Friday, March 05, 2010
Watson on Hell: Part 2
Again, from his book The Ten Commandments, the Puritan Thomas Watson discusses the reality of hell. Of note is Watson's reponse to those who ponder the justice of God meting out eternal punishment for temporal sins. I have heard similar questions from those who would abandon the Biblical doctrine of hell as a place of eternal conscious torment in favor of annhiliationism. Watson comments:
How does it seem to comport with God’s justice to punish a sin committed in a moment, with eternal torment?
Because there is an eternity of sin in man’s nature. Because sin is crimen laesae majestatis, ‘committed against an infinite majesty,’ and therefore the sin itself is infinite, and proportionally the punishment must be infinite. Because a finite creature cannot bear infinite wrath, he must be eternally satisfying what he can never satisfy. If hell be such a house of bondage, what infinite cause have they to bless God who are delivered from it! Jesus ‘delivered us from the wrath to come.’ 1 Thess 1: 10. Jesus Christ suffered the torments of hell in his soul, that believers should not suffer them. If we are thankful, when we are ransomed out of prison, or delivered from fire, oh, how should we bless God to be preserved from the wrath to come! It may cause more thankfulness in us, seeing the most part go into the house of bondage, even to hell. To be of the number of those few that are delivered from it, is matter of infinite thankfulness. Most, I say, go to that house of bondage when they die; most go to hell. ‘Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.’ Matt 7: 13. The greatest part of the world lies in wickedness. 1 John 5: 19. Divide the world, says Brerewood, into thirty-one parts, nineteen parts of it are possessed by Jews and Turks, and seven parts by heathens; so that there are but five parts of Christians, and among these Christians so many seduced Papists on the one hand, and so many formal Protestants on the other, that we may conclude the major part of the world goes to hell. Scripture compares the wicked to briers. Isa 10: 17. There are but few lilies in your fields, but in every hedge thorns and briers. It compares them to ‘the mire in the streets.’ Isa 10: 6. Few jewels or precious stones are in the street, but you cannot go a step without meeting with mire. The wicked are as common as the dirt in the street. Look at the generality of people. How many drunkards are there for one that is sober! How many adulterers for one that is chaste! How many hypocrites for one that is sincere! The devil has the harvest, and God a few gleanings only. Oh, then, such as are delivered from the house of bondage, in hell, have infinite cause to admire and bless God. How should the vessels of mercy run over with thankfulness! When most others are carried prisoners to hell, they are delivered from the wrath to come.