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other world did not place them beyond the limits of that great and universal Invitation, which forms one of the fundamental principles of the Divine Government in all states of existence :-“ Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”—(Isa. lv. 7.) We believe the Antediluvians and Sodomites, and all the wicked of every age and nation, are allowed to accept of this invitation. And we have no doubt that in yielding to its merciful proposals, they all in due time, are brought to reconciliation and peace with their Creator. What was the worst to which God could subject them in the future world ? It would have been to place them where they would have sunk forever deeper and deeper in sin, blasphemy and wretchedness!! What would have been the best treatment? To remove them to some fitting place in the dominions of the Most High, where they could be subjected to such purifying and enlightening influences, as should bring them all at length to become obedient children of the common Parent of the world, and fitted to enter his immediate presence, to love, adore, and glorify him forever!! Universalists simply honor God sufficiently to believe he will pursue the best course, in preference to the worst, in regard to any and all his offspring !
My friend opposite inquires, what father would punish his chil. dren, if he had power to reform them without? In reply, I ask, what wise parent would not punish his children, if he saw it was the most certain and effectual way of reforming them? God could have selected other processes, if he had thought best. But he saw that punishment administered in wisdom and mercy, was of all methods, the best calculated to bring to repentance and amendment. Hence he adopted that as one of the measures of his government.
Elder Holmes has great objection to my appealing to the sympa. thies of the audience. I have seen throughout the debate, that these appeals trouble him. He shrinks before them, and wants as little of them as possible. He says if I despise his appeals to men's fears, he despises my appeals to their sympathies! I have no doubt he despises the touchstone of human sympathy! And why? Because it crushes to the earth his monstrous dogma of endless wretchedness! There is no sympathy for that doctrire in the hearts of men—while their hearts are full of approbation for the glorious sentiment of universal holiness and happiness!! All this he knows, and hence his dread of sympathy. Yet why should I not appeal to human sympathy? It is one of the highest and holiest characteristics of man. It is that, which more than all things else, distinguishes him from the brute creation below; it is the brightest link that unites him with angelic beings above. There is no trait in which human beings show more of the spirit which characterizes the dwellers around God's throne in heaven, than in the sympathy they manifest in each other's welfare. Strike this principle from
the human heart, and earth would speedily become an Aceldama. Would to God there was more of it in our world. But Elder Holines despises my appeals to your sympathies; and places them on the same level with his appeals to your Fears! The only difference between us, in this respect, is, that while he appeals to the most low and base feeling in man and brute, my appeal is to the most beautiful and God-like emotion of men and angels !! If he can discover no distinction, I am satisfied all who hear me, can sec and feel it.
But the Elder contends that human nature is perverted, and hence human sympathy must be perverted also—and that it is therefore wrong to allow our sympathies to influence us.
This is strange doctrine! Very well--let us carry it into practice! On this principle it would be wrong for me to spmpathize with my friend--as I cannot avoid doing, on account of the dark and forbidding doctrine he is laboring to maintain ! Nay, if he falls into trouble in his family, or his own person, I must not sympathize with him-I must not fiy to him, and strive to soothe and console him in his misfortunes! This would be wrong--it would be but an exhibition of a perverted and corrupt nature !! We must not sympathize with the poor and needy! Our prompting to this is but an evidence of the perversion of our hearts ! Monstrous ! How many does Br. Holmes expect will sympathize with him in such an absurd perversion of man's best characteristic? Will he be sustained by the Bible in this position? Far from it. God's word commands us to sympathize with one another. It calls upon us to “ rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”-(Rom. xii. 15.) Notwithstanding my friend's objection, I shall still continue to appeal to human sympathy in corroboration of my sentiments, whenever occasion renders it proper.
