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abodes of woe, and many are ftill going thither from year to year. And they are as full of mifery as their fouls can hold, and as long as they continue in that fate they must be miserable from the very nature of it. If there be no other state to which they can pals, if this be the final and laft condition of the wicked and there remains no further change or removal during their existence, and they must spend their exiflence here, and their existence will be eternal, then it is plain their punishment or mifery must be eternal alfo.
It is evident from the fcriptures that there are but two apartments in the eternal world, which are the receptacles of fouls that go from this, to wit, heaven and hell. The latter is reprefented as the final fate of thofe who die impenitent, unpar doned and in their fins. There is not the leaft hint of any other ftate, nor any reafen or neceflity to fuppofe another, these two answering to the two characters among mankind, the righ teous and the wicked, therefore a third ftate would be wholly fuperfluous. And however this is believed in popifh countries, it is altogether unfounded both in reafon and revelation. Now as this is the cafe, that the ftate into which the wicked pafs at death is their final condition, and there is no future change to take place, therefore their mifery will be eternal.
Thirdly, it is certain that the torments of the wicked will be everlafling from their temper and character. Their tempers and difpofitions are fuch that they can never be brought into a reconciliation to God, but by almighty power and divine grace creating in them a new heart. And it is abfolutely cer tain God will never exert his gracious power to any such purpofe; there is not the leaft intimation of any fuch thing in his word, but there are abundant declarations of a contrary nature. He has utterly abandoned them to their enmity, malice, and all the corruptions of their hearts. Their enmity and wickednefs is the reafon of their condemnation at firft, and as long as the fame temper and difpofition continues, fo long it is
perfectly proper they fhould be held under punishment. For the reason that makes any conduct on the part of God, or any fufferings on the part of finners juft and righteous at any time, will render them fo at all times while the reafon continues onwhich they are grounded. If therefore the damnation of the wicked was right, when they were first turned into hell, it must remain equally fo to all eternity; because the reafon and ground of it will always be the fame, even perfect, increafing and invincible enmity to God and all goodnefs. Natural evil will never cure moral evil; nothing can effect this but the gracicus operations of the Spirit of God. Hence if it was right to condemn them to hell, it will be equally right they should. be kept there forever. The damned who have been there from the beginning, have not grown better, but worfe; therefore there can be no poffible motive for their release. They continually employ themselves in new acts, exertions, and exercifes of hatred, malice and enmity to all that is good, hereby their guilt will be continually encreafing, and their defert of punishment in quality and weight as their moments do in numberThus, according to all rules of justice and propriety, the torments of hell instead of abating, must increase, and never cometo an end.
Fourthly, the fufferings of the damned can by no means make any atonement for fin. Two things are effentially neceffary in making an atonement; that all the fufferings be bornewhich the penalty of the law threatens and requires; and that they be borne from principles of perfect obedience to the law, and from love and duty to the lawgiver. If either of these conditions be wanting, the fufferings can contain nothing of the nature of atonement. He may fuffer myriads of ages, and thefe myriads multiplied into themfelves myriads of times, the cafe will fill be the fame, there will not be the leaft atoning effi cacy in his fufferings. The certainty of thefe requifites in the atonement for fin, is capable of the ftrictest demonstration. To
Tuffer the penalty which the law requires in order to fatisfy its demands is felf-evident, and the neceffity of thefe fufferings being performed from love and obedience, feems equally clear and ftriking. An atonement muft imply fomething in it acceptable to the lawgiver, and all acceptableness to God arifes from obedience, and none will pretend there is either love or obedi ence in the fufferings of hell; therefore their punishment, however long endured, can make no atonement for fin. All the fufferings in that world are from invincible constraint and ne -ceffity. They are bound down under them by the almighty power of God against their wills. They would break out of hell, destroy God, ufurp his throne, and murder all his faithful Subjects were it in their power. But all the devils and damned in the infernal regions, in the most violent exertions of their rage and malice, are as nothing in the hands of the Moft High; they have fuch an awful fenfe and affurance hereof as fills them with diftraction and defpair. All thefe things ferve to demonftrate there can be no period to their fufferings, but that they must be everlasting. This doctrine might be strongly argued from the confideration of the ends of divine government in the infliction of punifhments,-and from the nature and infinitely valuable fufferings of Chrift for the redemption of men,-and from the qualities, virtues and principles contained in his atone ment for fin; but thefe arguments are too extensive and fo lemn to treat in a fhort and defultory way, in which the nature of a contracted pulpit difcourfe obliges me to confider things.
