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an opening that can never be closed] so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us that would come from thence,” Luke xvi. 26. Mr. Winchester's supposed passage, and passport, are both prohibited by the decree of heaven; for, although he would pass it, the text says he cannot; the eternal sentence of God forbids it; therefore they that go down into the pit cannot hope for the truth.
Let this dreadful place of punishment be called by what name it may; whether Gehenna (2372), Tophet, Scheol, Hell, Hades, Perdition, Gulph, or Abyss, Lake, Pit, Furnace of Fire, Bottomless Pit, or what not; it means the place that God has prepared for the devil and his angels, and for the destruction and perdition of ungodly men. God hath made it deep and large; and all the wicked will be the fuel of it; and the breath of God shall kindle it: and eternal vengeance will feed the flames of it, and keep it burning. The worm of a guilty conscience shall never die; nor shall the brimstone, or the wrath of God, ever be quenched, or ever burn out. God's eternal law shall never be repealed, the curse of it shall never be recalled, nor the sentence ever be revoked. Cursing their king and their God shall never pass for perfect obedience; nor shall a finite creature's suffering the just demerit of sin ever give satisfaction to divine justice, or discharge the black catalogue of infinite debts. “ They that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth."
They that are saved must be purged in the furnace of affliction in this world, not in a furnace of fire in the next: they must be cleansed by the blood of Christ in mount Zion, not in hell. “ In mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said;" but in hell there shall be none. Truth must make them free in this world, or they will be bound to all eternity; “For they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth,"
The mercy and faithfulness of God must be known in time; if they die ignorant of this, they shall never know it hereafter; for God de that, “ He that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour.” “Wilt thou, O God, shew wonders to the dead?” No. “Shall the dead arise, and praise thee? Selah. Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?" No, never; “ For they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.”
The throne of iniquity shall have no fellowship with God, who frame mischief by a law. Light and darkness shall have no agreement; Christ and Belial shall have no concord: what part hath he that believes with an infidel? The believer hath no part with him: and shall the infidel ever have any part with the believer; one being the child of God, and the other the child of the devil? the one being ordained to eternal life, and the other ordained to this condemnation? No: God has hid their heart from understanding, and therefore he shall not exalt them, Job xvii. 4.
I come now to my fourth head; which is to shew,
That they that go down into the pit are without truth. Christ is eminently and emphatically the truth; but they that go down into the pit are without Christ in every covenant character, and in every sense of the word. They have no mediator; and without a mediator there can be no access to God. Christ took not on him the seed of Cain, nor of Canaan, nor of Ishmael, nor of Esau: but he took on him the seed of Abraham, and that after he was appointed, made, and declared, the father of many nations, and in a gospel sense of all the chosen seed. Christ took part of the children's flesh and blood: not that of the reprobate, nor of the rejected seed of old Adam, nor that of the children of the flesh; for these are not the children of God; but the chil. dren of the promise are counted for the seed; and it was part of the flesh of these heirs of promise that Christ took; for such, and only such, are the children of Abraham in the spiritual sense of scripture. “ They are not all Israel who are of Israel, neither because they are the seed of Abraham are they all the children of God.” Christ himself will not allow this. The reprobate Jews told him that God was their father; but he tells them that, if God was their father, they would love him; and palms them upon their father the devil. And, when they claimed Abraham as their father, Christ allows it in one sense: “I know that ye are Abraham's seed,” that is, according to the flesh; but not according to God's purpose and promise; therefore “Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.” Christ never calls these his brethren, nor does he claim any kindred to them; but tells them to depart; he knows not whence they are, because they are not of the election. Christ is not their advocate, nor their intercessor: he never pleaded their cause in eternity, nor yet in time; nor does he now do it in heaven; nor will he do it in the day of judgment, nor yet in hell: but passes the righteous sentence of the law upon them and sends them away from him, as utter strangers to him: which cannot be called pleading their cause against the devil, when he calls them the devil's own children, and sends them away from him, in company both with the devil and all his angels. Nor did Christ every pray for these as an intercessor: for, although he said upon the cross, “ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do;" yet it was for some of the elect in particular that he then prayed; who were very busy at his crucifixion; upon whom Peter charged his blood, and who were cut to the heart at the awful appeal, repented, and believed, and were added to his church. But for the non-elected world he never prayed: “I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me.”
Nor did Christ die for them: he died not for the generation of serpents, nor vipers, nor for the reprobate, but for the elect; not for the dogs, but for the doves; not for the goats, but for the sheep. “ The good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep, John X. 11. “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” And them that are not his sheep he never died for; and without redemption by blood there can be no salvation from hell.“ They that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.”
Nor did he ever teach these as a prophet. No; he came to them for judgment, that they which see might be made blind: yea, he closed their eyes, stopped their ears, and hardened their hearts; that they should not see with their eyes, hear with their ears, nor understand with their hearts. He never turned them to him, nor took the vail from them; but thanked his Father for hiding these things from them: and declares that the wicked shall do wickedly, and that none of the wicked shall understand, Dan. xii. 10. They may ever learn; but, like Mr. Winchester, they are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth; and the reason is, because the great Prophet of the church never teaches them “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord,” and none else." The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit,