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Eternal Punishment
(©Typescript by Timothy L. Barker)

Rev. R. J. Campbell, "Eternal Punishment," The Latter-Day Saints Millennial Star, LXVIII (Liverpool, England, Heber J. Grant: 1906) :93-94.

"Eternal Punishment"

             It is impossible not to believe in eternal punishment.  Every act, every thought of evil draws to itself its own inevitable result.  "Be not deceived, God is not mocked.  Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."  We are not waiting for eternity to have the balance put right.  Men may feel that they have dodged God, as it were.  They have not.  Some of us who have been trying to live righteously feel as though it were well with the unrighteous.  It never is.  Inevitably, here on the other side of death, wrong living works itself out in tragedy.  There is no tragedy so dreadful as that of the soul which has sinned against itself.  What is punishment but the imprisonment of the soul in its own wickedness?  Retribution is absolutely inevitab[l]e and unescapable [sic].  Some of you talk as though it were never so.  I have heard it said that the moment you eliminate the time element from the thought of eternity, you have taken away its dread.  It is the exact opposite with me.  The moment I take the time element out, it seems as if eternity is crashing upon me.  I feel as though it were impossible to doubt that the lash descends, the punishment comes, the prison door is closed upon my soul.  You told a lie: that lie has turned to rend you, has shut you under its own baleful influence.  You turned from the pathway of right towards sensual self-indulgence, and lo! you become a prisoner of your flesh, and of the flesh see corruption.  You do harm to another, and by-and-bye the harm comes back again to you with compound interest.  "He that sinneth against Me, wrongeth his own soul."  Men talk about eternity as though they could afford to wait for it, and will be prepared for God's judgments when they come.  They know very little of the real meaning of the judgment.  Here and now, with resistless force--for God cannot be cajoled--descend the penalty of a sinful life.

            Some of you are living, as it were, like a man sleeping in the topmost story of a burning house, and telling himself that there is no danger until the fire reaches that floor.  The foundations are gone.  So it is with evil life.  The man who lives falsely is already undermined by the judgments of God.  It is punishment to be shut off from eternal life, beauty, joy, and love.  Death itself can give him no rescue.  It simply takes the bad man, as it were, from one prison-house to another, and gives him on the way a glimpse of the blue sky above, and the fresh, sweet air, in the midst of which he might live and ought to have lived.  All punishment is eternal. All true living is eternal.  God's eternal now is the one thing from which the bad man cannot escape, and the good man does not want to escape.--Rev. R. J. Campbell