- The End of the Wicked Contemplated by the
- by Jonathan Edwards
- "The godly man carries his indwelling sin, as his daily and
greatest burden, because he loathes it, and longs to get rid of it; he would fain be at a
great distance from it, and have nothing more to do with it; he is ready to cry out as
Paul did, O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the
body of this death? The unregenerate man has nothing of this spiritual nature, for
sin is yet his delight, he dearly loves it. His love to sin in general is not mortified,
he loves it as well as ever, he hides it still as a sweet morsel under his tongue."
THE END OF THE WICKED CONTEMPLATED BY THE RIGHTEOUS or THE TORMENTS OF THE WICKED IN HELL,
NO OCCASION OF GRIEF TO THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN.
"But you, O heaven, rejoice over her fate. And you also rejoice, O holy people of God
and apostles and prophets! For at last God has judged her on your behalf."
- WHEN THE SAINTS IN GLORY SHALL SEE THE WRATH OF GOD EXECUTED ON
UNGODLY MEN, IT WILL BE NO OCCASION OF GRIEF TO THEM, BUT OF REJOICING.
It is not only the sight of God's wrath executed on those wicked men who are of the anti-Christian
church, which will be occasion of rejoicing to the saints in glory; but also the sight of
the destruction of all God's enemies: whether they have been the followers of antichrist
or not, that alters not the case, if they have been the enemies of God, and of Jesus
Christ. All wicked men will at last be destroyed together, as being united in the same
cause and interest, as being all of Satan's army. They will all stand together at the day
of judgment, as being all of the same company.
And if we understand the text to have respect only to a temporal execution of God's wrath
on his enemies, that will not alter the case. The thing they are called upon to rejoice
at, is the execution of God's wrath upon his and their enemies. And if it be matter of
rejoicing to them to see justice executed in part upon them, or to see the beginning of
the execution of it in this world; for the same reason will they rejoice with greater joy,
in beholding it fully executed. For the thing here mentioned as the foundation of their
joy, is the execution of just vengeance: Rejoice, for God has avenged you on her.
I. The glorified saints will see the wrath of God executed upon ungodly men. This the
Scriptures plainly teach us, that the righteous and the wicked in the other world see each
other's state. Thus the rich man in hell, and Lazarus and Abraham in heaven, are
represented as seeing each other's opposite states, in the 16th chap. of Luke. The wicked
in their misery will see the saints in the kingdom of heaven. Luke 13:28, 29, "There
be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and
all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out."
So the saints in glory will see the misery of the wicked under the wrath of God. Isa.
64:24, "And they shall go forth and look on the carcasses of the men that have
transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be
quenched." And Rev. 14:9, 10, "If any man worship the beast and his image, and
receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the
wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture, into the cup of his indignation; and he
shall be tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the holy angels, and in the
presence of the Lamb." The saints are not here mentioned, being included in Christ,
as his members. The church is the fulness of Christ, and is called Christ, I Cor. 12:12.
So in the 19th chapter, ver. 2, 3, the smoke of Babylon's torment is represented as rising
up forever and ever, in the sight of the heavenly inhabitants.
At the day of judgment, the saints in glory at Christ's right hand, will see the wicked at
the left hand in their amazement and horror, will hear the judge pronounce sentence upon
them, saying, " Depart, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and
his angels;" and will see them go away into everlasting punishment. But the Scripture
seems to hold forth to us, that the saints will not only see the misery of the wicked at
the day of
judgment, but the aforementioned texts imply, that the state of the damned in hell will be
in the view of the heavenly inhabitants; that the two worlds of happiness and misery will
be in view of each other. Though we know not by what means, nor after what manner, it will
be; yet the Scriptures certainly lead us to think, that they will some way or other have a
direct and immediate apprehension of each other's state. The saints in glory will see how
the damned are tormented; they will see God's threatenings fulfilled, and his wrath
executed upon them.
