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The foundation of all this discourse is, that fathers on earth, acting in character, never punish and never can punish their children, but with a design to promote their personal good. But would Dr. C. himself adventure to lay down this position, and to abide by it? Did never a wise and good father find it necessary, to punish, and even to cast out of his family, a desperate child, to prevent his ruining the rest of the children? Was there never, or can there possibly never be, an instance of this? If such an instance ever has, or ever may occur, the appearance of argument in the forecited passage, vanishes at once. Not only do fathers find it necessary to punish desperate children, without any prospect of their personal good; but very frequently do kings, governors and chief magistrates find this necessary with regard to their subjects. Now in the scripture, God much oftener illustrates his character, by that of a king, a prince, a sovereign lord, than by that of a father. And as kings, &c. often find it necessary to inflict capital and other punishments, without any view to the personal good of the sufferers; we may hence deduce an argument, that God also will punish many of his rebellious subjects, without any view to their personal good; but to support his moral government, to be an example of terror to others, and thus to secure the general good : and this argument would be at least as strong as that of Dr. C. just cited.
3. It may be pleaded, that though calamities in this life do not always issue in the sufferers' good; yet God may compensate them in the future state, for the loss or suffering, of which they are the subjects in this life. Thus our author, "it is possible that the evils which any suffer in this, may be made up to them in another state."*It is granted, that God is able to compensate * Benevolence of the Deity, p. 249.
his creatures for the evils of this life; but that he in fact will do it in all cases, is to be proved.-Besides ; the very idea of compensation is inconsistent with the idea of disciplinary punishment and that all the evils of both this life and the future are necessary and are intended for the good of those who suffer them. For if this idea be just, what foundation is there for compensation? Will a father compensate a child for the pain of that discipline which is absolutely necessary for his good and most wisely adapted to it? No man would ever think of it. Compensation supposes, that the evil for which compensation is made, has been inflicted from other motives, than a regard to the good of the sufferer. And if evil may in one instance be inflicted from other motives than a regard to the good of the sufferer; it may in any other instance in which justice and wisdom admit of it; and if in this state, in the future too. If the evils of life be intended for the good only of the subjects, we may as well talk of compensating a man for the pain of drawing a tooth which is a perpetual torment to him; or for the disagreeable taste of the dose which cures him of the colic; as to talk of compensating him for the calamities of life. The saints will indeed be rewarded for their patience under these calamities; and this part of their holiness is doubtless as amiable, and is as properly as any part of their holiness the object of the complacency of the Deity, and of those rewards which are the fruits of that complacency. But those rewards are not to be considered as compensations of losses or of damages. The very idea of compensation implies, that that for which compensation is made, is on the whole an evil to the person compensated. But the very idea that present evils are necessary and conducive to the good of the subjects, implies, that on the whole they are no evils to the subjects.
It is now submitted to the reader, whether the doctrine, that the damned will in fact suffer no other punishment, than that which is subservient to their personal good, be not in many respects most glaringly inconsistent with the scriptures; and whether it be not equally irreconcilable with their general tenor as with many particular passages; and also with many parts of Dr. C's book.
CONTAINING AN EXAMINATION OF DR. c'S ARGUMENTS TO PROVE ENDLESS PUNISHMENT INCONSISTENT WITH JUSTICE.
THAT the endless punishment of the damned is inconsistent with justice, is positively and abundantly asserted by Dr. C. and other advocates for universal salvation. Whether the arguments which the Doctor offers to prove the injustice of endless punishment, be conclusive, is the subject of our inquiry in this chapter.
Before we proceed to this inquiry, it seems necessary, to explain the meaning of the proposition-That the endless punishment of the damned is consistent with justice.
I do not find that Dr. C. hath any where given us a definition of his idea of justice, or of a just punishment, which is certainly a great omission. The Chevalier Ramsay gives the following definition of the divine justice: "Justice is that perfection of God, by which he endeavours continually to make all intelligences just." But with the same reason he might have defined the divine mercy to be, not that perfection in God, by which Principles, Vol. t. p. 432.
he is himself inclined to the exercise of mercy to the miserable; but that by which he endeavours to make all intelligences merciful and the divine love to be, not that perfection in God, by which he loves his creatures, but that by which he endeavours to make other intelligences exercise love. By this definition of justice a human judge, who wrongs every man, whose cause is brought before him, and yet endeavours to make other men just, is a just judge.
The word justice is used in three different senses. Sometimes it means commutative justice, sometimes distributive, and sometimes general or public justice. Commutative justice respects property only, and the equal exchange and restitution of it. Distributive justice is the equal distribution of rewards and punishments, and it respects the personal rights and demerit of the person rewarded or punished. General or public justice respects what are called the rights of a community, whether a city, state, empire, or the universe. This kind of justice requires the public good; and whenever that is violated or neglected, the public is injured. This last use of the word justice, though very frequent, yet is an improper use of it; because to practise justice in this sense, is no other than to act from public spirit, or from love to the community, and with respect to the universe, it is the very same with general benevolence.
Now when we inquire, whether the endless punishment of the wicked be consistent with justice, no man will suppose that the word justice means commutative justice; because the inquiry has no respect to property. Nor is the word to be understood to mean general or public justice. It is indeed an important inquiry, whether the endless punishment of a man dying in impenitence, be consistent with the general interest of the universe; but this is not the subject to be considered in this chap
The question to be considered in this and in one or two succeeding chapters, is, Whether to inflict an endless punishment on a man dying in impenitence, be an act of distributive justice, or be a treatment of him by his judge, correspondent and no more than correspondent or proportioned to his demerit, to his crimes, or to his moral conduct and personal character. This is a question entirely different from the following; Whether the infliction of an endless punishment on a sinner dying in impenitence, be subservient to the good of the universe? A punishment or calamity inflicted on a person may be subservient to the public good of a community, yet not be deserved by him on account of his personal crimes. It was for the good of the Roman republic, that Regulus should return to certain death at Carthage; yet he did not deserve that death; it was not correspondent to his moral character. On the other hand, many a villain has by his atrocious crimes deserved death; yet by reason of his power, his connexions, or the peculiar circumstances of the state, it could not, consistently with the public good be inflicted on him. So that in a variety of instances public justice or the public good is promoted by private or distributive injustice; and distributive justice would be productive of public injury or damage. And in some cases the public good may be promoted by a proceeding, which, though not in the distributive sense unjust,, yet is not according to distributive justice. An innocent person may choose to be made the subject of sufferings, in the stead of a criminal. Therefore though the sufferings which he chooses to endure, be inflicted on him, no injustice is done him nor will it be pretended, that this proceeding is according to strict distributive justice, which requires the criminal to be punished and not his substitute. Yet it may promote the good of the community, or secure it from great detriment by a re