For about two thousand years, the whole Church had no disputes at all over the doctrine of unceasing suffering for those condemned to Hell who die in serious sin.  This doctrine is definitely part of the Christian faith.

Jesus Christ - according to the Bible, Luke 16 In Hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire’. 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 else cross over from there to us.’

Comment: Abraham gives him no pity at all and expresses no wish that he could help. Indeed he rubs his nose in it.

We are looking at those scholars on the ground who spoke for the people and showed what everybody believed.  In a sense that has more authority than what comes from a top leader in the Church.


Andrew Welwood

(speaks of the saints as being) “overjoyed in beholding the vengeance of God ,” and their beholding of the smoke of the torment of the wicked as “a passing delectation.”

Samuel Hopkins

“This display of the divine character will be most entertaining to all who love God, will give them the highest and most ineffable pleasure. Should the fire of this eternal punishment cease, it would in a great measure obscure the light of heaven, and put an end to a great part of the happiness and glory of the blessed.”

Bishop Newcomb

“The door of mercy will be shut and all bowels of compassion denied, by God, who will laugh at their destruction; by angels and saints, who will rejoice when they see the vengeance' by their fellow-suffer the devil and the damned rejoicing over their misery.” Catechetical Sermons.

Thomas Boston, Scottish preacher, 1732

"God shall not pity them but laugh at their calamity. The righteous company in heaven shall rejoice in the execution of God's judgment, and shall sing while the smoke riseth up for ever."

Isaac Watts:

During America 's "Great Awakening" the popular hymn writer, Isaac Watts (1674-1748), even set Christians' feet to tapping with this crisp little verse:

What bliss will fill the ransomed souls,

When they in glory dwell,

To see the sinner as he rolls,

In quenchless flames of hell.

J.I. Packer

" and pity for hell's occupants will not enter our hearts." J.I. Packer in article "Hell's Final Enigma" in "Christianity Today Magazine, April 22,2002 ."

Christian Theology in Plain Language, p. 219.

"Non-Christians often ask the Christian, “But how can the God of love allow any of his creatures to suffer unending misery?” The question is, how can he not? The fact that God is love makes hell necessary. “Hell,” as E. L. Mascall once said, “is not compatible with God’s love; it is a direct consequence of it.” That was his way of stressing the fact that the very God who loves us is the one who respects our decisions. He loves us, but he does not force his love on us. To force love is to commit assault. He allows us to decide. He loves us, he encourages our response, he woos us, he pursues us, he urges us, but he does not force us, because he respects us."
Richard Baxter

It is not a terrible thing to a wretched soul, when it shall lie roaring perpetually in the flames of hell, and the God of mercy himself shall laugh at them; when…God shall mock them instead of relieving them; when none in heaven or earth can help them but God, and he shall rejoice over them in their calamity . –(“The Saint's Everlasting Rest” 1846)

Alban Butler 1773

“Do we think that God can find torments in nature sufficient to satisfy His provoked vengeance? No, no; He creates new instruments more violent, pains utterly inconceivable to us. A soul for one venial sin shall suffer more than all the pains of distemper, the most violent colics, gout, and stone joined in complication,--more than all the most cruel torments undergone by malefactors, or invented by the most barbarous tyrants,--more than all the tortures of the martyrs summed up together. This is the idea which the Fathers give us [even?] of Purgatory. And how long souls may have to suffer there we know not.” Lives of the Saints, November 2

Thomas Boston, Scottish preacher, 1732

“God will hold sinners with one hand over the pit of hell, while He torments them with the other.” Fourfold State.

Dr. Gardiner Spring

“When the omnipotent and angry God, who as access to all the avenues of distress in the corporeal frame, and all the inlets to agony in the intellectual constitution, undertakes to punish, He will convince the universe that He does not gird Himself for the work of retribution in vain.”

John Calvin (Who had some of his theological enemies burned to death in green slow-burning wood.):

"Forever harrassed with a dreadful tempest, they shall feel themselves torn asunder by an angry God, and transfixed and penetrated by mortal stings, terrified by the thunderbolts of God, and broken by the weight of his hand, so that to sink into any gulf would be more tolerable than to stand for a moment in these terrors.

