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    FURTHER OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED

    It is said, because “the destruction of the wicked is not so terrible as interminable existence in misery, that therefore it does not present an adequate motive for repentance, but diminishes the proper restraints of sin.”SSII 108.3

    I have already answered, in part, this objection; but, I would here inquire - does not the threatening of the loss of all the glory of immortality, and the total extermination of life and being, present a sufficient appeal to the fears of men, if they can be moved by that principle at all? If the loss of all the glorious displays of God’s wisdom, power, and love, that will be eternally unfolding, in eternal life, together with the actual sufferings the sinner may endure, prior to his utter destruction, are not motives sufficient to lead to repentance, the mind must be too stupid to be moved by the idea of endless torments. Besides, we know that the greater portion of men have remained impenitent under the preaching of the theory I oppose: and I here repeat what I have before said, that I solemnly believe the natural tendency of that theory is to make men infidels instead of Christians: they cannot credit it; and, thinking that it is taught in the Bible, they reject revelation altogether.SSII 108.4

    Another objection, it may be proper I should here notice, is, it is said, upon the theory I advocate, “The punishment God has threatened is, that He will put an end to the miseries of the wicked.” I answer - It is no such thing. It is not that He will put an end to their miseries, but to their being, and of course, to all hope of life and happiness. That an end of conscious misery is necessarily implied, I admit; but that is no part of the threatening. Let the objector apply his argument to the law which says, the man who commits murder shall die; i.e. says the objector, the law threatens to put an end to the murderer’s remorse and misery!SSII 109.1

    I have already noticed that one of the arguments that men are immortal is, that all men desire immortality. Yet the same persons tell us, that some men had much rather be totally destroyed than to have the very thing they desire, viz. immortality. That men do desire immortality I have not denied; but if they do, they cannot at the same time desire utter destruction. Man loves life, and prefers it to death. “All that a man hath will he give for his life,” is a truth, though uttered by Satan. Men at present can be but little affected by the common theory of endless sin and suffering, because, it is utterly impossible for any finite mind to have any clear idea of such a punishment. Destruction of being, or death, is something that strikes the senses, and reaches the understandings of men, and must therefore have more present influence on their minds, in leading them to forsake sin, than that of which they can have no clear conceptions.SSII 109.2

    Besides, so long as you allow that man’s being is eternal, you cannot divest his mind of the idea, though it may be secretly indulged, that somehow he shall escape from that punishment; even though he cannot at present give any definite idea how it is to be done. Hence multitudes plunge into the doctrine of restorationism.SSII 110.1

    Some tell us that “spiritual death is the penalty of the law.” I answer, no such phraseology is found in the Bible; and the manner it is usually employed, tends rather to confusion in the mind than the conveying of any definite idea. It is intended, I suppose, to convey the sentiment that impenitent men are unholy, and have no rational conceptions of God, and the things of God. But this sentiment is capable of being expressed in language less obscure and equivocal. Men are said in Bible language, to be unholy, sensual, carnally-minded, not having the knowledge of God, earthly, devilish, lovers of their own selves, proud, lovers of the world, hateful, and hating one another, etc.SSII 110.2

    All these expressions are sufficiently definite to be understood; but “spiritual death,” if it means anything, signifies something analogous to the death of the body. By bodily death, if I may employ that expression, we mean that the body ceases all action sense, and life. Then, if spiritual death is analogous, it must mean that the spirit ceases all action, sense, and life. In that sense, I have no objection to admitting that it is the penalty of the law. That penalty when inflicted, will cause all life to cease. But if the term is employed in any other sense to signify the penalty of the law, I demand the proof. Where is it? Where?SSII 110.3

    If it be said, “the death threatened to Adam must be a spiritual death, as it was to take place in the day he eat the forbidden fruit,” I reply, if the penalty was spiritual death, in the sense the objector means, and if the penalty, as he understands it, was executed in the literal day that Adam eat that fruit, then the death of the body and the “wrath to come” was no part of the penalty, as neither of those events took place till nearly a thousand years after.SSII 110.4

