W. P. Nicholson
In these civilised lands of ours we have large prisons. What a shame it is to put men and women in such places of torment, robbing them of their liberties and privileges; separating men from their homes and families, and bring pain and shame on their friends. Many a time men are in gaol because they have committed one crime, and some of them we hang. Thousands of people are kept there against their will. Isn't it a shame to have such places, and to treat people like that?
Now, you would look at me with pity if I talked like that, and wonder where I came from. You would say, “Don't you know that these people are law-breakers? It is for their own good and the safety of the country that we put them there.”
Do you think we have more sense than God, then? Who are the people who go to hell? They are men and women who rebelled against God and refused to be saved by the blood of His Son. What else can God do with them but put them in prison? Surely a man is mad who damns his own soul by wilfully rejecting Jesus Christ as his Saviour. Men and women! Hell is God's Penitentiary! If you continue to rebel against God, God has a goal for you.
Let me give you some of the names used by God to describe the nature of this place: – A lake of fire – a bottomless pit – a devouring fire – a place of sorrows – where they wail – a place of weeping – a furnace – a place of torments – everlasting burnings – a place of filthiness – where they curse God – everlasting destruction – a place of outer darkness – where they have no rest – everlasting punishment – where they gnaw their tongues – a place prepared for the devil and his angels – where they cry for a drop of water – tormented with fire and brimstone – hell fire – hell – wrath to come.
If God had not been Love He might have made the way to hell easy and fast, but He has hedged the way there with thorns and barriers, and a man must work hard to get there. He has to stifle conscience again and again. He has to trample over the tears and prayers of God's people. He has to silence God's Word, quench the Holy Spirit, and trample underfoot the precious blood of Christ. All this before he succeeds in damming his soul forever.