Acacia John Bunyan - Online Library
T H E
First Preached at Pinners Hall
Enlarged and Published for Good.
By J O H N.B U N Y A N.
L O N D O N,
Printed for Benjamin Alsop,
at the Angel and Bible in the Poultry, 1682.
Faithfully reprinted from the Author's First Edition.
Written six years before John Bunyan's death.
ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR.
Our curiosity is naturally excited to discover what a poor, unlettered mechanic,whose book-learning had been limited to the contents of one volume, could by possibilityknow upon a subject so abstruse, so profound, and so highly metaphysical, as thatof the Soul, it's greatness and the inconceivableness of it's loss. Heathen philosophers,at the head of whose formidable array stand Plato and Aristotle, had exhausted theirwit, and had not made the world a whit the wiser by all their lucubrations. The fathersplunged into the subject, and increased the confusion; we are confounded with theirsubtle distinctions, definitions, and inquiries; such as that attributed to St. Aquinas,How many disembodied spirits could dance upon the point of a fine needle withoutjostling each other? Learned divines had puzzled themselves and their hearers withsuppositions and abstract principles. What, then, could a travelling brasier, ortinker, have discovered to excite the attention of the Christian world, and to becomea teacher to philosophers, fathers, and learned divines? Bunyan found no access tothe polluted streams of a vain philosophy; he went at once to the fountain-head;and, in the pure light of Revelation, displays the human soul infinitely great invalue, although in a fallen state. He portrays it as drawn by the unerring hand ofit's Maker. He sets forth, by the glass of God's Word, the inconceivableness of it'svalue, while progressing through time; and, aided by the same wondrous glass, hepenetrates the eternal world, unveils the joys of heaven and the torments of hellso far as they are revealed by the Holy Ghost, and are conceivable to human powers.While he thus leads us to some kind of estimate of it's worth, he, from the samesource the only source from whence such knowledge can be derived, makes known thecauses of the loss of the soul, and leads his trembling readers to the only nameunder heaven given among men, whereby they can be saved. In attempting to conceivethe greatness and value of the soul, the importance of the body is too often overlooked.The body, it is true, is of the earth; the soul is the breath of God. The body isthe habitation; the soul is the inhabitant.
The body returns to the dust; while the soul enters into the intermediate state,waiting to be reunited to the body after it's new creation, when death shall be swallowedup of life. In these views, the soul appears to be vastly superior to the body. Butlet it never be forgotten, that, as in this life, so it will be in the everlastingstate; the body and soul are so intimately connected as to become one being, capableof exquisite happiness, or existing in the pangs of everlasting death. He who feltand wrote as Bunyan does in this solemn treatise, and whose tongue was as the penof a ready writer, must have been wise and successful in winning souls to Christ.He felt their infinite value, he knew their strong and their weak points, their richesand poverty. He was intimate with every street and lane in the town of Man-soul,and how and where the subtle Diabolians shifted about to hide themselves in the walls,and holes, and corners. He sounds the alarm, and plants his engines against the eyeas the window, and the ear as the door, for the soul to look out at, and to receivein by. He detects the wicked in speaking with his feet, and teaching with his fingers.His illustration of the punishment of a sinner, as set forth by the sufferings ofthe Saviour, is peculiarly striking. The attempt to describe the torments of thosewho suffer under the awful curse, Go ye wicked, is awfully and intensely vivid.
Bunyan most earnestly exhorts the distressed sinner to go direct to the great Shepherdand Bishop of souls, and not to place confidence in those who pretend to be his ministers;but who are false shepherds, in so many ugly guises, and under so many false andscandalous dresses; take heed of that shepherd that careth not for his own soul,that walketh in ways, and doth such things, as have a direct tendency to damn hisown soul; come not near him. He that feeds his own soul with ashes, will scarce feedthee with the bread of life. Choose Christ to be thy chief Shepherd, sit at his feet,and learn of him and he will direct thee to such as shall feed thy soul with knowledgeand understanding.
Reader, let me no longer keep thee upon the threshold but enter upon this importanttreatise with earnest prayer; and may the blessed Spirit enable us to live undera sense of the greatness of the soul, the unspeakableness of the loss thereof, thecauses of losing it, and the only way in which it's salvation can he found.
Hackney, April 1850
THE GREATNESS OF THE SOUL,
AND UNSPEAKABLENESS OF
THE LOSS THEREOF
OR WHAT SHALL A MAN GIVE IN
EXCHANGE FOR HIS SOUL? MARK 8:37.
I HAVE chosen at this time to handle these words among you, and that for severalreasons:
l. Because the soul, and the salvation of it, are such great, such wonderful greatthings; nothing is a matter of that concern as is, and should be, the soul of eachone of you. House and land, trades and honours, places and preferments, what arethey to salvation? to the salvation of the soul?
2. Because I perceive that this so great a thing, and about which persons shouldbe so much concerned, is neglected to amazement, and that by the most of men; yea,who is there of the many thousands that sit daily under the sound of the gospel thatare concerned, heartily concerned, about the salvation of their souls?that is, concerned,I say, as the nature of the thing requireth. If ever a lamentation was fit to betaken up in this age about, for, or concerning anything, it is about, for, and concerningthe horrid neglect that everywhere puts forth itself with reference to salvation.Where is one man in a thousand, yea, where is there two of ten thousand that do showby their conversation, public and private, that the soul, their own souls, are consideredby them, and that they are taking that care for the salvation of them as becomesthem, to wit, as the weight of the work, and the nature of salvation requireth?
3. I have therefore pitched upon this text at this time; to see, if peradventurethe discourse which God shall help me to make upon it, will awaken you, rouse youoff your beds of ease, security, and pleasure, and fetch you down upon your kneesbefore Him, to beg of Him grace to be concerned about the salvation of your souls.And then, in the last place, I have taken upon me to do this, that I may deliver,if not you, yet myself, and that I may be clear of your blood, and stand quit, asto you, before God, when you shall, for neglect, be damned, and wail to considerthat you have lost your souls. When I say, saith God, unto the wicked, Thou shaltsurely die; and thou, the prophet or preacher, givest him not warning, nor speakestto warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shalldie in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warnthe wicked, and he turn not front his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shalldie in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul (Eze 3:18, 19).
Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
In my handling of these words, I shall first speak to the occasion of them, and thento the words themselves.
The occasion of the words was, for that the people that now were auditors to theLord Jesus, and that followed him, did it without that consideration as becomes sogreat a work that is, the generality of them that followed Him were not for consideringfirst with themselves, what it was to profess Christ, and what that profession mightcost them.
And when he had called the people unto him , the great multitude that went with him(Luke14:25) with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come afterme, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Mark 8:34). Let himfirst sit down and count up the cost, and the charge he is like to be at, if he followsme. For following of me is not like following of some other masters. The wind sitsalways on my face, and the foaming rage of the sea of this world, and the proud andlofty waves thereof, do continually beat upon the sides of the bark of the ship thatmyself, my cause, and my followers are in; he therefore that will not run hazards,and that is afraid to venture a drowning, let him not set foot into this vessel.So whosever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, he cannot be my disciple.For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first and counteththe cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it (Luke 14:27-29).
True, to reason, this kind of language tends to cast water upon weak and beginningdesires, but to faith, it makes the things set before us, and the greatness, andthe glory of them, more apparently excellent and desirable. Reason will say, Thenwho will profess Christ that hath such coarse entertainment at the beginning? butfaith will say, Then surely the things that are at the end of a Christians race inthis world must needs be unspeakably glorious; since whoever hath had but the knowledgeand due consideration of them, have not stuck to run hazards, hazards of every kind,that they might embrace and enjoy them. Yea, saith faith, it must needs be so, sincethe Son himself, that best knew what they were, even, for the joy that was set beforeHim endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand ofthe throne of God (Heb 12:2).
But, I say, there is not in every man this knowledge of things and so by consequencenot such consideration as can make the cross and self-denial acceptable to them forthe sake of Christ, and of the things that are where He now sitteth at the righthand of God (Col 3:2-4). Therefore our Lord Jesus doth even at the beginning giveto His followers this instruction. And lest any of them should take distaste at Hissaying, He presenteth them with the consideration of three things together, namely,the cross, the loss of life, and the soul; and then reasoneth with them from thesame, saying, Here is the cross, the life, and the soul.
1. The cross, and that you must take up, if you will follow Me.
2. The life, and that you may save for a time, if you cast Me off.
3. And the soul, which will everlastingly perish if you come not to Me, and abidenot with Me.
Now consider what is best to be done. Will you take up the cross, come after Me,and so preserve your souls from perishing? or will you shun the cross to save yourlives, and so run the danger of eternal damnation? Or, as you have it in John, willyou love your life till you lose it? or will you hate your life, and save it? Hethat loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shallkeep it unto life eternal (John 12:25). As who should say, He that loveth a temporallife, he that so loveth it, as to shun the profession of Christ to save it, shalllose it upon a worse account, than if he had lost it for Christ and the gospel; buthe that will set light by it, for the love that he hath to Christ, shall keep itunto life eternal.
Christ having thus discoursed with His followers about their denying of themselves,their taking up their cross and following of Him, doth, in the next place, put thequestion to them, and so leaveth it upon them for ever, saying, For what shall itprofit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36).As who should say, I have bid you take heed that you do not lightly, and withoutdue consideration, enter into a profession of Me and of My gospel; for he that withoutdue consideration shall begin to profess Christ, will also without it forsake Him,turn from Him, and cast Him behind his back; and since I have even at the beginning,laid the consideration of the cross before you, it is because you should not be surprisedand overtaken by it unawares, and because you should know that to draw back fromMe after you have laid your hand to My plough, will make you unfit for the kingdomof heaven (Luke 9:62).
Now, since this is so, there is no less lies at stake than salvation, and salvationis worth all the world, yea, worth ten thousand worlds, if there should be so many.And since this is so also, it will be your wisdom to begin to profess the gospelwith expectation of the cross and tribulation, for to that are my gospellers inthis world appointed (James 1:12; 1 Thess 3:3). And if you begin thus, and hold it,the kingdom and crown shall be yours; for as God counteth it a righteous thing torecompense tribulation to them that trouble you, so to you who are troubled and endureit (for we count them happy, says James, that endure, (James 5:11), rest with saints,when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flamingfire, to take vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel,etc. (2 Thess 1:7, 8). And if no less lies at stake than salvation, then is a manssoul and his all at the stake; and if it be so, what will it profit a man if, byforsaking of Me, he should get the whole world? For what shall it profit a man, ifhe shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Having thus laid the soul in one balance, and the world in the other, and affirmedthat the soul out-bids the whole world, and is incomparably for value and worth beyondit; in the next place, he descends to a second question, which is that I have chosenat this time for my text, saying, Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
In these words, we have first a supposition, and such an one as standeth upon a doublebottom. The supposition is this. That the soul is capable of being lost; or thus'tis possible for a man to lose his soul. The double bottom that this suppositionis grounded upon is, first, a mans ignorance of the worth of his soul, and of thedanger that it is in; and the second is, for that men commonly do set a higher priceupon present ease and enjoyments than they do upon eternal salvation. The last ofthese doth naturally follow upon the first; for if men be ignorant of the value andworth of their souls, as by Christ in the verse before is implied, what should hinderbut that men should set a higher esteem upon that with which their carnal desiresare taken, than upon that about which they are not concerned, and of which they knownot the worth.
But again, as this by the text is clearly supposed, so to here is also somethingimplied; namely, that it is impossible to possess some men with the worth of theirsouls until they are utterly and everlastingly lost. What shall a man give in exchangefor his soul? That is, men when their souls are lost, and shut down under the hatchesin the pits and hells in endless perdition and destruction, then they will see theworth of their souls, then they will consider what they have lost, and truly nottill then. This is plain, not only to sense, but by the natural scope of the words,What shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Or what would not those that arenow for sin, made to see themselves lost, by the light of hell fire for some willnever be convinced that they are lost till, with rich Dives, they see it in the lightof hell flames (Luke 16:22, 23). I say, what would not such, if they had it, givein exchange for their immortal souls, or to recover them again from that place andtorment?
I shall observe two truths in the words.
The first is, That the loss of the soul is the highest, the greatest loss, a lossthat can never be repaired or made up. What shall a man give in exchange for hissoul?that is, to recover or redeem his lost soul to liberty?
The second truth is this, That how unconcerned and careless so ever some now be,about the loss or salvation of their souls, yet the day is coming; but it will thenbe too late, when men will be willing, had they never so much, to give it all inexchange for their souls. For so the question implies what will a man give in exchangefor his soul? What would he not give? What would he not part with at that day, theday in which he will see himself damned, if he had it, in exchange for his soul?
The first observation, or truth, drawn from the words is cleared by the text, Whatshall a man give in exchange for his soul?that is, there is not anything, nor allthe things under heaven, were they all in one mans hand, and all at his disposal,that would go in exchange for the soul, that would be of value to fetch back onelost soul, or that would certainly recover it from the confines of hell. The redemptionof their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever (Psa 49:8). And what saith thewords before the text but the same. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gainthe whole world, and lose his own soul? What shall profit a man that has lost hissoul? Nothing at all, though he hath by that loss gained the whole world; for allthe world is not worth a soul, not worth a soul in the eye of God and judgment ofthe law. And it is from this consideration that good Elihu cautioneth Job to takeheed, Because there is wrath, saith he, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke:then a great ransom cannot deliver thee. Will He esteem thy riches? no, not gold,nor all the forces of strength (Job 36:18,19). Riches and power, what is there morein the world? for money answereth all things that is, all but soul concerns. It canneither be a price for souls while here, nor can that, with all the forces of strength,recover one out of hell fire.
So then, the first truth drawn from the words stands firm namely,
That the loss of the soul is the highest, the greatest loss; a loss that can neverbe repaired or made up.
In my discourse upon this subject, I shall observe this method:
FIRST, I shall show you what the soul is.
SECOND, I shall show you the greatness of it.
THIRD, I shall show you what it is to lose the soul.
FOURTH, I shall show you the cause for which men lose their souls; and by this timethe greatness of the loss will be manifest.
[WHAT THE SOUL IS.]
FIRST, I shall show you what the soul is, both as to the various names it goes under,as also, by describing of it by it's powers and properties, though in all I shallbe but brief, for I intend no long discourse.
[Names of the Soul .]
1. The soul is often called the heart of man, or that, in and by which things toeither good or evil, have their rise; thus desires are of the heart or soul; yea,before desires, the first conception of good or evil is in the soul, the heart. Theheart understands, wills, affects, reasons, judges, but these are the faculties ofthe soul; wherefore, heart and soul are often taken for one and the same. My son,give me thine heart (Prov 23:26). Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, etc. (Matt15:19; 1 Peter 3:15; Psa 26:2).
2. The soul of man is often called the spirit of a man; because it not only givethbeing, but life to all things and actions in and done by him. Hence soul and spiritare put together, as to the same notion. With my soul have I desired thee in thenight; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early (Isa 26:9). When he saith,Yea, with my spirit - will I seek thee, he explaineth not only with what kind ofdesires he desired God, but with what principal matter his desires were brought forth.It was with my soul, saith he; to wit, with my spirit within me. So that of Mary,My soul, saith she, doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God mySaviour (Luke 1:46,47). Not that soul and spirit are, in this place, to be takenfor two superior powers in man; but the same great soul is here put under two names,or terms, to show that it was the principal part in Mary; to wit, her soul, thatmagnified God, even that part that could spirit and put life into her
whole self to do it. Indeed, sometimes spirit is not taken so largely, but is confinedto some one power or faculty of the soul, as the spirit of my understanding, (Job20:3) and be renewed in the spirit of your mind. And sometime by spirit we are tounderstand other things; but many times by spirit we must understand the soul, andalso by soul the spirit.
3. Therefore, by soul we understand the spiritual, the best, and most noble partof man, as distinct from the body, even that by which we understand, imagine, reason,and discourse. And, indeed, as I shall further show you presently, the body is buta poor, empty vessel, without this great thing called the soul. The body withoutthe spirit, or soul, is dead (James 2:26). Or nothing but (her soul departed fromher, for she died). It is, therefore, the chief and most noble part of man.
4. The soul is often called the life of man, not a life of the same stamp and natureof the brute; for the life of man that is, of the rational creature is, that, ashe is such, wherein consisteth and abideth the understanding and conscience etc.Wherefore, then, a man dieth, or the body ceaseth to act, or live in the exerciseof the thoughts, which formerly used to be in him, when the soul departeth, as Ihinted even now, her soul departed from her, for she died; and, as another good mansaith, in that very day his thoughts perish, etc. (Psa 146:4). The first text ismore emphatical; Her soul was in departing (for she died). There is the soul of abeast, a bird, etc., but the soul of a man is another thing; it is his understanding,and reason, and conscience, etc. And this soul, when it departs, he dies. Nor isthis life, when gone out of the body, annihilate, as is the life of a beast; no,this, in itself, is immortal, and has yet a place and being when gone out of thebody it dwelt in; yea, as quick, as lively is it in it's senses, if not far moreabundant, than when it was in the body; but I call it the life, because so long asthat remains in the body, the body is not dead. And in this sense it is to be takenwhere he saith He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it unto life eternal;and this is the soul that is intended in the text, and not the breath, as in someother places is meant. And this is evident, because the man has a being, a sensiblebeing, after he has lost the soul. I mean not by the man a man in this world, noryet in the body, or in the grave; but by man we must understand, either the soulin hell, or body and soul there, after the judgment is over. And for this the text,also, is plain, for therein we are presented with a man sensible of the damage thathe has sustained by losing of his soul. What shall a man give in exchange for hissoul? But,
5. The whole man goeth under this denomination; man, consisting of body and soul,is yet called by that part of himself that is most chief and principal. Let everysoul, that is, let every man, be subject unto the higher powers (Rom 13:1). Thensent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him , and all his kindred, three-scoreand fifteen souls (Acts 7:14). By both these, and several other places, the wholeman is meant, and is also so to be taken in the text; for whereas here he saith,What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?It is said elsewhere, For what is a man advantaged if he gain the whole world, andlose himself? (Luke 9:25) and so, consequently, or, What shall a man give in exchange(for himself) for his soul? His soul when he dies, and body and soul in and afterjudgment.
6. The soul is called the good mans darling. Deliver, Lord, saith David, my soulfrom the sword; my darling from the power of the dog (Psa 22:20). So, again, in anotherplace, he saith, Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions,my darling from the [power of the] lions (Psa 35:17). My darling, this sentence mustnot be applied universally, but only to those in whose eyes their souls, and theredemption thereof, is precious. My darling, most men do, by their actions, say oftheir soul, my drudge, my slave; nay, thou slave to the devil and sin; for what sin,what lust, what sensual and beastly lust is there in the world that some do not causetheir souls to bow before and yield unto? But David, here, as you see, calls it hisdarling, or his choice and most excellent thing; for, indeed, the soul is a choicething in itself, and should, were all wise, be every mans darling, or chief treasure.And that it might be so with us, therefore, our Lord Jesus hath thus expressed theworth of the soul, saying, What shall a man give in exchange for his soul? But ifthis is true, one may see already what misery he is like to sustain that has, orshall lose his soul; he has lost his heart, his spirit, his best part, his life,his darling, himself, his whole self, and so, in every sense, his all. And now, whatshall a man, what would a man, but what can a man that has lost his soul, himself,and his all, give in exchange for his soul? Yea, what shall the man that has sustainedthis loss do to recover all again, since this man, or the man put under this question,must needs be a man that is gone from hence, a man that is cast in the judgment,and one that is gone down the throat of hell?
But to pass this, and to proceed.
[Powers and Properties of the Soul .]
I come next to describe the soul unto you by such things as it is set out by in theHoly Scriptures, and they are, in general, three. First , The powers of the soul.Second , The senses, the spiritual senses of the soul. Third , The passions of thesoul.
Of the powers of the soul.
First , We will discourse of the powers, I may call them the members of the soul;for, as the members of the body, being many, do all go to the making up of the body,so these do go to the completing of the soul.
1. There is the understanding, which may be termed the head; because in that is placedthe eye of the soul; and this is that which, or by which the soul, discerning thingsthat are presented to it, and that either by God or Satan; this is that by whicha man conceiveth and apprehendeth things so deep and great that cannot, by mouth,or tongue, or pen, be expressed.
2. There is, also, belonging to the soul, the conscience, in which I may say, isplaced the Seat of Judgment; for, as by the understanding things are let into thesoul, so by the conscience the evil or good of such things are tried; especiallywhen in the
3. Third place, there is the judgment, which is another part of this noble creature,has passed, by the light of the understanding, his verdict upon what is let intothe soul.
4. There is, also, the fancy or imagination, another part of this great thing, thesoul: and a most curious thing this fancy is; it is that which presenteth to theman the idea, form, or figure of that, or any of those things, wherewith a man iseither frighted or taken, pleased or displeased. And,
5. The mind, another part of the soul, is that unto which this fancy presenteth it'sthings to be considered of; because without the mind nothing is entertained in thesoul.
6. There is the memory too, another part of the soul; and that may be called theregister of the soul; for it is the memory that receiveth and keepeth in remembrancewhat has passed, or has been done by the man, or attempted to be done unto him; andin this part of the soul, or from it, will be fed the worm that dieth not, when menare cast into hell; also, from this memory will flow that peace at the day of judgmentthat saints shall have in their service for Christ in the world.
7. There are the affections too, which are, as I may call them, the hands and armsof the soul; for they are they that take hold of, receive, and embrace what is likedby the soul, and it is a hard thing to make the soul of a man cast from it what it'saffections cleave to and have embraced. Hence the affections are called for, whenthe apostle bids men seek the things above; set your affections upon them, saithhe (Col 3), or, as you have it in another place, Lay hold of them; for the affectionsare as hands to the soul, and they by which it fasteneth upon things.
8. There is the will, which may be called the foot of the soul, because by that thesoul, yea, the whole man, is carried hither and thither, or else held back and keptfrom moving.
These are the golden things of the soul, though, in carnal men, they are every oneof them made use of in the service of sin and Satan. For the unbelieving are throughoutimpure, as is manifest, because their mind and conscience (two of the masterpiecesof the soul) is defiled (Titus 1:15). For if the most potent parts of the soul areengaged in their service, what, think you, do the more inferior do? But, I say, soit is the more is the pity; nor can any help it. This work ceaseth for ever, unlessthe great God, who is over all, and that can save souls, shall himself take uponhim to sanctify the soul, and to recover it, and persuade it to fall in love withanother master.
