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33. Tophet is ordained of old, yea, for the King, (even the King of Kings) 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.

And then what is the company-Devils and evil spirits. Ah! to be associated with those cruel, malignant, and hateful beings, who first tempted, and then will laugh and mock us, taunt us, and torment us, is indeed woe. To be associated, for ever too, with liars and murderers, thieves, drunkards, and adulterers! Those who have forgotten God, may have been disgusted with gross sinners, and yet now to be for ever joined with the most vile and abandoned, and linked with them for ever in the one prison of hell, this is an aggravation of misery that no mind can adequately conceive. The wicked may be pleasant enough to the wicked in their mirth, but will they like each other as companions for ever in torment?


The suffering is eternal and unreversible. This God does most plainly assert: he calls it in our text, everlasting fire. It is also contrasted with the reward of the righteous. These shall go away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into life eternal, v. 46.

The strongest terms are repeatedly used on

this point. It is said by our Lord, (Mark ix. 43 -48.) If thy hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee; it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched, and this is in substance repeated again and again, so as to have in a few verses, six solemn assertions of the eternal duration of the future punishment. So we find by Jude 7. The wicked shall suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. In Rev. xiv. 10, 11, we read that he who receives the mark of the beast, shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out without measure into the cup of his indignation, and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb, and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and


Thus God has expressly declared, that the punishment of the wicked shall be everlasting. How then is that punishment to be ended? By force? What! overpower omnipotence? By fraud? What! outwit infinite wisdom? By exhaustion? Can any thing be annihilated? What! in contradiction to the divine will!

But is it not unjust to visit upon a temporary sin an eternal woe? Ah! do you not even in this world see men suffer lasting evils from a momentary sin. If it be necessary for God to threaten,

it is right for God to execute, and the necessity of the threatening is proved; as even the tremendous penalty does not deter many from the sin, and though multitudes are warned, and escape the coming wrath, multitudes still go on in sin notwithstanding every threatening.

But it may relieve the Christian's doubts of the divine veracity on this fearful subject, to remember that our obligations to God being infinite, life and death being placed before us, and the wicked voluntarily choosing death, justly merit the awful penalty. They remain impenitent in hell itself, they go on sinning there, and if they had lived here for ever, they would have gone on sinning for ever; God is clear when he judges, and even those who suffer will be constrained to justify him who condemns them to eternal woe.

In the vast extent of God's creation, when we look abroad on the starry firmament, and see worlds upon worlds, what if there be one region like a prison, where the Just Governor of the whole universe confines criminals, as a moral lesson to the universe, a guard against rebellion, and a preservative to obedience? Can you say that this may not be in infinite wisdom, equity, and love?

But, mainly and chiefly, hell is the mirror which displays the glories of his power, and truth, and justice, and holiness. Hath he said,


and shall he not do it? O risk not eternal ruin on the most improbable of all contingencies, the chance that God may lie and deceive, or rather on the utter impossibility that he should do so.

Do you say it is severe? Ah! remember the assertion flies back. Be not so severe to yourselves, as to rush upon it for vain pleasures ; wrong not, destroy not, your own selves; you are forewarned, and yet you hasten to the ruin ; it is distinctly laid before you, and yet you prefer it to self-denial, faith, hope, and love.

The voice of the whole sermon is, Flee from the wrath to come. Linger not a moment on the plain. Escape, escape for thy life, lest thou be consumed; escape to the only city of refuge, even Christ Jesus.

In applying this, I would add two or three plain directions.

1. DREAD SIN AS THE WORST OF ALL EVILS. Losses of property are evils; poverty and contempt are evils; sicknesses in our persons or families are evils; national calamities are evils; wars and famines and pestilences are evils; but sin is the worst evil, for it is the cause of all others; bringing down upon the creature the displeasure and wrath of him from whose appointment all suffering originally comes, as well as all happiness, and, if having its full issue, landing the sinner in endless ruin. O sinner, stop in thy

mad course: sin will be thy ruin here and for ever, if persisted in.

2. REPENT IN TIME. There is a way of escape; there is space afforded for a change of mind. Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, (Acts iii. 19.) ere it be too late. You want a changed mind, consisting in a deep sorrow for sin, a hearty acknowledgment of it before God, a lively faith in his free pardon through the blood of Jesus, and then an amended life in righteousness and true holiness. You must be born again, and God has promised, if you will inquire of him, to give a new heart and a new spirit. O can you be content to receive all your good in this life, and to be miserable for ever; but except you repent, you must perish. to that Divine Saviour who gives remission of sins. (Acts v. 31.) why will you die? This leads me to VALUE CHRIST JESUS SUPREMELY as the giver of all you need, (Psalm Ixviii. 18.) the only refuge, the all-sufficient Saviour of the lost. Are you yet impenitent and unconverted? O value Christ, as able to give you repentance, and exalted for this very purpose. He came into the world to be the deliverer from the wrath to come; He yet lives to make intercession for the transgressors. Apply to him. You are yet in the land of prayer and of hope: you are yet within the

Turn you then repentance and Turn you, for

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