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other system, the divine character. It uses with great freedom its own form of reasoning to demolish the system of evangelical faith, but seems not to be aware that its own weapons may be turned with success against its own citadel. We are not sure that the friends of truth have observed how easily and how completely the heavy ordnance of universalism may be turned against itself.
It is proposed to show, in reference to the leading features of the divine character, that the arguments with which universalism attacks our sentiments, may be retorted upon itself with decided success. If these arguments work for the system, they work equally well against it.
I. Universalism brings against God the odious charge of partiality.
It denies the doctrine of a future judgment. It teaches that our future state is not affected by the doings of this life. It asserts that all men are punished according to their deserts in this world. It restricts the punishment of sin to the various misfortunes of life, the reproaches of conscience, and the pangs of death. The system that pronounces these evils to be the only penal results of sin, cannot vindicate itself from the charge of glaring partiality. The following specifications of this charge may be enumerated.
1. According to this system, the punishment of death, which is the worst form of punishment, is inflicted upon all, how various soever may be their grades of guilt.
Justice would dictate that, if death were the highest penalty of the divine law, it should not be inflicted on all with indiscriminate severity. No criminal code of human origin awards capital punishment to every offender - from the traitor that would enslave his country, down to the smuggler that evades the payment of a trivial duty ; from the blood-stained pirate, down to the dissipated youth who disturbs the peace by a midnight revel.
Such levelling severity would be deemed the grossest. injustice. With such severity, however, do universalists brand the government of the blessed God. The infant that has never lisped a syllable sinks under the agonies of death. The child, whose sins have not risen to the size and enormity of the sins of manhood, is punished also with death. Those who have advanced to the meridian of life, disclosing to the eye of God additional guilt at every step-are punished with but the same severity. And the aged offender, who has grown gray in sin, whom neither mercies nor misfortunes can reclaim, who devotes the venerable influence of advanced life to the corruption of the young, suffers nothing worse than death. Is there then no difference between the faint dawn of sinfulness, and the vivid brightness of mature iniquity ? between the tender blossom and the mellow fruit of sin? between the hesitating air, the uneffaced blush of childish guilt, and the insolent port and vaunting air of experienced wickedness?
It is true that in some instances the agonies of death are comparatively light. Sometimes, indeed, they are but momentary. But this mitigation of punishment, granted, as it often is, with no regard to justice, is only a confirmation of the charge of partiality. The meek and patient Christian, whose life has been a public blessing, often experiences a more direful and prolonged conflict with the king of terrors, than the most worthless votary of vice. Even the child who has scarcely begun to walk in the path of sin, is convulsed on a death bed with throes which lacerate the parents' heart, while the vilest miscreant, by public execution or by suicide, is hurried into eternity almost without a struggle. Would not this be partiality of the most glaring description, if universalism were true ? ' Is the heaviest penalty recognised by this system thus enforced with no just regard to age or character ? What could be more glaring injustice ?
2. According to the system of universalism a similar specification of the charge of partiality against the Most High is to be seen in the infliction of the punishment of remorse. The stings of conscience are pronounced by the friends of universalism an important part of the retribution to which men are condemned in this world. The compunctions of remorse are inflicted on men with no just reference to character.
Behold the gay libertine, who scruples not to destroy the peace of virtuous families, who glories in deeds that plunge the victims of his ensnaring arts into the lowest depths of degradation, who moves in society like a pestilential sirocco, spreading around him a polluting influence, leaving the imprint of vice and infamy wherever he treads. Observe the gay
indifference with which he proceeds in his pathway of crime. Does he feel the agonies of remorse ? Question him upon the subject and he will smile in scorn at your simplicity. His moral sensibilities have been long benumbed. Remorse is a stranger to his bosom. He has reached such a proficiency in wickednes,
that he can proceed from crime to crime with unruffled composure. Nay, he plumes himself upon the skill with which he makes havoc of the morals and the happiness of his deluded victims.
Turn next to an humble Christian whose life is stained by no immorality. For a season he is overwhelmed with sorrow. What has led to the distress you witness ? What cause has covered his face with sadness? What secret agony preys upon his soul? The cause of his grief is one which he would rather conceal within the sanctuary of his bosom than drag out to public observation. He has detected within himself a diminished interest in the word of God, the fervor of his prayers may have given place to cold formality. The business or the fascinations of the world may have engrossed bis attention unduly, or he has felt the workings of an unsubdued spirit of resentment. The cause which seems to his watchful piety so loudly to demand tears of contrition has not been discovered by his bosom friends. And while to the observer's view his life presents the charm of christian consistency, he weeps and mourns before God over the secret offences of his inward life. Nor does he wear the aspect of peace and gladness till the assurance of pardon and favor from bis God has relieved his heavy heart. In one hour does he experience more distress than the conscience of the hardened libertine would inflict in an entire year. Is then the humble Christian, who mortifies every sinful desire, more guilty than the bold transgressor who gives a loose rein to his worst passions? If not, why does he endure the compunctions of remorse in such a disproportionate degree? If men are punished only in this life, and if, as is alleged, remorse is a fearful
of the sinner's punishment, why are the compunctions of the vicious so trivial as to be no availing obstruction of their pleasures or their crimes, while the conscientious Christian quivers with apprehension, upon the neglect of the slightest duty ? Here is a strange disregard of justice which universalism does not explain.
