They cannot sit down by the loss.
(3.) All therefore that he that has lost himself can do is, to sit down by the loss. Do I say, he can do this?—oh! if that could be, it would be to such, a mercy; I must therefore here correct myself—That they cannot do; for to sit down by the loss implies a patient enduring; but there will be no such grace as patience in hell with him that has lost himself; here, will also want a bottom for patience—to wit, the providence of God; for a providence of God, though never so dismal, is a bottom for patience to the afflicted; but men go not to hell by providence, but by sin. Now sin being the cause, other effects are wrought; for they that go to hell, and that there miserably perish, shall never say it was God by His providence that brought them hither, and so shall not have that on which to lean and stay themselves.
They shall justify God, and lay the fault upon themselves concluding that it was sin with which their souls did voluntarily work—yea, which their souls did suck in as sweet milk—that is the cause of this their torment. Now this will work after another manner, and will produce quite another thing than patience, or a patient enduring of their torment; for their seeing that they are not only lost, but have lost themselves, and that against the ordinary means that of God was provided to prevent that loss; yea, when they shall see what a base thing sin is, how that it is the very worst of things, and that which also makes all things bad, and that for the sake of that they have lost themselves, this will make them fret, and, gnash, and gnaw with anger themselves; this will set all the passions of the soul, save love, for that I think will be stark dead, all in a rage, all in a self-tormenting fire. You know there is nothing that will sooner put a man into and manage his rage against himself than will a full conviction in his conscience that by his own only folly, and that against caution, and counsel, and reason to the contrary, he hath brought himself into extreme distress and misery. But how much more will it make this fire burn when he shall see all this is come upon him for a toy, for a bauble, for a thing that is worse than nothing!
Why, this is the case with him that has lost himself; and therefore he cannot sit down by the loss, cannot be at quiet under the sense of his loss. For sharply and wonderful piercingly, considering the loss of himself, and the cause thereof, which is sin, he falls to a tearing of himself in pieces with thoughts as hot as the coals of juniper, and to a gnashing upon himself for this; also the Divine wisdom and justice of God helpeth on this self-tormentor in his self-tormenting work, by holding the justice of the law against which he has offended, and the unreasonableness of such offence, continually before his face. For if, to an enlightened man who is in the door of hope, the sight of all past evil practices will work in him 'vexation of spirit,' to see what fools we were, (Eccl 1:14); how can it but be to them that go to hell a vexation only to understand the report, the report that God did give them of sin, of His grace, of hell, and of everlasting damnation, and yet that they should be such fools to go thither? (Isa 28:19). But to pursue this head no further, I will come now to the next thing.
[The loss of the soul a double loss.]
Secondly, As the loss of the soul is, in the nature of the loss, a loss peculiar to itself, so the loss of the soul is a double loss; it is, I say, a loss that is double, lost both by man and God; man has lost it, and by that loss has lost himself; God has lost it, and by that loss it is cast away. And to make this a little plainer unto you, I suppose it will be readily granted that men do lose their souls. But now how doth God lose it? The soul is God's as well as man's—man's because it is of themselves; God's because it is His creature; God has made us this soul, and hence it is that all souls are His (Jer 38:16; Eze 18:4).
Now the loss of the soul doth not only stand in the sin of man, but in the justice of God. Hence He says, 'What is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away' (Luke 9:25). Now this last clause, 'or be cast away,' is not spoken to show what he that has lost his soul has done, though a man may also be said to cast away himself; but to show what God will do to those that have lost themselves, what God will add to that loss. God will not cast away a righteous man, but God will cast away the wicked, such a wicked one as by the text is under our consideration (Job 8:20; Matt 13:50). This, then, is that which God will add, and so make the sad state of them that lose themselves double. The man for sin has lost himself, and God by justice will cast him away; according to that of Abigail to David, 'The soul of my lord,' said she, 'shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall He sling out, as out of the middle of a sling' (1 Sam 25:29). So that here is God's hand as well as man's; man's by sin, and God's by justice. God shall cast them away; wherefore in the text above mentioned he doth not say, or cast away himself, as meaning the act of the man whose soul is lost; but, 'or be cast away' (Luke 9:25). Supposing a second person joining with the man himself in the making up of the greatness of the loss of the soul—to wit, God himself, who will verily cast away that man who has lost himself. God shall cast them away—that is, exclude them His favour or protection, and deliver them up to the due reward of their deed! He shall shut them out of His heaven, and deliver them up to their hell; He shall deny them a share in his glory, and shall leave them to their own shame; He shall deny them a portion in His peace, and shall deliver them up to the torments of the devil, and of their own guilty consciences; He shall cast them out of His affection, pity, and compassion, and shall leave them to the flames that they by sin have kindled, and to the worm, or biting cockatrice, that they themselves have hatched, nursed, and nourished in their bosoms. And this will make their loss double, and so a loss that is loss to the uttermost, a loss above every loss. A man may cast away himself and not be cast away of God; a man may be cast away by others, and not be cast away of God; yea, what way soever a man be cast away, if he be not cast away for sin, he is safe, he is yet found, and in a sure hand. But for a man so to lose himself as by that loss to provoke God to cast him away too, this is fearful.
The casting away, then, mentioned in Luke, is a casting away by the hand of God, by the revenging hand of God; and it supposeth two things—1. God's abhorrence of such a soul. 2. God's just repaying of it for its wickedness by way of retaliation.
1. It supposeth God's abhorrence of the soul. That which we abhor, that we cast from us, and put out of our favour and respect with disdain, and a loathing thereof. So when God teacheth Israel to loathe and abhor their idols, He bids them 'to cast away their very covering as a stinking and menstruous cloth, and to say unto it, 'Get you hence' (Isa 30:22), 'He shall gather the good into vessels, and cast the bad away' (Matt 13:48; 25:41). Cast them out of My presence. Well, but whither must they go? The answer is, Into hell, into utter darkness, into the fire that is prepared for the devil and his angels. Wherefore, to be cast away, to be cast away of God, it showeth unto us God's abhorrence of such souls, and how vile and loathsome such are in His divine eyes. And the similitude of Abigail's sling, mentioned before, doth yet further show us the greatness of this abhorrence—'The souls of thine enemies,' said she, 'God shall sling out as out of the middle of a sling.' When a man casts a stone away with a sling, then he casteth it furthest from him, for with a sling he can cast a stone further than by his hand. 'And he,' saith the text, 'shall cast them away as with a sling.' But that is not all, neither: for it is not only said that He shall sling away their souls, but that He shall sling them away as 'out of the middle of a sling.' When a stone is placed, to be cast away, in the middle of a sling, then doth the slinger cast it furthest of all. Now God is the slinger, abhorrence is His sling, the lost soul is the stone, and it is placed in the very middle of the sling, and is from thence cast away. And, therefore, it is said again, that 'such shall go into utter, outer darkness'—that is, furthest off of all. This therefore shows us how God abhors that man that for sin has lost himself. And well he may; for such an one has not only polluted and defiled himself with sin; and that is the most offensive thing to God under heaven; but he has abused the handiwork of God. The soul, as I said before, is the workmans hip of God, yea, the top-piece that He hath made in all the visible world; also He made it for to be delighted with it, and to admit it into communion with Himself. Now for man thus to abuse God; for a man to take his soul, which is God's, and prostrate it to sin, to the world, to the devil, and every beastly lust, flat against the command of God, and notwithstanding the soul was also His; this is horrible, and calls aloud upon that God whose soul this is to abhor, and to show, by all means possible, His abhorrence of such an one.
2. As this casting of them away supposeth God's abhorrence of them, so it supposeth God's just repaying of them for their wickedness by way of retaliation.
God all the time of the exercise of His long-suffering and forbearance towards them, did call upon them, wait upon them, send after them by His messengers, to turn them from their evil ways; but they despised at, they mocked, the messengers of the Lord. Also they shut their eyes, and would not see; they stopped their ears, and would not understand; and did harden themselves against the beseeching of their God. Yea, all that day long He did stretch out His hand towards them, but they chose to be a rebellious and gainsaying people; yea, they said unto God, 'Depart from us;' and 'what is the Almighty' that we should pray unto him? (Hosea 6:2; Rev 16:21; Job 21:14,15; Mal 3:14).
And of all these things God takes notice, writes them down, and seals them up for the time to come, and will bring them out and spread them before them, saying, I have called, and you have refused; I have stretched out Mine hand, and no man regarded; I have exercised patience, and gentleness, and long-suffering towards you, and in all that time you despised Me, and cast Me behind your back; and now the time, and the exercise of My patience, when I waited upon you, and suffered your manners, and did bear your contempts and scorns, is at an end; wherefore I will now arise, and come forth to the judgment that I have appointed.
But, Lord, saith the sinner, we turn now.
But now; saith God, turning is out of season; the day of My patience is ended.
But, Lord, says the sinner, behold our cries.
But you did not, says God, behold nor regard My cries.
But, Lord, saith the sinner, let our beseeching find place in Thy compassions.
But, saith God, I also beseeched, and I was not heard.
But Lord, says the sinner, our sins lie hard upon us.
But I offered you pardon when time was, says God, and then you did utterly reject it.
