Page images
PDF
EPUB

God can save men, and make them eternally holy and happy, without their passing through this state of sin and misery, moral and physical evil, or he cannot. If he can, then he is wanting in goodness because he does not do so. But if he cannot secure their final holiness and happiness without all this sin, depravity, misery and death, then it follows he is deficient in wisdom and power. On his own principles, Mr. Austin must take one of these conclusions, and either will overturn this boasted argument and anni. hilate the dependence of Universalism. The truth is, this Paternal argument, taken all in all, (considering the great stress Universalists lay upon it,) is the silliest thing they have ever invented for the support of their cause--and the wonder is, that a man of Mr. Austin's discernment should risk his reputation in presenting it, or that any intelligent individual or congregation should ever be duped by it.

Having now removed three of the gentleman's affirmative proofs, I will employ the remainder of this half hour, in presenting my first negative argument against the proposition he sustains, and reserve the other points in my friend's last speech, to be noticed when I speak again.

Mr. Austin afirms that there is sufficient evidence for believing that all men will be finally holy and happy. My first negative argument is—that the system, of which this proposition is the soul and centre, is false, because it denies the existence of sin, as a moral evil--making it the unavoidable result of the physical constitution of man.

To effect the salvation of all men, Universalism is obliged to de. preciate the character of God's law, and so effect a corresponding charge in the character of sih, by diminishing, if not entirely destroying, its moral turpitude. Were the law allowed (by the advocates of this theory) to be the embodiment of the moral perfection of God, the transcript of the divine mind, the standard of moral perfection and moral rectitude to an intelligent universe: and were sin considered the voluntary transgression of this law by an intelligent moral agent, who has knowledge of the law and its glorious Author, and ability to obey it, it is easy to see that the sinner would be placed in such an attitude to God, and such would be the deep moral turpitude of his offence, that the common appliances of Universalism would scarcely suffice to restore him to final holiness and happiness. This view of the law and the moral turpitude of sin, was entertained by the first Universalists. Hence Winchester, who displayed great anxiety to convince himself and the world, that all men will be finally holy and happy, nevertheless, frankly confessed that when he considered the perfection and purity of the law, the depravity of the heart, and the turpitude of sin, he sometimes almost despaired of his own salvation. The successors of Murray and Winchester saw that they must obviate this difficulty in some waythat the safety of their system required them to make the salvation of the sinner as easy as possible. They therefore set themselves syste.

matically at work, to reduce the perfection of the law, and the standard of divine requirement, until, robbed of its adaptation to the character of God as a moral Governor, it becomes, at best, merely the rule of intellectual and physical action. And sin, also, is disconnected with moral turpitude, by being resolved into the unavoidable results of physical organization.

In the “Universalist Book of Reference,” (by Guild and Hyatt) published by Grosh and Walker, Utica, 1844, we find the following language—“If the objector supposes that God, in the administration of his moral government, is under the necessity of inter.fering and directly punishing his creatures, this is a very great mistake. No, God is under no necessity of guarding the interests of his law by penal enactments, and penal sanctions. It is a law, as we have seen, founded in the nature and fitness of things-a law written in the very constitution of man : God's law, therefore, does, by its own operation, secure the reward of virtue and the punishment of vice.”—Page 110. This sentiment is repeated in various forms, in nearly all the books I have read, in defence of Universalism. And here we have it sufficiently plain, though designedly obscured somewhat by verbiage, 1. That the law to which the sinner is amenable is not that which was written by the finger of God on tables of slone, and transferred to the pages of the Bible--but it is “written in the constitution of man:” 2. That this law is not guarded by “penal enactments or sanctions” of a positive character : connected with it is no other penalty, than the natural consequence of violation : 3. That this law is its own executor-by its own operation it secures reward of virtue and punishment of vice” —there is no lawgiver who stands pledged by his attributes, to guard the purity and dignity of his law. All this may be summed up in two particulars. 1. The law of God is identical with the law of the human constitution—the law that governs the physical powers and mental faculties. 2. The penalty of this law is the disa- . greeable sensation, or consequences produced in our physical or intellectual nature, when we contravene the law, or interfere with the harmony of our constitution !! In the light of this theor: you can understand what Mr. Austin means by the punishment sin to the full extent of the sinner's deserts.” He means, t when a man eats too much, he deranges the digestive organs, must pay the penalty, that is, he will feel very disagreeably. 0. he gets drunk, it will cost him some physical qualms, before he tirely recovers. Or if he over acts, by too strong a mental effort, ti consequence will be, mental derangement, and, perhaps, mental de bility, and this is the penalty. Such is the low and grovelling view Universalism takes of the Divine Law. And what is this but sheer infidelity?

