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Serm. and piercing. The perverse Obstinacy of VIII. those Sinners against their own Souls in fly
ing from Life, and courting Death, will then Thew itself in the most confounding Light, and strike them through with Sorrows unfelt on this Side the Grave. Whatever Amusements the guilty Mind may meet with here in the Body, it will find none when out of it, to keep it from turning its own Tormentor. No carnal Delight shall follow it, but in Remembrance only, bitter to the Thought and smarting to the Reflection ; so that its Enjoyment in this State will prove its Punishment in the next.
Nor shall the sin-defiled Soul obtain any more Satisfaction from its Company than from itself. For if it madly persists in provoking God's Vengeance by its impious Courses during the Time of its present Probation, it shall also be tied down to the infulting Conversation of Devils and the Fury of execrable Spirits. It is even natural for Beings of the same Kind and Disposition to associate together; and it is moreover one of the fixed Laws of the future World, that the Wicked shall have no Inheritance with the Righteous. Between us and you, :
says Abraham to the rich Man, there is a SERM. great Gulph fixed; so that they, which would VIII. pafs from hence to you, cannot, neither can ru they pass to us, that would come from thence (1). When the Souls of the Ungodly then are separated from their earthly Mansions, they shall be confined to the cursed Society of the Apoftate Angels, whom they have chosen to imitate and resemble, and who will take as much malicious Pleasure in upbraiding and tyrannizing over them, as they do now in tempting and caressing them.
In this dismal and comfortless Situation, this hateful and most shocking Company must the impenitent Soul drag on its Time till the general Resurrection, and the final Judgment. When being reunited to its old Companion the Body, different indeed in Quality, yet the fame in Substance, it shall be rendered capable of sustaining corporeal as well as mental Tortures, and be punished (as the Holy Spirit expressly declares) with unquenchable Fire. For the Lord himself Mall in that Day descend with a Shout in flaming Fire, taking Vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (m), wbo fall be
(1) St. Luke xvi. 26.
(m) 2 Thess. i. 8.
Serm. turned into Hell, where their Worm dieth VIII. not, and their Fire is not quenched (n). Such,
as stand out hardened in their ungodly Courses, offend with an high Hand, and will not now be reclaimed from their Wickedness, shall then be involved in those raging Flames ; ----their Bodies shall for ever burn, but never consume ;----and their Souls be lashed with all the Terrors which an unlimitted and almighty Power can justly inflict, added to their own internal Anguish, Rage, and Despair.
And that these Torments, as complicated as the Crimes which cause them, will be no less eternal in Duration, than intense in Degree, is very clear and evident from plain repeated Testimonies of Holy Scripture ; which must establish the Faith of every Christian 'as to this Article on a Foundation too firm to be undermined by the Objections of depraved Reason, or the Prejudices of a vitiated Self-love. The righteous Judge has himself assured us in his Gospel, that in the End of the World, he, the Son of Man shall come in his Glory, and all the holy Angels with him, then shall be fit on the Tbrone of his Glory, and before him mall
(n) St. Mark ix. 44.
be gathered all Nations :---Then shall be fay SERM. also to them on the left Hand, Depart from VIII. me, ye cursed, into everlasting Fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels. Nor shall the Execution be delayed, but these shall go away into everlasting Panishment (0). And in the Book of his prophetic Revelation he foretells, that in those Days Men shall seek Death, and Mall not find it, and shall desire to die, and Death ball flee from them (0) --that they shall drink of the Wine of the Wrath of God, which is poured out without Mixture into the Cup of his Indignation,---that the Smoke of their Torment ascendeth up for ever and ever, and they have no Rest Day nor Night (9).
Now what can chefe exprefs Passages mean, if they are not to be understood of endlefs Sufferings ? Human Sophiftry may disguise, or good Nature foften the Force of them : Evasions have been often found out, and as often overthrown; and to interpret such like Texts only of temporary Punishments, has been frequently shewn to be an unjustifiable perverting of the Sense of plain Words.
-; . BUT loj St. Matth. xxv. 31, 32, 41, 46. Dj Rev. ix 6. (9) xiv. 10, 11.
SERM. 'VIII. But let not us be in the Number of
those, who deny or douht of the Truth of God's Threatenings any more than of his Promises, ---who fancy there is in the Deity a latent Will contrary to the Revealed, and flatter with Hopes of Mercy in Store, even such as have wearied out the Divine Patience, and been all their Life-time treasuring up Wrath against the Day of Wrath. Rather let us believe God to be true, and and every Man, who disputes his Veracity, a Lyar : Let us be convinced by Reason, by Revelation, that nothing can be given in Exchange for the Soul, so that he must let that alone for ever ; and knowing those Terrors of the Lord to be certain, let us diligently labour to escape them, it being an infinitely wiser Part to rely on his Declarations for the Truth of these Things, than to wait for Conviction from our own Experience.
· Upon the whole, if any thing here before offered has been thought weighty enough to make a right Impression on us ---if we are roused to a due Sense of the inestimable Value and irreparable Loss of our Souls, a Night Exhortation will be sufficient to pre