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son of the sinner? How can the "denunciations of the Divine anger" be supposed to imply that his wrath shall fall upon the sin, and not the sinner? The express language of scripture is counter to such an idea. "Sin" is truly the "abominable thing" that his "soul hateth," but it is with the "wicked" that God is ". angry every day." We read of the most awful punishments threatened upon the impenitent: "The wicked, and him that loveth violence, his soul hateth;" "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God." These are but a few out of many passages that might be quoted, plainly denouncing the wrath of God upon the sinner, and that on account of sin.

When "Sigma" affirms that the character of love is God's "favourite representation," we demur to such a use of the term, as it is unscriptural. Favouritism implies partiality, disfavour, &c., and to apply such a term to qualify any aspect of God's character in his own sight, is to suppose him as one like unto ourselves, and possessed of the same passions. All the attributes of God are equally glorious, equally essential to his nature; and te will indicate his justice, even while he exhibits his mercy unto men.

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into life eternal." And what prevents the execution of this punishment by a righteous God? Does his paternal love? We admire the firm justice of the civil magistrate, when he inflicts the penalties incurred by a broken law even upon his son; when he thus sacrifices any promptings of parental affection, that he may administer impartial justice. We honour all such, because they thus show a true sense of the importance of vindicating righteous law in order to secure the common good. Cannot God also visit his guilty and impenitent creatures with eternal punishment, when his law has been violated, his authority insulted, and the welfare of the moral universe endangered? He is no longer the Father, but the righteous Judge, to the unredeemed sinner. Does his mercy forbid the full measure of punishment? The justice of God inexorably demands the punishment of every impenitent sinner, but mercy holds out forgiveness to the sinner when he turns from his ways: "Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die, and not that he should return from his ways and live?" "As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked." "Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" From these passages we see that God "desireth not the death of the sinner," but he saves him only as he "turns" from his wickedness. The mercy of God does not prevent the execution of his judgments; if it did, he would be changeable, partial, swayed by the affections of men. His mercy is necessarily regulated by his justice. Were he to forgive the impenitent, without any reference to the demands of his justice, his mercy would degenerate into weakness, and encouragement would be given for the repeated violation of his law with impunity. While he holds out hopes of pardon to sinners, he is yet bound to punish those who remain finally impenitent. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him;" thus, "Justice and mercy meet together; righteousness and truth kiss each other."

Is it said that the holiness of God forbids

the eternal punishment of the wicked, because then sin would be perpetuated? This difficulty has reconciled many to the idea of annihilation, the utter extinction of being.

Sigma," in supporting his position, goes on to assert that the "holiness and justice of God forbid the eternal punishment of the wicked," as "this would be to perpetuate the existence" of sin, which is "diametrically opposed to his nature." What, we would ask, are the requirements of divine justice? The law threatens," the soul that sinneth, it shall die." "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law, to do them." Is it unjust in God to inflict this punishment? What, we ask, is the just demerit of one sin? Can any calculate its enormity? None but God himself can tell its desert, and the amount of punishment due unto it. When he has pronounced sentence upon the sinner, he shall not be released until he has " paid the uttermost farthing." When will that be? "How long will it be ere they attain to innocency?" Who can solve the problem? Is it aught short of eternity? Just and righteous are God's judgments when he appoints that "the wicked shall go into everlasting punishment, but the righteous

But would not such an act, supposing it
should ever happen, itself write the eternal
condemnation of sin and the sinners? Is
sin, therefore, left to be an indestructible
evil? Were it given us to determine con-
cerning it, our language would be, "Let it
perish; let the wickedness of the wicked
come to an end!" But should we under-
stand what we said? The greater and
most formidable problem is, that it should
ever have existed at all. "It is injurious
to the glory of God, contrary to his will, and
thwarting to his benevolence. Why was it
ever allowed, even for a single moment? It
has arisen, and could arise, only under a
system of law; and what means can God
employ to counteract it but law? Must he,
to prevent it, abandon his government, and
dissever from man moral agency and liberty?
What other resource has government in case
of transgression but punishment? God
threatens eternal punishment, and is he
under any other necessity than thus to
punish it? The perpetuity of sin is a diffi-
culty, but far less than its violent cause.
Why is it continued? Why does it last an
age, an instant? If God was never bound
to destroy it, he is not still. If he could
never destroy it without making void all his
principles and laws of government, he can-
not still. But, after the present dispensation,
Satan is a chained captive, no more to be
loosed; the wicked are bound hand and
foot,' and cast into 'outer darkness.' Sin
is no longer suffered to range abroad, defy-
ing God and his law; it is divested of all its
known active qualities, so far as the universe
apart from the abodes of the lost is con-
cerned. It is not a threatening ill; can
'tempt' no more; is commanded to go into
the deep,'' shut up,' and a 'seal' set on it.
In disposition it exists, will exist; a thing|
which offends: in their heart,' the lost
'work wickedness.' But it is under perfect
restraint as to harm, perfect conquest as to
resistance, for punishment is victory."*

