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of these moft exquisite, and all this without any intermission, and without pity from any! what heart can conceive those things without horror? Nevertheless, if this most miserable case were at length to have an end, that would afford fome comfort: but the torments of the damned will have no end; of the which more afterwards. ..Use. Learn from this, (1.) The evil of lin. It is a stream that will carry down the sinner, till he be swallowed up in an occean of wrath.' The pleasures of sin are bought too dear, at the rage of everlasting burnings. What availed the rich man's purple clothing and sumptuous fare, when, in hell, he was wrapt up in purple flames, and could not have a drop of water to cool his tongue? Alas! that men hould indulge themselves in sin, which will be such bitt. rness in the end; that they fhould drink so greedily of the poisonous cup, and hug that serpent in their bosom, that will sting them to the heart, and gnaw out their 'bowels at length! 2. What a God he is, with whom we have to do; what a hatred he bears to sin, and how severely he punisheth it. Know the Lord to be most juf, as well as most merciful; and think not that he is such an one as you are : away with that fatal mistake ere it be too late, Pfal. I. 21, 22. “ Thou thoughtest that I was altogether “ such an one as thyself; but I will reprove thee, and set them in'.' "order before thine eyes. Now consider this, ye that forget God, **left I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.” The fire prepared for the devil and his angels, as dark as it is, will serve to discover God to be a severe Revenger of sin. Lastly, The absolute neceffity of fleeing to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith; the same neceflity of repentance, and holiness of heart and life. The avenger of blood is pursuing thee, O sinner! haste and escape to the city of refuge. Wash now in the fountain of the Mediator's blood, that you may not perish in the lake of fire. Open thy heart to him, left the pit close its mouth on thee. Leave thy sins, else they will ruin thee: kill them, else they will be thy death for ever.
Let not the terror of hell-fire put thee upon hardening thy heart more, as it may do, if thou entertain that wicked thought, viz. There is no hope, Jer. ii. 25. which, perhaps, is more rife among the hearers of the gospel, than many are aware of. But there is hope for the workt of sinners, who will come unto Jesus Christ. If there are no good qualifications in thee (as, certainly, there can be none in a natural, man, none in any man, but what are received from Christ in him) know, that he has not suspended thy welcome on any good qualifications: do thou take himself and his falvation, freely offered unto all, to whom the gospel comes. Whofoever will, let him take of the water of life freely, Rev. xxii, 17. Him that cometh to me, I will in no ways cast out, John vi. 37. It is true, thou art a sinful creature, and canat not repent ; thou art unholy, and canst not make thyself holy: nay, thou hart essayed to repent, to forsake fin, and to be holy, but still missed of repentance, reformation, and holiness; and therefore, Thou faidf7, there is no hope. No, for I have loved strangers, and after them
will I go. Truly, no marvel, that the fuccess has not answered thy expectation, since, thou hast always begun thy work amiss. But do thou, først of all, honour God, by believing the teftimony he has given of his Son, namely, that eternal life is in him: and honour the Son of God by believing on him, that is, embracing and falling in with the - free offer of Christ, and of his falration from lin and from wrath, made to thee in the gospel, trusting in him confidently for righteousness to thy juftification, and also for fanctification ; seeing of God he is made unto us both righteousness and fanEtification, 1 Cor. i. 30. Then, if thou hadit as much credit to give to the word of God, as thou woulde allow to the word of an horft man offering chee a gift, and faying, take it, and it is thine; thou mayest believe that God is thy God, Chrift is thine, his falvation is thrine, thy fins are pardoned, thou had strength in him for repentance and for holiness: for all these are made over to thee in the free offer of the gospel. Believing on the Son of God, thou art jułtified, the curse is removed. And while it lies upon thee, how is it possible, thou shouldst bring forth the fruits of holines? But, the curfe is removed, that death, which seized on thee with the first Adam, (according to the threatning, Gen. ii. 17.) is taken away, In consequence of which, thou shalt find the bands of wickedness (now holding thee fast in impenitency) broken afunder, as the bands of that death: so as thou wilt be able to repent indeed from the heart: thou Shalt find the spirit of life, on whose departure that death ensued, re. turned to thy fonl; lo as thenceforth thou shalt be enabled to live unito righteousness. No man's cafe is so bad, but it may be mended this way, in time, to be perfectly right in eternity: and no man's case is so good, but another way being taken, it will be marred for time and eternity too.
