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Practice of Piety 7 - Meditations of the Misery of a Man after Death.

By Lewis Bayly

      Meditations of the Misery of a Man after Death, which is the fulness of Cursedness.

      The fulness of cursedness, when it falls upon a creature, not able to bear the brunt of it, presseth him down to that bottomless deep of the endless wrath of Almighty God, which is called the damnation of hell (Luke viii. 28, & xvi. 23; 1 Thess. i. 10; Matt. xxiii. 33.) This fulness of cursedness is either particular or general.

      Particular is that which, in a less measure of fulness, lighteth upon the soul immediately, as soon as she is separated from the body (Luke xvi. 22, 23; 1 Pet. iii. 19; Jude, ver. 6, 7;) for in the very instant of dissolution she is in the sight and presence of God: for when she ceaseth to see with the organ of fleshly eyes, she seeth after a spiritual manner; like Stephen, who saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at his right hand (Acts vii. 5;) or as a man who, being born blind, and miraculously restored to his sight, should see the sun, which he never saw before. And there, by the testimony of her own conscience, Christ, the righteous Judge, who knoweth all things, maketh her, by his omnipresent power, to understand the doom and judgment that is due unto her sins, and what must be her eternal state. And in this manner standing in the sight of heaven, not fit, for her uncleanness, to come into heaven, she is said to stand before the throne of God. And so forthwith she is carried by the evil angels, who came to fetch her with violence into hell, where she is kept, as in a prison, in everlasting pains and chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day; but not in that extremity of torments which she shall finally receive at the last day.

      The general fulness of cursedness is in a greater measure of fulness which shall be inflicted upon both soul and body, when, by the mighty power of Christ, the supreme Judge of heaven and earth, the one shall be brought out of hell, and the other out of the grave, as prisoners, to receive their dreadful doom, according to their evil deeds (2 Pet. ii. 9; Jude, ver. 7; Rev. xi. 18; John v. 28, 29; Rev. xx. 13.) How shall the reprobate, by the roaring of the sea, the quaking of the earth, the trembling of the powers of heaven (Matt. xxiv. 29; Luke xxi. 24, 25), and terrors of heavenly signs, be driven, at the world's end, to their wits' end! Oh, what a woful salutation will there be betwixt the damned soul and body, at their reuniting at that terrible day!

      O sink of sin, O lump of filthiness (will the soul say to her body), how am I compelled to re-enter thee, not as to an habitation to rest, but as a prison, to be tormented! How dost thou appear in my sight, like Jephtha's daughter, to my great torment! Would God thou hadst perpetually rotted in the grave, that I might never have seen thee again! How shall we be confounded together to hear, before God, angels, and men, laid open all those secret sins which we committed together! Have I lost heaven for the love of such a foul carrion? Art thou the flesh for whose pleasures I have yielded to commit so many fornications? O filthy belly! how became I such a fool as to make thee my god! How mad was I, for momentary joys, to incur these torments of eternal pains! Ye rocks and mountains, why skip ye so like rams (Ps. cxliv. 4), and will not fall upon me, to hide me from the face of him that comes to sit on yonder throne; for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand? (Rev. vi. 16, 17.) Why tremblest thou thus, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, and will not open thy mouth, and swallow me up, as thou didst Corah, that I be seen no more?

      O evil fiends! I would ye might without delay tear me in pieces, on condition that you would tear me into nothing!

      But whilst thou art thus in vain bewailing thy misery, the angels (Matt. xiii. 41) hale thee violently away from the brink of thy grave to some place near the tribunal-seat of Christ; where being, as a cursed goat, separated to stand beneath on earth, as on the left hand of the Judge, Christ will pass sentence upon thee (Matt. xxv. 33.)

      Within thee, thine own conscience (more than a thousand witnesses) shall accuse thee; the devils, who tempted thee to all thy lewdness, shall on the one side testify with thy conscience against thee; and on the other side shall stand the holy saints and angels approving Christ's justice; behind thee, an hideous noise of innumerable fellow-reprobates tarrying for thy company; before thee, all the world burning in flaming fire; above thee, an ireful Judge of deserved vengeance, ready to pronounce his sentenoe upon thee; beneath thee, the fiery and sulphureous mouth of the bottomless pit. gaping to receive thee. In this woful estate, to hide thyself will be impossible, for on that condition, thou wouldest wish that the greatest rock might fall upon thee (Rev. vi. 16, 17;) to appear will be intolerable, and yet thou must stand forth, to receive with other reprobates, this sentence-"Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."

      Depart from me.] There is a separation from all joy and happiness.

      Ye cursed.] There is a black and direful excommunication.

      Into fire.] There is the cruelty of pain.

      Everlasting.] There is the perpetuity of punishment.

      Prepared for the devil and his angels.] Here are thy infernal tormenting and tormented companions.

