The Ethics of Eternal Punishment

C. Knapp.


By Editor of Scripture Truth.

The objectors to the solemn truth of eternal punishment say, "You preach a God who has no mercy, and who consigns His creatures without pity to eternal pain." No, we do not; on the contrary, we preach a God who at His own cost has provided a way of escape for all from this terrible doom — Who "so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16): "Who will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4): Who "commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8): Who beseeches men through His ambassadors to be reconciled to Him (2 Cor. 5:20).

The cross of Christ, is the great proof of God's love for men; but it is also the great proof that God cannot pass by the sins of men, as though they were nothing at all. He would not be a God of holiness and truth if He did; hence the gospel which proclaims His love and grace also reveals His wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). Eternal punishment is for those "who know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess. 1:8). Thus the Word of God teaches, we must accept it as it stands; the only other honest course is to reject it altogether.

Part 1.

Our belief in eternal punishment is based on the Scriptures alone; it is the bed-rock foundation of our faith for this as for all other doctrine connected with our glorious Christianity — "the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints." In the words of Mr. F. W. Grant, in his well-known work, Facts and Theories as to a Future State, page 451: "It is the judgment of many that the ethical question should precede the exegetical, which seems as much as to say, that we must first decide what Scripture ought to say, before we ascertain what it does. We should certainly treat no other writings after such a fashion; and the claim of these to be divine does not affect their claim to be intelligible also. If God has spoken He is as well able to make Himself understood as another, and is as ready to assume the responsibility of His utterances. If it be God, we need not fear lest His word should be immoral, or that it will not approve itself to the consciences of men, His creatures. Judge Him too they will, no doubt: but He will be justified in His sayings, and clear when He is judged."

To this we do most heartily and unreservedly agree. It is our very first business to learn what Scripture says on this, as on every other spiritual question; and having ascertained what "God's word written" says, it is our bounden duty to believe, whether or not we understand it, and regardless altogether whether our natural conscience approves of it or not. "There is little doubt," the above quoted writer says, "that the attempt to decide on moral grounds what Scripture must have said upon the subject before us (endless punishment) has destroyed with many the certainty of what it does say." Natural conscience is no safe guide at all in such matters, for we are all fallen creatures, our God-given intelligence is impaired by sin, and our moral sense greatly blunted after almost two hundred generations of rebellion and alienation from God. So men who fear God and tremble at His word have wisely, and to their soul's settled rest, allowed the Holy Scriptures to speak; and on its unimpeachable testimony they have held firmly to their verdict on this most stupendous subject of eternal punishment.

And if these Scriptures — these "oracles of God," teach anything clearly, it is that the doom of the finally impenitent is conscious and endless punishment in outer darkness and banishment from God, beginning immediately after death. This has been proven over and over again, both from the common Authorized Version and by the closest scrutiny of the original languages, and that by men of deepest learning and amplest competence for such a task. We quote in this connection the weighty words of J. B. Remensnyder, D.D., author of Doom Eternal: "We have searched the Scriptures in their pure original; we have hearkened to the words which fell from the divine Teacher Himself; and to settle indisputably the force of their language, we have summoned to our aid the critical authority of the most eminent philologists and lexicographers. We have cited individual confessions presented to the Roman emperors; we have called in review those ecumenical creeds whose universal authority is still the sublimest monument of Christian antiquity; we have had recourse to the particularistic creeds of the Reformation era (Protestant, Roman and Oriental); we have presented as witnesses the beliefs of the various branches of Christendom in the present day; we have sought out the light which Reason and Natural Religion cast upon the problem; and all concur in the one, unanimous, accordant, unequivocal testimony that the eternity of Future Punishment is a vital doctrine of the Bible, a tenet universally held and confessed by the evangelical church, and an article fundamental to the integrity of the Christian Faith." And to the above testimony we add the no less weighty, if less eloquent words of B. B. Warfield, D.D., LLD., Professor of Systematic Theology in Princeton Theological Seminary, N. Jersey "What God purposes to do with the incorrigible sinner He alone knows: and we are wholly shut up to what He tells us for our knowledge of His purpose. And speaking in His Son God tells us with perfect explicitness that He purposes that such sinners shall depart from Him to the quenchless fire, and the undying worm — into eternal punishment — into the eternal fire 'prepared for the devil and his angels.' It is a terrible doom only to be explained by the terrible wickedness of sin."

