sinning, gives to itself a sinful bent of intellect, affection and will. In other words, makes for itself a character, which, though it does not render necessary, yet does render certain, apart from divine grace, the continuance of sinful action. In itself it finds a self-formed motive to evil strong enough to prevail over all inducements to holiness which God sees it wise to bring to bear. It is in the next world, indeed, subjected to suffering. But suffering has in itself no reforming power. Unless accompanied by special renewing influences of the Holy Spirit, it only hardens and embitters the soul. We have no Scripture evidence that such influences of the Spirit are exerted, after death, upon the still impenitent but abundant evidence, on the contrary, that the moral condition in which death finds men is their condition forever.
See Bushnell?s ?One Trial Better than Many,? in Sermons on Living Subjects; also see his Forgiveness and Law, 146, 147. Bushnell argues that God would give us fifty trials, if that would do us good. But there is no possibility of such result. The first decision adverse to God renders it more difficult to make a right decision upon the next opportunity. Character tends to fixity and each new opportunity may only harden the heart and increase its guilt and condemnation. We should have no better chance of salvation if our lives were lengthened to the term of the sinners before the flood. Mere suffering does not convert the soul. See Martineau, Study, 2:100. A life of pain did not make Blanco White a believer. See Mozley, Hist. and Theol. Essays, vol.2, essay 1.
Edward A. Lawrence, Does Everlasting Punishment Last Forever? ? ?If the deeds of the law do not justify here, how can the penalties of the law hereafter? The pain from a broken limb does nothing to mend the break and the suffering from disease does nothing to cure it. Penalty pays no debts, it only shows the outstanding and unsettled accounts.? If the will does not act without motive, then it is certain that without motives men will never repent. To an impenitent and rebellious sinner the motive must come, not from within, but from without. Such motives God presents by his Spirit in this life; but when this life ends and God?s Spirit is withdrawn, no motives to repentance will be presented. The soul?s dislike for God will issue only in complaint and resistance. Shakespeare, Hamlet, 3:4 ? ?Try what repentance can? what can it not? Yet what can it, when one cannot repent?? Marlowe, Faustus: ?Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed in one self-place for where we are, is hell, and where hell is, there we must ever be.?
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