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brings with it an entailment of shame, and loss, and remorse. Need I enlarge, reader ? I trow not, because your own bosom is at this moment throbbing responses in harmony with these statements-it knows that you never sinned but the regularity of its throb was interrupted, and the quiet of its empire invaded.

6 But conscience becomes callous after a while,” say you," and the sinner of every kind learns to perpetrate his deeds without compunction; hence, instead of increasing with the ratio of guilt, (as justice would seem to require,) punishment actually diminishes as crime increases." A specious objection, I grant you, reader, very specious; but you overlook the fact that this moral insensibility is itself a punishment—the greatest of punishments. When thus given over to hardness of heart and a seared, a cicatrised conscience, the individual has in a manner lost his moral nature ; it is absorbed in the animal, the brute; all the nicer chords of his being, whence formerly sprung the more refined enjoyments of his life, have lost their 'harmonies; these delicate barriers betwixt his soul and infamy being broken down, he is lost henceforth to conscience, and modesty, and self-respect, and a respect for public opinion; he is become an absolute wretch, a beacon set up by providence amidst the rocks of crime, as a caution to others to avoid a similar degradation. And reckon you this among your instances of exemption from present suffering ? I pray heaven that of all its numerous and dreadful retributive dispensations, I may especially be preserved from this !

Thus it is seen, that such is the order of things in the economy of providence, that each sin necessarily entails its own penal consequences ; that escape from these, otherwise than by an avoidance of the causes which produce them, is absolutely impossible. It is by this class of penalties that the most of men are restrained from crime; even where there is no written or positive law, these exert their influence; and their efficacy would be incalculably greater than it commonly is, if preachers and moralists were not perpetually diverting men's attention from them, and directing it to punishments of a factitious and uncertain character, which terrify only, when they can be made to appear as unavoidable and near at hand; and they then serve but as instruments for waking up vague and superstitious apprehensions; not for establishing rational and permanent checks upon our vicious inclinations: it is not in the nature of things that the latter object should be thus accomplished.* No

person, of sane mind, will voluntarily thrust his hand into the fire. Why? Because he knows that pain would be the certain consequence. He does not love pain, and he therefore avoids an act which he knows would incur it. Suppose he were equally sure that sin will produce suffering, would he not have equal reason for avoiding it also ? He would, undoubtedly: and hence is proven the importance of convincing men that misery is an absolutely certain result of wickedness; and in order to their being so convinced, they must be shown that the two things are naturally and necessarily connected together.

“ But the comparison is not good," (you may say,) “ for we have no inducement to thrust a hand into the fire, even if no painful effect followed-whereas we have an inducement to sin, in the immediate pleasure which sin affords.” Very well—we must then have recourse to another illustration. Many people are prevented from eating honey, although it is extremely agreeable to their palate, by the acute cholic-pains which they have experienced from the using it. Perhaps their fondness for it induced them to hope, at first, that these pains were merely accidental;

* The following facts prove the correctness of the above statement; they are contained in an expose of the conduct of the Professors and Students of the OBERLIN INSTITUTE, Ohio, by Delazon Smith, A Student. These men are new-light Presbyterians, and, of course, christians, par excellence; firm believers in eternal torments, and, without doubt, very sincere by fits and starts, or, when the danger of these tor: ments affecting themselves, is felt to be imminent. This end is frequently accomplished for a time by what are termed revirals of religion; it was during such a season, that the following facts, relative to the character of the Professors and Students, were disclosed by themselves. President Mahan doubted, he said, if he had ever been a christian, or had ever understood the christian religion. Professor Morgan confessed the same, and in addition, that he had committed very great and griev. ous sins, in making an idol of his young wife. Professor Cowles said he was in a like predicament with the others of the faculty, U. T. Chamberlain said, that on leaving Lane Seminary, Cincinnati, he stole, and brought off a quantity of Joiners' tools-also, that his pride had kept him from praying for three weeks together, because some of his brethren could pray better than he could !--moreover, he had been in the habit of robbing hen-roosts, lying, and other gross sins. Oliver D. Hibbard (now Principal of the Foreign Missionary Society at Oberlin) confessed to a disbelief in the Holy Ghost; to lying, and divers other hypocrisies. G. L. Hovey had been dishonest in his dealings, had stolen, and committed almost every abomination; and, among others, had lied, when standing in the sacred desk! 'J. Warren had been guilty of almost every abomination-among others, fornication and adultery: Henry Fairchild had been so proud of his power of converting sinners, that he had lied, and misrepresented, in order to increase the fame of his success.

Rev. George Whipple had been very licentious, and depraved in his habits, particularly in a cer, tain act, too indelicate to be here mentioned. These confessions, it must be remembered, relate to their conduct while they stood before the world as christians; yea, as teachers of religion! What reliance, I ask now, can be placed in the efficacy of threatened punishments, even of the most terrible kind, which may, by repentance or other means, be wholly evaded ?

but on their experiencing the same result whenever they ate of it, they were convinced of its being an inseparable consequence ; and they were therefore induced to abandon the indulgence in it altogether. I ask, now, if these cholic-pains do not impose a more effectual check upon their appetite for the honey, than would an interdict on pain of imprisonment, or even of damnation? It assuredly does, and for this good reason: these cholic affections, they know, cannot be eluded ; they may be accounted for on physiological principles ; their connexion with the cause that produces them is necessary, and therefore, unavoidable : whereas, betwixt the eating of honey and the being imprisoned, or damned, there is no necessary connection whatever. How immeasurably important, then, is it to the interests of virtue, that men be faithfully instructed as to the certainty of the penal consequences of transgression ! For what care they how hot is the hell with which they are menaced, or how durable are its agonies, so long as they are persuaded that, how many, or enormous soever their crimes, they shall escape the punishment altogether? Hence, a transmundane hell is an impotent bug-bear.

