Thursday, 28 July 2022

Bishop Challoner's Meditations - July 28th

SOME OTHER CONSIDERATIONS ON HELL

Consider first, that as it is said in holy writ, 1 Cor. ii. 9, that ‘eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him:’ so we may also say with truth, that neither eye hath seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of any mortal to conceive what dreadful torments are prepared in hel’ for obstinate sinners that wilfully die enemies of God. The Almighty is infinite in all his attributes, as in his power, wisdom, goodness, &c., so in his avenging justice too. He is a God in hell, as much as in heaven. So that by the greatness of his love, mercy, and patience here, we may measure the greatness of his future wrath and vengeance against impenitent sinners. By his pure goodness and love he has drawn them out of nothing, and made them for himself and a happy eternity; he has preserved them and sustained them for a long time, ever loading them with his benefits; he has even come down from his throne of glory, to seek them when gone astray; he has suffered himself to be nailed to a disgraceful cross for their eternal salvation; he has frequently delivered them from the dangers to which they were daily exposed; has patiently borne with their repeated insolence and treasons; still graciously inviting them to return to him by repentance; and still offering them his mercy and all good, both for time an eternity. Ah! how justly then does his patience and goodness, after being so long abused, turn into fury! His mercy at length gives place to justice; and a thousand woes to those wretches that must for ever feel the dreadful weight of the avenging hand of the living God.

Consider 2ndly, that beatitude, according to divines, is defined ‘A perfect and never-ending state of happiness, comprising at once all that is good, without any mixture of evil.’ If then damnation be the opposite to beatitude, it must needs be an everlasting deluge of all that is evil, without the least mixture of good, without the least alloy of ease, without the least glimpse of comfort; a total privation of all happiness, and a chaos of all misery.

Consider 3rdly, that the misery of the damned is unchangeable, because they carry with them out of this world the enormous guilt of mortal sin; an infinite debt, of which they can never discharge the least part; a dreadful poison which has tainted and corrupted their whole souls, for which there is now no medicine; a dismal stain which has penetrated them through and through, and never can be effaced; which is even proof against all the flames of hell, which it continually nourishes; and all the gnawings of the never-dying worm, which eternally preys upon it. For as there is no remission of sins in hell, the whole guilt remains unchangeable in the soul, with all the debt and all the stain; and consequently calls without ceasing for all the wrath of God’s avenging justice; which cannot but eternally hate and eternally punish everlasting sin. Oh! how true it is that this dreadful evil of mortal sin is the very worst of all the ingredients of eternal damnation, and the source and cause of all the rest!

Conclude ever to detest and fly from this monster, sin; which is thus odious to thy God, and pernicious to thy soul; and thou shalt have no need to apprehend eternal damnation.

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