over with green Leaves: in this Equi­page he stole out privately at a Postern Gate. Now that he might with more ease escape the Troopers of Tarentum, who pursued him, he got a Horseback too, and scattered several pieces of Du­rick Coin along the way as he rid: which while the horsemen solicitously gather up, he breaks from them, and by means of this Stratagem secures his arri­val into Baeotia. So true it is that our loss is gain, when we part with some to preserve the rest, when we throw away a small proportion to secure the whole, Why then do we not cast away to keep, why do we not sustain some loss to be­come winners? Let us ever be afraid of this own loss, to lose God for ever: Let every one dayly make this prayer in his own behalf: Psa. 50. Isa. 26. Ex. 33. Ioh. 14. Cast me not away from thy face. My heart hath said to thee, my face hath sought thee out: Thy face O Lord I will seek. Shew me thy face. Lord shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. I am ready O Lord, to do all thou [Page 40]shalt command, to suffer all thou shalt lay upon me; to fulfil thy holy will, and to abstain from whatsoever thou forbid­est. Only this I earnestly crave, turn not away thy face from me. Let me lye in darkness O Lord, let me be despised and live in obscurity; only this is my Petiti­on, Turn not away thy Face from me. The smallest evil, if it endure for ever, becomes exceeding great from the poise of Eternity: what then shall we say of the greatest of evils?

CHAP. III. The second Torment of Eternity in Hell is Weeping.

IF he who has care of a Vineyard leave carelesly growing upon the Vine a bunch of ripe Grapes, and before they be rotten brings them not to the Press, the Wine they make will be so base and unsavoury, that even a drunken man [Page 41]will be loath to drink of it. Tears of Pi­ety are a pretious liquor, a most Noble Wine, such as would rellish in the Pal­late of an Angel, so they be powred out in time.

St. Bernard affirms our tears to be dainties for Angels, when they proceed either from a Holy sorrow, or from the love of God. But if Tears flow out of season, or not from a motive of vertue, they degenerate into a sowre and de­cayed wine; they become unpleasant and fit for none to drink.

Those two Monsters of Kings, Herod and Antiochus wept, but their weeping was counterfeit, their Tears came too late. Esau saith St. Paul, Heb. 12. found no place of Repentance, although with Tears he had sought it. Tears out of time are ungrate­ful and carry a tast of the Dreggs.

The space of this life is a time to weep in. They that sow in Tears, Ps. 125. shall reap in joyfulness. Going they went and wept, casting their seeds. This is the way to powre out Wine of the choicest per­fume, most Delicious to the tast of An­gels.

Sometimes in the night the Elephant is observed to mourn sadly, as one who bemoans his own slavery. While we [Page 42]live we are in a night, and alas! too of­ten are slaves to Vices; Why do we not bewail this most wretched Servi­tude? He leaves Grapes to rot upon the Vine, who with Peter and Magda­len refuseth to weep. In the other world tears come too late, let us Weep amain in this. Wo to those miserable Crea­tures, who go into that House of Eter­nal wailing: there they must begin to weep, but shall never meet with the end of it: Eternity fills their eyes with per­petual tears.

This is their second Torment in Hell Weeping; whereof our Saviour speaks expresly: Matt. 13 Luk. 13. There shall be weeping, and gnashing of Teeth. Darkness of which we treated in the precedent Chapter, serves to torment the eyes; and weep­ing, the subject of the ensuing, is a con­tinual rack to the ears.

SECT. 1

CHrist in his most Divine Sermons, made frequent mention of the tears of the Damned, least the testimo­ny of that excessive pain should be for­gotten. Hence are those words so of­ten repeated: There shall be weeping [Page 43]and gnashing of Teeth. Weeping, (saies St. Bernard) by reason of that unquencha­ble fire; Gnashing, S. Bern. super qui habi­tat. for that their worm ne­ver dyeth. Their weeping proceeds from their pain, their gnashing of Teeth from the fury they are seised with. The cruelty of their Torments enforceth them to weep, the vehemency of repining, envy, and ob­stinate malice, causes in them gnashing of Teeth. Hitherto this holy Father.

Concerning timely weeping, truth it self hath spoken: Matt. 4 Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Here we sometimes take a pleasure in weep­ing; there eternal rears are void of all comfort. That of the Poet is well known:

Weeping doth our pain asswage,
Tears from grief, us dis-engage.

But in Hell all sorts of torments re­ceive increase from weeping, as doth the fire from Oyl or Brimstone cast in­to it.

In case the damned let fall one onely tear every day, and God (as he might easily do) should keep these dayly tears together, they would at length amount to an Ocean of tears so vast, that it alone would far exceed all the Seas of this [Page 44]world. Nevertheless though the Dam­ned howl and wail most bitterly, yet they shed not one sole tear: even as graceless children, who when chastised by their Parents, part not with one salt drop from their eyes, because they are grown stiff-hearted against stripes: In like manner the damned, whose will is most obstinate, albeit they rage. they roar, and fill the air with horrid out­cries, notwithstanding no moysture of piety issues from their eyes. All of them fill their Denns with confused howlings, as beasts do, which are presently to be lead away to the slaughter. Out, alas! what Musick is this, which will never cease for all eternity?

What St. Paul testified of the joyes of Heaven: Neither eye hath seen, nor ear hath heard, &c. The very same may be affirmed of the furious howling of the Damned: Such lamentable complaints, such outragious wailings, such terrible roarings are those of the damned, that no one hath ever heard the like.

Let us call to mind, I beseech you, those cruel Gardens of Nero, wherein he used to supp, while Christians on every side being fastned to stakes, were burned with a slow fire to serve as Torches in [Page 45]the night. How sad and lamentable were the howlings of these Christians? Ima­gine only a thousand tyed in this man­ner amidst the flames, and as many more with their thighs broken upon a Rack yet alive, with pittiful moans bewailing the greatness of their torments. What a doleful noise would this be? But alas! what are a thousand Crucified men en­compassed with fire, what are a thousand upon the Rack [...] if compared to so many thousand thousands, so many Millions of damed men and Devils, all whose fearful outcryes and wayling each one, as an evil most near unto him, shall distinctly perceive?

SECT. 2.

GOD hath most wisely ordained, that what shall mervailously de­light all the blessed, the contrary there­of shall incredibly torment the damned. Frequent mention is made in holy writ, of Celestial Harmony and Musick of the Blessed, all whose exteriour senses shall enjoy their several delights: So contra­riwise in Hell it will be a special tor­ment [Page 46]to hear incessantly the horrible complaints, howling and mourning of so many hundred Millions; as if so ma­ny Oxen were roasted alive, or so many mad dogs strugled to break their chains, but could not.

How ungrateful Musick would it be, if your neighbour had a Kennel of Dogs, who with continual barking should keep a restless sick man all night awake? But O how melodious would this cry of dogs be! O how gentle, how short-la­sting would this Hell appear; if compa­red to those fiery caverns replenished with eternal howling!

Yet this is a just punishment for un­chast amorous songs, for lascivious strains: in place whereof, wo, wo, wo everlasting will fill their ears. The dam­ned will curse God and his Saints with­out ceasing, yea and themselves too, together with all who have been their companions in sin: The Father will curse his Son, the Son the Father; the Mother her Daughter, and the Daugh­ter her Mother; they will curse all the years, dayes and houres of their lives for ever.

But they will weep with dry cheeks for nothing so much, as for that shame­ful [Page 47]loss of time: to have lavisht so many good houres, so many dayes, weeks, moneths and years, and that with so much idleness, will be unto them cause of most peircing grief, but alas! too late.

Peter Reginaldus recounts, how a Re­ligious man being at his prayers heard a doleful voice: he demanded who was there, why he mourned, what would he have? Whereunto the voice made an­swer; I am one of the damned. Where­fore (replyed the other) dost thou mourn so sadly? to whom the voice said, I and the rest of the damned bewail no­thing so bitterly, as to have consumed the space of our lives in wickedness. Out alas! one houres time had been suffici­ent to gain that, which from henceforth for all eternity will not be granted.

This saying was too true, but too late: hereupon grew that pious custome amongst the vertuous, every hour to raise up the mind towards Heaven, with these or the like words: O my Lord, O my God! I have now spent another hour, whereof an account must be rendred: have mercy on me, O God, now and in the end of my life.

SECT. 3.

NOw therefore our sighs avail us; now, if we will, our tears are as so many Pearls: now we have opportu­nity to weep, that we may not sigh and weep forever.

When Antipater had written to A­lexander King of Macedonia, many things relating to his Mother, and the King had read them; he said: Antipater does not know, that one small tear let fall by a mother, is able to abolish whole Epistles stuffed with slaunders. I may in some sort averr the same of those guilty Inhabitants of Hell: the Damned were not pleased to take notice, that with one salt drop from the eye, if seri­ous, if timely, all offences what ever might be quite washed away.

For this reason St. Ser. 16. in Cant. Bernard exclaims: Who will give water to my head & a foun­tain of tears to my eyes, that with weep­ing I may prevent weeping, and gnashing of teeth and strait bands of hands and Feet, and a great weight of Chains pressing, binding, burning, and not consuming? [Page 49]There shall be weeping: By St. Matthew alone, this is four times repeated: Matt. 8.13. The children of the Kingdome shall be cast out into utter darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The same is itte­rated: And shall cast them into the Fur­nace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. In the very height of jollity and mirth at the Wedding, against one ill cloathed this sentence passed: Cast him into utter darkness, there shall be wee­ping and gnashing of teeth.

Weeping wants no solace, while the dead, we mourn for, is yet within our doors; but so soon as he is carried out not to return, so soon as he is cast into a hole, not to come out till the day of Judgement, here whole showres are powred out, here we give him a most sorrowful and last farwel: Thus all mourning in this world has its comfort. Yea, even as those, who dream they weep when the dream is over, find their cheeks dry, and wonder they were so sadly deluded; in like manner when the deceitful dreams of this life are past, and we awake to eternity, we shall both ad­mire and condemn our tears without fruit. Indeed our wailing here is like that of Dreamers; there, there shall be [Page 50]weeping and gnashing of teeth, and that through excessive pains.

Be pleased I pray, now and then to make some small tryal hereof: apply your finger to a slender wax-light set on fire but for half a quarter of an hour: O what howlings, what showtings out will follow hence! you would think the whole man were thrown into the fire, when alas! only the fingers end is scor­ched. What, I beseech you, are these imaginary, these painted Flames to Hell? There shall be weeping, there shall be gnashing of teeth. Weeping shall pro­ceed from fire, gnashing of teeth from unexplicable cold. Where mark by the way, the damned shall ever have their senses most lively, that they may suf­fer.

This may be observed, in those who are sick of a Feavour, in whom because the sense of pain is quick, therefore they whet their teeth to cut the vio­lence of their Malady in pieces. In this sort the damned enjoy the quickness of senses most entirely, that they may be sensible of their torments; therefore, as if they could mitegate their sufferings, they are said to weep and whet one tooth against another.

With good reason they shall weep, they shall howl, because while they li­ved, Christ Crucified before them wept, and powred out of all his most delicate Members plenty of blood, but in vain: their good Angel often wearied their ears with wholesome admonitions, but in vain: all the blessed moved them to amendment of life, but in vain: God himself thirty, sorty, fifty, threescore years and more called upon and invited them to take a better course, but all in vain. They would not weep for a short space, let them weep therefore for ever; they sleighted to hearken to good coun­sel, let them therefore cry out and never be heard.

SECT. 4.

IT falls out sometimes that a Travel­ler standing on the top of a Moun­tain, beholds some in the Valley un­derneath attempting their passage over a most dangerous ice: he does not only look upon them, but he likewise warns them to beware they go not forward to their utter destruction; because it often [Page 52]happens that in Winter aswell the deep Lake, as the smooth sliding River is Crusted over with a slender Ice, which being covered with flakes of Snow coun­terfeit a secure passage, where it is dan­gerous.

When Travellers ignorant of the way approach to this deceitful B [...]idge, they set foot upon it, and go on as secure from pe [...]il as if they walked upon sure ground. But the Ice, unable to bear the weight of their bodies, suddainly di­vides it self, and swalloweth up those in the waters, who suspected nothing less then drowning.

This when the Passenger from the Hill espies, being privy to the danger, he shouts out, he warns them to pro­ceed no farther, unless they be resolved to perish; but to steer their course ano­ther way.

If those in the Valley either hear not, or sleight so trusty a Moniter, they runn upon their own ruine. Does the Ice deceive them? Does the water swallow them up? Does the cold de­stroy them? Let them thank them­selves. They were forewarned; but their rash boldness contemned the warning: He is lost through his own [Page 53]fault, who perisheth in this man­ner.

No otherwise God and his Saints have formerly given, and do continu­ally give warning: Pleasure is a frau­dulent Ice, depart from it; it cousens the eyes with a brickle out side, trust it not; this deceitful way will ere long fall in peices, do not go forward, unless ye have a mind to be overwhelmed. But the miserable wretches with scornful laughter, refusing to be admonished, walk on stoutly into eminent danger, not as if they were to find their way on a slippery ice, but as people who run a dancing.

Thus the Fool-hardy march on, they laugh, they sport, they dance, till at un­awares the ice break, and the poor mis­creants alas! sink down never to come up again; they are buried for ever; though never dead; nor ever to dye, though alwaies dying. Now they la­ment and bemoan their condition, but their sorrow is bootless. They rejected good admonition, and now though with tears they call upon their Moni­ters they are not heard. Deservedly do they perish, who posted on so eagerly after their own perdition.

Our most loving God shouted long & loud enough, but none would hearken to him. Pr. 1.24 I called (saith he) and you refu­sed: I stretched out my hand, and there was none that regarded. You have despi­sed all my Counsel, and have neglected my reprehensions. I also will laugh in your destruction.

How long and loud did Christ call up­on them? St. Luke affirms, he travelled through their Cities, Towns and Villa­ges, Preaching unto them the King­dome of God. And when he spoke these things unto them, he cryed out: He that hath ears to hear let him hear. What I pray, Luk. 6. did he cry out? Wo to you, who laugh now, because you shall mourn and weep. As if he had said; Behold I foretel you, this ice whereon you stand will give you the slip, you will be drow­ned: these short laughters will have an end without end. But these things were told to such as were deaf, who, now they have recovered their hearing, abide eternal torments.

SECT. 5.

TAke here this most wholsome ad­monition: Let us make this our business, when we are in misery when we are oppressed with any calamity, let us think attentively: If this Misery en­dured for ever, if I were alwaies to suf­fer this affliction, to what a height of torment would it grow by the only en­durance of it? The biting of a Flea or Gnat, were it to last for ever, how un­explicable a Torment would it be? What horror then will possess the dam­ned arising out of this one cogitation: This fire must be endured for ever, this howling must be heard eternally, this stench must be suffered without end. Hence flowes in them most bitter weep­ing, and perpetual horror.

Terrour, Trembling, Wailing and Anguish environ the slaves of Hell on all sides. But forasmuch as these pu­nishments cannot be avoyded by any centuries of years, any ages, ch. 24. or Millions of Ages; therefore holy Iob rightly terms their horrour everlasting.

One night sometimes appears to a sick man longer then a year: How many years then, how many ages will one on­ly year of the damned contain, whereof you can point out no single minute, which is not lyable to a most dreadful death? Everlasting sorrow is companion to eternal death.

Iohn Climacus makes mention of a Religious man, Grad. 4. de Obe. whom he saw, whose countenance was almost continually moistned with Tears: He asked that same man the cause thereof. My Bro­ther said Climacus, what is the reason I pray, why your eyes are so well fur­nisht, that they alwaies weep? I, Father am fully perswaded that I do not sevre these Religious men, but Christ and his Apostles: And in regard I am constantly about the fire (he was Cook to the Mo­nastery) I employ my thoughts in rumi­nating those everlasting Flames, this makes me weep.

A most wholesome thought without doubt; to think upon Hell fire, and the Tears of the Damned. There (saies St. Cyril) they sigh without ceasing, and no one pitties them; they cry out from the Depth, and none is moved with their cryes; they lament, and no one sets them [Page 57]at liberty. This doleful condition by of­ten thinking on it aforehand may be e­scaped.

SECT. 6

MAny Religious men of old dis­patched away a Messenger from Mo4nt Nitria, Pelagi­us lib. 3. and with unanimous consent besought St. Macarius, he would be pleased to give satisfaction to the desires of many, and come to Nitria; if he did not condescend, they let him know, within a short space he should be overwhelmed with their company. St. Macarius was easily perswaded & forth­with arrived at their quarters: He was no sooner come, but all of them fed their eyes with beholding so worthy a person, and after a while all were desirous to satiate their ears too. Whereupon they joyntly request Macarius he would adde to the favour of his coming, this other of exhotting to vertue souls well dispo­sed to hear him. Great matters were expected from him: But Macarius be­gun his Sermon not with words, but weeping: Let us mourn, said he, and let our eyes produce plenty of tears, be­fore [Page 58]we flee hence to that place, where tears scald bodies. This was the begin­ning, this the prosecution, this the confirmation, this the Epilogue of his Exhortation. Which speech of his, though short, yet was it so serious, that all fell a weeping, all prostrated them­selves upon the ground, and earnestly made this Petition; O Father, pray for us.

Macarius hit the Nail on the Head: Tears while we live purge, after death they punish; here they wipe away our stains, there they scorch the guilty. There shall be weeping and most bitter howling as well of Devils, as Damned. Imagine the worst you can to torment the Ears: The shouting of men, the Barking of Doggs, the Howling of Wolves, the lowing of Oxen, the roa­ring of Lions, with the ungrateful noise made by other Beasts; the Claps of Thunder in the Clouds, the steep fall of Waters, and whatever may be concei­ved offensive to the Ears; Alas! all that is nothing to the most desperate weep­ing and gnashing of teeth they endure in Hell.

Resort hither all you, whose breasts boyl with hatred and envy; all you who [Page 59]though sleightly offended, snarle, and Wild-bore-like whet your Tusks to re­venge: Here you may take a view of your own picture in the damned. Hear­ken the kingly Prophets admonition: The sinner shall observe the just: Psal. 36. and shall gnash upon him with his teeth.

Enter into consideration of our life, and you shall find, that we eagerly con­spire to each others ruine. What profit then I pray do we pursue? This one; so soon as our adversary lies open to our fu­ry we sheath the Sword of Revenge up to the Hilts in his overthrow: This is the work of malice, this unsatiable envy persues amain. Even as dogs when they quarrel, shew their teeth; so we dog­like men, or inhumane dogs deal one with another, and now and then fall at odds for a bare bone.

O you, who swell with hatred and pine away with envy, why do you as­sume the nature of dogs, why do you imitate the Damned? There, there shall be weeping there shall be gnash­ing of teeth. Who ever rightly under­stands the meaning of that eternal We, easily laies aside all envy, and malice; often ruminating with himself: Nei­ther [Page 60]eye hath seen, nor ear hath heard, what God hath prepared for those who forsake him. In Hell shall be weeping, in Heaven rejoycing, such as ear hath ne­ver heard: it is in thy choice now to be­gin to weep with those, or to rejoyce with these: either this, or that will last for ever.

CHAP. IV. The third Torment for Eternity in Hell is Hunger.

THat exquisite Master of Rhetorick Quintilian had the boldness to say: Quinti. decl. 12. The Plague is happy Warr is happy, and all kind of Death is easy: But Hunger is hard, the most pinching of necessities, the most deformed of evils. An evil unspeak­able that needs must be, to which the [Page 61]greatest of evils compared are to be held in esteem: such an evil as this, in Quintillians opinion, is hunger; amongst all miseries worthily accounted the chiefest. This assertion is not without reason: since both by ancient and mo­dern History it is apparent, that extre­mity of hunger sometimes brings men to that height of madness, as to tear their own flesh in pieces with their teeth, Baron ad an. 491. and to nourish their bodies by imparing them. Zeno the Emperour did thus, who was buried before he was dead.

Is it so indeed? is nine dayes hunger so cruel a kind of death, that whatsoe­ver death compared unto it, may be re­puted a gentle punishment? What then will a Famine of ten years, of a hun­dred, a thousand, a million of ages be, from which all hope of releif is quite cut off? I may truly say of this: hunger is the sharpest of necessities, hunger is the worst of miseries.

This rageing evil is the third torment of that doleful eternity. The Prophet long ago threatned this kind of punish­ment: They shall suffer Famine as dogs. Psa. 58. He is truly miserable, who having a de­sire to eat, finds nothing to asswage his [Page 62]hunger: much more is he, who alwaies gapes after meat with a greedy appe­tite, but meets with nothing, nor ever shall, to satisfie his stomack. Nay fur­ther yet, he is not only afflicted with extream hunger, but is parched with most vehement thirst beside. Such is the hunger, such the thirst of the damned; whereof in the ensuing Chapter.

SECT. 1.

CHrist threatens in good earnest: Luk. 6. Wo to you that are filled: because you shall be hungry. Such hunger shall op­press you, as will exceed that of a day, a moneth, a year; and such an one, to whom not a few, but all things shall be wanting. No one will, no one can give either crumm, or drop. The remem­brance of dainties past will sharpen and set their stomacks on fire, that the pain of Gluttony may accompany the fault and the punishment be answerable to the offence: Wis. 11. By what things a man sin­eth, by the same also he is tormented.

One may offend many wayes by [Page 63]Gluttony: First, when too much meat and drink is taken, even against our sto­mach, which frequently grumbles not for want, but excesse. The stomach has its mouth, which wants not words: the stomach is filled with indignation, and Belching saies: O I am opprest, I am surcharged, I faint, I perish: Too much kindness kills me: Fain I would be refresht, not stifled: I would be nou­risht, not choaked: I am not to be stuffed with meat, as a Boulster with Feathers: This sort of good will hurts me worse then hatred or emptiness. These are the complaints of the sto­mach: Of which St. Tom. 3. in c. 2. Joan. Chrysostome de­clares that, What exceeds necessity in eating, doth harm; but nourishes not: Fulness is the root of all Diseases. So the first fault in Gluttony is, to feed too plentifully.

The second fault is, to have a long­ing of such delicate and costly viands, that of necessity the Sea must be divi­ded into, and shell fishes fetched from the unknown shores of the remotest Seas. Besides the Feasant, other sorts of fowl must be had, to satisfie ambition in the Kitchin. What a dainty stomach [Page 64]will scarcely admit of must be brought in from the farthest Ocean: To please the Palate, which loaths ordinary fare, search is made farr and near: the whole world must be ransacked for belly cheer, which is then daintiest when dearest: So Alagabalus Emperour, inhabiting the Sea cost, would never feed upon fish. These kind of people are possest with a hunger of greater extent, then their belly: they vomit that they may drink, and drink that they may vomit: Bankets sought for throughout the World, they greedily devour, which by and by they reject the same way they were received.

Observe here by the way: That is accounted a Soverain dish though o­therwise most vile, which the appetite most longs for. Hence it may come to pass, that one may offend more grieve­ously with feasting on toad-stools, then another on Partridge and Feasants. Esau was reprehended for over greedi­ly gurmandiling a dish of Pulse-Pot­tage, not for eating fat Hens or Ca­pons.

The third fault is, to lavish too much time and treasure in feasting; many [Page 65]feast in a Circle as the children of Iob did; they leave scarce one day in a year free from Riot and Excesse in Banque­ting.

Parents now and then Prophesie to their children: Wo be to thee my boy, when thou comest into strange coun­tries, where thou shalt want those dain­ties thou didst enjoy at home: How un­couth will it be for thee either to take pains or starve? The like may be retur­ned to the Parents: Wo be to you, who feed plentifully every day, how will you be able to digest Hunger and Thirst?

The fourth fault of Gluttony is, rash­ly to violate the Laws of Fast, or at least to expound them as they list. Hence the fast of forty dayes in Lent is changed in­to ten or twenty dayes temperance. Many beleive they are fasting, when they are not drunk. We are now come to that pass, as to perswade our selves, that fasting was only ordained for Reli­gious People: others are so favourable Interpreters of this Law, as they still find some excuse to free them from fa­sting. But the Physitian, you say, and my Confessour exempt me from fasting: [Page 66]true, but over entreated by your impor­tunity: I beleive they would be of ano­ther opinion, if they met with one less eloquent, and more indigent.

The first is, Drunkenness, the Origin of many crimes, and of all Vices the most dangerous, because if a drunken man chance to fall suddainly, which is not unusual, or be surprised with some disease, which hales him to the Gates of Death; where poor wretch! unable to grieve for his sins, or to raise his mind up to his Maker, in the state of mortal sin and ignorant of his sad condition, he is hurried away to Eternity, alas! a prey to Death and to the Devil.

SECT. 2.

VVO therefore, wo to you that are filled, In spec. because you shall be hungry. With good reason said Re­ginaldetus: Infinite men shall be dam­ned for this sin of Gluttony. Gluttony has an ample command, and is much assistent to all sorts of vices. ch. 16. Lo this (saies Ezechiel) was the iniquity of So­dom, [Page 67] fulness of Bread, and abundance, and the idleness of her.

For this cause our Saviour most care­fully warns us: Look well to your selves, Luk. 27.34. lest perhaps your hearts be overcharged wi h surfeting and drunkenness. For that is the malice of this vice, not only to burden the body, but likewise to fasten the soul to earth, to trample it under foot, and throw it headlong into Hell. Here is Hunger and Thirst, here is a long fast, Because you shall be Hun­gry.

Consider what a great share of our misery it is, that we neither value, nor sufficiently understand the affaires of the next life. Which of us has made tryal of extream Famine? Hence we weigh not our own, nor the Famine in Hell. A pattern of this manifestly ap­pears in Cities Besieged, and in close Prisons: For to that extreamity are people brought by rageing hunger, that not only Dogs, Cats and Horses, but also Mice, Serpents and Toads are gree­dily devoured by them: they pluck the Grass up by the roots, they strip their Bucklers off their skins to feed on: Hunger compels them to convert into [Page 68]mans meat the Excrements of Birds and Beasts; yea and the bodies too of their dearest friends.

Cambises, Lib. 3. de tra. as Seneca relates, condu­cted a vast Army through Sands and Deserts into Aethiopia: but being scarce well entred upon their march, their Victuals and Provision failed, their way was unknown unto them, and that barren and barbarous Nation afforded them no releif. Tender sprouts and tops of trees supplyed their wants in the begining, afterwards they boyled skins or what ever they met with to asswage their hunger; in fine, neither finding Herbs, Rats nor Cattel, they slaughtered every tenth man, a remedy against Famine worse then Famine it self.

This was but a little, Hunger put them upon more cruel designs: The Mothers butchered their own Children, as if they had been Chickens, and with their own teeth tore in peices members dearer then their life. This may yet seem little when compared to more wild attempts: How often have people in Prison massacred themselves through hunger, and fed upon their own limbs? [Page 69]what way soever they could lay hold up­on arms or shoulders, thither their teeth hastned to make a prey of themselves to their own destruction.

SECT. 3.

NOw to the matter in hand: This hunger which we behold with our eyes, we are not sufficiently capable of, and how then shall we understand that most rageing and eternal Famine in Hell? by how much our hunger is more Rampant, by so much it is the shorter; whereas that other, though most furi­ous, is nevertheless everlasting. Wo to you, because you shall be hun­gry.

Good Lord! what a Countrey is this, which sets before us for great dainties, Horseflesh raw, Mice and Toads, with Pigeon dung; of which notwithstanding we cannot obtain our fill? we would e­steem it a special favour to part from life, but even that is denied. Apoc. c. 9. They shall desire to dye, and death will fly from them. Everlasting hunger is unexplica­ble, [Page 70]everlasting thirst intolerable.

To these Torments that other may be adjoyned: Divines affirme, that the delights in Heaven shall be so a­boundant, as to fill all the Members and Senses of the blessed with peculiar hap­piness: Hereupon the tast and tongue shall swim in a juice of most delicious sweetness; in so much that each one of the blessed may seem to enjoy this Di­vine repast, according to, and beyond all they can desire.

Contrary wise that malignant tongue of the Damned shall flow in bitter Gall; this was foretold by the Hebrew Pro­phet: Deut. 2. ch. 32. The Gall of Dragons their Wine, and the Venim of Asps uncurable. No sweetness can be of force to mitigate this hunger, or temper the bitterness of this Gall; their torments are uncu­rable.

Moreover some are of opinion, that they are afflicted with most cruel fits of the tooth-ach: who ever has experien­ced these in this life, let him imagine how afflictive they will be after death. In case there were no other torments in Hell, besides those of the teeth or head­ake, or Gout or Stone, and these being [Page 71]to endure for ever, what expences, la­bour and royl would one undergo to be quit of them? But we fear and fear not these things, while with exceeding cheerfulness we commit sins more to be feared.

In Inns now and then wee feed plen­tifully, we drink off full bowls, we sing merrily we dance and skip about: but as soon as the Host brings in the recko­ning and calls his guests to an account, they are at a stand, they look one upon another, and at length break forth into these words: would to God we had ne­ver come hither! our shot is wonderful dear.

While we are here on our journey, we live in an Inn and unmindful of the reckoning, Feast jovially, carouse till within night, sing, sport and dance. But who will discharge the shot? O people ill advised! We must pay a just recko­ning, though a dear one. Tis we have Banketted, Quaffed, and playd the good fellows; tis we have wasted our health, age and substance in riotous company keeping: Now mine Host calls for a discharge, just debts must be paid, Creditours will have satisfaction either [Page 72]from our Purses or Persons.

We have eaten, but with excess, with too much expence and delecacy; we have Feasted, but too often, and at too high a rate: We have fasted, but in a prophane manner and too seldome; we have buried our selves in Wine, we must now digest the surfetting. Wo, because we shall be hungry: eternal Fa­mine, thirsts eternal expects us: O what a Supper after a full, but short dinner! while the damned lived they seem to have licked nothing but salt, so rageing is their thirst in hell.

How horrible a torment thirst is, it is hard for any one to express, unless he have made some certain tryal thereof: In this particular we may well credit the sick, who are frequently so tortured with thirst, that they esteem it the ve­ry dregs of their distempered cup, or their greatest disease.

SECT. 4.

THe Rich Glutton thrusting out his scorched Tongue cries in hideous manner: I am tormented in this flame, O one drop from the tip of a finger to refresh me. Lo, how modestly be begs? He does not crave a Bason of water, nor a Barrel of Oyle, nor a Vessel of Wine: but what is most obvious, a drop of Water, which yet he obtains not. This wealthy Banketter is grown so poor, that he does not ask a Goblin of Chry­stal, but the extremity of a finger; not the choicest Wine from Greet, but a small parcel of water; not to have some Noble Cub-bearer, but the Beggar La­zarus.

Mark well what thou sayest, O thou Purple Gallant; Lazarus has scabbed hands, thou wilt be loath to drink wa­ter which drops from his finger. Ah! let me have but one sole drop, and that from the hand of Lazarus, which I shall esteem as the choicest of Distelled Wa­ters.

For all this he gets nothing, no bo­dy hearkens to him; both Eares and Gates are close shut. And why, I pray, is one drop denied to this Glutton in so extream hunger and thirst? Abra­ham was a practiser of Hospitallity, and might have said: Give him one little drop, it will do him no good; so great a flame will not be asswaged by so small a dew.

But their manner of proceeding is farr otherwise in the next world: For as Heaven is repleanisht with Joy and Pleasure, without the least mixture of sadness; so Hell is stored with meer Grief and Pains void of all solace, mi­tigation, or ease. Hence ellegantly and truly said St. Austin: No death is worse or greater, Lib. 6. de Livi. c. 12 then where Death dyes not. So no Hunger and Thirst is more cruel or deadly, then where Death cannot be obtained by Hunger and Thirst.

SECT. 5.

TWo brothers as it is recorded, the one wise, the oter a Fool, went a Travellin together, and came at length [Page 75]to a place divided into too waies. Pet. Re­gin. In spec. The Fool was taken with the more pleasant way, the wise man preferred the more rugged, as more secure. Here they fell at debate, wherein the wise man deem­ed it better to yeild then contest: So both were surprised by Robbers, both were cast into Prison, but the one a part from the other: whence after a time they were brought before a judge. Here the wise man accused the Fool, and laid all the fault on him: the fool retorts all the miscarriage upon his brother. In conclusion the Judge makes this De­cree: Both are guilty; the fool, because he should have submitted to one wiser then himself; the wise man, because he should not have condescended to a fool. This is plainly our condition: the Soul and Body are brothers, but extreamly unlike; the soul by its descent being Noble and Wise, is not afraid of a thor­ny way to Heaven, she loves tempe­rance, and enters into strict league with Fasting, as knowing well how these things avail her: the spirit is prompt. On the other side the body from its birth is foolish, so espying a way that smiles with many delights, it presently hastens thither: it is forceably perswaded that [Page 76]all it has to do, is to eat, drink, sport, sleep well fly from labour, follow idle­ness, and repose amongst pleasures; these things agree well with the body: but toyl hunger, watching, it hates and avoydes, as one would the Plague.

The Soul again endeavours with all her Rhetorick to evince, that a smooth way leads not to Heaven, as doth the sharp and stony; and that they who can­not away with thorns, covet not Roses. But the body is slow in obeying, dull in admitting wholesome counsel; it will not be friends with subjection and fru­gallity: so at length the soul yeelds, and permitting the body to live as it lists, becomes of a Master, a slave. In this maner they go and perish together, thus they fall into the hands of theeves, vices and Devils.

These brothers are parted in the end, and committed to several prisons; the body to the Grave, and the soul to hell: whence both are to make their appea­rance before the Soveraign Judge at the latter day, where each will accuse the other. Now because the foolish body would not be obedient to the soul, and the wise soul was not of courage to sub­due the wantonness of the flesh, both [Page 77]convinced of impiety shall receive sen­tence of eternal torment. This inevita­ble decree, like a sharp two edged sword, Apoc. c. 1. shall peirce through both soul and body. Wherefore our Lord saies: Matt. c. 10. Fear him that can destroy both soul and body into Hell. Where hunger and thirst eternal shall serve as a sauce for their torments; neither shall they have any other liquor to their feast, then boyling brimstone: Fire and Brimstone is part of their cup. Psa. 10.

SECT. 6.

ALL this notwithstanding, men much addicted to Gluttony are lit­tle moved to what has bin said: they gape after bankets and costly Viands, they thirst after full cupps, what ever you say of Famine in the next life. O Christians, a little more consideration would do well: to eat and drink is not forbidden, provided it be not against conscience, or with neglect of Divine Laws. We despise good counsel, and dare transgress the commands of God; not reflecting that the Gibbet is ere­cted before our doors: Wo to you that are filled, because you shall be hungry. Fault and punishment are linked toge­ther; [Page 78]many crimes proceed from Glut­tony, not to be expiated even with most rageing hunger and thirst. Great was the hunger of Erisichthon, but far inferi­our to that in Hell: all our famine is a mere dream to that of the damned: Hereby we are admonished to beware all intemperance.

Those who feasted in old time, were accustomed to leave some part of their meat on the table, to teach us not to eat for pleasure, or till we could eat no more. Tis a Proverb amongst the Ger­mans: Mirth when it comes to the height must be broken off: so we must leave off Feasting, before the Feast end. Who is so sottish, as when he knows for three or four houres feasting he must fast a whole year, to command presently a feast prepared for him?

Yet such sots are we, that though we know our abstinence and fast continue but a few houres, nevertheless we are resolved to fare daintily, and please our Pallates: Hence are those invitations: Come let us take wine, Esay. ch. 56. and be filled with drunkenness, and it shall be as to day, so also to morrow, and much more.

O wretched fools! within a while it will not be as to day, your mirth to day [Page 79]is waited on by a sad to morrow: Ful­ness must be accompanied with Famine, and drunkenness tormented with thirst. After a short space that doleful song will amuze your ears: you have recei­ved your share of goods in this life, a­way with you now, there is no more due to you: heretofore you feasted, now you must fast; let others feast, that former­ly fasted.

For this reason thus saies our Lord: Behold my servants shall eat, and you shall be hungry: behold my servants shall drink, Esay. ch. 65. v. 13. and you shall be thirsty: behold my servants shall rejoyce and you shall be confounded: Behold my servants shall praise for joyful­ness of heart: and you shall cry for sorrow of heart, and for contrition of spirit you shall howl. Though you were deaf to ad­monition, yet it was told you often and long ago, that delicasies were paid with torments: This none would give ear to: I called, and you have not answered; I spake and you have not heard; and you did evil in my eyes: Es. v. 12. and you have chosen the things, that I would not. Now your jovial, but short madness shall be requi­ted with long and everlasting Famine, fleeting pleasures are to be expiated with perpetual thirst. Tis now too late to ap­ply [Page 80]a remedy to this hunger and thirst: Such a supper sutes well with such a din­ner.

Therefore be sober and watch: Pet. 1. c. 5. Ose. c. 4. for For­nication, and Wine, and Drunkenness, take away the heart. He that has a horrour of eternal famine, let him now endure hunger neither long, Luk. c. 6. ver. 25. nor cruel. Blessed are ye, that now are an hungred because you shall be filled. Christian suffering has a seast prepared for it, which lasts for e­ver: but to wantonness and intempe­rance eternal punishment is appointed. Who often meditates on hell, escapes it.

CHAP. V. The fourth Torment for Eternity in Hell is Stench.

TIs pleasant to live, Hom. 5. in Ep [...]st. ad Heb. but now and then it happens that life is more dis­pleasing then death it self. This St. Chrysostome observing said: Every one well descended and of good education, jud­geth it more unsufferable then death, to be [Page 81]cast in Prison, to abide stench, to lye in darkness and Fetters with Homicides.

Look down into Hell, and you will confess, there was never so noysome and cruel a Goal, neither that under ground of the Messenians, called The Treasure; nor that of the Persians, called Lethe, or oblivion; nor the Quarries of Syracusa; nor the Labyrinth of Creet; nor the House and Dungeon of the Athenians; nor the Tullianum of the Romans; nor the Ceramon of the Cyprians; nor the Decas of the Spartans; nor the Ancon of Gilimer; nor that infamous Prison of Actiolinus, which for cruelty surpassed all sorts of torments: Neither were there ever detained in any Prison so ma­ny in thraldom, as God punisheth dam­ned Captives in his grand Prison.

This Prison of God under ground, if you look upon the place, is most deep; if upon the Jaylor, he is most cruel; if on the foulness of it, it is most stinking; if on the imprisoned, it is of vast extent containing innumerable; yet if you con­sider the infinite number of offenders, it is exceeding strait: In fine, if you seek after its continuance, it is eternal; none can escape thence, all passages and gates being closely locked up. And forasmuch [Page 82]as all the filth of the whole world is devolved into this Dungeon, it is a most nasty sink, a Den replenisht with loath­some stink: This is the fourth torment of eternity, intollerable stench. How unexplicable this torment is, how far beyond our conceit of it, we will now declare.

SECT. 1.

THe holy Scripture frequently propo­ses to our consideration the intolle­rable stench of Hell. Psal. 10. Holy David saies: He shall rain snares upon sinners: fire and brimstone, and blast of storms the potion of their Cup. Now as drops of rain may not be numbred, so the pains of the wicked: He shall rain torments upon them like a turbulent showre, or swift running torrent. He shall rain snares; wherewith they shall be so fast bound, as it will be impossible for any of them to escape, or to break their chains, or to undermine the Prison walls, wherein they shall be inclosed. Their part shall be in the Pool burning with fire and brim­stone. Apoc. c. 21.

Here let us come nearer to our present matter; and consider attentively, how [Page 83]great will the stench be of one burning in brimstone? How if a hundred, if a thousand be joyned in the like flame? This yet is nothing to the brimstone in Hell; whose stench ariseth from divers causes.

The first, after the world is buried as it were in one grave, after the general judgement, all the Ordure of the Earth shall run down into that sink of Hell, whereby the world shall be purged. The Psalmist foretold: Psa. 96. Fire shall go before him, and shall inflame his enemies round about. Divines relying on this Prophe­cy affirm, that fire shall go before the worlds judge as an apparitour, and shall bring all before the Tribunal, till the whole judgement be compleatly ended: that done, and the definitive sentence pronounced, that fire like a thunderbolt shall throw down the wicked headlong, and as an Executioner shall set upon and bind that guilty multitude so fast, as they shall despair of ever escape­ing: Then will it hurry them like chai­ned dogs into their kennels, he shall enflame his enemies round about: and together with them all the filth and mud of the world shall flow down into the Lake of hell; for hell is indeed the sink [Page 84]of the earth, the receptacle of all or­dure.

