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is not an instrument which Christ uses for the salvation of souls.. Where in the word of God do you find it revealed that Christ ernploys death to save souls? Nowhere. Such a text cannot be found in the oracles of God. Jesus found death in our world when he descended from heaven. He came rather to destroy death than to render death an instrument of salvation. He on one occasion expressly declared, that he came nor to destroy men's lives but to save them. Jesus Christ saves souls-by his death and, mediation, by his teaching and the foolishness of preaching his gospel. But Universalism saves by any and every means - which throws off this mortal coil.' Such men as Xerxes, Alexander the Great, and Buonaparte, have had the plea ; sure of snatching souls by thousands, from the quenchable fires of a Universalist hell, and colonizing them in heaven by the summary process of the battle field !!!
I have one more serious objection to your system, which I will present for your serious consideration at this time. It is this: Universalism is evidently licentious in its influence.—This is a trite objection I know; but it is nevertheless, capable of almost mathematical demonstration. The truth is saving and salutary. Error is always poisonous and hurtful to the soul. When I say that Universalism is licentious in its influence, I do not mean that every Universalist is inmoral in his habits; I mean the system is lax and loose; that it lowers the standard of christianity down to the very dust, and that its practical illustrations are just what might be expected from such a system of unbelief. That it does not and cannot co-exist with a healthy state of religious feelings. It is the grave-digger of piety. Let me prove and illustrate this position.
1. The effects of this doctrine wherever preached are directly the opposite of that produced by the preaching of Christ and his Apostles.
What were the effects of the preaching of Christ and his Apostles ? Alarm-repentance-reformation-prayer. Did any one ever know these effects to follow the preaching of ultra-Universalism? NEVER. When Paul and Silas preached at Philippi, the jailor trembled and said to
them: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved ?” When Paul stood before Felix, at the peril of his life, he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and a judgment to come, until his royal and voluptuous auditor trembled like Belshazzar, when an invisible hand wrote his destination in hieroglyphics upon the wall of his banqueting house. Why this agitation and alarm if the Apostlè preached ultra-Universalism ? Did you ever know Universalist preaching to produce such an effect upon the minds of the wicked ? You cannot produce a single instance. Indeed the whole tendency and design of Universalism is to produce the very opposite effect. Instead of arousing the fears of the guilty, it calms and pacifies their rebel hearts. - . - I am not ignorant of the manner in which Universalists attempt to evade this argument. They tell us that the jailor was not alarmed about his sins, but about his personal safety, and having supposed the prisoners had escaped, bis life was endangered as the forfeiture; and that Felix was not alarmed at a judgment to come, but in view of the near approach of the destruction of Jerusalem. The whole of this is easily disposed of. As to the jailor; he could not have inquired for his personal safety from the penalty of the Roman laws. (1) Because he had not incurred that penalty. The prisoners had not one of them escaped. (2) He knew this, for Paul had just before said to him, “Do thyself no harm for we are all here." (3) He consulted the wrong persons for such information. Would a jailor go to his prisoners to know what he should do to evade the penalty of a law which was not broken? (4) He would have consulted some civilian had his life been in danger from the laws of his country, and not two Jewish missionaries - passing through the city on a preaching tour, who could not be supposed to be very learned in matters of civil law. (5) The manner in which Paul answered him indicates the manner in which the Apostles understood his inquiry— Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.' Well, now if the jailor inquired what he should do, not to be hung, and the Apostle re. commended faith as a remedy, he was guilty of trifling with the jailor's feelings and deceiving him. Faith in Jeo's sus Christ so far from saving from the penalty of Roman laws, was almost the sure way to incur that penalty. Paul had just been stoned at Lystra, and the day before had been whipped in the public streets of Phillippi, for believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paulknew this; and the jailor knew this. (6) The result of his inquiry shows that his mind was laboring under deep conviction of sin, and that he sought the salvation of his soul. He believed the same hour of the night, and was baptized. As to Felix being alarmed at the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, the thought is too ridiculous to be entertained for one moment. Who was Felix ? A. Roman governor-a Roman officer appointed by the emperor, and in the interests of his gova ernment and country. Who destroyed Jerusalem ? The Romans. Felix trembled then with fearsul apprehensions that his country would conquer the rebellious Jews and take their beloved city !! Supreme absurdity! This is just what Felix desired. How much do you suppose Lord Wellington would have trembled on the eve of the battle of Waterloo, to have been informed by an inspired teacher that British arms and valor would vanquish Buonaparte and destroy his dynasty ? But,.