Elder Holmes makes another attempt as on the last question, to show a distinction between chastisement and punishment. He insists chastisement is for the good man, and punishment for the wicked! That is, God chastizes the righteous on one principle, and punishes the wicked on another. He chastizes the righteous for their benefit, and punishes the wicked only to injure and torment them! There can be no more fatal error in relation to God's government than this. The idea that he inflicts the penalty of his violated law upon one portion of the violaters, (and that portion the most guilty, because they sinned against the most light,) for their benefit, and on anotier portion for their injury, indicates views of the principles on which the Almighty deals with his creatures, of a nature so dark and low, that those who entertain them, must be led far astray into error. I have already shown in discussing the first question, that the only distinction which can possibly exist between chastisement and punishment—the only distinction which reason or the scriptures will admit, is a distinction, not of nature but of quantity! The most that can be claimed for chastisement in contradis
tinction to punishment, is that it is a lighter infliction of pain rendered for sins of a less heinous character, while punishment is a more severe application of suffering, for crimes of a darker grade ! But both are of the same nature--administered on a similar principle, and for a like purpose, viz. to lead the wayward and straying children of men back to repentance and salvation. Any other view of the subject, involves contradictions and absurdities respecting God and his government, of the most abhorrent description.
Here let me briefly notice the “summing” up of Mr. Holmes on my arguments from the Desirc and the Intention of God. He represents God's desire and his intention, as not absolute but contingent, and that hence they do not exert any absolute control over the final destinies of men. I ask the audience to notice the remarkable fallacy of this position. How absurd to represent the Desire and Intention of an INFINITE GOD, as not absolute--i. e. not fixed and certain, but as indefinite and uncertain. He“ rather" DESIRES, and “ rather" intends, but really upon the whole, does not absolutely desire nor intend !! If God's desire and intention are contingent, upon what contingency do they depend ? According to my friend's theory, they depend on the proceedings of feeble, blind, erring creatures, whom God has clothed with only such powers as he has pleased. If man is willing to be saved, and will accept of certain terms of salvation, (and God knew when he imposed these terms, whether his creatures would accept or reject them) --why then Jehovah Desires and Intends to save him. But if man in his blindness will not comply with the terms, then God neither Desires nor Intends to save him! This wholly reverses the relative position of the two parties, and makes the Creator dependent on the creature, rather than the latter dependent on the foriner. Here is sound reasoning !! Moreover, he insists that man's salvation cannot depend on the Desire and Intention of God, because this would destroy the moral character of the divine government-exclude the influence of the moral law- overthrow man's agency, and place aside the conditionality of salvation. How short sighted these objections! Who, with the slightest reflection, does not see, that the Creator's Desire and Intention res. pecting man's final destiny, were formed in express reference to the character of his government-to his moral law-to man's agency--and any and all conditionality in salvation! It was in sight of all these, and in harmony with them, that he formed his Desire and Intention, eventually to bring all his creatures to holiness and happiness. His own government, man's moral agency, and the conditions of salvation, are not so many obstacles, but so many instruments to the fulfilment of the Desire and Intention of Jehovah respecting the final salvation of the world!
Elder Holmes has at length brought forth his first Negative Argument, viz:- That Universalism denies the existence of sin as a moral evil. In the name of logic and sound reasoning, I trust this
is not a specimen of what his Negative Arguments are to be. I am anxious that this discussion should be interesting and instructire on both sides, and confidently anticipated my opponent would introduce arguments against the impartial grace of God, possessing some weight, in appearance at least, and some relevancy to the questions before us. But if this negative argument is a sample of those to follow, I despair of getting up a readable debate. What relation has this argument to the proposition in discussion ? Suppose Universalism does deny the existence of sin as a moral evil, does it prove there is not " sufficient evidence for believing that all men will be finally holy and happy? Does it approach within sight of the question in controversy? I am surprised at the Elder's want of tact, and hope, hereafter, when he introduces a negative argument, he will enlighten us by showing what bearing it has upon the point at issue.
