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good of the child, and for the support of the parent's authority in his family in general, and over his child in particular, that he be properly punished. Accordingly from both these motives, the good of the child and the support of his own authority, the parent inflicts the proper punishment. This according to the objection now before us, is right. But according to the same objection, if the child be desperate and there be no prospect of effecting his good by punishment, it is not consistent with the character of a good parent to inflict the same punishment, from the motives of supporting his own government and the good of the family only. If this action done from these motives only, be a wrong action, it is still wrong, so far as it proceeds from the same motives, however it may arise in part from the motive of the child's good. To render this still plainer, let us suppose, that a parent inflicts pain on his child merely to afford amusement to his neighbours, as the Romans were wont to exhibit fights of gladiators. It will be agreed on all hands, that this action is abominable. Again, suppose the same pain be inflicted partly from the motive of amusing his neighbours, and partly from a regard to the child's good. I presume all will allow, that so far as the action proceeds from the former motive, it is still abominable, and is not sanctified by the co-existent motive of the child's good.
On the whole, we arrive at this conclusion; that if it be consistent with the divine perfections, that God should inflict punishment from the two motives of vindicating his own law and government and benefiting the sinner; it is equally consistent with the divine perfections to inflict punishment from the former motive only. All the vindictive punishment pleaded for, is that which is deserved by the sinner and is necessary to support the divine law and moral government in proper dignity, and
thus to promote the general good: and this surely is opposed to no attribute of God, whether justice or good
Objection 2. To the argument drawn from the destruction threatened to the wicked, it may be objected, that this destruction means, that they shall be destroyed as sinners only, or shall be brought to repentance and a renunciation of sin. To this it may be answered, that in this sense every one who in this life repents and believes, is destroyed, and suffers destruction. Yet this is never said in scripture. This sense of the word destruction makes the punishment of hell, and the awful curse of the divine law, to consist in repentance, which is no punishment or curse, but an inestimable blessing. Besides, that repentance, on which the sinner is forgiven if it can be called a destruction at all, is not an everlasting destruction, but an emotion of heart, which is begun and finished in a very short time. Or if by this everlasting destruction be understood the habitual and persevering repentance of the true convert; then the glorified saints in heaven, are constantly suffering that destruction which will be everlasting, and which is the curse of the divine law.
Before this subject is dismissed, proper notice ought to be taken of some arguments urged in favour of the sentiment, that the punishment of hell is merely disciplinary.
1. It is urged,* that the various afflictions of this life are designed for the good of the patients: therefore probably the same end is designed by the sufferings of hell.
-To this it may be answered, It is by no means granted, that all the afflictions of this life are designed for the good of the patients. It does not appear, that men in
*Page 324, 325.
general, who are visited with the loss of children, wives, or other dear friends; or with the loss of eye-sight, of some other sense, or of a limb; or with 'distressing pains or incurable diseases; are thereby rendered more happy in this life. If men may be allowed to judge by their own experience, they will in most cases decide the question in the negative. Nor does the decision in many cases appear ill founded to those, who have opportunity to observe persons under those afflictions. To say that men are no proper judges, whether they themselves be, in this life, made more happy or not, by the afflictions which they suffer, is to say, that they are no judges of their own happiness or misery. This being once established, we may assert, that hell-torments though endless promote the happiness of the patients because being no judges of their own happiness or misery they may be extremely happy, at the very time they judge themselves to be perfectly miserable.
In any case in which calamity proves fatal, it is absurd to pretend, that it promotes, in this life, the happiness of the patient, unless calamity itself be happiness. No man has opportunity in this life to derive any good from the pains of death. Therefore at least these pains are not designed for the subject's good during his present life.
Here it may be proper to mention several remarkable instances of grievous calamity recorded in scripture : As the instance of the old world, of Sodom and Gomorrah, of Pharaoh, Saul, the house of Eli, Nadab and Abihu, Hiel, &c. It is presumed, Dr. C. himself would not pretend, that these calamities were intended for "the profit of the sufferers themselves" in this life. What right then had he to argue, as in the following passage ?*
"The proper tendency and final cause of evils in the present state, are to do us good. This is the voice of reason confirmed by experience, and scripture concurs herewith." He then quotes Psal. Ixxxix. 31—34; and proceeds, "If evil, punishment or misery in the present life is mercifully intended for the good of the patients themselves why not in the next life? Is the character of God, as the father of mercies, and God of pity, confined to this world only?" The force of all this depends entirely on the supposition, that in all instances of suffering in this life, the end is the sufferer's good during this life.
But this supposition, we see by what has been said already, is by no means true. The superstructure therefore built on this foundation falls entirely to the ground. We all grant, that in some instances afflictions are intended for the good of the sufferers. A proof of this, which needed no proof, Dr. C. has produced out of the eighty-ninth psalm. On this foundation extended in his own imagination to comprehend all instances of affliction, he built an argument in which he triumphed.-Now since there are those several instances of calamity before mentioned, which Dr. C. would not pretend were designed for the sufferer's good in this life; I might as well suppose that no other instances of calamity are designed for the sufferers good in this life; and then adopt Dr. C's strain of ardent declamation, in manner following: If evil punishment or misery in the present life, be not intended for the good of the patients themselves, but to support the authority of the divine law, and thus subserve the general good; why not in the next life? Is the character of God, as a God of perfect purity and strict justice, limited to this world only? Why should it not be supposed, that the infinitely holy God has the same hatred of sin in the other world which he has in this? and
that he has in the next state the same intention which he has in this, to vindicate, by punishments, his law and government.
The truth is, that as some of the calamities of this life are intended for the patient's good in this life and others are as manifestly not intended for his good in this life; nothing certain can be hence concluded concerning the end of the misery of the damned. Nay; if it were certain, that all the calamities of this life are intended for the patient's good in this life or that they are not intended for his good in this life; yet it could not be certainly thence concluded, that the miseries of the damned are intended for the good of the patients, nor that they are not intended for the good of the patients. But this point must be determined by other evidence, the evidence of revelation.
If it should be said, that though some of the sufferings of this life do not, in this life, produce good to the patients; yet they will produce good to them in the future. life; it will be sufficient to reply, that this wants proof; that it is a main point in the present dispute; and that it should be taken for granted, is not to be suffered.
2. It is also urged by our author, "That the whole course of nature, and even the revelations of scripture constantly speak of God, as the universal father, as well as governor of men-What now is the temper and conduct of fathers on earth towards their offspring? They readily do them good and chastise them for their profit; but they do not punish their children, having no view to their advantage."—" And shall we say that of our father in heaven, which we cannot suppose of any father on earth, till we have first divested him of the heart of a father?" He abounds in pathetic discourse of the same strain, which is much more suited to work on the imaginations and passions of mankind, than on their reason.