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their destruction will be an “ everlasting destruetion;" a destruction of their well-being, but not of their being. What is destroyed, is not therefore annihilated : “ Art thou come to destroy us?” said the devil unto Jesus Christ. Howbeit the devils are afraid of torment, not of annihilation : thou come hither to torment us before the time?" The state of the damned is indeed a state of death: but such a death it is, as is opposite only to a happy life, as is clear from other notions of their state, which necessarily include an eternal existence, of which before. As they who are dead in sin, are dead to God and holiness, yet live to sin ; so dying in hell, they live, but separate from God and his favour, in which life lies. They shall ever be under the pangs of death; ever dying, but never dead, or absolutely void of life. How desirable would such a death be to them! but it will fly from them for ever. Could each one kill another there, or could they, with their own hands, rend themselves into lifeless pieces, their misery would quickly be at an end: but there they must live who choosed death and refused life; for there death lives, and the end ever begins.

2dly, The curse shall lie upon them eternally, as the everlasting chain, to hold them in the everlasting fire; a chain that shall never be loosed, being fixed for ever about them by the dreadful sentence of the eternal judgment. This chain, which spurns the united force of devils held fast by it, is too strong to be broken by men, who, being solemnly anathematized and devoted to destruction, can never be re3dly, Their punishment shall be eternal: “ These shall go away into everlasting punishment.” They will be for ever separated from God and Christ, and from the society of the holy angels and saints; between whom and them an impassable gulf will be fixed : “ Between us and you,” says Abraham, in the parable, to the rich man in hell, “ there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would


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from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” They shall for ever have the horrible society of the devil and his angels. There will be no change of company for evermore, in that region of darkuess. Their torment in the fire will be everlasting: they must live for ever in it. Of what nature soever hell-fire is, no question, the same God who kept the bodies of the three children from burning in Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace, can also keep the bodies of the damned from any such dissolution by hell-fire, as may infer privation of life.

Lastly, Their knowledge and sense of their misery shall be eternal, and they shall assuredly know that it will be eternal. How desirable would it be to them, to have their senses for ever locked up, lose the consciousness of their own misery! as one may rationally suppose it to fare at length with some, in the punishment of death inflicted on them on earth; and as it is with some mad people in their miserable case: but that agrees not with the notion of torment for ever and ever, nor the worm that dieth not. Nay, they will ever have a lively feeling of their misery, and strongest impressions of the wrath of God against them. And that dreadful intimation of the eternity of their punishment, made to them

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by the Judge, in their sentence, will fix such impressions of the eternity of their miserable state upon their minds, as they will never be able to lay aside, but will continue with them evermore to complete their misery. This will fill them with everlasting despair; a most tormenting passion, which will continually rend their hearts, as it were, in a thousand pieces. To see floods of wrath ever coming and never to cease; to be ever in torment, and witbal to know there shall never, never be a release, will be the top-stone put on the misery of the damned. If “ hope deferred maketh the heart sick,” how killing will be hope rooted up, slain autright, and buried for ever out of the creature's sight!

Lastly, I might here show the reasonableness of the eternity of the punishment of the damned; but having already spoken of it, in vindicating the justice of God in his subjecting men in their natural state to eternal wrath, I only remind you of three things: (1.) The infinite dignity of the party offended by sin, requires an infinite punishment to be inflicted for the vindication of his honour; since the demerit of sip riseth according to the dignity and excellency of the person against whom it is committed. The party offended is the great God, the ehief good; the offender a vile worm, in respect of perfection infinitely distant from God, to whom he is indebted for all that ever he had implying any good or perfection whatso

This then requires an infinite punishment to be inflicted on the sinner; the which, since it cannot in him be infinite in value, must needs be infinite in duration, that is to say, eterval. Sin is a kind of infinite evil, as it wrongs an infinite God; and the guilt


and defilement thereof is never taken

but endures for ever, unless the Lord himself in mercy doth remove it. God, who is offended, is eternal, his being never comes to an end : the sinful soul is immortal, and the man shall live for ever: the sinner being without strength to expiate his guilt, can never put away the offence; therefore it ever remains, unless the Lord do put it away himself, as in the elect, by his Son's blood. Wherefore, the party offended, the offender, and the offence, ever remaining, the punishment cannot but be eternal. (2.) The sinner would have continued the course of his provocations against God for ever without end, if God had not put an eud to it by death. As long as they were capable to act against him in this world, they did it; and thereføre justly will he act against them while he is, that is, for ever. God, who judgeth of the will, intents, and inclinations of the heart, may justly do against sinners in punishing, as they would have done against him in sinning Lastly, That the wicked be punished for their wickedness is just; and it is no wise inconsistent with justice. The misery under which they sin, can neither free them from the debt of obedience, nor excuse their singing and make it blameless. The creature, as a creature, is bound unto obedience to his Creator; and no punishment inflicted on him can free from it, more than the male factor's prison, irons, whipping, do set him at liberty to commit anew the crimes for which he is imprisoned or whipped. Neither can the torments of the damned excuse or make blameless their horrible sinning under them; more than exquisite pains, inflicted upon men on earth, can excuse their murmuring, fretting, and blaspheming against God under them : for it is not the wrath of God, but their own wicked nature, that is the true cause of their sinning under it; and so the holy Jesus bore the wrath of God, without so much as one unbecoming thought of God, and far less any unbecoming word.


Use I.--Here is a measuring reed: O that men would apply it! 1. Apply it to your time in this world, and you will find your time to be very short. A prospect of much time to come, proves the ruin of many souls. Men will be reckoning their time by years, (like that rich man, Luke xii. 19, 20.) when, it may be, there are not many hours of it to run. But reckon as you will, laying your time to the measuringreed of eternity, you will see your age is nothing. What a small and inconsiderate point is sixty, eighty, or a hundred years, in respect of eternity! Compared with eternity, there is a greater disproportion than between a hair's breadth and the circumference of the whole earth. Why do we sleep then in such a short day, while we are in hazard of losing rest through the long night of eternity ?

2. Apply it to your endeavours for salvation, and they will be found very scanty.

When men are pressed to diligence in their salvation-work, they are ready to say, To what purpose is this waste ?

Alas! if it were to be judged by our diligence, what it is that we have in view; as to the most part of us, no man could thereby conjecture that we have eternity in view. If we duly considered eternity, we could not but conclude, that, to leave no means appointed of God unessayed till we get our salvation secured; to refuse rest or comfort in any thing till we are sheltered

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