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What about hell? There is no hell. There is no kaiser. There is no world war. It's all imagination; put up stories to scare people to get money; a trick by the crafty to play jigger on the artless. There is no Sing Sing in New York, no San Quentin in California, no penitentiaries, or so-called prisons or jails, in the United States or in the world; no gallows or electric chairs for the murdering (execution of criminals) of men or women. For how can a community, a State or government, be so cruel as to construct and use such awful things. All our actions are and must be animated and directed by love. The communities, states and nations are animated and inspired by love, hence they can not, and they will not contrive anything, construct anything, or do anything that will or shall deprive any one of his liberty, or hurt, or cause pain, or anguish, or fear. And God is the highest good. And God is love. Therefore he would not, no, he could not prepare any such awful place as hell is claimed to be. For how could God, who is the embodiment of all that is good and lovely, who is goodness and love personified, prepare a hell, such as it is claimed he has, and then create beings to be tormented in it?
So, then, if there is no kaiser, no penitentiaries, no German atrocities, no Turkish massacres of Christians, then, we admit, there is no hell.
But if counties have jails, if states have penitentiaries, if gallows are constructed and criminals executed, then, we insist, there is a hell, just as actual a hell as the jails are jails, the penitentiaries are actual and in existence for the punishment of criminals, and just as actual as gallows are erected and murderers executed, hanged in them.
No hell, no heaven; if a heaven, then also a hell.
If rational, intelligent, self-conscious beings exist, then there must be freedom of choice, preference of selection, freedom of movement and of action, unbounded, unrestrained liberty enforced by willing and guided by rational discrimination, comparison, judgment, preference in selection between good, better, best, on the One side, and bad, worse, and worst, on the other.
Not only this; for light would have no name and no meaning if night and darkness did not exist. Sweet would have no name and no meaning if the opposite, the sour did not exist. The good things receive appreciation and value only by being compared with the bad things. Health becomes valuable and we appreciate health by seeing the sick. Or rather: We first learn to appreciate health when we are sick and helpless and suffer pain; then when regaining health, relief from pain, do we actually enjoy health more than ever before. Almost everything has its opposite, as : light—darkness; warm—cold; hot—freeze; sweet—sour; or bitter or rancid; good, better, best—bad, worse, worst; love—hate ; life—death; heaven—hell.
Requisites, Indispensible for Development and Growth.
“All moral obligation is preferential and binds us to select the better as against the worse of two possibilities.”—Martineau.
The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge.
For this purpose were the two trees—the tree of life and the tree of knowledge—placed in the midst of the garden of Paradise: to promote natural development and growth of intellect, the exercise of mental faculties—comparison of opposites and comparison of degrees of either; the exercise of preferential selection, and the ability to distinguish and to discriminate between the opposites and the degrees in either, but also which is the most beneficial to accept, to use, to do, to practice, to recommend.
Adam, the Patriarch—Adam, the Preacher—Adam, the Executor.
Here, between these two remarkable trees—the TREE OF LIFE and the TREE OF KNOWLEDGE–as the Holy of Holies, Adam would have assembled his family and descendants, and here he would have preached his sermons to them, these two trees being his subject, and God's command his text.
Pointing to the Tree of Life, he would have said: “Eat of this tree and you shall live, know and understand our Creator better, know and understand His manifold most remarkable works better. And after a while, as you develop and grow in knowledge, understanding and efficiency and usefulness, special work will be given to you here in this abode, and finally, more important work and opportunities for higher achievements in other realms of the I lord’s universe. - Furthermore, by eating of the tree of life, your bodies become gradually transformed and liberated from terrestrial limitations. And thus transformed and liberated your power and usefulness expand, your abilities and activities increase, even to the management and control of all natural forces and resources, for the use and enjoyment of the entire human family.
Yes, and even more, the preacher Adam would have continued, being the sons of God and created in His image, in face the antitype of the Lord, you will be allowed to me with Him, to follow Him and to become co-workers with Him, just as my children and your children work together in and for the family.
So you, my children, have great opportunities, great possibilities, always advancing, always growing, always reaching higher and higher, toward the stature of the Father our Creator and Lord.
Pointing to the tree of knowledge. Adam, taking on a serious expression of countenance, would have said: This tree and its fruit are the exact opposites. The tree itself has a symmetrical, lovely appearance, and its fruit of a golden, rosy, inviting appearance. But a mere taste of that fruit brings instant death. For the Lord hath said “the day ye eat thereof, ye shall die.” The contents of that tempting fruit is death. Therefore touch not, taste not, for if anyone does, everything gained and attained or to be gained and attained by the eating of the fruit of the tree of life will be lost.
Death, what is that? Innocent Abel may have asked, as he had not seen anything or anyone die.
Death is the opposite to life. Adam would have answered. A living being moves, a dead body is motionless. A living body has feelings, a dead body is numb. A living body is warm, a dead body is cold, a living body maintains itself by nourishment the dead body decays.
