Prognostics of Despair, Atheism, Blasphemy, violent death, &c.

Prognostics of Despair, Atheism, Blasphemy, violent death, &c.

Most part these kind of persons make away themselves, some are mad, blaspheme, curse, deny God, but most offer violence to their own persons, and sometimes to others. "A wounded spirit who can bear?" Prov. xviii. 14. As Cain, Saul, Achitophel, Judas, blasphemed and died. Bede saith, Pilate died desperate eight years after Christ. Felix Plater hath collected many examples. A merchant's wife that was long troubled with such temptations, in the night rose from her bed, and out of the window broke her neck into the street: another drowned himself desperate as he was in the Rhine: some cut their throats, many hang themselves. But this needs no illustration. It is controverted by some, whether a man so offering violence to himself, dying desperate, may be saved, ay or no? If they die so obstinately and suddenly, that they cannot so much as wish for mercy, the worst is to be suspected, because they die impenitent. If their death had been a little more lingering, wherein they might have some leisure in their hearts to cry for mercy, charity may judge the best; divers have been recovered out of the very act of hanging and drowning themselves, and so brought ad sanam mentem, they have been very penitent, much abhorred their former act, confessed that they have repented in an instant, and cried for mercy in their hearts. If a man put desperate hands upon himself, by occasion of madness or melancholy, if he have given testimony before of his regeneration, in regard he doth this not so much out of his will, as ex vi morbi, we must make the best construction of it, as Turks do, that think all fools and madmen go directly to heaven.

 

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