The second cause of stench is Brim­stone, Ubi supra whereof the eye of our Lord, St. Iohn speaks: Their part shall be in the pool burning with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. The sacred volumes of Scripture are wonderful ex­act in observing every word: In the pool, which contains stinking and immovea­ble waters, which do not grow less, do not flow out, nor are dryed up: after a thousand years this pool will be like it self; after thirty, yea threescore thou­sand years it will lose nothing it once had; after a hundred thousand, after a thousand Millions of years that pool will not have one drop of it dryed up: As it was in the beginning, so it will be then, and for all ensuing ages.

Moreover, such as had plunged their soul in wantonness and lust in this life, shall be drowned in that pool: in these baths of brimstone they shall swimme and sweat and be throughly drenched for their cleansing. The greatness of this may be best learned from experience; if the water of a fish-pond were all drawn out, and the fish for some dayes space were not removed; they would fill the [Page 85]air with such incredible stench; that no one, though in the open air, would be a­ble to abide long there.

What a torment will it be in hell, to be seated in the midst of unsufferable stink, without power to stir one foot thence for all eternity? long custome makes tollerable sorded and ill sented trades: but those torments in hell can by no means become more gentle.

SECT. 2.

THe third cause of that stink is the bo­dies of the damned, more noysome then any dead carkase. Esay foretold: Out of their carcasses shall rise a stink. All of them shall be tortured with the stink of one, and one with that of all. What a strange kind of Incense is flesh rotten and crawling with Maggats? In Lucifers kingdome numberless carkasses of the damned, like stinking carrion, shall lye for ever upon hot coales.

Lust is possest with a certain kind of rageing fury, so as it tramples reason under foot: but these unbridled moti­ons may be restrained, if timely begun with. For this cause a Religious man in the desert of Scythia, subdued wanton­ness [Page 86]in this manner: The comliness of a woman, Lib. Sen. patr. sect 10. he had formerly seen, fre­quently [...]an in his fancy: this remem­brance, these representations he resol­ved to banish quite out of his breast. He strugled long, he fought valiently, and overcame himself many waies; yet he perceived all he did, was only to preserve himself from being overcome. In the mean while the Divine Providence sent a man out of Aegypt who casually rela­ted, that beautiful woman was decea­sed. The Champion of Christ took hold of the relation, and seriously weighing what might [...]edownd to his best advan­tage, he at length made this resolution: To depart from his Cell, and hasten to the dead womans Tomb. Where deter­mined to triumph over unchast love, he makes this attempt: when the night was come, he rowls away the grave-stone, digs up the earth, and comes at last to the dead body: then speaks thus to him­self: Behold, quoth he, thy treasure; behold thy delight: why dost thou not carry thy dearest away with thee? Part at least of this Gold, thou hast so sweat for, shall bear thee company. He spoke the word, and made it good indeed; for part of the winding sheet; well drencht [Page 87]in matter and corruption, he privately made his own. Thence returning back to his poor cottage, this well-sented booty he placed as a Looking-glass be­fore his eyes: where several times scof­fing at himself, he said: Lo thou ha [...] now what thou desired; enjoy it, glutt thy self with it: satisfy thy eyes, feed thy nostrils, yea now I give thee leave to be all nose; imagine this is a Hand-kercheif sent as a token from thy Dear; why dost thou not wipe thy mouth and nose with this delicate Linnen? so long did this noble combatant mortify him­self with stink, till all impure thoughts quite vanquished fled from his mind. Thus lust, though never so Rampant, was conquered by stink: thus Cupid, that skilful and wicked Archer, by stench was routed and put to flight.

Let us call to mind here, I beseech you, how not a small parcel of a winding sheet, not one member of a rotten car­case, but innumerable bodies of the damned send forth most intollerable stink not for a few daies, but for endless ages.

St. Bonaventure was bold to say: If one only carcass of the damned were here in this world, it alone would suffice to infect it all.

SECT. 3.

THe fourth cause of stink is, the De­vils themselves; who, though spi­rits, carry about them this most loath­some smell; yea it is as proper for hell and Devils to stink, as it was true which the antients said, hell is full of stench.

Severus Sulpitius recounts, how the Devil cloathed in Purple, with a Crown on his head, appeared to St. Martin, and spoke to him these words: Thou shalt know Martin, in what manner thou maist worship me; I am Christ. But Martin being warned from above not to credit the Father of lyes, said: My Lord did not promise to come in this Equi­page: I know Christ all bloody, crowned with Thorns, and hanging upon a Cross; but this strange King I know not. He had scarce ended these words, when this counterfeit Christ disappeared: and to the end it might be manifest, who that King was, and of what kingdome, he left such a horrible stink behind him, that Martin conceived he was now an in­mate of Hell, and thus he discoursed with himself: If one only Devil stink in this manner, what will the stench be of [Page 89]all Devils and damned men together?

Antiochus Epiphanes, Mach. 9. a fair picture of a wicked man, being now sensible of vengeance from Heaven, and having swarms of vermine within his members, stunk so horribly, that his whole Army was extreamly averse from that loath­some malady: Yea, as the Scripture te­stifies, he could not endure his own stench. How then in hell shall he for e­ver abide the stink of Devils and all that damned crue?

Mezentius the Tyrrhenian King, not unlike to Antiochus, despiser of men and Gods, proceeded so far in cruelty by his wit, that he slaughtered men not with the Ax, nor the Gallows, nor fire, but with stench: for to a living man he tyed the putrified body of one dead, so long, till the corruption of the dead killed the living. A kind of torment most Barba­rous, most cruel, and so much the more, by how much the slower. But what is this compared to the torments in Hell? what is a noysome smell of a few daies to that other which remains for ever? when therefore we look upon our Fires, Racks and Gibbets, we may justly ex­claim, O mild and gentle torment of Mezentius, which bereaves of life by [Page 90]being fastned to one stinking carkass! But O death, more dreadful then any death, to be tortured with the stench of so many devils and damned; alwaies to dye, and never to make an end of dying!

SECT. 4.

IN the Prisons of Japonia even to this day is matter found sufficient for the exercise of Christian Fortitude, where many together are thrust into a loath­some Denn; whence there is no passage out, unless it be to the Sword, the Gal­lowes, or the fire. What ever these cap­tives feed on, what ever they take in­wardly as meat and drink, what ever they part with again, all that, they keep amongst them to their incredible torture of their sense of smelling. Hence the Goals of Iaponia are more infamous then then the stable of Augias King of Elis, and more unsufferable then death it self. But since we have mentioned the Pri­sons of that Countrey, lo here a late and lively pattern of one of them.

Charles Spinola, by Nation of Genua, by birth a Marquess, Priest of the Society of Jesus, before he came to be burnt alive for the Faith of Christ, was for four years space Prisoner in Iaponia,

The Prison where he lived, was six­teen hands in bredth, twelve in heighth, and four and twenty in length, altoge­ther in form of a Cage: for it had nei­ther wall, nor fence of timber, other then scales, which were two fingers as­sunder one from another; whereby the Captives were exposed to wind and wea­ther: for though it was covered over with tiles, yet because the staves stood disjoined, as Bird-cages do, it gave en­trance not only to heat and cold, but also wind, rain, snow, and all sorts of tempests: Herein were enclosed two and thirty Prisoners. The Gates which by reason of their straitness scarcely gave way for a Mans body, were kept close lockt. At the side was a narrow win­dow, no bigger then a good trencher, wherein the Guard put in meat for the Captives. About the Prison was a way eight handfuls broad, whereon was a double Palizado compacted of thick and long stakes, sharp at the ends and hedg­ed about the top with thornes: hereat no entrance was allowed, but at one place. Besides, houses were erected in two several places, one for the Court of Guard which stood Centinel day and night; the other for the Captains service, [Page 92]who frequently commanded the souldi­ers to walk the round. In fine the whole place was strongly fortified on all sides, especially where the chief Gate opened a way to go within the Palizado. With­in this Fortress lived so many years that illustrious Champion of Christ, without having liberty to set foot out of the pales, which the Guard refused to grant him. Other circumstances of cruelty, appertaining to this Prison, can hardly be conceived, much less declared: all the senses of the body were constrained to undergo their several Torments.

Mervailous was the straitness of the place, where one could neither lye down without difficulty, nor walk one step forward: so much do Charles his Let­ters testifie; We are kept in great straits, no one being allowed more space, then two hands breadth and four inches: whence in the night time they could not stretch themselves out to take their rest.

Their Victuals were as strait as their room: their life was a continual fast, and that so strict, that they had meat enough to keep them alive, but not to satisfie their hunger: their ordinary dain­ties were a few dishes of cold Rice, boyl­ed in fair water; besides one mess of [Page 93]Sedges or Gladen, which is a mixture of unsavory herbs, so bitter, as it could scarcely be eaten: hereunto was added a small pittance of raw and falt roots, or a couple of salt herring either hot, or cold. Hereupon the Prisoners were af­flicted so much with famine, that when the souldiers threw them a hard crust of ill made and worse baked bread, they fed upon it as greedily, as if it had been March-pane, or Sugar-cakes.

Now in regard this Prison was seated on the summit of a high hill, it lay all open to all injuries of weather: and though in summer the winds gently breathing did somwhat abate their trou­ble, yet the violent heats of the Sun heating on them upon every side, and the great number of prisoners, did not a little encrease their misery: this made Charles affirm, he was continually moist with sweat both day and night.

Thus were they vexed with summer, but in the winter their sufferings were intolerable; because they were neither sheltered from the sharpness of the air, nor from the showers of rain, nor abun­dance of snow, which the wind blew in amongst them. They were more sensible of piercing cold, for that they stood in [Page 94]great want of clothes, which the Soul­diers would by no means permit to be brought in to them. Thus much Charles writ to father Provincial, saying: I as­sure your Reverence, here is none of us, who regarding only the inferiour appetite, would not rather be burnt alive, then endure this Prison: Since none of us have scarsely rags to hide our nakedness; neither will our keepers afford us so much as a piece of a Matt, to defend us from wind, rain and snow; whereby our Cold is wholly unsuffer­able.

Ambrose Fernandez, threescore and nine years old, and Charles his compa­nion in Prison, being seized with a Pal­sie through abundance of snow; in twelve hours time, as it is reported, made an end of his Disease and Life together.

Moreover lest that the eyes should want their torment too, the watch would not suffer any light at all in the Prison; no, not so much as a Lanthorn that ve­ry night when Ambrose was suddenly ta­ken with his fit, though Charles earnest­ly besought them to let him have a can­dle.

But that which did more terribly af­flict the Champions of Christ, was the continual stench, whereof we treat; and [Page 95]of which Charles makes mention in a certain Epistle, saying: The grievousness of stink forceth me to sigh up to heaven. This stink arose from that crowd of men in so narrow a Prison, from the corrup­tion of the Air, and from their own ex­crements they were compelled to keep amongst them, and from the sweat of their bodies, from which they were ne­ver free all Summer. The Souldiers were so barbarous, as not to suffer them to have clean linnen brought in, or to let them wash their foul: in so much, that it is particularly related of Charles, that in three whole years he neither changed his shirt, nor apparel. Hence so much filth and vermine swarmed amongst them, that the distressed Captives through biting and stinging of insects were wholly deprived of rest. And that they might experience alive, what the dead without feeling endure after death, they were covered from head to foot with all sorts of vermine bred in the pu­trefaction of the place: which corrupt matter, so often as it rained, overflowed the pavement of the Prison. A kind of torment far more cruel, then at first sight it appears. Against all these incumbran­ces they had no other remedy, but Pati­ence [Page 96]and a lively trust in God: their pa­tience was so great, that Charles in a certain Letter affirms: In vita Caroli. This Prison seems to me a Paradise. And truly this prison, though worse then death, if compared to hell may worthily be esteemed a Para­dise

Therefore St. Hierom says of himself: For fear of hell, Ep. 22. ad Eu­sto. I condemned my self to prison, and became a companion of Scorpi­ons and wild Beasts. He that seriously contemplates those fiery Prisons, finds fault with the straitness of no place, but converts every Prison into Paradise.

SECT. 5.

HEre now, I beseech you, let us make use of discourse to our pur­pose: Imagin hell to be nothing else, but a loathsome and starving prison, where a thousand Captives for stench and vermine can neither sit nor lie con­veniently, where their meat is rotten Rice, and drink muddy Water; where they cannot sleep for famine, stink and pain; and that all this should continue a thousand years: Imagin, I say, that hell is but such a Prison as this: not­withstanding, who would not tremble [Page 97]at the very name of this hell? But if the matter be well scanned, and weighed ac­cording to what is revealed in holy Scrip­ture, it will manifestly appear, that the most loathsom prisons in Japonia, or any other barbarous nation, compared to hell, maybe reputed a florishing Garden, the delights of Thessaly or Paradise it self. The reason is clear: In our prisons we have some meat, sleep, and time to rest; in hell is neither meat, sleep, nor rest; there corrupt Rice would tast like Am­brosia, puddle Water would drink like Nectar. In our prisons none ever count­ed a thousand winters; in hell (which is most sad) a hundred thousand years strike not off one tittle from eternity: after a thousand millions of ages eterni­nity is entire.

Again, Our prisons, though dreadful, yet are they without fire, and the priso­ners have a singular comfort, that they can die: the Dennes of the damned are full of flames, and are not free from the second death: because in hell death is al­ways present, but death without death, and a continual death which lasts for ever.

Alas! how far are we from thinking on these things, how little do we consi­der [Page 98]things worthy our thoughts every hour? Much better in this point, and more considerate was St. Bernard: I tremble, Serm. de 5. regio­nibus. says he, I quake all over at the remembrance of that country, and all my bones are shaken: that is a place in which their is a worm immortal, stench intoler­able, hammers striking, palpable dark­ness.

O Awake all you that are Saints and Sinners, especially you that are slaves to luxury: if you will not tast how sweet Christ our Lord is, how delicious Para­dise; take a tast at least of the bitterness of hell.

SECT. 6.

THis hellish stink fitly admonisheth us, how many ways we offend by smelling: for we are not only bound to keep in order our eyes, tongue and ears, but our nose also: though for the most part we will not abide any ill smell. Hence we frequently have an aversion from distressed Captives and poor sick folk, because they carry a scent of Gar­lick rather then Saffron or Musk. There­fore the Judg out of the clouds will up­braid these tenderlings: I was sick and [Page 99]in prison, and you did not visit me. Mat. c. 25. Impa­tience forsooth is so nice, that where there is any suspition of stink, thither we will not be drawn with Coach and Hor­ses. Them we love, their familiarity we sue for, who breath Cinnamon, Civet and Balsom. But ere long the case will be altered as Esay foretold: c. 3. For sweet savor there shall be stink.

Moreover they sin by smelling, who fill their beds, garments and closets with sweet odours: yea what they more fre­quently use, must have a touch of out­landish perfumes or pretious ointments, that they may be still provided to che­rish the nostrils. This, 'tis true, is not ac­counted a heinous crime, yet God esta­blished under pain of death: Exod. c. 30. Such con­fection you shall not make unto your own uses, because it is holy to the Lord. What man soever shall make the like, to enjoy the smell thereof, shall perish out of his People. Hence therefore we sin by intemperance of smelling: so, many things, which seem to us trifles and of small moment, the eye of God observes, and deems wor­thy of punishment.

It is here worth our frequent and se­rions reflection, to know what the holy Scripture means, in proposing unto us [Page 100]the stench of brimstone. Gen. c. 19. Our Lord rain­ed upon Sodom and Gomorah brimstone and fire from our Lord out of heaven: and he subverted these Cities, and all the Countrey about, all the Inhabitants of the Cities, and all things that spring of the earth. This shower of brimstone and stench, punish­ed the heat and stench of lust; this rain was requisite to cure the ardor of luxu­ry.

Extream heat is as proper to the fire, as extream stink to brimstone: since therefore they were corrupted with las­civiousness of the flesh, they were also burned with fire and brimstone; that they might learn by their punishment what their fault deserved. A man addict­ed to venery is guilty of a twofold pain: while he lives, he wallows more and more in the mire of impurity; after death he is thrown into a bath of boyl­ing sulfur.

SECT. 7.

LUst therefore in hell shall in a spe­cial manner be tormented with fire and brimstone: which St. Gregory learn­edly asserts; Then, saith he, Lib. 4. Mor. c. 17. the rage­ing fire burns those, whom carnal delight had polluted. Every wicked man is en­flamed with a proper fire, such as himself had enkindled in his heart by heat of temporal desires, while he now boyls with these, now with those, and sets his thoughts a burning more and more with divers allurements of the world. Now then let weeping expiate, what the soul negligently given to pleasure did trans­gress. It is altogether worthy of cre­dit, that few are plunged into those fla­ming gulfs, who were not t [...]inted with stench of wantonness

Here now, let every one living learn to be wise in time, and beware, he be not smothered in the puddle of Luxury, Wine and Drunkenness, c. 4.11. as Osee testifies take away the heart, but most of all for­nication: this last so steals away the heart, that it hardly ever restores it.

It is wholly to be admired, and dread­ful above measure, that under one sole [Page 102]thought (which Divines call deliberate delight) should lurk numberless pains, endless torments and death everlasting. The business is manifest: Mat. c. 5. Whosoever shall see a woman, to lust after her, hath alrea­dy committed adultery with her in his heart. Here one cast of the eye, one only thought, one secret consent to lust contains innumerable, infinite millions of ages, wherewith that glance, that thought, that consent is to be revenged, but never expiated. This I say, is won­derful and horrible to amazement.

I will say what I think: though we perhaps think of these things, yet we do not thoroughly weigh or examine them. Hence it comes as Isidorus Clarus deli­vers it, Tom. 1. Orat. 53. that we would rather be smudg­ed for a moment, then shining for eter­nity; lascivious for an hour, then glo­rious for ever, such is our inconsiderati­on, and (to speak plainly) sottish rash­ness. One that fights for his life might securely say, I thought not on eternity; so may he, who is defiled with the sin of envy, lust and avarice. None ever sins grievously, who often thinks on pains e­ternal.

Therefore In all thy works remem­ber thy latter ends, Eccl. 7. and thou wilt not sin [Page 103]for ever. Remember, I say, thy own later ends, not others; and do this not hastily, or carelesly: for in this many deceive themselves, who think of these things, as if they were not concerned in them. Remember then thy later ends, and amongst other thoughts give some place to everlasting stench. What is he better for delights, who is to be buried in Hell fire? Ah! let us be wise in time; lest a moment of pleasure be ac­companied with eternity of pain.

CHAP. VI. The Fifth Torment of Eternity in Hell, is Fire.

AF [...]er Curtius had assigned a differ­ence amongst several torments, he at length pronounceth: Fire is the worst of punishments. Mans cruelty, witty in the invention of pains, hath found out many exquisite torments, but none shar­per, or more violent then Fire. Valerian the Emperor, who succeeded Decius in cruelty, if he could have invented any more afflictive then flames, St. Lawrence must have felt the extremity of it. Ty­ranny in old time scarce met with any punishment more barbarous, then with a slow fire to burn and roast men alive. Fire is the worst and most grievous of punishments.

If any one guilty of treason, or other heinous crimes, could be so burnt a thou­sand times, that his pain endured but for an hour; then it might be rightly said: Fire is the worst of torments. To be burnt, I confess, is a most bitter death: but, O mild hell! O temperate flames, [Page 105]to be burnt a thousand times alive! this dismal sentence (to burn a thousand hours) would seem more gentle to the damned, then a free grant of life would be to one speedily to be beheaded.

But the decree is firm and stable, it cannot be changed or recal'd: the words of Christ are most plain: Go into ever­lasting fire. All Churches of Christen­dome openly teach, the wicked must be tormented with flames eternal.

This then is the fifth torment in hell, fire eternal, whereof we will discourse according to our ability in this present chapter.

SECT. 7.

PRophane Poetry had a custome fre­quently to enterlace one verse with another, which sacred has not altoge­ther abolisht: hence is that repetition of verses in the Psalm: The King to come our Lord, come let us adore: come let us adore, being often iterated. The like is observed by our Saviour in his most divine exhortations; so Mark 9. preaching to the People, he said: It is good for thee to enter into life maimed, then having two hands to go into hell, into the [Page 106]fire unquenchable, where their worm dieth not, and the fire quencheth not. He was not weary with repeating the same thrice in one place; for a while after he says: It is good for thee to enter into life, lame, rather then having two feet, to be cast into the hell of unquenchable fire, where their worm dieth not, and the fire quencheth not. Lastly he iterates the same: It is good for thee with one eye to enter into the Kingdom of God, rather then having two eyes, to be cast into the hell of fire, where their worm dieth not, and the fire quench­eth not.

This Canticle Christ our Lord sung before them: as if he had said, sing af­ter me: Where their worm dyeth not, and the fire quencheth not. Who would not be terrified with so dreadful threat­ning from the mouth of God? Questi­onless, he that often with attention sings this doleful verse, in a better world shall sing for ever, a joyful Alleluia. This one testimony were abundantly sufficient, though the sacred Oracles of Scripture spoke no more.

The difference betwixt hell fire and ours is most notorious, and first in the manner of burning. Our fire seems to St. Austin painted; that other real: a dif­ference [Page 107]so palpable, that there scarcely remains any likeness betwixt a true and painted flame. Here, I beseech you, let us proceed leisurely to the matter in hand.

How extream and sharp a pain is it, to have the end of the finger burnt only for half an hour in a slender Wax light? how much greater to have the whole hand burnt? But what unspeakable tor­ture to have the whole body? albeit the fire that burns seem only paint­ed. In Japonia this present age we live in, Christians were most cruelly tormented with slow fire: amongst these Charles Spinola was one, of whom in the precedent Chapter: He with three and twenty more underwent his tryal in this sort. A fire was made twenty five hands off from the Pillars, to which the Martyrs were tyed, that the pain might be so much the sharper, by how much the longer; and that they might be gently roasted, ere they were burnt. If the fire chanced to break out of any side, it was streight way forced in again. The Christians were nor bound in chains, but with Osier-twigs, and that in a loose and careless manner: this was done out of the Devils subtilty, to the end the [Page 108]Champions of Christ, forced through extremity of torment, might easily break their bands, and sodeliver them­selves from flames: where this as a signe, was agreed upon amongst the Barbarians, that whoever endeavour­ed to escape the flames, should be esteem­ed to have renounced Christ. While therefore the fire slowly approaching entred into their bowels, Charles stood immoveable, with his eyes fixt in heaven, where, after a few hours space, he should be partaker of the most ravishing em­bracements of Christ, to whom he of­fered the sacrifice of his body in a Holo­caust. That most bitter torment endu­red for the space of two or three hours. Father Sebastian Chimura, native of Ja­ponia, (as 'tis certainly related) with his arms a cross before his breast, and his eyes lifted up to heaven, stood three hours alive in those rageing flames.

A torment so horrible, as not to be exprest, for a man with a slow fire for three hours to be roasted quick What kind of torment then, O God! how un­speakable, how incomprehensible, not for two, or three hours, not for a day or two, or a year, or a thousand years. but eternally to be burnt in hell, and not [Page 109]be consumed? Here we want words to declare our mind: No one, I will not say, can express, but not sufficiently con­ceive that infinite sharpness of torment. Holy David trembling at the wrath of God, saith, Fire shall devour them, our Lord in his wrath shall trouble them. Ps. 20 As in a Forge a hot iron so takes in fire, that it seems to be nothing else but fire, and yet remains iron; so in like manner flames in hell will penetrate the bones of the damned, together with the mar­row.

SECT. 2.

ANother difference of our fire from that in hell is, light and splendour­ours burns and shines; that of hell, as God has establisht, burns, but shines not; unless it be to encrease their tor­ment, who while they lived kept bad company, by discovering to them their companions in pain. So a thief shall see him that helpt him to steal, so the gam­ster his play-fellow, so the adulterer her with whom he sinned; they shall behold each other, and pine away with grief; yea they would rather be blind, then by see­ing make others pains their own.

Excellently well said Isidorus: Sent. li. 1. Hell fire shall shine to the wicked to increase their misery and damnation, by seeing what may augment their grief, but nothing which may redound to their comfort.

The third difference of both fires: ours consumes all, theirs nothing: here of St. Lib. 21. Civ. de D. c. 4. Anstin bears ample testimony. If the Salamander lives in fire, and the Mountains of Sicily long since, and to this day burn, and yet remain entire, they testi­fie sufficiently, not all that burns is consu­med: and the Soul declares, not all that can suffer pain, can dye. Whence we learn how the bodies af men perpetually torment­ed, neither loose their life in flames, nor are destroyed by burning, but are pained without perishing. Who but God the Crea­tour of all things gave this property to the flesh of a dead Peacock, that it might with ease be preserved incorrupt for a whole year? Who bestowed that cold vertue up­on Chaff to keep snow from melting; or that hot quallity, to bring green fruit to matu­rity? How wonderful a thing is that when by casting water on Lime, you set it on fire? Why then shall not God have power to raise bodies from death, and to torment the dam­ned with fire eternal; who made the world full of numberless miracles, in heaven, in [Page 111]earth, in the air and waters: since the world it self is doubtless a greater miracle. and more excellent, then all those its silled with? Why may we not avouch, that even spirits incorporeal though wonderfully, yet truly, may be afflicted with pain of corpo­real fire? What therefore God foretold by his Prophet concerning the punnishment of the damned, shall come to passe, indeed it shall: Their Worm shall not dye, and their fire shall not be quonched. Esa. 66 24.

The fourth difference: Our fire, ac­cording to its fuel, either lives and en­encrea [...]es or decays and goes out: but but hell fire is nourished by Gods justice, never to be quenched by any Sea, it is unquenchable. This one word, unquench­able, thrice repeated by our Lord, will either be of force to make us fall out with vice, or else it will demonstrate we are worse then brutes.

SECT 3.

THis fire in hell shall be greater, Deut. c. 25. or less, as every ones offence deserves; the Divine Justice will use it, as a scourge; According to the measure of the sin, shall measure also of the stripes be. Even as a­mongst many guilty persons one is more sharply chastised then another with one and the same whip.

Hence appears the madness of certain men, who scarcely aim at any thing, but hell; their words are these: While we are on the way to the Region of utter darkness, let us post thither with might and main: let us make much of our selves, while we may: since, we know, we shall deserve scourges, let's deserve them to the purpose.

Go, you mad men, go; esteem it your chiefest felicity to swim in pleasures: glut your selves to day with wine and delights, perchance to morrow you will be drowned in flames. All the slaves in hell are dreadfully tormented, those most, who have most grievously and of­ten offended God: For he will give fire and worms into their flesh, that they may be burnt, and may feel for ever, Judith 16.

Briefly and pithily, above others, doth St. Prosper set before our eyes this punishment of fire eternal: his words are these: Continual sighing, painful feeling, extream grief, affliction everlast­ing, torment souls without killing, punish­eth bodies without dying. Now as no pain with us pinches more sharply, then fire; so nons sooner consumes and ends our pain. What fire then is that, which tortures most bitterly, and never ceases?

Moyses, Gods Embassadour, found out a word signally expressing eternity of hell fire: A fire, saith he, Deut c. 32. is kindled in my wrath, and shall burn into the lowest parts of hell. The Prophet Hieremy spoke to the same purpose: Jerem. c. 17. Thou hast kindled a fire in my fury, it shall burn for ever. The Powder which kindles eter­nal flames, is the wrath of our Lord: while we live, we experience the anger, not the wrath of God. So it is written, Machabees c. 5. Antiochus being aliena­ted in mind, considered not, that for the sins of them that inhabit the City, God had been angry a little. God indeed is angry a little, however he lift up his arms and seem to threaten stripes in good earnest: his anger is yet little, because joyned with clemency. But when this anger is [Page 114]contemned, and clemency sleighted, then patience offended becomes fury, whereby fire is kindled to burn for ever. You, saith God, your selves kindled this fire, when by your often iterated crimes you despised my clemency: when my anger was little, you were impatient; you transgressed my Laws, and by con­tempt fell upon what was forbidden. Now the time of revenge is come: I will punish you with horrible and un­heard of torments: you have kindled a fire in my fury; now my fury shall burn even to the lowest part of hell.

Nature, says Seneca, makes pain either to lerable or short: but God the author of Nature punisheth his rebel­lious and stubborn subjects with long and intolerable pain: long, because e­ternal; intolerable, because with most rageing fire.

SECT. 4.

HEre I most earnestly begge of all Christians, that when any sickness or pain accosts them, when the Gout, Stone, or any other malady or trouble molests them, they would lay hold on this thought: this affliction, or pain, were it to endure ten, a hundred, a thou­sand years, would you not think you were already in hell? What would you do then to be set free? Do that now to escape eternal torments. And know for certain the trouble you suffer, though grievous; the pain you endure, though excessive, is not so much as a shaddow of hell. Here God strikes with one hand only, and that gently; there he scour­ges with both, and that most severely: here he often lays but one finger on you, there with all his fingers, yea and the whole hand too he lays load on.

Eustachius that Christian Champion, whom we mentioned before, being with Wife and Children enclosed in a hot glowing Oxe of brass, was bitterly tor­mented; yet this was no small solace to him, that his pains would quickly have an end, and his reward would last for [Page 116]ever. Let us deeply imprint this in our memory.

It was frequent with all religious per­sons by daily meditation, as it were; to touch these flames eternal. Apud Rosw. c. 44. Paschasius Deacon relates out of Greek, that twelve Anachorets, as a compleat Senate, met together; and every one for himself de­clared, what he thought he had profited to that day, and what chiefly had been the matter of his contemplation. After all of them had unbosomed themselves, the twelfth and last spoke what he had to say. I shall set the words intire, that his religious simplicity may appear: thus then he began his speech. You, fathers, having your conversation in heaven, are endowed with heavenly wisedom: no wonder. But I, deeming my self un­worthy of those things, perceive my sins, what way soever I go, keep me comp [...] ­ny on every side: therefore I have ad­judged my self to hell, saying: abide thou here, as thou deserves, after a while thou shalt be reputed one of that place. I see therefore such moans, such inces­sant tears, as cannot be recounted. I hold some gnashing the teeth, others quaking and trembling all over from head to foot: then throwing my self [Page 117]upon the ground, and taking up dust. I beg of God, I may never make tryal of those miseries. In like manner I look upon that immense Sea of boyling fire, whole waves flow too and fro, and roar exceedingly; so as some may imagin, they ascend even to heaven: in that dreadful Sea, innumerable men are plunt ged, who jointly with one voice cry and howl in such sort, as no one ever heard upon earth: they all of them burn, like withered sticks; the mercy of God ha­ving forsaken them, to give place to his Justice. Here now I bewail mankind, that dare talk, or attend to any thing else, but to shun those many evils, the world abounds with. These things I bu­sie my mind with, meditating upon mourning, as our Lord says; and esteem­ing my self unworthy either heaven, or earth; I frequently ruminate that of the 51. Psalm. ver. 4. My tears have been breads unto me day and night.

The like account many have made with themselves: Lo, may every one say, thou hast deserved pains immortal, and that more then once: but whether God have blotted out all thy sins, thou canst not manifest by an acquittance: thou hopest they are forgiven, or will be, [Page 118]and so doest well. Mich. 6 For all that, see thou be wary, and walk carefully with thy Maker, for this our Lord requires. This is to be wise in time.

SECT. 5.

BUt how many do all quite contra­ry! They hoard up money with as much anxiety, as if they meant to carry it into heaven. The smoak of honour and empty reputation is maintained by them, as some thing sacred; they would rather dye, then be despised. Yet for all this, these same people now and then as­perse others same so much the more des­perately, by how much they are accusto­med to speak favourably in their own behalf. Many are solicitous for bodily welfare, and will not easily deprive the palat of pleasure it defires.

Thus we march on to eternity, not foreseeing things to come, unmind­ful of those past, and eagerly bent upon things present. In this sort most spend their days; some busie their souls with their Coffers, others with the belly: and yet every one would seem to be serious, when the most of his trade is in trifles. Vices in most bear such sway without [Page 119]controul, that it may be questioned, whether they have any earnest belief of heaven and hell.

Fool-hardy mortals! Let us learn, I beseech you, to allay the heat of this violent impetuosity with some spark of flames eternal. Anger and lust have no small resemblance with rageing fire: scarce any vices, when they get the head, run on with so much fury. Lust, like an untamed horse, shakes off reason as that would do his rider. Anger is ex­cellently decyphered by Paulus Orosius: Lib. 2. con [...] Pagan. Fury void of reason, ranks grief and re­venge amongst vertues; whatever anger contrives, boldness undertakes to execute. Anger, says St. Chrysostom, is a tyranni­cal passion: because nothing so much disturbs tranquillity of mind, as unruly anger. We may mitigate this fury with fire everlasting.

'Tis a maxime amongst Physitians: Fire is a remedy against Fire, for if the finger or hand chance to be burned, 'tis a present cure to apply it to the fire, or candle-light: thus fire through likeness will to fire. In like manner when any place is set on fire, 'tis usual to shoot off a Gun or Cannon against it, that the gentler fire may be vanquisht by the [Page 120]stronger. Alas! how often are our hearts inflamed with brutish motions? Against this burning then let us dis­charge that roaring Cannon: Depart ye accursed into everlasting fire. What dost thou mean silly wretch? if thou be resolved to perish, it may be easily done: one hour, one minute of an hour will serve by lust or anger to commit that, which thou mayst lament for ever. Thus one fire may become a remedy for ano­ther.

SECT. 6.

WHo ever considers the origin of the Carthusians, It be­gan An, 1082. will scarcely ever behold any of them without sigh­ing: take briefly this story which con­cerns it.

A learned man being dead at Paris, while the duties for him were a doing in the Church, raised himself up on the beer and with a horrid voice exclaimed: By the just Judgment of God, I am accus­ed. Here upon the Funeral was put off till the next day: when singing the same words again, the dead man from his Coffin crys out: By the just Judgment of God I am judged. It did not yet ap­pear [Page 121]what was become of him: so they expected till the third day: when being busie, as before, the dead man shoots out, By the just Judgment of God I am condemned. O thrice miserable, who shall be so for ever! Now, that, which would make any one to tremble is: this man in the opinion of all was reputed a Saint of an upright life; so deceitful are the judgments of men. The whole City of Paris was witness of what passed. Hereupon Bruno with his Companions left the City, and betook themselves in­to the Wilderness, where they might learn rather to converse in heaven, then upon earth. This was the begining of the Carthusian Family.

Whence you may frame this discourse: Is it so? Are men gifted with learning, and sanctity (as the world thinks) accus­ed, judged and condemned? What then will become of me poor wretch? I will therefore as much as in me lyeth, have a care of my soul. Let others who mind not eternity, pamper their bodies; let them live and like; to morrow perhaps they will be dust and ashes. These pro­ceedings I am not enamoured of, these steps I trace not; because I seek for ano­ther period of my travels. If I cannot [Page 122]dwell in those austere mountains of Car­thusia; at least I will decline those meet­ings, where they sport, and play, and wast their time in feasting: if I cannot wholly forbear eating f flesh, yet will I renounce the wantonness thereof: if I cannot keep continual silence, I will at least forbear back-biteing and lascivious talk: if night and day I be not in the temple, as religious persons are, yet no hour shall pass wherein I will not re­member God. Henceforth when suffer­ings occur, I will not onely esteem them little, but meer nothing in comparison of flames eternal. In this sense venerable St. Tom. 10 Serm. 109 Austin spoke: What soever, though never so grievous, any one endures in this life, compared to hell fire, is very little, yea nothing at all.

It is so indeed, all our pains are toys, and slight flea-bitings, in respect of punishment everlasting. The least tor­ment in hell surpasses the greatest in this world. Pains, which accompany sickness, become tolerable by frequent intervals, which are not to be found in hell. Grief, when excessive, makes us insensible: none can grieve much and long together, ex­cept it be in hell: nature having so sweetly disposed, that if our sorrow be [Page 123]of long continuance, it is likewise of easie sufferance. In hell sorrow is intoler­able, and exceeding long, because e­ternal.

CHAP. VII. The Sixth Torment of Eternity in Hell is, the Worm of Conscience.

THe Jewel of antient Fathers, and star amongst Bishops, St Austin, spoke agreeably to what we ex­perience: In Psal. 47. Amongst all tribulations of mans soul, none is more pinching then a bad conscience.

It is a great punishment for the Fa­ther, to stand by, while his Son is execu­ted; but much greater if he be compel­led to play the Executioner; and most of all, if the Gibbet, whereon his son is hanged, be erected before his own door, to serve as a sad spectacle to renew his gr [...]f. Yet all this is a mear trific in re­gard [Page 124]of that punishment, which forces the guilty person to be his own hang­man; as it happens, When the Of­fender turns his teeth against himself, and with incessant gripes of conscience tears himself in pieces.

This is the Sixth Torment of Eter­nity in Hell, which Christ in the con­clusion of one Sermon repeats thrice: Where their Worm dyeth not, Mark. Chap. 9 Presently after he iterates the same words, Where their Worm dyeth not: and ends with the same; Where their Worm dyeth not. The like me­thod is observed by the Prophet Esay, Chap. 66 Who closes his Sermons with, Their Worm dyeth not. This punish­ment must needs be unspeakable, where­of we now treat.

SECT. 1.

I Dolaters of old time understood well, how great a torment was that of a troubled conscience. Quintilian exclaims: Declam 12. O sad remembrance, O conscience more grie­vous then all torments! This same was the opinion of all wise men. St. In Psa. 143. Gregory a­vouches: Amongst many tribulations of mans mind, and numberless afflictions, none is greater then a guilty conscience. Here (says Seneca) we must needs acknowledg, Ep. 97. that the conscience is beaten with its own wickedness; which torments it much, be­cause perpetual anxiety bears it company. Malice drinks up a great share of its own poyson, it is its own punishment. No guilty person is well at ease.

To these St. Austin subscribes, saying: Whither shall a man fly from himself, In Psal. 45. which way soever he fly, he draws himself after him, and which way he draws himself, he is a torture to himself. He is his own punish­ment who hath a guilty conscience. God knows what pain his soul endures, what crosses, what torments, what hells. How many vices a man hath, so many racks he suffers; and these so much more bitter, by how much more interiour.

The reason hereof is at hand: When adversity environs us on every side, when heaven and earth conspire to trouble us, we may take our refuge to God: tho none comfort us, God is aboundant solace un­to us. But if the conscience be defiled, no content may be found either amongst creatures, or in the creator: all things are bitter, all full of gall▪ Whither now would you have recourse? to God? He is your enemy. To conscience? that is your Executioner. To the blessed? they are of­fended. To your companions? they will but encrease your grief. To delights and pleasures? these will more defile the con­science. So true it is, no punishment is worse, then a wicked conscience.

Nevertheless, while we live the but che­ry of conscience allows some respite: its nipping sometimes ceases, either with reading, working, talking, feasting, tra­velling, or at least when we are a sleep. But in that castle of cruelty, in Lucifers territory, it admits of no truce, no brea­thing space of quiet, no sleep, no ban­ket [...]ing, no comfort; night and day this viper gnaws the very heart strings. Their W [...]rm dyeth not.

SECT. 2.

MAny things there are, from whence proceeds this torture of conscience in the reprobate: the chief­est of all is, The loss of everlasting glo­ry. Heaven is shut up, hell is shut up, none may pass hence thither: it is de­creed: that heavenly banket was neglect­ed, 'tis now irrecoverable, there remains no hope of beatitude.

Esau, a clownish fellow, and one, who took barbarousness from brutes, a­mongst whom he converted, nevertheless he was heinously displeased, when his brother snatcht from him his fathers blessing. For, Gen. c. 27. Having heard his fathers words, he roared out with a great cry: and being dismaid, said: bless me also, my fa­ther. How then will the damned roar, each one having the approbation of his conscience? Thou hast lost thy fathers blessing; all right to and hope of heaven is quite gone; for a contemptible dish of portage thou hast sold a Kingdom. Ac­cursed that thou art, excluded from hea­ven for all eternity. This Worm which hath begun to gnaw thee, thou shalt not be able to shake off thee any more; [Page 128]thou hast heard with thine own ears the Judges sentence: Go, depart from me ye accursed into everlasting fire, which is pre­pared for the Devil and his Angels.

Amidst these swarms of Worms the damned shall behold, Hom. 40 in Evang. as St. Gregory testifies, the glory of the blessed: To the end that sinners in pain, may be more tormented, let them see their glory, whom they despised; and receive new [...]orture from their punnishment, whom they vainly loved. Thus the damned behold the bliss of Saints, but at a great distance. As if one shut up in a high tower, almost pined a­way with famine and encompassed with worms and stench, should look down in­to most pleasant Gardens, where many much in love one with another did swim in delights: alas! what a tormenting sight would this be? this would onely serve to augment his sufferings.

