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    CONCLUDING REMARKS AND QUESTIONS

    1. If God has instituted morals, he is a moral Governor, and has a moral law; for there can be no government without a law. If there is a moral law, it must be the only standard of morality; and it follows that we can only determine a man’s character in a moral point of view, by comparing his life with the law of God—the moral rule. For, as we have before noticed, there is no earthly Government which is administered on purely moral principles. God alone can govern on such a basis. Therefore, whoever has violated God’s law has lost his moral character by such violation as surely as morality consists in obedience to moral law. But we are all conscious of having violated the principles of right and justice—most of our race in a most glaring manner. All around us are evidences that man has ruined himself by sin. How may he be acquitted and restored? Can you devise a plan which will honor the Government vindicate justice, maintain the authority of the law, and yet save the sinner? Have you ever considered this matter?AERS 50.3

    2. We have considered that the Government has the sole right to dictate the terms whereby man may be restored to favor. We trace a plain distinction between the systems of nature and morality; but in neither, unassisted by direct revelation, can we discover the measure of obedience due to the divine Government, or the method or means whereby we may be reconciled to our Creator. How shall we obtain this information?AERS 51.1

    3. We have also seen the utter inability of man to save himself from the penalty of his transgressions, and the imperative necessity of a mediator to atone for us, and to vindicate justice in our pardon. And our fellow-men are all in the same condition, as helpless and unworthy as ourselves. Who shall act as our mediator?AERS 51.2

    Friendly reader! if you have trusted in reason and nature; if you have been skeptical as to divine revelation, we entreat you to turn not hastily away from these thoughts; pause and reflect. Have you made your boast of reason? “Come, now, let us reason together.” Can you invalidate, or with reason deny, the positions taken in the preceding pages? Can you answer the three questions proposed above? Can you tell with certainty what duty you owe to your Creator, the moral Governor? or on what principle you expect to be justified before God? Do you know how you may be restored after you have offended? Can you show where we may learn all this? In a word, Do you not need a written revelation?AERS 52.1

    Again, would it not serve the cause of justice, and the true purposes of government, to have the laws of our lives, moral laws, published for the benefit of those amenable thereto? Surely, it would. So far from being astonished at the idea of a written revelation—a publication of the divine divine laws—we should expect it; justice demands it. And, if we could not produce such a document, would you not esteem it an oversight in the Governor?AERS 52.2

    Once more: An Atonement has been supposed to lead to immorality. But, according to what has been proved, it is the only possible method of restoring the sinner to favor which does not lead to immorality. It is readily granted that any theory by which the Atonement is claimed to have abolished the law of the Most High, or relaxed its claims, leads to immorality. And we regret exceedingly that there are some systems professing to represent Christianity, which uphold such a demoralizing view; some professedly Christian ministers who preach that the gospel set aside, superseded, or abolished the law of God which he had revealed to man. Such teachings are a perversion of the gospel; subversive of justice and every right principle of Government, and highly dishonoring to the Son of God who came to establish the law and to put down rebellion against his Father. But can that lead to immorality which acknowledges the justice of law, removes rebellion, and restores the wrongdoer to obedience? You will see that this objection arises, not from any defect in the system of the Atonement, but from the ignorance of the objector as to what that system is. We readily admit that to abolish a good law because it has been disobeyed, and thereby leave men free from its obligations, is to license the crime committed and to utterly subvert all government. We claim nothing for an Atonement on such grounds, and should be obliged to reject anything purporting to be a revelation from God which led to such unjust and unreasonable conclusions. The Bible presents a pure system of morality, and, through the Atonement, a means of pardon, consistent with every requirement of justice, and every correct principle of government. It neither favors indulgence nor gives license. Pardon maintains law; license upholds crime. There is as great difference between pardon and license as there is between liberty and licentiousness; and he who cannot discern the difference as recognized in the Atonement, may well be pitied.AERS 52.3

    Do not think that we discard reason because we plead for the Bible and its truths. And we entreat you not to abuse your reason in a vain effort to make it answer a purpose which it will not, and for which it was never designed. Reason is not evidence; nor can it create evidence. It can only weigh the evidence when presented. But revelation and evidence are the same. And now if it can be shown, as we claim, that the Bible is in perfect harmony with these principles, and enforces them strictly, there will remain no reasonable objection against it as a revelation from the great “Lawgiver.” Will you join in a patient investigation of this matter? No subject can be more worthy of your attention. Let us examine the Bible itself, and discover what is the morality which it teachers, and what means it reveals for the salvation of those who have dared to disregard the claims of the divine Government.AERS 54.1

    THE ATONEMENT.AERS 55.1

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