THE ETERNAL HELL OF CHRISTLESS SOULS
“You may go to hell asleep, but you cannot go to heaven asleep,” says one who mourned over the deep delusion of unconverted men. The river Niagara flows on very smoothly, though swiftly, when it is near the cataract; it is perhaps nowhere so smooth as just before plunging over the rocks. Often, often it is thus with the sinner’s life and end. No summer day was fairer, yet no night ever came on so sudden and dark. “Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power? Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them. They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance. They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ. They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.” (Job 16.7-13). Theirs has been a life with little care and much mirth. But sickness comes;
fever is on them, and companions keep aloof; then comes stuper, restlessness, and death! Where is the soul? “Oh, he is well resigned!” says someone, afraid lest the possibility of being lost should even be hinted at. But what was the foundation of this resignation – this supposed peace? What if this peace was only the sultry calm before the thunder? Was it not conscience asleep? For many die thus, and have a terrible awakening. The Word of God has said of such men, “How are they brought into desolation as in a moment! As a dream when one awaketh” (Ps. 73.20). Life’s dreams are over; the stern reality has come.
THEIR DREAMS ARE OVER, God has awakened them, and they cast their eyes around. Where are they now? That lurid
gleam is not the dawn! These forms are not friends! They try to escape, but it is in vain; they are like Samson when his strength was gone. They have come to that time of which it is written, “He died, and was buried; and in hell he lifted up his eyes” (Luke 16.22).
They used to have their dreams about an Eternal World. They thought all said about it was mere words. This present world was all. But now they see too surely that there is another world; it is this present world that is an unreal one, and it has melted away as snow. They are in a world where there is nothing of earth; none of its pursuits, none of its business, none of its sport, or mirth, or pleasure. No streets, no markets, no cities here! There is no sleep here: no time marked by hours; no bell to announce morning or evening. “Time shall be no more.” Earth is over. Like Napoleon at St Helena, when from the rocky heights he looked out on boundless ocean, no armies now, no Marshals to receive command, no kings or kingdoms here. O poor soul! The fashion of the world has passed away.
They used to have their dreams about sin. They fancied it was fiction, nothing real. Stolen waters were sweet, and forbidden fruit to be desired. But the dream is over. They see that sin is awfully real. The smallest sin has in it the sentence – “Thou shalt die.” Every sin now appears a mighty mountain overhanging the soul, crushing out of it all hope, and overwhelming it with a curse and wrath. They see, they feel the sting of sin; it has begun to inflict the wounds which none can ever heal. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6.23). What a meaning there is in that saying now! That death is no dream.
They used to have their dreams about hell. They said it was nowhere; they scoffingly proclaimed that the idea of it was only a device of some who wished to terrify their fellows. They were sure that God had never kindled any such fire, and would never doom any soul to any such prison. But they have been rudely awakened out of their dream. O dreadful darkness! tormenting devils! unfeeling company! They now find that there is a real hell, and it has everlasting pains, and thirst like nothing they ever felt on earth. Christ’s threefold utterance is true, “Their worm dieth not, their fire is not quenched” (Mark 9.44,46,48). The infinite God in very truth has poured out His wrath on sinners.
They used to have their dreams about God. They were sure it would be found that God was too merciful to send one soul into misery. They were sure He was not what some few people asserted that the Bible said He was, a God who punished every violation of His holy law, and insisted on satisfaction being found by the sinner before He would receive him into heaven. But they have been alas! suddenly awakened out of this dream, and lo! there is the Judge, and the Great White Throne on which they read the writing “Holy, holy, is the Lord.” “He will by no means clear the guilty.”
Their desolation has come. They are stripped of everything of earth; as with us, one carried to prison is carefully stripped of his dress, and of all that he has. No rest is left for them, for “they rest
not day or night,” while the “weary” (the believer who was so often made wearied by their ways) has entered on his eternal Sabbath. In vain do partial friends say at his grave, “He is at rest”; the lost soul has been stripped of it all for ever.
“O that men were wise, that they would understand this, and consider their latter end” (Deut. 32.29). At any rate, shall God’s children not act like men awake, who see others asleep on the slope of a precipice? Men of God, do you not care whether or not these dreamers sleep on? A word from you might be blessed to arouse them, and break in upon their dreams. If you have reason to fear that some whom you once knew are already lost, all the more hasten to rescue those which you can. God the Holy Ghost awakens men;
but He loves to use their fellowmen as His instruments.
Awake! awake! – sleeping world, awake! We tell of great realities. It is no dream that soothes our consciences and fills our heart. No; it is that greatest of all facts, that most solid of all truths, – “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3.16). God, the eternal Son, came down into the world in our nature – lived, suffered, and died “the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God;” and on the resurrection morning the Father sealed His work as all complete. Whoever receives this Saviour enters the family of God at once. (John 1.12). Thousands upon thousands have, in their own experience, proved the reality and greatness of this salvation. Come and prove for yourself all we say, and never more be in danger of the “desolation” and appalling surprise of those who live upon their dreams. Come and try the Fountain open for sin and uncleanness; come and reason with Him who shows you how scarlet sins become white as snow (Isa. 1.18). Come and hear that most substantial and satisfying of all truths -“Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1.15). “By him, whosoever believeth is justified from all things” (Acts 23.39). CHRIST BELIEVED IN PEACE TO THE SOUL, AND TRUE PEACE IS NO DREAM.
The Evangelical Advocate.