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Berean Expositor Volume 1
The Wages of Sin.
In a previous article we sought to exhibit the meaning of the words commonly
translated "for ever" and "eternal" in our A.V., and this naturally leads us on to a
consideration of the nature of the punishment of the unsaved. It is held by many that
"eternal conscious suffering" is a fundamental, and many have been put out of meetings
for being what is called "non-eternity" men. A most important reason why we should be
convinced of this matter is the awful libel it must be on the name of God should it turn
out to be untrue.
If we have taught that God will punish the unsaved throughout the never-ending ages
of eternity, that after millions of years spent in writhing and cursing, the God of righteous
judgment has only just commenced the dreadful work of punishment on these unhappy
creatures, and finally it should prove to be but the tradition of men, what a shameful
calumny will be found in our mouths against the God of all grace! If eternal conscious
suffering is God's truth, we can never hold our peace, but must use every possible means
to bring before our hearers the horrible doom that awaits the impenitent.
Our minds cannot conceive what eternal torment can mean. Orthodoxy has no room in
its dreadful creed for the exercise of the slightest pity. The foul murderer and the simplest
child, the ignorant and the debased, all alike are heaped into its horrid "Hell"; all alike are
to be placed upon the rack forever. We shudder when we gaze upon the instruments of
cruelty of bygone days, but they are nothing, absolutely nothing, when compared to the
exquisite tortures reserved by the orthodox believers' God for all the unsaved. It makes
one sicken to think of these things; its effect upon those who really believe it may be
gathered from such a statement made by Queen Mary years ago:--
"As the souls of heretics are hereafter to be eternally burning in Hell, there can be
nothing more proper than for me to imitate the divine vengeance by burning them on
earth" (Bishop Burnett).
Of course, she ignored the words, "vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord," but
nevertheless her creed compelled her deed. Dr. Pettingell quotes from Hopkins' Works,
Vol. 2:, and gives the following comment upon the "smoke of their torment":--
"This display of the divine character and glory will be most entertaining, and give the
highest pleasure to those who love God, and raise their happiness to ineffable heights."
Of course, if this is what God will do, His saints must of necessity rejoice therein. He
further says that should this fearful scene of torment and unutterable agony
"cease, and this fire be extinguished, it would in a great measure obscure the light of
heaven, and put an end to a great part of the happiness and glory of the blessed!"