Dean of Glouchester

“There is the cup of trembling and of wrath. Your hands must take it, your mouth must drink it. But you can never drain it. There is no last drop. Infinite vengeance ever fills it to the brim. Eternal wrath is ever bringing more. What is the curse? It is the endless accumulation of all the miseries which God's resources can command and God's power can inflict. It is the fiery torrent from the lake of fire. It is the pain which cannot be keener, despair which cannot be blacker, and anguish which cannot be more bitter. It is eternity in the oneness of all torment.” Christ in all.

Bishop Oxenden—Late Metropolitan of Canada

“It would be difficult to measure the waters of the sea; but it is impossible to reckon the ages of a boundless eternity. After millions of years it will only begun. God's wrath in hell will be always ‘wrath to come.' Few are so tossed in this world but they have some rest. There are few tempests without some lull between the storm. But there is no pause in that storm which falls upon the inhabitants of hell.” Great Truths

Thomas Goodwin

Sin in thee and the Injury of it to God is an eternal Stain, which Hell Fire cannot eat out, or satisfy God, but in an Eternity of time. –“A Discourse of the Punishment of Sin in Hell” 1680

Richard Baxter

If it will be an intolerable thing to suffer the heat of fire for a year or a day, or an hour, what will it be to suffer ten thousand times more for ever? What if thou wert to suffer Lawrence 's death, to be roasted upon a gridiron; or to be scraped or pricked to death as other martyrs were; or if thou wert to feed upon toads for a year together? If thou couldst not endure such things as these, how wilt thou endure the eternal flames ? -- (“The Saint's Everlasting Rest” 1846)

John Shower

We have heard…of some who have endured breaking on the Wheel, ripping up of their Bowels, fleaing alive, racking of the joints, burning of Flesh, pounding in a mortar, tearing in pieces with Flesh-hooks, boyling in Oyl, roasting on hot fiery Gridirons, etc. And yet all these, tho' you should superad thereto all Diseases, such as the Plague, Stone, gout, Strangury, or whatever else you can name most torturing to the Body…they would all come short…of that Wrath, that Horror, that unconceivable Anguish, which the Damned must inevitably suffer every Moment, without any Intermission of their pains, in Hellish Flames . –(Heaven and Hell, 1700s)

John Bunyan

Set case you should take a man, and tie him to a stake, and with red hot Pincers pinch off his flesh by little pieces for two or three years together, and at last, when the poor man cryes out for ease and help, the tormenters answer, Nay but besides all this you must be handled worse. We will serve you thus these 20 years together, and after that we will fill your mangled body full of scalding lead, and run you through with a red hot spit, would this not be lamentable?...But he that goes to hell shall suffer ten thousand times worse torments then these, and yet shall never be quite dead under them . – “A Few Sighs From Hell” or “The Groans of a damned Soul…” 1658)

William Gearing

Your dainty delicate persons that now cannot brook the least savory smell, shall lie down in a stinking dungeon, in a loathsome lake, that burns with fire and brimstone for ever . – “A Prospect of Heaven” 1673

Reverend J. Furniss

"Little child, if you go to hell there will be a devil at your side to strike you. He will go on striking you every minute for ever and ever without stopping. The first stroke will make your body as bad as the body of Job, covered, from head to foot, with sores and ulcers. The second stroke will make your body twice as bad as the body of Job. The third stroke will make your body three times as bad as the body of Job. The fourth stroke will make your body four times as bad as the body of Job. How, then, will your body be after the devil has been striking it every moment for a hundred million of years without stopping? Perhaps at this moment, seven o'clock in he evening, a child is just going into hell. To morrow evening, at seven o'clock, go and knock at the gates of hell and ask what the child is doing. The devils will go and look. They will come back again and say, the child is burning. Go in week and ask what the child is doing; you will get the same answer, it is burning; Go in a year and asks the same answer comes it is burning. Go in a million of years and ask the same question, the answer is just the same--it is burning. So, if you go for ever and ever, you will always get the same answer--it is burning in the fire.” ---The Sight of Hell (A Catholic book for children….Quoted from Christ Triumphant by Thomas Allin)

"The fifth dungeon is the red hot oven. The little child is in the red hot oven. Hear how it screams to come out; see how it turns and twists itself about in the fire. It beats its head against the roof of the oven. It stamps its little feet on the floor." (The Sight of Hell Quoted from Christ Triumphant by Thomas Allin)

Jeremy Taylor of the Church of England

"The bodies of the damned shall be crowded together in hell, like grapes in a wine-press, which press one another till they burst; every distinct sense and organ shall be assailed with its own appropriate and most exquisite sufferings."

