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the contrary, do not you know that if you were to profess to have any such secret communion with God, you would lie to the Holy Ghost, and would almost expect the fate of Ananias? Do you not know that you securely indulge the lustful thought, and secret vanity, and covetous desire of gain, and bitterness of revenge and anger; and freely give the reins to those appetites, which the eye of man cannot scrutinize? God sees them, and sees them with anger, but you are not concerned! What you would be ashamed and shocked for man to know, that you commit before God without fear and without remorse! You say in excuse, that you are not aware of God's presence; that you forget that his eye is fixed upon you: but by so saying you confess what we aimed at proving, namely, that you forget his presence. Thus then, we have described a character, not difficult to be drawn. Let not such persons expect that they shall dwell with God; forgetting his laws, they cannot join in the blessed obedience of angels; forgetting his mercies, they could not sing praises to the Lamb; forgetting his presence, they shall be banished from his presence for ever! But it is not a negative suffering only they are to undergo, for we know him that hath said Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.* They have paid me contempt; I will repay them
vengeance. II. Hear therefore their final doom. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God!
Rom. xii, 19,
Men in general do not wish to hear this place so much as mentioned, much less described as the portion of the wicked; but it is better to hear of it than to dwell in it; and it is by hearing of it, that we must be stirred
up to escape it. It is degrading to human nature that we must draw an argument from such a source--that we must dip our shafts in the lake that burneth with fire. It is painful and humiliating to reflect that beings, capable of being constrained by love, should require to be driven by an iron scourge! Hell is often de scribed by our Lord Jesus Christ. He certainly was too compassionate and serious to excite groundless terrors. As he said to his disciples, In my father's house are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you.* So we may say of hell: there then are many mansions, if it were not so he would have told us. Hell is often described by him as a place in which both body and soul are tormented for ever. To one of these we will refer you.t The eternity of torment is six times described! The fire, and the worm, are such images of the causes of the sufferings as are addressed to the senses. Christ describes hell as a place of inconceivable torment, and everlasting misery. He describes it by saying, their fire is not quenched. Fire, a dreadful element, is a scorching thing, and enters deep into the senses! yet hell is represented to be a lake of fire and brimstone. But if there were any period set to their sufferings
#John xiv, 2.
† Mark ix.
Rev. xix, 20.
<if after millions of years they were to be reduced to nothing, they might bear it: but this is their misery, that it is for ever! Think how tedious is the motion of time when you are in pain, how you wish the hours away! What must it be to suffer such pain as will make every moment appear an age? and yet there must be an eternity of those ages! Our Lord also compares it to the gnawing of a worm, which preys on the vitals: by which is signified that anguish of spirit, and remorse of conscience, (which they must for ever feel) and keen disappointment at having lost forever, past opportunities; their worm dieth not. They are fallen into the hands of the living God; therefore so long as he liveth, that is, for ever, so long must they be subject to the execution of his wrath! These things are within the apprehension of all—it is a very plain thing of which we speak. Whoever do go to a place of torment continue there for ever!
Now this place will be the portion of them that forget God. Here foolish and ignorant men scoff at eternal torments. They say within themselves of sin, Is it not a little thing? Will a merciful God, who knows our weakness, punish so dreadfully what we can scarcely help doing? But what says God? Thou thoughtest 'I was such an one as thyself.* Because thou didst smile at sin, thou thoughtest I should do so too. Because I forgave the sins of my penitent people, thou thoughtest I should for
* Ps. 1, 21.
give thine without repentance. They will find that God was in earnest when he warned them to flee from the wrath to come. He said to them on earth, If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die. They did live after the flesh: hoping no doubt that God would not be true to his word. But do not they find, now that they feel the pains of hell get hold upon them-now that they have actually died, and are in hell, that God is faithful? Though we believe not, but deny him, yet he cannot deny himself. Believe it brethren, God is not a man that he should lie; nor the son of man that he should repent. Hath he said, and shall he not do it; or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
Some are so weak as to suppose that the numbers who must perish, if all this be true, will secure them against the threatened vengeance, or at least, move the commiseration of the Judge. But we read in the text, that though they be whole nations, they cannot withstand his almighty arm. However numerous, or however strong, he can in a moment hurl the mightiest criminals into endless ruin, Thus he speaks by his prophet, Hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and
and he that rejoiceth, shall descende into it.* And, As the fire devoureth the stubbleg and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall
go up as dust: because they have cast away the law
* 16. v, 14.
of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.* And hath not this dreadful threatening been fulfilled? Hath not our Lord told us of a rich man, who, in hell lifted up his eyes, being in torment? It was not said that he was sent thither for being a drunkard, or a fornicator, or an extortioner: but he had forgotten God. That narrative, I mean of Dives and Lazarus, exhibits realities. Is there such a place as hell! Does any one descend into it, and find himself actually there? Tbe rich man did! Let it then be established as an awful truth, that they who wilfully neglect to obey any of God's laws which they know, or who live without Christ, that is, ignorant of him-do not follow him in the regeneration, or who indulge the secret sins of the heart, thus disregarding the divine presence, are those that forget God, and shall be turned into hell.
Now pause awhile, and reflect! Some of you perhaps by this time, instead of making a wise resolve, have begun to wonder that so heavy a judgment should be denounced merely against forgetfulness. But look at the affairs of
common life, and be taught by them. Do not neglect, and want of attention, and not looking about us to see what we have to do-do not any of these bring upon us consequences as ruinous to our worldly business as any active misbehavior? It is an event of every day, that a man by mere laziness, inattention to his busi
** Is. Y, 24.