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others; the stings of conscience upon the remembrance of a slighted Saviour ; a despised Gospel, sermons, and means, undervalued; will deeply aggravate their sorrow. And, ah! how many, who have prostituted their time to the service of the Devil, will awake up, in the eternal world, confounded, on finding themselves deeply accountable for the misuse of those talents which God entrusted to their
í 8. Nor will it be any diminution, but a great increase of their torment, to reflect how many have been confirmed in vice by their evil example. To hear a once affectionate child upbraid his parents, as the authors of his sufferings; to behold a servant reproaching his master, who, through a neglect of pious instructions, and the corrupting influence of an ungodly life, has been accessary to his ruin ;-indeed for a Minister, who has been entrusted with the care of souls, to hear, at the day of judgment, but one lost sheep of his flock saying, “I was deceived and misled by his doctrine and example, and hence I am come into this place of torment;" will cause reflections that will be utterly insupportable. For, surely, the guilt of having destroyed their own souls will be heavy enough, without any accumulation of curses and execrations from those whom they have seduced into sin.
When we consider, then, that our example, whe..ther it be good or bad, will be iinitated by those
around us, let every one of us endeavour to live righteously; that, at the day of accounts, we may be able to rejoice in having done what we couldnot to destroy, but to bless our fellow-creatures.
9. The society which hell affords to its inhabitants will not alleviate, but augment, their sufferings.
There they will see the Devil, the prince of darkness, by whose subtle devices they were induced to cast off the fear of God, and to rebel against his government: and a discovery of the frauds which he has practised, and the stratagems which he has employed, to entice them to the commission of iniquity, will excite a lasting enmity to him, to whose hateful dominion they must for ever submit. There they will find themselves surrounded with “ fallen angels, who kept not their first estate ; but have been reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day".” Having joined with Satan in an impious revolt from God, they will now share in his punishment; and with him will be equally hated by those unhappy deluded souls who have hearkened to their lying suggestions.
Nor will it be any abatement of their own anguish to find themselves associated with millions in the same place of torment. Their companions in vice, whose society and friendship they once courted, will now have no power to moderate their sorrow, or to mitigate those pangs of grief, of which they will so largely partake. Now, being partners in suffering, as they once were in guilt, they will be incapable of giving the least assistance to each other. The request of a single drop of water, to cool their parched tongues, will be made in vain".
The mutual reproaches, curses, and imprecations, with which they will load one another, will be a fresh source of bitter reflection. Here, then, how vehemently they accuse and recriminate each other! One thus accosts his fellow sinner: “Oh that I had not hearkened to you, then I should not have come into this place of unutterable torment!"-whilst he w Jude 6.
n Luke xvi. 23—27.
will retort the accusation, by saying, “ I was emboldened in sin by the countenance which you gave to my evil practices. ' You were not forced, but of your own choice followed my example.” And then, instead of sympathizing with each other, they will reciprocally execrate the day of their acquaintance.
Seeing these things are so, how wise is the counsel of Solomon: "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou noto.” Let each one give himself the solemn charge, and say, “O my soul! come not thou into their secret : unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united P!"
10. The punishment of the wicked, we are expressly informed, will be eternal in its duration; and this circumstance will add a peculiar poignancy to the misery of condemned souls. The Romish notion of a purgatory, in which a sinner is so purified by temporary suffering as to become fit for mansions of glory, is a fiction, as contrary to reason as it is to Scripture. It is not a necessary tendency of punishment to subdue the enmity of the human soul against God, or to correct its corrupt propensities: on the contrary, it sometimes rather confirms them PP.
Theunrighteous, after judgment, will be unchangeably fixed in hell, there to remain throughout the unending ages of eternity. They will be thrust into those horrid caverns of darkness, where not one ray of light can enter, to cheer their gloomy abode; nor one ray of hope, to encourage an expectation of future mercy. During their life-time, God might have been successfully entreated by them; but now he will be
inexorably severe, saying, “Behold, ye despisers of : my grace, and wonder, and perish?!" He will remind them of his compassionate endeavours to save their • Prov. i. 10. Gen, xlix. 6. pp Rev. xvi. 9-12. 9 Acts xiii. 4), souls ; and the sin of having refused to obey, his voice will be an occasion of incessant grief: “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded ; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.” Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer ; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me'.”
From those passages of Scripture which speak of the eternity of hell-torments, we shall select a few. Our Lord repeatedly mentions the fire of hell, into which the impenitent will be cast, as a punishment that admits of no change or intermission: “ Their worin dieth' not, and the fire is not quenched”. The upbraidings of a guilty conscience, smarting under the anguish of God's wrath, is compared to a worm always gnawing its prey, but never devouring it. Can any language more strikingly convey to us an idea both of the eternal duration and the intense degree of the misery of the damned !
The sentence which Christ passes upon the wicked corroborates the awful truth, that they will be tormented day and night for ever.” “And then shall he say unto them on the left-hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels'. And these shall gò away into everlasting punishment."
St. Paul thus describes the majesty of Christ's second advent, and the eternal indignation with which he will visit the offences of his adversaries:“ When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his miglity angels, in flaming fire taking Prov. i. 24-30.
• Mark ix. 44. · Mat. xxv. 41..
vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction, from the
presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."
Thus the unholy, profane, and thoughtless sinner will be rendered capable, at the Resurrection, of enduring those sufferings which are to have no abatement or end **.
When, therefore, they shall experience the loss of God's favour and the joys of heaven; when they shall commence an endless state of inconceivable sorrow; when Satan shall deride their unavailing tears, and their lost associates reproach their crimes; and, finally, when the door of heaven shall be shut, and the impassable gulph preclude all access to God; oh, how unutterably wretched will impenitent souls then be !
The mind is appalled at the contemplation of the misery of the damned in hell! The ear recoils at the sound of those bitter shrieks and howling lamentations which issue from the infernal caverns ! The eye refuses to witness that deep and heartfelt distress which is painted in the countenances of those unhappy souls, on whom the just indignation of God is incessantly poured out !-A celebrated poet has described it in terms incomparably awful'.
11. As sin is the procuring cause of such torments, in what light should we regard it? Is it to be thought lightly of, and treated, as it generally is, with complete indifference, as if it had no power to do us harm? Like those whom Solomon stigmatizes with the epithet of " fools," do you fearlessly“ make a mock of sin" ?” What is this, but to cherish that
x"2 Thess. i. 7-10.
*x Mark ix. 49. y Milton's Paradise Lost, Book I. lines 44-75. yy Prov. xiv.9.