      O terrible sentence! from which the condemned cannot escape; which being pronounced, cannot possibly be withstood; against which a man cannot except, and from which a man can nowhere appeal: so that to the damned, nothing remains but hellish torments, which know neither ease of pain, nor end of time! From this judgment-seat thou must be thrust by angels, together with all the devils and reprobates, into the bottomless Jake of utter darkness, that perpetually burns with fire and brimstone (Rev. xxi. 8:) Whereunto, as thou shalt be thrust, there shall be such weeping, woes, and wailing, that the cry of the company of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, when the earth swallowed them up, was nothing comparable to this howling: nay, it will seem unto thee a hell, before thou goest into hell, but to hear it. Into which lake, after that thou art once plunged, thou shalt ever be falling down, and never meet a bottom; and in it thou shalt ever lament, and none shall pity thee; thou shalt always weep for pain of the fire, and yet gnash thy teeth for the extremity of cold; thou shalt weep to think, that thy miseries are past remedy; thou shalt weep to think, that to repent is to no purpose; thou shalt weep to think, how, for the shadows of short pleasures, thou hast incurred these sorrows of eternal pains; thou shalt weep, to see how weeping itself can nothing prevail; yea, in weeping, thou shalt weep more tears than there is water in the sea; for the water of the sea is finite, but the weeping of a reprobate shall be infinite!

      There thy lascivious eyes will be afflicted with sights of ghastly spirits; thy curious ear affrighted with hideous noise of devils, and the weeping and gnashing of teeth of reprobates; thy dainty nose will be cloyed with noisome stench of sulphur; thy delicate taste pained with intolerable hunger; thy drunken throat will be parched with unquenchable thirst; thy mind will be tormented to think how, for the love of abortive pleasures, which perished ere they budded, thou so foolishly didst lose heaven's joys, and incur hellish pains, which last beyond eternity; thy conscience shall ever sting thee like an adder, when thou thinkest how often Christ by bis preachers offered the remission of sins, and the kingdom of heaven freely to thee, if thou wouldest but believe and repent; and bow easily thou mightest have obtained mercy in those days; how near thou wert many times to have repented, and yet didst suffer the devil and the world to keep thee still in impenitency; and how the day of mercy is now past, and will never dawn again. How shall thy understanding be racked, to consider, that, for momentary riches, thou hast lost the eternal treasure, and changed heaven's felicity for hell's misery, where every part of thy body, without intermission of pain, shall be continually tormented!

      In these hellish torments thou shalt be for ever deprived of the beatifical sight of God, wherein consists the sovereign good and life of the soul; thou shalt never see light, nor the least light of joy, but lie in a perpetual prison of utter darkness, where shall be no order, but horror; no voice, but of blasphemers and howlers; no noise, but of tortures and tortured; no society, but of the devil and his angels, who being tormented themselves, shall have no other ease but to wreak their fury in tormenting thee; where shall be punishment without pity; misery without mercy; sorrow without succour; crying without comfort; mischief without measure; torment without ease: where the worm dieth not and the fire is never quenched; where the wrath of God shall seize upon the soul and body, as the flame of fire doth on the lump of pitch, or brimstone. In which flame thou shalt ever be burning, and never consumed; ever dying, and never dead; ever roaring in the pangs of death, and never rid of those pangs, nor knowing end of thy pains. So that after thou hast endured them so many thousand years as there are grass on the earth, or sand on the sea shore, thou art no nearer to have an end of thy torments, than thou wast the first day that thou wast cast into them; yea, so far are they from ending, that they are ever but beginning. But if, after a thousand times so many thousand years, thy lost soul could but conceive a hope that her torments should have an end, this would be some comfort-to think that at length an end will come. But as oft as the mind thinketh of this word Never, it is as another hell in the midst of hell.

      This thought shall force the damned to cry, as much as if they should say. O Lord, not ever, not ever torment us thus! But their conscience shall answer them as an echo. Ever, ever! Hence shall arise their doleful woe, and alas for evermore!

      This is that second death, the general perfect fulness of all cursedness and misery, which every damned reprobate must suffer, so long as God and his saints shall enjoy bliss and felicity in heaven for evermore.

      Thus far of the misery of man in his state of corruption, unless he be renewed by grace in Christ.

      Now follows the knowledge of man's self, in respect of his state of regeneration by Christ.