2. The lax and deadening influence of Universalism is seen in the fact that it cannot co-exist with experimental religion. Whenever and wherever a soul barboring this delusion is heartily converted to God, the Universalism immediately disappears. Hundreds of cases occur every year in the progress of revivals to illustrate this remark.
3. The same characteristic of the doctrine is seen in the fact that Universalism is the common pit into which backsliders and apostatesfall, just as the poor tippler falls into the gutter. Go into almost any place where there is a Universalist Society, and you will find a colony of backsliders and apostates who have been cut off from the Evangelical churches and whohave fled for refuge to lay hold of Universalism. Were it not for being personal I could give you many names to illustrate this remark.
4. The licentious tendency of the doctrine may be seen also in the fact that so many Universalists become infidels,
and that infidels in many places associate with Universalists - help build their meeting-houses and support their preachers,
and frequently hold offices in their churches and societies. Mr. Kneeland, who was once a Universalist preacher, calls Universalism “the stepping-stone to infidelity.” Go into almost any place where your present views have been preached for a number of years, and you will find a rank crop of infidelity growing up in the field. I will give the town of Milford, Mass. as one place among many that will illustrate this remark. " .
I have many other facts going to illustrate the lax, licentious, and downhill influence of ultra-Universalism, but my sheet admonishes me that I must close for this time.
. So I remain, yours as ever. .
LETTER IV. My Dear Sir:
You are aware that Christ and his apostles enforced with great earnestness the duty of repentance. Paul, when giving a summary of his preaching at Ephesus, calls it '" testifying both to the Jews and Greeks, REPENTANCE toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Well, now, one serious objection in my mind against Universalism, is the fact that it destroys the necessity of repentance. It is true that while your preachers spend the most of their efforts in maintaining their doctrine, they do occasionally speak of repentance as a duty, but they never enforce it as a duty indispensable to salvation ; and until this is done, sinners who love their sins so well, will never repent. To make repentance necessary to salvation, would be destruction to the whole system. Do you say repentance is indispensable to salvation ? Look at the conclusion to which such a declaration must inevitably lead you. Do all men repent of their sins and turn to God in this world – This you will not pretend. You do not pretend that sinners repent somewhere, somehow between time and eternity. No. Universalists do not believe in a purgatory. — Where then do all men repent? Do you say that those who have not repented in time, will repent in eternity ?: Then your doctrine of no future punishment is not true. Repentance implies a knowledge and sense of guilt, and a. knowledge and sense of guilt always does, and always must, from the very nature of mind, produce pain. If, then, you have repentance in eternity, you have pain and suffering there ; and thus your favorite doctrine of no future retribu- . tion falls to the ground. Take wbich horn of the dilemına you please. If you say repentance is necessary to salvation, you acknowledge that sin and its consequences go into eternity, and thus diy the grave of your own system. If you deny the necéssity of repentance, why mook God in pretending to believe in, and preach it ?
I find another difficulty in Universalism, in the fact that it denies the well-established and acknowledged principles of mental philosophy. I must therefore regard those who believe that our present characters have no possible effect upon our future destiny, as bad philosophers as they are theologians. They make as great havoc with the laws of mind, as they do with the written law of God. Let me illustrate.
1. It is a well known principle in mental philosophy, both among the Metaphysicians and Phrenologists, that the moral and mental condition of man is, at any, and every period of his existence, just what his past bistory has made him. The whole of the past comes in to give him his present character. This is a law of mind. It must be true where ever mind exists. Every moral and intelligent being in the universe, is at this moment, as to knowledge or ignorance, sin or virtue, happiness or misery, just what his past history has made him. The whole existence of the mind is linked together in one continuous chain, and a touch at one end of the chain, vibrates through every link to the other. Well, now Universalism destroys this principle of mental philosophy, by sundering an important link in the chain of the mind's existence, and by affirming that there will a period