Page images
PDF
EPUB

rated, they are still LOVE. His whole nature and essence is LOVE. His will, his word, and his works, are LOVE.

He is nothing, can do nothing but LOVE!!!

2. God's love extends to all men, and will endure forever. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world, to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." -(John iii. 16, 17.) “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”—(Rom. v. 8.) “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ!”—(Eph. ii. 4, 5.)

Thus God loves ALL MEN. He loves them when they do not love him. He loves them while sinners—yea, even while dead in sin! This is true Love. It is the Love of an affectionate father, even for ungrateful and disobedient children. We can never magnify God's Love too much. The only failure we can possibly

make, is in not conceiving it as GREAT as it is. The Creator will through all time, and through all Eternity, cherish this love. He is immutable and unchangeable. What he loves once, he will love forever! “I am the Lord, I change not.”—(Mal. iii. 6.)

3. A God of love would not create objects beloved, for any other destiny than holiness and happiness. This position is the first and plainest deduction of reason. In ushering offspring into existence, the END for which he formed them, must have been one sanctioned by infinite Love. The conclusion is irresistible, that his object was to elevate them to a state of endless purity and felicity! Contemplate God before a single being was created. He was then Love—INFINITE LOVE! Not Love in name only, but Love in a vast, boundless REALITY. He did not create from necessity or compulsion, but from pleasure.

" Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure, they are, and were created.”—(Rev. iv. 11.) Infinitely happy himself, his only object in creating, must have been to make others happy-to furnish himself with objects upon whom he could lavish the rich treasures of his Love. What other purpose could he possibly have had in view ? Could Love create to torment ?

Allow me to introduce another extract from Dr. PAYSON :" Look back to the time when God existed independent and alone; when there was nothing but God; no heavens, no earth, no angels, no men. How wretched should we-how wretched would any creature be, in such a situation! But Jehovah was then infinitely happy-happy beyond all possibility of increase. He is an overflowing fountain, a bottomless and shoreless ocean, of be

ing, perfection, and happiness. And when this infinite ocean overflows, suns and worlds, angels and men, start into existence!"

God, the spirit of infinite and impartial Love, foresaw from the beginning, what would be the final condition of every being he designed to create. If he perceived that in any way, through any cause, from any turn in aftairs, from any combination of circumstances, from any abuse of his faculties, powers, opportunities, or agencies, the existence of a single being would result in endless woe, would Infinite Love persist in creating that being-especially when under no compulsion ; but could precisely as well not create, as to create ?

When the scriptures declare, God reigns, they simply assert that Infinite Love reigns; for “ God is Love."

- Love Almighty! Love Almighty! sing,
Exult Creation : Love Almighty reigns,
That death of DEATHS, that cordial of despair,

And loud Eternity's triumphant song."-YOUNG. When the scriptures declare God doeth his will in heaven and on earth, they assert that Almighly Love does its will in heaven and on earth! Can Love Will any other final destiny, than one of happiness for the objects of its regard ? The fact that all men were created by the Spirit of Love, is proof positive, that that Spirit saw their rnal destiny was one which would be desirous, glorious, and happy. God fixed their final welfare safe beyond all hazard before he ushered them into existence. Would Love create beings, plainly foreseeing that endless evil awaited them! Would Love voluntarily put into hazard, even in the slightest degree, the everlasting welfare of creatures beloved? Would an affectionate father voluntarily endanger the happiness of his children, without the slightest necessity for it? Mankind having all been created by a God of love, it is a self-evident conclusion, that their final happiness is as certain as OMNIPOTENCE can make it! As certain as though it were already enjoyed !

The Love which God bears for all, will in due time, produce returning love to him, in all hearts. Love is irresistible ! Martin Farquhar Tupper, the celebrated author of Proverbial Philosophy, says-Love is the weapon which Omnipotence reserved to conquer rebel man, when all the rest had failed. Reason he parries; fear he answers, blow to blow ; future interests, he meets with present pleasure. But LOVE, that Sun against whose melting beams winter cannot stand—that soft, subduing slumber, which wrestles down the giant-there is not one human creature in a million! not a thousand men in all the earth's huge quintillion, whose clay heart is hardened against love!” Yea, liadd, there is not one human soul that cannot be melted by it, in due time!

4. Whatever Deity purposes, he accomplishes. "The Lord of hosts is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working."—(Isa.

ever.

xxviii. 29.) "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth. It shall not return unto me void; but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."—(Isa. lv. 11.) “He doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth ; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what doest thou?"--(Dan. iv. 35.) “I am God, and there is none like me : Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure."—(Isa. xlvi. 9, 10.) Infinite Love is diametrically opposed to Infinite Evil. In a Universe over which the God of Love reigns, Infinite Evil cannot exist through any cause what

To insist that it can, is virtually to contend that God can trample on his own will and pleasure, thwart his own purposes and contradict his own nature. The sum of our argument, then, is this—The God of Love created all mankind, designing to secure their final and endless holiness and happiness. He doeth his will and accomplisheth all his purposes. Hence all men in due time, will be brought into a condition of purity and bliss.

