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I see a sufficient fullness in Jesus Christ! I am overcome with thy mercy, Lord Jesus! I yield and give my heart to God! I believe, help my unbelief!
"Here Lord I give myself away,
God of all grace, grant of thine infinite mercy, that every sinner in this assembly may prove himself this humble, sincere, and grateful penitent, and to thy name be all the glory! Amen.
CONSTITUENT PARTS OF THE FUTURE PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED.
Mark 1x: 44.-"Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."
THIS language is highly figurative. The figures are clearly taken from Isaiah lxvi: 24. In describing the future glory, peace and prosperity of the kingdom of the Messiah, Isaiah says that the people of God shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of men who have transgressed against the Lord. Their enemies shall be overcome and slain, and they shall be delivered out of the hand of their oppressors, and shall triumph over all their foes. The figures are taken from heaps of the dead slain in battle; and the prophet says that the number shall be so great that their worm which feeds upon them shall not die, while there are carcasses to be devoured; and that the fire used to burn the bodies of the dead shall not be extinguished till they are consumed. The figures, therefore, denote great misery, and certain and terrible destruction.
By these sensible images our Saviour describes the torments of hell, as by the sensible image of reclining upon the bosom of Abraham he describes the bliss of heaven. They are intended to denote that the destruction of the wicked will be awful, wide spread, and eternal. In this sense our Saviour must have been understood when he uttered the solemn declaration of our text; for these emblematical images were in use among the Jews to express the
doctrine of future punishment long before the time of our Saviour. The son of Sirach says, "The vengeance of the ungodly is fire and worms."-Eccl. vii: 17 And Judith says, "Woe to the nations that rise up against my kindred! the Lord Almighty shall take vengeance on them in the day of judgment, in putting fire and worms into their flesh; and they shall feel them and weep forever."-Judith xvi: 17. Hence our Lord in warning his hearers to part with all occasions of sin, however valued, and pressing this duty from the consideration of the "Gehenna of fire," "where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched," which is the certain doom of all who persist in sin, must have been understood as asserting the common doctrine of the day, the doctrine to which they held whom he addressed, and which they were accustomed to express in the same terms.
It is not to be supposed that there will be any real worm in hellperhaps no material fire. How can a living worm, or an elementary fire operate on the soul, which is a spiritual substance. Further, the fire must needs be extinguished when the pile was consumed; and the worms must die when the food on which they fed failed. But our Saviour tells us that the worm of the wicked dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. That our Saviour did not mean to be understood as asserting or even implying that the wicked would be burnt in the valley of Hinnon, is evident from the very language of our text, and the source whence he derived it. He quoted the phraseology of our text from Isaiah, as we have already noticed. And this phraseology as used by Isaiah, did not originate from the fires in the valley of Hinnon; for the scenes in question never had existence in his day. The desecration of the valley of Hinnon by
| Josiah, and of course the use of fires there to consume the offal, prevented its breeding a pestilence, did not take place until more than sixty years after the death of Isaiah. He must then mean a spiritual punishment, which would be loathesome, dreadful, and eternal.
As there is much diversity of opinion respecting what will constitute the principal ingredients in that cup which will be the portion of the wicked in the future world; and as a scriptural view of this
subject will serve to illustrate the equity of the divine procedure in punishing the wicked forever; I shall on the present occasion enquire Of what the punishment of the wicked in the future world will consist? or in other words, what is included in the terms, "The worm that dieth not," and "the fire that is not quenched."
The gnawing worm and the unquenchable fire which will prey upon the wicked hereafter, includes
1. Their passions and desires. That these are capable of preying upon the sinner and occasioning even in this life the most acute sufferings, those of you whose passions and desires are naturally strong, need not be informed. They were implanted in our nature by our wise and benevolent Creator, to extend the means of our happiness, by rendering us more capable of loving, serving and enjoying him; and when directed to proper objects, and under the restraining influence of divine grace, they are the sources of innocent enjoyment. But in consequence of the depravity of our natures, and the powerful objects which act upon these passions and desires, they are often intemperately excited; and gathering force by gratification, and irritated by the interference of those who pursue the same objects, they hurry men into every kind of excessburst forth into all the variety of crimes that have prevailed in every age and nation, and produce every species of immorality, impiety, blasphemy, and of other daring offences against the supreme Governor of the universe. And from their sinful indulgence a great amount of temporal suffering is occasioned. In confirmation of this I would refer you to facts. Look at the envious man who turns pale, and who feels a secret pang when he hears a more fortunate rival commended, or sees him successful. Is not the envious man his own tormentor? "Envy slayeth the silly one.-(Job v: 2.) "Envy is the rottenness of the bones."-(Job xiv: 30.) It consumes the flesh, preys upon the spirits, makes the countenance pallid, and is the rollenness of the bones. "Who can stand before envy?" Look at the covetous man, who wears himself out in the pursuit of wealth, and is daily harassed with craving desires and anxious cares. Can any worm gnaw like these? "The love of money is the root
of all evil, which while some have coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (Tim. vi: 10.) Their thoughts are busied, their time occupied, their attention wearied, the vigor of both their mind and body exhausted, and their whole soul immersed in harassing avocations. These render them constantly unhappy. Look at the votary of ambition. He first aims at some humble office-obtains it, and looks forward to one of higher rank. This also being obtained, he is still more anxious for another of still higher grade. Thus, like a chariot wheel, he heats himself in his career. He endures wearisome days, and painful nights, while he eagerly pants for promotion; but is kept down by a more fortunate rival or by some adverse circumstances. He is constantly jealous of a competitor, and his mind is full of contrivances to overreach or circumvent his antagonist, to humble his rival, and to gain that popular applause which floats on the breath of the unthinking multitude. Is there no gnawing worm at work in his breast? Look at the man of pride and vanity, who adores his person and possessions, and attempts to appear before others in a superior light to what he is, and who envies the excellencies that others possess ; is anxious to gain admirers; is impatient of contradiction, and is filled with distress or rage at every real or fancied neglect. Is there no corroding tooth at work in his breast? Look at the passionate and revengeful man," who hath no rule over his own spirit." Is not the very bosom of his enjoyment a thorny pillow? Look at the drunkard, whose soul is inflamed with intoxicating potions. Does he not experience unnumbered woes, unalleviated sorrows, angry contentions, riotous babblings, and deep and cureless wounds? Look at the man of pleasure, who seeks for happiness in the ways of transgression, and finds that
Each pleasure hath its poison too,
And every sweet its snare ;"
and you will find fresh proof of this truth.
It is true that the sinful indulgence of these passions and desires do not render men completely miserable in this life. They are often attended with a high degree of mirth and jollity. And when