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annihilated; and if this be admitted, the point in dispute is given up. We repeat the question, From what can men be saved after they have received all the punishment they deserve? We read, Matt. xviii, 11, “ The son of man is come to save that which was lost.' But in what sense will men be lost, when they shall have suffered all the punishment they deserve? When the last thunderbolt of wrath divine shall have spent its force, and the storm of vengeance shall have gone by, will men still be lost? When the consequences of man's own misconduct shall have entirely subsided will he still be lost so as to need salvation ? As well might it be said that man was created lost! That he came lost from the hands of his divine author! Is it said that salvation consists in the joys of heaven, and that these are bestowed after the sinner has suffered all the punishment he deserves ? We reply,
1. Mere accession of good does not constitute gospel salvation. Salvation implies deliverance from some positive evil to which we are exposed, as well as accession of good. The scriptures uniformly use the words save and salvation in this
This also is the sense in which these words are used in common conversation ; when we have rescued a man from imminent danger, we say we have saved him: but whoever heard the term salvation, applied to a man in comfortable circumstances, on the accession of an estate ?
2. Gospel salvation is something attainable, at least in part, in this life; and therefore, it cannot exist exclusively in being admitted to the society of the blest in the future world. Tit. iii, 5. “According to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” 2 Tim. i. 9. “Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling.” These texts speak of our being saved in this life; for they spake at the time in which they were written, to the living, concerning what had been done for them. But there is no necessity of proof on this point, for universalists contend that all those texts which speak of a conditional salvation, such
he that believeth shall be saved,” &c. &c. have exclus sive reference to this world; and if so, salvation cannot consist in the bliss of a future world.
3. Salvation consisting in the joys of heaven after suffering all the punishment our sins deserve, could not be by Je
sus Christ; and, consequently, Jesus Christ could not be the Saviour of such. Suppose a man to live and die in sin and to suffer all the punishment his sin deserves, in this world or the world to come, and then be taken to heaven, in what sense could his salvation be attributed to Jesus Christ ? He certainly has not saved him by his gospel; for that, the supposed individual rejected; its precepts he disobeyed, its promises he disbelieved, and its threatenings he disregarded, and bore, in his own person all the evil they imply. Will it be said as a last alternative, that a future state of bliss is the result of Christ's labour of love in our behalf ? That though he saves us from no punishment; yet he has procured eternal happiness for us ? The question returns, how has he done this for us? It is not by any influence which his life, death, or his truth, produces on the sinner himself, in those cases in which men reject the gospel and die in sin and unbelief, as we have just seen; and if it is by purchase that he has procured eternal happiness for us, it implies the doctrine in question ; for, if Christ has purchased eternal life for us, we could not have deserved it on principles of justice, and if we did not deserve eternal happiness, we must have deserved eternal misery, or eternal annihilation ; and if we deserved either of these, then Christ, by purchasing eternal happiness for us, has saved us from a just punishment, by saving us from eternal misery, or eternal annihilation, which we deserved. If Christ has purchased eternal happiness for us, then God would not have bestowed it without such purchase, and if God had not bestowed on us eternal happiness, he must have made us eternally miserable, or else annihilated us for ever, for we can have no conception of any other state. Again, when sinners shall have suffered all that they deserve, there will be nothing to hinder their free access to the Father of Spirits ; no sin, no guilt, no punishment can longer gather between them and the fountain of all true happiness, which is God. There can then be nothing to hinder the goodness of the Father from flowing directly to them in one eternal stream of bliss. Such beings can need no Redeemer, no Intercessor, no Mediator, no Saviour, any more than the Angels that shout around the throne. It is, then, clear that if salvation consists merely in the gift of happiness, after we have suffered all that we deserve, we cannot be dependent on Jesus Christ for salvation !
We think we have now fully shown that sinners cannot be punished all they deserve and then be saved.
The argument, which we will now close, stands thus :
1. Sinners cannot be saved first and then punished for their sins.
2. Sinners cannot be saved and punished for their sins at the same time.
3. Sinners cannot be saved after they have been punished all that their sins deserve ; therefore, if sinners are punished all that their sins deserve, they can never be saved. Nothing can be more clear than this conclusion, if the propositions from whence it is deduced, have been sustained, and we trust that they have. If men are punished, there must be a time when they receive their punishment; and if they cannot be saved before this time of punishment, at or during this time of punishment, nor yet after this time of punishment it is clear that there is no time in which they can be saved. Universalists therefore, must either give up the notion, that every man is punished all his sin deserves, or else erase from their creed the expression, “universal salvation" and write in lieu thereof, UNIVERSAL DAMNATION.