After making the law of God identical with the human constitution, the next step in this backward process, is to dispose of the moral turpitude of sin-and this is done by making it arise entirely

can,

out of the physical constitution or animal nature. “ We shall take the ground, says Mr. Rogers, (pro and con. of Universalism) that all sin arises from the physical nature.” Mr. Ballou says, natural evil is the necessary result of physical organization, and moral evil flows from natural evil.

Page 31, on Atonement. Mr. Austin, in the Universalist Expositor, says, “ sin proceeds from the animal or bodily portion of our nature, which exists in this life.” In perfect consistency with this notion, a Universalist preacher by the name of Mack, in Pa., in administering consolation to a poor woman whose husband had fractured his skull in a fit of intoxication, as. sured her that her husband was happy, since the body only, not the soul, was involved in the sin of drunkenness. So also Mr. Ballou is consistent with himself, as well as with Universalism, when he says, (Lectures p. 25,) “God had no more occasion to be displeased with Adam after the transgression, than before he made him.” From the foregoing, Universalism is involved in the fol. lowing absurdities, and let the gentleman extricate his cause if he

1. By making the law of God identical with the human constitution. Universalism constitutes man, not God, the authoritative standard of perfection in the universe.

2. By making the law, to which man is amenable, arise out of his own constitution, it makes the sinner responsible to himself, not to God.

3. By making sin arise only from the "animal or bodily portion of our nature, which exists in this life,” it denies the existence of sin as a moral evil, or, which amounts to the same thing, connects a moral effect with a mere physical cause.

4. By making sin arise only from the body, and yet maintaining the necessity of moral punishment, Universalists teach that God inflicts moral punishment for physical obliquities-chastises the soul for the unavoidable sins of the corporeal nature.

5. As the unavoidable results of physical nature will reinain as long as we possess that nature, and as these effects are what we are to understand by sin, and as Christ came into this world to save us from our sins, hence he will never effect his object, and is in no sense the Savior of men; and the words Savior, salvation, sin, and Gospel, are, after all, unmeaning and senseless terms.

Thus, Universalism first destroys the perfection of God's law, denies the moral turpitude of sin, and strips the sinner of his moral character, and then, with characteristic inconsistency and absurdity, destroys itself.-[Time expired.

[MR. AUSTIN'S THIRD SPEECH.] Gentlemen Moderators:-My brother on the negative of this question, erred in his last speech, in his representation of my views respecting the sense in which men are the children of God. He

