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course must require a considerable length of time. That resolution which is formed hastily, and without due consideration, is frequently repented of. That repentance which is sudden, hardly deserves the name. For how ever just it may be in itself, if the resolution was taken without due consideration, as it regards the individual, it was an inconsiderate rather than a virtuous act. Repentanee, to be genuine, must be rational, and to be rational, it must be the result of consideration and reflection, which must necessarily occupy the mind for a considerable time. Thus it is obvious from the nature of the human mind, that repentance must be a gradual work. And the scriptures confirm this opinion. The apostle says to his brethren at Corinth, "I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed unto repentance.” Here we learn that repentance consists in sorrowing for a season. Repentance is always attended with sorrowing, though sorrowing does not always effect repentance. “For,”! continues the apostle, “godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of ; but the sorrow of the world worketh death."* By this passage we are taught that that repentance which is genuine in its nature, is always attended with sorrow or pain; and that this sorrow always lasts for a season, or period of time. Repentance, therefore, is a gradual, progressive work. Now let us apply this principle to the case before ys. A was taken from time in an instant, in the


act of murder. He cannot be happy without repentance, and repentance is a painful process, which requires a period of time. For a season therefore, he must be unhappy.

Faith, which is another prerequisite for the enjoyment of heaven, is a mental work. Faith is a firm assent of the mind to the truth of a proposition. And faith, to

* 2 Cor. vii. 8, 9,



be valuable, must be founded upon good evidence. It would be rashness in any person to give credence to a proposition, until he had, to the best of his understanding, examined the evidence on both sides of the question. Now this is a work of no small magnitude ; and the more important the question, the greater care men ought to bestow in adjusting and weighing the evidence. To pretend that faith is only a momentary work, is to contradict good sense, and the daily experience of mankind. "Faith,” says the apostle, "cometh by hearing ;" that is, faith is produced by the weight of evidence. To be well grounded, it must rest upon substantial evidence. Faith in God must arise froni the evidence he has given

in the volumes of nature and revelation. And who will have the vanity to declare that by a single glance of the mind, a man may see and examine all the evidence contained in nature and revelation ? It is impossible for a man, with the ordinary faculties of our nature, to acquire a genuine and well-grounded faith in a moment. Thus, we see that faith and repentance, which are absolutely necessary for salvation, are both of a gradual, progressive nature, both require a period of time for their full and perfect exercise.

Now how is A, who was killed in an instant, in the very perpetration of a heinous act, to be admitted to heaven ? He cannot be saved without repentance; and repentance is not only a progressive work, but is always attended with a hearty sorrow for sin. Repentance, self-considered, is a punishment. It is a regret which is always attended with compunctions of conscience. A, therefore, before he can be admitted into heaven, must be exercised by repentance, and the very idea of repentance supposes pain and remorse. For a period, at least, he must be unhappy. Again; he cannot be saved without faith ; but faith is a work of time. He cannot, therefore, enter immediately into the enjoyment

of perfect bliss. Now on the supposition before us, it is as evident, as almost any truth whatever, which rests upon moral evidence, that these two persons are not rewarded in this state of being according to their deserts.

There are many considerations which go to show that a full retribution does not take place here in time. The very idea of accountability supposes a time of rendering an account; and as men are accountable for the actions performed the last moment of their lives, it is manifest that the time of rendering the account must be after the close of this mortal life. This idea is confirmed by those passages which speak of a day of judgment; which will be considered in our next. From what has been offered already, I trust it is apparent, that, as a full retribution does not take place in this world, we may reasonably look for it beyond the grave.

the grave. Since some men are punished for a long series of years for one crime, and others are taken from this state in an instant, in the very perpetration of a crime equally atrocious, it is clear that they must be punished after death, if they are punished at all. Neither are such persons in a right frame of mind to enjoy happiness. You cannot say with consistency, that they are qualified for heaven instantly at or in death, for,

2. It is an acknowledged principle with you, that religion is progressive in its nature and operations. We have just been laboring to show that faith and repentance are of a gradual character, or that a period of time is requisite for their proper exercise. But we might have saved ourselves this labor ; for it is a principle for which you strongly contend. We have already seen,* that you maintain that men are saved by knowledge which is gradually acquired. No one is more opposed to instantaneous conversions, than yourself. You constantly represent the work of the kingdom as a gradual, * Letter III.


progressive work. Now will you assert, in opposition to your own sentiment, that those who die in gross wickedness, will be changed in a moment? If God leads sinners to repentance in this world, only by a gradual, painful process, can we suppose that the moral principles of the divine government will be so far changed at death, as to introduce a murderer instantly into heaven ? Will God alter fundamentally the principles of his government, only to let the most hardened sinners escape the punishment which they so justly deserve ? Can we admit such an essential change in the divine Being, when the scriptures assure us, that he is immutablewithout the least variableness, or shadow of turning ?

- You admit that all moral changes in this world are of a gradual nature. This principle being laid down, will apply in all cases, unless the contrary be clearly proved. When any general rule is acceded to by both parties, we have a right to apply it in every case, unless the exception can be clearly made out. And the party which shall assert that there is an exception to this rule, is bound by all rules of fair debate to make good his assertion. The labor of proof lies entirely with him who asserts an exception in general rules. This principle, which I think will be admitted by every sound man, will apply to the case now before us. You assert that all moral changes are gradual, and to this I accede. Now I have a right to apply this principle in every case; and if you object to its universal application, it is your business to prove that there is an exception to this rule, and not mine to prove that there is not. Now a person is taken from this world in a gross act of iniquity, and as repentance is necessary to his admittance into heaven, and as repentance is a gradual work, it is manifest that such a person cannot be immediately happy. But if you, to avoid this conclusion, assert that he was changed instantly at death, it belongs to you to prove this asser

tion. But if you decline this, you decline supporting your system by honorable means. I have been thus particular in stating this principle, because I conceive that it has frequently been overlooked. It is useless to argue, unless we have distinct views of the ground on which our arguments rest.

Our knowledge of a future state is derived from the scriptures. But although reason alone could never have taught a future state of being, yet a future state being revealed in the scriptures, reason comes in, and enables us to form consistent notions relative to the nature of that state. Now we have no argument from reason which casts so much light upon a future state, as that drawn from analogy. We know with a good degree of certainty that pious and virtuous affections will produce happiness in a future state, because this is analogous to what we experience in this world. You very frequently advert to analogy to disprove endless misery. You say, it is evident that God will be good to all his creatures in a future state, because he is good to them here.

Now let us introduce analogy in the case before us. You maintain that conversions in this state are of a gradual, progressive nature. This being true in this world, analogy teaches us that the same will hold good in a future state. Analogy in this case has more than ordinary strength; for the principle for which we contend, is analogous, not only in relation to the divine government, but also in relation to the faculties of the huinan mind, to what is experienced here. Unless the divine Being alters fundamentally the moral principles of his government, and men are converted into infinite beings by changing worlds, it follows that repentance will be a gradual work after death, as much as it is before ; and that it will be attended with sorrow or pain there, as well as here.

But perhaps you will be ready to say that this analogy will not hold good in all cases; for the scrip

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