Matthew 25:41-43. Then shall he say to them on the left hand In this account of our Lord’s proceedings at this awful time, the absolution of the righteous is represented as taking place before the condemnation of the wicked, to show that God takes greater delight in rewarding than in punishing. Depart from me In this world they were often called to come to Christ, to come for life and rest; but they turned a deaf ear to his calls; justly, therefore, are they bid to depart from him, who would not come to him. Depart from me, the Fountain of all good; from me, the Saviour, and therefore from all hope of salvation; I will never have any thing more to say to you, or do with you. But if they must depart from Christ, might they not be dismissed with a blessing? with one kind and compassionate word at least? No: Depart, ye cursed They that would not come to Christ to inherit a blessing, must depart from him under the burden of a curse, the curse of the law, due to every one that breaks it; and that of the gospel, which belongs to all that disobey it. But observe, Christ calls the righteous the blessed of his Father; for their blessedness is owing purely to the grace of God: but the wicked are called only, ye cursed, for their damnation is entirely of themselves. Into everlasting fire, prepared Not originally for you: you are intruders into this everlasting misery; but for the devil and his angels This declaration of our Lord, compared with Matthew 25:34, where the kingdom of heaven is expressly said to be prepared for the righteous, seems to have been intended to teach us that God’s original design was to make men happy, and that their becoming miserable is the effect of their own voluntary iniquity and perverseness, in rejecting the counsel of God against themselves. No sooner was man created, than a state of consummate felicity was formed for him and his posterity. But the fire of hell was prepared for the devil and his angels, namely, after their fall: and because wicked men partake with devils in their sin of rebellion against God, they are doomed to share with them in their punishment. Perhaps, also, the fire of hell is here said to be made for the devil and his angels, to intimate the greatness of the misery to which sinners dying in sin shall be consigned. The punishment which they shall suffer is of the heaviest kind, being the punishment of devils.
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