Joseph Parrish Thompson.

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LOVE AND PENALTY;



OR,



ETERIAL PUNISHMENT



CONSISTENT WITH THE



FATHEKHOOD OF GOD



BY JOSEPH P. THOMPSON, D.D.,

', ,' ' ' ' J ' » > J

PASTOE OF THE BROADWAY riBtT.NACI.S OHUKOJ^. ' „' i*» * i



SHELDON & COMPANY, 115 Nassau Street.
BOSTON . GT5ULD & LINCOLN.

1860.



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 18C0, by

SHELDON & COMPANY,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern Dis-
trict of New York.



THE

.... 20i:^i ^.,,
ftster, l-cnox and Tilden^
Foundations,
1897



TO THE



M E ^I R Y



NATHANIEL W. TAYLOE, D.D.,



WHO FIRST TAUGHT ME



"TO JUSTIFY THE WAYS OF GOD TO MEN,"
This volume is inscribed with grateful and reverent afTection



In preparing the following Lectures for
tlie press, I have retained the form of direct
personal address in which they were delivered
to a popular assembly, but have expanded
some points of verbal criticism to an extent
not admissible in mere pnlpit discourse. I
trust that without sacrificing the popular
character of the discussion, I have made it
more acceptable to the scholarly reader.
The sixth and ninth lectures have been added

4

to the original series.
JSTew Yoek, Sep, 1860. J. P. T.



New York, November 7, 1859.
Rev. J. P. Thompson, D.D.:

Dear Sir— We cannot withhold the expression of our ap-
preciation of the Series of Sabbath Evening Discourses delivered
by you, on The Future Punishment of the Wicked, as consistent with the
Paternal Character of God.

The sophistical views recently advanced through some of our
popular monthlies, as well as by certain " leading " men ; the
prevailing tendency of the age to the adoption of new ideas,
without thorough inquiry ; and the welcome extended to every
thought that might serve to quiet the unregenerate heart, seem to
us to have demanded this examination.

"We rejoice that you have so faithfully and eloquently performed
this service .

Believing that there is not accessible to the reading public so
complete a refutation of these errors, we, for the many Christians
with whom we are daily brought in contact, as well as for our-
selves, beg you will be induced to place the entire series in the
hands of your publisher, that all who would " rest on the
promises " may have at hand this " word in season " as a help
and guide, and that the warnings to those in danger^ which you



have so plainly and kindly uttered, may reach a^still larger
number. *

With warm assurances of our regard and esteem, we are.

Very truly, yours.



HENRY WHITTELSEY,
THOMAS RITTER,
JAMES SMITH,
MATTHEW W. STARR, Jk.,
WM. G. WEST,
A. K. THOMPSON,
H. F. BEEBE,
WILLIAM B. HOLMES,
W. E. CALDWELL,
JAMES D. SMITH,
THOS. E. SMITH,
SAMUEL HOLMES,
AUSTIN ABBOTT,
OLIVER BARRATT,
HENRY HAYES,
JNO. C. TAYLOR,
H. UNDERWOOD,
J. GAMALIEL RILEY.
E. L. CHAMPLIN,
WM. W. FESSENDEN,
ROE LOCKWOOD,

HENRY



MYRON H. CLARK,
F. F. THOMPSON,
S. W. BENEDICT,
ABSALOM PETERS,
MILTON BADGER,
A. A. FISHER,
DAVID N. BEEBE,
J. E. FISHER,
ALEX. ANDERSON,
ADON SMITH,
R. O. MASON,
L. RANNEY,
FRAS. B. NICOL,
L. M. BATES,
S. BARTLETT, Je. ,

ira 0. miller,
n; a. calkins,
thomas lane,
c. h. waterbury,
samuel p. holmes,
edward pratt,

C. HALL.



Messes. H. "Whittelset axd othess:

My Dear Fritndi—1 thank you for the favorable terms in
which you are pleased to express yourselves with regard to my
recent course of lectures on Future Retribution. I wa.s led to
prepare those discourses by a deep conviction of the need of a
thorough, and at the same time popular, discussion of the doctrine
of Eternal Punishment, at once to invigorate the faith of Chris-
tians and to counteract the influence of the modern schools of
Rationalistic Infidelity. I am thankful that this effort has re-
ceived your approbation, and this encourages me to commit the
Lectures to the press, in the hope of a wider and more permanent
usefulness. "With high respect, &c.,

Yours, in the bonds of the Gospel

JOSEPH P. THOMPSOJ^.
1S"e-w Tobk, November 9, 1859



CONTENTS.



