« السابقةمتابعة »
agency. But of both moral obligation and moral agency we are absolutely conscious. Therefore it follows to a demonstration, not only that moral evil does exist, but that it deserves endless punishment.
II. Examine this question in the light of Revelation. The bible in a great many ways represents the future punishment of the wicked as eternal. It expresses the duration of the future punishment of the wicked by the same terms, and in every way as forcibly as it expresses the duration of the future happiness of the righteous.]
. I will here introduce without comment some passages of scripture confirmatory of this last remark. "The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish."- -Prov. 10: 28. "When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish; and the hope of unjust men perisheth."-Prov. 11:7. "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall wake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."-Dan. 12: 2. "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."-Matt. 25: 41, 42, 46. "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."-Mark 9: 43, 44. "The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born."-Matt. 26: 24. "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable."-Luke 3: 17. "And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you can not; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”. Luke 16: 26. 66 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."-John 3: 36. "And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who
shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."-2 Thess. 1:7-9. "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them, in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever."-Jude, 6, 7, 13. "And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."-Rev. 14: 9
-11. "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."-Rev. 20: 10. "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy let him be holy still."-Rev. 22: 11. But there is scarcely any end to the multitude of passages that teach directly or by inference both the fact and the endlessness of the future punishment of the wicked. But the fuller consideration of this subject belongs more appropriately to a future place in this course of instruction, my object here being only to consider the penal sanctions of moral law didatically, reserving the polemic discussion of the question of endless punishment for a future occasion.
We come now to the consideration of a very important feature of the moral government of God; namely the atone
In discussing this subject I will,
I. CALL ATTENTION TO SEVERAL WELL ESTABLISHED GOVERNMENTAL PRINCIPLES, IN THE LIGHT OF WHICH OUR INVESTIGATION WILL PROCEED.
II. DEFINE THE TERM ATONEMENT AS USED IN THIS DIS
III. INQUIRE INTO THE TEACHINGS OF NATURAL THEOLOGY, OR INTO THE A PRIORI AFFIRMATIONS OF REASON UPON THIS SUBJECT.
IV. SHOW THE FACT OF ATONEMENT.
V. THE DESIGN OF ATONEMENT.
VI. EXTENT OF ATONEMENT.
VII. ANSWER OBJECTIONS.
I. I will call attention to several well established governmental principles.
1. We have already seen that moral law is not founded in the mere arbitrary will of God or of any other being, but that it has its foundation in the nature and relations of moral agents, that it is that rule of action or of willing which is imposed on them by the law of their own intelligence.
2. As the will of no being can create moral law, so the will of no being can repeal or alter moral law. It being just that rule of action that is agreeable to the nature and relations of moral agents, it is as immutable as those natures and relations.
3. There is a distinction between the letter and the spirit of moral law. The letter is the language in which it is expressed. The spirit is its true and proper meaning. For example: the spirit of the moral law requires disinterested benevolence and is all expressed in one word love. The letter of the law is found in the commandments of the Decalogue and in divers other precepts.
4. To the letter of the law there may be many exceptions, but to the spirit of moral law there can be no exceptions. That is, the spirit of the moral law may sometimes admit and require that the letter of the law shall be disregarded or violated; but the spirit of the law ought never to be disregar
ded or violated. For example: the letter of the law prohibits all labor on the Sabbath day. But the spirit of the law often requires labor on the sabbath. The spirit of the law requires the exercise of universal and perfect love or benevolence to God and man, and the law of benevolence often requires that labor shall be done on the sabbath; as administering to the sick, relieving the poor, feeding animals; and in short whatever is plainly the work of necessity or mercy, in such a sense that enlightened benevolence demands it, is required by the spirit of moral law upon the sabbath as well as all other days. This is expressly taught by Christ both by precept and example. So again, the letter of the law says the soul that sinneth, it shall die; but the spirit of the law admits and requires that upon certain conditions, to be examined in the proper place, the soul that sinneth shall live. The letter makes no exceptions: the spirit makes many exceptions. The letter of the law is inexorable and condemns and sentences to death all violators of its precepts without regard to atonement or repentance. The spirit of moral law allows and requires that upon condition of satisfaction being made to public justice and the return of the sinner to obedience, he shall live and not die.
5. In establishing a government and promulgating law, the lawgiver is always understood as pledging himself duly to administer the laws in support of public order and for the promotion of public morals, to reward the innocent with his favor and protection and to punish the disobedient with the loss of his protection and his favor.
6. Laws are public property in which every subject of the government has an interest. Every obedient subject of government is interested to have law supported and obeyed, and wherever the law is violated, every subject of the government is injured and his rights are invaded; and each and all have a right to expect the government to duly execute the penalties of law when it is violated.
7. There is an important distinction between distributive and public justice. Distributive justice consists, in its exercise, in distributing to every subject of government according to his character. It respects the intrinsic merit or demerit of each individual, and deals with him accordingly. Public justice, in its exercise, consists in the promotion and protection of the public interests by such legislation and such an administration of law as is demanded by the highest good of the public. It implies the execution of the penalties of law where
the precept is violated, unless something else is done that will as effectually secure the public interests. When this is done, public justice demands that the execution of the penalty shall be dispensed with by extending pardon to the criminal. Distributive justice makes no exceptions, but punishes without mercy in every instance of crime. Public justice makes exceptions as often as this is permitted or required by the public good. Public justice is identical with the spirit of the moral law in its relations to the public interests, or, in its exercise, regards only the spirit of the law. Distributive justice cleaves to the letter, and makes no exceptions to the rule, the soul that sinneth it shall die."
8. The design of penalties to laws is prevention, or to secure obedience to the precept. The same is also the design of executing them when the precept is violated. The sanctions are to be regarded as an expression of the views of the lawgiver in respect to the importance of his law; and the execution of penalties is designed and calculated to evince his sincerity in enacting, and his continued adherence to, and determination to abide by the principles of his government as revealed in the law; his abhorrence of all crime; his regard to the public interests; and His unalterable determination to carry out, support and establish the authority of His law.
9. It is a fact well established by the experience of all ages and nations that the exercise of mercy in setting aside the execution of penalties is a matter of extreme delicacy and danger. The influence of law, as might be expected, is found very much to depend upon the certainty felt by the subjects that it will be duly executed. It is found to be true that the exercise of mercy in every government where no atonement is made, weakens government by begetting and fostering a hope of impunity in case sin is committed or the precept violated.
10. Since the head of the government is pledged to protect and promote the public interests by a due administration of law, if in any instance he would dispense with the execution of penalties in case of a violation of the precept, public justice requires that he shall see that a substitute for the execution of law is provided, or that something is done that shall as effectually secure the influence of law as the execution of the penalty would do. He can not make exceptions to the spirit of the law. Either the soul that sinneth must die, according to the letter of the law, or a substitute must be provided in accordance with the spirit of the law.