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roam over this universe in the noon-day beamings of the natural sun.
Again, a man may enjoy the light of life, and bask himself in the pleasant beams of affluence and peace, while nothing but a dark and stormy night surrounds his soul. As the evening shadows mantle the world, so they produce a silence and tranquillity over all; but the darkness that seizes the soul from an angry or concealed God, awakens the keenest anguish, and pours storms and tempests in all the powers of the mind, which raise this complaint, "Thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled." But what comfort may it yield me, that, though the nights seem long, the darkness thick, the tempests loud, and the thunders terrible, the Sun is on his way, will shortly rise, and afford eternal day! that I shall walk in the light of his countenance, and in his light see light clearly! Then, and not till then, shall mine
age be clearer than the noon-day, and I shall shine forth, and be as the morning."
THIS discloses to me the dreadful confusion and deplorable passion which the wicked shall be put into at the tremendous bar! Here that poor wretch, for a matter of no moment compared to his eternal felicity, roars, rages, foams, and blasI
phemes. What surprising, chilling, and unheard. of oaths, even where oaths are too much heard every day, pursue one another in his fiend-like fury! Scarce can he tell what troubles him, for belching out hideous, horrid, and uncommon oaths, protestations, and imprecations, not to be allowed to return ever into the memory again but in a way of deploration.
Now, if such be the language of sinners on earth, what shall be their dialect in hell, when they shall turn their blasphemies against the blessed, but tremendous Avenger himself! when their kindling eyes shall swell with fury! Here they curse others, or invoke damnation on themselves; but then and there they shall blaspheme God for his burning indignation, and, in perpetual rage and fury, rise up against incensed Omnipotence itself; and this shall increase their torment, that they madly oppose their feeble power, and unsubdued enmity, against the infinite Afflicter, whereby they, as it were, approve of their old rebellion against their rightful Lord, and make it evident that he is just when he condemns and punishes his foes. But O what a countenance will they put on, what pas sion, what revenge, what anguish, what rage, what horror, what burning envy in their soul, what rolling eyes, and trembling joints, what tormenting confusion of thought, what terrible disquiet, and consummate despair, will tear and prey on them for ever! Against whom will they stamp, frown, storm, and foam, like this desperado? Whom will they threaten? God, their eternal foe, is far above their reach, holds them down in chains of everlasting wrath, and roars against them with the thunders of his right hand for ever.
Now, as I heard expressions terribly strange,
and oaths to me entirely new, (which I pray may be so for ever, and never grate my ear again), from hence I infer, that the blasphemies of the damned, now past all hope, and filled with unrelenting enmity, are so extremely and inconceivably dreadful, so excessively horrid, that the most abandoned swearer, the master of the newest and blackest blasphemies on earth, comes not near them; just as the sharpest pains we feel in time, bear no proportion to the excruciating torments of the damned. This desperado's passion assuages by little and little, and he becomes himself by degrees; but there passion and tumult for ever grows, even against God. Their soul abhors him, and his soul also loathes them. O then to be wise, and learn wisdom from every thing I see!
GOD'S EQUITY IN THE ETERNITY OF TORMENT.
July 10. 1758.
MAN is daringly bold to find fault with God, and tell him to his face that his ways are not equal. To make a creature only to be miserable for some small offence, to make a creature to be damned, they think is not just in a Being said to be infinitely just; or to punish a few follies in frail man, the extravagancies of a few days, with eternal wrath, and the failings of a finite creature, that is crushed before the moth, with the whole collected fury of an Omnipotent God, an Almighty Avenger. As to the first, God creates not to destroy, but
still delighteth in mercy; yet, before any creatures rob him of his glory by a course of sin, he will magnify himself in their damnation. Again, shall the man that derides revelation, scorns to search the word of truth, contemns counsel, casts instruction behind his back, hates him that reproveth, sins against his light, will not hearken to the reproofs of conscience, but runs into all sin with precipitance, and commits wickedness with greedi ness, dragging as many as he can with him to hell; -shall such a wretch (and generally such they are who have these sorry and pitiful pleas) talk of mercy? Would he have God to take him, sin and all, to heaven, who would not forsake his sin for hea ven, nor cease from wickedness for God? Those who will not receive mercy, who will have a gift of salvation on God's terms, and in God's time, must expect damnation from him in due time, which shall measure with eternity.
I have of a long time been convinced of the punishment for sin being infinite (as far as creatures can sustain) and eternal, on account of the infinite Majesty against whom it was committed; because it is impossible for finite creatures, who despise the satisfaction provided by God, to satisfy in their own persons for one sin; and because the sinner continues, even in torment, the enemy of God and righteousness. But now I see another thing, even that punishment, infinite and eternal, is no more than the just reward of their sin; for the sinner employs all his thoughts, exerts all his might, and goes to the very utmost of his finite omnipotence (may I use the expression ?) against God. By his power, had he power equal to his impious inclinations, he would destroy righteousness out of the world, just as he does in his own breast; yea,
could he effect it, he would pull the angels out of heaven, who daily tears the moral law in pieces; nay, could he rise in power, he would contend even with the Almighty, and take the government of heaven and earth out of his hand, who will not let God govern his poor insignificant self. Now, is it not no more than strict justice in God to punish to the uttermost of his power, those who sin against him to the uttermost of their power; and not to repent in casting the fury of his wrath on them who, in their sinning against him, knew no repentance? Moreover, is it not equitable with God to punish those as long as he lives, who sinned against him as long as they lived? So may an earthly king condemn to perpetual imprisonment a rebel or a regicide. Again, though their life was short and passing, yet how did they spend it, every moment of it in abominable sin! and since they spend the eternity of their life (might I again use the expression?) against God, and would never cease to offend the everlasting Jehovah, were they to continue in their present state to perpetuity; therefore it is but just that he should punish them through the eternity of his existence. Finally, sinners have no grounds of excuse or complaint left, being well apprised of their danger in time, and therefore shall, through an eternity of torment, confess that their own ways have been unequal, but that God is just and equal in all his ways.