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SAINTS' REST, LOSE THE ENJOYMENTS OF TIME, AND
have pardon, but that they verily think they are CHAPTER VI.
pardoned already? If you could ask thousands
in hell, what madness brought them thither ? they THE MISERY OF THOSE, WHO, BESIDES LOSING THE would most of them answer, “We made sure of SUFFER THE TORMENTS OF HELL.
being saved, till we found ourselves damned.
We would have been more earnest seekers of I. The enjoyments of time which the damned lose : 3. (1.) Their regeneration, and the power of godliness, but we presumptuous belief of their interest in God and Christ; 4. (2.) verily thought we were Christians before. We their carnal mirth ; 7. (5.) All their sensual delights
. 8. (11.) The have flattered ourselves into these torments, and torments of the damned are exceeding great: 9. (1.) The principal author of them is God himself: 10. (2.) The place or state of
now there is no remedy: Reader, I must in torment; 11. (3.) These torments are the effects of divine ven- faithfulness tell thee, that the confident belief of
12. (4.) God will take pleasure in executing them; 13. (5.) Satan and sinners themselves will be God's executioners ; 14. their good state, which the careless, unholy, un(6.) These torments will be universal; 15. (7.) Without any miti, humbled multitude so commonly boast of, will gation; 16. (8.) And eternal. 17. The obstinate sinner convinced of his folly in venturing on these torments ; 18. And entreated to prove in the end but a soul-damning delusion. fly for safety to Christ.
There is none of this believing in hell. It was 1. As godliness hath a promise of the life that Satan's stratagem, that being blindfold they might now is, and of that which is to come; and if we follow him the more boldly: but then he will un'seek first the kingdom of God and his righte- cover their eyes, and they shall see where they ousness,' then all meaner things shall be added are. unto us ;' so also are the ungodly threatened with 4. (2.) They shall lose also all their hopes. In the loss both of spiritual and temporal blessings; this life, though they were threatened with the and because they sought not first God's kingdom wrath of God, yet their hope of escaping it bore and righteousness, therefore shall they lose both up their hearts. We can now scarce speak with it and that which they did seek, and there shall the vilest drunkard, or swearer, or scoffer, but be taken from them that little which they have.' he hopes to be saved for all this. O happy world, If they could but have kept their present enjoy- if salvation were as common as this hope! Nay, ments, they would not have much cared for the so strong are men's hopes, that they will dispute loss of heaven. If they had lost and forsaken all the cause with Christ himself at judgment, and for Christ, they would have found all again in plead their á having eat and drank in his presence, him ; for he would have been all in all to them. and prophesied in his name, and in his name cast But now they have forsook Christ for other things, out devils ;' they will stiffly deny that ever they they shall lose Christ, and that also for which neglected Christ in hunger, nakedness, or in prithey forsook him; even the enjoyments of time, son, till he confutes them with the sentence of besides suffering the torments of hell.
their condemnation. ( the sad state of those 2. (I.) Among the enjoyments of time, they men, when they must bid farewell to all their shall particularly lose—their presumptuous be- hopes! When a wicked man dieth, his expeclief of their interest in the favour of God, and tation shall perish ; and the hope of unjust men the merits of Christ—all their hopes—all their perisheth. The eyes of the wicked shall fail,
of conscience—all their carnal mirth and they shall not escape, and their hope shall -and all their sensual delights.
