Dialogue between a blind man and death
A Blind Man and Death.
By Mr Richard Standfaſt late Miniſter of Chriſt's
Church, in the city of Briſtol.
CHRISTS's Certain and Sudden appearance to Judgment.
Being ſerious Conſiderations on the four laſt Things
Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell
By John Bunyan Author of the Pilgrim's Progreſs:
Printed and ſold in Swan - Cloſe
To the Reader.
READER, perhaps thou'll ſay, it is not fit,
Theſe two Men's Works, ſhould make a Book complete,
But why? If Moderation does attend
Thy Spirit, quickly all ſuch Thoughts ſuſpend.
In them's no Controverſy, but each ſhows
Both bleſt Enjoyment and eternal Woes
They're dead, and reconciled with God above,
Read therefore, humble Chriſtians, read with Love.
A Dialogue between a Blind
man and Death.
TH E more Men ſee, the leſs they do enquire,
The worſe they ſee, the more they do deſire,
Others to grant what Blindneſs cannot give,
And for Intelligence grow inquiſitive;
They ask to be inform'd, who cannot ſee,
I knew't by ſad Experience, woes me!
Where are you, Sir? what fitting all alone?
I did ſuppofe 'twas you by this ſad Moan
Coming this way to gather what's my due,
I thought it not amiſs to call on you.,
I do not know that Voice, 'tis fure fome Stranger,
And by his Words he ſeems to bode me danger.
You gueſs aright, Sir, and before I go,
Know me you ſhall, whether you will or no.
Why, what are you? Pray tell me what's your Name
And what's your Buſineſs, alſo whence you came?
I will declare what no Man can deny,
There's none ſo great a Traveller as I;
Yet you muſt know I am no wandring Rover,
For my Dominions lie the World all over;
I march through Court and Country, Town and City
I know not how to fear, or how to pity.
The higheſt Cedar, and the loweſt Flower,
Sooner or later do both feel my Power.
The might'eſt Emp'rors do ſubmit to me,
Nor is the pooreſt tatter'd Beggar free.
In Peace I glean here one, and there another,
Sometimes I ſweep away whole Streets together
In Time of War, this much I can divine,
Whoever gets the Day the Triumph's mine.
I am indeed a very great Commander,
'Twas I that Conquer'd the great Alexander,
And after all the Victories he wan,
Compell'd him to confeſs himſelf a Man.
Were you Gollah great, or Samſon ſtrong,
Were you as wiſe and rich as Solomon,
Were you as Neſtor old, as Infant young
Had you the fareſt Cheeks, the ſweeteſt Tongue,
Yet you muſt ſtoop: all this would nought avail,
For my Arreſts will not admit of Bail.
For to deal plainly, Sir, my Name is Death,
And it's my Buſineſs to demand your Breath.
My Breath and Life ſhall both go out together.
On the fame Errand 'twas that I came hither.
I'll have both Breath and Life without Delay,
You muſt and ſhall diſpatch ? come come away.
Why in ſuch poſting haſte? Pray change your mind
'Tis a poor Conqueſt to ſurpriſe the Blind.
You may not call it poſting or ſurprize,
For you had warning when you loſt your Eyes:
Nor could you hope your House ſhould long be free,
When once your Windows were poſſeft by me.
But Life is ſweet, who would not if he might,
Have one long Day before be bids Good-night;
O ſpare me yet a while ſlight not my Tears!
Hard Hearts and hungry Bellies have no Ears,
I am not yet quite ready for the Table;
All's one to me, I am inexorable,
Yer by your Favour I may ſtep aſide?
Be not deceived, 'tis in vain to hide;
My Forces are diſperſed thro' all Places,
And act for me without reſpect of Faces.
I have a thouſand ways to ſhorten Life.
Beſides a Raper, Piſtol, Sword or: Knife;
A Fly, a Hair, a Splinter of a Thorn,
A little Scratch, the cutting of a Corn,
Have fometimes done my Buſineſs heretofore,
So to the full, that I need wiſh no more.
Should all theſe fail, enough of Humours lurk,
Within your Bodies, Sir, to do my Work.
Well then, let ſome one run for my Phyſician,
Tell him I was his Aid in this Condition.
Run Boy and fetch him, call the whole College now
For I intend to have them ſhortly too.
