ON THE ENTERTAINMENT OF HELL
Consider first, what kind of entertainments are prepared in a miserable eternity, to succeed the banquets, and revellings, and other extravagances of a voluptuous life, in which worldlings pass the short time of their mortality. Oh. how strangely shall the scene be altered, when immediately after death they shall find their souls buried in hell! Ah! what kind of feasting shall they meet with there! What ravenous hunger and thirst, without being ever able to obtain so much as one drop of water! ‘Their wine is the gall of dragons, and the venom of asps, which is incurable,’ Deut. xxxii. 33. ‘Their cups are full of the wine of the wrath of God,’ Rev. xiv. Cups of liquid fire, and fetid sulphur. Their gardens of pleasure are turned into a pool of fire and brimstone. Their carnal embraces into the eternal gnawings of infernal serpents, ever preying upon their bosoms.
Consider 2ndly, the music with which these wretches shall be for ever entertained in hell: eternal howlings and yellings; eternal shrieks and groans; eternal curses and blasphemies; the insulting voices of the tormentors, scoffing at their sufferings; the lashes of their scourges, &c. Ah! unhappy sinners, how will you like such entertainments as these? Surely if there were nothing else in hell, but the being condemned to an everlasting night, in the midst of all this horror and confusion of so many frightful noises, dismal groans, and horrid blasphemies, any reasonable man would choose the worst of temporal evils rather than to be condemned for eternity to such a melancholy entertainment.
Consider, 3rdly, that the sense of smelling in the damned will also have its share in this infernal feast; where it will be for ever regaled with the loathsome exhalations of those filthy dungeons below, and with the intolerable stench of those half putrefied carcasses that are broiling there. And what shall come in to complete the misery of their entertainment, will be the abominable company which thy must have with them for endless ages, of so many hideous spirits; so many merciless devils; and what will be worse to them than devils, the unhappy partners of their sins. O what bitter hatred, what hellish rage and fury, will their former love be now turned into? O how will they now curse, how will they tear and torment one another; being eternally chained together, in those black fiery links, which by their dark passions and lusts they have in their lifetime made for themselves. O worldlings, break then your bonds asunder now, whilst you have time; withdraw yourselves now from all the objects of your criminal passions, and all disorderly affections; lest if you carry them with you out of this world, they serve for nothing else but to add so many fiery links to your everlasting chains, and to bind you down to as many devils.
Conclude to fly for the future from a voluptuous life, and all the sinful entertainments of the children of this world; ‘who have their consolation here; and who laugh now, but shall mourn and weep hereafter;’ St. Luke vi., and for thy part to lament henceforward the shall thou hast had with them, whilst thou hast walked on with them in the broad road of a worldly life; and by these penitential tears, joined with a new life, thou wilt escape having a share with them in the entertainments of hell.