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life. That which does not produce present holiness and happiness, can be no sufficient security for the final salvation of men.
The gentleman's second argument is founded on the intention of God. Well, to this we do not demur. God intended the happiness of all originally, and when they apostatized, he redeemed all. He has given the very best proof, that his benevolent intentions embraced the whole family of man. The fallacy of the argument does not consist so much in the terms employed, as in the application. An argument may be fallacious, either in the premise or the conclusion ; in the present case, the fallacy is in the conclusion. We know that God did intend, in the establishment of a government, to bring into existence a universe of intelligent beings, under circumstances adapted to secure their happiness. But this is a different thing from intending to control, absolutely, their final destiny. Against such an idea, the word of God and the analogy of his government, raise their voice. Let Mr. Austin tell us, if he can, on what principles, other than those embraced in moral government, and moral agency, a universe of intelligent, moral beings, can be constituted happy? If the happiness for which he contends be moral, it can only be conferred by moral government-can only be enjoyed by moral agents. Moral
gov. ernment, and moral agency, necessarily exclude the idea of absolute control over final destiny; and yet, without such control, the argument from the intention of God, is entirely worthless. God's intention is absolute, or it is not. If not, then it depends in some measure upon contingency, and that contingency is inconsistent with the certainty of the final holiness and happiness of all men. But if the intention of God respecting the final state of men, be not contingent in any sense, but absolute, then does it rob man of the freedom of his will—the power of choice, and of moral happiness, and overturn the moral government of God.
The gentleman may take which of these conclusions he pleases. One of them he must take, and either of them will disprove Universalism.
Moreover, as the desire of God harmonizes with the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, so also must his intention : hence, the nature of the gospel as revealed, must be regarded as the only reliable exponent of the divine intention.
Now we have already seen that the gospel promises salvation to sinners only on condition of repentance and faith ; and my friend will not deny that gospel salvation is conditional. that believeth shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned.” “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life.” Th
and other similar passages express the conditionality of gospel salvation so plainly, that the loose and deceptive methods of interpretation adopted by the Universalist school, have not enabled them to avoid their force. It follows,
therefore, that in making the final salvation of men depend on the absolute intention of God, my friend contradicts the nature of the gospel, and his own admission as to the conditionality of gospel salvation; or else, gospel salvation is not necessary to the final holiness and happiness of men.
My reply to Mr. Austin's argument from the intention of God, may be summed up thus :
1. To control the final destinies of men by the absolute intention of God, is to rob them of moral agency, and the power of choice, and deprive them of moral happiness, as moral agency is essential to moral happiness. If, therefore, the argument from the divine intention annihilates hell, it also annihilates heaven, and leaves man without a character adapted to either.
2. To make the final state of man depend on the absolute intention of God, is to destroy the moral character of the divine ernment-exclude the influence of moral law and moral obligation from his retributive administration, and deprive the intelligent universe of a moral governor.
3. The notion that God's intention respecting human salvation absolutely secures it, is a positive contradiction of the nature of the gospel, and the conditionality of gospel salvation. Hence, if this notion be true, gospel salvation is in no sense necessary to the final holiness and happiness of men.
4. If we suppose the intention of God respecting human salvation to be absolute, the argument creates no certainty that all men will be saved, since the controlling influence of that intention does not secure present salvation. That which does not produce present salvation, can afford no sufficient security that it will effect the salvation of all men in the future. Let the gentleman refute these conclusions if he can.-[ Time expired.
[MR. AUSTIN'S SECOND SPEECH.] Brother Moderators :-To all Elder Holmes has said in regard to high sounding words--bombast, and throwing dust into the eyes oi the audience, I of course, have no reply to make. It displays a peculiar kind of taste, in which I have no disposition to indulge-and a lack of something more substantial which may excite the sympathy of those who hear, for my friend's unhappy predicament, but cannot increase their respect for him or his cause. If he desires to make capital out of any such material, he is at liberty to do so. For myself, I shall not be his imitator.
He says, if Universalism be an error, it is one of the most heaven daring and dangerous, ever given to the world! If it is an error! Ah, that IF, is a very important word!! Sirs, is it heaven daring to ascribe infinite wisdom and goodness to God-to insist that he loves all his creatures, and will finally bring them to repentance and happiness. Is it heaven daring to declare in God's
own words, that he “will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth ?-(1 Tim. ii. 4.) If that is heaven daring, let me ask what it is virtually to ascribe to him a lack of wisdom and goodness? What it is to proclaim that he will not “ have all men to be saved," but will thrust his own offspring into eternal torments, and hear them shriek in agony, and beg to be granted the privilege of repenting, and yet beg in vain !!-not one particle of sympathy or pity for them, existing in the Divine nature! These dark and unholy imputations, are not heaven daring, I suppose !
But if Universalism be false, those who believe it, my friend asserts, will be in great danger! What a miserable attempt to frighten the timid from a great truth. IF it should prove false!! This is surmising an impossibility. Before Universalism can prove false, the Scriptures must prove false !--the Apostles and all the holy Prophets since the world began, must prove false ! CHRIST and his Gospel, must prove false! GOD and his pledged and sacred OATH, must prove false !!! If it should turn out that all these are false, then I will allow my doctrine may also prove false. But until there is some remote possibility that falsity thus pertains to every thing divine, the word "if,” in such connection, has no significance whatever.
Allowing, however, that no dependence can be placed on the positive declarations of Prophets and Apostles, and of Jesus Christ, that all men shall be saved-allowing that God is precisely that malignant, wrathful, pitiless tyrant, which, I regret to say, the partialist clergy too often represent him to be—what then? I maintain that even in this case, Universalists would stand at least as good, if not a better, chance of being saved, as any other class!
