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its state of maturity. Mr. Austin has probably taken the idea from “Combe on the constitution of man," where he maintains that man as first created, sustains the same relation to man in his state of development and perfection, that the “acorn” does to the oak. The former is but the seed of the latter. The theory of human progression which Mr. Austin builds upon Rom. viii. 20, and illustrates by the figure of the tree, is not drawn from the scriptures, but is a spawn of Phrenology. But the illustration—where is its adaptation? He says men were created in an imperfect state
subject to vanity not willingly;" and that God's design is to bring him out of that state into a state of moral perfection, just as he causes the tree to grow and expand, until it comes to a state of maturity. But mark—to make his illustration applicable, he should find a tree created in a state of rottenness, and which God enables by physical laws to overcome its own rottenness, and attain to a state of perfection. The tree grows, it is true, but it is no more perfect at one stage of its advancement than at another. From the first, it possesses all the elements of the perfect treeits growth is but the expansion of those elements. As God creates the tree a state of physical perfection, so he created man in his own image, a state of moral perfection. As the tree expands its perfect elements by the aid of physical laws, so man's improvement is not a deliverance from original imperfection, or subjection to vanity, sin and misery, in which he was originally created, but an expansion of the elements of his perfect constitution, by the gracious aids which God affords him. Thus, my friend's illustration subverts his own theory, and his theory contradicts nature, and the word of God.
Mr. Austin, conscious of the unsoundness of his argument from the desire of God, returns to it again and again. He has quoted repeatedly : “what his soul desireth he will do.” I have not disputed this, nor do I intend to. Nor will I deny that God wishes, or desires the happiness of all his creatures. The question does not turn upon such points; but upon the nature and application of his desire. Is his desire absolute and unconditional? Is it, or will it be, so applied as to control the final destinies of men ? These are the points on which the controversy turns, and these points are assumed by my opponent, not only without proof, but in opposition to scripture, reason, and fact.
1. In opposition to scripture. In the 18th of Ezekiel, God says, "he has no pleasure in the death of him that dieth.” The same chapter teaches that some men did die the death God had no pleasure in, and he repeatedly threatens, “the soul that sinneth it shall die." As God's desire and pleasure in regard to the consequences of moral action, must harmonize : it follows that neither are absolute, but both conditional.
2. In opposition to reason. God's government is moral. Unconditional--unavoidable destiny is inconsistent with his government.
Besides, if the final destiny be irresistably controlled, as it must be in order to make it sure, the process by which it is reached, must be controlled in the same way, and this would annihilate alí responsibility and moral desert.
3. In opposition to fact. Fact says, that many things have taken place, and do now exist, which God did not desire, and in which he has no pleasure. To suppose otherwise, is to say that God desires, and takes pleasure, in all the crime that now is, or ever has existed. Moreover, fact proves the argument worthless, since the desire of God does not now secure the holiness and happiness of all men. Indeed this argument, (like many others presented by my friend,) may be turned against Universalism. For, as in this life, many things exist, which God does not desire, if we are to suppose the desire of God alone, controls the subject of human happiness, it would follow, for aught that can be shown to the contrary, that sin and misery will exist in another world, as they have in this. The truth is, this whole argument is a sophism, and the gentleman knows it, or ought to know it; for I can hardly suppose his course of reasoning has imposed on himself. I have already exposed its fallacies a number of times, by showing that we can know nothing of the desire, the pleasure, the intention, or sovereignty of God, except as it is revealed to us in the Bible, and in nature, and these sources of proof, so far as we have yet investigated them, establish the moral government of God, the contingency of human actions, and the responsibility of man, as to the final results of his conduct.
I now pass to the consideration of Mr. Austin's fourth argument, drawn from the fulfillment of the law. To fulfill the law, is to love God with all the heart, and this is the duty of all men. Christ came to fulfill the law; but if he fulfills the law, all men must love God with all the heart-and if all men do this, all men will be saved. This is the argument as I understand it. Moreover, he says this is not the moral law. I understand him to make a distinction between the law Christ came to fulfill, and what he sometimes terms the great moral law. If this is not so I will stand corrected.
MR. AUSTIN.-It is not.
MR. HOLMES.- Very well: I will correct myself accordingly Christ came to fulfill the moral law of God and from this fact i concludes all men will be finally holy and happy. I wish the audience to observe here, that as Christ came to fulfill the moral law, [by the admission of Mr. Austin, ] hence it was the curse of the moral law from which he redeemed us; a fact which he has repeatedly denied, in another part of this discussion. In replying to this argument, it will be sufficient to show in what sense Christ came to fulfill the law.
1. He fulfilled the law by personal obedience. He kept it in every respect; and by this, he taught us that it was not repealed --that it was adapted to our condition-and to exalt and make happy the moral subject. He showed also, that it was suited to man's original state--that if it had been kept then, it would have preserved them in moral purity, and led them on to higher degrees of holiness. He moreover taught us by his personal obedience, how the law should now be received and obeyed; and his own exalted moral character was the pledge and pattern of what men would have been had they never transgressed, and of what they will be now, if they embrace his gospel--follow his example and “purify themselves even as he is pure." Is there anything in this that looks like subjecting men to vanity, to sin and misery unwillingly?