III. The damned Mall have the fociety of devils in their miserable State in hell: for they must depart into fire prepared for the devil and his angels. O horrible company! O frightful association! who would chuse to dwell in a palace haunted by devils? To be confined to the molt pleasant fpot of earth, with the devil and his infernal furies, would be a moft terrible confinement. How would mens hearts fail them, and their hair ftand up, finding themselves environed with the hellish crew, in that case! but ah! how much more terrible must it be, to be cast with the devils into one fire, locked up with them in one dungeon, shut up with them in one pit! to be closed up in a den of roaring lions, girded about with ferpents, surrounded with venomous afps, and to have the bowels eaten out by vipers, all together, and at once, is a comparison too low, to thew the misery of the damned, Thut up in hell with the devil and bis angels. They go about now as roaring lions, seeking whom they may devour: but then shall they be confined in their derts with their prey, they shall be filled to the brim with the wrath of God, and receive the full torment, (Mat. viii. 29.) which they tremble in expectation of, (James ï. 19.) being cast into the fire prepared for them. How will these lions roar and tear! how
whom they may chaey fhall be filed at. viii. 29.)
vill these serpent's hiss! these dragons vomit out fire ! what horrible anguilh will feize the damned, finding themselves in the laķe of fire, with the devil who deceived them; drawn hither with the filken cords of temptation, by these wicked spirits; and bound with them in everlasting chains under darkness! Rev. xx, 10. “And the devil that de“ceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimitone, where " the beast, and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day "" and night for ever.".
O'! that men would consider this in time, renounce the devil and his lusts, and join themselves to the Lord in faith and holiness. Why should inen chuse that company in this world, and delight in that fociety, they would not desire to associate with in the other world? Those
who like not the company of the saints on earth, will get none of it in -eternity: but as godless company is their delight now, they will after. - wards get enough of it; when they have an eterni s to pass in the
roaring and blaspheming society of devils and reprobates in hell. Let those who ufe to invocate the devil to take them, soberly consider, that the company so often invited will be terrible at last, when come.
IV. And lafly, Let us consider the eternity of the whole, the ever.. Elasting continuiance of the miserable state of the damned in hell.
First, If I could, I should shew what eternity is, I mean, the crea. ture's eternity. But who can measure the waters of the occean, or who can tell you the days, years, and ages of eternity, which are infinitely more than the drops of the occean? None can comprehend eternity, but the eternal God.' Eternity is an occean, whereof we will never see the shore; it is a deep, where we can find no bottom; a labyrinth, from whence we cannot extricate ourselves, and where we shall ever lose the door. There are two things one may say of it, (1.) It has a beginning, God's eternity has no beginning, but the creature's eternity has. Sometime thers was no lake of fire; and those who have been there, for some thousand of years, were once, in time, as, we now are. But (2.) It shall never have an end. The first who entered into the eternity of woe, is as far from the end of it, as the laft, who shall go thither, will be at his entry. They who have laun.
ched out furthest into that occean, are as far from land, as they were - the first moment they went into it: and thousands of ages after this,
they will be as far from it as ever. Wherefore, eternity, which is be. 'fore us, is a duration that hạth a beginning, but no end. It is a begin. ning without a middle, a beginning without an end. Afcer inillions of years past in it, still it is a beginning. God's wrath in hell, will ever be the wrath to come. But there is no middle in eternity. When millions of ages are part in eternity, what is paft bears no proportion of what is to come; no not so much as one drop of water, falling froni the tip of one's finger, bears to all the waters of the occoun. There is no end of it: while God is, it shall be. It is an entry without an out.gate, 3
continual succession of ages, a glass always running, which Ihall never I run out,
· Observe the continual succession of hours, days, months, and years, ho'v one ftill follows upon one another; and think of eternity, where. 1. there is a continual succession without end. When you go out in the night, and behold the stars of heaven, how they cannot be numbred for multitude, think of the ages of eternity; confidering withal, there is a certain definite number of the stars, but no number of the ages of eternity. When you see a water running; think howv vain a thing it would be, to sit down by it, and wait till it should run out, that you may pass over; look how new water still succeeds to that which passeth hy you: and therein you will have an image of eternity, which is a river that never dries up. They who wear rings, have an image of eternity on their fingers; and they who handle the whecd have an emblem of eternity before them: for to which part loever of the ring or wheel one looks, one will still fee another part beyond it; and on whatsoever montent of eternity you condescend, there is still another beyond it. When you are abroad in the fields, and behold the piles of the grass on the earth, which no man can reckon; think with your. selves, that, were as many thousand of years to come, as there are piles of grass on the ground, even those would have an end at length, but eternity will have none. When you look to a mountain, imagine in your hearts, how long would it be, ere that mountain should be removed, by a little bird coming but once every thousand years, and carrying away but one grain of the dult thereof at once; the moun. tain would at length be removed that way, and brought to an end; but eternity will never end. Suppose this with respect to all the mountains of the earth; nay, with respect to the whole globe of the earth; the grains of dust, whereof the whole earth is made up, are not infinite, and therefore the last grain would, at long-run, come to be carried away, in the way supposed : but when that slowest work would be brought to an end, eternity would be, in effect but beginning. .
