The agonizing lesson!

("Solitude Sweetened" by James Meikle, 1730-1799)

Behold the great confusion of guilt and the eternal gloom of horror, which shall take fast hold on the unrepentant — when the incensed Judge pronounces their sentence in these killing words, "Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!"

Where will they hide their guilty heads — and where conceal their shame?

They will not be able to cover their condemnation with a smiling countenance, as they now cover their sin which causes it. How will the ground shake, and the earth quake beneath the trembling multitude!

What fearful countenances!

What remorseful looks!

What rolling eyes!

What frightful gestures!

What lamentable howlings!

What doleful bewailings!

What preposterous complaints!

What despairing expressions!

What agonizing groans!

What intolerable horror!

What gnawing anguish!

What stabbings of guilt!

What roarings of awakened conscience!

What horrible blasphemies against the divine Judge Himself — shall they be employed in, in that tremendous day! How will they call to the hills to hide them, and run to be lost in the ruins of the tumbling rocks — but in vain!

But from whence will these specters come — these trembling ones be gathered? From another world? Ah! No! They are these mirthful and proud ones, who now walk the round of life, jesting and unconcerned! But they shall then be overwhelmed, and that forever — with a grief too vast for language to express, and too tremendous for conception to apprehend!

Who knows the power of God's wrath?

Who know it but the damned? And yet they know it not, for an eternity of torment is continually teaching them the agonizing lesson!

The bold, the blind, the headstrong sinner, never puts the question to himself, which concerns him most, and might awaken him: "Who of us can dwell with devouring fire? Who can dwell with everlasting burnings? How shall we escape the wrath to come?"