Twenty-four hours in Hell!
(James Smith, "ANTIDOTES!" 1858)
"Why should any living man complain?" Lamentations 3:39
Occasionally, I am tempted to complain of my hard lot — and think myself harshly dealt with. Ingratitude rises and works in my heart. This always makes me wretched. I then find it profitable to look down into Hell — and realize its horrors and agonies as my just deservings.
If anyone ever deserved to go to Hell — I did!
If justice was ever honored in a sinner's damnation — it would have been in mine!
If anyone was ever saved by grace alone — I am the man!
Shall I then, who deserve to be in Hell — but am not;
shall I, who am an heir of Heavenly glory — though no one ever deserved it less;
shall I, because of a few trials, troubles, and disappointments, or because I have rather a heavy cross to carry — shall I dare to murmur, or fret, or complain, or think myself harshly dealt with?
What are my present pains or sufferings — compared with the Hell that I deserve!
All the afflictions that I am called to endure here on earth — cannot be compared with only twenty-four hours in Hell! And yet my desert is, not to be in Hell for a few hours — but forever! Surely every lost soul, every damned spirit — will be ready to upbraid me — if I complain of my present lot! What base gratitude — if I do not praise the Lord with joyful lips, for His rich, free, and sovereign grace!
O my soul, whenever I am tempted to complain of my difficult lot — think of my deservings! Think of what would have been my eternal doom — if God had not saved me by His sovereign grace!
Yes, I do find that looking down into Hell . . .
silences my complaints,
awakens my gratitude, and
humbles me in the dust before my God!