Friday, July 30, 2010

Why the judgment & eternal damnation of the wicked will not be grievous to the righteous

"Rejoice over her thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets;
for God hath avenged you on her."--Revelation 18:20

At the day of judgment, the saints in glory at Christ's right hand, will see the wicked at the left hand in their amazement and horror, will hear the judge pronounce sentence upon them, saying, " Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels;" and will see them go away into everlasting punishment. But the Scripture seems to hold forth to us, that the saints will not only see the misery of the wicked at the day of judgment, but the forementioned texts imply, that the state of the damned in hell will be in the view of the heavenly inhabitants; that the two worlds of happiness and misery will be in view of each other. Though we know not by what means, nor after what manner, it will be; yet the Scriptures certainly lead us to think, that they will some way or other have a direct and immediate apprehension of each other's state. The saints in glory will see how the damned are tormented; they will see God's threatenings fulfilled, and His wrath executed upon them.

When they shall see it, it will be no occasion of grief to them. The miseries of the damned in hell will be inconceivably great. When they shall come to bear the wrath of the Almighty poured out upon them without mixture, and executed upon them without pity or restraint, or any mitigation; it will doubtless cause anguish, and horror, and amazement vastly beyond all the sufferings and torments that ever any man endured in this world; yea, beyond all extent of our words or thoughts. For God in executing wrath upon ungodly men will act like an Almighty God. The Scripture calls this wrath, God's and the fierceness of His wrath; and we are told that this is to show God's wrath, and to make His power known; or to make known how dreadful His wrath is, and how great His power.

That the torments of the damned are no matter of grief, but of joy, to the inhabitants of heaven...The damned suffering divine vengeance will be no occasion of joy to the saints merely as it is the misery of others, or because it is pleasant to them to behold the misery of others merely for its own sake...It will be an occasion of their rejoicing, as the glory of God will appear in it. The glory of God appears in all his works: and therefore there is no work of God which the saints in glory shall behold and contemplate but what will be an occasion of rejoicing to them. God glorifies Himself in the eternal damnation of the ungodly men...

They will rejoice in seeing the justice of God glorified in the sufferings of the damned. The misery of the damned, dreadful as it is, is but what justice requires. They in heaven will see and know it much more clearly, than any of us do here. They will see how perfectly just and righteous their punishment is, and therefore how properly inflicted by the supreme Governor of the world. They will greatly rejoice to see justice take place, to see that all the sin and wickedness that have been committed in the world is remembered of God, and has its due punishment. The sight of this strict and immutable justice of God will render Him amiable and adorable in their eyes. They will rejoice when they see him who is their Father and eternal portion so glorious in his justice.

Then there will be no remaining difficulties about the justice of God, about the absolute decrees of God, or any thing pertaining to the dispensations of God towards men. But divine justice in the destruction of the wicked will then appear as light without darkness, and will shine as the sun without clouds, and on this account will they sing joyful songs of praise to God, as we see the saints and angels do, when God pours the vials of His wrath upon antichrist; Rev. 16:57 They sing joyfully to God on this account, that true and righteous are His judgments, Rev. 19:16. They seeing God so strictly just will make them value His love the more. Mercy and grace are more valuable on this account. The more they shall see of the justice of God the more will they prize and rejoice in His love.

The saints in glory will see this, and be far more sensible of it than now we can possibly be. They will be far more sensible how dreadful the wrath of God is, and will better understand how terrible the sufferings of the damned are; yet this will be no occasion of grief to them. They will not be sorry for the damned; it will cause no uneasiness or dissatisfaction to them; but on the contrary, when they have this sight, it will excite them to joyful praises...

This will give them a joyful sense of the grace and love of God to them; because hereby they will see how great a benefit they have by it. When they, shall see the dreadful miseries of the damned, and consider that they deserved, the same misery, and that it was sovereign grace, and nothing else, which made them so much to differ from the damned, that, if it had not been for that, they would have been in the same condition; but that God from all eternity was pleased to set His love upon them, that Christ hath laid down His life for them, and hath made them thus gloriously happy forever, O how will they admire that dying love of Christ, which has redeemed them from so great a misery, and purchased for them so great happiness, and has so distinguished them from others of their fellowcreatures! How joyfully will they sing to God and the Lamb, when they behold this!

Excerpted from:

The End of the Wicked Contemplated by the Righteous
The Torments of the Wicked in Hell, No Occasion of Grief to the Saints in Heaven.


Jonathan Edwards

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