(1) An object lesson for illustration. Here Adam, being a practical teacher and an inspired preacher, himself under the tutorage of God, would demonstrate by cutting or breaking off a few twigs or branches of trees and vines, to show the assembly how the leaves shriveled, how the blossoms failed to develop into fruit, as on living trees, but dried up and fell off, and how the branch itself dried up and became brittle. And he would undoubtedly go further to a beautiful flower-bed pull up a few flowers, a geran. ium, a daisy, and a forget-me-not, root and all, calling attention of the assembly to the withering and dying of these and then explaining that such will be the effect to any person, eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge. So, then, we see the one object of these two trees in the midst of the garden. And now we will notice: (2) Object, the Consciousness of Liberty. Consciousness of liberty is the requisite for full enjoyment, development and growth. Unlimited and unrestrained liberty is the condition for unlimited and unrestrained happiness. And here, again, the condition—that to choose your own course in life, to select your own associates, to do the things to your liking, the things most agreeable is in evidence. It affords pleasure to know, to realize, that you may do the thing you choose to do, and don’t have to do that other thing which you are averse to. But this pleasure or enjoyment would be lost if the faculty to distinguish the difference between the two objects were lacking or undeveloped. But we hiotice, finally (3) The object, that freedom to choose, involves responsibility for consequences. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. This is an immutable law, a natural consequence, and cannot be escaped. Whoever denies this or ignores this, is an imposter and a coward. So now we have made the circuit, and have come back to the starting point, namely: there is and must be a HELL for those who disobey God’s timely warning, misuse the liberty, and defy the living God. And there is and must also be a heaven for those who choose and abide by the tree of life, and in filial love and obedience cling to the living God, and respect and honor Him. Sowing and Reaping. “For we must all be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” Paul— 2 Cor. 5:10.
The Glutton and Lazarus. The consequences above referred
to are strikingly illustrated in the narrative of the glutton and Lazarus in Luk. 16:19–31, by Jesus Christ.
The glutton, dressed in purple and fine linen, fared sumptuously, just as the rich, the wealthy, the indolent, are doing today. Their chief concern is luxury, gaiety, amusements, pleasures, pleasantries—anything to gratify the carnal mind. But to enjoy these things undisturbed, they banish from their mind and shut out from view or consideration their responsibility to God and accountability to Him.
But unavoidable circumstances opened the glutton's eyes and made him change his mind. “And in HELL he lifted up his eyes, being in torment * * * and he cried and said: “Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the TIP (only the tip) of his FINGER in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this FLAME.” Now he lifted up his eyes. Now he cried: O, for a drop of water | Father Abraham, have mercy upon me. Just a single drop of water from the tip of Lazarus’ finger, that's all I ask. His cravings, his demands, and his pretentions had been reduced immensely: from purple attire and fine linen, from sumptuous fare every day, to a single drop of water from the tip of a finger. Did he get it? Can you change a crop at harvest time? Is it reasonable to ask or to expect a crop different in kind from the seed you sowed ? Sowing wild oats in springtime, you can not expect a crop of golden wheat at harvest. When others feast on the abundance of their wheat and rejoice, you will have to be contented with a morsel of your chaffy wild oats: for that is the kind of seed you sowed, and blame yourself. Abraham's Answer: “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receiveth thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now here he is comforted, and thou art tormented. “And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that they that would pass from hence to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from thence to us.”
Remember that is the horrible conclusion, the end of a life in
Remember your father’s anguish for your sake and his admonitions, and his disappointments by reason of your riotous living.
Remember the teaching in the Sunday School.
Remember the earnest entreaties and solicitations of the minister privately and from the pulpit, advising you, asking you, begging you to accept Christ and to live a Christian life.
Remember Calvary and the loving sacrifice made by Jesus Christ for your soul, giving his heart blood, his life for your salvation—but in vain. Remember, that selfishly, stubbornly you followed your sinful, carnal inclination, bringing such fruit as this—now gratify yourself with your own foulness. Remember the announced and, by you defied, divine, moral and natural law : “WHATSOEVER A MAN SOWETH, THAT SHALL. HE ALSO REAP.” Remember—don't expect wheat from tares, grapes from thorns, figs from thistle, blessings from cursing, happiness from degradation, heavenly approval and reward from disobedience and rebellion, heavenly bliss and enjoyment from a hellish mind and disposition. Remember that it is just and proper for you to get your reward from the master which you have served. You have no complaint to make. Satan, your voluntarily chosen master, is giving you the best he has got; it's the best he can do. Remember lastly, that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is Eternal Life through JESUS CHRIST, OUR LORD.”
This gluttonous fop becomes missionary minded in hell. He remembers his five brothers. But he doesn’t want their companionship in hell. Why? Has he now become concerned about their salvation, the rescue of their souls P From a selfish point of view—Yes. From a tender, loving point of view, looking to their happiness, their salvation, and their joy in heaven—No. No, not in the least. No tenderness, no sympathy, no love in hell. These divine attributes and virtues were destroyed and obliterated, and superceded by satanic hate, enmity, madness, now fully (leveloped; for these are the attributes of satan, the liar and the murderer from the beginning; and those associated with him, who adore him and obey him as their master and captain, become partakers of his nature, mind and disposition, and have the same desire and the same aim. No, this gluttonous fop wants to save himself, that is all. Save himself from what? From : (1) The additional torture of listening to their groans, and cries, and weeping, and gnashing of teeth. (2) From the fire-baals thrown at him by their accusations and cursing for his misconduct and bad example; for his all too powerful leadership on the road to hell. He now knew that he was the cause of his brother's lost condition, and he feared to meet them and submit to their firey embrace and their flaming kisses in hell.
Feasting and Carousing in Hell.
Think of it, where parents, or father or mother, be the cause of