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See Also:
   Practice of Piety 1 - Directing a Christian How to Walk, that He May Please God.
   Practice of Piety 2 - A Plain Description of the Essence and Attributes of God
   Practice of Piety 3 - Meditations of the Misery of a Man Not Reconciled to God in Christ.
   Practice of Piety 4 - Meditations of the Miseries of Man from Infancy to Old Age.
   Practice of Piety 5 - Meditations of the Misery of the Soul in this Life.
   Practice of Piety 6 - Meditations of the Misery of the Body and Soul in Death.
   Practice of Piety 7 - Meditations of the Misery of a Man after Death.
   Practice of Piety 8 - Blessedness of the Regenerate
   Practice of Piety 9 - Meditations of the blessed state of a Regenerate Man in his Death.
   Practice of Piety 10 - Meditations of the blessed state of the Regenerate Man after Death.
   Practice of Piety 11 - Meditations of the blessed state of a Regenerate Man in Heaven.
   Practice of Piety 12 - Of the Prerogatives which the Elect shall enjoy in Heaven.
   Practice of Piety 13 - Of the Effects of those Prerogatives.
   Practice of Piety 14 - Meditations directing a Christian how to apply to himself.
   Practice of Piety 15 - Meditations on the Hindrances which Keep a Sinner from Piety.
   Practice of Piety 16 - How a Private Man Must Begin the Morning with Piety.
   Practice of Piety 17 - Meditations for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 18 - Brief Directions How to Read the Holy Scriptures Once A Year
   Practice of Piety 19 - A Prayer for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 20 - Meditations to stir us up to Morning Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 21 - Another short Morning Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 22 - Farther Meditations to stir up to Prayer in the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 23 - A brief Prayer for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 24 - Meditations Directing a Christian How To Walk All the Day with God
   Practice of Piety 25 - Secondly, for thy Words.
   Practice of Piety 26 - Thirdly, for thy Actions.
   Practice of Piety 27 - Meditations for the Evening.
   Practice of Piety 28 - A Prayer for the Evening.
   Practice of Piety 29 - Another shorter Evening Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 30 - Meditations for Household Piety.
   Practice of Piety 31 - Morning Prayer for a Family.
   Practice of Piety 32 - The Practice of Piety at Meals, and the Manner of Eating.
   Practice of Piety 33 - Grace before Meat.
   Practice of Piety 34 - The Practice of Piety at Evening.
   Practice of Piety 35 - Evening Prayer for a Family.
   Practice of Piety 36 - Meditations of the True Manner of Practising Piety on the Sabbath-Day.
   Practice of Piety 37 - Ten Reasons demonstrating the Commandment of the Sabbath to be moral.
   Practice of Piety 38 - The True Manner of Keeping Holy the Lord's Day.
   Practice of Piety 39 - A Morning Prayer for the Sabbath-day.
   Practice of Piety 40 - Duties in the Holy Assembly.
   Practice of Piety 41 - A private Evening Prayer for the Lord's day.
   Practice of Piety 42 - Of the Practice of Piety in Fasting.
   Practice of Piety 43 - Of the Public Fast.
   Practice of Piety 44 - Of the Practice of Piety in Holy Feasting.
   Practice of Piety 45 - Of Preparation.
   Practice of Piety 46 - Of the Worthiness of the Sacrament.
   Practice of Piety 47 - Of the first End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 48 - Of the second End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 49 - Of the third End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 50 - Of the fourth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 51 - The fifth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 52 - The sixth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 53 - Of the seventh End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 54 - A Confession of Sins before the receiving of the Holy Communion.
   Practice of Piety 55 - Of the Means whereby thou mayest become a worthy Receiver.
   Practice of Piety 56 - Of the Second sort of Duties which a worthy Communicant is to perform
   Practice of Piety 57 - A sweet Soliloquy to be said between the Consecration and Sacrament.
   Practice of Piety 58 - Duties After Communion.
   Practice of Piety 59 - The Practice of Piety in Glorifying God in the Time of Sickness or Death
   Practice of Piety 60 - A Prayer when one begins to be sick.
   Practice of Piety 61 - A Prayer before taking of Medicine.
   Practice of Piety 62 - Meditations for the Sick.
   Practice of Piety 63 - Meditations for One That Is Like to Die.
   Practice of Piety 64 - A Prayer to Be Said of One That Is Like to Die.
   Practice of Piety 65 - Meditations against Despair, or doubting of God's Mercy.
   Practice of Piety 66 - An Admonition to them who come to visit the Sick.
   Practice of Piety 67 - A Prayer to be said for the Sick by them who visit him.
   Practice of Piety 68 - Consolations Against Impatience in Sickness.
   Practice of Piety 69 - Consolations Against the Fear of Death
   Practice of Piety 70 - Seven Sanctified Thoughts and Mournful Sighs of a Sick Man Ready to Die.
   Practice of Piety 71 - Of the Comfortable Assurance of God's Forgiveness of Sins.
   Practice of Piety 72 - Meditations of Martyrdom.
   Practice of Piety 73 - A Divine Colloquy Between the Soul and Her Savior
   Practice of Piety 74 - The Soul's Soliloquy, ravished in contemplation of the Passion of our Lord.


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