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wrath of the Almighty to shoot at! and as a bush that must burn in the flaines of his jealousy, and never be consumed!
§ 11. (3) The torments of the damned must be extreme, because they are the effect of divine vengeance. Wrath is terrible, but revenge is implacable. When the great God shall say, “ My rebellious creatures shall now pay for all the abuse of my patience. Remember how I waited your leisure in vain, how I stooped to persuade and entreat you. Did you think I would always be so slighted ?" Then will he be revenged for every abused mercy, and for all their neglects of Christ and grace. O that men would foresee this, and please God better in preventing their woe!
$ 12. (4) Consider also, that though God had rather men would accept of Christ and mercy, yet when they persist in rebellion he will take pleasure in their execution. He tells us, Fury is not in me; yet he adds, Who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together.—Wretched creatures! when he that made them will not have mercy upon them, and he that formed them will show them no favour.(g) As the Lord rejoiced over them to do them good; so the Lord will rejoice over them to destroy them, and to bring them to nought.(h) Woe to the souls whom God rejoiceth to punish! He will laugh at their calamity, he will mock when their fear cometh; when their fear cometh as desolation, and their destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon them.(i) Terrible thing, when none in heaven or earth can help them but God, and he shall rejoice in their calamity. Though scripture speaks of God's laughing and mocking, not literally, but after the manner of men; yet it is such an act of God in tormenting the sinner, which cannot otherwise be more fitly expressed.
$13. (5) Consider that Satan and themselves shall be God's executioners. He that was here so
(g) Isa. xxvii. 4, 11. (h) Dent. xxviii. 63. (i) Prov. i. 26, 27. successful in drawing them from Christ, will then be the instrument of their punishment, for yielding to his temptations. That is the reward he will give them for all their service; for their rejecting the commands of God and forsaking Christ, and neg·lecting their souls, at his persuasion. If they had served Christ as faithfully as they did Satan, he would have given them a better reward. It is also most. just, that they should be their own tormentors, that they may see their whole destruction is of themselves; and then who can they complain of but them selves?
$ 14. (6) Consider also that their torment will be universal. As all parts have joined in sin, so must they all partake in the torment. The soul, as it was the chief in sinning, shall be the chief in suffering; and as it is of a more excellent nature than the body, 80 will its torments far exceed bodily torments; and as its joys far surpass all sensual pleasures, so the pains of the soul exceed corporeal pains. It is not only a soul, but a sinful soul, that must suffer. Fire will not burn except the fuel be combustible; but if the wood be dry, how fiercely will it burn! The guilt of their sins will be to damned souls like tinder to gunpowder, to make the flames of hell take hold upon them with fury. The body must also bear its part. That body which was so carefully looked to, 80 tenderly cherished, so curiously dressed; what must it now endure! How are its haughty looks now taken down! How little will those flames regard its comeliness and beauty! Those eyes which were wont to be delighted with curious sights, must then see nothing but what shall terrify them! an angry God above them, with those saints whom they scorned enjoying the glory which they have lost; and about them will be only devils and damned souls. How will they look back, and say, “ Are all our feasts, and games, and revels, come to this !” Those ears which were accustomed to music and songs, shall hear the shrieks and cries of their damned companions; chil
dren crying out against their parents, that gave them encouragement and example in evil; husbands and wives, masters and servants, ministers and people, inagistrates and subjects, charging their misery upon one another, for discouraging in duty, conniving at sin, and being silent, when they should have plainly foretold the danger.—Thus will soul and body be companions in woe.
§ 15. (7) Far greater will these torments be, because without mitigation. In this life, when told of hell, or if conscience troubled their peace, they had comforters at hand; their carnal friends, their business, their company, their mirth. They could drink, play, or sleep away their sorrows. But now all these remedies are vanished. Their hard, presumptuous, unbelieving heart, was a wall to defend them against trouble of mind. Satan was himself their comforter, as he was to our first mother; “ Hath God said, ye shall not eat?-ye shall not surely die. Doth God tell you, that you shall lie in hell? It is no such matter; God is more merciful.—Or if there be a hell, what need you fear it? Are not you Christians? Was not the blood of Christ shed for you?” Thus as the Spirit of Christ is the comforter of the saints, so Satan is the comforter of the wicked. Never was a thief more careful lest he should awake the people, when he is robbing the house, than Satan is not to awaken a sinner. But when the sinner is dead, then Satan hath done flattering and comforting. Which way then will the forlorn sinner look for comfort? They that drew him into the snare, and promised him safety, now forsake him, and are forsaken themselves. His comforts are gone, and the righ. teous God, whose forewarnings he made light of, will now make good his word against him to the least tittle.
