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3. The claims of justice are harmonized with the work of mercy, in extending pardon to the guilty. How? “ Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blool, to declare his righteousness for the REMISSION of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.”
Mercy finds the channel of divine favor open to the lost sinner, through the redeeming blood of Christ. Justice points to the propitiatory death and blood of Christ, as the satisfaction of its demands, while the sword is sheathed, and a dispensation of grace is granted to a guilty world. “Mercy and truth are met together: righteousness and peace have kissed each other." O wonderful plan! “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God!!!
“ Here the whole Deity is known,
Nor does a creature guess,
The justice or the grace." The gentleman says justification is a heathen doctrine. If he means to say that this doctrine exists among the heathen in connection with sacrificial worship, I will not dispute it. This fact is a confirmation of its truth. It may be regarded as the relict of that ancient system of worship established by God himself, intended to prefigure the sacrificial atonement of Christ, and under which Abel acted when he “offered a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain.” This original system of worship, and method of approach to God, has never since been lost sight of entirely, even by the heathen world. It was re-established in the covenant with Noah-in the covenant with Abram; and the Mosaic economy was intended to perfect the arrangement, and keep it alive until, Christ should make his appearance, and put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. He became “the end of this law for righteousness”—“ Behold the lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” The heathen, through ignorance and corruption, perverted the doctrine; but the fact that they had it in any form, is proof of its truth, since its existence among them can only be explained on supposition that it was a feature of that system of worship, originally established by the Deity. There can therefore be no valid objection to the doctrine, arising from the fact that it is found among heathen.
The gentleman also asserts that justification by the atonement of Christ, was unknown for the first 200 years after Christ. In this declaration he assumes what he ought to prove, viz: that the doctrine is not taught in the Bible. That it is taught there I have shown abundantly. If the Bible was known for the first 200 years, then this doctrine was known. But if this doctrine should not be found stated and defended in a formal manner in any production of the fathers of the age referred to, this cannot be proof against it,
because most of the writings of that age have perished-only a few fragments have come down to us. Moreover, this and other fundamental doctrines were not called in question during that age, hence would not be likely to be stated in a very formal manner. Mosheim says that during the first ages of the church, “there was not the least controversy about the capital doctrines of christian. ity." I think however, had I Eusebius' work here, I could produce passages which would show that the gentleman has reckoned without his host. I know that he uses language from which the doctrine under consideration may be fairiy inferred—such as, “ Christ the Redeemer of souls,” &c.
I will now employ the few minutes of my time yet remaining in recapitulating my arguments. The question is, Does gospel salva. tion einbrace deliverance from just and deserved punishment.
In support of the affirmative of this question I have presented fifteen arguments.
1. Argument based on the nature of the gospel—“good tidings of great joy." This would not be true in any consistent sense, unless the gospel proposed to deliver men from punishment.
2. On the object of Christ's advent—" He shall save his people from their sins.” I have shown conclusively I think, that there is no way to save men from their sins, without saving them from the punishment of sin.
3. On the doctrine of redemption as expressed in Galatians 3d “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law being made a curse for us.” I have shown that the Greek word katara, translate] “ curse," means the penalty which the law inflicts upon the transgressor; and as Christ bas redeemed us from this curse, hence he has provided that we may escape from the punishment we de.
4. On the sufferings of Christ for sinners-Christ suffered for us"_* died for us"_" suffered for our sins"_" bore our sins in his own body on the tree"_" was wounded for our transgressions," &c. Mr. Austin has not been able to show what Christ suffered and died for, if not to relieve man from sin and suffering: and the full force of this argument remains.
5. On the atonement made by Christ. Here I have proved hy Rom. 111. 24-6, and other passages that Christ became our propitiator, that the legal obstacles to pardon might be removed, that Go might be just in remitting sins that are past.
6. On the intercession of Christ. “If a man sin we have an ad vocate with the Father.” The object of Christ's intercession bein; to procure favor for the guilty, which implies salvation from punishment.
7. On the meaning of the words pardon and forgiveness. I have given the standard definition of these terms, and shown by their scriptural usage, that they imply salvation from punishment
8. Some men have been saved from punishment. Here I erhibited those scripture proofs, which assert in so many words, that God did in some cases punish men “less than their iniquities deserve,” consequently he did save them from punishment.
9. On passages which clearly imply salvation from punishment. On this point I introduced a long list of passages which can only be understood on the supposition that God delivers from just pun. ishment.
10. On the fact that if men are always and necessarily punished to the full extent of their deserts, the process by which this is effected, is so indefinite as to time, manner and place, that it exerts no moral influence upon their minds, and involves a mode of retribution unworthy the government of God.
11. In this argument I have shown, that the negative of the question we are discussing, would make perfect nonsense of the scriptures.
12. That it removes the highest example in the universe for the forgiveness of injuries, and makes the lea talionis,” the rule that should govern the intercourse of men.
13. It contradicts the common sense of mankind, and would be absurd, and impossible in practice.
14. This argument is founded on the fact that the gospel proposes to save men now, which cannot be, if men must first be punished all their sins deserve.
15. On the fact that if men must be punished all they deserve as binners against God, they can never be saved at all, and universal damnation must follow.
And what has the gentleman done to remove these arguments ? He has shown considerable ability and skill in the management of bis part of the debate on this question, but he has really effected nothing towards establishing his position.