be as the giving up of the ghost. The giving up 3. (1.) They shall lose their presumptuous be the ghost, is a fit, but terrible resemblance of a lief of their interest in the favour of God, and wicked man giving up his hopes. As the soul the merits of Christ. This faise belief now sup- departeth not from the body without the greatest ports their spirits, and defends them from the pain ; so doth the hope of the wicked depart. The terrors that would otherwise seize upon them. soul departs from the body suddenly, in a moment, But what will ease their trouble, when they can which hath there delightfully continued so many believe no longer, nor rejoice any longer? If a years : just so doth the hope of the wicked deman be near to the greatest mischief, and yet part. The soul will never more return to live strongly conceit that he is in safety, he may be with the body in this world ; and the hope of the as cheerful as if all were well. If there were no wicked takes an everlasting farewell of his soul. more to make a man happy, but to believe that A miracle of resurrection shall again unite soul he is so, or shall be so, happiness would be far and body, but there shall be no such miraculous more common than it is like to be. As true faith resurrection of the damned's hope. Methinks, is the leading grace in the regenerate, so is false it is the most pitiable sight this world affords, to faith the leading vice in the unregenerate. Why see such an ungodly person dying, and to think do such multitudes sit still, when they might of his soul and his hopes departing together,
With what a sad change he appears in another shall not escape. O cruel peace, which ends in world! Then if a man could but ask that hope- such a war! The soul of every man by nature less soul, · Are you as confident of salvation as is Satan's garrison: all is at peace in such a man you were wont to be ?' what a sad answer till Christ comes, and gives it terrible alarms of would be returned ! O that careless sinners judgment and hell, batters it with the ordnance would be awakened to think of this in time! of his threats and terrors, forces it to yield to Reader, rest not till thou canst give a reason of his mere mercy and take him for the Governor all thy hopes, grounded upon Scripture-promi- --then doth he cast out Satan, overcome him, ses—that they purify thy heart; that they quick- take from him all his armour wherein he trusted, en thy endeavours in godliness; that the more and divideth his spoils,' and then doth he estathou hopest, the less thou sinnest, and the more blish a firm and lasting peace. If, therefore, thou exact is thy obedience. If thy hopes be such as art yet in that first peace, never think it will enthese, go on in the strength of the Lord, hold dure. Can thy soul have lasting peace, in enfast thy hope, and never shall it make thee mity with Christ ? Can he have peace, against ashamed. But if thou hast not one sound evi- whom God proclaims war? I wish thee no dence of a work of grace on thy soul, cast away greater good, than that God break in upon thy thy hopes. Despair of ever being saved, except careless heart, and shake thee out of thy false thou be born again; or of seeing God, without peace, and make thee lie down at the feet of holiness ; or of having part in Christ, except thou Christ, and say, “Lord, what wouldst thou have love him above father, mother, or thy own life. me to do ?' and so receive from him a better and This kind of despair is one of the first steps to surer peace, which will never be quite broken, heaven. If a man be quite out of his way, what but be the beginning of thy everlasting peace, must be the first means to bring him in again ? and not perish in thy perishing, as the groundHe must despair of ever coming to his journey's less peace of the world will do. end in the way that he is in. If his home be 6. (4.) They shall lose all their carnal mirth. eastward, and he is going westward, as long as They will themselves say of their 'laughter, it he hopes he is right, he will go on; and as long is mad; and of their mirth, what doeth it?' It as he goes on hoping, he goes farther amiss. was but “as the crackling of thorns under a pot.' When he despairs of coming home, except he It made a blaze for a while, but it was presently turn back, then he will return, and then he may gone, and returned no more. The talk of death hope. Just so it is, sinner, with thy soul: thou and judgment was irksome to them, because it art born out of the way to heaven, and hast pro- damped their mirth. They could not endure to ceeded many a year ; thou goest on, and hopest think of their sin and danger, because these to be saved, because thou art not so bad as many thoughts sunk their spirits. They knew not others. Except thou throwest away these hopes, what it was to weep for sin, or to humble themand see that thou hast all this while been quite selves under the mighty hand of God. They out of the way to heaven, thou wilt never return could laugh away sorrow, and sing away cares, and be saved.
There is nothing in the world and drive away those melancholy thoughts. To more likely to keep thy soul out of heaven, than meditate, and pray, they fancied would be enough thy false hopes of being saved, while thou art to make them miserable, or run mad. Poor out of the way to salvation. See, then, how it souls! what a misery will that life be, where you
aggravate the misery of the damned, that, shall have nothing but sorrow; intense, heartwith the loss of heaven, they shall lose all that piercing, multiplied sorrow; when you shall neihope of it which now supports them.
