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6. From facts which are clearly stated in the Bible. See ube jections as above. Obj. 10.

We will now notice the objections to the doctrine of retribution in this life. It is objected,

1. “ That the pious and virtuous are frequently unfortunate, and sometimes miserable, in this world.” This is undoubtedly true; but, we ask, are the virtuous miserable and unfortunate because they are virtuous? In other words, do they suffer the penalty of God's moral law? This will not be pretended. But if they do not, then their miseries must be attributed to some other

This leads us to remark, that man is governed by three different sets of laws. He is a physical, intellectual, and moral being; and is governed by physical, intellectual, and moral laws. These laws operate separately and independently of each other. If man obeys the physical laws, he will receive the reward of health and physical enjoyment. If the intellectual, he will experience intellectual enjoyment. If the moral, he will enjoy that happiness which flows from the exercise of the moral faculties. If he obeys them all, he will derive pleasure and satisfaction from each of these sources; and experience all the happiness which is atlotted to a human being. It must also be remembered that mankind, both good and bad, are subject to various evils and misfortunes, which are not of our own procuring, which cannot be warded off, and which cannot be considered as the penalty of any law whatever. If these facts are constantly borne in mind, they will serve to explain all the seeming discrepancy in the administration of rewards and punishments. Again, mankind are extremely liable to be deceived and mistaken in their judgment on this subject. It may be well for us to mention the several grounds of deception. 1. They may be deceived by the pretensions and professions of men. man who professes to be virtuous, who really is so. It is often the case that those who profess the most religion have the least ; and those who profess none at all have the most. If, therefore, mankind calculate the deserts of their fellow-men by their professions, they will often judge a man to be deserving of reward when he is not and another to be deserving of punishment when he is not. Cer tainly, we cannot expect that God will bend himself to the notions of such concerning justice. 2. Mankind are liable to be mistaken · in their estimate of the amount and extent of the guilt of their

It is not every

fellow-men. · All men are not equally guilty for committing the same act. Two men may commit the same act, and one may be greatly guilty, and the other not guilty at all. There are different degrees of responsibility or accountability. In relation to the physical and intellectual laws, it is, perhaps, strictly true that ignorance of those laws excuses no man. That is, man will suffer the consequences of disobeying them, whether he has a knowledge of their existence or not. But in relation to the moral laws, ignorance of them, where that ignorance is not voluntary, does excuse a man to some extent at least. We may, then, greatly err in calculating the guilt of our fellow-men. God only knows the heart. He only knows to what extent men are guilty. He only knows how much of reward or punishment his creatures are deserving of; and we have no reason to expect that he will dispense his rewards and punishments to suit our views of what justice requires. 3. Mankind may be deceived by their own estimate of themselves. They may think themselves deserving of reward when they are not, and undeserving of punishment when in fact they deserve it. They may be ignorant of the physical laws, and live in the habitual violation of them, and not know it. They may think themselves perfectly guiltless for so doing, and they may be so; but the consequences will be precisely the same. They must suffer pain, sickness and disease. They may form a wrong estimate of what constitutes virtue, and think they are practising it, when they are not. In this case, although they may look for reward, they will not receive it, for they do not deserve it. This was the case with the ancient Pharisees. They made religion consist in the practice of forms and ceremonies. These they faithfully performed, and judged themselves to be very pious, holy and virtuous men. But if the testimony of Jesus is to be credited, they were very far from righteousness; and although they judged themselves deserving of reward, yet they were not.

Now, in reference to those who profess to be virtuous, are esteemed to be such by their fellow-men, and yet are miserable and unhappy; for instance, suffer pain, sickness, and all the deprivations consequent upon ill health. It may be that their misfortunes are of that kind to which all are liable, and from which none are entirely exempt. Perhaps they have inherited a bad constitution. In that case, it is their misfortune and not their fault. It may be they have

voluntarily -- either ignorantly or knowingly — violated the physical laws of their nature. If they have done it ignorantly, they cannot escape the consequences; if knowingly, they have incurred a penalty which they ought to suffer, and will suffer, so long as they continue to violate those laws. But, it may be, they are not what they profess to be

virtuous men. Even if their outward conduct is moral, they may perform all their good deeds from bad motives; and, in that case, are not entitled to any reward, nor will they receive any. The truth is, a man may cultivate the moral faculties ever so much, and live in the strictest conformity to God's moral law; yet, if he disregards the laws of health, eats too much, drinks too much, sleeps too much, exercises too little or too much, exposes himself unnecessarily or necessarily, or eats, drinks, and sleeps too little, he carinot escape the consequences. The fact of his obeying the moral laws will not exempt him from the penalty of violating the laws of his physical constitution. As a moral being, he may experience that happiness which flows from the exercise and cultivation of his moral faculties. As a physical being, he may, at the same time, suffer pain, sickness and disease, as a necessary consequence of neglect or violation of the physical laws. But in no case, if the man is truly a virtuous man, can you rob him of virtue's reward. He may meet with misfortunes. His riches may “take to themselves wings and fly away." Friends may desert him. He may be persecuted. He may be incarcerated in prison, or confined within the gloomy walls of the dungeon. He may be suspended on the gallows, tied to the stake, and around him may be gathered the fagot and the flame. But, “ amid the war of elements, the wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds,” he will be unmoved. He walks forth in all the “conscious dignity of independent virtue.” In prosperity he rejoices; in adversity, he is resigned. He loves virtue for its own intrinsic value; practises it because he loves it, and for its present reward. His soul is stayed on God; for he knows that God is on the side of virtue. In life, and in death, he feels and experiences the “ soul's calm sunshine and the heartfelt joy which is virtue's prize."