    The penalty was not, “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt die;” but as the Hebrew language has it - “dying thou shalt die.” That very day the promise of immortality was withdrawn, by man’s being cut off from the tree of life; and the whole man commenced dying. The existence of man from that hour became one of pain, sorrow, misery, and is hastening to its wind up, and will result in the utter extermination of his being, unless counteracted by eating “that bread that came down from heaven, that a man might eat thereof and not die.” Christ is that “tree of life whose fruit is for the healing of the nations.” “God has given unto us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him,” and abiding on him must result in death: for that is the unalterable wages of sin throughout the universe of God.SSII 111.1

    Let us examine this point further, i.e. the idea that the penalty of the law of God is spiritual death. Turn to the account of man’s creation, and the prohibition given him.SSII 111.2

    “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,” [literally, lives,] “and man became a living soul.”SSII 111.3

    Did God address this living soul, when he said, In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die - or, “in dying thou shalt die?” To say otherwise would be an absurdity.SSII 112.1

    To maintain that the death threatened was spiritual death, it appears to me, is to confound man’s sin with his punishment; if by spiritual death is meant, man became insensible to his obligation to his Maker, and to his own condition as a sinner, and lost all disposition to obey God; and that, I suppose, is what is meant by it. Strange penalty that! What would you think on reading the law which says, “For murder a man shall die,” if some person should tell you it did not mean that the murderer should “be hung by the neck till he is dead,” but that when he has committed the act of murder, he should immediately become insensible to his obligation to regard lawful authority, and to his own condition as a murderer, and lose all disposition to obey any law? Would you not think such an interpretation of law was “murdering the king’s English?” and would you not also think that the man’s insensibility and want of disposition to obey any law, was an additional circumstance in his guilt, instead of being his punishment?SSII 112.2

    This insensibility to God and his claims upon us, is our sin, and not our punishment, nor the penalty of God’s law. To represent it in that light, is to furnish sinners with a perfect excuse for living in insensibility to God’s claims upon them. If this state of spiritual death, as it is called, is the punishment of sin, or the penalty of the law, what man is now to blame for remaining in it?SSII 112.3

    The fact is, this insensibility to God and his claims upon us, is an aggravation of our sin, and not our punishment, nor the penalty of God’s law. To represent it in that light, is to furnish sinners with a perfect excuse for living in insensibility to God’s claims upon them. If this state of spiritual death, as it is called, is the punishment of sin, or the penalty of the law, what man is now to blame for remaining in it?SSII 112.4

    The fact is, this insensibility to God, and his claims upon us, is an aggravation of our sin, and not the penalty of the law. The Bible represents this state as a high crime. “Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider; O that they had hearkened unto me,” etc. Why all this complaint, if insensibility, or spiritual death, is the penalty or punishment that God has inflicted on men for sin? Did God complain of men for not escaping out of his hands, and so avoiding the punishment? As well might the government complain of the murderer for not slipping the noose of his halter when hanging by his neck, on the supposition that spiritual death is the punishment inflicted for sin. Let no man comfort his soul with that delusive idea. Depend upon it, our insensibility is a most horrid sin. Let the Almighty himself speak to such souls; and what is his language to them? “Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces and there be none to deliver.”SSII 113.1

    But there is still another view of this subject. The idea of spiritual death being the penalty threatened is not supported by a solitary text in the “law or prophets.” In every instance where the phrase “surely die” occurs, it is manifest that a literal, and not a spiritual death is intended, unless the text Genesis 3:17, is an exception; if it is an exception it is for our opponents to prove it such, and not assume it, as they uniformly do. When the Lord told Abimelech, Genesis 20th, “Thou shalt surely die, and all that is thine,” it was not a spiritual death threatened. And when God said of the murmuring Israelites - “They shall surely die in the wilderness,” it was not a spiritual death spoken of: see Numbers 26:65. And when Jehovah spoke by Ezekiel - “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die,” he was addressing those who were, what our opponents call, spiritually dead, for they were “wicked.” Were they to die another spiritual death?SSII 113.2