II. When they shall see it, it will be no occasion of grief to them. The miseries of the
damned in hell will be inconceivably great. When they shall come to bear the wrath of the
Almighty poured out upon them without mixture, and executed upon them without pity or
restraint, or any mitigation; it will doubtless cause anguish, and horror, and amazement
vastly beyond all the sufferings and torments that ever any man endured in this world;
yes, beyond all extent of our words or thoughts. For God in executing wrath upon ungodly
men will act like an Almighty God. The Scripture calls this wrath, the fierceness of his
wrath; and we are told that this is to show God's wrath, and to make his power known; or
to make known how dreadful his wrath is, and how great his power.
The saints in glory will see this, and be far more sensible of it than now we can possibly
be. They will be far more sensible how dreadful the wrath of God is, and will better
understand how terrible the sufferings of the damned are; yet this will be no occasion of
grief to them. They will not be sorry for the damned; it will cause no uneasiness or
dissatisfaction to them; but on the contrary, when they have this sight, it will excite
them to joyful praises. These two things are evidences of it:
1. That the seeing of the wrath of God executed upon the damned, should cause grief in the
saints in glory, is inconsistent with that state of perfect happiness in which they are.
There can no such thing as grief enter, to be an alloy to the happiness and joy of
that world of blessedness. Grief is an utter stranger in that world. God has promised that
he will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall he no more sorrow. Rev. 20:4,
2. The saints in heaven possess all things as their own, and therefore all things
contribute to their joy and happiness. The Scriptures teach that the saints in glory
inherit all things. This God said in John's hearing, when he had the vision of the New
Jerusalem, Rev. 21:7. And the Scriptures teach us to understand this absolutely of
all the works of creation and providence. 1, Cor. 3:21, 22, "All things are yours,
whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present,
or things to come; all are yours. Here the apostle teaches, that all things in the world
to come, or in the future and eternal world, are the saints; not only life, but death;
men, and angels, and devils, heaven and hell, are theirs, to contribute to their joy and
happiness. Therefore the damned and their misery, their sufferings and the wrath of God
poured out upon them, will be an occasion of joy to them. If there were any thing
whatsoever that did not contribute to their joy, but caused
grief, then there would be something which would not be theirs. That the torments of
the damned are no matter of grief, but of joy, to the inhabitants of heaven, is very
clearly expressed in several passages of this book of Revelation; particularly by chap.
16:57, and chap. 19 at the beginning.
- WHY THE SUFFERINGS OF THE WICKED WILL NOT BE CAUSE OF GRIEF TO THE
RIGHTEOUS, BUT THE CONTRARY.
1. Negatively; it will not be because the saints in heaven are the subjects of any ill
disposition. But on the contrary, this rejoicing of theirs will be the fruit of an amiable
and excellent disposition: it will be the fruit of a perfect holiness and conformity to
Christ, the holy Lamb of God. The devil delights in the misery of men from cruelty, and
from envy and revenge, and because he delights in misery, for its own sake, from a
It will be from exceedingly different principles, and for quite other reasons, that the
just damnation of the wicked will be an occasion of rejoicing to the saints in glory. It
will not be because they delight in seeing the misery of others absolutely considered. The
damned suffering divine vengeance will be no occasion of joy to the saints merely as it is
the misery of others, or because it is pleasant to them to behold the misery of others
merely for its own sake. The rejoicing of the saints on this occasion is no argument, that
they are not of a most amiable and excellent spirit, or that there is any defect on that
account, that there is any thing lacking, which would render them of a more amiable
disposition. It is no argument that they have not a spirit of goodness and love reigning
in them in absolute perfection, or that herein they do not excel the greatest instances of
it on earth, as much
as the stars are higher than the earth, or the sun brighter than a glowworm.
And whereas the heavenly inhabitants are in the text called upon to rejoice over Babylon,
because God had avenged them on her; it is not to be understood that they are to rejoice
in having their revenge glutted, but to rejoice, in seeing the justice of God executed,
and in seeing his love to them in executing it on his enemies.
2. Positively; the sufferings of the damned will be no occasion of grief to the heavenly
inhabitants, as they will have no love nor pity to the damned as such. It will be no
argument of lack of a spirit of love in them, that they do not love the damned; for the
heavenly inhabitants will know that it is not fit that they should love them, because they
will know then, that God has no love to them, nor pity for them; but that they are the
objects of God's eternal hatred. And they will then be perfectly conformed to God in their
wills and affections. They will love what God loves, and that only. However the saints in
heaven may have loved the damned while here, especially those of them who were near and
dear to them in this world, they will have no love to them hereafter.
