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the collection of all evils, every evilisaugmented." Can there be here any degrees of punishment? So Dr. Goodwin says,
“ In hell God's anger breaks forth into raging flames of the fiercest fires, that fill
every corner, and break out at all the windows of the soul." Can there be any thing worse than this?
Third. These horrible torments of hell are to be suffered endlessly. It is this circumstance that is to give emphasis to all hell's horrors. If there were any end to them, they might be borne, but of this, alas ! there is no hope; and this seals the despair of the damned! It is this circumstance, too, which constitutes the peculiar orthodoxy of the doctrine under consideration. No man can belong to the Catholic Church, or any of her legitimate daughters if he denies or even doubts the absolute eternity of hell torments. It matters not how sincerely one believes in future punishment, or how severe he supposes
it will be, or how long he thinks it will continue. If it be not strictly endless it avails nothing ! Drexelius
says, that " if for every sin, or for every hour of a man's life, he was doomed to suffer a year in hell, and no longer, the punishment would be tolerable. Upon such a presumption, men would be tempted to continue in their sins, and I do not at all doubt, but that a great many would never leave them, could they be assured that the torments of the damned would ev.
er have an end.” Hence the absolute eternity of punishment must be maintained! And for the same reason must the torments of hell be exhibited in the most horrible aspects ; otherwise sinners would not heed them!
Many authors have attempted to give some faint idea of e ernity and thus heighten the fears which a description of hell torments is calculated to beget. It is acknowledged that no adequate conception of eternity can be formed It transcends the power of numbers. Cornelius a Lapide asks, “ How long shall the damned buru in hell ? Forever. How long is that? Imagine a hundred thousand years; but that is nothing in respect of eternity. Imagine ten hundred thousand years, yea, as many ages ; but that also is nothing in respect of eternity. Imagine a thousand millions of years : still they are nothing. Eternity is the same and always will be so.
Proceed and number as many more as you can; add millions of millions more, as long as you please, and then suppose the damned to burn in hell all this vast duration. When you have done all this, you
have not yet found the beginning of eternity. Imagine again as many millions of millions of years as there are drops in the sea, and you cannot yet come to the beginning of eternity. Such is the duration of that eternity of torments which God hath decreed to the damned in hell!" Drexelius says, " Should God say to the damn,
ed, let the earth be covered with the finest sand, and let the world be filled therewith ; let heap be piled upon heap till it reaches up to the highest heavens ; and let an angel every thousand years take a grain from it, and when the whole shall be removed, after so many thousand years as there were grains, I will release you out of hell; should God, I say, make any such promise to those miserable spirits, what a mighty consolation it would be to them! How would they exult and rejoice! Their damnation would seem somewhat them. But alas! after millions and millions of years, there remain more millions and still more millions, forever and ever !" Gulielmus Peraldus,
learned and religious man," and withal Bishop of Lyons, adopted this mode of illustration. " Should the damned," says he, "every day distil from their eyes but one tear only, and should the tears which they thus distil day after day, be preserved in a convenient place, they would at length exceed the vast ocean of waters. The drops of the sea have their number and measure : it is an easy thing for God to say, they are just so many and no more ; but the tears of the damned can never be nambered."
Another takes this method. He supposes a skin of parchment, in breadth a span, but of sufficient length to encompass the globe : this parchment is filled with figures of 9 so close together yond !"
that no space should be left; who can tell this vast number; and yet all this would express no assignable part of eternity.
u Think of the dread amounts of misery," says the Rev. Austin Dickinson, " that must be endured by an incorrigible enemy of God, increasing forever in guilt and remorse! Think of the extent of eternity! Oh! send an angel forward on the awful deep, with the speed of lightning, for millions on millions of centuries, and the dread waves of perdition are still rising and rolling be
“ Let imagination stretch its wings again," says the late Dr. Griffin," and follow the excruciated soul through ages of unutterable endurance-through fire intense enough to melt down all the planets. One period after another passes by it as it flies—until it looks back on the first million of years as on a speck in the horizon, and still it hears the tormented soul exclaim, My agony is just begun !"
“How dismal it will be when you are under these racking torments," says Dr. Edwards, " to know assuredly that you never, never shall be delivered from them; to have no hope. When you shall wish that you might be turned into nothing, but shall have no hope of it; when you would rejoice, if you might have any relief after you had endured these torments millions of ages, but shall have no hope of it; when after you have worn out the ages of the sun, moon and stars, in your
lorous groans and lamentations, without rest, day or night, or onc minute's ease, yet you shall have no hope of ever being delivered; when after you have worn out a thousand more such ages, yet you shall have no hope, but shall know that
you are not one whit nearer the end of
your torments; but that still there are the same groans, the same shrieks, the same doleful cries incessantly to be made by you, and that the smoke of your torment shall still ascend forever and ever; and that your souls, which have been agitated by the wrath of God all this while, will yet exist to bear more wrath ; that your bodies, which have been burning and roasting all this while in these glowing flames, yet shall not have been consumed, but will remain to roast through an eternity yet, which shall not have been at all shortened by what shall have been
Let this saffice on this head. Sinners in hell are to suffer the torments above described through all eternity! This we are told is
" all they are fit for; this is the only use to which God can put them!" Is it to be thought remarkable if the poor sufferers in hell should at length grow weary of thus serving and glorifying God? This leads me,
Fourth. To say that the damned are often represented as seeking, and most ardently pray, ing, to be annihilated.