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will see him face to face, without a veil between, and shall know, and of course, believe that he "is the Christ," and the "Saviour of the world ;" and the sight, or knowledge of God and Christ, will exalt, sanctify, transform, and glorify the most low, degraded and unhappy soul, that ever left the body.
Again, we know that there are many souls, who are associated with bodies for many years; and yet, from the place of their nativity, or other causes, over which they could have no control, have been prevented from obtaining any correct knowledge of God, or any that was beneficial. Now if the Almighty does not afford them an opportunity of believing the truth, so as to obtain eternal life, in this state of existence, how can we believe he is an impartial God?
Almost all persons believe, that all those souls who are saved, are put in possession of eternal life in their next state of existence, are operated on, or influenced, by the divine father; and we would here remark, that if any miss of heaven, it must be for the lack of the same kind and degree of influence which God afforded to others, upon whom salutary effect was produced.
Those who argue that all have equally the assistance which is needed to purify the soul in this state of existence, are either very ignorant of facts, or willingly lie to their own souls. Every aid, to have an equal effect, must be proportioned to the evil which is to be overcome. Were this always the case, the effect would be uniformly produced.
Again the intellect of different persons varies as much as their distinctive bodily features; and truth, expressed in the same terms to people of different powers of perception, will not, therefore, be equally efficacious. The light of divine truth sheds meridian day on one, while to another it affords but a glimmering twilight. While a word fitly spoken affords to
one a demonstration, to another it must be repeated line upon line, and reiterated by precept upon precept, to have any visible effect. All have need of the same truth, in equal degrees, to be equally happy, and even should we allow degrees of happiness in a future life, yet certain it is, that without some degree of divine light, no one can be happy, even to the fulness of his capacity, however small that may be. True indeed, men in this world do not appear to be equally happy, but we believe they are really nearer in this respect, than is generally imagined; and the poet has not assumed any considerable license, when he says, "not one will change his neighbour with himself." Indeed, the celebrated Pope brings the subject home to our business and bosoms, in the following beautifitl lines
"The learned is happy nature to explore,
But would the infinite difference which some suppose will exist in a future state, be honourable to God as a moral governor? Will the most obstinate fanatic allow that the rule which gives to every one a share of happiness in this life, will be reversed in the next? All the orthodox contend that impartiality will be more specially exhibited in the future, than in the present life; but if, instead of different degrees of happiness, as we see in this state of being, a portion is to enjoy supernal blessedness at the expense of endless sin and suffering to the other portion, shall we call this impartiality?
Every person of moral reflection, must remark the great difference between the conditions of the human family in this life. Some have much better opportunities afforded them, not only to be happy in this life, but to obtain qualification for endless felicity. To still all our disquietudes on the subject of a partial providence, an unequal distribution of the favours of the Almighty, we must remember, and believe the remark of the Redeemer to his disciples. "Master" said they, "did this man sin, or his parents, that he was born blind." Neither this man sinned nor his parents that he was born blind, but he was born blind that the works of God might be made manifest. Jesus Christ then delivered him from his blindness, from his infirmity, did on him the works of God. So he will deliver all mankind, from blindness—from moral death-from temporal miseries and infirmities of every name. The blind man was born blind, not for his own sin which he might have committed if he existed before he came into the body, if he did thus exist, no; nor for the sin of his parents, but for the specific purpose that Jesus Christ might see him, and in the sight of the multitude, open his eyes.
And we must believe, that whatever the condition of any of the human family is, in this life, it is so, by divine appointment, that the "works of God may be manifest." Whether any one is rich or poor, a slave or free, ignorant or wise, male or female, black or white, blind or not, enjoying much holiness, or great misery, they are so, that the ways of God might be made manifest, and we believe his ways are ways of love, for God is love. His way through the instrumentality of the Redeemer, to the blind man was love, and he will deliver the whole creation from their
bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God." If the man had not been blind,
he could not have been recovered, of course he could not have loved Christ for opening his eyes. So if the human family had not been associated with a carnal body, and thereby induced to sin, and compelled to suffer, they could not be delivered, nor could they love God for their deliverance; of course they could not be happy, for love is happiness, and heaven-" He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and he in him," but God will deliver the human family from blindness and wo-both physical and mental.
Statement of another opinion relative to the origin of the soulGod could have prevented moral evil and human miseryThe necessity and benefit of evil and misery.
Some theologians hold, and inculcate the opinion, that souls existed before they associated with flesh, and in which pre-existent state they sinned, by some means, and are now put into mortal bodies, and made subject to vanity at such times and places, and under such circumstances, as the Almighty may select with with a view to their purification, and perfection, like the captain of their salvation, through suffering.
Assuming the truth of this hypothesis, we may, with much propriety, argue in favour of a belief of the final restoration of the degraded soul-which is now made subject to vanity, but we hope and say with the Apos tle, it shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
But to reason on the subject. If souls did exist before they came into the bodies, and do come into them because they have sinned, the intention of God in sending them here, must be for their benefit, and if any are not benefited by the connexion, he must have
known the fact before he ever intended the connexion, and if he did know it as a fact, he would not have sent them here, unless he intended their misery instead of their happiness.
But if God really intended the present and endless misery of some soul which he has associated with mortal bodies here, he could as well have let them be so in their disimbodied state, or if their deviation from moral rectitude, did not make them as miserable as he wished, he might have devised some way for that pur pose as well as to first send them to exist in bodies, on a great and beautiful world, which he seems to have made for their accommodation, and to make them suffer some, so as to just taste misery and then to endure it for ever. But that he wishes their purification and endless happiness, is evident, if the scripture be true, If then God wishes the happiness of souls, we must believe that their connexion with mortal bodiestheir subjection to vanity, and their present sufferings, are parts of the means he uses for that purpose. Upon no other system of faith, can we justify the ways of God to man, in permitting the existence of evil and suffering among them.
Arguments of reason, and expositions of Scripture have been used in all ages, by the good and wise, to reconcile the mind of man, under the circumstances of the existence of moral evil and human misery, under the reign of a wise, powerful, and good being, and have proceeded upon the ground of the short continuance, necessary and salutary effect of human suffering, to produce a relish of, and qualification for an eternal weight of glory, in the next state of existence for every sufferer-and they all ought, like the Apostle, to reckon the sufferings of this present life, or time, are not to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in them. And also on the finite nature of sin, or moral evil, and its tendency to produce good.<