But, Lord, says the sinner, let us therefore have it now.
But now the door is shut, saith God.
And what then? Why, then, by way of retaliation, God will serve them as they have served Him; and so the wind-up of the whole will be this—they shall have like for like. Time was when they would have none of Him, and now will God have none of them. Time was when they cast God behind their back, and now He will cast away their soul. Time was when they would not heed His calls, and now He will not heed their cries. Time was when they abhorred Him, and now His soul also abhorreth them (Zech 11:8). This is now by way of retaliation—like for like, scorn for scorn, repulse for repulse, contempt for contempt; according to that which is written, 'Therefore it is come to pass, that as He cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord' (Zech 7:13). And thus I have also showed you that the loss of the soul is double—lost by man, lost by God.
But oh! who thinks of this? who, I say, that now makes light of God, of His Word, His servants, and ways, once dreams of such retaliation, though God to warn them hath even, in the day of His patience, threatened to do it in the day of His wrath, saying, 'Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me' (Prov 1:24-28). I will do unto them as they have done unto Me; and what unrighteousness is in all this? But,
[The loss of the soul most fearful.]
Thirdly, As the loss of the soul is a loss peculiar to itself, and a loss double, so, in the third place, it is a loss most fearful, because it is a loss attended with the most heavy curse of God. This is manifest both in the giving of the rule of life, and also in, and at the time of execution for, the breach of that rule. It is manifest at the giving of the rule—'Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen' (Deu 27:26; Gal 3:10). It is also manifest that it shall be so at the time of execution—'Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels' (Matt 25:41). What this curse is, none do know so well as God that giveth it, and as the fallen angels, and the spirits of damned men that are now shut up in the prison of hell, and bear it. But certainly it is the chief and highest of all kind of curses. To be cursed in the basket and in the store, in the womb and in the barn, in my cattle and in my body, are but flea-bitings to this, though they are also insupportable in themselves; only in general it may be described thus. But to touch upon this curse, it lieth in deprivation of all good, and in a being swallowed up of all the most fearful miseries that a holy, and just, and eternal God can righteously inflict, or lay upon the soul of a sinful man. Now let Reason here come in and exercise itself in the most exquisite manner; yea, let him now count up all, and all manner of curses and torments that a reasonable and an immortal soul is, or can be made capable of, and able to suffer under, and when he has done, he shall come infinitely short of this great anathema, this master curse which God has reserved amongst His treasuries, and intends to bring out in that day of battle and war, which He purposeth to make upon damned souls in that day.16 And this God will do, partly as a retaliation, as the former, and partly by way of revenge. 1. By way of retaliation: 'As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him.' Again, 'As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones; let it be unto him as a garment which covereth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually' (Psa 109:17-19). 'Let this,' saith Christ, 17 'be the reward of mine adversaries from the Lord' (vs. 20 etc). 2. As this curse comes by way of retaliation, so it cometh by way of revenge. God will right the wrongs that sinners have done Him, will repay vengeance for the despite and reproach wherewith they have affronted Him, and will revenge the quarrel of His covenant. And the beginning of revenges are terrible, (Deu 31:41,42); what, then, will the whole execution be, when He shall come in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ? And, therefore, this curse is executed in wrath, in jealousy, in anger, in fury; yea, the heavens and the earth shall be burned up with the fire of that jealousy in which the great God will come, when He cometh to curse the souls of sinners, and when He cometh to defy the ungodly, (2 Thess 1: 7-9).
It is little thought of, but the manner of the coming of God to judge the world declares what the souls of impenitent sinners must look for then. It is common among men, when we see the form of a man's countenance changed, when we see fire sparkle out of his eyes, when we read rage and fury in every cast of his face, even before he says aught, or doth aught either, to conclude that some fearful thing is now to be done (Dan 3:19,23). Why, it is said of Christ when He cometh to judgment, that the heavens and the earth fly away, as not being able to endure His looks, (Rev 20:11,12); that His angels are clad in flaming fire, and that the elements melt with fervent heat; and all this is, that the perdition of ungodly men might be completed, 'from the presence of the Lord, in the heat of His anger, from the glory of His power' (2 Pet 3:7; 2 Thess 1:8,9). Therefore, God will now be revenged, and so ease Himself of His enemies, when He shall cause curses like millstones to fall as thick as hail on 'the hairy scalp of such a one as goeth on still in his trespasses' (Psa 68:2l). But,
[The loss of the soul a loss everlasting.]
Fourthly, As the loss of the soul is a loss peculiar to itself, a loss double, and a loss most fearful, so it is a loss everlasting. The soul that is lost is never to be found again, never to be recovered again, never to be redeemed again, its banishment from God is everlasting; the fire in which it burns, and by which it must be tormented, is a fire that is ever, everlasting fire, everlasting burnings; the adder, the snake, the stinging worm, dieth not, nor is the fire quenched; and this is a fearful thing. A man may endure to touch the fire with a short touch, and away; but to dwell with everlasting burnings, that is fearful. Oh, then, what is dwelling with them, and in them, for ever and ever! We use to say, light burdens far carried are heavy; what, then, will it be to bear that burden, that guilt, that the law and the justice and wrath of God will lay upon the lost soul for ever? Now tell the stars, now tell the drops of the sea, and now tell the blades of grass that are spread upon the face of all the earth, if thou canst: and yet sooner mayest thou do this than count the thousands of millions of thousands of years that a damned soul shall lie in hell. Suppose every star that is now in the firmament was to burn, by himself, one by one, a thousand years apiece, would it not be a long while before the last of them was burned out? and yet sooner might that be done than the damned soul be at the end of punishment.
There are three things couched under this last head that will fill up the punishment of a sinner. 1. The first is, that it is everlasting. 2. The second is, that, therefore, it will be impossible for the souls in hell ever to say, Now we are got half way through our sorrows. 3. The third is, and yet every moment they shall endure eternal punishment.
1. The first I have touched upon already, and, therefore, shall not enlarge; only I would ask the wanton or unthinking sinner, whether twenty, or thirty, or forty years of the deceitful pleasures of sin is so rich a prize, as that a man may well venture the ruin, that everlasting burnings will make upon his soul for the obtaining of them, and living a few moments in them. Sinner, consider this before I go any further, or before thou readest one line more. If thou hast a soul, it concerns thee; if there be a hell, it concerns thee; and if there be a God that can and will punish the soul for sin everlastingly in hell, it concerns thee; because,
2. In the second place, it will be impossible for the damned soul ever to say, I am now got half way through my sorrows. That which has no end, has no middle. Sinner, make a round circle, or ring, upon the ground, of what bigness thou wilt; this done, go thy way upon that circle, or ring, until thou comest to the end thereof; but that, sayest thou, I can never do; because it has no end. I answer, but thou mayest as soon do that as wade half way through the lake of fire that is prepared for impenitent souls. Sinner, what wilt thou take to make a mountain of sand that will reach as high as the sun is at noon? I know that thou wilt not be engaged in such a work; because it is impossible thou shouldst ever perform it. But I dare say the task is greater when the sinner has let out himself to sin for a servant; because the wages is everlasting burnings. I know thou mayest perform thy service; but the wages, the judgment, the punishment is so endless, that thou, when thou hast been in it more millions of years than can be numbered, art not, nor never yet shalt be, able to say, I am half way through it. And yet,
3. That soul shall partake every moment of that punishment that is eternal. 'Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire' (Jude 7).
(1.) They shall endure eternal punishment in the nature of punishment. There is no punishment here wherewith one man can chastise another that can deserve a greater title than that of transient, or temporary punishment; but the punishment there is eternal, even in every stripe that is given, and in every moment that it grappleth with the soul; even every twinge, every gripe, and every stroke that justice inflicteth, leaveth anguish that, of their condition according as will best stand with in the nature of punishment, is eternal behind it. It is eternal, because it is from God, and lasts for ever and ever. The justice that inflicts it has not a beginning, and it is this justice in the operations of it that is always dealing with the soul.
(2.) All the workings of the soul under this punishment are such as cause it, in its sufferings, to endure that which is eternal. It can have no thought of the end of punishment, but it is presently recalled by the decreed gulf that bindeth them under perpetual punishment. The great fixed gulf, they know, will keep them in their present place, and not suffer them to go to heaven (Luke 16:26). And now there is no other place but heaven or hell to be in; for then the earth, and the works that are therein, will be burned up. Read the text, 'But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also and all the works that are therein, shall be burned up' (2 Peter 3:10). If, then, there will be no third place, it standeth in their minds, as well as in God's decree, that their punishments shall be eternal; so, then, sorrows, anguish, tribulation, grief, woe, and pain, will, in every moment of its abiding upon the soul, not only flow from thoughts of what has been, and what is, but also from what will be, and that for ever and ever. Thus every thought that is truly grounded in the cause and nature of their state will roll, toss, and tumble them up and down in the cogitations and fearful apprehensions of the lastingness of their damnation. For, I say, their minds, their memories, their understandings, and consciences, will all, and always, be swallowed up with 'for ever;' yea, they themselves will, by the means of these things, be their own tormentors for ever.
