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ments—that the wicked often suffer less than the righteous during the journey of life. There are numberless cases occuring on the theatre of time, in which the justice and impartiality of God's proceedings would be liable to impeachment. Look at the honest-hearted and patient Job, enduring every species of adverse providences, in property, in family and in his person; while the wicked flourished, accumulated wealth, and enjoyed with unruffled composure the social circle of friends, reproaching the servant of God for his hypocritical pretensions to piety. While Paul, the great apostle of the Gentiles, was toiling, preaching the gospel to the outcast, with fatigue and amid peril, in poverty and want, in hunger and distress of soul, braving the stormy deep and enduring the malignant persecutions of those he wished to save, in prison, chains and death, for the sake of the gospel, virtue and religion; the haughty and wicked of the earth, fearless of God and man, were applauded for bravery and decked with regal honors, pursued their wonted course of life in peace, with tranquil days and nights, gratifying their appetite with well-served viands, and their unhallowed passions with every sinful indulgence. The Waldenses in the valley of Piedmont, lived in humble cottages, worshiped the God of heaven around their own firesides, educated their children in habits of industry, honesty and economy, instilled into the tender emotions of mind the bland spirit of Christ and the holy principles of virtue and religion, training them up for the church, for Christ and for heaven; thus in peaceful retirement they lived as the inoffensive saints and servants of God. They tilled the glebe and eat their food with thankful hearts. Their own industrious hands procured the raiment they wore. But lo! the storm gathered around in threatening aspect and menaced a sudden and tumultuous cessation to all their earthly enjoyments and pleasing prospects. The storm of bloody persecution thundering along the mountain side, poured the infernal yells of war and death through all the land. Human monsters seized the praying sire upon his knees in humble supplication to God for grace, and with the glittering scimitar severed his head from his shoulders. They pillaged the house of God of all his pious followers, and dragged them to the burning stake, and there mingled their bones with the ashes of the faggot-pile ; while others were broken on the wheel, tormented till life expired and the soul was conveyed to mansions of bliss. Innocent children and defenceless women were made the subjects of infernal malice, and were obliged to drink the cup, mixed with the gall and wormwood of adversity. After all this rage of persecution and shameless atrocities, the pampered priests, at whose word all these things were done, were permitted to receive the highest civilities of life, and parade in flowing gowns and decked with tinsels, live in splendor, revel in palaces and exult over the weltering victims of Piedmont. If the wicked receive all the punishment their sins deserve within the limits of their mundane existence, how shall we justify the rectitude of Göd in such dispensations ! - - Thus while piety and virtue are unrewarded, profligacy and crime go unpunished and oft confer upon their votaries affluence, pomp, applause and luxurious ease ; while innocence and rectitude are left unprotected, hypocrisy and vice are elevated to posts of honor and responsibility—the criminal passes along with impunity, and knaves are made the guardians of public weal, while men of uprightness are censured and doomed to infamy and wrong. In all this state of affairs under the moral government of God, we cannot tell who is punished—what crimes—how great the desert of sin—nor whether the ends of the divine government are attained. The righteous suffer as much and at times more
than the wicked, therefore upon the ground of no future punishment, for aught we understand, virtue and religion are followed with a poor reward; while vice and irreligion • are crowned with all the comforts, honors and tranquillity of earth. The dealings of providence do not vindicate the justice and moral government of God, for the righteous suffer as well as the wicked; nor do they secure the reformation of the wicked for many of them “grow worse and worse,” adding crime of the deepest dye to crime; therefore all the arrangements of the divine government are a perplexing and an inexplicable riddle. Under this view of the subject the greater the sinner the less his punishment. His conscience becomes callous, his perceptions blunted, his energies nerveless and his very soul steeped in the font of stupifying crime. His remorse is slight and his sorrows are like the waters poured upon the rock—he feels not as other men in regard to sin, the importance of religion, death and eternity. But carry out the doctrine of future punishment and all God’s providential dealings are justified. The men covered with inglorious obscurity shall come forth—the knave dethroned—the hypocrite unmasked and the upright honored —the pious rewarded and the wicked damned. That which is lacking in the rewards of the pious in this life will be completed hereafter, while the tyrant and the oppressor, the profligate and the despiser of God, shall receive a just and adequate doom in the future administration of the moral government of the Almighty. There all difficulties will be solved, all incongruities harmonized, and all the ways of God displayed in beauty, perfection and consummate wisdom, before the gaze of the assembled universe. 2. Without future punishment many of the wicked would elude judicial inflictions for all that their sins deserve.
- If we shall be able to show, that sins are committed for which the perpetrator receives no adequate punishment, then we shall advance a strong argument to prove the necessity of future punishment; since, indeed, the Univer-, salist professes to believe, that the sinner must suffer all that his sins deserve. We state, that some sins cannot be punished in this life. Drunkenness is a sin against God and against the physical laws of nature. The man addicted to this vice, visits the grogshop, drinks, gambles and blasphemes—he spends the midnight hour in his frolicksome glee, and reels and drinks; when, alas ! the vital laws of life receive a sudden, fatal shock from an apoplectic fit, and he sinks into the cold embrace of death. It was sin that led him on, benumbed his moral and mental powers, and poured the chilling oaths from his lips, quivering with the last gasp of breath. Where is he punished for his last crime ! Another seeks the dark and dismal retreats of the earth, and searches for his prey in the watches of the night. He meets his fellow clay, he points his pistol and demands his purse, or life is forfeited—at that moment, in self-defence, the dagger pierces his murderous heart; he sinks a lifeless corpse. Where does retributive justice mete out his reward His crime was as great and as black, in God's account, as though his pistol had drunk his brother's blood.
The third has no reverent thoughts of God in his heart, and through pride he elevates himself above every thing that is holy—his soul has become a sink of sin, and from his lips, as the volcanic lava, flow horrid blasphemies—he curses the soul of man, the oracles of truth, and the resurrection-morn; he blasphemes the God that made him and defies the Omnipotent arm to battle. No sooner done, than the surcharged cloud sends the electric fluid, that smites him to the ground. He dies with imprecations on his tongue; where is he punished all his crime deserves 2
The man who usurps authority over his own life, and sends his soul into the presence of his God by the act of suicide, does he receive a just and adequate punishment for all his sins deserve on this side eternity ? Where and what is his punishment? Does the Universalist say, with an air of contempt, none but insane persons will ever commit suicide 2 This needs proof, and above all, the insane man who commits the act, may have occasioned his insanity by some other violations of right, or justice, otherefore the crime stands in its native and unmitigated character. . .
If we could show that but a single sin were unpunished in this life, it would argue the necessity and certainty of future punishment; but since numberless cases occur, where the wicked cannot possibly realize condign punishment in this life, therefore there is in reserve a just and adequate punishment for the ungodly who die with sins unforgiven, and are unreconciled to their Creator.
But the caviler may try to elude the force of the foregoing reasoning, by saying, that his belief is, that the act of sin and the misery of punishment take place at one and the same time. Let us sift the soundness of this philosophy. The act of sin supposes a time in which it was committed, and the punishment of sin also; and as the punishment of sin could not exist prior to the commission of sin, for then the innocent would suffer as though they were guilty, which would reflect injustice on the administration of the Creator —therefore, if the doctrine be true, punishment must begin at the very point in which sin began to exist and both end together—yea, that sin is punished by itself, and that penal inflictions have no part in punishment. Suppose a man does wrong, as Paul did, and yet thinks that he does God service; but afterwards becomes convinced of his error, and obtains forgiveness because he did it ignorantly in unbelief. Where and what is his punishment? Did it take