Wherefore I proceed to the
Laft argument I propofe at prefent to offer in fupport of our doctrine. And it is a confideration not only conclufive and decifive in itself, but it gives additional weight and ratifying force to all the preceding. It is this:
The holy fcriptures do abundantly, repeatedly and in exprefs
terms, declare and affirm, that the punishment of the wicked in hell will be eternal. The firft paffage I would produce is from the prophecy of Ifaiah" And they, that is the faved of. "the Lord, fhall go forth and look upon the carcafes of the men "that have tranfgreffed against me; for their worm shall not "die, neither fhall their fire be quenched." No words can be more express than thefe in afferting the perfect, compleat and everlasting deftruction of tranfgreffors; nor any declaration of this doctrine be plainer in prophetic language. It is the genius of the prophetic ftile to exprefs fpiritual and eternal things in bold figures, and by fenfible and material images. Daniel affords another authority in point:-" And many of them "that fleep in the duft of the earth fhall awake, fome to ever. "lafting life, and fome to fhame and everlafting contempt." Here the affertion is explicit, that the fhame and contempt of fome who fhall be raifed at the laft day, will be everlafting or eternal. The next authority is in Malacli:-" Behold the "day cometh that fhall burn as an oven, and all the proud, "yea, and all that do wickedly, fhall be ftubble; and the day "that cometh fhall burn them up, faith the Lord of hosts, that "it thall leave them neither 100t nor branch." The declaration here is deferiptive and ftrong. It exhibits the greatness of God's jaft indignation against the proud and all that do wickedly. God will bring total and abfolute deftruction upon them. They fhall be burnt up root and branch. Their ruin fail be perfect and compleat as of that which is wholly confi med. Now contemplate the nature of this ruin, root and branch, and the fubjects of it, who are defigsed for an eternal quration, and it affords an undeniable proot of the doctrine, that the miferics of the damned will be unmixed and everlasting.
The new Teftament abounds with authorities to the fame purpufe. How particular is our Lord's affirmation in this
ter. Three times he repeatedly declares, "The worm, di"eil not, and file is not quenched." He files their tor
ment unquenchable fire, and defcribes their anguish by weep. ing, wailing and gnashing of teeth. And the final sentence he pronounces on the wicked is, "Depart from me ye curfed * into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” To which may be added the folemn reflection he makes in our text, "and these shall go away into everlasting punishment.” Can any words more exprefsly hold forth the endless duration of the miseries of the finally impenitent.
Various are the objections brought forward against this doctrine, fuch as that God is too good and merciful a being to punish his creatures with eternal mifery. Such perfons may be asked, is not God too good and merciful to punish his crea. tures at all? Is it not cruel to afflict them with pain, misery and death? This we fee conftantly before our eyes and there is certainly no cruelty in the one cafe more than in the other. Cruelty cannot be attributed to God. All the punishment which he inflicts both in this world and the next is perfectly juft. Juftice and cruelty never dwell together. Therefore there can be no injustice with God in the everlasting sufferings of the wicked.-But it is alfo objected that the word everlasting is used to express a limited duration, as also the words forever and ever, &c. This is true, but in all thofe places, it is obvious to the feebleft mind, that the nature of the subjects spoken of evidently show, that they are temporary, changeable, and their continuance limited. But is this the cafe in any one instance when they are used to exprefs matters of an unlimitted duration? Surely not. Is this the cafe, when they are employed to express the duration of God, his perfections, government, dominion, heaven and the happiness thereof? If not, why should they be limited when applied to the duration of heil and its torments? If they exprefs a limited duration in the latter instances so likewife in the former? If hell be temporary fo also is heaven and the divine exiftence itself, for the very fame terms are used to exprefs the one as the other. And they are often