But while all this is true, it is also and equally true that the orthodox doctrine of endless punishment is fully sustained by man's judicial sense of the oughtness of things, and can be maintained on moral grounds, as well as by appeal to Scripture; in other words, it should be no strain on man's natural conscience, nor should it shock his moral sense to believe the doctrine of future and unending retribution as taught in the book commonly called the Bible.

And it is absolutely false what an objector to this truth asserts, when he says: "The missionary tells the unbeliever what kind of God the God of the Christian is, in order to convert the unbeliever to the faith. Can we wonder that the answer of the heathen to our message should be, 'We cannot, and we will not, believe in a God of whom you affirm such outrageous wrong.' … We ask the human heart for its verdict. We say that judged by human judgment, and that the judgment of believers and unbelievers alike, the punishment which the theory of Augustine (the orthodox view) supposes that God will inflict is infinitely too great, and we are therefore to reject it as untrue, because wholly unworthy, not merely of a merciful Father, but a just God." (Constable in Duration and Nature of Future Punishment.) To this Mr. Grant has tersely and convincingly replied: "We happen to know, however, that where the gospel has made its largest and most permanent conquests, the doctrine of endless punishment has been held and put forth. Nay, in Christendom itself it must, according to Mr. Constable, have conquered the whole ground, and that in the teeth of the moral sense, where this had certainly no self-interest to seduce it from the so much milder truth which had first possession of the field. How strange a reflection that what the heathen have moral sense to reject, Christendom should have almost universally accepted; but the gospel can scarcely be shown to have won its way by the aid of annihilation doctrine, or its history will have to be rewritten." It does indeed seem strange that the enlightened nations of Christendom, foremost in rank of intelligence, wealth, power, and benevolence, and who almost universally hold the doctrine of eternal punishment, in theory, at least, should be less capable of judging moral questions than the heathen, who for long ages have been sunk in the deepest degradation of idolatry and most abject superstition, and whose ethical code is notoriously deficient and scarcely above that of Sodom and Gomorrah!

Yes, we assert with fullest confidence that this now much-debated doctrine of endless retribution is quite capable of standing the most rigid test to which the moral faculties of man may put it. We are quite ready to apply to it the principle proposed by the Unitarian, Dr. Bellows, who says: "If we continue to claim the name of Christians, we must continue to believe that the testimony of the records of our faith is not contradictory of the evidence of the moral reason. It it were proved such we should be compelled to abandon Christianity, so far as it claims to be founded on the New Testament. We believe the general testimony of the New Testament to be in full accord with the testimony of man's moral nature, in regard to the issues of divine government."* So, too, do we, only with this necessary proviso, that a man's moral judgment may be (and in point of fact, is) warped by sin, and that inasmuch as he is the culprit in the dock, it is hardly to be expected that he would give a wholly unbiased verdict as to what his punishment should be. It is never asked an offender in court what castigation he thinks his offence deserves, though when sentence is pronounced his conscience will doubtless tell him that his punishment is just.

{*Doctor Theodore Parker, notorious for his extravagantly liberal views, writes as follows: "To me it is quite certain that Jesus Christ taught the doctrine of eternal damnation, if the Evangelists — the first three, I mean — are to be treated as inspired. I can understand His language in no other way. I think there is not in the Old Testament or the New, a single word which tells this blessed truth, that penitence hereafter will do any good." So this down-grade divine, like his fellow, Henry Ward Beecher, chooses rather to question the inspiration of the Synoptic Gospels than believe their explicit teaching concerning "eternal damnation." What daring — and what folly!}

And having said this much let us proceed to the proofs, that the doctrine of endless punishment is not only established by the written Word of God, but must also be assented to by man's moral preceptions, his conscience, in other words.

Part 2.

