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" But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things : but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented." — Luke, xvi. 25.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was not only the greatest of all preachers, but unquestionably the most awful. His discourses abound with more frequent allusions to the punishment of the guilty, and with more fearful descriptions of it, than can be found in almost any other portion of holy Scripture. How tremendously fearful is the parable of which the text is a part ; in which He that hath the keys of the unseen world, seems to throw the door of it ajar for a few moments, and to give us a glimpse of that world where hope never enters, and from which misery never can pass. Much of the parable, I admit, is what might be called drapery ; but it is not the drapery of error, but of truth. The sentiments conveyed to us are these : that there is a state of punishment prepared for the wicked in another world, and a state of blessedness for the righteous : that every man when he dies enters upon one or other of these states ; that the circumstances of the present life (I mean those of riches or of poverty) have no influence of themselves upon man's eternal destiny. Poverty, if united with piety, will exclude no man from heaven ; riches if connected with impenitence and irreligion, will keep no man from hell. But there is another sentiment conveyed in the language which I have selected as the subject of discourse this evening, and that is, that memory will have an important influence in aggravating the misery of the damned. " Son, remember," was the expression which our Lord put into the lips of the father of the faithful, when addressing himself to the rich man that lifted up his eyes in torment. There is a dreadful taunt in the admonition, a sting not to be described. This, then, my hearers, is the subject of discourse on the present occasion — the influence of memory increasing the misery of the lost. That there is a state of inconceivable and interminable punishment for the wicked in another world, is one of the first principles of revealed truth, which cannot be discredited without withholding assent from the Bible. In that inspired book a state of rewards and punishments is placed in the very front of its announcements, and it is interwoven with the whole texture of revealed truth. To doubt this, is not so far to mistake as to contradict the testimony of God. Yes, my hearers, hell is a dreadful reality. The poet may make it the source of gloomy and awful images with which to adorn the creations of his genius, the dramatist may work it np into a form for public amusement, the
^yQQ THE I FLUE CE OF MEMORY swearer mav employ it to ad<l venom and fury to his oath, the scoffer may use it to point his epigram, or sharpen his wit; hut notwithstanding this shocking levity, this vulgar obscenity, this awful impiety, it is a fact, whatever men do with it, that there is a lake that hurneth with fire and brimstone, and tliat "the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." It is not improbable, that the gre.ater part of the punishment of the wicked •will be mental anguish : the curse of Jehovah will fall upon a spirit made bare to receive it. The sufferings of the lost will arise probably more from their own reflections and dispositions, than any positive inflictions of the Almighty ; a circumstance which ought to increase rather than diminish the apprehension of man concerning this punishment: for" what are the tortures of the body in the'case of a rational being to those of the mind ? What is mere pain, received through the nerves, compared with heart-remorse and self-reproach ? By universal consent, there is no hell like that of a guilty conscience ; other punishments are without us, but the source of this is within us. It is admitted on all hands, that the faculties of the soul will be inconceivably strengthened in another world ; the immortal part of man wiU then arrive at the maturity of its powers, both for good and for evil; the good will be strengthened, the evil will be made more resolute and determined, and all the passions more lively and vigorous. Among these faculties, the memory will bear Its part in tlie way of influence. This astonishing power of the human mind is susceptible of almost illimitable degrees of strength now ; some possess it to an extent that is most incredible ; certainly astonishing. By its mysterious constitution we very frequently find, that thoughts rise up that had been lost not only for hours, days, weeks, months, but for years; a circumstance which renders it not impossible nor improbable, that the memory will be so strengthened when the soul shall arrive at its eternal state, that the whole series of its actions, of its words, of its motives, will again be revived ; the history of the man's whole self be again brought before him, so that he will seem to be living through all that he did and all that he was, in that other state of existence. We are always, therefore, my brethren, sowing seed which is to spring up to be gathered in eternity : " Be not deceived ; what a man soweth that shall he also reap : he that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption ;" while " he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." We are thus to live for ever, as it were, with ourselves; and not only with ourselves as we are to be, but with ourselves as we now are. I know not whether this thought has ever struck you, but it is a terrific one —we are mysteriously and wonderfully formed, and not less mysteriously and wonderfully placed. What, speaking of a lost soul, will he remember in anotlier world? First, the Possessions he had in this: Son, remember that thou in thy life time receivcdst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil
