A Logical Exposition of an Established Church Doctrine

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As I said, if you want sin and hell, (among other things much more pleasant to reflect upon) you cannot do better than the great Puritan preachers. This passage from Jonathan Edwards clearly spells out the logic of the Eternity of Hell.

from Remarks on Important Theological Controversies--Chapter II Jonathan Edwards

ß 11. If the wicked in hell are in a state of trial, under severe chastisement, as means in order to their repentance and obtaining the benefit of Godís favour in eternal rewards, then they are in a state of such freedom as makes them moral agents, and the proper subjects of judgment and retribution. Then those terrible chastisements are made use of as the most powerful means of all, more efficacious than all the means used in this life which prove ineffectual, and which proving insufficient to overcome sinnersí obstinacy, and prevail with Ďtheir hard hearts, God is compelled to relinquish them all, and have recourse to those torments as the last means, the most effectual and powerful. If the torments of hell are to last ages of ages, then it must be because sinners in hell all this while are obstinate; and though they are free agents as to this matter, yet they wilfully and perversely refuse, even under such great means, to repent, forsake their sins, and turn to God. It must be further supposed, that all tins while they have the offers of immediate mercy and deliverance made to them, if they will comply. Now, if this be the case, and they shall go on in such wickedness, and continue in such extreme obstinacy and pertinaciousness, for so many ages, (as is supposed, by its being thought their torments shall be so long continued,) how desperately will their guilt be increased! How many thousand times more guilty at the end of the term, than at the beginning! And therefore they will be much the more proper objects of divine severity, deserving Godís wrath, and still a thousand times more severe or longer continued chastisements than the past; and therefore it is not reasonable to suppose, that all the damned should be delivered from misery, and received to Godís favour, and made the subjects of eternal salvation and glory at that time, when they are many thousand times more unworthy of it, more deserving of continuance in misery, than when they were first cast into hell. It is not likely that the infinitely wise God should so order the matter. And if their misery should be augmented, and still lengthened out much longer, to atone for their new contracted guilt; they must be supposed to continue impenitent, till that second additional time of torment is ended; at the end of which their guilt will still be risen higher, and vastly increased beyond what it was before. And, at this rate, where can there be any place for an end of their misery?

This addresses the conception of Hell as a purgatorial waystation on the path to salvation. It says nothing whatsoever of other matters formerly discussed, but it is an excellent exercise in logical consequences.

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ooohhh, edwards. sinners in the hands of an angry God is an amazing read. if anyone questions how *good* they are, they should read that. they'd end up weeping.

did he ever write about love?

ooohhh, edwards. sinners in the hands of an angry God is an amazing read. if anyone questions how *good* they are, they should read that. they'd end up weeping.

did he ever write about love?



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on March 15, 2005 9:02 AM.

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