|John Bunyan On Ebal and Gerizzim Or,
"The Blessing And The Curse"
Being a Short Exhortation to Sinners, By the Mercy and Severity of God.
(Ed. Note - Bunyan's works, expositions or discourses and allegories, are always well worth
reading and often very helpful in arriving at a deeper spiritual understanding. - JHD)
The Gospel 24/7
Edited by George Offor.
"Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal." -- Deuteronomy 11:26-29
Besides what I said of the Four Last Things,
And of the weal and woe that from them springs;
An after-word still runneth in my mind,
Which I shall here expose unto that wind
That may it blow into that very hand
That needs it. Also that it may be scann'd
With greatest soberness, shall be my prayer,
As well as diligence and godly care;
So to present it unto public view,
That only truth and peace may thence ensue.
My talk shall be of that amazing love
Of God we read of; which, that it may prove,
By its engaging arguments to save
Thee, I shall lay out that poor help I have
Thee to entice; that thou wouldst dearly fall
In love with thy salvation, and with all
That doth thereto concur, that thou mayst be
As blessed as the Blessed can make thee,
Not only here but in the world to come,
In bliss, which, I pray God, may be thy home.
But first, I would advise thee to bethink
Thyself, how sin hath laid thee at the brink
Of hell, where thou art lulled fast asleep
In Satan's arms, who also will thee keep
As senseless and secure as e'er he may,
Lest thou shouldst wake, and see't, and run away
Unto that Jesus, whom the Father sent
Into the world, for this cause and intent,
That such as thou, from such a thrall as this
Might'st be released, and made heir of bliss.
Now that thou may'st awake, the danger fly,
And so escape the death that others die,
Come, let me set my trumpet to thine ear,
Be willing all my message for to hear:
'Tis for thy life, O do it not refuse;
Wo unto them good counsel do abuse.
Thou art at present in that very case,
Which argues thou art destitute of grace:
For he that lies where sin hath laid him, lies
Under the curse, graceless, and so he dies
In body and in soul, within that range,
If God his heart in mercy doth not change
Before he goes the way of all the earth,
Before he lose his spirit and his breath.
Repentance there is none within the grave,
Nor Christ, nor grace, nor mercies for to save
Thee from the vengeance due unto thy sin,
If now thou dost not truly close with him.
Thou art like him that sleepeth in the sea
On broken boards, which, without guide or stay,
Are driven whither winds and water will;
While greedy beasts do wait to have their fill
By feeding on his carcass, when he shall
Turn overboard, and without mercy fall
Into the jaws of such as make a prey
Of those whom justice drowneth in the sea.
Thou art like him that snoring still doth lie
Upon the bed of vain security,
Whilst all about him into burning flame
By fire is turned; yea, and while the frame
And building where he lies consuming is,
And while himself these burnings cannot miss.
Thou art like one that hangeth by a thread
Over the mouth of hell, as one half-dead;
And O, how soon this thread may broken be,
Or cut by death, is yet unknown to thee!
But sure it is, if all the weight of sin,
And all that Satan, too, hath doing been,
Or yet can do, can break this crazy thread,
'Twill not be long before, among the dead,
Thou tumble do, as linked fast in chains,
With them to wait in fear for future pains.
What shall I say? Wilt thou not yet awake?
Nor yet of thy poor soul some pity take?
Among the lions it hood-winked lies;
O, that the Lord would open once thine eyes
That thou might'st see it, then I dare say thou,
As half-bereft of wits, wouldst cry out, How
Shall I escape? Lord help, O! help with speed,
Reach down thy hand from heav'n, for help I need,
To save me from the lions, for I fear
This soul of mine they will in pieces tear.
Come, then, and let us both expostulate
The case betwixt us, till we animate
And kindle in our hearts that burning love
To Christ, to grace, to life, that we may move
Swifter than eagles to this blessed prey;
Then shall it be well with us in that day
The trump shall sound, the dead made rise, and stand,
Then to receive, for breach of God's command,
Such thunder-claps as these, Depart from me
Into hell-fire, you that the wicked be,
Prepared for the devil, and for those
That with him and his angels rather chose
To live in filthy sin and wickedness,
Whose fruit is everlasting bitterness.
