« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
than any fire we on earth are acquainted with; as will appear by the following confiderations,
1. As in heaven graće being brought to its perfection, profit and pleasure do allo arrive at their height there; lo sin being come co its height in hell, the evil of punifhment doth also arrive at its perfection ihere. Wherefore, as the joys in heaven are far greater wahan any joys which the saints obtain on earth, To the punishmepis of hell mult be grearer than any earthly corrents whatsoever; not only in respect of the continuance of them, but also in respect of vehemery and exquisiteness.
2. Why are the things of the other world represented to us, in an earthly dress, in the word; but that the weakness of our capa. · cities in fuch matters (which the Lord is pleased.co condescend unco) does require it; it being always supposed, that these things of the other world are in their kind more perfect, than that by which they are represented? When heaven is represented to us under the notion of a city, with gates of pearl, and the street of 'gold; we look not to find gold and pearls chere, which are so mightily prized, on earth, but something more excellent than these finest and most precious things in the world: when therefore we hear of hell.fire, it is necessary we understand by it something more vehement, piercing, and tormentiug, than any fire ever leen by our eyes. Auebere it is worth considering, that the torments of hell are held forth under several other notions than that of fire fimply: and the reason of it is plain; namely, that hereby, what of horror is wanting in one notion of hell, is supplied by another. Why is heaven's happiness represented under the various notions of a treasure, a paradise, a feaft, a reft, &c. but that there is no: one of these things sufficiend to express it? Even so hell-torments are represented under the notion of fire: which the damned are cast into. A dreadful, representation indeed! yet not sufficient to express the misery of the state of (inners in chem. Wherefore we hear also of the second death, (Rcv. xx. 6.) for the damned in hell hall be ever dying: of it the wine-press of the wrath of God," (chap, xiv. 19.) wherein they will be "trodden in anger, trampled is in the Lord's fury,” (Isa. Ixiii, 3.) presled, broken, and bruised, without end: the worm that dieth not, (Mark ix. 44.) which shall eternally gnaw them: a bottomless pit, where they will be ever sinking, Rev. xx. 3. It is not fiinply called e fire, but “ the lake " of fire and brimitone," (ver. 196. a lake of fire burning with " brimstone,” (chap xix. 20.) than which, one can imagine nothing mere dreadful. Yet, becaule fire gives light, and light (as Solomon observes, Ecclef. xi. 7) is fweet, there is no light there, but darkness, utter darkness, Matth. xxv. 50. For they must have an ever. Tilting, night, since nothing can be shere, which is in any measure comfortable or refrening
3. Our fire cannot affect a spirit, but by way of lympathy will the body, to which it is united; but hel-fire will not only pierce' into the bodies, but directly into the souls of the damned; for it is prepared for the devil and his angels, there wicked spirics, whony no fire on earth can hurt. Job cornplains heavily under the chaftileinent of God's fatherly hand, saying, “ The arrow's of the Almighty « are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my loirit," Job vi. 4. But how will the spirits of the damnet be pierced with the arrows of revenging justice! how will they be drunk up with the poison of the curse on these arrows! how vehement must char fire be that pierceth directly into the foul, and makes an everlasting burning in the spirit, the most lively and tender part of a man, wherein wounds or pain are most intolerable! . .oli
Lastly, The preparation of this fire evincech the inesprelible vehemency and dreadfulness of it. The text calls it prepared fire, yea, the prepared fire, by way of eminency. As the three children were not call into an ordinary fire, but a fire prepared on a partir ticular design, which therefore was exceeding hot, the furnace belh* hewed seven times more than ordinary, Dan. ii. 19, 22. So the damned shall find in hell à prepared fire,' the like to which was never prepared by human art; it is a fire of God's own preparing the product of infinite wisdom on a particular design, to demone:
strate the most strict and severe divine juffice a vinst fin; which · may fufficiently evidence to us the unconceivable exquisiteness
thereof. God always acts in a peculiar way becoming his own - infinite greatness, whether for, or against the creature: and there.
fore as the things he hath prepared for them that love hiin, hre E great and good beyond expression or conception : lo- oneny:
conclude, that the things he hath prepared against those who hacer
him, are great and terrible beyond what men can either fay, or - think of then. The pile of Tophet is fire and much wood, (the coals:
of that fire are coals of juniper, a kind of wood, which fet on fire - burns most fiercely, Plal. cxx. 4.) and the breath of the Lord, like a.
stream of brimstone, doth kindle it, Isa. xxx. 33. Fire is more or
less violent, according to the matter of it, and the breath by which j it is blown: what heart then can fully conceive the horror of Ecoals of juniper, blown up with the breath of the Lord? Nay, God
himself wilt be a confuining fire (Drut, iv. 24.) to the damned; į intimately present, as 'a devouring fire, in their souls and bodies.