thiiic«: but now he is comforted; and thou art tormented." Yes, all shall be recollected : the gains in business that this lost soul in perdition secured when he was an inhabitant of our world; his patrimonial possessions, his accumulations of wealth, his splendid mansions, his gay eijuipage, his sumptuous living, his retinue of servants, every thing that constituted his gaiety and liis grandeur, and all his pomp and circumstance. But wliat advantage will it be to have a voice perpetually saying to him throughout eternity, " Son, rememlx'r that thou ia Ihy life time receivcdst thy good things ?" Oh, the sting of that past tense—
I CREASI G THE MISERY OF THE LOST. 507 " thou hadst." Worldly possessions in hand, or in expectation, are generally a source of high gratification ; but when alienated, when lost, when gone for ever, what consolation do they generally yield to him that possessed them? And this lost sinner will in many cases recollect by what dishonourable and dishonest means these possessions were gained. Successful fraud and villainy, while the fruits of them last, evil as they are, yield a gratification to evil-disposed men : but when the fruits are all withered, and there is the bare, blighted, leafless, and fruitless tree of guilt that bore them, then what pleasure will it be to remember possessions? And even where there may be no guilt, where no guilt may have been contracted in acquiring possessions, yet to recollect possessions for which the man sacrificed his soul — oh, then for a man to recollect that his Bible, and his minister, were perpetually sounding in his ears the expression, " What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul 1" He is then to recollect this very expression, and by his own experience, to stand convicted of the veriest folly that an immortal creature can commit — of sacrificing the immortal for the mortal, heaven for earth, things unseen and eternal for things seen and temporal 1 Oh, to have a voice, whispering to the soul through eternity, as there was in the case of Esau, when he arose from the consumption of his transient meal, " This is the price of thy birthright;" to have a voice whispering in the soul for ever, "Thou hast sold the high possessions of eternal life and glory for gratifications and possessions that are now for ever gone!" But there will be another kind of remembrance of those possessions ; or, in other words, a remembrance of them connected with another idea ; and that is, that they have all been spent upon a man's self. That property, granted to him to employ for the glory of God, and for the good of mankind, for the relief of miserv, the instruction of ignorance, and the salvation of lost souls, had all been spent on himself, for his own gratification, and the aggrandizement of his family. Men will learn at the day of judgment, if they never learn before, that wealth is a talent to be employed for the good of man and for the glory of God; and then think what will be the feelings of the lost spirit, to look back on hundreds and thousands spent on his own gratification, and that of his family, and nothing, or next to nothing, spent for God, and for the good
of society. And connected with this, it is to be recollected, that, in the present world, rich men are sometimes estimated in. society ratlier by their wealth than by their virtue ; — a very false standard of respect, but so it is — and that tribute is paid to a man's purse which cannot be demanded for his character. But think of that man having passed into the unseen world, to take his place among the meaner lost, and to be for ever hearing the taunt from pauper tongues, " Art thou also become even as we? For remember that thou in thy life time hadst thy good things, we our evil ones; we are both tormented together now." Oh ye rich men, ye prosperous tradesmen, ye hoarding men, ye covetous men, if such there be here to-night, do consider how soon you maybe stripped of all that wealth, and go, a naked, pennyless spirit, into eternity ; and if you have not employed your wealth (as, if answering to the character I have just named, you have not) for the glory of God, eternally to hear this voice, " Thou hast had thy consolation, now nothing remains for thee.'' Secondly, lost Souls will rejiemjser their worldly Pleasures; their routs and parties, their public and private cntcrtaiumcats, their lawf*il
