Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

upon their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps to sing praises withal.

There were also some of them that had wings, and they answered one to another, without intermission, saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord. And after that, they shut up the gates; which when I had seen, I wished myself amongst them. Bunyan.

After this I beheld, and lo! a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindred, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.

And they cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

And all the angels stood round about the throne, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,

Saying, men blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever. Amen. Rev. vii. 10—12.

HELL.

We have now brought our history, or chain of events, to a final close. We have traced "Man" through all the various stages of bis natural, moral, intellectual, and christian pilgrimage; we have traced his history from the womb to the grave; anticipated his resurrection from thence, and his having received the happy sentence of the Court of heaven-" Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Matt. xxv. 34. And, lastly, his happy entrance into everlasting

rest.

But, as the Christians form but a very small portion of the inhabitants of the earth, it may not be amiss, as a counterpart, just to glance at the awful situation of the Anti-Christians; or those, upon whom that dreadful sentence shall be pronounced-" Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Matt. xxv. 41.

That this sentence will be passed upon many millions of the human race, that have been and now are upon this earth, but few, I believe, who read the Scriptures, will venture to deny; for, "Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: but strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." This truth once firmly believed, infidelity receives a deadly wound. And, if the Scripture be truth, we have abundant proof that there is a place or state of everlasting torment, to which God will send the rebellious inhabitants of the earth, and where he will pour out upon them the vials of his indignation.

[ocr errors]

But, as to whether it be a place of red material fire, or black fumes of "ever-burning sulphur unconsumed," we can gather our information only from the words Him, who first prepared the place.

Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king 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. Isa. xxx. 33.

If thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and where their fire is not quenched. Mark ix. 43, &c.

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. Matt. x. 28.

So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matt. xiii. 49, 50,

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and mur. derers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. Rev. xxi. 8.

The rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lifted up eyes, being in torments. Luke xvi. 23.

Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can yc escape the damnation of hell? Matt. xxiii. 33.

The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. Psa. ix. 17.

"The wicked shall be turned into hell," &c. This is undoubtedly a threatening of punishment in an unseen state of existence; and establishes the position that a future state of rewards and punishments was not unknown to the ancient Jewish church. Whatever difficulties may arise as to the critical meaning of the word rendered hell,* two things, perhaps, will be admitted; first, that it is here introduced as a threatening; and, second, that it is intended as a fate peculiar to the wicked. If it be a threatening, it cannot be the peaceful repose of the grave; and if it be intended to represent the ignominy of the wicked, it must, of course, involve conscious existence; and if so, the hell spoken of can be neither more nor less than that prison of darkness in which the spirits of the lost are reserved till the judgment of the great day. may deride the thought of future punishment, especially when associated with the idea of a proper, and not a figurative eternity; but the rectitude of the divine government, the aggravation of final impenitence, the nature of unforgiven sin, and the interests of the intelligent universe, seem to demand this signal and overwhelming display of almighty and unchanging wrath.

Scoffers

*The word hell, as used in King Henry the Eighth's Bible, (the Psalms of which are still retained in the Liturgy of the national church,) seems frequently to denote the concealed or unseen state of the dead in general. See that version, Psa. xlix. 14. lxxxviří, 9-12. and lxxxix. 48. The old English word hell was most probably derived from the Saxon verb helan, to hide; or from holi, a cavern. Now, the word is generally employed in our language to signify the place of endless torment. The Hebrew word sheol signifies according to Cocceius, "the place and state of those who are out of the way, and to be sought for." This is nearly the meaning of the Greek word hades, which, with few ex ceptions, answers in the Septuagint to sheol. After all that can be said, it is obvious that the context must determine the particular application of this word. Sometimes it denotes merely the place of the dead, as in Gen. xxxvii. 33. and sometimes it signifies the place of torment, as in the text. See Parkhurst on the word sheol. For an instance of the latter use of hades, see Matt. x. 15.

And let all "who forget God," whether under the full blaze of the gospel, or in the sullen gloom of heathenism, remember that this is the comprehensive crime which has brought down the judg ments of God upon guilty nations and impenitent individuals; for the punishment of which the flames of perdition were at first kindled, and the pains of hell are yet, and must be for ever felt. Rev. J. Morison's Exposition of the Book of Psalms.

When the soul of the wicked is turned into hell,-then,

At once, as far as angels' ken, he views
The dismal situation, waste and wild;

A dungeon horrible on all sides round,

As one great furnace flam'd, yet from those flames

No light, but rather darkness visible

Serv'd only to discover sights of woe,

Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes,
That comes to all; but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery deluge fed

With ever-burning sulphur, unconsum'd.

MILTON.

The term hell usually signifies the state of separate spirits, the invisible world, the state into which we enter after death; sometimes, indeed, it signifies but the grave, and at others it intends the place of punishment for the impenitent. We know nothing of this state but by revelation, and it is described in general terms only; all that we can gather is, that as the spirit, however it may subsist as separate from the body, is happy or miserable alone; so the feli city or torment shall be augmented when these are reunited, and the sentence passed upon every man, upon his departure from this world, and which is irrevocable, shall be publicly recognized at the day of judgment, and pronounced before the assembled universe.

The future state is to some a state of inconceivable torment; it is represented as arising from two sources-the endurance of dreadful inflictions, and the perception of lost happiness. What a terrible picture of the misery of the sinner, in the eternal state, is drawn in

this parable! A man passing at once from the bosom of luxury, the couch of ease, the tenor of a soft and unruffled life, into ineffable torture" And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments." Oh! what a change must it be from every thing that can gratify the appetite, indulge the passions, soothe the feelings, and feed the pride of man, to such a world of woe as this! and what a passage for the spirit of a debauched and wicked monarch, from the flatteries and splendours of a court, to the tribunal of God, and a prison of despair!

And what would be the horror of those who survive to occupy their rank, revel in their possessions, and run to she same excess of riot, could they distinguish the well-known voice of the companion of their former guilt, perhaps their seducer in early life, from the mingled cries of despair, and hear him say, “I am tormented in this flame?" Whatever be intended by this fire, we are sure it represents torments, and those of an extreme nature-torments increased also by the sight of lost happiness. It is a very ancient opinion, that the states of happiness and misery are so near as to afford at least an occasional view of each other. Here, however, the sentiment is confirmed by Him who knows what they are; and the misery of the lost appears in no small degree to arise from the knowledge of the felicity which they have forfeited.

This melancholy state is irrevocable; an impassable gulf, an impenetrable barrier, separates them from the joys of heaven.They may see, but they must not taste. Remembrance and remorse wring their dregs into this bitter cup; the remembrance of the good which they possessed and abused, the remembrance of the privileges which they enjoyed, and which they neglected and despised, the remembrance of the example which they set. But in these regions of despair no means are left him to remove the impressions which his life had made; he shuddered at the anticipated increase of that which was already intolerable, and incapable of a moment's respite or alleviation, and which he expected from the accession of those to his misery whom he had ruined by his example. Dr. Collyer.

« EdellinenJatka »