To one who claimed to have got rid of hell, Voltaire replied, "I congratulate you, for I have not been able to do that myself." Someone has said that if there were no hell we should have to invent one. However that may be, if there were no word that carried with it the implication of our word "hell," we should be compelled to coin some word which would fit the facts of the heart; for without such a word as "hell," one of the deepest, strongest sentiments and convictions of the heart would have no equivalent in expression. Words are only the pictures, or symbols, of reality.
The open book of which John speaks in Revelation will be to every man the solemn apocalypse of his own entire past life. In that apocalypse—that sudden, but full and faithful vision of all that we have though, said, imagined, done, and of the attitude we have taken toward the Redeemer whom God sent to save us—in that there will be sufficient material for judgment.
In the gallery of Antoine Wiertz, at Brussels, there is a collection of the most astounding and overwhelming paintings that one will see anywhere in the world—most of therm exposing the brutality and horror of war and the cruelty of conquerors, but some of them heralding the Empire of Peace and the triumph of Christ. Walking down the hall where these extraordinary paintings hang, one is suddenly brought to a halt by a great painting which is entitled "A View of Hell." With folded arms and familiar cocked hat on his head, there stands the figure of a man. There is no name given; but there is no need, for he is at once identified as Napoleon Bonaparte. On his shadowed but remarkable face there is a look of amazement, astonishment, with just a trace of dread and fear, as he beholds what is about him.
By the light of the flames of hell burning all about him you can see back of him the serried ranks of the slain in battle. Little children stretch out clenched fists at the emperor; and mothers, with agony on their countenances, surround him, holding up the bleeding, amputated arms and legs of the slaughtered. One woman has the head of her husband in a sack, and another carries the torso of a dead and mangled body; a raw and bloody arm, severed at the shoulder, is thrust close to the face of Napoleon. Over there is a naked body, upheaved, with a sword plunged into the abdomen. On the faces of the children, the wives, and the mothers are depicted rage, horror, anger, hate, and infinite pain and sorrow. This is terrible, horrible, you say. Yes, and that is just what Wiertz meant it to be—it is Napoleon in hell!
At a meeting of Henry A. Newell, D.D., and Robert G. Ingersoll on a railroad train, the following conversation took place: "Mr. Ingersoll," said Newell, "you are a gifted man. Why do you use your talents to war against God?" "I do it for money," was Ingersoll's frank reply. "You can't take your money with you when you die, Ingersoll." "No, but it's handy while I'm here." "There's a curse on money earned that way, Mr. Ingersoll." "Maybe, but it pays my bills." "Where do you expect to go when you die, Bob Ingersoll?" "I expect to go to hell." "Then you acknowledge there is a hell?" "That's what you claim. isn't it?" "Not my claim, it is what God's Word says, Mr. Ingersoll." "I know the Bible says so." "Wouldn't you prefer to go to Heaven?" "No. I would not be happy in Heaven. I am going to hell." "In spite of all your sins, Bob Ingersoll, you can still be saved if you repent, pray, and believe." "But I don't want to be saved. I prefer to live my own life, die my own death, and take whatever consequences follow."—William A. Corey, in Sunday School Times.
One day a man sauntering down Clark Street, in Chicago, and playing with a dollar bill in his hand, had it snatched away from him by a thief who ran rapidly ahead toward the river, not perceiving that the drawbridge was open. Of course, he plunged into the river's slime. One might have thought this were punishment enough for stealing only a dollar. But no; when rescued by the police, and again on terra firma, there stood his victim beside him accusing him to the officer, who put him into jail. The fall into the water was the result of his folly, but the imprisonment in jail the punishment of his crime. Men suffer on earth as a result of their wrongdoing, but they have yet to meet their Judge, if they are out of Christ, and to answer before Him for their sin. Hell may now be in their bosom, but, alas, the day is coming when their bosom will be in hell!—Dr. James M. Gray.
A young man converted during special evangelistic meetings held in a mining village, desirous of doing something for God, bought some tracts.
He was distributing these one day when he met some of his old companions, who derided him as he spoke to them of Jesus.
"Here," said one of his companions, "can you tell me where hell is?"After a moment's hesitation, the young man looked up and said: "Yes, it's at the end of a Christless life."—Selected.
On a recent afternoon a crowd of people stood in the bitter cold on the edge of the Tottenville mud flats on Staten Island, and for three hours watched while four men fought for their lives in the black mud at low tide. The men are surveyors for a drilling company. They had taken a dory from Perth Amboy and were headed for the Anchor Light. The boat became stuck on the mud flats. They worked feverishly to get the craft moved, and finding their efforts ineffectual, cried for help. A crowd gathered, but nobody dared go to them over the sticky mud. It seemed like suicide to try to reach land, but it was certain death from freezing to sit till the tide came in. One man jumped over, and sank in the mud to his waist. He pulled himself out by the arms and threw himself forward. The others followed. It took them an hour to make a hundred feet. They were suffering from terror as well as cold. At last the leader got within reach of a rope thrown out; eventually they were all pulled to firm ground, almost unconscious. No one thinks of calling these neighbors crazy—but what would be said of a similar crowd standing in the bitter cold three hours to save four men from sinking into the lake of fire?—Serving-and-Waiting.
After a bitter legal battle, Asa Keyes, former district attorney of Los Angeles, was convicted of bribery and conspiracy to obstruct the ends of justice, and was sentenced to serve a term in San Quentin prison. When the news of Keyes' conviction and sentence reached the prison, it is reported that the prisoners laughed "long and sardonically." The explanation of this sardonic laughter is that some two thousand convicts are in San Quentin because they were prosecuted by Mr. Keyes during his long term as district attorney. The warden at San Quentin put Mr. Keyes in a cell separated from all the other prisoners. He was not allowed to mingle with them and for exercise was taken into a separate ward. All this special care for the purpose of keeping the other convicts from killing him. Hell will be something like this—I mean with respect to the feeling of its occupants toward one another. We do not know whether there will be "sardonic laughter" in hell, but we do know there will be the "gnashing of teeth." For this we have the word of the Lord.—Brethren Evangelist.