508 THE I FLUE CE OP MEMORY and unlawful gratifications, their scenes of revelry, and seasons of mirth, their home-bred delights, and their fashionable amusements. And will these things throw one ray upon the gloom of everlasting night? Will it blunt the thought of the worm tiiat never dies, or mitigate the fearfulness of the fire that is never quenched? The poet has said, and every mans experience sustains the proorietv and truth of the expression, " Of joys departed never to return, oh how painiui the remembrance." Conceive of a man of title, and of wealth, and of family, and of enjoyment, suddenly arrested in the midst of his prosperity, by a power that he cannot resist, and hurried away to a dark damp cell, loaded with irons, and left with no other employment than the dreadful one of contrasting the scene that he has left with that to which he has been brought ; but terrible, brethren, as the transition seems, that man's case is susceptible of hope ; he may yet expect to be redeemed and restored to all that he has lost ; if he be a Christian, if this is not within the range of his expectations, he may look to brighter scenes above, that will infinitely more than compensate for all this ; or if he be not a Christian, he will look with something like consolation to the grave, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. But think of the votary of this M'orld's pleasure, think of the man of fashion, think of the woman given up to little else than earthly delights, suddenly arrested in their career, and carried into eternity, away from all their pleasures, to a land where no sounds of mirth, no voice of song, no note of music ever breaks upon the ear, where no pleasures of the turf, or of the field, are to be followed, where the card table and the theatre exist no longer, where the merry dance, and the concert of sweet sounds no more are to be enjoyed:
" But darlmess, death, and long despair, Reign in eternal silence there." Oh, to look back on such a scene of delights for ever gone, of pleasures which had no connexion with the moral nature, and therefore no connexion with man's eternal destiny, except it be that dark destiny of lost and miserable spirits. My hearers, accuse me not to-night of the foul purpose of putting out the light of human joy in the abodes of men ; tell me not that I came hitherto dash the cup of consolation from the lips of mortals, or to infuse the venom of melancholy into it. o ; I only speak of those pleasures which the Word of God forbids, and which are put in place of those which the AVord of God exhibits. I tell you, that if you neglect and despise religion — I tell you, that if you are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God — I tell you, that if you are not renewed by the Holy Spirit, to taste that the Lord is gracious, and to have ]oy and peace in believing through Jesus Christ — I tell you, that if you are given ap to the enjoyment of a worldly mind and worldly courses, this scene that I am alluding to, awaits you. I am only stepping between you and pleasures that would weigh you down in that world where the sounds of pleasure are never heard. Oh, brethren, there are pleasures presented to you, placed within your reach, which will fit you for pleasures which are for ever, for joys that exist through endless ages, at the right hand of God. Thivdly, THE lost Soul will remember in Eternity his Sins. The great multitude forget their's now as soon as they are committed ; and any man that sets himself down to the task of counting the number of his transgressions, will find he is engaged in as hopeless a work as numbering the stars that burst
I CREASI G THE MISERY OF THE LOST. 5(3& on his view on a clear winter's night. There are some sins, in the case of most men, wliich stand out with peculiar prominence from the rest. Perhaps, in the case of most of us, there are some that we cannot soon forget : God has forgiven them, but we can scarcely forgive ourselves. Is it possible to forget them ? We ought not to forget them ; the remembrance ought to go through life, for the sake of caution, for the sake of humility. David went back as far as his youth, and said, " Remeuiber not against me the sins of my youth." It is thus the case sometimes with Christians : it is also the case with those who are not Christians ; they pass over a multitude of minor transgressions, but perhaps there are some sins they have committeil, the recollection of which is painful to them, the recollection is ever rising up in their minds ; it occurs in the hours of silence, in the hour of midnight: sometimes in company, remarks are made by individuals who are altogether strangers, but whom they suppose are acquainted with their history, and they imagine what is said is in accusation of them; and in reading, they meet with facts thatthrow their memories back on these transgressions. It is possible I am addressing some to-night of this
character; it is probable I am speaking to some to-night, who, in the hour of temptation, have fallen, and they have fallen grossly and grievously. ow all their peace is blasted, and all their self-res])ect is gone. Oh that they would forget that one sin ; oh that they could hide themselves from the recollection of that one : oh for some Lethean billow to put away a remembrance so painful : they would be willing that the past should be one universal blank, if it could take away the remembrance of that sin. The sting remains ; and there is a wound in the conscience, festering and burning, which nothing can heal. Yes ; there is balm for that. Before 1 go on to the application of the 'dea, let me pause in the train of my thought and representation, to speak to the wounded conscience, of a physician even for that ; a balm, even, as I have said, for that deep wound ; the blood