We both are yet on this side of the grave,
We also gospel-privileges have;
The word, and time to pray; God give us hearts,
That, like the wise man, we may act our parts,
To get the pearl of price; then we shall be
Like godly Mary, Peter, Paul, and we
Like Jacob, too, the blessing shall obtain;
While Esau rides a-hunting for the gain
Of worldly pelf, which will him not avail
When death or judgment shall him sore assail.
Now, to encourage us for to begin,
Let us believe the kingdom we may win,
And be possess'd thereof, if we the way
Shall hit into, and then let nothing stay
Or hinder us; the crown is at the end,
Let's run and strive, and fly, and let's contend
With greatest courage it for to obtain;
'Tis life, and peace, and everlasting gain.
The gate of life, the new and living way,
The promise holdeth open all the day,
Which thou by Jacob's ladder must ascend,
Where angels always wait, and do attend
As ministers, to minister for those
That do with God, and Christ, and glory close.
If guilt of sin still lieth at our door,
Us to discourage, let us set before
Our eyes a bleeding Jesus, who did die
The death, and let's believe the reason why
He did it, was that we might ever be
From death and sin, from hell and wrath set free.
Yea, let's remember for that very end
It was his blessed Father did him send;
That he the law of God might here fulfil,
That so the mystery of his blessed will
Might be revealed in the blessedness
Of those that fly to Christ for righteousness.
Now let us argue with ourselves, then, thus
That Jesus Christ our Lord came to save us,
By bearing of our sins upon his back,
By hanging on the cross as on a rack,
While justice cut him off on every side,
While smiles Divine themselves from him did hide,
While earth did quake, and rocks in pieces rent,
And while the sun, as veiled, did lament
To see the innocent and harmless die
So sore a death, so full of misery.
Yea, let us turn again, and say, All this
He did and suffered for love of his.
He brought in everlasting righteousness,
That he might cover all our nakedness;
He wept and wash'd his face with brinish tears
That we might saved be from hellish fears;
Blood was his sweat, too, in his agony,
That we might live in joyful ecstasy;
He apprehended was and led away,
That grace to us-ward never might decay.
With swords, and bills, and outrage in the night,
That to the peace of heav'n we might have right.
Condemned he was between two thieves to die,
That we might ever in his bosom lie;
Scourged with whips his precious body were,
That we lashes of conscience might not fear;
His head was crowned with thorns, that we might be
Crowned with glory and felicity;
He hanged was upon a cursed tree,
That we delivered from death might be;
His Father from him hides his smiles and face,
That we might have them in the heavenly place;
He cry'd, My God, why hast forsaken me?
That we forsaken of him might not be.
Into his side was thrust a bloody spear,
That we the sting of death might never fear;
He went into the grave after all this,
That we might up to heav'n go, and have bliss.
Yea, rise again he did out of the earth,
And shook off from him all the chains of death;
Then at his chariot wheels he captive led
His foes, and trod upon the serpent's head;
Riding in triumph to his Father's throne,
There to possess the kingdom as his own.
What say'st thou, wilt not yet unto him come?
His arms are open, in his heart is room
To lay thee; be not then discouraged,
Although thy sins be many, great, and red;
Unto thee righteousness he will impute,
And with the kisses of his mouth salute
Thy drooping soul, and will it so uphold,
As that thy shaking conscience shall be bold
To come to mercy's seat with great access,
There to expostulate with that justice
That burns like fiery flames against all those
That do not with this blessed Jesus close;
Which unto thee will do no harm, but good,
Because thou hast reliance on that blood
That justice saith hath given him content,
For all that do unfeignedly repent
Their ill-spent life, and roll upon free grace,
That they within that bosom might have place,
That open is to such, where they shall lie
In ease, and gladness, and felicity,
World without end, according to that state
I have, nay, better than I, can relate.
If thou shalt still object, thou yet art vile,
And hast a heart that will not reconcile
Unto the holy law, but will rebel,
Hark yet to what I shall thee farther tell.
Two things are yet behind that help thee will,
If God should put into thy mind that skill,
So to improve them as becometh those
That would with mercy and forgiveness close.