Cruel and heartless despots like to be well spoken of. They certainly feel more favorably inclined towards those who represent them as mild, good and loving, than those who draw a darker and truer picture of their character. Should it finally prove that the scriptures utter falsehood when they declare “God is Love," and the partialist doctrines assert the truth, when they virtually insist he is the concentration of cruelty, it by no means follows that Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, or any other self styled Evangelical sect, would be safer than believers and proclaimers of God's impartial grace.
The Elder chants the old song, and tells the old story of infidelity! INFIDELITY!! When men of his school of theology have nothing else that will answer their purpose, they talk about the infidelity of Universalism!! as though the people were so stupid as not to see that this outcry only proves the want of solid argument. My friend has gone so far as to intimate that Universalists are the worst kind of infidels! I desire to put an extinguisher, at least during the remainder of this debate, on all such ridicu
lous assertions-and will, if such a thing as shame can deter a man who possesses any degree of self respect, from misrepresenting his neighbors.
Infidelity indeed! Pray what kind of infidelity is that which consists in believing in God, in Christ, in the scriptures, in the resurrection of the dead, and immortality beyond the grave!! Why will men of sense allow themselves in this enlightened age, to commit so great a folly, as to charge infidelity on a class of christians who hold such sentiments as these? If infidelity can be laid at the door of any portion of the religious community in christendom, it will be found in a greater degree pertaining to those very sects who are so free and flippant in casting it upon others. What is infidelity? It is unbelief. Hence the less a man believes in God and Christ, the more infidel he is. And the more one believes in them, the less he has of infidelity. Tried by this just standard, where will the charge of infidelity lie the most legitimately? Universalists believe more of God than others. They believe his wisdom is perfect, that his power is omnipotent, his goodness limitless and endless and that all his gracious plans and purposes respecting man, will be ultimately crowned with glorious success. My friend, and those of his class, have a belief that falls infinitely short of this. They believe God's wisdom is short sighted, his power is limited, his goodness partial and fleeting, and his plans in regard to man's redemption, have sunk into inextricable confusion and ruin! Which of these classes has the most of infidelity—which have the least belief in God ! Christ declares positively, that he came “ to save the world." Universalists believe he is abundantly fitted and competent to fulfil this work--that he is both able and willing to save the world, and complete the mission on which his Father sent him. But not one of the Evangelical sects, have this amount of belief and confidence in the Redeemer. The Calvanists believe he is able but not willing to save the world—the Methodists believe he is willing but not able to save the world. In this case, who does not see that infidelity—UNBELIEF-rankles most visibly in that class who are so forward in charging it upon those who differ from them only in having more of faith in the Father and the Son ! Let us hear no more of the senseless cry of the infidelity of Universalism!!
My brother Holmes says he met a gentleman yesterday who was not aware that the Universalists rejected the doctrine of Atonement, and who was astonished at it! I know not who this gentleman could have been; but the vastness of his intelligence, and the profundity of his knowledge, cannot but challenge the admiration of all men! Pray, where did he learn that Universalists reject the Atonement ? He and his informant have but verified the Savior's declaration—"If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." Universalists do not reject the Atonement.
They believe that doctrine as it is presented in the Bible. They believe the object of Christ's mission was to effect an At-one-ment -to bring the creature into unity with the Creator-to reconcile man to God. Yea, they believe the declaration of St. Paul, that it pleased the Father through his Son, " to reconcile ALL THINGS unto himself.”—(Colos. i. 19-20.) But Universalists while sin cerely believing the gospel doctrine of the Atonement, decidedly reject the old Heathen dogma of a sacrifice to placate the wrath of a god, to enable men to sin and avoid punishment-A miserable error which was incorporated into the doctrines of the Christian Church in the Dark Ages, and which singularly, is still clung to, by the partialist Clergy, under the name of Atonement.
The Elder presents a wonderful argument against Universalism, in his objection that its advocates have many different ways in presenting their evidences of its truth. Because amid the abundance of Arguments in proof of the impartial and limitless grace and goodness of the Father of all, which prevail in scripture, in reason, in nature's works, some of its advocates draw their
weapons in its defence from one department of the Great Armory with which God has furnished them, and some from another, the Elder reasons, that hence the sentiment cannot be true. In other words, there are numerous methods by which Universalism can be proved to be true, and hence it must be FALSE!! This is a specimen of the deep water, of which my friend talks so much!
If the fact that a sentiment is supported and defended in a variety of ways, is an evidence that it is false, what shall we say of his favorite doctrine of the Atonement ? There probably never was a theory which its advocates held and propagated in so many different forms as this. There are hardly any two denominations throughout the Evangelical ranks, who entertain the same views in regard to the Atonement. And this great contrariety of opinions on the subject, has prevailed ever since that Pagan absurdity stole its way, with a multitude of similar corruptions, into the midst of Christian doctrines. This fact shall be corroborated by Rev David Holmes, A.M., himself, in his article in the Methodist Quarterty Review. He says: “ The history of the various theories taught since theologians began to make Atonement a subject of speculation, is both curious and instructive. To describe the various and conflicting theories brought into being by the wand of theological diviners since the fifteenth century, would require more space than can be spared in this paper."-(Review, pp. 415—416.)
Elder Holmes says he intends to take every argument out of my hands. I hope he will if he has the power to do so. And to assist him in his goodly work, I will present my arguments in a manner so plain, clear and distinct, that none can misunderstand them. He is at ful liberty to "come and take them," if he can! But how does he proceed in this work? How does he take from