    I repeat it - There is no such doctrine in the “law and testimony,” expressed by Moses or the Prophets, as that spiritual death is a penalty of sin. Least of all, is there any foundation for such an assumption in the case of Adam; and I now proceed to notice, that the Hebrew preposition, here translated in, is b; which has the sense not only of in, but against, after, etc. This preposition is prefixed to the Hebrew word ium - day. The text is bium: b being the prefix determines as to the use of ium, i.e. what day is meant. The context shows that b is used in the sense of after; and the text reads, “after the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die:” expressing the certainty of his death, and not of the particular day in which that death should occur: the penalty would certainly be inflicted, but the precise time of its infliction God kept in his own power, and unrevealed, as it has been to each individual of Adam’s race since.SSII 114.1

    God’s own definition of the penalty, when he called Adam to account fully sustains the view here taken - “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Thus spake the great Lawmaker and Judge; and none can safely amend the definition He gave of the threatened penalty. It was not, “Dust thy body is;” but thou - the man. No exception of an entity, called an “immortal soul:” a most important exception, if true, our opposers being judges; for they insist upon it, though Adam’s Maker is silent on the subject.SSII 114.2

    I judge this point is sufficiently settled; at least till the opposers can produce something more like proof than any thing that has ever yet appeared on their side of the question.SSII 115.1

    Some tell us, that by the destruction of the wicked is meant the destruction of their sins; and others, the destruction of happiness. What ground have these persons for their assertions? The destruction of sin, of happiness, of being, are entirely distinct ideas; though the latter involves the others, yet each is capable of being expressed in appropriate language. With respect to the latter, I know of no way in which it could be more appropriately or clearly set forth than it is by our Lord, in Matthew 10:28 - “Fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Compare this with the expression of the apostle, - “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord,” and with Psalm 92:7, - “The wicked shall be destroyed for ever.” What testimony could be more explicit, that those who obey not the gospel are to be punished with destruction of being and not of their sins or happiness merely.SSII 115.2

    One other objection I will here notice from the Bible, which was passed over in my main argument. It is founded on Daniel 12:2, - “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” It is said, “they must have consciousness to feel shame.”SSII 115.3

    I reply: Shame signifies not only a passion felt when reputation is lost, but the disgrace and ignominy, which follows men for bad conduct long after they have passed away, personally, from knowledge. Take the case of a traitor to his country. For example, the conduct of Arnold in the American Revolution. He is never thought of without the shame of his evil deeds connected with him; and it is a shame that is everlasting - never can be wiped off, though he ceases to live to be conscious of it. He may be said, truly, to be a subject of everlasting “contempt,” i.e., he is despised, and scorned for his vile conduct, and always will be while the love of freedom exists.SSII 116.1

    I see no difficulty, therefore, in the text under consideration. Here also, as I have often remarked elsewhere, the punishment is put in opposition to life. The natural inference is that those who do not awake to life, perish from life.SSII 116.2

    The text then, is far from proving they will live eternally in sin and misery. At most it can be made to mean no more than an overwhelming sense of their guilt and folly, when they awake.SSII 116.3

    There is one other text I will here notice, as it is of the same nature of the one in Daniel. John 5:28, 29, “The hour is coming in which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.”SSII 116.4

    Let it be observed here, that life, is the reward named for them that have done good: the others come forth, but it is not to life; for it is a resurrection to damnation, or condemnation, for, so the word signifies. The only question, then, to settle is - what is the punishment to which they are condemned? That it is a punishment from which they never recover, I have no doubt. But is it everlasting life in sin and suffering, or is it death? I think it is the latter. In connection with the words under consideration, our Saviour said, at the 24th verse, “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” This text throws light on the other, and shows that our Saviour intended to be understood, by the damnation, or condemnation of evil doers, a condemnation unto Death, not to life in sin and suffering. I conceive this text, then, gives no countenance to the common theory of eternal being in indescribable torments, but shows that Death and not Life is the portion of those who have been doers of evil.SSII 116.5

    Again, it is said, by way of objection, - Your “doctrine was held by the Arians - is now held by the Unitarians - that it is Christianism - and finally, that it is Elias Smith’s doctrine.”SSII 117.1

    Whether these marvellous objections are true or not, I did not know, as I had never conversed with any of the above-named classes on the point, and know not that I ever read a paragraph from any of them on the subject till after I delivered my original Six Sermons. But suppose what the objector says is true; it does not touch the question of the truth of this doctrine, nor at all shake my faith. We know the time was, when the grand argument against some points of doctrine was “That’s Arminianism” - “That’s Calvinism” - or “That is what the Methodists hold.” Such language has passed for a very good argument to frighten enslaved minds, in the absence of a better.SSII 117.2

    But I may ask, whether, in a Christian land, there ever was a sect having no truth in their theory? and whether any sect will have the pride to arrogate to themselves that they have the truth - the whole truth - and nothing but the truth? If there is such a sect, it had better repair to Rome immediately, and get confirmed for infallibility.SSII 118.1

    The fact is, truth lies scattered among all denominations; none of them have the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Some have more than others. The guilt of all sects lies, to a great extent, in that intolerant spirit, that, in point of fact, claims for itself infallibility, and harbors, to a greater or less extent, the idea that “there is no salvation out of” their “church;” whilst inspiration declares that “In every nation he that feareth God and worketh righteousness” [i.e. according to the light he has or may possess] “is accepted with him.”SSII 118.2

    Again, it is said, “You have gone half way to Universalism.” That is, I have granted that even Universalists have some truth: though it is rather of a negative than of a positive character. They do not believe in eternal sin and suffering; and I have admitted, that in this, they are right. Unhappy men! - must they be so “chased out of the world,” to keep up the warfare upon them, that amongst all they pretend to hold for truth, they are so blinded, that they have not so much as one negative truth?SSII 118.3

    I am glad in my heart, if I can approach one step towards Universalists, without sacrificing truth; for I hope thereby to gain some, and save them alive, by removing out of their hands their main argument for universal salvation: viz. that “The idea of the eternal consciousness of innumerable human beings, in indescribable torments, is irreconcilable with the perfections of God, and that therefore all men will be saved.” The hearer seeing no other view of the subject, but eternal sin and suffering, or Universalism, takes hold of the latter.SSII 118.4

    Every one, who has had anything to do with Universalists, knows this is their main fort; and here it is they always wish to meet their opposers - and their converts are made more from the exhibition of the horribleness of the punishment, which their opposers say is to be inflicted upon the wicked, than any other, and all other arguments they use.SSII 119.1

    If, then, I have taken this weapon from their hands, which is no where explicitly taught in the word of God, am I not better prepared to come down upon their hearts and understandings by the express declarations of the Most High, that, “The soul that sinneth it shall die;” - that, the wicked “Shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord;” - that they shall be “Cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death;” - that they shall “utterly perish” - “be destroyed forever” - “be consumed with terrors” - “shall not see life” - be cut off forever, from all the pleasure derived from “everlasting life,” because they have refused to come to Christ that they might have life?SSII 119.2

    Is there nothing awakening in all this? Nothing calculated to arouse the sinner to seek life? And the language too is Scriptural, and less likely to objection than the unscriptural language of “immortal soul” — “deathless spirit” — “always dying and never dead” — “eternal being in torments,” etc. etc., all of which are of human invention, to say nothing of some of them being a contradiction in terms, and a flat denial of the testimony of God, that “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”SSII 119.3

