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tinues as the continued expression of the manner in which God regards wrong doing. His personal relation with his child has been re-established, and yet the pain or cost will go. on until in some way the wronged feeling has been satisfied. We are not now concerned to explain farther the difference between forgiving the child, and becoming satisfied for the injury; we simply say they are facts utterly disconnected.
Into this same theory we confidently believe may be thrown the entire dispensation which we call natural evil, including the reactions of one man's sin against another man's peace. We believe it to be the most philosophical account of evil in the world, evil that cannot be traced to personal causes at all, and seems to have no connection with the present sinning of our race and no observable bearing upon their discipline, to carry it back to the first Cause, and say that it is the outworking in this universe of God's innate protest against the sins of our race. The process by which all this evil was set in motion, of whatever kind or degree, may have been entirely ordinary, and may have followed sin as a sequence, or appeared as an indication of it in the gradual make-up of our world. If this should be the explanation of evil then we shall expect an appearance of arbitrariness, of indiscriminateness in the adjudication and distribution of evil such as we actually have. The word punishment, in its double meaning, will then cover not only the discipline which aims to reform, but the larger fact of evil as a protest of God against wrong in itself.
II. Coming now to inquire how the views above expressed are related to the scheme of Universalism, we have first to note that they have seemed to some not to belong to our system, that the idea of any punishment that does not have chiefly in view the weal of the punished is a priori unsound. So much has been made of the disciplinary efficacy of punishment that it has seemed sometimes in our theology to be one of the most important means of grace.
"The object of punishment is two-fold,- to deter from sin and to recover from sin. . . . The penalty is uncovered and
made conspicuous that the soul may have timely warning of the danger, as destructive reefs are buoyed and channels marked out for the safety of navigators. . . . But a still higher office of punishment is its remedial power. . . . Punishment becomes then, if not the cause, most certainly a . . . promoter of human reformation."1
"The period must eventually arrive when he (man) will have learned by his own experience what course of conduct his own interest dictates him to pursue, and from his love of happiness and dread of misery he will practice virtue on the one hand and avoid the practice of vice on the other."
Quotations of a similar sort are at hand in abundance. The chief error in this doctrine of the largely remedial virtue of punishment arises from the feeling that any other view must indicate vindictiveness in the divine Sovereign. Whatever inference may arise concerning the character of the world's government, no system of faith can succeed in justifying it by ignoring its commonest facts. Whenever Universalism fixes a definite conclusion about the nature and office of punishment that will abide a test of the facts as they are, it will be compelled to say that the doctrine of punishment as a cure for sin does not include by a great deal all of those facts, and our prevalent notions, as thus far published, will be modified in so far as to admit the discovery that the remedial office of punishment is not nearly so large as we have taught.
This will easily come about as soon as a little more exactness of thought has been induced among us. If we can come to see that there is no hatred, no vindictiveness in God's simple expression of his disapproval of sin, we shall not longer object to punishment rested upon that reason. It is not necessary in order to justify God that we should hold - what is not true that all punishment is in fact corrective. There may be as much holiness expressed in punishment that is inflicted as God's instinctive protest against wrong. We ought not to be afraid as theologians of a straight-eyed survey of all the facts because we may be sure that a faith which
1 "Latest Word of Universalism." Punishment. Asa Saxe, D.D. pp. 119-21-23. 2 Universalist Book of Reference, p. 311.
cannot stand before them isn't worth defending. If our observation and our consciousness teach us that the making of cost and pain for wrong doers may be the legitimate outworking of a normal holiness, then God stands vindicated in this view as truly as in the other.
And again we shall not need to insist for theological purposes that all punishment is remedial, if we have sufficient ground for saying that God's means for saving men are varied and abundant. Punishment may form a share, may take its place in the work, but it is probably a minor part, and not, as we have seemed to teach, a chief agency in the work. We have ground enough upon which to maintain our faith without attempting to occupy any that will finally prove untenable.