If one hunger-starved see a table well furnished with dainties, but dare not touch a bit, he becomes more hungry; especially if through his own fault he be barred from eating. This is the condi­tion of the damned: They shall suffer hunger as dogs, Ps. 58. Their conscience therefore will so afflict them, as not to give them leave to think on any thing [Page 129]that may delight. A guilty conscience, like a mad dog, with barking and bite­ing peretually, will drive the wretches into most desperate madness. Thus the conscience is wont to revenge it self, it having formerly not been hearkened to, when it gave wholsom admonition.

SECT 3.

THe second thing, which conscience shall upbraid the damned with, is Neglect of Vertue and a multitude of crimes. The conscience will rehearse, as out of a scrowl, all that was ill done, and all that was carelesly omitted. Whence they will condemn themselves of wicked folly; each ones Conscience casting sloth in their teeth, will say. How often shouldst thou have prayed, when thy time passed in sleep, or play? Thy prayers were seldom, sluggish and drow­sie ones: thou payest for it now. How often shouldst thou have fasted, when thou chose rather to feast, then obey? but now chou payest for it. How often, without prejudice to thy estate, might­est thou have given alms, when thou was more addicted to avarice, then mercy? thou suffers for it now. How often was [Page 130]thou warned, how often craved to par­don thine enemies, and like a good chri­stian forget injuries, but thou wouldest not? thou art punished for it now. How often amidst crosses was patience recom­mended to thee, but thou refuse to be patient? therefore thou art now chasti­sed. How often mightest thou have practised humility and charity, which needed but a good will; no labour, no running, sweat or starving was required here; this might have been done with­out whipping, hair-cloth, or other au­sterity, but thou refused? thou art now justly scourged. How often was reason brought to invite, to draw thee to the right use of Sacraments, but thou wouldest not be perswaded to it? suffer hardly. Opportunity was never want­ing to thee, thou alwayes to it: thou hadst power, but wouldest not: pay now, pay for thy wickedness. Lo here, how many ways thou hast multiplyed sins; when it had been far more easie to have practised vertue, then vice.

See, miserable wretch, how with sport and pastin [...]e thou hast lost a Kingdome: it was in thy power to have been happy for ever, if thou wouldest: a short and easie labour would have purchased a [Page 131]blessed immortality, which thou refused to undergo. See, fool, how for a filthy and fading pleasure thou hast cast away immense delights. It appears now thy flesh was dearer to thee then heaven. Doest thou perceive now what pleasures thou pursued? I foretold thee, I warn­ed thee, I frequently checkt thee: But all in vain, I did nothing, but loose my labour. I am now meet with thee, when all hope is fled from thee, thy folly is justly recompensed with pain.

Open thine eyes, thou sordid slave, to behold, how thou hast lost all, for wal­lowing in impurity but a moment. Thou art now remote from the honours, trea­sures and delights of the blessed, which 'tis impossible for thee ever to attain. Thy lust has plunged thee into this abyss of torments, thy incontinency has drawn upon thee these unquenchable flames: that merry and short madness of thine is waited on by eternal mourning. Dost thou deplore the privation of Paradise? thou hast deprived thy self. Dost thou bewail the joys of heaven were neglect­ed? thou didst neglect them. Dost thou lament that heaven gates are shut? thou didst shut them against thy self. At this very instant thou mightst have been [Page 132]most happy, but happy thou wouldst not be. It was easie to have merited heaven, but delays, and careless negli­gence have brought thee hither, blind and mad as thou art, whence thou mayst not go out for eternity. Here is no free­dom, no salvation: despair a hundred, a thousand times, despair eternally, dye eternally, yet thou canst never meet with death after infinite ages. Thou art cast away from the face of God, because thou averted thy self from him. Thou perishest by no ones fault, but thine own; perish for ever.

Such Sermons as these the Conscience makes, but too late: all hope is turned into despair.

A timely pennance is so efficacious, that it blots out all sins; and punish­ment for sins forgiven, or at least di­minisheth it; besides, it augments the favour of God. For this reason, that An­gel of the desert St. John, instiled this one thing into the ears of those that resorted to him: Do pennance for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand, Mat. 3. Do pennance. Pennance in hell has none of these ef­fects: it washeth not away the least sin, it takes off no pain, nor restores any of Gods grace. They are enemies to God, [Page 133]who first begin there to do pennance, they obtain nothing, they are wise when it is too late.

All these particulars those banisht souls from heaven know well, hence it is, their worm dyeth not. They behold, as in a table, their faults committed; they behold them, and have a horror of them. Their ridiculous vanity, their su­perfluity in apparel, and all their vain glory they utterly detest: their rash judgments and envy: Their base cove­tousness and sordid luxury they most furiously curse. They see, unhappy that they are, immense herps of lascivious thoughts plainly before their eyes. The foulness of intemperance is abominable to them; the Lethergy of sloth, the fal­lacy of voluptuousness, the blandish­ments of impure love they execrate; but all this comes too late. They cry out with most bitter, but fruitless moan: All those things are passed away as a shaddow; but in our naughtiness we are consumed, Wisdom. c. 5. It was in our power to a­void things forbidden, and perform things commanded, but we would not. This will be the canticle of the consci­ence for ever: Their worm dieth not.

SECT. 4.

THe third cause which racks the Conscience in hell, is; the contemn­ing Gods grace. Job. c. 29.2.6. Job made a wise wish when he said: Who will grant me, that I may be according to the former moneths, when I washed my feet with butter, and the rock powered me rivers of oyl? Job 29.2.6. It is scarce credible how much it gauls, to be tumbled down from the height of plenty to the ebb of poverty. The damned know well, that formerly they rowed in abundance. They had right to heaven, they might if they would, have inherited that blessed King­dome. They remember the butter of di­vine grace flowed plentifully to them, wherein they might have bathed them­selves, but they refused it. They appre­hend most lively, that rivers of oyl from the rock, and fountains of divine love and mercy were streamed upon them by Christ: all which through their own fault they neglected. Now they cry out, but in vain: Who will grant us that we may be according to the former months, when we washed, or might wash, our feet with butter, and the rock [Page 135]Christ powered out rivers of oyl, of his precious blood? now neither one drop of oyl, nor butter runs any more. The foun­tain of Gods mercy is dried up: the ri­vers of divine grace stream not at all. The blood of the heavenly Lamb was shed in vain for us; the pains and death of Christ avail us nothing; all done for us is bootless: alas! we are utterly un­done.

This will rent asunder the hearts of the damned, that with slight labour, with a resolute will they might have won hea­ven, but would not; that grace offered them a thousand times, they a thousand times rejected. Hence the wretches will furiously rage against themselves, and will incessantly sing to themselves this doleful song: O time pretious above measure! O days! O hours estimable above gold, whither are you gone, never to return! We blind and senseless, with eyes and ears shut, loosed the reins to lust, and by joint example drew one ano­ther to destruction. Hither, unhappy that we are, we posted amain; and de­sp [...]sing all admonition ran upon death, alas! death eternal. What good do we reap now from all that the deceitful world fobb'd us with? the memory of [Page 136]pleasures past is worse then death to us: all delight is gone and quite vanisht a­way: which though we might have en­joyed for some ages, what had those joys been to these torments? Alas! we leaped only at a shadow of bitter pleasure. Who was it, that did so cruelly bewitch us?

O that we had but once a year serious­ly meditated on eternity! O that we had now but one day, one sole hour at our own disposal!

But O, these wishes are in vain: we are utterly undone, all our hope is turn­ed into despair. Accursed be the day in which we were born: accursed be God, by whom we were created.

Here I stop my pen, and send back these impious words thither, from whence they came. Let him be wise and beware in time, whoever desires to es­cape this dreadful butchery of consci­ence.

SECT. 5.

IT were incredible, if our eyes were not witnesses, how industrious and wit­ty, how attentive and serious, how watchful and quick-sighted, how know­ing and wary we are in amassing toge­ther things of this world. When affairs of the body are to be looked after, then it is, we are wise, careful and laborious: here is the center of our lives and acti­ons. Behold, I pray, how exquisitely some have their Garments Embroyder­ed; see, what artificial pictures, edifi­ces and statues others possess; look up­on that fine linnen, which many wear, for whiteness like snow, for thinness e­qual to the spiders web, look upon those master-pieces of art, clocks, musick, with other forreign merchandise: O how acute and unfatigable are we in raising works of handy-craft to perfection, in heaping up wealth, in dispatching world­ly business, and attaining honour! When as, God knows, all these things are fa­ding, transitory, and pass away in a moment.

Contrary-wise when any thing is to be done for heaven, good Lord! how dull [Page 138]and stupid, how slothful and heedless, how frosen and drowsie are we? In this business alone we go coldly to work, we languish, we loyter, we lay us down by the way. T. Kem. l. 3 c. 3. It was most truly spoken: For a little Prebend a long journey is underta­ken; for everlasting life, many will scarce once lift a foot from the ground. Here we are all, as if we were struck with a palsie; we snort, and the devil stands centinel. But when the soul once awakes indeed, the conscience will no longer be lulled a sleep: it will pinch, gnaw, vex and tor­ture for eternity. Their Worm dyeth not.

This Worm is fed with unexplicable dolours, with sorrow void of all com­fort. The damned grieve for the loss of beatitude without hope of ever repair­ing that immense damage: they think without ceasing, it was their own folly drowned them in that Ocean of sadness; neither will it ever be in their power to divert their fancy from that dismal thought to any other, that may exhile­rate them.

St. Bernard did contemplate these things attentively: Lib. [...], de [...] co [...] ­fi [...]. c. 12. What is so painful, saith he, as always to have a mind of that which you shall never compass and always [Page 139]to loath that you shall ever have? The dam­ned shall for ever covet that, which they shall never obtain; and what they utterly dislike they must endure eternally. Amongst so great a multitude of spectatours, no ones eye will be more troublesome, then every ones to himself. There is no sight either in heaven, or earth which the darksome con­science would rather avoid, but cannot. Darkness is not covered from it self; it beholds it self, that can discover nothing else. The works of darkness follow them, they can hide themselves no where from darkness, no not in darkness it self. Here is the worm that dyeth not, the remem­brance of things past; which being once cast into, or rather bred in the soul by sin, sticks so fast, that henceforth it can never be pluckt away. It doth not cease to gnaw the conscience, wherewith being fed, as with inconsumptive food, it preserves its life per­petually. I tremble at this gnawing worm, Mat. 2 [...] and living death: I tremble for fear of fal­ling into the hands of living death, and dy­ing life.

Therefore while the soul endures, the memory endures: but what an one? stained with sins, rough with crimes, swoln with vanity, evergrown and neglected through contempt. All which, though they have [Page 140]gone before, yet are they not passed: they have passed from the hand to the mind. That, which is done, cannot be undone: wherefore though the doing was in time, yet the having been done remains for ever: that doth not pass away with time, which goes away beyond all time. It is therefore necessary that should torment for ever, which thou shall ever remember to have done amiss. Hitherto St. Bernard.

SECT. 6.

ADivine and Suffragan Bishop of St. Th Can Dominicks Order, a faithful writer of the History of his time, relates a strange passage in this manner: A Bi­shop there was in in Germany, of Princely race, from which by his life and means he did degenerate. This same man at first was somewhat bashful in gapeing af­ter gold, and in giving way to secret venery; afterwards he proceeded further, so, as not careing to amend his life, he loosed the reins to things forbidden; and freely abandoned him self to rapine and luxury. God checked him sundry ways; one while by sickness, another while by other calamities inviting him to reform his life. In fine, as he led a debaucht life, so he took a miserable end. At that very time Conrade Bishop of Hilde [...]heim, was [Page 141]got out a bed to go to Mattins: Hilde­mensis. which ended, he betook himself to his study, to prepare for a Sermon next day. Here being for some space in an ecstasy, he thought he saw a Bishop with a Mitre on his head, but with his face covered, hur­ried away to judgment: Presently his accusers laid to his charge, that he was chiefly infamous for rapine, and guilty of lust. Here the Judg spoke to some of his attendance; Examine his cause, and give sentence. They did so: and forth­with the Executioners took away from the condemned Person his Mitre, Ring, and other Ornaments, which they cast at the feet of the supream Judg. The at­tends rise up, and, as they go away, each one for a conclusion of their Judgment, says: Therefore while we have time, Paul. Gala [...]. c 6. vs 10. let us work good to all.

These things the foresaid Bishop be­held; who after he came to himself; found his head busied with enquiring, what Bishop it might be, which died at that time.

When, lo one weeping at the Gate declares, how his Master, (whom he named) coming last evening ino the next village, was suddainly dead. Conrade at this lamentable accident fetcht a deep [Page 142]sigh, resolving with tears night and day to repeat: While we have time, let us work good to all. An impure conscience is here unquiet, hereafter it will be furi­ously tormented for ever.

SECT. 7.

THe force of conscience is incredible, especially after the scene of this life is acted: for in the presence of God e­very one will so blush at his own faults, that though heaven were set open, and the soul uncleansed were invited to en­ter; nevertheless through horror of its own stains it would fly back, and refuse to go in, till all its spots were expiated. So much the conscience has aversion of, and blushes at her own offenses.

Therefore while we have time, let us work good to all: for as St. Austin dis­courses: Who ever doth not deceive him­self by flattery, understands well, in how great danger of eternal death, and how far short of perfect holiness he lives du­ring his pilgrimage here on earth.

Now then let us look to it, and not resist the wholsom warning our consci­ence gives us. The conscience is never silent, if it meet with a peaceable and [Page 143]attentive hearer. And truly this is ex­ceeding profitable, so to feel the worm in our bosom here, as not to be troubled with it hereafter eternally. St. Serm. DeiCon vert. Bernard attests thus much, saying: ‘It is best then to feel the worm, when it may be stilled. Therefore let it bite now, that it may dye, and so bite no more. While it bites here, it feeds upon what is putrified, and biteing consume; it, that it may be consumed together with it, lest being made much of, it should become immortal.’

It is therefore much better to be warn­ed here then by our conscience to be murthered hereafter: for, as the same Saint adds, Lib. de Anim [...] ‘Those who are exilled from heaven shall be tortured in flesh with fire, and in spirit by the word of conscience. There is pain unsuff [...]rable, horrible fear, incomparable stench, death of soul and body, without hope of pardon and mercy. Yet shall they dye so, as that they shall ever l [...]ve; and so live that they shall ever dye.’

What shall we do, O mortals? Our life is short, the way long, the end of the way doubtful, time little, nothing more certain then death, nor uncertain then the hour, the continuance of reward [...]nd [Page 144]pain everlasting, both which depend on a moment for eternity. What then O mortals, what shall we do?

CHAP. VIII. The Seventh Torment of Eter­nity in Hell is, the Place, and Company.

CAto Censor, A man of approved vertue was accustomed to give this admonition to them, who were about to buy Land, that in the first place they should be sure to provide for good neighbours. An ill neighbour, is a great evil: whence that saying of Themistocles, delivered by Plutarch, is well known; for, having a farm to sell he commanded the cryer, who gave notice of the sale, he should likewise certifie, That it had good neigh­bours. [Page 145]A ruinous and inconvenient build­ing, if it be near bad company, will meet with few buyers.

All exiled from heaven have such pla­ces of abode, that our styes, and dog­kennels compared to them, might seem places or lodgings fit for Kings. Besides, the inconveniency of the place, there is company displeasing beyond expression, of so many millions of devils and damn­ed men, all sworn enemies to God, so as, if they were in Paradise; they would make one abhor it.

This then is the seventh torment of e­ternity in hell, the place and company; that miserable above measure, this de­testable beyond imagination. The Judg in his definitive sentence comprehended both, saying: This house of flames, this dreadful prison, which was prepared for the devil and his angels, did not concern you in the beginning: Mat. 25 but in regard you valued more the familiarity of mine ene­mies, then my favour, Go now, go and dwell amongst them, whose company heretofore you were so much taken with: go into fire everlasting, which was not prepared for you, but for the devil and his angels. It somtimes cometh to pass, that a Schoolmaster for the fault of on [...], [Page 146]commands rods to be made ready; but for as much, as others by and by become faulty too, he says: These rods were not tyed together for you, but because you have committed the same offence with that untoward boy, you shall like­wise be whipt with him.

In like manner Christ speaks to his e­nemies: My intent was you should have enjoyed the society of Angels; Paradise was made ready for you: but since you have cast away all goodness, and would not obey me, but the devil: Go there­fore, go, go, and make your abode in the devils den; remain in that company your selves have provided. Of this both place and company we now treat.

SECT. 1.

BEfore we enter into the Place, lets take a view of the ground. Antient­ently at the left hand of the entrance in­to Yrimalcions house, not far from the Porters lodg, was painted upon the wall a mighty dog in a chain, over whom was written in Capital Letters; Take heed, take heed of the dog.

Many such dogs as these are in hell: so many Cerberus's, as devils, which are [Page 147]far more ravenous then all Cerberus's. Here both by writing and words I ex­claim: Take heed, take heed of these dogs. But now let us look upon the place.

It is agreed upon as well by antient Fathers, as Divines, that those comfort­less caverns of hell are seated in the cen­ter of the earth: holy writt likewise af­firmes the same. For after they, who re­belled against Moyses, were separated from the people of God: Num. 16, v 32 The earth brake in sunder under their feet: & opening her mouth, devoured them with their ta­bernacles, and all their substance: and they went down into hell quick covered with the ground. This prison of the wicked is rightly seated in the lowest place, as the habitation of the blessed is on the high­est, noblest, and most pleasant.

Of that prison we may frame this dis­course: In case the damned amount to thirty times a thousand millions of men, or a hundred thousand millions and that fiery prison according to its whole di­menfion of height, bredth and length contain one German mile, it will have room enough for that wonderful num­ber of men. Streitness sutes well with the prison; it being proper for liberty [Page 148]to enjoy an ample habitation. But the croud of the damned, those dogs and swine, shall dwell in a narrow compass, and shall be like grapes in a wine press, or salt harrings in a barrel, or bricks in a kill, or pieces of wood in a pyle, or hot glowing coles in an iron-grate, or like sheep butcher'd in the shambles; they shall be close and streitly thronged toge­ther. The narrowness of the prison, and their being pressed one near to another, makes no small addition to their tor­ments. Into this slender compass God will conveigh all the sewers and filth of the world.

The greatest joy this world affords is not a little diminisht by loathsomness of place. Who would esteem it a pleasure to take up his quarters for any long time in a tallow-chandlers, or curriers shop, in Augias stable, or in a vault filled with rotten carcasses? so ungrateful a place as this, by reason of its stench, would quite banish out of the breast all thoughts of pleasure. What then will happen in that forge of Gods wrath, in that hor­rid cave of eternity, wherce all joy is removed, and where there is nothing to be found, but extream dolours? How much will this deep, obscure and stench­ful [Page 149]place increase their pains? yea, what I tremble to think of, a place most re­mote from heaven, and closely shut up with a thousand locks, iron grates, and percullises?

Abraham cryes out from above: Luke c. 16. Be­tween us and you there is fixed a great Chaos, (a Chaos of flames:) that they which will passe from hence to you, may not, nei­ther go from thence hither. And yet Abra­hams abode was not in heaven.

In our prisons there is ample liberty, if you look upon the habitations of the damned: Their Sepulchers, Psa 43. their houses for ever. Princes and Kings, Emperours and Popes are shut up in this house: nei­ther hath Craesus, nor Alexander any o­ther dwelling place St. Luke c. 16. bears testimony: The rich man also dyed: and he was buried in hell. O profound Se­pulcher! Into this now are his stately buildings and towers converted, into this his pleasant fountains and triumphal arches, into this his groves and flourish­ing gardens, into this his bathes, his theaters, and magnificent palaces: his whole house is no more, then a narrow tomb. Neither do they live here at their freedom and liberty, but are enchained and fast bound. The great King gave [Page 150]command Mat. 22. Bind his hands and feet; and cast him into utter darkness. These guilty persons cannot walk, nor so much as stir whither they will: they are tyed hand and foot, and as if they were fastned to Spits, they become fuel to that devouring fire.

SECT. 2.

IT is manifest out of antient history, that several men, and those none of the vulgar sort, were inclosed in cages, as if they had been out-landish birds.

Alexander the great commanded Cal­listhenes Olyntheus, Sen & others. either for suspition of treason, or for perswading the King not to affect the title of Lord from the A­thenians, to have his ears, lips and no­strils cut off, and to be cruelly mangled in other members, whereby be became a spectacle of misery and deformity, and then to be shut up in an iron cage with a dog, and so carried about for a show. Lysimachus, who had been his Schollar, moved with compassion to so great a man, gave him poyson, thereby to put a period to the punishment his faults de­served not, but his freedom in speaking. O happy cage of Callisthenes; compared [Page 151]to the flaming prisons the damned en­dure!

The like misfortune, which befel Cal­listhenes, hath also involved others. Ta­merlan, the worlds terrour, Lissius pol, c. 5. having o­vercome Bajaset the Turkish Monarck, shut him up in a cage of Iron, and so in derision showed him to all would see him three years together.

Christiern King of Denmark, in the year one thousand, five hundred, Ex Jo­vio. twenty two became an Apostate from Christian religion. Afterwards by reason of his cruelty he was deprived of three King­doms, miserably condemned to perpe­tual bondage, and in the year one thous­sand, five hundred, thirty two, like an unruly beast, was cast into a grate, where he ended his days. But O gentle prisons of Bajaset and Christiern, if compared to those of the damned!

Valerian a Roman Emperour receiv­ed no better usage from Sapores King of Persia: Baron. ad An. 262. for being encaged as well as the former, he was never permitted to stir out, but when he was forced, instead of a footstool, to lead his back to Sapores to mount on horse-back. In fine Valerian had his skin pulled off, and his flesh rub­bed with salt. Thus also was Renzus son [Page 152]to Frederick imprisoned till death.

After the same manner Mark Bishop of Arethusa, Suidas, famous for eloquence and sanctity of life, a most renowned Mar­tyr, in the time of Julian the Apostate, was first committed to boys to be stabed with bodkins, then besmeared with brine and hony was enclosed in a cage, hung in the open air under the scorching sun, and so was exposed as a prey to hornets, wasps, gnats and flies, that he might feel himself dye.

But O how mild were these punish­ments! how delightsome these cages, in respect of theirs in hell! All torment here is but imaginary, and a mere shad­dow: as being solaced either with the shortness of their continuance, or sweet­ned with the hope of everlasting reward: we know our present tribulation is light and momentary.

Hence the Champions of God, the more pain they endure, the greater re­compense they expect Whereas those prisoners in hell neither receive comfort from time past, which they neglected; nor from that to come wherein their torments shall continue for ever. Divine Justice has so decreed, that the wicked shall find their enemys their executioners, [Page 153]whose perswasions they followed, and whose friendship they formerly sued for: and forasmuch as heretofore they haunt­ed plesant meddows to sport themselves in, Wisd. 2 they shall now inhabit streight cages for their punishment. This shall be their condition for eternity.

SECT. 3.

WEre there no other torment for souls guilty of eternal death, then to be shut up in so loathsome a pri­son amongst so many sworn enemies for ever; this, this alone would be abundant­ly enough. What then shall I say of their many other torments, of their worm of conscience, their hunger, thirst and perpetual flames, which shall never have an end? their torments are many indeed, which last for eternity; eterni­ty, which may be measured, if you re­gard its beginning; but if you seek for an end of it, which you shall never find, it is wholly unmeasurable.

The Prophet Esay chap. 34. hath a lively description of this place of ever­lasting banishment: The torrents there­of, saith he, shall be turned into pitch, and the ground thereof into brimstone: and [Page 148]the land thereof shall be into burning pitch. St. Apoc. c. 19. Matth. [...] c. 13. c. 106 John calls this prison a Pool of fire and brimstone. Christ, the furnace of fire. Ho­ly Job, the dark land, ohat is covered with the midst of death: a land of misery and darkness, where is the shaddow of death, and no order, but everlasting horror inha­biteth.

Here, say you, I would gladly be in­formed, how to frame a lively and last­ing conceit of this unconsumable Aetna, this recepticle of all miseries, whereby I might frequently have a remembrance of it.

To this purpose I call to mind a con­ference, which passed betwixt two inti­mate friends; the one whereof might well be termed Orestes, the other Pylades: this demanded to know, in what manner he might best represent to himself that dungeon of the damned. Whereunto O­restes replyed, in my judgment, the bu­siness is to be performed in this sort: Let some one, in the spring or autumn, when the season of the year is sharpest, be con­veyed down into the bottom of a deep pit under ground, where there is neither fire, nor table, nor bed. Hither once a day let a crust of mouldy-hard bread, with a small cup of stinking water, be [Page 155]cast down by a rope: this dainty fare must likewise be seasoned with reading this lecture, that the party so enthralled is without ceasing to meditate on eter­nity both day and night. Well, said Py­lades: I deem that an efficacious way to imprint eternity in the mind. Yet oblige me with a further courtesie, and make me partaker of a more ample discourse touching the man before mentioned.

SECT. 4.

THat man in the beginning will e­steem three weeks as irksome, as three whole years: and if he chance to be restored again to his liberty, he will openly profess his sufferings were exces­sive. What were his sufferings I pray? hunger, thirst, cold, want of sleep, with privation of all comfort. Hitherto the miscreant says true. But observe, I be­seech you, how tolerable this prison is, how plentiful his diet, what freedom he seems to enjoy, when you look down upon that close imprisonment in hell: he had his share of meat and drink to pre­serve his life, in hell is neither one drop, nor crum of comfort.

Besides no one derided that poor man in the pit, none insulted over him, no one loaded him with stripes; whereas in hell they are perpetually oppressed with all these calamities.

Again, that silly wretch might passe over the day in quiet and the night in rest, though both were accompanied with difficulty; but in hell is not so much as one sole minute of ease, or sleep to be found.

Moreover, that mans brest was not torn to pieces with sadness; all grief, horror amazement, howling, anguish and despair did not any ways afflict him: as they do incessantly them in hell.

That mans thraldom was free from torments, he was molested with no o­ther disease then hunger, thirst and cold: but the damned are racked in all the members of their bodies, and their souls being drencht in affliction always live in flames and never dye: this death is more bitter to them then death it self.

In a word, albeit that Caitif be re­mote from delights, though he behold no sun, haven o company, but be de­barred all sport and relaxation of mind; [Page 157]yet he cherrishes this hope in his bosom, that one day he shall enjoy himself a­gain, he shall see the suns face, meet with his beloved companions, and return a­fresh to his accustomed pastimes and delights. Whereas, God wot, all their hope in hell is changed into despair: they know certainly at their first en­trance thither, they must never look up­on the sun any more, they must never meet again either with their wished for company, or content. The sight of God, the society of Angels, together with all celestial pleasure is quite taken from them eternally without hope of recovery: Despair lives in hell, as at home; it spares none of these In­habitants. Lo here, O Christians with what facility we may gain knowledg of Eternity.

SECT 5.

A Learned man of St. Dominicks Or­der recounts this passage to my present purpose: Joan Junier. A Jester, says he, a nimble-witted buffon, in an assembly of noble men, took upon him to play the preacher, whom he had heard that morning; and with an intent to draw mirth out of serious matters he thus be­gun his Sermon: You know, my ma­sters, how much my company conduceth to your jovial entertainment; whether you be carousing, feasting, gaming or dancing I am still, as the fool in the play, ready to chear you up. But listen, I beseech you, to what lately befel me: as I lay upon a down bed and could not sleep, I began to think with my self: if thou wert so fast bound here for twenty, or thirty years space, that thou couldest neither stir hand, nor foot. what wouldst thou do to purchase liberty? How if thou couldst riot otherwise obtain it, then by bidding adieu to all company keeping and not? I said to my self, nay I would swear it (if need required) that I would utterly forswear all my pot­companions, all jollity, play and dance­ing, [Page 159]rather then be in this sort debarred of my freedom. But say, I pray thee, what course wouldest thou take, if thou wert in Pluto's Court; not buried in feathers, but flames; not amidst ripplers, but devils; where all chatting for mer­riment is wholly forbidden, where one small drop of water is no less precious, then a celler stored with the choicest ca­nary: whither one may enter, as beasts did to the sick Lyon, whose footsteps you might behold all going in, but none coming out again? To go down into hell is an easie matter; but who was e­ver seen to have returned thence? Now then if thou wert there, tell me serious­ly, what wouldest thou do?

His Sermon being thus ended, he found himself so suddenly changed; that one might justly perswade himself, he was become another Porphyrius, who played the Jester to Julian the Emperor; and who, whiles acting upon the stage, he scoffed at the rites of Christian Reli­gion, found himself suddenly changed into another man, and openly profest he was a christian: yea and as a christi­an obtained the crown of Martyrdome with the loss of his head. So serious conclusions follow out of jesting pre­misses: [Page 160]so that other caviller drew ear­nest out of jest, to his own great advan­tage and others.

'Tis a true and sure way of reasoning, from a slight and transitory pain to frame a right estimate of pains eternal. To which purpose give ear to S. Hieroms admonition: Ad Po. & O­cean. Do we think, brethren, that the Prophets Preach in Jest, the Apostles speak in a laughing manner, or Christ thunders out menaces like a child? Those are no Jests, which are accompanied with real torments.

SECT. 6.

BEsides the place of hell, which is in­famous for all kinds of torments; there is likewise company by all means detestable. As the blessed in heaven will be replenisht with unexplicable delight when they behold Christ the worlds Sa­viour, his most glorious Mother and Disciples, together with so many Quires of Angels, and millions of triumphant Saints: So the reprobate will receive an addition to their horrid torments from that execrable company, from which they shall never be delivered. What sentiment wouldst thou be of, if sound [Page 161]and in health, thou should be constrain­ed to lodg night and day in the same Hospital with sick folks covered over with ulcers, sores and rottenness? What if thou shouldst see their limms flowing in their own putrified matter and cor­ruption? How would thou be able to endure the stench of some, the mourn­ing and lamentations of others; the sighs of this, the complaints of that man; the cough of the lungs in one, and in a­nother wailing till he give up the ghost? O what a hell, saist thou, would this life be! Nay, how meer a nothing would this be compared to hell! that, which thou callest stench, would smell like bal­some; these moans would be harmoni­ous musick; that pain thou speakest of, would prove a play-game; it is a paradise indeed, thou lookest on as a hell. For if it be troublesome to converse with a few who hate thee; what may be imagined more grievous, then to abide there, where no one loves another, but every ones breast boyles with hatred towards each other?

These fashions are in request in Sa­tans Court; all burn with such deadly hatred, that, if it were in their power, they would tear one another peice­meal [Page 162]with their teeth. For these inmates of hell extreamly abhor the image of God both in themselves and others: yea, as they have an excessive spleen against God, so they have a tooth against eve­ry thing that resembles him. How cum­berson then is it to live amongst such domesticks, as these?

Amongst this accursed crue the eyes shall be chiefly tormented with the pre­sence of them, who have any way been the cause of their condemnation; whe­ther they be parents, or wife, or chil­dren, or friends, or other companions in sin: amongst whom the devils are not to be reckoned in the last place, who, by the judgment of God (as Divines affirm) shall be appointed to torment men, that they may find by experience to what tyrants they submitted themselves. Ne­ver to be able to rid themselves of this society, is a far greater torment, then to be cast into a ditchful of snakes, with­out ever being released thence; or to be continually stung by [...]hose poysonous creatures, and never killed by them.

You would easily imagine, this unso­ciable company might be of force suffi­cient, to make us eschesh the wicked meetings of drunkards, gamesters, per­jured [Page 163]persons, and lascivious talkers, whose vices often stick close to such, as communicate with them: especially be­ing we ought to beware, lest we hurt o­thers by our bad example. Christ makes this publick proclamation to the world, Matth. 18. Wo be to the world for scan­dals: he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it is expedi­ent for him that a Milstone be hanged a­bout his neck and that he be drowned in the depths of the sea. Wo be to the world for scandals: Wo be to that man by whom scandal cometh. Sins of ill example, which we call scandals, bring with them hot service in Lucifers kingdom. Therefore Eccles 7. It is better to go to the house of mourning, then to the house of banketting: for in that the end of all men is signified, and he that liveth thinketh what shall be.

It behooves every one to look to him­self, while he hath time. All men have two ways to enter into eternity, out of which there is no way left to return. Hast thou made thy entry into heaven? fear not, thou shalt never be thrust out again. Hath hell taken possession of thee? rest assured, no door, no nor so much as a chink, will ever afford thee passage [Page 164]thence: thou art now become a Citizen, thou hast taken house-room, thou hast settled thy abode: here thou must dwel eternally. Thou knowest well that warn­ing of Ecclesiastes, ch. 11. If the Tree shall fall to the South, or to the North, in what place soever it shall fall, there shall it be.

CHAP. IX. The Eighth Torment of Eternity in Hell is, Despair.

THe antient Thebans mervailed, that the common-wealth of the Lacedaemonians did so flourish, that their Citizens were kept in such or­der, as vices were seldom heard of a­mongst them. Hereupon they sent Phi­lonius the Philosopher to pry into their proceedings, and to bring back in writ­ing [Page 165]what he observed either concerning their laws, or government. Philonius ha­ving curiously marked all particulars re­turned to Thebes, where being to give an account of his Embassy in publick, he laid open upon the Theatre, rods, snares, whips, racks, axes, wheels, and gibbets; then after some time of silence, he broke forth into these words: Behold, quoth he, and become eye-witnesses, you The­ban Citizens, what keeps the Lacedae­monians in order: no one offends amongst them, who is not forthwith chastised: vertue goes not without reward, nor vice free from punishment: hence it is, their manners are better then ours.

God, the worlds law-giver, with ad­mirable wisdom performs his part; and that orderly discipline may not go to wrack, he does not threaten gibbets, racks, nor wheels; but hell fire, which burns for ever. Nevertheless (such is mans impiety) the world dares stil trans­gress the laws of God: what, I pray, would not mans boldness attempt, if they were only punishable for an hour, or a day; or to be imprisoned for a year or two? To all such as swerve from Gods commands, we know, thraldom without end, pains eternal are decreed; [Page 166]and yet (which cannot be spoken with­out wonder,) transgressors of divine laws are Numberless.

VVhence, (I beseech you) doth this incredible temerity proceed? The fear of God is not before their eyes, Psalm 13. because the mercy of God, so often as men offend, hinders him from throw­ing down Thunder-bolts upon the of­fenders, therefore they become auda­cious above measure: whence many void of fear trample the ordinations of Heaven under foot, and loose the reins to wickedness forbidden. A deceitful hope sooths many up, and leads them insensibly into the gulf of despair; which is that torment of eternity we now treat of.

SECT. 1.

HOpe in this world is an admirable lenitive for all sorts of affliction, and miseries whatever: it may fitly be termed a Soveraign oyntment, that ap­peases all our aggrievances. Hope chief­ly regards profit and the end: though tears trickle down abundantly, yet they are easily wiped away with this spunge. Those noble champions of Christ, those [Page 167]invincible Martyrs, though they suffer­ed much, yet were they much comfort­ed with the fruits of patience. The like solace are they partakers of (to speak with St. Bernard) who do good and suf­fer evil.

It happens sometimes that one pur­chases a Farm, for which he pays many thousand crowns, and yet for all that says, he doth not repent him of his bar­gain, because all his charges will in time come back again with interest. Their torments in hell are exceedingly increas­ed, for that their sufferings bring them in no profit: whereas with us one small tear, so it be serious, is able to wash a­way many heinous offences: it is not so with them, for, albeit their pains be ne­ver so grievous, yet do they not expiat one venial sin, nor deserve so much as a drop of water.

How heavy a burden is it for pesants and labourers to work without wages! So is all toyl without hope of recom­pence. In this manner slaves, who la­bour for their masters, not themselves, esteem their pains troublesome, because fruitless; yet they may receive comfort from the end of their labours, which death brings to a period. This is a bene­fit [Page 168]wholly denyed to those slaves in hell, who shall seek for death, Apoc: c. 9. Serm. 112. and shall not find it: they shall desire to dye, and death shall fly from them. The wicked, says S. Austin, shall live in their torments: but they shall so live in them, as if it were possible, they would dye; but no one makes an end of them, that their pains may last for ever. Their pains there are not only endless, but likewise so perpetually renewed, as that they are always new. They shall burn, says Job, c. 20. and all sorrow shall fall upon them. Whence they will be seised with most desperate fury, and most furious despair.

Some indeed despair, and that but once, because death allows them no longer time. But in hell they despair a thousand times an hour, yea their despair is without ceasing, like unto a continual or hectick feaver. Whatever the damned think on, that is to them rageing despair: they would, if it were in their power, tear themselves in pieces with their teeth, stabbe themselves all over with sharp knives, and draw death to them with o­pen arms: but death will fly from them.

SECT. 2.

SUch as despair through extream ad­versity, somtimes bereave themselves of life by water, sword, halter, poyson or precipices, fancying hereby they shall find an end of their life and misery toge­ther: whereas in hell no end may be found either of calamity, life or death. There is no water, no sword, no halter, no poyson, no precipice can kill them, howbeit all these particulars do there torment them, as doth also continual and never ending despair. At which the Judges final sentence doth chiefly aime: Depart from me accursed, into everlast­ing fire: from this no appeal may be granted, the decree is irrevocable; and, as St. Austin speaks, this sentence of God is unchangable.

The Angel which St. Apoc. c. 10. John saw swore by him that liveth for ever and ever, that there shall be time no more. But there shall be eternity, and a reward of things done in time. This immutable oath of the An­gel, this fatal sentence of our Lord, the damned shall so certainly perceive, that this storm of words, this horrible thun­der shall perpetually sound in their ears: [Page 170]into fire everlasting, into fire everlasting, everlasting alas! [...]nto fire everlasting. Not one syllable or tittle of these words fail of their effects: these words which the damned hear and understand, we hear and understand not.

Now as the habitation of the blessed is replenished with all delight, so that of the damned is an epitome or abridg­ment of all dolours. What ever is af­flictive, deplorable or dreadful, those beneath are sensible of; what ever is de­lightful, pleasing or comfortable, those above do plentifully participate.

In this world of ours no malady so great, but has its remedy: all affliction may, if we will, be mitigated. Our grief is frequently appeased by reason, by rest, by pleasing conversation, and chiefly by process of time: one while our friends and kindred, another while such as have suffered the like disasters, but principal­ly hope either wipes away, or asswages our Calamity. Whereas, God knows, in that region of utter desolation all gates are shut to the least solace: No ease no comfort may be expected from heaven, or earth; from their condition past, present, or to come. What way soever they turn their eyes, they behold [Page 171]arrows of eternal death shot against them. On every side they are environed with mourning and anguish, grief and extream sadness, together with torments exceeding all number. They may truly say: The sorrows of death have compassed me, Psal. 114 and the pangs of despair: we have found tribulation and wailing. Hereupon they will not cease to curse the name of our Lord perpetually.

SECT. 3.

THis despair of the wicked will be augmented above measure by the certain knowledge they have, that with all their unspeakable sufferings not the least blemish of sin may be washt away: such is the venom of one mortal sin, that even venial defects accompanying it to hell must be chastised for ever. Take this example: our ordinary failings are, idle words, effused laughter, some small ex­cess in diet, carelesness in the castody of our eyes, distraction in prayer: these and such like, while we live, are casily expi­ated. One morsel for borne to curb our appetite, one gentle sigh, a litle patience, or an easie keeping our hands or eyes in order, blot out those lesser stains: where­as if they be joined with one heinous crime in hell, both shall be punisht eter­nally: [Page 172]which adds no small fuel to en­kindle the fire of despair.

We must needs acknowledge, in this life the hand of God is armed with meek­ness, when he strikes: but in the other 'tis heavier then lead, harder then iron, and when extended to revenge, he never pulls it in again.

The despair, we speak of, ariseth from hope in excess, which is called presump­tion: this the wise man warns us to es­chew: Say not: I have sinned, and what sorrowful thing hath chanced to me? for the highest is a patient rewarder. Of sin forgiven be not without fear, neither add thou sin upon sin. And say not: The mer­cy of our Lord is great, he will have mercy on the multitude of my sins. Slack not to be converted to our Lord, and defer not from day to day: for his wrath shall come suddainly, and in time of vengeance he will destroy thee. Ecclesiast. c. 15.

