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can be greater anguish to the Mind, than to know our misery, and to know it to be remediless? and what can be greater anguish to the Will and Affections, than most ardently and vehemently to desire freedom from those torments, but yet to despair of ever obtaining it? and what can fill the Conscience with greater anguish, than to reflect, with infinite horror and regret, that it was only sinners' own folly and madness that brought them to this woeful and miserable condition? how will they be ready even to rend and tear themselves in pieces, their consciences curse their wills, and their wills curse their affections, and their affections the objects that enticed them to the commission of those sins, the revenges of which they must now eternally suffer! And as for the Bodies of these damned souls, they shall, after the Resurrection and dreadful Day of Judgment, become all fire, like a live coal: fire shall be imbibed into the very substance of them, and they not have so much as a drop of water afforded them to cool the tip of their tongues: Luke xvi. 24.
And this is a Third Consideration of the dreadfulness of everlasting vengeance: it is a falling into God's hands.
4. Consider, it is a falling into the hands of the Living God himself, and not of any Creature.
Indeed, we read in 2 Sam. xxiv. 14. that David chose rather to fall into the hands of the Lord, than into the hands of men, It is true, when there are true repentance and hopes of obtaining mercy, this is far more eligible: for the chastisements of the Lord are full of mercy; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. But, where all hopes and expectations of mercy are excluded, as they are in hell; certainly, there, it is infinitely more dreadful to fall into the hands of a sin-revenging-God, than into the hands of all the creatures in heaven, or earth, yea or hell itself.
One would have thought it had been terrible enough, if the Apostle had said, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of Devils." And so indeed it were; if we consider, either their power, or their malice. Certainly, they can easily find out such tormenting ingredients, and apply them also to such tender parts, that it would transcend the patience of any man on earth quietly to bear but what one devil can inflict. Do we not often see, in the illusions of black and sooty melancholy; what strange fears and terrors they can imprint upon the fancy; what horror and despair they can work in the conscience; so as to make men weary of their lives, and many times persuade them to destroy
themselves, only to know the worst of what they must suffer! And all this he can do out of his own kingdom! What then can he do, when he hath got sinners into his own territories, and under his own dominion! What exact tortures can he inflict upon them there! such, indeed, as we cannot tell what they are; and may it please God we never may!
And, yet, the Devil is but a fellow-creature: but wicked men are to fall into the hands, not of a creature, but of the Great Creator; into the hands of God himself, whose power is infinitely beyond the devils', so that he is the tormentor even of them.
Think then with thyself, O Sinner, that, if God binds and scourges and torments the very devils, who yet do so insufferably torment the damned; how infinitely intolerable then is that wrath, which God himself shall inflict upon them! Consider with thyself, if thou canst not bear those pains and torments, which the devils inflict; and if the devils cannot bear those pains and torments, which God inflicts upon them; how wilt thou then, O Sinner, be able to bear the immediate wrath, fury, and vengeance of the Great God himself?
Nay, let me go yet a great deal lower; and suppose that God should make use of common and ordinary creatures, for the punishment of wicked men who is there, that could bear even this?
If God should only keep a man living for ever in the midst of a furnace of gross and earthly fire, how dreadful would this be! If but a spark of fire fall upon any part of the body, consider what an acute pain it will cause: much more, if thy whole man should be all over on a light flame, and thou for ever kept alive to feel the piercing torment of it. And, yet, what is our dull, unactive fire; in comparison of that pure, intelligent fire?
Or, suppose God, who knows the several stings that are in all his creatures, should take out of them the most sharp ingredients; and, from them all, make up a most tormenting composition: if he should take poison and venom out of one, and fire and scorching out of another, and smart and stinging out of a third, and the quintessence' of bitterness out of a fourth; and, by his infinite skill, heighten all these to a preternatural acrimony if now God should apply this composition, thus fatally mixed and blended together, unto any of us, what an intolerable anguish would it cause in us!
And, if Creatures can cause such tortures, what a dreadful
thing then is it to fall into the hands of God himself! For, when God conveys his wrath to us by creatures, it must needs lose infinitely in the very conveyance. When God takes up one creature to strike another, it is but as if a giant should take up a straw or feather to strike a man with; for, though he be never so strong, yet the blow can be but weak because of the weakness of the instrument; and yet, alas! how terrible are even such weak blows to us! What will it then be, when God shall immediately crush us by the unrebated strokes of his own Almighty Arm; and shall express the power of his wrath, and the glory of his justice and severity, in our eternal destruction?
And this is the Fourth Demonstration of the dreadfulness of divine vengeance.
5. Consider, that the Apostle calls this wrath, which the Living God will inflict upon sinners by the name of Vengeance. Vengeance is mine, I will recompense it.
Now vengeance, when it is whet and sharpened by wrath, will enter deep, and cut the soul to the very quick.
God acts a twofold part, in the punishment of sinners. (1) Of a Judge.
