J. C. Ryle
They are preaching up the devil’s old, favorite doctrine!
There is such a place as hell. Let no one deceive you with vain words. What people do not like–they try hard not to believe.
1) I know that some people do not believe that there is any Hell at all. They think it impossible, that there can be such a place. They call it inconsistent with the mercy of God. They say that it is too awful an idea to be really true. The devil of course, rejoices in the views of such people. They help his kingdom mightily. They are preaching up the devil’s old, favorite doctrine, “You shall not surely die!” Genesis 3:4
2) I know furthermore, that some do not believe that Hell is eternal! They tell us it is incredible, that a compassionate God will punish people forever. They imagine that He will surely open the prison doors of Hell at last. This also is a mighty help to the devil’s cause.
3) I know also that some believe that there is a Hell–but never allow that anybody is going there! They imagine that . . .
- all people are good,
- all are sincere,
- all mean well, and
- all, they hope, will go to Heaven when they die!
Alas! what a common delusion is this!
If I never spoke of Hell–I would think I had kept back something that was profitable, and would look on myself as an accomplice of the devil.
Reader, I beseech you, in all tender affection–beware of false views of the subject on which I have been dwelling. Beware of new and strange doctrines about Hell and the eternity of punishment. Beware of manufacturing a god of your own:
- a god who is all mercy–but not just;
- a god who is all love–but not holy;
- a god who has a Heaven for everybody–but a Hell for none;
- a god who will make no distinction between godly and the ungodly in eternity.
Such a god is an idol of your own imagination! It is as truly an idol–as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple! The hands of your own imagination and sentimentality have made it! It is not the God of the Bible–and beside the God of the Bible, there is no God at all.
JC Ryle (Grace Gems)