Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

The anguish of Damnation

How must their breasts beat, and hearts throb—who are cast into a den of lions, while the savage monsters tear off their flesh, and break their bones in pieces!

How bitter must the cry of Egypt have been in that memorable night, when, in every house, the first-born of man and animal lay breathless, and the doleful lamentation was echoed from border to border, and from one end of the land to the other!

What must the consternation of Sodom's inhabitants have been, when fire and brimstone was rained from those heavens that used to send down refreshful showers, and where blue skies delighted the eye!

How great must the astonishment have been of the surviving Assyrians and their king, when in the morning they found their mighty army only a multitude of dead corpses!

What must the sorrow of that man be, who, falling under his sovereign's displeasure, is banished from his nearest relatives, and dearest friends—into perpetual solitude, or the society of monsters and savages! What must the pangs of those parents' hearts be, while their tender offspring are shrieking, groaning, dying, by cruel deaths, under the bloody ruffians!

What must the sister, the mother, the wife, feel on the shore, while the ship that carries the brother, the son, the husband, dashes on the rocks below, and they perish, as it were, in their presence!

What must the horror of the devoted wretch be, who stands and sees the fire kindling which is to consume him to ashes!

What must the terror of a city taken by storm be, when, in every street, young and old, man and woman, perish by the sword, and the air is filled with screaming, lamentation, and groans!

What must the amazement of that poor village be, while from the burning mountain the dreadful lava rolls irresistibly down, and covers and consumes whatever stands in its way!

What paleness of countenance, what trembling of limbs, what faintness of heart, must attend the carnage of a field of battle, by an inexorable—but victorious foe!

What must the inhabitants of a city feel, when awaked at midnight with the sound of fire in every quarter, when all they have blazes before them, and some of their dearest friends roar for help—but perish in the flames, while the conflagration is followed by a terrible earthquake that shakes the world to its foundation, so that the ground cleaves asunder, swallows up inhabitants and city, and closes her mouth, that they are seen no more!

Such, and ten thousand times worse, is the anguish of damnation, when all the Christless multitude shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power!