but they shall be an abhorring to all flesh," and the holy angels and saints shall go forth and look upon them: those proud ones that scorned God's people here, shall then be abhorred and scorned of them.

4. Add to all this, that he is not only banished from the presence of God for a while, but from all hope of ever seeing God again with comfort. Thy estate is endless and remediless. Whilst thou art here in this life, of a Saul thou mayest become a Paul, and though thou art not yet a beloved son, yet thou mayest come in favour: whilst thou livest under the means of grace, there is yet hope of recovery left thee, it may be this sermon may be the means of thy conversion: but then amongst all thy punishments, this will be one of the greatest, that thou shalt be deprived of all means of recovery, and this shall be another hell to thee in the midst of hell, to think with thyself: I have heard so many sermons and yet have neglected them, I had so many opportunities of grace, and yet have slighted them, this will make the sinner rage, and bite his tongue, and tear himself, to think how that now all means are past. And this is the first penalty, the penalty of loss.

That of the sense succeeds. By the former we are deprived of all the joys and comforts of heaven and earth, of Mount Sion, shut out of "the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, deprived of an innumerable company of saints, of the general assembly and church of the firstborn, of God himself the judge of all, and the souls of the saints made perfect." This shall make a sinner curse himself.

Now follows the penalty of torments and sense. When Adam was banished out of Paradise, he had the wide. world to walk in still, but it is not so here: thou art not only cast out of heaven, but cast into hell, and art deprived of thy liberty for ever. It is said: "Christ preached to the spirits in prison, them that in the days of Noah were disobedient, and for this cause are now in

f 1 Peter, chap. 3. ver. 19.

prison." Hell is compared to a prison, and a prison indeed it is, and that an odious one. For,

1. Look on thy companions. If a man were to be kept close prisoner, it were a great punishment, but "Go ye cursed," saith God, "into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels." To be among such companions is most infinitely miserable, and there is nothing but devils and damned howling ghosts, woful companions: if there be an house possessed with an evil spirit, a man will scarce be hired to live in it, but here the damned spirits, the filthy and cursed host must be thy yoke fellows: suppose there were no torment to suffer, yet to be banished from heaven, and to be tied and yoked to wicked spirits, were a torment sufficient to make the stoutest that ever was, tremble and quake, and be soon weary of


2. But it is a place of torment too, a prison where there is a rack, to which thou must be put, and on which thou must be tormented: "I am tormented in this flame," saith Dives. To speak of the torments there, will be matter enough for another hour, but I delight not to dwell on so sad a subject: only this is that which prepares the way to the glad tidings of salvation, therefore I shall a little longer insist upon it. The body and soul, the whole man, shall be there tormented; not the soul only, but even the body too after judgment. Do you think the members of the body, which have been the instruments, shall escape? be raised, and cast into hell to no purpose? Why should God quicken it at the last day, but to break it on the anvil of his wrath, and to make it accompany the soul, as well in torments as in sinning. It is true, the soul is the fountain of all sense, and the body without it hath no sense at all: take away the soul, and you may burn the body, and it will not feel it. the fountain of sense, and the body when God shall lay his axe at this root, at this fountain, how dreadful shall it be? How shall the body choose

Now the soul being

being united to it,

Luke, chap. 16. ver. 24.

[ocr errors]



but suffer too? Should any of us be cast into a fire,
a terrible torment would we account of it? Fire and
water, we say, have no mercy; but alas, this fire is no-
thing to the fire of hell, it is but as painted fire to that
which burns for ever and ever. The furnace wherein
Nebuchadnezzar commanded those to be thrown that fell
not down to the graven image which he had set up, was
doubtless at every time a terrible place. Hell is com-
pared to such a furnace; but what shall we think of it,
when the king in his wrath shall "command the furnace
to be heated seven times hotter than usual?" Nay, what
shall we think of hell, when the King of Heaven shall
command it to be heated seventy times seven times
hotter than before? When there shall be a fire, and a
fire prepared for so is this fire of Tophet, " Ith is a pile
of much wood." When the King of Heaven shall, as it
were, set to work his wisdom, to fit it in the sharpest
manner, in procuring such ingredients as may make it rage
most, and be most violent: it is a fire prepared for the
Devil and his angels, the strongest of creatures, for the
punishment of principalities and powers: and if it can
master angels, think not but that God hath a fire to roast
thy soul. It is the soul that is in hell only till the day of
judgment, though the body be not there. A man would
think that the soul did not suffer, but philosophy tells us,
that the soul suffers mediante corpore, in and by the body:
therefore it is a rule in divinity, that whatsoever God
doth by means, he can do without means. Though the
body be not there, but the soul only, yet God is able, nay
doth make the soul as well feel grief, without the body,
as he doth by means of the body.

