O, it was one word that I saw in your book which troubles me!
(George Burder, "Heaven and Hell!")
"And these shall go into eternal punishment — but the righteous into eternal life!" Matthew 25:46
The very word ETERNITY ought to fix our attention on this great subject! O that it may have as good an effect upon you, as it had upon the following lady:
A lady, who was fond of gaiety, spent the whole afternoon and evening at a card party and other vain amusements. Returning home late at night, she found her maid diligently reading a religious book. Happening to look over her shoulder, she saw what it was, and said: "Poor melancholy soul, why do you sit here so long poring over your book?"
After this she retired to bed, but could not sleep — she lay sighing and weeping for several hours. Being repeatedly asked by her maid what was the matter, she burst into tears and said, "O, it was one word that I saw in your book which troubles me — there I saw the word ETERNITY!"
O that we could impress upon you a lasting idea of Eternity!
Suppose all the vast ocean to be distilled by single drops, and a thousand years to pass between every drop — how many millions of years would it take to empty it.
Suppose the whole world to be made up of grains of sand, and one grain only to be taken away in a thousand years — how many millions of years would it take to remove the whole? We cannot count how long — yet we suppose it may be done in a most immense length of time.
Suppose it done. Suppose the ocean emptied, drop by drop. Suppose the globe reduced, grain by grain, to the last sand. But would eternity be lessened? No, not at all. It is a whole eternity still — and the torments of the damned would be as far from an end, as when they began!
A minute bears some proportion to a million years — but millions of millions of years bear no proportion to eternity.
O how would the damned in Hell rejoice, if ten thousand years might finish their miseries! But it is for ETERNITY! Do you startle at the word? It is Christ's word. Christ says in the text, "These shall go away into eternal punishment!"