ON THE LAST SENTENCE OF THE WICKED
Consider first, how the great judge, after having invited the just to his glorious kingdom, turning himself towards the wicked on his left hand, with fire in his eyes and terror in his countenance, shall thunder out against them the dreadful sentence of their irrevocable doom in these words: ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels,’ Matt. xxv. O! sinners, weigh well every word of this frightful sentence. Depart, saith he – go, begone for ever from me, far from the joys of my kingdom and the society of my children, into the place you have chosen and blindly preferred before heaven, into the darksome dungeons of hell below, prepared for Satan and his associates, whose part you have taken against me. O terrible excommunication, to be cut off for ever from the society of Jesus Christ and his saints! O cruel divorce, to be eternally separated from God and all that is good! O dismal and everlasting banishment, to be excluded from the city of God, and sent into the low and horrid region of the second death! Ah! wretches, who make so little now of losing God and his grace by mortal sin; what shall you then think when you shall be doomed to this eternal separation from the source of all good? But whither are you to go from him? Alas! into everlasting fire, there to burn as long as God is God, in the company of the devil and his angels. O dreadful eternity!
Consider 2ndly, that terrible and universal curse which this sentence of condemnation involves! ‘Depart from me, you cursed,’ says the sovereign judge, as if he should say, you shall go from me, but take my curse along with you. I would have given you my blessing but you would not receive it; a curse you have chosen, and a curse shall be your everlasting lot. It shall stick close to you like a garment, which you shall never put off; it shall enter into your very bowels and search into the very arrow of your bones. A curse upon your eyes, never to see the least glimpse of comfortable light; a curse upon your ears to hear no other music for all eternity but frightful shrieks and groans; a curse on your taste to be ever embittered with the gall of dragons; a curse on your smell, to be always tormented with the intolerable stench of the bottomless pit; a curse on your feeling and on all the members of your body, to be for ever burning, and never to consume, in a fire that shall never be quenched. O dreadful complication of irremediable evils!
Consider 3rdly, that this terrible curse shall not only be extended to the body and all its senses and members, it shall also reach the soul and all its powers and faculties. As if the great judge should also say: a curse upon your understanding, never to be enlightened with any ray of truth; a curse upon your will, never to attain to anything it loves or desires, but to be always bound down to what it hates and abhors; a curse upon your memory, to be ever revolving, in the bitterness of a fruitless repentance, the folly and vanity of all those short-lived pleasures and worldly toys for which you have forfeited a happy eternity; a curse upon your conscience, to be ever gnawed by the worm that never dies; a curse upon your whole soul, to be a hell to itself, ever torn to pieces with most violent passions of fury, envy, hatred, and despair. Good God! let me never be so miserable as to incur this dreadful and irrevocable curse. But see how this sentence is no sooner pronounced but the earth opens and swallows down at once all this wretched multitude, with the devils that seduced them, into the lowest hell, and then the gate is shut upon them, never, never to be opened. O the fatal consequences of all worldly pride! O the dismal end of carnal pleasures!
Conclude to turn now to God with thy whole heart, and henceforward to keep close to him; thus thou shalt secure to thyself a blessing at that day instead of a curse.