(3.) There will not be spaces, as days, months, years, and the like, as now; though we make bold so to speak, the better to present our thoughts to each other's capacities; for then there shall be time no longer; also, day and night shall then be come to an end. 'He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end' (Job 26:10). Until the end of light with darkness. Now when time, and day, and night, are come to an end, then there comes in eternity, as there was before the day, and night, or time, was created; and when this is come, punishment nor glory must none of them be measured by days, or months, or years, but by eternity itself. Nor shall those concerned either in misery or glory reckon of their now new state, as they need to reckon of things in this world; but they shall be suited in their capacities, in their understandings and apprehensions, to judge and count of their condition according as will best stand with their state in eternity.18
Could we but come to an understanding of things done in heaven and hell, as we understand how things are done in this world, we should be strangely amazed to see how the change of places and of conditions has made a change in the understandings of men, and in the manner of their enjoyment of things. But this we must let alone till the next world, and until our launching into it; and then, whether we be of the right or left hand ones, we shall well know the state and condition of both kingdoms. In the meantime, let us addict ourselves to the belief of the Scriptures of truth, for therein is revealed the way to that of eternal life, and how to escape the damnation of the soul (Matt 25:33). But thus much for the loss of the soul, unto which let me add, for a conclusion, these verses following:—
These cry alas! But all in vain; They stick fast in the mire; They would be rid of present pain, Yet set themselves on fire.
Darkness is their perplexity, Yet do they hate the light; They always see their misery, Yet are themselves, all night.
They are all dead, yet live they do, Yet neither live nor die; They die to weal, and live to woe—19 This is their misery.
Now will confusion so possess, These monuments of ire, And so confound them with distress, And trouble their desire,
That what to think, or what to do, Or where to lay their head, They know not: 'tis the damned's woe, To live, and yet be dead.
These castaways would fain have life, But know they never shall; They would forget their dreadful plight. But that sticks fast'st of all.
God, Christ, and heav'n, they know are best, Yet dare not on them think; They know the saints enjoy their rest, While they their tears do drink.
[OF THE CAUSE OF THE LOSS OF THE SOUL.]
FOURTH, And now I am come to the fourth thing—that is, to show you the cause of the loss of the soul. That men have souls, that souls are great things, that souls may be lost, this I have showed you already; wherefore I now proceed to show you the cause of this loss. The cause is laid down in the 18th chapter of Ezekiel, in these words—'Behold, all souls,' says God, 'are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die' (5:4).
[Sin the cause of the loss of his soul.]
First, It is sin, then, or sinning against God, that is the cause of dying, or damning in hell fire, for that must be meant by dying; otherwise, to die, according to our ordinary acceptation of the notion, the soul is not capable of, it being indeed immortal, as hath been afore asserted. So, then, the soul that sinneth—that is, and persevering in the same—that soul shall die, be cast away, or damned; yea, to ascertain us of the undoubted truth of this, the Holy Ghost doth repeat it again, and that in this very chapter, saying, 'The soul that sinneth, it shall die' (5:20). Now, the soul may divers ways be said to sin against God; as,
1. In its receiving of sin into its bosom, and in its retaining and entertaining of it there. Sin must first be received before it can act in, or be acted by, the soul. Our first parents first received it in the suggestion or motion, and then acted it. Now it is not here to be disputed when sin was received by the soul, so much as whether ever the soul received sin; for if the soul has indeed received sin into itself, then it has sinned, and by doing so, has made itself an object of the wrath of God, and a fire brand of hell. I say, I will not here dispute when sin was received by the soul, but it is apparent enough that it received it betimes, because in old time every child that was brought unto the Lord was to be redeemed, and that at a month old, (Exo 13:13; 34:20; Num 18:15, 16); which, to be sure, was very early, and implied that then, even then, the soul in God's judgment stood before Him as defiled and polluted with sin. But although I said I will not dispute at what time the soul may be said to receive sin, yet it is evident that it was precedent to the redemption made mention of just before, and so before the person redeemed had attained the age of a month. And that God might, in the language of Moses, give us to see cause of the necessity of this redemption, he first distinguisheth, and saith, 'The firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat,' did not need this redemption, for they were clean, or holy. But the firstborn of men, who was taken in lieu of the rest of the children, and the 'firstling of unclean beasts, thou shalt surely redeem,' saith He. But why was the firstborn of men coupled with unclean beasts, but because they are both unclean? The beast was unclean by God's ordination, but the other was unclean by sin. Now, then, it will be demanded, how a soul, before it was a month old, could receive sin to the making of itself unclean? I answer, There are two ways of receiving, one active, the other passive; this last is the way by which the soul at first receiveth sin, and by so receiving, becometh culpable, because polluted and defiled by it. And this passive way of receiving is often mentioned in Scripture. Thus the pans received the ashes, (Exo 27:3); thus the molten sea received three thousand baths, (2 Chron 4:5); thus the ground receiveth the seed, (Matt 13:20-23); and this receiving is like that of the wool which receiveth the dye, either black, white, or red; and as the fire that receiveth the water till it be all quenched therewith: or as the water receiveth such stinking and poisonous matter into it, as for the sake of it, it is poured out and spilt upon the ground. But whence should the soul thus receive sin? I answer, from the body, while it is in the mother's belly; the body comes from polluted man, and therefore is polluted (Psa 51: 5). 'Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?' (Job 14:4). The soul comes from God's hand, and therefore as so is pure and clean: but being put into this body, it is tainted, polluted, and defiled with the taint, stench, and filth of sin; nor can this stench and filth be by man purged out, when once from the body got into the soul; sooner may the blackamoor change his skin, or the leopard his spots, than the soul, were it willing, might purge itself of this pollution. 'Though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before Me, saith the Lord God' (Jer 2:22).
2. But as I said, the soul has not only received sin, but retains it, holds it, and shows no kind of resistance. It is enough that the soul is polluted and defiled, for that is sufficient to provoke God to cast it away; for which of you would take a cloth annoyed with stinking, ulcerous sores, to wipe your mouth withal, or to thrust it into your bosoms? and the soul is polluted with far worse pollution than any such can be. But this is not all; it retains sin as the wool retains the dye, or as the infected water receives the stench or poisonous scent; I say, it retains it willingly; for all the power of the soul is not only captivated by a seizure of sin upon the soul, but it willingly, heartily, unanimously, universally falleth in with the natural filth and pollution that is in sin, to the estranging of itself from God, and an obtaining of an intimacy and compliance with the devil.
Now this being the state and condition of the soul from the belly,20 yea, from before it sees the light of this world, what can be concluded but that God is offended with it? For how can it otherwise be, since there is holiness and justice in God? Hence those that are born of a woman, whose original is by carnal conception with man, are said to be as serpents so soon as born. 'The wicked (and all at first are so) go astray as soon as they be born, speakings lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder, that stoppeth her ear' (Psa 58:3,4). They go astray from the belly; but that they would not do, if aught of the powers of their soul were unpolluted. 'But their poison is like the poison of a serpent.' Their poison—what is that? Their pollution, their original pollution, that is as the poison of a serpent—to wit, not only deadly, for so poison is, but also hereditary. It comes from the old one, from the sire and dam; yea, it is also now become connatural to and with them, and is of the same date with the child as born into the world. The serpent has not her poison, in the original of it, either from imitation or from other infective things abroad, though it may by such things be helped forward and increased; but she brings it with her in her bowels, in her nature, and it is to her as suitable to her present condition as it is that which is most sweet and wholesome to other of the creatures. So, then, every soul comes into the world as poisoned with sin; nay, as such which have poison connatural to them; for it has not only received sin as the wool has received the dye, but it retaineth it. The infection is got so deep, it has taken the black so effectually, that the tint, the very fire of hell, can never purge the soul therefrom.
And that the soul has received this infection thus early, and that it retains it so surely, is not only signified by children coming into the world besmeared in their mother's blood, and by the firstborn's being redeemed at a month old, but also by the first inclinations and actions of children when they are so come into the world (Exo 26). Who sees not that lying, pride, disobedience to parents, and hypocrisy, do put forth themselves in children before they know that they do either well or ill in so doing, or before they are capable to learn either of these arts by imitation, or seeing understandingly the same things done first by others? He that sees not that they do it naturally from a principle, from an inherent principle, is either blinded, and has retained his darkness by the same sin as they, or has suffered himself to be swayed by a delusion from him who at first infused this spawn of sin into man's nature.
Nor doth the averseness of children to morality a little demonstrate what has been said; for as it would make a serpent sick, should one give it a strong antidote against his poison, so then are children, and never more than then, disturbed in their minds, when a strict hand and a stiff rein by moral discipline is maintained over and upon them. True, sometimes restraining grace corrects them, but that is not of themselves; but more oft hypocrisy is the great and first moving wheel to all their seeming compliances with admonitions, which indulgent parents are apt to overlook, yea, and sometimes, through unadvisedness, to count for the principles of grace. I speak now of that which comes before conversion. But as I said before, I would not now dispute, only I have thought good thus to urge these things to make my assertion manifest, and to show what is the cause of the damnation of the soul.
