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does not control the chariot of war-the course of the pestilence, and the heavings of the earthquake? If not, then are not these fearful dispensations as much against the mercy of God as the infliction of punishment in a future world?
But the demerit of sin, so far as we can estimate it, sustains the character of God in all the acts of his providential and moral governments.
We might as well say that God is not merciful because he sends the cholera among men, as that he is unmerciful because he will punish the finally impenitent. Let us, before we take it for granted. that God is unmerciful in any of his ways, ascend all the heights, and penetrate into all the depths, and span all the lengths and breadths of his government. Till then, let us devoutly say, as did one of old, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do
Again: “ This sect” are spoken against, because, as their enemies say, in believing in the doctrine of future and eternal punishment, they maintain that infants are finally lost.
Driven from every other refuge, our enemies will thus endeavour to excite public odium against us. They tell their people that we believe that there are infants in hell not a span long. And for fear the public will not believe that we hold such a monstrous sentiment, they tell them that they have heard some of us declare it—thus leaving their hearers with this alternative, viz: that either they are the most abominable liars that ever lived, or that we believe in the most abominable doctrine
that can be taught. But their hearers cannot believe for a moment that they will stand up in the sacred desk and lie before the face of God. So, in charity to their instructers, they take the other branch of the alternative, and almost believe that " this sect" do really teach the damnation of infants. But “this sect” declare that they neither teach such a doctrine, neither is it involved in the doctrine of future punishment. If we have taught it as a sect, we challenge them to name the
of the world in which we taught it: name the number who have taught this doctrine: give us their names, and let us see if they are sufficiently numerous to constitute a fair representation of the numbers and sentiments of “ this sect.” This sentiment is not a consequence of the doctrine of future punishment. Sin is the transgression of law, and if it can be shown that infants have transgressed law, then they must suffer the consequences. But until that can be shown, the damnation of infants cannot be shown. And if it cannot be shown that infants are lost from having violated law, their destruction cannot be predicated on any other ground whatsoever. We believe that infants are saved, every one of them. We believe that they make up no small portion of those who wake the lyres and wear the unfading crowns of heaven. To say that “this sect" believe in the perdition of infants, then, is the same thing as if our enemies should say—“Well, we are hard pushed for arguments against this sect;' and what we fail to accomplish by argument, we must accomplish by
satire, and ridicule, and public odium." But a system that needs the force of satire and ridicule to support it, is not supported by evidence, and a system which is not supported by evidence, will tumble into ruins amid the fires and thunders of the coming day of wrath!
1. It is important, when we wish to know the religious sentiments of a sect, to go to those who belong to that sect, and who are competent to give us their views.
If this course had been pursued with Paul in the first place, he might never have been carried to Rome as a prisoner. And if this course had ever since been pursued by the enemies of the sect which has been so much spoken against, they might have saved themselves many hard thoughts, and many hard speeches. If this course had always been pursued by our enemies, they would never have taught or believed that we hold the doctrine of the damnation of infants. Men's selfish interests will often lead them to say things concerning “this sect” which are not true. Many men obtain their support by speaking and writing against one of the fundamental doctrines of "this sect.” If they say, to make an impression, that they have no interest in misleading their hearers, then they say that which is not true; for upon the success of their endeavours depends their support. If they do not succeed in demolishing the doctrine of future
punishment, they will not have, for any length of time, hearers, (unless men will listen to them against their own convictions,) and if they do not secure hearers, they will have no salary, and if they have no salary, they will have no purse, and if they have no purse, they will die out of the community. Not só with “this sect." They have no selfish interest in building up the church of the living God. The very nature of the work precludes such an idea. They do not count upon a support only as they are successful in demolishing God's truth-only as they pull away one of the marble pillars of the universe ! « This sect," and all their ministers, would prefer to die with starvation, rather than be found fighting against God. They would rather all their presses would stop, and the record of their existence be blotted out from among men, than dishonour God or his truth. But when we hear the representations of those whose very object is to turn the truth of God into a lie, we should not believe them. They have an important interest in deceiving us. If they cannot deceive you, they are undone for this world. Do not go to them, then, who oppose "this sect," to find out what “ this sect” believe—but come directly to "this sect."
2. Because every body speaks against a sect, it does not prove that they are wrong in their sentiments or practices. “This sect” were every where spoken against in the days of Paul. From the palace of Nero to the remotest hamlet in the Roman empire, there were heard hard speeches against the infant church of Jesus Christ. And as Christianity advanced in the world, hard speeches were exchanged for the sword, and the dungeon, and the fury of wild beasts, and the tortures of the stake. When Nero's concubines were converted, then it was that he illuminated his gardens and the streets of Rome with the burning bodies of the Christians. And as it was then, so it is now. “This sect” are every where spoken against. Go where you will, , and you hear men blaspheme their God, assassinate their Saviour, revile their doctrines, belie their practices, and attack their characters. And probably the day is not far distant, when another Nero will arise, to light the flames of martyrdom. The very capitol of the nation, which now stands in its snowy whiteness the great temple of liberty and law, may become the grand slaughter-house of the saints, and its walls be stained with the blood of those who will die for the testimony of Jesus Christ. But though Christians should again become obnoxious to the whole world, it would prove nothing except that this world is in rebellion against the Christian's God.
3. It is a vain and a perilous thing to speak against “this sect."
All the hard speeches, and all the excruciating tortures against “ this sect," have not stopped their progress in our world. “ This sect” has outlived all its persecutors. It has survived the ruins of empires. Men who once set themselves in array against it, where are they?-where are their thrones ?-who wear their crowns? No weapon