First, then, let this sink down into thy heart,
That Christ is not a Saviour in part,
But every way so fully he is made
That all of those that underneath his shade
And wing would sit, and shroud their weary soul,
That even Moses dare it not control,
But justify it, approve of 't, and conclude
No man nor angel must himself intrude
With such doctrine that may oppose the same,
On pain of blaspheming that holy name,
Which God himself hath given unto men,
To stay, to trust, to lean themselves on, when
They feel themselves assaulted, and made fear
Their sin will not let them in life appear.
For as God made him perfect righteousness,
That he his love might to the height express,
And us present complete before the throne;
Sanctification, too, of his own
He hath prepared, in which do we stand,
Complete in holiness, at his right hand.
Now this sanctification is not
That holiness which is in us, but that
Which in the person of this Jesus is,
And can inherently be only his.
But is imputed to us for our good.
As is his active righteousness and blood;
Which is the cause, though we infirm are found,
That mercy and forgiveness doth abound
To us-ward, and that why we are not shent
And empty, and away rebuked sent,
Because that all we do imperfect is.
Bless God, then, for this holiness of his,
And learn to look by faith on that alone,
When thou seest thou hast nothing of thine own;
Yea, when thy heart most willing is to do
What God by his good word doth call thee to;
And when thou find'st most holiness within,
And greatest power over every sin,
Yet then to Jesus look, and thou shalt see
In him sanctification for thee,
Far more complete than all that thou canst find
In the most upright heart and willing mind,
That ever man or angels did possess,
When most filled with inherent righteousness.
Besides, if thou forgettest here to live,
And Satan get thee once into his sieve,
He will so hide thy wheat, and show thy brun
That thou wilt quickly cry, I am undone.
Alas, thy goodliest attainments here,
Though like the fairest blossoms they appear,
How quickly will they lour and decay,
And be as if they all were fled away,
When once the east-wind of temptations beat
Upon thee, with their dry and blasting heat!
Rich men will not account their treasure lies
In crack'd groats and four-pence half-pennies,
But in those bags they have within their chests,
In staple goods, which shall within their breasts
Have place accordingly, because they see
Their substance lieth here. But if that be
But shaken, then they quickly fear, and cry,
Alas, 'tis not this small and odd money,
We carry in our pockets for to spend,
Will make us rich, or much will stand our friend.
If famine or if want do us assail,
How quickly will these little pieces fail!
If thou be wise, consider what I say
And look for all in Christ, where no decay
Is like to be; then though thy present frame
Be much in up-and-down, yet he the same
Abideth, yea, and still at God's right hand,
As thy most perfect holiness will stand.
It is, I say, not like to that in thee,
Now high, then low, now out, then in, but he
Most perfect is, when thou art at the worst
The same, the very same; I said at first,
This helpeth much when thou art buffeted,
And when thy graces lie in thee as dead;
Then to believe they are all perfect still
In Christ thy head, who hath that blessed skill,
Yet to present thee by what is in him
Unto his Father, one that hath no sin.
Yea, this will fill thy mouth with argument
Against the tempter, when he shall present
Before thee all thy weakness, and shall hide
From thee thy graces, that thou mayst abide
Under the fretting fumes of unbelief,
Which never yielded Christian man relief.
Nor help thyself thou mayst against him thus:
O Satan, though my heart indeed be worse
Than 'twas a while ago, yet I perceive
Thou shalt me not of happiness bereave,
Nor yet of holiness; for by the Word
I find that Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord,
Is made sanctification for me
In his own person, where all graces be,
As water in the fountain; and that I,
By means of that, have yet a sanctity,
Both personal and perfect every way;
And that is Christ himself, as Paul doth say.
Now, though my crazy pitcher oft doth leak,
By means of which my graces are so weak,
And so much spent, that one I cannot find
Able to stay or help my feeble mind;
Yet then I look to Jesus, and see all
In him that wanting is in me, and shall
Again take courage, and believe he will
Present me upright in his person, till
He humble me for all my foolishness,
And then again fill me with holiness.
Now, if thou lovest inward sanctity,
As all the saints do most unfeignedly,
Then add, to what I have already said,
Faith in the promise; and be not afraid
To urge it often at the throne of grace,
And to expect it in its time and place.
Then he that true is, and that cannot lie,
Will give it unto thee, that thou thereby
Mayst serve with faith, with fear, in truth and love,
That God that did at first thy spirit move
To ask it to his praise, that he might be
Thy God, and that he might delight in thee.
