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pears to him an unpleasant, a dreadful doctrine, and hence he rejects it. And the doctrine of eternal misery, on the other hand, appears, at least to him, a very pleasant doctrine, and consequently he receives it. Yea, let the objector try, if he can, to receive any doctrine until it appears pleasant. The doctrine of endless misery he has received, and we think it must appear to him, pleasant, whatever it may be to other people. We think he ought not to deny this, and sure we are, that we shall never envy him any part of the pleasure which it affords him, until we have altered our minds greatly on this subject.
9th, If my doctrine be so pleasant as the objector says, how comes it to pass that it is not universally received? Why is it even so much opposed? Yea, why is it opposed by the objector himself? So far from its being a pleasing doctrine to the majority, it is one which is generally condemned. All sects are agreed to put it down, if possible. There is something then in the doctrine, which renders it unpleasant. What this is, it is not very difficult to perceive. This doctrine, certainly bears hard against the pride and self-righteousness of the human heart. It affords no room for one man to glory over another, as a particular favourite of heaven. Some, yea many, murmur against the good man of the house, that every man should have a penny; and like the elder son in the parable, are angry that the father should treat such prodigals with such kindness. They think there should be a hell to punish sinners in forever, and some have even gone so far as to say, if all men are to go to heaven, they do not wish to go there. So long as such a spirit prevails, there need be no wonder that my views of this subject should be hated and opposed. The first thing such persons ought to do, is to consider the nature of the spirit they are of. Can such a spirit be the spirit of Christ?
It is further objected "that this is a very good doc. trine to live by, but it will not do to die by."-In answer to this objection, let it be remarked, that this objection implies, that the doctrine of eternal misery, is a doctrine which will do, both to live and die by. But that my doctrine can afford no hope nor comfort, neither in life nor in death. Or does it mean, that this doctrine affords more of these, both in life and in death; but that the other only affords a false and temporary hope and comfort in life, but no hope nor comfort in death? Taking this to be the true sense of the words of the objector, we would then ask him, how he knows that his doctrine will do better to live by and die by, than the other? We do not think he can make any possible reply to this but by saying, my doctrine is true and yours is false. Well, we hope he, or whoever urges this objection, will consider it a duty they ought to perform, to prove that my views of Gehenna are unscriptural. For
1st, If they are true, why will they not do to live and die by better than the opposite views, which must be false? The whole here depends on the truth or falsehood of my sentiments. If they can be proved from the Scriptures false, I frankly confess that they are neither fit to live nor die by. Candour, in the objector, will certainly also grant, that if my sentiments are found upon examination true, his doctrine of eternal torments in hell, is not fit either to live or die by, because it must be false. I contend that true doctrine, or in other words, the doctrine of the Bible, correctly understood, is the doctrine which men can either live or die by comfortably. Error is not good for men, either in life or in death. It is truth which gives true hope and joy to the mind, and it is truth which is a light to the feet and lamp to the path. The whole here depends on which of the two doctrines is the doctrine of Scripture. While this remains undecided,
I have as good a right to say to him, as he has to me, your doctrine is a very good doctrine to live by, but it will not do to die by. Until the objector fairly meets the arguments, by which I have attempted to prove that Gehenna or hell is not a place of endless misery for the wicked, I might dismiss this and other objections of a similar nature. But I proceed.
2d, The objector must allow, that if his doctrine is so good to die by, it is not very good to live by. He certainly cannot deny, that the doctrine of eternal torments in hell, is such as has given much distress and misery to many, and many too, whom he would not deny to be the excellent of the earth. We think he will not deny, that his doctrine does not give one half the distress and misery to the thoughtless and licentious, as it does to the more thinking, serious, and exemplary part of the community. The former laugh, and dance, and play, and drive away all their fears of the punishment of hell torments. The doctrine only gives distress and misery of mind to the best and most valuable part of society, inclu ding with others, such as we should deem Christians. These, and these almost exclusively, are the persons who are rendered miserable all their life-time by this doctrine. We think the objector will not deny, that instances have occurred, where persons of thinking and serious habits, have been driven to distraction and even to suicide by it. But was a case ever known, where a person was so much distressed in his mind, and finally went deranged, or ended his days, because hell was not a place of eternal torment for a great part of the human race? We have found a few, who would be very sorry, if my views could be proved true. This we have imputed to want of consideration, and a false zeal for a favourite doctrine, but we are under no apprehension, that if they are found true, they will carry their zeal so far as to end their
days in consequence of it. Is not my doctrine then better to live by, than that of the objector?
3d, But if my views are such as may do to live by, but will not do to die by, how came it to pass, that persons could both live and die by them under the Old Testament dispensation? It was not known in those days, that Gehenna was a place of eternal misery for the wicked, yet all will allow, that many lived happy and died happy. It does not appear, from any thing which I have ever noticed in the Old Testament, that persons then derived any hope or consolation either in life or in death, from the doctrine of eternal torment in hell; nor, that it was any motive in producing obedience to God's commandments. We find no holy man of God in those days, urging the doctrine of endless misery on mankind, as a good doctrine to live and die by, and warning men against the opposite doctrine, as a dangerous error. Besides, how could the apostles and first Christians, either live happy or die happy, seeing they knew nothing about hell as a place of endless misery? They knew nothing of this doctrine; therefere let the objector account for it, why my doctrine will not do to live and die by now, as well as in the days of the apostles. What would the objector have done for this doctrineto live and die by, had he lived eighteen hundred years ago? He cannot say that the apostles ever preached the doctrine of hell torments for any pur pose; and far less that they preached it, as a good. doctrine to live and die by.
4th, But let us examine a little more particularly, what there is in the doctrine of hell torments, which is so much better fitted to live and die by, than the sentiments which I have stated in the foregoing pages. The objection we are considering, is often used, and serves some on all occasions, when argument fails, in defending the doctrine of hell torments. When
hardly pinched to defend it, from some text which they thought clearly taught it, they cut the matter shortly off thus,-"Ah! your doctrine may do very well to live by, but it will never do to die by." This brief sentence, perhaps uttered with a sigh or a groan, answers in place of a thousand arguments with many. I shall therefore give it more attention, than I really think it deserves. Let us then
Consider the comparative merits of the two opposite doctrines to live by. The doctrine, or my doctrine, that hell is not a place of eternal torment for all the wicked, is barely allowed to be a doctrine, which men may possibly live by in the present world. Now, how Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, and others, made out to live by it, I do not stop to inquire. I leave my opponents to inquire, how they, and the apostles, and first Christians, yea, I may add Jesus Christ himself, suc ceeded in living so well by it. When they have found out this, I can be at no loss to tell them, how I and others can live by it. But we pass over this, and wish to bring the comparative merits of the two doctrines into notice, as best fitted to live and die by.
1st, Then, let us attend to the doctrine of eternal misery, and its fitness to live by. If it indeed be better fitted for this purpose, it must be in the following things. 1st, As a ground of hope in respect to future happiness. But how any man can make the eternal torments of others in hell, a ground of hope to himself, I am unable to devise. If the eternal misery of one human being affords the objector any ground of hope, the more doomed to this punishment then, so much greater the extent and solidity of his ground of hope. But as this is not likely to be the ground on which this is placed, I observe
2d, Does it afford to such persons a more certain and sweet source of joy in this world than the opposite doctrine? A man's joy must arise from the hope