I value not their Potions nor their Pills,
Nor all the Cordials in the Doctors Bills:
When my Times come, let then do what they can,
I'll have my due, ſo vain a Thing is Man,
Should Galen and Hippocrates both join,
And Paracelſus with them too combine,
Let them all meet to countermine my Strength,
Yet they ſhall be my Pris'ners all at length
I grant that Men of learning, worth and Art,
May have the better of me at the Start:
But in long Running they'll give out and tire,
And quite the Field and leave me my Deſire,
As for thoſe Quakes, who threaten to undo me,
They are my Friends, and ſpeed ſome Patients to me
Well, if I muft, I will yield you the Day,
So 'tis enacted, and I muſt obey:
Henceforth I'll count myſelf among your Debitors,
For tis I ſee the Meaſure of my betters.
ButBut tell me now, when did your Pow'r commence.
My Power began from Adam's firſt Offence,
From Adam's firſt Offence! O baſe Beginning,
Whoſe very firſt Original was Sinning.
My Riſing did from Adam's fall begin,
And ever ſince my Strength and Sting from Sin.
To know wherein the En’mies Strength doth lie,
In my Conceit its half the Victory.
Have you Commiſſion now for what you do?
Yes, I Commiſſion have, what's that to you.
Yes, very much for now I underſtand.
I am not altogether at your Command:
My Life's at his, who gave you the Commiſſion,
To him I'll therefore go with my Petition;
I'll ſeek his Love and in his Mercy truſt,
And when my Sins are Pardon'd do your worſt.
That you may know how far my Pow'r extends,
I will divorce you from your deareſt Friends;
You ſhall reſign your Jewels, Money, Plate,
Your earthly Joys ſhall be out of Date;
I will deprive you of your dainty Fare,
And ſtrip you to the Skin, naked and bare;
Linnen or Woolen you ſhall have to wind you,
As for the reſt, all muſt be left behind you.
Bound Hand and Foot, I'll bring you to my Den,
Where conſtant dreadful Darkneſs reigns, and then
Your only dwelling Houſe ſhall be a Cave,
Your lodging Room a little narrow Grave;
A Cheſt your Cloſet, and a Sheet your Dreſs,
And your Companions Worms and Rottennefs.
If this be all the Miſchief thou can do
Your Harbingers deserve more dread than you,
Diſeaſes are your Harbingers, I'm ſure,
Many of which are grievous to endure;
But when once dead, I ſhall not then complain,
of Cold or Hunger, Poverty or Pain.
There's one Thing more which I to Mind do call,
When once I come, then come I once for all;
And when my ſtroke doth Soul and Body ſever,
What's left undone; muſt be undone forever.
That is a great Truth, which I've learn'd to know,
There is no working in the Grave below,
To be before Hand therefore will I try.
That then I may have nought to do but die.
But tell me, Sir, do all Men die alike?
To me they do, for whom God bids I ſtrike;
Look how the Fooliſh die, ſo die the Wiſe,
As do the Righteous, ſo the Sinner dies:
The greateſt Difference will be hereafter,
But that's a Thing which is beyond my Charter;
That I to ſome prove better, to ſome worſe,
To ſome a Bleffing, and to fome a Curſe.
That's none of mine, I dare not undertake it,
'Tis God'sAppointment and MensWorks that make it,
Hence 'tis that Sinners Troubles never ceaſe,
But the end of the upright Man is Peace.
There now remains but only one Thing more,
Will not your Power be one Day out of Door?
Muft I needs tell you, Sir, 'tis certain true,
There is a Death for me as well as you;
And mines the worſt, for I muſt die for ever,
You may revive again, but I ſhall never,
Come let that paſs, the kinder to appear,
I will reveal a Secret in your Ear:
The Death of Chriſt upon the painful Croſs,
That ſeem'd to be my Gain, now proves my Loſs
All in his Hair the Strength of Sampſon lay,
All with his Hair went Sampſon's Strength away.
I have no Strength, but what I had from Sin,
I have no Sting, but what lies hid therein,
Chrift ſuffering Death to put this Sin away,
Hath made me his whom I ſuppos'd my Prey.
My Strength is now decayed, my Sting abated,
My Boldneſs check'd, and my Dominions ſtated.
And I am now both faint and feeble grown;
Much like to Sampſon when his Hair was gone.
