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repented, but because they hindered his sport; and the next day did the same. The more he grew in age, the worse he became; and although they informed him of the king's testament, and what behoved him, all was to no purpose; until at last, all being weary of his ill conditions, declared him unworthy to reign, despoiled him of his royal ornaments, and condemned him, with infamy, unto the gallies. What greater ignominy can there be than this, to lose a kingdom, and to be made a galley-slave?
More ignominious, and a more lamentable tragedy, is that of a Christian condemned to hell; who was taken by God from the gates of death, adopted his son, with condition, that if he kept his commandments, he should reign in heaven; and if not, he should be condemned to hell: but he, forgetting those obligations, without respect of his tutors or masters, who exhorted him both by their doctrine and example, what was fitting for a child of God: yet he, neither moved by their advice, nor the chastisements of heaven, by which God overthrew his vain intentions, and thwarted his unlawful pleasures, only lamented his temporal losses, and not his offences; and, at the time of his death, was sentenced to be deprived of the kingdom of heaven, and precipitated into hell: what infamy can be greater than this of the damned soul?
If it be a great infamy to suffer death by human justice, for some crimes committed, how great an infamy will it be to be condemned by Divine justice, for a traitor and perfidious rebel to God? Besides this bitterness of pains, the damned persons shall be eternally branded with the infamy of their offences! so that they shall be scorned and scoffed at by the devils themselves; men and angels shall detest them, as infamous and wicked traitors to their King, God, and Redeemer; and as fugitive slaves are marked and cauterized with burning irons, so this infamy, by some mark of ugliness and deformity, shall be stamped upon their faces and bodies. So ignominious shall be the body of a sinner, that when his soul returns to enter it, it shall be amazed to behold it so terrible, and shall wish it were rather in the same state, as when it was half eaten up with worms.
And that which adds misery to their calamity, they shall be banished from heaven, and made prisoners in the profound bowels of the earth, a place most remote from heaven, and the most calamitous of all others, where they shall neither see the sun by day, nor the stars by night, where all shall be horror and darkness, a land covered with the obscurity of death, a land of sulphur and burning pitch, a land of pestilence and corruption: into this land of punishment and torments shall be banished the enemies of God.
What a grief will it be to see themselves deprived of the palaces of heaven, the society of saints, and that happy country of the living, where all is peace, charity, and joy; where all shines, all pleases, and all parts resound with hallelujahs? If the damned had no other punishment, than to see themselves banished amongst devils, into a place not far distant from heaven, sad as night, without the sight or comfort of sun or moon for all eternity, it were a torment unsufferable.
It was a great tyranny in Alexander, after he had cut off the nose, ears, and lips of Callisthenes, to cast so worthy a person into a dungeon, only accompanied with a dog';. a spectacle indeed lamentable, to see so discreet a man used like a brute, and not have the company of one who might comfort him; but the damned would take it for a favour to have the company of dogs or lions, rather than that of their own parents.
The tyrants of Japonia invented a strange torment for those who confessed Christ; they hung them with their heads downwards, half their bodies into a hole digged in the earth, which they filled with snakes, lizards, and other poisonous vermin; but even those were better companions, than those infernal dragons of the pit of hell, whereunto not half, but the whole body, of the miserable sinner shall be plunged. The Romans, when they punished any as a parricide, to express the heinousness of the fact, shut him up in a sack with a serpent, an ape, and a cock: what a horror shall it be in hell, when a damned person shall be shut up with so many millions of devils! Here none will live near a pesthouse, or ill neighbour; think upon what neighbours there
b Job, x.
• Isa. xxxiv.
d Senec. Suidas.
are in hell. Cato counselled those who were to take a farm, to have a special care what neighbours it had. Themistocles, being to sell a certain manor, caused the crier to proclaim, that he had good neighbours. How comes one then to purchase hell at so dear a rate as the price of his soul, having such cursed neighbours, where all will abhor him? Their disquietness and ranting will be insufferable; and the very sight and ugliness of them will affright and astonish him.
How grievous is the banishment into that place, where none wishes well unto another? where the fathers hate their sons, and the sons abhor their fathers; where the son shall say unto the father, "Cursed be thou, father, for all eternity; because, by an unjust inheritance, thou hast been the cause of my damnation :" and the father shall answer him, "Cursed be thou, son; for, to the end I might leave thee a rich inheritance, I stuck not to gain it by unjust means."
In other banishments, when parents or friends meet in a country far from home, they endeavour to comfort one another, and even enemies are then reconciled; but in this banishment of hell, friends abhor friends, and parents hate, and are hated by their children.