3. The partiality of the Ruler of the world is evinced also, according to universalism, in the happy removal of the wicked from earth to heaven, while righteous survivors are still subjected to many sorrows.
The more profligate a man becomes, the more does he shorten bis life. According to an inspired proverb, the wicked do not live out half their days. They die and are borne to heaven, if universalism may be credited. Having finished their course VOL. XII. No. 31.
with joy, having run a race of glaring iniquity, having contended not against the enemies of the soul, but against the cause of holiness and the servants of God to the last moment, having won the crown of public infamy, baving become meet for an inheritance with the devil and his angels, they are ushered by the ministering spirits to the abodes of the blessed. The glories of heaven beam around them; the bliss of heaven fills their bosoms; the Holy One lavishes upon them the warmest commendations. But where are the miserable survivors, the devout men whose peace they loved to disturb, whose piety they loved to deride, whose beneficent plans they loved to embarrass? They are doomed to remain in this vale of tears, to breast additional opposition from the replenished ranks of the enemies of godliness. They must weep and struggle for many a tedious year before the time of their release shall come. They may yet outlive another annoying generation of the ungodly before they can be discharged from their earthly imprisonment.
Thus the antediluvians were hurried from a life of insufferable wickedness to a heavenly home; and as they looked down from heaven, with what feelings did they observe the faithful Noah as he pursued his lonely voyage over a buried world ? With what emotions did they witness his subsequent misfortunes ? They could thank God that they were now safe and happy in heaven, while the inmates of the ark were doomed to spend on earth additional years of perplexity and sorrow. Is this justice ?
According to universalism, God shortened the lives. of the men .of Sodom and removed them prematurely, or rather by a fortunate providence, to the abodes of the blessed. At the same time he prolonged the existence of the faithful Lot under the most painful circumstances. The unhappy man survived the destruction, or rather the salvation of his daughters, the mournful, or rather happy end of his wavering wife, the loss of his property and the ruin of his town. Was it an equitable procedure to transfer the vile inmates of that polluted city from earth to heaven, while the aged Lot was left to roam in desolation and grief, a wanderer on earth?
Was it just to doom the favored Israelites to a prolonged life amid the burning sands of the desert, while their pursuers, the Egyptian host, were relieved from the work of malignant persecution and transferred to heaven? In a few minutes the latter were drowned, and then their happiness was complete—for forty years the Israelites bore the sufferings of a sojourn in the desert.
Let a man serve God with pious care, and in ordinary circumstances, he will outlive the abandoned voluptuary. His piety will be rewarded by a long exclusion from the joys of heaven. He must stay on earth till he has seen his fondest hopes crushed a hundred times ; he must endure separations that will wring his heart; he must live till he becomes an incumbrance to his friends, till he stands a solitary trunk, stripped of its branches, bowing and trembling under every blast; he must endure neglect; he must witness the unconcealed avidity of eager heirs to gain possession of his property ; perhaps he outlives his reason and remains a helpless wreck, and his dotage exhausts the patience of all around him. At last death removes the superannuated burden from the world.
Let a profligate young man rush into vicious excesses. fit of intebriation, or in the hope of concealing crime he commits a murder; the laws of the land dooin himn to die. Or in other words, a kind providence thus favors him with a speedier discharge from the woes of earth. Instead of dragging out a long life, he is borne to heaven, ere he has attained mature age.
He is blessed with an earlier release from the perils and vicissitudes of earth than the pious man. But where is the equity of this procedure ? In all such instances universalism charges the Almighty with a flagrant disregard of justice.
We do not affirm that the righteous always outlive the wicked, but if they do, the fact furnishes ground for the charge of partiality, upon the principles of universalism.
4. Sometimes the mosi holy men have been persecuted bitterly by the enemies of religion. This may be specified as an additional impeachment of the divine justice as it is expounded by universalism.
Why were the primitive Christians loaded with every indignity and subjected to every outrage? Why did the blood of martyrs flow? Why did the groans of persecuted Christians ascend from the stake - with the smoke of their torments ?” It was because they were righteous, and their oppressors wicked. They were punished with death in its worst forms. The persecutors survive to enjoy the blessings of prosperity. If there be no future retribution, if the oppressor may inflict the most cruel tortures upon the servant of Christ and still enjoy the ordinary share of earthly happiness, if the martyr and the relentless monster who chained him to the stake must meet at length under the same canopy of divine favor, if the oppressed and the