To avoid the conclusions to which this argument brings us, we must wilfully shut our eyes to all the light of Revelation, and trample the God-like faculty of Reason, into the dust beneath our feet! Evil and wretchedness cannot exist a moment without permission of the Most High. When God has declared that he is Love, who dare charge him with immortalizing sin and evil! Who dare charge such a being with creating millions of his own offspring, clearly foreseeing that they would roll in endless ago

If my brother will have the presumption to make such a charge, as he virtually does, to him belongs the responsibility of casting infamy and imperfection on his Creator and Father!! I thank God that I am not driven to so dire a necessity as this, to support a doctrine absurd and monstrous in every feature—that I am not compelled to draw a veil over the most bright and beautiful characteristics of “the God of love,” to give some plausibil. ity to arguments attributing to him abominations of the most dark and terrible description! Most grateful am I that a doctrine has been given me, to support which, my legitimate arguments are to be drawn from the most valuable, attractive, and glorious characteristics and perfections of Jehovah. I can but esteem myself as in the highest degree honored, in being authorized to go forth among my fellow men, to proclaim the beauty of God's love-its boundlesness and eternity-and bring its light and power to bear, in turning the wicked from the error of their ways, melting the hardened heart into contrition, and causing the incense of returning love, to ascend to Him who liveth, and rei th, and loveth forever!! [Time expired.

ny!

[MR. HOLMES' FOURTH REPLY.] I would be obliged to the gentleman if he would inform me where he gets the quotation he read from Dr. Payson. Dr. Payson was always consistant with himself, and with his doctrinal views, and if my friend had read on a little farther, the Dr. would have explained himself, and shown how the attributes of God harmonize, in the exercise of divine love, in his distributive administration, towards the wicked, as well as the righteous. Mr. Austin has quoted so much as suited his purpose, and no more. I do not mention this for the purpose of complaining of his method of quoting the writings of authors—though I shall set him right, before the discussion closes, if I can obtain the work from which the passage was taken. On the whole, I think my friends last speech was eloquent, about the best I have heard from him.

When I come to speak of the government of God, it will be sufficiently plain, how God's love arises, is exercised, and harmonizes, with the decision which excludes the finally incorrigable, from the kingdom of Heaven.

I wish the audience to observe, that my opponent frankly acknowledges, he cannot tell how God's paternal government is to bring about the results contended for. And yet he wishes you to trust your dearest interests upon it. All men are to be holy and happy because God's government is paternal, and yet he cannot tell how such an administration is to produce the result. He wishes you to shut your eyes to all difficulties and dangers, and trust implicitly in the efficacy of a blind and inexplicable proposition. In another place, he says, all we know of the operation of the gove ernment of God, as a Father, is learned from the paternal government on earth-and forth with he takes the position, that what a good earthly father would do (having sufficient wisdom and power) to make his children happy, that God will do for the whole human family. Now I have already shown you, that the essential elements in the administration of God, are moral law, and moral desert, which is not true of the paternal government among men. I have also shown you the utter incongruity, between what God does, or permits, in his moral administration, and what a good earthly father would do, for the good of his children, had he infinite wisdom and power, and nothing that my friend has yet said, has in the least removed this incongruity.

The gentleman also represents me (with many others) as teaching the eternal perdition of men, for mere error in opinion. But this is not true of me-nor do I believe it to be true of any one. I believe God deals with men on principles of equity-and holds them responsible for the light, opportunity and power, he has given them to know and do his will. The principles of his moral government-the constitution he has given man under that government, the degree of moral light and ability afforded his sub

jects—must all harmonize, in measuring out the results of human conduct. If any of God's moral subjects are under the influence of error in opinion, unless that error be wilfully embraced, and tenaciously adhered to in rejection of the means of better information-even though it lead to error in practice, yet such are not esteemed guilty on account of an error honestly entertained, nor held morally responsible for its results. St. Paul presents my views exactly, when he says, (Rom. ii. 8): “But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness; (God will render) indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile."

My friend complains of the manner in which I use the term evangelical, I have not applied this term to my system of theology for the purpose of reflecting upon his theory, but for the sake of distinction. But since he has referred to this point, I will not conceal my firm belief, that the term as applied to my system is strictly correct, while it would be a misnomer, if applied to his.

In regard to the definition of salvation, once more. I have contended in this discussion, that there is no way in which God can save men from their sins, without saving them from the punishment due their sins. Mr. Austin contends there is. Now here is a wide distinction. To sustain his view, he defines salvation to be, the saving of men from commission of sin. The obscurity of this definition, is of itself proof of the necessity of something more explicit. I want to know whether my friend's theory makes it necessary that men should be saved from the commission of sin in this life ? and also how they are saved-whether by being brought under the power of physical death, or by the resurrection, which will be a physical event. Or finally, is this salvation to be effected by the gospel? If so, does the saving power of the gospel extend to another world, or is it confined to this world ? If it be confined to this world, how are those to be saved who reject the gospel and die without salvation ? If it extends to another world, by what agency is it to be preached there, and brought to bear on the moral condition of the sinner? Now as the gentleman wishes us to believe that all men will be saved finally, he is bound to give us explicit information on these points. He may evade the issue if he pleases—but I shall continue to press upon his attention, these important questions.

One word more in regard to Mr. Austin's illustration of the original condition and present and future progression of man, by the figure of the tree. My objection to this was, and is, that on his principles, there is no analogy between the illustration and the subject illustrated. He makes the human race commence their original existence in a state of moral imperfection ; and their improvement, is not the expansion of element and powers, already

« PreviousContinue »