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certainty, that if you take this course, and neglect Christ and the great salvation now, you cannot escape everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power. “Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest he tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.”
Secondly. This address turns to those who profess to believe the doctrine of endless punishment, and know they are not Christians, who own themselves to be constantly exposed to everlasting destruction, and that this must be their portion, if they should die while in their present state; and yet are in a great measure secure and easy, while they are neglecting the great salvation, and many of them go on in open and unrestrained wickedness.
Dear, infatuated souls, how can you be insensible, if you will think seriously a minute, that you are in a most dangerous, wretched case, which calls for the pity of all the benevolent, and their earnest prayers and friendly endeavors for your relief? And though all of this kind has hitherto had no apparent success, yet the attempt must be repeated, and you are to be reproved, rebuked, and exhorted, with all tenderness, long-suffering, and doctrine, or instruction, if, peradventure, God will give you repentance, and you may recover yourselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. Think not them your enemies who tell you
the truth, whatever disagreeable and painful feelings it may give you.
Be entreated, as you love your own souls, not to hearken to the insinuations of those who would persuade you there is no such dreadful evil as endless punishment to fear. There are such, and many are greedily swallowing the bait, and caught fast in the fatal snare, from which it is much to be feared they will never be recovered. You are not out of danger. Take heed to yourselves, lest you should be induced to believe this fatal lie by those who, with all their cunning craftiness, lie in wait to deceive. For, while they promise you peace, liberty, and eternal life, they themselves must perish forever in their own delusion, unless they repent and believe on Christ before they leave this world.
Attend to the evidence there is, from the Holy Scriptures, of the certainty of endless punishment, and think of it till your minds are established in the truth, and it becomes a reality to you. Be persuaded to meditate much upon the dreadfulness of this punishment. You may be sure you cannot imagine it to be greater than it will be, or conceive of the thousandth part of the dreadfulness of it. Think often, yea, constantly, how dreadful it will be to find yourselves lost forever, plunged into perfect, inexpressible misery, in absolute despair of deliv
erance, or the least mitigation of punishment, to all eternity! never, never to have another agreeable thought or sensation, in the midst of the most disagreeable, horrid company, suffering the most keen distress and torture, which will be poured in upon you from every quarter, while you know you have not a friend in the universe to help or pity you; under the awful and most sensible frowns and curse of the infinitely terrible Jehovah, who will live forever and ever to punish you; your thoughts swiftly and irresistibly running forward and fixing on eternal, endless duration; and the more you dwell on this, the higher will your misery and anguish arise ; at the same time, with the keenest remorse reflecting that you have brought yourselves to this infinitely dreadful end by your own amazing folly, by constantly, through your whole life, rejecting the offers of pardon and salvation kindly made to you, and urged upon you by the infinitely benevolent Savior. Think of all this, and much more, which, by seriously attending to the representation given in Scripture of future punishment, will naturally be suggested to your mind.
Do not forget a moment in what an infinitely dangerous situation you are; on the brink of the bottomless pit, where are everlasting burnings, having nothing to secure you from sinking down to hell, being held out of it only by the hand of him whose goodness you are abusing, and whom you are constantly provoking, in a manner dreadful to think of, though it cannot be fully conceived, to let you sink forever; and by this be warned to fly from the wrath to come.
And remember, that the Lord Jesus Christ, the mighty, glorious Redeemer, now invites you to look unto him, that you may be saved from this infinitely dreadful, everlasting destruction, and you are called and commanded to repent and come unto him, that you may have eternal life; and it must, therefore, be altogether your own inexcusable fault, if you perish by refusing to obey bis call; and your rejecting him, and thus going to hell, will necessarily render your punishment inexpressibly greater and more dreadful than it would be if there had been no Savior, and you never had such an offer. Why, then, will you not now believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved ?
How shocking is the sight of all openly vicious persons! The unrighteous and oppressor — the evil speaker and contentious — the adulterer, fornicator, and all lewd, obscene persons — the drunkard, and all liars, — these shall not inherit the kingdom of God, but must have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, unless they repent.
And what will become of all those who refuse to pay any regard to God, to religion, and divine institutions; who wholly neglect the Bible, disregard the Sabbath, and all the ordinances of Christ; who restrain prayer, and will not call upon God? The Lord will come in a day when they look not for him, and at an hour when they think not, and will cut them asunder, and appoint them their portion with unbelievers, where shall be endless weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.
There are multitudes among us, and the number is increasing, who not only take the sacred name of their Maker in vain, but trifle and sport with that which is above all things dreadful, eternal damnation. They will not only wish damnation to others, but damn their own souls and bodies, or call upon God to damn them, many hundreds of times in a day. It is not probable any of these will read this; but it is earnestly to be desired, that, by some means, the reality and amazing dreadfulness of damnation might so impress their minds as teffectually to prevent their ever uttering another profane curse, and they be made sensible of their astonishing stupidity, impiety, and wickedness, in thus cursing themselves and others; by which they treasure up wrath against the day of wrath, and by every such curse add to their eternal misery, when their cursing will become a reality, and pour into their own bowels like water, and into their bones like oil, if their repentance do not prevent.
There are others, who, for the sake of some sensual, momentary gratification, or the vain amusements and follies of this life, are giving up their eternal happiness, and plunging themselves into endless destruction. O, that they would attend and hearken to the kind warning and advice given to them by Christ! “ If thy hand or foot offend thee, cut them off; or if thine eye offend thee, (i. e., cause thee to offend or fall,) pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, or with one eye, than having two hands, or two feet, or two eyes, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched - where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”
How many worldly-minded persons are there, who, for the sake of the pursuit, or the possession and enjoyments of this world, are every day selling their souls, and giving them up to be tormented forever! Let such consider what they are doing, of what inexpressible folly and madness they are guilty, by realizing what it is to be lost, to go away into everlasting punishment; and let them attend to the awakening words of
Christ,“ What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?”
Others there are, who, having been restrained from the gross open vices which they see practised by many, and being insensible of the vile nature and ill desert of all sin, and ignorant of the wickedness of their own hearts, think they do not deserve to be punished forever, and, therefore, are confident they are in no danger of this dreadful evil; and others depend on their prayers and supposed good works, thinking them so deserving as to be sufficient to secure them from future punishment. All these would be sensible of their mistake and delusion, did they understand and believe what is said of Christ;—“ Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved;" — or did they attend to the divine law, and let that come to their consciences and hearts, in its true meaning and strictness, cursing every one who continueth not in all things written and required therein; for by this their sins which are now hid from them would revive, and all their vain hopes forever die.
În sum, whatever be the different circumstances and conduct of men in this life, if they be not real Christians, they are in danger of eternal fire; and if they die in their present state and character, will be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power. For the Redeemer himself hath said, and it cannot be reversed, but will be verified in all, “ He that believeth (the gospel] and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Amen.
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”