In relation to which, their eternal torments are sometimes called Condemnation: so, 1 Tim. iii. 6. we have mention made of the condemnation of the devil; that is, that state of woe and wrath, to which the Devil is for ever sentenced. And, Damnation Mat. xxiii. 33. how can ye escape the damnation of hell? And, sometimes, it is termed Judgment: Heb. x. 27. A certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation: and, in Jude 15, to execute judgment upon all the ungodly; which denotes that their punishment shall be inflicted upon them from God, as he is a Just and Righteous Judge.
(2) God is an Avenger, as well as a judge.
He is a party concerned; as having been wronged, affronted, and injured by their sins. And, in relation to this, the punishments, that God will inflict upon them, are called Wrath and Fury, smoking Anger and Jealousy: Deut. xxix. 20. the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against that man. Also, Fiery Indignation: Heb. x. 27. All which we find amassed and heaped together, Zeph. iii. 8. My determination, saith God, is, to gather the nations.....to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. All these expressions signify to us, the terribleness of that vengeance, which God will take for, when
the wrath of man only stirs him up to revenge an injury, he will be sure to do it to the very utmost extremity of all his power: and, if the revenge of a poor weak man be so dreadful a thing; how insupportable will be the vengeance of the Great God, who assumes it to himself as part of his royalty! Vengeance is mine. See that terrible place, Nahum i. 2. God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth: the Lord revengeth, and is furious: the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. God reserveth wrath for sinners, and keeps it up in store; even that wrath, which they themselves have treasured up against the day of wrath.
This Revenging Wrath of God hath these Two things in it, that justly make it dreadful.
 In that, Revenge always aims at Satisfaction; and seeks to repair injuries received, by inflicting punishment on the offender.
This gives ease to the party grieved: and, if this revenge be commensurate to the greatness of the offence, he rests satisfied in it. And, therefore, God, speaking of himself according to the passions and affections of men, solaces himself in the thoughts of that vengeance, which he would take upon sinners: Isa. i. 24. Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, I will avenge me of mine enemies.
And, oh think how dreadful that revenge must needs be, that shall ease the heart of God; and give him satisfaction, for all the heinous provocations, that sinners have committed against him. For, consider,
1st. How great and manifold our sins and offences have been: and every act of sin, yea the least that ever we committed, is an infinite debt; and carries in it an infinite guilt, because committed against an Infinite Majesty.
For all offences take their measures, not only from the matter of the act, but from the person against whom' they are com mitted as a reviling, injurious word against our equals, will but bear an action at law; but, against the prince, it is high treason, and punishable with death. So, here, the least offence against the Infinite Majesty of the Great God, becomes itself infinite: the guilt of it is far beyond whatsoever we can possibly conceive. And, yet, what infinite numbers of these infinite sins have we committed! The Psalmist tells us, they are more than the hairs of our head: Ps. xl. 12. Yea, we may well take in all the sands of the sea-shore, to cast them up by. Our
Thoughts are incessantly in motion: they keep pace with the moments, and are continually twinkling; and, yet, every imagination of the thoughts of our hearts is evil: what multitudes of them have been grossly wicked and impious; atheistical, blasphemous, unclean, worldly, and malicious! and the best of them have been very defective; and far short of that spirituality and heavenliness, that ought to give a tincture unto them. And, besides the sins of our thoughts, how deep have our Tongues set us on the score! we have talked ourselves in debt to the justice of God; and, with our own breath, have been blowing up our everlasting and unquenchable fire. And, add to these, the numberless crowd and sum of our sinful Actions, wherein we have busily employed ourselves to provoke the Holy and Jealous God to wrath and we shall find our sins to be doubly infinite, in their own particular guilt and demerit. And, now, O Sinner, when an angry and furious God shall come to exact from thee a full satisfaction for all these injuries, a satisfaction in which we may eternally rest and acquiesce, such as may repair and recompense his wronged honour; think sadly with thyself, how infinitely dreadful this must needs be. Assure thyself, God will not lose by thee: but will fetch his glory out of thee, and take such a revenge upon thee, as shall as much please and content him, as his Infinite Mercy doth in those, whom he saves and glorifies. And how great then must this vengeance be!
2dly. Consider, how dreadfuł a revenge God took on his own Dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, when he came to satisfy his justice upon him for our sins. His wrath fell infinitely heavy upon him: and the pressure of it was so intolerable, that it squeezed out drops of clotted blood from him, in the garden; and that sad cry on the Cross, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
(1st) Our Lord Christ was supported under all his sufferings by the Ineffable Union of the Deity.
He had Infinite Power for him, as well as against him : infinite power to bear him up, as well as to crush him: in Christ's sufferings, the power of God seemed, as it were, to encounter with itself; and to run contrary to itself, in the same channel. And, as he had the support of infinite power in his sufferings; so, likewise, had he in the greatest of his agonies the Ministry of Angels, to comfort him, and to refresh the droopings and faintings of his human nature. And,