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of teeth" when the wicked shall see “ Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God, and themselves shut out for ever." This will cause dreadful tormenting reflections, though now possibly you may pass it over with slight unconcerned thoughts.
(2.) They will owe this privation to their own folly and wickedness, and this will be as tormenting as the loss itself. And because this is so material a thing I will open it to you.
I speak now of those that live under the gospel, they shall not be able to pretend, that they are ignorant of this rest, and therefore fall short of it; no, for our Saviour hath abolished death, and brought light and immortality to light through the gospel. Our Saviour hath, as it were, rent the veil of heaven, and given us a discovery of the glory there. He did not only reveal heaven to us, but rose from the dead to give us an argument and an example of that blessedness that all his believing members shall be raised unto. He hath brought life and immortality to light, so that there can be no pretence of ignorance. Under the law they had but as it were a twilight, some faint glimmerings of this state ; but now it is clear and open to all, that there “ remains a rest to the people of God.” So that they shall never be able to say, they never heard of heaven.
Again; as they cannot say they never heard of heaven, so neither can they pretend it was never offered to them: for in the preaching of the gospel, there was a continual offer of the kingdom of heaven. The very threatenings of hell were in order to make men accept of heaven. All the commands, all the entreaties, all the threatenings of the gospel centre in this, to make people willing to accept of heaven, They are all concurrent means, to make you“ seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” None are excluded from the promise of God. Whosoever will let him take of the waters of life freely. So that there is not a bare possibility of obtaining, but a certainty, if you be not wanting to yourselves, and if you be not rebellious against God; this will be another aggravation.
(3.) Hell will be increased by this consideration ; that although heaven is revealed and offered to us, it is not offered upon impossible terms, upon such conditions as the human nature cannot comply with. No, this cannot be pretended; for whatsoever difficulty there is with reference to our corrupt affections, or our unprepared hearts, yet nevertheless the divine glory is so freely and richly offered to men in the gospel, that if they will accept of it, they shall be conquerors over all obstacles; God offers his Holy Spirit to them that ask it. “ If earthly parents, who are evil, know how to give good things to their children, how much more will your heavenly Father give his Holy Spirit to them that ask it?” Now the Holy Spirit by his assistance, will make every command easy. He will make the yoke of Christ an easy, gracious, and benign yoke. Now to make this sensible to you ; it is with a sinner in his carnal, corrupt state, with respect to the things of God, as it is with a man in a burning fever or dropsy, that cannot abstain from drink : I cannot forbear drinking, saith he, for I am almost burnt up; but if a physician comes and tells him, I will give you a julap that will quench your thirst; now if he refuses it, he dies voluntarily and wilfully. Men have dropsy desires after the world, and are inflamed with an insatiable thirst after it; but saith God, I will give you my Spirit that shall change and purify you from all those vicious affections that make you thirst after earthly things. Now they grieve the Spirit of God, resist it, and quench all the holy motions; they will not comply with it. It is hence evident, that they are guilty of their own ruin; all this loss of heaven is from their own choice, and the natural effect of their own perverse wills. The sinner will not be able to stand under the burden of these thoughts, I have lost heaven because I would not have it; this will be more tormenting than all the infernal fiends, that, their loss of heaven is owing purely to their own folly.
(4.) To show you what a hell it will be to lose heaven, a sinner shall then reflect for what perishing vanities he lost heaven; he shall be able to make a true comparison between what he lost, and that which he lost it for. This is consequent to the former, because he shall know what heaven is. The great reason why men pursue the things below, is because they undervalue the things above; they have no esteem, no taste for them; but then they shall be able to understand what heaven is. Then it will appear what a wretched bargain they made to part with heaven for these things. O when the considering soul shall come to compare things, to think that I have lost the perfections of heaven for vexing and transient vanities, we cannot conceive the detestation the soul will have of That the soul which was a spiritual, immortal being, should for sensual, transient vanities lose heaven! When you hear at any time of a. person mixing with a brute, it raiseth a disdain in you, and you will count that person the worst brute that doth so. He that sets his heart upon the world is a more prodigious monster; he that joins an immortal spirit with spiritual dust. The soul will aggravate its misery that it brought upon itself for such mean and cheap vanities.
Again; that which will be an aggravation of this loss of heaven is, it is then irrecoverable; the day of mercy is expired, God will be justly inexorable to all their lamentable cries. For the time of his patience being expired, pure and strict justice takes place, and will exact from the sinful creature the payment of the rights of it for ever.
