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of thefe most 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 six. It is a stream that will carry down the sinner, till he be swallowed up in an ocean 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 fumptuous 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 lhould 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 bofom, 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 juft, 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. 1. 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, o 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 fin. Lastly, the absolute neceffity of fleeing to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith; the same necessity 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, elle 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 world 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
on him) tions: do thou take himself and his falvation, freely offered unto all, to whom the gospel coines. 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 canft not repent; thou art unholy, and canít not make thyself holy: nay, thou haft essayed to repent, to forsake fin, and to be holy, but still missed of repentance, reformation, and holiness; and therefore, Thou saidft, there is no hope. No, for I have loved strangers, and after them
will I go. Truly, no marvel, that the success has not answered thy expectation, since, thou hast always begun thy work amiss. But do thou, først of all, honour God, by believing the testimony 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 fin and from wrath, made to thee in the gospel, trusting in him confidently for righteousness to thy juftification, and also for sanctification ; seeing of God he is made unto us both righteoufness and fanEtification, 1 Cor. i. 30. Then, if thon hadit as much credit to give to the word of God, as thou would allow to the word of an horrift man offering thee a gift, and saying, take it, and it is thine; thou mayest believe that God is thy God, Christ is thine, his falvation is thrine, thy lips are pardoned, thou had îtrength 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 ju:tified, the curse is removed. And while it lies upon thee, how is it possible, thou shouldft bring forth the fruits of holiness? But, the curse 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 fhalt find the spirit of life, on whose departure that death ensued, re. turned to thy fonl; fo as thenceforth thou shalt be enabled to live unto righteousness. No man's case is so bad, but it may be mended this way, in time, to be perfectly right in eternity : and no man's cale is so good, but another way being taken, it will be marred før tiine and eternity too.
III. The damned shall have the fociety of devils in their miferable State in hell:
for they must depart into fire prepared far 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 most pleasant spot of earth, with the devil and his infernal furies, would be a most, terrible confinement. How would mens hearts fail them, and their hair stand up, finding themselves environed with the hellish crew, in that case! but ah! how much more terrible muft 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 Toaring 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, shut 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 fhall 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 ii. 19.) being cast into she fire prepared for them. How will these lions roar and tear! hoy
Obferve the continual fucceffion of hours, days, months, and years, hov one full 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; conGidering 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 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 fucceeds 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 wheel have an emblem of eternity before them: for to which part foever 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 grass on the earth, which no man can reckon; think with yourselves, that, were as many thousand of years to come, as there are piles of grafs on the ground, even those would have an end at length, but eternity will have none. When
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 dust thereof at once; the noun. tain would at length be removed that way, and brought to an end; but eternity will never end. Suppose this with relpect 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 supposedl : 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 eterrial 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 covsume the dead carcases, and filth of Jeru. falenz; so the scripuure representing hell-fire by the fire of that valley, speaks 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 thall 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 cafe to them, whether the fire be everlasting, or not. Nay, but they depart into everlasting fire, to be everlastingly punished in it; Match 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 fall have no rest, day nor night, (Rev. xiv. 11.) but Mall be tormented day and night fir 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 Destroyed 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 bising. 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 fron 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: To 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! - nfelves 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.
2dly, The curse mall fly upon them eternally, as the everlasting chain, to hold them in the everlasting fire; a chain that shall never be Joosed, 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 men, 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 Shail go away into everlafiing punisiment. They will be, for ever, separate from God and Chrilt, and from the society of the holy angels and saints; between whom and them an impassible gulf will be fixed, Luke xvi. 26. Between us and you, (lays Abraham, in the paible, to the rich man in kell) there is a great gulf fixed, so that they which would.