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Nor will injustice be done to any, when, at the day of judgment, all the wicked are condemned to eternal punishment. Each is appointed his own place, according to his character. All will not receive the same severity of punishment, for all have not run

*Hamilton's "Rewards and Punishments," sec. 8.

the same length in guilt. "The man whose moral sense is blunted (to use "Sigma's" words) and all but destroyed, and the man who has offended in a less daring and flagrant manner," will not be consigned to the same degree of punishment, but each will receive the reward due to his demerits. Scripture plainly teaches that there will be a difference in the degrees of bliss enjoyed by the saints in heaven;* and not less plainly does it affirm that there will be different degrees of punishment in store for the wicked. We read of the "greater sin," of the "greater damnation," of some who shall receive "few stripes," and again of others who shall have "many stripes," while the doom reserved for others is so tremendous that it is declared, "it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah," for " Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for them!" From these passages, and in fact the whole tenor of scripture, it is evident that responsibility increases in proportion to privileges enjoyed: "To whom much is given, of him shall much be required;" this is alike the language of reason and revelation, and without corresponding differences in punishments, strict justice could not be administered.

The fearful terms employed to express the nature of future punishment, as also its duration, may require our attention. "The wicked are reserved to the day of destruction, to the day of wrath." "A fire not blown shall consume him." "His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty;" of that "wine which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation." "The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever;" they are tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the Lamb." Who can conceive what is the “wrath" of that Lamb, when it overtakes the impenitent scorners of his mercy? Upon the wicked is to be rained "snares," "fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest." Are we reminded that these are figurative expressions? That is not denied; but what do they imply? What horrors are expressed by that "torment," that “second death," that "worm" which "dieth not!"

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*Compare Dan. xii. 3, with 1 Cor. xv. 41; also Luke xix. 12-27, with John xiv. 1.

+See John xix. 11; Mark xii. 40; Matt. xxiii. 14; Luke xii. 47, 48; Matt. x. 15; xi. 20-24.

"Sigma" hazards a criticism respecting the term "aionion," and affirms that it would be more properly rendered "age-lasting." Granted this to be the meaning of the term sometimes, we would ask, is this meaning to be understood of it in all places where it is used, when applied to the felicities of saints in heaven, and when affirmed of God or his attributes? If not, what rule have we for varying its meaning correctly, other than that before given, viz., "that the idea of continuity, duration, is commensurate and co-equal with the duration and existence of the subject of which it is the predicate." It is affirmed of the soul, and that is immortal; does it mean "age-lasting" when applied to the punishment of the wicked? Does it mean the same limited period when applied as expressing the duration of the bliss enjoyed in heaven, or is it then to be understood in its legitimate meaning? If so, why this alteration?

"

We receive the literal meaning of the terms, "gnolam," in the Hebrew, "aion," aionon," in the Greek, rendered "ever," 'everlasting," because they are terms, the true meaning of which, being once ascertained, no quibble, however ingenious, can alter. The terms "fire and brimstone," are evidently figurative; for neither can have any effect upon an immaterial nature; but "fire" being the most devouring of all the elements, and death by it the most painful, and "brimstone" being most repulsive, they are fit emblems of the nature of the punishment endured by the human soul under the judicial wrath of the Almighty. We give this explanation of the several terms in answer to a question of "Sigma" in his second article. Had the question not been asked, we should never have thought of explaining so simple and self-evident a matter.