ther have the joys of saints, nor your own for5. (3.) They will lose all that false peace of mer joys! Do you think there is one merry conscience, which makes their present life so heart in hell ; or one joyful countenance, or jesttasy. Who would think, that sees how quietly ing tongue ? You now cry, “A little mirth is the multitude of the ungodly live, that they worth a great deal of sorrow:' but surely, a little inust very shortly lie down in everlasting flames? godly sorrow, which would have ended in eter
as free from the fears of hell as an nal joy, had been worth much more than all obedient believer; and for the most part have your foolish mirth ; for the end of such mirth is less disquiet of mind than those who shall be sorrow. saved. Happy men, if this peace
7.(5.) They shall also lose all their sensual delasting! When they shall say, peace and safe- lights. That which they esteemed their chief ty; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, good, their heaven, their god, must they lose, as au travail upon a woman with child; and they well as God himself. What a fall will the proud,
ambitious man, have from the top of his honours ! | rable burden to their souls. If it were but a As his dust and bones will not be known from creature they had to do with, they might better the dust and bones of the poorest beggar; so, bear it. Woe to him that falls under the strokes neither will his soul be honoured or favoured of the Almighty! . It is a fearful thing to fall inmore than theirs. What a number of the great, to the hands of the living God. It were nothing noble, and learned, will be shut out from the in comparison to this, if all the world were presence of Christ!
They shall not find their against them, or if the strength of all creatures magnificent buildings, soft beds, and easy couch- were united in one to inflict their penalty. They es. They shall not view their curious gardens, had now rather venture to displease God, than their pleasant meadows, and plenteous harvests. displease a landlord, a customer, a master, a friend, Their tables will not be so furnished, nor atten- a neighbour, or their own flesh; but then they ded. The rich man is there no more clothed will wish a thousand times in vain, that they had in purple and fine linen, nor fareth sumptuously been hated of all the world, rather than have lost every day. There is no expecting the admira- the favour of God. What a consuming fire is tion of beholders. They shall spend their time his wrath! If it be kindled here but a little, in sadness, and not in sports and pastimes. how do we wither like the grass ! How soon What an alteration will they then find! The doth our strength decay, and turn to weakness, heat of their lust will be then abated. How will and our beauty to deformity! The flames do it even cut them to the heart, to look each other not so easily run through the dry stubble, as the in the face! What an interview will there be, wrath of God will consume these wretches. They cursing the day that ever they saw another! O that could not bear a prison, or a gibbet, or a fire, that sinners would now remember, and say, for Christ, nor scarce a few scoffs, how will they • Will these delights accompany us into the other now bear the devouring flames of divine wrath ? world ? Will not the remembrance of them be 10. (2.) The place or state of torment is purthen our torment? Shall we then take this part- posely ordained to glorify the justice of God. nership in vice for true friendship? Why should When God would glorify his power, he made we sell such lasting, incomprehensible joys, for the worlds. The comely order of all his creaa taste of seeming pleasure? Come, as we have tures, declareth his wisdom. His providence is sinned together, let us pray together, that God shown in sustaining all things. When a spark would pardon us; and let us help one another of his wrath kindles upon the earth, the whole towards heaven, instead of helping to deceive world, except only eight persons, are drowned ; and destroy each other.' O that men knew but Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, are what they desire, when they would so fain have burnt with fire from heaven ; the sea shuts her all things suited to the desires of the flesh! It mouth upon some, the earth opens and swallows is but to desire their temptations to be increased, up others ; the pestilence destroys by thousands. and their snares strengthened.
What a standing witness of the wrath of God, is 8. (II.) As the loss of the saints' rest will be the present deplorable state of the Jews ! Yet aggravated by losing the enjoyments of time, it the glorifying the mercy and justice of God is will be much more so by suffering the torments intended most eminently for the life to come. of hell. The exceeding greatness of such tor- As God will then glorify his mercy in a way
that ments may appear by considering—the princi- is now beyond the comprehension of the saints pal author of them, who is God himself—the that must enjoy it; so also will he manifest his place or state of torment—that these torments justice to be indeed the justice of God. The are the fruits of divine vengeance—that the Al- everlasting flames of hell will not be thought too mighty takes pleasure in them—that Satan and hot for the rebellious; and, when they have there sinners themselves shall be God's executioners burned through millions of ages, he will not re—that these torments shall be universal-with- pent him of the evil which has befallen them. out mitigation ---and without end.
