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9: Untitled Page 05

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    by wilful wickedness.


    You (sinful crew!) no other knew

    but you might be elect:

    Why did you then your selves condemn?

    why did you me reject?

    Where was your strife to gain that life

    which lasteth evermore?

    Page | 219


    You never knock’t, yet say God lock’t

    against you heavens door.


    ‘Twas no vain task to knock, to ask,

    whilst life continued.

    Who ever sought Heav’n as he ought,

    and seeking perished?

    The lowly-meek who truly seek

    for Christ and for salvation,

    There’s no Decree whereby such be

    ordain’d to condemnation.


    You argue then; But abject men,

    whom God resolves to spill,

    Cannot repent, nor their hearts rent;

    ne can they change their will.

    Not for his Can is any man

    adjudged unto hell:

    But for his Will [. . .] to do what’s ill,

    and nilling to do well.


    I often stood tend’ring my Bloud

    to wash away your guilt:

    And eke my Sprite to frame you right,

    lest your souls should be spilt.

    But you, vile race, rejected Grace

    when Grace was freely proffer’d:

    No changed heart, no heav’nly part

    would you, when it was offer’d.


    Who wilfully the remedy

    of Grace and Life contemned,

    Cause have the same themselves to blame,

    if now they be co [. . .] demned.

    You have your selves, you and none else,

    your selves have done to die:

    You chose the way to your decay,

    and perish’d wilfully.

    Page | 220



    These words apale and daunt them all;

    dismai’d, and all amort,

    Like stocks they stand at Christs left hand,

    and dare no more retort.

    Then were brought near, with trembling fear

    a number numberless

    Of blind Heathen and b [. . .] utish men,

    that did Gods Law transgress.


    Whose wicked ways, Christ open lays,

    and makes their sins appear,

    They making plea’s the case to ease,

    if not themselves to clear.

    Thy written word (say they) good Lord

    we never did enjoy:

    We not refus’d nor it abus’d,

    Oh do not us destroy.


    You ne’r abus’d nor yet refus’d

    my written Word, you plead;

    That’s t [. . .] ue, (quoth he) therefore shall ye

    the less be punished.

    You shall not smart for any part

    of other mens offence,

    But for your own transgression

    receive due recompence.


    But we were blind, say [. . .] hey, in mind;

    too dim was natures light,

    Our only guide (as hath been try [. . .] d)

    to bring us to the sight

    Of our estate degenerate,

    and cu [. . .] st by Adam’s fall;

    How we were born and lay forlorn

    in bondage and in th [. . .] all.


    We did not know a Christ till now,

    nor bow fal [. . .] man he saved:

    Page | 221


    Else should we not, right well we wo [. . .] ,

    have so our selves behaved.

    We should have mourn’d, we should have turn’d

    from sin at thy reproof,

    And been more wise through thine advice

    for our own Souls behoof.


    But natures light shin’d not so bright

    to teach us the right way:

    We might have lov’d it, & well improv’d it,

    and yet have gone astray.

    The Judge most high makes this reply;

    you ignorance pretend,

    Dimness of sight, and want of light

    your course Heav’n-ward to bend:


    How came your mind to be so blind?

    I once you knowledge gave,

    Clearness of sight, and judgement right;

    who did the same deprave?

    If to your cost you have it lost,

    and quite defac’d the same;

    Your own desert hath caus’d your smart,

    you ought not me to blame.


    Your selves into a pit of wo

    your own transgressions led:

    If I to none my grace had shown,

    who had been injured?

    If to a few, and not to you,

    I shew’d a way of life,

    My Grace so free, you clearly see,

    gives you no ground of strife.


    ‘Tis [. . .] ain to tell, you wot full well,

    if you in time had known

    Your Misery and Remedy,

    your actions had it shown.

    You, sinful crew, have not been true

    Page | 222


    unto the light of Nature;

    No [. . .] done the good you understood,

    nor owned your Creator.


    He that the Light, because ‘tis Light,

    hath used to despize,

    Would not the Light, shining more bright,

    be likely for to prize.

    If you had lov’d and well improv’d

    your knowledge and dim sight,

    Herein your pain had not been vain,

    your plagues had been more light.


    Then to the Bar all they drew near

    who dy’d in infancy,

    And never had or good or bad

    effected pers’nally;

    But from the womb unto the tomb

    were straightway carried,

    (Or at the least, ere they transgrest)

    who thus began to plead.


