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To support this position, let it be supposed, that a very wicked man should be on his death bed, and to believe that he was soon to die and enter into the presence of a holy, and sin avenging God-would he not die in much fear of God, and eternal misery? he would-But let us follow, in idea, the transit of the disimbodied soul. As soon as it put off mortality, its perceptions are altered and enlarged-as the scriptures declare, it now sees as it is seen, and knows as it is known. It discovers something of the spiritual and holy nature of God, the purity of his law, and propriety of having attended to its precepts--and it fears and trembles. Like the poor, sinful, self-condemned woman, of whom we read-who bowed to the Saviour's feet, washed them with her tears, and wiped them with her hair, and kissed them. So will the soul of the poor sinner do, when it sees God and Jesus as they are it will voluntarily bow in all the depth of self abasement, at the feet of God--it will wash them with its tears of fear, of sorrow, and of love-It will say, "father I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and am not worthy to be called thy son." But should the father, as he most assuredly will, raise up and embrace his long lost son, with the warmest expressions of his love, and inform him that his "sins which were many were forgiven," would not such a soul, on hearing, or understanding this declaration of Him who never changes, be immediately delivered from fear? would it not be filled with gratitude, with admiration, and delight, with love unfeigned to the divine father-with "joy unspeakable and full of glory?" Would not such information, and such usage cause the soul to love God with all its might, and mind, and strength-to "love him because he first loved it?" This would be preparation for heaven. This would be an assimilation into the image or likeness of God, who is love. No other means can be
used, to make degraded intelligences love God, and of course fit for heaven, but by forgiving them all manner of sin. God Almighty, has no other way of purifying and exalting defiled souls, but by pardoning them freely-but by the influence of love. And the Saviour declares, that he that hath much forgiven, loveth much, but where little is forgiven there is little love. So to forgive much, is to cause much love, to fill the soul with love-love is heaven.
Whatever of affliction mortals meet with in this life, are the chastisements of their Maker for their crimes, and the result of divine love, to reclaim them -that they may be made partakers of his. holiness; but an endless punishment in the future state could do the soul no good. All the magazines of eternal wrath poured on the soul, never could kindle the least spark of love in it, to the divine father of spirits; but would increase, and perpetuate its hatred, to the author of its existence, and its miseries.
We repeat again, that the divine Creator has no better method to make souls eternally happy in their next state of existence, than to permit them to sin and to suffer, for a short period, during mortal life, by associating them with a body of flesh, whose natural propensities are opposed to the divine law, and interest of the soul itself; and when by this connexion they are made fully sensible of their weakness, their imperfection, and need of pardon, and of the impossibility of being ever holy or happy in this state of con, nexion and subjection to vanity; then to deliver them from mortality, and let them know that all their sins, which are many, are forgiven them; thereby it is assimilated to love, to the divine Creator. The obligation of gratitude, and the sensibility of love to God, for this pardon, without desert, is by this means made as extensive as the capacities of the soul, and as lasting as its immortal nature.
We anticipate objections enough, to the position which we have taken-but we will remark, in answer; if the divine Creator could have devised and executed any better way for the purification and glory of souls, who can justify his conduct for refusing the better, and choosing the worse? no one. Now Almighty can never do wrong, and therefore, the present method of making souls eternally happy is the best.
The scriptures declare, that God hath concluded all under sin, that he might have mercy on all. Now we inquire, how God could have concluded all under sin, unless he had previously ordained that all should sin? he could not; or how could he have mercy on all, unless all sin-mercy could not exist, without the existence of the criminal. Again, without the exercise of mercy in pardoning the condemned sinner, the soul could not love the divine pardoner, of course could not be prepared by love for eternal glory. The soul could not, by any other means, be made to love God, because he first loved it. Thus, it appears as plain, as the first principles of calculation, that God, by associating all souls with a fleshly body, and carnal mind, which is enmity to God, not subject to his will, neither indeed can be, caused them to sin, against a spiritual law, whose requisitions are not only opposed to the propensities of the carnal mind, but reaches to the thoughts of the heart of flesh, that he might have mercy on all such offenders, and that the knowledge of this mercy might produce in the pardoned soul, pure and everlasting love, to the divine Creator, pardoner, and Redeemer, who by his blood and death, made known this love and pardon, to criminal souls.
Thus, in conclusion, we see that there is no impropriety in God's pardoning the worst of sinners, either in this, or the future state, without suffering or service, and that no good man will murmur at the dis
play of so much grace-and that no soul in any state of its existence, can be made truly sorry for its offences against any being, until it discovers that this being loves it, and that this love can be shown only by a perfect willingness to forgive. As soon as the father kissed his returning son, his heart was melted, and he said, father, I have sinned.
Secondly, we have seen, that the display of unmerited, and free pardon of the soul by the divine Being, is the way to purify and exalt it, to a state of future and eternal glory; and thirdly, this could not have been done unless the soul had been left to sin and to suffer, as it now does; that had God been able to devise a better method, he could not, he would not have pursued the present one for the restoration of all things.
After reading the above, the reader may say, that we charge God as being the author of sin-of this he will read in the next book.
And now, dear reader, if you can have the faith of truth, can believe the consolatory doctrine of the certain alteration of the soul for the better beyond the grave, you must, you will be happy, through every period of your life, for you will know, that whatever might have been the age, condition, or conduct of your dear children, when they left the body, they are saved, are happy, and that you shall surely see them again in your father's home, in all the charms of angelic beauty. Is it not comfort to you, when your beauteous babe is about to die-when you contemplate the fading of the roseate cheeks and ruby lipsthe departing of the sublime lustre of the eyes-the heaving of the breast with agony and pain, and quickened palpitation of the heart of innocence, and lovethe pulsations of which are soon to cease-and to see it weep on your breast of compassion, the burning tears of death, and implore with all the eloquence of
suffering beauty, and love, the help you cannot giveO, then to believe, that the object of your fondest love is soon, by this sad struggle, to put off mortality, to bloom in immortal beauty, and that you shall certainly, and that soon, see it again, and press it full of joys, to your immortal soul never to part again; surely it is a consolation.
Is it no comfort, when your son or daughter, your husband or wife, your brother or sister, or your father or mother is about to die, while viewing the last struggle of nature's pains, to believe that all the suffering scene will soon be over, and tears of grief will all be wiped away by God's own hand; when all the hidden faculties of the immortal soul shall bloom and flourish in a better clime, where neither pain, nor death shall ever come to mar immortal joys, or part the blessed in heaven? Thus to believe that all mankind will ultimately be purified, and sublimated to the highest degree of intellectual perfection, is cheering to the benevolent soul.-To be sure to meet the friends of your life-the parents of your body-the sisters and brothers of your love-the wife of your bosom, and long the partner of your sorrow and joy,-the husband of your affection and heart's love-the chil dren of your fondness and earthly comfort-all-all arrayed in immortal beauty, and filled with divine. joys, never to part or suffer more-is to have the joys of immortal life-even so Lord Jesus, amen.