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annexed to it. If the different degrees of the misery of the damned be unworthy of notice, and do not sufficiently distinguish them according to their several degrees of demerit; then the different degrees in the happiness of the saints in heaven do not sufficiently distinguish them, according to their characters. Therefore on the same principle we ought to deny the endless duration of the happiness of heaven, as well as of the misery of hell; and to say, that the difference in the degree of happiness of the blessed in heaven, will scarce be thought worthy to be brought into the account, when the circumstance of endless duration is annexed to it; that if the happiness of heaven be of endless duration, the happiness of all the inhabitants of that world will be equal, which is inconsistent with the declarations of scripture, that all shall be rewarded according to their works; and that therefore the doctrine of the endless happiness of heaven is not true. But the falsity of this conclusion is evident to all; and equally false is the conclusion from the like premises, that the punishment of the damned is not endJess.
CONTAINING ANOTHER VIEW OF THE QUESTION CONCERNING THE JUSTICE OF ENDLESS PUNISHMENT.
In the preceding chapter, the question concerning the justice of endless punishment was considered in the light in which it is stated by Dr. C. There is another view of the same question, which is not indeed exhibited in his book, but is much talked of by some who in general embrace his scheme. It is this: Whatever the general good requires, is just: Whatever is not subservient to
the general good, is unjust. Now as the endless punishment of the wicked is, in their opinion, not subservient but hurtful to the general good, it is, say they, unjust. The question thus stated seems to be nothing more than a dispute concerning the proper meaning of the word justice. It reduces all justice to the third sense of justice as explained above,* and perfectly confounds justice with goodness as it respects the general system. Therefore the question which comes up to view, according to the sense of justice now proposed, is the very same with this, Whether the endless punishment of the wicked be consistent with the general good of the universe, or with divine goodness; which shall be considered at large in the next chapter, and needs not be anticipated here. However it may be proper to point out the impropriety and absurd consequences of this use of the word jus
It was doubtless subservient to the general good, that our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified by wicked hands, and therefore in the sense of justice now under consideration, his crucifixion was just; they who perpetrated it, performed an act of justice. Yet will any man pretend, that our blessed Lord was not injuriously treated by his wicked crucifiers? If they committed no injury to our Lord, wherein did the wickedness of this action consist? -The truth is, the crucifixion of Christ was no injury to the universe, but an inestimable benefit: yet it was the highest injury that could be done him personally.
Every instance of murder is doubtless made by the overruling hand of divine providence, subservient to the general good and the divine glory. But does a man murdered suffer no injury? The same may be said of all the assaults, thefts, robberies, murders and other crimes. that have ever been committed. Though they will in
* Page 106, &c.
the consummation of all things be overruled to subserve the general good, so that the universe will finally suffer no injury by them; yet very great personal injury may be done by them to those who have been robbed, murdered, &c. These observations may show the necessity of distinguishing between the private rights of individuals, and the rights of the universe, and between private, personal injustice, and injustice to the universe. If all the crimes in the world, because they will be finally rendered by the divine hand subservient to the good of the universe, be in every sense entirely just, and the .omission of them would be unjust; where shall any injustice be found? No injustice is, ever was, or can possibly be committed by any being in this, or any other world. No injustice can be committed, till some thing shall be done, which God shall not finally render subservient to his own glory and the good of the intellectual system.
According to the principle now under consideration, it would not be just, that any man should escape any calamity, which he does in fact suffer. It was not just that Paul should escape stoning at Lystra, or that John should not be banished to the isle of Patmos: and whenever it is subservient to the public good, that any criminal, a murderer for instance, should be pardoned, or should be suffered to pass with impunity; it is not just to punish him; he does not deserve punishment: Cain did not deserve death for the murder of his brother, nor did Joab, during the life of David, deserve death for the two murders of Abner and Amasa, both better men than himself. And if he did not deserve death, what did he deserve? It appears by the history and by the event, that it was not subservient to the general good, that he should, during the life of David, be punished at all. Therefore on the present supposition, he deserved, dur
ing that period, no punishment at all for those murders. If so, then during the same period, at least, there was no sin, no moral evil in those murders: for sin or moral evil always deserves hatred and punishment.-But afterwards in the reign of Solomon, the general good required Joab to be punished with death. At that time therefore he deserved death for those murders; and those same actions which for several years after they were perpetrated, had no moral evil in them, grew, by mere length of time, or change of the circumstances of the state, to be very great moral evils.-See then to what consequences the principle now under consideration will lead us! It must therefore be renounced as false, or as a great perversion of language.
When I assert the justice of the endless punishment of the wicked, I mean that it is just in the same sense, in which it was just, that Cain or Joab should be executed as murderers: i. e. it is correspondent to their personal conduct and characters. If those with whom I am now disputing, allow that the endless punishment of the wicked is just in this sense, they allow all for which I at present contend. If they deny, that it is just in this sense, they give up their favourite principle, and dispute against the justice of endless punishment, not merely because it would be inconsistent with the general good, but for the same reasons as those for which Dr. C. disputed against it: and they place the question on the same footing, on which it has been so largely considered in the preceding chapters. The execution of Cain as a murderer would have been correspondent to his personal conduct, and therefore would have been just. If the endless punishment of the wicked be denied to be just in this sense, it is denied to be just, not merely because it would not be subservient to the good of the universe; but because it would not be a punishment correspondent
to their personal conduct; instead of this, it would exceed the demerit of that conduct, and therefore would rob them of their personal rights.
IN WHICH IT IS INQUIRED, WHETHER ENDLESS PUNISHMENT BE CONSISTENT WITH THE DIVINE GOODNESS.
THAT this inquiry is very important, every one must be sensible, who is in the least acquainted with this controversy. No topic is so much insisted on by the advocates for universal salvation; on no subject do they throw out such abundant and fervent declamation; no argument is urged with such an air of triumph. This is their strong hold, in which they feel themselves perfectly secure, and from which they imagine such effectual sallies may be made, as will drive out of the field all believers in endless punishment. Therefore this part of our subject requires particular and close attention.
I propose to begin with stating the question,-then to proceed to some general observations concerning the divine goodness and some concessions made by Dr. C.then to consider Dr. C's arguments from the divine goodness;—and in the last place, to mention some considerations to show, that the endless punishment of some of mankind, is not inconsistent with the divine goodness.
I. It is a matter of great importance, that the question now to be considered be clearly stated. The question is, Whether it be consistent with the divine goodness, that any of mankind be doomed to endless punishment consisting in misery. This question is not now to be considered with any reference to the atonement of