CHAPTER V. On the Punishment of Sin in a Future State. It is, doubtless, generally understood that there are two classes of universalists, distinguished from each other by a difference of belief respecting the time when sinners receive their punishment; one maintaining that all punishment is confined to this life, while the other class, commonly called Universal Restorationers, admit that those who die in sin and unbelief will be punished after death. But while they differ in this respect, they both agree in maintaining the certain and final salvation of all men, and in controversy with those who believe in the doctrine of endless punishment, they generally merge this difference, and refuse to take ground on the question of future punishment. Their reasons for this course are obvious; each theory has its difficulties, which they can avoid only by refusing to avow or deny either. If the
doctrine of future punishment is denied, so many absurdities are involved, and so many and clear are the declarations of scripture to the contrary, that but few dare venture the entire cause of universalism on the supposition that there is no punishment after death, without holding in reserve the doctrine of restoration from hell, through which to escape,
prove true that sinners will be punished in a future state. On the other hand, if the doctrine of future punishment be admitted, the circumstances which must attend punishment in a future state, unfavorable to a moral reform in hell, press so hard
upon the theory, that it is very rarely the case that men, believing in universal salvation, will unreservedly rest their cause on a redemption from hell in a future world. Under these circumstances, when a universalist is asked by an opponent, if he believes in punishment after death or not, he is as much put to it for an answer as the Pharisees were when Christ asked them if the baptism of John was from heaven or of men.
These circumstances render it necessary to take a separate and distinct view of these points. It is true that sinners are exposed to punishment after death, or it is false; and whether it be true or false, has a very important bearing on the main question at issue; and for universalists who hold out the hope of final salvation to all men, to evade so important a point, and refuse to say whether they believe that sinners are liable to punishment after death or not, not only betrays a fear to meet the objections which may be urged against their theory, when it is definitely stated, but is actually trifling with man's dearest interest. As they contend that sinners must suffer all the punishment their sins deserve without possiblity of escape, it is a matter of vast importance to know the extent of divine punishment. If sinners receive all their punishment in this life, why should they be tormented with the fearful apprehensions of a future hell, as restorationers teach? And if they do not suffer all they deserve in this life, but are liable to punishment in the future world, it is awful in the extreme to flatter themselves with the hope of entering upon a state of perfect bliss at death, as universalists teach! Not only so, but it is necessary to settle the question, whether or not sinners are liable to punishment after death, that we
may be enabled to come to a more certain conclusion on the question of endless punishment. If our opponents will take the field and maintain the position that there is no punishment awaiting sinners in a future world, it will follow of course that the doctrine of endless punishment is false ; but if we can prove that sinners will be punished after death, it will give us the advantage of all those circumstances, unfavorable to a moral reform, attendant on punishment in a future state, in proof of endless punishment. Those who do not believe in any punishment after death are not prepared to appreciate arguments in proof of endless punishment, until the position they occupy is shown to be untenable. When arguments are advanced in favour of endless punishment and proof texts adduced, it is common with universalists to dispose of the whole by saying, “it has not yet been proved that these texts relate to a future state.” Now, this point we propose settling at once, by proving that sinners are liable to punishment after death, from which it will follow that every text relates to a future state which speaks of the final punishment of the wicked.
I. All universalists hold principles which, if carried out, go to confirm the doctrine which asserts that sinners will be punished in a future state. They contend that the object of all divine punishment is to reform the sufferer. This appears to be a fundamental principle in their theory; it is advanced by every writer and reiterated by every pulpit declaimer on the subject of universalism. So common is this sentiment that it is unnecessary to quote authority. If however, universalists will disavow the corrective nature and design of all divine punishment they will escape the force of the argument we are about to draw from it in proof of future punishment; but until this be done, the argument must be fatal to their theory. Let it be understood, we do not admit that all punishment is corrective; but simply propose showing that as universalists contend that it is, they must admit the doctrine of future punishment, to be consistent with themselves.
If all divine punishment be designed to reform the sufferer, as universalists contend, one of three consequences must follow, viz. every sinner must be reformed in this life, or punishment must fail to effect the reformation of the sinner,