    If for our own transgression,

    or disobedience,

    We here did stand at thy left hand,

    j [. . .] st were the recompence:

    But Adam’s guilt our souls hath spilt,

    his fault is charg’d upon us;

    And that alone hath overthrown,

    and utterly undone us.


    Not we, but he, a [. . .] e of the Tree,

    whose fruit was interdicted:

    Yet on us all of his sad fall

    the punishment’s inflicted.

    How could we sin who had not bin?

    or how is his sin our

    Without consent, which to prevent

    we never had a pow’r?

    Page | 223



    O great Creator, why was our nature

    depraved and forlorn?

    Why so defil’d, and made so vild

    Whilst we were yet unborn?

    If it be just, and needs we must

    transgressors reckon’d be,

    Thy mercy, Lord, to us afford,

    which sinners hath set free.


    Behold, we see Adam [. . .] et free,

    and sav’d from his tre [. . .] pass,

    Whose sinful fall hath split us all,

    and brought us to this pass.

    Canst thou deny us once to try,

    or grace to us to tender,

    When he finds grace before thy face,

    that was the chief offender?


    Then answered the Judge most dread;

    God doth such doom forbid,

    T [. . .] at men should die eternally

    for what they never did.

    But what you call old Adam’s Fall,

    and only his Trespass,

    You call amiss to call it his:

    both his and yours it was.


    He was design’d of all mankind

    to be a publick Head,

    A common Root whence all should shoot,

    and stood in all their stead:

    He stood and fell, did ill or well,

    not for himself alone,

    But for you all, who now his Fall

    and trespass would disown.


    If he had stood, then all his brood

    had been established

    Page | 224


    In Gods true love, never to move,

    nor once awry to tread:

    Then all his Race my Fathers Grace

    should have enjoy’d for ever,

    And wicked Sprights by subtil sleights

    could them have harmed never.


    Would you have griev’d to have receiv’d

    through Adam so much good,

    As had been your for evermore,

    if he at first had stood?

    Would you have said, We ne’r obey’d

    nor did thy Laws regard;

    It ill befits with benefits

    us, Lord, so to reward?


    Since then to share in his welfare

    you could have been content,

    You may with reason share in his treason,

    and in the punishment.

    Hence you were born in state forlorn,

    with natures so dep [. . .] aved:

    Death was your due, because that you

    had thus your selves behaved.


    You think if we had been as he,

    whom God did so betrust,

    all for a paltry lust.

    Had you been made in Adam’s stead,

    you would like things have wrought;

    And so into the self-same wo

    your selves and yours have brought.


    I may deny you once to try,

    or Grace to you to tender,

    Though he finds grace be [. . .] ore my face

    who was the chief offender:

    Else should my Grace cease to be Grace,

    for it should not be free,

    Page | 225


    If to release whom I shall please

    I have not libertee.


    I [. . .] upon one what’s due to none

    I frankly shall bestow,

    And on the rest shall not think best

    compassions skirt to throw,

    Whom injure I? will you envy,

    and grudge at others weal?

    Or me accuse, who do refuse

    your selves to help and heal?


    Am I alone of what’s my own

    no Master or [. . .] o Lord?

    Or if I am, how can you claim

    w [. . .] at I to some afford?

    Will you demand G [. . .] ace at my hand,

    and challenge what is mine?

    Will you teach me whom to set free,

    and thus my Grace confine?


    You sinners are, and such a share

    as sinners may expect,

    Such you shall have, for I do save

    none but mine own Elect.

    Yet to compare your sin with their

    who liv’d a longer time,

    I do confess yours is much less,

    though ev’ry sin’s a crime:


    A crime it is: therefore in bliss

    you may not hope to dwell:

    But unto you I shall allow

    the easiest room in hell.

    The glorious King thus answering,

    they cease and plead no longer:

    Their consciences must needs confess

    his Reasons are the stronger.

    Page | 226



    Thus all mens plea’s the Judge with ease

    doth answer and confute,

    Until that all both great and small,

    are silenced and mute.

    Vain hopes are cropt, all mouths are stopt,

    sinners have nought to say,

    But that ‘tis just, and equal most

    they should be damn’d for ay.


    Now what remains, but that to pains

    and everlasting smart

    Christ should condemn the sons of men,

    which is their just desert?

    Oh ru [. . .] ul plights of sinful wights!

    Oh wretches all forlorn!

    That happy been they ne’r had seen

    the Sun, or not been born.


