That immortal bird!
(Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)
As the mercy of God is infinite towards the elect — so the justice of God is infinite towards the reprobate in Hell. The reprobate shall have . . .
punishment without pity,
misery without mercy,
sorrow without support,
crying without compassion,
mischief without measure,
and torment without end!
All men in misery comfort themselves with the hope of an ending to their misery.
The prisoner comforts himself with hope of a deliverance.
The mariner comforts himself with hope of a safe harbor.
The soldier comforts himself with hope of victory.
The slave comforts himself with hope of liberty.
But the impenitent sinner has no hope in Hell! He shall have . . .
death without death,
night without day,
mourning without mirth,
sorrow without solace,
bondage without liberty!
The damned shall live as long in Hell — as God Himself shall live in Heaven!
Suppose, say some — that the whole world were turned to a mountain of sand, and that a little bird should come every thousandth year and carry away one grain of sand from that heap. What an infinite number of years — not to be numbered by all finite beings — would be spent before this supposed mountain would be fetched away!
Now if a man should lie in everlasting burnings so long a time as this — and then have an end of his woe — it would administer some ease, refreshment, and comfort to him. But when that immortal bird shall have carried away this supposed mountain of sand a thousand times over and over; alas! alas! man shall be as far from the end of his anguish and torment as ever he was! He shall be no nearer coming out of Hell, than he was the very first moment that he entered into Hell.
If the fire of Hell were terminable, it might then be tolerable.
But being endless, it must needs be easeless and remediless!