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Under such views we may be reconciled to live and to suffer, and not to "fret at evil doers, or against the Lord," as our sufferings are to work out for us, an eternal weight of glory, and that evil doers are permitted by the Almighty to live, under his care and everlasting love. And we may believe also, that he who has wounded will heal, who has degraded will exalt, who has begun a good work of redemption will carry it on to perfection, either in this or the coming state. That as the Scriptures declare, as we have been partakers of the earthly nature, so shall we be of the heavenly.
Once more. Although we do not believe in a resurrection of the body, because it would be contrary to scripture and reason, nor in what is called a general judgment, yet to those who do we will apply this further argument in favour of the doctrine by asking them what they think may be the exercise of the soul after death, which may leave the body unholy, during the time, which will intervene between the death of the body of some, and the day of the general judgment? We would ask, will they not have ample time and means afforded during this period for sanctification? Will not their opportunity be better, than when associated with a fleshly body, and carnal mind of earthly and sensual propensities? Surrounded with bad examples-natural temptations, and, according to common belief, a powerful, malicious, personal Devil, who with all the subtility of an angel of light is continually going about, seeking whom he may devour?
All who believe in a resurrection of the body and general judgment, agree in thinking that souls will not, either be rewarded with heaven for their services, nor punished in hell, before the judgment day-of course, they ought to believe, and reason is on the side of the argument, that all souls will be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, and that the song of universal praise will
be sung by "every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them; saying, blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne,. and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever." But we would ask, with what propriety could every creature give this glory to the Lamb, unless they had been actually redeemed?
We anticipate an objection, that may be made by some, against the position which we wish to establish, predicated on the last noted hypothesis, the pre-existence of souls to Infants and Idiots, and all those who from natural circumstances, have been during life precluded a moral qualification for heaven. The merit of the objection is, that, if souls were capable of sin-ning in their pre-existent and disimbodied state, why not suppose they are capable of repenting and reformation, as souls abstract from bodily considerations, and if they do not, they are proper subjects of punishment, according to the rules of moral justice.
To this reasoning, we oppose the argument, that, if the human soul did exist, before it was connected with a body, and in that state sinned, we have no groundsfrom scripture, or reason, to believe that it is now capable of repenting, while associated with the body of an Infant or an Idiot, or even with that of wisdom and age, unless it is properly informed of the nature and character of God, and the requisitions of the law; "how can they call on him of whom they have not heard?" If souls have moral information before they came into mortal bodies, it is evident that they lose it, by some means, at their first appearance in flesh, for not only our common sense and reason: teach us that this is the case; but the scriptures uniformly, represent all minkind, in a state of uninstructed nature,. "without God in the world," or without the knowledge of God.
And now, dear reader, how can you, why will you disbelieve, or dispute such reasonable, such consolatory doctrine? No scripture denies it, no reason disproves it. It is a doctrine full of sweet and immortal hopes, å doctrine calculated, to justify the ways of God, to the most reasonable, and the best feelings of the human heart-to cause all souls to love and adore the great and good Father of the human family. It is a doctrine that above all others, which have ever been offered for the credence of man, is best calculated to promote human love, human hope, and human peace and happiness.
Of love-If all mankind fully believed that all their fellow creatures were the children of God, and equally interested in this love, and would certainly meet and associate together, in great glory, in their next state of existence, would they, could they hate and injure each other, in this life? No, they would not, they could not; but they would love each the other as Christ loved them. They would realize the fact "he that loveth God loveth his brother also."
Of hope-If people really believed in the eternal salvation of all souls, with what feelings of resignation could they part with those whom they loved, their separation by death would be viewed, as only of short duration, when they should meet with, and see them again, adorned with all the charms of divine beauty, and filled with immortal joys, in the regions of endless pleasure, where is no more parting.
Of peace-If all mankind were believers of the consolatory doctrine of the universal holiness and happiness of the human family, would they not live in love and peace with each other, and with God? yes, they would be delivered from the fear of future wo; of the endless misery of themselves-of their children, and all others, whom they loved. Though a dear friend,' a relative, a son, or a daughter, might die, void of the
knowledge and love of God, in the soul-might be a murderer, or a prostitute-defiled with crimes, and covered with scandal- -was hurried off the stage of life unwarned; no time afforded for reformation, no time to make reparation for injuries done-no manifestation of a godly sorrow for sin; no signs or fruits of repentance; but "a fearful" looking for of judgment and fiery indignation" in the future state; yet those who had the faith of truth could enjoy peace, relying on the power, goodness, and promise of God--to cleanse to purify-to sublimate, the defiled and degraded soul, in his own way and time, and receive it, as his own wandering, prodigal, suffering child, when he will dress and beautify in all the charms of celestial lustre, and present it to all the family above, to be admired among all those who come out of great tribulation, and have "their robes washed white in the blood of the Lamb."
And now, my dear reader, how can you disbelieve or oppose so consolatory a doctrine, so worthy of a God of all power, love, and justice? Is not its truth interesting to every fine feeling of your heart? Is it not congenial with the purest love of your soul, which yet retains some relic of the divine nature, love, relative to your neighbour, to your relations, to your dear children, and all mankind? Surely it is. You would make all mankind eternally happy, if you had the power so to do ; but you cannot. God is pure love; he has all power, he can make all souls eternally happy, and can you doubt his love or his power? it is his will to have all men to be saved, and is not his power sufficient to accomplish the resolves of his will? Surely it is then all men will be saved.
There is a position taken by the opposers of the doctrine of God's universal and impartial love, of the following nature-That many great sinners live long in sin and pleasure, and if, when they leave the world,
they go straight to heaven, they are better dealt with, than many others who sin less, and suffer more, in life. The reader must here remark, that no one can correctly estimate the quantum of the happiness or pain of another, and that calculation on this subject is uncertain; but should we give the position the place of presumption, there is nothing gained against the doctrine of love for which we contend. Pure love wants nothing for its favors-When, as we read, the lord of the vineyard gave as much to those of his labourers who had worked but one hour, as to those who bore the heat and burden of the day, they murmured; but his reply to them was-is thine eye evil, because mine is good; have not I a right to do as I will with mine own? Then, dear reader, if you had the love of God in your soul, you would not object, that the vilest sinner in existence-even your murderer, with his hands stained in your blood, should after death be forgiven, sanctified, and received into the joy of your father's house, to be the associate of your soul, companion of your joy, through all eternity.Had you the spirit of Christ, this would be your feelings he prayed for his murderers, "father forgive them, they know not what they do."
Thus, it is easily seen, that divine love requires neither suffering nor service, to entitle the needy sinner to its favors-if it did, man would not be saved by grace-but even say that it requires suffering, and reception to prepare it for the enjoyment of its favour. We do not believe that souls are capable of sinning beyond the grave, so as to be forgiven; but we persist in the belief, that they are proper subjects of operation, and can be prepared by operation, into a qualification, and capacity of sustaining an eternal weight of glory, and we are inclined to the belief that this is done after the soul leaves the body.