said I took the position that all men were the spiritual children of the Creator. That was not my ground. I expressly acknowleged that there is a sense in which all men are not now the children of God -that is, they are not now children by imitation. But at the same time, all men are the children of God, in the nearest and most intimate possible manner-they are connected with God, as a Father, by the same tie that connects earthly children with earthly fathers. I showed also that the love of God for all men, as his children, infinitely exceeded the love of earthly parents. That God is such a Father, and that he cherishes such a love, is the doctrine of the Bible ; and my friend has made no attempt to disprove these great and fundamental truths. And he will not. Hence I have the right to draw all reasonable and legitimate conclusions from the all important fact of God's paternity, and man's birthright connection with the infinite Jehovah. He says Christ speaks of the children of the devil. So he does. I have already explained the meaning of such phraseology. In the sense of imi. tators of diabolous, [an adyersary, a slanderer,] Jesus told the Jews they were of their “ father, the devil.” Elder Holmes dare not hazard his reputation as a theologian, by asserting that the Jews, or any of the human race are the children of the devil, in the same sense that all men are the children of God. It is evident therefore, that his reference to Christ's language to the Jews, has not the least bearing on the subject before us, and was introduced simply to bewilder the minds of the less discriminating portion of the audience, and turn, if possible, the point of my argument drawn from the paternity of God. But his effort is vain. The simple fact that in that sublime prayer which Jesus has left on record for the imitation of every human being, he directs them to say—“OUR Father which art in Heaven” –fully sustains my argument. If God is not “our Father,” already, before we put up our prayers, what right have we to call him “ Father ?And why should the Redeemer direct us to address him as such ? If our simply coming to God in prayer, makes him our Father, who was not before our Fa. ther, then the parentage of a being depends not on his own will and doings, but upon the will and doings of the creature begott --it remains for that creature to decide whether it is a child or alien!! No fact can be more clearly established from the se tures, than that the Creator is by his own will, (and not by the tions of his creatures,) in the highest and most important sense Father of the entire race of humanity. And from this truth demonstrated in my last speech, there follow conclusions wli establish beyond the reach of all cavillers, the affirmative of ti question.

Mr. Holmes insists that in contemplating God as a Father, we take a distorted view of his nature-that he is a Ruler, a Judge, as much as a Father. I acknowledge the Creator is a Judge-that he is the sovereign Ruler of the Universe! But this does not af

fect, much less expunge, his Parental nature. An earthly king is a ruler over his own children, but this does not make him any the less their father, nor they the less his children. The same relation which an earthly ruler sustains to his own children, God sustains towards all men. He is their lawful sovereign; and at the same time he is their affectionate Father. Although sometimes an earthly ruler is compelled to merge the father in the Judge-is driven by duty to sacrifice his parental feelings, in executing the law as a Sovereign, upon his own disobedient children--yet this arises not from his choice, but from the imperfection of the laws he administers, and his lack of power to pursue another and better course. But it would be the heighth of absurdily, to insist that the Ruler and the Father of all, can be placed in such a dilemma, or driven to so sad an extremity! Nothing can be more improper than to attribute any proceedings to him as a King, that cannot be reconciled to his character as a Father. It is reasoning in violation of all enlightened conceptions of a perfect Deity, to contend he is compelled to do, as a Ruler, what he would not as a Fatherthat he is obliged to disregard his affection as a Parent, to discharge his duty as a Judge! The impropriety of all this is seen in the fact that Jehovah is the framer of his own government-he has displayed infinite wisdom in all its laws and enactments. He is holy, just and good. Hence the object of that government was not to procure the injury, but the welfare of all its subjects. In executing his laws, therefore, he is driven to no necessity of sacrificing his feelings as a Father, to be faithful as a King. In firmly administering his laws—in inficting all their penalties upon the disobedient--so far from putting aside his parental affection, he is but gratifying it, in the highest degree ; because all his inflictions of penalty as a Judge, tend to bring the sinful back to virtue and righteousness. And surely a Father's love will not object to such a process for such AN OBJECT!! Hence viewed aright, there is no conflict between the character and the office of God, as the Judge of all, and as the Father of all. It is by overlooking the infinitely important fact, that the punishments of the Most High, are inflicted for the reformation and restoration of the guilty, that my opponent and those who sympathize with him, are compelled to tear assunder and place in antagonistic attitudes, his character as a Ruler and as a Parent!

But my friend Holmes declares the argument I have drawn from the Paternal character of God, is the silliest thing” he ever heard ! Well, I cannot but admire his frankness in the utterance of his thoughts, however much it may be at the expense of his common sense! Men will, perhaps, differ in their estimation of this sub. ject. The fact that God is a great and good Parent--that he looks from Heaven with compassion on his wayward children and has put into operation a class of ways and means to bring them all around his throne, washed and purified from sin, to adore and love

« PreviousContinue »