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consists in the repulsiveness of its materials, and especially in the uncommon quantity and vileness of its abuse. I have searched through all its pages in vain, for a single expression of kindness ; for the least semblence of a benevolent or Christian Spirit: but the truth is, it is vulgar and ill-bred every way, and, what is especially to be regretted, it is addressed to the most vulgar tendencies of the mind. In my opinion, sir, those who sincerely admire modesty, and the Spirit of Jesus of Nazareth, when once acquainted with its pages, would shun its contamination as they would a house with a sign at the door bearing the inscription
"SMALL POX HERE" !!-I confess this is not a very Hattering estimate of your labors, but it is the estimate my sense of truth compells me to set upon them !
In the next place, Sir, I have several serious charges to bring against you ; which, writhe as you may, beneath the well deserved lash I am now laying upon your impudent sholders, I do not believe you can escape, or will deny. In the first place, Sir, I charge you with the BOMBAST of a clown, and the BOASTING of a coward ! And here, Sir, is the proof in the shape of the PROSPECTus of your boasted book :
PROSPECTUS. " The author intends publishing a book, next spring, no preventing Providence, of about 300 pages, entitled Universalism Against Itself, wherein that system of faith shall be CRITICALLY examined and SYSTEMATICALLY DISSECTED; and the dogma of the unconditional holiness and happiness of all mankind shall be UTTERLY DESTROYED and that without remedy. The strongest arguments claimed in support of the doctrine shall be shown to be self-contradictory, and it will be demonstrated that no man can quote the Scriptures generally relied on as favoring Universalism, without virtually renouncing the doctrine. The arguments against it will be SIMPLIFIED and CLASSIFIED, and presented in SUCH A MANNER, that a mere tryo in controversy will be enabled to POUR DOWN upon the HEAD of an opponent, SUCH a volley of arguments as to be IRRESISTIBLY fatal to his
cause, and which all his powers will not be sufficient to withstand or gainsay. The “Pro and Con of Universalism," the strongest work in its favor now extant, shall be also briefly reviewed and reduced to a BUNDLE OF ABSURDITIES. And FINALLY, as nothing will satisfy the BRA VA DOES of Universalism until their doctrine is finally KILLED TWICE DEAD, and PLUCKED UP BY THE ROOTS ; they may expect, THEREFORE, to have it LITERALLY torn up into INCH PIECES, PULVERIZED and SIFTED like WHEAT"!1
I am told, Sir, that there exists another prospectus, intended for circulation in another section, compared to which, this choice morceru of grandiloquence and naked boasting, is no more than a drop to the bucket. But this specimen of your native powers, will in all conscience, satisfy any moderate taste for the valient and the sublime !
But, Sir, I charge you, furthermore, with palpable and undeniable deception with regard to your real sentiments—advocating in the book “Universalism against itself,” the doctrine of ENDLESS MISERY, and at the same time believing in the ANNIHILATION of the wicked!!!
This, Sir, is a most grave and important charge:-BWriting one thing, and at the same time believing another! But, Sir, wince as you may, here is the PROOF; derived directly from preachers of your own sect: "To whom it may concern:
“I have been requested to state my understading of what Mr. Alex. Hall's views are in reference to the ultimate destiny of the wicked, or finally impenitent portion of mankind. What his views are at present, I cannot say, not having had any conversation with him on the subject lately; but last fall, I understood him to hold, as his uwn or private opinion, that the wicked or finally impenitent, would or will be destroyed or ANNIHILATED"!!
JOEL F. MARTIN. New Gottingen, May 8, 1847,
“I can fully confirm the above statement to be true."
“My understanding of Mr. Hall's belief fully corroborates the above statement.”
I understand, Sir, that these men are all occasional preachers in your church; but if their evidence is not acceptable, perhaps it would interest you to know that I have more on hand, amplysufficient for any emergency. And, Sir, I wish our readers to observe, that while the above affidavit bears date May 8, 1847, your book bears date June 15, 1846! A plea, therefore, that you have changed your opinions on the subject, will not
It just occurs to me, that some persons who have not seen your book, may doubt my veracity in sayiag that you alvocate therein the doctrines of endless punishment. But, Sir, I can prove even more than that:
You advocate INFINITE punishment! Here is the proof: “Punishment must be INFINITE—for such is the case with sin”! “Man is not finite, only as regards his natural body. His soul or spirit is an infinite principle, and will endure AS LONG AS GOD HIMSELF’’! And dare you say, Mr. Hall, that the soul will exist as long as God himself, and at the same time be ANNIHILATED?That the soul will be annihilated, and at the same time suffer INFINITE PUNISHMENT? No, Sir, not even your celestial impudence and almost miraculous hardihood, will carry you that far!!
I charge you in the next place, with uttering a downright FALSEHOOD on Universalists as a sect! Among a multitude of proofs, all involving high moral obliquity, I select the following:—“It is evident that nineteen twentieths of all Universalists are infidels at heart,neither wise, GOOD, SINCERE, nor LOVERS of CHRIST'S CAUSE”?!!
Do you recognise those capitals? They, Sir, are your own! And does not your shameless face grow pale, when your foul sin, like the ghost of withered murder,
stares you in the face, and writes upon your foreheach the name of SLANDERER!! How dare you, Sir, print; much less stereotype, so base a calumny? And you a follower of Christ; you GOOD_SINCERE—HONEST?—"0! shame! where is thy blush”!
But I tire, Sir, of pursuing your tortuous course further-your offences rise in mountain height before me; Ay, they become rank and smell to heaven! Among candid men you will be little less than a by-word and a mark of infamy. Your course, Sir, will become one of the surprising phenomena of the age. Men will wonder and marvel much, that one like yourself, with but few of the advantages of a common education, and possessing none of its real graces, should be so inflated with vanity and self-consequence, as to imagine that you were able to refute and destroy a system of doc. trine, which wiser and better men than yourself have labored in vain to overthrow, and from a discussion of which no opposer ever yet came off the victor! If the mystery is ever solved, it will doubtless be on the principle, that “Some snakes must hiss, because they're born with
stings.” Sir, I leave you to the company of your own conscience: you cannot well have amore disagreeable companion.The effects of your miserable book will develop themselves day by day, until the power which has thrown it upon the public is neutralized or destroyed. The evil which it will do-unless its very excesses should cause immediate reaction-will be felt long after you are forgotten in the minds of men: unless they should remember you as an odious and detestable thing -a phantom of dread and a warning of evil!
For the severity, Sir, of this Epistle Prefatory, I make no apology. Those who have read your book, will not require any; and as for those who have not, they must rely on the representàtions which I have given.
That the God of Love may eventually lead you to see the error of your ways; and that you may live to be
come a better and happier man, is the sincere wish of your Humble Servant,
G. T. FLANDERS.
Note.—In the composition of this work we have drawn freely from the following works: Ely and Thomas' Discussion: Cobb's Compend: Universalist Book of Reference: Streeter's Conversations: Paige's Commentary: Balfour's Works, and a few others.