Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Weightiness of Hell

Excerpts from Tim Challies post Hell:

I find the subject almost unbearably weighty. Just thinking seriously about it presses on my soul and presses upon my heart. I would far rather think about heaven and about the reward that awaits there for those who know and love the Lord. But it is good and healthy to think about hell. It would not be healthy to think about it too much or to have a long and deep-seating fascination with it, but because God has revealed to us that there is such a place and because He has seen fit to give us a glimpse of it, it does us good to pay attention...

...I hate hell. I hate that it exists and hate that it needs to exist. I’m amazed to realize that, when we are [in] heaven, we will praise God for [hell] and that we will glorify Him for creating such a place and for sending the unjust there. But for now I am too filled with pride, too filled with sin to even begin to justly and rightly rejoice in the existence of such a place of torment. I cannot rejoice in such a place and do not gloat that even the wickedest of men with perish there. It is just too awful, too weighty. And I know that I deserve to be there.

This comes from the pen of Jonathan Edwards. To me this is probably the weightiest of all the horrors of hell—considering that it will never end, never ease, never cease. It will continue for all eternity with no hope for reprieve.

Consider what it is to suffer extreme torment forever and ever: to suffer it day and night from one year to another, from one age to another, and from one thousand ages to another (and so adding age to age, and thousands to thousands), in pain, in wailing and lamenting, groaning and shrieking, and gnashing your teeth - with your souls full of dreadful grief and amazement, [and] with your bodies and every member full of racking torture; without any possibility of getting ease; without any possibility of moving God to pity by your cries; without any possibility of hiding yourselves from him; without any possibility of diverting your thoughts from your pain; without any possibility of obtaining any manner of mitigation, or help, or change for the better.

Consider how dreadful despair will be in such torment. How dismal will it be, when you are under these racking torments, to know assuredly that you never, never shall be delivered from them. To have no hope: when you shall wish that you might be turned into nothing, but shall have no hope of it; when you shall wish that you might be turned into a toad or a serpent, but shall have no hope of it; when you would rejoice if you might but have any relief; after you shall have endured these torments millions of ages, but shall have no hope of it. After you shall have worn out the age of the sun, moon, and stars, in your dolorous groans and lamentations, without rest day and night, or one minute’s ease, yet you shall have no hope of ever being delivered. After you shall have worn a thousand more such ages, you shall have no hope, but shall know that you are not one whit nearer to the end of your torments. But that still there are the same groans, the same shrieks, the same doleful cries, incessantly to be made by you, and that the smoke of your torment shall still ascend up forever and ever.

The more the damned in hell think of the eternity of their torments, the more amazing will it appear to them. And alas, they will not be able to keep it out of their minds! Their tortures will not divert them from it, but will fix their attention to it. O how dreadful will eternity appear to them after they shall have been thinking on it for ages together, and shall have so long an experience of their torments! The damned in hell will have two infinites perpetually to amaze them, and swallow them up: one is an infinite God, whose wrath they will bear, and in whom they will behold their perfect and irreconcilable enemy. The other is the infinite duration of their torment.

I can't help but beg the question:
When was the last time you heard a Priest or Preacher deliver a message with this kind of sincerity on the truth and horrors of hell?

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