It is a fearful thing to fall into a fire, or to be mos up in a fiery : furnace, on earth: but the terror of these evaniheth, when one
confiders, how « fearful it is to fall into the hands of the living Ć " God,” which is the lot of the damned; for “ who fhali dwell
"'with the devouring fire? Who shall dwell with cverlasting « burnings?" Isa. xxxiii. 14.
.. ; innen . As to the second point proposed, namely, the properties of the fiery torments in hell."
:-:*..It2 .asia . Thior . 1. They will be universal torments, every part of the creature being coriented in that fame. When one is cast into a burning fiery furnace, the fire makes its way into the very bowels, and leaves no men.ber untouched; what part then can have cafe, when the damned swim in a lake of fire burning with brimllonc? There will their bodies be tormented, and scorched for ever. And as they finned, so Thail they be cormenied, in all the parts thereof; that they shall have no sound fide to turn them to: for what soundness or eale can be to any part of that, body, which being Separated from God, and all refreshment from him, is Mill in the pangs of the second death, ever dying, but never dead? Bus as the Poul was chief in finning, it will be chief in suffering too, being filled brimful of the wrath of a sin-revenging God. The damned fall ever be under deepest impreffions of God's vindi&tive justice against them: and this fire will melt their souls, within them, like wax. Who knows the power of that wrath which had fueb an eff4ct on the Mediator, ftanding in, the room of finners, Pfal. xxii, 14. * My heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my " bowels?”. Their minds shall be filled with the terrible appre. henfions of God's implacable wrath: and whatever they can think upon, past, present, or to come, will aggravaie their torment and anguish. Their will shall be crossed in all things for ever-niore : as their will was Wer contrary to the will of God's precepts; lo God, in his dealings with them, in the other world, Mall have war with their will for ever. What they would have, they shall not in the least obtain ; but what they would not, Ihall be bound upon them without remedy. Hence no pleasant affiction shall ever spring up in their hearts any more: their love of complacency, joy, and delight, in any object whatsoever, sisall be pluckt up by the root;: and they will be filled with hatred, fury, and rage, against God, themselves, and their fellow-creatures, whether happy in heaven, or miserable in hell, as they themselves are. They will be funk in forrow, racked with anxiety, filled with horror, galled to the heart with fretting and continually darted with despair; which will nake them weep, gnash their teeth, and blafpheme for ever. Matth. *xxii. 13. 6 Bird him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast 66 him into utter-darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of 66 teerh." Rev. xvi. 21.“ And there fell upon men, a great hail 66 out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and “ men blafphemed God, because of the hail; for the plague thereof 66 was exceeding great.". Conscience will be a worm to gnaw and prey upon them; remorfe for their fins shall seize them, and tor. ment them for ever, and they fall not be able to take it off, as fometimes they did; for sin hell their worm diech not,"' Mark ix. 45, 46. Their memory will serve but to aggravate their tor. ment, and every new reflection will bring another pang of anguish, Luke xvi. 25. " But Abrabam said, (viz. to the rich man in hell) Son, member, that chou in thy life-time receivedst thy good things."
2. The tormenrs in hell are manifold. Put the case, that a man were, at one and the fame time, under the violence of the gout,
gravel, and whatsoever diseales and pains have ever met together i in one body ; the torment of such a one would be but light in
comparison with the torments of the damned. For as in hell
there is an absence of all that is good and desirable, so there is the i coxfluence of all evils chere; since all the effects of fin and of the
curfe take their place in it, after the last judgment, Rev. xx. 14. 4 "And dearh and hell were cast into the lake of fire.” Tiere they I will find a prison they can never escape out of ; a lake of fire, Es, wherein they will be ever swimming and burning; a pit, where - they will never find a bottom. The worm chat dieth not, hall feed
on them, as on bodies which are interred: ibe fire that is not quen. ched, shall devour them, as dead bodies which are burned. Their
eyes shall be kept in blackness of darkness, without the least com je fortable gleam of light; cheir ear's filled with the frighiful yellings
of the infernal crew. They shall taste nothing bug the vinegar of God's wrach, the dregs of the cup of his fury. The stench of the burning lake of brim'tone will be the smell there; and they shall feel extreme pains for evermore.
