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till they had found it o’t. Despisers of the gospel will remember with bitterness, that Jesus Christ with all his benefits was offered to them; that they were exhorted, intreated, and pressed to accept, but would not; and that they were warned of the misery they feel, and obteft. ed to flee from the wrath co come, but they would not hearken. The gospel-offer fighted, will make a hot hell; and the loss of an offered heaven will be a linking weight on the spirits of unbelievers in the pit. Some will remember that there was a probability of their being eternally happy; that sometime they seemed to stand fair for it, and were not far from the kingdom of God; that they had once almost consented to the blessed bargain, the pen was in their hand (as it were) to sign the marriage-contract betwixt Christ and their souls; but unhappily they dropped it, and turned back from the Lord to their lufts again. And others will remember that they thoughị themselves sure of heaven, but, being blinded with pride and self-conceit, they were alove ordinances, and beyond instruction, and would not exaunne their state, which was their ruin: but then they shall in vain with, they had reputed themselves the worst of the congregation in which they lived : and curse the fond conceit' they had of themselves, and that others had of them too. Thus it will sting the damned, that they might have escaped this lois.
Liftly, They will see the loss to be irrecoverable; that they must eternally ly under it, never, never to be repaired. Might the damned, after millions of ages in hell regain what they have loit, it would be fonie ground of hope: but the prize is gone, and can never be recovered. And there are two things here, which will pierce them to the heart. (1.) That they never knew the worth of it, till it was irrecoverably lojt. Should a man give away an earthen pot full of gold for a trifle, never knowing what was in it till it were quite gone from him, and past recovery: how would this foolish action gall him, upon the discovery of the riches in it! fuch a one's case may be a faint resem. blance of the case of despilers of the gospel, when in hell they lift rup their eyes, and behold that, to their torment, which they will not see
now, to their salvation. (2.) That they have lost it for lofs and dung: · fold their part of heaven, and not inriched themselves with the prize. They lost heaven for earthly
profits and pleasures, and now both are gone together from them. The drunkard's cups are gone, the covet.. ous man's gain, the voluptuous man's carnal delights, and the fluge gard's ease: nothing is left them to comfort them now. The happi. nefs they loft remains indeed, but they can have no pårt in it for ever.
Use. Sinners, be persuaded to come to God through Jesus Christ, uniting with him through a Mediator: that ye may be preserved from this fearfulseparation from hjın. O be afraid to live in a fiate of fepa, ration from God, left that which ye now make your choice, become your eternal punishment hereafter! Do not reject communion with God, cast not off che coinmunion of saints; for it will be the misery of the danned to be driven out from that communion. Cease to build
up the wall of separation betwixt God and you, by continuing in your sinful-courses:. repent rather in time, and so pull it down; left the cape-stone be laid upon it, and it stand for ever between you and happiness. Tremble at the thoughts of rejection and separation from Gd: By whomsoever men are rejected on the earth, they ordinarily find fome pity to them; but if ye be thus separated from God, ye will find all doors fhut against you.' Ye will find no pity from any in heaven : neither saints nor angels will pity them whom God has utterly cast off: none will pity you in hell, where there is no love but lothing; all being lothed of God, lothing him, and lothing one another. This is a day of losses and fears. I thew you a loss, ye would do well to fear in time; be afraid left you lose God: if ye do, a long eternity will be spent in roring out lamentations for this loss. O horrid stupidity! men are in a mighty care and concern to prevent worldly losses: but they are in hazard of losing the enjoyment of God for ever and ever, in hazard of losing heaven, the communion of the blessed, and all good things for soul and body in another world: yet as careless in that matter, as if they were uncapable of thought. O! compare this day with the day our text aims at. This day is heaven opened to them, who hitherto have rejected Christ, and yet there is room, if they will come: but that day the doors thall be shut. Now Christ is saying unto you, Come: then he will say, Depart: seeing ye would not come, when ye were bidden. Now pity is shown: the Lord pities you, his servants pity you, and tell you, that the pit is before you, and cry to you, that ye do yourselves no harm: but then ye shall have no pity from God
Secondly, The damned Nall be punished in hell (with the punishment of fense) they must depart from God into everlasting fire. I am not in a mind to dispute, what kind of fire it is which they shall depart into, and be tormented by for ever, whither a material fire, or not? Expe. rience will more than satisfy the curiosity of those who are disposed rather to dispute about it, than to seek how to escape it Neither will I meddle with that question. Where it is? It is enough, that the worm which never dieth, and the fire that is never quenched, will be found somewhere by impenitent linners. But (1.) I shall evince that, whatever kind of fire it is; it is more vehement and terrible than any fire, we, on earth, are acquainted with. (2.) I thall condescend on foine properties of these fiery torments.
