CHAP. III - OF DAMNATION  pp. 214-220

OF DAMNATION

By James Hinton

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Imogen.—I draw the sword myself. Take it and hit

The innocent mansion of my love, my heart.

Pisanio.— Hence, vile instrument;

Thon shalt not damn my hand.

Cymbeline.

He that doubteth is damned if he eat.

If thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire unquenchable; where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched.

He that believeth not shall be damned.

OUR fatal habit of putting the eternal at a distance from us perplexes all our thoughts of Scripture. Therefore it is that we hardly dare to speak the word damnation, that to utter it seems like sacrilege: we have put it so far away. But that which the writers meant was not a thing they were afraid to speak of. They had not banished it into the future. The damnation of which they spoke was a thing that is, an eternal thing, the true and actual death of man. Men are damned in sinning. Why is it that when the Bible speaks of death and of damnation as present things, we reduce them to so small a matter; but when it uses the same words with a reference to the future, immediately we fill them with a meaning the most awful we can conceive? Why do we make this distortion of its language; why put its words thus upon the rack, and cramp or stretch their meaning according to a rule of tenses? Do we not deal thus with the Bible, because this state of sinfulness is pleasant?