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Christendom, and it still greatly outnumbers all other sects! I would advise my brother and his associates, to "look out." Their “two chances," turn against them when they compare notes with the Catholics! On the other hand, should Universalism prove false, there is no certainty, or even probability, that Universalists will be lost and the partialists saved! I have already demonstrated in this discussion, that whatever sentiment shall finally prove true-however malignant and wrathful God may be--it is certain he will not turn his indignation towards those who represent him in the light of a wise, benevolent and merciful Ruler-a kind, watchful and loving Parent! But if any class may anticipate the torments of a future world, on account of the religious opinions they propagate, it is that body of people who spend their days in describing the Parent of all-the being whose name and nature the scriptures déclare to be “Love' -—as so destitute of wisdom, holiness and mercy, as to be determined to thrust his own offspring down to eternal darkness and woe, where they will forever sink deeper and deeper, in blasphemy and sin !! This objection of the “two chances,” so popular with a certain class against Universalism, is a very weak one! My friend will pardon me for frankly declaring, that the highest distinction and honor to which it can be possibly entitled, is, that it is nothing more or less, than a regular “ old woman's argument !.!''
Mr. Holmes says, he did not assert that Universalism is the worst kind of infidelity! I am happy to hear the explanation, and am really glad to believe my brother was not so uncandid. It seems then, that my opposer considers Universalism as infidelity, though not the worst kind. This stereotyped cry of « infidelity !" is one of the most stupid, that men possessing a common degree of good sense can indulge in. It can only influence a class of prejudiced and ignorant minds, who have not sufficient knowledge to know what infidelity really is—while it must disgust the enlightened and candid, of all denominations! When will theologians learn that calling hard names, and making up mouths,” is but the last resort of men who feel their cause to be defenceless and sinking! The Elder possesses too much good sense not to see the absurdity of charging infidelity, on a clas. who are surpassed by none in their firm belief of Christianity However, this is an old fallacy to which he and his associates have so long been habituated, that it has become a second nature. Thai side of the house have for years considered it a master-stroke of policy, when they could not arrest the progess of Universalism by fair and honorable means, to bespatter its pure and heavenly teachings, with the cry of infidelity!! No matter that Universalists believe in God, as the Creator, Ruler and Father of the world ! No matter that they believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God the Mediator between the Creator and his creatures, and the Savior of men! No matter that they believe with the utmost sin
cerity and firmness, every article of faith, every doctrine and precept, enjoined upon man in the Bible!! What is all this to men who feel driven to say something against Universalism, and yet can find no solid argument to overthrow its teachings! Notwithstanding we believe all the scriptures require of us, yet rejecting as we do the heathen dogmas of modern atonement and endless punishment, as man-made sentiments, the shout of infidelity is raised, that its authors beneath the smoke they thus create, may skulk away from the responsibility of attempting to overthrow our sentiments by a course of sound argumentation!! Brother Holmes may indulge in this species of warfare to any extent he chooses.
He declares that if Universalism is true, so-called orthodoxy must be infidelity. And if partialism is true, Universalism must be infidelity! This may pass for sound reasoning among the less discerning portion of those who sympathize with friend Holmes. But a large class of his own friends, cannot fail to give it a less honorable name. That there are many infidel views prevailing among the partialist sects there cannot be a doubt. Their unbelief in God as the Father of all men, and as one who will continue the watchful and loving Fa of all forever!!-T belief of his positive declaration that he will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth”—1 Tim. ii. 4)— Their unbelief of his solemn OATH, that in due time, unto him "every knee shall bow and every tongue shall swear, surely shall say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength"--(Isa. xlv. 23)— Their unbelief of the great fundamental principle of God's moral government, that, “though hand join in hand, the wicked SHALL NOT be unpunished”—Prov. xi. 21)—Their unbelief in Christ as the Son of God, rather than as God himself—Their unbelief in Christ's words, when he declares he was sent by his Father to save THE WORLD”—(John xii. 47)— Their unbelief in his declaration that it was his “meat to do the WILL of him that sent me, [i. e. save all men--1 Tim. ii. 4,] and to FINISH his work !"--(John iv. 34.) All this unbelief is nothing less than sheer INFIDELITY!!! Yet I do not denominate those infidels, who have unfortunately allowed their guides to lead them into this great faithlessness, for the reason that at the same time, they entertain in many other respects, a sound and genuine belief in God and Christ. So also, if partialism is true, it does not fol. low that Universalism is a system of infidelity. For the candid of all sects, cannot but acknowledge, that even allowing it to be incorrect in its chief sentiment, it notwithstanding inculcates a true christian belief in regard to a large share of New Testament doctrines.