Lecture Page

I. Divine Retribution Argued from the Con-
stitution of the Human Mind .... 7
II. Future Retribution Argued from the

Course of Providence in this World . 02

III. Future Retribution Argued from the Fa-

therhood of God in Christ 93

IV. Future Retribution Argued from the De-

merit of Sin 125

V. No Future Probation Revealed or Proba-
ble 101

VI. The Immortality of the Soul .... 198
VII. Eternal Punishment a Doctrine of the

Bible 265

VIII. Punishment, not Annihilation, the Fu-
ture Portion of the Ungodly .... 295
IX. The Paternal Character of God a Pledge

that he will Punish Sin 333



LECTUKE I.

Divine Ketkibution Argued from: the Con-
stitution OF the IIum^\^ Mind.

John iii : 35, 36. The Father lovcth the Son,
and hath given all things into his hand.
He that helieveth on the Son hath everlast-
ing life / and he that helieveth not the Son
shall not see life / hut the wrath of God
alideth on him.

A preacher of some notoriety, who boasted
that his reason had emancipated him from
the " Ecclesiastical Theology of Christen-
dom," has given this account of the process
of that emancipation. " In my early child-
hood, after a severe but silent struggle, I
made way with the ghastly doctrine of Eter-
nal Damnation and a Wrathful God ; this is
(7)



8 LOVE AND PENALTY.

the Goliath of that Theology. From nij sev-
enth year I have had no Fear of God, only
an ever-greatenmg Love and Trust."*

Jesus Christ said " Fear Him who is able
to destroy both soul and body in hell." And
did not Christ know God, and love and trust
Him as the infinite Father ?

Mr. Parker further tells ns that the " ec-
clesiastical theology" attributes to God " an
imperfect and cruel character." But that
humble and sincere preacher, John the Bap-
tist, in the text exhibits God as a Father
delighting in Christ his Son, and yet as ca-
pable of wrath. And Jesus, in the very ser-
mon on the mount in which he portrays the
love of God as a Father, warns men lest
through an excessive love of this world
they should be cast into hell.f Either then
Mr. Parker quite misapprehends the charac-
ter of God, or Christ and the preachers of the
New Testament misapprehended or misrepre-
sented his character. Another preacher, also

* " Theodore Parker's Experience as a Minister," p. 35.
t Matt. 5 : 27^31.



LOVE AND PENALTY. 9

of celebrity in the circles of literature and
philanthropy, in a lately published sermon,
Bays, " When Jesus out of the fullness of an
immeasurable trust, calls God Father, ^ve are
sure that God is Father. Tliat heart defini-
tion is the right definition.'' . . And then
he asks " whether a woman^s heart would
ever have admitted into its theology a devil
and an angry God, or have conceived of ac-
cursed humanity or an everlasting hell."'^"
But the apostle John, the disciple whom Je-
sus loved, and to whom he commended his
own mother, whose heart was tender and
loving as a woman's, who teaches us that
God is love, and makes love the test of fellow-
ship with God, — this most gentle and ami-
able of disciples declares that " he that com-
mitteth sin is of the devil," and that " whoso
is not written in the book of life shall be cast
into the lake of fire." And Jesus, when he
introduces God as the Father, in that high
and solemn scene '' when the Son of man
fihallcome in his glory," represents himself as

* Eev. 0. B. FrothingUara.



10 LOVE AND PENALTY.

saying to those upon his right hand, " Come ,
ye blessed of my Father," and to those on the
left hand, '' Depart from me ye cm'sed, into
everlasting fire j)repared for the devil and his
angels.""'^ These words " devil," '' hell " and
" fire," are not the invention of what one of
these modern preachers calls the " ecclesiasti-
cal theology," and the other, the "cold
French intellect of hard-headed," " chilly,"
" unimaginative and lawless John Calvin."
These words were freely used by the lovely
and loving John the Apostle, who himself
had learned them from the lips of that Jesus
who has taught us to call God, Father.

There is a mistake then somewhere ; our
modern preacher fails to apprehend the
whole character of God, fails especially to
aj)prehend the consistency of love with retri-
butive justice, or John and Jesus did not
understand the character of the Father whom
they preached.

A prominent philanthropist, of great purity
of character and gentleness of spirit, has

* Matt. 25 : 34 aud 41.



