Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

The confusion of the wicked at the General Judgment

Alas! men now sin with impunity and boldness—but when I dart my thoughts beyond the grave, and see the unrepentant sinning multitude gathered before the dreadful bar, the angry tribunal—of the vindictive Judge—how will they then look?

Have I ever seen one affronted, and put to the blush? One sentenced to infamy, or one condemned to death? All this is but like modesty blushing—in comparison of the 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 evildoers!" 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 subject to, and 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, too tremendous and unintelligible for conception to apprehend; but such as every person, in the time of hope, the place of repentance, and day of grace, should study to escape. For even Bedlam, compared to them, is a house of sober-witted men!

"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! Who dares to know it—but the bold, the blind, the headstrong sinner, who 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?"