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the case of the antedilvians, is but one of a thousand of similar character.
Moreover, history informs us of some nations who were once intelligent, enterprising, and refined, but have amazingly degenerated, in spite of the influence of my friend's system of progression. The Egyptians were once the most intelligent and scientific. There are still remaining many monuments of their former genius. But they are now the basest of the kingdoms.” And where are the poets, orators, and philosophers of Greece and Rome? The descendants of these nations, where they can be distinguished at all, are but the shadow of their former selves.
There is evidence upon the face of our own continent, that it once sustained a race far superior to the aborigines whom Columbus found the undisputed lords of the soil. But we have, perhaps, the most striking illustration, in the present race of Africans. His. tory speaks of them as once an enlightened, and somewhat literary people; but now their national bond is broken, they exist only in fragments, and are, perhaps, the most degraded portion of the human race, and except where the gospel is preached, becoming more degraded still: not the gospel of Universalism, for Universalism never goes on a mission. How does the history, and present condition of these Africans, agree with the gentleman's plan of human improvement? If they have degenerated, what is his theory worth, to redeem and elevate man? But if we suppose them to have been in a state of improvement, under Mr. Austin's theory of progression, for the last 6000 years, in the name of reason, where was their starting point? They must have commenced a sort of baboon, or monkey, without a tail! I ask pardon of the audience, for using a figure which may appear to be below the dignity of the subject, for really, I can scarcely persuade myself that the subject has dignity enough to merit a serious consideration. And yet I will present one fact more, before 'I finally dismiss it. I have already said, the world is full of facts, and it is a happy thing for the cause of truth, that it is so.
The fact I now present, is, that individuals, as well as nations, degenerate—in many cases, grow worse and worse, during the whole of their earthly existence. St. Paul speaks of some who “rolled sin as a sweet morsel under their tongue,” who did not like “ to retain God in their knowledge,” and though they knew God, yet“ did not glorify him as God.” In another place he designates certain characters as “ evil men, and seducers," who “ wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" and still others, who were “ ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” And we all know there are thousands in every age, who betume more and more depraved, the longer they live, outraging to the last, every principle of virtue, and every feeling of humanity. Now, in these cases, what becomes of the salutary power and moral
* wnce of this system of human progression? Have these men
lived under a divine arrangement, adapted to deliver them from a state of subjection “to vanity," and bring them into the glorious “ liberty of the sons of God ? If so, the results have been developed most strangely. And the audience will please observe, that this theory is associated with Mr. Austin's much lauded course of disciplinary and reformatory punishment. These incorrigible sinners are all the while being punished, with a view to their reformation. Is this the way the medicine works? Does it kill, instead of cure? Or does my friend adopt the theory of Winchester who, to obviate this difficulty, taught that when a given amount of punishment makes the sinner mad, instead of reforming him, the dose must be doubled until the medicine has the intended effect;? He therefore supposes that some sinners must be punished many thousand years, before the desired result will be gained. I would like to know of Mr. Austin, what he will do with those who grow worse and worse, under a whole life of punishment ? Must they be punished with greater severity in the life to come, than they have been here? Besides being most palpably false in other respects, the great difficulty with this system, deliverance, improvement, or progression, is, that the gradation runs the wrong way, and if it proves any thing, it is, not final holiness and happiness, but the final damnation of the whole family of man.
Having now disposed of the gentleman's theory, I will close my present remarks, by giving an exposition of the passages on which this theory is built.
19. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20. For the creature was inade subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope.
21. Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22. For we know that the whole creation groaneth, and travaileth in pain together until now.
23. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we, ourselves, groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our bodies.
This passage is generally acknowledged to be obscure and difficult, and I suppose it is on this account that Universalism seizes it as a proof text. A variety of explanations of it, have been given by different authors. The following are the most important and consistent:
I. Some refer it to the brute creation, as suffering by the cruelty of man in his sinful state, and from which suffering they are relieved in the proportion that men are humanized, and christianized by the gospel, by which they are constituted sons of God.
II. Others connect with this the inanimate creation, which, according to Gen. iii, 17., was cursed for man's sake; but which Curse shall at the day of final retribution be removed, and we are to have a "new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righieousness.”—(2 Pet. iii. 13.) Those who take this view, regard ihe whole as a bold prosopopeia, a figure in rhetoric, by which inanimate and irrational beings or objects, are represented as acting and speaking under the influence of desire and strong expectation.
III. Dr. Whitby and others refer it to the Gentile wor!d, and regard it as fulfilled in the gathering of them into the church under the gospel dispensation.
Either of these views is far preferable to the Universalist exposition-yet, plausible as they are, they are not quite satisfactory. Hence, in giving you the fourth theory, I give you my own views of this
passage. IV. This passage refers to the whole human family, not inc'uding the inanimate or brute creation, only so far as they may be incidentally affected by the moral condition of the human race, in contradistinction from actual believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the light of this theory, I explain these passages as foliows:
1. By the terms creature, and creation, we understand all the descendants of Adam.
2. By vanity, we understand the same as is meant by the bondage of corruption—that state of spiritual bondage, and subjection to the worst passions of corrupt humanity, under which the heathen world did then, and does now groan, and from which they generally desire to be delivered.
3. By their being made “subject to vanity, not willingly," we understand the Apostle to re-atfirm what he declares so emphatically in the 5th chapter of this epistle-viz : that by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation :" that is, the descendants of Adam are laboring under evils introduced into the world by the agency of Adam, their federal head, and in regard to which they had originally no will, or actual participation whatever.