The Elder declares my definition of Salvation, does not amount to any thing!! I beg his pardon—it was not my definition-it was that of the BIBLE! When we go to the scriptures and en
quire what it is men are to be saved from, it informs us, salvation is from SIN!!!-(Matt. i. 21.) But the Rev. David Holmes insists this is NOTHING! Why? Because everything that does not support the falsely called Evangelical platform, to which he is chained hand and foot, must be denounced as groundless and good for nothing, even though such a decision casts disparagement, and even falsehood, on God's own word !
Mr. Holmes has referred to my figure of the growth of a tree. He charges me with maintaining that God has created man with an impure and perverted nature, and then inquires if the Creator ever formed a rotten tree? I reply, God does not create rotten trees ; neither does he usher into existence depraved beings! He has wholly mistaken my position in regard to man's original nature. So far from contending that he is created with a corrupt and perverted nature, I take the exact opposite ground—as I did in a previous debate with Mr. Parks, a brother of the Elder's. If Mr. P. informed him otherwise, he has misrepresented my views. I insist that Deity forms his intelligent offspring, innocent and pure—that at birth, the infant has no moral contamination in its nature. But it is placed in subjection, or exposure to vanity, in the incipient stages of its existence. This exposure grows out of two of the most important and valuable laws of our being, viz. Progression and Freedom! Progression towards perfection, cannot exist, unless it commences in imperfection. Neither can there be an exercise of moral freedom, without an exposure, or liability, to sin! Under the operation and influence of these two laws, although at first, man exhibits great moral deficiency, and experiences much unhappiness and evil, yet at length and ultimately, he is elevated to a perfection in holiness and happiness, which would have been beyond his reach, under the operation of any other conceivable class of circumstances. To illustrate this law of man's progression, I introduced the figure of the twig and its growth to a fruit-bearing tree. I think these views are understood and appreciated by the audience, if not by my opponent.
What is his position on this subject? It is virtually this:That God creates man with a corrupt nature, and then punishes him forever, because he is corrupt! His argument to disprove my views, is a precious specimen of logical deduction. He reasons that because the Creator does not bring mankind, in this introductory state of their being, into a condition of perfect holiness and happiness, we must therefore conclude he will never do so, in any future state or stage of their existence. Moreover, he contends that if men are exposed to imperfection and sin in this life, in accordance with God's will and purpose, it may be in accordance with the same will and purpose, to subject them to imperfection and sin in the next world! On this principle of reasoning, because the twig does not bear fruit when it shoots from the earth, in its first stage of existence, it will never produce fruit!
Or, because it is in accordance with God's will and purpose, that the twig is not a tree, and does not produce fruit when it commences its growth, we must conclude it will be in accordance with his will and purpose, that it shall never be a tree, and never bear fruit! Assuredly this is “deep water !” These points have already been thoroughly discussed. Perhaps Mr. Holmes would like to go over the ground again!
