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expense of a considerable portion devoted to endless misery and despair? Cannot a Being infinitely perfect and happy communicate beatitude to his intelligent offspring, on other and more favourable terms? Can he not be to some the inexhaustible source of happiness; unless he is to others the never-failing source of misery? But let us cease to heap contradiction on contradiction, horror upon horror, and end this disagreeable discussion.”—M. P—rre did not reflect, that if this passage contain any argument, it is equally forcible against the evils which in fact take place in this world, as against the punishments of the future and that the passage may be retorted thus; Can we suppose that intelligent creatures capable by nature of peace, liberty, and all the enjoyments of human society, would be unable to attain to this excellent destination, unless at the same time a number of intelligent beings were rendered miserable by fines, confiscations, ignominy, prisons, chains, stripes and the gallows? Among creatures of the same nature, thence capable of the same happiness; must a part be made safe and happy at the expense of a considerable portion devoted to misery and despair, in the ways just mentioned? Cannot a Being infinitely perfect and happy communicate beatitude to his intelligent offspring on other and more favourable terms? Can he not be to some the source of peace, safety, liberty and happiness; unless he be to others the source of misery? But let us cease to heap contradiction on contradiction, horror upon horror, and end this disagreeable discussion.
To say that God can convert the wicked, and without endless imprisonment and punishment, prevent the mischief which they would do the system, affords no satisfaction. So God can convert the wicked in this world, and prevent all the mischief which they do here. The question is not, what God has power to do, but what he
will in fact do; and what he may see fit to permit others to do.
M. P―rre proceeds to argue against the possibility, that the misery of some intelligent creatures should be necessary to the happiness of the rest; and urges that instead of this, it would subvert their happiness; because the inhabitants of heaven are so full of benevolence and compassion, that they cannot be happy, while numbers of their fellow creatures are miserable; and especially because it must be still more painful to them, to know that the eternal sufferings of those their fellow creatures, were necessary to their own happiness.*. But these observations are no more reconcileable with fact and with experience, than those which I just now quoted from the same author. Are the best of men in this world, so compassionate, that they cannot be happy so long as thieves and robbers are confined in workhouses and prisons, and murderers die on gibbets? And do they disdain to enjoy their lives, their liberty, their peace and their property, unless they can be secured in the possession of them, on terms less ignominious and painful to some of their fellow creatures?
Such are the arguments by which M. P―rre endea-, vours to prove, that the misery of some men cannot be necessary to the greatest good of the system. If these arguments be not convincing, it is in vain to expect convincing evidence of the proposition now under consideration, from M. P-rre.
2. The reader has doubtless taken notice that the proposition now under consideration implies, not only that endless misery, but any temporary calamity cannot be inflicted on an individual, consistently with the good of the whole, unless that temporary calamity be
* Page 215, &c.
subservient to his personal good. Observe the words quoted above, "It is impossible the Divine Being should ever dispense any evil in this world or in the world to come, which is not even to the individuals, an act of perfect goodness."-Then all evils and calamities which have ever existed, or do exist, or ever will exist, in this world, as well as the future, are no real evils, no curse to the patients themselves; but they are all so many benefits and blessings to them. The destruction of the old world, of Sodom, &c. were real blessings to the patients personally. But how does this appear? They certainly did not in this world operate for the good of the patients; and how does it appear, that they will operate for their good in the future world? To assert this without assigning a reason, is impertinent.-Beside ; on this hypothesis, there is no such thing as any curse either in this world or the future ;-and there is no difference between a curse and a blessing. What then shall we make of the scriptures, which speak abundantly of curses, and constantly distinguish between curses and blessings?
3. This, which I have called the second fundamental principle of this author, is in reality not distinct from the first.-If the good or happiness of the system require the happiness of every individual, it surely cannot require the misery of any individual and if it do not require his misery, it is not consistent with justice, that he should be made miserable by punishment; or it is not consistent with justice that he be punished any further than is subservient to his own personal happiness.No punishment is consistent with justice, which in view of the criminal alone, without respect to a substitute, or an atonement, the public good does not require.
So that the whole system of this author depends on this single principle, That it is not consistent with jus
tice, to punish a sinner any further, than is subservient to his own personal good: and this principle, as I have endeavoured to show in chap. ii. and viii. really comes to this, Whether sin be a moral evil. Moral evil is in its own nature odious, and justly the object of divine disapprobation, and of the manifestation of disapprobation, whether such manifestation of disapprobation be subservient to the personal good of the sinner or not. But the manifestation of divine disapprobation is punishment. Therefore moral evil may justly be punished, whether such punishment be subservient to the personal good of the sinner or not. But as sin according to the principle now under consideration, cannot be justly punished any further than is subservient to the personal good of the sinner, of course it is no moral evil.
Again; moral evil in its own nature impairs the good of the moral system. Therefore God as a friend to that system, must necessarily, and may justly disapprove it, and manifest his disapprobation, though it may not tend to the personal good of the sinner. But this manifestation of divine disapprobation is punishment, and just punishment. But sin, according to the principle now under consideration, cannot justly be thus punished. Therefore sin is not, according to this principle, a moral evil.
If therefore M. P-rre believe, that sin is a moral evil, and in its own nature deserves the divine abhorrence, he must, to be consistent, give up his whole system of universal salvation.
As the book now before us is a later publication than Dr. Chauncy's; and as the Doctor's book, which at its first appearance was so highly extolled for deep learning and demonstrative reasoning, did not convert the world; the zealots for universalism have been lavish of their encomiums on this work of Petitpierre, and as it seems, have great expectations from it. However, it requires
no spirit of prophecy to foresee, that this book will not effect more numerous conversions, than that of Dr. C. The author has a good talent at declamation; and those who are already persuaded of the truth of his system, may be much comforted by his pathetic representations of the divine goodness and universal happiness. But those who are doubtful, and wish to see a consistent system established on the broad basis of reason and revelation, will doubtless find themselves necessitated to prosecute their inquiries further, than M. Petitpierre will lead them.