You may tell a person who has an appetite (or a passion, I know not which to term it,) for intoxicating drinks, that if he dies a drunkard he will be eternally damned. What cares he for such a threat ? All depends on an ifif he dies a drunkard; but he does not calculate on dying such—not he: his purpose is to stop in good time, and, by repentance, get to heaven at last. No, no; the steps to drunkenness are not to be thus arrested-not thus can you resist the momentum of that reckless propensity, by which so many a fellow-being is impelled on to certain and protracted ruin. Still, the case is not utterly hopeless, if, before he has become a slave to the maddening bowl, you can but gain his attention to the voice of reason and fact, and can portray to him in the dreadful colors of truth, the deep, deep infamy, to which a begun indulgence will almost inevitably lead—the bloated countenance ; the blood-shot eye; the fevered pulse; the heart on fire, and requiring continual draughts to cool it; the intellects bewildered ; faculties destroyed; prospects blasted ; person rendered loathsome by filth and rags; and then the nausea that succeeds debauch; the shame; the scoffs, jeers, and dram-shop blasphemies; and oh! worst of all, a broken-hearted wife; squalid and starv

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ing children ; a desolate household; a death-bed in a ditch at last-a drunkard's ignominious grave, and execrated memory! Such is the hell to which many a wretch (alas ! how many,) is drifted on the fiery tide of rum.

And since sin impairs our moral nature, there is evident mer. cy in thus connecting misery with it so inseparably; and the scriptures, accordingly, represent the divine retributions as being prompted by mercy. “ Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work." (Ps. lxii. 12.) And yet popular theologians are wont to consider the business of divine punishment as so exclusively just in its nature, that were God all mercy, he would dispense with it entirely! This grows out of the mistake of supposing, that justice and mercy are opposed to each other : in which case, mercy is usually confounded with excessive lenity-justice, with stern revenge. He who has enjoined the “not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing,” (1. Pet. iii. 9.) will eternally outrage the principle in his own conduct toward sinners!

Some, however, may seek to improve my argument as to the nature of punishment, to the purpose of shewing that it may endless, independent of the divine agency; and consequently, without furnishing ground of complaint against God. “ For if, as you affirm,” (they may say) “the penalty of sin grows out of its nature, necessarily, and unavoidably—if it is not an arbitrary infliction--why may it not, of itself, continue forever, and the divine character be wholly unconcerned in the business ?” It is no uncommon thing for the advocates of ceaseless woe to place their defence of that doctrine on this very ground. “We don't believe" (say they) • in a local hell--a hell of material fire. The sinner's inisery will be constituted of remorse-keen and poignant remorse ; which, like an undying worm, shall gnaw within them to all eternity.” Nay, good friends, this refinement upon the old fashioned notion of hell, will not do; it implies an impossibility. The soul (by which, I mean our moral nature,) is so constituted, that none of the affections thereof can be exercised forever, without a perpetual action of the exciting cause. They may be compared to fires, which will burn out in time, except new fuel be added; or to springs, whose waters will exhaust, except kept up


by constant new supplies. Take, for instance, the affection of joy; you know, that to however rapturous a degree it may be excited, it will subside at length, unless it be renewed by fresh objects. The same is true of sorrow; you are bereaved by death of a beloved object, and your heart is thrown into deep anguish, so deep, that you it will never be in your power to smile again : however, the very intenseness of your grief causes it to exhaust the sooner.

Such is also the case with remorse. God must re-constitute the soul before any of its affections can last forever, without a constant renewal of the exciting cause. A hell of remorse, therefore, cannot be unceasing, except sin (the source of remorse) shall also be so. This philosophy is in accordance with indisputable fact, and it utterly puts to flight the idea of an endless moral hell.

Neither can punishment of a physical kind be endless, without a perpetual miracle ; pain cannot be endured without wear and detriment to the nature which sustains it. Pain, in any part of the system, necessarily implies a process by which, if it continue long enough, the part must be destroyed. But endless misery implies that the subject thereof shall endure to all eternity; and therefore, he will forever be wasting, decaying, wearing out, without ever being wholly wasted, or consumed-which is a paradox; a contradiction ; an impossibility. I appeal to you, reader, if living proofs of this position are not constantly presenting themselves to your observation? How pain attenuates the system ! how destructive is its influence upon both body and mind! In order, then, to the sinner's being susceptible of misery without end, God, by a perpetual miracle, must counteract the impairing effects of misery upon the sinner's constitution ; and in how much worse a light the Almighty Jehovah can be represented than as thus employed, I leave you, dear reader, to judge.

It is most wisely and benevolently contrived, in the existing order of things, that the very effects of an evil tend to its cure. What caused the prodigal to resolve on a return to his father ? It was the desperate extremity to which he had become reduced by sin. It is not probable that the thoughts of home would have seriously affected his purposes, if his affairs abroad had been in a more favorable posture; and I appeal to every gospel minister, whether his preaching does not much oftener take effect on ex

Vol. I.-W

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