But, I say, what is man without this soul, or wherein lieth this preeminence overa beast? (Eccl 3:19-21). Nowhere that I know of; for both, as to mans body, go toone place, only the spirit or soul of a man goes upward to wit, to God that gaveit, to be by Him disposed of with respect to things to come, as they have been, andhave done in this life, But,
Of the senses of the soul.
Second , I come, in the next place, to describe the soul by it's senses, it's spiritualsenses , for so I call them; for as the body hath senses pertaining to it, and asit can see, hear, smell, feel, and taste, so can the soul; I call, therefore, thesethe senses of the soul, in opposition to the senses of the body, and because thesoul is the seat of all spiritual sense, where supernatural things are known andenjoyed; not that the soul of a natural man is spiritual in the apostles sense, forso none are, but those that are born from above (1 Cor 3:1-3) nor they so alwaysneither. But to go forward.
1. Can the body see? hath it eyes? so hath the soul. The eyes of your understandingbeing enlightened (Eph 1:18). As, then, the body can see beasts, trees, men, andall visible things, so the soul can see God, Christ, angels, heaven, devils, hell,and other things that are invisible; nor is this property only peculiar to the soulsthat are illuminate by the Holy Ghost, for the most carnal soul in the world shallhave a time to see these things, but not to it's comfort, but not to it's joy , butto it's endless woe and misery, it dying in that condition. Wherefore, sinner, saynot thou, I shall not see Him; for judgment is before Him, and He will make theesee Him (Job 35:14).
2. Can the body hear? hath it ears? so hath the soul (Job 4:12,13). It is the soul,not the body, that hears the language of things invisible. It is the soul that hearsGod when He speaks in and by His Word and Spirit; and it is the soul that hears thedevil when he speaks by his illusions and temptations. True, there is such an unionbetween the soul and the body, that oft times, if not always, that which is heardby the ears of the body doth influence the soul, and that which is heard by the souldoth also influence the body; but yet as to the organ of hearing, the body hath oneof it's own, distinct from that of the soul, and the soul can hear and regard eventhen, when the body doth not nor cannot; as in time of sleep, deep sleep and trances,when the body lieth by as a thing that is useless. For God speaketh once, yea twice,yet man , (as to his body) perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night,when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; then he openeth theears of men, and sealeth their instruction, etc. (Job 33:14-16). This must be meantof the ears of the soul, not of the body; for that at this time is said to be indeep sleep; moreover this hearing, it is a hearing of dreams, and the visions ofthe night. Jeremiah also tells us that he had the rare and blessed visions of Godin his sleep (Jer 21:26). And so doth Daniel too, by the which they were greatlycomforted and refreshed; but that could not be, was not the soul also capable ofhearing. I heard the voice of His words, said Daniel, and when I heard the voiceof His words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground(Dan 10:8,9).
3. As the soul can see and hear, so it can taste and relish, even as really as doththe palate belonging to the body. But then the things so tasted must be that whichis suited to the temper and palate of the soul. The souls taste lieth not in, noris exercised about meats, the meats that are for the belly. Yet the soul of a saintcan taste and relish God's Word (Heb 6:5), and doth oft times find it sweeter thanhoney (Psa 19:10) nourishing as milk (1 Peter 2:2), and strengthening like to strongmeat (Heb 5:12-14). The soul also of sinners, and of those that are unsanctified,can taste and relish, though not the things now mentioned, yet things that agreewith their fleshly minds, and with their polluted, and defiled, and vile affections.They can relish and taste that which delighteth them; yea, they can find soul-delightin an alehouse, a whorehouse, a playhouse. Ay, they find pleasure in the vilest things,in the things most offensive to God, and that are most destructive to themselves.This is evident to sense, and is proved by the daily practice of sinners. Nor isthe Word barren as to this: They feed on ashes (Isa 44:20). They spend their moneyfor that which is not bread (Isa 55:2). Yea, they eat and suck sweetness out of sin.They eat up the sin of My people as they eat bread (Hosea 4:8).
4. As the soul can see, hear, and taste, so it can smell, and brings refreshmentto itself that way. Hence the church saith, My fingers dropped with sweet-smellingmyrrh; and again, she saith of her beloved, that his lips dropped sweet-smelling-myrrh(Song 5:5,13). But how came the church to understand this, but because her soul didsmell that in it that was to be smelled in it, even in his word and gracious visits?The poor world, indeed, cannot smell, or savour anything of the good and fragrantscent and sweet that is in Christ; but to them that believe, Thy name is as ointmentpoured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee (Song 1:3).
5. As the soul can see, taste, hear, and smell, so it hath the sense of feeling,as quick and as sensible as the body. He knows nothing that knows not this; he whosesoul is past feeling, has his conscience seared with a hot iron (Eph 4:18, 19; 1Tim 4:2). Nothing so sensible as the soul, nor feeleth so quickly the love and mercy,or the anger and wrath of God. Ask the awakened man, or the man that is under theconvictions of the law, if he doth not feel? and he will quickly tell you that hefaints and dies away by reason of God's hand, and His wrath that lieth upon him.Read the first eight verses of the 38th Psalm; if thou knowest nothing of what Ihave told thee by experience; and there thou shalt hear the complaints of one whosesoul lay at present under the burden of guilt, and that cried out that without helpfrom heaven he could by no means bear the same. They also that know what the peaceof God means, and what an eternal weight there is in glory know well that the soulhas the sense of feeling, as well as the senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, andsmelling. But thus much for the senses of the soul.
Of the passions of the soul.
Third , I come, in the next place, to describe the soul by the passions of the soul.The passions of the soul, I reckon, are these, and such like, to wit, love, hatred,joy, fear, grief, anger, etc. And these passions of the soul are not therefore good,nor therefore evil, because they are the passions of the soul, but are made so bytwo things, to wit, principle and object. The principle I count that from whencethey flow, and the object that upon which they are pitched. To explain myself.
1. For that of love. This is a strong passion; the Holy Ghost saith it is strongas death, and cruel as the grave (Song 8:6,7). And it is then good, when it flowsfrom faith, and pitcheth itself upon God in Christ as the object, and when it extendethitself to all that is good, whether it be the good Word, the good work of grace,or the good men that have it, and also to their good lives. But all soul-love flowethnot from this principle, neither hath these for it's object. How many are there thatmake the object of their love the most vile of men, the most base of things, becauseit flows from vile affections, and from the lusts of the flesh? God and Christ, goodlaws and good men, and their holy lives, they cannot abide, because their love wantetha principle that should sanctify it in it's first motion, and that should steer itto a goodly object. But that is the first.
2. There is hatred, which I count another passion of the soul; and this, as the other,is good or evil, as the principle from whence it flows and the object of it are.Ye that love the Lord, hate evil (Psa 97:10). Then, therefore, is this passion good,when it singleth out from the many thousand of things that are in the world thatone filthy thing called sin ; and when it setteth itself, the soul, and the wholeman, against it, and engageth all the powers of the soul to seek and invent it'sruin. But, alas, where shall this hatred be found? What man is there whose soulis filled with this passion, thus sanctified by the love of God, and that makes sin,which is God's enemy, the only object of it's indignation? How many be there, I say,whose hatred is turned another way, because of the malignity of their minds.
They hate knowledge (Prov 1:22). They hate God (Deu 7:10; Job 21:14). They hate therighteous (2 Chron 29:2; Psa 34:21; Prov 29:10). They hate God's ways (Mal 3:14;Prov 8:12). And all is, because the grace of filial fear is not the root and principlefrom whence their hatred flows. For the fear of the Lord is to hate evil: wherefore,where this grace is wanting for a root in the soul, there it must of necessity swervein the letting out of this passion; because the soul, where grace in wanting, isnot at liberty to act simply, but is biased by the power of sin; that, while graceis absent, is present in the soul. And hence it is that this passion, which, whenacted well, is a virtue, is so abused, and made to exercise it's force against thatfor which God never ordained it, nor gave it license to act.
3. Another passion of the soul is joy; and when the soul rejoiceth virtuously, itrejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth (1 Cor 13:6). This joy is avery strong passion, and will carry a man through a world of difficulties; it isa passion that beareth up, that supporteth and strengtheneth a man, let the objectof his joy be what it will. It is this that maketh the soul fat in goodness, if ithave it's object accordingly; and that which makes the soul bold in wickedness, ifit indeed doth rejoice in iniquity.
4. Another passion of the soul is fear, natural fear; for so you must understandme of all the passions of the soul, as they are considered simply and in their ownnature. And, as it is with the other passions, so it is with this; it is made goodor evil in it's acts, as it's principle and objects are; when this passion of thesoul is good, then it springs from sense of the greatness, and goodness and majestyof God; also God himself is the object of this fear. I will forewarn you, says Christ,whom ye shall fear. Fear him that can destroy both body and soul in hell; yea, Isay unto you, Fear him (Matt 5:28; Luke 7:5). But in all men this passion is notregulated and governed by these principles and objects, but is abused and turned,through the policy of Satan, quite into another channel. It is made to fear men (Num14:9), to fear idols (2 Kings 17:7,38), to fear devils and witches, yea, it is madeto fear all the foolish, ridiculous, and apish fables that every old woman or atheisticalfortune teller has the face to drop before the soul. But fear is another passionof the soul.
5. Another passion of the soul is grief, and it, as those afore-named, acteth evenaccording as it is governed. When holiness is lovely and beautiful to the soul, andwhen the name of Christ is more precious than life, then will the soul sit down andbe afflicted, because men keep not God's law. I beheld the transgressors, and wasgrieved; because they kept not Thy word (Psa 119:158). So Christ; He looked roundabout with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts (Mark 3:5). Butit is rarely seen that this passion of the soul is thus exercised. Almost everybodyhas other things for the spending of the heat of this passion upon. Men are grievedthat they thrive no more in the world; grieved that they have no more carnal, sensual,and worldly honour; grieved that they are suffered no more to range in the lustsand vanities of this life; but all this is because the soul is unaquainted with God,sees no beauty in holiness, but is sensual, and wrapt up in clouds and thick darkness.
6. And lastly, There is anger, which is another passion of the soul; and that, asthe rest, is extended by the soul, according to the nature of the principle by whichit is acted, and from whence it flows. And, in a word, to speak nothing of the fiercenessand power of this passion, it is then cursed when it breaketh out beyond the boundsthat God hath set it, the which to be sure it doth, when it shall by it's fiercenessor irregular motion, run the soul into sin. Be ye angry, and sin not (Eph 4:26),is the limitation wherewith God hath bounded this passion; and whatever is more thanthis, is a giving place to the devil. And one reason, among others, why the Lorddoth so strictly set this bound, and these limits to anger, is, for that it is sofurious a passion, and for that it will so quickly swell up the soul with sin, asthey say a toad swells with it's poison. Yea, it will in a moment so transport thespirit of a man, that he shall quickly forget himself, his God, his friend, and allgood rule. But my business is not now to make a comment upon the passions of thesoul, only to show you that there are such, and also which they are.
And now, from this description of the soul, what follows but to put you in mind whata noble, powerful, lively, sensible thing the soul is, that by the text is supposedmay be lost, through the heedlessness, or carelessness, or slavish fear of him whosesoul it is; and also to stir you up to that care of, and labour after, the salvationof your soul, as becomes the weight of the matter. If the soul were a trivial thing,or if a man, though he lost it, might yet himself be happy, it were another matter;but the loss of the soul is no small loss, nor can that man that has lost his soul,had he all the world, yea, the whole kingdom of heaven, in his own power be but ina most fearful and miserable condition. But of these things more in their place.
[THE GREATNESS OF THE SOUL.]
SECOND, Having thus given you a description of the soul, what it is, I shall, inthe next place, show you the greatness of it.
[Of the greatness of the soul, when compared with the body. ]
First , And the first thing that I shall take occasion to make this manifest by,will be by showing you the disproportion that is betwixt that and the body; and Ishall do it in these following particulars:
The body a house for the soul.
1. The body is called the house of the soul, a house for the soul to dwell in. Noweverybody knows that the house is much inferior to him that, by God's ordinance,is appointed to dwell therein; that it is called the house of the soul, you findin Paul to the Corinthians: For we know, saith he, that if our earthly house of thistabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands,eternal in the heavens (2 Cor 5:1). We have then, a house for our soul in this world,and this house is the body, for the apostle can mean nothing else; therefore he callsit an earthly house. If our earthly house, our house. But who doth he personate ifhe says, This is a house for the soul; for the body is part of him that says, Ourhouse?
In this manner of language, he personates his soul with the souls of the rest thatare saved; and thus to do, is common with the apostles, as will be easily discernedby them that give attendance to reading. Our earthly houses; or, as Job saith, housesof clay, for our bodies are bodies of clay:
Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay (Job 4:19; 13:12).Indeed, he after maketh mention of a house in heaven, but that is not it about whichhe now speaks; now he speaks of this earthly house which we have (we, our souls)to dwell in, while on this side glory, where the other house stands, as ready preparedfor us when we shall flit from this to that; or in case this should sooner or laterbe dissolved. But that is the first; the body is compared to the house, but the soulto him that inhabiteth the house; therefore, as the man is more noble than the househe dwells in, so is the soul more noble than the body. And yet, alas! with griefbe it spoken, how common is it for men to spend all their care, all their time, alltheir strength, all their wit and parts for the body and it's honour and preferment,even as if the soul were some poor, pitiful, sorry,
inconsiderable, and under thing, not worth the thinking of, or not worth the caringfor. But,
The body clothing for the soul.
2. The body is called the clothing and the soul that which is clothed therewith.Now, everybody knows that the body is more than raiment, even carnal sense will teachus this. But read that pregnant place: For we that are in this tabernacle do groan,being burdened (that is, with mortal flesh); not for that we should be unclothed,but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life (2 Cor 5:4). Thusthe greatness of the soul appears in the preference that it hath to the body thebody is it's raiment. We see that, above all creatures, man, because he is the mostnoble among all visible ones, has, for the adorning of his body, that more abundantcomeliness. Tis the body of man, not of beast, that is clothed with the richest ornaments.But now what a thing is the soul, that the body itself must be it's clothing! Nosuit of apparel is by God thought good enough for the soul, but that which is madeby God himself, and that is that curious thing, the body. But oh! how little is thisconsidered, namely, the greatness of the soul. Tis the body, the clothes, the suitof apparel, that our foolish fancies are taken with, not at all considering the richnessand excellency of that great and more noble part, the soul, for which the body ismade a mantle to wrap it up in, a garment to clothe it withal. If a man gets a rentin his clothes, it is little in comparison of a rent in his flesh; yea, he comfortshimself when he looks on that rent, saying, Thanks be to God, it is not a rent inmy flesh. But ah! on the contrary, how many are there in the world that are moretroubled for that they have a rent, a wound, or a disease in the body, than for thatthey have for the souls that will be lost and cast away. A little rent in the bodydejecteth and casteth such down, but they are not at all concerned, though theirsoul is now, and will yet further be, torn in pieces, Now consider this, ye thatforget God, lest he tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver (Psa 50:22).But this is the second thing whereby, or by which, the greatness of the soul appears,to wit, in that the body, that excellent piece of God's workmanship, is but a garment,or clothing for the soul.
The body a vessel for the soul.
3. The body is called a vessel, or a case, for the soul to be put and kept in. Thatevery one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour(1 Thess 4:4). The apostle here doth exhort the people to abstain from fornication,which, in another place, he saith, ...is a sin against the body (1 Cor 6:18). Andhere again he saith, This is the will of God, that ye should abstain from fornication:that the body be not defiled, that every one of you should know how to possess hisvessel in sanctification and honour. His vessel, his earthen vessel, as he callsit in another place for we have this treasure in earthen vessels. Thus, then, thebody is called a vessel; yea, every mans body is his vessel. But what has God preparedthis vessel for, and what has He put into it? Why, many things this body is to bea vessel for, but at present God has put into it that curious thing, the soul. Cabinets,that are very rich and costly things of themselves, are not made nor designed tobe vessels to be stuffed or filled with trumpery, and things of no value; no, theseare prepared for rings and jewels, for pearls, for rubies, and things that are choice.And if so, what shall we then think of the soul for which is prepared, and that ofGod, the most rich and excellent vessel in the world? Surely it must be a thing ofworth, yea, of more worth than is the whole world besides. But alas! who believesthis talk? Do not even the most of men so set their minds upon, and so admire, theglory of this case or vessel, that they forget once with seriousness to think, and,therefore, must of necessity be a great way off, of those suitable esteems that becomesthem to have of their souls. But oh, since this vessel, this cabinet, this body,is so curiously made, and that to receive and contain, what thing is that for whichGod has made this vessel, and what is that soul that He hath put into it? Whereforethus, in the third place, is the greatness of the soul made manifest, even by theexcellency of the vessel, the body, that God has made to put it in.
The body a tabernacle of the soul.
4. The body is called a tabernacle for the soul. Knowing that shortly I must putoff this my tabernacle (2 Pet 1:14), that is, my body, by death (John 21:18,19).For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we havea building of God, etc. (2 Cor 5:1). In both these places, by tabernacle, can bemeant nothing but the body; wherefore both the apostles, in these sentences do personatetheir souls, and speak as if the soul was THE ALL of a man; yea, they plainly tellus, that the body is but the house, clothes, vessel, and tabernacle for the soul.But what a famous thing therefore is the soul!
The tabernacle of old was a place erected for worship, but the worshippers were moreexcellent than the place; so our body is a tabernacle for the soul to worship Godin, but must needs be accounted much inferior to the soul, forasmuch as the worshippersare always of more honour than the place they worship in; as he that dwelleth inthe tabernacle hath more honour than the tabernacle. I serve, says Paul, God andChrist Jesus with my spirit (or soul) in the gospel (Rom 1:9), but not with his spiritout of, but in, this tabernacle. The tabernacle had instruments of worship for theworshippers; so has the body for the soul, and we are bid to yield our members asinstruments of righteousness to God (Rom 6:13). The hands, feet, ears, eyes, andtongue, which last is our glory when used right, are all of them instruments of thistabernacle, and to be made use of by the soul, the inhabiter of this tabernacle,for the souls performance of the service of God. I thus discourse, to show you thegreatness of the soul. And, in mine opinion, there is something, if not very much,in what I say. For all men admire the body, both for it's manner of building, andthe curious way of it's being compacted together. Yes, the further men, wise men,do pry into the wonderful work of God that is put forth in framing the body, themore still they are made to admire; and yet, as I said, this body is but a house,a mantle, a vessel, a tabernacle for the soul. What, then, is the soul itself?But thus much for the first particular.
[Other things that show the greatness of the soul.]
Second, We will now come to other things that show us the greatness of the soul.And,
The soul is called God's breath.
1. It is called God's breath of life. And the Lord God formed man, that is, the body,of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, andman became a living soul (Gen 2:7). Do but compare these two together, the body andthe soul; the body is made of dust, the soul is the breath of God. Now, if God hathmade this body so famous, as indeed He has, and yet it is made but of the dust ofthe ground, and we all do know what inferior matter it is, what is the soul, sincethe body is not only it's house and garment, but since itself is made of the breathof God? But, further, it is not only said that the soul is of the breath of the Lord,but that the Lord breathed into him the breath of life, to wit, a living spirit,for so the next words infer, and man became a living soul. Man, that is, the moreexcellent part of him, which, for that which is principal, is called man, that bearingthe denomination of the whole; or man, the spirit and natural power, by which, asa reasonable creature, the whole of him is acted, became a living soul. But I standnot here upon definition, but upon demonstration. The body, that noble part of man,had it's original from the dust; for so says the Word, Dust thou art (as to thy body),and unto dust shalt thou return (Gen 3:19). But as to thy more noble part, thou artfrom the breath of God, God putting forth in that a mighty work of creating power,and man was made a living soul (1 Cor 15:45). Mark my reason. There is as great adisparity betwixt the body and the soul, as is between the dust of the ground andthat, here called, the breath of life of the Lord. And note further, that, as thedust of the ground did not lose, but gained glory by being formed into the body ofa man, so this breath of the Lord lost nothing neither by being made a living soul.O man! dost thou know what thou art?
The soul God's image.
2. As the soul is said to be of the breath of God, so it is said to be made afterGod's own image, even after the similitude of God. And God said, Let Us make manin Our image, after Our likeness.So God created man in His own image, in the imageof God created He him (Gen 1:26,27). Mark, in His own image, in the image of Godcreated He him; or, as James hath it, it is made after the similitude of God, (James3:9); like Him, having in it that which beareth semblance with Him. I do not readof anything in heaven, or earth, or under the earth, that is said to be made afterthis manner, or that is at all so termed, save only the Son of God Himself. The angelsare noble creatures, and for present employ are made a little higher than man himself,(Heb 2); but that any of them are said to be made after God's image, after His ownimage, even after the similitude of God, that I find not. This character the HolyGhost, in the Scriptures of truth, giveth only of man, of the soul of man; for itmust not be thought that the body is here intended in whole or in part. For thoughit be said that Christ was made after the similitude of sinful flesh (Phil 2), yetit is not said that sinful flesh is made after the similitude of God; but I willnot dispute; I only bring these things to show how great a thing, how noble a thingthe soul is; in that, at it's creation, God thought it worthy to be made, not likethe earth, or the heavens, or the angels, seraphims, or archangels, but like Himself,His own self, saying, Let Us make man in Our own likeness. So He made man in Hisown image. This, I say, is a character above all angels; for, as the apostle said,To which of the angels said He at anytime, Thou art my Son? So, of which of themhath He at any time said, This is, or shall be, made in or after Mine image, Mineown image? O what a thing is the soul of man, that above all the creatures in heavenor earth, being made in the image and similitude of God.
The soul God's desire.