    Yea, now it would be good they could [. . .]

    themselves annihilate,

    And cease to be, themselves to free

    from such a fearful state.

    Oh happy Dogs, and Swine, and Frogs!

    yea, Serpents generation!

    Who do not fear this doom to hear,

    and sentence of D [. . .] mnation!


    This is their state so de [. . .] perate:

    their sins are fully known;

    Their vani [. . .] ies and villanies

    Before the world are shown.

    As they are gross and impious,

    so are their numbers more

    Then motes i’ th’ air, or then their hair,

    or sands upon the shore.


    Divine Justice offended is,

    a [. . .] d Satisfaction claime [. . .] h:

    Page | 227


    Gods wrathful ire kindled like fire

    against them fiercely flameth.

    Their Judge severe doth quite cashire

    and all their Pleas off take,

    That never a man, or dare, or can

    a further Answer make.


    Their mouthes are shut, each man i [. . .] put

    to silence and to shame:

    Nor have they ought within their thought

    Christs Justice for to blame;

    The Judge is just, and plague them must,

    nor will he mercy shew

    (For Mercy’s day is past away)

    to any of this Crew.


    The Judge is strong; doers of wrong

    cannot his Power withstand:

    None can by flight run out of sight,

    nor scape out of his hand.

    Sad is their sta [. . .] e; for Advocate

    to plead their Cause there’s none:

    None to prevent their punishment,

    or misery to bemo [. . .] e.


    O dismal day! whither shall they

    for help or succour flee?

    To God above, with hopes to move

    their greatest Enemee?

    His wrath is g [. . .] eat, whose burning heat

    to flood of Tears can [. . .] lake:

    His word stands fast, that they be cast

    into the burning Lake.


    To Chr [. . .] st their Judge? he doth adjudge

    them to the Pit of Sorrow:

    Nor will he hear or cry, or tear,

    nor respite them on morrow.

    To Heav’n? Alas they cannot pass,

    Page | 228


    it is against them shut:

    To enter there (O heavy chear!)

    they out of hopes are put.


    U [. . .] to their Treasures, or to their Pleasures?

    all these have been forsaken:

    Had they full Coffers to make large offers,

    their Gold would not be taken.

    Unto the place where whilome was

    their birth and education?

    Lo! Christ begins for their great sins

    to fire the Earths foundation:


    And by and by the flaming Sky

    shall drop like moulten Lead

    About their ears, t’ increase their fears

    and aggravate their dread.

    To Angels good that ever stood

    in their integrity,

    Should they betake themselves, and make

    their suit incessantly?


    They neither skill, nor do they will

    to work them any ease:

    They will not mourn to see them burn,

    nor beg for their release.

    To wicked men, their brethren

    in sin and wickedness,

    Should they make mone? their case is one;

    they’re in the same distress.


    Ah, cold comfort, and mean support

    from such like Comforters!

    Ah, little joy of Company,

    and fellow-sufferers!

    Such shall increase their hearts disease,

    and add unto their wo,

    Because that they brought to decay

    themselves and many moe.

    Page | 229



    Unto the Saints with sad complaints.

    should they themselves apply?

    They’re not dejected nor ought affected

    with all their misery.

    Friends stand aloof, and make no proof

    what Prayers or Tears can do:

    Your godly friends are now more friends

    to Christ then unto you.


    Where tender love mens hearts did move

    unto a sympathy,

    And bearing part of others smart

    in their anxiety;

    Now such compassion is out of fashion,

    and wholly laid aside:

    No friend so near, but Saints to hear

    their judgement can abide.


    One natural Brother beholds another

    in this astonied fit,

    Yet sorrows not thereat a jot,

    nor pities him a whit.

    The godly wife conceives no grief,

    nor can she shed a tear

    For the sad state of her dear Mate,

    when she his doom doth hear.


    He that was erst a Husband pierc’t

    with sense of Wives distress,

    Whose tender heart did bear a part

    of all her grievances,

    Shall mourn no more as heretofore

    because of her ill plight;

    Although he see her now to be

    a damn’d forsaken wight.


    The tender Mother will own no other

    of all her numerous brood,

    Page | 230


    But such as stand at Christs right hand

    acquitted through his Blood.

    The pious Father had now much rather

    his graceless Son should lye

    In Hell with Devils, for all his evils

    burning eternally:


    Then God most High should injury

    by sparing him sustain;

    And doth rejoyce to hear Christs voice

    adjudging him to pain.