I deny most unequivocally, that Universalism fails to recognize sin as a moral evil, or that it robs God of the character and station of a Moral Governor. It looks upon sin in no other light than as a moral act, and hence a moral evil. Whatever investigations Universalist writers may have made in relation to the origin or causes of sin, do not militate against the fact which they all acknowledge, that wherever it exists, sin is a moral evil. His quotations from Ballou, Rogers, Guild and Hyatt, and Austin, fall far short of sustaining his charge. It will not be necessary for me to enter upon an examination and defence of these quotations for two reasons. 1. Every intelligent hearer and reader must perceive, that the language introduced, when construed and understood according to the evident intent of the authors, does not involve a denial that sin is a moral evil. 2. But even allowing that it did, it can in no possible way, affect the merits of the question now under consideration. Pray what have the opinions of Ballou, Rogers, etc., in regard to the origin or nature of sin, to do with the question-" Is there sufficient reason for believing that all men will become finally holy and happy ?” The Elder informs us he has many more of the same kind of quotations to present hereafter. Very well, he can go on in this direction to any extent he pleases. I shall follow him no farther than to show that all matters of this description are wholly extraneous to this discussion, and that their introduction only shows on his part a distressing and pitiable want of something of weight to urge against the gospel of a world's salvation.
Inasmuch, however, as allusion has been made to my individual views in relation to "the origin of sin,” perhaps I shall be justified, in so far digressing, as to make a brief explanation of my position. Let me premise, by the way, that I am alone responsible for my opinions on this subject-my brethren agreeing or disagreeing with me, as their own judgments dictate.
I bold that man's organization is a compound of animal propensities, and moral and intellectual capacities. The latter are supe
rior to the former-they form the only material distinction between the brute races, and mankind--and are bestowed to influence, guide, and govern him, in all his proceedings. They are the controlling, deciding tribunal, in the human constitution. Now all sin, is the effect of the clamoring of some animal propensity or passion, for improper gratification. Can Elder Holmes, or any man, point me to a sinful act or thought, which bas not been produced by the prompting either of some one animal passion, or a combination of different propensities? The sin however, does not consist in the promptings of the passions, because they are blind, and incapable of moral distinctions. But when the higher capacities-the mind, the soul-whose province it is to take cognizance of all the emotions of the body—yields its assent to any improper prompting of the propensities, and permits it to be carried out into action, or to exist even in thought, then it has erred—it has committed a wrong, a SIN!!-and deserves, and will receive, a just and certain punishment. Such, concisely expressed, are my views upon this point. Can they be successfully coniroverted ?
The Élder attempts to ridicule the views of Universalists, in relation to the nature of God's law, and its penalties. If I understood him correctly, he charges us with rejecting all scriptural views on this subject, and believing in no law or penalty, but such as are of a physical nature-consisting of the head-ache or some bodily pain. " I regret my friend should so far forget himself, as to attribute to us that which he must know to be wholly groundless ! He is perfectly aware that Universalists believe in the existence of God's law, in all its great departments—spiritual, moral and physical—and that its penalties, as varied in their character, as the nature of the offences for which God inflicts them, are administered on every sinner, with unfailing certainty! Of what avail is it for a controvertialist to indulge in attempts to mislead on points where detection is so easy. The influence of this mode of procedure, can but be destructive to a cause which needs its assistance.
It can hardly be expected I should notice the stale anecdote of my friend, asserting that some individual whom he did not name, attempted to console a poor woman whose husband died intoxicated, with the assurance that his soul was not drunk! But I would like to inquire of the Elder whether he believes the soul of this man became intoxicated ? That the fleshy organs of the mind can become stimulated by alcoholic drinks, there can be no doubt. But I would be pleased to be instructed how the soul-an immaterial spirit-can be affected by material substances. If, however, he thinks the soul of the poor inebriate really died drunk, I would inquire whether it entered the future world in its drunken state ? And as it is a favorite theory in his school that there is no change after death, I would ask whether the soul of this man will continue drunk throughout eternity ?-[ Time expired.