By Carlyle B. Haynes

Chapter 5— The Wages of Sin

ACCEPTING as an established truth the devil’s first falsehood that all men are immortal, and reasoning from this as a premise that the souls of all who have died are now conscious either in a condition of bliss or torment, for they cannot die, many have concluded that it may be possible to establish some system of communication between the souls of those who have died and the living among whom they once lived. Then coming into contact with the phenomena of Spiritualism, the professed communication of the spirits of the dead with the living, they have been swept away from their moorings into this terrible last-day delusion of the father of lies. Spiritualism is one of the fruits of the doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul.

The belief in purgatory of our Catholic friends rests upon the same foundation, the conscious state of the dead. If the falsehood of Satan were not believed in the place of the truth of the Bible, no one could ever accept the teaching of purgatory, and no one therefore could ever be deceived into paying money in order that the souls of their loved ones might be prayed out of purgatory by the priest.

The errors of Universalism and Restorationism may also be charged to this false doctrine of the immortality of the soul, for they have come into existence because of a reaction against the terrible belief in eternal torment, which is a necessary result of believing in natural immortality.

Fosters Infidelity

And this doctrine has greatly hindered the progress of the gospel by fostering infidelity and skepticism, for such a doctrine as eternal misery and torment drives men away from the gospel instead of winning them to it. For it follows as a necessary corollary to the doctrine of natural immortality that sin, having once gained a foothold in this earth, can never be expelled or exterminated, and those who refuse to accept the gospel of Christ but continue in sin, being immortal, must ever continue in sin and misery and torment, God Himself being unable to blot them out because of their immortality.

An Appalling Belief

Thus has been born the baneful error of everlasting torment, the teaching that the fires of the last day, which are intended to purge this earth of sin and sinners forever, will rather perpetuate sin and sinners forever. For having once been started to feed upon immortal souls and finding them indestructible, these fires must rage on forever, not to devour and consume, but only to torment the miserable victims upon whom they are ceaselessly preying. Therefore, this theory teaches us that so long as the righteous live in heaven the wicked will be tormented in hell, and that throughout all the future ages holiness and sin, happiness and misery, praises and curses, and life and death will run parallel with each other.

Accepting this view, many believe that heaven will resound with the songs of the ransomed while in hell are echoing the curses and groans of the damned through all future ages; that the time can never come when the love of God, the wisdom and almighty power of God, will have so successfully triumphed over the works of the devil as to destroy them utterly, nor over death and hell as to destroy them; that the justice of God will never have so satisfied itself by the suffering of the lost as to permit them to expire; that the foundations of His government can never be so secure, and the loyalty of His children so assured that this awful exhibition of His wrath, rolling up like the smoke of a furnace forever, can be permitted to stop.

Death came upon mankind because of sinBut when intelligent, thinking men stop to consider all that is involved in the fact of suffering that is absolutely endless, what it must mean for creatures just like themselves to writhe and toss in billows of flame forever and ever without dying or without the least possible hope of relief, and that countless millions have already sunk into this place of torment and are being followed by great multitudes every day, and when they take in the thought that this means not only the vast host of sinners whom they have not known, but their own children and loved ones and friends who go out of life without giving any indication of having accepted the gospel, they are so appalled at the necessary conclusions which their creed and their logic force upon them that their faith cannot endure the terrific strain put upon it, but gives way to infidelity, or at best to Universalism or Restorationism.

Believing that it will be interesting and helpful to the reader to see to what lengths those who teach the natural immortality of the soul have gone on this point of the punishment of the wicked, before we consider what the Bible teaches concerning it, we shall quote at some length from the writings of prominent theologians.

In the Presbyterian Confession of Faith, the following passage occurs: “The bodies of men after death return to dust and see corruption; but their souls (which neither die, nor sleep), having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous, then, being made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torment and utter darkness reserved to the judgment of the great day.”

From Two Theologians

In the second volume of Sermons by Jonathan Edwards, he says, “Those wicked men who died many years ago, their souls went to hell, and there they are still; those who went to hell in former ages of the world have been in hell ever since, all the while suffering torment. They have nothing else to spend their time in there, but to suffer torment; they are kept in being for no other purpose.”

Spurgeon, the great Baptist evangelist, in his sermon on “The Resurrection of the Dead” says, “When thou diest, thy soul will be tormented alone; that will be a hell for it; but at the day of judgment thy body will join thy soul and then thou wilt have twin hells, thy soul sweating drops of blood, and thy body suffused with agony. In fire exactly like that which we have on earth, thy body will lie, asbestoslike, forever unconsumed, all thy veins roads for the feet of pain to travel on, every nerve a string on which the devil shall forever play his diabolical tune of hell’s unutterable lament.”

