Intimidating the neighbors ep
USHER In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts Stereotyped by HOBART & ROBBINS, New England Type and Stereotype Foundry, BOSTON This little work is written for the purpose of furnishing a sketch of the argument by which it is shown that the doctrine of Endless Punishment is not of divine origin, but traceable directly to a heathen source.It is not intended as an elaborately philosophical or critical discussion of the subject, as the size of the volume will show; but only as a popular presentation of the method of proof, and of the leading facts and authorities on which the argument rests.Most of these, with the exception of those pertaining to Chapters III and IX., which are inserted in the body of the text, are gathered into a single chapter at the end of the book; and to facilitate reference, notes have been added to the chapters and sections to which they severally belong. We certainly cannot believe that God would open the great drama of our life on this earth, involving such infinite consequences, in such brief and doubtful language, and with so little specification where so much was needed.As regards the penalty of disobeying the commandment, do we find any statement which can be mistaken for endless punishment?Those having time and sources of information at command, will enter into a more thorough investigation for themselves.For such this work is not designed; but for those who, not having the opportunity, nor the books, necessary to a complete and critical examination of the question, wish a brief statement of the facts and arguments on which is grounded the assertion that the doctrine of endless torments is of heathen origin.Would he have chosen language so liable to be mistaken?Would he not rather have announced the awful truth in words which would admit of no possible doubt? As this is the beginning of the sorrowful tragedy of evil, we may look for some distinct revelation of the doctrine in review, if it is of God; yet not one word is said in reference to it, nor is there any threat of punishment that can be mistaken for it!
In the very outset God warns our first parents against transgression, and in the most positive terms declares to Adam, "In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Is not this clear enough? Surely we may now expect the doctrine of endless punishment to be revealed; and it would seem that, if true, there is no possible way to avoid mention of it.
In the very day of transgression they should die, or suffer the punishment of their sin, and this surely, beyond question or doubt. Most certainly; for they had no sooner sinned, than the retribution began, and they died to the peace and joy of innocence. They found that the wages of sin were death, or, in other words, misery, fear, anguish, and all the direful consequences of wrong. This was the first instance of this awful crime, and, Cain standing exposed to the fearful penalty, this was the time to roll the thunder of its terrors through the world, as a warning to all coming generations!
And that their case may profit their posterity, a careful statement of the mournful consequences of the transgression is made up, and put on record as a warning to future generations. This must have been done, if true; and yet in the whole account we have not a single word on the subject, not the slightest intimation that any such punishment was threatened.
God says, "In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die;" but this is very far from saying, "Thou shalt, after the death of the body, be subjected to the torments of an endless hell." We are told, to be sure, that this means "death temporal, death spiritual, and death eternal;" but where is the proof of it?
So terrible a doctrine must not be assumed, but demonstrated by unquestionable evidence.