3. Another thing by which the greatness of the soul is made manifest is this, itis that, and that only, and to say this is more than to say, it is that above allthe creatures that the great God desires communion with. He hath set apart him thatis godly for himself, (Psa 4:3); that is, for communion with his soul; thereforethe spouse saith concerning him, His desire is toward me, (Song 7:10); and, therefore,he saith again, I will dwell in them, and walk in them (2 Cor 6:16). To dwell in,and walk in, are terms that intimate communion and fellowship; as John saith, Ourfellowship, truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ(1 John 1:3). That is, our soul-fellowship; for it must not be understood of thebody, though I believe that the body is much influenced when the soul has communionwith God; but it is the soul, and that only, that at present is capable of havingand maintaining of this blessed communion. But, I say, what a thing is this, thatGod, the great God, should choose to have fellowship and communion with the soulabove all. We read, indeed, of the greatness of the angels, and how near also theyare unto God; but yet there are not such terms that bespeak such familiar acts betweenGod and angels, as to demonstrate that they have such communion with God as has,or as the souls of His people may have. Where has He called them His love, His dove,His fair one? and where, when He speaketh of them, doth He express a communion thatthey have with Him by the similitude of conjugal love? I speak of what is revealed;the secret things belong to the Lord our God. Now by all this is manifest the greatnessof the soul. Men of greatness and honour, if they have respect to their own glory,will not choose for their familiars the base and rascally crew of this world; butwill single out for their fellows, fellowship, and communion, those that are mostlike themselves. True, the King has not an equal, yet He is for being familiar onlywith the nobles of the land: so God, with Him none can compare; yet since the soulis by Him singled out for His walking mate and companion, it is a sign it is thehighest born, and that upon which the blessed Majesty looks, as upon that which ismost meet to be singled out for communion with Himself.
Should we see a man familiar with the King, we would, even of ourselves, concludehe is one of the nobles of the land ; but this is not the lot of every soul somehave fellowship with devils, yet not because they have a more base original thanthose that lie in God's bosom, but they, through sin, are degenerate, and have chosento be great with His enemy, but all these things show the greatness of the soul.
The soul a vessel for grace.
4. The soul of men are such as God counts worthy to be the vessels to hold His grace,the graces of the Spirit, in. The graces of the Spirit- what like them, or wherehere are they to be found, save in the souls of men only? Of His fulness have allwe received, and grace for grace (John 1:16). Received, into what? into the hiddenpart , as David calls it (Psa 51:6). Hence the kings daughter is said to be all gloriouswithin, (Psa 45:15); because adorned and beautified with the graces of the Spirit.For that which David calls the hidden part is the inmost part of the soul; and itis, therefore, called the hidden part, because the soul is invisible, nor can anyone living infallibly know what is in the soul but God Himself. But, I say, the soulis the vessel into which this golden oil is poured, and that which holds, and isaccounted worthy to exercise and improve the same. Therefore the soul is it whichis said to love God Saw ye him whom my soul loveth? (Song 3:3); and, therefore, thesoul is that which exerciseth the spirit of prayer. With my soul have I desired theein the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early (Isa 26:9). Withthe soul also men are said to believe and into the soul God is said to put His fear.This is the vessel into which the virgins got oil, and out of which their lamps weresupplied by the same. But what a thing, what a great thing therefore is the soul,that that above all things that God hath created should be the chosen vessel to putHis grace in. The body is the vessel for the soul, and the soul is the vessel forthe grace of God. But,
5. The greatness of the soul is manifest by the greatness of the price that Christpaid for it, to make it an heir of glory; and that was His precious blood (1 Cor6:20; 1 Peter 1:18,19). We do use to esteem of things according to the price thatis given for them, especially when we are convinced that the purchase has not beenmade by the estimation of a fool. Now the soul is purchased by a price that the Son,the wisdom of God, thought fit to pay for the redemption thereof what a thing, then,is the soul? Judge of the soul by the price that is paid for it, and you must needsconfess, unless you count the blood that hath bought it an unholy thing, that itcannot but be of great worth and value. Suppose a prince, or some great man, should,on a sudden, descend from his throne, or chair of state, to take up, that he mightput in his bosom, something that he had espied lying trampled under the feet of thosethat stand by; would you think that he would do this for an old horse shoe, orfor so trivial a thing as a pin or a point?  Nay, would you not even of yourselvesconclude that that thing for which the prince, so great a man, should make such astoop, must needs be a thing of very great worth? Why, this is the case of Christand the soul. Christ is the prince, His throne was in heaven, and, as He sat there,He espied the souls of sinners trampled under the foot of the law and death for sin.Now, what doth He, but comes down from His throne, stoops down to the earth, andthere, since He could not have the trodden-down souls without price, He lays downHis life and blood for them (2 Cor 8:9). But would He have done this for inconsiderablethings? No, nor for the souls of sinners neither, had He not valued them higher thanhe valued heaven and earth besides.  This, therefore, is another thing by whichthe greatness of the soul is known.
The soul immortal.
6. The soul is immortal, it will have a sensible being for ever, none can kill thesoul (Luke 12:4; Matt 10:28). If all the angels in heaven, and all the men on earth,should lay all their strength together, they cannot kill or annihilate one soul.No, I will speak without fear, if it may be said, God cannot do what He will notdo; then He cannot annihilate the soul: but, notwithstanding all His wrath, and thevengeance that He will inflict on sinful souls, they yet shall abide with sensiblebeings, yet to endure, yet to bear punishment. If anything could kill the soul, itwould be death; but death cannot do it, neither first nor second; the first cannot,for when Dives was slain, as to his body by death, his soul was found alive in hell.He lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment (Luke 16:23). The second death cannotdo it, because it is said their worm never dies, but is always torturing them withhis gnawing (Mark 9:44). But that could not be, if time, or lying in hell fire forever, could annihilate the soul. Now, this also shows the greatness of the soul,that it is that which has an endless life, and that will, therefore, have a beingendlessly. O what a thing is the soul!
The soul, then, is immortal, though not eternal. That is eternal that has neitherbeginning nor end, and, therefore, eternal is properly applicable to none but God;hence He is called the eternal God (Deu 33:27). Immortal is that which, though ithath a beginning, yet hath no end, it cannot die, nor cease to be; and this is thestate of the soul. It cannot cease to have a being when it is once created; I mean,a living, sensible being. For I mean by living, only such a being as distinguishesit from annihilation or incapableness of sense and feeling. Hence, as the rich manis after death said to lift up his eyes in hell, so the beggar is said, when he died,to be carried by the angels, into Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:22,23). And both thesesayings must have respect to the souls of these men; for, as for their bodies, weknow at present it is otherwise with them. The grave is their house, and so mustbe till the trumpet shall sound, and the heavens pass away like a scroll. Now, Isay, the immortality of the soul shows the greatness of it, as the eternity of Godshows the greatness of God. It cannot be said of any angel but that he is immortal,and so it is, and ought to be said of the soul. This, therefore, shows the greatnessof the soul, in that it is as to abiding so like unto him.
Tis the soul that acts the body.
7. But a word or two more, and so to conclude this head. The soul!why, it is thesoul that acteth the body in all these things, good or bad, that seem good and reasonable,or amazingly wicked. True, the acts and motions of the soul are only seen and heardin, and by the members and motions of the body, but the body is but a poor instrument,soul is the great agitator and actor. The body without the spirit is dead (James2:26). All those famous arts, and works, and inventions of works, that are done bymen under heaven, they are all the intentions of the soul, and the body, as actingand labouring therein, doth it but as a tool that the soul maketh use of to bringhis invention into maturity (Eccl 7:29). How many things have men found out to theamazing of one another, to the wonderment of one another, to the begetting of endlesscommendations of one another in the world, while, in the meantime, the soul, whichindeed is the true inventor of all, is overlooked, not regarded, but dragged up anddown by every lust, and prostrate, and made a slave to every silly and beastly thing.O the amazing darkness that hath covered the face of the hearts of the children ofmen, that they cannot deliver their soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my righthand? (Isa 44:20), though they are so cunning in all other matters. Take man in mattersthat are abroad, and far from home, and he is the mirror of all the world; but takehim at home, and put him upon things that are near him, I mean, that have respectto the things that concern his soul, and then you will find him the greatest foolthat ever God made. But this must not be applied to the soul simply as it is God'screature, but to the soul sinful, as it has willingly apostatized from God, and sosuffered itself to be darkened, and that with such thick and stupifying darkness,that it is bound up and cannot, it hath a napkin of sin bound so close before it'seyes that it is not able of itself to look to, and after those things which shouldbe it's chiefest concern, and without which it will be most miserable for ever.
The soul capable of having to do with invisibles.
8. Further, as the soul is thus curious about arts and sciences, and about everyexcellent thing of this life, so it is capable of having to do with invisibles, withangels, good or bad, yea, with the highest and Supreme Being, even with the holyGod of heaven. I told you before that God sought the soul of man to have it for Hiscompanion; and now I tell you that the soul is capable of communion with Him, whenthe darkness that sin hath spread over it's face is removed. The soul is an intelligentpower, it can be made to know and understand depths, and heights, and lengths, andbreadths, in those high, sublime, and spiritual mysteries that only God can revealand teach; yea, it is capable of diving unutterably into them. And herein is God,the God of glory, much delighted and pleased, to wit, that He hath made Himself acreature that is capable of hearing, of knowing, and of understanding of His mind,when opened and revealed to it. I think I may say, without offence to God or man,that one reason why God made the world was, that He might manifest Himself, not onlyby, but to the works which He made; but, I speak with reverence, how could that be,if He did not also make some of His creatures capable of apprehending of Him in thosemost high mysteries and methods in which He purposed to reveal Himself? But then,what are those creatures which He hath made (unto whom when these things are shown)that are able to take them in and understand them, and so to improve them to God'sglory, as He hath ordained and purposed they should, but souls? for none else inthe visible world are capable of doing this but they. And hence it is that to them,and them only, He beginneth to reveal Himself in this world. And hence it is thatthey, and they only, are gathered up to Him where He is, for they are they that arecalled the spirits of just men made perfect, (Heb 12:23); the spirit of a beast goethdownward to the earth, it is the spirit of a man that goes upwards to God that gaveit (Eccl 3:21;12:7). For that, and that only, is capable of beholding and understandingthe glorious visions of heaven; as Christ said, Father, I will that they also, whomthou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which thouhast given Me; for thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world (John 17:24).And thus the greatness of the soul is manifest. True, the body is also gathered upinto glory, but not simply for it's own sake, or because that is capable of itselfto know and understand the glories of it's Maker; but that has been a companion withthe soul in this world, has also been it's house, it's mantle, it's cabinet and tabernaclehere; it has also been it by which the soul hath acted, in which it hath wrought,and by which it's excellent appearances have been manifested; and it shall also therebe it's co-partner and sharer in it's glory. Wherefore, as the body here did partakeof soul excellencies, and was also conformed to it's spiritual and regenerate principles;so it shall be hereafter a partaker of that glory with which the soul shall be filled,and also be made suitable by that glory to become a partaker and co-partner withit of the eternal excellencies which heaven will put upon it. In this world it isa gracious soul (I speak now of the regenerate), and in that world it shall be aglorious one. In this world the body was conformable to the soul as it was gracious,and in that world it shall be conformable to it as it is glorious; conformable, Isay, by partaking of that glory that then the soul shall partake of; yea, it shallalso have an additional glory to adorn, and make it yet the more capable of beingserviceable to it, and with it in it's great acts before God in eternal glory. Oh,what great things are the souls of the sons of men!
The soul capable of diving into the depths and mysteries of hell.
9. But again, as the soul is thus capable of enjoying God in glory, and of pryinginto these mysteries that are in him, so it is capable, with great profundity, todive into the mysterious depths of hell. Hell is a place and state utterly unknownto any in this visible world, excepting the souls of men; nor shall any for everbe capable of understanding the miseries thereof, save souls and fallen angels. Now,I think, as the joys of heaven stand not only in speculation, or in beholding ofglory, but in a sensible enjoyment and unspeakable pleasure which those glories willyield to the soul (Psa 16:11), so the torments of hell will not stand in the presentlashes and strokes which by the flames of eternal fire God will scourge the ungodlywith; but the torments of hell stand much, if not in the greatest part of them, inthose deep thoughts and apprehensions, which souls in the next world will have ofthe nature and occasions of sin; of God, and of separation from Him; of the eternityof those miseries, and of the utter impossibility of their help, ease, or deliverancefor ever. O! damned souls will have thoughts that will clash with glory, clash withjustice, clash with law, clash with itself, clash with hell, and with the everlastingnessof misery; but the point, the edge, and the poison of all these thoughts will stillbe galling, and dropping, and spewing out their stings into the sore, grieved, wounded,and fretted place, which is the conscience, though not the conscience only; for Imay say of the souls in hell, that they all over are but one wound, one sore! Miseriesas well as mercies sharpen and make quick the apprehensions of the soul. Behold Spirain his book,  Cain in his guilt, and Saul with the witch of Endor, and you shallsee men ripened, men enlarged and greatened in their fancies, imaginations, and apprehensionsthough not about God, and heaven, and glory, yet about their loss, their misery,and their woe, and their hells (Isa 33:14; Psa 1:4; Rev 14:10; Mark 9:44,46).
The ability of the soul to bear.
10. Nor doth their ability to bear, if it be proper to say they bear those dolorswhich there for ever they shall endure, a little demonstrate their greatness. Everlastingburning, devouring fire, perpetual pains, gnawing worms, utter darkness, and theireful souls, face, and strokes of Divine and infinite justice will not, cannot,make this soul extinct, as I said before. I think it is not so proper to say thesoul that is damned for sin doth bear these things, as to say it doth ever sink underthem: and, therefore, their place of torment is called the bottomless pit, becausethey are ever sinking, and shall never come there where they will find any stay.Yet they live under wrath, but yet only so as to be sensible of it, as to smart andbe in perpetual anguish, by reason of the intolerableness of their burden. But dothnot their thus living, abiding, and retaining a being(or what you will call it),demonstrate the greatness and might of the soul? Alas! heaven and earth are shortof this greatness, for these, though under less judgment by far, do fade and waxold like a moth-eaten garment, and, in their time, will vanish away to nothing (Heb1).
Also, we see how quickly the body, when the soul is under a fear of the rebukes ofjustice, how soon, I say, it wastes, moulders away, and crumbleth into the grave;but the soul is yet strong, and abides sensible to be dealt withal for sin by everlastingburnings.
The might of the soul further shown.
11. The soul, by God's ordinance, while this world lasts, has a time appointed itto forsake and leave the body to be turned again to the dust as it was, and thisseparation is made by death, (Heb 9:27); therefore the body must cease for a timeto have sense, or life, or motion; and a little thing brings it now into this state;but in the next world, the wicked shall partake of none of this; for the body andthe soul being at the resurrection rejoined, this death, that once did rend themasunder, is for ever overcome and extinct; so that these two which lived in sin mustfor ever be yoked together in hell. Now, there the soul being joined to the body,and death, which before did separate them, being utterly taken away, the soul retainsnot only it's own being, but also continueth the body to be, and to suffer sensiblythe pains of hell, without those decays that it used to sustain.
And the reason why this death shall then be taken away is, because justice in it'sbestowing it's rewards for transgressions may not be interrupted, but that body andsoul, as they lived and acted in sin together, might be destroyed for sin in helltogether (Matt 10:28 Luke 12:5). Destroyed, I say, but with such a destruction, which,though it is everlasting, will not put a period to their sensible suffering the vengeanceof eternal fire (2 Thess 1:8,9).
This death, therefore, though that also be the wages of sin, would now, were it sufferedto continue, be a hinderance to the making known of the wrath of God, and also ofthe created power and might of the soul. (1.) It would hinder the making known ofthe wrath of God, for it would take the body out of the way, and make it incapableof sensible suffering for sin, and so removing one of the objects of vengeance thepower of God's wrath would be so far undiscovered. (2.) It would also hinder themanifestation of the power and might of the soul, which is discovered much by it'sabiding to retain it's own being while the wrath of God is grappling with it, andmore by it's continuing to the body a sensible being with itself.
Death, therefore, must now be removed, that the soul may be made the object of wrathwithout molestation or interruption. That the soul, did I say? yea, that soul andbody both might be so. Death would now be a favour, though once the fruit of sin,and also the wages thereof, might it now be suffered to continue, because it wouldease the soul of some of it's burden: for a tormented body cannot but be a burdento a spirit, and so the wise man insinuates when he says, The spirit of a man willsustain his infirmity; that is, bear up under it, but yet so as that it feels ita burden. We see that, because of the sympathy that is between body and soul, howone is burdened if the other be grieved. A sick body is a burden to the soul, anda wounded spirit is a burden to the body; a wounded spirit who can bear? (Prov 18:14).But death must not remove this burden, but the soul must have the body for a burden,and the body must have the soul for a burden, and both must have the wrath of Godfor a burden. Oh, therefore, here will be burden upon burden, and all upon the soul,for the soul will be the chief seat of this burden! But thus much to show you thegreatness of the soul.
[OF THE LOSS OF THE SOUL.]
THIRD, I shall now come to the third thing which was propounded to be spoken to;and that is, to show you what we are to understand by losing of the soul, or whatthe loss of the soul is What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
[He that loseth his soul loseth himself .]
First , The loss of the soul is a loss, in the nature of it, peculiar to itself.There is no such loss, as to the nature of loss, as is the loss of the soul; forthat he that hath lost his soul has lost himself. In all other losses, it is possiblefor a man to save himself, but he that loseth his soul, loseth himself. For whatis a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself? (Luke 9:25). Wherefore,the loss of the soul is a loss that cannot be paralleled. He that loseth himself,loseth his all, his lasting all; for himself is his all, his all in the most comprehensivesense. What mattereth it what a man gets, if by the getting thereof he loseth himself?Suppose a man goeth to the Indies for gold, and he loadeth his ship therewith; butat his return, that sea that carried him thither swallows him up now, what has hegot? But this is but a lean similitude with reference to the matter in hand, to wit,to set forth the loss of the soul. Suppose a man that has been at the Indies forgold should, at his return, himself be taken by them of Algiers, and there made aslave of, and there be hunger-bit, and beaten till his bones are broken,  whathas he got? what is he advantaged by his rich adventure? Perhaps, you will say, hehas got gold enough to obtain his ransom. Indeed this may be; and therefore no similitudecan be found that can fully amplify the matter, for what shall a man give in exchangefor his soul? Tis a loss that standeth by itself, there is not another like it, orunto which it may be compared. Tis only like itself, tis singular, tis the chiefof all losses the highest, the greatest loss. For what shall a man give in exchangefor his soul? A man may lose his wife, his children, his estate, his liberty, andhis life, and have all made up again, and have all restored with advantage, and may,therefore, notwithstanding all these losses, be far enough off from losing of himself.(Luke 14:26; Mark 8:35). For he may lose his life, and save it; yea, sometimes theonly way to save that, is to lose it; but when a man has lost himself, his soul,then all is gone to all intents and purposes. There is no word says, he that loseshis soul shall save it; but contrariwise, the text supposeth that a man has losthis soul, and then demands if any can answer it. What shall a man give in exchangefor his soul? All, then, that he gains that loseth his soul is only this, he hasgained a loss, he has purchased the loss of losses, he has nothing left him now buthis loss, but the loss of himself, of his whole self. He that loseth his life forChrist, shall save it; but he that loseth himself for sin, and for the world, shalllose himself to perfection of loss; he has lost himself, and there is the full point.
There are several things fall under this first head, upon which I would touch a little.
He that has lost himself will never be more at his own dispose.
(1.) He that has lost his soul has lost himself. Now, he that lost himself is nomore at his own dispose. While a man enjoys himself, he is at his own dispose. Asingle man, a free man, a rich man, a poor man, any man that enjoys himself, is athis own dispose. I speak after the manner of men. But he that has lost himself isnot at his own dispose. He is, as I may say, now out of his own hands: he has losthimself, his soul-self , his own self, his whole self, by sin, and wrath and hellhath found him; he is, therefore, now no more at his own dispose, but at the disposeof justice, of wrath, and hell; he is committed to prison, to hell prison, thereto abide, not at pleasure, not as long and as little time as he will, but the termappointed by his judge: nor may he there choose his own affliction, neither for manner,measure, or continuance. It is God that will spread the fire and brimstone underhim, it is God that will pile up wrath upon him, and it is God himself that willblow the fire. And the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindleit (Isa 30:33). And thus it is manifest that he that has lost himself, his soul,is no more at his own dispose, but at the dispose of them that find him.
He that hath lost himself, is not at liberty to dispose of what he hath.
(2.) Again, as he that has lost himself is not at his own dispose, so neither ishe at liberty to dispose of what he has; for the man that has lost himself has somethingyet of his own. The text implies that his soul is his when lost, yea, when that andhis all, himself is lost; but as he cannot dispose of himself, so he cannot disposeof what he hath. Let me take leave to make out my meaning. If he that is lost, thathas lost himself, has not, notwithstanding, something that in some sense may be calledhis own, then he that is lost is nothing. The man that is in hell has yet the powers,the senses, and passions of his soul; for not he nor his soul must be thought tobe stripped of these; for then he would be lower than the brute; but yet all these,since he is there, are by God improved against himself; or, if you will, the pointof this mans sword is turned against his own heart, and made to pierce his own liver.