Admirably well sayd St. Gregory: Lib 1 R [...] c 3 He hath an orderly trust in the mercy of God, who corrects what he did amiss by repent­ing, not repeating the same fault. He that doth otherwise is not guided by hope, but is thrust headlong by temerity.

SECT. 4.

TIs a point worthy of credit, that scarce any Christian is adjudged to hell, who in this life did not hope to live longer, and thought death farther off, then it was. Out of this deceitful hope, springs everlasting despair.

It is likewise a matter no less credible, that amongst those desperate slaves scarce one may be found, who during life did not often secretly despair in this manner: Lo, I but do and undo, I shall never lead other life: it is too too hard to relinquish old customes, all my endea­vour is to no purpose; it is in vain to strive, I shall never become better while I live: let us therefore hold on, and en­joy good things prese [...]t; death posts on amain; we must all be gone quickly let us then take our leave of these time­ly delights, and solemnize our departure with pleasure. Th s in reallity is to de­spair.

O Christians, as you tender your selves and your own salvation I beseech you, and by the death of Christ conjure you, beware of this dargerous roek: un­less you desire without peradventure to [Page 174]suffer wrack. It is never too late to a­m [...]nd while we live. Have we fallen in­to the same offence a thousand times? Let us [...]i [...]e again a thousand times by pennance. 'Tis never past time, to be­come better: every day, every hour, each one may say with the Psalmist, Psa. 76. I sayd, now have I begun.

He that is grown so feeble, as that he will not endeavour to amend his failings, but permits the reins to corrupt nature, shall quickly be plunged into all kind of vices. Such an one may justly be tearm­ed desperate, who sets heaven to sale, who deems that dreadful dungeon of hell tolerable, who, wretched man that he is, thinks of nothing less, then eternity.

Most truly spoke St. Bernard: Despair contains in it self the accomplishment of all malice. Despair is much augmented by ignorance of God There is a certain per­son who has some thoughts of amend­ment hereafter he is resolved to play the man; but in regard he knows not, how good God is therefore his thoughts sug­gest unto him: what art thou about to do? wilt thou lose this life, and that to come? Thy sins are too too many, and grievous: if thou didst lay down thy life for them, thou couldst not make satis­faction. [Page 175]Thou hast lived delicately hi­therto, wilt thou now change upon a suddain? thou canst not master thy cu­stoms; whatever thou doest, thou wilt slide back into thy former crimes. Leave then these things to their ordinary course. By these degrees the miserable man sinks; for, according to St. Bernard, wilful despair is the way to hell.

SECT. 5.

IN the prisons of this world you may somtimes meet with men of such des­perate behaviour, as to paint upon the very wals of the prison a p [...]ir of gallows, whereof I am an eye-witness: they seem to rejoice they must be so exalted in death, since they make a jest of the man­ner of their dying. Some likewise have been found, knaves in grain, aswell as the former; who, while their comrades were turned off the ladder, would pick pockets and cut purses: meaning per­chance not to be idle spectators, but ac­tors too. Our proceedings are like to these villains (pardon the expression) we throw the dice of eternity with equal boldness.

We are here in prison, uncertain what day or hour we must be brought forth to execution: and yet we sport and play, as if we feared nothing: we prodigally wast our time, as if we had no other bu­siness in hand but toys and trifles▪ 'Tis true, we either think our selves, or hear others discourse on eternity, but with­out feeling of it, as though it were of no concern to us. We are daily spectators of untimely deaths, without so much as reflecting we may chance be the next for whom the bell shall toul. When a­ny mention is made of eternity, who is moved therewith? or if any be moved, alas! of how short continuance is that motion? We behold a world of miseries, and many justly chastised for their crimes; but are so far from amendment, that we boldly commit sin, even within sight of the gallows. This can be nothing else, but a secret kind of despair; which indeed is the high rode to despair eter­nally.

A Souldier at Rome, L [...]b. 4. Dialog as St. Gregory re­lates, being mortally wounded lay some time for dead: but after a while return­ing to himself, rehearsed what he had seen in the other world: A spatious bridg, quoth he, opened a passage [Page 177]into most pleasant meddows: under the bridg glided a stream both muddy and stenchful: on the farther side of it, be­sides many flourishing groves. I discover­ed a numerous multitude all cloathed in white, to whom the place breathed forth most grateful perfumes. Here might you likewise behold many edifices of admira­ble structure, whither divers endeavour­ed to make their way over the bridg, but all in vain: for who ever had not led a vertuous life could by no means pass, on­ly people of an upright life and a spot­less conscience were allowed passage: o­thers, who were defiled with sin, were tumbled headlong into that noysom ri­ver.

During life we walk on stoutly beside this bridg: the sea is never so turbulent nor the heave [...]s so inexorable, as to make us loose our confidence: the re­medy against all our evil is, it will have an end. But such as are already cast off the bridg, such as drink full draughts of Cocytus, are wholly destitute of hope. So true it is, where hope ceases, there despair begins without ceasing: in Lu­cifers territory is mere despair, thence all hope is exiled for eternity: what ever is heard, seen, or understood there, fo­ments [Page 178]despair. There is everlasting do­lour, everlasting moan, everlasting death; where they find no end to ap­pease their misery.

SECT. 6.

THerefore, O ye accursed, the just Judg has brought upon you evils, he has glutted his arrows in you. Your wound is uncurable, your stripe is very sore; with the stroke of an enemy I have stroken you, with cruel chastisement, your sorrow is uncurable, for the multitude of your ini­quity, Jer. ch. 30

God long ago moved this question to the Prophet Jeremy, c. 1. What seest thou Hieremy? To whom the Prophet said: I see a rod watching. Our Lord demand­ed the second time: What seest thou? to which Jeremy answered: I see a pot boyling hot. All our pains in this life, what are they, but rods without cruel­ty? with these, towardly children are chastised, and give God thanks they are so ge [...]tly dealt with.

Holy David says, Ps. 22. and 44. Thy rod, and thy staffe: they have comforted me. A rod of direction, the rod of thy king­dom. Although we be strook with this [Page 179]staff, or rod; yet are we not miserable: these strokes are signs of love, these wounds are a beginning of our cure: whereas that boyling pot is not a mark of direction, or solace; but of perdition and despair. Let us therefore so be af­frayed of it, that we beware in time: we easily perceive by what means we may avoid aswell presumption, as de­spair.

God, like a Gyant, stretcheth forth his two mighty arms, Justice and Mer­cy: lay hold of whether you please. He, that takes only Mercy by the hand, ex­poses himself to presumption: he, that embraces Justice alone, sinks under the burden of despair. Doubtless God hath exhibited both in this and the other world many remarkable effects of his Justice, who looks upon these only is near to despair; as on the contrary, who onely considers the attractives of Mercy, confides above measure: happy are they, that observe a mean: thou mayst march on securely betwixt Mercy and Justice. This is attested by the Oracles of truth: All the ways of our Lord are Mercy and Truth, Ps. 24.

The royal Prophet did contemplate dayly these two arms of God: Mercy [Page 180]and Judgment I will sing to thee. O Lord, Ps, 100. The matter is so indeed: we must steer our course betwixt Justice and Mer­cy, thereby to shun the rock of presump­tion, and the gulf of despair: both which are extreamly perilous; and, during life, admit of cure; but, when death closes up our eyes, they become uncurable for ever.

CHAP. X. Eternity is cause of Continual sighing to the Godly.

SOlomon with admirable variety de­scribes the unexplicable circle of e­ternity: Ecles. c. 1. Generation passeth, (saith he) and Generation cometh: but the earth standeth for ever. The sun riseth, and goeth down, and returneth to his place: com­passing all things goeth forward in circuit, and returneth unto his circles. All rivers en­ter into the sea, and the sea over floweth not. [Page 181]In like manner all sorts of pains, as so many streams, empty themselves into e­ternity in hell; & yet eternity like an im­mense ocean, is always the same, neither ebbing, nor flowing, but infinite, but un­changeable.

After a hundred centuries of ages are disburdened into this abysse, a hundred more will be swallowed up; and still more, and more without end. After the damned crue shall have dwelt in hell so many ages, as to think they have li­ved in flames for all eternity by past, yet eternity is not one jot diminisht. After the revolution of so many ages, eternity is not a minute less, it is ever entirely the same. After a thousand thousand years are come and gone, the circle of eterni­ty is as large, as whole, as unavoidable, as it was in the beginning.

This is the ninth unspeakable, uncon­ceivable torment in Gods prison. Now forasmuch as people yet alive busie their thoughts with eternity, we assign a tri­ple difference thereof: eternity which makes the pious daily sigh, eternity which is a fearful dream of the wicked, and e­ternity which is an everlasting punishment to the damned. The first of these three is the subject of this present chapter.

SECT. 1.

THe divine espouse commending the humanity of her beloved, says Cant. 2. His left hand under my head, and his right hand shall embrace me. Under these words lyeth hid a mystery, which must be unfolded. In the left hand of the be­loved are honours wealth and plenty: in the right length of dayes, or eternity. Here the espouse as if she were wittingly and willingly blind exclaimes, the left hand I see not, because it is under my head; so little do I value honour, riches, or transitory goods. But the right, where­with he shall embrace me, I behold, though yet I enjoy it not: all the eyes I have are fixed in contemplation of eter­nity, things eternal are they I esteem. Yet in regard I have not possession of a blessed eternity, nevertheless I rest assu­red, He shall embrace me, Eternity delay­ed breeds torment: as Hope that is differ­red afflicteth the soul. Prov. 13. Eternity stirs up in the vertuous a dayly longing after it.

Boniface, a Citizen of Rome, having for some time kept company with Aglae a noble matron, became at length so pe­nitent [Page 183]for his fault, that he resolved to wash out that stain by the practice of most heroick vertue. This made him sl ght all danger of looseing the goods of fortune, yea and his own life too: this made him visit martyrs in prison, and kiss their chains: this made him encou­rage such as were to suffer, and after death to bury their bodies. Being taken up with these employments he took his journy to Tarsus, where he performed the like good offices to the champions of Christ. His dayly exhortation was: they should be constant in their suffer­ings: their labour though short, would merit reward without end. With these words he mervailously excited himself and others to lay down their lives cou­ragiously. While he was busie with these employments he was apprehended, and had his flesh torn off his bones with iron hooks; they thrust under his nails sharp needles, and poured into his mouth mel­ted lead. Amidst these torments he per­severed constant; he believed his pains momentary, and the crown he expected to be everlasting; he repeated to himself his former exhortation, and often re­doubled: I give thee thanks, O my Lord Jesu. In this manner he gloriously fi­nisht [Page 184]his combat. Eternity is cause of continual sighing to the godly.

SECT. 2.

ST Frances of Assisium, the Jewel of his age, through frequent weeping began to be troubled with sore eyes. Di­vers perswaded him to forbear his dayly tears; to whom with a deep sigh he said: For the love of that light, which is com­mon to us & flies, I do not judge it meet to debar my self of the rays of light eter­nal. Being likewise asked, how in such thin clothes he could endure the austerity of winter? He answered, if we were warmed with love of our eternal country, we should easily be sheltered from cold here. This life was to St. Francis occasion of patience, as eternity was of desire.

Christ our Lord, undertaking to teach his followers how to sigh incessantly af­ter eternity, said Mat. 10 Fear ye not them that kill the body. A hidden argu­ment, but according to art: Do not for this reason fear, saith he, because they kill. If any one had power to detain a­nother in the fire, or such like punish­ment alive, him you might justly fear. The sharper the pain inflicted by men, [Page 185]the sooner it bereaves of life; the more grievous the torment, the quicker the end. You have then no reason to fear them who can kill the body but once, and that often with one blow: fear him that redoubles dayly mortal wounds, and al­ways killing never kills.

Behold the antitheses of this divine O­ratour: The fear of a short death is to be overcome by fear of death eternal. Our Lord therefore would glve us to un­derstand, that the souls of men are im­mortal, subject to the sole pleasure of God; and that the bodies are to be rais­ed from death to reward, or punishment everlasting.

Behold likewise with what artificial brevity of words Christ comprehended great mysteries; the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, and an eternity of well, or wo. Eternity causeth in the vertuous continual sigh­ing.

Sir Thomas More, Sand. Lib. 1 a man every way accomplisht, was cast into prison not to his disgrace; but for manifesting his sanctity to the world. His wife came to visit him with an intent to bring him off his resolution. But in vain. She [...]ade her onset with a two forked argument, and [Page 186]pleaded her cause with prayers and tears beseeching him chiefly by all conjugal fi­delity, he would preserve his life, yet a while. What fault have I made, quoth she? wherein have your children, kinsfolk and family so much offended, as to be so soon deprived of you, my beloved hus­band? All our lives depend on yours. For my part I had rather dye a hundred time [...] survive after your death. [...], my dearest More, subscribe to the Kings decree, and you make your self and us all live many years longer. Are you so much fallen out with this pre­sent lif [...], as that you will obstinately run upon your own death? Death knowes well when it is to come for us; why then do we of our own accord send for it, as if it had forg [...]tten us? That you may have compassion for many of your friends, have pitty on your self, and do not despise the best share of your life, which is yet behind. I doubt not, but God out of his goodness will grant you many more years to live, in case your self be not out of liking with your own life.

Her Husband gave ea [...] p [...]tiently to what she said, and when she had ended her speach: How many years, quoth he, [Page 187]doest thou think I shall live, my dear Aloysia? to whom she quickly made an­swer: you may well live twenty years, and upward. Whereunto Sir Thomas re­plyed: your design then is, to have me exchange an entire eternity for twenty years. Surely you have small skill in merchandise, who would part with cost­ly wares for a trifle. Had you mention­ed twenty thousand years, you might have had some seeming pretence for your folly. But alas! what are twenty or thirty thousand years to eternity? A small point, a shaddow, a moment, a smoak, a mear nothing. Wherefore I will joyfully undergo not onely impri­sonment, but all the calamities likewise of this life, so long as it pleases God, and upon condition my eternal recompense may be secured: to loose any thing of that, is to loose all. What he said, he made good by a couragious death.

SECT. 3.

JOhn Godfrey Bishop of Wortsburg, a bright shining star amongst Prelates, a man of so much greater sanctity, by how much it was more concealed: This good Prelate, I say, frequently used this sentence worthy to be engraven in cedar and gold: Every moment I stand at the do r of Eternity. Hence proceeded that custome of placing in every room of his palace a dead mans scull, or some other bones of the dead, either real or drawn out in mortar, lest at any time he should forget the memory of eternity. At his exequies a funeral Oration in latine ex­tolled many things in him worthy com­mendation, but this one especially: that he was so addicted to busie his thoughts perpetually with eternity, as that he read over leisurely three several times a treatise of eternity. Work must needs go well forward, where there is ever a fresh remembrance of eternity: This was a practise of most heroick spirits to pause seriously upon eternity both night and day.

Here I may not pass over in silence that passage worthy of credit: A Priest [Page 189]and a religious man, P. Her­manus Hugo. eminent in all kind of Schollarship, was carried on so fer­vently with desire to imprint eternity in his heart, that with great care he read over seven times a little book of eternity; which doubtless he had done oftner, if death had not overhastily summoned him to eternity.

Pachomius, after a long exhortation to his Disciples, came in the end to this conclusion: Above all things, said he, let us bear in mind the last day, and every mi­nute be affraid of eternal puuishment.

This holy man knew well which way vertue was to be [...]cquired. Eternity stirs up in the pious, frequent and sometimes doleful sighs. For since we are exposed to a twofold eternity, the one blessed, the other cursed: and since we have no ac­quittance to ascertain us of beatitude, no marvail if they be in a particular manner seised with fear and trembling, who now approach to the confines of eterni­ty. Besides, though we have great hope of attaining everlasting happiness, ne­vertheless because we are not yet in pos­session of it, we have just cause to fear and sigh. The delay of so great a good provokes both sighing and weeping.

Hermenigildus King (of whom we [Page 190]spoke before) son to Levigildus King of the Visigothes, having renounced Arrian­ism became a Catholick; and endured with much fortitude wrongs imposed on him by his own father, who threatned to take away his life, unless he would a­bandon Catholick Religion. To whom the young prince returned this generous answer: You may determine concerning me, father, what you please: Do you resolve to take from me a Kingdom? It is but one which dayly perisheth: that other which is immortal you have not power to deprive me of. Do you cast me into prison? you stop not our free pas­sage to heaven, thither, thither we will take our journy. Will you break off the thread of this dying life? I expect a bet­ter, an eternal one. These words were becoming so royal a person It is no loss, but gain, to exchange temporal goods for eternal. Eternity makes the vertu­ous often long after it.

SECT. 4.

IEzonias anciently said to Ezekiel, ch. 11. v. 2 &c. Son of man, these are the men that conceive iniquity, and devise most wicked counsel in this City, saying: were not houses builded of late? This is the cal­dron, and we the flesh. Therefore prophesie of them thou son of man. Those wicked men thought they were amidst the dain­ties in their own City, as flesh in the pot, which is not easily taken out by any. All goes well with us, say they, our city and our houses are as fortresses unto us, we are safe enough; our enemies cannot annoy us. To these same men Ezechiel prophesied on the behalf of God: Ubi su­p [...]a. I will cast you out of the midst of the caldron, and I will give you into the hands of the enemies and will do judgments in you. You shall fall by the sword.

The like befalls them, who are much enamoured with this mortal life. They think they are flesh in the caldron; they are well at ease; gay clothes costly fare, and many pleasures they account their heaven: eternity as they think not on, so they desire it not, being well appayed with their caldron. Let us leave them to [Page 192]run their carrier; by and by the case will be altered. They shall be cast out, they shall fall by the sword, they shall be thrown into other caldrons, wherein they shall fry and boyl for ever. Con­trary-wise, while the wicked snatch at a minutes pleasure, men of good consci­ence steer their course upward, like unto fat which in a boyling pot swims on the top; whereas others, like lumps of flesh sink down, and remain in the bottom. This choice fat, the world as a busie, but foolish cook, scums off, and casts away for froth: all good men are reputed, as the refuse of this world. However they pass through these sufferings with joy­fulness: having had a foretast of bles­sed eternity, which they are already in love with: Eternity makes the pious languish for it.

Amongst the people of Israel divers were found, whose bosoms boyled with desires of enjoying the land of promise. The desert, which they inhabited so ma­ny years, became now loathsome to them: especially after their eyes gave testimony of the fruitfulness of the country, which appeared in exquisit figgs, goodly pomegranats, and a huge bunch of grapes brought thence. What [Page 193]do we? said they. Let us go up and pos­sess the Land, because we may obtain it Num. 13.

Such expressions as these daily fill the mouths of the godly: What do we here amongst Sepulchers of the dead? why do we snatch our food from things which fade in a moment? Let us go up, and possess the Land, whose fertility is eternal. St. Austin being enflamed with this desire, Lib. 3. de Lib. arb. composed the third Book of Free Will, which he closes with these words: So great is the beauty of Justice, so much the delight of light etetnal, that albeit it were not lawful to stay therein any longer then one days space; for this alone, numberless years of this life, abound­ing with dainties and plenty of temporal goods, might in reason worthily be despi­sed. For it is not written falsly, or out of any ill will: Because better is one day in thy courts, above thousands, Psal. 83. Eternity is cause of continual sighing to the godly.

SECT 5.

AƲgustus Cesar, Monarck of the world, now and then passed whole nights without sleep. He had a plen­tiful treasury, the world paid him tri­bute, entire provinces were ready to do him service most of his affairs succeeded prosperously both at home and abroad. And yet for all this he was sensible som­thing was wanting, but what he want­ed he knew not in particular. Every good Christian knows distinctly what he wants, after what he languishes, so far as frequently to rob him of his rest: though he possess all things, he is per­swaded he enjoys nothing, till he be in perfect fruition of a blessed eternity. Whatever he is master of besides, he un­dervalues, so long as he is not in posses­sion of bliss eternal. This is the scope his desires and endeavours aim at, this is the center toward which his spirit makes apace. Eternity makes the devout lan­guish.

What feeling, I pray, had the Pro­phet Jonas, when he lay hid alive in a whales belly, as in a moveable and walk­ing prison? almost every instant he ex­pected [Page 195]nothing less then death. Yea, be­ing buried, before dead, he found by ex­perience the same fish was both his pri­son and his executioner: being aboard in a living bark, he suffered wrack a thousand times. Hence out of the Whales belly, as out of hell he exclaims, Jonas 4. And thou hast cast me forth into the depth in the heart of the sea, and a floud hath compassed me: all thy surges, and thy waves have passed over me. The waters have compassed me even to the soul: the depth hath inclosed me, the sea hath co­vered my head. I am descended to the ex­tream parts of the mountains: the barres of the earth have shut me up for ever.

How fervently did this man wish to be freed from his thraldom? He minded nothing else; if ever I get out of this beast, if ever I set foot on dry land, if ever, Oh! ever I escape out of this rowl­ing sepulcher into the open air: Ubi su­pra. What things soever I have vowed, I will render for salvation to our Lord.

No otherwise do devout persons aspire to eternity, While they live, they strug­gle with waves; which makes them ur­gently hasten to the haven. Eternity stirs up in the vertuous often sighing.

It is a custom in the Catholick Church, [Page 196]on days appointed for pennance to ab­stain from expression of joy in divine of­fice, signified by the Hebrew word Al­leluia, in testimony of our grief for sin; in place of which joyful word, you may hear these, for ever, for ever. Let us learn. I beseech you, this new song, and sing dayly to our selves: for ever, for ever, for ever. Then especially is this canticle useful, when the flesh inclines to wantonness, and will walk the broad and pleasant way. Upon this occasion that forcible charm must be again and a­gain reiterated: For ever, for ever, for ever the wicked shall burn, and the friends of God shall rejoice: and as the joys of these, so the torments of those shall never have end.

St. Austin said patly to an occasion given: These things I sing every day to my self. We may follow his example, and each one say for himself: These things I sing every day to my self: not the burning of Troy, but of Hell I day­ly contemplate, as I do those infinite, and unavoidable windings of Eternity. We, who are Christians, may think of, and sing these things. After the sorrow­ful time of Lent follows a joyful Easter: more melodious harmony will resou [...]d [Page 197]in the heavenly Jerusalem; In the streets thereof Alleluia shall be sung, Job 13.

CHAP. XI. Eternity the Fearful Dream of the Wicked.

BION, one of the principal amongst the wisemen of Greece, was wont to say: The way to hell must needs be plain, facil, and like a beaten rode wherein there is no danger of stum­bling, since almost all walk thither hood­winkt. Thy speeches are oracles of truth. Bion: it is so indeed. The d [...]scent to hell is easie, most easie; thither whole mul­titudes, go, yea run with their eyes close shut. Some may likewise be found, who sleeping and dreaming walk, and yet miss not their way thither: they sub­vert [Page 198]their sense, Dan. c. 13. and decline their eyes, that they may not see heaven. Such as walk sleeping, think indeed upon eternity, but they think on it as in a dream, a most fearful dream; which therefore they strive to shake off: e­ven as they do to whom some doleful passage is represented in sleep, which by the next days mirth and jollity they endeavour to digest and wholly extin­guish in their fancy. The like strain is in ure with the wicked, some of whom say: When we see these things, we will believe. Thus they pass on blind­folded; scarce ever awake to them­selves; as for Eternity, they think on it seldome, and slightly, or rather dream on it, and in this sort they march into the next world. Eternity is a fearful dream of the wicked; as we shall now declare more at large.

SECT. 1.

TO some we said Eternity was a dream, but a dreadful one: for who is become so flinty as not to be ter­rified with eternity, though it appear onely in sleep? yet forasmuch as they look upon it as a dream, they under­stand it not, they make no reckning of it, they let it not sink into their brains, nor weigh it in its proper balance: whence they quickly forget it, such as these are noted by Ecclesiasticus c. 34. The dreams of them that do evil, are vanity.

Upon Easter day some devout women went to the monument of our Lord to annoint him, whom they thought still dead: but when the Angels which ap­peared in white, told them he was alive, they returned back from the Sepulcher, and related what they had heard and seen, for joyful tydings to the Apostles, And these words, saith St. Luke ch. 24. seemed before them as dotage, and they did not believe them.

Much after this same fashion it fares with us: Is not eternity frequently e­nough, plainly enough, distinctly enough set before our eyes, and inculcated unto [Page 200]us, by sermons, pictures, exhortations, pious discourses and spiritual books? But what affect, I pray, hath all this? These things seem before many as dotage; or a dream. They are strook with fear for a while, but anon together with their dream fear likewise vanisheth.

Jonas the Prophet, unwilling to obey Gods commands, betook himself to the sea: where the Marriners trembling at the danger of a horrible tempest, fell to their prayers, and to disburden the ship, they threw over board such wares, as they were laden with. Mean while Jonas dreaming of no danger lay fast asleep under deck: here the master of the vessel finds and awakens him, saying: Why art thou oppressed with sleep? Rise, invocate thy God, if perhaps God will think of us, and we perish not, Jon. c. 1. By and by upon mutual consent they drew lots, and the lot falling upon Jonas, he was cast into the sea, the rest, who had thrown their goods into the water e­scaping.

While we live, we sail in a tattered and leeking ship through a stormy and raging sea; where we are as near to eter­nity, as Marriners to the water: we are often three fingers distant from death, [Page 201]though many times not so much: one breathing space sufficeth to act that, which an entire eternity cannot expiate: We are frequently minded of the danger we live in, by one who speaks to us in this sort: Why art thou oppressed with sleep? Rise, invocate God. He that va­lues his salvation, shakes off drowsiness, arises from the place of his repose, and throws over board such ladeing, as would hinder his safety: I mean, he be­takes himself to prayer, fasting, and almes deeds; and chooses rather to loose all, then not to do pennance in good ear­nest for his sins.

Contrary-wise how many be found, who refusing to submit to the will of God, are in such a dead sleep, as not to hear what peril is threatned by the roaring tempest? to these kind of peo­ple eternity seems but a fable, or a dream. O dangerous lethargy! which makes them pass over with a deaf ear wholsom admonitions, till at length death seises on them, and as it were betwixt sleeping and wakeing casts them into the vast o­cean of eternity.

SECT. 2.

IT is recounted of a certain man, Merff. Ser, 3. in dom. 2. post Epiph. more commendable for his linage, then his life; that he was a mere worldling, and hardhearted to the poor. This same per­son attended by his servant, betook him­self to his rest, when, lo, about midnight the servant is made partaker of this visi­on: He beholds his master hurried away to Gods Tribunal, where he is accused and condemned: thence by a crue of in­fernal spirits, who insult over him, he is plunged into gulfs of fire: where di­vers sad passages were represented unto him. Lucifer welcoming his new guest, said; This friend of ours was much ta­ken with hot bathes, whence he used to repair to a warm and soft bed for his ease; he was wont to chear himself up with full bowls, and melodious harmo­ny; see therefore that all these particu­lars be prepared for him. Here the mise­rable wretch crys out, and furiously cur­ses the day of his birth, the glorious company of heaven, yea and God him­self. Amidst these execrations and howl­ing his unhappy soul was thrown down with horrid noise into a pool of flames [Page 203]Provided for him. After this lamentable representation the servant awaking rises up, and runs to his master, whom he found stark d [...]ad.

Out alas! how hiddenly does death steal upon us? wo be to them whom it arrests at unnawares when they are a­sleep: they shall make their entrance in­to their habitation for eternity, whence they may never return to their former dainties, or delights. God in his wrath threatens most severely: I will make them drunk, that they may be drousie, and sleep an everlasting sleep, and not arise, Jer. ch. 15. Abundant examples bear te­stimony hereof.

Balthasar the Chaldean King sitting at a banket saw a hand writing on the wall, whereat he was astonisht though he understood not what was written. Daniel, who was skilful in the interpre­tation of it, he honoured with a purple robe and a chain, and moreover decreed he should be esteemed as a person in the third place next to the King. Where notwithstanding no mention at all is made of any repentance: albeit that very night Balthasar was slain.

This same lot falls upon all them, wh [...] look on eternity, as on a dream: for [Page 204]such as these, though they busie their thoughts with almost infinit matters, yet they never seriously fasten them on E­ternity; but live as they list, and wal­low in wickedness. To these, as to King Balthasar, this short writing is prophe­sied: This life is a moment, but on this moment Eternity depends. Herewith they are terrified, they tremble, they have an horrour to be burnt in eternal flames, they are amazed to think that after a thousand millions of years Eternity is no whit at all diminished: they extoll this truth, but make no use of it to a­mend their manners: they reverence these mysteries, but better not their lives: they hearken to, and esteem those who un­sold these hidden secrets unto them; mean while either they do no pennance, or persevere not therein: We believe these things, say they; yet they do not bid adieu to their accustomed vices. Af­ter fear of short continuance they re­turn afresh to carousing, to voluptu­ousness, to usury, to envy, and dissen­tion, as vicious, if not more, then e­ver.

To persons thus indisposed, that, which Da [...]iel told the King, may be fit­ly applyed: And thou, O Balthasar, af­ter [Page 205]the knowledge of all these things, hast not humbled thy heart. And thou, O Christian, after all these particulars were declared unto thee, hast not amended thy covetousness and injustice; thy bawl­ing and bitter tongue, thy inveterate malice thou hast not corrected: thy un­bridled lust and lasciviousness are haunt­ed, as formermerly: thy riot and drun­kenness is not laid aside: thou sports and rants as much as ever: swearing is still in vogue with thee. Eternity, alas! is carelesly thought on by thee, it seems no more then a fearful dream: eternity never took deep rooting in thy breast; and now upon the suddain thou must be thrown into that immense ocean of eter­nity. These matters thou might, nay thou ought to have foreseen, if thou wouldest continue under the notion of a Christian. He may ascribe his own de­struction to himself, who being warned of his danger bewares it not.

SECT. 3.

SAul put the people of Ifrael into great fright; for as it is record [...] in the first book of Kings, c. 11. The spi­rit of our Lord seised on Saul, and his fu­ry was exceeding wrath. And taking both the Oxen, he cut them into pieces, and sent them into all the coasts of Israel by Messengers, saying: Whosoever shall not forth, and follow Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done to his Oxen. The Israelites were slow in coming to the Kings standard: but so soon as they received this mes­sage, The fear of our Lord invaded the peo­ple, and they went forth as it were one man, three hundred and thirty thousandmen.

Christ the commander of heaven and earth, a King of far greater soveraign­ty then Saul, menaceing in good earnest makes this proclamation: Fear him who after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; yea I say to you fear him, Luke c. 12. He doth not threaten Oxen, but men with fire eternal: and yet what reckoning do many make of these threats? they value them no more then a dream: and thereupon with much boldness transgress the laws of God.

Tell me, I pray: What temerity would that traveller be guilty of, who being weary upon the way should espy a wall full of chincks, rotten, and eady to fall down, and yet by reason of his weariness should dare to take a nap under it, when a passenger hastily awaking the careless follow should speak thus to him: friend what dost thou mean? what makes thee stay here in such imminent danger? arise quickly & betake thy self to some secure place this wall is a falling every minute, how darest thou sleep here? be gone speedily. What would you say, if the traveller after all this should refuse to depart thence? and say to him who warn­ed him of his peril: Do not molest me; look you to your self: I am resolved to take out my nap. He that will perish, let him perish hardly, this fellow is de­termined the [...]uinous wall shall be his tomb; let him be buried, in Gods name, in the grave he hath chosen.

Mans life is indeed a tottering wall: what day, hour or moment it will fall, who can tell? the time is uncertaine albeit most certain it is, a work [...]ill cement­ed cannot stand long everyday, hour and moment you may well expect a downfal. Nevertheless, we fool hardy [Page 208]and rash-brained people lean to this wal and nod without fear. Each one is seis­ed with his peculiar sleep: this man lies snorting under the sleep of avarice, that under lust, another under drunkenness, envy or pride. The royal Prophet saw and admired many who slept in this manner: They slept their sleep, Psal. 75.

Thus every one gives way to his pro­per sleep, which holds, him closely op­pressed with a deadly lethargy? though there want not several persons to a wake him out of it. Christ calls, his Disciples call, the antient Fathers call; Catholick Preachers call from their Pulpits; all with joint consent admonish us not to trust to a ruinous wall, which already reels, and by and by will lie equal with its foundation. Moreover they show us where the defect is, and change us with­out delay to put our selves in security. Notwithstanding some are so fast asleep, that they listen to no admonition at all: others by so many clamours awake, 'tis true; though to little purpose; because ever and anon they fall into their slum­ber again; and give you no other answer; then the traveller did: Let us a one, we will take out our [...], we are w [...]ll where; we are,

All this notwithstand faithful moni­tours cease not to redouble their admo­nitions, and these they repeat so much more earnestly and continually, by how much they perceive their danger more imminent and certain: for in this case, 'tis not the body alone, whose safety lies at stake; but the eternal welfare of both soul and body which is exposed to utter perdition: everlasting death makes a prey of those, whom this wall takes un­der its ruins.

But alas! after so many iterated warn­ings, many trust to this staggering wall, shut their eyes, and sleeping securely dream on eternity; wherewith they are terrified, no otherwise then dreamers use to be, who together with their dream shake off dread too.

Thus we live, thus we slumber, thus we dream, thus we perish: for upon a suddain the wall falls, and oppresses such as slept under it. Immediately after an entire Eternity is represented to their view, which is now no shore dream, but an everlasting torment. O travellers too too rash! O sleep, no less deadly, then destructive! Tell me now, I beseech you, whether you do not believe these par­ticulars as matters of undoubted certain­ty?

SECT. 4.

IT is a business worthy of credit, that, in case any of the damned appeared a­gain from hell, and pulled these sleep­ers by the sleeve, and charged them to look to it, and foretold them in what danger they lived, they could notwith­standing not awake them: so great is the blindness and stupidity of mans soul. Hereupon Abraham refuseth to conde­scend with the rich glu [...]tons request of sending some of the dead to warn his brothers yet alive: the reason whereof he alledgeth in these words: If they hear not Moyses and the Prophets, (if they de­spise the admonitions of the living) neither if one shall rise again from the dead, will they believe, Luke c. 16. The matter is plainly so indeed. Orat de Lazaro. Whence St. Chrysostom said: Hell is not seen to unbelievers, to such as believe, it is manifest.

When mention is made of punish­ments inflicted on offenders, how often may you hear such words as these? This was sent into banishment: that was whipt for his fault: another was con­demned to the gallies: another was beheaded: he was hanged: that other [Page 211]was stretched upon a rack: and lastly this fellow was burnt to death. Even malefactours hear such p [...]ssages as these, and yet become no better by hearing of them. Many, who are guilty of death, though their pardon be granted them, yet they commit the same crimes again, or worse.

Like unto these are we, if we would acknowledg the truth: how often by means of pennance do we obtain pardon for our sins, and so escape hell? how promptly do we undertake any thing to purchase our freedom? When, God knows, almost in the turning of ones hand we slide back again, and become worse by abusing of our liberty. We take our leave of anger and envy; covetous­ness and pride we may not endure; we are wholly out of likeing with lascivi­ousness; we abhor stealing; and profess our selves sworn enemies to all debau­chery. But alas I upon the next occasi­on we loose the reins to anger, envy do­miniers in us; we enter into league with avarice and pride; we steal as readily as ever, our wantonness draws us into the mire again; feasting and riot have redu­ced us to their friendship: in a word; we commit the same, if not more horrid [Page 212]offences, then formerly. Is not this to look upon eternity as a dream, and in the mean while to act things meritorious of flames eternal?

In that prison, which Pharao had in Aegypt, two of his guilty Courtiers were detained, to each of whom happen­ed a different dream, which neither of them had the skill to interpret: where­upon turning to Joseph their fellow pri­soner they said: We have seen a dreum, and their is no body to interpret it to us, Gen. c. 40. There are many dreamers on Eternity, but few interpreters: let us help them with our interpretation.

SECT. 5.

IN the first edition, which we publish­ed of Eternity, we set it forth adorn­ed with several pictures: whereunto we now adjoin these ensuing particulars, which are not so much to be read over, as to be considered with attention.

Imagin a pyle or heap of hot glowing coals, Mona­chium. which for bigness equals this city of Munichen, and which for three or four cub [...] goes down into the earth: let one man alone be cast into this mass of fire, upon this condition: not to be [Page 213]released from the bed of flames, till all the coals be taken away one by one: which is to be performed no otherwise, then by a Vultur, which once in a hun­dred years shall carry away only one, and no more.

Lo, this man amongst nine sorts of torments, which eternity brings with it, is tormented only with that of fire; which yet by reason of its continuance is esteemed intolerable. Here now let a­rithmetick declare, how many thousands, how many millions of years might pass, ere that man be freed from so vast a pile of burning coals. This seems altogether as unexplicable, as unsufferable.

Yet with your leave, O blind mortals! this is nothing to hell: for that man is exempted from the ninefold torments of Eternity, saving that of fire alone, which he endures. Besides he hath hope his pains will have an end, though after a long expectation.

But now to the end we may take a more particular view of the damned, who lie buried in tombes of fire, let us frame to our selves this imaginary spectacle.

Conceive you see a certain person in a most deep pit under ground fastere [...] [Page 214]to an iron bed with chains; so, as his hands, neck and feet are tyed together with a ring of steed: under and over this bed is plenty of ho [...] burning coals. This miserable wretch has no other comfort left him, but this: that when first he was bound there (as we suppose) it was told him, one should come every thous­and year, and take away from his heap of burning coals only one: and so like­wise after a another thousand years the same should happen to him, and still the same course should be observed till the whole mass were removed.

Let us think here, alass! let us think, how many millions of millions of years must come and go before this bed of flames be thus taken away, and cease to burn. But O! what a gentle hell were this, in respect of that most de [...]perate eternity, replenisht with other torments? While eternity lasts you may exhaust a thousand such flameing bed [...], and yet meet with no end of eternity, which ne­ver, alas! never shall have any end.

Many wonderful things are recount­ed in the lives of Saints: for God in­deed is Marvailous in his Saints, Psa. 67. For my part I think nothing less to be admited, then what some account most [Page 215]admirable. Grad. 6 de mor­tis me­moria. That Auachoret of whom Cli­macus makes mention, surpassed others in the ponderation of eternity. He lived in Mount Choreb, as careless of himself, as of heroick vertue: th [...]s man approa­ching to his end, say as h [...] were dead for an hours space: after which returning to himself, he besought all there present they would avoid the room, and leave him thenceforward to lead a more seri­ous Life. This said, he shut up to close the entrance into this cell, th [...] there on­ly remained open a little hole where­at he might receive a small allowance of bread and water. Within this Cave he spent twelve whole years, without speaking a word to any, but God and his Angels; and without any other suste­nance, besides bread and water most spa­ringly taken. He sate here night and day like to one in amazment ruminating in his mind continually the wheel of Eter­nity, and seriously weighing aswe [...] the endless joys of the blessed, as the tor­ments of the wicked without end; he had always before his eyes the stroke of death most certain; he looked towards and sighed after heaven, having his cheeks for the most part moystened with silent and incessant tears: in this sort he spnet [Page 216]twelve years, when at length death long expected drew near: upon notice where­of divers resorted to his poor cottage, and forcibly brake down the way into it, all unanimously going in, and begging of him he would please to bestow upon them some spiritual legacy at his depar­ture. Whereat he fetching a deep sigh, said: Pardon me, fathers, I beseech ye, and excuse my former errors: Whoso­ever seriously considers death, which is the gate to eternity, will not sin.

This man amongst all other Saints I least admire, as I said before, though he lead a life worthy of admiration; because, whoever fixeth his mind upon Eternity, will steer a course not much inferiour to his. And truly, it is better to shut ones self up within four walls a hundred years together, and to treat the body with much austerity, then to run the least haz­zard of a blessed eternity. Each one may perswade himself, what the Angel said to Lot, is also said to him: Save thy life; make hast, and be saved, Gen. c. 19.

CHAP. XII. Eternity is an unexplicable and a particular punishment of the Damned.

GOD scourged Pharao and the In­habitants of Aegypt sundry ways: he sent amongst them fountains streaming with blood, frogs, ci­niphes, flyes, death of cattle, ulcers, hail, locusts, darkness, great plagues in flicted by strength of arm: but so soon as the tenth came, their stubborness was over­come, and the destruction of many en­sued. And it came to pass at midnight, our Lord strook every first begotten in the land of Aegypt, neither was th [...]re a house wherein there lay not a dead one, Exod. 12.

When God chastises his enemies with [Page 218]nine sorts of grievous punishments, he never adds the tenth whereby he takes them out of this life: no end appears, no death no destruction: for to speak with St. Gregory, There is death without dying, an end without ending, because death lives, Lib. 9. Mor. the end always begins, and deficiency cannot decay. That, which the Aegyp­tians accounted a most horrid torment, would be a most singular comfort to the damned to be killed and utterly destroy­ed.