LOVE AKD PENALTY. 11

lately publislied to the world liis " Religion
of Eeason," in wliich he asks :

" "Would Jesus have told us to set no limits
to the times of forgiving our brother, had he
believed that the exercise of God's forgiving
spirit is confined to this brief stage of human
existence ? Would he have told us to be so
much better than he l^elieved God to be ?"*
But Jesus did say, "He that shall blaspheme
against the Iloly Ghost, hath never forgive-
ness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.
Either Jesus misrepresents God, or our phi-
lanthropist does not understand his character.
Our philanthropist exclaims, " Putting peo-
ple into an eternal hell ! why, the worst of
men would not thus serve their worst enemies.
How much less would God ! Orthodoxy
makes God infinitely more malignant and
cruel than are the most malio:nant and cruel
men." But Jesus, who was the only perfect
philanthropist the world has ever seen, de-
clares that when he shall come in the judg-

* Three Discourses on the " Keligion of Keason," by Gerrit
Smith, p. 60.



12 LOVE AND PENALTY.

ment, he will himself consign to an eternal
hell those who have not lived in this world
according to his Gospel. Jesus, the Savior
of men, Jesus " who went about doing good,"
Jesus who " came to seek and save the lost,"
Jesus, whose love for man led him to renounce
all earthly honor, and to accept poverty,
reproach, suffering, and deatli, tells us
that He himself will say to those upon his
left hand, " Depart from me into everlasting
fire ; — and these shall go away into everlast-
ing punishment."^ Either then, our modern
philanthropist is mistaken in the assertion
that the doctrine of eternal punishment makes
God malignant and cruel, or Jesus Christ was
the most malignant and cruel of men, and
the God whom he taught us to call our Father
is a being of infinite malignity.

I accejDt that issue — ^for it is the j)oint-
blank issue of all this denial of future punish-
ment as inconsistent with the benignity of
God. If the argument of these gentlemen is
sound, I, for one, cannot stop short of the log-

* Matt. 25 : 41 and 46.



LOVE AND PENALTY. 13

ical honesty of the first, who admitted that
the New Testament does teach eternal pimish-
ment, and tlierefore denied its authority over
his religious belief.

A popular author, representing the " Broad
Church " party in the Church of England,
in a preface to a recent edition of a religious
novel of the last century, satirizes the current
theology of the " evangelical " school, as
teaching in effect that "nothing can be
known of God's character, even from the per-
son of Jesus Christ, save that he will doom to
endless torture the vast majority of the human
race, while he has made, for the purpose of
delivering a very small minority, a certain
highly artificial arrangement, to be explained
by no human notions of justice or of love."*
But setting aside the gross injustice of this
caricature upon those who hold the doctrines
of eternal punishment and divine election,
there still remain these declarations of our
Lord ; " Wide is the gate, and broad is the

* Rev. Charles Kingsley, M. A., Preface to Brooke's "Fool of
Quality." •



14: LOVE AND PENALTY.

waj, that leadeth to destruction [or perdition
— tlie opposite of " life "], and many there be
which go in thereat : because strait is the gate
and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life
[a state of secure and blessed existence], and
few there be that find it." Tliere still
remains this devout thanksgiving of Paul
" Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord

Jesus Christ who hath chosen,

us in Him before the foundation of the
world, . . . having predestinated unto
the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to
himself, according to the good pleasure of
his wdll." If this be a " highly artificial ar-
rangement," the apostle records it to " the
praise of the glory of the grace " of God the
Father j whom he elsewhere represents as
as having " endured with much long suffering
the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction," and
yet making known " the riches of his glory
in the vessels of mercy which he had afore
prepared unto glory, even us w^hom he hath
called^ Either Paul and Christ misappre-
hended tlie condition of mankind and the



LOVE AND PENALTY. 15

plan of redemption, or these declarations
must somehow be explained, by " human
notions of justice and of love."

A profound British essayist condemns the
" Cliristian morality" of our times as a system
of " legality," which " holds out the hope of
heaven and the threat of hell, as the ap-
pointed and appropriate motives to a virtuous
life."* If by this statement he would convey
the impression that the body of Christian
theolosrians and teachers make future rewards
and punishments the sole, or even the princi-
pal motives to a virtuous life, he misrepresents
them as grievously as he charges that they
misrepresent " the morality of the ISTew Tes-
tament." But if he intends to deny that
the system of morality taught by Christ
and the apostles " holds out the hope of hea-
ven and the threat of hell as appointed and
appropriate motives to a virtuous life," we
find him in controversy with these declara-
tions of our Lord ; " If thine eye offend thee
[by inciting unchaste desire] pluck it out, and

* John Stuart Mill ; Essay on Liberty, p. 89.



