A godlie meditation of the vnspeakable ioies of heauen, and the intollerable paines of hell, verie often to be remembred.
O God, my Lord, my harts delight, with whom my soule longeth to dwell in that heauenlie Ierusalem; wherein is continuall health, eternall felicitie, happie libertie, and perfect Page 199 blessednesse; where men shall be like vnto the Angels of God, and iust men shall shine as the Sunne, in the euerlasting kingdome, wherein is no heauinesse, no sorrowe, no greefe, no feare, no labour, no death, no dis∣ease, no lacke, no hunger, no thirst, no cold, nor heate; no wearinesse of fasting, nor temptation of the enimie, no will to sinne, nor power to doo euill, no old age, no lame or deformed person, no feare of pouertie, or weak∣nesse by disease; but a quiet harbour of all ioie, and e∣uerlasting happinesse, where men in the societie of Angels, shall continuallie dwell without anie infirmi∣tie of the flesh. For there is infinite ioie, and eternall blisse, from whence none shall be remoued, that once by thy prouidence shall enter therein.
There is rest from labours, peace from the enimie, a new kind of ioie and delight, such as no hart can con∣ceine, saue onlie by taking a maruellous delight, and exceeding pleasure in the beholding of thee my Lord God, my glorious redeemer, and the heauenlie comfor∣ter, which proceedeth from the Father and the Sonne. O heauenlie Ierusalem, thou art sweet and beautifull in all thy ioies and delights! There are no such mise∣ries in thee, as we feele and suffer in this poore and mi∣serable life. There is in thee no darkenesse, nor change of time: the shining of the Moone; the twinkling brightnesse of the Stars giueth not light in thee: but onlie the God of all power, glorie & maiestie, the light of lights. For in thee the Sun of iustice giueth light to those that are adopted in his bloud to euer-during blessednesse.
The bright and immaculate Lambe, a most beauti∣full light is thy light, that doth illuminate his chosen children. The King of kings is in the middest of thee, enuironed on ech side with his beloued Saints, and redie to crowne them with euerlasting glorie. In thee are legions of Angels, singing of sweet Hymnes and Page 200 songs, that set foorth the praise and honor of thy name: in thee are the felowship of heauenlie citizens: in thee resteth the sweete solemnitie of all such as returne from this miserable pilgrimage vnto thy glorie; the companie of the Prophets, Apostles, and victorious armie of Martyrs; holie men and women, which haue vanquished the pleasures of the world, haue their abi∣ding with thee. There are yoong children and maidens, which haue passed ouer their daies in holinesse of life, publishing thy praise in all puritie and pietie. Euerie one reioiceth in his degree, though not equall in glorie, yet like in ioies and gladnesse. For there reigneth per∣fect charitie, & God is all in all, whose Maiestie with∣out end they see continuallie, and still in beholding him their loue increaseth.
Of this eternall blessednesse the holie Apostle Pe∣ter had as it were a shadowe, or a tast, vpon the mount Thabor, at the transfiguration of Christ, from whence he desired he might not depart. Paule also had a proofe of it, when he was rapt or taken vp into the third heauen, where he heard words, and sawe things so maruellous and secret, as far passeth all mans vnder∣standing, and such as were not to be told or reuealed vnto men. Moses his face became so bright, through the conuersation that he had with the diuine glorie vpon mount Sinai; that the Israelites could not abide it. What then shall become of vs, when perpe∣tuallie with thee (which art the Lord of all glorie) we shall be conuersant, after the maner of thy children and familiar friends? Who is he then, that will not seeke and desire by all meanes possible, to be a dweller there; both for the desire of peace, ioie and eternitie; and for the perfect sight of God?
Contrariwise, who is able to expresse the torments appointed for the vngodlie and vnrepentant liuers; in that deadlie place called Hell, which Sathan him∣selfe Page 201 abhorreth? What other thing can be there, but continuall paines, eternall tribulation, and infinite calamitie, repleat with all euils? There dwell wic∣ked and ouglie Angels, whose horrible lookes bring sudden feare, greeuous paines, and fearefull death, with continual clouds of euer-during darknes. There is nothing but howling, wailing, lamentation and mourning without all end; fearfull scriches, & confu∣sed cries are there in all places suddenlie raised. There the woorme of conscience neuer dieth: in that damna∣ble dungeon, there is fire vnquenchable, and perpetu∣all gnashing of teeth. The miserable soule findeth there no rest, but is afflicted with all kind of torments, and such as can neuer be expressed; all which endure for euer.
Alas, little auaileth it those that are subiected as firebrans of hell, to crie vnto the Lord: for he will not heare them. Then shall they knowe, that all things which they had in this life are vaine; and such things as they thought to be pleasant, to be found more bit∣ter than gall or poison. Then where is the pleasure of the flesh, so termed falslie? For there is none other pleasure, but to feare the Lord. Then shall they con∣fesse and saie, that the iudgement of God is true and righteous, saieng: Did we not heare of this, and yet would not be conuerted from our wicked deeds? But then shall nothing preuaile. No sorowe can find com∣fort; no complaints, anie remorse; no torments, ease; nor painfull passions an end: such and so exceeding are the vexations of the second death, wherewith all the bodies and soules of the vnrighteous shall for euer be enuironed.
Sith therefore, O heauenlie Father, and most gra∣tious God, it seemeth good to thine eternall wisdome, by the knowledge of thine euerlasting truth, to giue me knowledge of thine inestimable mercie offered free∣lie Page 202 vnto me in Iesus Christ my mercifull Sauiour, in whose bloudie death and painfull passion I am assu∣red of eternall life and blessednesse. Giue me grace to print in my remembrance thy manifold mercies, that feeding my soule by faith in thee, I may attaine vnto those endlesse ioies, that thou hast prepared for thine adopted sonnes and chosen children, in the kingdome of euerlasting righteousnesse: and so escape those euer∣lasting torments, which thou hast prepared for the di∣uell and his Angels. From the which place of wofull vexation and endlesse miserie, deliuer me O heauenlie Father, for the loue of Iesus Christ his sake, to whom with thee and the holie Ghost, be all laud and praise for euer,