What a country is this, O God! which esteems death as a special favour, what a country is this? Holy Job with good reason terms it a land of misery: indeed it is the very sink of all miseries.

We have run over in our discourse eight sorts of punishment in hell: take now the ninth, the most grievous of all the r [...]; which as it exceeds all expres­sion, so it can neither be comprehended, nor compared to any other torment of the damned; whose eternity is unex­plicable: as you may perceive, since we are unable to declare it sufficiently by words, and so must content our selves to give you an unpollisht draught of it.

SECT. 1.

ETernity of the damned is altoge­ther beyond expression. Imagine this punishment were accompanied with these four inconveniencies: Let a Bee sting your right hand, a Gnat suck your left; let a Beetle seise upon your right, cheek, and a pricking thorn ranckle in the left: admit these alone were the pains in hell, or any one of these. Fancy likewise that only your hand were bitten with a Gad-fly, yet this suffering with­out any other would be unspeakable, if it were eternal.

What I pray would it be, if you were pinched all your life with a streit shoe? what pain must he needs undergo, who had but one ear-wig makeing her nest within his brain? Conceive what pain you please, though never so sleight, if it must be endured without ceasing till death, how grievous would it appear? but, if you must groan under its burden for eternity, how unexplicable?

Where should I find words to declare my meaning, if I should go about to ex­press the ninefold torment of Eternity? Here words, here all due capacity fails [Page 220]me. Tom. 7.14. Ap. However Surius relates a passage, which conduceth to set before our eyes at least after an imperfect manner, what I say.

Lydwine, a most religious Virgin, a mirrour of patience and all kind of San­ctity, endured most piercing Diseases eight and thirty years, with patience e­qual to her pain. To this Saint with much adoe was brought a man grown to that height of impiety, that he could by no means be drawn to lay open his sins in Confession. But at length with much difficulty they wrought upon him so farr, that he was content to discover in some sort the wounds of his conscience to Lydwine, who had already one foot in the Grave, and beg of her a remedy for them. He, as it is usual for such brutes to do, making a jest of it, came to the sick Virgin; and that he might prove as good as his word, he began in a laughing manner to rehearse a large Catalogue of his sins. The Saint be­sought him by all the heavenly court, he would give over the rehearsal of those things to her, which should be de­clared to a Priest, and which others without offence could not give ear to. Nevertheless as he began, so he went on [Page 221]with his story; where, after a long reci­tal, he told her, it was his custome to boast of his heinous crimes amongst his companions. When Lydwin perceived she was enforced to hear a Narrative consisting of so many wicked sentences; she demanded of him, whether he would give her leave, as an interpreter, to ma­nifest them to a Priest? to whom he smileing said: I do give you leave, up­on condition, that I be not compelled to turn cryer and blazon out these my excellent vertues. Lydwine desirous to help the poor man, carryed on the busi­ness with much discretion; and with ex­ceeding grief of heart did pennance for the sins related to her, as if they had been her own. Afterwards the man came to see her, and said: I conceive you have made my confession for me to the Priest, what pennance do you now enjoyn me? No more but this, replyed the Saint, you shall lye one whole night upright on your bed, without once turning on any side: perform this; and leave the rest to me. Hereat the man laughed for joy: And do you command me nothing else, quoth he? is this all the substance of my pennance? I extoll those ears, that prov [...] so favourable judges of my cause: if it be [Page 222]so easy to make satisfaction for my sins, I will do as you command. In the eve­ning he was scarcely well laid in bed, when he began to be sensible of his trou­ble; it seemed hard to him not to have the liberty to turn himself on either side; whence he thought his bed was never so uneasiy; but when he reflected, he was forbidden to stir himself, this ly­ing upright became most irksome to him. While he lay in this posture, his busy thoughts burst forth into these words: Behold I am sound and well in health, I lye also upon a soft bed; only I want freedome to turn me hither and thither as I used to do. But what need I care for that? sleep, sleep till fair day in the morning, sleep securely while sleep­ing is good. Fain would he sleep, but cannot; such an Army of different thoughts muster themselves before his fancy. What dost thou want, said he to himself? thou hast but one night to spend thus in quiet, and then thou hast fulfilled thy promise. Well: but what if thou wert constrained to pass three or four nights in this manner? I would ra­ther dye. Wouldst thou so? certainly I could never have beleived so great trou­ble in so small a matter. But wretch [Page 223]that I am! how slender, nay null is my patience, who am so soon overcome with this sleight difficulty? How pati­ent is Lydwine amidst so many dolours! What if thou must lye upon a hard logg of Wood for many weeks together? What if thou hadst over and besides to afflict thee, the Colick, Gout, Stone, or Head-ake? such pains as these have some resemblance of Hell. And to what place I pray thee dost thou belong? questionless to that, whither so many horrid offences will usher thee in the end: Thou hast been bold a thousand times to commit hainous faults, for which long since thou deserved Hell. What kind of beds do they lodge on there, what covering have they, what sheets? have they no other torment, but that they cannot turn themselves on either side? what Feathers keep them warm? have they not flames instead of feathers? And how many moneths, how many years shall their torments continue? for ever, (if we give credit to the Gospel) so it is indeed, for ever. What without end? assuredly without all end. What? after a hundred thou­sand millions of years shall their pains find no end, nor any hope of an end? [Page 224]How then do we behave our selves, who dally with, and make a Play-game of E­ternity? though to speak more properly, it is not to make a pastime on't, but to become mad in good earnest. Well then, henceforward I will either be ano­ther man, or no man. What he said, he ratified indeed: O what a change did he make in a short time! Now he betakes himself most readily to holy confession, who ere while hated it worse then death.

SECT. 2.

THis same passage, I beseech you, let us take a view of with attention. To lye upon a bed of Down alwaies, to lye upon it for eternity, would be a tor­ment wholly unexplicable: what then will all that dreadful mass of torments be in Hell?

One sick of a burning Feaver is some­times so inflamed with thirst, as he is perswaded a whole hogshead of Spring­water will not suffice to quench it. Good Lord! who will asswage the thirst of the damned? they shall burn and thirst, but neither all the Rivers in the world, not all fountains, nor all seas shall be of force [Page 225]to appease their scorching drought; therefore they shall not have one sole drop.

O my God! how much doth the heat in Summer molest us? how we languish, how we faint, how we pant for breath! we throw off our garments, our bed­cloaths are cast a side, we rowl up and down as impatient of heat; our bed scalds us, and nothing affords us a cool­ing refreshment. But O! what is this to that stove of brimstone for eternity, where no mitigation is, not may be ho­ped for? no cooler evening, no refresh­ing night, nor dewy morning appeases their ardours. They have night, tis true; but tis a fiery night, tis a night reple­nisht with dolours, tis a night everlasting. Ah! let pains at least terrify us, if re­wards be not strong enough to invite us. The eternity of the damned is a punish­ment unexplicable.

What ever is in Hell, is torment: which way soever they turn themselves, they are environed with dolours. A­bove them is Paradise, but shut from them eternally: below them is the a­bysse, never to be unlockt again: before them is the eternity of all their tor­ments: behind them is the most pier­cing [Page 226]remembrance of pleasures past: on their right hand they have the Devils to torture them: on their left are their companions in misery: within them is anguish, the worm of conscience, ter­rour and despair.

Do we Christians beleive these things and live as we do? Esay. ch. 53. Who hath beleived our hearing? and the arm of our Lord to whom is it revealed? We are perswaded these things ought to be beleived, but we be­leive them very coldly. Our beleif hath scarcely any soul; it is not lively; as if I should point at a painted table with my finger, and say: this is Abraham ready to sacrifice his son; Abraham, I say not living but painted. Such for all the world is our faith, not lively, not breathing forth heat, not animated, but drawn with a Pencil. We beleive and beleive not.

Wherefore I lay down here a brief method of meditating every day upon eternity.

A certain Father having Wealth in aboundance, provided his daughters of a handsome settlement: they perswa­ded the old man, he would be pleased to bestow upon them in his life time, what means he intended for them at his [Page 227]death: promising withal, their Father should be plentifully furnisht with all necessaries. For the first year they made good their promise, and treated him with much liberallity: but when it fell out that he lived longer then they ex­pected, they grew weary of the old man, and unmindful both of Piety and their Promise, they began to deal more nig­gardly and harshly with him. He to find a remedy for his folly by a wile, pro­cures a great Chest filled with Sand and Stones, to be secretly conveyed into his Chamber. This he opened in the night, and with that small stock, which he had reserved, he held on counting money so long, till at length it amounted to a con­siderable summ, which he purposely exprest in such a voice, as his son in Law might easily over hear him: Afterwards he lockt up his wealthy Coffer. Next morning his Daughters spoke more lightsomly to him, and demanded why it was so late last night ere he went to rest? To whom the Father made an­swer; My Children, when I judged all was silent, and none could take notice of what I did, I took a view of my Trea­sure yet remaining: which of you two deserves better of me while I live, shall [Page 228]enjoy it after my death. Hence pro­ceeded a strong emulation, both of them striving which should manifest greater respect to their Father. After the old man was dead they opened the Chest, wherein they found besides Sand and Stones a Staffe, with this Inscripti­on:

Avarice brought the children to,
What Piety could not make them do.

Much after this maner, though out of a superior motive, may we fill our Chest with Sand, or little Seeds; that what Pi­ety could not perswade us to, Eternity may. Thus then we must go to work: Let every one fill his Coffer, Trunk or Desk; or what else is nearest at hand, as his Purse, Hat, Cup, or Gloves with Pop­py, little Stones, Pease, or any other small Grain, and when he is to meditate on Eternity he may begin to reckon in this sort, that every Poppy seed, little Stone, or Pease may stand for a hundred or a thousand years.

For example one Grain signifies a thousand years; two grains, two thou­sand; ten, ten thousand; a hundred, a hundred thousand, a thousand, a thou­sand thousand years, and so of the rest. [Page 229]This is the first point belonging to our Method.

The second is: Although you sub­stract ten or a hundred grains from those in your Coffer, Hat, Dish or other Ves­sel, almost nothing will appear to be sub­stracted or taken away. Mean while tis most certain, Eternity remains entire; though so many thousand years pass, as you cast into your Chest Poppy seeds, Pease, or other grain. This is most un­doubtedly true: For all this number hath its end, albeit you fill a most capa­cious house with little seeds, and every one stand for a thousand years.

The third: When during Eternity, so many thousand years are gone, as there be small grains in your Coffer, yet eternity is whole, without any diminu­tion; not so much as the least parcel of it is impaired. Nay, though that same Coffer be three, four, five times empti­ed, and every grain signifie a thousand years; nevertheless nothing is taken off from Eternity, it continuing durable, and of as vast extent, as when it first be­gun.

The fourth: This same thought, if serious and attentive, will somewhat af­flict the mind, yet must we not therefore [Page 230]leave it off, but must go on forward. He that meditates may rouse himself up in this manner: Go too in Gods name, lets proceed yet farther.

The fifth: By this kind of meditati­on the soul will by little and little grow warm, and break forth into these or the like expressions: What do we mean? the trash and toyes of this life we eagerly persue, and look not after E­ternity. Tis too true, we busy not out mind with years eternal.

The sixth: Our understanding must be so by degrees informed, that it may frame a conceit of those hidden secrets from what we perceive by our eyes. The Philosophers Maxime is true: Our un­derstanding must take instruction from our Phansy.

Now as we may not with one step mount to the top of a Ladder, but by de­grees; and as we cannot all at once fill a streit neckt bottle with Wine; so it is not possible by a sleight and suddain thought of eternity to imprint it either in the understanding, or will. By degrees we are to proceed from less to more. E­ven as we fill a Hat, Cap or Chest, and by every seed we take out, we reckon a thousand years; so likewise when a great [Page 231]room is filled, we must order our com­putation.

The seventh is to make a Colloquie to ones self: What is all affliction in this world, compared to infinite milli­ons of years, through and after which eternity shall endure, and that without any moving towards an end, or being in the least impaired? Here every one is constrained to acknowledge: Although what ever calamity the world contains fell upon me alone, yet what would this be to pains eternal? Again: though I alone enjoyed all pleasures the world can afford, and that for an hundred years together, what would this be to an eter­nity of bliss? What then do I, fool that I am, that I do not take another course? From this time forward at least I will learn more wit.

If it chance that any one be opprest with pain in body, sickness, or grief of mind; then chiefly is the time to enter­tain this thought: If this pain or pen­siveness were to continue ten, twenty, an hundred thousand years; O God! how unexplicable would it be? But what would this be in comparison of those most sharp pangs of eternity, which after Mil­lions of ages know no end, but remain entire?

Lo here a brief method to meditate on Eternity.

SECT. 3.

IT is most true, which one returning from the other world declared: No one beleives, how sharp are the torments in Hell: No one understands their length; no one sufficiently weighs their eternity.

Out alas! we are too much taken up with trifles, in which we are often en­tangled till death; we now and then wrangle for we know not what, and as a Jest, or a Dream think upon eternity: whence it comes to pass, that we sel­dome, or sleightly correct our misdeme­nours.

I, who write these things, as well as others who have written on eternity, do openly make this Proclamation: We have cured Babylon. Jeremy ch. 51. It was in its free choice whether it would be cured or no. The way is streit, the gate is narrow, and few enter in thereat. Many are called, and few are chosen. Therefore Hieremy the Prophet cryes out with a loud voice: ch. 51. v. 45. Let every one save his life. If he cannot do it otherwise, let him condemn him­self [Page 233]to perpetual imprisonment, and bury himself alive. Tis better to pass out of Prison to Heaven, then out of a Palace to Hell.

The ancient Philosophers had notice of this truth: Seneca exclaims; I was well pleased with inquiring after the E­ternity of Souls yea and I did beleive it too. Epist. 101. Behold how they pondered the Mystery of eternity, who were depri­ved of the rayes of truth: What are Christians obliedged to do? The same Seneca spoke wisely, when he said: A­mongst evils our best comfort is, they will have an end. The end is a lenetive a­gainst all misery.

You may meet with one, who be­wails the burning of his house: another who complains he has no friend, no one to assist him, none that cares for him. This man is afflicted through pains of body: that grows pensive because he is in desolation of spirit: One deplores his neediness and want, another deems it worse then death, to see himself de­spised. To what purpose, I pray, are these lamentations? The best remedy in misery is, it will have an end: this re­medy eternity is destiture of: It com­prehends all kind of punishments, but is [Page 234]wholly void of any end of them: Hence the eternity of the damned is a torment unexplicable. Lib. 5. Hist. Angl,

Venerable Bede faithfully rehearseth a remarkable passage, which hapned in his time. In the County of Northum­berland lived a man of great piety called Drithelm; who through extremity of sickness was brought to the gates of death, so as in the beginning of the night he seemed to be dead indeed, and as such lay all the night following. Next morning, being unexpectedly restored to himself; he said, to the amazement of those present, he was permitted to live yet longer, but after a farr different manner, then hitherto he had done. Wherefore he addicted himself to spend more time in Prayer; he distributed all his Goods amongst his Wife, Children, and the poor; that done he renounced all worldly cares, and betook himself to great austerity; which gave sufficient testimony, what horrible things he had been eye-witness of in the other world. What he had seen, he did not promiscu­ously relate to all, but only to such, as he knew were unfeigned friends of Eterni­ty. Amongst these was King Alfride, a man of eminent Learning, who fre­quently [Page 235]and attentively gave ear to Dri­thelm, while he discoursed of Hell. Con­cerning which, he enlarged himself chiefly in the explication of that horri­ble darkness, that incomparable stench, those lamentable howlings and tears, those swarms of Adders, the insulting of Devils, the balls of fire and bitter hail: which served to afflict the Damned, when they were forced to make a dis­mal exchange, by being snatcht out of flames and thrown amongst Ice. These particulars compared with the delights of Paradise Drithelm much insisted on. Out of which narration the greatest pro­fit redounded to himself, for in a Mo­nastery his abode was fevered from the rest, and situate on the bank of a River, where his principal employment was, to cleave fast to God, with his desires to visit Heaven, to multiply Prayers with­out ceasing, to chastist his body, and with perpetual sighs [...]o meditate on E­ternity. And that all might perceive he was in good earnest, he used often, for the mortifying his flesh to go into the River, which ran by his Cell, sometimes to the middle, sometimes to the neck, and stay therein so long till the Ice in Winter frose about his body: at his [Page 236]comeing out he did not dry his clothes by the Fire, or Sun, but kept them on wet as they were, to the greater vexation of his body: in so much as he seemed ra­ther to be apparelled with Ice then Gar­ments. Some spectatours, moved with compassion towards the man, asked him: How is it possible Drithelm, you should be able to endure such piercing cold? to whom he readily returned this answer: I have beheld sharper things, and more bitter colds then this.

Who ever shall ruminate with atten­tion the punishments of eternity, See wri­ters of S. S. lives may pronounce the same of the greatest suf­ferings of Martyrs: I have seen greater then these. Iames a Noble Persian, was by King Isdegerdes commanded to be cut in pieces from head to foot joynt by joynt. But one that contemplates eter­nity will say: I have seen sharper tor­ments then these. Serapion had all his bones broken: Nicephorus Martyr after broyling on a Gridiron, was cut piece­meal. Yet still one may affirm: I have seen more cruel usage. Ianas Martyr not without bitter taunts had his fingers cut off, as if they were to be sowen to spring up again; his skin was pulled over his ears, his tongue pluckt out, himself [Page 237]was thrown into boyling Pitch, and last­ly all his Limbs were bruised upon an Engine. His companion Barachisius was scourged with Thorns, had his flesh miserably rent, and in fine had all his bones torn a sunder and broken. But I have beheld more bitter passages. Sa­turninus being tyed to a wild Bull, whom they made more wild with prickling, was hurried through rough and craggy waies, and so drawn in peices: a horri­ble torment no doubt. Nevertheless I have seen more horrible. Martina, a Noble Virgin, being fastned to four stakes, was beaten with staves and stripes, was torn with hooks, cast to the Beasts, and condemned to the fire. Em­meramus Bishop of Ratisbon, after his fingers were chopt off, his eyes pulled out, his ears and nostrils divided from his head, his hands and feet were cut a­way, and his tongue out of his mouth. Leodegarius Bishop of Auston in France, when he had undergone Famine and long Imprisonment, was deprived of his Eyes, had the soles of his Feet wounded and seperated from his body, his Lips cut away, and his tongue pluckt out. Yet worse pains then these I have beheld. Alexander Bishop of Rome endured ma­ny [Page 238]stabs: Cassianus a School master was run through with the Bodkins and Pen­knives of his Schollars; whose hands by how much the weaker, so much more grievous was his Martyrdome. Mark, Bishop of Arethusa, being pricked with Lancets on all sides, was anointed with Honey, put into a wisket of Rushes, and so exposed as a Prey to Bees, Wasps and Gnats. Notwithstanding I have seen more harsh dealing then this. Blessed Maximus after he had bin rent with Hooks and had suffered the Rack, and bin beaten with clubs, was stoned to death. Anthimus Martyr, was tormen­ted with hot glowing Aulls, broken pot­sheards, fiery shooes, and stretched up­on a Rack. Zoe, wife to Exuperius Mar­tyr, after six daies Famine endured in a dark Dungeon, was hung up by the hair of her head, and stifled with smoak of burnt Excrements. Glycerius haveing been beaten till his bones appeared, was cast into the fire. Peter the Exorcist, companion to Marcelliuus Martyr, first was torn with whips, then had Vinegar and Salt poured into his gaping wounds, and lastly was roasted with a flow fire. Christiana Virgin, was likewise roasted and basted with Oyl; Serpents were let [Page 239]loose against her; her tongue was pluckt out, and shot to death with Arrows. Maxima and Donatilla were cruelly beaten with rods, then had their wounds rubbed with quick Lime, and finally be­ing broyled on a Gridiron, were con­demned to the beasts. Theonilla had the top of her head taken off with a Rasour, which was afterwards Crowned with Thorns and Brambles; then being tyed to four stakes she was barbarously bea­ten with thongs of Lether, and had hot Coales thrown upon her belly; amongst which torments she gave up the Ghost. Horrible pains were these no doubt, and sharp sufferings: Albeit I have seen shar­per and more horrible. Pantaleon have­ing been for a long time burned, was at last thrown into a Cauldron of molten Lead. Paul and Iuliana, Brother and Si­ster, were tortured on the Rack, were afflicted with boyling Pitch, beaten with rods of hot iron, seated in Chaires, and cast upon beds strook full of Nails, and after three dayes abode amongst Snakes were for the Faith of Christ consumed with fire. Blessed St. Barbara was cru­elly rotmented with burning Torches, stripes, and iron hooks, and having her breasts cut off, suffered her head to be [Page 240]barbarously smitten with Hammers. Auxentius had his feet bored through with iron, and then being hanged upon a Wheel, was so long pierced with hot auls, till he ended his Martyrdome. Quintinus, of the illustrious order of Se­natours in Rome, underwent mervailous torments; for after he had been dressed with boyling Oyle, Pitch and Fat, his sides were scorched with burning Tor­ches, all his body was beaten with Chains: Mustard, Lime and Vinagre were poured into his mouth (O strange kind of drink!) and himself was thrust through with two Iron Spits, from the Neck to the Thighes, having besides sharp needles strook into all his fingers between the Flesh and Nails. Do these seem great extremities of cruelty? But far greater are to be found in Hell, and those eternal; in comparison whereof the former may be reputed as a Play­game or a jest. We have seen far sharp­er pains then all before mentioned.

Even this Age we live in hath been witty in inventions of Tyranny. In some places the bellies of men consecrated to God, being ripped open and stuffed with Provend, have served as Mangers for Horses, or troughs for Hogs to feed in. [Page 241]Quick Mice have likewise bin placed upon mens naked bellies, and covered there under Basons, on the tops where­of a fire being made, the little creatures were compelled to seek for their liber­ty, which finding no other way, they eate into the bowels of liveing men. Hence Caligula, thou maist learn some­thing to imitate. In other places mens bodies were cut asunder joynt by joynt; burning Torches were put under their Armpits, and applyed to their whole breasts; Hooks were thrust into their entrals; and that they might be longer tortured before death, fires were kind­led under them. Some have been cloa­thed in Bears-skins, and so baited by Mastive Dogs, till they were devoured. Some again have been rowled on sharp stones; some have been covered with a board, and pressed under a thousand pound weight, and so bruised to peices; with so much more cruelty and pain, by how much their death was slower. These are cruel, most cruel sufferings, yet who ever looks upon the pains of Hell with the eye of contemplation, will constantly pronounce of all the tor­ment of Martyrs together: I have seen much more cruel, I have beheld much [Page 242]more dreaful. All the inventions of cru­esty found out by Tyrants, are small, are nothing at all in respect of the Tor­ments in Hell; which are eternal, alas! alas! they are eternal.

SECT. 4.

GOd commanded Ezechiel to make this Proclamation: That all flesh may know that I the Lord have drawn my Sword out of his Scabbard not to be revo­ked. ch. 21. ver. 5. Where this Sword is once unshea­thed, it will never be put up again, it is irrevokable. For the better understan­ding hereof, let us I pray betake ourselves to a quiet posture, as he did in Mount Choreb, who did contemplate E­ternity with much attention. Let us sit down, and cast up our accounts on Pa­per, or on our fingers ends in this man­ner: The Damned shall be tormented in Hell a thousand years: that is not e­nough. Two thousand years: nor that. Three thousand years: that is too little. Four thousand years: and that too. Five thousand years: that is not sufficient. Ten thousand years: neither will that suffice. Twenty thousand years: that falls short of their due. Fifty thousand [Page 243]years: so likewise does that. A hun­dred thousand years: this compared to eternity is nothing it will not do the deed.

To what summe would our compu­tation amount, it we should go on recko­ning half a daies space, as we reckoned before? What book of accounts would contain that summe? By midday he that Calculated would be overwhelmed with his own work: in fine, he would be constrained to say; the measure of E­ternity is not to be taken by the fingers; it cannot be reckoned, it cannot be sum­med up by any numbers what ever; it is altogether numberless. Joyn what numbers you please together, let your product rise to what height you will; E­ternity goes beyond it: how farr? Infi­nitely; it surpasses all computation, and hides its end in that endless revolution of Ages.

Ah, Mortals! ah Christians! ah! how little do we consider these things? how seldome do we leisurely cast up our ac­counts in this manner? Indeed no one beleives, no one beleives, no one be­leives. These things I must tell you, are not dreams, they are no Fables, nor Rhetorical flourishes; here are no am­plifications, [Page 244]no exaggarations at all. Matt. c. 25. Eter­nal truth has uttered the Oracle: Depart from me accursed into fire everlasting. The Sun is not clearer then these words, which makes me repeat: No one beleives, no one beleives, no one beleives.

In our first part of Eternity, we lead the Reader on by the hand to a right consideration of Eternity. Here now imagine a thousand Cubes, a thousand Millions of years. These are soon said, but not so soon considered with atten­tion. They make thus many years, 1000 000000000000000,000,000,000,000: or a thousand, thousand, thousand, thou­sand, thousand, thousand, thousand, thousand times a thousand thousand years. After then so many thousand a­ges are passed in Hell, as it is most cer­tain, they will once be past; then each ones Conscience of the Damned will say to them: Eternity is not yet begun, do not therefore look for any end of it, which never will be: Eternity remains yet entire: it is nothing at all lessened. And after again and again and again so many more Centuries of years are come and gone, we must still say the same: Eternity is not one jot diminisht. It is yet as durable as ever; it cannot be cir­cumscribed, [Page 245]nor impared; but shall en­dure for immense revolutions of ages, and for ever beyond those.

SECT. 5.

TO conclude this I affirm: If any thing would, Eternity seriously con­sidered would drive a man off his witts. But God requires not men should go mad, but that they should amend their lives. Give me a man, I beseech you, that ruminates attentively the unexpli­cable windings of Eternity; and I will likewise produce another, who shall be most ready to pass over fifty, yea a hun­dred years in most rigorous austerity of life. But in regard we meet with few such, who handle sharply their own bo­dies, who to appease God give them­selves to hardship, and languish after Heaven alone; hence that is most true: no one believes, no one believes, no one believes. I will give the Reader a far­ther account hereafter, why these words are so often repeated.

One would easily imagine the punish­ments for eternity well considered might prevail so far with us, as to make us for­bear what we know is displeasing to [Page 246]Hitherto as Esay complains, Our iniqui­ties have made a separation betwixt us, and God: Esay. 59 Now therefore let us approch to him, and he will draw near to us.

For a Conclusion I add something, which conduces to the explication of E­ternity. Imagine there is but one Sea in the whole world, (as many Learned men are of opinion) and that this Sea doth neither increase nor diminish; as certainly it will after the day of judgement. Let God now grant this special favour and grace, (give us leave to fancy it so) that an Angel be sent to the Captives of Eternity with these joyful tidings: Be of good cheer, for I declare unto you great joy, though it will be long ere you be pertakers of it. God hath commanded that every hun­dred year I shall come down to the Sea, and carry thence one drop of water: and when the Sea is drop by drop ex­haust, your torments shall have an end; and you shall be removed hence to the society of the blessed. This would be exceeding great comfort unto them al­beit they were not to be released till af­ter almost numberless revolutions of A­ges. We forsooth value not a benefit that comes so late, neither are we sensi­ble [Page 247]of such an end; but rather conceive that promise will never take effect. For how many drops I pray are in the Ocean? who will summe them up? according to our capacity they cannot be numbred, nor the pains of hell brought to an end. But without all question, the Damned would be very capable of this favour: they know well all that is finite is com­prehended within certain limits, the bounds of all things, but eternity may be easily found out; even the Sea it self, though by drops only, may at length be emptied. Whereupon they would listen to that promise of the Angel, as to most joyful news. But this comfort they are wholly debarred of: Such a welcome message will never arrive at Hell: No such thing may ever be hoped for. So vast an extent of time, tis true, will pass away; wherein the Ocean by drops might be drawn dry: yet after all that di­mention of time the damned burn, and shall burn: No end may here be met with here is no period, bound, or ex­tremity, all things are eternal: Ezechi. 21. That all flesh may know, that I the Lord have drawn my Sword out of his Scabbard not to be revoked. The eternity of the dam­ned is an unexplicable torment. Hence [Page 248]even the dead bewailing our blindness cry out: No one beseives, no one be­leives, th. 51. no one beleives. Therefore as Ieremy admonisheth; Let every one save his life.

CHAP. XIII. Three Conclusions drawn from the foregoing Chapters.

AUrelius Prudentius, an Antique Christian Poet, in the reign of The­odosius the elder, published two Books to Symmachus, in the one whereof he describes in elegant verse the streit way to Heaven:

As first the way is rough, unpleasing sad, Difficil but in th' end 'twill make you glad: And recompence with joy your labours past.

In the other he laies down the large, plain way to Hell:

This leads astray, and painted goods doth show,
In fine tis doleful, and will you orethrow.

How rightly doth Holy Iob accord with these? ch. 21. They lead their dayes in wealth, and in a moment they go down to Hell. Now every one hath free liberty to choose: choose; which do you like: choose.

Joseph the Foster-father of Christ our Lord, being to return out of Aegypt in­to his own Countrey, had two waies proposed unto him: it was left to his freedome, whether he would go into Iury or Galily. Matt. 2. For the Angels com­mand was no more, but; Go into the Land of Israel: whether thou wilt take this or that way, is left to thee. Ioseph prudently deliberating, after he heard that Archelaus reigned in Iury in stead of Herod his Father, was afraid to go thi­ther. There is an open way either to Heaven or Hell: it is in our power to make a prudent choice. Whether are we in love with? It is inculcated to us a hundred, a thousand times, that in hell the Devil and his Rebellions Angels bear sway; in Heaven Christ Reins with [Page 250]his Servants and Friends: Now let us choose whither we have a mind to go. The consideration of what ensues, espe­cially three conclusions hereafter an­nexed, do not a little conduce to make a profitable choyce.

SECT. 1.

HAd any one of the Persian Monark Assuerus his Guests bin examined what dainties were in the Kings Banket, Est. c. 1. he might easily have answered, the fare was Princely, and the Feast continued half a year: thus much might have been said in general: in particular these de­mands were fit to have been proposed.

1. Who were invited to this Feast? All Princes, the most valiant of the Per­sians, and the Nobles of the Medes, and the Rulers of the Provinces: all these were invited, and this lassed for half a year.

2. What kind of Banket was there? It was in a Garden, it was furnisht with all sorts of delecacies; the wood being planted with Royal Garnishing, far sur­passed all the pleasant Groves and Gar­dens of Thessaly; and this continued half a year.

3. How was the place adorned? Not only with Gold, but also with Pearls: for Beds of Gold and Silver were placed in order upon the Floor paved with Em­rauld, and the Touchstone: which pain­ting adorned with marvailous variety: and this held for half a year.

4. What shelter covered those that were invited? Most costly: for there hung on every side hangings of Sky-co­lour and Green, and Hiacinthine colour, held up with cords of Silk, and Purple, which were held up with Marble Pil­lers: and this for the space of half a year.

5. What meats were set before them? Most choice, and fit for Kings; and this endured for half a year.

6. What drink was prepared for them? Wine plenteous and the best, as was worthy of the Kings Magnificence; and this for half a year.

7. What Cups, Dishes and other Vessels were made use of? Golden ones: for the Guests drank in Goblets of Gold, and the meats were brought in change of Vessels; and this for half a year.

8. What Musick did exhilarate the [...]nvited? Most noble: all the Graces, [Page 252]and a Consort of Si [...]ens seemed to have met together, for half a year.

Were all the Guests merry? excee­ding merry, for half a year. This parti­cular intelligence one of Assuerus his guests might give: the like might more reasonably be affirmed of Heaven, if eternity were but to last for half a year.

But let us now proceed in questioning one of the Damned: What is the grea­test pain of the Damned? Darkness, or a privation of the sight of God, and this for all eternity.

What is the second pain? Weeping, and Gnashing of teeth; this Musick is in Pluto's Court for all eternity.

What the third? Hunger and incredi­ble thirst for all eternity. If this hunger and thirst did but continue ten thousand times an hundred thousand year, it would appear less burthensome, then formerly a Fast injoyned in the Sacra­ment of Pennance seemed.

What is the fourth pain? Intollera­ble Stench, arising from so many stink­ing carcasses, from a Sea of Brimstone, and the Society of so many Devils. All the stink in this world seems to breath Cinamond and Balsome, if compared to that in Hell. It was often foretold them: [Page 253]you must expect to be bathed in sorrow, if you hold on this course. But they tur­ned the deaf ear to these admonitions: they kept on their way, which lead them into a Bath, out of which they must ne­ver go. How tollerable would it be to be tormented with this stench so many years, as minutes have passed since the world began to this hour? But alas! this stench will afflict them without end, for all eternity.

What is the fifth torment of the dam­ned? Most dreadful fire; to which our flames appear no more, then meerly painted. That goes beyond expression, that their fire is unquenchable; since no Rivers, no Seas, no Deluge is of force to extinguish it; which Eternity it self can­not put out. The Judge gave warning aforehand, the decree is confirmed, and intelligeable enough: Go into fire everla­sting. They shall be burned but not consumed for all Eternity.

What is the sixth? The worm of Conscience: So much the more grie­vous torment, by how much it is farther extended. That this matter may be pal­pable to the eye, we need imagine no more, then a fiery Cat sticking fast to each ones bosome, and scratching and [Page 254]tearing it with her claws, in such sort, as though it be torn in pieces, yet it grows together again, that it may be torn anew for all eternity.

What the seventh? the place, and ac­cursed company. These were the allu­rements of sin, which might have bin avoyded, but were not; now instead of dainties, they are buried in a Tomb of Flames: and in lieu of the society of their dearest friends, they are fast chai­ned to the most execrable company of Devils and damned men: This place they must inhabit for ever, this compa­ny will stick to them for eternity.

What do you call the Eight Tor­ment? Rageing Despair: which every moment murthers that impious crue, but yet it kills them not: as if a Knife or Dagger were continually stabbed to the heart for all eternity.

What now is the Ninth? Alas! alas! alas! unexplicable, immense, incompre­hensible Eternity: This of all torments is the greatest. To suffer Darkness, Weeping, Famine, Stink, Fire, the worm of Conscience, Despair, the Co­habitation with Devils; for one, two, ten, an hundred thousand years, or for so many thousand, as a skilful accoun­tant [Page 255]could express in a sheet of Paper; would amount to a number so great, as no Arithmeticians tongue could declare it: Nevertheless it would be finite, and upon this score most welcome to the damned, because at last after almost numberless Millions of years their tor­ments would have an end.

But the sentence is pronounced, and cannot be recalled. Their torments must be endured without end: yea, as the Prophet has it, For perpetual Eter­nities.

This is it, which can never be suffici­ently declared, no nor conceived, or understood. Eternity causes in the ver­tuous dayly sighing; it is to the wicked a fearful dream; and to the Damned an unexplicable torment. Here now adjoyn we three conclusions.

SECT. 2.

THe first Conclusion: All the world esteems pretious is despicable, and a mere shadow compared to Eternity. If all Silver, Gold and costly Gemmes were amassed together in two Balls; all Ensigns of Honour, all glory of Tri­umphs; all Salomons and Sardanaphalus [Page 256]his delights, all allurements of pleasure, all sweetness of Voluptuousness were joyned in one, they would be of no more value then a contemptible Mushrum, base trash, or an empty shadow; or, to speak more closely to the point, all aforesaid in respect of eternity is but like a bare resemblance of a fly. Who would care for that Feast, which after one or two morsels hastily swallowed, must be relinquisht? Who would extol that re­ward, which passes through the Panch? such are the treasures of this life; vile Morsels, Crums, Vanity, Nothing.

Excellently well to the purpose spoke St. Austin: Psal. 68. It doth not suffice us, what ever is long in time, if it have an end, and therefore deserves not the name of long. If we will be covetous, let us covet eternal life. All besides this which we have amongst us, is but Nutshels, mere Bables. Hence proceeded those words of St. Paul: Phi. c. 3. I esteem all things to be de­triment for the passing knowledge of Iesus Christ: for whom I have made all things as detriment, and do esteem them as Dung.

The second Conclusion: No Religi­ous man lives so spareingly, nor trears himself so roughly; no one is so rigo­rous [Page 257]against his body as they would be, if they were freed from the punish­ments of the other world. What we ac­count a most severe life, is a life swim­ing in pleasure, if compared to that per­petual necessity they have in Hell to live and dy for ever. We may be thought to sleep most sweetly, though we pass over many nights awake: we though sur­rounded with calamities, flow in de­lights; whereas they are tormented in­deed, and every hour dye a thousand deaths.

An Authour worthy of credit re­counts, Caesari. Heisterb. Lib. 2. how Theodorick Bishop of Virecht had a Servant called Eberbach. This man was in good repute with his Master, as well for his great prudence, as faithful industry: yet could he not e­scape the envy of others, which moved him in a frantick humour to make him­self a slave to the Devil; hoping thereby to find some releif against his malicious opposers. After some years Eberbach dyed; and his Soul being separated from the Body was thrown into a Pool of Flames: in which he was so tormented that after his return to this life again, he affirmed: If one great fire were made of all the Trees and Wood in the world, [Page 258]he would rather fry in that till the day of judgement, then abide one hour in the former flames. He likewise gave a particular account of the cold, darkness and other pains in Hell. While he was there most sharply tormented, a messen­ger from Heaven spoke to him in this maner: Behold quoth he, this reward they deserve, that serve the Devil. But tell me, if thou might go back to life a­gain, wouldst thou take course to expi­ate thy sins committed? Whereunto he answered: I will refuse no punishment, so I may go hence. In fine, upon this condition that he should undergo vo­luntary pennance, he was restored to life; and in regard his body was not yet buried, he raising himself upon the Bier, put all the standers by to flight. Present­ly after he began vigorously to do Pen­nance for his faults, adhering to Bishop Otho, who was going to the Holy War. Vnder whom he chastised himself so se­verely, that he ran by his horse barefoot, not careing how much he wounded his legs and feet with thorns and sharp stones. Almost all the money he had, he distributed amongst the poor: he fasted every day with bread and water, which he took most sparingly. Some [Page 259]admiring this austerity of life, perswaded him to take a milder course: to whom he replied: you have no cause to won­der at my strickness; I have endured far worse: were you there you would be of another mind. When this Holy travel was ended, he and his wife became Re­ligious, to spend the remnant of his dayes in expiating his crimes. These things he related of himself to Iohn Xant, from whom the Authour had his intelligence.

Here we may fitly call to mind that wholsome admonition: I have suffered more grievous things. And you O Chri­stian, must suffer more grievous things, unless you be content to undergo smaller crosses here with patience. Sometimes we complain others do us wrong: here say to your self, you shall endure more hereafter. Sometimes others fill your ears with complaints; tell them, they must pass through greater difficulties: the like may be practised in all troubles and miseries. Wherefore do you exag­garate your grief through impatience? Except you be careful: greater affliction will befal you. All you suffer is nothing, if you look not upon those bloody Bathes of New, but those fiery Gulfs of Pluto. [Page 260]Therefore lest you be constrained to en­dure more, satisfy your self with under­going less.

SECT. 3.

THe third Conclusion: All labour, which tends not to Eternity, is not only vain, but for the most part hurtful. Concerning which matter Christ delive­red himself most expresly: Matt. c. 16. What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and sustain the damage of his soul. It is not only bootless for us to seek after Riches, Health, and Pleasure; but even in vain do we strive to compass the whole world, if in persuit thereof we lose our selves. Make use of, and enjoy Riches, Health and Pleasures, in as great height as your heart can desire; when that is past, you have purchased no more then Smoak and Shadows; if after this life you be fastned to a stake incompas­sed with fire. Contemplate I pray, in what maner some use here to torment others, by driveing a stake through their bodies, till it come out at their mouths. A dreadful Spectacle no doubt. The miserable wretches hang tyed in this sort; and sometimes to the augmenta­tion [Page 261]of their pains are roasted with a slow fire, as well as chained and nailed to a post hands and feet. Alas! how doleful is their suffering? especially, if it were to continue a hundred thousand years, if for all eternity.