As to the ift, of thefe ; burning is the most terrible punishment, and brings the most exquifise pain and torment with it. By what reward could a man be induced to hold bur his hand in the flane of a candle for an hour? All imaginary picafures on Casıl would never prevail with the most voluptuons mal, to venture to lodge but one half hour in a burning fiery furnace; nor would all the wealth in the world prevail with the moll coveious to do it.. Yet, on much lo‘wer terins, do most men, in eff ct, expose themselves to everlafing fire in hell, which is more vehement and terrible
than any fire we on earth are acquainted with; as will appear by the following confiderations,
1. As in heaven grace being brought to its perfe&ion, profit are pleasure do also arrive at their height there; so sin being come to its height in hell, the evil of punithment doth also arrive at its perfection there. Wherefore, as the joys in heaven are far greater han any joys which the faints obtain on earth, so the punishmepis of hell mult be greater than any earthly torments whatsoever; not only in respect of the continuance of them, but also in respect of vehemency and exquisiteness.
2. Why are the things of the other world represented to us, in an earthly dress, in the word; but that the weakness of our capa. cities in fuch matters (which the Lord is pleased to condescend unco) does require it; it being always supposed, that these things of the other world are in their kind more perfect, than that by which they are represented? When heaven is represented to us under the notion of a city, with gates of pearl, and the street of gold; we look not to find gold and pearls there, which are so mightily prized, on earth, but something more excellent than chele finest and n:oft precious things in the world: when therefore we hear of hell-fire, it is necessary we understand by it something more vehement, piercing, and tormentiug, than any fire ever seen by our eyes. And here it is worth considering, that the torments of hell are held forth under several other notions than that of fire fimply: and the reason of it is plain; namely, that hereby, what of horror is wanting in one notion of hell, is supplied by another. Why is heaven's happiness represented under the various ryotions of a treafure, a paradise, a feaft, a reft, &c. but that there is no: one of these things sufficient to express it? Even so hell-torments are represented under the notion of fire: which the damned are cast into. A dreadful representation indeed! yet not sufficient to cxprefs the misery of the state of finners in them. Wherefore we hcar also of the fecond death, (Rev. xx. 6.) for the damned in hell thall be ever dying: of the wine-press of the wrath of God," (chap, xiv. 19.) wherein they will be trodden in anger, trampled "in the Lord's fury," (Ifa. Ixiii, 3.) pressed, broken, and bruised, without end: the worm that dieth not, (Mark ix. 44.) which thall eternally gnaw them: a bottomless pit, where they will be ever finking, Rev. xx. 3. It is not fiinply called a fire, but “ the lake " of fire and brimitone," (ver. 19) "a lake of fire burning with “brimstone,” (chap xix. 20.) than which, one can imagine nothing more dreadful. Yet, because fire gives light, and light (as Solomon observes, Ecclef. xi. 7 ) is fweet, there is no light there, but darkness, ulter darkness, Matth. xxv. 20. For they must have an ever. Tilting night, since nothing can be there, which is in any measure comfortable or refrefhing.
Our fire cannot affect a spirit, but by way of lympathy with the body, to which it is united; but he'l-fire will not only pierce into the bodies, but directly into the fouls of the damned; for it is prepared for the devil and his engels, thele wicked fpir cs, whomy na fire on earth can hurt. Job cornplains heavily under the chartileinent of God's fatherly hand, saying, “The arrows of the Almighty « are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit,” Job vi. 4. But how will the spirits of the damnei be pierced with the arrows of revenging justice! how will they be drunk up with the poison of the curse on these arrows! how vehement must char fire be that pierceth directly into the foul, and makes an everlasting burning in the spirit, the most lively and tender part of a man, wherein wounds or pain are most intolerable!