    Who having all (both great and small)

    convinc’t and silenced,

    Did then proceed their Doom to read,

    and thus it uttered;


    Ye [. . .] inful wights, and cursed sprights,

    that work Iniquity,

    Depart together from me for ever

    to endless Misery.

    Your portion take in that sad Lake

    where Fire and Brimstone flameth:

    Suffer the smart, which your desert

    as its du [. . .] wages claimeth.


    Oh pierceing words more sharp then Swords!

    what, to depart from Thee,

    Whose face before for evermore

    the best of Pleasures be!

    What! to depart (unto our smart)

    from thee Eternally!

    To be for ay banish’t away

    with Devils company!


    What! to be sent to Punishment,

    and flames of Burning Fire!

    To be surrounded, and eke confounded

    with God’s Revengeful Ire!

    What! to abide, not for a tide,

    Page | 231


    these Torments, but for Ever!

    To be released, or to be eased,

    not after years, but Never!


    Oh, fearful Doom! now there’s no room

    for hope, or help at all:

    Sentence is past which ay shall last,

    Christ will not it recall.

    There might you hear them rent and tear

    the Air with their out-c [. . .] ies:

    The hideous noise of their sad voice

    ascendeth to the skies.


    They wring their hands, their caitiff-hands,

    and gnash their teeth for terrour:

    They cry, they rore for anguish sore,

    and gnaw their tongues for horrour.

    But get away without delay;

    Christ pities not your cry:

    Depart to Hell [. . .] there may you yell

    and roar Eternally.


    That word Depart, maugre their heart;

    drives every wicked one,

    With mighty pow’r, the self-same hour

    far from the Judges throne.

    Away they’re cast by the strong blast

    of his Death-threatning mouth:

    They [. . .] lee full fast, as if in hast;

    although they be full loath.


    As chaff that’s dry, and dust doth fly

    before the Northern wind:

    Right so are they chased away,

    and can no Refuge find.

    They hasten to the Pit of wo,

    guarded by Angels stout:

    Who to fulfil Christ’s holy will

    attend this wicked Rout.

    Page | 232



    Whom having brought, as they are taught

    unto the brink of Hell

    (That dismal place far from Christ’s face,

    where Death and Darkness dwell:

    Where God’s fierce ire kindleth the fire,

    and Vengeance feeds the flame

    With piles of wood, and brimstone flood,

    that none can quench the same.)


    With Iron bands they bind their hands

    and cursed feet together,

    And cast them all, both great and small,

    into that Lake for ever.

    Where day and night, without respite,

    they wail, and cry, and howl

    For tor’ [. . .] ring pain, which they sustain

    in Body and in Soul.


    For day and night, in their despight,

    their torments smoak ascendeth:

    Their pain and grief have no relief,

    their anguish never endeth.

    There must they lye, and never dye;

    though dying every day:

    There must they dying ever lye;

    and not consume away.


    Dye fain they would, if dye they cou [. . .]

    but death will not be had [. . .]

    Gods dire [. . .] ul wrath their bodies hath

    for ev’r Immortal made.

    They live to lie in misery.

    and bear eternal wo:

    And live they must whil’st God is just,

    that he may plague them so.


    But who can tell the plagues of Hell,

    and torments exquisite?

    Page | 233


    Who can relate their dismal state,

    and terrours infinite?

    Who fare the best, and feel the least,

    yet feel that Punishment

    Whereby to nought they should be brought,

    if God did not prevent.


    The least degree of misery

    there felt’s incomparable,

    The lightest pain they there sustain

    more then intollerable.

    But Gods great pow’r from hour to hour

    upholds them in the fire,

    That they shall not consume a jot,

    nor by its force expire.


    But ah, the wo they u [. . .] dergo

    (they more then all beside)

    Who had the light, and knew the right,

    yet would not it abide!

    The sev’ [. . .] -fold smart, which to their part

    and portion doth fall,

    Who Christ his Grace would not embrace,

    nor hearken to his call!


    The Amorites and Sodomites,

    although their plagues be sore,

    Yet find some ease, compar’d to these,

    who feel a great deal more.

    Almighty God, whose Iron Rod

    to smite them never [. . .] ins,

    Doth most declare his Justice rare

    in plaguing these mens [. . .] ins.


    The pain of loss their souls doth toss

    [. . .] nd wond’rously distress,

    To think what they have cast away

    by wilful wickedness.

