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Determine to punish him forever, he can resist and overthrow it, and escape all punishment. The scriptures most emphatically teach that the creature has no power to withstand the Creator's Will. Says God—“ Is my hand shortened at all, that it CANNOT redeem? Or have I no POWER to deliver ?”—Isa. 1. 2. YES, says my brother on the opposite side of the house, God's hand IS shortened by man's agency! God's power to deliver IS contracted and destroyed by the power of the creature !! God's hand is so shortened that it cannot save those he has Willed to save, and whom he sent his Son to save!! Not so! replies the Inspired Word—“ Behold, the Lord's hand IS NOT SHORTENED, that it cannot save !-neither his ear heavy that it cannot hear.” (Isa. lix. 1.) Shall we believe God, or the Presiding Elder?
Jehovah's Will is superior to man's will, and brings it into subjection at any time when he thinks proper. “God hath put it into iheir hearts to FULFILL his WILL.”—(Rev. xvii. 17.) " He saith to Moses, I WILL have mercy on whom I WILL have mer. cy, and I WILL have compassion on whom I WILL have compassion. So then, it is not of him (man,] that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.”-(Rom. ix. 15. 16.) “Of his own WILL begat he us, with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures."-(James i. 18.) " It is God which WORKETH in you, both to WILL, and to DO, of his good pleasure.”—(Phil. ii. 13.) “A new heart also, WILL I give you, and a new spirit WILL I put within you ; and I WILL take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I WILL give you a heart of flesh. And I WILL put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”—(Ezek. xxxvi. 26. 27.) These passages show that man's will cannot withstand or defeat God's; and that whatever he Wills, he is able to accomplish.
How destructive to all hope of future happiness to any man, is the position of my opponent, that because God's Will that all shall be saved is not accomplished now, it never will be! Elder Holmes is not saved now-he is not yet redeemed from the dominion of sin, and pain, and sorrow, although it is the Will of God that he shali be ? ' Is this proof that he never will be thus saved, but will en. dure these evils in the next world and forever? If his principle in regard to the inefficiency of God's Will holds good, in respect to the salvation of all men, it holds good in relation to his own salvation! There was a time when the Apostles were not saved, and had not come to the knowledge of the truth, although it was God's Will they should. Was that any evidence they never would be. To say because a thing which God has Willed is not done to-day, it never will be, is most illogical and childish reasoning. Jehovah's purposes and works are progressive! His Will is formed in express reference to man's progression from imperfection to PERFEC
Hence it is not ultimate in regard to man's condition in this
life. It aims at its complete fulfillment only in the final state to which the human race shall at last arrive. Because all men are not saved this moment, it is no evidence they will not ultimately be brought to truth and salvation, as God's Will shall mature, and arrive at its designed consummation. And when the Creator's Will shall coine to its final result, then all men will be in a condition that will accord with its original and ultimate purpose.
What confidence can be placed in Deity, in his Word, his Promise, his Oath even, by any portion of mankind, if his Will can be frustrated ? He may Will, he may Design, to do every thing he has promised, but that Will and Design may be overthrown by some subordinate being! If his Will is liable to be defeated, all good and pious men, may hereafter be plunged into endless burnings; and the most impious and sinful of creatures may take possession of the Courts of Heaven, and expelling God, and Christ, and Angels, may hold a grand Bacchanalian Revelry throughout Eternity !!! Of what avail is it to say, that God will not suffer this to take place? He may be overthrown and defeated by his own creatures. If they can withstand and destroy his Will and Purpose at one me, and for a single hour, they may at another time, and forever !!
If a human being can frustrate God's Will here, he can frustrate it hereafter, and through endless time!! Is it said the Deity may allow his Will to be overthrown at one time, and not allow it at another time? This would be the CROWNING ABSURDITY!! Common sense would reply to such a suggestion !