2. It is objected " that the wicked are frequently prosperous and happy in this life.” That the wicked may be prosperous and happy, in one sense, is undoubtedly true. That is, it may be true of the merely immoral man. But that they are ever prosperous


and happy in the sense that the virtuous are, or in the highest sense of those terms, we deny. But the objector says “he is acquainted with a number of wicked men, who evidently enjoy themselves as well as any people on earth.” Hold, my dear sir. Are you sure of this ? Appearances are often deceptive. We frequently see our fellow-creatures placed in circumstances which we judge to be favorable, and conclude they must be happy; but, on becoming acquainted with the facts, we learn they are not. Indeed, sometimes men appear to be happy, and act happy, when they are not. Paganini, of Paris, in France, was a celebrated wit, musician and theatrical performer. He was one of the most jocosé and humorsome of men. He was thought to be the most happy of men. He was considered a very amusing companion, and his company was sought for by all. One day Paganini went to a celebrated physician of Paris, and, without informing him who he was, complained of habitual melancholy. "Have you been long troubled with it ?” asked the physi cian. “Yes, for a number of years.” “Does it give you much trouble?“ Yes, it destroys all my peace. It troubles me by night and by day; and I have frequently been more than half inclined to destroy myself.” “I advise you,” said the physician, “ to find the company of Paganini, and keep it : he will cure you of your melancholy.” “Alas !” cried the unhappy man, that very Paganini.”* Tiberius was a Roman emperor. He had abundance of wealth, was enthroned in power, and enjoyed every means of gratifying his sensual appetites to the very full. He was placed in circumstances which, by the mass of mankind, would be judged favorable to produce happiness. But was Tiberius happy? The following letter, written by him to the Roman Senate, shows that he was not: “What to write, conscript fathers, in what terms to express myself, or what to refrain from writing, is a matter of such perplexity, that if I know how to decide may the just gods and goddesses of vengeance doom me to die in pangs worse than those under which I linger every day.On this, Tacitus makes the following remarks : “ We have here the features of the inward man. His crimes retaliated upon him with the keenest retribution ; 60 true is the saying of the great philosopher, the oracle of ancient

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This story is quoted from memory. We may be mistaken in the name, but are certain we are not in the fact.

wisdom (Socrates), that, if the minds of tyrants were laid open to our view, we should see them gashed and mangled with the whips and stings of horror and remorse. By blows and stripes the flesh is made to quiver ; and, in like manner, cruelty and inordinate passions, malice and evil deeds, become internal executioners, and, with unceasing torture, goad and lacerate the heart. Of this truth Tiberius is a melancholy instance. Neither the imperial dignity, nor the gloom of solitude, nor the rocks of Caprea, could shield him from himself. He lived on the rack of guilt, and his wounded spirit groaned in agony." How many thousands and millions of cases of the same kind there have been, and are now ! And it is to be feared that, in consequence of human folly, there will be thousands and millions more. When, therefore, we see the wicked apparently happy, we ought to remember that their happiness may be in appearance only, and not in reality. But again. It may be that those whom the objector esteems to be so wicked, and who he thinks are so happy, are not so wicked as he supposes, after all. Under a very rough exterior many a man carries the very best of hearts; and under the cloak of religion, yea, under the very “livery of the court of heaven,” many a man carries a heart of the most consummate knavery, hypocrisy and deception. But we have said that the wicked, i. e., the merely immoral man, may be happy. But in what sense may he be happy? By the merely immoral man, we mean one who is destitute of moral principles, and neglects to cultivate the moral faculties. Such men there have been, and such men there are, who, notwithstanding their utter destitution of moral principle, yet yield the strictest obedience to the physical laws. In such cases, you will see in them the stout, muscular, athletic and robust frame, a fine flow of health and spirits, and perhaps they may be lively, cheerful, and, in a certain sense, happy. And why should they not be? They have obeyed those laws upon the observance of which hangs suspended our physical enjoyment; and, why should they not receive their reward? But what kind of happiness is it which they enjoy ? we ask again. Is it that high and holy kind enjoyed by the righteous ? No. They know nothing of the satisfaction which is derived from the consciousness of having done our duty. They are strangers to the happiness which flows from the exercise of the moral faculties. They experience none of the rewards of virtue, for they do not practise virtue.

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