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turn to weakness, and our beauty to deformity! Churches are rooted up, commonwealths are overthrown, kingdoms depopulated, armies destroyed, and who can stand before his wrath ? Even the heavens and earth will melt at his presence; and when he speaks the word at his great day of account, they will be burnt up before him as a scroll in the fire. The flames do not so easily run through the dry stubble, or consume the houses where its violence hath prevailed, as the wrath of God will feed upon these wretches. Oh, they that could not bear a prison, or a gibbet, or fire, for Christ, no, nor scarcely a few scorns from the mouths of the ignorant, how will they now hear the devouring fire !
Sect. II. 2. The place or state of torment, is purposely ordained for the glorifying of the attribute of God's justice. As all the works of God are great and wonderful, so those above all, which are specially intended for the eminent advancing of some of his attributes. When he will glorify his power, he makes the worlds by his wisdom. The comely order of all and singular creatures, declares his wisdom. His providence is shown, in sustaining all things, and maintaining order," and attaining his excellent ends, amongst the confused, perverse, tumultuous agitations of a world of wicked, foolish, self-destroying miscreants. When a spark of his wrath doth kindle upon the earth, the whole world, save only eight persons, are drowned. Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, are burned with fire from heaven, to ashes. The sea shuts her mouth upon some. The earth doth open and swallow others. The pestilence destroyeth them up by thousands. The present deplorable state of the Jews, may fully testify this to the world. And yet the glorifying of the two great attributes of mercy and justice, is intended most eminently for the life to come. Aș, therefore, when God will purposely then glorify his mercy, he will do it in a way and degree that is now incredible, and beyond the comprehension of the saints that must enjoy it; so that the blood of his Son, and the enjoyment of himself immediately in glory, shall not be thought too high an honour for them. So also, when the time comes that he will purposely manifest his justice, it shall appear to be indeed the justice of God. The
* Deus permittit mala ut inde eliciat bona, ut probat Gibieuf. lib. ii. C. 22. sect. 6–10. Et si malum in terris abundet; si tamen disponentem desuper providentiam spectes, nibil usquam mali deprehendes Boetius Referent. Gibieuf. VOL, XXII.
everlasting flames of hell will not be thought too hot for the rebellious; and when they have there burnt through millions of ages, he will not repent him of the evil which is befallen them. Oh! wo to the soul that is thus set up for a butt, for the wrath of the Almighty to shoot at; and for a bush, that must burn in the flames of his jealousy, and never be consumed !
Sect. III. 3. The torments of the damned must needs be extreme, because they are the effect of divine revenge. * Wrath is terrible, but revenge is implacable. When the great God shall say, I will now be righted for all the wrongs that I have borne from rebellious creatures; I will let out my wrath, and it shall be stayed no more, you shall now pay for all the abuse of my patience! Remember, now, how I waited your leisure in vain, how I stooped to persuade you ; how I, as it were, kneeled to entreat you. Did you think I would always be slighted by such miscreants as you?' Oh, who can look up when God shail thus plead with them in the heat of revenge! Then will he be revenged for every mercy abused, for his creatures consumed in luxury and excess, for every hour's time misspent, for the neglect of his word, for the vilifying of his messengers, for the hating of his people, for the profanation of his ordinances, and neglect of his worship, for the breaking of his Sabbaths, and the grieving of his Spirit, for the taking of his name in vain, for unmerciful neglect of his servants in distress. Oh! the numberless bill that will be brought in i And the charge that will overcharge the soul of the sinxer! And how hotly revenge will pursue them all to the highest! How God will stand over them with the rod in his hand, (not the rod of fatherly chastisement, but that iron rod wherewith he bruiseth the rebellious,) and lay it on for all their neglects of Christ and grace. Oh, that men would foresee this, and not put themselves under the hammer of revenging fury, when they may have the treasure of happiness at so easy rates, and please God better in preventing their wo! . Sect. IV. 4. Consider, also, how this justice and revenge will be the delight of the Almighty. Though he had rather men would stoop to Christ, and accept of his mercy, yet when they persist in rebellion, he will take pleasure in their execution. Though
* Cremabit addictos ardens semper gehenna; et vivacibus flammis vorax pæna. Nec erit unde habere tormenta vel requien pussint aliquando vel finem, Servabuntur cum corporibus suis animæ infinitis cruciatibus ad doksrem. Vermis eorum non moritur, et ignis eorum non extinguitur, &c.Cyprian. ad Demetr. p. 530. Psal. ii. 9. ; Unus igitur, et idem Deus Pater qui concupiscentibus ejus communica
he desire not the death of him that dieth, but rather that he repent and live ; yet, when he will not repent and live, God doth desire and delight in the execution of justice conditionally; so that men will repent, he desires not their death, but their life. (Ezek. xxxiii. 11.) Yet, if they repent not, in the same place he uttereth his, resolution for their death. (Ver. 8, 13.) He tells us, “ that fury is not in him ;" yet he addeth in the next words, “ Who would set the briars and thorns togéther in battle? I would go through them; I would burn them together.” (Isai. xxvii. 4.) What a doleful case is the wretched creature in, when he shall thus set the heart of his Creator against him ! 6. And he that made him, will not save him; and he that formed him, will not have mercy upon him.” (Isai. xxvii. 11.) How heavy a threatening is that, “ As the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you; and to bring you to nought.” (Deut. xxviii. 63.) Wo to the soul which God rejoiceth to punish. Yea, he tells the simple ônes that love simplicity, and the scorners that delight in seorning, and the fools that hate knowledge, " that because he called, and they refused, he stretched out his hand, and no man regarded, but set at nought all his counsel, and would none of his reproof; therefore he will also laugh at their calamity, and mock when their fear cometh: when their fear cometh as desolation, and their destruction as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon them, then shall they call upon him, but he will not answer; they shall seek him early, but shall not find him; for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord.” (Prov. i. 22—29.) I could entreat thee, who readest them, if thou be one of that sort of men, that thou wilt but view over seriously that part of the chapter (Prov. i.) from the 20th verse to the end, and believe them to be the true words of Christ by his Spirit in Solomon. Is it not a terrible thing to a wretched soul, when it shall lie roaring perpetually in the flames of hell, and the God of merey himself shall laugh at them; when they shall cry out for mercy, yea, for one drop of water, and God shall mock them instead of relieving them ; when none in heaven or earth can help them but God, and he shall rejoice over them in their calamity? Why, you see these are the very words of God himself in Scripture. And most just is it, that they who laughed at the sermon, and mocked at the preacher, and derided the people that obeyed the Gospel, should be laughed at, and derided by God. Ah! poor ignorant fools (for so this text calls them), they will then have mocking enough, till their hearts ache with it. I dare warrant them for ever making a jest at godliness more, or making themselves merry with their own slanderous reports. It is themselves, then, that must be the woful objects of derision, and that of God himself, who would have crowned them with glory. I know when the Scripture speaks of God's laughing and mocking, it is not to be understood literally, but after the manner of men: but this may suffice us, that it will be such an act of God to the tormenting of the sinner, which he cannot more fitly conceive or express under any other notion or name, than these.
