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horts a sinful man, “ Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise rom the dead, and Christ shall give, thee light," Eph. v, And it is of the same kind of death that St. Paul speaks concerning the wanton widow, that “she is dead while she liveth," 1 Tim. v.
It was this kind of death that Adam suffered as soon as he had tasted of the forbidden fruit, according to God's threatening ; " In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt die the death.” For not only his body became subject to death, but his soul was also cast into the death of sin, and enslaved to corruption. It happened to him as to a lamp newly put out; the snuff yields a most ill-savoured scent.
As the life of grace is a preparative to the life of glory, and furnishes us with the foretaste of the heavenly joys; so, on the contrary, the carnal life is as it were the suburbs of hell; it is the first beginning of an eternal death, and the entrance into the infernal pit. The eternal death is nothing else but an entire and irrecoverable separation of the soul and body from God, accompanied with infinite torments; torments unto which all the sufferings of this mortal life are light and inconsiderable: nevertheless, as the Spirit of God represents the heavenly joys and felicities by things that are most pleasant and delightful ; so, to express to us hell-torments, it borrows things that are the most dreadful and painful in this life : we are told of an abyss or furnace full of flames, a bottomless pit burning with fire and brimstone. The scripture mentions chains of darkness, an eternal night, and an hell-fire, where there are weeping and gnashing of teeth. It tells us, that “ Tophet is ordained of old, yea, for the king it is prepared : he hath made it deep and large ; the pile thereof is fire, and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it,” Isa. xxx. 33.
Fancy to yourselves a man devoured with worms, burning
in hot flames, in continual torments, in whose wounds kindled brimstone is poured without intermission, with boiling lead, and burning pitch; if there be any other pains more sharp and grievous, fancy them also. All this will give us but a light and imperfect image of the state of hell; for all the pangs of the body are nothing in comparison to the horrors, troubles, and incredible griefs, that shall for ever rack and torture the damned souls.
As shame aggravates our sufferings, and renders them more terrible, the damned shall be loaded with shame and infamy to all eternity; their names shall be hateful to God and his holy angels, and they shall be cursed with an endless curse. And as it is an increase to our torment to suffer in the company of abominable varlets, and to become a companion of the most infamous rascals; they shall suffer with hell's executioner, and shall be sent to the fire prepared for the devil and his angels. All their senses shall share in these horrid torments; they shall be crushed in the wine-press of God's eternal wrath, and they shall feel for ever and ever the strokes of God's vengeance, and of his almighty hand. They shall then learn, by experience, what a terrible thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God, and how insufferable that fire is that shall consume his enemies. Their eyes shall perceive nothing but the bottomless pit, the devil's image, and the furies of hell; their ears shall hear nothing but the horrible outcries and fearful roarings of tormented devils and damned souls. They shall be choaked with the noisome smell and fumes of the bottomless pit; they shall then drink the very dregs and bottom of God's anger and indignation, and they shall suck the venom of his arrows; fire and brimstone shall be the portion of
The sufferings of this life are but short, and for a moment, but the torments of the damned shall never end:
“their worm dieth not, and their fire shall never be quench: ed," Mark ix. Rev. XX. They shall be tormented day and night to all eternity. When they shall have suffered as many thousand ages, as there be drops of water in the sea, or grains of sani on the shore, it shall be but the beginning of their grief. They shall live for ever, to die continually ; and they shall die, and never be consumed. In the midst of these hot flames, they shall beg a drop of water to cool their tongue, Luke xvi. but we may say of the fire that shall torture the dumned, what the spouse in the Canticle saith of the divine love that had inflamed her soul; “ Many waters cannot quench it, neither can the floods drown it,” Cant. viii. And St. Paul tells us, that the things that God hath prepar. ed for them that love him, eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, nor did it ever enter into the heart of man, 1 Cor. ü. So, on the contrary, we may say, that those things that God hath prepared for them that hate bim, eye hath not seer, ear hath not heard, nor did it ever enter into the heart of man. From hence shall proceed their rage, madness, and desp ir ; they shall cry in Cain's language, "My punishment is greater than I can bear,” Gen. iv. When they shall see nothing but an extreme misery and woeful darkness, they shall curse God the king of all creatures, Isa. vii. In their fury and rage they will eat their tongues, and blaspheme the great
