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did take it so grievously to be excluded from the presence of a king, that he choosed rather to die than not to see his face; “Oh !" saith he to Joab, “ let me see the king's face, and if there be any trespass in me, let him kill me.” If to be banished, Absalom was so loth from the king's face, that he had rather die than so remain, how many hundred thousand deaths shall the wicked endure, being banished from the presence and face of God for ever ? What increase of all kinds of torments shall it be? And therefore the wicked, they shall not see the presence of God, but because, as David confesseth, “ino his presence is the fulness of joy, and at his right hand pleasures for evermore," therefore they shall be removed from beholding of this joy ; not (as the apostle to the Hebrews speakethP) unto the city of the living God, the celestial Jerusalem, to the company of innumerable angels, to the congregations which are first born, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, unto the spirits of just and perfect men, and to Jesus the Mediator of the New Testament: but unto the spirits of unjust and cruel men, banished from God in eternal, unspeakable torments, in the company of innumerable devils. Oh! what sorrow shall it be to want this presence of God. If the children of Israel, after they had committed idolatry with the golden calfo, (for which the Lord refusing to go along with them by his presence, although he had promised to send an angel) did put off all their best clothes, and did nothing but mourn, Moses himself saying unto God, “ Ifr thy presence go not with us, carry us not hence;" if this little absence of the presence of God was so grievous unto them, although they might have had a mighty angel to conduct them, how many sorrows shall it be unto the wicked; what grievous mournings to be banished for ever from this presence, having the torturing evil angels continually to torment them.
Fourthly, they shall be excluded and banished to an eter
o Psalm 16. ver. 11.
p Heb. chap. 12. ver. 22.
nal prison, where no ransom (if they were able to pay any) can redeem them; yea unto a cruel dark prison, where shall be no freedom. The apostle Peter saith that Christ by his Spirit shined, and went and preached liberty unto the spirits that were in prison, in the days of Noah. But no such thing shall ever befall these woful prisoners, but to be shut up for ever into a dungeon of darkness; where they shall have like for like. Oh wretched creatures, shall they say, we loved darkness more than light, we loved blindness, we hated the light, the God of the world blinded our eyes, when we were upon earth ; and therefore now do we justly dwell in torments, in darkness, in prison, because we would not be freed when we might. Oh beloved, that we had hearts to think upon these things betimes, before the evil day come. In this life, here, we fly a place haunted or frequented with spirits, or devils, we will not be hired for a world to lie a night therein, and yet, for the most part, our lives show it, we are posting to dwell with devils for ever: yea those who find not Christ in this life, shall dwell with legions of devils for ever. When David (as it is in the second of Samuel) had sinned in numbering the people, the choice of three plagues being offered unto him, by no means he would not fall into the hands of his enemies, but into the hands of God. “Oh!" saith he unto the prophet Gad, “let' us now fall into the hands of God (for his mercies are great) and not into the hands of man.” How much more terrible will it be for the wicked to be delivered up unto their cruel enemy the Devil for ever, who will show them no mercy. The complaint of the woman of Canaan to our blessed Saviour was most grievous. “ Have" mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David: my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.” If one devil in this life, where his power is restrained, be so cruel, what and how many sorrows, what cruel enemies, will an infinite number of devils prove unto the wicked, when they shall be delivered unto the full power of the Devil without exception. When the Lord gave Satan
1 2 Sam. chap. 24. ver. 14.
si Peter, chap. 3. ver. 10. * Matt. chap. 15. ver. 22.
power over Job, he said, Aye but spare his life. But no such exception shall the wicked have, but the Devil shall have full power to torment soul and body for ever, where shall be weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, they shall have many sorrows. And they shall not only be deprived of all outward comforts, but also they shall be tormented.