My friend has made another struggle to weaken the force of my Argument from the Desire of God. He is aware that argument fully establishes the affirmative of this question, and places it beyond his reach. But something must be said against it. Hence his hopeless labor, which resulted in making the impotency of his efforts the more evident. I laid it down as an important truth, that Jehovah DESIRES the salvation of all men. Élder Holmes acknowledges the legitimacy of this position. In this, he acknowledged all I could ask, and virtually surrendered the argument into my hands. For the scriptures positively declare that whatsoever God desireth, “that he DOETH!”—(Job xxiii. 13.) My friend cannot deny that Deity does whatever he desires, without he denies the Bible! God desires all men to be saved-he does whatever he desires! Hence he will in his own time, save all men !! But the Elder instead of acknowledging in a frank and manly manner the irresistable force of this argument, and yielding up the debate, strives to raise obstacles, in man's present condition and nature, to show that God's desires are not accomplished! In other words, he is laboring with all the talent he possesses, to build up an atheistical argument, going to show that the scriptures uttered a wretched FALSEHOOD when they declare that God doeth what he desireth! Now I humbly submit that when the Creator has declared that he desires to do a certain great and good work, and that whatever he desireth, he doeth, it is most irreverent and unreasonable to commence raising objections, and to iake the strange ground, that because we cannot see, with our limited capacities, the way, and means by which God will satisfy his desires, therefore he will never satisfy them!! But I leave my friend, on this point, where I did before. He insists God WILL NOT do whatever he DESIRES—the Bible declares he WILL!
An atheist might decide with the Elder, but can a Christian hesitate to believe God, before man!!
My brother Holmes also notices my argument from the Fulfilment of the Law of Love. He insists that when Penalty is inflic* »d, Law is fulfilled. Here I take issue with him. The simple
fliction of its penalty, does not fulfil a law. It is not fulfilled atil the OBJECT for which it was established, is attained. What the object of the law against slander ? Clearly not to inflict nalty merely; but to deter men from injuring one another's putation. Nor can that law be fulfilled, until its object is acnplished, and all men are saved from a disposition to slander
their neighbor. So inflicting a penalty on men for violation of the moral law of God, does not fulfil that law. The administering of the penalty, is but one of the ways and means, which the righteous Judge and Father has established to secure finally, the great object for which it was established, viz. to cause men to love God and one another. We are distinctly assured by the Savior himself, that God's moral law shall be fulfilled in every jot and tiltle. Hence, when it is at length fulfilled, all men will be brought to love supremely their Creator, and their neighbors as themselves! Then all will be holy and happy!!
My friend opposite, asserts that God's law provides no remedy for those who disobey. This declaration shows very limited reflection. Is not forgiveness, granted on genuine repentance, a provision of law-a remedy, not to save men from the full action of law, but to restore them to obedience and happiness? Yea, the very penalty which law inflicts on the sinful, is designed asja remedy for their disobedience. Its purpose is to bring men to repentance, and repentance entitles them to forgiveness, and restores them to God's approbation, and to happiness! I now proceed to introduce my Sixth Argument:
THE LOVE OF GOD. PROPOSITION.-1. The Creator possesses a spirit of Infinite Love. 2. His Love extends to all mankind, and will endure forever. 3. A God of Love would not create objects beloved, for any other destiny than holiness and happiness. 4. The fact that Deity purposes a state of things, is ample evidence that it will be accomplished.
Proof.-1. The Creator possesses a spirit of Infinite Love. “We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is Love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him."-(1 John iv. 16.) St. Paul denominates him, “the God of Love."—(2 Cor. xiii. 11.)
Dr. Payson, an eloquent orthodox divine, formerly of Portland, Me., thus describes God's love: “In the words "God is Love, we have a perfect portrait of the eternal and incomprehensible Jehovah, drawn by his own unerring hand. The mode of expres. sion here adopted, differs materially from that usually employer' by the inspired writers, in speaking of the divine perfections They say God is merciful, God is just, God is holy. But neverd they say, God is mercy, God is justice, God is holiness. In this i stance on the contrary, the Apostle instead of saying God is lovin, or good, says, God is LOVE—LovE itself. By this expression w must understand that God is all pure unmixed love, and that the other moral perfections
of his character, are only so many modifications of his love. Thus his justice, his mercy, his truth, his faithfulness, are but so many different names of his love or goodness. As the light which proceeds from the sun, may be easily separated into many different colors, so the holy love of God, which is the light and glory of his nature, may be separated into a variety of moral attributes and perfections. But though sepa