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If it were possible, that it is cruel injustice to inflict it. Thirdly, That it cannot be a mean of increasing but muft, in the nature of things, imbitter and spoil the happiness of saints. ' If these things can be done in a manner satisfactory to the public, it is readily seen, that Mr. S.'s hypothesis of the greatest good, and of divine benevolence, are totally refuted; and that his whole scheme of divine moral government is subverted. That scheme of divine government, which I formerly stated, in company with that which Mr. S. hath adopted, I shall, hereafter, examine, and endeavor to establish. . First, Eternal misery, as a punishment of temporary crimes, is absurd and impossible in its own nature. Eternal punishment is an infinite punishment. Infinite punishment infers infinite guilt.
Infinite guilt is the quality of the action of an infinite being. Man is the guilty being. Man is therefore an infinite being, Thus we must give up the i. dea of eternal misery, as a punishment inflicted on men for fins committed in this world, or admit that man is an infinite being.
Secondly, Would the nature of things admit it, e. ternal misery is cruelly unjust.
Man once lept in nonentity. The fiat of the Al. mighty called him into existence. At the moment, when God said, ". Let us make man”; the whole
series, and every accident, of man's future existence, were present to the divine view. Before man exifted, he certainly was not guilty. sinir
To To call an innocent nonentity into being, to be eternally finful and miserable, is to exert irresistible and almighty power to produce an infinite evil. I freely submit it to my reader, and the world, wheth. er this be not an action of sovereign cruelty, and barbarous injustice. · Thirdly, The eternal misery of finners would not increase, but imbitter and spoil, the happiness of the faints, Heaven and hell will be eternally in prosa pect of each other according to the supposition. I call on the indulgent father, and on the delicately kind and tender mother, to speak the sentiments of their hearts. Are you willing to receive heavenly happiness at the expense of the eternal fin and mise. ry of your dear children ? Or, if in heaven, can you imagine it would increase your felicity, to look down into the hideous regions of eternal despair, and there to behold your children in devouring fire, never to be quenched, where their worm will never die ? Parental, filial, and every social feeling, must be entirely eradicated from the human soul, by a tranqtion from earth to heaven, or the miseries of hell, if they are to be eternal, will destroy the happi. ness of celestials. .
The glory and blessedness of God, and of his holy intelligent kingdom, are necessarily produced by the eternal sin and misery of the wicked. If by the glory and blessedness of God be meant, the illustrie ous display of the divine character and perfections, the eternal fin and misery of the wicked, instead of
producing, will leffen, obscure, and cast an eternal infamy and reproach upon the divine glory and blessedness. How is it possible that any man should be so infatuated, as to entertain the idea, that it would reflect glory on the divine character, to project a scheme of creation, and moral government, in such a manner, that a part of mankind could not be happy, but at the expense of the eternal lin and mil. ery of all the rest.
Charity, the darling of heaven, which warms the breasts of angels, animates the foul of the filial God, and is the most charming grace that ever entered a human heart, must cease, together with faith and hope, or she will be an eternal torment to the saints. She is incessant, in her wishes, and prayers, and en. deavours for the virtue and happiness of all men, whilft she dwells on earth. I beg to know what will be her employment in heaven. St. Paul seems to have been of opinion that charity would go to heaven. Was he mistaken, through his great fondness for that virtue ? Or, if she goes to heaven, will she lose all that rendered her so amiable on earth, her ardent de fire of the happiness of the human kind ? If she retain this amiable quality in heaven, she will unavoidably mar and poison all the joys of the bles. ed, when she shall look on the Gn and misery of the damned. Thus, unless we allow man to be an infie pite being, eternal punishment of his temporary crime cannot be ; it is absolutely impossible in the nature of things. If possible, we have seen it to be cruelly
unjust, and therefore it can never be ascribed to God, as a part of his plan of moral government. And as to the notion that both moral and physical evil must eternally exist, in order to produce the greatest possi. ble quantity of happiness, it is so far from being true, that their eternal existence would be the mean of destroying both the glory of God, and the happiness of the virtuous.
I wish not to be guilty of too many repetitions, or of dwelling too long on this subject. Though, since the subject itself is of the greatest importance, and fince Mr. S. makes constant use of his ideas of the greatest quantity of happiness, and of the divine benevolence, in his interpretations of scriptures, and an: swers to objections against his scheme, I am desirous" to make the falsehood and absurdity of his assumed principles appear, in the clearest light, to every atten. tive reader. I call Mr. S.'s principles assumed, because he hath never proved them to be true. That the greatest good is necessarily produced by eternal sin and misery; and that the divine benevolence cono fills in loving this greatest good; are principles which are often asserted, but never once proved. Yet every reader sees that these two propositions are the fundamental principles of his whole scheme.
I will make one quotation more concerning the subject of benevolence. Mr. S. says, p. 115, “Bea nevolence doubtless wishes, concerning all men now living in the world, that they may be saved ; if it be
the will of God, who is the guardian of the interests of the great whole.” · I am not so much surprised at this sentence, as if we had heard nothing of the kind till now. It is, however, really surpriâng, and greatly to be lamented, that a christian divine, of fifty years of age, should voluntarily send such a sentence to the press. Here Mr. S. allows that human benevolence would wish the salvation of all men ; if divine benevolence would permit. Great God ! is it so ? art thou unwilling, O thou Father of mercies, and God of all grace, that the benevolent withes of the human heart, that all men should be saved, should be gratified ? Is thy benevolence outdone and exceeded by poor Gnful worms of the dust ! Not so ! we may not, we cannot, believe it ! .
That God is willing that all men should be saved, we shall fee, hereafter, abundantly proved from the scriptures. At present, we shall attend to the dictates of reason only. We shall find reason perfectly fufficient to demonstrate the fallebood and absurdity contained in the above sentence. : A benevolent man would wish the salvation of all his fellow creatures, but God their maker will not! I ask, why God is unwilling that any man should be saved ? Suppose God had made but one mao. Will Mr. S. concede that God would be willing that that one man should be saved ? Or will he imagine that it may possibly lessen the glory and blessedness of God, and of bis holy intelligent angelic.kingdom,