3. Again; as the soul receives sin, and retains it, so it also doth entertain it—that is, countenance, smile upon, and like its complexion and nature well. A man may detain—that is, hold fast—a thing which yet he doth not regard; but when he entertains, then he countenances, likes, and delights in the company. Sin, then, is first received by the soul, as has been afore explained, and by that reception is polluted and defiled. This makes it hateful in the eyes of justice: it is now polluted. Then, secondly, this sin is not only received, but retained—that is, it sticks so fast, abides so fixedly in the soul, that it cannot be gotten out; this is the cause of the continuation of abhorrence; for if God abhors because there is a being of sin there, it must needs be that he should continue to abhor, since sin continues to have a being there. But then, in the third place, sin is not only received, detained, but entertained by the now defiled and polluted soul; wherefore this must needs be a cause of the continuance of anger, and that with aggravation. When I say, entertained, I do not mean as men entertain their enemies, with small and great shot, 21 but as they entertain those whom they like, and those that are got into their affections. 22 And therefore the wrath of God must certainly be let out upon the soul, to the everlasting damnation of it.
Now that the soul doth thus entertain sin, is manifest by these several particulars—
(1.) It hath admitted it with complacence and delight into every chamber of the soul; I mean, it has been delightfully admitted to an entertainment by all the powers or faculties of the soul. The soul hath chosen it rather than God: it also, at God's command, refuseth to let it go; yea, it chooseth that doctrine, and loveth it best, since it must have a doctrine, that has most of sin and baseness in it (Isa 65:12; 66:3). They 'say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits' (Isa 30:10). These are signs that the soul with liking hath entertained sin; and if there be at any time, as indeed there is, a warrant issued out from the mouth of God to apprehend, to condemn, and mortify sin, why then,
(2.) These shifts the souls of sinners do presently make for the saving of sin from those things that by the Word men are commanded to do unto it—
(a) They will, if possible, hide it, and not suffer it to be discovered. 'He that hideth his sins23 shall not prosper' (Prov 28:13). And again, they hide it, and refuse to let it go (Job 20:12,13). This is an evident sign that the soul has a favour for sin, and that with liking it, entertains it.
(b) As it will hide it, so it will excuse it, and plead that this and that piece of wickedness is no such evil thing; men need not be so nice, and make such a pother24 about it, calling those that cry out so hotly against it, men more nice than wise. Hence the prophets of old used to be called madmen, and the world would reply against their doctrine, Wherein have we been so wearisome to God, and what have we spoken so much against Him? (Mal 1:6,7; 3:8,13).
(c) As the soul will do this, so to save sin, it will cover it with names of virtue, either moral or civil; and of this God greatly complains, yea, breaks into anger for this, saying, 'Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; and put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter' (Isa 5:20)!
(d) If convictions and discovery of sin be so strong and so plain, that the soul cannot deny but that it is sin, and that God is offended therewith; then it will give flattering promises to God that it will indeed put it away; but yet it will prefix a time that shall be long first, if it also then at all performs it, saying, Yet a little sleep, yet a little slumber, yet a little folding of sin in mine arms, till I am older, till I am richer, till I have had more of the sweetness and the delights of sin. Thus, 'their soul delighteth in their abominations' (Isa 66:3).
(e) If God yet pursues, and will see whether this promise of putting sin out of doors shall be fulfilled by the soul, why then, it will be partial in God's law; it will put away some, and keep some; put away the grossest, and keep the finest; put away those that can best be spared, and keep the most profitable for a help at a pinch (Mal 2:9).
(f) Yes, if all sin must be abandoned, or the soul shall have no rest, why then, the soul and sin will part (with such a parting as it is), even as Phaltiel parted with David's wife, with an ill will and a sorrowful mind; or as Orpha left her mother, with a kiss (2 Sam 3:16; Ruth 1:14).
(g) And if at any time they can, or shall, meet with each other again, and nobody never the wiser, O, what courting will be betwixt sin and the soul? And this is called doing of things in the dark (Eze 8:12).
By all these, and many more things that might be instanced, it is manifest that sin has a friendly entertainment by the soul, and that therefore the soul is guilty of damnation; for what do all these things argue, but that God, His Word, His ways, and graces, are out of favour with the soul, and that sin and Satan are its only pleasant companions? But,
[How sin, by the help of the soul, destroys it.]
Secondly, That I may yet show you what a great thing sin is with the soul that is to be damned, I will show how sin, by the help of the soul, is managed, from the motion of sin, even till it comes to the very act; for sin cannot come to an act without the help of the soul. The body doth little here, as I shall further show you anon.
There is then a motion of sin presented to the soul (and whether presented by sin itself or the devil, we will not at this time dispute); motions of sin, and motions to sin there are, and always the end of the motions of sin are to prevail with the soul to help that motion into an act. But, I say, there is a motion to sin moved to the soul; or, as James calls it, a conception. Now behold how the soul deals with this motion in order to the finishing of sin, that death might follow (Rom 7:5).
1. This motion is taken notice of by the soul, but is not resisted nor striven against, only the soul lifts up its eyes upon it, and sees that there is present a motion to sin, a motion of sin presented to the soul, that the soul might midwife it from the conception into the world.
2. Well, notice being taken that a motion to sin is present, what follows but that the fancy or imagination of the soul taketh it home to it, and doth not only look upon it and behold it more narrowly, but begins to trick and trim up the sin to the pleasing of itself and of all the powers of the soul. That this is true, is evident, because God findeth fault with the imagination as with that which lendeth to sin the first hand, and that giveth to it the first lift towards its being helped forward to act. 'And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth' (Gen 6:5,12,13). That is, many abominable actions were done; for all flesh had corrupted God's way upon the earth. But how came this to be so? Why, every imagination of the thoughts, or of the motions that were in the heart to sin, was evil, only evil, and that continuously. The imagination of the thoughts was evil—that is, such as tended not to deaden or stifle, but such as tended to animate and forward the motions or thoughts of sin into action. Every imagination of the thoughts—that which is here called a thought, by Paul to the Romans, called a motion. Now the imagination should, and would, had it been on God's side, so have conceived of this motion of and to sins, all to have presented it in all its features so ugly, so ill favoured, and so unreasonable a thing to the soul, that the soul should forthwith have let down the sluice, and pulled up the drawbridge, put a stop, with greatest defiance, to the motion now under consideration; but the imagination being defiled, it presently, at the very first view or noise of the motion of sin, so acted as to forward the bringing the said motion or thought into act. So, then, the thought of sin, or motion thereto, is first of all entertained by the imagination and fancy of the soul, and thence conveyed to the rest of the powers of the soul to be condemned, if the imagination be good; but to be helped forward to the act, if the imagination be evil. And thus the evil imagination helpeth the motion of and to sin towards the act, even by dressing of it up in that guise and habit that may best delude the understanding, judgment, and conscience; and that is done after this manner: suppose a motion of sin to commit fornication, to swear, to steal, to act covetously, or the like, be propounded to the fancy and imagination; the imagination, if evil, presently dresseth up this motion in that garb that best suiteth with the nature of the sin. As, if it be the lust of uncleanness, then is the motion to sin drest up in all the imaginable pleasurableness of that sin; if to covetousness, then is the sin drest up in the profits and honours that attend that sin; and so of theft and the like; but if the motion be to swear, hector, or the like, then is that motion drest up with valour and manliness; and so you may count of the rest of sinful motions; and thus being trimmed up like a Bartholomew baby, 25 it is presented to all the rest of the powers of the soul, where with joint consent it is admired and embraced, to the firing and inflaming all the powers of the soul.
And hence it is that men are said to inflame themselves with their idols under every green tree. 'And to be as fed horses, neighing after their neighbour's wife' (Jer 5:8). For the imagination is such a forcible power, that if it putteth forth itself to dress up and present a thing to the soul, whether that thing be evil or good, the rest of the faculties cannot withstand it. Therefore, when David prayed for the children of Israel, he said, 'I have seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee;' that is, for preparations to build the temple. 'O Lord God,' saith he, 'keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of Thy people, and prepare their heart unto Thee' (1 Chron 29:17, 18). He knew that as the imagination was prepared, so would the soul be moved, whether by evil or good; therefore as to this, he prays that their imagination might be engaged always with apprehensions of the beauteousness of the temple, that they might always, as now, offer willingly for its building.
But, as I said, when the imagination hath thus set forth sin to the rest of the faculties of the soul, they are presently entangled, and fall into a flame of love thereto; this being done, it follows that a purpose to pursue this motion, till it be brought unto act, is the next thing that is resolved on. Thus Esau, after he had conceived of that profit that would accrue to him by murdering of his brother, fell the next way into a resolve to spill Jacob's blood. And Rebecca sent for Jacob, and said unto him, 'Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee' (Gen 27:42). See also (Jer 49:30). Nor is this purpose to do an evil without its fruit, for he comforted himself in his evil purpose: 'Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee.'