The soul by being in hell loseth nothing of it's aptness to think, it's quicknessto pierce, to pry, and to understand; nay, hell has ripened it in all these things;but, I say, the soul with it's improvements as to these, or anything else, is notin the hand of him that hath lost himself to manage for his own advantage, but inthe hand, and in the power, and to be disposed as is thought meet by him into whoserevenging hand by sin he has delivered himself, to wit, in the hand of God. So, then,God now has the victory, and disposeth of all the powers, senses, and passions ofthe soul for the chastising of him that has lost himself. Now the understanding isonly employed and improved in and about the apprehending of such things as will belike daggers at the heart, to wit, about justice, sin, hell, and eternity, to grieveand break the spirit of the damned; yea, to break, to wound, and to tear the soulin pieces. The depths of sin which the man has loved, the good nature of God whomthe man has hated, the blessings of eternity which the soul has despised, shall nowbe understood by him more than ever, but yet so only, as to increase grief and sorrow,by improving of the good and of the evil of the things understood, to the greaterwounding of the spirit; wherefore now, every touch that the understanding shall giveto the memory will be as a touch of a red-hot iron, or like a draught of scaldinglead poured down the throat. The memory also letteth those things down upon the consciencewith no less terror and perplexity. And now the fancy or imagination doth start andstare like a man by fears bereft of wits, and doth exercise itself, or rather isexercised by the hand of revenging justice, so about the breadth and depth of presentand future punishments, as to lay the soul as on a burning rack. Now also the judgment,as with a mighty maul, driveth down the soul in the sense and pangs of everlastingmisery into that pit that has no bottom; yea, it turneth again, and, as with a hammer,it riveteth every fearful thought and apprehension of the soul so fast that it cannever be loosed again for ever and ever. Alas! now the conscience can sleep, be dull,be misled, or batter, no longer; no, it must now cry out; understanding will makeit, memory will make it, fancy or imagination will make it. Now, I say, it will cryout of sin, of justice, and of the terribleness of the punishment that hath swallowedhim up that has lost himself. Here will be no forgetfulness; yet nothing shall bethought on but that which will wound and kill; here will be no time, cause, or meansfor diversion; all will stick and gnaw like a viper. Now the memory will go out towhere sin was heretofore committed, it will also go out to the word that did forbidit. The understanding also, and the judgment too, will now consider of the pretendednecessity that the man had to break the commandments of God, and of the seasonablenessof the cautions and of the convictions which were given him to forbear, by all whichmore load will be laid upon him that has lost himself; for here all the powers, senses,and passions of the soul must be made self-burners, self-tormentors, self-executioners,by the just judgment of God; also all that the will shall do in this place shallbe but to wish for ease, but the wish shall only be such as shall only seem to liftup, for the cable rope of despair shall with violence pull him down again. The willindeed will wish for ease, and so will the mind, etc., but all these wishers willby wishing arrive to no more advantage but to make despair which is the most twingingstripe of hell, to cut yet deeper into the whole soul of him that has lost himself;wherefore, after all that can be wished for, they return again to their burning chair,where they sit and bewail their misery. Thus will all the powers, senses, and passionsof the soul of him that has lost himself be out of his own power to dispose for hisadvantage, and will be only in the hand and under the management of the revengingjustice of God. And herein will that state of the damned be worse than it is nowwith the fallen angels; for though the fallen angels are now cast down to hell, inchains, and sure in themselves at last to partake of eternal judgment, yet at presentthey are not so bound up as the damned sinner shall be; for notwithstanding theirchains, and their being the prisoners of the horrible hells, yet they have a kindof liberty granted them, and that liberty will last till the time appointed, to tempt,to plot, to contrive, and invent their mischiefs, against the Son of God and His(Job 1:7; 2:2). And though Satan knows that this at last will work for his futurecondemnation, yet at present he finds it some diversion to his trembling mind, andobtains, through his so busily employing of himself against the gospel and it's professors,something to sport and refresh himself withal ; yea, and doth procure to himselfsome small crumbs of minutes of forgetfulness of his own present misery and of thejudgment that is yet to pass upon him; but this privilege will then be denied tohim that has lost himself; there will be no cause nor matter for diversion; thereit will; as in the old world, rain day and night fire and brimstone from the Lordout of heaven upon them (Rev 14:10,11). Misery is fixed; the worm will be alwayssucking at and gnawing of, their soul; also, as I have said afore, all the powers,senses, and passions of the soul will throw their darts inwards, yea, of God willbe made to do it, to the utter, unspeakable, and endless torment of him that haslost himself. Again,
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 musttherefore here correct myself. That they cannot do; for to sit down by the loss impliesa patient enduring; but there will be no such grace as patience in hell with himthat has lost himself; here, will also want a bottom for patience, to wit, the providenceof God; for a providence of God, though never so dismal, is a bottom for patienceto the afflicted; but men go not to hell by providence, but by sin. Now sin beingthe cause, other effects are wrought; for they that go to hell, and that there miserablyperish, shall never say it was God by His providence that brought them hither, andso shall not have that on which to lean and stay themselves.
They shall justify God, and lay the fault upon themselves concluding that it wassin with which their souls did voluntarily work, yea, which their souls did suckin as sweet milk that is the cause of this their torment. Now this will work afteranother manner, and will produce quite another thing than patience, or a patientenduring of their torment; for their seeing that they are not only lost, but havelost themselves, and that against the ordinary means that of God was provided toprevent that loss; yea, when they shall see what a base thing sin is, how that itis the very worst of things, and that which also makes all things bad, and that forthe 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, savelove, for that I think will be stark dead, all in a rage, all in a self-tormentingfire. You know there is nothing that will sooner put a man into and manage his rageagainst himself than will a full conviction in his conscience that by his own onlyfolly, and that against caution, and counsel, and reason to the contrary, he hathbrought himself into extreme distress and misery. But how much more will it makethis 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 sitdown by the loss, cannot be at quiet under the sense of his loss. For sharply andwonderful piercingly, considering the loss of himself, and the cause thereof, whichis sin, he falls to a tearing of himself in pieces with thoughts as hot as the coalsof juniper, and to a gnashing upon himself for this; also the Divine wisdom and justiceof God helpeth on this self-tormentor in his self-tormenting work, by holding thejustice of the law against which he has offended, and the unreasonableness of suchoffence, continually before his face. For if, to an enlightened man who is in thedoor 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 hella 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 besuch fools to go thither? (Isa 28:19). But to pursue this head no further, I willcome 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 peculiarto itself, so the loss of the soul is a double loss; it is, I say, a loss that isdouble, 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 plainerunto you, I suppose it will be readily granted that men do lose their souls. Butnow how doth God lose it? The soul is God's as well as man's; man's because it isof themselves; God's because it is His creature; God has made us this soul, and henceit 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 justiceof God. Hence He says, What is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, andlose 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 alsobe said to cast away himself; but to show what God will do to those that have lostthemselves, 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 ourconsideration (Job 8:20; Matt 13:50). This, then, is that which God will add, andso make the sad state of them that lose themselves double. The man for sin has losthimself, 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 Lordthy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall He sling out, as out of the middleof a sling (1 Sam 25:29). So that here is God's hand as well as mans; mans by sin,and God's by justice. God shall cast them away; wherefore in the text above mentionedhe doth not say, or cast away himself, as meaning the act of the man whose soul islost; but, or be cast away (Luke 9:25). Supposing a second person joining with theman himself in the making up of the greatness of the loss of the soul, to wit, Godhimself, who will verily cast away that man who has lost himself. God shall castthem away, that is, exclude them His favour or protection, and deliver them up tothe due reward of their deed! He shall shut them out of His heaven, and deliver themup to their hell; He shall deny them a share in his glory, and shall leave them totheir own shame; He shall deny them a portion in His peace, and shall deliver themup to the torments of the devil, and of their own guilty consciences; He shall castthem out of His affection, pity, and compassion, and shall leave them to the flamesthat they by sin have kindled, and to the worm, or biting cockatrice, that they themselveshave hatched, nursed, and nourished in their bosoms. And this will make their lossdouble, and so a loss that is loss to the uttermost, a loss above every loss. A manmay 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 so ever a man be cast away, if he be notcast away for sin, he is safe, he is yet found, and in a sure hand. But for a manso 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 ofsuch a soul. 2. God's just repaying of it for it's wickedness by way of retaliation.
1. It supposeth God's abhorrence of the soul. That which we abhor, that we cast fromus, and put out of our favour and respect with disdain, and a loathing thereof. Sowhen God teacheth Israel to loathe and abhor their idols, He bids them to cast awaytheir very covering as a stinking and menstruous cloth, and to say unto it, Get youhence (Isa 30:22), He shall gather the good into vessels, and cast the bad away (Matt13:48; 25:41). Cast them out of My presence. Well, but whither must they go? Theanswer is, Into hell, into utter darkness, into the fire that is prepared for thedevil and his angels. Wherefore, to be cast away, to be cast away of God, it showethunto us God's abhorrence of such souls, and how vile and loathsome such are in Hisdivine eyes. And the similitude of Abigail's sling, mentioned before, doth yet furthershow us the greatness of this abhorrence The souls of thine enemies, said she, Godshall sling out as out of the middle of a sling. When a man casts a stone away witha sling, then he casteth it furthest from him, for with a sling he can cast a stonefurther than by his hand. And he, saith the text, shall cast them away as with asling. But that is not all, neither: for it is not only said that He shall slingaway 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 theslinger 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, andis from thence cast away. And, therefore, it is said again, that such shall go intoutter, outer darkness that is, furthest off of all. This therefore shows us how Godabhors that man that for sin has lost himself. And well he may; for such an one hasnot only polluted and defiled himself with sin; and that is the most offensive thingto God under heaven; but he has abused the handiwork of God. The soul, as I saidbefore, is the workmanship of God, yea, the top-piece that He hath made in all thevisible world; also He made it for to be delighted with it, and to admit it intocommunion 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 beastlylust, 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, andto 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 supposethGod'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 themfrom 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 wouldnot 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 bea rebellious and gainsaying people; yea, they said unto God, Depart from us; andwhat 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 forthe time to come, and will bring them out and spread them before them, saying, Ihave 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 inall that time you despised Me, and cast Me behind your back; and now the time, andthe exercise of My patience, when I waited upon you, and suffered your manners, anddid bear your contempts and scorns, is at an end; wherefore I will now arise, andcome 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 rejectit.
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 haveserved Him; and so the wind-up of the whole will be this, they shall have like forlike. 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 topass, 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 thesoul is doublelost 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 themhath 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, andno 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 yourfear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distressand 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 untothem 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 attendedwith the most heavy curse of God. This is manifest both in the giving of the ruleof 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 thewords of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen (Deu 27:26; Gal3:10). It is also manifest that it shall be so at the time of execution Depart fromMe, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt25:41). What this curse is, none do know so well as God that giveth it, and as thefallen angels, and the spirits of damned men that are now shut up in the prison ofhell, 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 cattleand in my body, are but flea-bitings to this, though they are also insupportablein 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 mostfearful 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 itselfin the most exquisite manner; yea, let him now count up all, and all manner of cursesand 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 ofthis 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 makeupon damned souls in that day. 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 lovedcursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be farfrom him. Again, As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, solet it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones; let it be untohim as a garment which covereth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually(Psa 109:17-19). Let this, saith Christ,  be the reward of mine adversaries fromthe Lord (vs. 20 etc). 2. As this curse comes by way of retaliation, so it comethby way of revenge. God will right the wrongs that sinners have done Him, will repayvengeance for the despite and reproach wherewith they have affronted Him, and willrevenge 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 flamingfire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel ofJesus 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 thatjealousy 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 declareswhat the souls of impenitent sinners must look for then. It is common among men,when we see the form of a mans countenance changed, when we see fire sparkle outof his eyes, when we read rage and fury in every cast of his face, even before hesays aught, or doth aught either, to conclude that some fearful thing is now to bedone (Dan 3:19,23). Why, it is said of Christ when He cometh to judgment, that theheavens 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 ferventheat; and all this is, that the perdition of ungodly men might be completed, fromthe presence of the Lord, in the heat of His anger, from the glory of His power (2Pet 3:7; 2 Thess 1:8,9). Therefore, God will now be revenged, and so ease Himselfof His enemies, when He shall cause curses like millstones to fall as thick as hailon 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, anda loss most fearful, so it is a loss everlasting. The soul that is lost is neverto be found again, never to be recovered again, never to be redeemed again, it'sbanishment from God is everlasting; the fire in which it burns, and by which it mustbe tormented, is a fire that is ever, everlasting fire, everlasting burnings; theadder, the snake, the stinging worm, dieth not, nor is the fire quenched; and thisis 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 dwellingwith them, and in them, for ever and ever! We use to say, light burdens far carriedare heavy; what, then, will it be to bear that burden, that guilt, that the law andthe 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 uponthe face of all the earth, if thou canst: and yet sooner mayest thou do this thancount the thousands of millions of thousands of years that a damned soul shall liein 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 lastof them was burned out? and yet sooner might that be done than the damned soul beat the end of punishment.
There are three things couched under this last head that will fill up the punishmentof 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 waythrough our sorrows. 3. The third is, and yet every moment they shall endure eternalpunishment.
1. The first I have touched upon already, and, therefore, shall not enlarge; onlyI would ask the wanton or unthinking sinner, whether twenty, or thirty, or fortyyears of the deceitful pleasures of sin is so rich a prize, as that a man may wellventure the ruin, that everlasting burnings will make upon his soul for the obtainingof them, and living a few moments in them. Sinner, consider this before I go anyfurther, 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, itconcerns thee; because,
2. In the second place, it will be impossible for the damned soul ever to say, Iam 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 assoon do that as wade half way through the lake of fire that is prepared for impenitentsouls. Sinner, what wilt thou take to make a mountain of sand that will reach ashigh 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 isgreater when the sinner has let out himself to sin for a servant; because the wagesis everlasting burnings. I know thou mayest perform thy service; but the wages, thejudgment, the punishment is so endless, that thou, when thou hast been in it moremillions of years than can be numbered, art not, nor never yet shalt be, able tosay, I am half way through it. And yet,
3. That soul shall partake every moment of that punishment that is eternal. Evenas Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselvesover 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 nopunishment here wherewith one man can chastise another that can deserve a greatertitle than that of transient, or temporary punishment; but the punishment there iseternal, even in every stripe that is given, and in every moment that it grapplethwith 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 thenature 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, andit 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, init's sufferings, to endure that which is eternal. It can have no thought of the endof punishment, but it is presently recalled by the decreed gulf that bindeth themunder perpetual punishment. The great fixed gulf, they know, will keep them in theirpresent place, and not suffer them to go to heaven (Luke 16:26). And now there isno other place but heaven or hell to be in; for then the earth, and the works thatare therein, will be burned up. Read the text, But the day of the Lord will comeas 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 thatare therein, shall be burned up (2 Peter 3:10). If, then, there will be no thirdplace, it standeth in their minds, as well as in God's decree, that their punishmentsshall be eternal; so, then, sorrows, anguish, tribulation, grief, woe, and pain,will, in every moment of it's abiding upon the soul, not only flow from thoughtsof what has been, and what is, but also from what will be, and that for ever andever. Thus every thought that is truly grounded in the cause and nature of theirstate will roll, toss, and tumble them up and down in the cogitations and fearfulapprehensions of the lastingness of their damnation. For, I say, their minds, theirmemories, their understandings, and consciences, will all, and always, be swallowedup with for ever; yea, they themselves will, by the means of these things, be theirown tormentors for ever.
(3.) There will not be spaces, as days, months, years, and the like, as now; thoughwe make bold so to speak, the better to present our thoughts to each others capacities;for then there shall be time no longer; also, day and night shall then be come toan end. He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come toan 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 beforethe day, and night, or time, was created; and when this is come, punishment nor glorymust 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 theircapacities, in their understandings and apprehensions, to judge and count of theircondition according as will best stand with their state in eternity.
Could we but come to an understanding of things done in heaven and hell, as we understandhow things are done in this world, we should be strangely amazed to see how the changeof places and of conditions has made a change in the understandings of men, and inthe manner of their enjoyment of things. But this we must let alone till the nextworld, and until our launching into it; and then, whether we be of the right or lefthand 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 isrevealed the way to that of eternal life, and how to escape the damnation of thesoul (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
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 damneds' 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 fastst 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 ofthe loss of the soul. That men have souls, that souls are great things, that soulsmay be lost, this I have showed you already; wherefore I now proceed to show youthe cause of this loss. The cause is laid down in the 18th chapter of Ezekiel, inthese words Behold, all souls, says God, are Mine; as the soul of the father, soalso 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 damningin hell fire, for that must be meant by dying; otherwise, to die, according to ourordinary 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 perseveringin the same that soul shall die, be cast away, or damned; yea, to ascertain us ofthe undoubted truth of this, the Holy Ghost doth repeat it again, and that in thisvery chapter, saying, The soul that sinneth, it shall die (5:20). Now, the soul maydivers ways be said to sin against God; as,
1. In it's receiving of sin into it's bosom, and in it's retaining and entertainingof it there. Sin must first be received before it can act in, or be acted by, thesoul. Our first parents first received it in the suggestion or motion, and then actedit. Now it is not here to be disputed when sin was received by the soul, so muchas whether ever the soul received sin; for if the soul has indeed received sin intoitself, then it has sinned, and by doing so, has made itself an object of the wrathof God, and a fire brand of hell. I say, I will not here dispute when sin was receivedby the soul, but it is apparent enough that it received it betimes, because in oldtime every child that was brought unto the Lord was to be redeemed, and that at amonth 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 asdefiled and polluted with sin. But although I said I will not dispute at what timethe soul may be said to receive sin, yet it is evident that it was precedent to theredemption made mention of just before, and so before the person redeemed had attainedthe age of a month. And that God might, in the language of Moses, give us to seecause of the necessity of this redemption, he first distinguisheth, and saith, Thefirstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, didnot 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 withunclean beasts, but because they are both unclean? The beast was unclean by God'sordination, but the other was unclean by sin. Now, then, it will be demanded, howa 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 lastis the way by which the soul at first receiveth sin, and by so receiving, becomethculpable, because polluted and defiled by it. And this passive way of receiving isoften mentioned in Scripture. Thus the pans received the ashes, (Exo 27:3); thusthe molten sea received three thousand baths, (2 Chron 4:5); thus the ground receiveththe 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 thesake of it, it is poured out and spilt upon the ground. But whence should the soulthus receive sin? I answer, from the body, while it is in the mothers belly; thebody comes from polluted man, and therefore is polluted (Psa 51: 5). Who can bringa clean thing out of an unclean? (Job 14:4). The soul comes from God's hand, andtherefore 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 filthbe 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 takethee 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, andshows 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 takea cloth annoyed with stinking, ulcerous sores, to wipe your mouth withal, or to thrustit into your bosoms? and the soul is polluted with far worse pollution than any suchcan be. But this is not all; it retains sin as the wool retains the dye, or as theinfected 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 thesoul, but it willingly, heartily, unanimously, universally falleth in with the naturalfilth and pollution that is in sin, to the estranging of itself from God, and anobtaining of an intimacy and compliance with the devil.
Now this being the state and condition of the soul from the belly, yea, frombefore it sees the light of this world, what can be concluded but that God is offendedwith 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 withman, are said to be as serpents so soon as born. The wicked (and all at first areso) go astray as soon as they be born, speakings lies. Their poison is like the poisonof a serpent: they are like the deaf adder, that stoppeth her ear (Psa 58:3,4). Theygo astray from the belly; but that they would not do, if aught of the powers of theirsoul 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 ofa serpent, to wit, not only deadly, for so poison is, but also hereditary. It comesfrom the old one, from the sire and dam; yea, it is also now become connatural toand with them, and is of the same date with the child as born into the world. Theserpent has not her poison, in the original of it, either from imitation or fromother infective things abroad, though it may by such things be helped forward andincreased; but she brings it with her in her bowels, in her nature, and it is toher as suitable to her present condition as it is that which is most sweet and wholesometo other of the creatures. So, then, every soul comes into the world as poisonedwith sin; nay, as such which have poison connatural to them; for it has not onlyreceived sin as the wool has received the dye, but it retaineth it. The infectionis got so deep, it has taken the black so effectually, that the tint, the very fireof hell, can never purge the soul therefrom.
And that the soul has received this infection thus early, and that it retains itso surely, is not only signified by children coming into the world besmeared in theirmothers blood, and by the firstborns being redeemed at a month old, but also by thefirst inclinations and actions of children when they are so come into the world (Exo26). Who sees not that lying, pride, disobedience to parents, and hypocrisy, do putforth themselves in children before they know that they do either well or ill inso 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 notthat they do it naturally from a principle, from an inherent principle, is eitherblinded, and has retained his darkness by the same sin as they, or has suffered himselfto be swayed by a delusion from him who at first infused this spawn of sin into mansnature.
Nor doth the averseness of children to morality a little demonstrate what has beensaid; for as it would make a serpent sick, should one give it a strong antidote againsthis 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 uponthem. 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 complianceswith admonitions, which indulgent parents are apt to overlook, yea, and sometimes,through unadvisedness, to count for the principles of grace. I speak now of thatwhich comes before conversion. But as I said before, I
would not now dispute, only I have thought good thus to urge these things to makemy 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 it's complexion and nature well. A manmay detain, that is, hold fast a thing which yet he doth not regard; but when heentertains, 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 receptionis polluted and defiled. This makes it hateful in the eyes of justice: it is nowpolluted. Then, secondly, this sin is not only received, but retained, that is, itsticks so fast, abides so fixedly in the soul, that it cannot be gotten out; thisis the cause of the continuation of abhorrence; for if God abhors because there isa being of sin there, it must needs be that he should continue to abhor, since sincontinues 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 mustneeds 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, but as they entertain those whom they like, and those that are got into theiraffections.  And therefore the wrath of God must certainly be let out upon thesoul, 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 orfaculties of the soul. The soul hath chosen it rather than God: it also, at God'scommand, 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 usright things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits (Isa 30:10). These aresigns 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 fromthose 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 thathideth his sins shall not prosper (Prov 28:13). And again, they hide it, andrefuse to let it go (Job 20:12,13). This is an evident sign that the soul has a favourfor 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 pieceof wickedness is no such evil thing; men need not be so nice, and make such a potherabout 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 againsttheir doctrine, Wherein have we been so wearisome to God, and what have we spokenso 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 angerfor this, saying, Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darknessfor 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 soulcannot deny but that it is sin, and that God is offended therewith; then it willgive flattering promises to God that it will indeed put it away; but yet it willprefix 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 thedelights 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 doorsshall be fulfilled by the soul, why then, it will be partial in God's law; it willput away some, and keep some; put away the grossest, and keep the finest; put awaythose 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 partedwith 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 nobodynever the wiser, O, what courting will be betwixt sin and the soul? And this is calleddoing of things in the dark (Eze 8:12).
By all these, and many more things that might be instanced, it is manifest that sinhas a friendly entertainment by the soul, and that therefore the soul is guilty ofdamnation; 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 it's onlypleasant 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 isto be damned, I will show how sin, by the help of the soul, is managed, from themotion of sin, even till it comes to the very act; for sin cannot come to an actwithout the help of the soul. The body doth little here, as I shall further showyou anon.
There is then a motion of sin presented to the soul (and whether presented by sinitself or the devil, we will not at this time dispute); motions of sin, and motionsto sin there are, and always the end of the motions of sin are to prevail with thesoul to help that motion into an act. But, I say, there is a motion to sin movedto the soul; or, as James calls it, a conception. Now behold how the soul deals withthis 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 it's eyes upon it, and sees that there is present a motionto sin, a motion of sin presented to the soul, that the soul might midwife it fromthe conception into the world.