2. He came to fulfil the law, by affording us gracious ability by which we may overcome our sinful tendencies--and have power to keep the law-to love God with all the heart. He introduced a dispensation of grace and mercy by which men may be exonerated from the disabilities and consequences of past transgression-rise out of the ruins of the fall--and commence a course of obedience in a new relation, and under circumstances adapted to the improvement and perfection of their moral character.
3. Law is fulfilled, and government supported, when the penalty of the law is inflicted on the disobedient, or when a consideration is presented in view of which, pardon may be safely dispensed to the guilty. Christ came to fulfill the law, therefore, by sustaining its demands against the sinner, and at the same time affording the sinner relief, by satisfying the claims of justice for him—" he died the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” Thus Christ by the "blood of the cross," has become “the way the truth and the life”-has introduced a plan of salvation, according to the principles of which, God “can be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.” We have repeatedly shown that when the law is once violated, the transgressor has no power to make satisfaction, nor does the law itself provide a remedy. Christ came as the remedy, and has "redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us"—that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the spirit through faith.--(Gal. iii. 13, 14.) Hence also St. John says, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Here it is explicitly stated to be the object Christ's coming to our world, to save men from perishing, in a sense that contrasts with everlasting life. This object he accomplished by making an atonement, the moral effect of which was, to remove the legal obstacles to human salvation, and procure
pardon for the repenting and returning sinner. We have already said that law is fulfilled when the guilty are punished: hence-
4. He came to fulfil the law by vindicating it, and sustaining the government of God, in the punishment of those who despise the riches of his grace, reject the offers of merey, and will “not have him to reign over them."--(Luke xix. 27.) “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me." This is part of the parable of the nobleman who distributed talents to his servant and "went into a far country, to receive a kingdom, and to return." It is intended to represent Christ, his distribution of gracious talents to men, his departure to his heavenly kingdom and his final return to reckon with those who have received his munificent favors : and the words quoted above describe the final issue to those who waste his bounty, despise his authority, and will not have him “ to reign over them.” This view is most solemnly and forcibly confirmed in (2 Thess. i. 7-10.)—“And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealeed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, any that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe."
We have now shown in what sense Christ fulfils the law, and it is so far from supporting the notion of unconditional, final holiness and happiness for all men, that it is an important link in the chain of facts and arguments, by which we reach the contrary conclusion. I will not now continue this train of thought further, but at some future time, will present my views of the nature of God's government, and in so doing, I shall remove the foundation of a number of the gentleman's arguments.--[ Time expired.
[MR. AUSTIN'S FOURTH SPEECH.] Gentlemen Moderators :-The passage last quoted by Elder Holmes, (2 Thess. i. 7-10,) I shall notice on the next question, when it will undoubtedly, again be brought to the attention of the audience. There are a few remarks I wish to make in reply to the suggestions of my friend, and then I pass on to my affirmative arguments.
I am surprised at the position he assumed in respect to man's subjection to vanity.-(Rom. viii. 20.) I understood him to say I maintained that God subjected his children to vanity, against his own will,
MR. HOLMES.-What I meant was against the will of man.
MR. AUSTIN.-I am bound to take his explanation ; but it destroys all his argument upon the passage. His reasoning was, what father would subject his children to vanity, against his own will ?
MR. HOLMES.—I meant against the will of the children.
MR. Austin.—That only makes it worse. Any prudent and good father would do whatever he thought would be for the good of his children, without reference to what their will might be. A wise parent will be governed by his own judgment in his plans respecting his offspring, without being turned from his purposes by their wish or will. Thus has our heavenly Father proceeded. He did not give us the privilege of choosing whether we would be subjected to vanity or not. He ordered our subjection after the counsels of his own will and pleasure. And I am authorized by his whole moral character, to insist that our exposure to vanity or imperfection, was designed for our highest ultimate good. Although I may not be able to describe, or even comprehend the workings of the vast moral mechanism of the Almighty, by which he educes light from darkness, and good from evil, yet this makes .it not the less sure, that such will be the final result of his great and gracious plans! But take either ground, one of which my friend must occupy—that man's subjection was to bring evil upon him, or that it was in opposition to God's will, and confusion, imperfection, and wrong, are attributed to the Creator and his purposes.
For the want of beiter matter, the Elder works over the same material again and again. In vain his objections are crippled and destroyed. Having nothing of greater force, the same old arguments are brought limping in, to make a show and fill up time. We are now once more treated to the venerable, original and weighty argument of “ The Two Chances!" He reiterates, if his doctrine is false, then all men will be saved. But if Universalisin be false, then those who believe it will be lost, while the Evangelicals will be saved! I have already noticed and answered this most groundless and unworthy objection, addressed solely to men's sordid fears. It cannot, therefore, be necessary for me to dwell long upon it here. If the Elder's doctrine is false, then all men will be saved !! Here is logic for you! The absurdity of the idea is manifest. It does not follow if Methodism be false, that all mankind will be brought to salvation. If that system should be false, and Calvinism be true, then all Methodists may be included among the non-elect, and “ be damned for the glory of God!" If Protestantism be false, and Catholicism be true, then all the self-styled orthodox, will be cast into the hottest flames of hell, as depraved and stubborn heretics! If age and numbers can determine the truth of doctrines, the Catholic Church is the only true Church, for its doctrine is the oldest in