Alas! What doth it profit a man, Lucas Bergen. if he gain the whole world, and sustain the damage of his soul? We do in some measure understand this Oracle; but as a learned Divine said; most men have a mist cast before their eyes by the flesh. Hence St. Chrysostome made this true assertion: Albeit that fire rage, Hom. 55. ad pop. that Ri­ver be all on flames; yet we laugh, and fol­low our sports, and sin freely. What ther­fore may I more fitly repeat, then that of the Prophet? Let every one save his life? Eternity comes a pace towards us, and we post towards eternity: ere long we shall meet together.

Iosophat being instructed by Barlaam in the principles of Christian Religion, Damas. Hist. de Barl. &c saw as it were in a Dream, a Vision of Hell, with the different kinds of tor­ments used in that place; and with all heard a Voyce that said: This is the mansion of the wicked, who have wal­lowed in the puddle of Vices. After the vision was over, he fell into a strange [Page 262]trembling, and tears trickled down his Cheeks amain, wherewith all allure­ments of unchast pleasure quite vanisht away; whence Iosaphat became wholly another man.

Good God! how obdurately malici­ous are we? Hell is not represented to us in a Dream, but by an unerrable faith: and yet what a life do we lead? We in­deed are often changed, but still to worse: We alter our former wicked­ness, as if we were weary of it, and take upon us a new habit of impiety farr ex­ceeding the former. Whereupon every one may make this prayer with St. Ber­nard: Have pitty on me O my God, before I be tormented eternally in Hell. Nay, e­very wicked man may pray, as Manasses did: Do not destroy me together with mine iniquities, 2 Paral. ch. 36. neither be angry with me for ever, reserving evil for me; nor con­demn me unto those lowest places under­ground: Because thou art the God of Re­pentant sinners. What expressions, O my God, may I, who am liker a Beast, then a man, rather make use of then these? Spare me, pardon me, have mercy on me; do not remember mine iniquities.

When Christ our Lord the day after Palm-Sunday went from Bethania to [Page 263] Hierusalem, he stept aside to a Fig tree to gather some fruit to appease his hun­ger, but finding none, he said: Matt. 21 Never grow there fruit of thee for ever. And in­continent the Figtree was withered. Such as these are all the inhabitants of Hell, accursed Figtrees, alwaies barren, pluckt up by the roots, and cast into the fire to burn for ever: they will never bring forth fruite for eternity.

In Behemoths Kingdome there is no knowledge of patience at all, nor of hu­mility: no vertue is to be found there, the Soyl is altogether fruitless, no trees are to be found there, but such as sprung up for fuel: they will bring forth no fruit for ever.

After our first Parents had tasted of the forbidden Apple, they were quickly banisht from that Garden of Pleasure, and an Angel in Arms placed to guard the entrance thereof: this is attested by Holy Writ: And he cast out Adam, Gene. 3. and placed before the Paradise of Pleasure Cherubims, and a flaming and a turning sword. This was a most signal testimony of Divine mercy, there to place a servant only, and not the Lord of Paradise with a sword to hinder all entrance. It will not be so in the day of Judgement, [Page 264]when no servant shall be permitted to have a sword: Our Lord will take the sword himself, and draw it against the damned: Matt. 25 Get ye away from me you ac­cursed. These words are but few, yet do they make a volume of so vast a bulk as will never be sufficiently read over.

It behoves us therefore now to look well [...] us. The less misery each one shall [...] to in the other world, the more [...] he undergoes miseries in this.

CHAP. XIV. What is the Fuel of Eternal Fire. With an Explication of the grievous­ness of mortal sin.

VVEll said an Ancient Philoso­pher: The begining of Wis­dome is the knowledge of sin. He will [Page 265]never sin grievously, who with attention ruminates the gravity and ugliness there­of. Take sin out of the world, and you take away all evil together with it. Sin is the onely evil in the world, yea the very nursery of all other evils, a most profound sea of all miseries, and a bot­tomless depth of torments. Hence issu­ed that of St. Chrysostome: Sin is a wil­ling madness, a voluntary Devil. This moved the Mother of St. Lewis King of France, while he was young, to instill this principle into his heart: My son, I would rather thou shouldst dye, then sin mortally. well to our purpose spoke Iohn Climacus: Though we should fast a thousand years continually with Bread and Water; though we should bring the whole world to mourn with us; though we should equal the River Iordan by weeping drop by drop, yet could we ne­ver satisfy for our faults committed.

This made the Wise man cry out: Ecc. 21. As from the face of a Serpent, flee from sins. Who touches the cup wherein Death has Vomited, to speak with Tur­tullian, and in which Poyson is offered to the taster? There is nothing in the world more formidable then sin: Upon which subject much hath been delive­red [Page 266]as well by word of mouth as writing: whereunto we will annex five assertions. who ever sins mortally:

1. Offends God most grievously, and makes him his adversary and foe.

2. He loseth all Gods Grace.

3. He becomes guilty of all miseries and calamities.

4. He loseth Heaven for all Eter­nity.

5. He throws himself headlong into everlasting pains in Hell.

St. Paul comprehends the whole bu­siness in a word: The wages of sin is death; and all the train of death, sor­row, pain, sickness, anguish, which are Harbingers, are followed by eternal death. All this, tis meet we should consider more exactly, therefore we will proceed with our assertions in order.

SECT. 1.

THe first is: Whoever sins mortally, offends good grievously, and makes him his adversary and foe. By sin the su­pream God is wronged, so far, as man places his final end in the creature with neglect of the Creatour, This is an ex­tream injury, and not much unlike to I­dolatry: [Page 267]for which cause, sins in Holy Writ are frequently called Idolatry. Such temerity as this is found in all grie­vous sin, and is worthy of all punishment whatever. For in regard God is most present every where, the sin is commit­ted before his eyes, who so much abhors it; and so becomes an injury to God, who is both Spectatour and hearer: Thus we affront the Soveraign King be­fore his face. Yea, and what is worse, we abuse benefits to the displeasure of our Benefactour: For that very help, which God affords us in every action, we turn against him: As if a Father should provide his little Son of a Dagger, wher­with he might learn to defend himself; and withal should guide his childs ten­der arm: yet the wicked Boy should strive to murther his father, even while he held up the hand ready to stab him. This is every ones case that sins: While God both helps and directs his actions, these he most injuriously converts a­gainst God. Now for better manifesta­tion of this notorious affront take a view of what ensues.

So often as a man is about to sin, he stands betwixt God and the Devil, as judge and umpire, whether he will de­clare [Page 268]for. God explicates his own Law, and withal shewes his Crucified Son, to withdraw man from sin. The Devil sets before him pleasure, the bait to all evil, hereby to perswade and entice him to sin: Whoever now sins, declares with­out any more adoe for the Devil; be­cause turning away from God, he most unjustly adjudges the cause to the De­vil. What else is this, but to say in­deed? Let Laws command, or prohibit what they will; let Gods Son Crucified admonish, crave, move, or manifest what he please; let God himself menace what he list from Heaven; the Devil in­vites me so sweetly, he drinks to me in such a sugred cup, that he perswades, he gets the victory, I go, I run after the Devil, I permit my self to be drawn by him: This Inkeeper gives me content, what shot soever he demand. This is exactly the proceeding of every one that sins grievously.

Thus God is put into one scale, and Pleasure into the other: man comes to weigh them, and when he is determi­ned to sin, he resolves rather to lose the friendship of God, then debar himself of pleasure: and so prefers Barabbas the Theif and Murtherer, before Christ our Redeemer.

What more base, horrible, and un­worthy so Soveraign a Majesty, then for a creature to deal thus with its Crea­tour? Be astonied O Heavens upon this, Jeremy ch. 2. and O Gates thereof be ye desolate excee­dingly, saith our Lord. For two evils hath my people done; Me they have forsaken the Fountain of living water, a most clear fountain, and have thirsted after muddy water.

Yet for further Declaration of this particular: Man as we said, is drawn two waies; this way God draws, that the Devil. It is freely in mans choice, whom he will follow. The Devil ties man in a thread, (for he can do no more) and proposes to him something which may either sooth the flesh or stuffe the purse, or puff him up with ambiti­on: with these threds he draws man, whom he has entangled, whither he pleases. Now that man may satisfy his Lust, or encrease his Fortune, or be seated on the Throne of Honour, he tramples underfoot the express Law of God.

Contrariwise God binds man with cords not easily broken: He sets before his eyes his numberless benefits, he re­quires from him due service, he threa­tens to banish him from Heaven, and [Page 270]throw him into Hell for ever, if he be disobedient. But all in vain, what ever God either promises, or menaces: The Devil bears the Bell, and through mans wilfulness is obeyed before God: Man deeming it more for his purpose, to fol­low the enticements of Satan, then the commands of our Saviour: wherefore he resolutely breaks a sunder all Bands which God hath imposed upon him.

Tell me now all you that wittingly run into sin, and constitute the Devil your Commander; tell me what Hells, what Eternities may sufficiently expiate this injury done to God?

Heretofore God bitterly complained of this proceeding: H [...]erem. ch. 2. v. 20. Thou hast burst my bonds, and thou saidst: I will not serve. This complaint is sutable to the matter: for this in reallity every one doth, who is resolved to sin; he bursts his Bonds and saies; I will not serve. Hence may Satan insult or upbraid even Christ our Lord: Behold how thou art treated by thine own; thus men whom thou hast created, love thee, thus they honour thee for whom thou hast dyed; and up­on whom thou bestowest thy self with all thou hast. They know well what they may expect from me, and yet they run [Page 271]after me; they suffer themselves to be inveighled with a momentary pleasure; I have them ready to serve me at a beck; they are not ignorant that I am their sworn enemy, and for all that they love me, though I do but fobb them with vain hope of a small gain, Lust, or a sha­dow of Honour. Take notice, how ma­ny of these march under my standerd. I was not buffeted for them, as thou was, Christ, for thine; I was not scourged, nor carried a Cross, nor died on it as thou didst Christ for thine. Besides I do not promise them Heaven, nor offer them Paradise; as thou dost, Christ to thine, whom thou instructedst with ad­monitions, teachest with examples, ter­rifiest with threats, and guidest with pre­cepts. But all this is bootless: they turn the deaf ear to thee, and willingly hear­ken to my suggestions. They choose ra­ther to fry in Flames eternally, then for a moment to live in subjection to thy Lawes. No wrong is done to them that are willing; they shall perish, because they will perish: because they abandon their Creatour, they shall have me for their Lord and Master, to tyrannize o­ver them.

What have we to say to these things, [Page 272]my bretheren, saith St. Cyprian? Do you not by this time palpably perceive, O Mortals! how great an affront this is to God? This then is that, which neither Hell fire nor eternity can sufficiently ex­piate. We busy our selves now and then with enquiring; Why God punisheth one deadly sin, which is committed in a moment, with flames eternal? Seve­ral answers are given to this question by Divines, amongst which scarce any one is satisfactory: Touching this point we shall enlarge our selves in the ensuing Chapter. However, he that would take pains to consider maturely, what we have already discoursed; would acknow­ledge, I doubt not, that every heinous crime must needs be infinitely displea­sing to God; and that the injury, which by sin redounds to his Soveraign Maje­sty, is so unexplicable, that it can never by any torments be compleatly satisfi­ed.

The matter is apparent: By how much the person offended is more no­ble and sublime, so much more grievous is the offence. He that injures one e­qual to himself, is blame worthy; but much more is he that being a Profane person, is injurious to one in Holy Or­ders; [Page 273]whether Priest, Bishop, Arch-bi­shop, or Cardinal; and more yet, if the party affronted be King, or Emperour, but most of all (in the judgement of men) if he offer violence to the Popes Holiness: thus the fault increases, ac­cording as persons wronged, are of a higher rank. Hence in regard God, who is vilified, is of infinite Majesty; the of­fender is guilty of infinite malice.

Wherefore the more clear knowledge one hath of the Deity, the more exactly he perceives and execrates the malice of sin. Certainly God hath so much hatred for sin, that an eminent Divine of St. Dominicks Order pronounced this asser­tion: It is most certain, that if all crea­ted understandings were joyned in one, and all tongues were combined together, neither that understanding, nor this combination of tongues were able to comprehend, or declare the hatred God bears towards sin. Lud. Gr. par. 1. Memor. Lib. 2. ch. 7. For see­ing God is infinitely good, he hath infinite love for goodness, and infinite hatred for malice. Whence it happens, that the reward of that, and the punishment of this is everlasting. Matt. 25 These shall go into pu­nishment everlasting: but the just into life everlasting.

For the deeper impression of the great [Page 274]hatred God hath against sin, let us con­sider, if you please, what penalty a just Judge has often inflicted upon one crime. The mind is manifest by its a­cting, and Gods hatred is declared by the execution of his justice. What pu­nishment I pray is that of the Angels? Lucifer a stupendious Prodegy of all beauty and comliness, was with many millions of Angels thrown down head­long into those flameing gulfs. What wickedness trow you, had they con­trived? One proud thought was their offence. Alas! O God! alas! must such a multitude of Potentates, (in re­spect of one whereof a thousand Kings are of small account) be for ever dam­ned? And have they no respit allowed for mercy, pennance, or the recovery of Grace? shall not all eternity be of force to wipe away the guilt of one proud thought? may not infinite ages satisfy for one sole crime, which was commit­ted in a moment? With good reason might God say to the Rebellious Angel and his associates: I could quite destroy and annihilate you, but you shall remain to my Majesty, to the blessed Angels, and all mankind, a Prodigious wonder, a spectacle of wickedness, a mark of [Page 275]justice, and an eternal abysse of my fury towards you.

If any one were spectatour while the Sons of a thousand Kings and Emperours were beheaded, he would sigh and say: This Royal Progeny must needs be guil­ty of some execrable design, that makes them all without mercy thus generally lose their heads; it is wonderfull above measure that no place is left neither for intercession, number, birth, nor cle­mency to plead for their delivery. The very same we may here think, and ad­mire so many Millions of Angels are thrown into eternal flames, without any hope of pardon, mercy or favour; and that no regard should be had of their nature and Celestial Origin, their ex­ceeding great numbers; nor the extenu­ation of their fault, but that altogether should be involved as it were in the same whirlwind, all condemned of High Treason, and adjudged to everlasting death.

Ah! my God, ah! how unspeakable is the malice of sin, that so highly pro­vokes the implacable wrath of God a­gainst it; and so implacable, as not to be mitigated with any revolution of ages, or any torments whatever? Hence all [Page 276]hope of pardon is exil'd: These Rebels to God, shall be banisht Heaven for all eternity. The time of grace is past, no liberty may be expected: all intercessi­on is bootless, all Petitioning is in vain. The whole business is concluded, the decree is setled without revocation. Heretofore they were beautiful Angels, now they are ugly Devils; heretofore they were friends of God, now as his sworn enemies they shall be tormented with fire everlasting. And what offence brought them to this sad Catastrophe? we told you even now: One proud thought. O King of Nations! who will not [...]and in [...]ear of thee?

Here now let no one deceive him­self, and imagin the sin of the Angels was of a far different rank from those of men. We may behold the like example in our first Parents, as in the Angels. Who together with their posterity were deprived of Gods grace, robbed of the garment of innocency, shut out of Para­dise, whence they were perpetually ba­nisht, and heard this fatal sentence pro­nounced against them: You must dye. Neither was it sufficient for them to dye once, they were lyable to eternal death, which now began to domineer [Page 277]over immense multitudes of people; yea even over all mankind, had not the Son of God taken pitty of us, and become man to dye upon the Cross for our re­demption. We had all bin lost, but that he vouchsafed to dye, who was immor­tal: for Original sin had already infected the whole mass of mankind. What now I pray was that horrible offence of A­dam? He tasted of the forbidden Ap­ple.

Alas! Was the only biteing of an Apple to be chastised with so many Tears, so many Funerals, so many Cala­mities? But wherefore do we com­plain? This is the nature of sin: it is in­finitely displeasing to God, it is punished with infinite pains, and in conclusion is never expiated. God is wrath, when he is angry at sin.

Take yet a nearer view of the destru­ction of mankind. The whole world served as a Tomb, to bury all men in, by a deluge of waters; scarce eight per­sons being preserved alive from that in­undation. What was the cause of such prodigious mortality? Who tumbled into the angry waves so many hundred thousand men? Sin, and especially that of Lust, Who consumed with fire those [Page 278]strately Cities of Gomorrah, Sodom, and the rest? Sin, and chiefly Lust. Who ru­ined the City of the Sichimites? Sin, and particularly that of Lust. Who slew five and twenty thousand Benjamites, and forty thousand Israelites in Battail? Sin, and principally that of Lust. Thus God proceeds, thus he vents his spleen a­gainst all sin; in this point he knows not how to dissemble. No sin escapes with­out punishment: for though many ob­tain pardon, yet none goes free from chastisement.

What punishment is that of Heli the Priest for his carelesness in correcting his Children? what of Saul for disobe­dience? Of David for incontinence? Of Nabuchod [...]n [...]sor for Pride? Of Ana­nias and Saphira for Avarice? What vengeance was laid upon divers others for seemingly small faults? Achan, for stealing from the spoils of the enemies, lost his life. That poor man, for gathe­ring sticks on the Sabbath, was stoned to death. Oza for upholding the Ark from falling was strook suddainly dead. The Prophet permitting himself at unawares to be deceived, was strangled by a Lion. The Israelites murmur against Moyses, and are killed by fiery Serpents. The [Page 279]Bethsamites look upon the Ark less re­verently, and above fifty thousand men are slain. Boyes scoff at Elizeus, and forty two of them are torn in peices by wild Bears.

God doth not spare offenders. Ose. ch. 21. Let Samaria perish, (let the soul perish) be­cause she hath stirred up her God to bitter­ness. If into a Sea of Honey one drop of Gall fell, and turned the whole Sea into bitterness, what would you say of that gall? you might rightly affirm: it were unspeakably, nay infinitely bitter. Of this nature is sin: The goodness and mercy of God is infinitely sweet, like unto an immense Sea of Honey: But one deadly sin is of that bitterness, and contains in it so much Gall, as to turn God, who is a boundless Ocean of sweetness, into most dreadful bitterness of wrath and indignation. This is asser­ted by Osee: The Soul by sin hath stir­red up her God to bitterness. Doth she not therefore deserve to perish? God himself complains of this dealing by the same Prophet: Ephraim hath provoked me to wrath in his bitterness. St. Hierom expounds it thus: By his wickedness he hath made me bitter, who was most sweet. God therefore doth not spare the offender.

I now leave off to admire the saying of holy Iob: ch. 9. I feared all my works know­ing thou didst not spare the offender. God is so far from sparing offenders, that he punished most severely others sins in his own son. Christ's most painful death manifestly declares with what hatred God persecutes sin.

When a Medicine is prepared of li­quid Gold, Pearls, or Bezoar stone, one may reasonably affirm the Disease is dangerous, and life desperate: So we must needs acknowledge the grievous­ness of sin was excessive, which could not be taken away, but by the blood of Christ, which is of infinite value. Ac­knowledge therefore O man (saith St. Ber­nard) how grievous are those wounds, for whose cure it was necessary Christ our Lord should be wounded.

Yea Christ, when he went to be Cru­cified, forbad them weep for his wounds and death, that those tears might be shed for sin, which was the cause of so ignominious a death. Christs tears alone were sufficient to wash away sin: for if all the Angels in Heaven assumed mens bodies, and with tears bewailed one mortal sin for many ages, all their weeping would not be of force to Can­cel [Page 281]it, which only Christs bloody tears would aboundantly expiate.

SECT. 2.

OUr second assertion is: He loseth all Gods grace, that sins mortally. Any one mortal sin robs the Soul of all Divine grace. There is nothing more amiable then a Soul adorned with Gods grace; nothing more ugly then a Soul without it, though it be defiled but with one deadly sin. Sin is a most venemous Serpent, whose sting is mortal, how ever his Poyson seem to enter with de­light. O that we might behold with our eyes the deformity of sin, we should fly as fast from it, as we now pursue it! sin is more terrible and deformed, then the Devil. Lucifer a Prince amongst Angels surpassed the rest in comeliness, but all his beauty was so defaced with one sin, that now he is most ugly, stinking and dreadful to behold: his sole aspect, as many affirm, is able to bereave the Spe­ctatour of his life.

Divine grace is of such value, that one may justly pronounce, there is no­thing more pretious in all the world. I declare my self. It may be affirmed of [Page 282]liquid Gold, or of the water of life, that one drop of either is more esteemable then a hundred vessels of the choycest Wine. This same may be patly applyed to Divine Grace: the least degree of it is far more pretious then all the favour of men, or all the worlds wealth besides. Imagine the World were all refined Gold it were of no value in comparison of Divine Grace. Yet one mortal sin hath such opposition with it, that when sin is committed, it leaves not one sole dram of grace in the soul.

What merit soever hath been colle­cted for many years, one sole sin de­stroyes in a moment. This is asserted by Ecclesiastes: c. 9. He that shall offend in one point, shall lose many good things. If a­ny one had made himself acceptable to God by the practise of all kinds of Ver­tue, for fifty, for an hundred years space; if any one had lead a strict life, and fa­sted every day with bread and water; if any one had girt his loins with an Iron Chain, whipped himself dayly, and be­stowed all he had in Almes; and after all this, should commit one mortal sin; he would lose all the merits of his life past, all the Grace of God, and of a bo­some Friend, become a professed Ene­my to God.

The matter is certain, and admits of no contest: You may give credit to the Prophet Ezechiel: ch. 18. If the just man shall turn away himself from his justice, and do iniquity, all his justices which he had done, shall not be remembred. Hast thou committed one sole mortal sin? all thy former labours are lost, all grace is lost; thou hast lost Heaven, God and all. Wherefore either recover thy los­ses, or resolve to bewail them Eter­nally.

Amongst other punishments threat­ned by God to Israel, that as most dreadful is rehearsed by Osee. c. 9. Woe to them, when I shall depart from them. This departure of God from the Soul is the death of it. An incomparable evil, an evil that surpasseth all the sufferings of Holy Martyrs, yea the everlasting tor­ments of all the damned. Take a view. I pray, of the misery of man deserted by God for sin: what ever such a man doth, what ever he suffereth, while de­stitute of Divine Grace, though he re­move Mountains, leap into the fire; pluck the Stars from Heaven, set whole Fountains on fire, and act wonders to be admired in all ages, yet shall he not merit the least degree of Heavenly bliss, [Page 284]while he continues in Gods disfavour. The reason of what I affirm is manifest: The Origen of all merit is divine grace; therefore let him either purchase grace, or despair of Heaven. I adjoyn another point altogether as deplorable.

He that hath forsaken God, as afore­said, might indeed throw himself down at his pleasure, but all the strength he hath cannot rise again: He cast himself into a ditch, out of which he can never escape, unless God by his singular favour lend him his hand. An Echo returns no answer, but when provokeed by a pre­vious noyse: and he who has sinned, doth not true pennance, except he be first excited by God. Nevertheless let none despair of pardon, though he have fallen a thousand times. Hast thou of­fended? Be of good courage: After a slip, our steps are more warily, if not more constantly setled.

Seeing therefore the nature of sin is so cruel, de simil. ch. 190. and its malice so detestable, St. Anselm generously cryes out: ‘If on one side I saw the deformity of sin, and on the other the horrour of Hell, by one whereof I must needs be over­whelmed; I would rather throw my self into those flaming Gulfs, then ad­mit [Page 285]of sin: For I had rather go into hell innocent and free from sin, then defi­led with it, be seated in Heaven; since it is certain only the wicked are tor­mented in Hell, and the just alone pos­sess eternal happiness.’

Hereupon likewise the same Author discourses in this manner: ‘Open thine eyes, miserable Soul, and see what formerly thou hast bin, and what now thou art: what was thy conditi­on then, and what now. Thou wast an Espouse of the Highest, a Temple of the living God, a Vessel of Election, a Bride-chamber for an eternal King, a Throne of the true Salomon, a seat of Wisdome, a Sister of Angels, an Heir of Heaven. All these prerogatives thou didst enjoy; but now with tears lament thy suddain change. The E­spouse of God is become an Adultress of the Devil, the Temple of the Holy Ghost is turned into a Den of Theives, the Vessel of Election into one of Cor­ruption, the Bride-Chamber of Christ, into a puddle for Beasts to wallow in; the feat of Wisdome into a chair of Pestilence, the Sister of Angels into a companion of Devils; yea she, who ere while like a Dovesoared a­bove [Page 286]the Heavens, now like a Serpent creeps upon the earth. Bewail there­fore, bewail O wretched Soul, thy doleful state; for the Heavens mourn for thee, the Angels and all Saints de­plore thy condition, the tears of Paul, and bloody streams issuing from the body of Christ our Lord condole with thee, because thou hast sinned, and hast not done pennance for sin com­mitted.’

Proceed we now to a fuller examina­tion of this point: He who hath sinned is either sepsible his Conscience is wounded, or he is not sensible: If he be sensible, he is also miserable, because he groans under most piercing grief; a guilty conscience is an excessive tor­ment. But if he have no feeling of his inward wounds, then he is miserable a­bove measure: it is the worst of evils to cherish ones own wickedness without perceiveing it, and to have lost all sense after one is mortally wounded. Thus Drunkards while they are Carousing, perceive not the strength of wine, which when digested they are sensible of. Well said St. Chrysostome: The chiefest wick­edness is to be wicked. Serm. 5. de jeju. Albeit the Physi­tian doth not scarify a sick person, yet [Page 287]doth his sickness still remain with him: and although God doth not punish the offender, nevertheless he that offends is diseased, yea already dead.

Not unlike to this is that assertion of Seneca: The prime and greatest punish­ment of sinners is, to have sinned. Neither is any crime without pain, because the tor­ment of wickedness is in wickedness it self. The Conscience is scourged with what ever is done amiss. Where Vice is, there is also punishment: Neither can a goared Consci­ence be without grief.

Though no one strike a wicked man, though no one maim or torture him with rack or flames; yet he himself is his own Executioner. Peradventure he is insensible, and hath lost all feeling of his sad condition: He is therefore so much nearer to Hell fire by how much he is farther off from the knowledge of his own offences. Such an one may be rightly termed dead and buried: Who hath sinned and is not sorry; who hath grievously transgressed, and sues not for pardon; who hath lost Gods grace and sighs not for it; who is deprived of his right to Heaven, and esteems it no da­mage; who is ready to be tumbled into Hell, and laughs at it. What a bruite [Page 288]is this? what a stone? what a block? this is the malignant nature of sin, so to trans­form men into beasts, stocks and stones, as that they perceive not their own scars, till they be discovered by hell fire.

We then begin to abhor sin, when it is attended by rigorous chastisement. Yea it often comes to pass, that such as through impiety have lost all feeling, receive a foretast of hell before they part with this life. So those of Sodom and Gomorrah had a tryal of Hell, Hom. 4. Epist. ad Rom. before they came thither. Patly spoke St. Chrysostome: When mention is made of Hell, if thou want faith and scoff at it, call to mind the burning of Sodom. For we have beheld, we have beheld, I say, even in this life a representation of Hell, in that conflagration of Sodom, as they can testify, who have travelled to those places, and bin eye witnesses of Divine in­dignation thundred down from Heaven. Imagine how grievous that offence was, which brought hell upon them, ere they went down into Hell.

The wonderful and almost incredi­ble effects of the Plague and Lightning, who is of sufficient ability to declare? and yet much more exceeding all ex­pression is that Plague and Lightning of [Page 289]sin, which consumes and layes all wast. Sin of all evils is the greatest and only evil: it is worse then Death, then Hell, then any punishment, because it is the source from whence all punishment pro­ceeds.

Susanna being tempted to prostitute her Chastity, Daniel ch. 13. broke forth into this gal­lant expression: If I shall do this, it is death to me: and if I do it not, I shall not escape your hands. What dost thou say woman? mark well thy words: For if thou do not consent to the Adulterers, thou shalt dye: if thou do consent, thou shalt escape death. Nevertheless she stands to what she said: If I shall do this it is death to me. The chast Matron knew well there was another death, besides that of the body, a perpetual an Eter­nal death, James 1. in comparison whereof bodi­ly death deserves not the name of death. That of the Apostle is most certain: Sin when it is consummate, ingendreth death. Daniel ch. 13. Hereupon Susanna advanceth her reso­lution to the height: It is better for me without the act to fall into your hands, then to sin in the sight of our Lord. Learn of this noble Matron, O Christians, rather to lose the life of the body, then the grace of God.

SECT. 3.

TAke now our third assertion: Who­ever sins mortally, doth wilfully draw upon himself all kind of miseries and ca­lamities. Because sin is the principal, yea the sole and only Origen of them all. St. Cyprian in writing exhorts Do­natus to climb up to the top of the Mountain of sublime judgement, and thence to take a view of the Seas infe­sted with Pyrates, and journeys by Land beset with Robbers, Thieves and Menslayers, in great aboundance every where, Cities rent a sunder with dissen­tions, and whole Kingdomes over-run by wars; so as no place may be found free from calamities, which have their rise from sin: Sin is the firebrand and root of all misery.

Most truly said St. Hom. 5. ad pop. Chrysostome: The several names of calamities are bare names to them that discourse aright, that alone is calamity indeed to offend God. He hath too mean a conceit of God, who dares prefer before him any Lucre, or base de­light. Were there some other deity as amiable, rich, liberal and holy, which we valued more then God, our folly [Page 291]might have some colour of excuse; but since we esteem most vile trash, and set more by a few drops, then the whole O­cean; and put an higher price on crea­tures then the Creatour of them; is not this down right madness, manifest im­piety, the worst of evils, the seminary of all calamities?

But what dare not fool-hardy mor­tals attempt? Even Fables themselves discover unto us mans temerity. Gy­ants have a design against Heaven, Her­cules invades Hell, Jason with his fel­lowes dives into the Bowels of the Sea, Daedalus takes his flight through the air. This Lesson we learn from Fictions: The proud like Gyants assail Heaven, which is exposed only as a conquest for humility: Such as despise God, make hell but a business of langhter: covetous persons Iason like, hoyse Sails in pursuit of the Golden Fleece: Ambitious men, as Daedalus did his wings, open their jaws to every breath of vain glory. Bold mortals stoutly undertake any enterprize which leads them by the hand to for­bidden wickedness.

And whence, I pray, proceeds Dis­cord, Strife, War and utter ruine, but from sin alone? All the health, comli­ness [Page 292]and strength which is in mans body, by means of sin becomes a prey to sick­ness and to death. This made the Royal Prophet exclaim: Psal. 37. There is [...]ealth in my flesh, my bones have no peace at the face of my sins. This likewise moved our Heavenly Physitian to arm us against all Maladies with this wholesome docu­ment: Now sin no more, least some thing worse happen to thee. Pestilence and all sorts of diseases made their en­trance into the world by the Portal of sin. Turn over the History of Kings, and you shall manifestly observe, Pride brought them under the lash; read E­zechiel, and you may find Rapine chasti­sed, as well as Luxury by the Prophet Ioels testimony. No place wants exam­ples of divine justice: What misery did sin involve the Kings of Israel in, what the Corites, Sodomites, Dathan and Abiran with multitudes of the Jewish race, and infinite others? How many hundred thousands how many millions of men hath sin bereaved of life by Fa­mine, Plague, Warr, Fire, Water, and other untimely means? They have peri­shed for their iniquity. Psa. 72. Because they that are malignant, shall be cast out.

So unto all men death did pass by sin, [Page 293]that life is no beter then a continual death. This truth receives light from the rehearsal of some of those many in­struments of death invented to take a­way life. Wherefore are Prisons in the world? wherefore have we stocks Pillo­ries, Shackles, Bolts, Halters, Racks, Scourges, Grid-irons, Wheels, Scorpi­ons, Frying-pans, Iron-combs, Gallows and such like provision? had not these a begining to revenge sin committed, or were they not found out by such as were resolved to do amiss by tyranni­zing over the innocent? I must needs acknowledge the Variety of Punish­ments to be great, but far greater is the diversity of crimes which deserve pu­nishment. Proteus never put on so many several faces, nor Empedocles changes, nor Pythagoras trasmigrations, nor Chal­deans varieties, nor Evantius shapes, as sin doth different forms and representa­tions.

Now as honesty and innocency of life elevate a man above the ordinary strain, so lewdness and impiety cast him down below the meanest of men, and rank him amongst bruite beasts. Is he worthy the name of a man, who for ravenousness contends with the Wolf; who by anger [Page 294]resembles the dog, by Pride, the Pea­cock, by Avarice the Toad, by Levitv the Sparrow, by subtilty the Fox, by Greediness the Vulture, by Fury the Lion, by Fearfulness the Heart, by La­civiousness the Goat?

Hence King David gave unto Snakes and Asps the Epithete of angry, and of foolish to Mules; Hieremy termed Hor­ses Adulterers; Ezechiel called Pharao a Dragon; St. Iohn likened the Pharasees to a brood of Vipers; Christ branded the shameless with the name of Dogs and Swine, as he did Herod with that of Fox. Sin changes men into beasts; as is apparent out of Holy Writ: Psa. 48. Man when he was in honour did not understand: he was compared to beasts without understan­ding, and became like to them. This is no great change: Sin converts a man into a Devil, as Christ plainly said to his Dis­cisples: John 6. Of you one is a Devil. He ob­jected likewise unto the Jews: You are of your Father the Devil. John 8. Now the De­vil according to St. Anselm, though war­ned by terrour and menaces, would not abstain from sin: neither would man be­ware of it, albeit he was threatned with death if he did transgress. The Devil sinned once, but man offends many [Page 295]sand times: he rebelled against his Cre­atour, whereas man impiously kicks both at his Creatour and Redeemer.

St. In cap. 9. Joan. hom. 54. Chrysostome inveighs severely a­gainst an envious person: An envious man is worse then the Devil: the Devil indeed bears envy, but to men, not to his own companions: whereas thou being a man dost envy men, and practise hatred a­gainst those of the same kind and nature with thy self, which Satan doth not. A wicked man may rightly be stiled a De­vil, yea hell it self: Apoc. c. 20. And Hell and death (saith the Apostle) were cast into the Pool of fire. How could this be? was hell cast into hell? it was so, if we credit Expo­sitours upon this place: because he who steers a wicked course, may justly be ter­med an Hell. For as hell is a place of torments, and an abode for Devils; so a man of debaucht carriage suffers the pangs of a guilty Conscience; wherein the Devil hath taken up his quarters. Thus then this Hell shall be cast into Hell.

O sin, O blasting and pestiferous whirlwind! which killest in the budd both blossoms, leaves and fruit of hu­mane actions: which deprivest man of justice and innocency, and robbest [Page 296]him of himself. O Poyson, which dost murther when beloved, and infectest e­ven the very Marrow of the Soul; and canst not be asswaged by an Ocean of calamities, nor extinguished by the flames of Hell!

God makes this question to our first Parent after his fall: Gene. 3. Adam where art thou? Adam might with reason have returned this answer: I am no where. He was then no where indeed: For by sin committed he was separated from God; and punishment for his fault exi­led him from Paradise: Neither was he in himself, by reason of the remorse his Conscience endured; neither was he in other creatures, which his offence had moved to Rebellion; nor in the world, because of his own inconstancy. He was then no where, alas! he was no where, where he might find repose: But he was like unto a swift running torrent, whose streams in regard of their rapid motion can neither be affirmed to be here, nor there.

Do you desire to know what sin is? Take a leisurely view of Adams fall. How many millions of men were plun­ged into the depth of miseries by it? from it sprung Famine, War and Pesti­lence; [Page 297]from it all Calamities, Disasters, yea death it self. Such a tree might well bring forth such fruits; from such a cause such effects were easily produced. True it is, the Son of God was fastned to a Cross to expiate this crime; and yet how many millions suffer wrack in hell through sin? Who ever will attentively consider these things, when soothing pleasure invites him to offend, may free­ly say: I will not buy eternal repentance at so dear a rate.

When the Heavens frown and burst forth into storms of Hail, Snow, Whirl­winds, Thunder and Lightning; the cause is, that Exhalations and Vapours, through their native lightness are easily drawn up, and afterwards in various tempests fall down to the earth again. No otherwise descend from Heaven up­on us violent storms of Dearth, Warr, Plague, Sickness and other miseries; which God indeed rains down amongst us, but after the Exhalations and Va­pours of our transgressions had ascended on high: that lecture we learn from the Schools of Phylosophy, this of Divinity. St. Gregory speaks to the purpose: The evil we suffer, our sins have deserved. The same is attested by Ecclesiasticus: [Page 298]Death, ch. 40. Bloud, Contention and Sword, Op­pressions, Famine, and Contrition, and Scourges: For the wicked all these were created.

Sin Banisht us from Paradise into this vale of tears, into this tempestuous Sea, where boysterous Winds, and lofty Sur­ges cause frequent Ship-wracks, and all other miseries. Sin maketh people mise­rable saith Salomon. Pro. 14. How came the Turks so often to infest Christendome? Whence proceeded so many inroads of Barbarous Nations? So many Victories obtained against us? What is the cause we are so much pestered with Famine and Plague? Why doth that Face of Heaven toward us seem to be all of Brass, and either drown us with too much wet, or make us pine away for want of Rain? Whence do Diseases rush in upon us by whole swarms? All these are effects of sin: sin is an abiss of all calamities.

I must needs deliver my mind in Se­neca's words: Epist. 95 He is deceived that thinks God can have a will to do hurt: he cannot. God neither doth evil, nor hath evil: Al­beit he chastise some, and keep them in awe with punishments. His eyes are clean from seeing evil, and cannot look to­ward [Page 299]iniquity: Therefore he bears ex­tream hatred against sin. Even as light of its own nature hath opposition with darkness, Comliness with Deformity, Goodness with Malice, Purity with Un­cleanness, Life with Death: So hath sanctity with all wickedness. Where­fore as God loves sanctity beyond ex­pression, in like manner his aversion from sin is infinite. Marks of his aversi­on are these that follow.

First he withdraws himself and his grace from a sinner. Then he punisheth sin with many calamities as with pre­sent coyn, even in this life. Thirdly he takes from the Malefactour all right to Heaven: Therefore we must either do true pennance, or bid adieu to Heaven. Fourthly every mortal sin he chastiseth with flames eternal, and yet (which cannot be exprest without admiration) the chastisement is less then the sin de­serves. All Divines unanimously affirm, an everlasting torment is decreed for e­very mortal sin, neither can it ever truly be said: This sin hath been punisht suf­ficiently. What then is a mortal sin? Alas! alas! Let all Angels answer this question, which yet they are not able fully to declare, that which lurks under [Page 300]one deadly sin is infinitely abomina­ble.

That which Ludovicus Blosius re­counts to stir up detestation of mortal sin is exceeding dreadful: Monil. spur. c. 1. If the Mother of our Lord, the most Blessed Virgin, had sinned mortally, and had dyed without contrition, she had never attained Heaven, but must have been tormented with the Devils in Hell. So rigorous is Gods ju­stice.

This likewise was revealed to St. Lib. 4. ch. 7. Bri­git, who heard the Devils cry out to the supream Judge in this manner: If that thing which thou lovest above all things, which is the Virgin that bore thee, and which did never sin; if I say, she had sin­ned mortally, and had dyed without due contrition, thou art such a friend of Justice, that her soul could never have arrived in Heaven, but must have been with us adjudged to hell.

The nature of one mortal sin is won­derful to amazement. Pliny admires Silver, Gold and Brass, sealed up in a bag can be melted with Lightning, and both seal and bag remain untoucht. Much more worthy admiration it is, that the soul can be so murthered by the secret admission of one deadly sin, as [Page 301]thereby to become a prey to eternal death without ever dying, or being de­stroyed. Hom. 4. ad Pop.

St. Chrysostome gives this prudent ad­monition: Brethren, be not children in your understanding, but as to malice be­come little ones; for it is a childish fear to fear death, as children do who are afraid of Vizards, and not of fire to which they ap­ply their hand: after the same manner we stand in fear of death, which is but a contemptible bug-bear, and fear not sin, which indeed ought to be feared. Because it robs us of all Gods grace; makes us ly­able to all sorts of miseries, and guilty of eternal Flames. Thus much concerning our third assertion.

SECT. 4.