Woe to the soul that is thus set up as a butt for 9. (1.) The principal author of hell-torments the wrath of the Almighty to shoot at ! and as a is God himself. As it was no less than God bush that must burn in the flames of his jealousy, whom the sinners had offended, so it is no less and never be consumed ! than God who will punish them for their offen- 11. (3.) The torments of the damned must be
He hath prepared those torments for his extreme, because they are the effect of divine enemies. His continued anger will still be de- vengeance. Wrath is terrible, but revenge is imvouring them. His breath of indignation will placable. When the great God shall say, 'My kindle the flames. His wrath will be an intole- rebellious creatures shall now pay for all the
abuse of my patience. Remember how I waited soul, but a sinful soul, that must suffer. Fire your leisure in vain, how I stooped to persuade will not burn, except the fuel be combustible ; and entreat you. Did you think I would always but if the wood be dry, how fiercely will it burn? be so slighted? Then will he be revenged for The guilt of their sins will be to the damned every
and for all their neglects of souls like tinder to gunpowder, to make the Christ and grace.
O that men would foresee flames of hell take hold upon them with fury.this, and please God better in preventing their | The body must also bear its part. That body, woe!
which was so carefully looked to, so tenderly 12. (4.) Consider also, that though God had cherished, so curiously dressed, what must it rather men would accept of Christ and mercy, now endure! How are its haughty looks now yet, when they persist in rebellion, he will take taken down! How little will those flames repleasure in their execution. He tells us, 'fury is gard its comeliness and beauty! Those eyes, not in me:' yet he adds, “who would set the briers which were wont to be delighted with curious and thorns against me in battle; I would go sights, must then see nothing but what shall terthrough them, I would burn them together.' rify them; an angry God above them, with Wretched creatures! when he that made them those saints whom they scorned, enjoying the will not have mercy upon them, and he that glory which they have lost; and about them will formed them will show them no favour. As the be only devils and damned souls. How will Lord rejoiced over them to do them good; so the they look back, and say, “ Are all our feasts, and Lord will rejoice over them to destroy them, and games, and revels come to this? Those ears to bring them to nought. Woe to the souls which were accustomed to music and songs, whom God rejoiceth to punish! He will laugh shall hear the shrieks and cries of their damned at their calamity, he will mock when their fear companions: children crying out against their cometh : when their fear cometh as desolation, parents, that gave them encouragement and exand their destruction cometh as a whirlwind; ample in evil; husbands and wives, masters and when distress and anguish cometh upon them.' servants, ministers and people, magistrates and Terrible thing, when none in heaven or earth subjects, charging their misery upon one ancan help them but God, and he shall rejoice in other, for discouraging in duty, conniving at sin, their calamity! Though Scripture speaks of and being silent, when they should have plainly God's laughing and mocking, not literally, but foretold the danger. Thus will soul and body after the manner of men ; yet it is such an act of be companions in woe. God, in tormenting the sinner, which cannot 15. (7.) Far greater will these torments be, otherwise be more fitly expressed.
because without mitigation. In this life, when 13. (5.) Consider that Satan and themselves told of hell, or if conscience troubled their peace, shall be God's executioners. He that was here they had comforters at hand; their carnal friends, so successful in drawing them from Christ, will their business, their company, their mirth. They then be the instrument of their punishment, for could drink, play, or sleep away their sorrows. yielding to his temptations. That is the reward But now all these remedies are vanished. Their he will give them for all their service; for their hard presumptuous unbelieving heart was rejecting the commands of God, forsaking Christ, wall to defend them against trouble of mind. and neglecting their souls at his persuasion. If Satan was himself their comforter, as he was to they had served Christ as faithfully as they did our first mother: • Hath God said, ye shall not Satan, he would have given them a better re- eat ? Ye shall not surely die. Doth God tell ward. It is also most just, that they should be you that you shall lie in hell ? It is no such their own tormentors, that they may see their matter: God is more merciful. Or if there be whole destruction is of themselves; and then, a hell, what need you fear it ?
Are not you whom can they complain of but themselves ? Christians? Was not the blood of Christ shed
14. (6.) Consider also that their torment will for you ?' Thus, as the Spirit of Christ is the be universal. As all parts have joined in sin, comforter of the saints, so Satan is the comfor50 must they all partake in the torment. The ter of the wicked. Never was a thief more soul, as it was the chief in sinning, shall be the careful lest he should awake the people, when chief in suffering ; and as it is of a more excel- he is robbing the house, than Satan is not to lent nature than the body, so will its torments awaken a sinner. But when the sinner is dead, far exceed bodily torments: and as its joys far then Satan hath done flattering and comforting surpass all sensual pleasures, so the pains of the which way, then, will the forlorn sinner look soul exceed corporeal pains. It is not only a for comfort? They that drew him into the
snare, and promised him safety, now forsake him, them with the reason of a man. Who art thou, and are forsaken themselves, his comforts are that thou shouldst bear the wrath of God? Art gone, and the righteous God, whose forewarnings thou a god or a man? What is thy strength? he made light of, will now make good his word Is it not as the strength of wax, or stubble, to against him to the least tittle.