It will be an occasion of their rejoicing, as the glory of God will appear in it. The
glory of God appears in all his works: and therefore there is no work of God which the
saints in glory shall behold and contemplate but what will be an occasion of rejoicing to
them. God glorifies himself in the eternal damnation of the ungodly men. God glorifies
himself in all that he does; but he glorifies himself principally in, his eternal
disposition of his intelligent
creatures, some are appointed to everlasting life, and others left to everlasting death.
The saints in heaven will be perfect in their love to God: their hearts will be all a
flame of love to God, and therefore they will greatly value the glory of God, and will
exceedingly delight in seeing him glorified. The saints highly value the glory of God here
in this world, but how much more will they so do in the world to come. They will therefore
greatly rejoice in all that contributes to that glory. The glory of God will in their
esteem be of greater
consequence, than the welfare of thousands and millions of souls. -Particularly,
(a.) They will rejoice in seeing the justice of God glorified in the sufferings of the
damned. The misery of the damned, dreadful as it is, is but what justice requires.
They in heaven will see and know it much more clearly, than any of us do here. They will
see how perfectly just and righteous their punishment is, and therefore how properly
inflicted by the supreme Governor of the world. They will greatly rejoice to see justice
take place, to see that all the sin and wickedness that have been committed in the world
is remembered of God, and has its due punishment. The sight of this strict and immutable
justice of God will render him amiable and adorable in their eyes. They will rejoice when
they see him who is their Father and eternal portion so glorious in his justice.
Then there will be no remaining difficulties about the justice of God, about the absolute
decrees of God, or any thing pertaining to the dispensations of God towards men. But
divine justice in the destruction of the wicked will then appear as light without
darkness, and will shine as the sun without clouds, and on this account will they sing
joyful songs of praise to God, as we see the saints and angels do, when God pours the
vials of his wrath
upon antichrist; Rev. 16:57 They sing joyfully to God on this account, that true and
righteous are his judgments, Rev. 19:16. They seeing God so strictly just will make them
value his love the more. Mercy and grace are more valuable on this account. The more they
shall see of the justice of God the more will they prize and rejoice in his love.
(b.) They will rejoice in it, as it will be a glorious manifestation of the power and
majesty of God. God will show his own greatness in executing vengeance on ungodly men.
This is mentioned as one end of the destruction the ungodly: "What if God, willing to
show his wrath, and make his power known, endured with much patience the vessels of wrath
fitted to destruction ?" God will hereby show how much he is above his enemies. There
are many now in the world, who proudly lift up themselves against God. There are many open
opposers of the cause and interest of Christ. "They set their mouth against the
heavens, and their tongue walks through the earth." Then God will show his glorious
power in destroying these enemies.
The power of God is sometimes spoken of as very glorious, as appearing in the temporal
destruction of his enemies: Exod. 15:6, "Your right hand, O Lord, is become glorious
in power; your right hand, O Lord, has dashed in pieces the enemy." But how much more
glorious will it appear in his triumphing over, and dashing in pieces at once, all his
enemies, wicked men and devils together, all his haughty foes! The power of God will
gloriously appear in dashing to pieces his enemies as a potter's vessel. Moses rejoiced
and sang when he saw God glorify his power in the destruction of Pharaoh and his host at
the Red Sea. But how much more will the saints in glory rejoice when they shall see God
gloriously triumphing over all his enemies in their eternal ruin! Then it will appear how
dreadful God is, and how dreadful a thing it is to disobey and denounce him. It is often
mentioned as a part of the glory of God, that he is an awesome God. To see the majesty,
and greatness, and awesomeness of God, appearing in the destruction of his enemies, will
cause the saints to rejoice; and when they shall see how great and awesome a being God is,
how will they prize his favor! How will they rejoice that they are the objects of his
love! How will they praise him the more joyfully, that he should choose them to be
his children, and to live in the enjoyment of him!
