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moral happiness; and hence, he imposes upon the Deity a final state of things, in which moral desert, moral approbation and happiness, have no existence. "God, the Author of all our enjoyments, has willed us to be moral beings, for (without this) he could not will us to be happy, in the noblest sense of that term.(Brown's Philosophy, vol. 2. p. 233.) In the dissertations which Mr. Austin read to us in his last half hour, we have the same groun lless assumptions repeated, which have figured so largely in all be has said.' He says I am endeavoring to overthrow God's purpose and will. And how does he make out this charge? Why, he first assumes that God's purpose and will are just what he would · have them-he alledges it to be the purpose of God that all men should be finally holy and happy, whether they obey or disobey the laws and conditions of their being—that it is God's will all should be saved, whether they obey or disobey, believe or reject the Gospel. Need I spend time in showing the futility of this process of reasoning? He begs the question, and then assumes it to be proved, a course wholly unworthy a discussion of this kind. And yet I suppose he will continue this method in every speech he makes, since, if he is not allowed this latitude, he will have nothing to say. I refer to this subject here, for the purpose of reminding the audience and public, that these flourishes and declamatory harangues are without a logical basis, and possess not one element of sound argument. Let the gentleman prove that God wills, desires, purposes the ultimate happiness and holi. ness of every man, in a sovereign, absolute way, irrespective of moral government, moral agency, and moral character, and then, and not till then, will he have a foundation for his argument. Until then, he is filling up his time with mere trash. I now present my second argument to sustain the affirmative of this question, based on the nature and immutability of
THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD.
The attributes here referred to, are holiness, goodness, and wise dom. By the holiness of God, we mean the infinite purity and rectitude of the divine character. It signifies that the divine nature is at an infinite distance from sin. By the goodness of God, we understand the natural and eternal benevolence of his character: the possession of a disposition to confer happiness upon his crea. tures. By the wisdom of God, we mean the infinite intelligence of God, under the guidance of which, he makes all his displays of holiness, goodness and power.
In establishing a government, God would conform it to the nature and demands of his own attributes.
His wisdom would be seen in the nature and design of his gov. ernment, and in the adaption of its parts to each other, and to the end proposed.
His goodness would prevent his bringing into existence intelli.
gent beings, without the power to acquire and enjoy happiness. On the contrary, it would require him to give them such a constitution as would secure their happiness, unless its laws and condi. tions were violated, and power also to preserve them unimpaired.
The holiness of God would not only prevent his using any active agency, directly or indirectly, to bring sin into existence, but it would lead him to use such means as were not subversive of bis government, to prevent it. As the holiness of God is infinite, so his opposition to sin is infinite : hence, he would be hound by the law of his own nature, to employ the strongest motives possible, to prevent the introduction of sin into his moral universe, while, at the same time, these motives should be of such a character as not to subvert the moral or responsible character of man as a subject of God's moral government.
The sources whence these motives would be drawn, are his goodness and justice. His goodness would furnish the strongest motive to obedience, that could possibly be drawn from that source, and so also his justice. While, therefore, the goodness of God would make an infinite display of benevolence, to inspire confi. dence, excite affection, and secure allegiance, the justice of God would make an infinite display of God's opposition to sin, by the penal enactments of the divine law. Reasoning a priori from the attributes of God to the nature of his government, and the means employed to preserve it free from sin, we cannot conceive of any. thing less than this, as answering the end proposed, or harmonizing with the Divine attributes.
But if God displays his infinite opposition to sin, with the view of preventing it, or punishing it when it occurs, (as he is required to do by his infinite holiness,) this can only be done by enacting the severest penalty the nature of the case admits-a penalty which would involve eternal loss—the forfeiture of those positive blessings made sure to the holy and obedient. We can see no way te avoid this conclusion. Anything less than this, would come short of meeting the nature and demands of the case, as much as the dif. ference between finite and infinite. It would be to contravene the nature of God, and resist and suppress the tendencies of holiness. Thus we see the moral attributes concur in opposing and visiting sin by capital punishment: that is, by the strongest possible motive that penalty can present to the human mind.
And we reach the same conclusion by considering the attributes of God as immutable. What the a:tributes of God were, in the unfathomed depths of past eternity, or when God's moral universe was first brought into being, in obedience to the fiat of omnipotence, and his laws were published to his moral subjects, they are now, and ever will be. If, when his government was established, and his laws extended over his moral realms, his attributes required him to present the strongest motives against sin, and enact the severest possible penalty as its punishment, the same moral necessity still exists, and will exist ever, commensurate with the continuance of an equitable divine administration. Moreover, what has been, and is now required by the attributes of God—what has been and is now consistent with the attributes of God, will always be required, and always be consistent in regard to the subjects of his moral government.
It has always been required that the sinner be punished with death, on account of his sins. It has been consistent with the attributes of God, that this penalty should reign over the ungodly for six thousand years. No sinner has escaped it, except by believing in Christ. Hence, as the attributes and government of God are, in their principles and essence, changeless, we argue that the penalty-the severest penalty the case will admit oi-enacted to deter from sin, and punish transgression, will always hold its power over the guilty and incorrigible sinner.
We have, therefore, all ihe moral force which the nature and immutability of God's attributes can furnish in support of morai government, to prove the doctrine of the irretrievable perdition of the ungodly. The foundation of this argument is in the divine character, and its soundness and force are equal to the moral perfection and immutability of God. We next present our third argument,
DRAWN FROM THE ANALOGY OF NATURE. Gol's Government is the same in its principles and bearings, as t extends over all its subjects, and all worlds. In this world we ee but a part of it—but the incipient stages of its operations. Yet
hai we see here, is an index of what is upseen. The revelation i principles, and development of facts, in the government of God in this world, are data froin which we may safely infer what will be the principies, facts, and practical results, of his administration under its more advanced stages.
