From Mount Ebal

Thus having heard from Gerizzim, I shall
Next come to Ebal, and you thither call,

Not there to curse you, but to let you hear
How God doth curse that soul that shall appear

An unbelieving man, a graceless wretch;
Because he doth continue in the breach

Of Moses' law, and also doth neglect
To close with Jesus; him will God reject

And cast behind him; for of right his due
Is that from whence all miseries ensue.

Cursed, saith he, are thy that do transgress
The least of my commandments, more or less.

Nothing that written is must broken be,
But always must be kept unto by thee,

And must fulfilled be; for here no man
Can look God in the face, or ever stand

Before the judgment-seat; for if they be
Convict, condemned too assuredly.

Now keep this law no mortal creature can,
For they already do, as guilty, stand

Before the God that gave it; so that they
Obnoxious to the curse lie every day,

Which also they must feel for certainty,
If unto Jesus Christ they do not fly.

Hence, then, as they for ever shall be blest,
That do by faith upon the promise rest,

So peace unto the wicked there is none;
'Tis wrath and death that they must feed upon.

That what I say may some impression make
On carnal hearts, that they in time may take

That course that best will prove when time is done,
These lines I add to what I have begun.

First, thou must know that God, as he is love
So he is justice, therefore cannot move,

Or in the least be brought to favour those
His holiness and justice doth oppose.

For though thou mayst imagine in thy heart
That God is this or that, yet if thou art

At all besides the truth of what he is,
And so dost build thy hope for life amiss,

Still he the same abideth, and will be
The same, the same for ever unto thee.

As God is true unto his promise, so
Unto his threat'ning he is faithful too.

Cease to be God he must, if he should break
One tittle that his blessed mouth did speak.

Now, then, none can be saved but the men
With whom the Godhead is contented when

It them beholds with the severest eye
Of justice, holiness, and yet can spy

No fault nor blemish in them; these be they
That must be saved, as the Scriptures say.

If this be true, as 'tis assuredly,
Woe be to them that wicked live and die;

Those that as far from holiness have been
All their life long as if no eye had seen

Their doings here, or as if God did not
At all regard, or in the least mind what,

Wherein, or how they did his law transgress,
Either by this or other wickedness;

But how deceived these poor creatures are,
They then shall know when they their burthen bear.

Alas, our God is a consuming fire;
So is his law, by which he doth require

That thou submit to him, and if thou be
Not in that justice found that can save thee

From all and every sentence which he spake
Upon mount Sinai, then as one that brake

It, thou the flames thereof shall quickly find
As scourges thee to lash, while sins do bind

Thee hand and foot, for ever to endure
The strokes of vengeance for thy life impure.

What I have said will yet evinced be,
And manifest abundantly to thee,

If what I have already spoken to
Be joined with these lines that do ensue.

Justice discovers its antipathy
Against profaneness and malignity.

Not only by the law it gave to men,
And threatenings thereunto annexed then.

But inasmuch as long before that day,
He did prepare for such as go astray,

That dreadful, that so much amazing place–
Hell, with its torments–for those men that grace

And holiness of life slight and disdain,
There to bemoan themselves with hellish pain.

This place, also, the pains so dismal be,
Both as to name and nature, that in me

It is not to express the damning wights,
The hellish torture, and the fearful plights

Thereof; for as intolerable they
Must needs be found, by those that disobey

The Lord, so can no word or thought express
Unto the full the height of that distress;

Such miserable caitiffs, that shall there
Rebukes of vengeance, for transgressions bear.

Indeed the holy Scriptures do make use
Of many metaphors, that do conduce

Much to the symbolizing of the place,
Unto our apprehension; but the case–

The sad, the woeful case–of those that lie
As racked there in endless misery,

By all
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John Bunyan

John Bunyan was an English Christian writer and preacher, who is well known for his book The Pilgrim's Progress. more…

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"From Mount Ebal" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 14 Nov. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/22116/from-mount-ebal>.

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