It will occasion rejoicing in them, as they will have the greater sense their own
happiness, by seeing the contrary misery. It is the nature of pleasure and pain, of
happiness and misery, greatly to heighten the sense of each other. Thus the seeing of the
happiness of others tends to make men more sensible of their own calamities; and the
seeing of the calamities of others tends to heighten the sense of our own enjoyments.
When the saints in glory, therefore, shall see the doleful state of the damned, how will
this heighten their sense of the blessedness of their own state, so exceedingly different
from it! When they shall see how miserable others of their fellow creatures are, who
were naturally in the same circumstances with themselves; when they shall see the smoke of
their torment, and the raging of the flames of their burning, and hear their dolorous
shrieks and cries, and consider that they in the mean time are in the most blissful state,
and shall surely be in it to all eternity; how will they rejoice!
This will give them a joyful sense of the grace and love of God to them; because hereby
they will see how great a benefit they have by it. When they shall see the dreadful
miseries of the damned, and consider that they deserved, the same misery, and that it was
sovereign grace, and nothing else, which made them so much to differ from the damned;
that, if it had not been for that, they would have been in the same condition; but that
from all eternity was pleased to set his love upon them, that Christ has laid down his
life for them, and has made them thus gloriously happy forever, O how will they admire
that dying love of Christ, which has redeemed them from so great a misery, and purchased
for them so great happiness, and has so distinguished them from others of their fellow
creatures! How joyfully will they sing to God and the Lamb, when they behold this!
- AN OBJECTION ANSWERED- "If we are apprehensive of the
damnation of others now, it in no way becomes us to rejoice at it, but to lament it."
If, in this present world, we see others in imminent danger of going to hell, it is
accounted a very sorrowful thing, and it is looked upon as an argument of a senseless and
wicked spirit, to look upon it otherwise. When it is a very dead time with respect to
religion, and a very degenerate and corrupt time among a people, it is accounted a thing
greatly to be lamented; and on this account, that at such times there are but few
converted and saved, and many perish. Paul tells us, that he had great heaviness and
continual sorrow in his heart, because so many of the Jews were in a perishing state: Rom.
9:1, 2, 3, "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience so bearing me witness
in the Holy Spirit, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I
could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen according to
the flesh." And if a neighbor die, and his death be attended with circumstances which
look darkly as to the state of his soul, we account it a sorrowful thing, because he has
left us no more comfortable grounds to hope for his salvation.
Question- Why is it then, not an unbecoming thing in the saints in glory, to
rejoice when they see the damnation of the ungodly?
Ans. 1. It is now our duty to love all men, though they are wicked; but it will not be a
duty to love wicked men hereafter. Christ, by many precepts in his word, has made it our
duty to love all men. We are commanded to love wicked men, and our enemies and
persecutors. But this command does not extend to the saints in glory, with respect
to the damned in hell. Nor is there the same reason that it should. We ought now to love
all, and even wicked men; we know not but that God loves them. However wicked any man is,
yet we know not but that he is one whom God loved from eternity, we know not but that
Christ loved him with a dying love, had his name upon his heart before the world was, and
had respect to him when he endured those bitter agonies on the cross. We know not but that
he is to be our companion in glory to all eternity.
But this is not the case in the next world. The saints in glory will know, concerning the
damned in hell, that God never loved them, but that he hates them, and will be forever
hated by God. This hatred of God will be fully declared to them; they will see it, and
will see the fruits of it in their misery. Therefore, when God has thus declared his
hatred of the damned, and the saints see it, it will be no way becoming in the saints to
love them, nor to mourn over them. It becomes the saints fully and perfectly to consent to
what God does, without any reluctance or opposition of spirit; yes, it becomes them to
rejoice in every thing that God sees fit to be done.
Ans. 2. We ought now to seek and be concerned for the salvation of wicked men, because now
they are capable subjects of it. Wicked men, though they may be very wicked, yet are
capable subjects of mercy. It is yet a day of grace with them, and they have the offers of
salvation. Christ is as yet seeking their salvation; he is calling upon them, inviting and
wooing them, he stands at the door and knocks. He is using many means with them, is
calling them, saying, Turn, turn, why will you die? The day of his patience is yet
continued to them; and if Christ is seeking their salvation, surely we ought to seek it.