resist the fire; or as chaff to the wind; or as 16. (8.) But the greatest aggravation of these dust before the fierce whirlwind ? If thy strength torments will be their eternity. When a thou- were as iron, and thy bones as brass ; if thy foun. sand millions of ages are past, they are as fresh dation were as the earth, and thy power as the to begin as the first day. If there were any heavens, yet shouldst thou perish at the breath hope of an end, it would ease the damned to of his indignation. How much more, when thou foresee it; but for ever is an intolerable thought. art but a piece of breathing clay, kept a few days They were never weary of sinning, nor will God from being eaten with worms, by the mere supbe weary of punishing. They never heartily port and favour of him whom thou art thus resistrepented of sin, nor will God repent of their suf- ing !—Why dost thou tremble at the signs of fering. They broke the laws of the eternal God, almighty power and wrath? at claps of thunder, and therefore shall suffer eternal punishment. or flashes of lightning ; or that unseen power They knew it was an everlasting kingdom which which rends in pieces the mighty oaks, and tears they refused, and what wonder if they are down the strongest buildings; or at the plague, everlastingly shut out of it. Their immortal when it rageth around thee? If thou hadst seen souls were guilty of the trespass, and therefore the plagues of Egypt, or the earth swallow up must immortally suffer the pains. What happy Dathan and Abiram; or Elijah bring fire from men would they think themselves, if they might heaven to destroy the captains and their comhave lain still in their graves, or might but there panies, would not any of these sights have lie down again! How will they call and cry, daunted thy spirit ? How then canst thou bear • O death! whither art thou now gone? Now the plagues of hell ?—Why art thou dismayed come and cut off this doleful life. O that these with such small sufferings as befal thee here? pains would break my heart, and end my being! A toothache; a fit of the gout, or stone; the o that I might once at last die! O that I loss of a limb, or falling into beggary and dishad never had a being! These groans will the grace? And yet all these laid together will be thoughts of eternity wring from their hearts. one day accounted a happy state, in comparison They were wont to think sermons and prayers of that which is suffered in hell.—Why does the long; how long then will they think these approach of death so much affright thee? 0 endless torments. What difference is there how cold it strikes to thy heart! And would not betwixt the length of their pleasures and their the grave be accounted a paradise, compared pains! The one continued but a moment, the with that place of torment which thou slightest? other endureth through all eternity. Sinner, re- -Is it an intolerable thing to burn part of thy member how time is almost gone. Thou art body, by holding it in the fire? What then will standing at the door of eternity; and death it be to suffer ten thousand times more for ever is waiting to open the door, and put thee in hell?—Why does the thought or mention of in. Go, sleep out a few more nights, and stir hell occasion any disquiet in thy spirit? And about a few more days on earth, and then thy canst thou endure the torments themselves ?nights and days shall end: thy thoughts, and Why doth the rich man complain to Abraham of cares, and pleasures, shall all be devoured by his torments in hell? Or thy dying companions eternity ; thou must enter upon the state which lose their courage, and change their haughty lanshall never be changed. As the joys of heaven guage? —Why cannot these make as light of hell are beyond our conception, so are the pains of hell. as thyself ?–Didst thou never see or speak with Everlasting torment is inconceivable torment. a inan under despair ? How uncomfortable was
17. But methinks I see the obstinate sinner his talk! How burdensome his life! Nothing desperately resolving, 'If I must be damned, there he possessed did him good: he had no sweetis no remedy. Rather than I will live as the ness in meat or drink; the sight of friends Scripture requires, I will put it to the venture; troubled him; he was weary of life, and fearI shall escape as well as the rest of my neighbours, ful of death. If the misery of the damned and we will even bear it as well as we can. Alas! can be endured, why cannot
more poor creature, let me beg this of thee, before easily endure these foretastes of hell ? What if thou dost so flatly resolve, that thou wouldst lend thou shouldst see the devil appear to thee in some me thy attention to a few questions, and weigh terrible shape? Would not thy heart fail thee,