Tag Archives: deathbed agonies

Lewis Bayly – The Miseries of the Soul and Body at Death 1611

One of two books that the wife of John Bunyan brought to their marriage given as a dowry from her father. At the time Bunyan was yet uncoverted.

After that the aged man has battled with long sickness, and having endured the brunt of pain, and now expect some ease—in comes death, nature’s slaughter-man, God’s curse, and hell’s supplier —and looks the old man grim and black in the face; and neither pitying his age, nor regarding his long-endured dolours, will not be hired to refrain either for silver or gold; nay, he will not take to spare his life, skin for skin (Job 1), and all that the old man has! But death batters all the principal parts of his body, and arrests him to appear before the dreadful Judge. And as thinking that the old man will not despatch to go with him fast enough, Lord!—how many darts of calamities does he shoot through him—pains, aches, cramps, fevers, obstructions, weak heart, shortness of breath, colic, stone, etc. Oh, what a ghastly sight it is, to see him then in his bed, when death has given him his mortal wound! What a cold sweat over-runs all his body—what a trembling possesses all his members! The head hangs limp, the face waxes pale, the nose purples, the jaw-bone hangs down, the eye-strings break, the tongue falters, the breath shortens and smells foul, and at every gasp the heart-strings are ready to break asunder!

While he is thus summoned to appear at the great assizes of God’s judgment, behold, a quartersessions and jail-delivery is held within himself; where reason sits as judge, the devil puts in a bill of indictment, wherein is alleged all your evil deeds that ever you have committed, and all the good deeds that ever you have omitted, and all the curses and judgments that are due to every sin. Your own conscience shall accuse you, and your memory shall give bitter evidence, and death stands at the bar ready, as a cruel executioner, to dispatch you.