In my own Craft I was compleatly routed,
My jaws were broken and my Holders outed,
What now I Catch, I have no Power to keep,
My very Name is changed from Death to Sleep
'Tis true, I ⟨ſeiz'd⟩ on Chriſt, and brought him down,
And bound him in a Priſon of my own;
But all my ſtrongeſt Doors, Bars, Bolts and Bands
Were but meer nothing to his mighty Hands,
He broke thro' all and left the Door quite ope,
And all his Servants Priſoners of Hope;
For tho' they die, yet with devout Affection,
They do expect a joyful Reſurrection;
And with their Maſter to be brought again,
That they with him may evermore remain.
Thus Chriſt by dying did become Victorious,
And from his Bed of Darkneſs roſe more glorious;
And I by binding him made my ſelf faſt.
And his, I know, will prove my Death at laſt.
Theſe Words give Comfort and Inſtruction too,
Henceforth I ſhall be better pleas'd with you,
Decreed it is for all Men once to die,
After that Judgment, then Eternity.
ToTo Prayer therefore will I join endeavour,
So to live here that I may live forever;
And ſeeing they that have and keep Chriſt's Words,
Whether they live or die be all the Lord's.
Repentance, Faith and new Obedience ſhall,
Fit and prepare me for my Funeral;
From whence I truſt my Saviour will tranſlate me,
In Seaſon due, beyond their Reach that hate me,
Even to that Place of Life and Glory too,
Where neither Death nor Sin hath ought to do.
This Hope in me, that Word of his doth cheriſh,
He that believes in me ſhall never periſh.
Now welcome Death upon my Saviour's Score,
Who would not die to live forevermore?
Sir, I perceive you ſpeak not without Reaſon;
I'll leave you now, and call another Seaſon.
Call when you pleaſe, I will await that Call,
And while I ſtand make ready for my Fall;
In the mean Time my conſtant Prayers ſhall be,
From Sudden and from endleſs Death
Good Lord deliver me.
Judge not of Death by ſenſe, leaſt you miſtake it,
Death's neither Friend nor Foe, but as you make it,
Live as you ſhould, you need not to complain,
For where to live is Chriſt, to die is Gain.
Mercy and Grace by Heavenly Power
Can make the vileſt Wretch on Earth,
Forſake his Sins and Chriſt implore,
To Crown him with a ſecond Birth.
So Bunyan once lay wallowing in the Mire,
'Till Grace and Mercy ſet his Heart on Fire,
Drew him from hence with Bands of Dying Love,
And Crown'd the Pilgrims Head with Joys above,
Joys which a thouſand Deaths will recompence,
Joys which, like God, are laſting and immenſe.
CHRIST's Certain and Sudden
Appearance to Judgment.
JOB xiv. 2, 3
Man that is born of a Woman is of few Days and full of Trouble: He cometh forth like a Flower, and is cut down; be flieth alſo like a shadow, and continueth not.
O That poor Earthly Mortals would attend,
With Seriouſneſs of Mind to what is penn'd,
Here is preſented clearly to the Eye,
A little World new made moſt gloriouſly.
To Day here ſtands proud Man, like flowers ſprite,
But look To-morrow, and he is wither'd quite:
How happy might poor fallen Man have liv'd
For ever, had he not his Maker griev'd;
His num'rous Off-ſpring never would eſpy,
Thro' that black curtain of Mortality.
He might diſdain Aſſaults, alſo defie
Grim Death; but now, alas! he's born to die.
Duſt muſt to Duſt, faid God upon his Fall,
Entailing of that Sentence on us all:
Polluted nat'rally with that foul Sin,
Which did in Adam and poor Eve begin.
Alas!Alas! how ſwift the Days of Man paſs by:
Swifter then Weaver's Shuttle do they fly:
As foon as Death doth end his Days, ſo ſoon
Man muſt appear before the great Tribune,
Death will no Favour to a King afford,
Nor Difference make 'twixt Beggar and a Lord;
Beauty nor Riches, Favour will obtain,
He'll take no Bribes to mitigate their Pain,
Nor Florid Language can him ſatisfie,
For Death will tell him that he's born to die;
No Difference with Age and Youth he makes,
But each alike of Death participates.
You find Methuſalem by Death was told,
That die he muſt though he was ne'er ſo old;
Like Fruit when almoſt ripe, Storms can it ſhake,
So Youth when almoſt Man, Death may him take.
Search you Death's Lime Pits, and you'll find therein
As many young Steers, as the ox's Skin.