16 LOVE AND PENALTY.

cast it from thee ; it is hetter for tliee to enter
into life with one eye, rather than having two
eyes to be cast into hell-fire ;" — ^' Fear Him
who hath power to cast both soul and body
into hell ;" — we find him in controversy with
Paul's account of his motives and method in
preaching — " We must all appear before the
judgment seat of Christ ; that every one may
receive the things done in his body, accord-
ing to that he hath done, whether it be good
or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the
Lord wepersuade men." A reverential sense
of his own accountability to Christ made Paul
faithful in proclaiming his gospel ; and he
sought to persuade men to accept Christ as
well by a salutary dread of the final judg-
ment as by the hope of salvation. Be its
morality true or false, the l^ew Testament
does use the threat of hell as an appropriate
motive to a virtuous life. We may not set
'aside its declarations by a foregone conclu-
sion of our philosophy ; but should honestly
examine them in the light of reason and by
the comparison of Scripture with itself.



LOVE AND PENALTY. 17

I do not quote these opiuions of others with
a view to controversy, but as examples of
modes of thouglit and argument which illus-
trate the gravity of the question under discus-
sion ; and I have taken the statements of
writers and preachers widely known for their
intelligence, integrity, and philanthropy, in
order to set forth the opposition to the doc-
trine of Eternal Punishment with whatever
weight of ability and character it can fairly
claim. I adduce no weight of authority upon
the other side ; no catalogue of great and
good men who hold this as a doctrine of the
Scriptures. The appeal must lie not to
names and authorities, but to the word of God
and tlie principles of his Moral Government,
as interpreted by an enlightened reason and
an honest heart. For myself, I will not hold
any article of faith which I cannot intelli-
gently and honestly defend by Reason and the
Scriptures.

It will be observed that the point and
stress of these objections is, that the future
punishment of the wicked, and especially an



18 LOVE AND PENALTY.

eternal retribution, is incompatible with the
character of God as a Father. It is to this
point, mainlj, that I shall address myself in
the argument of this and succeeding dis-
courses. The text brings these two aspects
of the divine character — the Father as re-
vealed in Christ, and the vindicative judge
and PuNisHER of sin, into immediate and in-
dissoluble connection. ''The Father loveth
the Son, and hath given all things into his
hand; He that believeth on the Son hath
everlasting life ; and he that believeth not the
Son shall not see life ; but the wrath of God
— o^yT]^ indignation that leads to punishment
— the punitive wrath of God abideth upon
him." This passage exhibits what one has
finely styled " the equilibrium of the divine
character;" an equilibrium of attributes
which the Scriptures always maintain ; where *
as " the tendency of the human mind, left to
itself, is ever to a partial view — to an effemi-
nate sentimentalism on the one hand, or to a
dark fanaticism on the other — to an unwar
ranted trust in the Divine mercy, untempered



LOVE AND PENALTY. 19

by any regard to that justice wliicli gives
mercy all its value, or to those gloomy appre-
hensions of wrath, which arise from the sole
contemplation of the sterner attributes of the
Deity."* The Scriptures present God as a
Father, and in the same breath denounce
" the wrath of God" upon those who refuse
the highest expression of his love, in the gift
of Christ his Son.

It will be the aim of this series of Lectures
to show that the doctrine of the Eternal Pun-
ishment of the wicked is in entire harmony
with the paternal character of God. The ar-
gument will embrace the following proposi-
tions :

I. Our own nature, which is appealed to as
refusing to recognize the attribute of punitive
justice in a God of Love, in fact demands
this attribute as essential to the moral perfec-
tion of the Deity, — an attribute without
which He could not command the confidence
and homage of his intelligent creatures.

* Prof. Tayler Lewis, in BiUical Repository, Sec. Series, Vol. X.,
p. 87.



20 LOTE AND PENALTY.

il. The retributive forces continually at
work in the natural world, and the punitive
dealings of Providence with men, compel us
either to admit that punitive justice is con-
sistent in the Divine Being with paternal
love, or to regard the head of Creation and
of Providence as a tyrant.

III. The history of Israel, the chosen
people of God, to whom he revealed himself
as a Father, abounds in visitations upon
them for their sins. If God has punished
, transgression in those to whom he was
expressly revealed as a Father, he may
punish the wdcked hereafter, though he is a
Father.

ly. Christ, who has so fully revealed God
as a Father, teaches that God will punish the
wicked in the future world ; and we cannot
claim his testimony upon the first point,
unless we receive his testimony on the sec-
ond also.