The purpose, therefore, being concluded, in the next place the invention is diligently set to work to find out what means, methods, and ways, will be thought best to bring this purpose into practice, and this motion to sin into action. Esau invented the death of his brother when his father was to be carried to his grave (Gen 27:41). David purposed to make Uriah father his bastard child by making of him drunk (2 Sam 11:13). Amnon purposed to ravish Tamar, and the means that he invented to do it were by feigning himself sick. Absalom purposed to kill Amnon, and invented to do it at a feast (2 Sam13:32). Judas purposed to sell Christ, and invented to betray him in the absence of the people (Luke 22:3-6). The Jews purposed to kill Paul, and invented to entreat the judge of a blandation26 to send for him, that they might murder him as he went (Acts 23:12-15).
Thus you see how sin is, in the motion of it, handed through the soul—first, it comes into the fancy or imagination, by which it is so presented to the soul, as to inflame it with desire to bring it into act; so from this desire the soul proceedeth to a purpose of enjoying, and from a purpose of enjoying to inventing how, or by what means, it had best to attempt the accomplishing of it.
But, further, when the soul has thus far, by its wickedness, pursued the motion of sin to bring it into action, then to the last thing; to wit, to endeavours, to take the opportunity, which, by the invention, is judged most convenient; so to endeavours it goes, till it has finished sin, and finished, in finishing of that, its own fearful damnation. 'Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death' (James 1:15).
And who knows, but God and the soul, how many lets, hindrances, convictions, fears, frights, misgivings, and thoughts of the judgment of God, all this while are passing and repassing, turning and returning, over the face of the soul? how many times the soul is made to start, look back, and tremble, while it is pursuing the pleasure, profit, applause, or preferment that sin, when finished, promiseth to yield unto the soul? for God is such a lover of the soul, that He seldom lets it go on in sin, but He cries to it, by His Word and providences, 'Oh! do not this abominable thing that I hate!' (Jer 44: 4); especially at first, until it shall have hardened itself, and so provoked Him to give it up in sin-revenging judgment to its own ways and doings, which is the terriblest judgment under heaven; and this brings me to the third thing, the which I now will speak to.
3. As the soul receives, detains, entertains, and wilily worketh to bring sin from the motion into act, so it abhorreth to be controlled and taken off of this work—'My soul loathed them,' says God, 'and their soul also abhorred Me' (Zech 6:8). My soul loathed them, because they were so bad; and their souls abhorred Me, because I am so good. Sin, then, is the cause of the loss of the soul; because it hath set the soul, or, rather, because the soul of love to sin hath set itself against God. 'Woe unto their soul, for they have rewarded evil unto themselves'(Isa 3:9).
[Through sin the soul sets itself against God.]
Third, That you may the better perceive that the soul, through sin, has set itself against God, I will propose, and speak briefly to, these two things:—
I. The law. II. The gospel.
I. For the law. God has given it for a rule of life, either as written in their natures, or as inserted in the Holy Scriptures; I say, for a rule of life to all the children of men. But what have men done, or how have they carried it to this law of their Creator; let us see, and that from the mouth of God himself.
1. 'They have not hearkened unto My words' (Jer 6:19).
2. 'They have forsaken My law' (Jer 9:13).
3. They 'have forsaken Me, and have not kept My law' (Jer 16:11).
4. They have not 'walked in My law, nor in My statutes' (Jer 44: 4).
5. 'Her priests have violated My law' (Eze 22:26).
6. And, saith God, 'I have written to him the great things of My law, but they were counted as a strange thing.' (Hos 8:12).
Now, whence should all this disobedience arise? Not from the unreasonableness of the commandment, but from the opposition that is lodged in us against God, and the enmity that it entertains against goodness. Hence the apostle speaks of the emnity, and says, that men are enemies in their minds, their souls, as is manifest by wicked works (Col 1:21). This, if men went no further, must needs be highly provoking to a just and holy God: yea, so highly offensive is it, that, to show the heat of His anger, He saith, 'Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil,' and this evil with a witness, 'of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile,' that doth evil (Rom 2:8,9). That breaketh the law; for that evil He is crying out against now. But,
II. To speak of the gospel, and of the carriage of sinful souls towards God under that dispensation.
The gospel is a revelation of a sovereign remedy, provided by God, through Christ, for the health and salvation of those that have made themselves objects of wrath by the breach of the law of works; this is manifest by all the Scripture. But how doth the soul carry it towards God, when He offereth to deal with it under and by this dispensation of grace? Why, just as it carried it under the law of works: they oppose, they contradict, they blaspheme, and forbid that this gospel be mentioned (Acts 13:45; 27:6). What higher affront or contempt can be offered to God, and what greater disdain can be shown against the gospel? (2 Tim 2:25; 1 Thess 2:14-16). Yet all this the poor soul, to its own wrong, offereth against the way of its own salvation; as it is said in the Word of truth, 'He that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate Me love death' (Prov 8:36).
But, further, the soul despiseth not the gospel in that revelation of it only, but the great and chief bringer thereof, with the manner, also, of His bringing of it. The Bringer, the great Bringer of the gospel, is the good Lord Jesus Christ himself; He 'came and preached peace to them that the law proclaimed war against; became and preached peace to them that were afar off, and to them that were nigh' (Eph 2:17). And it is worth your observation to take notice how He came, and that was, and still is, as He is set forth in the word of the gospel; to wit, first, as making peace Himself to God for us in and by the blood of His cross; and then, as bearing (as set out by the gospel) the very characters of His sufferings before our faces in every tender of the gospel of His grace unto us. And to touch a little upon the dress in which, by the gospel, Christ presenteth unto us while He offereth unto sinful souls His peace, by the tenders thereof.
1. He is set forth as born for us, to save our souls (Isa 9:6; Luke 2:9-12).
2. He is set forth before us as bearing of our sins for us, and suffering God's wrath for us (1 Cor 15:3; Gal 3:13).
3. He is set forth before us as fulfilling the law for us, and as bringing of everlasting righteousness to us for our covering (Rom 5:4; Dan 9:24).
Again, as to the manner of His working out the salvation of sinners for them, that they might have peace and joy, and heaven and glory, for ever.
(1.) He is set forth as sweating of blood while He was in His agony, wrestling with the thoughts of death, which He was to suffer for our sins, that He might save the soul (Luke 22:44).
(2.) He is set forth as crying, weeping, and mourning under the lashes of justice that He put Himself under, and was willing to bear for our sins (Heb 5:7).
(3.) He is set forth as betrayed, apprehended, condemned, spit on, scourged, buffeted, mocked, crowned with thorns, crucified, pierced with nails and a spear, to save the soul from being betrayed by the devil and sin; to save it from being apprehended by justice, and condemned by the law; to save it from being spit on, in a way of contempt, by holiness; to save it from being scourged with guilt of sins, as with scorpions; to save it from being continually buffeted by its own conscience; to save it from being mocked at by God; to save it from being crowned with ignominy and shame for ever; to save it from dying the second death; to save it from wounds and grief for ever.
Dost thou understand me, sinful soul? He wrestled with justice, that thou mightest have rest; He wept and mourned, that thou mightest laugh and rejoice; He was betrayed, that thou mightest go free; was apprehended, that thou mightest escape; He was condemned, that thou mightest be justified; and was killed, that thou mightest live; He wore a crown of thorns, that thou mightest wear a crown of glory; and was nailed to the cross, with His arms wide open, to show with what freeness all His merits shall be bestowed on the coming soul; and how heartily He will receive it into His bosom?
Further, all this He did of mere good will, and offereth the benefit thereof unto thee freely; yea, He cometh unto thee, in the word of the gospel, with the blood running down from His head upon His face, with His tears abiding upon His cheeks, with the holes as fresh in His hands and His feet, and as with the blood still bubbling out of His side, to pray thee to accept of the benefit, and to be reconciled to God thereby (2 Cor 5). But what saith the sinful soul to this? I do not ask what he saith with his lips, for he will assuredly flatter God with his mouth; but what doth his actions and carriages declare as to his acceptance of this incomparable benefit? For 'a wicked man speaketh with his feet, and teacheth with his fingers' (Prov 6:12,13). With his feet—that is, by the way he goeth: and with his fingers—that is, by his acts and doings. So, then, what saith he by his goings, by his sets and doings, unto this incomparable benefit, thus brought unto him from the Father, by His only Son, Jesus Christ? What saith he? Why, he saith that he doth not at all regard this Christ, nor value the grace thus tendered unto him in the gospel.
1. He saith, that he regardeth not this Christ, that he seeth nothing in Him why he should admit Him to be entertained in his affections. Therefore the prophet, speaking in the person of sinners, says, 'He (Christ) hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him;' and then adds, to show what he meaneth by his thus speaking, saying, 'he is despised and rejected of men' (Isa 53:2,3). All this is spoken with reference to His person, and it was eminently fulfilled upon Him in the days of His flesh, when He was hated, maligned, and persecuted to death by sinners; and is still fulfilled in the souls of sinners, in that they cannot abide to think of Him with thoughts that have a tendency in them to separate them and their lusts asunder, and to the making of them to embrace Him for their darling, and the taking up of their cross to follow Him. All this sinners speak out with loud voices, in that they stop their ears and shut their eyes as to Him, but open them wide and hearken diligently to anything that pleaseth the flesh, and that is a nursery to sin. But,
2. As they despise, and reject, and do not regard His person, so they do not value the grace that He tendereth unto them by the gospel; this is plain by that indifferency of spirit that always attends them when, at any time, they hear thereof, or when it is presented unto them.
