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02 September, 2013

Eternal Punishment - Part 2



.......It is because of these convictions, that by pen as well as by voice, we are seeking to raise the alarm. It may be thought that what we have said in the above paragraph stands in need of qualification. We can imagine some of our readers saying, Such truths as these may be needed by the lost-but surely you do not wish to be understood as saying that these subjects ought to be pressed upon the Lord's people! But that is exactly what we do mean and do say. Re-read the Epistles, dear friends, and note what place each of these subjects has in them! It is just because these truths have been withheld so much from public ministry to the saints, that we now find so many backboneless, sentimental, lop-sided Christians in our assemblies. 

A clearer vision of the awe-inspiring attributes of God-would banish much of our levity and irreverence. A better understanding of our depravity by nature-would humble us, and make us see our deep need of using the appointed means of grace. A facing of the alarming danger of the lost sinner-would cause us to "consider our ways" and make us more diligent to make our "calling and election sure." A realization of the unspeakable misery which awaits the lost (and which each of us fully merited) would immeasurably deepen our gratitude, and bring us to thank God more fervently-that we have been snatched as brands from the burning and delivered from the wrath to come! It would also make us far more earnest in our prayers as we supplicate God on behalf of the unsaved.
Moreover, scriptural and searching addresses along these lines would, in some cases at least, lay hold of those who have a form of godliness but who deny the power thereof. They would have some effect on that vast company of professors who are "at ease in Zion." They would, if God were depended upon, arouse the indifferent, and cause some who are now careless and unconcerned to cry, "What must I do to be saved?" Remember that the ground must be plowed-before it is ready to be sowed: and the truths mentioned above are needed to prepare the way for the Gospel.
Concerning the eternal punishment of the wicked there are few, it seems, who realize the vital importance of a ringing testimony to this truth-and fewer still who apprehend the deep seriousness of what is involved in a denial of it. The importance of a clear witness to this doctrine may be seen by noting what a prominent place it holds in the Scriptures; and contrariwise, the seriousness of denying it is evidenced by the fact that such denial is a rejection of God's truth.
The need of giving this solemn subject a prominent place in our witness is apparent, for it is our bounden duty to warn sinners of their fearful peril-and bid them flee from the wrath to come! To remain silent is criminal; to substitute anything for it-is to set before the wicked a false hope. The great importance of expounding this doctrine, freely and frequently, also appears in that, excepting the Cross of Christ, nothing else so manifests the heinousness of sin, whereas every modification of eternal punishment, only serves to minimize the evil of sin.
The final portion of the wicked will be beyond the creature's power of resistance. "Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder!" (Matthew 21:44). There are many who now say, "If at the end I find myself in Hell, I will bear it as well as I can;" as if by strength of will and firmness of mind they shall, in measure at least, be able to support themselves. But alas! Their resolutions will count for nothing.
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It is common with men in this world to shun calamities-but if they find this is impossible, they set themselves to bear it: they fortify their spirits and resolve to support themselves under it as well as they can. They muster up all their courage and resolution in the determination to keep their hearts from sinking. But it will be utterly vain for sinners to do this in the Lake of Fire. What would it help a worm which was about to be crushed by some great rock, to collect its strength and endeavor to set itself to bear up against its weight, and so seek to prevent itself from being crushed? Much less will a poor damned soul be able to support itself under the weight of the wrath of Almighty God! No matter how much the sinner may now harden himself, in order to endure the pains of Hell, the first moment he shall feel the flames, his heart will melt like wax before the furnace, "Can your heart endure-or can your hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with you? I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it" (Ezekiel 22:14)......