God is wont now to make men the means of one another's salvation; yes, it is his
ordinary way so to do. He makes the concern and endeavors of his people the means of
bringing home many to Christ. Therefore they ought to be concerned for and endeavor it.
But it will not be so in another world; there wicked men will be no longer capable
subjects of mercy.
The saints will know, that it is the will of God the wicked should he miserable to all
eternity. It will therefore cease to be their duty any more to seek their salvation, or to
concerned about their misery. On the other hand, it will be their duty to rejoice in the
will and glory of God. It is not our duty to be sorry that God has executed just vengeance
on the devils, concerning whom the will of God in their eternal state is already known to
Ans. 3. Rejoicing at the calamities of others now, rests not on the same grounds as that
of the saints in glory. The evil of rejoicing at others' calamity now, consists in our
envy, or revenge, or some such disposition is gratified therein: and not that God is
glorified, that the majesty and justice of God gloriously shine forth.
Ans. 4. The different circumstances of our nature now, from what will be hereafter, make
that a virtue now which will be no virtue then. For instance, if a man be of a virtuous
disposition, the circumstances of our nature now are such, that it will necessarily, show
itself by natural affection, and to be without natural affection is a very vicious
disposition; and is so mentioned in Rom. 1:31. But natural affection is no virtue in the
saints in glory.
Their virtue will exercise itself in a higher manner.
Ans. 5. The vengeance inflicted on the wicked will be a manifestation of God's love to the
saints. One way whereby God shows his love to the saints, is by destroying their enemies.
God has said, "He that touches you, touches the apple of my eye." And it is
often mentioned in Scripture, as instance of the great love of God to his people, that his
wrath is so awakened, when they are wronged and injured. Thus Christ has promised that
God will avenge his own elect, Luke 18:. 7, and has said, that "if any man offend one
of his little ones, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck,
and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." Matt. 18:6.
So the saints in glory will see the great love of God to them, in the dreadful vengeance
which he shall inflict on those who have injured and persecuted them; and the view of this
love of God to them will be just cause of their rejoicing. Thus, in the text, heaven and
the holy apostles and prophets are called to rejoice over their enemies, because God has
avenged them of them.
- THE UNGODLY WARNED--I shall apply this subject only in one use,
namely, of warning to ungodly men.
And in order to this, I desire such to consider,
1. How destitute of any comforting consideration your condition will be, if you perish at
last. You will have none to pity you. Look which way you will, before or behind, on
the right hand or left, look up to heaven, or look about you in hell, and you will see
none to condole your case, or to exercise any pity towards you, in your dreadful
condition. You must bear these flames, you must bear that torment and amazement, day and
night, forever, and never have the comfort of considering, that there is so much as one
that pities your case; there never will one tear be dropped for you.
(a.) You have now been taught that you will have no pity from the created inhabitants of
heaven. If you shall look to them, you will see them all rejoicing at the sight of the
glory of God's justice, power, and awesome majesty, manifested in your torment. You
will see them in a blissful and glorious state: you will see Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God; you will see many come from the
east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and sit down in that
glorious kingdom; and, will see them all with one voice, and with united joy, praising God
for glorifying himself in your destruction.
You will wail and gnash your teeth under your own torments, and with envy of their
happiness; but they will rejoice and sing: Isa. 65:13, 14, "Therefore thus says the
Lord, Behold, my servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall
drink, but you shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but you shall be
ashamed: behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but you shall cry for sorrow of
heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit."
(b.) God will exercise no pity towards you. If you might have his pity in any degree, that
would be of more worth to you than thousands of worlds. That would make your case to be
not without comfort and hope. But God will exercise no pity towards you. He has often said
concerning wicked men, that his eye shall not spare, neither will he have pity, Ezek.5:11,
and 7:4, 9, and 8:18. He will cast upon you, and not spare; you will see nothing in
God, and receive nothing from him, but perfect hatred, and the fierceness of his wrath;
nothing but the mighty falls or outpourings of wrath upon you every moment; and no cries
will avail to move God to any pity, or in the least to move him to lighten his hand, or
assuage the fierceness and abate the power of your torments.