of Christ can cleanse even from that sin. God saith, " I am willing to blot it out." Give not thyself up to reckless and hopeless despair ; look to Him that was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities: Jesus Christ will receive thee, and forgive thee. But think, my hearers, if now it be so painful sometimes to look back on the past, what will it be in eternity, when all the man s sins will rise up in his view, and he must see them ; when the voice that he hates, but cannot silence, will go over the catalogue, and be for ever sounding in his ears the sins that he hath committed, the sins of his youth. Oh, think, for ever to hold fellowship with dark thoughts and guilty recollections ; to find himself for ever and for ever in the company of his sins. And then you know all the sophistry by which the deceitful heart practises upon the mind of man Mill be detected; it will no longer be a doubt what sin is; it will no longer be a question whether it be a great and enormous evil, or a trifle. The lurid flashes of perdition will throw light on this subject, and for ever settle the question, that sin is an infinite evil ; and then all excuses will be silenced, all pleas will be cut off, and the poor creature will come back to this tremendous reflection, " Sin is as great an evil as it was represented, and I stand witliout excuse in the commission of it." It is a fearful thing when it is said, God " setteth our sins in tlie light of his countenance:" it is not less fearful when we are told that he will set them in the liglit of our own countenance, and we shall see them.
510 THB I FLUE CE OP MEMORY Fourthly, the lost Soul will recollect in Eternity its Means op Grace, ITS Opportunities OP Salvation, its Advantages for obtaining Eternal Life. Children of the righteous, I speak now to you. Let recollection now begin: call to your remembrance as you sit here, the advantages of a religious nature that you have enjoyed as far back as memory can carry you. You cannot remember the time when a mother began, even upon her knees, to teach your infant mind the principles of the Christian religion You cannot remember the time when a father's hallowed voice in tones of prayer floated to your early ear. You cannot remember the time when you began to
hear of salvation through Jesus Christ, of heaven and hell. If there are children whose parents are such monsters as to forget the eternal welfare of their offspring, you had no such parents. You remember the books that were placed in your hands while yet at home, and the letters that were addressed to you when removed from the vigilance of a father's and a mother's eye. Oh the advantages you have enjoyed ! Kept from the society of the wicked, and introduced to that of the righteous; by all that tlie most judicious, tender, and affectionate treatment could do, trained up for God. ow think of all this beino- in vain ; and, if in vain, all this remembered in eternity, where the recollection can do you no good, but will aggravate your misery. And then think of the religious advantages of a public nature that you have enjoyed. Think of the ministers that you have heard. I speak now to the stated worshippers in this place. Whose bust is that*? Whose monument is that? Who, by that silent stone, still speaketli, though he is dead to you? The man who, for half a century, here preached the glorious Gospel of the Blessed God, and who hath now ascended to his God to give in an account of his stewardship. Oh what addresses, public and private, you have heard from him ! And think of the men he called around him to assist him. To say nothing of those who still live, think of those who are now with him for eternity in heaven. I'hink of the plain, and faithful, and thundering discourses of Theophilus Jones, who so soon followed his venerable co-pastor to his rest and reward, that, as it were by a double voice from the tomb, this congregation and another might be impressed. Think of the good, the wise, the peaceful, the judicious, Mr. Griffiu, who has within these last two months passed away to that blessed world to which he had been the instrument of elevating so many immortal souls. These men, and others that have preceded them into the world of spirits, you have heard, and heard them, some of you, in vain. You will never hear them more. Yes, you will : they will preach to you still by the means of your own conscience ; that memory, that mysterious faculty of your's, contains ali their sermons ; though now for a season the remembrance may be lost, the conscience will take them up again in another world — aye, in the world of misery, if jou continue in unbelief, and preach them to you again. What subjects you have heard discussed by these men, and others, of the law and the grace of the Gospel! They have knocked by their varied themes at every door of the heart ; they have appealed to your hopes and fears: and yet in the case of many it has been in vain. ow then (1 want still to give my subject a close bearing on the conscience) — now, I say, think what it will be, for a man who has lived and died and perished in unbelief, under the sound of the Gospel, to spend eternity iu counting sabbaths that were lost, and in hearing again sermons that were • Pointing to a monument with a bust of the Rev. R. Hill, recently erected behind the pulpit of Surrey Chapel.
