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! Observe the continual succession of hours, days, months, and years, hov one still follows upon one another; and think of eternity, where. in 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; con Gidering withal; there is a certain definite number of the stars, but no number of the ages of eternity. When you see a waier running, think how 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 by 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 wheel have an em. blem of eternity before them: for to which part loever of the ring or wheel one looks, one will still see 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 grafs on the earth, which no man can reckon; think with yourselves, that, weré 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 mount uin, 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 dust 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 flowest 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 tongue can express it? What heart 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 declares 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 carcases, and filth of Jeru. salenı; the scripure representing hell-fire by the fire of that valley, peaks it not only to be most exquisite, but also everlasting. Seeing
then the damned must depart, as cursed 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 eter. 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 annihilated, or substantially destroyed, it is all a case to thein, 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 go 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: they, who shall have no rest, day nor night, (Rev. xiv. II.) but sall 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 shall be: but their destruction will be an everlening destruction, (2 Thess. 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 tin: fo dying in hell, they live, but separated from God, and his favour, in which life ljes, Pfal. xxx. 5. They thall 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 th- nselves into lifeless pieces, their mifery would quickly be at an end: but there they must live, who chufed death, and refused life; for there death lives, and the end ever begins. .
2dly, The curfe shall fly upon them eternally, as the everlasting chain, to hold them in the everlasting fire; a chain that shall never be loosed, being fixed for ever about them, by the dreadful sentence of the eternal judgment. This chain, which spurns the united force of devils held fast by it, is too strong to be broken by Inën, who being folemnly anathematized, and devoted to destruction, can never be recovered to any other use.
3dly, Their punishment shall be eternal; Matth. xxv. 46. They Thail go away into everlafiing punisoment. They will be, for ever, sé. parate from God and Chrilt, and from the society of the holy angels and saints; between whom and them an iinpaffible gulf will be fixed, Luke xvi. 26. Between us and you, (says Abraham, in the par.ble, to the rich man in kell) there is a great golf fixed, so that they which would.
pass from hence to you, cannot: noither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. They fall for ever, have the horrible fociety of the devil and his angels. There will be no change of company for evermore, in that region of darkness. Their torment in the fire will be everlasting: they must live for ever in it. Several authors both an. cient and modern, tell us of earthen-flax, or Salamander's hair ; that cloth made of it, being cast into the fire, is so far from being burnt or consumed, that it is only made clean thereby, as other things are by washing But, however that is, it is certain, the damned Mall be tora mented for ever and ever in hell fire, and not substantially destroyed, Rev. xx. 10. And indeed nothing is annihilated by fire, but only dis. solved. Of what nature foever hell-fire is, no question, the same God who kept the bodies of the three children from burning in Nebuchad. nezzar's fiery furnace, can also keep the bodies of the damned from any such diffolution by hell.fire, as may infer privation of life.
aftly, Their knowledge and sense of their misery thall be eternal, and they shall assuredly know that it will be eternal. How desirable · would it be in them to have their senses for ever locked up, and to
lose the consciousness of their own misery; as one may rationally suppofe it to fare at length with fome, in the punishinent of death inflicted on them on earth, and as it is with some mad people in their miserable case! but that agrees not with the notion of torment for ever and ever, nor the worm that dieth not. Nay, they will ever have a lively feel. ing of their misery, and strongest impressions of the wrath of God against them. And that dreadful intimation of the eternity of their punilliment, made to them, by the Judge, in their sentence, will fix such impressions of the eternity of their miserable flate upon their minds, as they will never be able to lay aside, but will continue with thein evermore, to complete their misery. This will fill them with everlasting despair, a most tormenţing pallion, which will continually rent their hearts, as it were in a thousand pieces. To see floods of wrath ever coining, and never to cease; to be ever in torment, and witlial to know there shall never, never, be a release, will be the capestone puton the misery of the damned, If hope deferred, maketh the heart Jick, (Prov.xiii. 12.) how killing will be, hope rooted up, flain out.
right, and buried for ever out of the creature's light! this will fill - them with hatred and rage against God, their known irreconcileable
enemy; and under it, they will roar for ever like wild bulls in a net, and fill the pit with blasphemies evermore. i ;
Lastly, I might here shew the reafonableness of the eternity of the punishment of the damned; but having already spoke of it in vindicata ing the justice of God, in his subjecting men in their natural state to eternal wrath, I only remind you of three things, (1.) The infinite dignity of the party offended by sin, requires an infinite punisoment to be infited for the vindication of his honour: since the demerit of fin riserh according to the dignity and excellency of the person against whom it is comunitted. The party offended is the great God, the chick
is good, the offender, a vile worm;in respect of perfection infinitely difiant
from God, to whom he is indebted for all that ever he had, implying any good, or perfection whatsoever. This then requires an infinite punishment to be inflicted on the finner, the which, since it cannot, in Înim, be infinite in value, muft needs be infinite in duration, that is to say, eternal. Sin is a kind of infinite evil, as it wrongs an infinite God; and the gult and defilement thereof is never taken away, but endures
for ever, unless the Lord himself in mercy do remove it. God, who i is offended, is eternal, his being never comes to an end: the sinful
foul is immortal, and the man shall live for ever: the finner being without sirength, (Rom. v.6.) to expiate hisgult, can never put away the offence; therefore it ever remains, unless the Lord do put it away him. self, as in the elect, by his Son's blood. Wherefore the party offend. ed, the offender, and the offence, ever remaining, the punishment cannot but be eternal. (2.). The finner would have continued the course of his provocations against God, for ever without end, if God had not put a check to it by death. As long as they were capable to act against him, in this world, they did it; and therefore justly he will act against them, while he is; that is, for ever. God who judgeth of the will, intents, and inclinations of the heart, may justis do against Qnners, in punishing, as they would have done against him, ia linning. Lastly, (though I put not the stress of the matter here, yet) it is juit and reasonable the damned suffer eternally, since they will sin eternally in hell, gnashing their teeth (Mitih viii. 12.) under their pain, in rage, envy, and grudge, (compare Acts vii. 34. Pfal. cxii, 10. Luke xiii. 28.) and blafpheming God there, (Rev. xvi. 21.) whither they are driven away in their wickedness, Prov. xiv. 42. That the wicked be punished for their wickedness, is juft: and it is noways inconsistent with justice, that the being of the creature be continued for ever: wherefore, it is just, that the damned, continuing wicked eternally, do suffer eternally for their wickedness. The misery, under which they sin, caní neither free them from the debt of obedience, nor excuse their finning, and make it blameless. The creature, as a creature, is bound unto obedience to his Creator, and no punilhment, infliéted on him, can free him from it, more than the malefactor's prisons, irons, whipping, and the like, do set him at liberty, to commit anew the criines for which he is imprisoned, or whipt. Neither can the tor. : ments of the damned excuse or make blameless their horrible linning under them, more than exquisite pains, inflicted upon men on earth, can excuse their murmuring, fretting, and blafpheming against God under thein: for it is not the wrath of God, but their own wicked nature, that is the true cause of their sinning under it: and so the
holy Jesus boře the wrath of God, without so much as one unbecom. - ing thought of God, and far less any one unbecoming word.
Use 1. Here is a measuring reed: O! that men would apply it. * First, Apply it to your time in this world, and you will find your t me to be very short. A prospect of much time to come, proves the ruin of