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ans, to move them with an holy ambition to aspire after the highest degrees of this glory; and the way to obtain this honor is to be rich in good works, and to be exercifing the highest degrees of love, faith, humility, and every grace.
Let us all be exhorted to bear upon our minds continually, that there is a judgment to come. Let us remember that the judge is at the door, that the Lord Jefus will come quickly, and that he will render to every one as his works fhall be. Let us not be found in the ftate, ways, or practifes, of which we fhall then be afhamed.
The eternal torments of the damned proved.
Mat. 25, xlvi. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment.
THE eternity of the torments of hell, however plainly taught in the oracles of God, is, notwithstanding, denied by fome and doubted of by many. There appears to be a growing disbelief of this article of our faith in thefe days of licentious principles and degenerate manners. It is a doctrine of great utility and high importance, and therefore to be contended for with earnestness, and not to be yielded to the enemies of truth as a matter of indifference or a thing of no moment. "Contend "earneftly for the faith once delivered to the faints," is an apoftolic injunction. That this is an article to be held with firmness and stedfaftnefs appears from its being fo frequently inculcated in the word of God, from the ufe which is there made of it, to alarm finners to attend to the concerns of their fouls, and from its being the ftrongeft natural motive to engage men to feek their falvation and to restrain them from open courses of vice. The doctrine of everlasting punishment
carries the business of natural motives to the highest posible de gree of force.
It is true the effect produced by it upon mankind is far, very far from being anfwerable to the high nature of the argument. But, if this be the cafe under this mighty argument, what would be the confequence, if it were weaker? If the trongeft poffible motive that can be produced to excite men. to feek their falvation proves ineffectual, furely were the mo tive weaker, the effect would be lefs in proportion. If a motive inconceivably strong and powerful in its own nature, which is now the cafe, has fo little influence, it is plain an inferior motive, which would be the ftate of matters if the punishment of the wicked were only for a limited time, would have a very inconfiderable effect, if any at all. Were the fentiment to be come common, it would remove in a great part the restraint npon men's confciences, and they would be more abandoned to the world and their lufts than they now are. Were this opinion given up, which never can be relinquifhed by the plain be. lievers of the bible, the strongest confiderations whereby the fouls of men can be touched, must be furrendered also. I appeal to fact; only look into the places and focieties, which hold the univerfal principle, is there not, I do not iay of religion, but a manifeft failure of common virtue and common morals? The cenfure I grant is heavy, but it rests with them to exhibit the contrary.
All know and feel that fear is a powerful principle in the human constitution, and hose who renounce the eternity of hell's torments, reject the highest motive by which that principle can be moved or operated upon. Thefe are fome of the reasons which fhow the generally received docrine to be important, and that it is neceflary at proper times to advance the evidences whereon it depends. We fhail endeavour to lay before you a
few of the arguments from reafon and revelation whereby it is fupported.
As this difcourfe is intended to be of a practical nature, and aims at interesting the heart of every hearer, as well as adminiftering light to the understanding and conviction to the judg ment, I fhall not go into the obftrufe and more ftrict method of reafoning, which might be expedient upon a proper occafion, but confine myself to fuch eafy and obvious obfervations as may render the doctrine plain to the unprejudiced and feeblest understanding. I know it is a fruitless attempt to combat a weak mind under Arong prepoffeflions.
Firft, that the pnnifhment of fouls in hell will be everlasting vor eternal is evident from this, that from the nature of fin and their own nature, they deferve everlasting punishment. If they merit fuch a punishment, juftice requires it should be inflicted. If finners ought to be punithed according to their defert, the rules of law and juftice oblige it to be done. We are affured from the word of God, that he will do in all cafes that which is juft and perfectly right, therefore if finally impenitent finners deferve eternal punishment, it will be inflicted upon them. All that remains to render this argument unanswer ble is to fhow that finners do justly deferve an eternal punishment. This ap pears from the nature of fin continuing to be unrepented of, that it is an exceedingly ill deferving thing. Every in deferves the wrath and curfe of God, or elfe it deferves no punishment at all, and it would be wrong to inflict any punishment upon a finner either in this world or in the next. To fuppose or fuggeft that fin deferves no punishment at all, is to furmife that fin is no fault, nor blame worthy. But this would be an exprefs contradiction, and faying, that fin is not fin. For the very notion and nature of fin is, that it is an evil, faulty thing, and worthy of blame. To fay it is blame worthy is the fame as to fays it is worthy of punishment. If it deferves no punishment, it is not an evil. The very nature of a morally
evil action is that it merits punishment. If it be allowed thereis any punishment inflicted on men either here or hereafter, it is either juft or unjuft; the latter would be to impute unrigh teoufnefs to God, therefore the former is eftablifhed.
The reafon why fin deferves any punishment is because of its evil or faultinefs, hence it deferves punishment in that degree in which it is evil or faulty. To fay, that the reafon of its defert of punishment is the evil and faultiness of it, and yet to deny it deferves it in that degree in which it is evil or faulty, would be a palpable contradiction. As the faultinefs of fin is the reason of its defert of punishment, hence it must merit it exactly according to the degree of its fault inefs. Therefore an act which has one degree of blameableness in it, must have one degree of punishment; that which has two degrees muft for the fame reafon merit two degrees of punishment, and thus it will proceed to infinity, and if there be any evil which contains an infinite degree of faultinefs, then fuch evil deferves a proportionable punishment or none at all. Because: if a crime of a high degree of faultiness do not deserve a high degree of punishment, then furely a crime with only one or a fmall degree of faultinefs can deserve no punishment at all, or next to none. Which amounts to the fame as to fay it is no crime, or the faultinefs of an action is not the reafon of its defert of punishment. The confequence of this is, there would be no fuch thing as fin, law, juftice, or evil in the universe. And thus we are got to the end of all government and religion, virtue and vice, right and wrong at once..
Moreover the degree of the evil of an action will always be in proportion to the worthiness and excellency of the object against which it is committed; but as God is an object of infinite excellency and worthiness, hence every fin as committed against him is an exceeding great evil, therefore in ftrict justice. deferves the higheft poflible punishment.. Sin confidered exclus