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mind of Eve. He knew he must say something, or do something, to remove the penalty of the law of Eden, before he could persuade its inhabitants to sin. He commenced, as Universalist ministers do now, with an interrogatory of surprise and astonishment: “Yea! hath God said ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know, that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened; and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” The devil knew, if by his affected surprise and astonishment, and by his bold denial of the penalty of the law of Paradise, and by the promise of great good, he could persuade Eve that there was no penalty of death, he would gain his point. How very like the course which Universalist ministers pursue at the present day!
The contradictions and tendencies of this system of Universal Salvation, which the devil first preached in our world, will occupy our thoughts at the present time.
I. This system of Universal Salvation contradicts itself.
At one time we are told, that the violator of God's law suffers the penalty of that law in another world, by a limited punishment. Again, we are
told, he suffers the penalty of that law in this world. Again, we are told, that mankind are all to be saved, through the infinite atonement of Jesus Christ, and not by their own works. Again, we are told, that it would be unjust for God to inflict everlasting punishment upon the sinner; and in the next breath we are told, that Christ came into the world to save sinners. That is, that Christ came into the world to save sinners from the endurance of that justice which in itself would have been unjust. At one time, they tell us that the sufferings of the sinner in this world are penal; again, that they are expiatory, and again, that they are castigatory. While they maintain that man's sufferings are penal, they set aside the sufferings and death of Christ. If the sufferings of sinners are expiatory, how long does it take them to expiate their crimes by suffering? Some say, during the period of their probation; others, again, say for a hundred years, and some two hundred years, and others millions of ages after they are dead, in a future world. This view also represents Christ to have died in vain; for if sinners can expiate their own sins, what need have they of a Saviour? Why offer pardon to a criminal who has expiated his crimes by suffering? Would it not be insulting the man who has just completed his term of hard labour in the penitentiary, to offer him pardon? If the
punishment of the sinner is castigatory, that is, if it is intended to reform him, how long will it take to do it? Some say, during this life;-others say, for millions of ages after death. Again, we are
told, that there is no such thing as positive infliction of punishment—that virtue is its own reward, and vice its own punishment. This also sets aside altogether the atonement of Christ, by which, in other places, and for other purposes, they maintain every knee is to be made to bow, and every tongue confess, and all be saved. What contradictions are these? Is truth, eternal truth, thus contradictory? Will truth thus destroy itself? Is truth divided against itself?. Can a system, which thus contradicts itself, be true? Is there any such contradictions in the opposite doctrine of everlasting punishment? Can that doctrine be true, the maintenance of which dethrones the Son of God, denies his expiatory sacrifice, and robs God of his justice, and sets its advocates at war among
II. This system of Universal Salvation contradicts reason.
Reason declares that every sin should be punished according to its deserts. Reason declares, too, that some degree of punishment follows the sinner in this life. But reason declares, with no less force, that men do not receive a full retribution for their crimes in this life. Some wicked men are prospered all their days. Some, who spend their life in the highest kind of wickedness, viz: in perverting the truth of God, and poisoning the human mind, are permitted to go on in their awful career unpunished. It is true, they experience great remorse of
conscience, and great fear, so much so that they often exclaim, with Milton's fallen angel
“ Me miserable! which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath and infinite despair?
· But such great transgressors often die without repentance—they often die in the commission of their crimes—they go to the tribunal of a holy God, with their hands red in their own and in their brother's blood;—whereas some good men meet with misfortune after misfortune;-one heavy calamity succeeds another, till they are told to "curse God and die.” Now reason declares, that all this unequal distribution of good and evil, never can be reconciled with the idea of a just God, unless there be a state of rewards and punishments after death. That very reason, therefore, which Universalists so often appeal to, testifies against them. The head and the heart of every Universalist are at war, one with the other. The heart says there is no retribution in another world. Reason says there is, and must be, or there is no just God reigning over this world. The heart says—I don't wish for retribution in another world, and therefore I will try to believe there is none. Reason says, I cannot consult your wishes in my decisions, but must decide according to evidence, and the evidence of this whole world goes to prove a future state of rewards and punishments.
III. This system contradicts the conscience.
The conscience of every sinner testifies that there is a judgment to come, when virtue will be reward. ed, and sin punished. This testimony we have in the very bosoms of our opponents
so that when they do not choose to hear us speak, and when they do not choose to hear the word of God speak, they are still obliged to hear the mighty voice of conscience. This they hear by night and by day.. This disturbs the quiet of their midnight slumbers. This gives agony to the death-bed. This, unless the conscience is seared, as with a red-hot iron, meets the transgressor at every step, declaring that there is wrath in reserve for him. Here, then, is conscience contradicted by the doctrine of Universal Salvation. Truth at war with the very organization of the human mind! Did God reveal that truth which gives the lie to that mind which he has made? Either God never made the human mind, or he never revealed the doctrine of Universal Salvation:- I leave you to judge which of the two propositions is true. The conscience and eternal truth will not and do not fall out by the way. Mind is adapted to God's truth, and God's truth to the human mind. If, then, a system is proposed to us, which contradicts our own minds; we are to infer that it will contradict the God of the mind, and therefore cannot be true.
IV. This system of Universal Salvation contradicts the justice of civil tribunals. The justice of civil tribunals punishes criminals with positive inflictions of suffering. Human laws, in all their