2. Well, notice being taken that a motion to sin is present, what follows but thatthe fancy or imagination of the soul taketh it home to it, and doth not only lookupon it and behold it more narrowly, but begins to trick and trim up the sin to thepleasing 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 sinthe first hand, and that giveth to it the first lift towards it's being helped forwardto 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 wayupon 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 orstifle, but such as tended to animate and forward the motions or thoughts of sininto action. Every imagination of the thought's, 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 conceivedof this motion of and to sins, all to have presented it in all it's features so ugly,so ill favoured, and so unreasonable a thing to the soul, that the soul should forthwithhave let down the sluice, and pulled up the drawbridge, put a stop, with greatestdefiance, 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 toforward the bringing the said motion or thought into act. So, then, the thought ofsin, or motion thereto, is first of all entertained by the imagination and fancyof 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 imaginationbe evil. And thus the evil imagination helpeth the motion of and to sin towards theact, 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 ofsin to commit fornication, to swear, to steal, to act covetously, or the like, bepropounded to the fancy and imagination; the imagination, if evil, presently dressethup this motion in that garb that best suiteth with the nature of the sin. As, ifit be the lust of uncleanness, then is the motion to sin drest up in all the imaginablepleasurableness of that sin; if to covetousness, then is the sin drest up in theprofits and honours that attend that sin; and so of theft and the like; but if themotion be to swear, hector, or the like, then is that motion drest up with valourand manliness; and so you may count of the rest of sinful motions; and thus beingtrimmed up like a Bartholomew baby,  it is presented to all the rest of the powersof the soul, where with joint consent it is admired and embraced, to the firing andinflaming all the powers of the soul.
And hence it is that men are said to inflame themselves with their idols under everygreen tree. And to be as fed horses, neighing after their neighbours wife (Jer 5:8).For the imagination is such a forcible power, that if it putteth forth itself todress up and present a thing to the soul, whether that thing be evil or good, therest of the faculties cannot withstand it. Therefore, when David prayed for the childrenof Israel, he said, I have seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offerwillingly unto thee; that is, for preparations to build the temple. O Lord God, saithhe, 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 imaginationwas prepared, so would the soul be moved, whether by evil or good; therefore as tothis, he prays that their imagination might be engaged always with apprehensionsof the beauteousness of the temple, that they might always, as now, offer willinglyfor it's building.
But, as I said, when the imagination hath thus set forth sin to the rest of the facultiesof 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 broughtunto act, is the next thing that is resolved on. Thus Esau, after he had conceivedof that profit that would accrue to him by murdering of his brother, fell the nextway into a resolve to spill Jacobs blood. And Rebecca sent for Jacob, and said untohim, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposingto kill thee (Gen 27:42). See also (Jer 49:30). Nor is this purpose to do an evilwithout it's fruit, for he comforted himself in his evil purpose: Esau, as touchingthee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee.
The purpose, therefore, being concluded, in the next place the invention is diligentlyset to work to find out what means, methods, and ways, will be thought best to bringthis purpose into practice, and this motion to sin into action. Esau invented thedeath 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 Sam11:13). Amnon purposed to ravish Tamar, and the means that he invented to do it wereby feigning himself sick. Absalom purposed to kill Amnon, and invented to do it ata feast (2 Sam 13:32). Judas purposed to sell Christ, and invented to betray himin the absence of the people (Luke 22:3-6). The Jews purposed to kill Paul, and inventedto entreat the judge of a blandation to send for him, that they might murderhim as he went (Acts 23:12-15).
Thus you see how sin is, in the motion of it, handed through the soul first, it comesinto the fancy or imagination, by which it is so presented to the soul, as to inflameit with desire to bring it into act; so from this desire the soul proceedeth to apurpose of enjoying, and from a purpose of enjoying to inventing how, or by whatmeans, it had best to attempt the accomplishing of it.
But, further, when the soul has thus far, by it's wickedness, pursued the motionof sin to bring it into action, then to the last thing; to wit, to endeavours, totake the opportunity, which, by the invention, is judged most convenient; so to endeavoursit goes, till it has finished sin, and finished, in finishing of that, it's own fearfuldamnation. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when itis 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 passingand repassing, turning and returning, over the face of the soul? how many times thesoul 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 untothe 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 thingthat 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 it's own ways anddoings, which is the terriblest judgment under heaven; and this brings me to thethird thing, the which I now will speak to.
3. As the soul receives, detains, entertains, and wilily worketh to bring sin fromthe motion into act, so it abhorreth to be controlled and taken off of this workMy soul loathed them, says God, and their soul also abhorred Me (Zech 6:8). My soulloathed them, because they were so bad; and their souls abhorred Me, because I amso good. Sin, then, is the cause of the loss of the soul; because it hath set thesoul, or, rather, because the soul of love to sin hath set itself against God. Woeunto 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 itselfagainst 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 theirnatures, or as inserted in the Holy Scriptures; I say, for a rule of life to allthe children of men. But what have men done, or how have they carried it to thislaw 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 werecounted as a strange thing. (Hos 8:12).
Now, whence should all this disobedience arise? Not from the unreasonableness ofthe commandment, but from the opposition that is lodged in us against God, and theenmity 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 wickedworks (Col 1:21). This, if men went no further, must needs be highly provoking toa just and holy God: yea, so highly offensive is it, that, to show the heat of Hisanger, He saith, Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soulof man that doeth evil, and this evil with a witness, of the Jew first, and alsoof the Gentile, that doth evil (Rom 2:8,9). That breaketh the law; for that evilHe is crying out against now. But,
II. To speak of the gospel , and of the carriage of sinful souls towards God underthat 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 wrathby the breach of the law of works; this is manifest by all the Scripture. But howdoth the soul carry it towards God, when He offereth to deal with it under and bythis dispensation of grace? Why, just as it carried it under the law of works: theyoppose, 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 whatgreater disdain can be shown against the gospel? (2 Tim 2:25; 1 Thess 2:14-16). Yetall this the poor soul, to it's own wrong, offereth against the way of it's 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, butthe 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 andpreached 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 stillis, as He is set forth in the word of the gospel; to wit, first, as making peaceHimself to God for us in and by the blood of His cross; and then, as bearing (asset out by the gospel) the very characters of His sufferings before our faces inevery tender of the gospel of His grace unto us. And to touch a little upon the dressin which, by the gospel, Christ presenteth unto us while He offereth unto sinfulsouls 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 wrathfor 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 everlastingrighteousness 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, thatthey 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 withthe thoughts of death, which He was to suffer for our sins, that He might save thesoul (Luke 22:44).
(2.) He is set forth as crying, weeping, and mourning under the lashes of justicethat 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 thesoul from being betrayed by the devil and sin; to save it from being apprehendedby justice, and condemned by the law; to save it from being spit on, in a way ofcontempt, by holiness; to save it from being scourged with guilt of sins, as withscorpions; to save it from being continually buffeted by it's own conscience; tosave it from being mocked at by God; to save it from being crowned with ignominyand shame for ever; to save it from dying the second death; to save it from woundsand grief for ever.
Dost thou understand me, sinful soul? He wrestled with justice, that thou mightesthave 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 worea crown of thorns, that thou mightest wear a crown of glory; and was nailed to thecross, with His arms wide open, to show with what freeness all His merits shall bebestowed 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 untothee freely; yea, He cometh unto thee, in the word of the gospel, with the bloodrunning 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 bubblingout of His side, to pray thee to accept of the benefit, and to be reconciled to Godthereby (2 Cor 5). But what saith the sinful soul to this? I do not ask what he saithwith his lips, for he will assuredly flatter God with his mouth; but what doth hisactions 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 hisacts and doings. So, then, what saith he by his goings, by his sets and doings, untothis 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 whyhe should admit Him to be entertained in his affections. Therefore the prophet, speakingin the person of sinners, says, He (Christ) hath no form nor comeliness, and whenwe shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him; and then adds, toshow what he meaneth by his thus speaking, saying, he is despised and rejected ofmen (Isa 53:2,3). All this is spoken with reference to His person, and it was eminentlyfulfilled upon Him in the days of His flesh, when He was hated, maligned, and persecutedto death by sinners; and is still fulfilled in the souls of sinners, in that theycannot abide to think of Him with thoughts that have a tendency in them to separatethem and their lusts asunder, and to the making of them to embrace Him for theirdarling, and the taking up of their cross to follow Him. All this sinners speak outwith loud voices, in that they stop their ears and shut their eyes as to Him, butopen them wide and hearken diligently to anything that pleaseth the flesh, and thatis a nursery to sin. But,
2. As they despise, and reject, and do not regard His person, so they do not valuethe grace that He tendereth unto them by the gospel; this is plain by that indifferencyof spirit that always attends them when, at any time, they hear thereof, or whenit is presented unto them.
I may safely say, that the most of men who are concerned in a trade, will be morevigilant in dealing with a twelvepenny customer than they will be with Christ whenHe comes to make unto them, by the gospel, a tender of the incomparable grace ofGod. Hence they are called fools, because a price is put into their hands to getwisdom, and they have no heart unto it (Prov 18:16). And hence, again, it is thatthat bitter complaint is made, But My people would not hearken to my voice; and Israelwould none of Me (Psa 81:11). Now, these things being found, as practised by thesouls of sinners, must needs, after a wonderful manner, provoke; wherefore, no marvelthat the heavens are bid to be astonished at this, and that damnation shall seizeupon the soul for this (Jer 2).
And indeed, the soul that doth thus by practice, though with his mouth, as who dothnot? 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 asour Lord Jesus Christ hath showed, And this is the condemnation, that light is comeinto the world, and men loved darkness more than light (as is manifest), becausetheir deeds were evil (John 3:19).
(2.) They do, also, by their thus rejecting of Christ and grace, say, that for whatthe law can do to them, they value it not; they regard not it's 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, fullydeclare that they make such desperate conclusions, insinuates that the burden ofthe curse thereof is intolerable, saying, Can thine heart endure, or can thine handsbe 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 hazardof 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 elsemeans their not hearkening to Him, their despising of His Son, and the rejectingof His grace; yea I say again, what else means their slighting of the curse of thelaw, 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, thesethings 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 punishmentassigned 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 canthe body do as to these? It is in a manner wholly passive; yea, altogether as tothe 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 therest, ariseth and proceedeth out of the heart, the soul; For from within, out ofthe 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 andbeing defiled, that which defileth being the worst; not but that the body shall haveit's 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, mustbe punished.
And that God's indignation burneth most against the soul appears in that death hathseized upon every soul already; for the Scripture saith, that every natural or unconvertedman 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 toall 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, ifyou observe, you shall see that the soul goeth first, or before, in punishment, notonly by what has been said already, in that the soul is first made a partaker ofdeath, 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 hardnessand 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, whilethe soul is tormented in unutterable torment in hell. And so, I say, it shall bespared, and the clods of the valley shall be sweet unto it, while the soul mournethin hell for sin. It is true, at the day of judgment, because that is the last andfinal judgment of God on men, then the body and soul shall be reunited, or joinedtogether again, and shall then, together, partake of that recompence for their wickednesswhich is meet. When I say, the body is spared and the soul tormented, I mean notthat the body is not then, at death, made to partake of the wages of sin, for thewages of sin is death (Rom 3:23). But I mean, the body partakes then but of temporaldeath, which, as to sense and feeling, is sometimes over presently, and then restethin the grave, while the soul is tormenting in hell. Yea, and why is death sufferedto slay the body? I dare say, not chiefly for that the indignation of God most burnethagainst the body; but the body being the house for the soul in this world, God evenpulls down this body, that the soul may be stript naked, and being stript, may becarried to prison, to the place where damned souls are, there to suffer in the beginningof suffering, that punishment that will be endless.
Answer 2 . Therefore, the soul must be the part most sorely punished, because justicemust be distributed with equity. God is a God of knowledge and judgment; by Him actionsare 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 hathso, of equity the soul is to bear the burden of punishment. Shall not the Judge ofall the earth do right in His famous distributing of judgment? (Gen 18:25). He willnot lay upon man more than right, that he should enter into judgment with God (Job34:23). The soul, since deepest in sin, shall also be deepest in punishment. Shallone 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 isGod in the distribution thereof, that He will not punish heathens so as He will punishJews; 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 severalsorts 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 ofeach?
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 needsbe greater, whether the body be punished with the same fire with the soul, or fireof 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 mostproperly felt and apprehended by the soul, and by the body by virtue of it's unionwith the soul; and so felt by the body, if not only, yet, I think, mostly, by wayof sympathy with the soul; and the cause, we say, is worse than the disease; andif 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, init's torments, has upon the body, by virtue of that great oneness and union thatis between them.
But if there be a punishment prepared for the body distinct in kind from that whichis prepared for the soul, yet it must be a punishment inferior to that which is preparedfor the soul; not that the soul and body shall be severed, but being made of thingsdistinct, 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 intolerablyinsupportable, 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 tormentingof one body, yet that cannot yield that torment to that which the sense of guiltand burning-hot application of the indignation of God will do to the soul; yea, supposethe fire wherewith the body is tormented in hell should be seven times hotter thanany of our fire; yea, suppose it, again, to be seven times hotter than that whichis 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 helltherewith. So, then, whether the body be tormented with the same fire wherewith thesoul is tormented, or whether the fire be of another kind, yet it is not possiblethat it should bear the same punishment as to degree, because, or for the causesI have showed. Nor, indeed, is it meet it should, because the body has not sinnedso, so grievously as the soul has done; and God proportioneth the punishment suitableto the offence.
Answer 4. With the soul by itself are the most quick and suitable apprehensions ofGod and His wrath; wherefore, that must needs be made partaker of the sorest punishmentin hell; it is the soul that now is the most subtle at discerning, and it is thesoul that will be so; then conscience, memory, and understanding, and mind; thesewill be the seat of torment, since the understanding will let wrath immediately uponthese, from what it apprehends of that wrath; conscience will let the wrath of Godimmediately upon these, from what it fearfully feels of that wrath; the memory willthen, as a vessel, receive and retain up to the brim of this wrath, even as it receivethby the understanding and conscience, the cause of this wrath, and considers the durablenessof it; so, then, the soul is the seat and the receiver of wrath, even as it was thereceiver and seat of sin; here, then, is sin and wrath upon the soul, the soul inthe body, and so soul and body tormented in hell fire.
Answer 5 . The soul will be most tormented, because strongest; the biggest burdenmust lie upon the strongest part, especially since, also, it is made capable of itby it's sin. The soul must bear it's own punishment, and a great part of the body'stoo, forasmuch as, so far as apprehension goes, the soul will be quicker at the workthan the body. True, the body, by the help of the soul, will see too, but the soulwill see yet abundantly further. And good reason that the soul should bear part ofthe punishment of the body, because it was through it's allurements that the bodyyielded to help the soul to sin. The devil presented sin, the soul took it by thebody, 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 wayto the body to be in all it's members loose, and vain, and wicked, as instrumentsto sin?
Answer . No; forasmuch as the body shall also have his share in punishment. For thoughI 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 it's due. Andfor 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 bothbody and soul (Rom 9:22). The soul receiveth wrath unto itself, and the body holdeththat soul that has thus received, and is tormented with, the wrath of God. Now thebody 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 it's unionwith 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 andmisery, 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 referenceto the body, Let the curse come into his bowels like water, and like oil into hisbones. 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 beinga vessel to hold that soul that is now possessed and distressed with the unspeakablewrath and indignation of the Almighty God, and this will be a great deal, if youconsider,
(2.) That the body, as a body, will, by reason of it's union with the soul, be assensible, and so as capable in it's kind, to receive correction and torment as ever,nay, I think more; for if the quickness of the soul giveth quickness of sense tothe body, as in some case, at least, I am apt to think it doth, then forasmuch asthe soul will now be most quick, most sharp in apprehension, so the body, by reasonof 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 it's senses, byreason of it's being a vessel to hold the soul, the torment of the soul could notas torment, be ministered to the body, no more than the fire tormented the king ofBabylon's furnace (Dan 3). Or than the king of Moab's lime kiln was afflicted becausethe king of Edom's bones were burnt therein. But now the body has received againit's senses, now therefore it must, yea, it cannot choose but must feel that wrathof God that is let out, yea, poured out like floods of water into the soul. Remember also, that besides what the body receiveth from the soul by reason of it'sunion 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 forit's 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 fitlysuit with the nature of the body, as wrath and guilt do most fitly suit the natureof the soul.
(3.) Add to these, the durable condition that the body in this state is now in withthe soul. Time was when the soul died, and the body lived, and the soul was tormentedwhile the body slept and rested in the dust; but now these things are past; for atthe day of judgment, as I said, these two shall be reunited, and that which oncedid 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 tormentof the body.
Death was once the wages of sin, and a grievous curse; but might the damned meetwith it in hell, they would count it a mercy, because it would separate soul andbody, and not only so, but take away all sense from the body, and make it incapableof 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, sothe 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, andthere shall be no more natural death, no, not in hell (1 Cor 15:26). And now it shallhappen 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). Thustherefore they must abide together; death that used to separate them asunder is nowslain. 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, yetwhile it lasted and had dominion over the body of the wicked, it hindered them ofthat great and just judgment which for sin was due unto them; and this is the thirddiscovery 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, thatwill greatly aggravate the punishment of the body in hell; for though the eye isthe window, and the ear a door for the soul to look out at, and also to receive inby, yet whatever goeth in at the ear or the eye leaves influence upon the body, whetherit be that which the soul delighteth in, or that which the soul abhorreth; for asthe eye affecteth the heart, or soul (Lam 3:51) so the eye and ear, by hearing andbeholding, doth oft times afflict the body. When I heard, my belly trembled, rottennessentered into my bones. (Hab 3:16).
Now, I say, as the body after it's resurrection, to damnation, to everlasting shameand contempt (Dan 12:2; John 5:29) will receive all it's senses again, so it willhave matter to exercise them upon, not only to the letting into the soul those aggravationswhich they by hearing, feeling, and seeing are capable to let in thither, but, Isay, they will have matter and things to exercise themselves upon for the helpingforward of the torment of the body. Under temporal judgments of old, the body aswell as the soul had no ease, day or night, and that not only by reason of what wasfelt, but by reason of what was heard and seen. In the morning thou shalt say, WouldGod 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 ofthine eyes, which thou shalt see. Nay, He tells them a little before, that they shouldbe 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; andthis will be a torment to their body. There is bodily torment, as I said, ministeredto 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 distressto 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; how much more, then, when men shall see themselves in the most dreadful place; itis 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 anart by which a man may make his neighbour look so ghastly, that he shall fright himselfby looking on him, especially when he thinks of himself, that he is of the same showalso. It is said concerning men at the downfall of Babylon, that they shall be amazedone at another, for their faces shall be as flames (Isa 13:8). And what if one shouldsay, that even as it is with a house set on fire within, where the flame ascendsout at the chimneys, out at the windows, and the smoke out at every chink and crevicethat it can find, so it will be with the damned in hell. That soul will breathe hellfire and smoke, and coals will seem to hang upon it's burning lips; yea, the face,eyes, and ears will seem all to be chimneys and vents for the flame and smoke ofthe burning which God by His breath hath kindled therein, and upon them, which willbe 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 willsee it too. In a word, who knows the power of God's wrath, the weight of sin, thetorments of hell, and the length of eternity? If none, then none can tell, when theyhave said what they can, the intolerableness of the torments that will swallow upthe soul, the lost soul, when it is cast away by God, and from Him, into outer darknessfor 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 howunconcerned and careless so ever some now be about the loss or salvation of theirsouls, 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 fourthings 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 afterhe 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; forhe that is dead according to our common acceptation of death, that is, deprived oflife and sense, would not give twopence to change his state; therefore the wordsdo 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 othersare at liberty, what would he give in exchange for his place, and to be rid of thatfor a better! but how much more to be delivered from hell, the present place andstate of his soul!
2. There is in the text an intimation of a sense of torment Or what shall a man givein exchange for his soul? I am tormented in this flame. Torment, then, the soul issensible of, and that there is a place of ease and peace. And from the sense andfeeling of torment, he would give, yea, what would he not give, in exchange for hissoul?
3. There is in the text an intimation of the intolerableness of the torment, becausethat 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 lastingnessof the punishment, or else the question rather argues a man unwary than consideratein his offering, as is supposed by Christ, so largely, his all in exchange for hissoul.
But we will, in this manner, proceed no further, but take it for granted that thedoctrine is good; wherefore I shall next inquire after what is contained in thistruth. And,
FIRST, That God has undertaken, and will accomplish, the breaking of the spiritsof all the world, either by His grace and mercy to salvation, or by His justice andseverity 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 ofsalvation, so long as the acceptable time did last, and as the white flag, that signifiesterms 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 exchangefor his soul? He of whom you read in the gospel, that could tend to do nothing inthe 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 atlast, that he could crouch, and cringe, and beg for one small drop of water to coolhis tongue, a thing, that but a little before he would have thought scorn to havedone, when he also thought scorn to stoop to the grace and mercy of the gospel (Luke16:19,24). 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 byHis grace, yet by hell fire.
This he also threatens to bring upon the fool in the Proverbs They shall call, theyshall seek, they shall cry (Prov 1:22-32). Who shall do so? The answer is, They thatsometimes 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 Godfor mercy (Zech 7:11-13).
Sinner, careless sinner, didst thou take notice of this first inference that I havedrawn from my second doctrine? If thou didst, yet read it again: it is this, Godhas 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 resolvedto have the victory. Who would set the briers and thorns against Me in battle? Iwould go through them, I would burn them together (Isa 27:4). I will march againstthem. God is merciful, and is come forth into the world by His Son, tendering ofgrace unto sinners by the gospel, and would willingly make a conquest over them fortheir good by His mercy. Now He being come out, sinners like briars and thorns doset themselves against Him, and will have none of His mercy. Well, but what saysGod? 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 justicein hell fire. They say they will not bend; I say they shall; now they shall knowwhose words shall stand, Mine or theirs. (Jer 44:25-28). Wherefore the apostle, whenhe saw that some of the Corinthians began to be unruly, and to do those things thatdid begin to hazard them, saith, Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we strongerthan 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 haveyou under His feet I will tread them in Mine anger, and trample them in My fury (Isa63:3). 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 tomake all His sayings good, and to verify them on the consciences of sinners. Andsince the incredulous world will not believe now, and fly from wrath, they shallshortly believe and cry under it; since they will not now credit the Word, beforethey see, unto salvation, they shall be made to credit it by sense and feeling untodamnation.
