Page images
PDF
EPUB

we certainly have no reason to believe any thing, the nature of which is altogether earthly, can be an image of the great Creator. “Take ye, therefore, good heed," says Moses, “unto yourselves, (for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire,) lest you corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the likeness of any figure, the likeness of male or female; the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air ; the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth : and lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under heaven.” Deut. iv. 15-19. The argument now conies before us in this manner: God has shown nothing to the literal eye of man that is his likeness. Dust and corruption, we infer, cannot be in the image of God in any sense whatever. But man possesses the image of God; he must, therefore, possess something, the image of which comes not in contact with the literal sight, nor is describable by literal objects; but something resembling his own nature, and on which he has stamped the likeness of his own immortality.

We believe the foregoing arguments are corroborated by the scripture representation that man is the offspring of God. We never find a beast called the offspring or son of God; neither is such an animal ever said to be in the image of God.

Our Savior's words to the thief, (Luke xxiii. 43) “Verily I say unto thee, to-day thou shalt be with me in paradise,” forms a very strong objection to my oppoment's idea that death destroys a person's individuality. If Christ possessed individual existence after death, we cannot well understand how the thief could be with him in paradise, without enjoying a similar kind of existence. And if we suppose them both to land from the cross to an inmediate state of unconsciousness, the propriety of calling such a state paradise would still remain to be explained. It seems, of itself, to form an insurmountable difficulty to the position which we now bave occasion to oppose.

I am disposed to introduce one passage more on this subject, and then refrain for the present. "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear hiin which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matt. x. 28. See also, Luke xii. 4, 5. From this passage we learn that killing the body does not kill the soul; else, he that had power to kill the first, would also have power to kill the last; but the text declares that man has no such power. Besides, we are commanded to fear God from the consideration that the soul is punishable as well as the body. “Fear him which after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; yea,

1 say unto you, fear hin." St. Matthew speaks of God's being able to destroy both soul and body in hell, but mentions no particular period, such as to say, after death. So according to St. Matthew, soul and body may be fellow-sufferers, when the body is capable of suffering, and, of course, is living; and according to St. Luke, the soul may suffer after the body is killed. These ideas I think are evident, if scripture language may be allowed to speak its own meaning. The passages we have adduced appear to render our subject so clear, that further labor is deemed unnecessary, at least, till we know what kind of opposition we shall be called to encounter.

Our brother has intimated that he is about leaving this field of controversy, and yet in his last effort, has sown the seeds of disputation with an unsparing hand,

In one letter he has attacked “the existence of individ. val spirits,” proposed his “Queries concerning God's decree," "Question for the Restorationist," and "A question for the believer in endless misery to solve.'' We feel to indulge the remark, that we think these are Jarge strides for a season of retirement! They are better suited to a morning exercise; when the day is before the laborer, than for a calm repose, when the shades of the evening are fast approaching. However, we are not disposed to hold our brother against his inclination : but we had been better pleased, if, after laying out só much work, he had not left us to perform the whole alone.

SAMUEL C. LOVELAND. Reading, July 5, 1825.

For the Christian Repository. ANSWER TO THE QUESTION FOR A RESTORATIONIST.

Mr. Editor, In examining your last number of the Christian Repository, I noticed a question for a Restorationist. As I profess to be one of the number for whom the question was intended, I would offer a few remarks

upon

it. The writer asks, if on our ground, we must not “suppose a continuance of the same temptations, the saine propensities, the same transgressions, and, in short, the same conditions, in every particular, which here requires the infliction of chastisement ?”

If there be any force in this question, it rests entirely on the assumed hypothesis, that when the act of transgression, for which the subject is punishable, ceases, the cause of punishment is removed. The whole difficuity, therefore, which our opponent supposes he has thrown in our way, is founded on an assumed position that is evidently false. The thief, the robber, or the murderer, in prison, if he have the same propensities, has not the same temptations, nor commits the same transgressions, nor

in short, is he in the same condition, in every particular; and yet he is to be punished for the wickedness he has done, and not for that which he is doing where there is no opportunity to perpetuate those crimes. According to our opponent, if children are subject to punishment here, they must always be precisely, in every particular, children, or they cannot be punished. If they receive an enlargement of mind, throw off a few of their former temptations by approximating toward mature age, or are placed in a different condition, they cannot be punished : because there is a progress toward a more perfect state. They are not precisely, and in every particular, in the same condition in which we found them when they were children, and were in that state the subjects of chastisement.

Our querist thinks "the principle” of chastisement “is perfectly reasonable ;" but he cannot see how it can be without every minute circumstance which attends the transgressor in this life. For my own part, I can rest this subject very contentedly on the superior know. ledge of my Maker. His word declares that “the Lord knoweth how to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement to be punished.” 2 Pet. ii. 9. We learn then that the Lord knows how to punish people by reserving them to a particular period for that purpose, tho many

of our modern Universalists are amazed beyond measure, to think how such a thing can be.

S. C. LOVELAND. Reading, July 7, 1825.

For the Christian Repository.

COMMUNICATION.

The following communication was prepared for, and originally

published in the Herald of Salvation, at Watertown, N. Y. but as it was never answered in that paper, and as it is believed that the subject is one of importance, it is again saba

mitted to the consideration of a candid public, through the medium of the Repository.

Mr. Editor, As you profess to be friendly to the investigation of the scriptures, and have frequently solicited an open and candid discussion of religious subjects, I avail myself of the invitation; and would request your attention to a subject which has lain with considerable weight on my mind, for a great length of time; and which is considered by Christians of all denominations, to be one of the greatest importance, viz. the subject of the divide government and control of all events connected with the accountability of man.

That God controls and governs all things, and all events, agreeably to his own will and pleasure, is a principle which appears to me to be clearly and plainly taught in the following passages of scripture: Eph. i. 11. “Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” Isa. xlvi. 10. “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” xiv. 24. “The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, surely, as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.” xlv. 7. “I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil; I the Lord do all these things.” Amos iii. 6. "Shall there be evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it?" From the above, and similar expressions of the scriptures, it appears evident that the divine government extends to all events, even to the establishment of evil in the world ; and it appears equally evident from other scriptures, that man is accountable for his conduct, and that God will inflict on him a punishment commensurate with his crimes. The latter proposition is supported by the following scriptures. Ex. xxxiv. 7. "And that will by no means clear the guilty.” Isa. iii. 11. “Woe unto the wicked ! it shall be ill with him ; for the reward of his hands shall

« PreviousContinue »