(c.) Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, will have no pity on you. Though he had so much love to
sinners, as to be willing to lay down his life for them, and offers you the benefits of
his blood, while you are in this world, and often calls upon you to accept them; yet then
he will have no pity upon you. You never will hear any more instructions from him; he will
utterly refuse to be your instructor: on the contrary, he will be your judge, to pronounce
sentence against you.
(C.). You will find none that will pity you in hell. The devils will not pity you, but
will be your tormentors, as roaring lions or hellhounds to tear you in pieces continually.
And other wicked men who shall be there will be like devils; they will have no pity
on you, but will hate, and curse, and torment you. And you yourselves will be like devils;
you will be like devils to yourselves, and will be your own tormentors.
2. Consider what an aggravation what you have heard under this doctrine will be to your
Consider how it will be at the day of judgment, when you shall see Christ coming in the
clouds of heaven, when you shall begin to wail and cry, as knowing that you are those who
are to be condemned; and perhaps you will be ready to fly to some of your godly friends;
but you will obtain no help from them: you will see them unconcerned for you, with joyful
countenances ascending to meet the Lord, and not the less joyful for the
horror in which they see you. And when you shall stand before the tribunal at the left
hand, among devils, trembling and astonished, and shall have the dreadful sentence passed
upon you, you will at the same time see the blessed company of saints and angels at the
right hand rejoicing, and shall hear them shout forth the praises of God, while they hear
your sentence pronounced. You will then see those godly people, with whom you shall have
been acquainted, and who shall have been your neighbors, and with whom you now often
converse, rejoicing at the pronunciation and execution of your sentence.
Perhaps there are now some godly people, to whom you are near and dear, who are tenderly
concerned for you, are ready to pity you under all calamities, and willing to help you;
and particularly are tenderly concerned for your poor soul, and have put up many fervent
prayers for you. How will you bear to hear these singing for joy of heart, while you
are crying for sorrow of heart and howling for vexation of spirit, and even singing the
more joyful for the glorious justice of God which they behold in your eternal
You that have godly parents, who in this world have tenderly loved you, who were wont to
look upon your welfare as their own, and were wont to be grieved for you when any thing
calamitous befell you in this world, and especially were greatly concerned for the good of
your souls, industriously sought, and earnestly prayed
for their salvation; how will you bear to see them in the kingdom of God, crowned with
glory? Or how will you bear to see them receiving the blessed sentence, and going up with
shouts and songs, to enter with Christ into the kingdom prepared for them from the
foundation of the world, while you are among a company of devils,
and are turned away with the most bitter cries, to enter into everlasting burnings,
prepared for the devil and his angels? How will you bear to see your parents, who in this
life had so dear an affection for you, now without any love to you, approving the sentence
of condemnation, when Christ shall with indignation bid you depart, wretched, cursed
creatures, into eternal burnings ? How will you bear to see and hear them praising the
Judge, for his justice exercised in pronouncing this sentence, and hearing it with holy
joy in their countenances, and shouting forth the praises and hallelujahs of God and
Christ on that account?
When they shall see what manifestations of amazement there will be in you, at the hearing
of this dreadful sentence, and that every syllable of it pierces you like a thunderbolt,
and sinks you into the lowest depths of horror and despair; when they shall behold you
with a frightened, amazed countenance, trembling and astonished, and shall hear you groan
and gnash your teeth; these things will not move them at all to pity you, but you will see
them with a holy joyfulness in their countenances, and with songs in their mouths. When
shall see you turned away and beginning to enter into the great furnace, and shall see how
you shrink at it, and hear how you shriek and cry out; yet they will not be at all grieved
for you, but at the same time you will hear from them renewed praises and hallelujahs for
the true and righteous judgments of God, in so dealing with you.
