gratifying our curiosity. For example, it is written in a parable uttered by the Lord Jesus Christ that the master of the house, on his return from a far country, condemned His wicked and worthless servant who had neglected his duty, and said: 'Cast1 ye out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and gnashing of teeth.' And our Lord Jesus says that, when he shall return again at the judgement day and shall set the righteous on his right hand but the unrighteous on His left, 'Then2 shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels . . . . And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.' Of the final punishment of the wicked in hell it is said that there 'Their3 worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.' It is evident that in this passage the Lord Jesus Christ is comparing the rubbish-heap where at the end of the world those who are finally impenitent and worthless will be cast with the Valley of the Son of Hinnom near Jerusalem, where the bodies of criminals were thrown to be consumed by fire or eaten by worms. Accordingly in the book of Revelation it is written that, after the final judgement, 'For4 the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and

1 Matt. xxv. 30. 2 Matt. xxv. 41, 46.
3 Mark ix. 48. 4 Rev. xxi. 8.

sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part shall be in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death.' And again it is written: 'The1 devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are also the beast and the false prophet; and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.'

This is what the word of God tells us about the final state of the lost. From these passages we learn of a certainty that there is a hell into which shall finally be cast, along with the devils, those evil-doers who shall have to the last resisted the grace of God and the influence of His boundless love and shall have chosen a place for themselves outside2 the gates of the city of God.

The probable reason why God has not more fully informed us about hell is, firstly, that while man is in this world he cannot at all perfectly and fully understand the things of the invisible world; and secondly, that God does not wish that the dread of hell should overcome men to such a degree that only through fear of it they should obey God's word and commandments. On the contrary, what He desires is that with perfect love and delight they should be obedient to Him, for only thus can their service be pleasing to God Most High.

The meaning of the verses quoted above is not that the fire of hell is like the visible fire which we know in this present world, nor that hell is a stove

1 Rev. xx. 10. 2 Rev. xxii. 15.