If I should here particulars relate,
Methinks it could not but much animate
Thy heart, though very listless to inquire
How thou mayst that enjoy, which all desire
That love themselves and future happiness;
But O, I cannot fully it express:
The promise is so open and so free,
In all respects, to those that humble be,
That want they cannot what for them is good;
But there 'tis, and confirmed is with blood,
A certain sign, all those enjoy it may,
That see they want it, and sincerely pray
To God the Father, in that Jesus' name
Who bled on purpose to confirm the same.
[THE NECESSITY OF A NEW HEART.]
Now wouldst thou have a heart that tender is,
A heart that forward is to close with bliss;
A heart that will impressions freely take
Of the new covenant, and that will make
The best improvement of the word of grace,
And that to wickedness will not give place;
All this is in the promise, and it may
Obtained be of them that humbly pray.
Wouldst thou enjoy that spirit that is free,
And looseth those that in their spirits be
Oppressed with guilt, or filth, or unbelief;
That spirit that will, where it dwells, be chief;
Which breaketh Samson's cord as rotten thread,
And raiseth up the spirit that is dead;
That sets the will at liberty to choose
Those things that God hath promis'd to infuse
Into the humble heart? All this, I say,
The promise holdeth out to them that pray.
[THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER.]
Wouldst thou have that good, that blessed mind,
That is so much to heavenly things inclin'd
That it aloft will soar, and always be
Contemplating on blest eternity.
That mind that never thinks itself at rest,
But when it knows it is for ever blest;
That mind that can be here no more content,
Than he that in the prison doth lament;
That blessed mind that counts itself then free
When it can at the throne with Jesus be,
There to behold the mansions he prepares
For such as be with him and his co-heirs.
This mind is in the covenant of grace,
And shall be theirs that truly seek his face.
[OF GODLY FEAR.]
Is godly fear delightful unto thee,
That fear that God himself delights to see
Bear sway in them that love him? then he will
Thy godly mind in this request fulfil.
By giving thee a fear that tremble shall,
At every trip thou takest, lest thou fall,
And him offend, or hurt thyself by sin,
Or cause poor souls that always blind have been
To stumble at thy falls, and harder be
Against their own salvation and thee.
That fear that of itself would rather choose
The rod, than to offend or to abuse
In anything that blessed worthy name,
That hath thee saved from that death and shame;
That sin would soon have brought thee to, if he
Had not imputed righteousness to thee.
I will love them, saith God, and not depart
From them, but put my fear within their heart,
That I to them may always lovely be,
And that they never may depart from me.
[OF UPRIGHTNESS AND SINCERITY.]
Wouldst thou be very upright and sincere?
Wouldst thou be that within thou dost appear,
Or seem to be in outward exercise
Before the most devout, and godly wise?
Yea, art thou thus when no eye doth thee see
But that which is invisible? and be
The words of God in truth thy prop and stay?
And do they in thy conscience bear more sway
To govern thee in faith and holiness,
Than thou canst with thy heart and mouth express?
And do the things that truly are divine,
Before thee more than gold or rubies shine?
And if, as unto Solomon, God should
Propound to thee, What wouldst thou have? how would
Thy heart and pulse beat after heav'nly things,
After the upper and the nether springs?
Couldst, with unfeigned heart and upright lip,
Cry, Hold me fast, Lord, never let me slip,
Nor step aside from faith and holiness,
Nor from the blessed hope of future bliss?
Lord, rather cross me anywhere than here;
Lord, fill me always with thy holy fear,
And godly jealousy of mine own heart,
Lest I, Lord, should at any time depart
From thy most blessed covenant of grace,
Where Jesus rules as King, and where thy face
Is only to be seen with comfort, and
Where sinners justified before thee stand.
If these thy groanings be sincere and true,
If God doth count thee one that dost pursue
The things thou cryest after with thy heart,
No doubt but in them thou shalt have a part.
[HOW GRACES ARE TO BE OBTAINED.]
The next word that I would unto thee say,
Is how thou mayst attain without delay,
Those blessed graces, and that holiness
Thou dost with so much godly zeal express
Thy love to, and thy longing to enjoy,
That sins and weakness might thee less annoy.