SECOND, The second inference that I draw from my second doctrine is this: That itis, and will be the lot of some to bow and break before God, too late, or when itis too late. God is resolved, as I said. to have the mastery, and that not only ina way of dominion and lordship in general, for that He has now, but He is resolvedto master, that is, to break the spirit of the world, to make all men cringe andcrouch unto Him, even those that now say, There is no God, (Psa 14:1); or if therebe, 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, andthat turn their spirit against God; but this they shall think of, this they mustthink of, this God will make them think of in that day, at which day they also nowdo 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 underthe 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; Rom14:11). And again, The nations shall see, and be confounded at all their might; theyshall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf. They shall lickthe dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms, or creepingthings, of the earth; they shall be afraid of the Lord our God, and shall fear becauseof Thee (Micah 7:16,17).
For then they, will they nill they, shall have to do with God, though not with Himas merciful, or as one that may be intreated; yet with Him all just, and as devouringfire (Heb 7:29). Yea, they shall see that face, and hear that voice, from whom andfrom which the heavens and the earth will fly away, and find no place of stay. Andby 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 willbe done, what effects will the last, most dreadful, and eternal judgment, have uponmens' souls?
Hence you find, that at the very first appearance of Jesus Christ, the whole worldbegins 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 untous (Luke 14:25; Matt 25:11). Moreover, you find them also desiring, yea, also sohumble in their desires as to be content with the least degree of mercy, one drop,one drop upon the tip of ones finger. What stooping, what condescension, what humilityis here! All, and every one of those passages declare, that the hand of God is uponthem, and that the Almighty has got the mastery of them, has conquered them, brokethe pride of their power, and laid them low, and made them cringe and crouch untohim, 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 alsoit is they will weep, and mourn, and gnash their teeth, and cry, and repent thatever they have been so foolish, so wicked, so traitorous to their souls, such enemiesof their own eternal happiness, as to stand out in the day of their visitation ina way of rebellion against the Lord.
But here is their hard hap, their dismal lot and portion, that all these things mustbe 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 thedoor was shut. He answered and said, I know not whence you are. But they repeat andrenew their suit, saying, We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hasttaught in our streets. What now? Why, He returns upon them His first answer the secondtime, 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 seeAbraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and youyourselves thrust out (Luke 13:26,28). They come weeping, and go weeping away. Theycome 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 werevery loath to go from Him, by their reasoning and expostulating with Him Lord, whensaw 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 changeof mind These shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into lifeeternal (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 toolate, they pray too late, and seek to make an exchange for their soul too late. Orwhat 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 thedesires of them that have lost their souls, to make for them an exchange; What shalla man give in exchange?what shall, what would, yea, what would not a man, if he hadit, give in exchange for his soul?
First, What would not a man, I mean, a man that is in the condition that is by thetext supposed some men are and will be in, give in exchange to have another mansvirtue instead of their own vices? Let me die the death of the righteous; let mysoul 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 someto taunt, and squib, and deride at other mens' virtues; but the day is coming whentheir minds will be changed, and when they shall be made to count those that havedone those righteous actions and duties which they have scoffed at, the only blessedmen; yea, they shall wish their soul in the blessed possession of those graces andvirtues, that those whom they hated were accompanied with, and would, if they hadit, 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 intimatedin 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 seethee an hungred, or athirst, naked, or sick, and did not minister unto thee? Nowthey are not willing to be of the number of the wicked, though hereto-fore the waysof 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 rewardof his hands shall be given him (Isa 3:11). Thus, therefore, he is locked up as tothis; he cannot now change his vice for virtues, nor put himself nor his soul inthe stead of the soul of the saved; so that it still, and will, for ever abide aquestion unresolved, Or, what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? I do notdoubt but that a mans state may be such in this world, that if he had it he wouldgive thousands of gold to be as innocent and guiltless in the judgment of the lawof the land as is the state of such or such, heartily wishing that himself was notthat he, that he is; how much more then will men wish thus when they stand readyto receive the last, their eternal judgment. But what shall a man give in exchangefor his soul?
Second , As they would, for the salvation of their souls, be glad to change awaytheir vices for the virtues, their sins for the good deeds of others; so what wouldthey 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 havetheir inheritance to themselves Neither, said Abraham, can they pass to us, thatwould come from thence, (Luke 16:26); neither can they dwell in heaven that wouldcome from hell.
They then that have lost, or shall lose their souls are bound to their place, aswell as to their sins. When Judas went to hell, he went to his home, to his own place(Acts 1:25). And when the righteous go hence, they also
go home to their house, to their own place; for the kingdom of heaven is preparedfor them (Matt 25:34). Between heaven and hell there is a great gulf fixed (Luke26:26). That is a strange passage: There is a great gulf fixed. What this gulf is,and how impassable, they that shall lose their souls will know to their woe; becauseit is fixed there where it is, on purpose to keep them in their tormenting place,so that they that would pass from hell to heaven cannot. But, I say, Would they notchange places? would they not have a more comfortable house and home for their souls?Yes, verily, the text supposes it, and the 16th of Luke affirms it; yea, and couldthey purchase for their souls a habitation among the righteous, would they not? Yes,they would give all the world to such a change. What shall, what shall not, a man,if he had it, if it would answer his design, give in exchange for his soul?
Third , As the damned would change their own vices for virtues, and the place wherethey are for that into which they shall not come, so what would they give for a changeof condition? Yea, if an absolute change may not be obtained, yet what would theygive for the least degree of mitigation of that torment, which now they know willwithout any intermission be, and that for ever and ever. Tribulation and anguish,indignation and wrath (Rom 2:8,9), the gnawing worm, and everlasting destructionfrom the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power, cannot be borne butwith great horror and grief (2 Thess 1:7-10). No marvel, then, if these poor creatureswould, for ease for their souls, be glad to change their conditions. Change!withwhom? with an angel, with a saint; ay, with a dog or a toad;  for they mournnot, they weep not, nor do they bear indignation of wrath; they are as if they hadnot been; only the sinful soul abides in it's sins, in the place designed for lostsouls, and in the condition that wrath and indignation for sin and transgressionhath decreed them to abide for ever. And this brings me to the conclusion, whichis, that seeing the ungodly do seek good things too late, therefore, notwithstandingtheir seeking, they must still abide in their place, their sins, and their tormentFor what can a man give in exchange for his soul? Therefore, God saith, that theythere must still abide and dwell, no exchange can be made. This shall ye have ofMine hand, ye shall lie down in sorrow; they shall lie down in it, they shall maketheir bed there, there they shall lie (Isa 50:11; Eze 32:25-27). And this is thebitter pill that they must swallow down at the last; for, after all their tears,their sorrows, their mournings, their repentings, their wishings and woundings, andall their inventings, and desires to change their state for a better, they must liedown in sorrow. The poor condemned man that is upon the ladder or scaffold has, ifone knew them, many a long wish and long desire that he might come down again alive,or that his condition was as one of the spectators that are not condemned and broughtthither to be executed as he. How carefully also doth he look with his failing eyes,to see if some comes not from the king with a pardon for him, all the while endeavouringto fumble away as well as he can, and to prolong the minute of his execution! Butat last, when he has looked, when he has wished, when he has desired, and done whateverhe can, the blow with the axe, or turn with the ladder, is his lot, so he goes offthe scaffold, so he goes from among men; and thus it will be with those that we haveunder consideration; when all comes to all, and they have said, and wished, and donewhat they can, the judgment must not be reversed, they must lie down in sorrow.
They must, or shall lie down! Of old, when a man was to be chastised for his fault,he was to lie down to receive his stripes; so here, saith the Lord, they shall liedown. And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shallcause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face (Deu 25:2). And this lyingdown was to be his lot after he had pleaded for himself what be could, and the judgeshall cause him to be beaten before his face, while he is present to behold the executionof judgment; and thus it shall be at the end of the world; the wicked shall lie down,and shall be beaten with many stripes in the presence of Christ, and in the presenceof the holy angels (2 Thess 1; Rev 14:10). For there will be His presence, not onlyat the trial as Judge, but to see execution done, nay, to do it Himself by the pouringout, like a river, His wrath as burning brimstone upon the soul of the lost and castaway sinner.
He shall lie down! These words imply that, at last, the damned soul shall submit;for to lie down is an act that signifies submission, especially to lie down to bebeaten. The wicked shall be silent in darkness (1 Sam 2:9). When the malefactor hassaid and wished all that be can, yet at last he submits, is silent, and, as it were,helps to put his head into the halter, or doth lay down his neck upon the block;so here it is said of the damned. They shall lie down in sorrow. There is also aplace that saith, These shall go away into everlasting punishment (Matt 25:46). Togo, to go to punishment, is also an act of submission. Now, submission to punishmentdoth, or should, flow from full conviction of the merit of punishment; and I thinkit is so to be understood here For every mouth shall be stopped, and all the world(of soul losers) become guilty before God (Rom 3:4,19; Luke 13:25-28; Matt 25:46).Every mouth shall be stopped, not at the beginning of the judgment, for then theyplead, and pray, and also object against the Judge; but at the end, after that bya judicial proceeding He shall have justified against them His sayings, and haveovercome these His judges, then they shall submit, and also lie down in sorrow; yea,they shall go away to their punishment as those who know they deserve it; yea, theyshall go away with silence.
How they shall behave themselves in hell, I will not here dispute; whether in a wayof rage and blasphemy, and in rending and tearing of the name and just actions ofGod towards them, or whether by way of submission there; I say, though this is noneof this task, yet a word or two, if you please.
Doubtless they will not be mute there; they will cry and wail, and gnash their teeth,and, perhaps, too, sometimes at God; but I do not think but that the justice thatthey have deserved, and the equal administration of it upon them, will, for the mostpart, prevail with them to rend and tear themselves, to acquit and justify God, andto add fuel to their fire, by concluding themselves in all the fault, and that theyhave sufficiently merited this just damnation; for it would seem strange to me thatjust judgment among men shall terminate in this issue, if God should not justifyhimself in the conscience of all the damned. But as here on earth, so He will letthem know that go to hell that He hath not done without a cause, a sufficient cause,all that He hath done in damning of them (Eze 14:23).
[USE AND APPLICATION.]
I come now to make some use and application of the whole. And,
USE FIRST- If the soul be so excellent a thing as we have made it appear to be, andif the loss thereof be so great a loss, then here you may see who they are that arethose extravagant ones; I mean, those that are such in the highest degree. Solomontells us of a great waster, and saith also, that he that is slothful in his businessis brother to such an one (Prov 18:9). Who Solomon had his eye upon, or who it wasthat he counted so great a waster, I cannot tell; but I will challenge all the worldto show me one, that for wasting and destroying, may be compared to him that forthe lusts and pleasures of this life will hazard the loss of his soul. Many men willbe so profuse, and will spend at that prodigal rate, that they will bring a thousandpound a year to five hundred, and five hundred to fifty, and some also will bringthat fifty to less than ninepence;  but what is this to him that shall neverleave losing until he has lost his soul? I have heard of some who would throw awaya farm, a good estate, upon the trundling of one single bowl; but what is thisto the casting away of the soul? Nothing can for badness be compared to sin; it isthe vile thing, it cannot have a worse name than it's own; it is worse than the vilestmen, than the vilest of beasts; yea, sin is worse than the devil himself, for itis sin, and sin only, that hath made the devils devils; and yet for this, for thisvile, this abominable thing, some men, yea, most men, will venture the loss of theirsoul; yea, they will mortgage, pawn, and set their souls to sale for it (Jer 44:4).Is not this a great waster? doth not this man deserve to be ranked among the extravagantones? What think you of him who, when he tempted the wench to uncleanness, said toher, If thou wilt venture thy body, Ill venture my soul? Was not here like to bea fine bargain, think you? or was not this man like to be a gainer by so doing? Thisis he that prizes sin at a higher rate than he doth his immortal soul; yea, thisis he that esteems a quarter of an hours pleasure more than he fears everlastingdamnation. What shall I say? This man is minded to give more to be damned, than Godrequires he should give to be saved; is not this an extravagant one? Be astonished,O ye heavens! at this, and be horribly afraid! (Jer 2:9-12). Yea, let all the angelsstand amazed at the unaccountable prodigality of such an one.
Objection 1. But some may say, I cannot believe that God will be so severe as tocast away into hell fire an immortal soul for a little sin.
Answer . I know thou canst not believe it, for if thou couldst, thou wouldst soonereat fire than run this hazard; and hence all they that go down to the lake of fireare called the unbelievers; and the Lord shall cut thee, that makest this objection,asunder, and shall appoint thee thy portion with such, except thou believe the gospel,and repent (Luke 12:46).
Objection 2. But surely, though God should be so angry at the beginning, it cannotin time but grieve Him to see and hear souls roaring in hell, and that for a littlesin.
Answer . Whatsoever God doeth, it abideth for ever (Eccl 3:14). He doth nothing ina passion, or in an angry fit; He proceedeth with sinners by the most perfect rulesof justice; wherefore it would be injustice, to deliver them whom the law condemneth,yea, He would falsify His word, if after a time He should deliver them from hell,concerning whom He hath solemnly testified, that they shall be there for ever.
Objection 3. O but, as He is just, so He is merciful; and mercy is pitiful, and verycompassionate to the afflicted.
Answer . O, but mercy abused becomes most fearful in tormenting. Did you never readthat the Lamb turned lion, and that the world will tremble at the wrath of the Lamb,and be afflicted more at the thoughts of that, than at the thoughts of anything thatshall happen to them in the day when God shall call them to an account for theirsins? (Rev 6:16,17). The time of mercy will be then past, for now is that acceptabletime, behold now is the day of salvation; the gate of mercy will then be shut, andmust not be opened again; for now is that gate open, now it is open for a door ofhope (2 Cor 6:2; Matt 25:10; Luke 13:25).
The time of showing pity and compassion will then be at an end; for that as to actingtowards sinners will last but till the glass of the world is run, and when that dayis past, mark what God saith shall follow, I will laugh at your calamity ; I willmock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destructioncometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you (Prov 1:26,27).Mark you how many pinching expressions the Lord Jesus Christ doth threaten the refusingsinner with; the sinner with, that refuseth Him now? I will laugh at him, I willmock at him. But when, Lord, wilt thou laugh at, and mock at, the impenitent? Theanswer is, I will laugh at their calamities, and mock when their fear cometh; whentheir fear cometh as desolation, and their destruction like a whirlwind; when distressand anguish cometh upon them.
Objection 4. But if God Almighty be at this point, and there be no moving of Himto mercy at that day, yet we can but lie in hell till we are burnt out, as the logdoth at the back of the fire.
Answer . Poor besotted sinner, is this thy last shift? wilt thou comfort thyselfwith this? Are thy sins so dear, so sweet, so desireable, so profitable to thee,that thou wilt venture a burning in hell fire for them till thou art burnt out? Isthere nothing else to be done but to make a covenant with death, and to maintainthy agreement with hell? (Isa 28:15). Is it not better to say now unto God, Do notcondemn me? and to say now, Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner? Would not tears, andprayers, and cries, in this acceptable time, to God for mercy, yield thee more benefitin the next world than to lie and burn out in hell will do?
But to come more close to thee. Have not I told thee already that there is no suchthing as a ceasing to be? that the damned shall never be burned out in hell? thereshall be no more such death, or cause of dissolution for ever. This one thing, wellconsidered, breaks not only the neck of that wild conceit on which thy foolish objectionis built, but will break thy stubborn heart in pieces. For then it follows, thatunless thou canst conquer God, or with ease endure to conflict with His sin-revengingwrath, thou wilt be made to mourn while under His everlasting wrath and indignation;and to know that there is not such a thing as a burning out in hell fire.
Objection 5. But, if this must be my case, I shall have more fellows; I shall notgo to hell, nor yet burn there, alone.
Answer . What, again; is there no breaking of the league that is betwixt sin andthy soul? What, resolved to be a self-murderer, a soul murderer? what, resolved tomurder thine own soul? But is there any comfort in being hanged with company? insinking into the bottom of the sea with company? or in going to hell, in burningin hell, and in enduring the everlasting pains of hell, with company? O besottedwretch! But I tell thee, the more company, the more sorrow; the more fuel, the morefire. Hence the damned man that we read of in Luke desired that his brethren mightbe so warned and prevailed with as to be kept out of that place of torment (Luke16:27,28). But to hasten; I come now to the second use.
USE SECOND.Is it so? Is the soul such an excellent thing, and the loss thereof sounspeakably great? Then here you may see who are the greatest fools in the world,to wit, those who, to get the world and it's preferments, will neglect God till theylose their souls. The rich man in the gospel was one of these great fools, for thathe was more concerned about what he should do with his goods, than how his soul shouldbe saved (Luke 7:16-21). Some are for venturing their souls for pleasures, and someare for venturing their souls for profits; they that venture their souls for pleasureshave but little excuse for their doings; but they that venture their soul for profitseem to have much. And they all with one consent began to make excuse;excuse forwhat? why, for the neglect of the salvation of their souls. But what was the causeof their making this excuse? Why, their profits came tumbling in. I have bought apiece of ground; I have bought five yoke of oxen; and I have married a wife, andtherefore I cannot come (Luke 14:15-20).
Thus also it was with the fool first mentioned; his ground did bring forth plentifully,wherefore he must of necessity forget his soul, and, as he thought, all the reasonof the world he should. Wherefore, he falls to crying out, What shall I do? Now,had one said, Mind the good of thy soul, man; the answer would have been ready, Butwhere shall I bestow my goods. If it had been replied, Stay till harvest; he returnsagain, But I have no room where to bestow my goods. Now, tell him of praying, andhe answers, he must go to building. Tell him, he should frequent sermons, and hereplies, he must mind his workmen. He cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is therenot a lie in my right hand? (Isa 44:20).
And see if, in the end, he did not become a fool; for though he accomplished thebuilding of his barns, and put in there all his fruits and his goods, yet even tillnow his soul was empty, and void of all that was good; nor did he, in singing ofthat requiem which he sung to his soul at last, saying, Soul, take thine ease, eat,drink, and be merry, show himself ever the wiser; for, in all his labours he hadrejected to get that food that indeed is meat and drink for the soul. Nay, in singingthis song he did but provoke God to hasten to send to fetch his soul to hell; forso begins the conclusion of the parable Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be requiredof thee; then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided? So that, I say,it is the greatest folly in the world for a man, upon any pretence what ever, toneglect to make good the salvation of his soul.
There are six signs of a fool, and they do all meet in that same man that concernsnot himself, and that to good purpose, for the salvation of his soul. 1. A fool hasnot an heart, when the price is in his hand, to get wisdom. (Prov 17:16). 2. It isa sport to a fool to do mischief. and to set light by the commission of sin (Prov10:23). 3. Fools despise wisdom; fools hate knowledge (Prov 1:7,22). 4. A fool, afterrestraint, returneth to his folly (Prov 26:11). 5. The way of a fool is right inhis own eyes (Prov 7:15). 6. The fool goes merrily to the correction of the stocks(Prov 7:22).
I might add many more, but these six shall suffice at this time, by which it appearsthat the fool has no heart for the heavenly prize, yet he has to sport himself insin; and when he despises wisdom, the way is yet right before him; yea, if he befor some time restrained from vice, he greedily turneth again thereto, and will,when he has finished his course of folly and sin in this world, go as heedlessly,as carelessly, as unconcernedly, and quietly, down the steps to hell, as the ox goethto the slaughter-house, This is a soul fool , a fool of the biggest size; and sois every one also that layeth up treasure for himself on earth, and is not rich towardsGod (Luke 7:21).
Objection 1. But would you not have us mind our worldly concerns?
Answer . Mind them, but mind them in their place; mind thy soul first and most; thesoul is more than the body, and eternal life better than temporal; first seek thekingdom of God, and prosper in thy health and thy estate as thy soul prospers (Matt6:33; 3 John 2). But as it is rare to see this command obeyed, for the kingdom ofGod shall be thought of last, so if Johns wish was to light upon, or happen to somepeople, they would neither have health nor wealth in this world. To prosper and bein health, as their soul prospers- what, to thrive and mend in outwards no faster?then we should have them have consumptive bodies and low estates; for are not thesouls of most as unthrifty, for grace and spiritual health, as is the tree withoutfruit that is pulled up by the roots?
Objection 2. But would you have us sit still and do nothing?
Answer . And must you needs be upon the extremes? must you mind this world to thedamning of your souls? or will you not mind your callings at all? Is there not amiddle way? may you not, must you not, get your bread in a way of honest industry;that is, caring most for the next world, and so using of this as not abusing thesame? (1 Cor 7: 20-31). And then a man doth so, and never but then, when he setsthis world and the next in their proper places, in his thoughts, in his esteem, andjudgment, and dealeth with both accordingly (2 Cor 4:18). And is there not all thereason in the world for this? are not the things that are eternal best? Will temporalthings make thy soul to live? or art thou none of those that should look after thesalvation of their soul? (Deu 8:3; Matt 5:4; Heb10:39).
Objection 3. But the most of men do that which you forbid, and why may not we?
Answer . God says, Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil (Exo 23:2). It isnot what men do, but what God commands; it is not what doth present itself unto us,but what is best, that we should choose (Matt 6:23; Luke 10:41,42). Now, He thatrefuseth instruction, despiseth his own soul; and He that keepeth the commandment,keepeth his own soul (Prov 15:32; 19:16). Make not, therefore, these foolish objections.But what saith the Word? how readest thou? That tells thee, that the pleasures ofsin are but for a season; that the things that are seen are but temporal; that heis a fool that is rich in this world, and is not so towards God; and what shall itprofit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Objection 4. But may one not be equally engaged for both?
