The efficacy of the fear of Hell, to restrain men from sin. Shewed in a sermon before the inferior court in Northampton, December 3rd, 1712. : Together with the benefit of the Gospel, to those that are wounded in spirit. Shewed in several sermons, from Luke 4th. 18, 19. On the occasion of a more than ordinary pouring out of the spirit of God. / By Solomon Stoddard, Pastor of Northampton.
Impenitent sinners cannot shun the threatened punishment; so neither can they do any thing to deliver themselves from it, or to relieve themselves under it. This is implied in those words of the text, Can thine hand. be strong? It is with our hands that we make and accomplish things for ourselves. But the wicked in hell will have no strength of hand to accomplish any thing at all for themselves, or to bring to pass any deliverance, or any degree of relief.
Only suppose if they could be permitted to come back to this world, if they were allowed another period of trial, how they would spend their restored life! How earnest would be their penitence, how intense their devotion, how profound their humility, how holy their actions! Think then that you still have in your power that for which they would give millions of worlds. “Hell,” says one writer, “is truth seen too late.”
Sir Francis Newport, head of the English Infidel Club, said to those gathered around his death bed, “Do not tell me there is no God for I know there is one, and that I am in his angry presence! You need not tell me there is no hell, for I already feel my soul slipping into its fires! Wretches, cease your idle talk about there being hope for me! I know that I am lost forever.”
Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come out!” See them bursting into life from their subterranean dungeons!Horror throbs through every vein—and glares wildly and furiously in their eyes. Every joint trembles and every countenance looks downcast and gloomy! Now they see that tremendous Day of which they were warned in vain—and shudder at those terrors of which they once made light. They now experientially know the grand business of the Day and the dreadful purpose for which they are roused from their slumbers in the grave: to be tried, to be convicted, to be condemned, and to be dragged away to execution!
Conscience has been anticipating the trial—and no sooner is the soul united to the body, than immediately conscience ascends its throne in the soul. It begins to accuse, to convict, to pass sentence, to upbraid, and to torment! The sinner is condemned, condemned at his own tribunal—before he arrives at the bar of his omnipotent Judge!!