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To the same import, is (Rom. viii. 14:) “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God.”. If this be true, what shall we say of those who are not led by the Spirit of God? Are they the sons of God? Tholuck, in his comment on Romans, teaches that our future inheritance depends on our son-ship-and that our son-ship is conditional.
4. But let us take another view of this boasted Paternal argument. In its strongest form it reads thus :
“What a good earthly father would do for his children, he having the wisdom and power requisite, that, God will do for the whole family of man, as they are all his children; and, being infinite, he has wisdom and power sufficient to make them happy.”
To this we reply, 1. This argument takes a distorted view of the character of God. It is as distinctly announced in the Bible, that God is a Governor, and Judge, as that he is a Father. He is denominated the “ Judge of all the earth,” the “ King of kings, and Lords of lords”-and it is said that justice and judgment are the habitation of his THRONE. And yet this argument overlooks the Governor and Judge, and fixes attention entirely on the Father, and draws its conclusions from this partial and distorted view of the divine character.
As a moral Governor, God is bound to administer the affairs of his kingdom according to the laws of his universe :-he cannot lose the Governor in the sympathies of the Father. Were he a Father, only, he might disregard law and justice as the criterions of action, and yield himself to the control of sympathy. As a Judge, God must give his decisions according to the principles of law and justice. He cannot merge the character of Judge in that of Father, without manifest injustice, and a subversion of the constitution of his government. It is plain, therefore, that any conclusions relative to the future destinies of men, drawn from the divine paternity alone, are clearly fallacious.
2. By a process of reasoning, similar to that embraced in the pa. ternal argument, we may arrive at a directly contrary conclusion. Take one of the attributes of God-his holiness and let us see what sort of conclusion may be deduced from it. God is infinitel holy: and as his holiness is the foundation and source of his ju tice, hence, he is infinitely just. But as sin is the direct opposii of holiness, his holiness and justice would lead him to enact th. strongest possible penalty against it; but the greatest possible pun ishment would be the unconditional, endless perdition of all transgressors. And, as his wisdom and power must always move in harmony with holiness and justice, they stand pledged to devise the plan, and execute this punishment upon all the ungodly. Now, as all have sinned, this argument would prove that all must be damned without remedy. And this argument, founded on the holiness of God, in proof of the unconditional, final perdition of all men, is precisely as sound and strong as Mr. Austin's argument for
the unconditional salvation of all men, founded on the paternal relation alone. Nay, it is sounder and stronger, by so much as holiness, which is an essential attribute of God, is superior to a mere relation which may or may not exist, without affecting the character or government of God in their essential elements.
It is, therefore, as clear as demonstration can make it, that a process of reasoning, which may be made to support conclusions so directly opposite, is perfectly sophistical, and utterly false.
3. This Paternal argument, on the soundness of which so much of Mr. Austin's success depends, contradicts Universalism in one of its main features; hence can only be true, on supposition that one of the fundamental principles of that system is false.
Universalism teaches, that God always, and necessarily, punishes all sin, and every sinner, to the full extent of his deserts. But this proposition is contradicted by the argument from the paternity of God. Would a good father punish his children, for all their delinquencies and obliquities, to the full extent of their deserts, if he had wisdom and power sufficient to reform them, and make them happy without such punishment? No one will pretend this:-and hence, if there be any force in the argument under review, God is bound to dispense with all positive punishments, and renounce his character as moral Governor, simply because he is infinite in wisdom and power, and can control, irresistibly, the hearts, the conduct, and destinies of his creatures. If it be true that all men must be punished, and every man to the full extent of his deserts—then it cannot be true that God, as a good Father, will save men from sin and misery, directly and positively, simply because he has wisdom and power sufficient to do it. But if it be true that God, as a good Father, must and will deliver men from sin and misery, just as the good earthly father would do, if he had the power and wisdom requisite, then, on the contrary, it cannot be true that he will punish all sin, and every sinner to the full extent of his deserts. Both these propositions cannot be true —one or both must be false: and in either case, Universalism is false. To sustain the first of these propositions., Mr. Austin has spent two daysmand now he takes special pains to set forth and defend the other. But they are directly contradictory. Efforts to harmonize them are not merely fruitless —they are childish. Which of these propositions will the gentleman yield to the force of common sense?
4. Besides being unsound in itself, and contradictory to Universalism--this argument is both unsupporetd by facts, and directly opposed to facts of the most palpable character; and since Bacon introduced the inductive philosophy, arguments and theories can make little or no impression, unless they harmonize with facts. Even divine revelation would not be satisfactorily established, unless it preserved an agreement with facts developed under the moral government of God.
“What a good earthly father would do to make his children
happy, he having wisdom and power sufficient to carry out his wishes—that, God will do for the whole human family, as they are all his children, and he is infinite in wisdom and power.” This is the argument. But we ask, would a good earthly father bring his children into existence, or even allow them to come into being, under a condition of sin and misery, if he had wisdom and power to prevent it, or have it otherwise? Would he bring them, or allow them to come into conscious being, in a state of physical decrepitude, mental inbecility, or moral viciousness and degradation, if he had wisdom and power to control their condition and character, and make them directly and positively happy? And suppose the children of a good father to have become the subjects of these calamities by accident, by their own fault, or in some other way for which the father was not responsible, (which, however, on the principles of Universalism, is not a supposable case,) would a good father allow them to remain in that condition during a series of years-during a whole life time, if he had wisdom and power to deliver them from their disabilities, and consequent unhappiness ? Who does not see that the good earthly father, would in this case directly and immediately free them from their calamities and miseries, had he adequate wisdom and power ?
