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by the Brother on the opposite side, and made an effort to have it passed by. Not, be it understood, from any want of confidence in the position I shall take on the question ; but because I believed this topic would in some degree, intercept our approach to ques. tions of greater importance, which I am desirous to have thoroughly investigated before this enlightened community. As the world is, the public can leave their business and their homes but a brief space of time, to attend a public discussion. It is so, I have no doubt with my opposing friend I know it is with myself. Having many duties to perform, I cannot devote any great length of time to a public investigation of questions, unless they are of the highest consideration. I believed it would be better to go at once to the great fundamental principles which take hold upon man's eternal destiny, and spend what line we have, in their examination rather than in discussing minor issues. It is assuredly not of so much importance to determine whether men be saved from punishment, or through punishment, as whether they are to be suved at ALL! That was the point at which I wished to arrive directly. Inasmuch, however, as my friend would not consent to discuss the doctrines of Universal Salvation and Endless Misery, without debating the present question, I have consented to the arrangement.
Having thus been brought to the investigation of this subject, it affords me an opportunity-of which I shall not be backward 10 avail myself—of exposing to public view, a class of opinions, which, although hoary with age, and sanctioned for generations by popular favor, and the high regard of the world, are nevertheless, errors that have exerted an influence highly deleterious to the Morality as well as to the Religion of Christendom. I must be permitted to express my deep surprise and regret, that gentlemen of the learning and respectability of my friend opposite, and a majority of the so called Evangelical Clergy, should take the positions they do, on the subject involved in the present question, and on kindred doctrines. I can but be astonished that men of their intelligence should turn away from the light and knowledge on Biblical Criticism and Sacred Literature which have illuminated the world during the three hundred years that have elapsed since the Reformation, and setting their faces rigidly back to the dim shadows of the past, cling with the desperation of a death-struggle, to doctrines originating in the very Midnight of the dark ages, and which bear stamped on their every lineament, the Heathen ignorance from which they emanated. This holding fast to darkness in the midst of light, I can compare with no case in the history of the world, excepi the perversity with which the Jews clung to their old religion, when the light of the gospel beamed upon them in the days of the Savior. It is a marked illustration of the power of early education, the strength of prejudice, and the sedluciive influence of popular favor.
The moral position occupied by my opponent and myself, on this question, is very different." If I err in maintaining, in this discus
sion, that there is no possible escape from punishment—that when a man has committed violence against the law of God and Right, he must necessarily, receive a just and deserved chastisement it will be an error on ihe right side. Pray what injury can come to the world in making the sinful man believe that a certain punishment will be inflicted upon him for every act of wrong doing? What harm can result from teaching the world, that as certainly as men do wrong, God will punish them? Can it possibly make any individual a worse man? But if my friend errs, I warn him he does it at the expense of the morals of the community. It will be a fatal error, in its practical influences on the public mind. It will be an error which must throw down the bars to sin, and remove that which alone the sinner FEARS—the certainty of punishment! When that certainty is removed, it opens a way for the votaries of sin; and depend upon it, they will pursue it. Better, far better, to err, if we er at all, in teaching and believing that punishment is cerTAIN, than in proclaiming that men may violate God's law, and yet escape the just penalty due their wickedness. An error of the latter description is much more fatal and deleterious in its moral and practical effects in community, than to insist on the great truth, every where laid down in the Bible, that whosoever sins inust make up their mind that God will visit upon them a certain and adequate punishment.
To arrive at a just understanding of the merits of this question, it will be necessary to allude to first principles in regard to Law, and its Punishments. The simple possession of power, gives no being a true, moral right, to exercise authority, or inflict punishment. Might cannot be of itself a source of right. Did I possess more physical power than my brother on the opposite side, it would conser no moral right on me, to exercise authority over him. Such an exercise would be an usurpation-a tyranny. Indeed Might is the only Right possessed by despotic governments. This is the distinguishing characteristic of despotism. Moreover it is the only principle which prevails in the brute creation. Might is deemed to benght there, because they can comprehend no higher source of allthoriiy. But it is a principle unworihy of man, and in fact, entirely inapplicable, in any just sense, to moral and intellectual beings. What, then, is the true and legitimate source of authority? In a single word, it is–GOODNESS. The right to exercise authority, to enai laws, to comnand obedience, and to administer rewards and pur ishments, can arise solely from an intention to make such use these powers, as shall advance the interest, promote the good, a secure the happiness, of those over whom authority and law exercised-Not only the good of all, collectively, but of each, in vidually. The authority of a government organized and admini. tered for these purposes, is legitimate, and can rightfully comman obedience. But if authority is exercised for any other purpose, it is an usurpation,-it cannot be legitimate. These are deductions,
I conceive, from the plainest principles of moral philosophy, and are susceptible of universal application.
The authority of God emanates not from his power, but alone from his infinite goodness. It is becarise he is good unto all,” that he legitimately extends his government over all, and commands them to obey. If he was not good unto every being, he could not righifully call upon all to render obedience. His government was organized for the one great purpose of conferring benefit-goodhappiness—on all created beings. This principle is fully recog. nized in the Scriptures. The Psalmist exclaims, “ Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise : be thankful unto him and bless his name "-[Why? Because he has the power to command us to do so, and to inflict punishment if we disobey? No.]—“For the Lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth to all generations.” (Ps. c. 2-5.) Here Goodness is clearly recognized as the source of God's authority. The Apostle John says, We love him,” (and should obey and serve him, not because he has power to require and enforce obedience,] but " because he first loved us.” (1 John iv, 19.)