Know, then, as I have hinted heretofore,
And shall now speak unto a little more,
All graces in the person of the Son
Are by the Father hid, and therefore none
Can them obtain but they who with him close;
All others graceless are but only those;
For of his fulness 'tis that we receive,
And grace for grace; let no man then deceive
Himself or others with a feigned show
Of holiness, if Jesus they eschew.
When he ascended to his Father, then
It was that he received gifts for men;
Faith, hope, and love, true zeal, an upright heart,
Right humbleness of mind, and every part
Of what the word of life counts holiness,
God then laid up in him, that we redress
And help might have, who do unto him fly
For righteousness and gospel sanctity.
[OF IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS.]
Now, if thou wouldst inherit righteousness,
And so sanctification possess
In body, soul, and spirit, then thou must
To Jesus fly, as one ungodly first;
And so by him crave pardon for thy sin
Which thou hast loved, and hast lived in;
For this cannot at all forgiven be,
For any righteousness that is in thee;
Because the best thou hast is filthy rags,
Profane, presumptuous, and most beastly brags
Of flesh and blood, which always cross doth lie
To God, to grace, and thy felicity.
Then righteousness imputed thou must have,
Thee from that guilt and punishment to save
Thou liest under as a sinful man,
Throughout polluted, and that never can
By any other means acquitted be,
Or ever have true holiness in thee.
The reason is, because all graces are
Only in Christ, and be infused where,
Or into those whom he doth justify,
By what himself hath done, that he thereby
Might be the whole of all that happiness
The sinner shall enjoy here, and in bliss.
Besides, if holiness should first be found
In those whom God doth pardon, then the ground
Why we forgiven are would seem to be,
He first found holiness in thee and me;
But this the holy Scriptures will refute,
And prove that righteousness he doth impute
Without respect to goodness first in man;
For, to speak truth indeed, no goodness can
Be found in those that underneath the law
Do stand; for if God goodness in them saw,
Why doth he once and twice say, There is none
That righteous be; no, not so much as one;
None understandeth, none seek after God,
His ways they have not known, but have abode
In wickedness, unprofitably they
Must needs appear to be then every way.
Their throats an open sepulchre, also
Their mouths are full of filthy cursings too;
And bitterness, yea, underneath their lips
The asp hath poison. O how many slips
And falls in sin must such poor people have!
Now here's the holiness that should them save,
Or, as a preparation, go before,
To move God to do for them less or more?
No, grace must on thee righteousness bestow,
Or, else sin will for ever thee undo.
Sweet Paul this doctrine also doth express,
Where he saith, Some may have righteousness,
Though works they have not; and it thus may stand,
Grace by the promise gives what the command
Requireth us to do, and so are we
Quitted from doing, and by grace made free.
[OF HOLINESS OF LIFE.]
Now, then, if holiness thou wouldst obtain,
And wouldst a tender Christian man remain,
Keep faith in action, let that righteousness
That Christ fulfilled always have express
And clear distinction in thy heart, from all
That men by Scripture, or besides, it, call
Inherent gospel holiness, or what
Terms else they please to give it; for 'tis that,
And that alone, by which all graces come
Into the heart; for else there is no room
For ought but pride, presumption, or despair,
No love or other graces can be there.
Received you the Spirit, saith St. Paul,
By hearing, faith, or works? not works, and shall
No ways retain the same, except you do
Hear faith, embrace the same, and stick thereto.
[THE OPERATION OF FAITH.]
The word of faith unto me pardon brings,
Shows me the ground and reason whence it springs:
To wit, free grace, which moved God to give
His Son to die and bleed, that I might live
This word doth also loudly preach to me,
Though I a miserable sinner be,
Yet in this Son of God I stand complete,
Whose righteousness is without all deceit;
'Tis that which God himself delighteth in,
And that by which all his have saved been.
[OF LOVE TO GOD.]
When I do this begin to apprehend,
My heart, my soul, and mind, begins to bend
To God-ward, and sincerely for to love
His son, his ways, his people, and to move
With brokenness of spirit after him
Who broken was, and killed for my sin.
Now is mine heart grown holy, now it cleaves
To Jesus Christ my Lord, and now it leaves
Those ways that wicked be; it mourns because
It can conform no more unto the laws
Of God, who loved me when I was vile,
And of sweet Jesus, who did reconcile
Me unto justice by his precious blood,
When no way else was left to do me good.