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Is it supposed that the future punishments of the wicked are corrective? Will they act as a purifying influence upon the soul? The passages which have passed before us, and all others that refer to future punishment, contain no expressions which denote that these are God's dealings "as with sons that "chastisement" which they must not "despise," the "rebuke" under which they must not "faint." The style of these denunciations befitteth not the correction which he dispenseth "for our profit." Justice may

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strike to warn others, but the "cure of the patients' is foreign to its nature; it can meditate no such end." Of the wicked it may be said, They "reap" of "that which they have sown," they "eat of the fruit of their own way," and are "filled with their own devices."

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Is there any hope that the condemned will ever repent, that they will ever be released and restored to favour? Would not such a hope make their torment " more tolerable? It only wants the refusal of this to add the last severity, and make their case one of utter, dark despair. How is their character described? They are the wicked still; "the wicked shall do wickedly;" they "depart" the "cursed," with every tendency of evil in them, and their dispositions still the same. The sentence is pronounced"He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; he that is filthy, let him be filthy still." Is it supposed that they will ever repent and find mercy? After the "present life," the day of grace is passed, probation is ended, and retribution begun. The language of scripture is solemnly emphatic on this point. "Fools make a mock at sin;" but a time cometh when He whom they have treated with such insult and scorn will appear as the angry Judge, taking vengeance on his enemies. "He that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."

Do any suppose that the wicked will be restored to divine favour at or after the judgment? If not then, when? After a lengthened period? Why, and by what means shall this be accomplished? "God is" already "all in all," whatever that may be. The "kingdom is delivered up," and Christ is become subject unto the Father. Shall he again leave that throne, and enter again upon another work, that of redeeming the lost? Where is the evidence for such an idea? Not in the Bible: "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin." Where then? Will the Holy Spirit continue his gracious operations in the world to come? How shall he "convince of judgment to come," when that is already past? Because "they rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit," therefore is he now "turned to be their enemy," to "fight against them." Is there no end to be gained by these eternal sufferings? Do they only show us the "God of love

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cherishing vindictive feelings," when he thus | closure of that "indignation and wrath,” punishes his guilty creatures? We would "tribulation and anguish," that awaits the not insult the Divine Being by entertaining impenitent. We notice it as a solemn fact, such thoughts. The eternal punishment of that the most fearful denunciations of divine sinners expresses to us his idea of the awful wrath fall from the lips of the blessed Saviour.* nature of sin; and may not the dread exhi- "Amid the 'blackness, darkness, and tempest bition of God's wrath upon sinful men of Sinai' we are prepared for the thunder, throughout eternity have a salutary influence the blast of the trumpet, and the curses of upon other intelligences, in deterring them Ebal; but under the new dispensation, we from sin, and make them "fear" while they await the meekness and gentleness of Christ. "love"? "Now all these things happened We expect an infinite tenderness; nor are unto them for ensamples: and they are we disappointed. He pleads to weeping, written for our admonition." "Even as and agonizes even to blood! Yet, what Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about voice ever spoke so much of hell?" It is them, are set forth for an example." Sinful repeatedly his chief theme. "The terms he men may be eternal monuments of God's employs to illustrate its nature are full of justice-even as the saved are of his mercy significance; he reiterates his illustrations, in heaven-to show unto all the universe the heaps image upon image, and adds warning awful consequences of breaking God's holy to warning." He speaks of the "outer law, and what a "fearful thing it is to fall darkness"; of "weeping, and wailing, and into the hands of the living God." gnashing of teeth," as being descriptive of the sorrows of its inhabitants; of the place of "torment," where they are given up to "tormentors;" where they are tormented in flame," and denied the slight alleviation afforded by the "tip of the finger" being dipped "in water to cool the suppliant's parched tongue"! In one of his discourses, when referring to a terrible retribution, he urges men to prefer making the most painful sacrifices in an attempt to escape, rather than incur this awful doom. There is a solemn emphasis, and rhetoric the most perfect; we hear the awful repetitions roll along as successive thunder-peals-" And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched. Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched. Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with

The number of the condemned has really nothing to do with the question of eternal punishments. The question is not more affected than it would be were but one lost. The principle is the same, whether one or many are condemned, because the justice or injustice, being always personal, is the same; and if eternal punishment be just in one instance, it is equally just in many. But we maintain that the number of the saved shall greatly exceed those of the lost, vast as the latter may be. "A great multitude which no man could number," gathered from all "nations, kindreds, people, and tongues," stand "before the throne of God and before the Lamb." The Redeemer shall "see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied." Nor can we suppose that he will be "satisfied," unless his followers vastly outnumber the lost.

