« PreviousContinue »
our system. Allowing that in a long career of crime he received a due amount of punishment for every offence, where does he receive the penalty for the last act, that of self-destruction? I will endeavor to answer this question: difficult, I acknowledge it, but not insuperable. First, then, I observe that life is a blessing, and when an individual deprives himself of a blessing, he sustains a loss of course, and that loss is a suitable and adequate punishment. That life is a blessing, is clearly assumed in the scriptures: length of days is often promised to the righteous, while sinners are menaced with the reverse. If either of you, my auditors, should rashly throw away all your earthly fortune, would not the loss of that fortune be an adequate penalty for your rashness? And Secondly, I observe, that ere a person can consent to part with life by his own act, he must have previously undergone the very extremity of mental suffering; for so deeply seated a sentiment is the love of life in the human bosom, that it is rarely eradicated whilst reason retains its empire. Dreary indeed must be the state of that heart, to which the cold grave becomes a welcome refuge from existence! Self-murder is, indeed, often in itself the penalty of a life of crime: the wretch who becomes his own executioner is frequently driven thereto by the numerous and complex evils which his guilt has brought down upon his head. But more often, it is to be feared, does suicide result from mental misfortunes for which the subject is nowise responsible.
Lastly, we come to the peep into our universalian futurity, with which it pleased my opponent to indulge us. "There," quoth he, "are the murderer and his victims-the seduced and the seducer-the tyrant, and his slaves—the crucified son of God, and those who mocked him in his dying agonies." Well; better thus, I trow, than to have this state of things reversed; Jesus prayed for his murderers: will it shock his benevolent soul to find his dying prayer answered in their forgiveness? The martyred Stephen supplicated that the bloody deed of those who stoned him should not be laid to their charge. Will it grieve him to meet them in a world of universal peace and reconciliation? Paul was one of them, and him, at least, even by my opponent's admission, Stephen will sit down in fellowship with.
Pardon me, my friends, if I so far trifle with this subject, as to notice the smart little master's question ralative to the "Babes
in the Wood," by which, it seems, his naughty universalist papa was converted to the comforting belief of an endless hell! I shrewdly suspect, however, that this is but a pious hoax, of the tract family: we will look at it nevertheless. Saul, (afterward called Paul), persecuted the saints. My friend will admit that these saints went to heaven, and that Paul went there too: will he not persecute them again? Where did Uriah go to after his murder? My friend will probably say "to heaven." And when David died, where went he? "He went to heaven also." But will he not murder Uriah again? And will not Lot get drunk, and commit incest again in that world? And Peter repeat the denial of his Lord? &c. &c. A puerile argument this, you perceive; but my opponent deemed it worthy of serious consideration in favor of his dogma of endless suffering, and it is full worthy of that
We may now, I presume, without sacrilege, peep into the futurity of my opponent. Alackaday! we shall see a spectacle of spectacles! Parents, children, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, neighbors, friends, severed for eternity; some singing in heaven, some screaming in hell! There are in the realms of bliss many miscreants, as red with blood as murder could make them; who cancelled their crimes by a brief term of repentance before death; and they now see far down in the deeps of eternal suffering beneath them, many of the unhappy victims whom they were the instruments in sending thither with their sins upon their heads!
