Imatges de pàgina



Onsider, first, the description

which holy Job gives us of hell, Job, X. when he calls it a darksome land aiod covered with the obscurity of death; a country of misery and darkness, where no order , but everlasting horror dwells. In this gloomy region , no sun, moon,

or stars appear ; no comfortable rays of light, not even the least glimpse , are ever seen. The very fire flat burneth there , contrary to the matural property of that element, is bla k and darksome, and affords no light to the wretches it torments, except it be to discover to them such objects as may increase their misery. Christians , wliat would you think , were you to be sentenced to pass the remainder of your days in some horrid dungeon , or deep hole under ground, where you could never see the light Would not death itself be preferable to such a punishment ? And what is this, wbien compared to that eternal night to wbich the damned are sentenced ! The Egyptians were in a sad condition, when for three days the whole kinga


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dom was covered with dreadful dark-. ness, caused by such gross exhalations, that they might even be felt by the hand. But this misery was soon over , and they were comforted by the return of light. Not so the damned in hell; whose night shall never have a morning, or ever expect the dawning of the day !

Consider , secondly, that the horror of this eternal night shall be beyond measure aggravated by the dismal music wherewith those poor wretches shall be for ever entertained in this melan. choly abode ; which shall be no other than che dreadful curses, blasphemies , and insulting voices of the tormentors, and the howlings, groans , and shrieks of the tormented, &c. And that the other senses may also partake in their share of misery, the smell shall be for ever regaled with the loathsome . exhalations of those infernal dungeons, and the intolerable stench of half putrified carcases which are broiling there; the taste shall be oppressed with a most ravenous hunger and thirst, and the feeling with an insupportable fire. Consider, thirdly, that of all bodily


torments, which we can suffer in this world, there is none more terrible than to burn alive: but, alas ! there is no comparison between burning here, and in hell. Our fires upon earth are but painted flames, if compared to the fire of hell. The fire of this world was made to serve us, and be our comfort; that of hell was created to be an instrumi nient of the vengeance of God upon sinners. The fire of this world cannot subsist without being nourished by some combustible matter, which it quickly consumes ; bur the fire of helly erkindled by the breath of an angry God', requires no other fuel than sin, which feeds it without ever decaying or consumning. O! dreadful stain of sin , which suffices to maintain an everlasting fire! The fire of this world can only reach the body : the fire of hell reaches the soul itse:f, and fills it wirár most exquisite torments. Ab ! sinners, which o* you all can dwell with devouring fire? which of


all can endure eternal burning?

Consider, fourthly, and it order to frame a just notion of hell's tornients, give ear to a most authentie vision,


related by Ss. Teresa, chap. xxxij of her Life." As I was one day, says the Saint',“ ' in prayer, on a sudden " found myself in hell : I know not " how I was carried thither; only F " understood, that our Lord was plea" sed that I should see the place which " the devils had prepared for me there, " and which I had deserved by my "sins, What past here with me lasted " but a very short while; yet if I “ should live many years, I do 1101 I believe I should ever be able to

forget it. The entrance appeared to me to resemble that of an oven ,

very low, very narrow, and very C dask. The ground seemed like mite,

exceeding filehy , stoking , insup

portable, and full of a inultitude " of loathsome vermin. At the end of es it there was a certain hollow place

as if it had been a kind of a little press in a wall, into which I found

myself thrust, and close pent up. “Now, though all this which I have 6 said was far more terrible in itself " than I have described it, yet it might

pass for a pleasure in coinparison 6 with thüt which I felt in this press :

" this torment was so dreadful, that

no words can express the least part « of it. I felt my soul burning in so " dismal a fire, that I am not able to o describe it. I have experienced the 6. most insupportable pains , in the “ judgment of physicians, which can " be corporally endured in this world,

as well by the shrinking up of all iny sinews , as by many other torments in several kinds : but all these

were nothing in comparison with 6 what I suffered there : joined to the " horrid thought , that this was to be

without end or intermission for

ever : and even this itself is stilt 6 litele , if compared to the agony the • soul is in ; it seems to her that she " is choaked, that she is stifled, and « her anguish and torture go to • degree of excess that cannot be ex« pressed. It is too little to say, that " it seems to her that she is butchered

to pieces ; because this 6. would express soine violence from " without, which tended to her de' "struction ; whereas , here it is she s herself that is her own executioner, « and tears herself in pieces, Now as



16 and rent

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