“Husbands shall see their wives, parents shall see their children tormented before their eyes…the bodies of the damned shall be crowded together in hell like grapes in a wine-press, which press on another till they burst…”

“This temporal fire is but a painted fire in respect of that penetrating and real fire in hell.”


“Our bodies will be afflicted continually by the sulphureous flame, piercing the inmost sinews.”

John Bunyan 1688

“Their bodies will be raised from the dead as vessels for the soul—vessels of wrath. The soul will breathe hell-fire, and smoke and coal will seem to hang upon its burning lips, yea the face, eyes, and ears will seem to be chimneys and vents for the flame, and the smoke of the burning , which God, by His breath, hath kindled therein, and upon, them, which will be held one in another, to the great torment and distress of each other.” Works, ii 136.

South 1716

“Every lash which God then gives the sinner shall be with a scorpion, every pain which He inflicts shall be more eager than appetite, more cruel than revenge; every faculty both of soul and body shall have its distinct property, and peculiar torment applied to it, and be directly struck there where it has the quickest, the sharpest, and the tenderest sense of any painful impression…But I shall use no other argument to evince the greatness of their torment but only this, that the devil shall be the instrument of their execution. And surely a mortal enemy will be a dreadful executioner; and the punishment which an infinite justice inflicts by the hands of a implacable malice must needs be intolerable.” Sermons, vii. 143

John Whitaker 1783

“The bodies of the damned will all be salted with fire, so tempered and prepared as to burn the more fiercely, and yet never consume.” Sermon on Death, Judgment, and Eternity.


For if a man were to have all his sins laid to his charge, and communion with the devils , and as much wrath as the great God of Heaven can inflict upon them, I say, if it were but for a time, even ten thousand years, if then it might have an end, there would be ground for comfort, and hopes of deliverance; but here is thy misery, this is thy state for ever, here thou must be for ever…When thou hast been in hell for as many thousand years as there are stars in the firmament or drops in the sea, or sands on the sea shore, yet thou hast to lie there for ever. O this one word, ever, how will it torment thy soul! – (“The Miscellaneous Works”)


“These unhappy children of wrath not only suffer during eternity, but they suffer eternity during each moment of their existence. Eternity is engraven on the flames which torment them…O tormenting thought! O miserable condition! To burn for ever! To weep for ever! To rage for ever!” Meditations, translated for English Roman Catholics

John Foster 1843

“It is infinitely beyond the highest archangel's faculty to apprehend a thousandth part of the horror of the doom to eternal damnation.”

John Gill

"Ver. 49. For every one shall be salted with fire, &c.] That is, every one of those that transgress the law of God, offend any that believe in Christ, retain their sins, and sinful companions; every one of them that are cast into hell, where the worm of conscience is always gnawing, and the fire of divine wrath is always burning, with that fire every one of them shall be salted: that fire shall be to them, what salt is to flesh; as that keeps flesh from putrefaction and corruption, so the fire of hell, as it will burn, torture, and distress rebellious sinners, it will preserve them in their beings; they shall not be consumed by it, but continued in it: so that these words are a reason of the former, showing and proving, that the soul in torment shall never die, or lose any of its powers and faculties; and particularly, not its gnawing, torturing conscience; and that the fire of hell is inextinguishable; for though sinners will be inexpressibly tormented in it, they will not be consumed by it; but the smoke of their torments shall ascend for ever and ever; and that they will be so far from being annihilated by the fire of hell, that they shall be preserved in their beings in it, as flesh is preserved by salt." Expositor


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