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Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Law of Hell

This then is the law of hell—we are not tormented—we torment ourselves! Yet remember that in dying everything depends on whether we lived in the faith of the Son of God, who gave His life that men might be saved. Our sins have that dread importance in as far as they testify that we did not believe. Do you marvel that I speak of God? Ah me, He is still our God! And we know that there is a Son of God who came into the world to save sinners, who loved them unto death, even the death of the Cross. But we know nothing of the way of salvation—everything is forgotten—the very name of the Saviour. We consume ourselves in terrible efforts to remember, were it but the faintest remnant of saving knowledge, but alas it is vain—not even His name! Could we remember that name, call it back to our hearts, I doubt not—I doubt not—even we might be saved. But it is gone—it is too late! too late!

It is incredible how much I have forgotten; indeed, I might say I have forgotten everything except myself. Yes, that is it. I have not forgotten self; on the contrary, whatever of the past concerns my person and my life has followed me hither with a minuteness of detail as strange as it is painful. But the clothes of self, as it were—the things I once possessed by knowledge, by intellectual acquirement—they have vanished together with the gifts of mammon and the vanities of the flesh. You will not be surprised then that the feeling of nakedness is so terribly present with me.

I have brought nothing hither but myself. And what comprises this self but a burning remorse which can never be stilled; a greed of desire which can never be satisfied; an unquenchable longing for things left behind; innumerable recollections of sins great and small, causing insufferable anguish, all
being equally bitter, equally fraught with vainest regret! This is the picture of myself, O God—of myself in hell.

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