תמונות בעמוד

ever love or be beloved. He will know, likewise, that to be cast from the presence of God is to be thrown out of his protection, and to be left naked and defenceless, as a prey to all that is malignant in the universe. And will it be a small thing to be thus separated from God? Will it be a small thing to wander through the universe and find not a single object whereon the mind may repose with delight or with complacency? Will it be a small thing to be abandoned to the mercies of the cruel and to the compassions of the wicked ?

III. And yet, were this all, the future misery of ungodly men, and consequently the salvation of Christ, would be less than they are. But these things are only the beginning of troubles. What said the rich man in the parable to which we have referred? Notonly did he behold Abraham afar off, but he exclaimed, “ I am tormented in this flame.” We ask not, at present, whether this and similar passages of Scripture warrant the conclusion that a material fire will be prepared as a means of future punishment. Be this as it

may, one thing is certain, that, when Scripture speaks of unquenchable fire and the smoke of torment, it points out to us a state of positive pain and misery. If this pain shall indeed be produced


by the agency of fire, then we can form some idea of what it will be: but if not, if Scripture speaks here in a figure, then, forasmuch as, in such cases, the figure commonly denotes less than the thing signified, we cannot form any adequate idea of the intensity of that torment which this is intended to express.

What an appalling thought, that even the flames of the valley of Hinnom, where infants were thrown into the red hot image of Moloch, and kept in that bed of fire until death stopped their cries, and their bodies were reduced to ashes, and where afterwards an everliving flame fed upon all that was noisome and disgusting,—what an appalling thought, that even these flames are inadequate to represent to us the horrors and the torments reserved for the ungodly!

IV. And yet, even now, if all had been declared, the future misery of the wicked, and consequently the salvation of Christ, would be less than they really are.

When the fingers of a man's hand wrote upon the wall of the palace, why was Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance changed ? When Paul reasoned before Felix of righteousness and temperance and judgment to come, why did Felix tremble? When Judas had betrayed innocent blood, why was it


that he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and went and hanged himself ? Brethren, the Scripture makes mention of a worm that never dieth, as well as of a fire that is not quenched. All other torments of the lost will be bitterly aggravated by the pangs of a guilty conscience and of unavailing remorse. Son,” said Abraham to the rich man in the parable,“ remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things.” There we are reminded of what will be one occasion of remorse: not indeed the

possession, but the inordinate love, and the careless, selfish, or impious abuse, of the good things of this world.—And the ungodly will be visited, in a future state, by the recollection, not only of the blessings of Providence, but also of the gifts of grace, that had been wofully abused. · There were the means of salvation put into my hands; there were the light of God's word and the pleadings of God's Spirit; there were public ordinances of religion ; there was private instruction; there were the examples of holy men before my eyes: and, if I had been faithful to myself, if I had walked by that light, and yielded to those pleadings, and improved those ordinances, and followed those examples, I should have been at this moment happy in the paradise of God. But, because I received the gifts of free grace in vain;

because I treated them with indifference; because I despised them; because I fought against them; because, through my obstinacy, they neither won me nor converted me to God; now therefore these things have risen up to persecute me, and to avenge that righteous Being whose ministers they were !--And there will be the remembrance, not only of grace neglected, but also of sins committed. The sins of this life, unrepented of and unforsaken, though in act they will hereafter be past and be no more, will yet have a being and be present in the thoughts and memory of the sinner; and what once he meditated or planned with satisfaction, or even with delight, he will reflect upon with unmingled horror.–And again, there is something which will tend to aggravate these pangs of conscience, and to deepen this re

In this life, it is by little and little that the gifts of Providence are abused; it is by little and little that the gifts of grace are neglected; one at this time and one at another; one sabbath profaned in one month and one in another; one warning neglected in this year, and another in the next. In like manner, it is by little and little that the sins of a whole life are committed ; some in youth, and some in manhood, and some in old age. And, if the remembrance of these things, and the remorse which will be caused by it, were likewise to occur by little and little; if only one neglected grace were to present itself to the mind of a sinner at a time, and only one act of iniquity to flash upon his memory at once; then the worm that never dieth would be comparatively harmless. But here is the aggravation. These negligences and these crimes, we have reason to suppose, will present themselves together before the guilty conscience; that conscience will be like those poor demoniacs who were possessed at once with many devils; and if the tormenting recollection were to take to itself a name, it would say, “ My name is Legion, for we are many !” And oh! what an amount of misery must arise from the vivid remembrance of a whole life of sin, at all times present to the mind !


Well indeed, my Christian brethren, may the thought now be present to our minds, how great a Saviour must he be who shall save a child of Adam from the unhappiness of being shut out of heaven, and separated from God, and tormented in that flame, and made a prey to the worm that never dieth ! Still, however, that thought would be somewhat premature; for, even now, we may assert that, if all had been declared, the future misery of the wicked, and consequently the salvation of Christ, would be less than they really are.

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