Answer . A divided heart is a naughty one (Heb 10:2). You cannot serve God and mammon(Matt 6:24; Luke 16:13). If any man love the world, the love of the Father is notin him, (1 John 2:15); and yet this objection bespeaks that thy heart is divided,that thou art a Mammonist , or that thou lovest the world. But will riches profitin the day of wrath? (Prov 11:4). Yea, are they not hurtful in the day of grace?do they not tend to surfeit the heart, and to alienate a man and his mind from thethings that are better? (Luke 21:34). Why, then, wilt thou set thy heart upon thatwhich is not? yea, then what will become of them that are so far off of minding oftheir souls, that they, for whole months, and years together, scarce consider whetherthey have souls to save?
USE THIRD. But, thirdly, is it so? Is the soul such an excellent thing, and is theloss thereof so unspeakably great? Then this should teach people to be very carefulto whom they commit the teaching and guidance of their souls.
This is a business of the greatest concern; men will be careful to whom they committheir children, who they make the executors of their will, in whose hand they trustthe writing and evidences of their lands; but how much more careful should we be,and yet the most are the least of all careful, unto whom they commit the teachingand guidance of their souls. There are several sorts of soul shepherds in the world:1. There are idol shepherds (Zech 6:5). 2. There are foolish shepherds (Zech 11:15).3. There are shepherds that feed themselves, and not their flock (Eze 34:2) 4. Thereare hard-hearted and pitiless shepherds (Zech 9: 3). 5. There are shepherds that,instead of healing, smite, push, and wound the diseased (Eze 34:4,21). 6. There areshepherds that cause their flocks to go astray (Jer 50:6). 7. And there are shepherdsthat feed their flock; these are the shepherds to whom thou shouldst commit thy soulfor teaching and for guidance.
Question . You may ask, How should I know those shepherds?
Answer . First, surrender up thy soul unto God, by Christ, and choose Christ to bethe chief Shepherd of thy soul; and He will direct thee to His shepherds, and Hewill, of His mercy, set such shepherds over thee as shall feed thee with knowledgeand understanding (1 Peter 2:25; 4:19; John 10:4,5; Song 1:7, 8; Jer 3:15; 23:4).Before thou hast surrendered up thy soul to Christ, that He may be thy chief Shepherd,thou canst not find out, nor choose to put thy soul under the teaching and guidanceof His under shepherds, for thou canst not love them; besides, they are so set forthby false shepherds, in so many ugly guises, and under so many false and scandalousdresses, that, should I direct thee to them while thou art a stranger to Christ,thou wilt count them deceivers, devourers, and wolves in sheeps' clothing, ratherthan the shepherds that belong to the great and chief Shepherd, who is, also, theBishop of the soul.
Yet this I will say unto thee, take heed of that shepherd that careth not for hisown soul, that walketh in ways, and doth such things, as have a direct tendency todamn his own soul; I say, take heed of such an one, come not near him, let him havenothing to do with thy soul; for if he be not faithful to that which be his own soul,be sure he will not be faithful to that which is another mans. He that feeds hisown soul with ashes, will scarce feed thine with the bread of life; wherefore, takeheed of such an one; and many such there are in the world (Isa 44:20). By their fruitsyou shall know them; they are for flattering of the worst, and frowning upon thebest; they are for promising of life to the profane, and for slaying the souls thatGod would have live; they are also men that hunt souls that fear God, but for sewingpillows under those arm holes which God would have to lean upon that which wouldafflict them. These be them that, with lies, do make the heart of the righteous sad,whom I have not made sad; saith God; and that have strengthened the hands of thewicked, that he shall not return from his wicked way, by promising of him life (Eze13:18-22).
And as thou shouldest, for thy souls sake, choose for thyself good soul shepherds,so also, for the same reason, you should choose for yourself a good wife, a goodhusband, a good master, a good servant; for in all these things the soul is concerned.Abraham would not suffer Isaac to take a wife of the daughters of Canaan, (Gen 24:3);nor would David suffer a wicked servant to come into his house, or to tarry in hissight (Psa 101:7). Bad company is, also, very destructive to the soul, and so isevil communication; wherefore, be diligent to shun all these things, that thou mayestpersevere in that way, the end of which will be the saving of thy soul (Prov 13:20;1 Cor 15:33).
And since, under this head, I am fallen upon cautions, let me add these to thosewhich I have presented to thee already:
Caution 1. Take heed, take heed of learning to do evil of any that are good. Tispossible for a good man to do things that are bad; but let not his bad action emboldenthee to run upon sin. Seest thou a good man that stumbleth at a stone, or that slippethinto the dirt, let that warn thee to take heed; let his stumble make thee wary, lethis fall make thee look well to thy goings; ever follow that which is good (1 Thess5:15). Thy soul is at stake.
Caution 2. Take heed of the good things of bad men, for in them there lies a snarealso; their good words and fair speeches tend to deceive (Rom 16:17, 18). Learn tobe good, by the Word of God and by the holy lives of them that be good; envy notthe wicked, nor desire to be with them; choose none of his ways (Prov 3:31; 24:1).Thy soul lies at stake.
Caution 3. Take heed of playing the hypocrite in religion. What of God and His Wordthou knowest, profess it honestly, conform to it heartily, serve Him faithfully;for what is the hypocrite bettered by all his profession, when God taketh away hissoul? (Job 27:8).
Caution 4. Take heed of delays to turn to God, and of choosing His ways for the delightof thy heart, for the Lords eye is upon them that fear Him, to deliver their souls(Psa 33:18,19).
Caution 5. Boast not thyself of thy flocks and thy herds, of thy gold and thy silver,of thy sons and of thy daughters. What is a house full of treasures, and all thedelights of this world, if thou be empty of grace, if thy soul be not filled withgood? (Eccl 6:3). But,
USE FOURTH.Is it so? Is the soul such an excellent thing, and is the loss thereofso unspeakably great? Then, I pray thee, let me inquire a little of thee, what provisionthou hast made for thy soul? There be many that, through their eagerness after thethings of this life, do bereave their soul of good, even of that good the which ifthey had it would be a good to them for ever (Eccl 4:8). But I ask not concerningthis; it is not what provision thou hast made for this life, but what for the life,and the world to come. Lord, gather not my soul with sinners, saith David, (Psa 26:9);not with men of this world: Lord, not with them that have their portion in this life,whose belly Thou fillest with Thy hid treasures. Thus you see how Solomon lamentssome, and how his father prays to be delivered from their lot who have their portionin this life, and that have not made provision for their soul. Well, then, let meinquire of thee about this matter. What provision hast thou made for thy soul? And,
1. What hast thou thought of thy soul? What ponderous thoughts hast thou had of thegreatness and of the immortality of thy soul? This must be the first inquiry: forhe that hath not had his thoughts truly exercised, ponderously exercised, about thegreatness and the immortality of his soul, will not be careful, after an effectualmanner, to make provision for his soul, for the life and world to come. The soulis a mans all, whether he knows it or no, as I have already showed you. Now a manwill be concerned about what he thinks is his all. We read of the poor servant thatsetteth his heart upon his wages (Deu 24:14,15). But it is because it is his all,his treasure, and that wherein his worldly worth lieth. Why, thy soul is thy all;it is strange if thou dost not think so! and more strange if thou dost think so,and yet hast light, seldom, and trivial thoughts about it. These two seem to be inconsistent,therefore let thy conscience speak; either thou hast very great and weighty thoughtsabout the excellent greatness of thy soul, or else thou dost not count that thy soulis so great a thing as it is, else thou dost not count it thy all.
2. What judgment hast thou made of the present state of thy soul? I speak now tothe unconverted. Thy soul is under sin, under the curse, and an object of wrath;this is that sentence that by the Word is passed upon it Woe unto their soul, saithGod, for they have rewarded evil unto themselves. (Isa 3:9). This is the sentenceof God. Well, but what judgment hast thou passed upon it while thou livest in thydebaucheries? Is it not that which thy fellows have passed on theirs before thee,saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to adddrunkenness to thirst (Deu 29:19). If so, know thy judgment is gross, thy soul ismiserable, and turn, or in little time thine eyes will behold all this.
3. What care hast thou had of securing of thy soul, and that it might be deliveredfrom the danger that by sin it is brought into? if a man has a horse, a cow, or aswine that is sick, or in danger by reason of this or that casualty, he will takecare for his beast, that it may not perish; he will pull it out of the ditch on theSabbath day. But, oh! that is the day on which many men do put their soul into theditch of sin; that is the day that they set apart to pursue wickedness in.  But,I say, what care hast thou taken to get thy soul out of this ditch?a ditch out ofwhich thou canst never get it without the aid of an omnipotent arm. In things pertainingto this life, when a man feels his own strength fail, he will implore the help andaid of another; and no man can, by any means, deliver by his own arm his soul fromthe power of hell, which thou also wilt confess, if thou beest not a very brute;but what hast thou done with God for help? hast thou cried? hast thou cried out?yea, dost thou still cry out, and that day and night before him Deliver my soul (Psa17:13) Save my soul, preserve my soul (Psa 25:20) Heal my soul, (Psa 42:4), and,I pour out my soul unto thee? (Psa 62:5). Yea, canst thou say, My soul, my soul waitethupon God, my soul thirsteth for Him, my soul followeth hard after him? (Psa 63:1,8).I say, dost thou this, or dost thou hunt thine own soul to destroy it? The soul,with some, is the game, their lusts are the dogs, and they themselves are the huntsmen,and never do they more halloo, and lure, and laugh, and sing, than when they havedelivered up their soul, their darling, to these dogs, a thing that David trembledto think of, when he cried, Dogs have compassed me. Deliver my darling, my soul,from the power of the dog (Psa 22:16,20). Thus, I say, he cried, and yet these dogswere but wicked men. But, oh! how much is a sin, a lust, worst than a man to do ushurt; yea, worse than is a dog, (or) a lion, to hurt a lamb!
4. What are the signs and tokens that thou bearest about thee, concerning how itwill go with thy soul at last? There are signs and tokens of a good, and signs andtokens of a bad end that the souls of sinners will have; there are signs of the salvationof the soul, (Heb 6:9); evident tokens of salvation; and there are signs of the damnationof the soul, evident signs of damnation (Phil 1:27,28; Job 21:29,30; 1 Sam 3:9).Now, which of these hast thou? I cannot stand here to show thee which are which;but thy soul and it's salvation lieth before thee, and thou hast the book [the HolyBible] of signs about these matters by thee; thou hast also men of God to go to,and their assemblies to frequent. Look to thyself; heaven and hell are hard by, andone of them will swallow thee up; heaven, into unspeakable and endless glory, orhell, into unspeakable and endless torment. Yet,
5. What are the pleasures and delights of thy soul now? Are they things Divine, orthings natural? Are they things heavenly, or things earthly? Are they things holy,or things unholy? For look what think thou delightest in now, to those things thegreat God doth count thee a servant, and for and of those thou shalt receive thywages at the day of judgment His servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sinunto death, or of obedience unto righteousness (Rom 16:16).
Wicked men talk of heaven, and say they hope and desire to go to heaven, even whilethey continue wicked men; but, I say, what would they do there? If all that desireto go to heaven should come thither, verily they would make a hell of heaven; for,I say, what would they do there? why, just as they do here, scatter their filthinessquite over the face of heaven, and make it as vile as the pit that the devils dwellin.  Take holiness away out of heaven, and what is heaven? I had rather be inhell, were there none but holy ones there, than be in heaven itself with the childrenof iniquity. If heaven should be filled with wicked men, God would quickly drivethem out, or forsake the place for their sakes. It is true, they have been sinners,and none but sinners, that go to heaven; but they are washed Such were some of you;but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of theLord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor 6:11). When the maidens were gatheredtogether for the great king Ahasuerus, before they were brought to him into his royalpresence, they were to be had to the house of the women, there to be purified withthings for purification, and that for twelve months together, to wit, six monthswith oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and other things, and so cameevery maiden to the king (Esth 2:3,9,12,13). God also hath appointed that those thatcome into His royal presence should first go to the house of the women, the church, and there receive of the eunuchs things for purification, things to make usmeet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light (Col 1:12). None cango from a state of nature to glory but by a state of grace, the Lord gives graceand glory; hence he that goeth to heaven is said to be wrought for it, fitted, preparedfor it (1 Cor 5:5; Rom 19:23).
USE FIFTH, Again, fifthly, Is it so? is the soul such an excellent thing, and isthe loss thereof so unspeakably great? Then this doctrine commends those for thewise ones, that above all business concern themselves with the salvation of theirsouls; those that make all other matters but things by the by, and the salvationof their souls the one thing needful. But, but few comparatively will be concernedwith this use; for where is he that doth this? Solomon speaks of one man of a thousand(Eccl 7:28). However, some there be, and blessed be God for some; but they are theythat are wise, yea, wise in the wisdom of God.
1. Because they reject what God hath rejected and that is sin. 2. Because they esteembut little of that which, by the Word, is counted but of little esteem, and thatis the world. 3. Because they choose for a portion that which God commendeth untous for that which is the most excellent thing viz., Himself, His Christ, His heaven,His Word, His grace, and holiness; these are the great and most excellent things,and the things that He has chosen that is truly wise for his soul (and all otherwise men are fools in God's account, and in the judgment of His Word), and if itbe so, glory and bliss must needs be their portion, though others shall miss thereofThe wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the promotion of fools (Prov 3:35).
Let me, then, encourage those that are of this mind to be strong, and hold on theirway. Soul, thou hast pitched right; I will say of thy choice as David said of Goliath'ssword, There is none like that; give it me. Hold that fast which thou hast, thatno man take thy crown (Rev 3:11). Oh! I admire this wisdom; this is by the directionof the Lawgiver; this is by the teaching of the blessed Spirit of God: not the wisdomwhich this world teacheth, nor the wisdom which the world doth choose, which comesto nought (1 Cor 2: 6). Surely thou hast seen something of the world to come, andof the glory of it, through faith; surely God has made thee see emptiness in thatwherein others find a fulness, and vanity in that which by others is counted fora darling. Blessed are thine eyes, for they see; and thine ears, for they hear.
But who told thee that thy soul was such an excellent thing as by thy practice thoudeclarest thou believest it to be? What! set more by thy soul than by all the world?What! cast a world behind thy back for the welfare of a soul? Is not this to playthe fool, in the account of sinners, while angels wonder at and rejoice for thy wisdom?What a thing is this, that thy soul and it's welfare should be more in thy esteemthan all those glories wherewith the eyes of the world are dazzled! Surely thou hastlooked upon the sun, and that makes gold look like a clod of clay in thine eyesight.
But who put the thoughts of the excellencies of the things that are eternal, I say,who put the thoughts of the excellency of those things into thy mind in this wantonage?in an age wherein the thoughts of eternal life, and the salvation of the soul,are with and to many like the Morocco ambassador and his men, men of strange faces,in strange habit, with strange gestures and behaviour, monsters to behold. But wherehadst thou that heart that gives entertainment to these thoughts, these heavenlythoughts? These thoughts are like the French Protestants, banished thence where theywillingly would have harbour. How came they to thy house, to thy heart, and tofind entertainment in thy soul? The Lord keep them in every imagination of the thoughtsof thy heart for ever, and incline thine heart to seek Him more and more.
And since the whole world have slighted and despised, and counted foolish the thoughtsand cogitations wherewith thy soul is exercised, what strong and mighty supporteris it upon and with which thou bearest up thy spirit, and takest encouragement inthis thy forlorn, unoccupied, and singular way? for so, I daresay, it is with themost; but certainly it is something above thyself, and that is more mighty to upholdthee than is the power, rage, and malice of all the world to cast thee down, or elsethou couldst not bear up, now wind and weather, now the stream and the force thereofare against thee.
Objection 1. I know my soul is an excellent thing, and that the world to come andit's glories, even in the smallest glimpse thereof, do swallow up all the world thatis here; my heart also doth greatly desire to be exercised about the thoughts ofeternity, and I count myself never better than when my poor heart is filled withthem; as for the rage and fury of this world, it swayeth very little with me, formy heart is come to a point; but yet, for all that, I meet with many discouragements,and such things that indeed do weaken my strength in the way.
But, brave soul, pray tell me what the things are that discourage thee, and thatweaken thy strength in the way?
Why, the amazing greatness of this my enterprise, that is one thing. I am now pursuingthings of the highest, the greatest, the most enriching nature, even eternal things;and the thoughts of the greatness of them drowned me; for when the heat of my spiritin the pursuit after them is a little returned and abated, methinks I hear myselftalking thus to myself: Fond fool! canst thou imagine that such a gnat, a flea, apismire as thou art, can take and possess the heavens, and mantle thyself up in theeternal glories? If thou makest first a trial of the successfulness of thy endeavoursupon things far lower, more base, but much more easy to obtain, as crowns, kingdoms,earldoms, dukedoms, gold, silver, or the like, how vain are these attempts of thine;and yet thou thinkest to possess thy soul of heaven! Away, away! by the height thereofthou mayest well conclude it is far above out of thy reach; and by the breadth thereofit is too large for thee to grasp; and by the nature of the excellent glory thereof,too good for thee to possess. These are the thoughts that sometimes discourage me,and that weaken my strength in the way.
Answer . The greatness of thy undertaking does but show the nobleness of thy soul,in that it cannot, will not, be content with such low and dry as the base born spiritsthat are of the world can and do content themselves withal. And as to the greatnessof the things thou aimest at, though they be, err they are indeed, things that havenot their like, yet they are not too big for God to give, and He has promised togive them to the soul that seeketh Him; yea, He hath prepared the kingdom, giventhe kingdom, and laid up in the kingdom of heaven, the things that thy soul longethfor, presseth after, and cannot be content without (Luke 7:32; Matt 25:14; Col 1:5;1 Peter 1:4). As for thy making a trial of the successfulness of thy endeavours uponthings more interim and base, that is but a trick of the old deceiver. God has refusedto give His children the great, the brave, and glorious things of this world, a fewonly excepted, because He has prepared some better thing for them (1 Cor 1:27; Heb11:36-40). Wherefore faint not, but let thy hand be strong, for thy work shall berewarded (Gal 6:9). And since thy soul is at work for soul-things, for divine andeternal things, God will give them to thee; thou art not of the number of them thatdraw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul; thoushalt receive the end of thy faith, the salvation of thy soul (Heb 10:39; 1 Peter1:8,9).
Objection 2. But all my discouragement doth not lie in this. I see so much of thesinful vileness of my nature, and feel how ready it is to thrust itself forth atall occasions to the defiling of my whole man, and more. Now this added to the former,adds to my discouragement greatly.
Answer . This should be cause of humiliation and of self-abasement, but not of discouragement;for the best of saints have their weaknesses, these their weaknesses. The ladiesas well as she that grinds at the mill, know what doth attend that sex; and the giantsin grace as well as the weak and shrubs, are sensible of the same things, which thoulayest in against thy exercising of hope, or as matter of thy discouragement. PoorDavid says (Psa 77:2) My soul refused to be comforted, upon this very account, andPaul cries out under sense of this, O wretched man that I am! and comes as it wereto the borders of doubt, saying, Who shall deliver me? (Rom 7:24). Only he was quickat remembering that Christ was his righteousness and price of redemption, and therehe relieved himself.
Again; this should drive us to faith in Christ; for therefore are the corruptionsby Divine permission still left in us; they are not left in us to drive us to unbelief,but to faith, that is, to look to the perfect righteousness of Christ for life. Andfor further help, consider, that therefore Christ liveth in heaven, making intercession,that thou mightest be saved by His life, not by thine, and by His intercessions,not by thy perfections (Rom 5: 6-9; Col 1:20). Let not therefore thy weaknesses bethy discouragements; only let them put thee upon the duties required of thee by thegospel, to wit, faith, hope, repentance, humility, watchfulness, diligence, etc.(1 Peter 1:13; 5:5; 2 Cor 7:11; Mark 13:37; 2 Peter 1:10).
Objection 3. But I find, together with these things, weakness and faintness as tomy graces; my faith my hope, my love, and desires to these and all other Christianduties are weak; I am like the man in the dream, that would have run, but could not;that would have fought, but could not; and that would have fled, but could not.
Answer 1. Weak graces are graces, weak graces may grow stronger; but if the ironbe blunt, put to the more strength (Eccl 10:10). 2. Christ seems to be most tenderof the weak: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom,and shall gently lead those that are with young. (Isa 40:11). And again, I will seekthat which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind upthat which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick (Eze 34:16). Onlyhere will thy wisdom be manifested, to wit, that thou grow in grace, and that thouuse lawfully and diligently the means to do it (2 Peter 3:18; Phil 2:10,11; 1 Thess3:11-13).
USE SIXTH, I come, in the next place, to a use of terror, and so I shall conclude.Is it so? is the soul such an excellent thing, and is the loss thereof so unspeakablygreat? Then this showeth the sad state of those that lose their souls. We use tocount those in a deplorable condition, that by one only stroke, are stript of theirwhole estate; the fire swept away all that he had; or all that he had was in sucha ship, and that ship sunk into the bottom of the sea; this is sad news, this isheavy tidings, this is bewailed of all, especially if such were great in the world,and were brought by their loss from a high to a low, to a very low condition; butalas! what is this to the loss about which we have been speaking all this while?The loss of an estate may be repaired, or if not, a man may find friends in his presentdeplorable condition to his support, though not recovery; but far will this be fromhim that shall lose his soul. Ah! he has lost his soul, and can never be recoveredagain, unless hell fire can comfort him; unless he can solace himself in the fieryindignation of God; terrors will be upon him, anguish and sorrow will swallow himup, because of present misery; slighted and set at nought by God and His angels,he will also be in this miserable state, and this will add to sorrow, sorrow, andto his vexation of spirit, howling.
To present you with emblems of tormented spirits, or to draw before your eyes thepicture of hell, are things too light for so ponderous a subject as this; nor canany man frame or invent words, be they never so deep and profound, sufficient tothe life to set out the torments of hell.
All those expressions of fire, brimstone, the lake of fire, a fiery furnace, thebottomless pit, and a hundred more to boot, are all too short to let forth the miseriesof those that shall be damned souls. Who knoweth the power or God's anger? (Psa 90:11).None at all; and unless the power of that can be known, it must abide as unspeakableas the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.
