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his wrong, or his moral government will forever stand inpeached before the moral universe, as too weak to protect the innocent, or too partial to be universally and eternally good. Thus you see that the fact, that human laws exist, is in itself a refutation of Modern Universalism.
But I find a still more serious difficulty in the obvious fact, that human laws are unequal in their operation. Let ine illustrate this remark. . .. ..
1. Human laws do not provide any special rewards for the righteous. In our government, the civil law aims only to protect its loyal subjects, and restrain the depredations of its most unprincipled citizens. The government throws its fostering and defensive arm equally around the righteous, and unrighteous, the pious Christian and the vaunting Infidel. So far as government has any immunities to bestow, they are generally lavished upon the unprincipled parasites of party. The pious, humble, sincere followers of Christ, seldom, if ever, have any part in the spoils,” which are known to "belong to the victors.” In our own govern ment, which is perhaps the best on earth, lucrative offices are generally distributed among a reckless set of headlong politicians, who receive their appointments, not by reason of their virtues and talents, but in consideration of the services which they may have rendered to the dominant party.
2. Human laws often punish the pious because of their piety. Our Savior was scourged and crucified by the operation of human laws. John the Baptist was beheaded, Stephen was stoned, James was killed, Peter and John were imprisoned, Paul and Silas were whipped and imprisoned at Philippi, by the unequal and unjust operation of human laws. By the unequal operation of human laws, inany of the Old Testament saints "had trials of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonments: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tor. mented.”. Read the history of the primitive Church. How many thousands of her most pious and devout men
bers, were by human laws, imprisoned, tortured, and put to death ? In the days of Nero, that cruel tyrant had christians enveloped in pitched sheets, and set on fire to illuminate his gardens in the evenings. He sometimes had the followers of Christ brought into the theatre at Rome, sewed up in the skins of wild beasts, and then thrown into the arena for the dogs to tear in pieces, for the amusement of the rabble. Read the history of the church. Since the rise of Popery, see how many hundreds of thousands of the most pious christians, such as the Waldenses and Albigenses in the dark ages, and the Protestants since the reformation, have been imprisoned and cruelly put to death for their religion. Here then you see that human laws do not administer a just retribution. They are sometimes cruel in themselves, and unjust in their operations.
3. Again. The unjust operation of human laws may be seen in the fact, that they do not always punish the guilty.-The innocent sometimes suffer in their stead. The guilty have many ways. by which they contrive to elude the penalty of human laws. The newspapers have lately given an account of a respectable English merchant at Gibraltar, who was tried and condemned to be hung for murdering his daughter. When upon the gallows, an individual present, who had been active in procuring his conviction, caine forward and confessed that he himself was the murderer.
4. The unequal operation of human laws may be seen again in the fact, that crimes regarded as atrocious and punishable in one state or country, are encouraged and protected by the laws in other states or countries. .
For iùstance. In America, polygamy is regarded and punished as a crime. In Turkey, this crime is regarded as a virtue, and is countenanced by the laws. In several states of this Republic, it is regarded as no offence against God or man to enslave the colored race, and trade in human Alesh; but in New England, involuntary slavery is regarded as a crime, and is punishable by the laws. In Massachusetts, it is regarded as a crime to buy or sell lottery tickets; but in Rhode Island, this traffic is allowed an
protected by law. I might give you many other examples of the unequal, operations of human', laws; but those already given are enough to establish and illustrate this point.
We have seen that an equitable retribution is not administered in this world by the operations of conscience, nor by the operations of circumstances, nor by the operations of divine providence, nor by the operations of human laws, and with so much evidence against the hypothesis, we cannot be justified in its adoption, without the most unequivocal testimony of the written Word. Let us now enquire then : Do the scriptures clearly teach the docrine that all are equitably and fully rewarded and punished in this world ? This question I intend to investigate at some length in my future letters. - But in closing this communication, you will allow me to direct your attention to two or three texts, which directly affirm that men are not-rewarded and punished in this world according to their characters. Ezra says, he and his people, though they were punished severely, were punished less than their iniguities deserved. “And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great trespass, seeing that God has punished us less than Qur iniquities deserve. Ezra, 9 : 13. Now if some men are punished LESS here than their iniquities deserve, then it follows, unavoidably, that all are not rewarded and punished here according to character. Again, the Psalmist bears testimony to the same fact when he says, 'He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. . Behold, these are the ungodly who prosper in the 'world ; they increase in riches.' Ps. · 103:10, and 73:12. Solomon confirms this testimony of
Ezra and David, when he says : “There be just men unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked ; again, there be wicked men to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous.' Eccl. 8:14. Other testimony might be adduced from the scriptures to the same point, but it is not necessary to quote more texts at this time. The arguments and illustrations here given, I hope
you will seriously consider. Be careful and not hang the salvation of your soul upon an hypothesis so repugnant to sound philosophy, human experience, and the Word of God. May God give you light and truth.
Yours as ever.
: LETTER IX.
My Dear Sir:- :
Having gone through, in my previous letters, with what you will allow me to call my philosopical argument, in my present and future letters, 1 propose to investigate the scriptures with you. You have seen that the doctrine of no future punishment is, to say the least, a very un. reasonable doctrine, and I think it can be made equally obvious that is an unscriptural doctrine. I am aware that you and your divines quote several passages of scripture to sustain the strange and newly invented doctrine of no future judgment. But do these texts, when fairly construed, teach this hypothesis ? I trow not. Much dependence is placed upon Gen. 12:3.. 22:18, where God says to Abraham : “Ani in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed' • And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.' But why are these texts brought forward? Do they assert, or even imply, that all men are rewarded and punished in this world according to individual character, and that death sweeps all, both just and unjust to glory ? No.--What is the blessing here promised to Abraham ? Evidently Christianity. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a blessing indeed, incomparably greater than all other favors which God, in his goodness, has bestowed upon our fallen race. It is a blessing through the seed of Abraham-Christ freely given to all nations, families, and kindreds of the earth. It is as rich as the love and munificence of God can make it, and as free as the air we breathe. But like all other blessings of God, it may be
abused, and despised; and blessings perverted fall upon the heads of the guilty as a dreadful curse. Hence the preceding context of Gen. 12:3. reads ; 'I will bless them that bless thee, and CURSE them that curse thee. Hence Paul tells us: "For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved and in them that perish ; to the one we are the savor of death unto death; to the other the savor of life unto life.' 1 Cor. 2:15, 16. Peter gives us a comment on this promise to Abraham, which you would do well to consider. Read it. "Unto you first, God having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to BLESS you in turning away every one of you from your iniquities. Acts 3:26.
Here we have the blessing, its nature defined, and an illustration of the manner in which the first nation to which it was presented received it. We are here taught, (1) That the blessing is the gift of a Savior, who came to turn every one from his iniquities; see Heb. 2:16. (2) That this blessing was first bestowed upon the Jews; for Peter addressing a Jewish audience says : Unto you first, God having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you.' But were this nation all made holy and happy by the Mission of the Messiah ? No: far from it. John says, he came unto his own and his own received him not. John 1:11.His coming among them proved to be a sávor of death unto death. (3) You see the blessing is the sending of the Son of God to turn every one froin his iniquities.' Let me ask then, are all turned from their iniquities in this world by the coming of Christ ? This you will not pretend. Well then, did Jesus Christ come into this world to turn sinners away from their iniquities in the world to come? No: this you do not believe. How then can you get Universalism out of this text? You look around you and see that all men are not turned from their iniquities in this world. You look forward into eternity and you see no iniquity there from which men need to be turned. Where and when then does this blessing take effect upon all men ?