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character of a Savior. O consistency, thou art a jewel! But more of this hereafter, when I shall take occasion to show why the gentleman has left the death of Christ out of his argument. I now proceed to consider the attributes of God, and the kind and amount of evidence they furnish, for the settlement of the question relative to the final condition of men.
The attributes of God--independent of revelation and matter of fact, do not furnish susficient data, from which to infer anything with certainty, respecting the future destiny of man. This is evident from the following considerations :
1. God cannot give us a perfect acquaintance with himself, because of our inability to comprehend infinity. The attributes can be comprehended in their nature and moral bearings, fully, only by God himself. Hence, conclusions drawn from the attributes of God, are drawn from premises we do not understand; and the uncertainty of our conclusions, must correspond with the imperfections of our knowledge of the premises whence they are drawn.
2. The attributes of God do not, of themselves, enable us to determine the moral turpitudle of sin--nor how much punishment the sinner deserves a point which must be understood, before we can determine the question for the final holiness and happiness of all men, vith any precision.
3. The attributes of God do not determine the question of man's future existence—much less his future salvation. The resurrection of the boly, and the immortality of the soul, cannot be proved from the attributes of God. Hence, the divine altributes do not, of themselves, determine anything conclusively respecting the future destinies of men.
4. There are two ways, and only two, in which we may determine what is, or is not, consistent with the divine attributes, viz : his express declarations in the Bible, and the facts which exist under his government. If we ascertain that any thing is consistent with the divine attributes, God must reveal it to us; and this revelation must be made in one of the ways just named. If Universalists can prove that all men will be unconditionally restored to holiness and happiness, by the revelation of God, or by actual facts, under the present government of God, we shall be bound to believe that such restoration and salvation are consistent with the attributes of God. But if, on the contrary, we can adduce testimony from the same sources, which goes to establish the contrary opinion, then we are bound to admit that the contrary is consistent with the perfections of God. To say nothing of the testimony of divine revelation at present, what are the actual facts, as they exist nou, under the government of God? Do not sin and misery now exist, in all their blighting influence, on human hopes and happiness ? and have they not so existed for six thousand years? This is a fact, and as a fact, it proves most incontestably, that the attributes of God do, under certain circum
stances, admit, or permit, the existence of sin and misery, where it is introduced by the voluntary action of moral beings. Now, as the attributes of God are always the same, that which is now consistent with the attributes of God, will, under the same circumstances, always be consistent. The moral influence of the divine attributes is as great now, as it ever will be; but this moral influence allows sin and misery now to exist; hence, there is no proof arising from the attributes of God, that these obstacles to human happiness will ever be destroyed. So far from this, the fact that they now exist, is presumptive proof, in the absence of any express declaration to the contrary, that they will exist for ever. God's moral government takes its character from his moral attributes : hence, what is consistent with his government, is also consistent with his attributes. But it is reconcilable with the equity and purity of God's moral government, that sin and misery should now exist, otherwise they would cease to exist, at once, and for ever. Moreover, the government of God is, in its fundamental principles, as changeless as are his attributes, and as eternal as the design and object which called it into being. But it is a fact, that the government of God now permits sin and misery; hence, in the absence of all proof to the contrary, the fact of their actual existence, is presumptive evidence that they will always exist. As moral evil does exist, under a government, changeless and eternal, we cannot be assured that it will terminate, without explicit information to this effect, from the Governor himself. Thus you see, so far as the evidence of facts is concerned, the argument from the attributes of God, is clearly in my favor. Facts are stubborn things, and we have proved by matters of fact, that the existence of sin and misery is consistent with the attributes of God, and his moral government. Now, if Mr. Austin can adduce facts, equally tangible and clear, that sin and misery will all be destroyed, at any time hereafter, then the argument will be as strong for him as for me, and no stronger. But until he does this, he must give up the argument from the attributes of God. Thus much for the general argument.
We may now apply these principles to the divine attributes, separately. For example, the holiness of God. My friend may argue, God is holy—“of purer eyes than to behold iniquity – therefore, all men will be finally holy and happy. My answer is, God is holy, therefore, all men are holy and happy. Is this latter conclusion true ? Certainly not. How, then, can the former be true? Are they not both founded on the holiness of God? One sustains exactly the same relation to the divine holiness, that the other does : hence, if one be sound, both must be; if one be false, both are false. But my conclusion is false; a thousand facts stare us in the face, and tell us it is false : hence, the divine holiness gives us no proof, that Mr. Austin's conclusion is true. Again : let the gentleman select the goodness of God as his star
ting point. God is good—“ his tender mercies are over all his works;" therefore, all men will be finally holy and happy. I answer, God is good; therefore all menare holy and happy. The conclusion is precisely as sound in my argument as in his. And here we are conducted to the same conclusion as above, viz. both deductions are false. That which does not produce present salvation, can afford, of itself, no assurance of salvation at any future time. The same result will be arrived at, if we start with the wisdom of God, or any other one of the divine perfections. It is as certain, therefore, as matter of fact can make it, that the entire string of arguments displayed before this audience, based on various elements of divine character, are so many splendid sophisms, ornamented with beautiful imagery, and delivered with eloquence and animation, to take the popular ear, but possessing not one particle of logical force or soundness.
I now present my fifth Negative Argument. I argue against the proposition which alledges the holiness and happiness of all men, from the fact, that the system, of which it is the soul and centre, teaches the degrading and infidel doctrine, that the soul is material and mortal.
