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can he believe at all, if the evidence is against him?" It is not uncharitable to say of a man, that he is not sincere, when he professes to believe that two and two are eight. It is not uncharitable to say that he does not, and cannot believe itbecause the human mind is so constructed that it cannot believe an absurdity. And the human mind is so organized that it cannot believe error in opposition to truth. It cannot believe error, when the evidence is against that error. When we say that Universalists are neither sincere nor believers in their own system, then, we only say that their minds cannot do that which God never designed they should do-viz : believe against evi. dence.
But allowing them their claim to sinceritywhat then? Will their sincerity save them? If we meet a man going south, and he is sincere in the belief that he is going due north-will his sincerity bring him to the north pole? If we see a man eating arsenic, and he is sincere in the belief that it is flour-will his sincerity save him from the poison?
So, if we meet a friend who is preaching the doctrine of Universal Salvation, and who is sincere, will his sincerity convert error into truth? Will his sincerity protect him from the frowns of an insulted God? If there were no evidence within his reach, of the falsity of his system, his sincerity then would be of avail. But when the evidence blazes all around him, that his system is false, what will God do with his plea of sincerity in the day of
judgment ? And when we meet our friends, who have heard this false system preached till they say they not only believe it, but are sincere in their belief-what will their sincerity avail them, when they may, by studying the Bible, know the truth? God will not regard such a plea, my dear friends, in that day when he will judge your souls. Be warned in time. Let not death find you a misera.' ble believer in this doctrine. When the awful gates of eternity shall be unbarred to receive your departing spirit, and the thunders of the last trum. pet shall shake the universe, let not unutterable despair and disappointment overtake you. When you go into the presence of your final Judge, go not there with a lie in your right hand. For God says: “Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet, and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place, and your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand."
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Proverbs, xiv. 12.
Our twenty-first reason for not believing in the doctrine of Universal Salvation, is, that it robs the law of God of its penalty. Every law must have a penalty. A law without a penalty would be only advice-and advice, however good, never can answer the ends of moral government. Our legislatures and courts of justice might repeal all their laws, and only advise the citizens but this advice would not answer the ends of civil government. Advice is a system of maxims, which men may obey or not, without the hope of reward, or the fear of punishment. What would the best system of maxims do in holding back men from the commission of crime? If advice will do, is it not strange that the wisest lawgivers have not discovered it? But it does not take a lawgiver to see that simple advice never can govern men. The man of com
mon understanding can see that advice would do no more, in holding men in subjection, than the smallest thread of silk, stretched across the Atlantic, would in binding its mountain waves. “But," says the Universalist, “our system does not rob the law of God of its penalty, for we hold that the consequences which flow from obedience or disobedience, are the proper penalty of the law. We hold, that vice inflicts its own punishment, and virtue brings its own reward.” Suppose, then, that our lawgivers should proclaim, that all the penalties which are now affixed to our laws, should be done away, and vice shall be left to punish itself. Would unruly men be afraid of such laws? Would not such laws, after all, be mere advice ? Every man, then, would be left to obey or not, just as he might deem it most for his interest. Every man would be left to judge for himself as to the expediency of committing crime. One man might judge that the evils of crime were not so great as the benefits. Another would say, “I would rather commit this murder, and gratify my revengeful feelings, or obtain that wealth, even if I shall be haunted with remorse of conscience.” If men will, commit these various crimes now, when not only the consequences of vice stare them in the face, but the penalty of a violated law-what would they not do if the penalty of the law were abrogated ? What would they not do under a system of mere advice? When every man should be left entirely to himself? Would such a system be tolerated among us? Would we not assemble en masse,
and turn out such rulers and lawgivers, and elect men who would frame wise and wholesome laws?, True, the thief would not vote with us for a change. The murderer would not be over anxious for an administration of law-but all wise and good men would come out and stand on the side of government and law. And if human governments cannot succeed in controlling men without law, how can God. Human governments only profess to govern the external actions, and yet they must have law to do that-but the Almighty will govern, not only the external actions, but the motives of men. How then can he do this great work without law? He will not do it by physical force. He never has done it by force, and he never will do it by force. Among men you admire a government of law, and not of despotism. For the same reason, you must admire the government of God, for it is a government of law, and not of despotism. It is a government of reason, of motive, and not of simple omnipotent power. If it is a government of motive, then it must hold out motives equal to the interests that are to be protected. If it is a small interest among men that needs protection, it requires only a small motive-if it is a large interest, it requires a large motive. The motives of any government must be equal to the interests of that government, or it cannot sustain itself. What then must of necessity be the penalty of God's law? If God's government is the government of a finite being, then it needs only finite motives. If his govern