THe fourth assertion is: Who ever sins mortally, loseth Heaven for all Eternity. Sin shuts against us the gate of Heaven, the Empyrial Heaven, which is adorned with all delight, which is for si­tuation most sublime, for extent most ample, and in every respect most com­pleat, in a word the worlds wonder: from this heaven doth only deadly sin debar us. We acknowledge the Sove­raign [Page 302]Kings decree promulgated by St. Paul: Eph. 5. No Fornicator, or Unclean, or co­vetous person (which is the service of I­dols) hath inheritance in the Kingdome of Christ and of God. This loss is not the last, though it be the worst: For in case no other harm proceeded from sin, yet this alone were abundantly enough and too too great, to be for ever excluded from the joyes of Heaven. We may mention this damage, tis true; yet are we unable to make a right estimate of it. well said St. Austin: If it were in our pow­er brethren, Psa. 49. to hinder the coming of the day of judgement; yet in my opinion we ought not to lead a wicked life. Suppose then, the fire of divine judgement should afflict no body, but each one might swim in what pleasures he listed for ever; not­withstanding if they were separated from the face of God, and never must enjoy the sight of their Creatour, their loss would be infinite, their punishment immense: so as (to speak with St. Austin) they would have cause for all eternity to bewail their condition, though they were not guilty of sin. Amand. ho [...]. sap. Lib. 1. ch. 4.

That expression seems to have been framed amongst Rhetoricians: Who will furnish me with Parchment as large [Page 303]as the heavens? who will provide me of Quills, which for number should equal the leaves of the trees? Who will give me a Sea of Ink, that I may write down the harms which proceed from mortal sin? yet this is no exaggaration, for though there were so many Quils, so much Parchment and Ink to write with, still it would go beyond the art of man to summ up what damage accrues to man by sin, since it is eternal.

Truth it self proclaims to the world: It were good for him, Mart. 26 if that man had not been born. Since God hath quite blotted out his image in Heaven, and that most deservedly, in regard of that infinite affront offered to so Soveraign a Majesty: which is so much more notorious, by how much the good preferred before God is of less value. But all treasure, delight and Honour are infinitely below God: therefore the wrong done to God is infinite, and consequently the punish­ment must be proportionable.

Is not he much obleiged to the giver, who bestows on him gratis an hundred Marks in Gold? Now our Tongue, or Eyes alone, which God hath freely gi­gen us, are infinitely more worth then a thousand Marks in Gold: to say no­thing [Page 304]thing of our Soul and Body, which are far more estimable then a thousand worlds.

Giles, one of St. Francis his compa­nions, Catechising an ignorant person, said: A certain man wanted Hands, Feet and Eyes; to whom one of his friends spoke in this manner: My friend if one should restore thee both Hands, Feet and Eyes, what requital wouldst thou make him? I would quoth he, become his servant all the dayes of my life. Well then replyed Giles, who gave thee Hands, Feet, Eyes, Tongue, Ears, Soul and Body, together with the good thou injoyest? God without doubt. If then thou wouldst be his servant that only restored some few Limbs, what is it meet thou shouldst do for God, who gave thee all? Tell me now what a base part it is to offend him with thine eyes, that bestowed them on thee? or to af­front God by word or deed, who framed both tongue and hands for thee?

Hence ariseth in us an infinite obliga­tion to serve God; from which if we swerve by transgression, both fault and punishment must needs be infinite. Be­cause (according to St. Bernard) what was short in time or action, was certainly [Page 305]long in the setled resolution of the will. Now as he is justly condemned that wilful­ly persists in vice, so is he blame-worthy that strives not to better himself in vertue. In like manner, he who dies in sin, hath a living death in eternal pain; wherein he must abide for ever, that he may suf­fer torment for ever, but never be con­sumed.

Alas! one merry moment of nimble winged time we prefer before treasures of glory and delights eternal: we lose a needle, and are sorry for the loss; Hea­ven is snatcht from us, and we laugh at it. We know full well, that upon every greivous crime an happy, or wretched eternity depends: the privation of that, and possession of this is due to every great offence. Thus much we know, and yet sin boldly; especially while we are not certain of one minute of life. For who I pray, after sin committed, hath so much as one sole moment sure to do pennance in? Nevertheless in a business of huge consequence, and such extreme uncertainty, we expose our e­ternal weal to manifest hazard of eternal wo: so freely do we exchange everla­sting glory for endless torments: and in effect, fools as we are, demonstrate [Page 306]our hatred to Heaven: For Heaven he hates, who by contempt or carelesness intangles his soul with sin.

A Lacedemonian, saies Plutarch, made a vow to throw himself headlong from the Summit of Lucas. But when he be­held the dreadful height of the Rock, he was strook with horrour, and altered his purpose. Afterwards being upbrai­ded for want of courage, he answered: I did not imagine that for performance of my vow I needed a greater vow. Who ever designs to execute some diffi­cult exployt, must take upon him a reso­lution sutable to the exploit. But alas! what comparison betwixt this precipe from a high Mountain, to casting ones self headlong from Heaven to Hell? How then do so many throw themselves down from the fruition of bliss, to thral­dome amongst Devils? They shut their eyes ere they attempt to do so, they consider not the infinite malice of sin, nor the inexplicable windings of eter­nity: They jogg on towards Hell blind­folded. He that is not pleased with his own blindness, endeavours by all means possible to escape this downfal; and chooses rather to undergo what ever happens, then to be cast into that [Page 307]abisse whence there is no redemption.

SECT. 5.

OUr fifth assertion is: Who ever com­mits a mortal sin, throws himself in­to Hell fire for ever. Fire everlasting is an unexplicable punishment of sin. Were there no other mischief in sin, this assu­redly would be an abridgement of all evils. The reward of sin is death eter­nal. The soul that shall sin, Ezechi. ch. 18. the same shall dye: the justice of the just shall be upon him, and the impiety of the impious shall be upon him. Admirable is St. Psal. 49. Austins discourse: ‘How great a punishment is it, only to be deprived of the sight of God? Such as have not tasted of that sweetness, if they do not desire to see the face of God, let them at least be afraid of fire; those who are not invi­ted with reward, may be terrified with torments. If what God promiseth seem to thee of small account, trem­ble at what he threatens. The sweet­ness of his presence is offered to thee, and thou art not changed, nor moved, nor sighest after, nor desirest it. Thou still huggest thine own sins; and the delights of thy flesh: Thou heapest to [Page 308]thy self straw, and fire will come upon thee. Fire will burn in his sight. That fire will not be like thine, into which notwithstanding if thou wert compel­led to thrust thy hand, thou would ra­ther do any thing then that. If he that compels thee should say: Either sign this wrighting against the life of thy Father, and Children, or thrust thy hand into thy own fire; thou wouldst obey him rather then burn thy hand, or any member of thy body, which could not abide in pain forever. Thy enemy therefore threatens a sleight evil, and thou dost evil; God threatens eternal evil, and wilt thou not do good?’

What trouble soever the Devil cau­seth in our souls, it is by means of sin. Hence our passions rebel, and we are molested with fear, suspicion, inconstan­cy, grief, anxiety, despair; whereby mans soul is reduced by sin to resemble Hell. Esay. 48. There is no peace to the impious; saith our Lord.

Such as abandon themselves to sin, are loaden with so many Chains by the Devil, till at length with their own weight they sink down into hell. While they live they draw nearer to hell; as a [Page 309]great stone tumbled from the top of a Mountain, tumbles so often, till in the end it lye in the bortome. In this man­ner, while a notorious theif went up the Ladder, the Hangman encouraged him saying: You have but one step further to go: and so he turned him off. In this manner little birds with others of the same feather fly again and again to take their food, till at last they are ensnared. In this manner Drunkards animate their pot-companions; this one cup and no more: This course they continue, till they drown each other in strong liquor. And the like method is observed by sin­ners: In the beginning they think it much to commit one sin; by and by they double, redouble and multiply of­fences, till they come to hundreds.

Thus he who at first sinned privately and with much bashfulness, by degree [...]s puts on a bold face, and dares now a [...]t confidently what ere while he blusht to think on. Thus the first naughtiness is seldome acted alone, but drawes after it a long train of impurities. The beggin­ing was ind [...]ed with one crime, then two, afterwards more, till in proces [...]s of time the number encreased almost above number. Thus a sprout growes up into [Page 310]a wood; thus a drop swells into an Oce­an; thus a spark becomes a fire of that greatness as it is not to be extinguisht for all eternity. All these proceedings serve to recompence sin.

Whence some have arrived to such a generous resolution, that they choose rather to dye then admit of one sin. The most chast Ioseph would rather lose his good name together with his life, then to undergo the least impeachment of Chastity. Daniell ch. 13. The modest Susanna breaks forth into this exclamation: It is better for me without the act to fall into your hands, then to sin in the sight of our Lord. It was more pleasing to her to be stoned to death, then stained with Adultery. Blessed St. Paul was sure, that death it self could not separate him from the love of Christ.

St. Ambrose was resolved to undergoe all hardship whatever, rather then act any thing misbecoming his profession. Fo [...]t when Ruffinus put Theodosius the Emperour in hope the Holy Bishop would change his resolution. No, quoth Theo [...]dosius, I know well the constancy of Amb [...]rose; no fear of temporal Majesty can make him forsake the Law of God.

St. Chrysostome with equal fortitude [Page 311]opposed himself against the menaces of Eudoxia the Empress, and was so far from being dismaied with her fury, that she was told in these express words: It is in vain to go about to terrify the man; he fears nothing but sin. Lewis King of France, being yet a child, learned this lesson of his Mother Blanch; Rather to part with life, then consent to a mortal sin.

St. Anselm Bishop of Canterbury would rather leap into Hell then com­mit a mortal sin. St. Edmund his succes­sour in the same See, frequently said: I would rather throw my self into a bur­ning Furnace, then wittingly commit a­ny sin against God.

Democles, a comely youth, to escape the unnatural dealing of King Demetri­us, leapt into a hot boyling Cauldron. Such a death suted better with his gene­rous mind, then an unchast life. So Pa­pinian the Lawyer, though no Christian, resolved to dye before he would Patro­nise the design of Caracalla Emperour, against his Brother.

A man defiled with mortal sin is more vile and contemptible then a Dog, a Swine or a Toad: For these owe but one death to nature, he two; the first to na­ture, [Page 312]which is soon past; the second to God, which continues for eternity. A man plunged in sin, may fitly be termed a nest of Basiliskes, a Den of infernal Theives: of whom take St Pauls affir­mation: They shall suffer eternall pains in destruction from the face of our Lord and from the Glory of his Power —they are quite excluded for ever. 2. Thess. ch. 1.9.

Out alas! What age ever brought forth such a Monster, that would not have its fury satisfied with one death? What Executioner, what Tyrant con­tented not their cruelty with Malefa­ctors dying once, but after that would proceed to a second death? One death hath been sufficient to appease most barbarous Tyranny. Whereas sin, more cruel then any Monster, or Tyrant, is not glutted with murthering man once, but murthers him eternally. When you behold an Offender hurried to Executi­on, and his flesh pluckt off with hot Pincers; you forthwith imagine his crimes were hainous, since his punish­ment is so excessive: How grievous then must that fault be, which can ne­ver be expiated with flames eternal?

This point is often treated, these pains are frequently denounced by God, [Page 313]and yet we are backward in forbearing sin. These particulars we are assured of, and still hold on to violate divine Laws with extreme temerity. This fault we know, deserves to be eternally banisht from Heaven, that crime makes its Actour punishable with fire everlasting, both in soul and body; in so much, as sin may seem to blow the Coals, and to subminister Fuel for the duration of tor­ments. He that would seriously weigh what is here delivered, would he not bridle his unruly appetites? would he not restrain himself from sin, and tread a better path? It is down right madness to choose rather to perish, then amend ones life.

O Mortals consider these things: this matter is exceeding ferious, and of mighty consequence. Heaven is not pur­chased with doing nothing.

All this notwithstanding men sin with as much freedome and security, as if God were ignorant of their acting: they go on as boldly, as if God had not for­bidden them; and offend as confidently as though God did nor look on while they offend. We admire the foolishness of Esau, who valued a dish of Pottage a­bove his birth-right: Let us now admire [Page 314]no more all we that esteem a bruitish pleasure at a higher rate, then our title to the Kingdome of God; all we that sell our Inheritance of Glory for an em­pty blast of humane praise. What is now become of those Heroick resoluti­ons; I will rather lose my life, then sin?

Plutarch tells you how Lysimachus was reduced to that extremity by thirst, that he gave himself and his Army up into the hands of his enemies; and after he had swallowed a cup of cold water, he cryed our; wo is me, base fellow that I am, that have parted with a Kingdome for so small pleasure! With how much more reason may one that sins mortally exclaime: O wretch that I am, and un­worthy the name of man, who for a flee­ting and beastly delight sell my right to Heaven, prefer creatures before my Creatour, Vice before Vertue, Death before Life, and Perdition before Salva­tion!

Ah! covetous miscreant, for how slender gain dost thou sell away Heaven? Alas! Lacivious beast, why dost thou change eternal joyes for a moments pleasure? O wrathful and envious man, how seldome dost thou meditate on [Page 315]hell? And thou O Drunkard, why wilt thou quaff away an Ocean of Celestial Nectar? Good Lord! what height of folly is it, when a blessed eternity lyes at stake, to part with everlasting happiness for a minutes delight? Lust, Revenge, Drunkenness, and all other vices please but for a moment, and merit torments for an entire eternity.

Wherefore do we now wonder, that God eternally punishes the wicked, since the reward of the vertuous is with­out end? Again, he that sins mortally for a transitory pleasure, sells away him­self to the Devil; what marvail if the buyers title become perpetual? This made Elias speak plainly to King A­chab: I have found thee mine enemy, 3. Kings ch. 21. for that thou art sold, to do evil in the sight of our Lord. Moreover it is notorious, that he who grows obstinate in sin, aug­ments his own pain: seeing therefore those in Hell are obstinate in their sins (for in Hell there is neither pennancenor amendment) they likewise increase their injury.

Understand (then) these things you that forget God: Psa. 49. lest sometime he take you violently, and there be none to deliver you. The very same, who is now offen­ded, [Page 316]will be your Judge: from whom there lyes no appeal to any other; no frivolous defence, or foolish excuse will then be admitted; favour at that time is bootless, intercession vain, pleading comes too late, delayes may not be ex­pected: For the judge cannot be moved with flattery, nor corrupted with Bribes; the last sentence is irevocable, the de­cree eternal aswell, as the punishment ensuing.

CHAP. XV. Why one Mortal Sin is punished with Eternal Torment.

NOne wonders to hear one say, a magnificent City was burnt to the ground by neglecting to have care of one spark of fire. We know by experience the activity of fire, and its unsatiable ap­petite, [Page 317]it has a devouring stomach, while competent matter is set before it, it feeds greedily, and by feeding grows bigger: it spares nothing that is fitly dis­posed for its pallate, it swallowes up Houses, Cities and Kingdomes: it makes no distinction betwixt friends and foes, it layes all wast, it consumes all: it has inflamed whole towns, and we be­leive it will bring the world into confla­gration. What Jaws, what Panch may I say it hath, whose hunger so much pro­vision of sustenance is not able to as­swage? We do not therefore wonder that by one spark entire Cities become desolate, but that the flames were no sooner extinguisht.

In like manner, we do not gain-say a­ny one that affirms our life to be but a moment; and indeed compared to E­ternity it scarcely deserves to be called a moment. Now if you say further, E­ternity depends on this moment, I shall not contradict you, because I know, an eternal reward is acquired with tempo­ral pains; for in case the labour were e­ternal, the recompence could not be perpetual. Neither shall I contest with any who avoucheth, everlasting joy may [...]e obtained in the twinkling of an eye; [Page 318]since this blessing is not due to our de­serts but to the merits of Christ.

This then is that which holds us in admiration; that eternal punishment is frequently incurred in a short time, in a moments space with one sole thought. Actions vertuously performed deserve an endless Crown, by reason of our Sa­viours merits, which are of infinite va­lue: But how our sins should be of infi­nite malice, and consequently merit in­finite pain, this passes our understanding, this argument of Divinity we are not ca­pable of. For what malice I pray, lurks under the sweetness of a filthy Lust, in which one freely lingers for an hour, or part of an hour, or a minutes space, which may not for all eternity be suffi­ciently expiated, even in flames eternal? This it is we mervail at, this altogether transcends our capacity.

Something in answer to this difficul­ty hath formerly been alledged; yet in regard the matter is weighty, and hard to be understood, we shall enlarge our selves in the declaration of it, and unfold this Riddle, Why a sin committed in a moment is punisht with eternal tor­ment? where by the way we shall disco­ver the efficient cause of this doleful E­ternity.

SECT. 1.

IN Christian Religion several myste­ries are contained, which humane reason is not able to comprehend: Of this nature we particularize five.

The mystery of the blessed Trinity; the Incarnation of Christ; the miracle of the Holy Eucharist; the resurrection of the dead, and eternity of torment. Now for as much as these points are hard to beleive, therefore Divine Providence hath in a singular maner confirmed them by Scriptures, Councils and Miracles. Our talk in this place is to discourse of pains eternal, and why God, whose na­ture is to have mercy would have them eternal.

Divines in this point have gone diffe­rent wayes to answer the difficulty. Some say, the Damned alwaies sin, therefore they are alwaies punished. What injustice therefore is it for him to groan under pain, who persevers in do­ing injury?

This answer is not amiss: For not only the damned sin perpetually in Hell, but even here, while they lived amongst us, they found out a certain kind of eter­nity [Page 320]to sin in; which is the matter we are to weigh with maturity.

Who ever heaps sin upon sin till death, sins during his eternity (let us call it so): Therefore in Gods eternity he is most justly punisht. Both truly and elegantly said St Gregory: It is manifest and certain beyond controul, Lib. 4. Dial. 44. that neither the blessed have an end of their joyes, nor the damned of their sufferings. It is an Oracle of truth: And they shall go into punishment everlasting: but the just into life everlasting. Matt. 25 Since therefore Christ is true in his promises, he cannot be o­therwise in his threats. If you demand, how can it be just to punish a fault with­out end, which had a speedy end when it was a doing? The blessed Bishop an­swers: ‘This might well be objected, if the severe Judge weighed only deeds, and not the hearts of men: for the wicked therefore had an end in sinning, because they had an end in li­ving; since they were resolved, if it had been in their power, to have lived alwaies, that they might alwaies have sinned. It is apparent, they desire to live perpetually in sin; who while they live, never give over sinning. There­fore it appertains to the great justice [Page 321]of the judge, that they never want pain, who in this life would never be without fault.’

Here I would by all means have this observed: This circumstance goes along with sin, Not only to have sinned, but al­so to desire to sin yet more: justly is this desire punished with hell: because God doth not only look upon sins commit­ted, but likewise the eagerness and lon­ging to commit more: as will appear by this example.

Imagine a man of thirty years old is adjudged to hell, because he did not leave off sining: had he lived fifty, six­ty, seventy years, he had continued so long his sinful course: Nay if he had li­ved a hundred, a thousand years, he had still held on sining: Yea, if his life had been without end, so likewise had been his sins. Seeing then his desire to sin was so great, as to be even eternal in de­sire, deservedly is his punishment eter­nal. Therefore as St. Gregory inculcates; Let them never be without pain, who in this life would never be without fault.

SECT. 2.

MOreover the damned do not expi­ate faults committed; they do not lay aside that malice, which begun with them during life: for they have not so much grace of God as to repent. That which followes is most dreadful, and unexplicable: The damned are so de­prived of divine grace, that for eternity none of them will ever say: Have mercy on me O God: none of them shall ever have that grace. In which perticular they resemble much the Devils, from whom no torments what ever shall be of force to squeez these words: We have sinned spare us. Hence one may rightly affirm: In Hell are only Devils, that is, most obstinate and desperate ene­mies of God; such as are not the devils alone, but likewise all the damned.

And in this point the wicked man du­ring life, and the damned in torments, are both a like; neither of them being a­ble with their own forces to recal their soul from sin. In this case help from God is necessary: which he never denies while we live, albeit we lose his Grace a thousand times: but withal he gives us [Page 323]this admonition; Look to thy self, lo, now I pardon this fault, which I shall not alwaies do. I forewarn thee, and covenant with thee; while thy Soul is in the body, the gates of mercy stand open for thee; enter in: but so soon as the soul is gone out of the body, these gates shall be close shut.

This proceeding of God is most just: For if the damned, while he lived, had asked pardon, ten, twenty, thirty thou­sand times, he might have obtained it. But when death has once bereaved us of life, it is in vaine to hope for any more pardon, help or grace.

God made this agreement with us, and added a thousand admonitions, that we should not reject grace when it was offered, nor mercy while we might find it. But we resolved to embrace neither, Grace is vanisht, Mercy neglected, we had a mind to be miserable, we were determined to perish: Therefore if we perish, we may thank our selves, we cut our own throats, and refused to be friends of God, and so by our own choice we never shall be.

Furthermore, wicked actions are di­rectly opposite to good: to those ever­lasting pain is due, to these eternal re­compence. [Page 324]For according to that Max­ime of Phylosophy, the same rule holds in contraries. The perfection of beati­tude is to be happy without end: Then the accomplishment of torments in Hell is to be miserable for eternity. Christ closes all his divine Sermons with this sentence: Matt. c. 25. And these shall go into punish­ment everlasting: but the just into life e­verlasting. For so St. Matt. testifies: And it came to pass, ch. 26. when Jesus had ended all these words. Behold, our Lord concludes his exhortations with this clause, of reward and pain everlasting: he is equal­ly just and merciful; whence he hath decreed to his friends joy, and to his enemies torment in the highest degree.

SECT. 3.

THese things I must confess, are spo­ken with much congruity. But do we yet dive to the bottome of the mat­ter in debate? For my own particular I imbrace with reverence that wise princi­ple of St. Austin: He is become worthy of eternal ill, Lib. 21 de civit. de [...]. c. 21 who destroyed in himself that good, which might have been eternal. This is the very cause of everlasting torment, the infinite malice of every mortal sin. [Page 325]For being an infinite goodness is offen­ded, the offence discovers infinite malice which was bold to violate the supream Good with such temerity.

Sr. Thomas the Prince of Divines a­voucheth, that Sin is nothing else but an ill humane act. To every mortal sin he as­cribes a twofold malice: The one, an act differing from the rule of reason: The o­ther, an injury done to God, by contem­ning him. Now this malice is no other then a voluntary aversion from God, which deserves infinite pain, because it refuseth an infinite good. Certainly eve­ry mortal sin carries with it a contempt of God, as will appear by this example.

There is a Law enacted under pain of death in a City of Italy: Let none wear Sword nor Daggar. He that knows this Law, and yet will carry Sword and Dag­gar; either contemns the Magistrate, or the Prince who made it. God in like manner has published to the world: Let none Steal, none Lye, none commit A­dultery, &c. Nevertheless, what ever the Law say, this man Steals in the sight of God, that Lyes, and the other com­mits Adultery. Is not this to contemn God? He that violates Caesars edict, sins against Caesar: and he that despiseth Di­vine [Page 326]Laws, despiseth God. This is mani­fest out of Holy Writ: The soul that shall sin, Lev. 6.1. and contemning the Lord, shall deny un­to his Neighbour the thing delivered to his custody. So in St. Austins opinion: Sin is, contemning an unchangeable Good, to adhere to things subject to change.

Hence comes to light that infinite malice of sin: For by how much the Majesty offended is greater, by so much is the offence more grievous. To affront a Noble man is grievous; to offer an a­buse to a Lord is more grievous; and more yet to injure an Earle: but much more a Prince, and most of all a King or Emperour. These degrees are observed amongst men to lay open the nature of injuries offered. What injury is it then to contemn God, who is a Law-giver of infinite Majesty?

Whence it comes to pass, that the infinite malice of one mortal sin, though in an unclean thought only, wittingly consented to, cannot be Cancelled by any humane actions what ever. For if into one Scale of Divine justice all the merits of the most glorious Virgin-Mo­ther, and all other Blessed were cast; and into the other side of the Ballance were put one only mortal sin, this would [Page 327]outweigh them all, so as for this they would never be able to make due satis­faction. It is altogether dreadful to ex­press, that all holy actions of all the just are counterpoysed by one mortal sin. This notwithstanding he will cease to admire, who knows how to frame a right estimate of God and his immense Majesty. It is an unspeakable temerity for a creature to contemn its Creatour. St. Mark testifies: ch. 3. He shall be guilty of an eternal sin.

SECT. 4.

SO great therefore, and infinite is the malice of one mortal sin, that all acts of virtue joyned together cannot coun­terballance it, unless the Soveraign judge be pleased gratiously to pardon it. In which work Gods inexplicable libe­rallity appears, who pardons one mans sin a thousand, and a thousand times; but under this condition, that he sin no more, or if he do, that he do true pen­nance before he dye: which the sinner often times disters and dyes indebted; whereby he is guilty of an eternal sin.

Admirable to the purpose speaks St Austin: When any one is put to death for [Page 328]some heinous crime, do the lawes esteem that short space of his execution a sufficient punishment, or rather his removeal for ever from the company of the living? For as the Lawes of this City cannot recal to life one that is killed: no more can he that is condemned to the second death be recal­led to eternal life. If a Magistrate take a­way from an offender a life, which he gave not; may not God with more rea­son do as much?

Seeing therefore the malice of a mor­tal sin is infinite, it deserves also infinite punishment: which forasmuch as it can­not be inflicted by way of intension (as Schools teach) it is requisite it be done by extension: that is, what sharpness of torment was not able to do, let length of time recompence. He will give fire, and worms into their flesh, Judith c. 16 ver. 21. that they may be burnt, and may feel for ever.

While we consider these things, me­thinks we should be so disposed, as they are, who being guilty of frequent rob­beries, cannot behold others executed for the same fault, as they deserve to be without sighing. It falls out some­times that a person of good repute passes by the Gallows, and secretly sobs within himself, while he ruminates these par­ticulars [Page 329]in his mind: Lo, these poor wretches which totter in the air, as a scorn to others, and to us an object of sadness, even after death pay for faults committed in their life. And what crimes they were hanged for? some of them perchance, if all their theivery were put together, have not stoln above ten or twelve shillings: Whereas thou who hast purloined some thousands of crowns, walks at thy liberty, clothed in Silk and Sattin; and art honourably treated by all, having perhaps been in­strumental in their death, which thy self deserved a hundred times more then they; who filcht away trifles, and hang for them; thou having carried away bags of Gold, and yet goest scot-free. Take heed: the Gods (said the Ancients) tread upon Wooll with a slow pace, but in the end they recompense their slow­ness with sharpness of revenge.

In this manner must we employ our thoughts, when we meditate on hell: Alas! how many mortal sins have I committed, and yet feel no smart of burning? How many fry in those flames of Hell, and must fry for ever, who are guilty of far fewer crimes then I, and perhaps had commited but one deadly [Page 330]sin? The Sun of Gods bounty yet shines upon me; they, whose sins were neither so many nor grievous, as mine, are bu­ried in eternal darkness. Take heed: Gods vengeance creeps on with a slow, but sure pace. Thou stands upon a tickle point, and dost thou not tremble? a small matter will throw thee down; al­beit thou hast kept footing long, yet a moment serves to turn up thy heels: and then whither wilt thou fall? An A­bisse and Chaos of flames will bid thee welcome. Take heed: If thou stir up a finger, thou fallest; one small Feavour, an Apoplexie, or Palsey; one slender prick with a Rapier, or Pistol-bullet will send thee packing into Eternity. If when thou fallest, thou be a friend of God, his Angels will bear thee up: If otherwise, the Devils will snatch thee away, and hell fire will give thee enter­tainment.

St. Ignatius was of opinion that per­chance many were condemned to Hell for one sole mortal sin, either of Perju­ry, desire of Revenge, some Lacivious thought, or some other way in thought, word or deed.

We may here seriously reflect, that many of the damned were men as well [Page 331]as we, and amongst those many Christi­ans, who by Sacraments and Sermons, by pious books and wholesome ad­monitions were induced to a vertuous life, which perhaps for some time they continued, even in great familiarity with God: but by degrees growing te­pid and remiss, they fell into mortal sin, and so by Gods just judgement were condemned to eternal flames.

O mortals, Set your hearts (cryes out the Prophet Aggaeus) upon your waies. c. 1. ve. 5

SECT. 5.

SIgismund the Emperour, as Aeneus Silvius relates, demanded of Theo­rick Bishop of Colen, a man of great Au­thority with Princes; By what means may that happiness be obtained, which will make a man truly happy? to whom Theodorick replyed: It is in vain to seek for that amongst men. The Emperour urged again: Which is the best way then to that Heavenly Beatitude? To whom the Bishop said: There is neither a more certain nor safe way, then an up­right intention in all our works. How, said the Emperour, must we enter into this way? Theodvrick answered: It is [Page 332]not difficult, so we be such when we are in health, as we promised to be, when we were sick. In this as well as the rest he answered prudently.

Here indeed is no true felicity, which we may seek for, but not find. Great inconstancy waits upon all our actions; all things totter, nothing is stable: all pleasure is base, when compared to a blessed Eternity. The ready way to Cae­lestial delights, is indeed a pure intenti­on in all our actions: which we then set footing on, when we perform our promises, undertaken either in eminent dangers violent diseases, or the Sacra­ment of Confession; and make that shine in our actions, which seemed specious in our expressions.

O how various and changeable are mens resolutions! Ecclesiasticus ex­claims: ch. 34 He that is washed from the dead, and toucheth him again, what doth his washing profit? He toucheth the dead af­ter washing, who itterates sin after re­pentance. Esay admonisheth: Wash you be clean. ch. 1.16. We wash us, but keep not our selves long clean. After washing he cares not for cleanness, that after pen­nance leads not an upright life. ch. 7. Ecclesi­asticus calls upon us again: Bind not toge­ther [Page 333]double sins, for neither in one shalt thou be free from punishment. ver. 15. Iterate not a word in thy speech. To iterate a word in ones speech, is after sorrow to com­mit that for which thou must greive a new. Which St. Gregory confirms in these words: He that mourns for his sins, Tom. 3. p. 3. and doth not forsake them; goes with a sad heart, but refuseth to humble it. There­fore, saith he, such as bewail their faults, and do not leave them, are to be war­ned that they weep in vain to cleanse themselves, who by wicked life defile their souls again; since they therefore wash themselves with tears, that they may return clean to their former filthi­ness. Hence it is written: A dog retur­ning to his vomit. How often I pray, Joan. c. 5. doth Christ our Lord call upon us: Be­hold thou art made whole: sin no more, lest some worse thing chance to thee. We give ear to, and after a short time sleight this admonition. Therefore St. Bernard de­livers his mind in plain terms: Lib. de anima c. 4. He is a dissembler, and no true penitent, that still doth that for which he did pennance. If therefore thou desire to become truly peni­tent, leave off sin, and offend no more. So bewail faults committed, that thou commit no more for which thou must renew thy for­row. [Page 334]For that pennance is fruitless, which is stained with subsequent offences.

SECT. 6.

VVEE are not ignorant of this truth, yea when the execution of our duty is required from us, we make fair promises, and perform nothing. Ah! how often and seriously do we engage to do great matters, but in effect pass no farther then to a bare engagement; we fall out with our former bad courses, we profess perpetual enmity with unchast familiarity, and still wallow in the same puddle of impurity; we frequently pur­pose amendment, and thats even all: we are big with mighty resolutions, and when the time comes bring forth a little Mouse, that is, a small tepid and custo­mary work.

Valerius tels us of a Mare which in that vast Army prepared by Xerxes, Lib. 1. in­stead of a Colt brought forth an Hare; to presage the event that mighty prepara­tion was like to have: for he who had covered the Sea with Ships, and the Land with Souldiers, like a fearful Hare returned back into his own Kingdome.

Such as these are our endeavours: In [Page 335]one day we resolve to become Saints, we undertake Heroick Enterprises, we broach new purposes tending to eminent sanctity, and promise to rectify out mis­demeanours: but our resolutions fall to the ground, our undertakings are bla­sted in the budd, our purposes are fru­strate of their effect, and what we pro­mised to amend works no further with us, but either to leave us as it found us, or else to let it pass from bad to worse: thus our generous Horse is Sire to a Hare, and high swoln Mountains are delivered of a Mouse. It must not be so hereafter; we must stand our ground, and what we reasonably determined, we must press forward to execution. Mens dayes are short, Job. 14.4. and the slender thread of our life is quickly broken. Our life is not unlike the Spiders Web, whose Artifice appears in the thinness of the threads, which being laid cross each other, as if they were neatly interwoven, compleat a circular net with maskes handsomely knit together, thereby to ensnare little flies, that serve to make a Feast for the Artist, as a just recompence of his la­bours. This I say, is a representation of our life, which yet some utterly dislike should be spun out with so small a [Page 336]thread, and are angry with the Poets for measuring our years by the length of the Distaffe. Nevertheless King David confirms our similitude: Psal. 89. Our years shall be considered as a Spider. Well then may the course of our life resemble the slen­der building of the Spiders Web. Mans days are short, and we go on forward in a path by which we do not return.

Mean while we draw near to eterni­ty; none of us is far distant from that pe­riod, whereto we must be brought early, or late. Who can tell, how many steps he is off from Eternity? To day per­chance, or to morrow it will entertain thee with large embracements. Where­fore then do we loyter? why do we tri­fle in a business of such consequence? Let every one save his Soul. He is wise indeed, that doth not prefer a minutes pleasure before a blessed Eternity.

CHAP. XVI. The incredible blindness of mankind, and dreadful stupidity, as well in committing sins, as in conside­ring the Eternity of Tor­ment due to them.

SECT. 1.

VVHat ever we deliver by word, or writing, whether we incul­cate the Predictions of the Prophets, or the menaces or Oracles of Christ, or the writings of the Apostles, our endeavours for the most part take small effect: we talke to the deaf, we call upon those that hear not, promises and threats are com­monly rejected with contempt. Yea al­though that most fearful noyse of Eter­nity, eternity eternity sound in our ears, we are but little moved therewith.

How often have we heard this Pro­clamation? We are the children of Holy [Page 338]ones, Job ch. 2. and look for that life, which God will give to them, that never change their Faith from him. Another life will suc­ceed this, an eternal and ever blessed life, replenisht with never ending and perpetual delight. Have patience there­fore yet a while: 2. Cor. ch. 4. Our momentary and light tribulation worketh an eternal weight of glory in us. We shall one day remem­ber with joy, what we now have diffi­culty to endure. Whatsoever sufferings therefore occur, Coll. 1.11. bear them, In all Pati­ence and longanimity, with joy giving thanks to God.

These and many other particulars are much inculcated to little purpose, whereunto scarce any other answer is returned, Es. c. 28. but that of the Jews: Com­mand, recommand; command recom­mand, expect, re-expect; expect, re-ex­pect: What ever befals us hereafter, we will glut our Eyes and Hands with things present, pleasure draws us too and fro, in which tis hard to observe a mean. Our appetite must be satisfied, though it cost us never so dear. God is good and merciful, who will easily par­don such as offend him.

With these charms they strive to stop your mouth: but, O miserable, and [Page 339]blind mortals! do you not know these pleasures, you thirst after, are forbid­den? doth not your own Conscience Preach this Doctrine to you? doth not reason disswade you? do not Gods Laws command the contrary? Tell me, I pray, do you not beleive all the plea­sure this world affords, how lasting soe­ver it be, lasts but a moment, withers in a trice, and ends in eternal sorrow? All Eternity of this world compared to true Eternity is but a minute, a point, and less then nothing. But do you consider, or give credit to these things? If you will be known by the name of Christi­ans, you must both think on and beleive them. If you acknowledge mans con­dition to be such, that we are unmindful of eternal, and eagerly pursue things present; which is the cause why you have so many scars, are so grievously wounded, and drowned in the sink of Vice. I shall own your Confession as good, in case it be accompanied with a­mendment of life.

SECT. 2.

GIve me leave to propose yet ano­ther question: Do you beleive these Vices which are so familiar with you, are punisht eternally by God? We do beleive it, say they. Why then are you both so forgetful and bold, as to tread under foot so confidently the laws of God? insomuch as neither fear of chastisement, nor dread of hell, nor hor­rour of everlasting fire, nor love of Hea­ven, are able to restrain you from sin. From want of this fear proceeds your debaucht life, your impatience in adver­sity, your forgetfulness of Hell in pros­perity, and that multitude of vices which ensnare you. Indeed Eternity hath no place in your thoughts, which though you beleive, you do not consider it with attention. Jeremy ch. 12. There is none that considereth in the heart.

Eternity is frequently in our mouth, seldome in our heart. Admonitions concerning Eternity knock at our Ears, but are not admitted to enter. Scarce any one weighs attentively the Secrets of eternity. Now and then perchance we have some thoughts of those endless [Page 341]windings of eternity, but they quick­ly vanish: we sometimes read what o­thers have written of eternity, but we soon forget it: we hear in Sermons of that bottomless Gulf of Eternity, but even that too, stayes not long with us: a croud of other thoughts stifle in our minds those wholesome considerations. So eternity ere it be well entred into our souls, is overwhelmed with pernicio [...] desires: whence all the blandishments of our former impurities creep into our hearts, and nestle there, as before. Thus our Faith which we boast of, is a drowsy or indeed a dead faith.

Michael Mercatus the elder (as Baro­nius relates from persons of undoubt­ed credit) entered into a league of inti­mate friendship with Marsilius Ficinus, Tom. 5. anno 411. a man of an excellent capacity; this tye was faster knit together by their joynt applycation to the study of Phylosophy. Both of them were well read in Plato. Whence it came to pass, that they en­gaged in a dispute amongst themselves, what was the state of man after death? whither his soul went? what semblance belonged to matters in the next world? All which they resolved first to deduce but of Plato's principles, and afterwards [Page 342]to establish according to the tenets of Christianity. When they had long de­bated the business, they came at length to this agreement, that they should shake hands and promise each other, that whe­ther dyed first, should (if God were so pleased) faithfully inform the surviver how the case stood in the next life. This was their covenant, to which they mu­tually consented and confirmed it by Oath. In process of time they were so parted, as that they setled their habita­tion in different Cities. Which done, Michael Mercatus being early one mor­ning busiy at his study of Philosophy, he heard a horseman in the next street posting amain towards his Gates, and Marsilius his voice calling aloud: He meanes things touch­ing the immor­tality of the soul O Michael, Michael, those things are true they are true indeed, they are most true. Michael acquainted with the voice of his familier friend left his books, ran to the window, looked forth, and saw Marsili­us his back, riding on a white horse, and now almost out of sight at a turning: whom he pursued with a nimble voice, and called Marsilius, Marsilius: but the rider in white admitting no delay, was presently out of sight. Mercatus astonisht with this unexpected apparition, was [Page 343]solicitous to know, what was become of his Marsilius. After a while he under­stood Marsilius was dead at Florence that very hour, wherein he both heard and saw him at his own house. From that time forward Mercatus, though other­wise a man of an upright life, and appro­ved integrity, took his leave of Philoso­phy and resolved to adhere more exactly to the principles of a better Philosophy taught Christian Religion. Where­upon being dead to himself and the world, be bestowed the remainder of his life upon things to come, and medi­tated every day upon eternity.

SECT. 3.

AN attentive meditation on eterni­ty, is the beginning of a better life. Vertue is commended but coldly where love of eternal life is wanting. The road is smooth and easy to hell, when the mind is not dayly employed with the consideration of a blessed, or damned e­ternity.

These things we both know and be­leive, and yet we loyter, and neglect our chiefest good. Tis true, you may hear some say; O Eternity! But in the [Page 344]interim they cheerfully lay fast hold on a full cup, and carouse so long, till the liquor damm at the top of their throat Now and then with a deep sigh we breath out Eternity, and in the mean while our heart swimms in impure and lacivious thoughts; it digests secret lust, and by hidden contrivances steals away it self from God. We run in quest after the treasures of Heaven, but cease not to smile upon money, which is the scum of the earth, and privately offer sacrifice to Mammon. We make a shew, as if we were afraid of flames eternal, and yet hold on to kindle in our own bosoms the coals of wrath and envy. We gree­dily expect everlasting repose, but still continue our sloathful courses; as if we meant to make a business of idleness, and when industry is required to falter in the very onset.

O we men, who do not offer violence to Heaven! But rather, O we blind men, who choose rather to erre in the broad and smooth way, then to go right in the rough and narrow!

Christ and his Saints call upon us: Strive to enter by the narrow gate, Luke. ch. 13. strive, strive, Because many shall seek to enter, and shall not be able, Make hast, run, we [Page 345]must cope with difficulties, if we will overcome. Strive. But God knows, we neither run, nor hasten our pace, nor strive at all: we yawn and gape, and like unto Camels and Lyons go slowly after, step by step. And God grant we go af­ter, and do not rather stand still!