3. They wili be most exquisite and vehement tormets, causing weeping, wailing, and graphing of teeth, Matin. xiii.42. and xxii. 13. They are reprelented to us uuder the notion of pangs in travail,, which are very sharp and exquisite. So says the rich man in hell, Luke xvi. 24. I am tormented, (to wit, as one in the pangs of child. bearing) in this flame. Ah! dre:diul pangs; horrible travail, in which both foul and body are in pangs together; helpless travail, hopeless and endless? the word u'ed for hell, Macch. v. 22. and in divers other places of the New Teltament, properly denot s the vallzy of Hinnum; the name being taken from the valley of the chil. dren of Hinnom, in which was Tophet, (2 Kings xxiii. 10.) where idolazers offered their children to Molich. This is faid to have been a great bralen ido), with arms like a man's: the which being heat. ed by fire within it, the child was set in the burning arins of the idol; and, that the parents might not hear the thrieks of che child burning to death, they beat drums in the time of the horribls facrią 'fice; whence the place had the name of Tophet. Thus the exquisite. nefs of the forments in hell are pointed out to us. Some have endured grievous tortures on earth, with a surprising obstinacy and urdu:t-d courage: but mens courage will fail them there, when
they fi.d themielves fallen into the hands of the living God; and e no oui-gate to be exptcted for ever. It is true, there will be de- gree; of torment in hell: It mall be more tolerable, for Tyre and
Sidon, than for Charazin and Bethfaida, Murch. xi. 21, 22 But the least load of wrath there, will be unsupportable; for how can the heart of the creature endure, or his bands be (trong, when God: himself is a confuming fire to bim: When the tares are bound in bundler
. . for
for the firé, there will be bundles of covetous persons, of drunkards, profane iwearers, unclean perlons, formal hypocrices, unbelievers, and despisers of the golpel, and the like: the several hundles being calt into hell-fire, fome will butu more keenly than others, according as their sins haye been more heinous than these of others: a fiercer flame will feize the bundles of the profane, than the bundle of unfančtified moralists; the furnace will be hotter to those who finned against light, than to-chele who lived in darkness, Luke xii. 37, 38. " That lervaut which knew his Lord's will, and prepared “ nor himself, neither did according to his will, thall be beaten “ with many Gripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things are worthy of stripes, Mall be beaten with few stripes." But the fentence common to theni'ail, (Maith. xiii. 30.) Bind them in bun. dles 19 h:rn them, speaks the greatest vehem:ncy and exquisiteness of the lowelt degree of torment in hell.
4. They will be uninterrupted;' there is no intermission there ; no ease, no not for a moment. They Mall be tormented day and night for ever and ever, Rev. xx. 10. Few are so tossed in this world, but fonetimes they get reft; but the damned shall get none; they touk their rest in the time appointed of God for labour, No ftorms are readily seen, but there is some fpace between huwers: but no intermillion in the storm that falls on the wicked in hell. There deep will be calling unto deep, and the waves of wrath continually rolling over them. There the heavens will be always black to them, and they Mall have a perpetual night, but no rest, Rey. xiv. 1). They have no rest day nor night
5. They will be unpitied. The punishments inflicted on the great. eft malefactors on earth, do draw forth some compaflion from them who behold them in their torments : but the damned shall have none to pity them. God will not pity them, but laugh at their calarly, Prov. i. 26. The blessed company in heaver: shall rejoice in the execution of God's righteous judgment, and sing while the smoak riseth up for ever, Rev. xix. 3. And again they said Allelujah: and her smoke rose up for ever and iver. No compaflion can be expected from the devil and his angels, wlto delight in the ruin of the children of men, and are, and will be for ever void of pity. Neither will one pity ano. ther there, where every one is weeping and gnathing his teeth, under his own in fupportable anguish and pain. Therc natural affections will be extinguished : the parents will not love their children, nor children their pareurs: the mother will not pity the daughter in these flames, nor will the daughter pity the mother: the son will shew no regard to his father there, nor the servant to his master, where every one will be roaring under his own torment.
Lafty, To complete their misery, their torments Mall be eternal, Rev. xiv. 11. And th" lincke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever. Ah! what a frightful care is this, to be tormented in the whole body and soul, and that not withi one kind of torment, but many; all