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frien t to Se awarded them at the judgment of the great day, to which they are theresore kept, as in chains and prisons.
Fourthly, Prisons are daik and noisome places, not built for pleasure, as other houses are, but for punishment; so is hell. Jude, wer. 6. "Reserved in everlasting chains under darkness,'* as he there describes the place of torments, yea, utter darkness, Matth. viii. ii. extreme or persect darkaesi. Philosophers tell Iis of the darkness of this world, Nott dantur purae icnebrae, that there is no pure or persect darkness here, without some mixture of light; but there is not a glade of light, not a spark of hope or comfort shining into that prison.
Fifthly, Mournful sighs and groans are heard in prisons: P/af; kevii. 11. Let the " sighing of the prisoners come before thee," faith the plalniist. But deeper sighs aftd empbatical groans are heard in hell, " There shall be weeping and wailing, and *' gnashing of teeth," Matth. viii. il. Those that could not groan under the sense of sin on earth, shall howl under anguish and desperation in hell.
Sixthly, There is a time when prisoners are brought out of the prison to be judged, and then return in a worse condition than before, to the place from whence they came. God also hath appointed a day for the solemn condemnation of those spirits in prison. The scriptures call it " the judgment of the *' great day/' Jude ver* 6 from the great business that is to bd done therein, and the great and solemn assembly that shall then appear before God. i
But I will insist no longer upon the display of .the metaphor; iny business is to give you a representation of the state and coni dition of damned iouls in hell, and to assist your conceptions of them, and of their statei
It is a dreadful sight I am to give you this day; but hovif touch better is it to see, than to seel that wrath? The treasures thereof (hall shortly be broken up, and poured forth upcW Ihe spirits of men.
You had in the former discourse, a faint umbrage of the spirits of just men in glory; in this you will have an impersect representation of the spirits of wicked men in hell: and look, as the former cannot be adequate and persect, because that happiness surpassed our knowledge} so neither can this be so, because the misery of the damned passeth our sear.
The case and state of a damned spirit will be best opened io these following propositions;
Proposition 1. That the guilt of allsm gathers to, and fettle*
in the conscience of every Christless sinner, and makes up a vast treasure of guilt in the course of -hit life in this world. 'The high and awful power or conscience belonging to the understanding faculty in the soul of mao, -was spoken to before, al to iis general nature, and that conscience certainly accompanies it, and is inseparable from it, was there (hewed; lam hereto consider it as the seat or centre of guilt, in all unregenerate and lost iouls. For look, as the tides washup, and leave the slime aud filth upon the shore, even io all the corruption and sin that is in the other faculties of the foul, settle upon the conscience. *' Their mind and conscience (faith the apostle) is defiled," Tit. l. 15. it is, as it were, the sink of a sinner's soul, into which all filth runs, and guilt settles.
The conscience of every believer is purged from its filthiness by the blood of Christ, Heb. ix. 14. his blood and his, spirit purify it, and pacify it, whereby.it becomes the region of light and peace; but all the guilt which hath been long contracting, through the lise of an unbeliever, fixes itself deep and fast in his ''conscience; "'It is written upon the tables of their hearts, as *'• with a pen of iron," jer. xvii. 1. *', t. guilt is as a mark or 'character, fashioned or engraven in the very substance of the • soul, as letters are cut into glass with a diamond.
Conscience is not only the principle engagee, obliged unto God as a judge, but the principal director and guide of the soul', in its courses and actions, and consequently, the guilt of all sin falls upon it, and rests in it. The soul is both the spring and fountain of all actious, that go outward from man, and the term or receptacle of all actions inward; but in both forts of actions, going outward, and coming inward, conscience is the chies counsellor, guide, and director in all, and so the guilt which is contracted either way, must be upon its head. It is the bridle of the foul, to restrain it from (in; the eye of the soul, to dinct its course; and theresore is principally chargeable with all the evils of lise. Bodily members are but instruments, and the will itself, as high and noble a faculty or power as it is, moveth not, until the judgment cometh to a conclusion, and :the debate be ended in the mind.
Now, in the whole course and compass of a sinner's lise in this world, what treasures of guilt must needs be lodged in bis conscience3 What a magazine of sin and filth must be laid up there? ft is (aid of a wicked man, Job xx. 11." His bones are "full of the; (ins.. of his youth;" meaning his spirit, mind, or •conscience, is as full of sin, as bones are of marrow; yea, the very sins of his youth arc enough to fill them: and Rom. ii. 5they are (aid " to treasure up wrath against the day of wrath," which is only done by treasuring up guilt? for wrath and guilt are treasured up together in proportion to each other. Every day of his lise vast sums have been cast into this treasury, and the patience of God waiteth till it be full, before he calls the firmer to an account and reckoning, Gen. xv. 16. . Prop. 2. All the fin and guilt, contrasted upon the souls and consciences of impenitent men in this -world, accompanies and follows their departed fouls to judgment,- and there brings them under the dreadful condemnation of the great and terrible God, which cuts off all their hopes and comforts for ever. '"If you believe not that I am he, you (hall die in your sins," John viii. 24. And Job xx. 11. " His bones are full ot the fin* of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust." No proposition lies clearer in scripture, or should ly with greater weight on the hearts of sinners: nothing but pardon can remove guilt; but without saith and repentance there never was, nor fhall be a pardon, Acts x. 43. Rom. iii. 24, 25. Luke xxiv. '46, 47. Look, as the graces of believers, so the sins of unbelievers follow the foul whithersoever it goes: All their sins who die out of Christ, cry to them when they go hence, We are thy works, and we will follow thee. The acts of sin are transient, but the guilt and essects of it are permanent; and it is evident by this, that in the great day, their consciences, which are the books of records, wherein all their Fids are registred, will be opened, and they shall be judged by them, and out of them, Rev. xx. 12.