God of heaven and earth. It had been far better for such persons, that they had never been born; therefore they shall seek death, and shall not find it, Matt. xxvi, They shall desire to die, that is, to be reduced to nothing, Rev. ix. but this death shall fly from them: who of you can dwell in eternal flames? Rev. vi. If the phials and little cups full of God's wrath force the wicked to cry out, how much more shall the rivers and the ocean of God's vena geance
draw from them, “ O mountains, fall on us; O rocksg cover us, and hide us from the face of him that sits upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the day of his wrath is come, and who may abide it?" But as they have stop
ped their ears to God's gracious calls, and hardened their hearts to his invitations to repentance, God shall also stop his ear to their outcries, and his eyes to their grievous sufferings; and when they shall be overcome with fear and despair, God will scorn and mock at their insufferable misery,
That Jesus Christ our Lord hath redeemed us from eternal death,
and, by degrees, rescues us from a spiritual death.
read, in the fifth chapter of the Revelation of St.
John, that he wept bitterly, because no being in heaven and earth, nor under the earth, was able to open the book sealed with seven seals that was in God's right-hand. At that instant one of the twenty-four elders spake to him, “Weep not, behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals." Thus we have until now wept bitterly, because we could find nobody in the armies of Israel to encounter with that powerful monster, Death. But let us also wipe our tears, and take good courage, my beloved ; for this same Lion of the tribe of Judah is appointed to fight with this dreadful enemy: our victorious and triumphant David, who had torn in pieces the infernal lion, bruised the ancient serpent's head, and s spoiled principalities and powers, triumphing over them in his cross," Col. ii. 15. It is he that has undertaken this glorious combat; it was for that purpose that he left for a while the throne of God the Father, and the company of his holy angels, 1 Sam. xvii. It was for that intent that he came into the camp and confusion of Israel. He has not borrowed ihe weapons and assistance of the world, Heb. ii. All that he has taken from us, is our frail nature. “ But he kath armed himself with righteousness, as with a breast plate, and hath put on the helmet of salvation. He hath 2.
clothed himself with vengeance as with a cloak; he hath trodden the wine-press, and nobody hath assisted him," Isa. lix. Ixiii. But his arm hath saved him, and his hand hath upheld him; as David hath cut off Goliath's head with his own sword, Jesus Christ hath overcome Death by death. Like unto the strong Samson, he hath destroyed all the enemies of his glory by his death, 1 Sam. xvii. He hath overcome, in dying, him who had the empire of Death, that is, the devil, Heb. ii. and “ hath delivered them, who through fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage." Then was fulfilled this saying of Hosea, “ O Death, I will be thy plague : 0 grave, I will be thy destruction,” Hos. xii. And that of Isaiah, “ He will swallow up Death in victory, and the Lord will wipe away tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of his people shall be taken away from off all the earth,” Isa. xxv. 1 Tim. vi. This blessed Prince, King of kings, and Lord of lords, who only hath immortality, and dwelleth in inaccessible light, hath destroyed Death, and hath brought to light, life and immortality by the gospel, 1 Tim. i.“ O Death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory ? The sting of Death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law; but thanks be to God who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ," 1 Cor. xv.
This great God and Saviour has perfectly redeemed us from eternal death, as he himself teaches us in the Gospel of St. John; " He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life," ch. v. 24, “ I am the living bread, which came down from heaven ; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever,” ch. vi. 51. ver. 40. “ Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead; this is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die,” ch. viji. “ Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my word, he