2. Now besides this deprivation of the rest of heaven, there is a positive and contrary state of misery, that those which are rebels to God shall be plunged into. To open this briefly, consider, that hell is represented to us in those expressions that have an absolute direct contrariety to the state of heaven, and all to signify the positive misery of that place. For example; heaven is said to be an inheritance of light; 1 Cor. 12. Hell is said to be a region of darkness, perpetual darkness, Jude, 13. you have an expression so strong and full, that nothing can exceed it; “ they are wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.' O that thick and disconsolate darkness that shall never be refreshed with the least star, no, not with one spark of light; blackness of darkness, darkness that may be felt, like that in Egypt. Heaven is said to be a place of joy; “ in thy presence there is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” But in hell there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. All which are expressions of desperate sorrow. Sometimes in scripture heaven is set forth by springs of refreshing water ; so you have an expression which may be applied to heaven, Rev. 7. 17. “ for the Lamb in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of water.” It signifies both refreshment and abundance of that refreshment that is in heaven.
It is said that hell is a lake that burns with fire and brimstone; where the damned shall be drowned in flames, and burned in streams for ever. A strange expression, a lake that burns, &c. In heaven the saints shall be always praising and glorifying God, they are filled with joy, and it breaks forth with overflowing thanksgivings. But in hell there is blaspheming God, and cursing the Holy One, that is blessed for ever. So it is said concerning those that are punished in hell, Rev. 16. 10. “and the fifth angel poured forth his vial upon the seat of the beast, and his kingdom was full of darkness, and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pain and their sores, and they repented not of their deeds.” Ver. 21. “ And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent, and they blasphemed God because of the plague of hail, for the plague thereof was exceeding great." Hell is the region of misery, they blaspheme God there for the extremity of their torment.
It is said of heaven, it is the saints' rest; they have a sweet and calm repose in the enjoyment of God. There a believer can say, return to thy rest, O my soul.” But in hell they rest neither night nor day, but they are under continual tormenting reflections on their own wickedness and the extremity of God's wrath. They have no interval nor space of ease.
They are always upon the rack; torn and miserable in their own sense for ever. The scriptures set forth the possitive torments of hell thus; and all this shall be for ever; the door is sealed upon them and their state is unchangeable, and they are continually restless, not only under the impressions of their present torment, but by the foresight that this shall never have an end. O this is the very hell of hell! O saith the forlorn wretch, if I could but live again, and have a trial, whether I would repent or no, or, O if I might at length die, and have an end of this torment, then hell would cease to be hell. But all their wishes shall be ineffectual, for they shall never have any ease or end. You cannot think they can free themselves by power. All the armies of darkness cannot resist the powers of an infinite God: our Saviour hath an expression applicable to this purpose, “ bind them hand and foot, and cast them into utter darkness ;" which implies, they have no power either to escape or make resistance. This is that which makes hell to be so terrible, after the damned have run through millions of years, the sum they owe to God's infinite justice is entire, they have made no payment yet. It is impossible to think of this without horror, that then a person
shall be entirely and eternally miserable. I remember what I have read, of one that was an impious atheist, who was struck at last with an ulcerous distemper that run throughout his body, and filled him with noisome vermin accompanied with the most cruel pain, that he was ashamed and afraid of society, and he retired into a private room; and when one asked him how he did, he put his finger or thumb through the hole of the door and bid his friend take notice and see how it was filled with ulcers and vermin, saying, just as this is so it is with my whole body. So the damned shall be miserable in all parts. Dives begged for a drop of water to cool his tongue, when he was tormented in the flames. It is not to be understood as if his tongue only was tormented, but by. that we may make a judgment, how miserable he was in every part. But will not God change the sentence at last, when the damned creature has endured ten thousand years of torment? No, God will not repent nor retract his sentence. Not to speak of the desert of sin, nor the justice of God in it, that they preferred misery before heaven and happiness, they cannot complain of his justice in their punishment; because though these wretches are in perfect misery, yet their hearts are not changed to love a holy God; they are blaspheming and filled with rage against a holy God: they are continual objects therefore of his hatred, not only for their sins in this present life, but for that cursed enmity that is still in their hearts against him. As the most holy and powerful Judge, they eternally hate him; and they are the proper objects for his holiness, and justice, and power to work upon for ever. And they are not only objects of his hatred, but of his scorn and derision, “ he will laugh at their calamities and mock when their fear cometh.” If you believe the scripture, it is a wonder that any of you can live in an unrenewed state one day or hour. There is nothing more amazing than this, that any man that hath so much faith, as to believe an eternal hell, and hath not any love to God and holiness should be quiet one hour! Men will not part with their beloved sins though hell attends them. I remember reading of one who had a voracious appetite, that when he had meat laid on the coals to be broiled for him, he would snatch it up greedily, and eat the flesh and burning coals together. So some persons are set upon their lusts, though the coals of hell fire cleaye to them. And if there was not a terrible