To this may be added, that, in this banishment of the damned, the exiles are not allowed the liberty of other banished persons, who, within the isle or region of relegation, may go or move whither they please; but not so the damned in hell, because the place of their exile is also a prison, a horrid and stinking prison, wherein many millions of souls shall for ever lie fettered in chains; for chains, or something answerable unto them, shall not there be wanting. Whereupon it is observed by the learned, that the wicked spirits shall be fastened to fire, or certain fiery bodies, from which the pains which they shall receive, shall be incredible; being thereby deprived of their natural liberty, as it were fettered with manacles and bolts, so as they are not able to remove from that place of misery. It were a great torment to have burning irons cast upon our hands and feet; but this, and much more, shall be in hell, where those fiery
August. de Civitat. Dei, lib. i. c. 10. Less. de Perfect. Divin. lib. xviii. c. 50.
bodies, which are to serve instead of shackles and fetters, are to be of terrible forms, proportionable unto their offences, and shall, with their very sight, affright them.
Besides, the bodies of the damned, after the final judgment past, shall be so straitened and crowded together in that infernal dungeon, that the holy Scripture compares them to grapes in the wine-press, which press one another till they burst. Most barbarous was that torment inflicted upon some unfortunate persons: they put certain rings of iron, stuck full of sharp points of needles, about their arms and feet, in such manner, as they could not move without pricking and wounding themselves; then they compassed them about with fire, to the end that standing still they might be burnt alive; and if they stirred, the sharp points pierced their flesh with more intolerable pains than the fire. What shall then be the torment of the damned, where they shall burn eternally without dying, and without possibility of removing from the place designed them? where whatsoever they touch, shall be fire and sulphur, into which their bodies at the latter day shall be plunged. Neither shall unsavoury smells, so proper unto prisons, be wanting in that infernal dungeon for, first, that fire of sulphur, being pent in without vent or respiration, shall send forth a poisonous scent; and if a match of brimstone be offensive here, what shall such a mass of that stuff be in hell? Secondly, the bodies of the damned shall cast forth a most horrible stink of themselves, and that more or less, according to the quality of their sins.
Actiolinus the tyrant (as Paulus Jovius writes) had many prisons full of torments, miseries, and ill smells; insomuch as men took it for a happiness rather to die than to be imprisoned, because being loaded with irons, afflicted with hunger, and poisoned with the pestilential smell of those who died in prison, and were not suffered to be removed, they came to end in a slow, but most cruel death. But what were those prisons to that of hell, in respect of which they may be esteemed as paradise, full of jessamine and lilies.
Whatsoever misery was suffered in Actiolinus's prison, was in this regard tolerable, because it was of no long continuance, being to last no longer than a short life, and quite vanishing away at the hour of death: but this prison of the damned is void of all comfort; the torments thereof are
intolerable, because they are eternal. Death cannot enter in there, neither can those that are entered, get out again: but they shall be tormented for evermore, for evermore! What a fearful thing is this? They shall be tormented for evermore!
If one were cast into some deep dungeon, without clothes, exposed to the inclemency of the cold and moisture of the place, where he should not see the light of heaven; should have nothing to feed on, but once a day some little piece of hard barley-bread; and that he were to continue there six years without speaking or seeing of any body; and not to sleep on other bed but the cold ground; what a misery were this! One week of that habitation would appear longer than a hundred years. Yet compare this with what shall be in the banishment and prison of hell, and you shall find the miserable life of that man to be an happiness; there, in all his troubles, he should not meet with any to scoff at his misfortune; none to torment, and whip him; but in hell he shall find both; the devils shall not cease to deride, whip, and cruelly torment him: there should be no horrid sights, no fearful noises of howlings, groanings, and lamentations; in hell the eyes and ears of the damned shall never be free from such affrights there should be no flames of fire to scorch him; in hell they shall burn into his bowels: there he might move and walk; in hell, not stir a foot: there he may breathe the air without stink; in hell he shall suck in nothing but flames, stink, and sulphur: there he might hope for coming forth; in hell there is no redemption: there that little piece of hard bread would seem every day a dainty; but in hell, in millions of years, his eyes shall not behold a crumb of bread, nor a drop of water, but shall eternally rage with hunger and a burning thirst: this is to be the calamity of that land of darkness.
O Divine Eternity, O Eternal Divinity, who hast in thy hands the extremities of the earth, and who keepest the keys of eternal life and death; I am in thy hands, as clay in the hands of the potter; dispose of me as thou pleasest; I love thee entirely; I cannot love thee more, if I had the