tionem, et perseverantibus in subjectione ejus quæ sunt apud se preparata bona : principi autem abscessionis, liabolo, et qui cum eo abscescerunt an. gelis, æternum ignem præparaos : in quem mittuntur, inquit Dominus, illi qui in seuistra separati sunt.--Iren. adv. Hæres. lib. iv. c. 76.
Sect. V. 5. Consider who shall be God's executioners of their torment; and that is, First, Satan ; Secondly, Themselves. First, He that was here so successful in drawing them from Christ, will then be the instrument of their punishment, for yielding to his temptations. It was a pitiful sight to see the man possessed, that was bound with chains, and lived among the tombs : and that other that would be cast into the fire and into the water; but, alas ! that was nothing to the torment that Satan puts them to in hell : « that is the reward he will give them for all their service; for their rejecting the commands of God, and forsaking Christ, and neglecting their souls at his persuasion. Ah, if they had served Christ as faithfully as they did Satan, and had forsaken all for the love of him, he would have given them a better reward. 2. And it is most just, also, that they should there be their own tormentors, that they may see that their whole destruction is of themselves; and they who were wilfully the meritorious cause, should also be the efficient in their own sufferings : and then who can they complain of but themselves ? And they will be no more able to cease their self-tormenting, than men that we see in a deep melancholy, that will by no arguments be taken off from their sorrows.
Sect. VI. 6. Consider, also, how that their torment will be universal, not upon one part alone, while the rest are free; but
2 See also Psal. xxxvii. 13.
a Utrum ignis gehennæ sit corporeus, lege plenissime disserentem D. Jo. Reignoldum de Lib. Apocryp. Prælect. 51-59.
as all have joined in the sin, so must they all partake of the torment. The soul, as it was the chief in sinning, shall be the chief in suffering; and as it is of a more spiritual and excellent nature than bodies are, so will its torments as far exceed our present bodily sufferings. And as the joys of the soul do far surpass all sensual pleasures, and corporal contentments; so do the pains of the soul surpass those corporal pains; and as the martyrs did triumph in the very flames, because their souls were full of joy, though their bodies were in pain; so, though these damned creatures could enjoy all their bodily pleasures, yet the soul's sufferings would take away the sweetness of them all.
And it is not only a soul, but a sinful soul that must suffer; the guilt which still remains upon it, will make it fit for the wrath of God to work upon; as fire will not burn, except the fuel be combustible : but if the wood be dry, or it light upon straw, how fiercely will it burn then! Why, the guilt of their former sins will be as tinder to gunpowder, to the damned soul, to make the flames of hell to take hold upon them with fury.
And as the soul, so also the body must bear its part. That body that must needs be pleased, whatsoever become of its eternal safety, shall now be paid for all its unlawful pleasures; that body which was so carefully looked to, so tenderly cherished, so curiously dressed; that body which could not endure heat or cold, or an ill smell, or a loathsome sight: oh, what must it now endure ! how are its haughty looks now taken down ! how little will those flames regard its comeliness and beauty! But as death did not regard it, nor the worms regard it, but as freely feed upon the face of the proud and lustful dames, and the
b Duplex damnatorum pæna est in gehenna, nam et mentem urit tristitia, et corpus flamima.—Bern. de Medit. Gehennalis Supplicii. Patietur etiam corpus, non qua sentire quid sine carne non possit anima, sed quả necesse est illam etiam cum carne sentire. Quantum enim ad agendum de suo sufficit, tantum et ad patiendum : ad agendum autem minus de suo sufficit. Habet epi:n de suo solum modo cogitare, velle, cupere, disponere; ad perficiendum autem, operam carnis expectat. Sic itaque et ad patiendum societatem carnis expostulat, ut tam plenè per eam pati possit, quam sine eâ plenè agere non potuit.-Tertul. de Resur. Carnis, c. 17. p. 335. Negent operarum societatem, ut merito possint etiam mercedem negare. Non sit particeps in sententia caro, si non fuerit et in causa. Sola anima revocetur, si sola decedit. At enim non magis sola decedit, quam sola decurrit, illud unde decedit, vitam hanc dico. Adeo autem non sola anima transigit vitam, ut nec cogitatus licet sulos licet non ad effectum per carnem deductos, auferamus à collegio carnis. Siquidem et in carne, et cum carne, et per carnem agitur ab animą, quod agitur in corde.--Tertul, de Resur. Carnis. c. 15. p. 333.