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    VII. THE SINNER MUST ACCEPT, NOT MAKE, CONDITIONS

    This proposition must be evident to all, forAERS 45.2

    1. Treason is the highest crime. He who commits murder takes a life, but he who seeks to subvert the law, seeks the destruction of life’s safeguard, of that which is to protect life by preventing and punishing crime. Hence, it is the aggregation of all crimes.AERS 45.3

    2. The Government has the sole right to free therefrom. By this is meant that the Government has the sole right to dictate the terms or conditions by which rebels may be restored to citizenship. This is true, also, in regard to all crimes for which pardon is desired. And this right, Government ought to exercise. No criminal has any right to dictate the terms of his own pardon, or the means by which he may be restored to the favor of the Government. And no one who has any regard for violated rights, for down-trodden justice, for the sacred principles of law and order, could be willing to see the traitor unconditionally restored to place and favor. No Government would be safe pursuing such a course; neither could it command respect.AERS 45.4

    3. He who will not accept the conditions is a traitor still. If the Government has the sole right to dictate terms to rebels, which all must allow, then the transgressor can only change his relation to the Government by accepting those terms; and if he refuses to accept them, he, of course, persists in maintaining his position in rebellion. Or to substitute terms of his own would be no better, but rather an insult to the Government, a denial of its right and authority. If a criminal were to dictate how crimes should be treated, government would be a farce and become the contempt of honest men. Therefore two things must be required of a transgressor or rebel, which only can be accepted, to wit:—AERS 46.1

    1. UNQUALIFIED SUBMISSION TO THE LAWS WHICH HAVE BEEN TRANSGRESSED, and,AERS 46.2

    2. A HEARTY ACCEPTANCE OF THE PLAN OR CONDITIONS OFFERED FOR HIS RESTORATION.AERS 46.3

    An objection is often urged against this view, viz., that if a substitute be accepted and the penalty of the law be laid upon him, then there is no pardon—no mercy, but justice only in the transaction. For, says the objector, if the debt be paid by another person, it cannot justly be held against the principal; payment cannot be twice demanded. The fatal fault of this objection is this: It regards crime as a debt, which it is not.AERS 47.1

    A man may owe a debt without any guilt attaching to him; but not so of sin. In the very first step there is mercy toward the sinner in the acceptance of a substitute in his behalf; and after the substitute has suffered the penalty, the sinner is as deserving of punishment in his own person as he was before. He has done nothing to relieve himself of the odium of his crime. All must see, at a glance, that what has been said about the acceptance of conditions is a necessary part of this system of pardon, as the Government not only needs satisfaction for the past, but a safeguard for the future. This the mere payment of a past debt would not furnish. Therefore the acceptance of a substitute who volunteers to bear the penalty of crime opens the way for pardon to be granted consistently with justice. Now if the criminal accepts that substitute so as to make the offering his own, and fulfills the required conditions, so that he unites his efforts with those of the substitute in honoring the law, then the Government has its safeguard against future rebellion. But without this, all the evils of unconditional pardon may accrue from the action of the sinner, even though a substitute have suffered in his behalf. But if the law be honored by the suffering of the substitute, and the sinner cease to sin, and accept the conditions, as herein proposed, there remains no difficulty. The Government is honored in the justice of the transaction, and the sinner is justified and saved by its provisions of mercy. But if any of these particulars be lacking, the system will then be defective. Pardon granted on any other terms tends to iniquity, violating the principles of right and justice, and subverting government. 1This is a necessary deduction from the very plain facts set forth in this argument. There are two theological systems extant which stand opposed to these principles; one, claiming that man may and will be saved without accepting and complying with conditions, or without substitution. This is Universalism, which really denies the Atonement. The other is Antinomianism, which claims that the law is abolished when the Atonement is made, instead of being honored and vindicated by it. Both these systems are denials of justice, and tend to subvert the principles of government as established by reason and the Scriptures. But as these principles lie at the very foundation of the divine Government, the above systems are, though professedly Christian, practically infidel.AERS 47.2

    It is unnecessary to argue, but well to mention, that a substitute, to render satisfaction to justice, must be free from condemnation in his own life; he must be innocent in the sight of the law, or free from its transgression. For one criminal to offer his life for another would not be any satisfaction to justice, seeing his own was already forfeited.AERS 48.1

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