The Third Negative Argument of my friend, is that Universalism is confused and contradictory in its proofs. The consideration of this objection need detain me but a few moments. So far from denying, I readily admit, there are a variety of ways in which the truth of Universal Salvation can be sustained. A complete class of arguments can be drawn from Nature's works and laws-another class can be obtained from Analogy-another from Reason and another from the Scriptures. The defenders of the ultimate and universal reign of righteousness and bliss, draw their arguments from either, or all these various departments, as their taste or their judgment may decide. But surely to a discriminating mind, the abundance and variety of arguments in defence of a system, cannot be an evidence of its falsity! I know different advocates of Universalism, defend the doctrine on different grounds.But that one is compelled to use arguinents which kill those advanced by another-or that there is any contradiction in the various processes by which its believers sustain the ultimate salvation of all men, I distinctly deny! The Elder has shown no such contradiction, and can show none. We may hold different and opposite views on minor points, as it is the case with members of alí denominations. But on the great arguments which support the doc
trine of God's impartial grace and the world's final redemption, there is no collision and no confusion in our midst !!
To say that the process by which the Elder attempts to show the contradictions of Universalism, is supremely ridiculous, does not describe its entire character-it is deceitful, and abounds with wilful misrepresentations of the views of Universalists. Nothing can be more easy than to separate the links of any system of doctrines, and after distorting them in every possible manner, and putting them together to suit the unscrupulous dissecter, make them wear an appearance of contradiction. But is this an honorable and manly procedure? In prosecuting this attempt, lie says if the sinner does not deserve endless perdition, and God has no law 10 inflict it, then he was never lost, nor in danger of being lost, and hence cannot be saved by the death of Christ. In this declaration, to make a contradiction in Universalism, he covetly takes for granted that to be lost, is to be in a condition of endless perdition ; and to be saved, is to be rescued from such a state. But all this labor is thrown away, when it is known that to be lost, or to be suved, has no connection with endless perdition. When the scrip. lures speak of the lost, they refer to those who are lost in sin and error-and when they speak of salvation, it is a salvation, not from endless perdition, but from that condition of sin and error in which the lost are involved. Hence it does not follow that because Christ saves sinners, they must have been exposed to eternal perdition.
He says Universalists believe that after the resurrection, all will be saved, because they will no longer have a sinful body; and that men are saved by the resurrection. This is wilful misrepresentation. We believe no such sentiments. The resurrection does not save any man. It introduces mankind into a higher state of being, and cloihes them with bodies which shall be incorruptible, powerful, spiritual and glorious! (See 1st Cor. xv. 42–44.) Our trust is that men will be saved—i. e. rescued from sin, error and imperfection-not by the resurrection, nor because they will no longer have sinful bodies; but by the instruction and purification they will receive through Christ their great teacher, and because they are the objects of God's love and grace.
To help make out his meagre and groundless catalogue of Universalist contradictions, Mr. Holmes represents us as believing that God created man imperfect-(he afterwards declared that Universal. ists believe that man was created imperfect and impure)—and then insists that according to our views, when all men are restored, they must be brought back to their original condition of imperfection. My opponent borrowed this truly brilliant idea, from a brother Methodist clergyman of his, with whom I once held a discussion. He should have given that gentleman the credit of its paternity.The force and wit of this position, as is usual with the efforis of these opposers of God's truth, grow solely from the misrepresentation on which it rests. Elder Holmes must have known he was
charging us with what we do not believe. He is not so stupid as to suppose we believe mankind were created impure or imperfect. Universalists believe men are created-not impure or imperfect, but pure and innocent, yet subject to imperfection, from their very naiure as progressive beings and moral agents. Hence the restoration of all men through Christ, which the Bible so plainly teaches, is a restoring of the race to the original condition of purity and innocence in which they are formed, and from which they fail by giving way to sinful temptations.
