“I believe that the time has come, when it is a positive duty to speak plainly about the reality and eternity of Hell. A flood of false doctrine has lately broken in upon us. Men are beginning to tell us that God is too loving and merciful to punish souls forever; and that all mankind, however wicked and ungodly some of them may be — will sooner or later be saved. We are invited to leave the old paths of apostolic Christianity. We are told that the views of our fathers about Hell, and the devil, and punishment — are obsolete and old-fashioned. We are to embrace what is called a “kinder theology” — and treat Hell as a pagan fable, or a bugbear to frighten children and fools!
Against such false teaching I desire, for one, to protest. I, for one, am resolved to maintain the old position, and to assert the reality and eternity of Hell.
It is a question which lies at the very foundation of the whole gospel. The moral attributes of God — His justice, His holiness, His purity — are all involved in it. Once let the old doctrine about Hell be overthrown — and the whole system of Christianity is unsettled, unscrewed, unpinned and thrown into disorder!
The Scripture has spoken plainly and fully on the subject of Hell.
If words mean anything — then there is such a place as Hell.
If texts are to be interpreted fairly — then there are those who will be cast into Hell.
If language has any sense belonging to it — then Hell is forever.
The drowning of the old world by the flood,
the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah,
the overthrow of Pharaoh and all his host in the Red Sea,
the judgment on Korah, Dathan and Abiram,
the utter destruction of the seven nations of Canaan —
all teach the same solemn truth. They are all given to us as beacons and signs and warnings — that we may not provoke God. They all remind us that there is such a thing as the wrath of God. They all tell us plainly that “the wicked shall be turned into Hell” (Psalm 9:17).
Settle it firmly in your mind, that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has spoken most plainly about the reality and eternity of Hell. No lips have used so many words to express the dreadfulness of Hell, as the lips of Jesus.
the damnation of Hell,
the resurrection of damnation,
the place of torment,
the worm that never dies,
the fire that is never quenched,
the place of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth,
everlasting punishment —
these, these are the words which the Lord Jesus Christ Himself employs! Away with the miserable nonsense which people talk in this day, who tell us that the ministers of the gospel should never speak of Hell!
He is the kindest friend — who tells me the whole extent of my danger!
The watchman who keeps silence when he sees a fire — is guilty of gross neglect!
The doctor who tells us we are getting well when we are dying — is a false friend!
The minister who keeps back Hell from his people — is a wicked and cruel man!
What is the use of hiding eternal punishment from the impenitent and the ungodly? Surely, it is helping the devil!”
— J C Ryle