I may safely say, that the most of men who are concerned in a trade, will be more vigilant in dealing with a twelvepenny customer than they will be with Christ when He comes to make unto them, by the gospel, a tender of the incomparable grace of God. Hence they are called fools, because a price is put into their hands to get wisdom, and they have no heart unto it (Prov 18:16). And hence, again, it is that that bitter complaint is made, 'But My people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of Me' (Psa 81:11). Now, these things being found, as practised by the souls of sinners, must needs, after a wonderful manner, provoke; wherefore, no marvel that the heavens are bid to be astonished at this, and that damnation shall seize upon the soul for this (Jer 2).
And indeed, the soul that doth thus by practice, though with his mouth—as who doth not? he shall show much love, he doth, interpretatively, say these things:—
(1.) That he loveth sin better than grace, and darkness better than light, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed, 'And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness more than light (as is manifest), because their deeds were evil' (John 3:19).
(2.) They do, also, by their thus rejecting of Christ and grace, say, that for what the law can do to them, they value it not; they regard not its thundering threatenings, nor will they shrink when they come to endure the execution thereof; wherefore God, to deter them from such bold and desperate ways, that do, interpretatively, fully declare that they make such desperate conclusions, insinuates that the burden of the curse thereof is intolerable, saying, 'Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I, the Lord, have spoken it, and will do it' (Eze 22:14).
(3.) Yea, by their thus doing, they do as good as say that they will run the hazard of a sentence of death at the day of judgment, and that they will, in the meantime, join issue, and stand a trial at that day with the great and terrible God. What else means their not hearkening to Him, their despising of His Son, and the rejecting of His grace; yea I say again, what else means their slighting of the curse of the law, and their choosing to abide in their sins till the day of death and judgment? And thus I have showed you the causes of the loss of the soul; and, assuredly, these things are no fables.
Objection. But some may object, and say, But you denounce all against the soul; the soul, as if the body were in no fault at all; or, as if there were no punishment assigned for the body.
Answer 1. The soul must be the part punished, because the soul is that which sins. 'Every sin that a man doeth is without the body,' fornication or adultery excepted (1 Cor 6:18). 'Is without the body; that is, as to the wilily inventing, contriving, and finding out ways to bring the motions of sin into action. For, alas! What can the body do as to these? It is in a manner wholly passive; yea, altogether as to the lusting and purposing to do the wickedness, excepting the sin before excepted; ay, and not excepting that, as to the rise of that sin; for even that, with all the rest, ariseth and proceedeth out of the heart—the soul; 'For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man' (Mark 7:21-23). That is, the outward man. But a difference must always be put betwixt defiling and being defiled, that which defileth being the worst; not but that the body shall have its share of judgment, for body and soul must be destroyed in hell (Luke 12:4,5; Matt 10:28). The body as the instrument, the soul as the actor; but oh! the soul, the soul, the soul is the sinner; and, therefore, the soul, as the principal, must be punished.
And that God's indignation burneth most against the soul appears in that death hath seized upon every soul already; for the Scripture saith, that every natural or unconverted man is dead (Eph 2:1-3). Dead! How? Is his body dead? No, verily; his body liveth, but his soul is dead (1 Tim 5:6). Dead! But with what death? Dead to God, and to all things gospelly good, by reason of that benumbing, stupifying, and senselessness, that, by God's just judgment for and by sin, hath swallowed up the soul. Yea, if you observe, you shall see that the soul goeth first, or before, in punishment, not only by what has been said already, in that the soul is first made a partaker of death, but in that God first deals with the soul by convictions, yea, and terrors, perhaps, while the body is well; or, in that He giveth up the soul to judicial hardness and further blindness, while He leaveth the body to do His office in the world; yea, and also when the day of death and dissolution is come, the body is spared, while the soul is tormented in unutterable torment in hell. And so, I say, it shall be spared, and the clods of the valley shall be sweet unto it, while the soul mourneth in hell for sin. It is true, at the day of judgment, because that is the last and final judgment of God on men, then the body and soul shall be re-united, or joined together again, and shall then, together, partake of that recompence for their wickedness which is meet. When I say, the body is spared and the soul tormented, I mean not that the body is not then, at death, made to partake of the wages of sin, 'for the wages of sin is death' (Rom 3:23). But I mean, the body partakes then but of temporal death, which, as to sense and feeling, is sometimes over presently, and then resteth in the grave, while the soul is tormenting in hell. Yea, and why is death suffered to slay the body? I dare say, not chiefly for that the indignation of God most burneth against the body; but the body being the house for the soul in this world, God even pulls down this body, that the soul may be stript naked, and being stript, may be carried to prison, to the place where damned souls are, there to suffer in the beginning of suffering, that punishment that will be endless.
Answer 2. Therefore, the soul must be the part most sorely punished, because justice must be distributed with equity. God is a God of knowledge and judgment; by Him actions are weighed; actions in order to judgment (1 Sam 2). Now, by weighing of actions, since He finds the soul to have the deepest hand in sin; and He says that He hath so, of equity the soul is to bear the burden of punishment. 'Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right' in His famous distributing of judgment? (Gen 18:25). 'He will not lay upon man more than right, that he should enter into judgment with God' (Job 34:23). The soul, since deepest in sin, shall also be deepest in punishment. 'Shall one man sin,' said Moses, 'and wilt Thou be wroth with all the congregation?' (Num 1:22). He pleads here for equity in God's distributing of judgment; yea, and so exact is God in the distribution thereof, that He will not punish heathens so as He will punish Jews; wherefore He saith, 'Of the Jew first,' or chiefly, 'and also of the Gentile' (Rom 2:9). Yea, in hell He has prepared several degrees of punishment for the several sorts or degrees of offenders; And some 'shall receive greater damnation' (Luke 22:47). And will it not be unmeet for us to think, since God is so elect in all His doings, that He will, without His weights and measures, give to soul and body, as I may say, carelessly, not severally, their punishments, according to the desert and merit of each?
Answer 3. The punishment of the soul in hell must needs, to be sure, as to degree, differ from the punishment of the body there. When I say, differ, I mean, must needs be greater, whether the body be punished with the same fire with the soul, or fire of another nature. If it be punished with the same fire, yet not in the same way; for the fire of guilt, with the apprehensions of indignation and wrath, are most properly felt and apprehended by the soul, and by the body by virtue of its union with the soul; and so felt by the body, if not only, yet, I think, mostly, by way of sympathy with the soul; and the cause, we say, is worse than the disease; and if the wrath of God, and the apprehensions of it, as discharging itself for sin, and the breach of the law, be that with which the soul is punished, as sure it is: then the body is punished by the effects, or by those influences that the soul, in its torments, has upon the body, by virtue of that great oneness and union that is between them.
But if there be a punishment prepared for the body distinct in kind from that which is prepared for the soul, yet it must be a punishment inferior to that which is prepared for the soul; not that the soul and body shall be severed, but being made of things distinct, their punishments will be by that which is most suitable to each. I say, it must be inferior, because nothing can be so hot, so tormenting, so intolerably insupportable, as the quickest apprehensions of, and the immediate sinking under, that guilt and indignation that is proportional to the offence. Should all the wood, and brimstone, and combustible matter on earth be gathered together for the tormenting of one body, yet that cannot yield that torment to that which the sense of guilt and burning-hot application of the indignation of God will do to the soul; yea, suppose the fire wherewith the body is tormented in hell should be seven times hotter than any of our fire; yea, suppose it, again, to be seven times hotter than that which is seven times hotter than ours, yet it must, suppose it to be but created fire, be infinitely short, as to tormenting operations, of the unspeakable wrath of God, when in the heat thereof He applieth it to, and doth punish the soul for sin in hell therewith. So, then, whether the body be tormented with the same fire wherewith the soul is tormented, or whether the fire be of another kind, yet it is not possible that it should bear the same punishment as to degree, because, or for the causes I have showed. Nor, indeed, is it meet it should, because the body has not sinned so, so grievously as the soul has done; and God proportioneth the punishment suitable to the offence.
Answer 4. With the soul by itself are the most quick and suitable apprehensions of God and His wrath; wherefore, that must needs be made partaker of the sorest punishment in hell; it is the soul that now is the most subtle at discerning, and it is the soul that will be so; then conscience, memory, and understanding, and mind; these will be the seat of torment, since the understanding will let wrath immediately upon these, from what it apprehends of that wrath; conscience will let the wrath of God immediately upon these, from what it fearfully feels of that wrath; the memory will then, as a vessel, receive and retain up to the brim of this wrath, even as it receiveth by the understanding and conscience, the cause of this wrath, and considers the durableness of it; so, then, the soul is the seat and the receiver of wrath, even as it was the receiver and seat of sin; here, then, is sin and wrath upon the soul, the soul in the body, and so soul and body tormented in hell fire.
