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[MR. HOLMES' THIRD REPLY.] Messrs. Moderators.--In my negative argument, I affirmed that Universalism denies the existence of sin as a moral evil; or, which amounts to the same thing, makes moral evil result from a physical cause. My friend asks, what this has to do with the subject ? I answer: If there be no moral evil in the Universe, only as identified with physical obliquity, there is no moral salvation. If there is no moral salvation, then there is no moral law that has been transgressed by a moral being, and men are not moral transgres
But if men are not moral transgressors, they are not moral beings; and if not moral beings, God is not a moral Governor, and has no moral government. And if all this be true, we are disputing in regard to mere abstractions, or idealities, and had beiter quit and go home. This is what it has to do with the subject.
Mr. Austin also alludes to my remarks on the subject of human sympathy, and complains of my disrespect to that high and holy feeling. I am not conscious of having spoken unworthily of human sympathy. I acknowledge human sympathy to be a high and holy feeling, just in the same sense that man is a high and holy being. If man's moral nature is perverted, so is his sympathy. And surely, my friend will not take the ground that man's moral nature is not perverted; hence he must admit him to be the subject of perverted sympathy, or he will display more ignorance of the philosophy of human nature, than I was prepared to expect. Would my friend wish the criminal jurisprudence of the State governed by the sympathy which one felon has for another ? Certainly not. And is it more consistent to judge of God's distributive administration by the sympathy which one
sinner has for another, both being in the same condemnation? It was on this ground, that I said I despised sympathy as the foundation of a moral argument, as heartily as the gentleman can despise fear. Indeed, if there be any difference, fear is much the safer guide. Fear is an emotion of the mind, but sympathy is associated with the passions and affections. And as the intellect has sufferer? much less from depravity than the heart, hence the admonitions fear are entitled to much more respect, than the dictates of sym thy. It is on this account that the Bible speaks in such hi terms of fear, and so approvingly of those who are influenced it. " The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." "T prudent man foreseeth (feareth] the evil and hideth himself, bi iools pass on and are punished.”
Mr. Austin refers again to the paternal argument, and endeaFors to patch it up so as to preserve it from entire annihilation. But it is of no use; that argument is superannuated, and he may as well allow it for the present, to retire from public life. I will, however, refer to one other remark made by him on this point.
To make this argument pass with more plausibility, he seeks to bolster it up by a perverted use of a passage in Rom.-" The
creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly”. From this he argues, that God has subjected the human family to sin and misery, in order to make them more holy and happy hereafter. But does he not see that this contradicts facts, and comes directly in the face of his theory? Would a good earthly father subject his children to sin and misery, against their will, to make them holy and happy, if he had wisdom and power sufficient to effect his design equally well, without sin and misery? The gentleman's own argument refutes the conclusion at which he aims.
I understood the gentleman to say that sin and misery, as they exist in this world, are according to the will of God, and even to argue for this position. The argument he used, as near as I can recollect, runs thus: If sin and misery exist in this world contrary to the will of God, they may in the future world—but as they will not exist against his will in another world, therefore they do not exist against his will in this world.
Mr. Austin.--If my brother will allow me to correct him-I said that whatever exists in this life, whether sin, evil, misfortune, suffering, and afilicts any portion of mankind, even the most pious, against God's will, may exist and afflict the best of men, hereafter and forever, against God's will!
Mr. Holmes.--Very well, this is as I supposed, and my reply is, if sin and misery are according to the will of God in this world, they may exist in harmony with his will in another world, and the argument is as sound in one case as in the other. Here again the gentleman's argument refutes his own theory. As to the passage from Romans, of which Mr. Austin has made so much already“the creature was made subject to vanity," &c.--I intend, when I get time, to give it a thorough examination. I knew I should have to meet it here, and came prepared accordingly.
I will now attend to some few remarks of my friend, during the forenoon session. And first, in reference to the safety of our respective theories, as compared with each other. The gentleman does not seem to relish the remark I made on this point, viz. that if my doctrine be false, those who believe it, and trust in it, are just as sure of heaven, as any Universalist can be. But if his doctrine be false, those who depend on it, are without hope-ost, without remedy. But is it not so ? He cannot deny it with the least semblance of consistency. Who is in danger of final perdition, if Universalism be true, even though he despises it in his heart, and embraces a theory directly contrary in its nature? But if Universalism prove false, alas for the man who has no other dependence for salvation.
Look at the difference between the two systems. It is not like that which exists amongst different orthodox denominations. For instance—the possibility of finally falling from a gracious state. Methodists and Presbyterians differ on this point, it is true; but
it is not regarded by either as fundamental. But differ as we may on these minor points, we all hold the HEAD, as it is called in the theological language--that is, we hold to the divinity of Christhis work of atonement, and intercession—the Deity, and agency of the Holy Spirit in changing the heart, and producing holiness oi life. The vitality and moral efficiency of Christianity remains, independent of these small differences. But look at Universalism! If that be true gospel, then what is usually known as orthodoxy, is rank infidelity: There is all this difference between the two systems. If Universalism be a form of Christianity at all, it is the lowest possible form : hence, failing those who trust in it, their hopes are wrecked forever. Mr. Austin has lugged Calvinism into this discussion. If his design in this, is to entangle or embarrass me, he will have his labor for his pains. He can't trouble me with the views of Calvin, as Mr. Pingree did Mr. Rice. I am not tied up by any of the peculiarities of this theory. I believe it is the will of God that all should be saved--nor will I impute any other sentiment to my Calvinistic brethren. As the subject has been introduced, I could not say less than this. The gentleman also remarked—to say Universalism is false, is to say reason is false. Indeed; is the question settled then? It strikes me, this is what logicians call, begging the question. The question is—" is there sufficient evidence for believing that all men will be finally holy and happy ? Our proofs are to be drawn from reason and scripture, and to assume that either is in favor of the affirmative or negative, is to assume the question settled without controversy. To offset against my friend's declaration, I might say,
if Universalism be true, reason and scripture are false, and my ipse dixit would weigh as much as his—but after all, we should be just where we were in the start; the question would be unsettled, and the audience unenlightened. But I object to this method of settling controversies. Let the gentleman draw out his arguments from reason and scripture, and then let the audience compare them with my arguments, and with acknowledged principles and facts, and judge for themselves where the merit of the question lies.