Elder Holmes declares that my views are greatly confused -that sometimes I make punishment, repentance—and then repentance, punishment; and that I have frequently transposed ihese terms. This is another sheer misrepresentation. I have made no such declarations--no such transpositions. Our hearers are much better qualified to judge in this matter than my opponent. They will at least judge more impartially and candidly. My views, as all know who have understood them, are perfectly clear on this subject. Repentance is not punishment. It follows punishment, and can in no case be experienced without it.' Punishment is built one of the various means by which repentance is induced. The two things are distinct, and I have so represented them. That my arguments have confused the Elder, I have no doubt. But it is evident to all, if not to himself, that the confusion is not in the arguments, but in his own head!! My poor friend, in the inextricable entanglements in which he is involved, is like the drunken man, who forsooth, imagines all the rest of the world intoxicated, and himself the only sober being on earth!!
Mr. Holmes says we represent that when the sinner repents, his punishment ceases. And he insists this is the same principle as it would be to contend that when a man stops running in debt to a merchant, that act pays all demands. The wit of this representation becomes pointless, when its inapplication is seen. Punishment is reformatory. Repentance follows punishment, and is not its substitute. To punish a man until he repents, is not to increase his sin until he repents, but the effect is the reverse. In receiving punishment, the sinner is paying the debt he owes to Justice. Genuine, heart-felt repentance, is the evidence that the punishment is received--that the debt is paid. It is the receipt which the debtor exhibits to the merchant, showing that the bill is cancelled in full.
Elder Holmes' Fourth Negative Argument, is that according to Universalism, there is no such thing as salvation! Here is an argument of irresistible power!! The scriptures declare in positive terms the salvation of all men-every legitimate deduction from God's attributes supports this doctrine-reason asserts its propriety and consistency -the great FACT is established by irresistible arguments drawn, from from every conceivable source. Yet it cannot be truc, simply because its advocates err in their views of the nature of salvation !! This is a specimen of my brother's log
ic! Suppose Universalists do err in their understanding of the process or the nature of salvation, pray what evidence is this, that all men will not be saved in whatever is the true way? We believe salvation is a process by which the Redeemer through the gospel influences of chastisement, repentance, and faith, saves mankind from sin and death. This is all the salvation of which the scriptures speak. I have already shown what is to be understood by saving men from sin.* If my friend is not satisfied with this, perhaps he had better instruct God's inspired servants, and get a new revelation on the subject. He says that according to Donnegan, the Greek word translated “salvation,” signifies a restoration to moral health! Very well; there could be no better explanation of the Universalist's view of salvation. We believe that the fruit, the final result of the Mediatorial reign of Christ, will be the RESTORATION of all mankind to moral health! His reference to the views of Ballou, Thomas and Pingree, cannot effect the subject in the least degree. Were we to allow that they confined salvation to this life-a position, however, which I do not believe they have ever taken,)—and that they erred in this opinion, it would in no possible respect, invalidate the arguments and the scripture testimony I am introducing, in proof that God in his own way, a
, and his own time, will at length, bring all men to holiness and happiness!!
Mr. Holmes says there is no salvation in Universalism, because il exerts no Evangelical influence. If by Evangelical influence, he means the frightening of men into religion, by doctrines of demons, and devils, and burning lakes, and bottomless gulfs, and all the clap-trap of modern Revival operations-or the deceiving of sinners, by the flattering falsehood, which has proved so falal to millions, that God has provided a way whereby they can violate his law, and plunge into wickedness, and yet escape all punishment-or the leading of men to place their hopes of salvation on their belief that Christ died in their stead, to placate the wrath of their heavenly Father, instead of plucing them on the grace of God --if these, I repeat, are Evangelical influences, then Universalism is not in these respects, Evangelical. But I insist the influences our system brings to bear on men's minds and hearts, are truly Evangelical. It warns them of the evil nature of sin-it assures them ihat wickedness is the great and only enemy of man; and that God has so arranged his government, that if they wilfully violate his commandments, a just punishment awaits them, from which they cannot escape. It declares to them the beauty and excellency of righteousness—the calm and sweet peace it sheds abroad in the hearts of those who practice it, and the certain reward wbich the righteous Judge of all, bestows upon them who obey and love him!! It calls upon the world not to trust to their own merits, as a ground of hope for future and endless joys. It exhorts them to believe in