understand how any can be willing to do so, when the fullness of the divine glory is revealed.?
(e) As benevolence in God seems in the beginning to have permitted moral evil, not because sin was desirable in itself, but only because it was incident to a system, which provided for the highest possible freedom and holiness in the creature. So benevolence in God may to the end permit the existence of sin and may continue to punish the sinner, undesirable as these things are in themselves, because they are incidents of a system which provides for the highest possible freedom and holiness in the creature through eternity.
But the condition of the lost is only made more hopeless by the difficulty with which God brings himself to this, his ?strange work? of punishment ( <232821>Isaiah 28:21). The sentence, which the judge pronounces with tears, is indicative of a tender and suffering heart but it also indicates that there can be no recall. By the very exhibition of ?eternal judgment?
( <580602>Hebrews 6:2), not only may a greater number be kept true to God, but a higher degree of holiness among that number is forever assured. The Endless Future, published by South. Meth. Pub. House, supposes the universe yet in its infancy, an eternal liability to rebellion, an ever- growing creation kept from sin by one example of punishment.
<400713> Matthew 7:13, 14 ? ?few there be that find it? ? ?seems to have been intended to describe the conduct of men then living, rather than to foreshadow the two opposite currents of human life to the end of time?; see Hovey, Bib. Eschatology, 167. See Goulburn, Everlasting Punishment; Haley, The Hereafter of Sin.
A.H. Bradford, Age of Faith, 239, mentions as causes for the modification of view as to everlasting punishment:
1. Increased freedom in expression of convictions:
2. Another cause is interpretation of the word ?eternal.?
3. There is the doctrine of the immanence of God. If God is in every man, then he cannot everlastingly hate himself, even in the poor manifestation of himself in a human creature.
4. Consider the influence of the poets, Burns, Browning, Tennyson, and Whittier. Whittier, Eternal Goodness: ?The wrong that pains my soul below, I dare not throne above: I know not of his hate, I know His goodness and his love.?
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