Master of language as he was, Spurgeon could not surpass the following, taken from a sermon on “The Judgment,” by Ebenezer Erskine: “Think now, O sinner, what shall be thy reward when thou shalt meet thy Judge? How shall the adulterer satisfy lust when he lies on a bed of flames? The swearer shall have enough of wounds and blood when the devil shall torture his body and rack his soul in hell. The drunkard shall have plenty of his cups when scalding lead shall be poured down his throat, and his breath draw flames of fire instead of air. … Oh! what a bed is this! No feathers, but fire; no friends, but furies; no ease, but fetters; no daylight, but darkness; no clocks to pass the time away, but endless eternity; fire eternal always burning, and never dying.

Oh! who can endure everlasting flame? It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up forever and ever. The wicked shall be crowded together like bricks in a fiery furnace. … What woes and lamentations shall be uttered when devils and reprobates and all the damned crew shall be driven into hell never to return! Down they go, howling, shrieking, and gnashing their teeth. … What wailing, weeping, roaring, yelling, filling both heaven, earth, and hell!”

Terrible Teaching

Nor have we yet reached the ,limits of absurdity. In the following quotation the God of love is turned into a monster who is said to take delight in the woes of the lost. Is it any wonder men should be driven into infidelity when such as this is called Christianity? It is taken from a sermon by William Davidson:

“It is an unspeakably terrible thing for any one to be lost. Even to those who suffer least, it is not only the loss of all, and a horrible lake of ever-burning fire; but there are horrible objects filling every sense, and horrible engines and instruments of torture. Nor is this all.

Unmortified appetites, hungry as death, insatiable as the grave, are so many springs of excruciating and ever-increasing agonies, so many hot and stifling winds, tossing the swooning soul on waves of flame. And there will be terrible companions; and every one utterly selfish, malignant, fierce, and devilish. There will be terrible sights and sounds. Fathers and sons, pastors and people, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, with swollen veins and bloodshot eyes, straining towards each others’ throats and hearts. Upon such an assembly, God, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, cannot look but with utter detestation. His face shall be red in his anger, his eyes shall not pity, nor his soul spare for their crying. The day of vengeance is in his heart. It is what his heart is set upon. He will delight in it. He will tread that rebel crew in his anger, and trample them in his fury, and will stain his raiment with their blood.

The cup of the wine of his fierce wrath shall contain no mixture of mercy. All this, and more and worse do the Scriptures declare; and that preacher who hesitates to proclaim it has forsworn his soul, and is a traitor to his trust. And all this shall be forever. It shall never, never end. The wicked go away into everlasting torment. If after enduring it all for twice ten thousand times ten thousand years, they might have a deliverance, or, at least, some abatement, it were less terrible. But this may never, never be. There is a great gulf fixed, and they cannot pass from thence. Or if after suffering all this as many years as there are sand grains in the globe, they might then be delivered, there would be some hope. Or, if you multiply this sum, too infinite to be expressed in figures, and too limitless to be comprehended by angels, by the number of atoms that compose the universe, and there might be deliverance when they had passed those abysmal gulfs of duration, then there would be some hope. But no! When all is suffered, and all is past, still all beyond is eternity.”

Another Quotation

Surely, you exclaim, the limits of blasphemy are reached. But not yet. Just one more quotation to show to what lengths men who follow false teachings to their logical ends will go. And this is the worst of all. Here it is declared that it is the burning of the wicked throughout eternity which will constitute the entertainment of the righteous, and that it is the fires of hell which constitute the light of heaven, and if hell is brought to an end heaven would be in darkness. I take it from Works of Samuel Hopkins, D.D., pages 457 and 458:

“The smoke of their torment shall ascend up in the sight of the blessed forever and serve as a most clear glass always before their eyes to give them a constant, bright, and most affecting view. … This display of the divine character and glory will be in favor of the redeemed, and most entertaining, and give the highest pleasure to those who love God, and raise their happiness to ineffable heights. Should this eternal punishment and this fire be extinguished, it would in a great measure obscure the light of heaven and put an end to a great part of the happiness and glory of the blessed.”

I know that it will be a relief to those who read this chapter to turn away from these wild ravings of men who are lost in the mazes of their own speculation, to the blessed truth which is contained in God’s Word. To this we shall go, and sitting at the feet of the One who spake as never man spake, we shall learn the truth on this subject.

Read Chapter 6 —The Punishment of the Wicked

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