There, among the blest, is Zedekiah, who caused the streets of Jerusalem to flow with blood-there Charles V. of Spain, who drenched nearly the whole eastern continent in gore-Lewis XI. who boasted that he had slaughtered more than 200,000 heretics— St. Dominic, who founded the Inquisition-Peter the hermit, who instigated the crusades-the bloody Mary of England, and numerous other sainted miscreants, whose names come down to us loaded with the execrations of mankind: but who, nevertheless, are supposed to have died" in the odour of sanctity:" how many of the victims of their cruelty are groaning amongst the damned it is not in human power to estimate !* My friend supposes it a hor
*1 took up a paper a few weeks since, containing the sentence and accompanying address of a judge to a criminal, doomed to execution for the murder of his brother's wife. "You," said the judge, (in substance, I pretend not to give his words,) "will
rid result of our faith, that the seducer of innocence should be found at last in heaven, in company with her whom he had sent with a broken heart and ruined reputation to an untimely grave. Alas! if this consequence shocks him, what must he think of his own dogma? according to which the ruined and broken hearted girl may have been driven, not to a premature and ignominious grave merely, but to an unending abode in hell! And the wretch who brought down upon her this temporal and eternal blight, may by timely penitence, have secured for himself an abode among the blest! What, too, must he think of a doctrine which peoples heaven with parents bereaved for ever of their children, and children of their parents, which sunders for eternity those sacred ties by which the God of nature has bound human beings together; and which have for their prototype the relation which he himself bears to every sentient creature of his power? Which, I would ask him, is the more cheering and consistent view to indulge relative to futurity; that which implies a frustration of God's designs in creation, and that men will possess in eternity the dispositions and qualities which characterise them here; or that all the plans and purposes of Jehovah respecting our race shall be fully consummated; and all mankind, saved from sinreconciled to God and each other-assimilated to the divine nature, shall attain to that glory and felicity which is the end of their creation? Let conscience and common sense candidly answer this question, ere an attempt is made to ridicule an universalian futurity. Thus endeth my reply.
have opportunity for making your peace with God, and will receive every aid in this business which it is in the power of the reverend clergymen to give you. Not such was the case with the unhappy woman whom you murdered; she was hurried to the bar of heaven with all her sins upon her soul." Here then is a case in point: the unfortunate sister-in-law is to wail with the lost, and to behold her murderer rejoicing with the saved! Wm. Gibbs, the pirate who was hung some years since at New-York, confessed that he had been accessory to the murder of 400 persons: these were murdered on the high seas, or upon our coasts: all acquainted with this class of persons know that they are usually not over-burthened with a concern about the future: it would therefore be speaking within bounds to say, that 350 out of the 400, were sent to eternity in impenitence, and doomed to an endless hell of course. The pirate, on the contrary, had space allowed him for repentance; was attended upon by his priests, &c. (he was a catholic) and when led out to execution he expressed himself as if assured of forgiveness and a happy futurity. Fancy him now in heaven, looking down upon 350 of his victims in hell!
POPULAR DEBATE.-No. III.
RELATIVE TO THE CLOSING PARAGRAPH OF MATTHEW XXV.
UNIVERSALIAN VIEWS OF SAID PASSAGE.
I feel, my auditors, the magnitude of the task I have undertaken relative to the subject before us: it is two-fold in its nature; first, to uproot from your minds, prepossessions of long standing, and associated with your earliest remembrances: and secondly, to introduce and impress in their stead ideas entirely novel to you, and in contrariety to those entertained by full fifteen sixteenths of all christendom. Nevertheless, as I have in my own mind the utmost assurance of the truth of my views, and as I know the documents by which I am to sustain them to be clear and unequivocal, I enter upon the undertaking without the smallest solicitude as to the result; requesting only that you will listen to, and weigh with impartial attention, all that shall be adduced on both sides. As my friend of the opposite faith is to follow in a review of my arguments, I shall not anticipate many of his objections; but will attend to them, as they come from himself, in my rejoinder. "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was a hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee a hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and VOL. I.-O
say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on his left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was a hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee a hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily, I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment but the righteous into life eternal." (Mat. xxv. 31-46.) 1st. I observe that there is no mention in the text of a reference to the future world; no intimation that the events it describes are to transpire subsequent to the resurrection; all this rests on the mere assumption of our opponents. On the contrary, the passage bears evidence on its face that its true and intended application is to things of time: this is what I propose to make apparent, in opposition to the generally received opinion, that it describes a judgment in eternity. Mark well the reading of the passage: "And before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another." Separate whom? Every grammarian knows that nations is the antecedent to the pronour them in this place; nations, then, are what are to be judged, and separated, at the time to which the text looks forward: this is a different thing entirely from the sort of judgment to which it is commonly applied; for that supposes that all the human family will be parcelled out, according to moral classification, and severed individually from one another: husband from wife, parent from child, &c. but nothing of the kind is intimated here. Are our opponents willing to abide a literal application of the text to a judgment in eternity? If so, we shall have the different nations of mankind severed from each other; and whilst some, en masse, are taken to heaven, others will be driven to hell! Surely they will not admit this as true; and yet on their own plan of exposition it most assuredly is, according to the grammatical import of the language.