Resistance of the atmospheric pressure inside the body counteracts the outside pressure of the atmosphere. So God?s life within is the only thing that can enable us to bear God?s afflictive dispensations without. Without God?s Spirit to inspire repentance the wicked man in this world never feels sorrow for his deeds, except as he realizes their evil consequences. Physical anguish and punishment inspire hatred, not of sin, but of the effects of sin. The remorse of Judas induced confession but not true repentance. So in the next world, punishment will secure recognition of God and of his justice, on the part of the transgressor, but it will not regenerate or save. The penalties of the future life will be no more effectual to reform the sinner than were the invitations of Christ and the strivings of the Holy Spirit in the present life. The transience of good resolves which are forced out of us by suffering is illustrated by the old couplet: ?The devil was sick, the devil a monk would be; The devil got well, the devil a monk was he.?
Charles G. Sewall: ?Paul Lester Ford, the novelist, was murdered by his brother Malcolm because the father of the two brothers had disinherited the one who committed the crime. Has God the right to disinherit any one of his children? We answer that God disinherits no one. Each man decides for himself whether he will accept the inheritance. It is a matter of character. A father cannot give his son an education. The son may play truant and throw away his opportunity. The prodigal son disinherited himself. Heaven is not a place, it is a way of living, a condition of being. If you have a musical ear, I will admit you to a lovely concert. If you have not a musical ear, I may give you a reserved seat and you will hear no melody. Some men fail of salvation because they have no taste for it and will not have it.?
The laws of God?s universe are closing in upon the impenitent sinner, as the iron walls of the medeval prison closed in night by night upon the victim, each morning there was one window less, and the dungeon came to be a coffin. In Jean Ingelow?s poem, ?Divided,? two friends parted by a little rivulet across which they could clasp hands. They walk on in the direction in which the stream is flowing till the rivulet becomes a brook and the brook a river and the river an arm of the sea across which no voice can be heard and there is no passing. By constant neglect to use our opportunity, we lose the power to cross from sin to righteousness, until between the soul and god ?there is a great gulf fixed? ( <421626>Luke 16:26).
John G. Whittier wrote within a twelve month of his death: ?I do believe that we take with us into the next world the same freedom of will we have here and that there, as here, he that turns to the Lord will find mercy. God
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