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Is our view of this doctrine "opposed to the genius and spirit of Christianity?" How so? The gospel is "glad tidings," "good news," "joy to all people," just because, wherever it comes, it proclaims a way of escape from the eternal doom awaiting sinful men. A truth so important as this we should expect to find distinctly stated in holy writ. It is so. It stands forth as the frontlet of Christianity, the one great truth on which all revelation proceeds. From the beginning, in the Old Testament, we find traces of this doctrine; but it is in the gospel that we meet with a full dis

"Sigma" asserts it as a "remarkable fact that the Saviour very infrequently alluded to future punishment." We refer to the following texts:Matt. viii. 11, 12; xiii. 41, 42, 47-50; xxi. 33-46; xxii. 11-13; xxiv. 51; xxv. 30-46; Mark ix. 42-48; Luke xiii. 24-28; xvi. 19–31; xix.

20-27; John v. 29, &c.
+"Rewards and Punishments," sec. 6.

one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." Whose words are these? Who is it that thus threatens the most awful retribution? It is the meek and loving Saviour, the Judge of angels and men, the "truth and the life," who warns lest the stroke should fall. His words must be true; and when he thus emphatically expresses himself, who shall contradict him? Who can or dare say that a time will come when this 66 "" worm shall die, when this "fire" shall be "quenched," and its last embers cease to burn?

Can we infer from the language that it is "unquenchable by man, but not by God"? How is such an idea deduced? By what rule of interpretation is this inferred? We remark that the words used express the

NEGATIVE ARTICLE.-IV.

THE evidences of Christianity are internal as well as external, and the belief of reasonable men in the Christian religion rests on both of these descriptions of evidence. It appears to us that nothing can possibly do greater violence to the moral sense than the dogma of eternal punishment; that, if true, it must be considered as the prominent feature or characteristic of the religion, and that Christianity would thus want the internal evidence of a divine revelation. Why is it, however, that men believe Christianity, notwithstanding the opinion that it teaches the doctrine of eternal punishment? The doctrine can scarcely be realized by the mind, and while it may receive an intellectual assent, it fails to make a general impression. There is so much really good in the design and precepts of Christianity, that it is readily embraced, the pernicious doctrines connected with it being thrown into the shade. Both Romanism and the old orthodoxy of Protestantism answered important purposes. They were fitted for ages of comparative darkness. The highest truth is generally received only when men are prepared for it, and it is clearly ascertained by us only in the light of our best affections. Christian theology is tending to expansive and humane views. Narrow and harsh conceptions of the christian revelation are found to be inadequate or distorted representations of religion. So long as men firmly believed in Romanism, or the Calvinism of creeds, the dogma under

negative in the strongest possible manner, and no intimation is given that the fire ever will or can be quenched even by God. If such were possible, why did the Saviour use these negative terms, when others, less expressive and more limited, would have conveyed his meaning? If Christ did not mean to teach the eternity of future punishments, he made use of language which could not be understood, except it be supposed to affirm the contrary; and thus it lays him open to a charge of trifling with or using language which conveys a false idea relative to this important subject. If this cannot be supposed, all must agree that here, in these words, Christ plainly teaches the eternal duration of future punishments.

CLEMENT.

Ashton-under-Lyne.

discussion appeared natural, and was easily believed. Christianity is now more and more felt to be the revelation of a God who is love, and to be a system of love. Men begin to see that this essential attribute of the Deity, of which the gospel is the highest expression, affords the explanation of those doctrines of Christianity which appeared intricate or mysterious. Christianity evokes a spirit of love utterly destructive to a belief in the doctrine of eternal punishment, erroneously connected with religion. It is impossible to predicate that a revelation from a God of love can have for its distinguishing feature the doctrine in dispute. It is felt that a belief in that doctrine can only have proceeded from a false method of interpreting the scriptures, and generally from the carnal blindness of those to whom they have been addressed.

Although the doctrine under review must cease to be believed, both from the progress of Christianity itself, and the expansion of the human mind, yet it is proper to discuss it. There are believers in it who cannot throw it out of view--men of powerful imagination, tender feelings, and possessed with an absorbing conception of the spiritual and eternal. The more deeply religious they become, the more they realize the horror of the doctrine; and at the same time they cannot fail to see that, in regard to the immense majority of the human race in all ages, or, in other words, the race as a whole, Christianity has no other doom to pronounce

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