Answer 5. The soul will be most tormented, because strongest; the biggest burden must lie upon the strongest part, especially since, also, it is made capable of it by its sin. The soul must bear its own punishment, and a great part of the body's too, forasmuch as, so far as apprehension goes, the soul will be quicker at the work than the body. True, the body, by the help of the soul, will see too, but the soul will see yet abundantly further. And good reason that the soul should bear part of the punishment of the body, because it was through its allurements that the body yielded to help the soul to sin. The devil presented sin, the soul took it by the body, and now devil, and soul, and body, and all must be lost, cast away; that is, damned in hell for sin; but the soul must be the burden bearer.
Objection. But you say, Doth not this give encouragement to sinners to give way to the body to be in all its members loose, and vain, and wicked, as instruments to sin?
Answer. No; forasmuch as the body shall also have his share in punishment. For though I have said the soul shall have more punishment than the body, yet I have not said, that the body shall at all be eased by that; no, the body will have its due. And for the better making out of my answer further, consider of these following particulars:—
(1.) The body will be the vessel to hold the tormented soul in; this will be something; therefore man, damned man, is called a vessel of wrath, a vessel, and that in both body and soul (Rom 9:22). The soul receiveth wrath unto itself, and the body holdeth that soul that has thus received, and is tormented with, the wrath of God. Now the body being a vessel to hold this soul that is thus possessed with the wrath of God, must needs itself be afflicted and tormented with that torment, because of its union with the body; therefore the Holy Ghost saith, 'His flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn' (Job 14:22). Both shall have their torment and misery, for that both joined hand in hand in sin, the soul to bring it to the birth, and the body to midwife it into the world; therefore it saith again, with reference to the body, 'Let the curse come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.' Let it be unto him as the garment which covereth him, and for a girdle, etc. (Psa 109:17-19). The body, then, will be tormented as well as the soul, by being a vessel to hold that soul that is now possessed and distressed with the unspeakable wrath and indignation of the Almighty God, and this will be a great deal, if you consider,
(2.) That the body, as a body, will, by reason of its union with the soul, be as sensible, and so as capable in its kind, to receive correction and torment as ever, nay, I think more; for if the quickness of the soul giveth quickness of sense to the body, as in some case, at least, I am apt to think it doth, then forasmuch as the soul will now be most quick, most sharp in apprehension, so the body, by reason of union and sympathy with the soul, will be most quick and most sharp as to sense. Indeed, if the body should not receive and retain sense, yea, all its senses, by reason of its being a vessel to hold the soul, the torment of the soul could not as torment, be ministered to the body, no more than the fire tormented the king of Babylon's furnace (Dan 3). Or than the king of Moab's lime kiln was afflicted because the king of Edom's bones were burnt therein. But now the body has received again its senses, now therefore it must, yea, it cannot choose but must feel that wrath of God that is let out, yea, poured out like floods of water into the soul. 27 Remember also, that besides what the body receiveth from the soul by reason of its union and sympathy therewith, there is a punishment, and instruments of punishment, though I will not pretend to tell you exactly what it is, prepared for the body for its joining with the soul in sin, therewith to be punished; a punishment, I say, that shall fall immediately upon the body, and that such an one as will most fitly suit with the nature of the body, as wrath and guilt do most fitly suit the nature of the soul.
(3.) Add to these, the durable condition that the body in this state is now in with the soul. Time was when the soul died, and the body lived, and the soul was tormented while the body slept and rested in the dust; but now these things are past; for at the day of judgment, as I said, these two shall be re-united, and that which once did separate them, be destroyed; then of necessity they must abide together, and, as together, abide the punishment prepared for them; and this will greaten the torment of the body.
Death was once the wages of sin, and a grievous curse; but might the damned meet with it in hell, they would count it a mercy, because it would separate soul and body, and not only so, but take away all sense from the body, and make it incapable of suffering torment; yea, I will add, and by that means give the soul some ease; for without doubt, as the torments of the soul extend themselves to the body, so the torments of the body extend themselves to the soul; nor can it be otherwise, because of union and sympathy. But death, natural death, shall be destroyed, and there shall be no more natural death, no, not in hell (1 Cor 15:26). And now it shall happen to men, as it hath done in less and inferior judgments. They shall seek death, and desire to die, and death shall not be found by them (Job 3:21; Rev 9:6). Thus therefore they must abide together; death that used to separate them asunder is now slain—1. Because it was an enemy in keeping Christ's body in the grave; and, 2. Because a friend to carnal men in that, though it was a punishment in itself, yet while it lasted and had dominion over the body of the wicked, it hindered them of that great and just judgment which for sin was due unto them; and this is the third discovery of the manner and way of punishing of the body. But,
(4.) There will then be such things to be seen and heard, which the eye and the ear—to say no more than has been said of the sense of feeling—will see and hear, that will greatly aggravate the punishment of the body in hell; for though the eye is the window, and the ear a door for the soul to look out at, and also to receive in by, yet whatever goeth in at the ear or the eye leaves influence upon the body, whether it be that which the soul delighteth in, or that which the soul abhorreth; for as the eye affecteth the heart, or soul (Lam 3:51) so the eye and ear, by hearing and beholding, doth ofttimes afflict the body. 'When I heard, my belly trembled—rottenness entered into my bones.' (Hab 3:16).
Now, I say, as the body after its resurrection, to damnation, to everlasting shame and contempt (Dan 12:2; John 5:29) will receive all its senses again, so it will have matter to exercise them upon, not only to the letting into the soul those aggravations which they by hearing, feeling, and seeing are capable to let in thither, but, I say, they will have matter and things to exercise themselves upon for the helping forward of the torment of the body. Under temporal judgments of old, the body as well as the soul had no ease, day or night, and that not only by reason of what was felt, but by reason of what was heard and seen. 'In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! And at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning!' (Deu 28:67). 1. 'For the fear of thine heart, wherewith thou shalt fear;' 2. 'And for the sight of thine eyes, which thou shalt see.' Nay, He tells them a little before, that they should be mad for the sight of their eyes which they should see (verse 34).
See! why, what shall they see? Why, themselves in hell, with others like them; and this will be a torment to their body. There is bodily torment, as I said, ministered to the body by the senses of the body. What think you? If a man saw himself in prison, in irons, upon the ladder, with the rope about his neck, would not this be distress to the body, as well as to the mind? To the body, doubtless. Witness the heavy looks, the shaking legs, trembling knees, pale face, and beating and aching heart; 28 how much more, then, when men shall see themselves in the most dreadful place; it is a fearful place, doubtless, to all to behold themselves in that shall come thither (Luke 16:28).
Again; they shall see others there, and shall by them see themselves. There is an art by which a man may make his neighbour look so ghastly, that he shall fright himself by looking on him, especially when he thinks of himself, that he is of the same show also. It is said concerning men at the downfall of Babylon, that they shall be amazed one at another, for 'their faces shall be as flames' (Isa 13:8). And what if one should say, that even as it is with a house set on fire within, where the flame ascends out at the chimneys, out at the windows, and the smoke out at every chink and crevice that it can find, so it will be with the damned in hell. That soul will breathe hell fire and smoke, and coals will seem to hang upon its burning lips; yea, the face, eyes, and ears will seem all to be chimneys and vents for the flame and smoke of the burning which God by His breath hath kindled therein, and upon them, which will be beheld one in another, to the great torment and distress of each other.
What shall I say? Here will be seen devils, and here will be heard howlings and mournings; here will the soul see itself at an infinite distance from God; yea, the body will see it too. In a word, who knows the power of God's wrath, the weight of sin, the torments of hell, and the length of eternity? If none, then none can tell, when they have said what they can, the intolerableness of the torments that will swallow up the soul, the lost soul, when it is cast away by God, and from Him, into outer darkness for sin. But this much for the cause of the loss of the soul.
I now come to the second doctrine that I gathered from the words—namely, that how unconcerned and careless soever some now be about the loss or salvation of their souls, the day is coming, but it will then be too late, when men will be willing, had they never so much, to give it all in exchange for their souls. There are four things in the words that do prove this doctrine.
1. There is an intimation of life and sense in the man that has lost, and that after he has lost, his soul in hell—'Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' These words are by no means applicable to the man that has no life or sense; for he that is dead according to our common acceptation of death, that is, deprived of life and sense, would not give twopence to change his state; therefore the words do intimate that the man is yet alive and sensible. Now were a man alive and sensible, though he was in none other place than the grave, there to be confined, while others are at liberty, what would he give in exchange for his place, and to be rid of that for a better! but how much more to be delivered from hell, the present place and state of his soul!
2. There is in the text an intimation of a sense of torment 'Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' I am tormented in this flame. Torment, then, the soul is sensible of, and that there is a place of ease and peace. And from the sense and feeling of torment, he would give, yea, what would he not give, in exchange for his soul?
3. There is in the text an intimation of the intolerableness of the torment, because that it supposeth that the man whose soul is swallowed up therewith would give all, were his all never so great, in exchange for his soul.
4. There is yet in the text an intimation that the soul is sensible of the lastingness of the punishment, or else the question rather argues a man unwary than considerate in his offering, as is supposed by Christ, so largely, his all in exchange for his soul.
