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“their worm dieth not, and their fire shall never be quenched,” Mark ix. Rev. XX. They shall be tormented day and night to all eternity. When they shall have suffered as many thousand ages, as there be drops of water in the sea, or grains of sand on the shore, it shall be but the beginning of their grief. They shall live for ever, to die continually, and they shall die, and never be consumed. In the midst of these hot flames, they shall beg a drop of water to cool their tongue, Luke xvi. but we may say of the fire that shall torture the dained, what the spouse in the Canticle saith of the divine love that had inflamed her soul; “ Many waters cannot quench it, neither can the floods drown it," Cant. viii. And St. Paul tells us, that the things that God hath prepared for them that love him, eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, nor did it ever enter into the heart of man, 1 Cor. ii. So, on the contrary, we may say, that those things that God hath prepared for them that hate him, eye hath not seen, ear inash not heard, nor did it ever enter into the heart of man. From hence shall proceed their rage, madness, and despair ; they shall cry in Cain's language, “My punishment is greater than I can bear," Gen. iv. When they shall see nothing but an extreme misery and woeful darkness, they shall curse God the king of all creatures, Isa. viii. In their fury and rage they will eat their tongues, and blaspheme the great God of heaven and earth. It had been far better for such persons, that they had never been born; therefore they shall seek death, and shall not find it, Matt. xxvi. They shall desire to die, that is, to be reduced to nothing, Rev. ix. but this death shall fly from them : who of you can dwell in eternal fames ? Rev. vi. If the phials and little cups full of God's wrath force the wicked to cry out, how much more shall the rivers and the ocean of God's ven, geance draw from them, “O mountains, fallon us; O rocks, cover us, and hide us from the face of him that sits upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the day of his wrath is come, and who may abide it?" But as they have stop
ped their ears to God's gracious calls, and hardened their hearts to his invitations to repentance, God shall also stop his ear to their outcries, and his eyes to their grievous sufferings; and when they shall be overcome with fear and despair, God will scorn and mock at their insufferable misery.'
CHAP. IV. That Jesus Christ our Lord hath redeemed us from eternal death,
and, by degrees, rescues us from a spiritual death. W E read, in the fifth chapter of the Revelation of St.
W John, that he wept bitterly, because no being in heaven and earth, nor under the earth, was able to open the book sealed with seven seals that was in God's right-hand. At that instant one of the twenty-four elders spake to him, “Weep not, behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals.” Thus we have until now wept bitterly, because we could find nobody in the armies of Israel to encounter with that powerful monster, Death. But let us also wipe our tears, and take good courage, my beloved ; for this same Lion of the tribe of Judah is appointed to fight with this dreadful enemy: our victorious and triumphant David, who had torn in pieces the infernal lion, bruised the ancient serpent's head, and "spoiled principalities and powers, triumphing over them in bis cross,” Col. ii. 15. It is he that has undertaken this glorious combat; it was for that purpose that be left for a while the throne of God the Father, and the company of his holy angels, 1 Sam. xvii. It was for that intent that he came into the camp and confusion of Israel. He has not borrowed the weapons and assistance of the world, Heb. ii, All that he has taken from us, is our frail nature. “ But he' hath armed himself with righteousness, as with a breastplate, and bath put on the helmet of salvation. He liath 2.
clothed himself with vengeance as with a cloak; he hath trodden the wine-press, and nobody hath assisted him," Isa. lix. Ixiii. But his arm hath saved him, and his hand bath upheld him ; as David hath cut off Goliath's head with his own sword, Jesus Christ hath overcome Death by death. Like unto the strong Samson, he hath destroyed all the enemies of his glory by his death, 1 Sam. xvii. He hath overcome, in dying, him who had the empire of Death, that is, the devil, Heb. ii. and “ hath delivered them, who througla fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage.” Then was fulfilled this saying of Hosea, “ O Death, I will be thy plague: 0 grave, I will be thy destruction,” Hos. xij. And that of Isaiah, “ He will swallow up Death in victory, and the Lord will wipe away tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of his people shall be taken away from off all the earth,” Isa. XXV. 1 Tim. vi. This blessed Prince, King of kings, and Lord of lords, who only hath immortality, and dwelleth in inaccessible light, hath destroyed Death, and hath brought to light, life and immortality by the gospel,
1 Tim. i.“ O Death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is .thy victory? The sting of Death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law; but thanks be to God who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ," I Cor. xv.
