The Puritans on Hell and How to Avoid it

The English Puritans have a reputation. Within our popular culture, it’s not a good one!

These ‘Old Calvinists’ didn’t really hold back, and when they felt the souls of men and women were in danger. They cried, and called, and declared and wept – to try and turn people from sin to Christ.

Here is Ralph Venning again, urging his readers to change their beliefs and lifestyle. This is as ‘pure puritan’ as it gets, and while some of the statements are strong, they represent the passion of the Puritan preachers of the 17th century accurately.

venning
On the Weakness of Punishment over the Power of Sin
‘Even the flood, which washed away so many sinners, could not wash away sin; the same heart remains after the flood as before.’ (p.46)

On the Deceitfulness of Sin

‘[Sin] It is like the pleasure of the man who receives much money, but it is all counterfeit.’ (p.210)

On the Eternal Consequences of sin
‘Sin costs dear, but profits nothing. They make a bad purchase who buy their own damnation.’ (p.201)

On Hell
‘The torments themselves will be universal. It will not be merely one or two torments but all torments united. Hell is the place of torment itself (Luke 16.28). It is the centre of all punishments, sorrow and pain, wrath and vengeance, fire and darkness’ (p.84)

The Deceitfulness of Sin
‘Sin disappoints men; they have false joys but true miseries.’ (p.131)

On the Need to put our Trust in Jesus Christ
‘No matter how much you have, and how much you use it, [sin] will never satisfy, and therefore must vex you. No satisfaction, no profit! A man’s aim is satisfaction (Luke 12.19), but the eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear with hearing (Ecclesiastes 1.8). Now if these things cannot satisfy the senses (Ecclesiastes 6.7), much less can they satisfy the souls of men.’ (p.203)

‘Sin cannot fill up the boundless and infinite desire which is in the heart of man, but disappoints it.’ (p.207)

On the Goodness of God in the Gospel
‘The goodness of God leads you to repentance; he might have driven you into it by terrors, but he gently leads you…God waits to be gracious, and is patient…
He might have called and knocked at your door once and then no more, but he has stood and knocked and begged, and [has] given you space and means (Revelation 2.21; Luke 16.31)…If, then, you do not repent, it is a greater affront to God than was your former sin.

On Finding Salvation at last!
‘Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out’ (Acts 3.19); they shall be as if they had not been…God looks upon men, and…if anyone repents, he will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light (Job 33.27,28).
Indeed, God is not only merciful, but if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1.9). How this obliges us to repent!’ (p.218-219)

All quotes are taken from ‘The Plague of Plagues’ Banner of Truth edition, now published as ‘The Sinfulness of Sin’.

Read the next post on ‘Wealth, Comfort and the Gospel – from a Puritan Perspective’

You can purchase ‘The Sinfulness of Sin’ here

© 2009 Lex Loizides

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One thought on “The Puritans on Hell and How to Avoid it

  1. Steve Burlew April 4, 2009 / 2:22 pm

    Hi, this is Steve B. I head up Banner of Truth here in the U.S. Thanks for sharing this. I just thought you might be interested in knowing that we just released a new addition to this Puritan Paperback series. It just arrived two days ago in our U.S. warehouse – “Spiritual Mindedness,” by John Owen.
    If there’s anything we at Banner can do for you, let us know.
    Steve B.
    ——————-
    Steven Burlew, Manager
    Banner of Truth, North America office
    P.O. Box 621
    Carlisle, PA 17013 USA

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