But we will, in this manner, proceed no further, but take it for granted that the doctrine is good; wherefore I shall next inquire after what is contained in this truth. And,
FIRST, That God has undertaken, and will accomplish, the breaking of the spirits of all the world, either by His grace and mercy to salvation, or by His justice and severity to damnation. The damned soul under consideration is certainly supposed, as by the doctrine, so by the text, to be utterly careless, and without regard of salvation, so long as the acceptable time did last, and as the white flag, that signifies terms of peace, did hang out; and, therefore, it is said to be lost; but, behold, now it is careful, but now it is solicitous, but now, 'what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' He of whom you read in the gospel, that could tend to do nothing in the days of the gospel but to find out how to be clothed in purple and fine linen, and to fare sumptuously every day, was by God brought so down, and laid so low at last, that he could crouch, and cringe, and beg for one small drop of water to cool his tongue—a thing, that but a little before he would have thought scorn to have done, when he also thought scorn to stoop to the grace and mercy of the gospel (Luke 16:19,24). But God was resolved to break his spirit, and the pride of his heart, and to humble his lofty looks, if not by His mercy, yet by His justice; if not by His grace, yet by hell fire.
This he also threatens to bring upon the fool in the Proverbs—'They shall call, they shall seek, they shall cry' (Prov 1:22-32). Who shall do so? The answer is, They that sometimes scorned either to seek, or call, or cry; they that stopped their ears, that pulled away their shoulders, and that refused to seek, or call, or cry to God for mercy (Zech 7:11-13).
Sinner, careless sinner, didst thou take notice of this first inference that I have drawn from my second doctrine? If thou didst, yet read it again: it is this, 'God has undertaken, and will accomplish, the breaking of the spirits of all the world, either by His grace and mercy unto salvation, or by His justice and severity to damnation.' The reason for this is this: God is resolved to have the mastery, He is resolved to have the victory. 'Who would set the briers and thorns against Me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together' (Isa 27:4). I will march against them. God is merciful, and is come forth into the world by His Son, tendering of grace unto sinners by the gospel, and would willingly make a conquest over them for their good by His mercy. Now He being come out, sinners like briars and thorns do set themselves against Him, and will have none of His mercy. Well, but what says God? Saith He, Then I will march on, I will go through them, and burn them together. I am resolved to have the mastery one way or another; if they will not bend to Me, and accept of My mercy in the gospel, I will bend them and break them by My justice in hell fire. They say they will not bend; I say they shall; now they 'shall know whose words shall stand, Mine or theirs.' (Jer 44:25-28). Wherefore the apostle, when he saw that some of the Corinthians began to be unruly, and to do those things that did begin to hazard them, saith, 'Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than He?' (1 Cor 5:22). As who should say, My brethren, are you aware what you do? do you not understand that God is resolved to have the mastery one way or another? and are you stronger than He? if not, tremble before Him, or He will certainly have you under His feet—'I will tread them in Mine anger, and trample them in My fury' (Isa 63:3). Thus He speaks of them that set themselves against Him; therefore beware. Now the reason of this resolution of God, it flows from a determination in Him to make all His sayings good, and to verify them on the consciences of sinners. And since the incredulous world will not believe now, and fly from wrath, they shall shortly believe and cry under it; since they will not now credit the Word, before they see, unto salvation, they shall be made to credit it by sense and feeling unto damnation.
SECOND, The second inference that I draw from my second doctrine is this: 'That it is, and will be the lot of some to bow and break before God, too late, or when it is too late.' God is resolved, as I said. to have the mastery, and that not only in a way of dominion and lordship in general, for that He has now, but He is resolved to master, that is, to break the spirit of the world, to make all men cringe and crouch unto Him, even those that now say, 'There is no God,' (Psa 14:1); or if there be, yet, 'What is the Almighty, that we should serve Him?' (Job 21:15; Mal 3:14).
This is little thought of by those that now harden their hearts in wickedness, and that turn their spirit against God; but this they shall think of, this they must think of, this God will make them think of in that day, at which day they also now do mock and deride, that the Scripture might be fulfilled upon them (2 Peter 3:3,4). And, I say, they shall think then of those things, and break at heart, and melt under the hand, and power, and majesty of the Almighty; for, 'As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me; and every tongue shall confess to God' (Isa 45:23; Rom 14:11). And again, 'The nations shall see, and be confounded at all their might; they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf. They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms,' or creeping things, 'of the earth; they shall be afraid of the Lord our God, and shall fear because of Thee' (Micah 7:16,17).
For then they, will they nill they, shall have to do with God, though not with Him as merciful, or as one that may be intreated; yet with Him all just, and as devouring fire (Heb 7:29). Yea, they shall see that face, and hear that voice, from whom and from which the heavens and the earth will fly away, and find no place of stay. And by this appearance, and by such words of His mouth as He then will speak to them, they shall begin to tremble, and call for the rocks to fall upon them and cover them; for if these things will happen at the execution of inferior judgments, what will be done, what effects will the last, most dreadful, and eternal judgment, have upon men's souls?
Hence you find, that at the very first appearance of Jesus Christ, the whole world begins to mourn and lament—'Every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him' (Rev 1:7). And, therefore, you also find them to stand at the door and knock, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open unto us' (Luke 14:25; Matt 25:11). Moreover, you find them also desiring, yea, also so humble in their desires as to be content with the least degree of mercy—one drop, one drop upon the tip of one's finger. What stooping, what condescension, what humility is here! All, and every one of those passages declare, that the hand of God is upon them, and that the Almighty has got the mastery of them, has conquered them, broke the pride of their power, and laid them low, and made them cringe and crouch unto him, bending the knee, and craving of kindness. Thus, then, will God bow, and bend, and break them; yea, make them bow, and bend, and break before Him. And hence also it is they will weep, and mourn, and gnash their teeth, and cry, and repent that ever they have been so foolish, so wicked, so traitorous to their souls, such enemies of their own eternal happiness, as to stand out in the day of their visitation in a way of rebellion against the Lord.
But here is their hard hap, their dismal lot and portion, that all these things must be when it is too late. It is, and will be, the lot and hap of these to bow, bend, and break too late (Matt 25). You read they come weeping and mourning, and with tears; they knock and they cry for mercy; but what did tears avail? Why, nothing; for the door was shut. He answered and said, 'I know not whence you are.' But they repeat and renew their suit, saying, 'We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets.' What now? Why, He returns upon them His first answer the second time, saying, 'I know not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity;' then He concludes, 'There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out' (Luke 13:26,28). They come weeping, and go weeping away. They come to Him weeping, for they saw that He had conquered them; but they departed weeping, for they saw that He would damn them; yet, as we read in another place, they were very loath to go from Him, by their reasoning and expostulating with Him—'Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee?' But all would not do; here is no place for change of mind—'These shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal' (Matt 25:44-46). And now what would a man give in exchange for his soul? So that, as I said before, all is too late; they mourn too late, they repent too late, they pray too late, and seek to make an exchange for their soul too late. 'Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?'
Two or three things there may yet be gathered from these words; I mean, as to the desires of them that have lost their souls, to make for them an exchange; 'What shall a man give in exchange?'—what shall, what would, yea, what would not a man, if he had it, give in exchange for his soul?
First, What would not a man—I mean, a man that is in the condition that is by the text supposed some men are and will be in—give in exchange to have another man's virtue instead of their own vices? 'Let me die the death of the righteous;' let my soul be in the state of the soul of the righteous—that is, in reference to his virtues, when I die, 'and let my last end be like his' (Num 23:10). It is a sport now to some to taunt, and squib, and deride at other men's virtues; but the day is coming when their minds will be changed, and when they shall be made to count those that have done those righteous actions and duties which they have scoffed at, the only blessed men; yea, they shall wish their soul in the blessed possession of those graces and virtues, that those whom they hated were accompanied with, and would, if they had it, give a whole world for this change; but it will not now do, it is now too late. What then shall a man give in exchange for his soul? And this is more than intimated in that 25th of Matthew, named before: for you find by that text how loath they were, or will be, to be counted for unrighteous people—'Lord,' say they, 'when did we see thee an hungred, or athirst, naked, or sick, and did not minister unto thee?' Now they are not willing to be of the number of the wicked, though hereto-fore the ways of the righteous were an abomination to them. But, alas! they are before a just God, a just Judge, a Judge that will give every one according to their ways; therefore, 'Woe unto (the soul of) the wicked now, it shall be ill with him, for the reward of his hands shall be given him' (Isa 3:11). Thus, therefore, he is locked up as to this; he cannot now change his vice for virtues, nor put himself nor his soul in the stead of the soul of the saved; so that it still, and will, for ever abide a question unresolved,' Or, what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' I do not doubt but that a man's state may be such in this world, that if he had it he would give thousands of gold to be as innocent and guiltless in the judgment of the law of the land as is the state of such or such, heartily wishing that himself was not that he, that he is; how much more then will men wish thus when they stand ready to receive the last, their eternal judgment. 'But what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?'
Second, As they would, for the salvation of their souls, be glad to change away their vices for the virtues, their sins for the good deeds of others; so what would they not give to change places now, or to remove from where now they are, into paradise, into Abraham's bosom! But neither shall this be admitted; the righteous must have their inheritance to themselves—' Neither,' said Abraham, 'can they pass to us, that would come from thence,' (Luke 16:26); neither can they dwell in heaven that would come from hell.