We hear it thunder, we see it lighten; yea, eclipses, comets, and blazing stars areall subject to smite us with terror; the thought of a ghost, of the appearing ofa dead wife, a dead husband, or the like, how terrible are these things!  Butalas, what are these? mere flea bitings, nay, not so bad, when compared with thetorments of hell. Guilt and despair, what are they? Who understands them unto perfection?The ireful looks of an infinite Majesty, what mortal in the land of the living cantell us to the full, how dismal and breaking to the soul of a man it is, when itcomes as from the power of His anger, and arises from the utmost indignation? Besides,who knows of all the ways by which the Almighty will inflict His just revenges uponthe souls of damned sinners? When Paul was caught up to the third heaven, he heardwords that were unspeakable; and he that goes down to hell shall hear groans thatare unutterable. Hear, did I say? they shall feel them, they shall feel them burstfrom their wounded spirit as thunderclaps do from the clouds. Once I dreamed thatI saw two (whom I knew) in hell, and methought I saw a continual dropping from heaven,as of great drops of fire lighting upon them, to their sore distress. Oh! words arewanting, thoughts are wanting, imagination and fancy are poor things here; hell isanother kind of place and state than any alive can think; and since I am upon thissubject, I will here treat a little of hell as the Scriptures will give me leave,and the rather because I am upon a use of terror, and because hell is the place oftorment (Luke 16).
1. Hell is said to be beneath, as heaven is said to be above; because as above signifieththe utmost joy, triumph, and felicity, so beneath is a term most fit to describethe place of hell by, because of the utmost opposition that is between these two;hell being the place of the utmost sorrow, despair, and misery; there are the underlingsever trampled under the feet of God; they are beneath, below, under (Prov 15:24)!
2. Hell is said to be darkness, and heaven is said to be light; light, to show thepleasureableness and the desireableness of heaven; and darkness, to show the dolesomeand wearisomeness of hell; and how weary, oh! how weary and wearisomely, as I maysay, will damned souls turn themselves from side to side, from place to place, inhell, while swallowed up in the thickest darkness, and griped with the burning thoughtsof the endlessness of that most unutterable misery (Matt 22:13)!
3. Men are said to go up to heaven, but they are said to go down to hell; up, becauseof exaltation, and because they must abound in beauty and glory that go to heaven;down, because of those sad dejections, that great deformity and vile contempt thatsin hath brought them to that go to hell (Eze 32:18).
4. Heaven is called a hill or mount, (Heb 12); hell is called a pit, or hole, (Rev9:2); heaven, a mount, the mount Zion, (Rev 14); to show how God has, and will exaltthem that loved Him in the world; hell, a pit or hole, to show how all the ungodlyshall be buried in the yawning paunch and belly of hell, as in a hollow cave.
5. Heaven! It is said of heaven, the height of heaven, (Job 22:12). and of hell,the bottomless pit, (Rev 9:2; 20:3). The height of heaven, to show that the exaltationof them that do ascend up thither is both perfect and unsearchable; and hell, thebottomless pit, to show that the downfall of them that descend in thither will neverbe at an end, down, down, down they go, and nothing but down, down still!
6. Heaven! It is called the paradise of God, (Rev 2:7); but hell, the burning lake(Rev 20:15). A paradise, to show how quiet, harmless, sweet, and beautiful heavenshall be to them that possess it, as the garden was at the beginning of the creation;hell, the burning lake, to allude to Sodom, that since it's destruction is turnedinto a stinking lake, and to show that as their distress was unutterable, and tothe highest amazement, full of confusion and horror, when that tempestuous stormof fire and brimstone was rained from the Lord out of heaven upon them, so, to theutmost degree, shall it be with the souls that are lost and cast into hell.
7. It is said that there are dwelling houses, or places in the kingdom of heaven(John 14: 1-3; Zech 3:7; Isa 57:1,2). And also that there are the cells or the chambersof death in hell (Prov 7:27). There are mansions or dwelling places in heaven, toshow that every one of them that go thither might have his reward, according to hiswork; and that there is hell, and the lowest hell (Deu 32:22; Psa 86:13). And thechambers of death in hell to show there are places and states in hell too, for sinnersto be imprisoned in, according to their faults; hence it is said of some, These shallreceive greater damnation, (Luke 20:47); and of others, That it shall be more tolerablefor Sodom and Gomorrah in the judgment than for them, etc. (Luke 10:12, 14).
The lowest hell. How many hells there are above that, or more tolerable tormentingplaces than the most exquisite torments there, God, and they that are there, knowbest; but degrees without doubt there are; and the term lowest shows the utmost andmost exquisite distress; so the chambers of death, the second death in hell, forso I think the words should be understood Her house is the way to hell, going downto the chambers of death (Prov 7:27). These are the chambers that the chambers inthe temple, or that the dwelling places in the house in heaven, are opposed to: andthis opposition shows, that as there will be degrees of glory in heaven, so therewill of torments in hell; and there is all reason for it, since the punishment mustbe inflicted by God, the infinitely just. Why should a poor, silly, ignorant man,though damned, be punished with the same degree of torment that he that has liveda thousand times worse shall be punished with? It cannot be; justice will not admitit; guilt, and the quality of the transgression, will not admit it; yea, the tormentingfire of hell itself will not admit it; for if hell fire can kindle upon nothing butsin, and the sinner for the sake of it, and if sin be as oil to that fire, as theHoly Ghost seems to intimate, saying, Let it come into his bowels like water, andlike oil into his bones (Psa 109:18). Then as the quantity of the oil is, so willthe fire burn, and so will the flaming flame ascend, and the smoke of their torment,for ever and ever. Suppose a piece of timber a little bedaubed with oil, and anotherthat has been soaking in it many a year, which of these two, think you, would burnfiercest? and from whence would the flaming flame ascend highest, and make the mostroaring noise? Suppose two vessels filled with oil, one containing the quantity ofa pint, the other containing the quantity of a hog's head, and suppose that in oneplace they were both set on fire, yet so that they might not intermix flames; nay,though they did, yet all would conclude that the most amazing roaring flame wouldbe upon the biggest vessel, and would be the effect of the greatest quantity of oil;so it will be with the wicked in hell. The lowest hell is for the biggest sinners,and theirs will be the greater damnation, and the more intolerable torment, thoughhe that has least of this oil of sin in his bones, and of the kindlings of hell fireupon him, will find he has hell enough, and will be weary enough thereof, for stillhe must struggle with flames that are everlasting; for sin is such a thing, thatit can never be burned out of the soul and body of a damned sinner.
But again; having treated thus of hell, we will now speak a word or two of sin, forthat is it upon which hell fire seizes, and so on the soul by that. Sin! it is thesting of hell, the sting of death is sin (1 Cor 15:56). By death in this place wemust not understand that which is natural, but that which is in hell, the seconddeath, even everlasting damnation; for natural death the saints die, yea, and alsomany sinners, without the least touch of a sting from that; but here is a death thathas a sting to hurt, to twinge, and wound the sinner with, even then when it hasthe utmost mastery of him. And this is the death that the saved are delivered from;not that which is natural, for that is the end of them as of others (1 Cor 15:55;Eccl 2:15, 16). But the second death, the death in hell, for that is the portionof the damned, and it is from that that the saints have a promise of deliveranceHe that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death (Rev 2:11). And again, Blessedand holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second deathhath no power (Rev 20:6). It is this death, then, that hath the chambers to holdeach damned soul in: and sin is the twining, winding, biting, poisoning sting ofthis death, or of these chambers of hell, for sinners to be stricken, stung, andpierced with. The sting of death is sin. Sin, the general of it,  is the stingof hell, for there would be no such thing as torment even there, were it not thatsin is there with sinners; for, as I have hinted already, the fire of hell, the indignationand wrath of God, can fasten and kindle upon nothing but for or because of sin; sin,then, as sin, is the sting and the hell of hells, of the lowest and upmost hells.Sin, I say, in the nature of it, simply as it is concluded both by God and the damnedto be a breach of His holy law, so it is the sting of the second death, which isthe worm of hell. But then, as sin is such a sting in itself, so it is heightened,sharpened, and made more keen and sharp by those circumstances that as concomitantsattend it in every act: for there is not a sin at any time committed by man, butthere is some circumstance or other attends it, that makes it, when charged homeby God's law, bigger and sharper, and more venom and poisonous to the soul than ifit could be committed without them; and this is the sting of the hornet, the greatsting. I sinned without a cause to please a base lust, to gratify the devil; hereis the sting! Again, I preferred sin before holiness, death before life, hell beforeheaven, the devil before God, and damnation before a Saviour; here is the sting!Again, I preferred moments before everlastings, temporals before eternals, to beracked and always slaying before the life that is blessed and endless; here is thesting! Also, this I did against light, against convictions, against conscience, againstpersuasion of friends, ministers, and the godly lives which I beheld in others; hereis the sting! Also, this I did against warnings, forewarnings, yea, though I sawothers fall before my face by the mighty hand of God for committing of the same;here is the sting!
Sinners, would I could persuade you to hear me out! A man cannot commit a sin, but,by the commission of it, he doth, by some circumstance or other, sharpen the stingof hell, and that to pierce himself through and through, and through, with many sorrows(1 Tim 6:10) Also, the sting of hell to some will be, that the damnation of othersstand upon their score, for that by imitating of them, by being deluded by them,persuaded by them, drawn in by them, they perish in hell for ever; and hence it isthat these principal sinners must die all these deaths in themselves, that thosedamned ones that they have drawn into hell are also to bear in their own souls forever. And this God threatened to the prince of Tyrus, that capital sinner, becauseby his pride, power, practice, and policy, he cast down others into the pit; thereforesaith God to him, They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deathsof them that are slain in the midst of the seas. And again; Thou shalt die the deathsof the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers; for I have spoken it , saith the LordGod (Eze 28:8,10). Ah! this will be the sting of them, of those that are principal,chief and, as I may call them, the captain and ring leading sinners. Vipers willcome out of other mens' fire and flames, and settle upon, seize upon, and for everabide upon their consciences; and this will be the sting of hell, the great stingof hell to them.
I will yet add to all this; how will the fairness of some for heaven, even the thoughtsof that, sting them when they come to hell! It will not be so much their fall intothe pit, as from whence they fell into it, that will be to them the buzzing noiseand sharpened sting of the great and terrible hornet. How art thou fallen from heaven,O Lucifer! there is the sting (Isa 14:12). Thou that art exalted up to heaven shaltbe thrust down to hell, though thou hast made thy nest among the stars, from thenceI will fetch thee down; there is a sting (Matt 11:23; Oba 4). To be pulled, for andthrough love to some vain lust, from the everlasting gates of glory, and caused tobe swallowed up for it in the belly of hell, and made to lodge for ever in the darksomechambers of death, there is the piercing sting!
But again, as there is the sting of hell, so there is the strength of that sting;for a sting though never so sharp, or venom, yet if it wanteth strength to forceit to the designed execution, it doth but little hurt. But this sting has strengthto cause it to pierce into the soul; the sting of death is sin: and the strengthof sin is the law (1 Cor 15:56). Here then is the strength of the stings of hell;it is the law in the perfect penalty of it; for without the law, sin is dead (Rom7:8). Yea, again he saith, where no law is, there is no transgression (Rom 4:15).The law then followeth, in the executive part of it, the soul into hell, and therestrengtheneth sin, that sting of hell, to pierce by it's unutterable charging ofit on the conscience, the soul for ever and ever; nor can the soul justly murmuror repine at God or at His law, for that then the sharply apprehensive soul willwell discern the justness, righteousness, reasonableness, and goodness of the law,and that nothing is done by the law unto it, but that which is just and equal. 
This, therefore, will put great strength and force into sin to sting the soul, andto strike it with the lashes of a scorpion. Add yet to these the abiding life ofGod, the Judge and God of this law, will never die. When princes die, the law maybe altered by the which at present transgressors are bound in chains; but oh! hereis also that which will make this sting so sharp and keen, the God that executesit will never die. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God(Heb 10:30, 31).
 Gospellers, a term of reproach given to our reformers under Henry VIII; changedto Puritan under Elizabeth and the Stuarts; and to Methodist, or Evangelical in morerecent times. All these terms were adopted by the reformers as an honorable distinctionfrom the openly profane. -Ed.
 Having the most solemn warnings mercifully given to us by God, whose word istruth itself, how strange it is, nay, how insane, to neglect the Saviour. Our author,in his Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, gives a solemn account of his owndistracted feelings, when he, by Divine warnings, contemplated the probable lossof his never-dying soul; and, believing in the truth of God's revealed will, he felt,with inexpressible horror, his dangerous state. He describes his mental anguish,by comparing it with the acute bodily sufferings of a criminal broken on the wheel.Can we wonder that he was in downright earnest in seeking salvation. Oh! reader,may we be thus impelled to fly from the wrath to come. -Ed.
 Many have been the attempts to define the qualities, nature, and residence ofthe soul. The sinful body is the sepulchre in which it is entombed, until Christgiveth it life. The only safe guide, in such inquiries, is to follow Bunyan, andascertain what saith the Lord upon a subject so momentous and so difficult for mortaleyes to penetrate. -Ed.
 The poor soul, under the irresistible constraints of conscience, bears witnessagainst itself; sits in judgment upon, and condemns itself; and goeth, without ajailor, to conduct it, into the dread prison, where it becomes it's own tormentor.A wounded spirit (or conscience) who can bear? -Ed.
 My Lord Will-be-will was a very eminent captain in the town of Mansoul, duringthe Holy War: wherefore Diabolus had a kindness for him, and coveted to have himfor one of his great ones, to act and do in matters of the highest concern. Bunyanrepresents him as having been wounded in the leg, during the seige. Some of the princesarmy certainly saw him limp, as he afterwards walked on the wall. -Ed.
 To the unregenerate, unsanctified soul, the language of the Saviour in John 6:48-58,must appear, as it did to the Jews, perfectly inexplicable He that eateth My flesh,and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. Blessed mystery! to be one withChrist, in obedience to His will, and in partaking of His inheritance. To be enabledto say, For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. -Ed.
 Nothing short of a Divine influence can direct the passions of the soul to aproper use of their energies. Godly sorrow worketh repentance, carefulness indignationfear vehement desire, zeal, revenge, (2 Cor 7:11). Reader, has thy spirit been thusexcited against sin? -Ed.
 This is perfectly true, but is only felt by those who are taught of the HolySpirit rightly to appreciate Divine worship. How many pay undue respect to buildingsin which public prayer is offered up? It is the worship that consecrates the placeand solemnizes the mind. Very remarkably was this the case with Jacob while wanderingin the open wilderness. He put stones for his pillow, and in a dream saw the angelsvisiting the earth, and said, THIS is the house of God, and the gate of heaven. -Ed.
 If the body, which is to return to dust, is fearfully and wonderfully made, pastour finding out in it's exquisite formation, how much more so must be that immortalsoul which we can only contemplate by it's own powers, and study in the Bible. Itnever dies, although it may be dead in sin, in time; and be ever dying, ever in theagonies of death, in eternity. Solemn consideration! May our adorning be the hiddenman of the heart, which is not corruptible; a meek and quiet spirit; that which isin the sight of God of great price (1 Peter 3:4). -Ed.
 One of the first revelations to our race was, that God breathed into his nostrilsthe breath of life, and man became a living soul. And this great and important facthas, by tradition, extended over the whole of the human family. -Ed.
 An old horse shoe must be mentioned, to throw utter contempt upon a custom,then very prevalent, and even now practised, of nailing an old horse shoe over thedoor of the house, to prevent a witch from entering. When will these absurd heathenishcustoms cease in Christian England? -Ed.
 A point, the tag at the end of a lace. -Ed.
 Nothing can more fully display the transcendant worth and excellency of thesoul, than these two considerations:first, That by the operation of the Eternal Spirit,it is made a habitation for God Himself, and susceptible of communion and conversewith God, nay, of being even filled with all the fulness of God; and, second, Theinfinite price that was paid for it's redemption from sin and woe, the precious bloodof the Son of God. -Mason .
 A Relation of the Fearful Estate of Frances Spira. He had been a Protestant,but, for some unworthy motives, became a Papist, and was visited with the most awfulcompunctions of conscience. A poetical introduction thus describes the guilty wretch:
Reader, woudst see what, may you never feel,
Despair, racks, torments, whips of burning steel?
Behold this man, this furnace, in whose heart,
Sin hath created hell. Oh! In each part
What flames appear;
His thoughts all stings; words swords;
Brimstone his breath;
His eyes flames; wishes curses; life a death;
A thousand deaths live in him, he not dead;
A breathing corpse, in living scalding lead.
It is an awful account, and has added to it a narrative of the wretched end of JohnChild, a Bedford man, one of Bunyan's friends, who, to avoid prosecution, conformed;was visited with black despair, and hung himself. A copy of this curious little bookis in the editor's possession. -Ed.
 Nothing more properly excited horror throughout Christendom, than the conductof the Algerines in making slaves of their captives; because their victims had whiteskins, and were called Christians. Hundreds of thousands of pounds sterling werepaid to redeem the Christian captives, and thus the pirates were strengthened tocontinue their ferocious deeds. Many contributed to those funds the very money whichthey derived from the negro slave trade; who, while they professed to execrate whiteman slavery, perpetrated the same barbarities upon their brethren of a differentcolour and caste. How strangely does sin pervert the understandings of men, who arrogateto themselves the highest grade of humanity and civilization! -Ed.
 These awful denunciations are so many proofs of the immutablilty of the justiceand of the Word of God. -Ed.
 Saith Christ; Peter in Acts i. 20, applies this Psalm to Christ, when the Jewscried, His blood be upon us and upon our children; then did they put on the envenomedgarment which has tormented them ever since. It is girded about their loins; thecurse has penetrated like water, and entered the very bones like oil. How awful willbe the state of those who crucify Him afresh, and again put Him to open shame! -Horsley.
 How awfully inconceivable is that eternal death that never dieth; that finalend that never endeth, an immortal death, a soul-murdering life, ever dying, butnever dead; were the mountains and rocks to fall upon and and crush them, still eternitywould intervene between them and death. Oh that grace may be given to ransom oursouls from the doom we have deserved! -Ed.
 Weal; wealth, happiness, prosperity; wherefore taking comfort and boldness,partly of your grace and benevolent inclination toward the universal weal of yoursubjects, partly inflamed with zeal, I have now enterprized to describe, in our vulgartongue, the form of a just public weal. Sir T. Elyot, Dedication of the Governorto Henry VIII. -Ed.
 From the belly; from it's birth.
 Bunyan having been engaged in the civil war, accounts for his using this militaryidea. -Ed.
 God hates not the sinner, but the sin; the glorious provision made for salvation,proves His good will to sinful souls. This will be the worm that dieth not, to sinnersto reflect, that, in rejecting the inviting promises of God, they have sealed theirown condemnation. -Mason.
 Hideth his sins, is quoted from the Genevan, or Puritan version. -Ed.
 Pother; to be, or cause to be, as one involved in dust, in a cloud; to perplex,to puzzle, to confound. -Ed.
 This is an allusion to a custom, nearly obsolete, originating in the feast oftabernacles, of sacrificing to Vacina at the harvest home. The Papists substitutedSt. Bartholomew for the heathen goddess. Upon his day, the harvest being completed,an image of straw was carried about, called the corn, or Bartholomew, baby; and masters,mistresses, men, and maidens danced and rioted together; thus, under the guise ofharmless joy, much evil was perpetrated. -Ed.
 A blandation, an obsolete word, which means wheedling, flattering speech, softwords. -Ed.
 Knowing the certainty that this wrath to the uttermost will be poured out, ourblessed Lord exhorts all to fear God, who is able to destroy both body and soul inhell. In that doleful pit, the soul, reunited with the body, will suffer under theoutpourings of Divine wrath. -Mason.
 Bunyan probably here refers to his own experience when he was in prison, andwas threatened by the judge to be hung for not going to parish church. I thoughtwith myself, if I should make a scrabbling shift to clamber up the ladder, yet Ishould, either with quaking or other symptoms of faintings, give occasion to theenemy to reproach the way of God. I was ashamed to die with a pale face and totteringknees in such a cause as this. Grace Abounding , No. 334. -Ed.
 This wish has been felt while in a desponding state, under the terrors of thelaw, and a fearful looking for of fiery indignation. Thus Bunyan says, I blessedthe condition of the dog and toad, and counted the estate of everything that Godhad made far better than this dreadful state of mine. Grace Abounding , No. 104.-Ed.
 Alluding to the old proverb of bringing a noble to ninepence, and ninepenceto nothing. -Ed.
 At the popular game of nine pins. -Ed.
 In our comparatively happy days, we have little if any conception of the mannerin which our forefathers desecrated the Sabbath. When Popery clouded the country,mass was attended on the Lord's day morning early; it was a recital of certain unknownwords, after which parties of pleasure, so called, spent the day in places attractivefor the frivolity or wantonness of their entertainment, sin dancing, and carousing;the evening being devoted to the theatres or ball rooms. This was afterwards encouragedby our English heads of the church, in a book of lawful sports to be used on Sundays.Even in our time a flood of iniquity continues to flow on those sacred days, whichhuman laws cannot prevent. As the influence of the gospel spreads, the day will becomesanctified and this will ever prove a correct standard of it's progress. -Ed.
 How solemn, nay, awful is the thought that heavens gates must be shut againstall impurity. None who live and die in the love of sin can enter heaven, lest theyshould defile it And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth,neither worketh abomination, or a lie (Rev 21:27). -Ed.
 In The Pilgrim's Progress, in the house called Beautiful, all the inmates, exceptthe porter, are females. -Ed.
 The edict of Nantes was issued April 1598; but in violation of it, Rochellewas taken from the Protestants in 1628. From that time horrid barbarities were practisedupon them. In 1676, the elector of Brandenburg appealed to the French king on behalfof his Protestant subjects, of whom multitudes fled for refuge to England and Germany.In 1685, the edict of Nantes was revoked, and a frightful persecution ensued. -Ed.
 Great allowance must be made for the times in which Bunyan lived. Baxter, andall the great divines, Sir M. Hale, and the judges, believed in witches, ghosts,and other chimeras; in fact, any one professing unbelief in these wild fancies, wouldhave been counted among infidels and atheists. -Ed.
 Sin in the general of it, or sin wherever it may be found.
 The law is a transcript of the mind of God, it is holy, just, and good, so thathe that offendeth in one point is guilty of all. The law convicts and shows the sinnerthat God is all eye to see, and all fire to consume, every unclean thing. Thus thelaw gives sin it's strength, and death it's warrant, to arrest and execute the sinner.-Mason.