II. In the highest degree of torments in bodily pains. 1. By his power.
As, Luke 16th we read that the rich man crieth unto Abraham, that he was tormented in that flame, even in most cruel torments; for what, I pray you, is hell, but God's slaughter-house, where his mighty power doth revenge itself upon the wicked in choice of torments, such as the apostle to the Thessalonians speaketh) shall be punished with everlasting damnation from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power ? but the revenging anger of his might shall oppress them with many furies without end, his mighty power shall show itself in tormenting them. Yea he shall come upon them with such exceeding power, like one armed with a mighty bow of brass or a target of steel. So God in the power of his might will come upon the wicked in fury and give a strong blow at them, which shall seem to shiver in pieces. For this (as the apostle to the Romans speaketh) hath the Lord prepared for the wicked (as he speaketh of Pharaoh), to show his power in their destruction; and a little after, what and if (saith he) God would to show his wrath, and to make his power known, suffer with long patience, the vessels of wrath appointed to damnation, that he might declare the riches of his glory upon the vessels of mercy : and of the strength of his mighty power, which shall confound the wicked, the prophet David speaketh with acclamation. “ Whoy knoweth the power of thine anger ? even according to thy fear so is thy wrath.” It is unspeakable, no tongue can express it. This Job seemeth to confirm, where fearing the power of God, when he wisheth to reason with him, he saith, “ Willz he plead against me with his great power? No, but he would put strength in me.” This is a mighty power then, which shall overthrow and torment the wicked. Oh! who knoweth his might in tormenting them ? But besides all this,
y Ps. 90. ver. 11.
* Rom. chap. 9. ver. 17. 22. ? Job, chiap. 23. ver. 6.
2. His justice,
Shall be also set on work for their further torment, as the Lord by Moses speaketh that the fury of his justice is being joined to his power. “ Ifa (saith he) I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment, I will execute vengeance on mine enemies, and I will reward them that hate me, I will make mine arrows drunken with blood, and my sword shall eat flesh, for the blood of the slain and the captives, when I begin to take vengeance on the enemy." And “Forb fire is kindled in my wrath, and shall burn unto the bottom of hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains : I will spend plagues upon them, I will bestow mine arrows upon them, they shall be burned with hunger, and consumed with heat and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the venom of serpents creeping in the dust, the sword shall kill them without, and in their chambers fear. Oh, if his justice and power be so great in punishments in this life, what will it be in the life to come, when a violent looking for of fire shall devour the adversaries (as the apostle to the Hebrews speaketh). Consider, I pray you, that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, when his justice shall set his wrath on fire, for their destruction stirring up the same.
For conclusion then of this point let us all diligently weigh betimes, what this mighty power can do, that the same be never tried upon us. It is well expressed, “ The Lord is slow to anger, but great in power, and will not surely clear the wicked. The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind, and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet; he rebuketh the sea and drieth it, and he drieth up all the rivers. The mountains tremble for him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his sight, yea the world and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his wrath ? or who can abide in the fierceness of his wrath ? His wrath is poured out like a fire, and the rocks are broken by him.” The prophet here meeteth an objection concerning God's great mercy, telling them that although the Lord be slow, yet is he true in anger. He will come at the last and pay soundly for all together, where he also compareth these great judgments unto fire, because it is the cruellest torment in this life, whose fury universally seizeth upon all the parts of the body, even unto the joints, bones, and marrow, bringing and offering violence unto the whole body at one time, within and without. If a man in this life were bound for every oath he sweareth, to put his finger into the fire, he would quickly leave swearing, and think this a great torment. So every wretched sinner, for all sins that he committeth without repentance, although in this life they escape this burning, yet it abideth for them, they shall have it all scored up unto their last torments. For if Nebuchadnezzard to show his wrath (being an earthly king) gave commandment to heat the oven seven times hotter than usual, what will the King of kings do? who hath all power in the tormenting of his enemies ? he will not only heat the fiery furnace of hell seven times, but seventy times seven times, to torment them in the cruel:y of his wrath for ever. They shall have many sorrows.
b Deut. ver. 22.
a Deut. chap. 32. ver. 41, 42.
Let us therefore now, who hear these things, pretend no ignorance, but pray unto God to have our eyes opened betimes, that by a holy life we may lay hold on Christ Jesus, escaping these torments. It is not possible to express them. If we should see a man in this life tormented with a headach, toothach, stone, stranguary, cholic, gout, burning fever, convulsions, together with a number of other diseases upon one man all together, what a wretched miserable creature would he seem to be? And this misery by the thousand part is not yet comparable to the woful estate of the damned, whom the Lord shall tread down in the wine-press of his
d Dan. chap. 3. ver. 10.