« PreviousContinue »
theory equally absurd and untenable. Mr. Austin has, indeed, explained this notion, by saying “sin arises from the promptings of the body." But this amounts to the same thing-it makes the bodyt he first, and efficient cause of sin; that is, mere matter, in itself perfectly inert and unintelligent, is the efficient cause of moral acts, and consequently, the subject of moral guilt. With this view the gentleman's own declaration in the Expositor fully agrees. Sin, says he,“ proceeds from the animal or bodily portion of our nature, as it exists in this life, and not from the mind, spirit or soul.” Now as God gave man his physical constitution, it follows, if it prompt to sin, as Mr. Austin teaches or if sin be the necessary result of physical organization, as Ballou teaches, nothing can be more clear ihan that God is the intelligent and desinging Author of sin. It is in this sense that we are to understand the gentleman when he says God“ subjected the human race to vanity, not willingly :" he imposed on them the necessity of becoming sinners. In his argument with Mr. Parks, Mr. Austin took the ground, that God created man in an imperfect and impure state.
MR. AUSTIN.—That was not my ground.
Mr. HOLMES.—Well, he takes that ground here, whether he did there or not, and this is sufficient for my present purpose. He has told us that man's physical constitution prompts to sin : but that which prompts to sin, must itself be impure-hence, as God gave man this constitution originally, he created him in an imperfect and impure state. Mr. Ballou reaches the same conclusion by a process somewhat different. He tells us that to be made subject to vanity, is to be made subject to sin, and to be subject to sin is to have an imperfect constitution, one that leads to sin, and that God gave man such a constitution. He farther says, (on Atonement p. 31,) natural evil is the necessary result of physical organization, and moral evil flows from natural evil. In this chain of reasoning, there are three links instead of two, yet the conclusion is precisely the same—God is the author of sin. Again, to make this more plain and emphatic, he remarks, in his lecture on Rom. viii. 20 : “ The opinion that man was constituted in flesh and blood, a perfectly holy being, but was made subject to vanity by sin,' is contrary to the text, and to the dictates of common sense." Nor is this all; this same writer (on Atonement, page 17, 23, 36,) treats the subject in a metaphysical way. He is not so fearful of deep water as my friend here seems to be. He remarks, “ if by real evil, (or sin)he meant something that ought not to be, in respect to all the consequences that attend it, I cannot admit of its existence.” He makes everything that takes place, come to pass according to the intention of Deity; hence the following: "If God possesses infinite wisdom, he could never intend anything to take place or be, that will not take place or be, nor that which is, or will be, not to be at the time when it
is.” That is, God intended every thing should be just as it is, and when it is. The same blasphemous doctrine is taught by Mr. A. C. Thom
And let it be remembered, that Mr. Thomas is one of the most distinguished and popular preachers of Universalism on the continent. In the judgment of Universalists, he remarks, (disc. with Dr. Ely,) “ man is a moral agent. Nevertheless, he says, we hold that he who gave, has power to impart to the agency of man, such impulses, and to his will such a direction, as intinite benevolence may prompt.” Now the plain import of this is, that man is a moral agent, yet no otherwise a moral agent, than as he acts under divine impulses, imparted to his agency to give to his will a specific direction. Hence, all his acts are according to the will of God. No wonder that Ballou should say, “God had no more occasion to be displeased with Adam after he sinned, than before he made him,” since he was but acting in obedience to that impulse imparted to his agency to give direction to his will; and was, Mr. Thomas being judge, carrying out the benevolent intention of his Maker. True, friend Ballou, God had no occasion for displeasure towards Adam, nor for the punishment he threatened, nor for excluding him from paradise when“ he drove out the man.” No, nor had he any occasion for displeasure towards the Antediluvians, or Sodomites, who all fulfilled the intention of God, by obeying those impulses imparted to their agency to give direction to their will !!!!!!
