Once in Hell!
(William Bacon Stevens, "The Rich Man and Lazarus" 1857)
"But Abraham replied: Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things — but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony! And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us!" Luke 16:25-26
This parable teaches that our eternal future corresponds to our earthly character. We enter the eternal world with precisely the same moral feelings with which we leave this present world. "As the tree falls — so it lies." He who at death is sinful — will be sinful still. He who at death is holy — will be holy still.
We may be summoned before God at any moment! If called hence in an unrepenting and unbelieving state — we shall enter that unseen world only to spend an eternity amidst the torments of the lost, with an impassable chasm between us and the land of bliss! An "impassable chasm!" No passing now! No passing ten thousand ages hence! No passing forever! Once in Hell, lifting up our eyes in torment — and we are there forever!
For though there is remorse in Hell,
though there is sorrow there,
though there is weeping and wailing there —
there is no repentance there, no faith there, no Savior there!
Now, there is mercy and forgiveness!
Now, the blood-filled fountain is open!
Now, the arms of Jesus are outstretched to receive sinners!
"Now is the accepted time! Now is the day of salvation!"