of which he cannot break, even if he will. Now, when men foolishly declare that God is too merciful to punish men for their sins, they forget that sin is in this sense its own punishment. In the Taurat of Moses the fearful disease of leprosy is evidently taken as a type of sin. How can any man of understanding speak of a leper as suffering no inconvenience from his disease? How then can the man who suffers from the spiritual leprosy of sin be said not to suffer from it? And this suffering is itself a part of his punishment for having fallen into sin. Sin is something far worse than leprosy of the spirit, for it is rebellion against God and alienation from all that is good and holy. But it may also be compared to a deadly disease, or to madness, which necessarily and in themselves cause misery to the man of whom they have taken possession. Hence it is mere folly to fancy that God will not punish sin, when in some measure sin is its own punishment and must ever be so, from its very nature, just as it is the nature of fire to burn and the nature of pitch to defile.

It should also be noticed that in this world sin always brings punishment of some kind. As the poet has said, 'Everywhere 1 shoulder to shoulder are requital and deed.' Hence it is clear that God does not in this world lightly pass over sin. As the one true God, the Creator of all things, is far from all possibility of change and alteration of conduct

‫1 همة جا دوش بدوش اند مكافات وعمل


and character, it is evident that, since He does not regard sin as such a slight thing as not to require punishment here, He will not overlook it in the next world either; for alike over this and the next world He is the one Supreme Ruler, and nowhere throughout His wide domains can rebellion against Him prosper or be overlooked. Enlightened reason itself, therefore, confutes the idle fancy, which false and cursory reasoning encourages, that perchance God will be too merciful to punish sinners.

Apart from all this, however, it is certain and manifest that, even because of the demands of His own love and kindness, God will punish sinners. For of His love and mercy God seeks man's true and real happiness and well-being; and true happiness is to be obtained only in one way, namely, by man's obeying God's commandments and bringing his will into accordance with that of his Creator. And since all sin originates in opposition to the divine will, and since man has now become more prone to disobedience than to obedience, under these circumstances, were God not to exact satisfaction for sin and not to visit sinners with His wrath, then assuredly man, sinking deeper and deeper into the abyss of sin and rebellion, and becoming more and more alienated from God, would become still further ruined and miserable. Truly did an ancient heathen poet say, 'No 1 wicked man is happy.' If, therefore, God did not punish sin, man would not

1 'Nemo malus felix.'