The precise nature of the future punishment of the wicked we do not here attempt to define. The figures used to describe it, quenchless fire and an undying worm, are in themselves fearful enough; whether they are to be taken in a strictly literal sense, or only symbolically, is not at all material to the discussion in hand. All that we insist upon is that it is ever enduring as to time, and no less terrible in its effects than the figures used imply.* That there must be future punishment of some kind every thinking man must admit. The wicked do not in this life receive the just deserts their sins require. The psalmist speaks of "the ungodly who prosper in the world." This is a common case. Then, too, how often does the robber of widows and orphans, the murderer, the seducer of innocence escape wholly in this life the punishment their crimes deserve. If there is no retribution in the life to come, what becomes of God's character of righteousness, His moral government of His universe, His violated law, His threats against transgressors found everywhere throughout His written Word? That He must punish sin, who will deny? and since in the vast majority of cases man's wickedness receives no apparent recompense in this world, it is evident he must be punished in the life to come.** "In all ages," writes L. B. Hartman, in Divine Penology, "goodness and holiness have been persecuted, while sensuality and tyranny have rolled in ease and reveled in debauchery and crime unmolested. Many a pious Lazarus has died at the gates of Dives, unmourned and unburied. This state of things we cannot harmonize with our own sense of justice and right. We both know and feel that it is all wrong, and things are woefully out of balance, and, in the nature of things, call for and demand a future judgment, where wrong shall be righted, innocence avenged, truth and justice vindicated, and the books of eternal equity balanced. And as God cannot but be just and true, it follows that such a day must come, as the necessity of His moral government."

{* "Jesus Christ and His apostles used the strongest words to measure the quality and duration of personal, conscious sufferings of the lost. (See Matt. 25:41, 46; John 5.29; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 21:8.)." — Bishop W. F. Mallalieu.

"These terrible symbols are employed manifestly because they express the truth better than any others that could be chosen." — Dr. R. S. MacArthur.

"Hell is undoubtedly a real place whose dreadfulness is only imperfectly indicated by the frightful figures which are employed by the Scriptures to describe it." — Dr. P. S. Henson. "But if the term is merely figurative then the reality must be as much greater, as substance is greater than shadow." — Dr. Hartman.

** "The inequalities of the punishments suffered in this life render future retribution necessary to establish justice. It is inconceivable that a just God should deal with man in a manner totally at variance with the character of an impartial judge. Man's consciousness of subjection to law involves the idea of penalty for its violation." — Dr. D. M. Evans.

"We challenge the world to prove," writes Dr. Hodge, "that mankind are destitute of the idea of 'right,' of 'oughtness,' or of 'justice'; the idea of moral obligation is ultimate and independent, and therefore it is intrinsically supreme and absolute."

Max Muller says, in 'The London Christian World': "I have always held that it would be a miserable universe without eternal punishment. Every act, good or evil, must carry its consequences. and the fact that our punishment must go on forever seems to me a proof of the everlasting love of God. For an evil deed to go unpunished would be to destroy the moral order of the universe. … Without eternal punishment we should have no touch with God, the world would be Godless, God-forsaken."

"Forebodings of the wrath to come are as instinctive and as universal among men as the belief in God and the immortality of the soul." — H. J. Van Dyke, D. D., Brooklyn, N.Y.}

Do any question God's right or obligation to punish sin? Look at man himself — does he not make laws regulating human conduct? and does he not attach penalties, often exceedingly severe, to the violation of these laws? And who but the criminal or the anarchist denies his right to do this, or questions the necessity and justice of a criminal code, or the maintenance of ordered government? And will man be more just than God, a mortal more righteous than his Maker? "Where is the nation or tribe, ancient or modern, heathen or Christian, that has not in its own way held men responsible for their wilful deeds, and punished the transgressor of its laws?" one asks. How soon would all order and security on earth cease were there no law to bring to the bar of justice the offender and punish the guilty? "Suppose for illustration," the above quoted writer says, "that all penalties affixed to human laws were set aside, and men were told that the only punishment they could fear was the natural sequence of their evil deeds; would there be any human government? Verily not." And another, Prof. E. J. Wolf, says, "Nothing is regarded so detrimental to the common welfare, and so destructive to society, as the escape of the evil-doer unwhipped of justice. The inextinguishable moral sense within us cannot endure the thought of his crime going unpunished."

And, since such is the demand of the public conscience, and the requirement of the well-being of ordered society, that the evil-doer be punished, how much more does the individual moral sense require that God, the Almighty and unalterably just Ruler of the universe, punish sin in man His creature, either here on earth now, or in eternity by and by? And as it is patent to all that men do not in any adequate degree receive here "the due reward of their deeds," it requires and follows that they be punished in the life to come. Concerning this, some one has said: "But for the conviction that penalty is only delayed to the proper day, and that retribution is absolutely certain, despair must settle down upon the moral universe, the forces of our moral nature suffer a total wreck, and society experience inevitable dissolution."

