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makes no distinction between, what some call, good souls and bad souls. The goodness or badness of souls, are compared by man only. In the sight of the divine being, who "sees the thoughts," all are alike bad-all need purification, none can be introduced to ultimate glory, until they are converted. It is true, that those souls who are virtuous in this life, in whom the good change has begun, are equally capable of being "changed from glory to glory," beyond the grave, but this admittance does not invalidate the force of the reason of the supposition, that those who are not virtuous in life can be made so in their future state of existence, or disembodied state, and also, arise to the same degree of holiness and glory. The admission of the fact, as the scriptures state, that souls are capable of sustaining an "eternal weight of glory," argues in favour of the supposition we wish to support-for all souls are of the same nature-have been created of the same essence, and are capable of the same improvement.
The divine creator knows this, he knows how precious the soul is. Although it now lies buried in rubbish, and in ruin, he will not cast it off forever. The owner of a valuable diamond that might be covered with filth would not throw it away because of its defilement, but would wash and cleanse it, for his use and ornament. So will the divine father, wash, cleanse, and beautify his own "jewels," from all their filth and pollution, for his own use and orna
It may be asked by some, how God will sanctify the soul after it has left the body? To this query we answer, that we have never been able to learn, by the scripture, or any how else, how the body of the soul, or the circumstance of the association, anywise assisted God, or afforded him any facilities, in sanctifying the soul; but we have learned by scripture, and
experience, that this bodily connexion is the main obstacle in the way of sanctification, and the primary cause of crimes and misery, in this life. If then, this be true, and who can deny it to be?-it would seem to follow as a natural consequence, that, if the soul was out of the body, it could neither sin nor suffer.
But to come to the merit of the question, how can God sanctify the soul when it has left the body? we remark, that whatever he does towards the purification of souls in this life, we know he does it by operating on the mind or soul itself, and not on the body. He communicates light, information or knowledge to the soul of a proper sort. Mental information is light; the Apostle says, "whatsoever makes manifest islight," and our Saviour who is "the light of the world," said, "this is life eternal to know thee, the only true God." The Apostle Paul was sent to the gentiles, to "open their eyes" by preaching to them the gospel of the grace [love] of God," by which they were to receive forgiveness of sins," [a knowledge of the fact,] and an inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me," [Christ.]
From the above testimony, and remarks, it seems, that a correct knowledge of the real character of the adorable God, is life, or produces life in the soul, dead "in sin and trespasses," and which is the death that God told Adam he should die, in the day he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and which did come to pass. Since the fact of eating the forbidden fruit, and of our first parents being excluded the garden of Eden, the divine presence, the whole human family have been without God in the world, without the knowledge of his real character, and intentions towards man--They have considered him a being of power, but of revengeful feeling towards them, for the original offence of their first parents, in Eden, and their offence also, against the moral law, which is of
universal obligation, and therefore they have feared, and hated God also, and are dead.
All souls then, in any state of their existence, who are brought, by any means, to the important knowledge of the real character of the God of infinite love, whose tender mercies are everlasting, are raised from the dead, are converted, are created anew in Christ Jesus, are born again, are sanctified by faith, and know that their sins are forgiven, even all manner of sins and blasphemies. Now, we have the Saviour's words for it, that the women loved much because their sins which were many, were forgiven by him; but to whom little is forgiven the same loveth little. From these remarks of the Saviour, it would seem to follow, as a natural consequence, that the greater sinner the soul had been previous to its knowledge of forgiveness, the greater love it would have to God the divine pardoner. And as love is the very essence of holiness, and holiness of happiness, or heaven-the qualification for eternal glory, is to be obtained simply by the knowledge of pardon. And now, we ask, why cannot this knowledge be obtained, by the spirit, beyond the grave? It can. And the soul can, and will be forgiven, beyond the grave-or rather, the soul will be put in possession of the knowledge of the fact-which did exist, even before the soul sinned, for God is of one mind and changeth not.
Man may be offended with his fellow man, and the next day forgive him, and the next, again be offended -but God says, "fear not me, for I am the Lord, I change not." From the circumstance of the immutability of the Almighty, it is evident, that if he ever forgives and loves any of his frail offending creatures, he did so before they were brought into existence; and of course, will continue to do so, through the countless periods of eternity. But on the other hand, if he shall ever hate and punish any of his creatures, in any pe
riod of their existence, from any cause, he did hate them from eternity, and nothing they can do or suffer, will alter his feelings, and intention towards them; their miserable fate is more surely and permanently fixed than the sun in his orbit. But, although we know that God is of one mind and changeth not, we need not be alarmed, for "God is love," and all his purposes, like himself, are purposes of love, and too, like him, they cannot fail or change, but will be accomplished in the restitution of all things.
With regard to the necessary obedience of the soul after death, to the divine will, we remark, that what produces it in the soul, in this life, is most likely to produce it in the future state; namely, a knowledge "of the kindness and love of God our Saviour," which produced it in the soul of the apostle Paul, and the ancient christians-See Titus, 3: 4; and we again ask, why cannot the "kindness and love of God our Saviour towards men appear" in the future, as well as in this state? It can and will, and even better. Here we see through a glass darkly; but in the future and disimbodied state, the soul will see without dimness, and know without ignorance and uncertainty.
We are informed in scripture, that when the body shall return to the earth, that the spirit or soul, shall return to "God who gave it"--of course shall see him as he is, and be "transformed into his likeness." What plainer information do we need to assure us of the time, method, and means of the purification, and glorification of the soul?
If souls cannot be altered for the better beyond the grave, In fants cannot be saved-What it is to be born of God-Idiots not fit for heaven-Those who never heard of Christ and God, not fit for heaven.
If the foregoing remarks and arguments on the subject, are not sufficiently satisfactory to the reader, to convince his judgment of their propriety, and of the truth of the position which we have taken, we will exhibit some others, which we think, will be, and from whose evidence, as matters of fact, and of reason, can be no appeal.
First-Then, taking it for granted that the soul is produced or brought into existence by ordinary generation, at the time of the formation of the body, we argue that the soul of an infant has no knowledge of God, whom to know is eternal life, nor of Jesus Christ. Now, as we are informed by scripture, that the necessary qualification for heaven, or the enjoyment of the divine presence, is to love the Lord our God with all the heart, with all the soul, with all the strength, and with all the mind, it would be seen that infants cannot be saved, under the circumstances of the case, who die in an infantile state, if there is no alteration of the soul for the better in the future state; as it is impossible to love an object without having some knowledge of it, and we know that an infant soul has none of God, of course no love to him, but as we are assured from the testimony of scripture, that the souls of infants will be saved, we must believe that they will undergo alteration, for the better, af:er the death of the body.
We are informed, that no soul can be saved if it has not been born again, or born of God; and we are told in I John, 5: 1-That "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God." Now we