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If that positive torment, which in degree and continuance is according to the desert and the nature and number of the evil deeds of the sinner, be not sufficient to satisfy the justice of GOD, I wish to be informed what would satisfy it. But Dr. C. himself holds, that the punishment which satisfies the justice of God, is vindictive and opposed to that which is disciplinary and medicinal; “If the next state is a state of punishment not intended for the cure of the patients themselves, but to satisfy the justice of God, and give warning to others; it is impossible all men should be finally saved."* So that I am perfectly agreed with Dr. C. in his idea of a vindictive punishment, and whether he do not hold such punishment in the utmost extent, I appeal to every candid reader, who shall have perused the forecited quotations, or the pages from which they are taken.
Yet Dr. C. is a great enemy to vindictive punishment, and it is a fundamental principle of his book, that the future punishment of the wicked is disciplinary and intended for the good, the repentance and reformation of the patients, and not to satisfy the justice of God. This appears from the quotation just now made from page 11th; and by innumerable other passages, some of which I shall now recite. "The wicked shall be sent to a place of weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; not to continue there always, but till the rebellion of their hearts is subdued, and they are wrought upon to become the willing and obedient subjects of God."† of ages, the wicked shall be miserable-as a mean to destroy the enmity of their hearts and make them God's willing and obedient people." "The rest ["the wicked"] shall have their portion in the place of blackness of darkness, as a suitable and necessary discipline, in order to their being reduced under moral subjection to CHRIST."§
* P. 11. P. 220. P. 221. § P. 221.
"The other ["the wicked"] shall be banished to dwell in unspeakable torment, till they repent of their folly, and yield themselves up to God, as his obedient servants.”* "He considers the many dispensations," through which he supposes the wicked will pass, as variously adapted for the discipline of stubborn and rebellions creatures."t "Is it not far more reasonable to suppose, that the miseries of the other world are a proper discipline, in order to accomplish the end" of the recovery of the damned, "than that they should be final and vindictive only?" "The consideration of hell as a purging fire, is that only, which can make the matter sit easy on one's mind."§ With approbation he quotes from Mr. Hartley these words; "the doctrine of purgatory, as now taught by the Papists, seems to be a corruption of a genuine doctrine held by the ancient fathers, concerning a purifying fire." He considers the misery of hell as "intended for the good of the patients themselves;"T-for "their benefit ;' as "a discipline by which is to be effected the personal good of wicked men." He says, "The reason why the wicked suffer the torments of the next state, is that they might be made the willing people of God."‡‡
As this is his idea of the nature and end of the future punishment of the wicked, he often rejects with abhorrence the idea, that they are to be punished for any other end exclusive of their own personal good. What he says in p. 325, implies, that unless we believe, that the future punishment of the wicked is intended for their personal good, we must believe, that "the character of GOD, as the Father of mercies, and the God of pity, is limited to this world only;" and that he is not the " same good being in the other world, that he is in this;"
*P. 224. P. 309. P. 322. P. 324. || P. 324. ¶ P. 325. ** P. 326. tt P. 328. ‡‡ P. 343.
That on that supposition, "we shall 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."* And in page 11th, before quoted, he absolutely rejects all punishment which is not disciplinary. But how these two fundamental parts of Dr. C's system can be consistent with each other, is difficult to be conceived. Is that punishment which is according to the deserts of the sinner; that which in degree and continuance is according to the nature and number of his evil deeds; in which the divine law takes its conrse upon him, and in which the penalty threatened in the law is fully executed is this punishment no more than a suitable and necessary discipline to the sinner; necessary “to reduce him to a moral subjection to CHRIST;" necessary "to his personal good," "his benefit," &c.? If so, then that punishment which is according to strict justice and "satisfies the justice of God," and that which is a mere merciful and beneficial discipline, are one and the same. The damned sinner suffers no more punishment, than is necessary for his good, nor can without injury and oppression be made to suffer more: and all ground of distinction between vindictive and disciplinary punishment entirely vanishes. But if any man should avow this sentiment, that such punishment only, as is necessary and conducive to the sinner's personal good, can consistently with justice be inflicted; I beg leave to refer him to the next chapter, in which the subject is considered at large.
In the mean time, it may be proper to observe, that Dr. C. could not consistently adopt the sentiment just mentioned; because he in page 11th before quoted, distinguishes expressly between that punishment, which is intended for the cure of the patients, and that which is intended to satisfy the justice of Gon; and asserts that
the latter is inconsistent with the salvation of all men. His words are, "If the next state is a state of punishment, not intended for the cure of the patients themselves, but to satisfy the justice of GoD-'tis impossi ble all men should be finally saved." On this notable passage, I observe, 1. That Dr. C. here, as every where else through his book, distinguishes between a vindictive and disciplinary punishment; or between that punishment which is conducive to the sinner's good, and that which satisfies divine justice. It cannot therefore be said, that according to Dr. C. a punishment conducive to the sinner's good, is all that can in strict justice be inflicted on him.-2. He asserts, that if future punishment be intended to satisfy divine justice, it is impossible all men should be saved. Yet he himself in holding, that the wicked will be punished according to their deserts, and in degree and continuance according to the nature and number of their sins, crimes and evil deeds; and that the divine law will take its course on them, the whole threatened penalty be inflicted, and they never be forgiven; holds that punishment, which entirely satisfies the justice of God. Therefore, as he also holds that such future punishment as satisfies the justice of God, is inconsistent with the salvation of all men; to be consistent, he must give up the doctrine of the salvation of all men, to prove which, he wrote his whole book.
Another fundamental principle of Dr. C's book, is, that all men, both those who are saved immediately from this life, and those who are saved after they have suffered the pains of hell; are saved by the mere mercy, compassion, grace or favour of GOD, through CHRIST.He allows,* that the Apostle's Doctrine of justification stands upon the foot of grace through CHRIST," and
* Page 43.
"that mankind have universally sinned and consequently cannot be justified upon any claim founded on mere law.”
"The gift by CHRIST takes rise from the many offences, which mankind commit in their own persons, and finally terminates in opposition to the power and demerit of them all, in their being restored, not simply to life, but to reign in it forever."*"As mankind universally are subjected to damage through the lapse of Adam; so they shall as universally be delivered from it, through the gift by CHRIST." "The gift on CHRIST's part,-ought to be taken in its abounding sense." "The plain truth is, final everlasting salvation is absolutely the free gift of God to all men, through JESUS CHRIST-he has absolutely and unconditionally determined, of his rich mercy, through the intervening mediation of his son JESUS CHRIST; that all men, the whole race of lapsed Adam shall reign in life."§ He speaks of God as exercising pity, tender com passion and grace, towards the damned; and speaking of the disciplinary punishment of the damned, he says, "that GoD, in the other world as well as this, must be disposed to make it evident, that he is a being of boundless and inexhaustible goodness."|| "He speaks of the doctrine of universal salvation, as the gospel plan of mercy extensively benevolent; and a wonderful design of mercy" as "the scripture scheme of mercy," and of the vilest of the human race as "the objects of mercy.' He quotest with approbation, from Mr. Whiston, “ That there may be in the utmost bowels of the divine compassion, another time of trial allotted" to the damned, in which many or all of them may be saved, by the infinite indulgence and love of their CREATOR."
Our author abundantly declares also, that this rick mercy, this free gift, this tender compassion and grace, this
P. 56. P. 62. P. 75. ¦ P. 86. || P. 326. ¶ P. 360. *P. 365. P, 405.