1. He has not answered my arguments. I am surprised at the little effort he has made in that direction. He has altempted a for. mal reply to only balf my positions: to a few others he has merely alluded, by a few common place remarks: to some half dozen he has not referred at all, and probably will not; and yet he has evi. dently done the very best he could.
2. In his negative arguments, he has been confused and contradictory. As often as he has laid down one principle, he has contradicted it by another. He has taught that Christ saves from sin --that punishment saves from sin-and, that sin is its own cure. lle has maintained that the sinner must be punished all he deserves --that he deserves to be punished until he repents-that God inflicts punishment to produce repentance-and, that repentance is punishment. He has taught that all sin comes from the body, and all punishment is in the mind-that sin is the result of a physical cause, and that moral means are employed to remove it. He has repeatedly refused to tell us whether he beliered in future punishe
ment, and yet has sometimes left us to infer future punishment from his general declarations. Besides this, he has made a strong effort to establish a false issue, and divert attention from the merits of the question. In the meantime, I am left in possession of every argument presented. He has not succeeded in taking one from my grasp. They stand as so many firm and unshaken pillars, to support the blessed doctrine I have advocated for two days—“ He that confesseth and forsaketh his sins, shall find mercy." I offer this mercy now, to every sinner in this assembly, in the name of Christ who has “suffered the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.”—[ Time expired.
[MR. AUSTIN'S EIGHTH REPLY.] Brother Moderators :-In reply to the remark of my friend in regard to the absence of all traces of the modern system of Atonement, during the first two centuries of the christian era, I will quote from an article on the Atonement, by Rev. David Holmes, A. M., in the Methodist Quarterly Review, for July, 1847. In that article he says: “there were no theories of Atonement during the first two centuries.” He insists now, that all professors of christianity at that day, were believers in Atonement. Here we have David Holmes, vs. David Holmes. The truth of the matter is, the early Christian Fathers made no mention of the Atonement, because there was no one in the church who believed it as it is now held. In the the name of reason, if all Christians then, received that sentiment as it is now believed, would it not have been found in the writings of those ages? The fact that they are silent on the subject, is positive evidence, that for two hundred years after Christ, there were none in the church who believed the modern doctrine of Atonement. What other conclusion can we adopt, than that it is a heathen doctrine, which afterwards crept into the church, amid the corruptions with wbich christianity became loaded in the Dark Ages! Would not the fact that no traces of Universalism can be found for two hundred years past, in the writings of those sects in our day, who style themselves orthodox, be considered a thousand years hence, strong evidence that these sects did not believe that sentiment ?
MR. HOLMES.–Read the whole of the paragraph, if you please, and it will be seen that the latter part explains all.
MR. AUSTIN.-I have no objection; here it is :
“Not that the immediate successors of the Apostles had no definite conceptions of the nature of Atonement; but the age of philosophical speculation had not yet commenced in the church. These · fathers’ adhered to the simplicity of the Bible, and attempted no nice distinctions or metaphysical statement of the facts and principles involved ni this great subject.”
This language only confirms my position. It is undoubtedly true that the Fathers did adhere to "the simplicity of the Bible,” in regard to the Atonement. All they knew or believed on the subject, they learned from the New Testament, which taught them that the Atonement—[A1-one-ment]-consisted simply in the reconciling of man to God-not God to man-through the displays of his love, as manifested in Jesus Christ. Hence we see nothing in their wri. tings of the huge, mis-shapen, contradictory theory, of modern Atonement. But when “the age of philosophical speculation arrived-i. e. when heathen philosophy, and the crude teachings of Polytheism began to take the place of ihe simple doctrines of christianity-then, for the first time, we find traces of what are now mis-called Evangelical sentiments, in regard to the Atonement, and the kindred doctrines of the Trinity and Endless Punishment, prevailing in the Church! No fact in history can be more fully established, than that all these dogmas are the legitimate offspring of Pagan theology, surreptitiously introduced into the christian church, during the age of philosophical [heathen) speculation.”.
Allow me to refer briefly to what my friend has said in regard to my own denomination. He charges that we have no standard of belief. This happens to be quite a mistake. The Bible is our standard of belief. Does the gentleman know of any better? If, however, by “standard of belief,” he means articles of faith, he is equally at fault. Near fifty years ago, our General Convention drew up certain " Articles of Faith,” as the basis of our organization, which we have recognized as such to the present day.
He asserts also, that our only bond of union is opposition to endless punishment! This is a remarkable declaration for a candid man to make. No bond of union! We have a great and glorious bond of union! We believe a doctrine which teaches that God, in his infinite goodness and wisdom, will in due time, gather all his wandering children home to himself, so that there shall be one great and happy family in Heaven, all loving and praising him. To my friend ihis may all appear very trivial, and of little weight. But we view it as an infinitely important truth. It is this, that forms our “ bond of union”-it is this that draws and knits us together, in a most perfect unity; and not an opposition to endless punishment, or to any thing else.
He charges us with internal divisions. This is not so, in any such sense as he would imply. We allow the utmost freedom of opinion in our midst on all minor topics. Hence there may be, and is, diversities of views on many points in theology of secondary importance--we agree to disagree, in harmony in these matters. But in regard to that great and comprehensive doctrine of the final extinction of all sin and pain, and the reformation and salvation of a lapsed world--a doctrine radiant with a light and glory which cause all other sentiments in comparison to fade away into obscurity-in respect to this sentiment, which forms the basis of our