Fanning the inextinguishable fire, and sharpening the tooth of the immortal worm!
(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)
If you would learn the full extent of that wretchedness which sin produces — then you must follow it into the eternal world, and descend into those regions where peace and hope never come. There behold sin tyrannizing over its wretched victims with uncontrollable fury — fanning the inextinguishable fire, and sharpening the tooth of the immortal worm!
See angels and archangels, thrones and dominions, principalities and powers — stripped of all their original glory and beauty — bound in eternal chains, and burning with rage and malice against that Being in whose presence they once rejoiced, and whose praises they once sang!
See multitudes of the human race, in unutterable agonies of anguish and despair — cursing the Giver and Prolonger of their existence, and vainly wishing for annihilation to put an end to their miseries.
Follow them through the long, long ages of eternity — and see them sinking deeper and deeper in the bottomless abyss of ruin! View them perpetually blaspheming God because of their plagues, and receiving the punishment of these blasphemies in continued additions to their wretchedness.
Such are the wages of sin — such the doom of the finally impenitent!
From these depths of anguish and despair — look up to the mansions of the blessed, and see to what a height of glory and felicity, the grace of God will raise every sinner who repents. See those who are thus favored in unutterable ecstasies of joy, love, and praise — beholding God face to face, reflecting His perfect image, shining with a splendor like that of their glorious Redeemer, and bathing in those rivers of pleasure which flow forever at God's right hand!