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may with thy holy angels and saints sing thy praises to all eternity.
O heavenly Father, grant this, I most humbly beseech thee, for thine own infinite compassion's sake, and the infinite merits of my dear Saviour; to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all glory and honour, for ever and ever. Amen.
DISCOURSE UPON HELL.
I COME now to consider the last of those Four last things, as they are called, Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell, which I proposed to treat of in the most plain and affecting manner that I could, in order to persuade men most seriously to consider the vast importance of them to every man living; and from thence learn to endeavour to be prepared for them, in such a manner, as may rather afford comfort and joy to them, when they are going to leave this world, than fill them with sad apprehensions concerning them.
Hell is a real, fixed, determined Place.
Now, that in treating of this, I may proceed in the most plain and easy method, I shall,
First, Endeavour to shew, that Hell is a real, fixed, determined place. As GOD has prepared a place where good men shall live for ever hereafter in happiness, with himself and all his holy angels and saints, called in the Scriptures by the name of Heaven: so
has he also appointed another place of quite a different nature from that, whereinto wicked men, at the conclusion of this world, shall be cast, there to undergo the heavy wrath and vengeance of GOD, together with the devil and his angels for ever; and this is called Hell.
goes Ir is called by St. Luke, chap. xvi. 28, 66 the place of torment;" and by St. John, Rev. xx. 1, the bottomless pit:" and in Isaiah, chap. xxx. 33, Tophet:" in allusion to that dismal place, where the idolatrous, cruel, and unnatural Israelites, were wont to cause their children to pass through the fire to Moloch," that is, to burn them in sacrifice to that idol; and beat drums while that sad solemnity was performed, that the doleful shriekings of the poor children might not be heard. Thence the name Tophet was given to the place, being derived from Toph, which signifies a drum. And as for the reason now mentioned, it is called Tophet in the Old Testament; so in the New it is called Gehenna, from the valley of Hinnom, wherein this Tophet was, Matt. v. 22.
under several Names in the Holy Scriptures.
As to the situation of this place of torment which we now call Hell, there have indeed been several conjectures about it; but I shall not undertake to determine any thing concerning it; nor do I think it proper to mention those conjectures. For since
GOD has not been pleased expressly to declare where it is situated, I think it cannot serve any good purpose at all to mention them; especially since, being bare conjectures, all of them may be false, for aught we know: to be sure they are all doubtful,
and not one of them to be depended upon above the other.
The dreadful Miseries of this Place.
SECONDLY, I come now in the second place, to consider the dreadful miseries of this place, which in Scripture is called Hell. For whatever doubt we may be in about the local situation of it, yet this we may be sure of, that those descriptions of the dreadful miseries and torments of it, which are given us in the Holy Scriptures, shall all be found to have something fully answering to them (though not perhaps in the very letter of them) by all those wretched creatures, who shall by the just judgment of GOD be doomed to endure them, for their wicked and ungodly deeds, and impenitency in this world.
Now the descriptions and representations of the miseries of Hell which we meet with in the word of God, are such as these: They are sometimes expressed by wrath," the wrath of GOD," John iii. 36. "The wrath to come," Matt. iii. 7; 1 Thess. i. 10. And those miserable creatures, that are to undergo these punishments, are called "vessels of wrath," Rom. ix. 22; and they are said to be "appointed to wrath," 1 Thess. v. 9. And those punishments are therefore called "wrath," because they are the effects of God's wrath and indignation. They are also said to be such as are "prepared for the devil and his angels," Matt. xxv. 41.
And the horror of the place where they are to be undergone, is set forth by "outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth," Matt. xxii. 13. Darkness, where shall be fruitless repentance, and endless woe, and no light to afford them the least comfort; darkness, attended with such hideous and intolerable pains as shall
force the miserable sufferers to wring their hands, and gnash their teeth for very anguish and it is called outer darkness, because they shall be removed to the farthest distance from heaven, light, and happi
In other places, the punishment is expressed by a "furnace of fire," Matt. xiii. 50; by a lake of fire and brimstone," Rev. xix. 20; by "smoke," Rev. xiv. 11; the most noisome and suffocating smoke, which is said to "ascend for ever and ever from the bottomless pit;" by "blackness and darkness," Jude 13. There a thick and more than Egyptian darkness, and more intense heat shall reign together: but no mixture of light shall be allowed to the condemned prisoners in their dismal dungeon, but only so much as may just help them to see the many hideous and doleful spectacles that do surround them every where:' by "everlasting fire," Matt. xxv. 41; by "fire never to be quenched,” Mark viii. 43; but " enduring for ever and ever," Rev. xiv. 11. Now what can be more dreadful than fire; fire kindled by the wrath of an angry GoD, and prepared by his almighty power, not to consume and destroy the bodies of those miserable wretches that shall be condemned to dwell and suffer in it, but to torment them, beyond all that the tongues of men can now express, or their thoughts conceive; without abatement, and without ceasing, for ever and ever?
By these we may make some judgment of the grievousness of the punishment of sinners in Hell.
But here some men may be apt to say, that these cannot be true in a literal sense, that there should be fire to burn souls, and torment them eternally. Now suppose it were so, yet if they do at all believe these threatenings, they must likewise believe, that some terrible thing is signified by everlasting burnings; and if fire and brimstone serve only for metaphors to describe these torments by, what will the