ON THE PRISON OF HELL
Consider first, that hell is a prison that lies deep in the bowels of the earth, in which the damned are confined for all eternity; a prison whose gates are eternally shut down and bolted upon them by the irreversible decrees of heaven; so as to prohibit for ever to them all intercourse or communication with the world above; to stop up all access to all manner of good, comfort, or ease; and to shut in with them all that can make them completely miserable. Hell is a dismal dungeon, of black and fetid flames; and crammed brimful with the black and fetid carcasses of the damned, eternally frying in those dark flames. O my soul, what a prison! What a dungeon! What dreadful locks and bars, which shut out all good, and admit of nothing of God but his avenging justice!
Consider 2ndly, that this prison of the damned is every way most hideous and loathsome, and full of horror and darkness. No sun, no moon, no stars ever appear in that gloomy region; but a dismal night reigns eternally there; a night that knows no morning, nor ever expects a return of the dawning of the day. No breath of air from above, no glimpse of light, can ever penetrate into that deep, that bottomless pit. The very fire that rages there is black and darksome; it affords no light to the wretched prisoners, except it be to represent to their eyes such odious objects as may serve to increase their misery. O who can bear the thought of such a scene of woe!
Consider 3rdly, that in this frightful dungeon the damned are bound down in eternal chains, so that they can neither stir hand nor foot – St. Matt. xxii. – in fiery chains that wrap up their whole bodies, and penetrate them on all sides, and fix them immovable to their place of torments. That head which by their pride and rebellion they had lifted up against God, is now eternally nailed down at an immense distance from him; that stiff neck which they refused to submit to his sweet yoke, is now loaded with the enormous weight of the chains of hell; and all their senses and members which they gratified in their life, by indulging them in the false liberty of sinful pleasures, are now condemned to an everlasting confinement and slavery, in links of grinding flames. Oh that sinners would be wise, and would think of these things, and would cease from sin!
Conclude, thou at least my soul, to take care whilst thou hast time to provide effectually for thy eternal welfare; that thou mayest never come to be cast into this dreadful and everlasting prison.