This great God and Saviour has perfectly redeemed us from eternal death, as he himself teaches us in the Gospel of St. John; “ He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life," ch. . 24. “ I am the living bread, which came down from heaven; if ang man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever,” ch. vi. 51. ver. 40. “ Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead; this is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die,"ch. viii. “ Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my word, he
shall Savie, Jesues
and sin death,
shall never taste of death. I am the resurrection and the life: he that liveth and believeth in me shall never die ; and he that believeth in me, although he were dead yet shall he live," ch. xi.“ The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection,” Rev. xx. « The second death shall never have any power upon him." In a word, the gates of hell, that is to say, Death, cannot prejudice them who are settled upon Jesus Christ, the rock of eternity. This merciful Saviour hath also delivered us from the spiritual death, Eph. ii. “ For we being dead in our trespasses and sins, he hach quickened us, and raised us up together unto newness of life,” Col. ii. He hath carried our sins in his body upon the cross, that, he dying unto sin, we might live unto righteousness. We are buried with him in his death by baptism, that as Jesus Christ is raised from the dead by the glory of God the Father, we also should walk in newness of life, 1 Pet. ii. “ Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Jesus Christ shall enlighten thee,” Eph. v. For by his death he hath not only reconciled us to God the Father, Rom. vi. Col. i. but he hath also procured to us the Holy Spirit, that creates in us a new heart, and imprints the image of his holiness, Ezek. xxxvi. 2 Cor, v. He makes us become new creatures, and regenerates us by the incorruptible seed, 1 Pet. i. This is that which the scriptures name the first resurrection, Rev. xx. St. Peter was ravished in admiration at this great and wonderful benefit, and therefore he acknowledged it; “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again’unto a lively bope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," 1 Pet. i. God discovered to the prophet Ezekiel a field covered with dry bones, and commanded him to prophesy upon these bones, Ezek. xxxvii. At the prophet's command they began to draw near to one another; then the nerves began to appear, the flesh to grow, and to be covered
with skin; but there was no life, till God commanded the prophet to prophesy again, “ Thus saith the Lord, Spirit, come from the four winds, blow upon these dead bodies, and let them rise from the dead.” Then the Spirit entered into them, they began to revive, and they stood upon their legs. This is the lively and true image of the first resurrection ; for the Spirit of God, that blows whither it listeth, regenerates us by degrees, Job iii. and the new man is created in our hearts by little and little, as the child grows in the mother's womb.
When Joshua brought the children of Israel into the land of promise, he destroyed not all the Canaanites, Josh. xxiiia there remained some who became scourges in their sides, and thorns in their eyes. Thus our true and spiritual Jo. shua, who hath let us into the kingdom of his grace, hath not altogether destroyed all our evil affections; some yet remain that are like prickles in our sides, and like swords that pierce through our souls. They yet render our life bitter and unpleasant : therefore we often desire Death to come and put a period to this conflict. Sin was in possession of us, as a strong man armed in an house, but Jesus Christ is entered into our souls, and become master : he bath therefore bound and chained sin, and hath nailed it to his cross. But this furious beast, though he hath received a mortal wound, and is ready to give up the last gasp, yet struggles and foams within us. Our blessed Saviour hath extinguished, with the real stream of his blood, the infernal flames of our cursed affections : but yet there remain in the ashes some sparkles of this devilish fire, that yet cause in us feverish fits. Only this merciful Redeemer, of his infinite goodness, has loosed us from the devil's chains; but that we might have 'cause to be humble, to desire the increase of grace, and long for the arrival of his glory, he leaves about us some of the troublesome fetters : by his holy Spirit he files them off by degrees; but one day he will take them away from us.