    We might have been redeem’d from si [. . .],

    Page | 234


    think they, and liv’d above,

    Being possest of heav’nly rest,

    and joying in Gods love.


    But wo, wo, wo our souls unto!

    we would not happy be;

    And therefore bear Gods vengeance here

    to all Eternitee.

    Experience and woful sence

    must be our painful teachers,

    Who [. . .] ‘ ould believe, nor credit give

    unto our faithful Preachers.


    Thus shall they lie, and wail, and cry,

    tormented, and tormenting

    Their galled hearts with poyson’d darts;

    but now too late repenting.

    There let them dwell i’ th’ flames of hell,

    there leave we them to burn,

    And back agen unto the men

    whom Christ acquits return.


    The Saints behold with courage bold,

    and tha [. . .] kful wonderment,

    To see all those that were their foes

    thus sent to punishment:

    Then do they sing unto their King

    a song of endless praise [. . .]

    They praise his Name, and do proclaim,

    that just are all his ways.


    Thus with great joy and melody

    to Heav’n they all ascend,

    Him there to praise with sweetest layes,

    And Hymns that never end.

    Where with long Rest they shall be blest,

    and nought shall them annoy:

    Page | 235


    Where they shall see as seen they be,

    and whom they love, enjoy.


    O glorious Place! where face to face

    Jehovah may be seen,

    By such as were sinners whilere,

    and no dark vail between.

    Where the Sun-shine, and Light divine,

    of Gods bright Countenance

    Doth rest upon them every one

    with sweetest influence.


    O blessed state of the Renate!

    O Wond’rous Happiness

    To which they’r brought, beyond what thought

    can reach, or words express!

    Grief’s water-course, and Sorrow’s sourse

    are turn’d to joyful streams.

    Their old distress and heaviness

    a [. . .] e vanished like dreams.


    For God above in arms of love

    doth dearly them embrace,

    And fills their sprights with such delights

    and pleasures in his grace;

    As shall not fail, nor yet grow stale

    through frequency of use:

    Nor do they fear Gods Favour there

    to forfeit by abuse.


    For there the Saints are perfect Saints,

    and holy ones indeed,

    From [. . .] ll the sin, that dwelt within

    their mortal bodies, freed:

    Made Kings and Priests to God, through Christs

    dear loves transcendency,

    There to remain, and there to reign

    with him Eternally.

    Page | 236




    2.8.2 Reading and Review Questions

    1. Who are the sinners whom Wigglesworth identifies in The Day of Doom?

    How do you know?

    2. How does Wigglesworth characterize God’s approaching judgment of the sinner? Why?

    3. What knowledge of the Puritan faith and the Elect does this poem offer?

    How? To what effect? How, if at all, does he make his “message” palatable to his readers?

    4. Against what possible failures in Puritan’s faith does Wigglesworth caution? Why?

    5. Who does Wigglesworth believe can hope for God’s mercy? Why?


    (c. 1637–1711)

    Mary Rowlandson (née White) was

    born in Somersetshire, England around

    1637. Two years later, her family joined

    the Puritan migration to America and

    settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

    They then lived in Salem, Massachusetts,

    before moving to Lancaster, a frontier

    settlement comprising of fifty families and

    six garrisons. In 1656, she married Joseph

    Rowlandson (1631–1678) who became an

    ordained minister. They had four children,

    one of whom died in infancy.

    In 1676, Lancaster was attacked in

    the ongoing conflict now known as King

    Philip’s War (1675–1678). Metacomet

    (1638–1676), called King Philip by the

    Puritans, was chief of the Wampanoags. Image 2.9 | Illustration of Mary His father, Massasoit (1580–1661), signed Rowlandson from A Narrative of the

    a treaty with the Pilgrims at Plymouth in Captivity, Sufferings and Removes of

    Mrs. Mary Rowlandson

    1621. By 1675, white settlers were pushing Artist | Coverly/Rowlandson Native Americans from their land to such Source | Wikimedia Commons a degree that Algonquian tribes formed License | Public Domain a coalition and raided white settlements. Among these was Lancaster, where Rowlandson’s garrison was attacked and burned. She, along with twenty-three other survivors, was taken prisoner by the Native Americans.

    Page | 237




    Her captivity lasted eleven weeks and five days, during which time the Algonquians walked up to Chesterfield, New Hampshire and back to Princeton, Massachusetts.

    9: Untitled Page 05 is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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