Such, also, is the doctrine of Mr. Rogers, in his work denominated, “ Pro and Con. of Universalism." Mr. Pingree, in his discussion with Mr. Rice, took the same ground. I have been thus particular in citing authorities, that I might not be charged with misrepresentation. It is the doctrine of Universalism, according to these writers, that God is the Author of all the sin in the unis verse—by open avowal and unavoidable consequence from their premises, God intended, and visited the human mind with the impulses necessary to produce everything just as it is and has been. Now look at the absurdities into which this blasphemous idea plunges Universalism.
1. By making God, in intention, purpose and impulse, the efi. cient author of sin. It robs him of his holiness and contradicts his word, which declares most emphatically, that God hates sin, and is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity.
2. Universalism charges folly and inconsistency upon Almighty God. This it does by representing that he has given man a constitution, designedly so imperfect and sinful in its tendencies, as to subject him, necessarily, to the commission of sin; and that, notwithstanding this, he proceeds gravely to enact a law against sin, that is, be places man in circumstances where he must sin, and cannot avoid it, and then, forsooth, forbids sin, and threatens punishment if he is not obeyed.
3. Universalism, according to the views above set forth, represents God as the basest of all hypocrites. He has forbidden all sin, of every kind and degree, at all times, and under every circum. stance in life. He has enjoined upon all men, the practice of every virtue ; and yet he has purposely so fixed the constitution and relations of men, that they cannoi, if they would, do otherwise than sin. He has declared to his intelligent universe that sin is the abominable thing which he hates. and yet he has provided for its introduction, purposes, designs that men shall cominit it, and 10 make this resuit sure, imp.irts such impulses as are necessary to the end proposed. He declares to his suhjects that sin is desiroying them, that it is the bane of their felicity-and yet he has created them in a state of subjection to sin and its consequences, out of a pure and benevolent desire to promote their happiness. He declares he has “no pleasure in the death of him that dieth ;" his benevolent soul is pained, when, in the administration of justice, he is obliged to punish the sinner, and yet he has made him an imperfect being, and visits his mind with sinful impulses, to the end ihat he may cominit sin, and be the subject of punishment. What consummate hypocrisy !
4. On the principles above set forth, God is cruel and unjust, inasmuch as he punishes men for doing his will He is the author of man, the author of sin, and the auihor of punishment; he forbids sin, wills sin, and punishes sin-and instead of being the fountain of goodness and justice, he is the fountain of evil, and the highest example of injustice in the universe.
From all which, I present for the consideration of my friend, a dilemma with three horns, one of which he must take, and it is perfecily immaterial to me which he shall select, on which to hang up his theory. 1. God gives a false account of himself in the Bible, and is basely hypocritical in his administration; or, 2. The Bible gives a false view of the character and government of God, and is therefore not a divine revelation ; or, 3. Universalism gives a false view of the Bible and its glorious Author, and is, therefore, itself utterly false, and highly blasphemous in iis character.
Let me solemnly ask this respectable audience, if they are will. ing to risk their salvation on such a system in the name of heaven, make a better selection.-[ Time expired.
[MR. AUSTIN'S FIFTH SPEECH.] Brother Moderators:-Allow me in the first place, to notice El. der Holmes' second Negative Argument, viz. That Universalism makes God the author of all sin in the Universe. The audience will remember that his first Negative Argument was that Universalism denied the existence of sín as a moral evil.
I have to suggest that these two objections clash with each other. The first
asserting that Universalism denies there is really any sin at all. ; and the seconl charging it with making God the author of all sin !! The one of these onjections annihilates the other. This will not do, El ter! It is a poor an I unpromising beginning, to overthrow one's own argu'n •nts at the first go off. If my friend's remaining batteries are not ained better than these, he will waste his ammunition for nothing!
