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into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched-where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched. He will gather the wheat into his garner, but the chaf he will burn with fire unquenchable. The LORD thy God is a consuming fire. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. For fiery indignation shall devour the adversaries. The devil was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night, for ever and ever. And whosoever was not found written in the Lamb's book of life, was cast into the lake of fire. Such will be the effect of divine wrath, that the soul will shrink under it, as every object in nature shrinks under the influence of a devouring flame. The soul, under condemnation, is represented by the prisoner, immured in a dungeon and loaded with fetters of iron. We can hardly conceive a situation more truly deplorable, than that of the poor criminal confined within the dark and gloomy walls of his prison, and doomed to drag out his life under a load of chains. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day. The torments of hell are represented by the pains and distresses which are inflicted upon the human body by disease. Their effects upon the soul, are like the gnawings of the worm which consumes the dead body, with this difference, that the body is soon consumed, but the soul can never die. In short, every distress and every anguish which we are capable of enduring in this life, is made use of to show forth the anguish and horror that will overwhelm the guilty soul. God is represented as filled with wrath and indignation against the wicked, not that such emotions can ever have power to disturb the peace and blessedness of the Almighty, but that we may understand the weight of woe which will be the lot of those who will be rejected by God in the great day of account. Oh who can endure the wrath of an offended God? who can dwell with everlasting burnings? who can sustain the misery and torment of the condemned soul, so powerfully represented by the language of Scripture? What will be the horror, the agony, and despair, that will seize upon the guilty soul, when
the decree of eternal banishment will be thundered from the throne of judgment? Which of you, my brethren, will be the subjects of this dreadful sentence? O! deal candidly, I beseech you, with your own hearts, and judge yourselves now, that ye be not judged hereafter. Take warning from the subject now before us, and be assured that, however you may now disregard it, the day is advancing—that awful day which no mortal can avoid, when the blessings of heaven, or the pains and torments of hell, must be awarded to every human soul. Knowing the terrors of the Lord, we endeavor to persuade men, and 0! that you could be persuaded so to reflect upon the tremendous consequences of guilt, as seen in the future punishments of the wicked, as to use all diligence to make your calling and election sure; and by timely repentance and amendment of life, to escape the threatened. vengeance of a just and holy God! Our ideas of those future punishments which await the wicked in the world to come, are heightened beyond compare, by the solemn reflection that they can never know an end. These shall go away into EVERLASTING punishment. Dreadful as will be the weight of that punishment-a weight, which, if laid upon mortal man for one instant, would crush him to earth, still it must last forever, and when millions of ages shall have passed by, still the condemned soul must endure its torment, and must continue to endure, without the least prospect, without a shadow of hope, that it will ever experience the least mitigation ! And however men may attempt to explain away terms of Scripture, and to establish the opinion that hell is but a temporary purgatory, still the word of God is sure, and cannot be broken, and it impresses upon the pains of hell, as well as the joys of heaven, the awful character of eternity! They are declared to be eternal and everlasting; and there can be but one meaning justly attached to those most ominous words. Oh how awful the idea, that, according to the decisions of the day of judgment, so must our condition be through an endless eternity. What must be the horror and despair of the soul which, in the midst of its torment, can see no end !- which looks forward through eternity, as over a boundless ocean, which contains no friendly shore--no place of rest, where the weary soul may gain a respite from its pain and woe. Not a ray of hope—not a beam of consolation can penetrate the gloom, to alleviate the horrors of despair. Oh who of us will ever be placed in this awful condition? Who of us will descend into the bottomless pit, there to endure this exquisite misery—this dreadful despair—this eternity of torment! It is a question of most solemn import-and Oh, how should our souls tremble at the bare possibility, that we may be included in the number of those unbappy ones. How should the mere supposition of it, rouse us from our slumbers, and lead us to call upon God for his help, and to put forth all our strength, that we may escape the wrath to come. It will be unnecessary for us here, had we time to do it, to describe the blessed estate of those, who will hereafter be admitted to the joy of their LORD. The happiness which awaits the righteous, is represented in Scripture as inconceivable and perfect in degree, and eternal in duration, and we might dwell with rapture and delight on the happy condition of those who will be permitted to dwell in the presence of their God-in that presence where is fulness of joy for evermore.
Thus, brethren, life and death, heaven and hell, are set before you. Heaven, with all its attendant joys and beatitudes, and hell, with all its horrors, its misery, and despair. One of these two conditions must be your everlasting portion. Now is your time to determine what shall be your future lot, and may God, in infinite mercy, incline your hearts to choose aright. Can you endure the thought, that in hell you will lift up your eyes, “being in torment?" That you will cast your longing gaze toward heaven, the place of everlasting blessedness,- that you will there behold the companions of your earthly pilgrimage, and those who were near and dear to you in life, happy in the enjoyment of their Father's love, while you will be compelled to feel and to know that that happiness you can never enjoy? Does not your soul shrink within itself at the very thought? Oh, why should you be idle, and careless, while such an alternative lies before you? Why should you risk the safety of your immortal soul, when you know that such awful consequences must ensue. enable you to perceive the danger of neglecting his "great salvation,” and incline your hearts to come to Christ, that you may “have life.” And may the solemn--the emphatic words of our text ever dwell in your minds and quicken your resclves.
May God REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS,
THE FINAL JUDGMENT.
All ye that love the LORD, rejoice,
And let your songs be new;
His later wonders show.
When Christ His judgment seat ascends,
And bids the world appear, Thrones are prepared for all his friends,
Who humbly lov'd him here.
Then shall they rule with iron rod,
Nations that dar'd rebel;
On tyrants doom'd to hell.
Saints should be joyful in their king,
E'en on a dying bed;
For God shall raise the dead!
The Lord takes pleasure in the just,
Whom sinners treat with scorn; The meek that lie, despis d, in dust,
Salvation shall adorn.
THE MATRICULATION OF A NEW CLASS,
Luke xii. 48.Unto whomsoeder much is given, of him shall much be required.
In all the discourses of our LORD and MASTER, and in all the parables and other illustrations, whereby he endeavors to place the principles of his religion in a clear light, or to bring them home to the consciences of his hearers, there is a good sense and plain practical character, which come at once to the bosom of every honest inquirer after truth and obligation. Although, occasionally, he involves the sentiments which he means to convey in the garb of allegory, which the careless observer could not immediately see through, and would not take the pains to withdraw; yet even then, the man whose mind was alive to the importance of the instruction, and who was conscious that he had himself a personal interest of the deepest kind in understanding and applying the truths communicated, could not fail both to perceive their tendency and to feel their force.
Of the vast multitude of instances which confirm the former of these remarks, the plain declaration of the text is prominent. “Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required." There is no man who is not sensible of the truth here conveyed, and who does not, as far as his authority extends, make it the principle whereby to regulate his demands upon others. Justice recognises its applicability, and it would be inconsistent with what the Scriptures teach, and reason confirms to us, respecting the God of the universe, not to suppose, that by this equitable prin