The Express and Telegraph Saturday April 19, 1890
This article is titled: How I Awoke in Hell. A LEAF FROM A DEAD MAN'S DIARY.
The following reminiscences, by an anonymous author, have appeared in more than one of the recent English magazines, and they have awakened sufficient interest to justify our reprinting the following portion, especially as there is so much which harmonizes with what has been revealed to us respecting the SOUL'S immediate future in the unseen world. The writer asserts that fragmentary as are these reminiscences, they are scrupulously accurate and that although he remained in the spirit realm only two days, it seemed to him weeks and months, and years since his death, and the hour that he became conscious of that death. Whether the writer was in a state of trance during the two days we are not able to say, suffice that it was a death-like state and produced indelible impressions on his mind. This is what he writes :
THE VISION OF MY PAST LIFE.
Whether my death was succeeded by a season of slumber in which certain appointed and divinely-ordered dreams were caused to be dreamed by me, or whether God caused the hands on the dial of time to be put back for a space, in order that I might see the past as He sees it, I neither know nor know; but I distinctly remember that the first thing of which I was conscious after my dissolution was that the events of my past life were rising before me. Yes, it was my past life, which I saw in that awful moment, my past life standing out in its own naked and intolerable horror, and abomination in the sight of God and of my own conscience, The hands of the dial of time went back half a score, a score, and finally a score and a half of years, and once more I was a young man of 21. Here ho sketches his temptations, and at last his fall into sin; and then continues: My passions had but simulated defeat, as passion often does, in order that it might turn in any unguarded moment, and rend me with redoubled fury. The next moment I saw my last gasping effort to will what was right and true sink amid the tempestuous sea of sinful wishes, as a drowning man sinks after he has risen for the third time, and deliberately thrusting away, in the very doggedness of despair, the invisible hand which yet strove to stay me, I rose and sought the room which I had prayed I might never enter.
I MT FIRST GLIMPSE OF HELL.
You may wonder, perhaps, how it is that I am able to recall so vividly the circumstances of an event which happened many years ago. You would cease so to wonder if you had seen, as I have seen, the ghost of your dead self rise up to cry for vengeance against you, and to condemn you before the judgment seat of God and of your own conscience. For this was my first glimpse of hell; this was my Day of Judgment. The recording angel of my own indestructible and now God-awakened memory showed me my past life as God saw it, and as it appeared when robbed of the loathsome disguises with which I had so long contrived to hide my own moral nakedness.
WHAT KEEPS HELL, HELL.
The one thing which of all others added to the unutterable horror of that moment was the memory of the false and lying excuses with which I had striven to palliate my sin to myself. This is the way in which I had repeatedly striven to silence my conscience, and it is but one instance of the way in which many others on this earth are now striving to silence theirs, " For God's sake," I would say to them, "Beware!" Such hardening of the heart against the Holy Spirit, such God-murdering (for it is the wish to kill God, and to silence His voice forever) is the one unpardonable sin, which is a thousandfold more awful in its consequences than is the crime which it seeks to conceal. It was the foulest stain on the soul of him who hung by the dying Saviour, and it is I believe at this moment the one and only thing which still keeps hell, hell.
THE AGONY OF THE DAMNED.
I remember that when the realization of what I was, and what I had done, was first borne in upon me, I fell to the ground and writhed in convulsive agony. The tortures of a material hell of a thousand material hells-I would have endured with joyfulness, could such tortures have drowned for a moment the thought-agony which tore me. Mere physical suffering in which, though it were powerless to expiate, I could at least participate by enduring, I would have welcomed with delirious gladness, but of such relief or diversions of thought, there was none. So annihilation, had such been then within my reach, I would have fought my way through a thousand devils. But in hell, there is no escape.
I remember that I rose up in my despair, and stretching vain hands to the impotent heavens, shrieked out as only one can shriek who is torn by hell torture and despair. I fell to the ground and writhed and foamed in convulsive and bloody agony. But not thus could I rid myself of the sights of hell, nor could mere physical pain wipe out from my brain the picture of the ruin I had wrought. And then-but, no; I am sick; I am ill; I am fainting; I cannot, I cannot write more.
We have no sympathy with that morbid desire to draw aside the veil, but the above experience, even in thought, accords with what is known. All attentive observers of human life and character are convinced that our every act, our every allowed thought of any moral significance, exercises a permanent influence upon the inner man.
Day by day we are writing our own history upon our own souls, and the time will come when that history shall be read-a time when every sin shall receive its name, when all that we strive to hide from mon and our better selves, shall be laid bare in the presence of God, no one shred left to hide our secret corruption, every artifice of self-deceit exposed and spurned. In the very being, "the rational and moral being that God has given us, He has interwoven the future judgment. Our daily life is one long prophecy of that day." If incapable of living with God here, we shall be unfit to live in His presence hereafter.