Lastly, The preparation of this fire evinceth the inexprelible vehemency and dreadfulness of it. The text calls it prepared fire, yea, the prepared fire, by way of eminency. As the three children were not call into an ordinary fire, but a fire prepared on a para ticular design, which therefore was exceeding hot, the furnace beling hered seven times more than ordinary, Dan. ii. 19, 22. So the damned fhall find in hell a prepared fire, the like to which was never prepared by human art; it is a fire of God's own preparing; the product of infinite wisdom on a particular design, to demonstrate the most strict and severe divine justice a iinst lin; which may fufficiently evidence to us the unconceivable exquisiteness
thereof. God always acts in a peculiar way becoming his own : infinite greatness, whether for, or against the creature: and there.
fore as the things he hath prepared for them that love hiin, are great and good beyond expression or conception : so one hay conclude, that the things he hath prepared against those who hacer him, ' are great and terrible beyond what men can either say, ore think of then. The pile of Tophet is fire and much wood, (the coals of that fire are coals of juniper, a kind of wood, which set on fire burns nyoft fiercely, Pral, cxx. 4.) and the breath of the Lord, like a. ftream of brimstone, doth kindle it, Ifa. XX*. 33. Fire is more or
less violent, according to the matter of it, and the breath by which À it is blown: what heart then can fully conceive the horror of
coals of juniper, blown up with the breath of the Lord? Nay, God himself will be a consuming fire (D-ut. iv. 24.) to the damned; intimately present, as a devouring fire, in their souls and bodies. It is a fearful thing to fall into a tire, or to be that up in a fiery furnace, on earth: but the terror of these evan:heth, when one confiders, how « fearful it is to fall into the hands of the living “ God,” which is the lot of the damned; for “ who fhali dwell “' with the devouring fire? Who shall dwell with cverlasting “ burnings?" Ifa. xxxili. 14.
As to the second point proposed, namely, the properties of the fiery torments in hell.
1. They will be universal torments, every part of the creature being tormented in that Aame. When one is caft into a burning fiery furnace, the fire makes its way into the very bowels, and leaves no menber untouched; what part then can have ease, when the damned swim in a lake of fire burning with brimstone? There will their bodies be tormented,' and scorched for ever. And as they finned, so thail they be cormented, in all the parts thereof; that they shall have no sound lide to turn them to: for what foundness or eale can be to any part of that body, which being Separated from God, and all refreshment from him, is fill in the pangs of the second death, ever dying, but never dead? But as the
roul was chief in finning, it will be chief in suffering too, being filled brimful of the wrath of a sin-revenging God, The damned fall ever be under deepest impreffions of God's vindi&tive justice against them: and this fire will melt their souls, within them, like
Who knows the power of that wrath which had fucb an effect on the Mediator, standing in the room of finners, Pfal.
" My heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my "" bowels?”. Their minds shall be filled with the terrible apprë. henfions of God's implacable wrath: and whatever they can think upon, pall, present, or to come, will aggravate their torment and anguish. Their will fall be croffed in all things for ever-store: as their will was er contrary to the will of God's precepts; lo God, in his dealings with them, in the other world, Mall have war with their will for ever. What they would have, they shall not in the least obtain ; but what they would not, shall be bound upon them without remedy. Hence no pleasant affiction shall ever spring up in their hearts any more: their love of complacency, joy, and delight, in any object whatsoever, fall be pluckt up by the root; and they will be filled with hatred, fury, and rage, agaipft God, themselves, and their fellow-creatures, whether happy in heaven, or miserable in hell, as they themselves are. They will be sunk in forrow, racked with anxiely, filled with horror, galled to the heart with fretting and continually darted with despair; which will inake them weep, gnash their teeth, and blafpheme for ever. Matth. * xxii. 13. * Bird him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast " him into utter-darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of 65 teeth." Rev. xvi. 21.“ And there fell upon men, a great hail
out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent, and “ men blafphemed God, because of the hail; for the plague thereof 6 was exceeding great Conscience will be a worm to gnaw and prey upon them; remorfe for their fins fhall seize them, and tor. ment them for ever, and they hall not be able to fhake it off, as fometimes they did; for “ in hell-their worm dieth not," Mark ix. 45, 46. Their memory will serve but to aggravate their torment, and every new reflection will bring another pang of anguish, Luke xvi. 25. “But Abrabam said, (viz. to the rich man in hell) Son member, that thou in thy life-time receivedl thy good things.