Then you will doubtless remember how those your glorified parents seemed to be concerned
for your salvation, while you were here in this world; you will remember how they were
wont to counsel and warn you, and how little you regarded their counsels, and how they
seemed to be concerned and grieved, that there appeared no more effect of their endeavors
for the good of your souls. You will then see them praising God for executing just
vengeance on you, for setting so light by their counsels and reproofs. However here
they loved you, and were concerned for you, now they will rise up in judgment against you,
and will declare how your sins are aggravated by the endeavors which they to no purpose
used with you, to bring you to forsake sin and practice virtue,
and to seek and serve God; but you were obstinate under all, and would not hearken to
them. They will declare how inexcusable you are upon this account. And the Judge
shall execute the more terrible wrath upon you on this account, that you have made no
better improvement of your parents' instructions, they will joyfully praise God for it.
After they shall have seen you lie in hell thousands of years, and your torment shall yet
without any rest, day or night; they will not begin to pity you then; they will praise
God, that his justice appears in the eternity of your misery.
You that have godly husbands, or wives, or brethren, or sisters, with whom you have been
wont to dwell under the same roof, and to eat at the same table, consider how it will be
with you, when you shall come to part with them, when they shall be taken and you left:
Luke 17:34, 35, 36, "I tell you, in that night, there shall be two men in one bed;
the one shall be taken and the other left. Two women shall be grinding together the one
taken and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken and the
other left." However you may wail and lament, when you see them parted from you, they
being taken and you left, you will see in them no signs of sorrow, that you are not taken
with them; that you ascend not with them to meet the Lord in the air, but are left below
to be consumed with the world, which is reserved unto fire, against the day of the
of ungodly men.
Those wicked men, who shall go to hell from under the labors of pious and faithful
ministers, will see those ministers rejoicing and praising God upon the occasion of their
destruction. Consider, you that have long lived under Mr. Stoddard's ministry, and are yet
in a natural condition, how dreadful it will be to you to see him who was so tenderly
concerned for the good of your souls while he was here, and so earnestly sought your
salvation, to see him rising up in judgment against you, declaring your inexcusableness,
declaring how often he warned you; how plainly he set your danger before you, and told you
of the opportunity that you had; how fully he set forth the miserable condition in which
you were, and the necessity there was that you should obtain an interest in Christ; how
movingly and earnestly he exhorted you to get into a better state, and how regardless you
were; how little you minded all that he said to you; how you went on still in your
trespasses, hardened your necks, and made your hearts as an adamant, and refused to
return! How dreadful will it be to you to hear him declaring how inexcusable you are upon
these accounts! How will you be cut to the heart, when you shall see him approving the
sentence of condemnation, which the Judge shall pronounce against you, and judging and
sentencing you with Christ, as an assessor in judgment; for the saints shall judge the
world (1 Cor. 6:2); and when you shall see him rejoicing in the execution of justice upon
you for all your unprofitableness under his ministry!
3. Consider what a happy opportunity you have in your hands now. Now your case is very
different from the case of wicked men in another world, of which you have now heard; and
particularly in the following respects.
(a.) God makes it the duty of all the godly now to be concerned for your salvation. As to
those who are damned in hell, the saints in glory are not concerned for their welfare, and
have no love nor pity towards them; and if you perish hereafter, it will be an occasion of
joy to all the godly. But now God makes it the duty of all the godly, to love you with a
sincere good-will and earnest affection. God does not excuse men from loving you, nor
your ill qualities: though you are wicked and undeserving, yet God makes it the duty of
all sincerely to wish well to you; and it is a heinous sin in the sight of God for any to
hate you. He requires all to be concerned for your salvation, and by all means to seek it.
It is their duty now to lament your danger, and to pray for mercy to you,
that you may be converted and brought home to Christ.
Now the godly who know you, desire your salvation, and are ready to seek, and pray for it.
If you be now in distress about the condition of your souls, you are not in such a
forsaken, helpless condition, as those that are damned; but you may find many to pray for
you, many who are willing to assist you by their advice and counsels,
and all with a tender concern, and with hearty wishes that your souls may prosper.
