Sermons Upon Death and Judgment, William Bates

Most Puritan authors have an excellent theology of hell and punishment, but Bates has some particularly good insights and turns-of-phrase.


That those who now say to the Almighty, depart from us, we desire not the knowledg of thy Ways, should hear the Dreadful Depart from me into everlasting Fire? As there will be no vain-boasting in Heaven, where the Reward is the Gift of pure Bounty; so there will be no righteous Com∣plaint against God in Hell, where the Punishment is inflicted by powerful Justice. He that vo∣luntarily sins, by consequence chuses the Punishment due to it.

The estimation of an Offence is taken from the disposi∣tion of him that does it. When ’tis done with pleasure and obstinacy, there is no place for Favour. Now final impenitence alone makes Sin actually and eternally damning to the Sinner. Those that, notwithstanding all gracious Means, live continually in rebellion against God, those that impenitently die in their Sins, those that desire to live here for ever, that they might enjoy their sweet Sins; those that are so hardned and naturaliz’d in their Vices, that if they were revived and brought again into this World of Temptations, would certainly return to the pleasures of Sin; is it not righteous that their incorrigi∣ble obstinacy should be punish’d for ever? Is it not just that those who would continue under the dominion of Sin, should forfeit all their claim to the Divine Mercy?

Altho’ all the Damned shall be equally miserable in dispair, all broken on an endless Wheel, yet the degrees of their Torment are different. Sins of Ignorance are extenuated in comparison of Rebellious Sins against knowledge. The first are like a Servant’s dashing against his Master in the dark; the other like the insolent striking of him in the light: And as they incur greater Guilt, will expose to greater Punishment.

Tho our conquest of Sin be not compleat, yet our resolution and endeavours must be to mortify it in every kind. Tho’ our obedi∣ence has not the perfection of de∣grees, we must be equally regard∣ing the Divine Law. If there be any secret-favoured Sin either of omission or commission, it will render our Petitions unaccepta∣ble at the Throne of Grace, and our Persons at the Throne of Judgment;

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