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be an eternal death, therefore the penalty of sin, or of the law is an endless curse. If this be the obvious meaning of death, then there is no need, that God should prefix to death, the adjective "endless," to make the penalty of the law, mean an endless curse. All this being so obvious as to challenge a denial, we might rest the subject here without any additional remarks, for a plain reason is not rendered more satisfactory by a long chain of argumentation ; yet it might seem requisite to advert to the word of God, the grand arbiter of religious principles, to increase the light on this point.
2. The word of God corroborates the doctrine, that the penalty of sin is an endless curse.
In the position in which Christ was placed, it would seem essentially important, that the Great Teacher should unequivocally reprobate the doctrine that the death of sin is an endless curse, when we take into consideration, that the Jews were generally firm believers in this doctrine. Now if this doctrine is so erroneous and dangerous to the present happiness of man, as Universalists would fain make the world believe, then we should naturally conclude, that Christ would have exploded these groundless notions. But instead of this, the Savior in numberless cases taught such principles and uttered such language as would have a direct tendency to establish them in their views. Yea, such unequivocal language as is unfit to stand by the side of Universalism, unless it is first criticised and tortured to death, or covered up with critical citations and the sophistry of mistranslations. How usual it was for the Savior and the inspired writers to hold up in contrast the doctrine of death and life, the penalty of sin and the gift of life, and all designed to make the impression, that they were commensurate in point of existence !
THE PUNISHMENT OF SIN.
Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Eccl. viii. 11.
BECAUSE God does not execute the penalty of sin always as soon as sin is committed, the transgressor is emboldened to persist in his career of wickedness, vainly indulging the illusive hope, that he is not held accountable for his crimes, nor liable to the avenging wrath of his Creator. Under this apparently lax administration of the moral government of God, the sons of men” fully resolved to continue in sin, and contemptuously inquired “where is the God of judgment." The natural heart of man has not materially changed for the better since the days when the language of the text was uttered until the present period of time. In view of the light, and diffusion of the truth, the hearts, or purposes of the wicked are more criminally settled in the works of darkness, and unrelenting against the claims and government of God. Because God does not punish sin immediately, therefore many plunge into the vortex of infidelity, while others discard the idea that God will punish the wicked, or that he will carry out his threatening. Though Universalists profess to believe and teach that God will punish the wicked for all their sin, yet so loose and anti-scriptural are their conceptions of the nature and extent of punishment, that the obvious tendency of their doctrine is, to induce the wicked to throw off all religious restraint in their settled purpose to commit sin. That this is no misrepresentation of Universalism, will appear evident from future remarks.
As Universalists deny all future and eternal punishment, and assert that all men for all their sins will be punished in this life, it will appear of considerable importance to elucidate their views of punishment, before we enter upon an array of testimony and suitable arguments to support and defend the doctrine of future and everlasting punishment. In doing so, let us investigate the views of Universalists by quoting their own language. They teach:
1. That all punishment is confined to this life, and that it will cease at death. .
The general tone of the preaching of Universalists and the common profession of their faith in the doctrine of punishment, clearly admit that sin can and will deserve punishment in this life only; that none of the effects of sin will be realized after death, or after a departure from this world by the dissolution of body and soul. However, we are sensible, that many of the teachers of Universalism, have very serious doubts and qualms of conscience in relation to the truthfulness of the doctrine, that all punishment of sin is confined to this life-they fear that after all their assertions and reasoning, the doctrine of future punishment may be true. They are inclined to show their dogmatism in the denial of endless punishment only, and not in disclaiming the doctrine of future punishment. So far as our knowledge extends, the teachers of Universalism have always promptly declined to enter upon a discussion of the doctrine of future punishment. When they discuss the subject of punishment for sin, they confine the topic to endless punishment. Just this moment our eye glanced at á challenge, coming from an orthodox clergyman, Luther Lee, to a Universalist, Eli Ballou, in the year 1842. The question proposed for discussion was: “Will sinners be punished, after death, for sins committed in this life?” This, Ballou absolutely declined to discuss, for he says, " that many Universalists believe that sinners will be punished after death ;" yet it is well known, that they universally represent in their preaching and newspaper publications, that all punishment will cease at death. The only question to which Eli Ballou would accede and promise to discuss, was: “Do the Scriptures teach that any part or portion of mankind will be endlessly punished for sins committed in this life?” This is not the only instance that has transpired, for others are upon record. They have always been loathe to discuss this subject..
Their doubts and misgivings of mind in relation to the utter falsity of the doctrine of future punishment, will be seen from their own language.
Mr. Jason Lewis, a preacher of Universalism, in giving a summary statement of the doctrines held by them, says, in relation to punishment, “ Punishment, from the hand of God, being paternal—at some time or other, when it shall have accomplished the object for which it was inflicted, will come to an end." It is true, Mr. Lewis does not assert that there will be future punishment, neither does he deny it; but declares that punishment will endure until it shall have accomplished its end, the reformation of its victims; and thus of course, if the end is not secured in this life, it will extend into the future. If the question should be proposed why does Mr. Lewis speak so equivocally? Why does he not state distinctly, whether he believes in the doctrine, that all punishment is confined to this life, or that it extends into the future? The answer may be seen in their unwillingness to discuss the doctrine of future punishment disconnected with its endless duration, and in the assertion, that “in favor of future punishment there are some plausible arguments, which may be drawn from reason and analogy;" and the declaration, that the “doctrine of a limited future punishment has never, as a distinct question, excited a very general interest” among them, and that they conceive it to be a doctrine “of minor importance.” Mr. Whittemore, of Boston, says to his orthodox opponents, that the question of future punishment, they wished to “settle among themselves without any foreign help.” The truth of the matter is, they fear the discussion of the doctrine of future punishment, and the most pugnacious among them will back out of a discussion of the punishment of sin, unless it is the endless punishment of sin. They feel the weakness of their cause, and that they have but a slight opportunity to equivocate on terms and particular phraseology, in comparison with what they have while speaking or writing on endless punishment.
In reading a discourse preached by the Rev. E. H. Chapin, and published by the Universalist printing establishment at Utica, and widely circulated in pamphlet and papers among the believers of the faith of Universalism, the author says: “ Some hold that sin and its consequences extend not beyond the resurrection state-others, that the effects of sin
at least, are felt in another existence, and that, therefore · misery is produced to those upon whom they operate, the last is the opinion of your speaker.”
Can the doctrine of future punishment, though limited, be of so little importance in the estimation of those Universalists who profess to believe it, or stand in fear that it may be true, as never to break silence on the subject and warn the people against the misery of a thousand years, more or less? Do they dread to startle the sleepy nerves of their hearers and grate their ears with such unharmonious sounds? Or will the people not endure such doctrine, even