Our resolutions and purposes are like to the feeble endeavours of one Sick: who now and then raiseth himself up, crawls off his bed, and attempting to go, points his foot to the ground, and strives to walk; but by and by for want of strength falls upon his bed again: his Thighes and Legs are far too weak to bear the weight of his body: he would fain take a turn but is not able. Not much unlike are our endeavours; we design great matters, we attempt many things, we resolve to become Saints, we seem to have a will to do gallantly. But these attempts are frivelous without strength, we want alacrity of spirit, we languish in all our actions. Whence we willingly slide back into our former vi­ces, which we only intermitted for a time; but did not quite abandon. Thus we fall down again upon our bed, which we were about to leave, and are over­whelmed with our old Lethargy.

We read over the Legends of Saints, and extol them; but follow them not, nor imitate them at all. We honour vertue with specious titles, but express it not in our actions: we gape after a blessed Eternity but shun with all wa­riness the troublesome way which leads us to it.

After Prayers are ended, and the Ser­mon is past, we pack home, sit down to table, and within a short space renew our old customs. It is our fashion, to go to Church, to hear a Sermon, to fetch now and then a sigh, which may manifest we are fallen out with our sins, and are an­gry with our selves for sining. But how long I pray is this fashion in request? Almost in the turning of your hand all our former Sanctity is joyfully buried in oblivion. We do something tis true; but that with extream tepidity: and so what we do is either worth nothing, or very imperfect.

Whence it falls out, that after six hundred Sermons we are no better, then before: we swear as we did, we are as impatient as ever, Lust, Envy and wrath have as much power over us, as former­ly. The wings of our Pride are nothing clipt, we are big swoln with the same a­varice, [Page 347]and gluttony domineers as it was wont to do: our old sloth still keeps us under, we defile our Souls with our ac­customed stains, & weare without chang­ing the ragged cloathes of our bad ha­bits.

O strange blindness of mankind, which with an Ocean of tears may not be sufficiently deplored! the Pulpit in every Church rings with Eternity, Eter­nity, Eternity: and yet we are drawn away with pleasures present, such a de­sire we have of our own Perdition.

SECT. 4.

MUch after the same manner as we hear Sermons and neglect them, which come in at one ear, and pass out at the other; so we run over spiritual books, from which we draw no profit, but presently forget what we read: Out of sight out of mind. Inculcate Eterni­ty as often as you will, we are resolved to spin out the thread we have begun: we approve of good things, but follow worser; we put on Piety, and quickly throw it off again; as if we were still minded to stick in the same mud.

O Christians Look up, Lu. 2.21 and lift up your [Page 348]heads and hearts: because your re­demption is at hand: Fix your eyes and hearts in Heaven. Do all things fall out cross and trouble you? it will not al­waies be so, Heaven promiseth you something better, which a little pati­ence will put you in possession of. Do matters go well on with you, doth all succeed to your mind? Put no confi­dence in that success, nothing is perma­nent in this world: all things ebb and flow in their several seasons. Eternity still remains the same, it is only Eterni­ty which admits no change.

These things we deliver by word and writing, these things we represent unto you with variety of Pictures. But who gives them leave to take impression in his heart? Who understands these points aright? Who groundedly strives to beleive them? O therefore once a­gain blind mortals, who then act most carelesly, when the great business of E­ternity is in agitation, when our eter­nal welfare lies at stake. Conc. 3. Dom. 2. advent.

Lewis of Granada, famous for Lear­ning and Religion, gives an account of one who appeared again after death to a friend of his in this life, and discovered unto him this stupendious blindness of [Page 349]mankind. Two intimate friends, quoth he, there were; you may call one of them Theseus, the other Pirithous, which were almost as one Soul in two Bodies. Both of them lead an upright life; both loved each other so tenderly, and were so agreed amongst themselves, as that they desired nothing more then to dy together. But Death crost their agreement, and dissolved their amity, by dispatching one out of this life before the other. However all their familiari­ty could not be extinct by death: For not long after they were parted, he that was dead appeared to his surviveing friend, both in habit and countenance composed to sadness, as if he meant he should ask him some question. At first the living man was almost dead with fear, to see his friend so unexpectedly present in so doleful a posture: But af­ter a while taking courage, he deman­ded, if his portion were among the blessed, or how matters stood with him? In answer to which demands the dead man fetching a deep sigh, repeared thrice in a distinct but mournful tone, these words: No one beleives no one beleives, no one beleives. The other with trembling asked again, what that [Page 350]was, which no one beleives? No one, said the dead man, beleives how exactly God calls men to an account, how ri­gorously he judges, how severely he punnishes. After which words he dis­appeared, leaving the other surprized with horrour, and ruminating with him­self in silence the whole passage.

SECT. 5.

O words most true, No one beleives, now accurate every way are the judgements of God, and how severe his punishments! these particulars are fre­quently delivered in Sermons, that of St. Iohn is often inculcated: Do pennance: for now the Ax is put to the root of the trees. Matt. c. 3. And no one beleives. In books and loose Papers frequent mention is made of eternal mourning, and pains e­ternal: And yet no one beleives. Joyes everlasting, delights without end, per­petual pleasures of Paradise are much treated of, and no one beleives. We are often told, we must use violence in the conquest of Heaven, and no one (God wot) no one beleives; or so few, that Christ hath said: Matt. 7. And few there are that find it.

Our Faith wherewith we beleive Heaven, is a drowsy and dull Faith: whence it comes, that Heroick acts, and generous attempts are so seldome heard of. From the same root also sprung that Religious Oracle: Tho. de Kempis Lib. 3. ch. 3. The world promiseth temporal and small things, and is served with great diligence: Christ promiseth most high and eternal things, and the hearts of men are nothing moved with it. A thing of small value is sought after greedily: for a penny sometimes there is foul contention: for a vain thing and slight promise, men cease not to toyl day and night: Who is so vigorous and active in persuit of Heaven? How many are not sensible of their watching all night, when they are Gameing, Dancing or Carou­sing? Who watches so cheerfully for the service of Christ, for Heaven, for e­verlasting reward? We may repeat a thousand times: And no one beleives. Now where Faith is lively, and appre­hends the immense joyes of Heaven, as well as the endless torments in Hell, there is a new course of life, and a speci­al reformation of our manners: We thirst not after base and fading delights, we esteem labour for God at a high rate, as also suffering sweet and pleasing.

Francis Borgia Duke of Gandia being brought low by a hot Feavour, learned this lesson, that in humane affairs there was nothing permanent, nothing perpe­tual. Another time when this Feaver was so rageing, that his marrow seemed to boyl within the bones, this pious thought possest his mind: What flames scorch them, who for their crimes su­stain eternal torments? This thought was of singular use to him all the rest of his life. A thought indeed most profita­ble, whether we be opprest with Sick­ness, or environed with other calami­ties: since, what is burdensome to the body; serves to instruct the Soul.

He walks through pleasant fields to Prison, Serm. de pri­mordiis & no­vissimis nostrss. who goes on through prosperity in this life to perdition. And truly it is a dangerous vanity to wish long life, with­out thinking which way to live better. Hearken what St. Bernard whispers in your ear: Consider whence thou camest, and blush; consider where thou art, and sigh; consider whither thou goest and trem­ble. Affected blindness, which involves many, will excuse none. We were war­ned long agoe, the gate is narrow, and the way streit, which leads to life.

The ready way to Hell is by Luxury [Page 353]and sensual pleasure: If thou once be­gin to walk this path, thy journey will be so quickly over had, as if thou didst not go, but run, and fly thither. This made that Learned and Holy man, Sir Thomas More affirm what he left written in these verses:

He that the ready way to Hell would know'
Let him in Baths, in Wine, and Venus flow.

These things have been so often in­culcated unto us, that we almost loath to hear them any more: Yea and what is yet worst of all, we value more a mer­ry moment of brutish delight, then the chast fruition of eternal joyes: Whence we make it appear we have an earnest desire of our own destruction. Wherefore we are constrained again and again to say, And no one beleives.

CHAP. XVII. An Abridgement and Conclusion of what was treated before.

TIs certain no mans tongue is able, though after an unpolisht strain to set forth the pains of Hell, much less to declare them eaxactly, or in their pro­per colours. Admonitions in this mat­ter pass from the lips to the ears, but for the most part touch not the Soul to the quick.

Exceeding great is the difference be­tween a real and painted fire, which ne­vertheless appear sometimes much alike: but our pains when compared with those of the damned, Good Lord! how unlike are they? since betwixt a thing finite and infinite there is no proportion.

Tis likewise certain, which many Christians say, they do not seriously be­leive [Page 355]the guilty are punished in Hell, o­therwise they would certainly lead ano­ther life. The saying of our lord points out this truth: The Son of man coming, Lu [...] shall he find, trow you, Faith in the earth? It may be as truly affirmed of others, that either never, or seldome do they think on the pains of Hell; and when they do lend a thought to this matter, they do not stay upon, nor attentively consider, or imprint these sad passages in their imagination: but if it chance they fix their cogitations upon this subject, that wholesome flame is quickly extin­guished with a world of cares, and worldly business; and so both Deaf and Dumb they go down into Hell: For all that go thither are Deaf and Dumb, like that Citizen of Jerusalem, who murthe­red Lazarus, and who then begun to o­pen his eyes, when he was arrived at his journeys end. But now to summe up what we treated at large, in those nine­fold torments of that doleful eternity; we judge it fit to renew the memory of each one in particular.

The first Torment is Darkness.

THe Royal Prophet saith: Psal. 18 Day unto day uttereth word: and night unto night sheweth knowledge. Who is able now to perswade the wicked, that they go astray and commit wickedness? The best of their time they spend in Toyes and Fooleries, which yet they will not be perswaded till they meet with that darksome and eternal night in Hell, Night unto night sheweth knowledge. Even as the day of everlasting happiness will manifest to the blessed, how seasonably they imployed their daies in works of Piety; so that dreadful night will disco­ver night eternal, which the impious spend in their impieties, and must ere long be buried in perpetual darkness.

O night! O darkness! wherein the curr of Conscience barks, the favour of men sleeps, all pleasure is exil'd, no glit­ter of Gold nor Silver dazles the eyes, Friends are silent, Physitians are absent, Shades terrify, Flames environ, Eterni­ty holds fast what she hath gotten. O night! O darkness!

Please to look upon two wealthy Marchants sitting up till late in the night [Page 357]at the Chess-play: Lo here is the Table, whereon stands the King and Queen, two Bishops, two Knights, two Rooks and eight Pawns on a side, which dou­bled make up an Army of two and thirty men; and so each man hath sixteen in Battel Array. Upon the board is placed a burning Taper to give light to the Combate: the sport goes merrily on, the Gamesters grow warm with study, and in fine almost all their Gold is layd down to make good the stake. One of them after a long contest, wins the game, and carries away the Goal: lea­ving the loser to fret and chafe, who ut­ters his discontent in this manner: O unhappy Fortune! O base Villains! How shall I recover my Gold again? In this humor he goes home, venting his spleen with furious complaints, he dis­quiets his whole Family, miscals his Servants, and turns all topsy turvy: Thus he wasts the night, and after the loss of his money, scarcely retains his Wits.

This Chest-table decyphers mans life, which doth not want the light of reason; the different Chest-men repre­sent the diversity of States and Quali­ties amongst mortals: Some are Kings and Queens, some Peers and Nobles, [Page 358]some Country and City Peasants, who for Dignities and Riches are much un­equal amongst themselves. He that is skilful carries away the Victory, and leaves the ignorant in the Lurch. After­wards ensues a perpetual night, a night enveloped in horrid darkness and eter­nal despair. They shall not see light for ever. O dismal night! O disconsolate darkness.

The second Torment is Weeping.

THe Angel as an Herauld from Hea­ven, Apo. 18. long since denounced: As much as she hath glorified her self, and hath been in delecacies; so much give her torment and mourning. Hell is a place allotted for lamentation: where they weep without shedding a tear, or dimi­nishing their grief with weeping.

O mortals, why do we bewail the loss of money, the death of friends, or the troublesomness of the times? These Tears are in vain: these accidents hurt none, but such as hurt themselves by their own crimes. Luk. 23. Weep not upon me said our Saviour, but weep upon your selves. Tis a matter worthy of lamentation, to be cast for ever from the Face of God; this no Sea of Tears may sufficiently be­wail.

If you consider all the Prophets, and their Predictions; they commonly de­nounce great miseries, they foretel great calamities. But by and by they turn o­ver the leaf, and seem to say, all dama­ges are repaired, all things are in a good condition. Hence are those words of comfort: The Hills shall flow with Milk and Honey. And these likewise: The threshing of your Harvest shall reach unto Vintage, Lev. 26. and the Vintage shall reach unto sowing time: and you shall eat the bread to your fill. Thus storms and fair weather succeed each other: The rea­son is manifest. There is no wound in this world so uncurable, whereunto God cannot lay a Playster; no evil so great, which may not have a remedy. Tobias was poor and blind, but continu­ing in patience was cured with a fishes Gall; Naaman was a Leaper, but was wealthy and healed with the water of Iordan. Thessaly abounds with Poyson, but is not destitute of Antidotes; The Philippine Islands bring forth no Vines, but Palmes which store them with a li­quor more pretious then Wine: Italy is bare of Woods, but enjoyes a milder Winter, and great variety of fruits.

So God substituted Christ instead of [Page 360] Adam, the Blessed Virgin for Eve grace was provided to take away sin, o­bedience satisfied for transgression, and life is a comfort against death. No sore can here be found without a cure, no malady without a remedy. But in that doleful Eternity all calamities want re­leif; there be many Vlcers, but no salve; there is the worst of evils, and that eter­nal, without the least mitigation.

M. Marcellus, at the taking of that flourishing City of Siracusa, wept for compassion. The Damned may weep tears of blood, when they behold them­selves in thraldome for all Eternity: this this were just cause of such tears, if they were available. There shall be wee­ping without the least mixture of conso­lation.

The third Torment is Hunger

THe wicked here feasted too magni­ficently at dinner, wherefore they must now sit down with a short supper. they did not restrain their immoderate appetite to meat and drink, whereupon they became guilty of many sins by Gluttony, as of Drunkenness, and all that train of vices which attend it. They [Page 361]did not eat to live, but live to eat: their mind lived amongst their dishes, since they regulated their lives by the rules of Cookery. Of these St. Tom. 10 serm. 63 Austin speaks plainly: Seeing they should eat to live, they think they should live to eat: but e­very wise man blames such Gluttons, Drunkards, and Gurmandisers, and espe­cially Holy Writ reproves them, whose belly is their God. These people come not to meat for want of food, but to please their Palate: and so become slaves to meat and drink. What men are these, who place their happiness in their Table, as Beasts do in their Manger? They did eat, drink, and vomit; but now they hunger, thirst, and suffer for their Gluttony, without the least mitigation of either hunger or thirst. The Famine of Sama­ria, or saguntum would be esteemed as dainties in hell, where their famine is more cruel and rageing: where a drop of water is as eagerly begged, as justly denied. Thus gluttony is chastised, thus a small delight in eating is punisht with pains everlasting.

Albidius, a Prodigal young man, af­ter he had consumed his inheritance in gluttony, returned home in despair. Whom Cato espying, said: O what a [Page 362]Religious yongster are you, that with such liberality offer sacrifice to Proter­via! It was the custome in sacrificing to Protervia, that what was not wasted in feasting, should be devoured by Vul­can or consumed by fire.

So many as are condemned to Hell, have indeed sacrificed to folly, by lavi­shing most shamefully their Patrimony, by contemning the Law of God, and ri­otously glutting themselves with Fea­sting. Wherefore now both they and their habitations burn, and must burn e­ternally.

Of whose miserable condition thus speaks St. [...]pra Austin: There is no voice but groaning, no rest but fire without ceasing: there is no refreshment in that flame but continual burning of perpetual fire. They shall never see light, nor want darkness: they shall have no remembrance of good, who are possest with forgetfulness of God. Their food is their torment, their abode is not Abrahams bosome, but Satans Den. Amend thy life, while it is in thy power; call upon God, ere it be too late: mourn, while mourning is available, and do not differ to do true pennance.

The fourth Torment is Stench.

TO the end the whole man may be chastised with all sorts of pain, the nostrils shall be filled with most pesti­lent stink. Poverty and needy persons are exceeding noysome to some mens smelling: others, when they meet with Perfumes, wish with Catullus they were all nose. O that these nicelings would consider, what kind of odours are burn­ing in Hell!

What wonder I pray, if that loath­some prison be replenisht with stink? it is a stable for Kids and Goats: for so they are called by the Soveraign Judge: Matt. 25 He shall set the sheep at his right hand, but the Goats at his left. These creatures have a scent neither of Fish nor Flowers: they are fitter for a sty, or Augias Stable, and as Goats and Swine are banisht from the delights of Heaven. Apo. 21. Into that seat of the blessed, shall not enter any polluted thing, nor that doth abomination. That herd of Goats shall then be of more loathsome scent, the more immoderate­ly they have here sought after Per­fumes.

Some of your odoriferous smells are [Page 364]incentives to Gluttony, some to Lust: and certainly an eager desire of them is an argument of incontinency. But to make short, this kind of allurements, which are perceived by the ears, eyes, and nostrils, are either marks of Levity or Lasciviousness. To become a slave to sensual delight above measure, is no less then vanity, or impurity.

Perfumes and pretious Oyntments have been prejudicial and destructive to many. Muleasses King of Tuny's faught against his Son Amida for the recovery of his Kingdome, but being worsted in the encounter, and seeking by flight to save himself, all besmeared with blood and dust was discovered by his persumes and brought into Captivity: where his son with a hot penknife cut out both the Apples of his Eyes and blinded him.

A young Gallant richly annoynted, went to render thanks to Vespatian the Emperour for a curtesy he had lately done him. But the Emperour being sensible of the sweet scent he breathed, began to be angry, and frowning on him spoke sharply, saying: I would rather thou hadst stunk of Garlick. Thus Caesar recalled his grant, and the Gallant after a sound check was cashiered of his pre­tended Honour.

C. Plotinus Plancus being sent into banishment, and for fear of death lying privately at Salernum, was betrayed by his costly odours; and so lost his life, and furnisht his adversaries with an ex­cuse for their cruel proceeding. So true it is, that perfumes are disgraceful and dangerous.

Here by the way we may please to observe, that many things which we be­leive to be mere trifles, are lookt upon by God with a rigorous eye. ch. 3.24 Therefore as Esay foretold. For sweet savour there shall be stink. Forget not I pray this ad­monition of the Prophet Micheas; I will shew thee O man, what is good, ch. 6.8. And what our Lord requireth of thee: verily to do judgement, and to love mercy, and to walk solicitous with thy God.

The fifth Torment is fire.

OF this fire admirably speaks Isido­rus Pelusiota: Epist. 47 You may be pleased to take notice, my friend, that none can lye hid from that All-seeing and watchful eye, no, not in the most secret retreat if you do any thing amiss: For all things are naked and open to him, though they seem to be never so private, and out of sight. Where­fore [Page 366]such as sin, and do not true pen­nance, shall be plunged in certain perpetu­al floods, boyling with dreadful fire; whose streams are no other then flames prepared for torment. Let us therefore fear the Majesty of God.

This fire alas! may not with any re­volution of years, nor as St. Gregory Na­zianzen speaks, with any numberless number of ages be extinguisht. What way soever you turn, all is Fire, Pitch, Brimstone, Anger, and Wrath of our Lord. Where you may note amongst our fires a main difference; that of the Thun­derbolt being more active, then our usu­al fire; and that eternal, devouring fire of hell more powerful then either. Now let me demand with Esay: c. 33.14 Which of you can dwell with devouring fire? which of you shall dwell with everlasting heats?

What fiery Salt-Sea, though it be hot night and day, yet in the year it hath its intermission from heat several dayes, when it remains quiet and free from burning, In Hell after an hundred, a thousand, yea ten thousand years are past, Tom. 9. trac. 5. de met. not one day nor minute of respite will be allowed. He, saith St. Austin, who hath, a sound consideration, and be­leives what God hath revealed, fears more [Page 367]eternal fire, then the Sword of any Tyrant, though never so barbarous: He dreads more perpetual death, then any death here whatever.

How many houres then, how many moneths or years must those Traitours to God abide in that fire? Neither hours dayes, nor years may be numbred: the hours shall be eternal, the dayes and moneth eternal, the years and fire shall be eternal. Why will God reject for ever? Psa. 76. He will reject for ever: The triumpher in Israel will not spare, 1. Kings 15.29. and he will not be turned with repentance. He that is afraid of these things (saith St. Bernard) be­wares of them, he that sleights them slips into them. The like advice is instilled by Climacus: Let the memory of eternal fire sleep with thee every night. Grad. 7.

The sixth Torment is the Worm of Con­science.

A Guilty Conscience though but for a day, good Lord! what a punish­ment is it? What then will it be when it lasts for ever? The conscience of the damned is throughly wounded, which makes it ever afflicted, alwaies in despair without comfort. Pathetically writes [Page 368]St. Lib. 5. de Isid. ch. 12. Bernard of this point: Amongst so great a multitude of spectators, no ones eye will be more troublesome, then every ones to himself. There is no sight either in Heaven or Earth, which the dark some conscience would rather avoid, but cannot. Darkness is not covered from its self; it beholds it self, that can discover nothing else. The works of darkness follow them, they can hide themselves no where from darkness, no not in darkness it self. This is the worm that dyeth not, the remem­brance of things past; which being once cast into, or rather bred in the soul by sin, sticks so fast, that henceforth it can never be pluckt away. It doth not cease to gnaw the conscience, wherewith being fed, as with inconsumptive food, it preserves its life perpetually. Here the truth of those words will experimentally appear: I will reprove thee, and set it against thy face.

In Hell are no Clocks, Psal. 49 nor Stars to guide Clocks by, no Almanacks, nor Kalendars; no means there to know any difference of times. Ecclesiastes affirms; Neither work, nor reason, nor wisdome, nor knowledge shall be in Hell, ch. 9. ver. 10. whither thou dost hasten. Here only the Clock of Conscience is heard, but much out of order.

It is irksome to one that is sick, and cannot sleep, to hear no Clock, nor to be able to know how the time passeth. Hence one quarter seems as long as an hour, and an hour as long as a whole night: and yet after six or seven hours are gone, the little birds with chirping melody, welcome in the morning; the Sun by degrees rises out of his dayly tomb, the feaverish heat remits, and a gentle slumber seises on the temples: all things that by approaching night grew worse, by this time are become more mild: Anon some will come in to ask how the sick man doth, and will not on­ly cheer him up with comfortable words, but also with other necessaries. Nothing of all these O my God! is to be found in Hell; no Day, no Sun, no Dew, no Morning, no Birds, but Devils, no refreshment, not so much as a drop of water: there is perpetual darkness, everlasting dolours, and butchery of Conscience without end.

Amongst a hundred thousand men you shall scarce find one, who seriously endeavours to dive into these matters, or frequently ruminates them in his mind. Our life would be far otherwise, our manners would be reformed, if our [Page 370]thoughts were other then they use to be. Whence it comes, that our Conscience which was strook deaf with vices, re­ceives its hearing in torments; so much more sharply now is it afflicted and des­perate, by how much ere while it was lulled a sleep in a drowsy security. St. Austins assertion is true: In Hell there shall be pennance, but too late. Their worm shall never dye.

The seventh Torment is the company and place.

A convenient house with ill neigh­bours, is a great inconvenience: but an inconvenient house with most wicked neighbours, is the worst of in­conveniences. This kind of habitation is in Hell: Psal. 48. Their Sepulchres are their house for ever. The Damned shall burn as if they were shut up in Sepulchres: which are houses very incommodious, but they are debarred from hiering any other. Besides their neighbours are the worst imaginable, such as would make even Heaven infamous and hareful, a croud of damned men and Devils. O what neighbours are these! Take our lords sentence of them: It were good [Page 371]for those men, if they never had bin born: It were good for those spirits if they ne­ver had been created. Look upon dam­ned men: As sheep they are put in Hell: Psa. 48. death shall feed upon them. But how are they now become sheep? were they not while they lived, Tigers Swine, Vul­tures, Wolves, Lions? They were in­deed, but the vengeance of God hath made them sheep, and so tamed them, that they cannot withstand any punish­ment inflicted on them: Death shall feed upon them. For as sheep feed up­on grass, without plucking up the roots; and clip it so, as they leave the root en­tire, to spring again, that it may be cropt again; so doth death feed upon those captives in hell: It bereaves them not of life, that they may be kept alive to be perpetually slaughtered. This is the se­cond death, which ever lives; whereof St. Austin makes this discourse: Lib. 91. de civit. ch. 28. The misery of those which do not belong to this City, shall be perpetual, which is called the second death: because the soul there cannot be said to live, as being estranged from the life of God; nor the body, which shall groan under the weight of eternal tor­ments. Wherefore this second death will be worse then death, because it can never [Page 372]have and end by death. There pain conti­nues, that it may afflict; and nature is maintained in being, that it may be sensi­ble of affliction: both which are preserved without decaying, least punishment should decay.

Here I am almost in a mind to imi­tate Solon, who carried a mournful Citi­zen to the top of an high Tower, whence he commanded him to look over all the buildings of the City underneath, say­ing: think with your self how much grief hath heretofore been in these houses, how much is at this present, and will be hereafter, and then cease to bewail the misery of mortals, as if they were your own. The like in some measure may I say: Behold O mortals, and consider that dreadful den of sorrow in hell; O how much wailing is contained in those Caverns of Eternity! what a mass of ca­lamities will be there after infinite ages are past! Cease therefore to deplore your flea-bitings, as if they were unsup­portable evils. Here indeed is a recep­tacle of all miseries; a forge of lamenta­tion. Who ever thou be, which travel­lest yet upon the way; take heed thou so order thy journey, that this place of torments serve thee not for a perpetual Inn.

The Eighth Torment is Despair.

THis world we live in is replenisht with many afflictions, yet in pro­cess of time all of them meet with an end. Such as are opprest with poverty, I see find an end of it: such as are asper­sed with slanders, are cleared of them in the end: such as are sick, are in the end delivered of their malady. On this side I behold stripes, racks, and other engines prepared to torture: on that, blood­thirsty enemies, proud Citizens, gripe­ing Landlords; but I likewise behold the stroke of death brings all those to nothing, and frees these from barbarous usage.

But in those fiery Gulfs where Devils abide, I contemplate many horrid and unexplicable torments; yet I cannot e­spy any end of them, no, there is no end at all to be found. Death is the best in­vention of nature, death ends all, it re­lieves some, by others it is desired, and deserves better of none, then of those to whom it comes before it be sent for. Death sets slaves at liberty, even against their masters will, death unchains Cap­tives, and looses Prisoners: death is a [Page 374]present remedy against all injuries of this life. But alas! there is none of this in hell. I take a view of all their lurking holes, yet can espy no death at all: un­less it be that living death; which in­cessantly renews its own pangs. As in hell there is no end of sorrow, so is there none of dying. The Damned them­selves as Dionisius notes, cast up their own reckoning: Corth. in spe­culo a­mato­rum mundi. After ten thousand years are gone, an hundred thousand more will come; and after them as many millions as there are Sands in the Sea, or stars in the Firmament. And when those long revo­lutions of ages are over, as if we had suffe­red nothing at all, we shall begin to suffer a new: so without ceasing, end, or measure the wheel of our torments will be perpetu­ally rowled about.

Hence will ensue most piercing de­spair, to the most cruel torture both of Memory, Understanding and Will. What ever their memory represents un­to them, will afflict them; what ever their understanding thinks on, will re­dound to their torment; their very will will be astonisht at its own obstinacy, for it can never will what God wills; and so shall ever find within it self a tor­ture of its own malice. How dreadful a [Page 375]thing is it to know for certain, they shall have God for their eternal foe, they shall never escape his severe hand, they shall for ever be trampled under his feet! Hence will arise in them a continual and most desperate fury, and an implacable hatred of God. Job. 20. All grief will rush in up­on them. All evil will be thrown upon their guilty heads.

O ye wretched new inhabitants of the night, your delights are gone, and to speak with St Iohn Apostle; Apo. 18. The Apples of the desire of your Soul are departed from you and all fat and goodly things are peri­shed from you. Now only despair is left, all hope is quite vanisht away. You shall call upon death, and it will not come: you are now entred that Dunge­on, whence no death will ever set you free. You have now nothing left you but only despair. You may remember how greedily like Bears, you sought af­ter the honey of pleasure: the honey is past, but the Bees sting remains with you, and will do for eternity: so as now you have nothing left but despair. This it was you looked for, after an hundred, a thousand admonitions to the contrary: you have found what you looked for, keep it with you. The worst of evils is despair

The ninth Torment is Eternity.

LEt all Angels make use of their tongues, and they shall never suffi­ciently declare that eternity of torments in Hell, For what I pray is Hell? An extream, an everlasting torment without intermission. The eight foregoing pains, albeit most grievous, yet would they be very tollerable, if they were but to be endured for many thousands of years. But in regard they are eternal, out alas! they are unexplicable, and thereby be­come more unsufferable, although they must be for ever suffered. Adam [...]asbant Dom. 1. quadra. I consider, saies an ancient Divine, a thousand years, I consider a thousand thousand, I consider so many thousand years as torments, or Mi­nutes have passed from the worlds Creation to its consummation, and yet I have no­thing of eternity. They shall labour for e­ver, and shall live yet unto the end.

This eternity of pains is a singular tor­ment: Psal. 48. For the damned do not only en­dure their present torture, but since they are certain of its perpetual continuance, they undergoe in a manner the im­mense and inestimable burden of Eter­nity over and over; yea they suffer now, [Page 377]what they must for all eternity endure.

For this reason many Saints condem­ned themselves to austerity of life, while they lived, that they might escape that eternity of pains. The meditation of eternity intoxicates like new Wine. Most Saints have done through the con­sideration of eternity, what others might censure, as mad pranks of men in drink. Some perchance might say of them: That these are full of new Wine. Acts 2. They were so indeed, but it was of that wine which they drew out of the Cellar of e­ternity. How many of them retired in­to the desart, how many rowled their bodies on brambles and thorns, how many leaped into Frozen Lakes, how many tumbled their naked bodies in Snow, how many had the courage to jump into flames of fire, that they might eschew sin, the seminary of a doleful e­ternity? It was the joynt desire of them all: Let rottenness enter in my bones, Hab. c. 3 and swarm under me, that I may rest in the day of tribulation. And to say the truth, it is better to dye a thousand times, it is better to be slaughtered a thousand and a thousand times more, then to become a prey to eternal death. He must either be a bruite or a stone, whom Eternity [Page 378]doth not reclaim from his bad courses.

Some years ago in Flanders, Bretran­dus son to Cornelius, was a yong man so violent troublesome, vitious and addi­cted to quarrelling that all the City o­ver he was called, The King of Turmoyls; besides he was much given to drinking matches, Gameing and dancing. One night next before Ash-wednesday, while he was Feasting, Dancing and Reveling, God touched him to the quick with a glimpse of eternity, whereat he with­drew himself from company under pre­tence to take fresh air. By and by his comerades look after him, and find him pensive, and absorpt with other thoughts. They besought him courte­ously he would cast away care and return to the dancing; or if he would rather to engage in carousing some new healths, he had now taken fresh air enough. Not­withstanding his thoughts are now so far embarked in the consideration of Death, Judgement and Eternity; that albeit in the begining they conceived he was but in jest, yet so soon as they per­ceived he was in good earnest, and heard him discourse with much resolution, they were exceedingly amazed. In fine he concluded his discourse with these [Page 379]words: I am determined my companions, henceforth to become another man, to abstain from these toyes, to reform my misdemea­nours, and to live like a Christian. And truly if I be wise hereafter I must let pass no oc­casion, that may conduce to save my soul. In my opinion it is not too late to do well; though I am very sorry I began no sooner, being I am now fully convinced, these fleeting pleasures are attended by an entire eternity. This is my resolution. As for you I wish you may look well to your own security.

After he had ended his speech, he took his leave of them, and left them astonisht with this suddain change; amongst whom some were perswaded to lead a better life: and all that knew the mans violent dis­position were strook with admiration. About that time it fell out opportunely, Eleutherius Pontanus Menenas a Priest of the Society of Jesus, came into those parts, and being acquainted with Betrandus, was entertained at his house. Of whose arrival when Betrandus had notice, he cast him­self at his feet, Annales Soc. 1601. 2. Janua. Lovarij in Bel­gia. and made earnest sute to be admitted into the Society. After some time of tryal, he obtained his desire, and was admitted for a Lay-brother. In which course of life he happily spent four and thirty years. He excelled in his care of the Sick, and was so observant of religi­ous [Page 380]discipline, that he carried an hour-glass about with him, to measure out his time of Prayer, when it was accidentally inter­rupted with serving the sick. To this pass was Betrandus brought by meditation of eternity.

To know that a wretched eternity de­pends on every mortal sin, and yet to sin grievously is an argument of extream mad­ness. Eternal fire is an Epitome of all cha­stisements.

All which is excellently coucht in ano­ration by Sr. Lib. de anima c. 3. Bernard: What grief (saith he) what sorrow, what lamentation will then be, when the wicked shall be separated from the Society of Saints, and from the sight of God; and being delivered over into the pow­er of Devils, shall go with them into fire e­verlasting, and there must continue for ever in perpetual sobs and mourning? For being exiled from the blessed Country of Paradise, they shall be eternally tormented in hell, they shall never behold the face of God, they shall never enjoy any ease, but shall for thousand thousands of years be there punished, without ever being delivered thence. Where neither the torturer is at any time weary, nor the tor­tured ever dyes. Because the fire in that place so consumes, as it still keeps them alive: So are their pains inflicted, as that they al­waies seem new. Every one according to the [Page 381]quality of his fault, shall abide pain in hell proportionable: and such as are equal in fault, shall be equally punisht with their fel­lowes in equal guilt. Nothing else shall be heard there, but Weeping and wailing, sigh­ing and howling, mourning and gnashing of teeth: nothing shall be seen there, but worms, gastly Visages of Tormentors, and ugly Mon­sters of Devils. Those cruel Worms shall pinch their very heart strings: whence will proceed pain, trembling, sighing, amaze­ment, and horrid fear. The miserable wretches shall fry in eternal flames for Eter­nity, and longer. In body they shall be tor­mented by fire, and in spirit by the worm of Conscience. There shall be pain intollerable, horrible fear, and stink incomparable, death both of soul and body, without hope either of pardon or mercy. And yet shall they so dye as that they shall alwaies live; and so live; as that they shall ever dye. Thus the soul of a sinner is either in hell tormented for sins, or for good works placed in Paradise. Now therefore let us choose one of the two, either to be for ever tormented with the wicked, or to rejoyce with Saints perpetually. For good and evil, life and death are set before us, that we may stretch forth our hand to which we choose. If pains do not terrify us, at least let rewards invite us.

These things we are tought by Faith, [Page 382]which yet (as we declared before) we ei­ther permit to degenerate into drowsness and sloath, or wholly to perish.

Peter Barocius, Lib. 2. de rati­one be­ne mo­riendi. Bishop of Padua, re­counts, how a certain man, famous for lear­ning appeared after death to one of his intimate friends, and spoke to him in this manner: At the hour of Death in matters of Faith I was shamefully deceived by the De­vil, In which condition death found me, car­ried me away, and presented me to the judge: by whom I was commanded to depart into flames. Which though they be excessive, yet should I deem them tollerable, if after a thousand thousand years they were to have an end. But they are eternal, and so sharp, as the like was never seen in this world. Accur­sed be that knowledge, which threw me head­long into so great misery. After he had spo­ken thus he disappeared, but his surviveing friend astonisht at the relation, and espe­cially strook with his friends eternal dam­nation, consulted with his best friends what advice were most profitable for him in this case. He became a new man, and dyed holily.

The Conclusion.

THerefore St. Psal. 68. Austin discoursed well: Who (saith he) would not drink off a cup of temporal tribulation for fear of hell fire? And who would not despise the sweetness of [Page 383]worldly pleasure, out of love to the delights of everlasting life? a greater fear makes us con­temn smaller matters, and a greater longing after Eternity makes us loath all temporal things.

As much (saith St. Chrysostome) as a grain of Sand, Tom. 4. hom. 11 in ep. ad titum. or a drop comes short of the immense abiss; so far doth this present life dif­fer from eternal and never ending treasures. The things we have, we do not truly possess, we only make use of them, and that impro­perly too. Tis vertue alone which will bear us company in our journey hence. Tis vertue alone which hath admittance into everlasting life. Let us then at length open our eyes and quite extinguish all appetite to worldly wealth, that all our desire may be placed on eternal.

But alas! how great want of considera­tion is to be found amongst men, how great blindness! we wrangle for a half penny, and make a laughter and jest on't to lose Hea­ven. Thus we are infected with the ordina­ry contagion of madness, and take pleasure to perish for company. Dost thou not blush (saith St. Chrysostome) to be so wedded to things present? When wilt thou part with thy youth toyes, and lay a side thy wonted folly? What ever is here troublesome, is of small continuance; what is delightful there, is e­verlasting. Remove therefore thy mind from transitory and fading goods, and settle it on [Page 384]better and eternal: eagerly thirst after Hea­ven, that thou maiest enjoy delights to come. Is not reward of force to invite thee? at least let fear of torment keep thee in awe.

Those punishments therefore (saith Vale­rianus) ought to have the first place in our thoughts, where man lives while the pain lasts; where neither pains are wanting to the body, nor the body to pains. To the like in­tent writes St. Chrysostome: If the Nini­vites had not been afraid of destruction, Tom. 2. in epist. 1. ad Thess. they had bin destroyed. If in the time of Noe they had feared the deluge, they had not been drowned. If the Sodomites had dreaded the fire, they had not been burned. It is a great misery to contemn menaces. Nothing is so pro­fitable as frequently to treat of hell: speak of it every day, that you may never fall into it. A soul solicitous to escape hell, cannot easily commit sin. None of those, who have a lively remembrance of hell will fall into it: as none who sleight hell, will escape it.

A certain man (as Iohn Moscus relates) came to Alexander, Prat. spur. c. 141. a venerable person, who governed the Monastery of Abbot Gerasimus, and said unto him: Father, I have a design to flit from my old habitation, because the unpleasant situation of it is irk­some to me. To whom the good old man spoke in this manner: Son this is a manifest sign, you never consider with attention either [Page 385]the joyes of heaven, or the pains of hell: for if you did seriously weigh these things in your mind, beleive me you would find no fault with your old habitation.

This was an Oracle of truth: for who ever meditates attentively on heaven or hell, either is not sensible of difficulty, though never so great; or if he be, he makes his benefit of it, and is most ready to undergo greater hardships, so he may avoid eternal pains.

Of this temper was Abbot Olympius (as Clymacus testifies) who being asked how he could abide to live in such a Cave, how he could endure such excessive heats, or pass so many daies amongst whole swarms of gnats and flies? he returned this answer: I suffer these things willingly, that I may be freed from future torments: I am content to be bitten with gnats, because I am afraid of the worm that never dyes: heat is welcome to me, in regard I stand in fear of fire everlasting: for those suf­ferings pass away with time, and will quickly have an end, but these are without end and continue for eternity.

Wherefore these things deserve our dayly consideration, and ought to be ruminated when our thoughts are most active. As Physick is taken by way of prevention, even when the bo­dy is well in health: so likewise must our soul be prepared with these considerations to with­stand vice. I confess these thoughts are some­what [Page 386]bitter, but they are wholesome too: they do not become familiar upon a suddain, but by degrees; time, place and practise will nourish, and bring them to maturity. All idleness is a sworn enemy unto them, which as it is perniti­ous to vertue so it opens an easy passage to let in all kind of vices.

Go too then, c. 27. ver. 4. who ever thou be, and provide in time for thy own salvation. Give ear to the Prophesy of Ecclesiasticus If thou hold not thy self instantly in the fear of our Lord, thy house shall quickly be subverted. It is now in thy choice whether thou wilt reign or perish.

A soft bed seldome makes a Souldier more valiant: remember that beatitude is a daughter of labour and vertue. Let none (saith St. Tom. 10 ser. 60. de tem. Austin) he ashamed to do pennance, who was not ashamed to commit sin: but let him strive without delay to renew himself by good works: that he may be owned for a child by his father, least being excluded from the Wedding feast, and shut out from eternal bliss he have his hands and feet bound, and be cast into ex­teriour darkness. Excellently said Turtullian, The ceasing from sin is the root of pardon, the meditation of hell is the begining of salvation. seeing hell abounds with all evil, it wants chiefly that good which is the best amidst e­vils▪ an end of Torment.

An End of this Treatise: But where art thou, O end of eternal Torments?

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.