Spurgeon and Ryle on Eternal Hell

May 19, 2014 | by: Bob Schilling | 0 comments

Posted in: Hell Tags: Spurgeon, J. C. Ryle, Hell, Annihilationism, Conditional Immortality, Eternity

I preached yeserday on "The Eternality of Hell"

It is a fundamental doctrine of the Christian Faith. Here are some faithful words by two heroic preachers of 19th Century, prefaced with the words of the Baptist Catechism and Revelation 20.

The Baptist version of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 41 asks,

Q: What shall be done to the wicked at the day of judgment?
A: At the day of judgment, the wicked being raised to dishonor, shall be sentenced to the unspeakable torments of body and soul in hell with the devil and his angel for all eternity.

Revelation 20:10, 14, “…and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever…And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Charles Spurgeon, age 22, in the introduction of one of his famous sermons, "Turn or Burn" from Pslam 7:12, "If he turn not, He will whet His sword; He hath bent His bow and made it ready" delivered December 7th, 1856 at the Surrey Gardens Music Hall (slightly edited) said, 

“I fear that in too many places, the doctrine of future punishment is rejected and laughed at as a fancy…but the day will come when it shall be known to be a reality. Ahab scoffed at Micah, when he said he would never come home alive; the men of Noah’s generation laughed at the foolish old man who bid them take heed, for the world should be drowned; no doubt Lot, his wife and kin were mocked as they fled to cities of destruction…and so it is now.

“You tell us we speak lies when we tell you of judgment to come; you accuse men of God as soapboxing their anger while trying to scare men away from hell; but in that day when you mischief shall fall on yourselves, and when destruction shall overwhelm you, will you say we are liars then? Will you then turn round and scoff, and say we spoke not the truth?

“Rather my hearers, the highest meed of honor will then be given to him who was the most faithful in warning men concerning the wrath of God. I have often trembled at the thought that, here I am standing before you, and constantly engaging in the work of the ministry, and what if, when I die, I should be found unfaithful to your souls, how doleful will be our meeting in the world of spirits? It would be a dreadful thing if you were able to say to me in the world to come, ‘Sir, you flattered us; you did not tell us of the solemnities of eternity; you did not rightly dwell on the awful wrath of God; you spoke to us feebly and faintly; you were somewhat afraid of us; you knew we could not bear to hear of eternal torment, and therefore you kept it back and never mentioned it.’ Why, methinks you would look me in the face and curse me throughout eternity, if that should be my conduct.

“But by God’s help it shall never be. Come fair or foul, when I die, I shall, God helping me, be able to say, ‘I am clear of the blood of all men.’ So far as I know God’s truth I will endeavor to speak it; and though on my head derogation and scandal be poured to a ten-fold extent greater than ever, I’ll hail it and welcome it, if I may but be faithful to this unstable generation, faithful to God, and faithful to my own conscience. Let me, endeavor – and by God’s help I will do it as solemnly and as tenderly as I can – to address such of you as have not yet repented, most affectionately reminding you of your future doom if you should die impenitent.”

J. C. Ryle in a lecture, “Remember Lot’s Wife” in famous book, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots

“I believe that the time has come, when it is a positive duty to speak plainly about the reality and eternity of Hell. A flood of false doctrine has lately broken in upon us. Men are beginning to tell us that God is too loving and merciful to punish souls forever; and that all mankind, however wicked and ungodly some of them may be — will sooner or later be saved. We are invited to leave the old paths of apostolic Christianity. We are told that the views of our fathers about Hell, and the devil, and punishment — are obsolete and old-fashioned. We are to embrace what is called a "kinder theology" — and treat Hell as a pagan fable or a bugbear to frighten children and fools. Against such false teaching I desire, for one, to protest. Painful, sorrowful, distressing as the controversy may be, we must not blink it or refuse to look the subject in the face. I, for one, am resolved to maintain the old position, and to assert the reality and eternity of Hell.

“Believe me, this is no mere speculative question. It is not to be classed with lesser disputes about liturgies and church government. It is not to be ranked with mysterious problems, like the meaning of Ezekiel's temple or the symbols of Revelation. It is a question which lies at the very foundation of the whole gospel. The moral attributes of God, His justice, His holiness, His purity — are all involved in it. The necessity of personal faith in Christ, and the sanctification of the Spirit — are all at stake. Once let the old doctrine about Hell be overthrown, and the whole system of Christianity is unsettled, unscrewed, unpinned and thrown into disorder!

“Believe me, the question is not one in which we are obliged to fall back on the theories and inventions of man. The Scripture has spoken plainly and fully on the subject of Hell. I hold it to be impossible to deal honestly with the Bible — and to avoid the conclusions to which it will lead us on this point. If words mean anything, there is such a place as Hell. If texts are to be interpreted fairly — there are those who will be cast into Hell. If language has any sense belonging to it — Hell is forever. I believe that the man who finds arguments for evading the evidence of the Bible on this question, has arrived at a state of mind in which reasoning is useless. For my own part, it seems just as easy to argue that we do not exist — as to argue that the Bible does not teach the reality and eternity of Hell…

“If you would ever be a healthy and Scriptural Christian, I entreat you to beware of any ministry which does not plainly teach the reality and eternity of Hell. Such a ministry may be soothing and pleasant — but it is far more likely to lull you to sleep — than to lead you to Christ or build you up in the faith. It is impossible to leave out any portion of God's truth, without spoiling the whole. That preaching is sadly defective, which dwells exclusively on the mercies of God and the joys of Heaven — and never sets forth the terrors of the Lord and the miseries of Hell. It may be popular — but it is not Scriptural; it may amuse and gratify — but it will not save. Give me the preaching which keeps back nothing that God has revealed. You may call it stern and harsh; you may tell us that to frighten people is not the way to do them good. But you are forgetting that the grand object of the gospel is to persuade men to "flee from the wrath to come," and that it is vain to expect men to flee, unless they are afraid. Well would it be for many professing Christians, if they were more afraid about their souls than they now are!”

Time can’t finish it,
tears can’t quench it,
empathy won’t abate it
and love won’t destroy it
“Holy, Holy, Holy”
and “vile, vile, vile”
cannot meet on the other side of
the rejected cross