Now some of you have godly friends who are near and dear to you; you are beloved of
those who have a great interest in heaven, and who have power with God by their prayers:
you have the blessing of living under the same roof with them. Some of
you have godly parents to pray for you, and to counsel and instruct you, who you may be
sure will do it with sincere love and concern for you. And there is not only the command
of God, God has not only made it the duty of others to seek your salvation, but has given
encouragement to others to seek it. He gives encouragement
that they may obtain help for you by their prayers, and that they may be instrumental of
your spiritual good. God reveals it to be his manner, to make our sincere endeavors a
means of each other's good. How different is the case with you from what it is with those
that are already damned! And how happy an opportunity have you in your hands, if you would
but improve it!
(b.) Now you live where there is a certain order of men appointed to make it the business
of their lives to seek your salvation. Now you have ministers, not to rise up in judgment
against you; but in Christ's stead, to beseech you to be reconciled to God, 2 Cor. 5:20.
God has not only made it the duty of all to wish well to your souls, and
occasionally to endeavor to promote your spiritual interests, but he has set apart certain
persons, to make it their whole work, in which they should spend their days and their
(c.) Christ himself is now seeking your salvation. He seeks it by the aforementioned
means, by appointing men to make it their business to seek it; he seeks it by them;
they are his instruments, and they beseech you in Christ's stead, to be reconciled to God.
He seeks it in commanding our neighbors to seek it. Christ is represented in Scripture, as
wooing the souls of sinners. He uses means to persuade them to choose and accept of their
own salvation. He often invites them to come to him that they may have life, that they may
rest to their souls; to come and take of the water of life freely. He stands at the door
and knocks; and ceases not, although sinners for a long time refuse him. He bears repeated
repulses from them, and yet mercifully continues knocking, Saying, "Open to me, that
I may come in and sup with you, and you with me." At the doors of many sinners he
stands thus knocking for many years together. Christ is become a most importunate suitor
to sinners, that he may become their sovereign. He is often setting before them the need
they have of him, the miserable condition in which they are, and the great provision that
is made for the good of their souls and he invites them to accept of this provision, and
promises it shall be theirs upon their mere acceptance.
Thus how earnestly did Christ seek the salvation of Jerusalem, and he wept over it when
they refused: Luke 19:41, 42, "And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and
wept over it, saying, If you had known, even you, at least in this your day, the things
which belong unto your peace! but now they are hid from your eyes." And Matt. 23:37,
"0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them that are sent
unto you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers
her chickens under her wings, and you would not!" Thus Christ is now seeking your
salvation; such an opportunity have you now in your hands. Consider therefore how many
means Christ is using with you, to bring you to salvation.
(d.) Besides those things which have been now mentioned, some of you have a degree of the
inward strivings and influences of the Spirit, which makes your opportunity much greater.
You have Christ's internal calls and knockings. All the persons of the Trinity are
now seeking your salvation. God the Father has sent his Son, who has made way for your
salvation, and removed all difficulties, except those which are with your own heart.
And he is waiting to be gracious to you; the door of his mercy stands open to you; he has
set a fountain open for you to wash in from sin and uncleanness. Christ is calling,
inviting, and wooing you; and the Holy Spirit is striving with you by his internal motions
4. If you now repent, before it be too late, the saints and angels in glory will rejoice
at your repentance. If you repent not until it is too late, they will, as you
have heard, rejoice in seeing justice executed upon you. But if you now repent, they will
rejoice at your welfare, that you who were lost, are found; that you who were dead, are
alive again. They will rejoice that you are come to so happy a state already, and that you
are in due time to
inherit eternal happiness, Luke 15:10. So that if now you will improve your opportunity,
there will be a very different occasion of joy in heaven concerning you, than that of
which the doctrine speaks; not a rejoicing on occasion of your misery, but on occasion of
your unspeakable blessedness.
5. If you repent before it is too late, you yourselves shall be of that joyful company.
They will be so far from rejoicing on occasion of your ruin, that you yourselves
will be of that glorious company, who will rejoice in all the works of God, who will have
all tears wiped away from their eyes, to whom there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor
crying, and from whom sorrow and sighing shall flee away. You yourselves will be of those
who will rejoice at the glorious display of God's majesty and justice in his wrath on his
enemies. You will be of those that shall sing for joy of heart at the day of
judgment, while others mourn for sorrow of heart, and howl for vexation of spirit; and you
will enter into the joy of your Lord, and there shall never be any end or abatement of our