Pursuing the same line of argument, L. B. Hartman says: "Offences which involve the will, the conscience, the thoughts, the purposes, desires, affections, etc., offences which the courts cannot reach; and yet withal, offences which our innate sense of responsibility feels and acknowledges, here then, a new problem confronts us. What shall be done with these unknown and uncanceled remainders ever lingering in the deep sea of human consciousness? We both feel and know that they do exist, and we cannot deny them, nor yet dare we ignore them, because they are the very echoes of our own consciousness; neither can we in our heart of hearts respect a tribunal, or a government that ignores them; we know they do exist, and that they call for adjustment, in our deepest convictions of justice and honour. They cannot be passed by, even by God Himself, if He would hold the respect, and command the reverence of men and an intelligent universe. They must be met and balanced, in the very nature of things. What then shall be done with them? Self-evidently, we are driven to the conclusion that the same law of human responsibility which, as we have seen, demands and necessitates a civil tribunal, or court, controlling civil conduct and destiny, also demands and necessitates a moral tribunal, or judgment seat, to meet this deeper demand of moral conduct and destiny." No less true are the words of Charnock, in his Divine Attributes: "God is good; but without being just He could not be good; every sin is an evil, and for God not to punish evil would be a want of goodness to Himself. It would neither be prudence nor goodness, but folly and vice, to let law which was made to promote virtue be broken with impunity. Thus the very goodness of God demands the execution of His law and the punishment of evil-doers." And to this we adduce the testimony of Max Muller, the great scientist and professor of Sanscrit in the University of Oxford. He says; "For any evil deed to go unpunished would be to destroy the moral order of the universe. … The world would fall to pieces without eternal punishment, which coming from God must be eternal correction and eternal reward."

Thus we see from human testimony of the very highest order that sin against God is an affair inseparably connected with His government, it is "an infraction of the moral order of the universe," it is "a thrust at the infinite majesty of the moral law," an "impeachment of the honour of God's throne;" and on account of its intrinsic demerit, if for no other reason, calls for punishment such as only God, "the Judge of all," knows how to adequately apportion. And though man may not, in himself, understand the extent or degree of this punishment, it is enough for the purpose of our argument to know that he has within himself the consciousness of guilt and carries with him the conviction that a God of holiness and truth cannot do otherwise than mete out punishment to him for his sin. So then it is not so much a question of whether God will punish sin in the future, but the moral certainty that He must.

But it may be objected that the testimony thus far taken has been from men whose thoughts have been more or less influenced by contact with Christianity, and who would, therefore, have a bias (though perhaps unconscious of it) in that direction. Granted; and to meet this we shall summon witnesses who lived before the Christian age, or who cannot in any sense be said to have been influenced by Scripture testimony.

Leland writes: "Aristotle, cited by Plutarch, speaking of the happiness of men after their departure out of this life, represents it as the most ancient opinion, so old that no man knows when it began, or who was the author of it; that it has been handed down to us by tradition from infinite ages. The pagans never profess that the idea was reached by them by the aid of reason; but they always refer to it as a very ancient tradition which they endeavoured to confirm by reason." And further, "Lord Bolingbroke, whose interest in the matter would have lain the other way, acknowledges that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and a state of future rewards and punishments, began to be taught before we have any light into antiquity; and when we begin to have any, we find it established that it was strongly inculcated from time immemorial, and as early as the most ancient nations appear to us." Socrates expressed the same thought thus: "It may be that God will forgive wilful sin, but I cannot see how He can, because I cannot see that He ought to." This heathen philosopher knew nothing of the Atonement as revealed in Scripture, hence could not be expected to understand or see how the one supreme God, Creator and Ruler of the universe, could forgive a sinner's sin.