If you would know how this can operate
Thus on the soul, I shall to you relate
A little farther what my soul hath seen
Since I have with the Lord acquainted been.
The word of grace, when it doth rightly seize
The spirit of a man, and so at ease
Doth set the soul, the Spirit of the Lord
Doth then with might accompany the word;
In which it sets forth Christ as crucified,
And by that means the Father pacified
With such a wretch was thou, and by this sight,
Thy guilt is in the first place put to flight,
For thus the Spirit doth expostulate:
Behold how God doth now communicate
(By changing of the person) grace to thee
A sinner, but to Christ great misery,
Though he the just one was, and so could not
Deserve this punishment; behold, then, what
The love of God is! how 'tis manifest,
And where the reason lies that thou art blest.
This doctrine being spoken to the heart,
Which also is made yield to every part
Thereof, it doth the same with sweetness fill,
And so doth sins and wickednesses kill;
For when the love of God is thus reveal'd,
And thy poor drooping spirit thereby seal'd,
And when thy heart, as dry ground, drinks this in
Unto the roots thereof, which nourish sin,
It smites them, as the worm did Jonah's gourd,
And makes them dwindle of their own accord,
And die away; instead of which there springs
Up life and love, and other holy things.
Besides, the Holy Spirit now is come,
And takes possession of thee as its home;
By which a war maintained always is
Against the old man and the deeds of his.
When God at first upon mount Sinai spake,
He made his very servant Moses quake;
But when he heard the law the second time,
His heart was comforted, his face did shine.
What was the reason of this difference,
Seeing no change was in the ordinance,
Although a change was in the manner, when
The second time he gave it unto men?
At first 'twas given in severity,
In thunder, blackness, darkness, tempest high,
In fiery flames it was delivered.
This struck both Moses and the host as dead;
But Moses, when he went into the mount
The second time, upon the same account
No fear, nor dread, nor shaking of his mind,
Do we in all the holy Scripture find;
But rather in his spirit he had rest,
And look'd upon himself as greatly blest.
He was put in the rock, he heard the name,
Which on the mount the Lord did thus proclaim:
The Lord, merciful, gracious, and more,
Long-suffering, and keeping up in store
Mercy for thousands, pardoning these things,
Iniquity, transgressions, and sins,
And holding guilty none but such as still
Refuse forgiveness, of rebellious will.
This proclamation better pleased him
Than all the thunder and the light'ning.
Which shook the mount, this rid him of his fear,
This made him bend, make haste, and worship there.
Jehoshaphat, when he was sore opprest
By Amnon and by Moab, and the rest
Of them that sought his life, no rest he found,
Until a word of faith became a ground
To stay himself upon; O, then they fell,
His very song became their passing-bell.
Then holiness of heart a consequence
Of faith in Christ is, for it flows from thence;
The love of Christ in truth constraineth us,
Of love sincerely to make judgment thus:
He for us died that for ever we
Might die to sin, and Christ his servants be.
O! nothing's like to the remembrance
Of what it is to have deliverance
From death and hell, which is of due our right,
Nothing, I say, like this to work delight
In holy things; this like live honey runs,
And needs no pressing out of honey-combs.
[LOVE INDUCING CHRISTIAN CONDUCT.]
Then understand my meaning by my words,
How sense of mercy unto faith affords
Both grace to sanctify, and holy make
That soul that of forgiveness doth partake.
Thus having briefly showed you what is
The way of life, or sanctity, of bliss,
I would not in conclusion have you think,
By what I say, that Christian men should drink
In these my words with lightness, or that they
Are now exempted from what every day
Their duty is. No, God doth still expect,
Yea, doth command, that they do not neglect
To pray, to read, to hear, and not dissent
From being sober, grave, and diligent
In watching, self-denial, and with fear
To serve him all the time thou livest here.
Indeed I have endeavoured to lay
Before your eyes the right and only way
Pardon to get, and also holiness,
Without which never think that God will bless
Thee with the kingdom he will give to those
That Christ embrace, and holy lives do choose
To live, while here all others go astray,
And shall in time to come be cast away.
FROM MOUNT EBAL.
