How often do we act or fail to act with no understanding? Undoubtedly, there are many who follow a path all their lives while in total ignorance of where it really leads. Such is the fate of the ungodly. The following is from the pen of John Bunyan (1628-1688):
“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham‘s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. . . . (Luke 16:19-31 ESV)
[S]ome are so fast asleep, and secure in their sins, that they scarce know where they are, until they come into hell. . . . There it is that they come to themselves, that is, there they are sensible where they are indeed. Thus it fares with some men that they scarce know where they are, till they lift up their eyes in hell. . . .
Truly thus, it is to be feared, it is with many poor souls, they are so senseless, so hard, so seared in their conscience (1 Tim 4:2), that they are very ignorant of their state; and when death comes it strikes them as it were into a swoon, especially if they die suddenly, and so they are hurried away, and scarce know where they are till in hell they lift up their eyes. . . .
Indeed this is too much known by woeful and daily experience; sometimes when we go to visit them that are sick in the towns and places where we live, O how senseless, how seared in their consciences are they! They are neither sensible of heaven nor of hell, of sin nor of a Savior; speak to them of their condition, and the state of their souls, and you shall find them as ignorant as if they had no souls to regard. . . . Ah, poor souls! Though they may go away here like a lamb, as the world says, yet, if you could but follow them a little, to stand and listen soon after their departure, it is to be feared, you should hear them roar like a lion at their first entrance into hell. . . .
Now, by this one thing doth the devil take great advantage on the hearts of the ignorant, suggesting unto them that because the party deceased departed so quietly, without all doubt they are gone to rest and joy; when, alas! it is to be feared the reason why they went away so quietly, was rather because they were senseless and hardened in their consciences; yea, dead before in sins and trespasses. For, had they had but some awakenings on their death-beds, as some have had, they would have made the entire town to ring of their doleful condition; but because they are seared and ignorant, and so depart quietly, therefore the world takes heart. . . . But let them look to themselves, for if they have not an interest in the Lord Jesus now, while they live in the world, they will, whether they die raging or still, go unto the same place; ‘and lifted up their eyes in hell.’ (The Groans of a Damned Soul)
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Church, Faith, God, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Humility, Jesus Christ, Satan, sin, Theology | Tagged: Abraham, English Standard Version, Hades, John Bunyan, Lazarus | 1 Comment »