I have alrea:ly shown that Universalism does not deny the existence of sin. The charge that it makes God the author of sin, is equally groundless Our position on this point, is simply this: That the Creator has been pleased for good reasons already explainel, to cause the endless existence he has conferred on men, to com nence in a world where they are erposed to evil, temptation and sin: He does not compel them to sin; but has given them power to withstand every temptation. When, however, they fail to exercise their self-control, and give way to improper promptings, they sin, and subject themselves to just punishment. Who so blind as not to see, or so uncandid as not to acknowledge, that this cannot in any proper sense, be construed as attributing the authorship of sin to the Creator! His quotations from the writings of Ballou and Thomas, when received in the light which the authors intended, fall entirely short of sustaining his charge. The views entertained by Universalists in regard to sin, are fully sustained by the scriptures, as already shown. And I would suggest to friend Holmes, that if he wishes to run a tilt against the Binle, he can do so. But I desire the audience and the public to understand, that allowing all he says on this subject, it does not militate in the least, against the affirmative of the question now before us.
He struggles hard to overthrow my position, that if a state of things exists in this life, AGAINST the desire, and will, and purpose, of Gol, then a siinilar, or even worse state of things, may exist hereafter and forever, against his desire, will and purpose. He knows this well grounded deduction is fatal to all the objections he has hrought or can bring, against my course of reasoning. How does he attempt to parry its force? In a way that is certainly original. He takes the ground that a state of things which exists in accordance with the purpose and will of God here, may exist in in accordance with his purpose and will hereafter and forever. Hence if man's exposure to sin in this life, is in accordance with Gol's purpose and will, then it may be in accordance with his purpose and will that man should be exposed to sin hereafter and forever!! Is this his logic-his deep water? Is there no difference between a state of things which exists in OPPOSITION to God's will and purpose-in spite of his intention and power—and a state which AGREES with his will and purpose? If an exposure to sin and evil in this life, is in opposition to God's will and purpose, as my opponent and all his school maintain, then it is because he could not help it, and had no ability to prevent it. Hence the sin
and evil-the misfortune and pain—which afflict the so-called righteous and Evangelical, in this life, in opposition to God's will and purpose, may afflict them hereafter and forever, against his will and purpose! If he could not prevent their being thus afflicted now, he may never be able to prevent it hereafter ? But it is totally different when we speak of things which agree with God's will and purpose. A state of things that exists solely by God's permission, must be entirely under his control, and can endure longer or shorter, only as he allows. Because God permits for wise purposes, a certain condition of affairs at one time, it is no evidence he will allow, much less compel, the same to exist at another time and forever! He permitted wicked men to persecute Christ and his Apostles, in this life. Does this prove he will allow them to be persecuted in the next life and forever? According to the logic of Elder Holmes it does. But in this, he is unfortunately at war with common sense. So, because God permits men to be exposed to sin and evil in this world, it is no proof he will permit, much less compel them, to be exposed to these things hereafter and forever! Man's subjection to imperfection in this existence, was for a definite purpose--a purpose characterized by wisdom and goodness. When this purpose is accomplished, as it ultimately will be as certainly as that God is a perfect being, then he will cause this subjection to cease!
My friend says he is not a CalvinIST. I am happy to hear it. There are quite few in our days, who are willing to admit the folly of Calvinisin. Poor John Calvin has absolutely been turned out of doors by his own spiritual children. They will not even acknowledge him as a father. At least they spurn his cold and heartless system, as unworthy the approbation of God or man ! Real old fashioned Calvinists are very scarce, and daily becoming
In regard to my allusion to the various systems which have prevailed respecting the Atonement, my friend says this contrariety of opinions grew out of the prevalence of Unitarian views. This is not a full statement of the case. Unitarian views, or the doctrine of the strict unity of God's nature, in contradistinction to the notion of a plurality of gods, or a plurality of persons in the godhead, is clearly the doctrine of both the Old and New Testaments. No sentiment can be conveyed in language more plain, emphatic, positive, than the Unitarian view of Deity, in the Bible. This doctrine prevailed in the church of Christ, without being questioned or doubted, during the first two centuries of the christian era.
But at the expiration of that period, the converts to Christianity who came in great numbers from heathenism, began to agitate the subject of the Trinity. In other words, they set themselves at work to incorporate the Pagan sentiment of a plurality of gods, into the doctrines of Christ. Not precisely in the gross form in which it prevailed among the heathen; for it would have been impossible to