Thus having heard from Gerizzim, I shall
Next come to Ebal, and you thither call,
Not there to curse you, but to let you hear
How God doth curse that soul that shall appear
An unbelieving man, a graceless wretch;
Because he doth continue in the breach
Of Moses' law, and also doth neglect
To close with Jesus; him will God reject
And cast behind him; for of right his due
Is that from whence all miseries ensue.
Cursed, saith he, are thy that do transgress
The least of my commandments, more or less.
Nothing that written is must broken be,
But always must be kept unto by thee,
And must fulfilled be; for here no man
Can look God in the face, or ever stand
Before the judgment-seat; for if they be
Convict, condemned too assuredly.
Now keep this law no mortal creature can,
For they already do, as guilty, stand
Before the God that gave it; so that they
Obnoxious to the curse lie every day,
Which also they must feel for certainty,
If unto Jesus Christ they do not fly.
Hence, then, as they for ever shall be blest,
That do by faith upon the promise rest,
So peace unto the wicked there is none;
'Tis wrath and death that they must feed upon.
That what I say may some impression make
On carnal hearts, that they in time may take
That course that best will prove when time is done,
These lines I add to what I have begun.
First, thou must know that God, as he is love
So he is justice, therefore cannot move,
Or in the least be brought to favour those
His holiness and justice doth oppose.
For though thou mayst imagine in thy heart
That God is this or that, yet if thou art
At all besides the truth of what he is,
And so dost build thy hope for life amiss,
Still he the same abideth, and will be
The same, the same for ever unto thee.
As God is true unto his promise, so
Unto his threat'ning he is faithful too.
Cease to be God he must, if he should break
One tittle that his blessed mouth did speak.
Now, then, none can be saved but the men
With whom the Godhead is contented when
It them beholds with the severest eye
Of justice, holiness, and yet can spy
No fault nor blemish in them; these be they
That must be saved, as the Scriptures say.
If this be true, as 'tis assuredly,
Woe be to them that wicked live and die;
Those that as far from holiness have been
All their life long as if no eye had seen
Their doings here, or as if God did not
At all regard, or in the least mind what,
Wherein, or how they did his law transgress,
Either by this or other wickedness;
But how deceived these poor creatures are,
They then shall know when they their burthen bear.
Alas, our God is a consuming fire;
So is his law, by which he doth require
That thou submit to him, and if thou be
Not in that justice found that can save thee
From all and every sentence which he spake
Upon mount Sinai, then as one that brake
It, thou the flames thereof shall quickly find
As scourges thee to lash, while sins do bind
Thee hand and foot, for ever to endure
The strokes of vengeance for thy life impure.
What I have said will yet evinced be,
And manifest abundantly to thee,
If what I have already spoken to
Be joined with these lines that do ensue.
Justice discovers its antipathy
Against profaneness and malignity.
Not only by the law it gave to men,
And threatenings thereunto annexed then.
But inasmuch as long before that day,
He did prepare for such as go astray,
That dreadful, that so much amazing place–
Hell, with its torments–for those men that grace
And holiness of life slight and disdain,
There to bemoan themselves with hellish pain.
This place, also, the pains so dismal be,
Both as to name and nature, that in me
It is not to express the damning wights,
The hellish torture, and the fearful plights
Thereof; for as intolerable they
Must needs be found, by those that disobey
The Lord, so can no word or thought express
Unto the full the height of that distress;
Such miserable caitiffs, that shall there
Rebukes of vengeance, for transgressions bear.
Indeed the holy Scriptures do make use
Of many metaphors, that do conduce
Much to the symbolizing of the place,
Unto our apprehension; but the case–
The sad, the woful case–of those that lie
As racked there in endless misery,
By all similitudes no mortals may
Set forth in its own nature; for I say
Similitudes are but a shade, and show
Of those or that they signify to you.
The fire that doth within thine oven burn,
The prison where poor people sit and mourn,
Chains, racks, and darkness, and such others, be
As painting on the wall, to let thee see
By word and figures the extremity
Of such as shall within these burnings lie.
But certainly, if wickedness and sin
Had only foolish toys and trifles been,
And if God had not greatly hated it,
Yea, could he any ways thereof admit,
And let it pass, he would not thus have done.
He doth not use to punish any one
With any place or punishment that is
Above or sharper than the sin of his
Hath merited, and justice seeth due;
Read sin, then, by the death that doth ensue.
