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it be said, that those who refuse the invitations of God to the supper of his Son, that is, to celestial enjoyments, shall never taste of that supper, if they are notwithstanding to be saved? How can it be said that he, who believeth not the Son, shall not see life (shall not enjoy the happiness of heaven) if he is ultimately to escape from punishment? How can it be said, that the wrath of God shall abide upon him, if it is ever to be withdrawn? How can the filthy be filthy still, if they are to become holy and happy? All such declarations it must be admitted, teach eternal punishment.
This protracted, but I hope profitable investigation, is now closed. Other things relating to the general subject, are yet to be considered, but the unreasonableness of expecting the restoration of lost men to virtue and happiness, is now made sufficiently apparent. Many other passages might be named, which convey the same unequivocal testimony in favor of this conclusion, but unless you are willing to believe the inspired declarations already exhibited, you will not assent to any evidence whatever. "And he said unto him; -If they hear not Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." Indeed, what more can How various, express and you desire ? abundant are the proofs before you! There is scarcely any other subject in the bible, so much noticed, or on which there are such explicit revelations. Apply the common rules for interpreting language to the passages which speak of the duration of future punishment, and the conclusion that it is everlasting, cannot be evaded. And why do you, my hearer, refuse your assent to the doctrine? You can offer no satisfactory reason. bible makes no contradictory statements on this subject. The evidence already advanced, is a fair example of the manner in which the doctrine is treated throughout the word of God. Why then do you not believe? I know the reason. It is an awful truth. You shrink from the dreadful necessity of admitting it, as you would from the sentence of death. You consequently flatter yourself that it is inconsistent with the character of God. But did you gain such an idea of Him, from his works and providence? How could you? He allows sin and misery to exist in this world. Judging of what he may do, from what he
has done, it is surely not impossible that suffering will never cease under his government. Where then have you learned that He is too good to punish the wicked? God is indeed infinitely good-He himself asserts it. But if you believe this, why will you not believe when he asserts that the wicked shall be punished forever? Is one of his declarations more worthy of credit than another? But he has never informed you that he is too good to inflict eternal punishment. You have not learned in the bible that this is his character. Where then did you obtain this extraordinary acquaintance with your Maker? You obtained it no where. There is no such God as your imagination has conceived. The fact that you would save all men of every description of character, is no evidence that He will. You would restore your dying neighbor to health, relieve his wife from the agony of separation and his children from orphanage and want; but the most merciful God decides differently, and allows disease, poverty and death to fill the world with tears and suffering. No benevolent man would be the author of so much misery. The unlimited knowledge of God enables him to perceive
equity, wisdom and goodness in events which no human being would imagine, without a revelation, to be either kind or just. Such is the nature of eternal punishment. It is an order of God's government inseparable from the most important interests of his kingdom, and which he will maintain, however much the sympathies of our frail and erring nature may revolt at its execution. Why then do you not credit the frequent and explicit testimony of his word on this momentous subject? What do you gain by your ceaseless efforts to evade the truth, by your unprofitable zeal in disseminating error? What advantage have you even now, in the things whereof you will one day be ashamed? I put the question to excite reflection. The condemnation to which sin exposes us, may be avoided by repentance. God has appointed a day in which he will judge the secrets of men, by that man whom he hath ordained; on which account, he commands all men to repent, as an adequate and indispensable security against the sentence of indignation and wrath. But he, who denies the justice and possibility of everlasting punishment, makes himself ignorant of the nature and tendency of sin, ignorant of his own cha
racter and of his God; for he beholds not the moral image of man reflected from the lake of despair, and turns not with contrition and gratitude to the cross of Christ. The evidence which he smothers, the light which he extinguishes, is essential to his pardon and eternal peace. "Consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver."