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have known that infants cannot believe this, nor any others who have never even heard of his name ; and it follows from the analogy of reasoning, that those who do not, from some cause believe that Jesus is the Christ, cannot be blessed, as they are not born of God.
Second-We know that many persons are brought into existence, who remain very ignorant during life; many idiots ;-of course, such persons cannot know God nor Christ, whom to know is eternal life, even should they be born and raised in a land of scripture information ; and yet it seems that unless they have an opportunity of obtaining this knowledge in the future state, their existence is a curse, as they must miss of life, and experience annihilation or misery. Should such persons exert all their mental powers to obtain a knowledge of God, they could not by any means obtain such a knowledge of their Maker, as to induce them to love him with all their heart, of course could obtain no more purification for heaven than brute beasts. Under these circumstances of hard fate, in this life, can any one believe, that the divine creator would bring idiots into existence, with an inferior capacity, capable of suffering an immortal existence of misery in the future state, for no other good reason, but because they had not understanding enough to know and love him with all their souls-and for the specific purpose of suffering the miseries of Idiocy during their natural life, and the endless miseries of hell hereafter? The Almighty knew perfectly well, that this must be their fate, before he made them, of course made them for that very purpose; for we must believe, that the divine being could but know what would come to pass, as a fact implies he had previously decreed the occurrence of the fact. The same argument may be urged relative to the short existence and death of infants, who are as idiots.
Again-If the millions of souls, who are now, and will be hereafter associated with mortal bodies, and leave them without an opportunity of attaining to the proper knowledge of God, and necessary qualification for heaven, on earth ; nor have the means of qualification in the future state, how can we justify the ways of God to man, in bringing into an existence of human misery, so many beings for eternal wo?
But we can justify the ways of God, by believing the truth ; that the souls of infants, of idiots, and of all the millions of human beings, who from any cause, may be prevented during this life from attaining a due degree of qualification for the enjoyment of heaven, or the glory of the divine presence, shall attain to it beyond the grave, in their next state of existence, " when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality.” If souls were perfectly fit for heaven or immortal enjoyments, while in the body, they would have heaven on earth, and not be under the necessity of putting off the body of mortality, in order to be immortalized, and made happy.
We know that happiness does not consist in the nature of the place that the soul may be in, but in its own disposition or feeling—the qualification it may possess.
Perhaps, a query may arise in the mind of the reader, at this stage of the argument, whether those souls which may leave the body without being made holy in it, will suffer during the time they may be unholy, and unfit for heaven, until they may be made holy? Relative to this question, we would remark, that as holiness and happiness are inseparably connected, one naturally producing the other, no intelligent being can be happy unless holy, in any state or mode of existence whatever. And further, we are authorised by scripture to believe, that the adorable God never designed “willingly to afflict nor grieve the children of
men," for the sake of grieving or punishing them, but merely allows them to be afflicted, or punished, by the operation and influence of their conduct and disposition, or those of others; yet always with a view to their benefit. Jeremiah well remarks, « wherefore should a living man complain for the punishment of his sins, it is of the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not; they are new every evening and morning ; great is his faithfulness ;" and we may add, his goodness in the case, that allows the “impieties of man to reprove him, and his sins to punish him”-that he "scourges every son whoin he receiveth," that they may be made perfect through sufferings, and made partakers of the divine nature. All this discipline is absolutely necessary for the refinement of the soul, else it would not be administered. We must believe that God never did nor ever will, cause or allow one of his creatures to suffer in any state or time of their existence, one moment longer, nor one degree more, than is absolutely necessary to fit them for that eternal weight of glory for which he designs them. If he did, their sufferings would stand as an eternal allegation against his goodness and justice.
It is plain, that as long as the soul is unholy, and has to associate with other unholy beings in any state, it must be more or less unhappy : but how long any soul will continue unholy in its disimbodied state, with all the faculties of that state to attain holiness, is more than we can declare ; still we may be allowed to suppose, that the time of its purification, depends upon its previous qualification, and we will venture an opinion, that no means which can be offered to the soul in this life, will further its qualification for future and eternal enjoyment, so much as those intellectal improvements of the mind. “With all thy getting, said the wisest of men, "get wisdom, for it is the prin
cipal thing." But as all degrees of time are equal to spiritual beings, we cannot calculate to any certainty or advantage.
Although we do believe, that unholy souls must remain unhappy, until they are made holy, by some means ; we do not believe in the existence of what some call a purgatory, or as others do in the doctrine of hell-redemption : no, for we do not believe in the existence of any local hell, calculated to inflict punishment, or in a purgatory, other than those means that the Creator has ordained in this and the future state of being, for the purgation of all impure intelligences in his universe. Happiness nor misery have no place of existence, but with the mind and whenever, or wherever that is holy, it will be happy.
But some may inquire, what is holiness, and how are souls made holy? Holiness of soul consists in " loving the Lord our God with all the mind," and our neighbour as ourselves, and this love to God produces correspondent actions; an entire obedience, and submission to his will, and that to our neighbour, such as to do him all the good we can, and no harm, under any circumstances. Perhaps no person ever lived on earth who attained to this perfection of love; and the reason is plain, because like the Apostle Paul and all other mortals, they were closely connected with a carnal mind, and a body of sin and death. Still advances are made towards this perfection, in this lifo. It
be asked, what are the means by which these advances to holiness are made? We answer in the words of scripture, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God,"_"And we know tliat whosoever is born of God, sinneth not.” And that " this is eternal life, that they should know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast
That the attainment of such knowledge, is
the means of advancement, we believe; of course it is plain, that the rapidity or slowness of those advancements, depend much upon the correctness, or incorrectness of our views of the true character of God and Christ. Now if the reader wish to know God, he may read “God is love,” and of Jesus Christ, " the father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” “ This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." that hath the son [believeth on him) hath life,” that is, whoso believeth that he is the Saviour of the world, hath life. But these declarations and scripture proofs, do not intimate, that if any souls should not attain to the perfection of the belief that giveth life, in this life, they cannot attain to the faith of truth in their next, or future state.
And now we ask, if the soul, in a disimbodied state, will not have a much better opportunity of obtaining the perfection of the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, than it has in this body of organized clay, whose foundation is in the dust! We must believe it will.
After the soul shall have left the body, it shall, as the scriptures declare, “return to God who gave it;" of
course, as the scriptures also state, see him as he is, face to face. Here the soul sees in part, knows in part, but in the disimbodied state, shall know as it is known. It can know God to be God of love," as it will find, that instead of putting it under eternal punishment, for the imperfections of a short life, he will freely forgive, and take it to his bosom, as his own dear child, who was lost but now is found, who was dead, but is alive, and brought through the avenues of misery to its father's house, who will wipe away all tears from its eyes."
In this disimbodied state, the soul can easier attain to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. In this state, it