Who can tell us whether this awful and mysterious silence, in which the Infinite One has wrapped himself, portends mercy or wrath? Who can say to the troubled conscience whether He, whose laws in nature are inflexible and remorseless, will pardon sin? Who can answer the anxious inquiry whether the dying live on or whether they cease to be? Is there a future state? And if so, what is the nature of that untried condition of being? If there be immortal happiness, how can I attain it? If there be an everlasting woe, how can it be escaped?
Let the reader close his Bible and ask himself seriously what he knows upon these momentous questions apart from its teachings.
What solid foundation has he to rest upon in regard to matters which so absolutely transcend all earthly experience and are so entirely out of the reach of our unassisted faculties? A man of facile faith may perhaps delude himself into the belief of what he wishes to believe. He may thus take upon trust God's unlimited mercy, his ready forgiveness of transgressors, and eternal happiness after death. But this is all a dream.
He knows nothing, he can know nothing about it, except by the direct revelation from heaven.
- William Henry Green, The Pentateuch (New York: John Wiley, 1863), pp. 194,195.