and hatred he will find himself growing cold with an awful horror, and crying out lest such a shocking portion be his. The fear of the Lord will indeed be the beginning of wisdom, and terror will lend speed to his feet as he flies to His God with tears and crying and rests not till he has found safety and forgiveness.
Another misunderstanding, this time of Isa. 66,24 quoted by Our Lord in Mark 9,43-48 and referred to in Luke 16,23-25 has led to the curious idea that God will provide the wicked with a strange kind of body, fire-resisting and worm-defying, which shall go on in endless physical torment. How the theologians of the dark ages vied with each other in inventing fresh and more awful horrors for Hell! Dante's Inferno is an example of this perverted and diseased imagination which still persists in Roman Catholic Orthodoxy. The very simple truth is of course that it was upon carcases lying in the valley of Hinnom outside Jerusalem, that the fire and worms of Isa. 66,24 fed, that is, bodies out of which the soul had already fled. How irrational to imagine a special worm capable of living for ever in fire! The actual horror of the fire and worm is, that never again will the soul regain its body nor see the light of the sun. As it says in Dan. 7,11 "the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame." We are told of course that so far from Dives' tongue being on fire in Hell it was lying in the tomb in Palestine and there would decay. The phrase "lying in Abraham's bosom" was the ordinary Jewish description of the faithful dead waiting with faithful Abraham for the resurrection of John 11,24. Between death and resurrection the soul is bodiless, not a perfect condition, but one relieved by the fact that in spirit the dead Christian is conscious of the Lord in Paradise. "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ: which is far better" (Phil. 1,23). It is helpful to remember that even the saints' resurrection bodies are not eternal by themselves, but would perish, as did Adam's perfect body, were it not for The Tree of Life, which is restored to them in Paradise, and on the New Earth.2 Much less are the resurrection bodies of the wicked, for whom no such provision is made, everlasting!