Saturday, 29 April 2017

Be reconciled to God!

You may understand from this how it is possible with me to speak of things pertaining to the kingdom of God—naming the Saviour, the Crucified One, speaking of repentance and faith—without the faintest share in their blessing; nay, mentioning them with my lips merely, despair filling the heart. Everything is vain and empty in hell—those words are but soulless sounds to me; I know them outwardly, I can speak of them, but their meaning is nothing to me. I know that there is a Saviour and that He is the Son of God, but Him I know not; it is empty knowledge; His very name even is gone. I hate myself and say I have deserved it all, but it is fruitless repentance—repentance without cleansing tears. And as for faith, of course, I believe—must believe; but that too is empty—not faith which clings to that which it believes. Do not the devils believe—they must—and tremble? Be reconciled to God! What power these words had to move me! I felt in that hour as though it must be man's one and only object on earth to seek reconciliation with God, and, having found it, to go to Him through the portal of death. I remembered the stars and their loving message, Be good! and I felt ready to turn my back upon the world once for all. My first communion was as an earnest that I had set my feet upon the path to heaven, but I quickly turned aside; at the very church door, the world lay waiting with its pleasant road to hell. Be reconciled to God!—the words keep sounding about me, not as an echo from heaven, but rather as a curse of hell. Be reconciled—reconciled to God! Why must I hear it when there is no more reconciliation—when the door of mercy is closed. O terrible retribution!

Letters from Hell, L. W. J. S., Richard Bentley & Son, London, 1889