Hartman says: "The countless hecatombs that smoked upon the altars of Greek and Roman deities; the pilgrimages of whole armies or devotees to the shrine of their idolatry; the self-tortures inflicted with the hope of propitiation; and above all, the human blood shed to glut the rapacity of sanguinary deities, are all but so many forms in which unassisted man expressed his conscious obligations to justice and his heart-felt need of expiatory blood: nothing but this could prompt the poor devotee to cut his flesh with knives, and to scorch his limbs with fire." And to this the same eloquent writer adds: "The learned as well as the ignorant and barbarous, set the seal of their convictions to this fact and developed it in actual effort, even to self-immolation. It was in vain for philosophy to seek to remove this conviction from the popular mind; the logic of mere reason could not withstand the unrestrained flow of man's universal intuitive conscious wants. Account for it as you please, there is a mysterious something in man that ever tells him sin is an infinite debt which calls for reparation — for satisfaction to the injured majesty of law violated — for atonement: to deny this is to deny the universal consciousness of the race. Thus every man's conscience carries within itself the unmistakable prophecy of future punishment in all cases where reparation has not been made, and due satisfaction given."

Ovid taught: "According to the state of a man's conscience, so do hope and fear, on account of his deeds, arise in his mind." Plato quaintly expresses himself on the same subject, thus: "In nature there is no forgiveness of sin. Sin and punishment walk this world with their heads tied together; and the rivet that binds their iron link is a rivet of adamant." And to this we add the convincing words of Dr. R. W. Hamilton: "Traverse the earth; enter the gorgeous cities of idolatry, or accept the hospitality of its wandering tribes; go where will-worship is most fantastic, and superstition most gross; and you will find in man 'a fearful looking-for of judgment.' Their mythology or their Nemesis may vary; their Elysium and Tartarus may be differently depicted; the metempsychosis may be the passage of bliss and woe; still the fact is only confirmed by the diversity of the forms in which it is presented."

Thus we see that the very heathen themselves, long and far removed from any influence, direct or indirect, of Christianity, have universally implanted deeply in their consciousness the conviction that God must punish sin, that, as the Bible puts it, "He will by no means clear the guilty." And the same Scriptures, in this very line of testimony, state that, "the expectation of the wicked is wrath" (Prov. 11:23).

Part 3.

Another evidence outside Scripture altogether that a belief in future punishment is not only rational, but a moral necessity of God's government, is the disastrous consequences that inevitably follow wherever this all but universal intuition in man is either weakened or destroyed. Dr. Mayor says that "wherever the doctrine of retribution in a life to come is not believed, a licentiousness of manners is sure to prevail, and the only pursuit will be that of pleasure." And do we not see an exhibition of the truth of this statement on every hand to-day? "Lovers of pleasures" is one of the most marked characteristics of the times. Buchner, the infidel historian, says: "The principles of infidelity found their outward expression in the great French Revolution." And to this, a writer pertinently adds: "This needs no comment here. Its scenes of rapine, cruelty, carnage, speak for themselves. Whenever infidelity denies or ignores the testimony and conscious facts of consciousness bearing on moral obligation and future punishment, it commits suicide; a fact which its greatest apostles are compelled to confess, if not in words, then none the less assuredly in actions!" "It is often said by Cicero and others," writes Dr. Knapp, "that all philosophers, both Greek and Roman, are agreed in this; that the gods do not punish. But as soon as this opinion began to prevail among the people, it produced, according to to the testimony of all Roman writers, the most disastrous consequences, which lasted for centuries. It resulted in the deplorable degeneracy of the Roman Empire. Truth and faith ceased, chastity became contemptible, and perjury was practised without shame. To this corruption no philosophy was able to oppose any effectual resistance; until at length its course was arrested by Christianity."'

{* Montesquieu says: "The idea of a place of future rewards and punishment necessarily imports that there is such a place of future rewards and punishments, and that where the people hope for the one without fear of the other, civil laws have no force."

Another leading infidel, Bolingbroke, wrote; "The doctrine of future rewards and punishments has a great tendency to enforce civil laws and restrain the vices of men."

Another, Hume, says "Disbelief in futurity lessens in a great measure the ties of morality, and may be supposed for that reason, to be pernicious to civil society." To the above the Christian adds triumphantly, "Our enemies themselves being judges!"}

It is related that that blatant champion of American infidelity, Col. Robt. G. Ingersoll, was once during the Garfield presidential campaign, addressing a political meeting; he was seeking to convince and persuade his hearers that the platform of the opposition party was dangerous and would result in calamity to the country. And to enforce his appeal, he used the following words: "Fellow citizens: if you will sustain such measures and vote for such principles, you will have to give an account for it in the great day of final judgment"; then turning round, he whispered to those sitting about him on the platform, "If there is such a day." Dr. Hartman, commenting on this, says: "He knew full well that his appeal was lighter than a 'puff of empty air' unless he nailed the sense of responsibility in the hearts of his hearers, somewhere, to some tribunal of final appeal. This he boldly did, by nailing it to the pillar of eternal justice and oughtness which brought the forebodings of future accountability and punishment face to face with an on-coming judgment day. … Ingersoll knew full well that without a tribunal of final appeal, without a day of future judgment where every man shall be judged according to his deeds, he could not possibly carry the consciences of his audience by argument, nor by his eloquence constrain them to act, without a sense of responsibility."

