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opportunity for repentance; yet he thought their punishment was greater than the pun
ishment of Sodom.
'The idea of no change after death must introduce all men into another life as they leave this. None can be any more holy than they are here, nor any more miserable. The idea therefore, opposes the sentiments of its own advocates.
As it respects the nature of future punishment, I think we have no reason to doubt but what it is designed for good and benevolent purposes, as is the chastening rod of our heavenly Father in this life. A punishment to satisfy a certain notion of vindictive justice, when that justice can never be satisfied by it, we have no reason to believe from scripture or from what we know of the character of God. We read that God commended his love to sinners; that he so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in kim should not perish, but have everlasting life; and that the Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works. It is difficult to believe all this, and believe God punishes without a good and benevolent design.
Some ridicule the idea of there being any repentance in hell, or any mercy in so doleful a prison. But the strength of their ridicule is founded on certain imaginary ideas in the public mind, that never was supported by rev elation. Does the Bible tell us of one partic
ular place, called hell, prepared from all past éternity, for the purpose of punishing wicked people in the future state? It is presumed. no such account can be found. Jonah who understood the word as well as modern commentators applied it to his prison in the whale's belly. Here we find one local hell, where there was repentance, and prayer that was heard and accepted; and from whence was salvation. All this in one particular account, which we have of hell. David says, "The sorrows of hell compassed me about." Here he speaks of it in the past tense, which no doubt is to be understood of deep affliction. Psalm lxxxvi. 13, "For great is thy mercy toward me; thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell." On this passage let it be remarked, there are more hells than one, or there could not be a lowest. We have also another instance of salvation from hell, not merely the body, but the soul from the lowest In Hosea xix. 14, "I will ransom them. from the power of the grave." The original sheol rendered grave is said to be the only Hebrew word translated hell in the Old Testament. Here is a promise of redemption from hell, though many christian people think the idea contemptible. In Revelation we are told Christ has the keys of hell;-can they be in better bands?
From the scriptures that we have examexam ined as well as others that might be produ
ced, it is evident any place of confinement and trouble might be called hell, whether in the present or future state; and likewise, any deep affliction and sorrow of heart. Many sinners have been saved from hell in this life, then why ridicule the idea of salvation from hell in another?
Some refuse to credit the idea of any being saved from hell, because they say it makes it like the papal purgatory. But as ridiculous as they fain would make this idea appear;yet many of the same persons can swallow the papal notions of a hell of endless misery. They find no objection to this faith, because the pope holds it forth; yet ridicule the idea of future disciplinary punishment, because they say it resembles purgatory. But how does future punishment resemble purgatory any more than present punishment? I believe in salvation from hell in this life as well as in another. Then why is not this state as properly a purgatory as the future? But neither of them are like the papal purgatory, till we look to the pope and his associates for the pardon of our sins..
As it respects the idea suggested in the first Lecture that future punishment will be in the day of judgment and not after it, I would now add, it seems according to every representation of scripture. The angels that kept not their first estate are reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment ;
which bounds all the information we have of their darkness or their chains. Should we admit the latter part of the 25th chapter of Matthew as an account of the general judg ment, it is observable, it says nothing of the closing of the judgment at the time of the separate sentence of the righteous and the wicked, unless it be implied in the use of the ambiguous terms everlasting and eternal. Many able writers have abundantly shown that these terms do not represent duration definitely but indefinitely. They would, therefore, be far from proving an irrevocable sentence.
One very important reason why I do not believe any sentence to condemnation irrevocable or endless is because I read of the destruction of all sin, and the justification of life upon all men. See Rom. v. 18 to the end.. "Therefore as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover, the law entered that the offence might abound, but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord." Many scriptures might be produced, as most of my hearers are undoubtedly very
sensible, to substantiate the doctrine of the passage already rehearsed in your hearing.These all go to prove the universal destruction of sin, universal reconciliation, and universal salvation, which must be the end of all death, pain, misery, and woe. "The heathen are given unto Christ for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession." Will he endlessly reject his own property? "All that the Father giveth me," he says, "shall come to me, and him that cometh he will in no wise cast out." Will there be a judgment of condemnation after this? I find no such account, nor have I reason to believe it.
I have now finished what I contemplated in the present discourse according to what the scriptures appear plainly to teach. This labor I submit to the candor and impartiality of my hearers, under the directing spirit of the Lord, hoping it will not be altogether in vain.