I CREASI G THE MISERY OP THE LOST. 5ll
once heard, but heard in vain, and hearing them then wlien they are accompanied with no offer of mercy, no invitation to Christ — when they will only be heard as the knell of past opportunities of salvation, and the sinner will feel, that to have heard them, and to have heard them in unbelief, has increased his condemnation, and sunk him deeper in the bottomless pit. Fifthly. The lost Soul in Eternity, will remember its Impressions, Convictions, Purposes, and Resolutions, on Earth. And have not most that hear me, at some period or other, had these impressions, had these convictions ? Have there not been moments when, by sermons you have heard, or afflictions by which you have been visited, or events that you have M'itnessed, or books that you have read, or hair-breadth escapes that have been granted to you, or the counsels of friendship — impressions of a superior nature have been made upon your mind ? Were you not, for a season, made conscious of sin, made serious and thoughtful, led to take up the neglected Bible, to pray, to hear sermons? You seemed setting out for the kingdom of heaven ; the Spirit strove with you, and you seemed yielding to his influence ; the cords of love seemed to encircle your hearts ; you appeared to be about to be drawn by them : but as you approached the gate of life, you saw it was narrow, and you observed that the road looked difficult : there was some besetting sin that you had, and you could not give it up ; there was some evil companion that solicited you, and you could not abandon him ; you were ridiculed, and vou had not courage to bear with opposition, and you had not firmness to encounter it ; and, oh melancholy spectacle, you were seen turning back, and walking the ways of God no more. Sometimes it is painful to you now to think of this, and you are ready to say, "Oh, that I had never heard that sermon ; oh, that I had never had those impressions ; oh, that those convictions had never taken hold of my heart ! I cannot enjoy my sins as I once did ; I am half spoiled for the world, though I am not a member of the Church." Yes, and you know, that often the scene of festivity, in which others experience no interruption, is marred for you. Then think, young man, think M-hat will be the case in eternity, when a voice shall say, " Son, remember thy impressions ; remember thy convictions." Oh, what a victim of folly will you appear to yourself there ; oh, how will you curse that folly, that, when you seeined almost a Christian, when you seemed about to decide for heavenly glory, you suffered yourself to be drawn back. You will appear to yourself, or your conduct will appear, the climax of all folly and madness ; to have begun to feel something of the importance of religion and of eternity, and then to have given it up, and through that eternity to have the mind thrown back upon these seeming beo-innings of good things, with the recollection that they are lost now for ever ! Thus, my hearers, you see, that memory will then have a very important influence on the punishment of the wicked. Yes ; if memory could be lost, half of hell could be lost with it : it is memory that Mill give the sting to the second death. Let me, for a few moments, present the contrast to this. Memory will go with the righteous to their eternal abode, and it will open to them a source of pleasure not to be conceived. Standing on the summit of Mount
Zion, they shall look down the winding path which led to the ascent, and observe every step that they have taken. True it is, that they will recollect that they also sinned : but it will be no tormenting recollection ; it will bend them the lower before the throne of the Eternal, and as they sink, their
5l2 THE I FLUE CE OF MEMORY joys will rise immeasurably liigli. Humility in a creature is bliss ; and the more humility we have, the happier we are : and thus the very recollection of our sins in heaven, will, by producing deeper and deeper humility, be no source of tormenting recollection. We shall be lost in adoring gratitude, and wonder, and joy, at the grace that pardoned and sanctified them. We shall remember all the history of Providence, and all the methods of grace, and the connexion of both : we shall recollect how God seemed following us through all the scenes of our existence, and so uniting them as that all things should work together for our good ; we shall remember those sermons that produced the saving impression on our heart, and the names of the preachers