Page images

calamities with the hope of being heard ; or in whose hearts, or hands, they may find a refuge from the bitterness of wo.... Thus, while the inhabitant of that melancholy world looks around him ; when he casts his eyes abroad through the universe ; he will be forced to perceive that it contains no friend to him. In the midst of millions he is alone, and is sure of being loathed, rejected, and shunned by every being in the creation of God. Not a sigh can he breathe ; not a tear can he shed; not a sorrow can he unfold ; not a prayer can he utter with a hope of being befriended, heard or regarded.”

What a picture of desolation and misery !Alone alone! In the midst of millions, and yet alone, or with none but enemies and tormentors around. To sigh, and groan, and pray, and weep, and yet to have no one in the wide universe who can pity or even hear! If there be such a hell as this it is one of the most terrible states to be imagined. It is thus, however, the damned are represented. Hear Pollock.

· Their hollow eyes did utter streams of wo.
And there were groans that ended not, and sighs
That always sighed, and tears that ever wept
And ever fell, but not in mercy's sight.
And sorrow, and repentance, and despair
Among them walked, and to their thirsty lips
Presented frequent cups of burning gall."

But the scene changes again. These feelings of anguish and desolation give place to rage and

madness which hurl themselves at every being in the wide universe. They are filled, as Matthew Henry says, with "an incurable indignation at God, themselves and one another." " The damned in hell," says Christopher Love, “ gnash their teeth out of indignation against Jesus Christ.”Thus hell is represented as being filled with curses and blasphemies. So says Dr. Trapp :

They fling Tartarean rage towards heaven,against heaven's king; Against the Highest fiercely they blaspheme."

So also Pollock ::
" And as I listened, I heard these beings curse
Almighty God, and curse the Lamb, and curse
The earth, the resurrection morn."

In short, hell is represented as the abode of all unholy passions in their intensest forms of mani festation, as a scene of unutterable and unrestrained rage, remorse, envy, malice, and blasphemies, and the most horrid oaths and imprecations !

12. Pains suffered in hell from despair.

It is a constant doctrine with the advocates of hell torments that a large part of the miseries of the damned arise from a complete despair of any better condition. That is a realm from which hope is utterly excluded. Milton represents it as a region of sorrow,

6. Where peace

And rest can never dwell, hope never comes

That comes to all." Dr. Thomas Goodwin tells us that, “ hope was

given to reasonable and intelligent natures to be as a breathing hole, in time of misery, to keep up life in such an one to sustain itself. And the reasonable soul being in its duration eternal, and have ing an eternity of time to run through and sail over, hath this privilege, denied to beasts, to take a prospect or foresight of time, that is yet to come, and if it can spy out any space or spot of time, in which it shall have happiness or ease, or outlive its misery, it will not utterly die; yea, it will harden itself against present misery with this thought that however it shall not always be thus with me.But on the contrary here, by reason of this ability of foresight, it comes to pass, that a wretched soul in hell, viewing, turning over all the leaves of cime to eternity, both finds that it shall not outlive its misery, nor yet can find one space or moment of time of freedom or intermission, having forever to do with the living God. And then it dies, and dies again, and sinks into a gulf of despair, for the future, as well as it is swallowed up with a sense of present wrath." “ There they shall be tortured," says Mr. Swinden, " with an absolute and complete despair of any better condition, or of the least relaxation from their pains, so much as a drop of water to cool their tongues tormented in these flames." But this is not all.

13. Pains suffered from fear.

As the wicked in hell shall be filled with despair, so shall they also with the deepest and most

dreadful fear. Though their present pains shall be intolerable, yet they shall be made constantly to fear still greater torments, and every day shall add something to their miseries. “ The nature of fear,” says Dr. Goodwin, “is to ouistrip a man's misery; and to take them up afore they come, as hopes use to do our comforts. So as by reason thereof it comes to pass that the soul is not only tormented by what it at present feels, but with the thought of all that is to come; which still further strikes the soul through and through.” Jeremy Taylor describes this among the pains to be inflicted by the imagination. “If in this life," says he, “the imagination is sometimes so vehement, that it hurts more than real evils; in the other, the torment which it causes will be excessive. . . . If the apprehension of human justice, which hath power only over the body, give so dreadful alarmas to the imagination, what will the sense of the darts of the Divine justice do, which are so many instruments of death and burning arrows shot at damned souls ?"

The good Bishop just now quoted, describes at length the pains to be inflicted upon the damned by the will, the memory, the understanding, etc. But I must not follow him, nor must I introduce other sources of hell torments, sometimes insisted upon by individual authors. Still there are two or three aggravations which I must mention as they make no unimportant part of Hell's Horrors. And

First. Dr. Goodwin, before quoted, has a whole volume to show that the punishment of sin in hell is caused immediately by the wrath of God. And from this he argues strongly its greater terribleness. “If creatures," he says, “be able, or God by them, to scourge us with whips, then God himself immediately with scorpions. ... In hell Gud draws out all his forces, all his attributes into the field, whereof wrath is the leader and general. . . All in God is turned into fury."

Second. The torments of hell shall be as severe as possible. Some suppose that there will be degrees in the severity of hell torments, falling more or less heavily on sinners according to the number and turpitude of their sins. But it is very difficult to conceive how this can be, while these tor. ments are taken as they are described. Mr. Swinden says that in hell “ there is the absence of all good, and the presence of all evil.” Can there be any degrees here? So Jeremy Taylor says, " the evils of hell are truly evils, and so purely such that they have no mixture of good; in that place of unhappiness, all is eternal sorrow and complaint ; there is no room for comfort, there shall not be the least good which may give ease ; nor shall there want a concourse of all evils which

may add afffiction : no good is to be found there, where all goods are wanting ; neither can there be want of any evil, where all evils whatsoever are to be found ; and by the want of all good, and

« PreviousContinue »