When Universalism passes up to a definite position and formulates its doctrine of punishment, we feel that both sides of the fact must be included in our statement. And that such definition of punishment will compel modification of other positions, or the abandonment of other arguments, will not deter us from taking the step if the facts lie that way.
In rendering our exposition of the word punishment in its connection with terms of duration, we have argued that the word itself forbids us the conception of eternal continuance. This argument is good as applied to the pruning of punishment as in Matt. xxv. 46, but if there be a penalty which is the simple expression of divine holiness, there is nothing in the conception which forbids its eternal duration. Yet we think we have now come to see that no argument concerning the duration or non-duration of penalities amounts to much until we have settled the duration of sin, so that instead of being deprived of an argument by this latter view of punishment we have only passed up to more impregnable positions. The question of penalities is a subsidiary question which is settled by the same process which determines what finally comes of sin.
Moreover, by including the rown of punishment we have lost none of the truth expressed by our xolaois. Whatever of NEW SERIES. VOL. XVII
discipline there is in punishment, and whatever place it really occupies in the work or reformation, we still may maintain that penalty has a force to deter from sin and to prepare the way for reformation. Again, we have voided the common inference of the Orthodox churches, that we make sin its own saviour. Of course no one has ever been guilty of so maintaining, and yet the doctrine that the natural sequences of sin are the cause of its cure, or the occasion of its cure, or a chief instrumentality therein, runs very close to the impeachment. When we have emphasized the fact that restraint and reformation are not uniformly but only partially sequences of penalty, that penalty may have other meaning,— we have taken stronger ground, and evaded a prevalent suspicion.
And is there not a latent sentimentalism in our prevalent opinions about punishment that needs eradication. At bottom it is a benevolent impulse that wishes to believe all dispensations to refer immediately and primarily to human weal. Nor do we wish to affirm that any sentiment in God can on the whole work disastrously to the moral universe. And yet we are not permitted to turn our eyes away from the fact that there is in penalties, in themselves considered, an indication that God abhors sin, without any immanent consideration of the effects of such abhorence. If God had no other means but penalty whereby to save men, we are not so sure that any man would be saved who once had sinned. Sentimentalism must not allow its regard for human weal and its mercy toward man to overshadow the fact that God expresses in penalties his undiluted aversion to all sin. Not forgetting to love his children, He will nevertheless express in the symbols of pain and cost his condemnation of their disobedience, past and present.
And again, we must show how this view of punishment casts our faith into the scheme of supernatural religion. We might see in punishment a natural sequence leading in itself to repentance and reformation, and then what more is needed? If the discipline of punishments is simply a training of the will in ethical choices, and if this is salvation, why include
Christ at all in the scheme? There is no inward regeneration of Grace called for in all that work which punishments sometimes have been said to accomplish. But if we will fall back upon the facts, and teach that punishments have an effect simply negative and moral; that they are only valuable, when valuable at all, as restraint or preparation, we still have left room for all the saving work of the Holy Ghost, and have not thereby placed ourselves outside the limits of our evangelical belief and a scheme of supernatural redemption.
That the advancing thought of our church will fix upon a doctrine of punishment something like this which we have thus imperfectly outlined, we cannot doubt. And we shall thereby place ourselves in accord with certain facts not now included in our prevalent thought, and gain a firmer standing ground, whence our faith as an evangelical system may successfully be maintained.
St. Peter's Privilege; or, the Keys of the Kingdom.
WHEN God wants a special service from one of his children, he does not issue his call on the moment when the work is ready to be done. His plans take in the natural unfolding of the life; they also embrace those disciplinary lessons, which are adapted to the need of the disposition he would mould. Creator of natural fitness, he orders those ministries of supply and denial which will best develop native ability, and prepare the man for his awaiting work.
When he wanted a law-giver for his chosen people who were bondmen under a foreign king, he ordered that a child of that people should be reared in the king's palace,— instructed in all the learning of the Egyptians, made acquainted with their methods of government, and at the same time guarded in his national and religious allegiance by the precepts and loving care of his own mother.