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unwilling to take the advice of the philosopher, ardently engaged in these ambitious pursuits, and at last perished in them.” Such is the nature and the end of ambition, as recorded on the pages of the Bible, and to which all human observation bears witness. *
We are now prepared to remark :
1. That we have seen in the course of our lecture that in many things the Bible teaches facts respecting the human mind which the mind teaches concerning itself. The facts enumerated are, that man has a mind distinct from the body that the mind is the image of God—that the will is free or self-determining--that the powers of the soul are limited—the universal sinfulness of the racereligion addresses man's whole nature—religion is a source of happiness—and malevolence is the source of unhappiness.
2. We do not say that the human mind never contradicts these sentiments. It does often contradict them. But these judgments are given by men of all classes and characters, in their coolest and most rational moments, and with such frequency that they are regarded as the best judgments of the human soul. Unless for the presence of some selfish motive, strongly arrayed against these doctrines, they would, unquestionably, be universally approved by the consciences of men.
3. But these judgments of the mind afford a greater evidence to the truth of the Bible, than though the mind itself never contradicted its own sentiments. Did human minds always testify to the same sentiments, it would have been an easy
* Arvine's Moral and Religious Anecdotes, page 18.
matter for men to have written those self-same sentiments in the Bible. But if the mass of men in all ages have frequently contradicted those sentiments, and if the best of men, in their dark hours, have often been known to swerve from them, we may justly ask, why does the Bible, having been written in different ages, and by different individuals, present us with none of the contradictions? Why are all its sentiments respecting the soul, those very sentiments which the soul gives, in its most unbiased moments, and which are found to accord with the universal consciousness of man? This is a question for the unbeliever to answer.
We are aware that this method of argument to prove the truth of the Scriptures, has but little weight with some minds, but for ourself we confess that such responses of the soul, coming from its most sacred recesses, have a weight not inferior to the evidences derived from miracles or prophecy.
ADAPTATION OF THE HUMAN MIND TO RETRIBUTION, AS
TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE.
AND AS HE REASONED OF ..... JUDGMENT TO COME, FELIX TREMBLED.-Acts 24: 25.
The doctrine of future retribution, as revealed in the Bible, is perfectly reasonable, from the fact that it finds, in the human mind, an adaptation and a ready response.
Probably few can be found, whether on Christian or on heathen ground, who do not believe in some kind and degree of punishment, in a future state, and very few will deny that such a doctrine is taught in the Bible.
That such a sentiment should be so universally believed, in opposition to objections of great apparent weight, is surprising.
It is objected, with much plausibility, that the doctrine of future retribution, is most awful to think of, and is hard to reconcile with God's infinite and paternal goodness. It is not our object to say any thing, at present, in answer to this objection. We would even acknowledge that all men feel its force, while, at the same time, all men, (at least, all in a state of nature,) believe the doctrine of retribution.
Is it not strange that men should find it so hard to get rid of this idea, when it is so much against their feelings and predilections, and when too, much plausible argument has been raised against it? Thousands would give the world to rid themselves of a sentiment, so much opposed to their feelings, but go where they may, it follows them like their own shadow. They can no more obliterate it from their souls than they can annihilate one of the soul's attributes. That this is the case, is evident from the fact that all the heathen, ancient and modern, believe the doctrine of future retribution.
To a few of their testimonies, we will now attend :
1. Among the earliest, as well as amongst modern nations, the doctrine of transmigration, has been extensively held. The translator of Knapp's Theology, referring to a work of Frederic Schlegel, on Eastern literature, says, in a note appended to section 150: “He there shows that this is one of the most fundamental doctrines of faith in the Eastern world—that it rests upon a religious basis, and even in the earliest period was connected with the idea of retribution and sanctification. The soul, it is supposed, after having been soiled and corrupted by its contact with the body and the world, must expiate its sins by wandering, for an appointed cycle, through various forms of uncongenial matter." Thus, even in connection with this primitive and rude theory, we find the great idea of future retribution.
It will be recollected that we are not now concerning ourself with the peculiar nature and place of future misery, nor with many other questions, which the Gospel brings to light, but our only aim is to show, that mixed with much
falsehood though it be, the idea was held both by ancient and modern heathen.
2. But the opinion was more general among the ancients that departed spirits went to an under world which the Greeks called Hades.* Here, though all dwell together, the wicked were unhappy, and hence Homer refers to those who were punished, in the same place with the other shades. None of the inhabitants of Hades were supposed to be supremely miserable, and yet Achilles when here, “does not speak of death very favorably, but would rather till the field on earth, as a day laborer, than rule all the hosts of the shades."'+
3. In the writings of the ancients, there is sufficient allusion to the idea of future retribution, to show that it has been a sentiment, almost 'universally received in every age.
Says Plutarch—"If he who transgresses in the morning is punished in the evening, you will not say that in this case justice is slow; but to God, a whole age, or even several ages, are but as one day.” Plato, in his seventh epistle to Dion, says,
" Thus ought we always to believe those ancient and sacred words, which declare to us that the soul is immortal, that judges are appointed, and that they pass the highest sentences of condemnation, when the spirit is separate from the body." In another passage from the Republic, Plato gives the following declaration of the common belief—"For well know, O Socrates, that when one supposes himself near the point of death, there enter into his soul fears and anxieties respect
* Knapp's Theology, section 150: 1. Sec. 150 : 2.