But let us pursue this train of thought still farther. Would a good father destroy his children, or allow them to be destroyed, by famine and pestilence? Would he allow them to corrupt the morals, and destroy the lives of each other? Would he suffer them to be the subjects of hatred and revenge, to be moved by the worst of passions to commit depredations upon the property, reputation and lives of one another, and fill his house and family circle with cruelty and bloodshed, if his wisdom and power would enable him to prevent it? Moreover, would he enact laws for the government of his children, connected with severe penaltiesą say, the penalty of death or confiscation of property, or loss of health or reputation, or both, and then allow his children to traduce his character, blaspheme his name, utterly despise his authority, spurn his laws, and tread his commandments in the dust, if he had power and wisdom sufcient to prevent it? What does Mr. Austin say to this? He mus say yes or no, and either answer will be fatal to his argumen If he says yes, he contradicts the argument under review, whic! asserts that what a good father can do by wisdom and power that he will do to make his children happy. If he says no, then the argument refutes itself, and is proved to have no proper application to the character of God, as Father of the human race, since all the facts enumerated above, and many more, actually exist as facts under the PATERNAL GOVERNMENT OF GOD. How will the gentleman reconcile these facts with the conclusion of his argument, founded on the divine paternity? He must take the ground that God, as Father of the human family, could have brought his children into existence in a state of unmixed happiness, and could
have preserved them so to the present time, but would not; or that he would have done so, but could not. If he could, but would not, it follows the paternal argument has no force, and God's character as Father of the human family, affords no security that all men will be saved : for God's goodness as a Father, is as great now as it ever will be, and exerts as much moral influence and power now 'as it ever will; hence, if our security for final salvation arises out of the paternal character and relation of God alone—we argue, that which does not produce present salvation, can afford no sufficient security for salvation in the future.
But if God would have brought the human family (his children) into existence in a state of holiness and happiness, and would have kept them so, but could not, then, not only is the paternal argument false, but there is no hope for the salvation of any human being; for, as God is unchangeable in his wisdom and power, as well as goodness-as he never will possess more wisdom and power than he now does, it follows, if he was unable to create his children happy at first, or if he is unable to make them happy now, he will never able to effect their happiness. On the principles of Universalism, one of these conclusions must be taken. My friend may take his choice; either will be alike fatal to the argument under consideration-10 Universalism and to the hopes of the world.
5. Nor can this conclusion be avoided by maintaining that a temporary state of sin and misery is to be overruled for the eternal good of the children of God, which, I suppose, will be the dernier resort of Mr. Austin.
Let us see how this notion will harmonize with the argument against which we are contending, "what a good earthly father would do for the happiness of his children, he having the requisite wisdom and power-that God will do, &c.” Now if a good father were about to bring children into being, it is self-evident that he would design to make them completely happy, to begin
and were his power and wisdom equal to his goodness, he would carry out his benevolent design in ihe most direct and immediate way.
But in doing this, would he imitate the moral administration of God in his moral universe? Would a good father subject his children, unavoidably, to sin and misery, in order to make them holy and happy, as Universalism teaches God has done, and is doing, in regard to the human race? Universalism teaches that all things come to pass according to the will and design of God; and yet, we are told he does, and will do, just as a good earthly father would do, with his wisdom and power. How absurd ! Would a good father create or allow sin, as a means of making his children holy ?-create or promote vice, to make them virtuous ?-create or promote misery, to make his children happy?-sickness and disease, to make them healthy? Would he bring them under the power of death, to save their lives? Sin, vice, misery, disease, sickness, death, and many other facts of a similar character, exist in this life,
in connection with the human family, under that divine government which my friend denominates paternal. Universalisin says, and Mr. Austin says, they are the divinely adopted instruments of human happiness—all this is the effect of divine benevolence. But again I ask, would a good earthly father show his benevolence in this way-use such means to promote the happiness of his children?
What father in this house, good or bad, would, directly or indirectly, break the legs and arms of his children, that he might have the opportunity of showing his paternal affection, in binding up the shattered limbs, and healing the broken bones? Is there a father here, who would poison the food of his children, and thus diffuse disease through their system, that he might have the opportunity of acting the part of a physician, in restoring them to health and soundness? This is the ground Mr. Austin takes in regard to divine punishments-that it is a medicine designed to cure the sin. ner's disease. God having caused the sickness, applies the medicine to remove it. And this is doing just as a good earthly father would do !!! But who would inflict positive pain upon his children, that they might feel happy when the pain was removed ? What father would set the robbers upon his children, wound and leave them half dead, in order to show himself the good Samaritan, in pouring in the healing oil, and incurring expense, and manifesting solicitude for their recovery? And yet, if there be any truih in Universalism, any force in this renowned argument, God does all this and much more, with no other object than to effect the present and eternal happiness of his children. He drowned the antediluvian world, rained fire and brimstone from heaven upon the cities of the plain, overthrew the host of Pharaoh, swallowed up the company of Korah, killed Ananias and Sapphira, buried men, women and children by thousands beneath the burning lava, or engulfs them in the quaking earth : and all this is the fruit of his benevolence, as a kind and loving Father, and are the means he employs to bring his children to glory!!!! But I ask, finally, would a good earthly father adopt such measures to bless his children? To ask the question is to answer it. I have now, I trust, made it sufficiently evident that this PATERNAJ, argument, which figures largely in the writings, sermons, and discussions of Universalist and which Mr. Austin has presented here with so much pompo assurance, is founded on perverted human sympathy-distorts 1 character of God-is illogical and unsound-contradicts the scri lures-contradicts Universalism-and contradicts facts: it is there fore as false as it is fallacious. I should not have given it the aitention I have, but for the fact that Universalists use it and boast of it, as though they regarded it the ne plus ultra of logical perfection.
I will conclude my remarks on this point, by employing another argument much used in the defence of Universalism, turned (as most of its arguments may be) against itself.