But woe and alas!


(Thomas Brooks, "London's Lamentations" 1670)

Suppose, say some, that a man were to endure
the torments of hell as many years, and no more,
as there are . . .
  sands on the sea-shore,
  drops of water in the sea,
  stars in heaven,
  leaves on the trees,
  blades of grass on the ground;
yet he would comfort himself with this poor thought,
"Well, there will come a day when my misery and
torment shall certainly have an end!" But woe and
alas! this word "Forever! Forever! Forever!" will fill
the hearts of the damned with the greatest . . .
  horror and terror,
  wrath and rage,
  dread and astonishment!

Suppose, say others, that the torments of hell were to
end after a little bird should have emptied the sea, and
only carry out in her bill, but one drop once in a thousand
years?and so continue until the whole ocean was taken

Suppose, say others, that the whole world, from the
lowest earth to the highest heavens, were filled with
grains of sand, and once in a thousand years an angel
should come and fetch away one grain of sand?and
so continue until the whole heap were taken away.

Suppose, say others, if one of the damned in hell
should weep after this manner?namely, that he
should only weep one tear in a hundred years, and
these should be kept together until such time as they
should equal the drops of water in the sea. How many
millions of ages would pass, before they could make
up one river, much more a whole sea! And when that
were done, should he weep again after the same manner
until he had filled a second sea, a third sea, a fourth sea
?if then there should be an end of their miseries?there
would be some hope, some comfort that they would end
at last! But hell shall never, never, never end! The
eternity of hell?is that which sinks them under the
most tormenting terrors and horrors!


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