that were the honoured instruments of thus doing good to our souls: all the h.allowed scenes of piety, through which memory now so delights to travel, will be travelled over again in the celestial world ; we shall again enjoy afresh those seasons, and those scenes of communion with God, which have now sanctified many a spot, and made it dearer to us than any other that can be found on the face of the whole world ; we shall remember all those victories over sin, and self, and Satan, and the world, through which we were conducted by the omnipotent grace of our God : we shall remember all those seasons of conference and co-operation, which we spent in this world of ours, and then and there see the results of all that we now do for Christ, results which we cannot at present, in our partial ignorance, anticipate; we shall remember all that others have done for us, in the way of good, and all the good that we have done to others, and shall ascribe all the glory to God ; we shall see how all things work together for good ; the connexion of events ; the connexion of our history with the history of the world at large ; and memory will be for ever connecting the past with the present — the eternal present — of another world. And thus to the righteous, " Son, remember," will be a note of joy, which will for ever exhihxrate and delight his heart. ow, my dear hearers, let the preacher place before you, with all affectionate seriousness, for your decision, the question — Will you have your memory your friend in heaven, or your tormentor in hell ? Do consider ; consider this ; it is no imaginary thing ; it is what concerns you all ; and therefore, do, to-night, decide. Remember now, remember now, your sins, and fly for pardon to the blood of Christ. ow the recollection will be beneficial ; now the recollection M'ill be the means of salvation. Go home to-night, remembering your sins, and fly for pardon to Christ. Remember the God against whom your sins have been committed ; remember Jesus Christ, who waits to save you : remember
your possessions, and consecrate them all to God, first giving yourselves to the Lord. Remember your pleasures, and sacrifice all that are sinful, all that are injurious to your soul's best welfare ; and come to the possession of that pleasure which now is satisfying without being polluting ; and it will be the commencement of endless felicity. Remember your opportunities ; oh, they are all presented to you to-night : we speak not of them in the past tense , God is here, waiting to be gracious ; Christ is here, in the fulness of his mediatorial grace, as the way to the Father ; the Spirit is here, waiting to renew and sanctify your hearts: the Bible is here, to direct you in all those high, sacred, and mysterious concerns ; the ministers of religion are here, to help you in your flight from the city of destruction, to the city and habitation of God ; your parents, young people, are here, seated by your side, perhaps, to-night, sending up many an earnest prayer on your behalf; and perhaps,
I CREASI G THE MISERY OF THE I.OST. 513 almost turning upon you as tlie preaclier goes on, not with tlie taunt of Abnihaiu to the ricli man, but with all the affection of a father's or a mother's heart, saying, " Son, remember." Remember now thy Creator in the davs of thy youth, ere tlie evil days come in Mhich no place shall be found. Remember now your impressions, your convictions, your resolutions ; call them to recollection. Perhaps there are some who have begun to lose them ; oh, take them up again to-night ; Mould God the preacher may have come up for this blessed purpose, of retouching and retracing some impressions that have almost vanished from the heart. Oh, begin again to-night ; take up again the resolution — " I will serve the Lord;" take up again the purpose of surrendering yourself to him, and becoming his for ever and ever. God grant that this may be the case. In conclusion, remember — for it is the substance of the sermon — short and uncertain as is your existence in this world, your character is perpetually receiving here the stamp of eternity : and you are all, and always, and every where, and in afl things, gathering those materials which must inevitably be the source of the most tormenting, or the most felicitous recollections throughout eternity. 1. 68 FREE BOOKS http://www.scribd.com/doc/21800308/Free-Christian-Books
2. ALL WRITI GS http://www.scribd.com/glennpease/documents?page=970
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