Y. The high and sacred Fatherhood which
the Gospel reveals, is a Fatherhood in Christ
toward those who love Him ; and not a gen-



LOYE AND PENALTY. 21

eral Fatlierliood of indiscriminate love and
blessiQg for tlie race. Tlie same Jesus " wlio
out of the fulness of an immeasurable trust
called God Father," denied to the unbeliev-
ing Jews the use of that sacred name.
Eejecting Christ's authority they said, " we
have one Father, even God." Jesus said to
them, " K God were your Father, ye would
love me .... Ye are of your father the
Devil," — quite another paternity. — " I speak
that which I have seen with my Father, and
ye do that which ye have seen with your
Father." Tliis distinction teaches that God
is not the Father of those who have made
themselves the children of the devil, in any
sense which would exempt them from Christ's
anticipative sentence, " Ye shall die in your
sins."

YI. The demerit of sin demands that God
should punish the sinner, if he would demon-
strate his love for his intelligent creatures,
and his care for the highest welfare of the
moral universe ; and no punishment equal to



22 LOVE AND PENALTY.

tlie demerit of sin is, or can be, inflicted in
the present life.

YII. Since tliis desert of punishment to tlie
sinner, arises from that endowment of Free
Agency which is essential to the attainment
of that peculiar blessedness which is only
within the reach of a moral being; and
since the means of recovery from sin
and of deliverance from condemnation can
be made available only in the use of that
same free agency of the sinner; and since the
love of God has made the most 'ample pro-
vision of pardon, and has proffered this to
the sinner with divine compassion and impor-
tunity, but only in vain ; — there remains no
conceivable mode, as there is no revealed
promise, by which the Fatherhood of God
can make one dying in impenitence and
unbelief, holy and blessed in the future
world.

YIII. The duration of the future punish-
ment of the wicked cannot in any wise be
limited by the mere fact of God's Fatherhood
as made known in Christ ; but must be



LOVE AND PENALTY. 23

determined by tlie dement of sin, of wliicli
God alone can judge, and ascertained by ns
from the declarations of the Scriptures, which
reason can interpret. The question of
degrees of punishment is altogether second-
ary to the fact that, " he tliat believeth not
the Son, shall not see life ; but the wrath of
God abideth on him." — Tlie question of the
annihilation of the wdcked will be considered
under this general head.

Before entering upon the discussion of the
topics embraced in these propositions, let me
premise a few words as to the spirit in which
such a discussion should be conducted —

(1.) The investigation of a question so gi'ave
and momentous as that of the future state of
the wicked, should not be entered upon in
the spirit of controversy. — To controvert
error is often needful for the establishing
truth. The controversy of opiniorh upon
secondary points in which good men differ,
may tend to remove dilQ&culties and to har-
aionize views. But the theme before us is



24: LOVE AND PENALTY.

one of infinite solemnity and of the weight-
iest personal import. Pugnacious contro-
versy with error as such, should give place
to kind and considerate, while cogent and
earnest, argument with the errorist. Dispu-
tation about opinions as mere points of
Orthodoxy, should give place to inquiry and
persuasion touching interests personal and
vital to all alike.

(2.) In such a discussion dogmatism is
especially to be avoided. — "What more offen-
sive than zeal for the doctrine of Eternal
Punishment, as a mere dogma of our own
faith ; a zeal that uses invective and denun-
ciation against those who reject the doctrine,
and that would seem almost to delight in
having its assertions verified by the voice of
some Dives crying from the place of torment ;
a zeal that would usurp the prerogative of
the final Judge, and make religion consist
only in terror ! Far from us be such a
spirit. Let not the preacher assuming his
own safety, w^ork out the logic of retribution
upon others ; but with the feeling of a sin-



LOVE AXD PENALTY, 25

iier deserving all that lie is autliorized to
denounce against iniquity, yet saved by that
grace which he is commissioned to offer to
all, let him " knowing the terror of the Lord
persitade men," — in Christ's stead " beseech-
ing them to be reconciled to God."

(3.) Such a discussion should be conducted
with the sincerity of a personal conviction of
the truth maintained, not as an article to be
defended but as a truth to be declared.
" We believe and therefore speak." — If the
doctrine of Eternal Punishment be true, it is
easy to conceive of motives that would
induce men to deny it, or to explain it away.
I do no-t impute niotives to any of the
deniers of this doctrine, or impeach their sin-
cerity ; — but Human Nature, conscious of
guilt and desert of punishment, is under a
strong temptation to invent arguments
against such a doctrine, to lend itself to
sophistry, and to believe what it wishes to be
true. This fact should subject that class of
arguments to rigid scrutiny. But on the
other hand we can conceive of no reason



26 LOVE AND PENALTY.

why an intelligent, humaiie, and' conscien-
tious person sliould wish to believe in the
doctrine of Eternal Punishment if he did not
iSnd it in the plainest terms in the word of


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