Was the government of God organized for the purpose of destroying the happiness of a part of his creatures, or was it designedly administered in such a manner as 10 produce that result, then it would be a despotism of the most cruel description, and they would be under no moral obligation to obey him. There can be no moral wrong in disobeying a government administered for the benefit of a part, at the expense of the remainder. Hence, the position that God's government is designed to promote the greatest good of the greatest number ; as that phrase is usually understood—(that is. the greatest good of a part, wrought out through the greatest evil of the others,)-is asserting a principle, which can in no way pertain to the government of a perfect God. To those who would be sacrificed for the good of the remainder, such a government would be a tyranny. No man can be placed in a condition for any cause
-in consequence of any crime he may have committed,—where it would be right to sacrifice him, simply for the benefit of others. To punish him justly, would be right. But to sacrifice him to promote good in another quarter, would be a wrong and unjust exercise of authority. However guilty an individual may be, still be retains some inherent rights which cannot be alienated. And anong the most important of these rights is this—That however much he may be punished as an example for the benefit of others, his own improvement and restoration to virtue is not to be lost sight of. Oficers of justice are authorized to inflict a certain amount of punishment on convicts committed to their charge--and no more! Why? Because even the guilty have rights which must not be trampled upon. True justice, in no case, violates the dictates of humanity, and requires no punishment that calls upon men to forget the guiliy
are fellow beings, having some claims upon their sympathy. Hence, I repeat, the principle that a part of mankind may be sacrificed for the good of the remainder, is one that cannot pertain to the government of a God who is holy, just and good. Every moral being being in the universe, is under obligations to obey God, because his government is organized and adninistered to secure the happiness of each and all. It is a perfect government--perfect in its organization, in its laws, and in its administration, and accomplishing all its objects, according to the prompting of his infinite goodness and wisdom.
Upon this great truth-as beautiful as it is salutary—that God's government is perfect, and is adininistered for the good of all,-I place myself in this discussion. From this truth, I shall draw my chief weapons to meet my friend on the
opposite side ; and in its light, shall endeavor to show that the affirmative of this question, composes one of the most marked, prominent and delusive errors of the age. If God's government is organized and administered for the good of all who are called upon to obey, then its laws, commandments, precepts, rewards and punishments are designed for the same end-indeed, they are but steps adapted expressly to secure that end. Hence punishment, being one of the processes adapted in God's government to promote the welfare of ihe guilty, to save them from just and deserved punishment, would be vastly more to their injury than their benefit.-[ Time expired.
[MR. HOLMES' SECOND SPEECH.] My friends :-Mr. Austin says he appears here not as a professed controversialist. In this I join with him, and it is often what I hare expressed to him and others. I am not a controversialist, nor do I wish to gain any reputation of that kind. I am here under a sense of duty, to defend what I consider truth, for conscience sake. He remarks, also, that this question is not one of his own selection. And he carries the idea in his remarks that this is not a very important question, and that its discussion at this time would keep us back from questions of more importance and of higher claim. And yet before he gets through, he tells us it embraces one of the most inarked and delusive errors that exists, and demands the reprobation of every intelligent mind. Of course if this be the character of the question, it is a highly important one. If such be the deleter: ous influence, a belief in the affirmative of the question produces e the human mind and the morals of society, it strikes me we ha commenced at the right end of the controversy, that this is the ve question that ought to be first discussed. I wish to have it unde siood also, as Mr. Austin has alluded to my position in the denom nation with which I am connected, that I alone am responsibi. for the results of this debate, so far as I participate in it. You : see I have very few of my ministerial bretheren here to-day. I
have seen but two as yet, an l it is likely there will be but very few here. I alone stand responsible, and I stan 1 fearlessly, because I have truth for my basis. But that this is a fundairenial question, as Mr. Austin himself a Imittel, will be sufficiently apparent when we advert to the single fact, that if men must be punished for all their sins, and to the full extent of their deserts, there is no such thing as the atonement of Jesus Christ. The view that is taken of this question by Mr. Austin and the Universalists generally, subverts the whole Gospel. If there be no atonement, then we must take a different view of every element of the Gospel, for the atonement of Christ is the centre around which every other Gospel truth revolves: they derive their vitality, etficiency and power to save from the atonement. But this doctrine of human punishment, of expiating our sins by punishment, stands directly in the place of propitiation which Gos has set forth, through faith in Christö blood, that he might be just and the justifier of those who believe in Jesus. I regard this question therefore as important, that on its settlement depends those other most vital points, a vicarious atonement, the forgiveness of sins, the enjoyment of salvation here and the assurance of everlasting life hereafter. In short it is a question of no less importance than whether the world is without hope, or whether God in his goodness lias visited us with a dispensation of grace and mercy. My friend is surprised that I and others who believe with me should take such pleasure as we do in this and other doctrines, but why should this excite surprise, since the Gospel of Jesus has been introduced for the purpose of relieving man from the necessity of damnation? How can he be surprise that we should believe in the atonement of Jesus, when it is expressly said that he suffered the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God? How with the Bible in his hand can he entertain surprise that we should alopt those doctrines which lay at the foundation of the whole Gospel system; and on which the hopes of men with respect to eternal salvation are built? Were our doctrines buiit on some chimera of the brain, were they maintained with a pertinacity which indicates a mere fondness for old errors, hal they no support froin the scriptures, were it not necesary to take this ground in order to move in harmony with God and the teachings of his holy word, then there might be some foundation for the gentleman's remarks, though it would he still more surprising, that the Gospel, introluced for the world's salvation should after all afford us no relief, nor furnish us with a single element of salvation: such would be the case were the doctrine for which he contends true. He says that if he errs, it is on the right side of the question. How is it on the right side of the question? If he errs, it is in leading the sinner to suppose he has no other punishment to endure than that which he receives as he passes through this world. He errs in leading the sinner's mind away from the atonement of Christ, deluding him with the vain hore of expiating his offences by the few aches and pains of body and mind, which are