    To talk of a “soul always dying and never dead;” or, of “a death that never dies,” is such an absurdity, that I wonder how it was ever believed by any man who thinks for himself. A doctrine that involves such a palpable contradiction is not to be promulgated for truth, unless we wish to bring discredit upon revelation itself. And I cannot divest myself of the conviction I have so often expressed, that the theory I oppose has driven many thinking men into infidelity. That any man can embrace it, I cannot account for, except from the fact, that they have been early taught it, and the dread of feeling the indignation of bigoted men who think it a crime to depart from what they or their fathers have baptized “orthodox.”SSII 120.1

    Another objection to the theory I advocate, and perhaps the one that stands most in the way of its being received for truth, is, - “If this doctrine is true, why has it never been found out before?”SSII 120.2

    I do not know but it has been found out before. I lay no claim to being the discoverer of it. I am told that Samuel Bourne of Birmingham, and John Taylor of Norwich, held the same sentiments, “in substance, making due allowance for the shape and color they have received from the peculiar mind of Mr. Storrs.” Whether that was true or not, I did not know at the time I first advocated the views here promulgated, as I had never seen their writings. My attention was called to the subject by a small pamphlet, in 1837. Who was its author, I did not know, as it had no name attached to it; but afterwards learned it was by Henry Grew, of Philadelphia. I read it, but did not think much of it at the time. I suppose I felt like the objector; i.e. if this view of the subject be true, why is it that Christians and ministers have not learned it before? Nevertheless, I could not resist the impression to examine the subject for myself. I did so from time to time for several years, and conversed with ministers on the subject; for I would not then allow myself to speak upon it with laymen, lest I might lead them into a belief of a doctrine which I had not fully investigated, and be the means of their going astray. I studied the Bible, reading and noting down every text that spoke of, or appeared to have reference to the final destiny of wicked men. The result of my investigations and convictions I have laid before you. I published a small pamphlet on the subject in 1841. In 1842, I preached my original Six Sermons in the city of Albany, N. Y. But few Reviews have ever appeared; and all of them that I have seen have tended to confirm me in the general correctness of the position I maintain on this great question.SSII 120.3

    The fact that a particular view of religious truth is new, is no proof of its incorrectness; it may be a reason why we should not embrace it without thorough investigation. How many things passed for truth in the dark ages of the church, that have since been exploded! and when they were first brought to light, the “innovators,” as they were called, were branded as “heretics.”SSII 121.1

    We should do well to remember that we have but just emerged from the dark ages of the church; and it would not be at all strange if we should find some “Babylonish garments” still worn by us for truth; or to speak without a figure, we have no reason to suppose that the Reformers, as they are called, divested themselves of all the superstitions and false interpretations that had been put upon the Bible, when ignorant men were kept in awe by the supposed sanctity of the priests.SSII 121.2

    The Reformers may have done well, considering their circumstances, and the prejudices of their education; but must we sit down and quietly follow exactly in their steps, without employing the understanding and Bible God has given us, to see if there are not things “new,” as well as “old” in God’s blessed word? Our Saviour saith: “Every scribe which is instructed unto the Kingdom of God, bringeth forth out of his treasures, things new and old.” Must we, then, confine ourselves to the old track; and must every thing that is new be rejected? Apply that principle to the arts and sciences, as well as religion, and the world is at a dead stand.SSII 122.1

    There are many points of doctrine that a few years ago passed for truth, that are now rejected. That this is the case in science, generally, no one will doubt. How long is it since men were satisfied that the world is round and revolves on its axis? Those who advocated such a theory, no doubt, were thought to be stark mad! - To the minds of their opponents, it was as clear as the light, that the world was flat - their fathers had always believed so; and all the reservoirs of water would have been emptied long ago, if the world turned over! - Copernicus, it is said, was compelled, by public opinion, to keep his discovery of the true solar system to himself more than thirty years. And Galileo, for avowing his belief in the same system, was cited to appear before the Pope, and condemned to prison, while his writings were publicly burned in the streets at Rome.SSII 122.2