'• Now, before that general judgment, every soul comes to its particular Iudgment, and that immediately after death: of this I apprehend the apostle to speak in Heb. ix. 27 "It is appointed '* for all men once to die, but after that the judgment." The
. soul is presently stated by this judgment in its everlasting and fixed condition. The foul of a wicked man appearing before God, in all its sin and guilt, and by him sentenced, immediately it gives up all its hope, Prov. xi. 7." When a wicked man dieth, his-expectation shall peiish; and the hope of the unjust "man perisheth." His strong hope •peritheth, as some read it, i. e. his strong delusion: for, alas, he took his own shadow for a. bridge over the great wafers, and is unexpectedly plunged info the gulph of eternal misery, as Matth.- viu'22^ ; This-perishing, or cutting off of hope, is that which is called
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"'' ♦ ttiattt spes vale/itiftmar i. e. Even the strongest hope. '.
in scripture the death os the soul, foi so long the soul will live, Sb it hath any hope. The deserring of hope makes it sick, bu: the final cutting off of hope strike* it quite dead, i. e. dead as to all joy. cqmlort. or expectation of any for ever, which is that dca h which an immortal foul is capable to suffl-r: The righteous hath hope in his death i but every enregeoerate man in tbg world orcathes out his last hope in a sew momcpts after his last breath, which strikes terror into the very centre of the fail*, and is a death-wound to ir.
Prop. 3 The fouls of the damned are exceeding large •and capacious fubjetls of -wrath and torment; and in their separate /tats, (heir capacity is greatly enlarged both by laying asteep all those ajfetlans iu hofe exercise is relieving, and throughly aviakcniKga.il thofe passions inhuh are tormenting.
The foul of man ncing by uatare a spirit, an intelligent spK rir, ana. in its substantial faculties, assimilated to God, xvhofe image it bears; it must, for that reason, be exquisitely seasible of all the impressions and rouches of the wraih of God upon it4 The spirit oi man is a moll tender, sensible, and apprehensive creature; the eye of the body is not (o sensible of a touch* a nerve os the body is not so-sensible when pricked, as the spirit of man is of the least toucho! God's indigna ion upon it. "t\ "wounded spirit who caa hear I" Proy. xviii, 14. Other exiternal wounds upon the body, ioflicted either by man or God, are tolerable; but that which immediately touches the spirit of nun, is insufferable: who can bear or endure it?
And as the spirit of man hath the most delicate apd exquisite ilense of misery; so it hath a Tast capacity to receive, and le? in the fulness of anguish and milesy into it: it is a large vessel, called, Rom. ix. 22. " A vessel of wrath fitted to destrection.* The large capacity of the soul is seen in this, that it is not n the power of all the creatures in the world to satisfy and fill iti it can drink up, as one (peaks, all the rivers of created good, and its thirst not quenched by such a draught; but after ali, it' cries, Give, give.' Nothing but an infinite God can quiet and) satisfy its appetite and raging thirsts
And as it is capable and receptive of more gopd than is found in all the creatures, so. it is capable of more misery and anguish, than all the creatures can inflict upon it. Let all the elements, of men on earth, yea, all the devils and damned in hell, capfpirej and unite in a design to torment man; yet when they bave, <lone all, his spirit is capable of a farther degree of torment; a torment as much beyond it, as a rack is beyond a hard bed, or the iword w-bK (go^rfffci if beyond the scratch of la fin. Thetfe*^ indeed are the executioners and tormentors of the damned; but \( that were all they were capable to suffer, the torment of th« damned would be, comparatively, mild and gentle to what they are. Oh, the largeness of the understanding of man, what will it not take into its vast capacity!
But add to this, that the damned souls have all those affections laid ira a deep and everlasting sleep, the exercises whereof would be relieving, by emptying their souls of any part of thtir misery; and all thole passions throughly and everlastiugJy awakened, which increase their torments.
The affections of joy, delight and hope, are benumbed 'at them, and laid fast asleep, never to be awakened into act any more. Their hope, in scripture, is said to peri/b, i. e. it so perifiieth) that, after death, it shall never exert another act to allefernity. The activity of any of those affections would be like a cooling gale, or refreshing spring, amidst their torments; but as Adrian lamented himself, Nunquamjocos dabis, Thou (halt never be merry more.
And as these affections arc laid asleep, so their passions are rouzed, and thoroughly awakened to torment them; so awakened, a* never to sleep any more. The souls of men are sometimes jogged and startled in this world, by the words or rods of God. but presently they sleep again, and forget all: but hereafter the eyes of their souls will be continually held waking, to behold and consider their misery; their understandings will be clear and most apprehensive; their thoughts fixed and determined; thefr .Consciences active and efficacious; and, by all this, their capacity to take in the fullest of their misery, enlarged to the uttermost.
Prop. 4. The wrath, indignation, and revenge of Cod poured'out* *s the just rewardofsm. upon theso. capacious fouit of the damned, is the principal part of their misery in hell.
In the third proposition 1 shewed you, that the souls of the damned can hold more misery than all the creatures can inflict uipon them. When the soul suffers from the hand of man, its sufserings are but either by way ot sympathy with the body; or if immediately, yet ft is but a light stroke the hand of a creature can igive: But when it has to do with a sin-revenging God, and that immediately, this stroke cuts off the ipirit of man, as 'tis expressed, Psal. Ixxxviii. 16. The body is the cloathirg of the souL Most of the arrows shot at the soul in this world, do but slick in -^he cloaths si. e.) reach the outward man: But in hell,-the spirit «pf man 1$ the -white at which God himself shoots. All his envenomed arrows strike the soul, which if, after death, kid bar*