Of all Things here certain unto Man's Eye,
Nothings' more certain than he's born to die.
The Sinner truſting to bis Riches.
And yet how proud's a Man this ſide the Grave,
As if he never ſhould an Exit have!
Boaſting, poor Worm, of an uncertain World,
His buſie carping Thoughts with care are hurl'd,
'Till wealthy grown, proud of his Bags of Treaſures
He truſts in Riches, taking all the Pleaſure,
His Heart cap wiſh for; nay, he does controul
The Checks of Conſcience to his precious Soul:
Says to himſelf, Soul take this Eaſe and ſpend
Thy Time in Mirth, ne'er think 'twill have an End.
Thus, thus the Sinner does abuſe his God,
And chooſes Vice inſtead of Virtues Road:
He Swears and Damns, and imprecates God's Wrath,
To ſtrike him Dead ; but ah! to Death he's loath.
He damns; his very Soul, is it not juſt,
ThatThat God ſhould do ſo too, and ſay, be curſt.
Roaring and ranting is his helliſh Note;
Quaffing ſo long, until his Senſes float;
Drunk like a Beast, he ſtaggers up and down,
Sleeps like a Hog, and is a Devil grown.
But oh! if God thus anger'd ready be,
To ſay, thou Fool I do require of thee
Thy Soul this Night, come give a juſt Account,
To what thy Stewardſhip does now amount ;
How dumb and ſenſeleſs would he ſtand to fee,
Hell ready to devour him preſently:
Fruitleſs would be his ſearch to find a Place,
'Mong Rocks to hide him from God's angry Face.
For Flinty Rocks, and Natures Hills that ſoar
Their Towering Heads fo high, will be no ſhore,
And all Things vaniſh by God's ſov'reign Pow'r.
Old Age with its Troubles.
But now ſuppoſe God ſuffers him to live,
Adds Mercy unto Mercy, and does give,
Him yet a longer Time of Life and tries
If he'll repent before Death ſhut his Eyes.
He fees that Life runs round like to a Wheel,
And wrinkled Years upon his Brows do ſteal;
Beſides gray Hairs upon his Head do grow,
Scatter'd it lies like to a drift of Snow.
A foggy Dimneſs doth his Eyes aſſail,
Sinking into his Head his Eyes they fail;
His Tongue does faulter, and his Hands they ſhake,
And with the Palſie every Limb doth quake:
His ſtaggering Billows cannot ſtand at all;
His Houſe is ſo decay'd tis near to fall;
His Age brings with it Sickneſs and Diſeaſe;
His Limbs ſo feeble are, ſeek ſluggiſh Eaſe;
His Pleaſure's gone, it doth him ſore annoy,
To think of Youth's Delight and former Joy:
His Mind doth Dream of Death before his Eyes,
And Death's pale Image doth his Soul ſurprize.
God's Mercy abus'd, Death ſent.
His Glaſs juſt run, he's even out of Breath,
Ready to yield his Life to conquering Death,
Who will no longer Favour his old Age,
But is reſolved in his Death t'engage;
It peeps behind the Curtain in his Face,
And draws the ſame then dreadful is his Caſe;
His Tongue doth faulter and his Veins they ſtart
Like Sticks aſunder, nay his very Heart
Ceaſeth its Motion, and his Virals gone;
So that at laſt he's colder than a Stone:
His Kinsfolk dear his dying Eyes do ſhut,
And for his Bed into a Coffin put.
But when his Soul hath parted clean away,
And left the Body like a lump of Clay,
The Carcaſe is no colder than the Love,
of Wife and Friends, who do forgetful prove,
And 'cauſe he cannot go he's carried forth,
Accompany'd with all his Friends of Worth:
Hir'd Mourners ſhow his Years and Pomp ſo brave,
Convey him to his cold and ſad like Grave;
But when they come to Death's pale Habitation,
And ſees the Pit which gape with Deſolation,
They throw the naked Coffin in, of all
His Freinds, not one for Love will with him fall
All get them gone, he ſtill alone doth ly,
A rotten Worm-bait, Tale of Mortality.
The Vanity of his Wealth.
Thus ends his earthly Splendor and his pleaſure.
Wife, Children, Kinsfolk and his Bags of Treaſure,
Are left behind to hold the ſame Eſtate
A little while, but Follow muſt his Fate:
Nay they're not fure t'enjoy it half a Day,
For Death doth oft ſweep Families away.