Having established, as we believe, the fact of a needs-be future retribution on purely ethical grounds, it remains only to inquire if this punishment is necessarily eternal. And here a proper conception of the nature of future punishment will enable us to understand better the question of its duration.

First, then this punishment is not remedial in its design, it is not synonymous with chastisement which is in its nature corrective. This, as has been said, always looks man-ward, while the punishment of sin, on the other hand, is purely penal, and looks Godward; it contains no remedial element whatever. Punishment has been defined as "executed penalty." Webster says: "Punishment is designed to uphold law by the infliction of penalty; while chastisement is intended by kind correction to prevent the repetition of faults, and to reclaim the offender." And another has said: "All chastisements are remedial afflictions; but punishment is judicial retribution." Our prisons are intended to serve the double purpose, both of punishing the violator of the law and his correction with the view to his reform. Hence they are sometimes called penitentiaries. But in the case of a man serving a life-sentence the imprisonment is not for the purpose of his correction at all, but solely as a punishment in vindication of the violated law."

Second: the above being true, how can punishment for sin in a future life be anything less than eternal in its duration? For since the infliction of punishment is but the penalty imposed by the law, and that law "cannot be broken," it follows that since the sinner has broken the law he must suffer its penalty, in the natural course of things, for ever.

"That the law of God must be honoured is the united testimony of the universe," Dr. Hartman says: "all things are leagued in loyal confederacy to secure and enforce this end. This may be done in two ways: by obedience to its precept on the one hand, or by suffering its penalty on the other; and the values of the obedience and the penalty must be in perfect equipoise, as the equal and correlative functions of its honour. If a man refuses to honour the law by obedience, he must honour it by enduring its penalty. The honour he renders to the law in this case is precisely equal in value to that which his obedience would have rendered; and it makes not the slightest difference, so far as the law is concerned, whether men will obey it or not; in either case it secures and maintains the integrity of its majesty and honour. Nature is a familiar illustration of this principle. Her laws command your regard, and it matters not in this respect, whether you obey or choose to violate them, you will withal give them equal honour, either by your obedience, or by enduring their penalties." And further: "Sin is a debt, an infinite obligation to injured justice and violated law: and the guilt of sin is just equal to the degree of obligation; and as guilt implies liability to punishment the penalty must be equal to the obligation; and since obligation is infinite, the penalty must be infinite; and this necessitates eternal punishment because the sinner is finite. Penalty is necessarily infinite and eternal in duration."

So it is not a question of how long or in what measure God will punish sin; if He punishes at all it must of necessity be for ever. It has been truly and aptly said that "if He punishes sin in moral agents anywhere, He will also do so everywhere and for ever."

Nor will it help the objector to say that God will punish man's sin in another world, though not for ever, but only for a time, as in the purgatory of the Romanist, or the "age-lasting" hades of the Restorationist; for why should He punish sin at all if He punishes only for a time? if it were an arbitrary act and not founded on the eternal principles of justice, we might well ask, "Why does He, a God of love and goodness, punish man at all?" But since it is done by the requirement of His holy character as Judge, and thus leaving Him no choice (and we say it with all awe and reverence) He cannot do otherwise than make the punishment continue so long as the existence of the soul and its sin.

We cannot do better in concluding our discussion than to quote the impressive words of one to whom we have frequently referred before in these pages — Dr. L. B. Hartman: "The doctrine of a future hell needs no other argument to sustain it. Silence all the pulpits in the land, burn all the Bibles in the world, wipe Christianity from the face of the earth, and this immutable principle, as the eternal law of well-being, still remains enthroned in its imperial authority as before. It is the voice of the nature of things, the voice of science, and the voice of self-evident, axiomatic, intuitive, eternal truth — truth which Christ reduced to a single sentence — 'you must be born again'" (John 3:3). And we add: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:14-15).

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