§ 16. (8) But the greatest aggravation of these torments, will be their eternity. When a thousand millions of ages are past, they are as fresh to begin as the first day. If there were any hope of an end,
it would ease the damned to foresee it, but for ever is an intolerable thought. They were never weary of sinning, nor will God be weary of punishing. They never heartily repented of sin, nor will God repent of their suffering. They broke the laws of the eternal God, and therefore shall suffer eternal punishment. They knew it was an everlasting kingdom which they refused, and what wonder if they are everlastingly shut out of it? Their immortal souls were guilty of the trespass, and therefore must immortally suffer the pains. What happy men would they think themselves, if they might have lain still in their graves, or might but there lie down again! How will they call and cry, “O death, whither art thou now gone? Now come, and cut off this doleful life. O that these pains would break my heart, and end my being! O that I might once at last die! 0 that I had never had a being !” These groans will the thoughts of eternity wring from their hearts. They were wont to think sermons and prayers long; how long then will they think these endless torments! What difference is there betwixt the length of their pleasures and their pains! the one continued but a moment, the other endureth through all eternity. Sinner, remember how time is almost gone. Thou art standing at the door of eternity; and death is waiting to open the door, and put thee in. Go, sleep out a few more nights, and stir about a few more days on earth, and then thy nights and days shall end; thy thoughts, and cares, and pleasures, shall all be devoured by eternity; thou must enter upon the state which shall never be changed. As the joys of heaven are beyond our conception, so are the pains of hell. Everlasting torment is inconceivable torment.
§ 17. But methinks I see the obstinate sinner desperately resolving, “ If I must be damned, there is no remedy: rather than I will live as the scripture requires, I will put it to the venture; I shall escape as well as the rest of my neighbours, and we will even bear it as well as we can.” Alas! poor creature, let me beg this of thee, before thou dost so flatly, resolve, that thou wouldest lend me thy attention to a few questions, and weigh them with the reason of a man.—Who art thou, that thou shouldest bear the wrath of God? art thou a god or a man? what is thy strength ? is it not as the strength of wax or stubble to resist the fire; or as chaff to the wind, or as dust before the fierce whirlwind? If thy strength were as iron, and thy bones as brass; if thy foundation were as the earth, and thy power as the heavens; yet shouldst thou perish at the breath of his indignation. How much more when thou art but a piece of breathing clay, kept a few days from being eaten with worms by the mere support and favour of him whom thou art thus resisting Why dost thou tremble at the signs of Almighty power and wrath? —at claps of thunder; or flashes of lightning; or that unseen power which rends in pieces the mighty oaks, and tears down the strongest buildings; or at the plaugue when it rages around thee? If thou hadst seen the plagues of Egypt, or the earth swallow up Dathan and Abiram, or Elijah bring fire from heaven to destroy the captains and their companies, would not any of these sights have daunted thy spirits? How then canst thou bear the plagues of hell?- Why art thou dismayed with such small sufferings as befal thee here? a tooth-ache, a fit of the gout or stone, the loss of a limb, or falling into beggary and disgrace? And yet all these laid together will be one day accounted a happy state, in comparison of that which is suffered in hell.—Why does the approach of death so much affright thee? O how cold it strikes to thy heart! and would not the grave be accounted a paradise compared with that place of torment which thou slightest?- Is it an intolerable thing to burn part of thy body, by holding it in the fire? what then will it be to suffer ten thousand times more for ever in hell ?-Why does the thought or mention of hell occasion any disquiet in thy spirit? and canst thou endure the torments themselves ?