Moral laws or causes produce their results as certainly as those that are physical, unless counteracted by supernatural power. Hence, when we see ihe operation of a law in the moral govern. ment of Gol, producing its certain results in this life, we must infer, (as God's government is changeless,) that the same law will operate always, and always produce the same results. This, I say, we must infer, unless God does specifically informn us, that he intends, at a particular stage of his proceedings, to counteract the ten. dency of such law, and produce a change.
Now, if this view of the divine government be correct, (and I see no desect in it,) we are bound by the established constitution of things-by the operation and known results of the laws under which we are placed in this world, to conclude in favor of the future and endless unhappiness of the wicked.
The moral constitution of things under which we are placed, and by which we are governed, which confers its rewards, and deals out its punishments to man in this life, is established by God himself, and in its bearings and final issues, has ihe sanction of his authority.
But it is a fact, that under this moral constitution, the happiness of man is contingent. It is a matter of every day experience and observation. Every man knows that his temporal, as well as his moral happiness, depends upon the course he takes; that his happiness to-morrow, depends in a great measure upon his conduct today—and his happiness next year, depends upon his conduct this year. This principle governs the whole of man's earthly existence. To squander the morning of life in idleness and vice, which should be employed in cultivating the mind and heart, and acquiring a useful education, is to lay the sure foundation for misery and wretchedness in manhood and old age. Education, respectability, wealth, and happiness, are so suspended upon our own conduct, that without design, effort, and perseverance, we forfeit the whole.
Here, then, the doctrine of human probation, as a preparation for happiness, governs the destinies of man in this life. Our youthful years are our probation for happiness and prosperity in the advanced periods of human life, and if this be squandered, or misimproved, the happiness which would otherwise follow is forfeited. Nor would the case be altered, were human life continued now, as long as it was in the days of Methuselah or even were this world to be our eternal state, still, happiness would depend on these contingencies, and human destiny be governed by the doctrine of probation. To suppose otherwise, would be to suppose, at some future time, a subversion of the moral government of God as it now exists, and an abrupt change in the divine administration.
And can we suppose, with any consistency whatever, that the laws and principles which govern man's happiness and destiny, become changed, simply because man has changed his place of residence? Whether we live in the State of New York, or Michigan, we are under the government of the United States, and amenable to its laws. And have we escaped the government of God, and the operation of his laws, simply because we have passed out of this world, into some other part of his dominions? "No one will pretend this, and if not, then it follows that the same fundamental, changeless principles of moral law, which preside over the happiness and destinies of men in this world, will also preside there, and deal out there, as they have here, their results, with an exact and impartial hand. As man's present happiness is contingent, so also is his future happiness. As his happiness in this life depends on the improvement of a probation, so the whole of this life is a probation for eternity.
Moreover, it often hippens under the government of God in this life, that men are punished without remedy. The consequences of their sins follow them to the last moment of their lives, resulting in the forfeiture of life itself, or cutting them off from the most desirable blessings while life continues. Sometimes this is done by the actual infliction of penalty for crime, by which life is forfeited, or liberty during life. But sometimes it is effected in the way of natural consequence. Men stain their characters by crime, or destroy their health by sinful indulgence, or waste their property and reduce themselves to poverty and want by prodigality. These consequences of their evil deeds continue during life: against them is no remedy. Here, then, so far as this life is concerned, God's laws and government create and authorize endless punishment.
Thus we see the voice of nature, and the analogy of God's gorernment in this world, confirm the doctrine for which we contend, showing that future punishment, and even the eternity of that pun. ishment, is but the legitimate result of the sinner's voluntary conduct, under the operation of laws now incorporated into the gor. ernment of God, and yielding their certain fruits in this present life.
For if it now accords with the attributes and government of God, that man should be punished without remedy, it is fair to presume, even had we no revelation to confirm it, that if we reject the gospel, spend our lives in sin, and die unrepentant and unforgivenGod may and will, without any departure from the principles of his changeless government, cut us off from the hope of salvation, and deliver us over to eternal punishment. —[ Time expired.
[MR. AUSTIN'S SECOND REPLY.] Gentlemen Möderators:-In commencing this reply, I will pro. ceed at once to the consideration of the arguments Elder Holmes has introduced in his last speech, and then attend to several incidental matters which require notice. His second argument in support of the doctrine of endless misery, he attempts to build on the nature and immutability of God's moral attributes, If he could prove by a legitimate course of reasoning, that the Deity possesses any Attribute which would lead him to create countless numbers of beings, expressly to inflict endless torture upon them, or voluntarily to expose them to a doom so infinitely awful—or that it would be necessary to inflict such an evil, as a punishment, to satisfy the well grounded claims of an Attribute of the Creator-then he would, indeed, lay down a foundation stone, on which he could begin in sustain the affirmative of this question. In regard to the first of these suggestions, my opponent will not even preterd God has any attribute which would urge him to create men expressly to torment them forever, or to expose them to such a fate. Hence it must be upon the other supposition, that he can attempt to advance any thing that looks like an argument, in support of bis theory, from the Attributes of God. The only attribute which it is pretended can put forth a claim of the nature referred to, is Justice. Does the Justice of the Creator claim the wretchedness of a human being as its rightful due? If his argument aimed at any thing, it