These are some rude draughts of eternity; and now add misery and woe to this eternity, what tongué can express it? What lieart can conceive it? In what balance can that misery and that woe be weighed? . Secondly, Let us take a view of what is eternal in the state of the damned in hell. Whatsoever is included in the fearful sentence, de.. termining their eternal state, is everlasting: therefore all the dolefull ingredients of their miserable state will be everlasting; they will never end. The text expressly declare's the fire, into which they must de. part, to be everlasting fire. And our Lord elsewhere tells us, that in hell the fire shall never be quenched, (Mark ix. 43.) with an eye to the valley of Hinnom, in which, besides the already mentioned fire, for burning of the children to Molech, there was also another fire burning continually, to consume the dead sarcases, and filth of Jeru. salen ; sơ the scripure representing hell-fire by the fire of that valley, [peaks it not only to be most exquisite, but also everlasting. Seeing
ed indeede brought ; 10.)
then the damned must depart, as curfed ones, into everlasting fire, it is evidence that,
ift, The damned themselves shall be eternal: they will have a being for ever, and will never be fubftantially destroyed, or annihilated. TO' what end is the fire eternal; if these who are cast into it, be not erer. nally in it! It is plain, the everlasting continuance of the fire, is an aggravation of the misery of the damned: but surely, if they be anni. bilated, or substantially destroyed, it is all a case to them, whether the fire be everlasting, or not. Nay, but they depart into everlasting fire, to be everlastingly punished in it; Matth xxv. 46.- They shall 20 away into everlasting punishment. Thus the execution of the sentence, is a certain discovery of the meaning of it. The worm, that dieth not, must have a subject to live in: chey, who shall have no reft, day nor night, (Rev. xiv. 11.) but Mall be tormented day and night for ever and ever, (chap, xx. 10,) will certainly have a being for ever and ever, and not be brought into a state of eternal rest in annihilation Destroy. ed indeed they ihall be: but their destruction will be an everlening destruction, (2 Theff. i. 9.) a destruction of their well-being, but not of their boing. What is, destroyed, is not therefore annihilated; Art thou come to destroy us? said the devil unto Jesus Christ, Luke iv. 34. Howbeit the devils are afraid of torment, not of annihilation, Matth. viii. 29. Art thou come hither to torment us before the time? The state of the damned is indeed a state of death : but such a death it is, as is opposite only to a happy life ; as is clear from other notions of their state, which necessarily include an eternal existence, of which before. As they, who are dead in sin, are dead to God and holiness, yet live to lin: so dying in hell, they live, but separated from God, and his favour, in which life lies, Psal. xxx. 5. They shall ever be under the pangs of death; ever dying, but never dead, or absolutely void of life, How desirable would such a death be to them! but it will fly from: them for ever. Could each one kill another there, or could they, with their own hands, rent t).- nselves into lifeless pieces, their mifery would quickly be at an end: but there they must live, who chused death, and
refused life; for there death lives, and the end ever begins. ..! 2, 2dly, The curfe shall fly upon them eternally, as the everlasting
chain, to hold them in the everlasting fire; a chain that thall never be loosed, being fixed for ever about them, by the dreadful sentence of the eternal judginent. This chain, which spurns the united force of devils held fast by it, is too strong to be broken by men, who being folemnly anathematized, and devoted to destruction, can never be rea covered to any other use.
3dly, Their punishment shall be eternal; Matth. XXV. 46. They Shail go away into everlafiing punisoment. They will be, for ever, feparate from God and Christ, and froin the society of the holy angels and saints; between whom and them an impaffible gulf will be fixed, Luke xvi. 26. Between us and you, (lays Abraham, in the parable, to the rich man in kell) there is a great gulf fixed, so that they which would