T H E
By J O H N.B U N Y A N,
A Servant of the Lord's Christ.
Written from Bedford Prison.
Having in the first place shewed you, that the wicked must arise; I shall in the next place,
SECOND, Shew you the manner of their rising. And observe it, as the very title of the just and unjust, are opposites, so they are in all other matters, and in their resurrections.
MANNER OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE WICKED.
irst then, as the just in their resurrection do come forth in incorruption: the unjust in their resurrection, shall come forth in their corruptions; for though the ungodly at their resurrection, shall for ever after, be incapable of having body and soul separate; or of their being annihilated into nothing, yet it shall be far from them to rise in incorruption; for if they arise in incorruption, they must arise to life, and also must have the conquest over sin and death (1 Cor 15:45), but that they shall not; for it is the righteous only, that put on incorruption, that are swallowed up of life. The wicked's resurrection, it is called the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28). These in their very resurrection, shall be hurt of the second death. They shall arise in death, and shall be under it, under the gnawings, and terrors of it, all the time of their arraignment. As it were, a living death shall feed upon them; they shall never be spiritually alive, nor yet absolutely dead; but much after that manner, that natural death, and hell, by reason of guilt, doth feed on him, that is going before the judge, to receive his condemnation to the gallows. You know, though a felon go forth of the jail, when he is going to the bar for his arraignment, yet he is not out of prison, or out of his irons for that; his fetters are still making a noise on his heels, and the thoughts of what he is to hear by and by from the judge, is still frighting and afflicting his heart; death, like some evil spirit or ghost, doth continually haunt him, and playeth the butcher continually in his soul and conscience, with frights and fears about the thoughts of the sudden, and insupportable after-clap, by and by he is to meet withal.
Thus I say, will the wicked come out of their graves, having yet the chains of eternal death hanging on them, and the talons of that dreadful ghost fastened in their souls; so that life will be far from them, even as far as heaven is from hell. This morning to them, is even as the shadow of death. They will then be in the very terrors of the shadow of death (Job 24:17). As Christ saith, "Their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:44). From death to eternity, it never shall be quenched, their bed is now among the flames; and when they rise, they will rise in flames; while they stand before the judge, it will be in flames, even in the flames of a guilty conscience; they will in their coming before the judge, be within the very jaws of death and destruction. Thus I say, the ungodly shall be far off from rising as the saints; for they will be even in the region and shadow of death. The first moment of their rising, death will be ever over them, ever feeding on their souls; and ever presenting to their hearts, the heights and depths, of the misery that now must seize them, and, like a bottomless gulf, must swallow them up. "They shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: They shall be afraid of the Lord our God" (Micah 7:17).
Second, As the resurrection of the godly shall be a resurrection in glory: so the resurrection of the wicked, it will be a resurrection in dishonour. Yea, as the glory of saints, at the day of their rising, will be glory unspeakable; so the dishonour of the ungodly at that day, it will be dishonour beyond expression. As Daniel saith, the good shall rise to everlasting life, but the wicked to shame and everlasting contempt (Dan 12:2). And again, "O Lord, when thou awakest," that is, to judge them, "thou shalt despise their image" (Psa 73:20). Never was toad or serpent more loathsome to any, than these will be in the eyes of God, in their rising forth of their graves. When they go to their graves, saith Job, "His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust" (Job 20:11). And arise they shall, in the same noisome and stinking condition; for as death leaves, so judgment finds them. At the resurrection then of these ungodly, they will be in a very loathsome condition.
The ungodly at their death are like the thistle seed, but at their rising, they will be like the thistle grown; more noisome, offensive, and provoking to rejection abundance.
Then such dishonour, shame, and contempt will appear in them, that neither God nor Christ, saints nor angels, will so much as once regard them, or vouchsafe once to come near them. "He beholdeth the wicked afar off;" because in the day of grace, they would not come to hand, and be saved, therefore now they shall, all as thorns, be thrust away, as with fences of iron (2 Sam 23:6,7), Their rising, is called the resurrection of the unjust, and so they at that day will appear, and will more stink in the nostrils of God, and all the heavenly hosts, than if they had the most irksome plague-sores in the world running on them. If a man at his birth, be counted as one cast forth to the loathing of his person; how loathsome, and irksome, dishonourable, and contemptible, will those be that shall arise Godless, Christless, Spiritless, and graceless, when the trumpet sounds to their judgment, they coming out of their graves, far more loathsome, and filthy, than if they should ascend out of the most filthy hole on earth.
Third, As the just shall arise in power, so the wicked and unjust, in weakness and astonishment. Sin and guilt bringeth weakness, and faintness in this life; how much more, when both with all their power and force, like a giant, fasten on them; as God saith, "Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee?" (Eze 22:14). Now will the ghastly jaws of despair gape upon thee, and now will condemnings of conscience, like thunder-claps, continually batter against thy weary spirit. It is the godly that have boldness in the day of judgment (1 John 4:17); but the wicked will be like the chaff which the wind driveth away (Psa 1:4). Oh the fear, and the heart-aching that will seize them in their rising! the frightful thoughts that then will fill their throbbing hearts! Now must that soul that hath been in hell-fire among the devils possess the body again. Possess it, I say, with the hot scalding stink of hell upon it. They shall not be able to lift up the head for ever; pangs shall take hold on them, all their hands shall faint, and every man's heart shall melt; "They shall be amazed one at another, their faces shall be as flames" (Isa 13:6-8). Everything they see, hear, or think of, shall tend to their discomfort. They must needs be weak, whom God hath left, whom guilt hath seized, and whom death is swallowing up for ever.
Fourth, As the just shall arise spiritual bodies, so the unjust shall arise only as mere and naked lumps of sinful nature; not having the least help from God, to bear them up under this condition. Wherefore, so soon as ever they are risen out of their graves; they will feel a continual sinking under every remembrance of every sin, and thoughts of judgment; in their rising they fall—fall, I say, from thenceforth, and for ever. And for this reason the dungeon into which they fall is called "bottomless" (Rev 20:1). Because, as there will be no end of their misery, so there will be no stay or prop to bear them up in it. Only, as I said before, they shall not now, as afore, be separate body from soul; but both together, be bound in the cords of sin and iniquity, in which they shall now tremble as thieves and murderers, &c., as they go before the Judge, to hear what he will say unto them.
[THIRD—The examination and judgment of the wicked.]—Now, when the wicked are thus raised out of their graves, they shall, together with all the angels of darkness, their fellow-prisoners, be brought up, being shackled in their sins, to the place of judgment; where there shall sit upon them Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Lord Chief Judge of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. On whose right hand, and left, shall sit all the princes, and heavenly nobles; the saints and prophets, the apostles and witnesses of Jesus; every one in his kingly attire, upon the throne of his glory (Joel 3:11-14). Then shall be fulfilled that which is written, "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them" (Luke 19:27).