    Men had lived thousands of years before the circulation of the blood was discovered. When that discovery was made, it was ridiculed and opposed as a most dangerous error, and as promising no good to the world; and this too, by the learned and knowing ones, and years passed away before the theory was generally received.SSII 122.3

    If it is a fact, in science generally, that false theories have been held for ages, may it not be so in religion? Since my recollection, the theory has been held, and promulgated for Bible truth, that there were “infants in hell not a span long” - and that “God made some men on purpose to show His power in their eternal torments in hell fire.” Yes, and that He “decreed all their sins which led to that result,” and sent “the gospel to some people on purpose,” i.e. with the design “to increase their damnation!” And it is within my remembrance, that a man was not considered orthodox who did not hold these views. But, I doubt if any man now can be found who holds such sentiments; or, if he does, will be willing to avow them.SSII 123.1

    Is it to be wondered at, then, if in an age when such shocking absurdities are but just passing away, there should be found still left a remnant of doctrine belonging to the same class?SSII 123.2

    Mr. Benson, the eminent English minister, to whom we have before referred, in a sermon on “The Future Misery of the Wicked,” says, “God is present in hell, in his infinite justice and almighty wrath, as an unfathomable sea of liquid fire, where the wicked must drink in everlasting torture - the presence of God in his vengeance scatters darkness and wo through the dreary regions of misery. As heaven would be no heaven if God did not there manifest his love, so hell would be no hell, if God did not there display his wrath. It is the presence and agency of God, which gives every thing virtue and efficacy, without which there can be no life, no sensibility, no power.” He then adds - “God is, therefore, himself present in hell, to see the punishment of these rebels against his government, that it may be adequate to the infinity of their guilt; his fiery indignation kindles, and his incensed fury feeds the flame of their torment, while his powerful presence and operation maintain their being, and render all their powers most acutely sensible; thus setting the keenest edge upon their pain, and making it cut most intolerably deep. He will exert all his divine attributes to make them as wretched as the capacity of their nature will admit.”SSII 123.3

    After this he goes on to describe the duration of this work of God, and calls to his aid all the stars, sand, and drops of water, and makes each one tell a million of ages: and when all those ages have rolled away, he goes over the same number again, and so on forever.SSII 124.1

    And all this he brings forth with a text of Scripture that asserts the wicked “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.” Such a description as here given by Mr. Benson needs no comment - it defies comment - no language could be employed to make a subject look more horrible than what he has used. He dwelt upon the subject, himself, till his own soul was filled with horror, and he cried out - “Believe me, my poor fellow mortal, thou canst not, indeed thou canst not bear this devouring fire! Thou canst not dwell with these everlasting burnings!”SSII 124.2

    There must be some defect in a theology, it seems to me, that leads great men into such palpable contradictions.SSII 124.3

    Mr. Benson preached two whole sermons on these subjects, in which he scarcely produced a text of Scripture in support of his theory - they appear to be, throughout, a work of imagination.SSII 125.1

    I consider, to charge the infinite God with the design and determination of exerting His almighty power in holding innumerable human beings in indescribable torments, in a state of necessary sinning and blasphemy, is of the same character as the other horrible doctrines that I have named; and is not to be believed without the clearest and most positive testimony. Such testimony the Bible does not furnish, to my mind, and therefore, I reject such a theory as opposed to the Bible, to reason, and to common sense: and I have very little doubt, the time will come (perhaps I shall not live to see it) when that theory will be generally exploded. The theory I advocate has one great difficulty to overcome, viz: the strong prejudice of early education, backed up by the consideration that the common theory has been so long the established faith of the church. But, even that difficulty is overbalanced by the fact, that the sympathies of our nature, and reason, are opposed to the common theory, and are towards the views I advocate, when once presented to the mind: and a spirit to examine for ourselves, instead of leaving our thinking to others, has gone forth in the earth.SSII 125.2