Mr. Austin alledges that I said Universalists are the worst kind of infidels. I said no such thing. But I did say that some individuals, who wish to avoid the odium of open infidelity, put on the garb of Universalism—that it has their advocacy and support, and that such men are the worst of infidels. Mr. O. A. Bronson says, “Of the twenty-five hundred subscribers of the paper he edited (when he defended Universalism,] it was presumed that more than one half were sceptics, or sceptical. He has conversed with hundreds of professed Universalists, who would own to him, that they supported Universalism, only because it was the most liberal sentiment they could find, and because it was better than Deism, to put down the orthodox."
An Infidel agent at the West, writing for the “Investigator," [Boston,] July 19, 1810, says: “Indeed the Universalist clergymen are not to be sneezed at. Mr. Kidwell (one of the oldest and most popular clergymen of Ohio,] preached last sabbath. I went to hear him; and, of a truth, he preached as good sense, reason, philosophy, and liberality, as I want to hear or expect to. In short, he is a very good Kneeland man.” Such men are the worst of Infidels. But my friend says, Universalism has no more inveterate enemies than Infidels. This may be true of a certain class of Infidels ; those who have boldly and openly launched out upon the sea of universal scepticism. Such men are too independent to wish to conceal their unbelief-and too intelligent to suppose
Universalism countenanced by the scriptures: hence they heartily despise it, as an unworthy and shallow subterfuge.
I have said, Universalists support their cause by conflicting arguments. As a sort of offset to this, the gentleman introduces a quotation from my article on the atonement, as published in the July No. of the " Methodist Quarterly," in which I say—" 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." Now, this variety of systems, it is well known, has sprung mainly out of views similar to those advocated by Mr. Austin; as for instance, Unitarianism, and especially the views of German Rationalists, who are known to be a species, of the genus Infidel. They discard the miracles of the Bible, and its whole supernatural character. Of course they would deny the atonement, which is the greatest of miracles. These “various and conflicting" views of atonement, have, therefore, arisen out of that same scepticism, which in the beginning of the eighteenth century, gave birth to Universalism, with its various and conflicting methods of argumentation. Though there are some shades of difference in the view of Evangelical churches, yet they all embrace the essence of the gospel--that Christ died for sinners, in a sense that removes the legal obstacles to the salvation of the world, and affords the grace of repentance to such as will turn from sin "to serve the living God.
And here I am reminded of another quotation from the same article on which the gentleman has commented, viz. “ that there were no theories of atonement during the first two centuries." Did I say there was no doctrine of atonement ? not at all; but that there were no theories, brought in for the purpose of distinguishing truth from error. The doctrine of atonement was not in that age disputed. The age of philosophical and metaphysical speculation had not then commenced (by the agency of certain errorists and would-be philosophers,) and hence, the advocates of truth did not find it necessary to state in the form of propositions or theories, the vital points of christianity, in order to distinguish
in the eyes of the world, between truth and falsehood. This is all I said, or intended.
The gentleman has finally given us a definition of salvation, but it amounts to just nothing. I have called upon him to tell us what salvation is; when, where, and how it is to be effected. He simply replies that “salvation is from sin.” We all understand this, when it comes from one who advocates Universalism. It means anything or nothing, as best suits the circumstances or exigencies of the occasion. I am not satisfied with this definition. It is a mere evasion, to avoid a much dreaded difficulty. I still press upon my friend's attention these questions. What is salvation? Is the salvation with which men are made finally holy and happy, gospel salvation, or is it a salvation of some other kind ? As thousands do not receive the gospel, and are not saved by it in this life, I want to know how, when, and where, they are saved? When are men to enter upon final holiness and happiness? The Bible says—"Let your light shine before men.” Now, if my friend has any light on these points, I hope he will trim it, place it on the candlestick of Universalism, and let it shine. We are all anxious to see and hear.
To farther sustain the argument for the final holiness and happiness of all men, drawn from the desire of God, the gentleman introduces again, the passage from Romans—the creature is made subject to vanity not willingly.” This is indeed, a singular proof that all men will be saved. Let us throw it into form and see how it will appear.
Major--Those made subject to vanity not willingly must be saved. Minor-But all men are made thus, subject to vanity. Conclusion-Therefore all men will be finally holy and happy!
The Major is an assumption, the Minor a falsehood, and the conclusion an absurdity. Such is the slip-shod logic by which my friend enforces his arguments. But let us look at this a little farther. The position of Mr. Austin is, that all men are made subject to vanity, not willingly; that is against their will. What does this mean? It must mean that their subjection to sin and misery, was unavoidable, or that it was not. If it was not unavoidable, then it follows, their subjection to sin and misery, or vanity, was not an unwilling subjection since it followed the consent of the will, without which it could not have taken place. But if it was unavoidable, then it follows, men are exonerated from all moral guilt, and are not properly the subjects of moral salvation. All sound principles of logic and ethics, agree that men are not blame-worthy for what cannot be avoided. The gentleman may take his choice in these conclusions.
But I'must not overlook my friend's illustration. It presents another proof of the contrariety between Universalism and facts, even of the physical world. The illustration is, the gradual growth and expansion of the tree, from its germinating point, to