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but who find their prop already broken, and whose gray hairs are descending with sorrow to the tomb ? Does not the libertine suffer less from his unhallowed career than do his wretched victims? He revels in sin, boasts of his successes, and in old age looks back with fiend'ish exultation upon his pathway, strown with the spoils of virtue, and recounts the numbers which have fallen by his arts. While he glories in his crimes, who can estimate the bleeding hearts, the blasted reputations, the parental wretchedness, the desolated homes, the shame, the anguish, the despair, and the untimely deaths, he has caused ?
Reason, speculate as you will upon this subject, stern facts teach you that the retributions of this life are usually such, that innocence and purity, for the present, suffer the most. And if there is no other world in which a just retribution takes place, and these inequalities are requited, then God is not just; and man is a monument, not of the justice and righteousness of God, but of partial and inequitable dealing.
It is in vain to argue that men must be punished in the same state in which they commit the sin; for we know that such is not the case. The results of crime are not “confined to the place where the act was committed. Sin, in youth, may lay the foundation of a disease that shall complete its work on the other side of the globe. An early career of dissipation in America may fix in the frame the elements of a disorder, that shall complete its work in the splendid capital of the French, or, it may be, in the sands of the equator, or the snows of Siberia.” Men are seldom punished on the spot in which the crime is perpetrated, but in the place appointed by the government against whose laws the offence is committed. God's government extends over heaven, earth, and hell. In any part of his dominions he could have set his throne of judgment. He has announced that
the ungodly are reserved unto the day of judgment to be punished ;” and that, in the judgment of the great day, men will be rewarded according to the deeds done in the body.
I have thus reviewed the principal arguments upon which Universalism rests. I have also presented to you the reasons which prove these arguments to be unsound. Should we consider the system without reference to its alarming moral tendency, and regard it simply as a system to be received or rejected, as the arguments advanced in its favor did or did not support it, we should find an unprejudiced public rendering the verdict, “Thou art weighed, and art found wanting.'
It must, I think, be apparent to all, that Universalism deserves no consideration as a religious system. Its claims are founded in sophistry and assumption, and supported by the most violent wresting and palpable perversion of the word of God. It is a delusion of the most fatal kind, and destructive of the choicest good of man. All who trust in it fatally injure their own souls.
The claims of Universalism are founded. It claims to be of God, and yet preaches as did the serpent in Eden. It claims to be the gospel of Christ, and yet was not known till nearly eighteen hundred years after the ascension of the
Savior. It claims to be the doctrine of the Bible, and yet contradicts the whole tenor of its teaching, makes the threatenings of the Bible a mockery, the mission and death of Jesus a pretence, and proves the inspired penmen to be incompetent or dishonest. It claims to seek the good of man, and yet, so far from turning the transgressor from the error of his way, it “strengthens the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way and live ;” assuring men that without holiness they will see the Lord, and that, however they may live or die, none will be excluded from heaven.
But let us not be deceived. The Bible teaches that the unholy, the vile, the unbelieving, will be punished with eternal exclusion from the presence of God; that the holy, the pure, and the believing, only, can hope for eternal salvation; that all who reject Christ, shall not see life, but perish. Can you, then, trust the delusions of Universalism? Can you cling to a system having such tendencies and such feeble proofs ? Can you build your hopes of eternal happiness upon a foundation so sandy, so certain to fail when most it is needed, and to give way when too late to repair or rebuild ?
If you have no confidence in the system, give it no place, no, not an hour; but say every where, to all persons, on all occasions, - say it kindly, but firmly, - that you regard Universalism to be what it is, - an awful delusion, a destructive error, fatal to man in both worlds. Be induced by no consideration to countenance its ministry, or mingle with those who sit in the seats of the scorner.
But if it already has got hold of you, let me entreat you calmly and prayerfully to review the ground on which you rest, the evidence of your faith, and your preparation to meet your God. If this life is a life of probation, — if these powers and privileges are given to prepare us for another life, then you are awfully wrong. Your mistake is of a most fearful magnitude. Eternity is not long enough to enable you to correct the wrong. Many, very many, are reviewing this subject. Many of your number are escaping from the dreadful delusion that long has bound them. 0, be not deceived! Let not the enemy of souls secure you for his dark dominions ! Fly, this hour, to the Rock of Ages! Fly from error to truth, from sin to holiness, from death to life!"If thou art wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself; but if thou scornest, thou alone must bear it."
REASONS FOR RENOUNCING UNIVERSALISM, DRAWN
FROM ITS MORAL RESULTS.
MATT. vii. 16.
YE SHALL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS.
The Savior elearly foresaw that, after his death, men would arise, who would assume his name, and profess to love his truth, while they would bear in their hearts the same hatred to Christians that wolves bear to sheep. The chief danger from their hatred would result from their being disguised. Were they to appear as the enemies of truth, and openly assail it, little harm would attend their opposition. But Satan often" transforms himself into an angel of light ;” and his servants often transform themselves into ministers of righteousness."
How, then, shall they be distinguished from the servants of God ? Not by their appearance, nor by their claims; for they seem to be, and claim to be, what they are not. Not by their appeals to the Bible. Satan did this in the temptation of our Lord ; and his ministers have also done it in all ages of the church.
The Son of God knew that such a state of things would exist; and that, without great watchfulness