Saturday, 29 April 2017

Know the wretchedness of Hell

I never imagined while living on earth that I had need to render thanks for anything; that health, riches, happy days, were gifts to be grateful for, but rather accepted them as the natural appurtenances of my existence; and if I thought about them at all, it was only to wish for more, for I was never satisfied with life as I found it nor with the world I lived in. Now I view things differently; I see now that the gifts of life are blessings unspeakable, and all the greater for being entirely undeserved. On looking back—and I am ever looking back now, there being nothing before me save one thing, awful and horrible, the judgment to come—on looking back, I say, I am bound to confess that the blessings of a single day of life on earth are innumerable as the stars. How rich is life! There may be misery and trouble on earth—and I believed I had my full share of both—but it has all dwindled to nothing since I have come to know the wretchedness of hell. Let me assure you out of my own dire experience that the most suffering creature on earth has much to be thankful for. Man's life, whatever it be, should bring him to his knees daily. And if you have nothing left of earth's blessings but air and light, and a piece of bread to satisfy your hunger, you have need to give thanks. I see it now, but for me, it is too late. In hell there is nothing—absolutely nothing to be thankful for; you, however, whose sun has not yet set, may still learn to yield your hearts in gratitude. Ah, hear me, I beseech you; there is no help for me, but help may come to you!

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