The Infant's inſtantly depriv'd of's Mother,
Husband from's Wife, the Siſter from her Brother
ChildrenChildren in Cradles often feel the ſmart,
Of conquering Death the King of Terrors Dart,
Therefore, O Man, why are thou overjoy'd,
When all thou haſt may quickly be deſtroy'd,
If any ſtormy blaft of Sickneſs blow,
All Features paſſeth like a Minute ſhow,
Alas, poor Worm, what Thing can thou call thine,
But ſudden Death may quickly ſay 'tis mine:
Behold thy Frailty! See thy Glaſs does run!
Therefore repent before the Time is gone.
Both Young and Old have this before your Eye,
You're born to Happineſs or Miſery.
Think at Chriſt's coming, you muſt then ariſe
And there be judged at the Great Aſſize.
Matth. xxiv. 14. Watch therefore, for you know not what Hour the Lord doth come.
The Manner of Chriſt's coming.
Serene, like as the Days of Noah were,
Soſhall the coming of our Lord appear:
Eating and Drinking they will merry make,
And carnal Souls Security will take,
Juſt like a Theif who cometh in the Night,
So will the Son of Man in Glory bright,
Come down with numerous Angels, and the ſound
Of Trumpets ſhril, unnerving thus the Ground,
Ye Dead ariſe; Lord what a Horror here
Is to the Wicked, who muſt ſrtaight appear,
And come to Judgment! O how this begins,
To bring to mind their many wretched Sins.
Conſcience immediately appears and muſt
Be the ſad Soul's accuſing Witneſs firſt;
Hanging their Heads, cannot endure the Shocks,
of God's revenging Wrath, then to the Rocks,
They run in vain, moſt miſerable Elves,
To ſeek fome ſhelt'ring Place to hide themſelves.
Then are they ſeparated as they ſtand.
TheThe Goats i'th' left, the Sheepat Chriſt's right Hand
O! the ſad Shriechs they make, the rueful cries,
To ſee Hell gaping juſt before there Eyes!
The Heavens melt away with fervent Heat,
The Earth is burning underneath our Feet:
Thc Books are opened, judged now they muſt,
Condemned next, then are pronounced curſt.
The bleſſed Eftate of the Godly.
But happy, ever happy are the Sheep
of Chriſt, who Joy for forevermore will reap,
When he ſhall ſay to's Saints, Come, come ye thither,
You of my choſen Flock bleſt of my Father;
The Kingdom now enjoy, for you prepar'd,
Before the world was made and Heavens rear'd
O what Soul-raviſhing ſweet News is this!
Angels attend him preſently to bliſs,
With Glory crown'd, eternally they ſing,
Hoſannahs to their Heavenly Lord and King:
Rivers of joy before their Eyes run by,
Oceans of Pleaſure to Eternity,
Cloathed with Robes, ſhining like Jaſper stone,
They fing Chriſt's Praiſes on his heavenly Throne,
Angels attend theſe Saints, and what is more,
Joy hath no ead, but laſts for evermore,
The Miſerable State of the Wicked.
But hark! what Grief the damned does attend,
Who have no Advocate to ſtand their Friend,
Sentence muſt paffed be, Go, go to dwell,
In endleſs burning in the Lake of Hell;
Depart with Devils who did you entice
To hate your Saviour, and to cleave to Vice;
Go to that everlafting Pit, and ly,
Howling with Fiery Fiends perpetually
o what a wretched sight't will be to ſee,
The Devils dragging them to Mifery?
Husbands to ſee their Wives convey'd to bliſs,
WhilſtWhilſt they with damned Souls Salvation miſs:
Son from the Father, Father from the Son,
Muſt feparated be i' th' Day of Doom,
Praiſing of God, and own it to be juſt,
There own Relations are with Devils curſt,
The Godly they to Heaven take their Flight,
Whilſt Wicked take their Courſe to Hell outright.
Lord let us watch continually and pray,
That we may be prepar'd for that great Day;
Give us Repentance that while here we live,
We may the Offers of his Grace receive;
And feed our Souls, O God with thy free Grace,
That we may ſtand before our Saviours Face;
O grant that when the Force of Death we try,
We may cry out where is thy Victory?
And mounting up to thee, with joy may ſing,
oh gloomy Grave where is thy bitter Sting?
This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.