Questions and Answers on Hell – John Brown

Taken from pages 86-87 out of John Brown’s An Essay Towards an Easy, Plain, Practical, and Extensive Explication of the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism (1846)

Q. How is Hell called in Scripture?
A. Tophet, a prison, a lake of fire and brimstone, a bottomless pit, utter darkness, etc. (Isa. 30:33; Rev. 20:3, 10)

Q. For whom was Hell originally prepared?
A. For the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41).

Q. Why then are men cast into it?
A. They joined with the devil and his angels in rebellion against God.

Q. How may the pains or punishments of Hell be distinguished?
A. Into the punishment of loss and of sense.

Q. What do those in Hell lose?
A. The enjoyment of God and Christ, the fellowship of holy angels and saints, the happiness of their soul, and every good thing.

Q. How are the damned affected with this loss?
A. They are filled with anguish and grief (Matt. 13:42).

Q. What is the punishment of sense in Hell?
A. The most terrible torments in soul and body.

Q. Who torments the damned in Hell?
A. God, the devil, and their own conscience.

Q. How does God torment them?
A. By making all the arrows of His wrath stick fast in them (2 Thess. 1:9).

Q. How does satan torment them?
A. His presence is a burden, and he insults them in their misery, etc.

Q. How does the gnawing worm of conscience torment them?
A. It presents the eternity and justice of their misery, lashes them for their former sins, and especially Gospel hearers, for refusing Christ (Mark 9:43-49).

Q. What are the properties of Hell torments?
A. They are inconceivably severe, constant, and eternal.

Q. How do you prove that they are eternal?
A. The Scripture calls them “everlasting punishment” and “destruction” (Matt. 25:46; 2 Thess. 1:9).

Q. Why must the punishments of the wicked be eternal?
A. Because their sin is infinitely evil (Hab. 1:13).

Q. Why might not God lay all the infinite wrath which their sins deserve upon them at once?
A. It is impossible for creatures to bear it, and therefore it must be continued upon sinners through all eternity (Ps. 90:11).

Q. What attributes of God are chiefly glorified in Hell torments?
A. His holiness, justice, and power.

Q. How is God’s holiness glorified in Hell torments?
A. In casting the wicked out of His gracious presence.

Q. How is God’s justice glorified in Hell torments?
A. In rendering to sinners according to their crimes.

Q. How is God’s power glorified in Hell torments?
A. It upholds the damned in being with one hand, and lashes them with the other (2 Thess. 1:8-9).

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