1. This is a direct and unavoidable inference, from the view taken of sin and its source. Ballou, Rogers, Whittemore, and J. M. Austin, and many others, including a host of those who only express their views in the pulpit and private circle, say, distinctly, that all sin proceeds from our physical or bodily nature. If this be true, then of course, as the body dies, and is dissolved, that which sins dies, and is dissolved. But the Bible predicates sin of the soul. “ The soul that sinneth, it shall die." Sin and virtue are predicated of the soul alone; hence, Universalism must deny the Bible doctrine, that the soul commits sin, or identify the body and soul as the same agent, and thus deny the existence of the soul, only as identical with the body: the body and soul are one and inseparable. Hence, when the body dies, the soul dies; the body is the soul, and the soul is the body; both die, and are dissolved together: the soul, therefore, is material and mortal. In confirmation of the above, Rev. Mr. Everett, in his appendix to Life of Murray, says: “It is not now admitted, by Universalists generally, that man possesses two natures." p. 279. But if man has but one nature, that one nature is identical with his body, and dies with it, from which it follows, Universalism is materialism.
2. The materialism of Universalism, is a direct and unavoidable inference, from the means to be employed for effecting, and the tiine fixed upon for the commencement of the holiness and happiness of all men. Now, the means employed are embraced in ihe general resurrection of mankind-the time for the beginning of man's holy and happy state, is that in which the resurrection takes place. In his debate with Mr. Rice, Mr. Pingree laid it down as his main and leading proposition, that at the gen
eral resurrection, not before, men are to be made holy, and saved, and yet he denies the existence of punishment after death. Such, also. is the doctrine of Mr. A. C. Thomas, as given in his debate with Dr. Ely, who says, “I hold to no future life and immortality, save that which will be consequent of a resurrection from the dead." The life and immortality in which Mr. Thomas believes, must rise from the dead, before it can exist. That is, all there is of man, dies when the body dies, and remains dead until the resurrection, and all of man that lives after the resurrection, rises from the dead at the resurrection. Here is bare-faced materialism. The same ground was taken by Mr. Biddlecom, in a discussion at Lexington, with Rev. J. H. Power. Ballou and Balfour, and Universalists generally, believe and teach the same doctrine.
Now look at the necessary conclusion from these premises. Men are not to be made holy and happy until the general resurrection, and yet these teachers tell us, there is no punishment after death : but if the soul is neither happy nor unhappy, between death and the resurrection, the conclusion is inevitable—it ceases to bem-dies with the body, and remains dead until restored by the resurrection. Here again is materialism.
3. The materiality and mortality of the soul, is directly asserted by Universalism. It is well known that Mr. Balfour, perhaps the most distinguished writer of the fraternity, has written much to refute the immortality of the soul. He calls it “heathen chaff," and says he has "turned it out of doors as a heathen intruder." Again: in his Inquiry, he says, “man comes into the world and dies similar to the brute creation”--that is, death ends his existence as.it does that of the brute, only man is to have a resurrection. Lefever, editor of the Gospel Anchor, denies the immortality of the soul-maintains that the mind, and mental phenomena, are the results of physical organization, and that the mind perishes with the body. Again : "when the body dies,” the soul “will of course cease to exist," vol. 2, p. 305. Such is the general, not to say universal, testimony of writers on Universalism. Such is Universalism, on one of the most important and interesting doctrines of human existence. Indeed, the views taken of sin, of punishment, and of the resurrection, and many of the proofs adduced in support of the main proposition of the system, require this ground to be taken. To be a thorough-going, consistent Universalist, is to be a materialist-to believe that when our earthly existence terminates, we die like an old dog, or an old horse, and cease to exist in a conscious state.
My next Negative Argument is, that Universalism is false, because it denies the doctrine of future retribution, and confines the rewards and punishments of men wholly to this life.
Such is the doctrine of Ballou. A. Č. Thomas, who professes to speak the sentiments of his denomination at large, Rogers,
Williamson, Lefever, and Pingree, speak the same sentiment. The “ Universalist book of Reference," published by Guild and Hyattt, devotes some 40 pages to the work of denying both reward and punishment in a future state. The “ Gospel Anchor," (vol. 2, p. 289.) has the following language: "Immortality is the gift of God, totally unconnected with our conduct in the flesh." This general and broad denial of the doctrine of future retribution, is a flat contradiction of the argument from analogy, and of the plain declarations of God's word.
The argument from analogy, embracing matters of fact which come under the observation of every man, teaches most positively, that the consequences of the actions of men extend, in their influence, far beyond the actual occurrence of the actions themselves. Every man knows that his conduct to-day will, more or less, influence his happiness to-morrow; his conduct this year, is creating an influence for weal or woe, which will be carried forward in his history, to exert a material control over his condition and happiness next year, and it may be, for many years to come. From these facts, (which my friend will not dispute,) the inference is fair and legitimate, and cannot be set aside by any fair course of reasoning, our conduct in this life, will send forward an influence to the future life, which will control, in an important sense, our condition and happiness then. The validity of this argument depends on the stability and uniformity of the laws of the natural and moral world, in their influence upon moral character and human happiness. But in denying future retribution, Universalism also gives the lie to God's word, which, on this point, is as plain and emphatic as is possible, or as could be desired.
I call your attention to the following passages; "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."-(1 Tim.iv.8.) Here the influence of God is said to go with us, and be profitable too, in the future world. Matt. vi. 19.--"Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth.
* But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal." Luke xiv. 12.--" Then said he also to him that bade him, when thou makest a dinner, or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy rich neighbors; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind; and thou shalt be blest: for they cannot recompense thee : for thou shalt be recompensed, at the resurrection of the just." Here we are taught that our chief reward, for a course of benevolence and piety, is to be looked for after this life; that there is a resurrection peculiar to the just, and a peculiar reward for the just, at that resurrection. Luke xii. 33. — Sell that ye have, and give alms : provide yourselves bags which wax not old,