4. “By reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope." The meaning of this, we conceive to be, that God brought the posterity of Adam into conscious being, notwithstanding his sin, and notwithstanding they would be thereby “subject to vanity,” hecause he had determined to redeem the world-hence this subjection to vanity was connected with hope, and the means of salvation.
5. By the groaning, travailing, waiting, and earnest expectation of the creature, we understand that consciousness of guilt, and wretchedness, and desire and expectation of a moral and spiritual deliverer, which generally prevailed, anterior to the coming of Christ.
6. By the deliverance spoken of in the 21st verse, I understand the removal of the darkness and evils of mau's natural and unenlight. ened state; the general relief which the gospel proffers to man, and which, in those who improve it, is heightened into the “glorious liberty of the sons of God."
In the 230 verse, he goes on to say, that as the whole creation, or race as a whole, look for the gospel state, so we, (who now enjoy the gospel state,) who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves, groan within ourselves, waiting for the a loption, 10 wit, the relemption o: our bo lies- waiting for that higher stale to which we are heirs through Christ-the resurrection of our bodies, and eternal life.-[Time expired.
(MR. AUSTIN'S SIXTH SPEECH.] Gentlemen Moderators :-In regard to the fact whether Origen was, or was not, the author of the system of Atonement I described in my last speech, it is of little moment. That he had imbibei some heathen errors, notwithstanding his belief in the great doctrine of the final redemption of all mankind, which he had received from the direct successors of the Apostles, is very probable, considering the age in which he lived. But the material point respecting the matter under consideration, is that the childish and ridiculous theory referred to, was the form in which the modern doctrine of the Atonement was held when it first showed its distorted visage in the Christian church-indicating beyond all possible doubt, that it was a gross heathen notion, surreptitiously engrafted into Christianity, during an age of ignorance. This is a position which cannot be overthrown.
Elder Holmes in rather dolorous tones, reminds us that he is here alone, with none to assist him in carrying forward the laborious task in which he is engaged. I grieve for the helpless state of my friend, and sincerely sympathize with him in the cheerless prospect before him. Engaged in the support of doctrines, at which his own good heart and sound reason both revolt--perplexed beyond measure, in weakening in the slightest degree, the self-evident and overwhelming arguments which the doctrine of Impartial Grace, ever furnishes its advocates-striving to introduce something in the form of Negative Arguments, that shall present at least some show of plausibility, yet not succeeding in getting one, that even touches the question-with none to aid him in extricating himself from the labyrinthian toils in which he is involved-most assuredly he is to be pitied !! We have all seen that he has been nearly alone here, from the beginning, although the country is full of Methodist and other partialist ciergymen, and scores of them could have been present, if they had pleased. There must be a cause for this ominous absence. It cannot be that they have not all confidence in Elder Holmes to defend their sentiments, as ably and successfully as any man in their ranks. I am satisfied the true secret of their absence is to be found in their want of confidence in their cause!! They know too well its weakness its tottering foundation---the readiness with which its absurd doctrines can be scattered to the winds of heaven-to be present to witness the trial. Hence, like prudent men who
wish to avoid mortification, they stay away! The Elder inquires how many of my ministering brethren render me assistance? I answer, there is little need of aid from any quarter, when a controversialist of ordinary capacity has the TRUTH to defend. As to the Brother* writing at my side, to whom the Elder has alluded, I would state that so far from rendering me assistance, his every moment is occupied in taking down the discussion, pro and con, for his own use and benefit.
Before noticing farther the last speech of my friend, I will introduce my Ninth Argument. It is based on
THE JUSTICE OF GOD. PROPOSITION.–1. God is infinitely Just. 2. His Justice will remedy all moral evil-rectify whatever is wrong in man--and restore harmony in the moral Universe. 3. Justice between the Creator and the creature, requires and will secure, the everlasting good of all mankind.
Proof.–1. God is infinitely Just.—“Just and right is he.? (Deut. xxxii. 4.) "A Just God and a Savior."-(Isa. xlv. 21.) - Just and true are thy ways, thou King of Saints."—(Rev. xv. 3.) "Shall mortal man be more just than God ?!!-(Job. iv. 17.) Justice is a fundamental principle in the government which Deity exercises over man.—“Justice and Judgment are the habitation of thy throne.”—(Ps. Ixxxix. 14.) All men are the subjects of God's Justice. So long as their existence continues, they will be amenable to its demands. It is infinitely perfect, and its claims must all be fulfilled.
2. His justice will remedy all moral evil—rectify whatever is wrong in man-and restore harmony in the moral universe. What is the noture of Justice? It is simply Right. What is the claim the requirement of Justice ? It claims that whatever wrong is enacted in the universe, shall be remedied. What is the office of Justice? It is to see that every violation of the infinite principle of Right, shall be amended and healed, and that all the effects of evil shall be destroyed!
I am aware this view of Justice, its nature and office, is widely different from that entertained by my friend opposite, and the socalled Evangelical world. But if there is any one point on which they err more than another, it is in their views of God's justice. As they represent it, its entire nature is simply to demand' suffering, pain and agony! Its whole office is to inflict stripes, anguish, and wretchedness! It desires nothing more-it does nothing more. When an erring child of mortality, blinded by passion, or deceived by temptation, inflicts injury on his fellow being, or the community by the infraction of some wholesome law, Justice, (according to the prevailing theory,) turns and inflicts injury on him-and that setiles the account ! Justice as thus held, has no interest in the welfare of the guilty-no desire to reform—to bring back to
* Rov. C. 6. Brown, of Virgil, N. Y.