Most men do judge of sin, not by the fruits
It bears and bringeth forth, but as it suits
Their carnal and deluded hearts, that be
With sensual pleasures eaten up; but he
That now so judgeth, shortly shall perceive
That God will judge thereof himself, and leave
Such men no longer to their carnal lusts,
To judge of wickedness, and of the just
And righteous punishment that doth of right
Belong thereto; and will, too, in despite
Of all their carnal reason, justify
Himself, in their eternal misery.
Then hell will be no fancy, neither will
Men's sins be pleasant to them; but so ill
And bitter, yea, so bitter, that none can
Fully express the same, or ever stand
Under the burden it will on them lay,
When they from life and bliss are sent away.
When I have thought how often God doth speak
Of their destruction, who HIS law do break;
And when the nature of the punishment
I find so dreadful, and that God's intent,
Yea, resolution is, it to inflict
On every sinner that shall stand convict,
I have amazed been, yet to behold,
To see poor sinners yet with sin so bold,
That like the horse that to the battle runs,
Without all fear, and that no danger shuns,
Till down he falls. O resolute attempts!
O sad, amazing, damnable events!
The end of such proceedings needs must be,
From which, O Lord, save and deliver me.
But if thou think that God thy noble race
Will more respect, than into such a place
To put thee; hold, though thou his offspring be,
And so art lovely, yet sin hath made thee
Another kind of creature than when thou
Didst from his fingers drop, and therefore now
Thy first creation stands thee in no stead;
Thou hast transgressed, and in very deed
Set God against thee, who is infinite,
And that for certain never will forget
Thy sins, nor favour thee if thou shalt die
A graceless man; this is thy misery.
When angels sinned, though of higher race
Than thou, and also put in higher place,
Yet them he spared not, but cast them down
From heaven to hell; where also they lie bound
In everlasting chains, and no release
Shall ever have, but wrath, that shall increase
Upon them, to their everlasting woe.
As for the state they were exalted to,
That will by no means mitigate their fear,
But aggravate their hellish torment here;
For he that highest stands, if he shall fall,
His danger needs must be the great'st of all.
Now if God noble angels did not spare
Because they did transgress, will he forbear
Poor dust and ashes? Will he suffer them
To break his law, and sin, and not condemn
Them for so doing? Let not man deceive
Himself or others; they that do bereave
Themselves by sin of happiness, shall be
Cut off by justice, and have misery.
Witness his great severity upon
The world that first was planted, wherein none
But only eight the deluge did escape,
All others of that vengeance did partake;
The reason was, that world ungodly stood
Before him, therefore he did send the flood,
Which swept them all away. A just reward
For their most wicked ways against the Lord,
Who could no longer bear them and their ways,
Therefore into their bosom vengeance pays.
We read of Sodom, and Gomorrah too,
What judgments they for sin did undergo;
How God from heaven did fire upon them rain,
Because they would not wicked ways refrain;
Condemning of them with an overthrow,
And turned them to ashes. Who can know
The miseries that these poor people felt
While they did underneath those burnings melt?
Now these, and many more that I could name,
That have been made partakers of the flame
And sword of justice, God did then cut off,
And make examples unto all that scoff
At holiness, or do the gospel slight;
And long it will not be before the night
And judgment, painted out by what he did
To Sodom and Gomorrah, fulfilled
Upon such sinners be, that they may now
That God doth hate the sin, and persons too.
Of such as still rebellious shall abide,
Although they now at judgment may deride.
 From the Saxon scendan, to violate, spoil, revile; see
 Altered by poetical license from 'bran.' Chaucer, in one
instance, spells it 'bren,' to rhyme with men.–Ed.
 This evidently refers to a coin value four-penny half-
penny, and, like a cracked groat, not so much prized as
good coin. In Turner's Remarkable Providences, folio,
1697, pages 28, is a very singular allusion to one of these
coins:– "Christian, the wife of R. Green, of Brenham,
Somersetshire, in 1663, made a covenant with the devil. He
pricked the fourth finger off her right hand, between the
middle and upper joint, and took two drops of her blood on
his finger, giving her four-pence half-penny. He then
vanished, leaving a smell of brimstone behind."–Ed.