1. The Devil.

2. Thyself.

3. But now besides thy fellow-prisoners in that cursed gaol, consider who are thy tormentors, thou that dost continue in impenitency. Now thy tormentors are these three:

h Isaiah, chap. 30. ver. 33.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

3. God Almighty.

1. The Devil, who is thy deadly enemy, a bloodyminded adversary, a murdering and merciless minded spirit, a murderer from the beginning, a merciless tormentor, who being in plagues and torments, and thereby even at his wits' end, would fain ease himself in tormenting thee. When the Devil, as we read, was dispossessed of a child wherein he was, "hei rends and tears, leaves him foaming, that there was little hope of life in him." But now, when a man shall be delivered into the hands of this merciless spirit, when God shall say to the Devil, take him, do what thou wilt with him, do thy worst to him: when thou shalt be thus put into the hands of one that hates thee, and delights in thy ruin, how will he tear thee into pieces? How will he torment thee? In how desperate and wretched a case will thy soul and body be?

2. But the tormentor within thee is far more heavy, painful, and grievous," that never dying worm" within, the the sting of a guilty and wounded conscience, this, like a sharp dagger, is still stabbing thee, at the very heart. This by a reflecting act upon itself, will cause thee to revenge God's quarrel on thyself; and as a musket overcharged beats back on the shooter, so will it most furiously return upon thee. This is that that smote David, when it is said, "David's' heart smote him." A man needs no other fire, nor other worm to torment him, than that within him: which, as the worms on the carcass, gnaws on a wretched soul. But there is a greater tormentor than both these behind, and that is,

3. God himself; he is highly offended and enraged at thee, and therefore comes and takes the matter into his own hand, and will himself be executioner of his fury. There is a passage in the Thessalonians to this purpose, which methinks is more than can be spoken by men or angels : "Whom shall be punished with everlasting destruction

i Mark, chap. 9. ver. 20. 1 Sam. chap. 24. ver. 10.

k Ibid. chap. 9. ver. 44. 46. 48.

m 2 Thess. chap. 1. ver. 9.

from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." Mark that God, whom thou hast so highly provoked to wrath, hath a strong hand, and glorious power. He shewed the glory of his power in the making the world, and all things in it; and all that infinite power which he hath manifested in the creation of heaven and earth, shall be engaged in the tormenting of a sinner. Were there a man that should lay a target of brass, or a target of steel on a block, and should then cleave all in sunder at a blow; this would sufficiently manifest his strength: so doth God make manifest his power in crushing thee to pieces. There are still new charges and discharges against sinners, to make his power therein manifest. "What" if God, willing to make his power known," saith the apostle, "suffered a while the vessels prepared to destruction?" God will manifest his power by the strength of his stroke on those that rebel against him. Hence proceedeth "weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth;" which is a metaphor taken from one either that hath a great coldness on him, or from the symptoms of a fever.

Add to all that hath been said these two things:

1. The torment shall be everlasting, you shall "desire" to die," that your torments may have end: and here you may expect that I should say something of the eternity of the torments of the damned; but I am not able, nor any one else sufficiently to express it: it shall continue ten thousand thousand years, after that an hundred thousand times ten thousand, and yet be no nearer end than at the first beginning. Thou must think of it seriously thyself, and pray to God to reveal it to thy soul, for none else sufficiently can.

2. But besides, as it is everlasting, so is it unabateable. If a man were cast into a fire, the fire coming about him, would in a short time blunt his senses, and take away his feeling, and besides the materials of the fire would soon spend and waste: but it is not so here, here is not the

Rom. chap. 9. ver. 22.

• Rev. chap. 9. ver. 6.

« VorigeDoorgaan »