    If the fact that a theory has long ago been settled, and always believed by the “fathers,” is a good reason for rejecting, as untrue, any other theory, then the Jews have the best reason they could desire for rejecting Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. The Jewish Church “long ago” decided that he was an impostor, and crucified him as such. The Jews of the present time, then, may say - “Our church long ago settled the point, that Jesus was not the promised Messiah; and who were better qualified to judge than they to whom the Scriptures were committed, and in whose language they were written? Besides, our fathers have always believed and maintained that Jesus was an impostor. Hence, we consider it a settled point.”SSII 125.3

    Now, I ask, if such an argument is not quite as good and forcible, as the one used by some of my opponents, that my view must be false, because, as they suppose, the church long ago fixed on the opposite theory as true, and their fathers have always believed it? Let such persons make no more attempts to convert the Jews. Indeed, they ought to turn Jews.SSII 126.1

    The notion that there is life in the soul of the wicked, or a principle that cannot die, was taken from the Platonic Philosophers, and was introduced into the Church, as a Scripture doctrine, in the third century.SSII 126.2

    Mosheim, in his Ecclesiastical History, Vol I. p.86, says: - “Its first promoters argued from that known doctrine of the Platonic School, which was also adopted by Origin and his disciples, that the divine nature was diffused through all human souls; or in other words, that the faculty of reason, from which proceed the health and vigor of the mind, was an emanation from God into the human soul, and comprehended in it the principles and elements of all truth.”SSII 126.3

    Such, I conceive, is the true origin of the doctrine of the natural immortality of man. It originated in heathen philosophy, and was grafted on Christianity to its immense injury. No wonder Paul, Colossians 2:8, said - “Beware lest any man spoil you through Philosophy and vain deceit, after the Traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”SSII 126.4

    Whether others see as I do on this subject or not, it is a matter of unspeakable consolation to me to believe, that the devil and all his works will be utterly destroyed; and that a universe will appear unstained by sin, misery or death. - If others believe the contrary, it will be no cause why I should disfellowship them, provided they walk in obedience to the will and word of God. The Lord, I trust, has delivered me from that spirit of bigotry which would shut out from my christian regard and fellowship any man, simply because he does not agree with me in sentiments, especially if he is striving to live in a holy life, by obeying the commandments of God; for, “this is the love of God that we keep His commandments” - and “he that saith he loves God and hateth his brother, is a liar and the truth is not in him.”SSII 127.1

    In conclusion, I would say, to all, if I know my own heart, I have no selfish purpose to serve, in taking the foregoing views. It has been a subject that has employed my thoughts, more or less, for years past; and it was not till after much searching the Scriptures, and prayer to God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that I came to the conclusion here promulgated. If it is not truth, let it fall; and may the Lord hasten it. But with my present light I can see no other way, and see no reason to doubt the correctness of my general view on the subject.SSII 127.2

    That there are no weak parts in my argument, I do not pretend: I should claim to be more than man if I did. - My desire is to know the whole will of God, as revealed in His word: and when satisfied what truth is, I trust, never to shrink from proclaiming it, however unpopular; or whatever may be the reproach I may endure on account of it. Whether the doctrine I have advocated is true or false, matters not to me personally, further than truth is concerned. For, by the grace of God, I intend to “fight the good fight of faith,” and “lay hold on eternal life.” All those that do this, I know, for the Bible declares it, will be crowned with “honor, and glory, and immortality.” Those who do not do it, will “not see life.” Awful indeed, will be their end. O, that sinners may awake to see their danger, and fly from the doom that awaits them.SSII 127.3

    To perish like a beast - to perish without hope - to perish without recovery: to be consumed - devoured - burned up - blotted out of life as too vile to live - they having formed such a moral character as to make a living existence a curse to themselves, and a curse to others: to be so unlike God and good beings as to make it a moral necessity that they should be “destroyed forever!” What a character! What an end! “Why will you die?” Turn to God through His Son, our Life-Giver and Lord; “lay hold on ETERNAL LIFE.”SSII 128.1

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