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Question. Where will God punish sinners for their sins? Answer. Both in this world, and in that which is to come. Genesis 3:24; 4:10-12; Job 21:30. Question. How are men punished in this world for sin? Answer. Many ways, as with sickness, losses, crosses, disappointments, and the like. Sometimes also God giveth them up to their own hearts’ lusts, to blindness of mind also, and hardness of heart; yea, and sometimes to strong delusions, that they might believe lies, and be damned. Leviticus 26:15,16; Amos 4:7,10; Romans 1:24,28; Exodus 4:21; Exodus 9:12-14; Zephaniah 1:17; Romans 11:7,8; Thessalonians 2:11, 12. Question. How are sinners punished in the world to come? Answer. With a worm that never dies, and with a fire that never shall be quenched. Mark 9:44. Question. Whither do sinners go to receive this punishment? Answer. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. Psalm 9:17. Question. What is hell? Answer. It is a place and a state most fearful. Luke 16:25,28; Acts 1:25. Question. Why do you call it a place? Answer. Because in hell all the damned shall be confined as in a prison, in their chains of darkness for ever. Luke 12:5,58; Luke 16:26; Jude 1:6. Question. What sort of a place is hell? Answer. It is a dark bottomless burning lake, large enough to hold all that perish. Matthew 22:13; Revelation 20:1,15 ; Isaiah 30:33; Proverbs 27:20. Question. What do you mean when you say it is a fearful state? Answer. I mean that it is the lot of those that are cast in thither to be tormented in a most fearful manner, namely, with wrath and fiery indignation. Romans 2:9; Hebrews 10:26,27. Question. In what parts shall they be thus fearfully tormented? Answer. In body and soul: for hell-fire shall kindle upon both beyond what now can be thought. Matthew 10:28; Luke 16:24; James 5:3. Question. How long shall they be in this condition? Answer. These shall go away into everlasting punishment, and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever, and they have no rest day nor night; for they shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. Matthew 25:46; Revelation 14:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:9. Question. But why might not the ungodly be punished with this punishment in this world, that we might have seen it and believe? Answer. If the ungodly should have been rewarded with punishment in this world, it would in all probability have overthrown the whole order that God hath settled here among men. For who could have endured here to have seen the flames of fire, to have heard the groans, and to have seen the tears perhaps of damned relations, as parents or children? Therefore, as Tophet of old was without the city, and as the gallows and gibbets are built without the town; so Christ hath ordered, that they who are to be punished with this kind of torment, shall be taken away. “Take him away,” saith he, (out of this world,) “and cast him into outer darkness, and let him have his punishment there; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Besides, faith is not to be wrought by looking into hell, and seeing the damned tormented before our eyes; but by hearing the word of God.
For he that shall not believe Moses and the prophets, will not be persuaded, should one come from the dead; yea, should one come to them in flames to persuade them. Matthew 22:13; Romans 10:17; Luke 16:27-31. Question. Are there degrees of torments in hell? Answer. Yes; for God will reward every one according to his works. “Woe to the wicked! it shall go ill with him, for the reward of his hands shall be given him.” Isaiah 3:11. Question. Who are like to be most punished there, men or children? Answer. The punishment in hell comes not upon sinners according to age, but sin; so that, whether they be men or children, the greater sin, the greater punishment; for there is no respect of persons with God. Romans 2:11. Question. How do you distinguish between great sins and little ones? Answer. By their nature, and by the circumstances that attend them. Question. What do you mean by their nature? Answer. I mean, when they are very gross in themselves. 2 Chronicles 33:2; Ezekiel 16:52. Question. What kind of sins are the greatest? Answer. Adultery, fornication, murder, theft, swearing, lying, covetousness, witchcraft, sedition, heresies, or any the like. Corinthians 6:9, 10; Ephesians 5:3-6; Colossians 3:5,6; Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:8. Question. What do you mean by circumstances that attend sin? Answer. I mean light, knowledge, the preaching of the word, godly acquaintance, timely caution, etc. Question. Will these make an alteration in the sin? Answer. These things attending sinners, will make little sins great, yea, greater than greater sins that are committed in grossest ignorance. Question. How do you prove that? Answer. Sodom and Gomorrah wallowed in all, or most of those gross transgressions above mentioned: yea, they were said to be sinners exceedingly; they lived in such sins as may not be spoken of without blushing, and yet God swears that Israel, his church, had done worse than they; and the Lord Jesus also seconds it in that threatening of his, “I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for thee.” Ezekiel 16:48; Matthew 11:24; Luke 10:12. Question. And was this the reason, namely, because they had such circumstances attending them as Sodom had not? Answer. Yes; as will plainly appear, if you read the three chapters above mentioned. Question. When do I sin against light and knowledge? Answer. When you sin against convictions of conscience, when you sin against a known law of God, when you sin against counsels and dissuasion of friends, then you sin against light and knowledge. Romans 1:32. Question. When do I sin against the preaching of the word? Answer. When you refuse to hear God’s ministers, or hearing them, refuse to follow their wholesome doctrine. 2 Chronicles 36:16; Jeremiah 25:4,7; Jeremiah 35:15. Question. When else do I sin against preaching of the word. Answer. When you mock, or despise, or reproach the ministers; also when you raise lies and scandals of them, or receive such lies or scandals raised; you then also sin against the preaching of the word, when you persecute them that preach it, or are secretly glad to see them so used. <143001> Chronicles 30:1, 10; Romans 3:8; Jeremiah 20:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:15,16. Question. How will godly acquaintance greaten my sin? Answer. When you sin against their counsels, warnings, or persuasions to the contrary; also when their lives and conversations are reproof to you, and yet against all you will sin. Thus sinned Ishmael, Esau, Eli’s sons, Absalom, and Judas; they had good company, good counsels, and a good life set before them by their godly acquaintance. But they sinned against all, and their judgment was the greater. Ishmael was cast away, Esau hated, EIi’s sons died suddenly, Absalom and Judas were both strangely hanged. Genesis 21:10; Galatians 4:30; Malachi 1:3; 1 Samuel 2:22,25; 2 Samuel 18:14. Question. Are sins thus heightened, distinguished from others by any special name? Answer. Yes; they are called rebellion, and are compared to the sin of witchcraft; they are called willful sins; they are called briers and thorns, and they that bring them forth are nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned. 1 Samuel 15:23; Hebrews 10:26; Hebrews 6:7,8. Question. Are there any other things that can make little sins great ones? Answer. Yes; as when you sin against the judgments of God. As for example, you see the judgments of God come upon some for their transgressions, and you go on in their iniquities; as also when you sin against the patience, long-suffering, and forbearance of God, this will make little sins great ones. Daniel 5:21-24 ; Romans 2:4,5.