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I have already dwelt on this point at large, and it certainly can. not be necessary that I should repeat what I have said. "I will therefore only give it a passing notice, by calling your attention to the main features in my argument. Mr. Austin sets up the doctrine here, that God's will is absolute. By this he means that it does not depend upon conditions, or contingencies involved in the agency of man-that God's will takes place—must and will be effected in the salvation of all men, regardless of all conditions and contingencies: that is, that man's final salvation depends solely and entirely upon the absolute, independent and unchangeable sovereignty of God, irrespective of human agency or human conluct. The mere statement of a proposition of this kind, would seem to be sufficient to place it under the interdict of common
That anything farther should be required by intelligent minds, might be matter of surprise, had not all occasion of surprise been removed by the most strange and fantastic notions already presented and advocated in this debate. The gentleman seems perfectly blind and reckless in regard to the consequences such a proposition draws after it. Only grant him the ultimatum for which he contends, and he is perfectly indifferent as to the process by which it is secured.
1. Mr. Austin's notion of an absolute will of delermination, destroys the moral character of God's government as to final results ; and if his government be not moral in its final results, it cannot be in its intermediate steps; this, then, would annihilate moral government entirely.
2. It robs man of his moral and responsible character. He cannot be a moral being, who is not held responsible for the final results of his conduct.
3. By taking away man's moral character, my friend also robs him of his power of moral happiness. Moral responsibility and the power of moral happiness, are inseparably associated. Without the former, though a being might possess physical enjoy: ment, he could not be a proper subject of moral happiness. If the gentleman thinks he has, by his process of reasoning, annihilated hell, let him also understand he has annihilated heaven.
4. The notion of absolute will, is not supported by the philological argument, nor do the examples furnished by scripture present any proof that the original “Thelei” is used in this sense, in regard to the ultimate destiny of men.
5. is directly contrary to the plainest teachings of the Bible. We can know nothing of God's will, except as revealed to us. If God has any will other than his revealed will, I have yet to learn what it is, and how known. God's will must harmonize with his promises, and all his promises are connected with conditions, either expressed or implied. It is the clearly revealed will of God, that the holy and obedient should be saved, and that the wicked and unbelieving should be damned : and no sophis
HOLMES' TENTH REPLY
try or metaphysical refinements can explain it away. When God would raise up a peculiar people, he chose Abram as the instrument, through whom to effect his purpose. But had Abram refused to leave his country and kindred, he would have forfeited the honor which God proposed to put upon him, and another would have taken his place; just as Saul was rejected from being King over Israel, and the throne delivered to David. Does my friend think Saul would have been rejected, if he had been oberlient-or that Abram would have been retained and blessed, as the father of many nations, if he had been disobedient? Or does he suppose the obedience of the one, and the disobedience of ihe other, were alike the effects of God's absolute will? If this latier be his conclusion, the subject is loaded with still greater dificulty, since, not only is the scripture contradicted, but the character of God presented in an hypocritical and tyrannical light-as punishing Saul, and commending and rewarding Abraham, for the results of his ouen absolute will. The sophistry and perversion running through all my friend's reasoning, is in supposing God will carry out conditional purposes and designs, whether the conditions are met or not.
6. This notion of absolute will, makes God the efficient and only author of all sin. The gentleman can no more avoid this conclusion, than he can make a new world.
7. Finally, it disproves the great object at which he aims, viz. the final holiness and happiness of all men. If God's will be absolute, it is utterly impossible to prove that all men will be saved --since it does not now exclude sin and misery from the universe. As sin and misery are now consistent with God's will of absolute determination, it follows, for all the gentleman can show to the contrary, they may always continue so. I trust the foregoing is suflicient, and that I shall not be obliged to recur to the subject again.
The 16th Argument of Mr. Austin, is drawn from the fact that all men are prayed for. Here my friend contended a long while for what no one disputes—that it has been, and is, the general practice of Christiars to pray for all men. But did he ever hear an intelligent Christian pray that God would act in contradiction to the established principles of his government? Prayer is effica. cacious in procuring spiritual influence to effect human salvation ; but no intelligent Christian expects this influence conferred, except in harmony with the laws of mind, the constitution and relations of man- and the plan of salvation ; no one expects, or prays, that God would make all men holy and happy, simply because he has sufficient physical power to control their wills, and huddle them all into heaven. But, how should a Universalist pray for all men ? Let us see: “Lord, though the world was never lost, and never
be-though no man ever did forfeit his final salvation, and could, if he should try--yet we pray thee to save all men with
an everlasting salvation ; and though we do not believe that anything Christ has done, or can do, will ever effect the final state of men, or make their final happiness any more sure than it would have been if Christ had never visited our world, yet we beseech thee to answer this our prayer, for Christ's sake. Amen.” When I last ceased speaking, I was engaged in quoting and commenting on the scripture proofs of Universalism. And here I will make a proposition to Mr. Austin. If he will produce one clear passage from God's word, which assures us that salvation in a future state is, in no sense, suspended on conditions, or the agency of man, I promise to give up the point, and suspend the discussion. He knows there is no such language in the Bible; hence, the position he holds, so far as scripture is concerned, is mere assumption. The last text I named, as claimed by Universalists, was taken from Isaiah liii. 11th.-" He shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied.” Our explanation of this is, that God, who is bound by his holiness and justice as well as his character of governor, to respect and sustain his own law, saw the travail of his (Christ's) soul, and was satisfied ;-the moral value of the atonement of Christ, was sufficient to vindicate the law, and allow the exercise of divine clemency towards the sinner.
It is said in this chapter, that Christ“shall bear our iniquities,” and that “by his stripes we are healed.” Mr. Austin attempts to avoid the force of this language as proof of a vicarious atonement, by referring to the fact, that he bore our infirmities.” This is true, but the manner in which he did it, is abundantly explained. By his miraculous power, he cured the diseases of the sick and infirm. It is nowhere said that he “ bore our sicknesses and infirmities" in "his own body," or that “we are healed” in this respect,
“by his stripes," both which are said in regard to his atonement, and the nature and efficacy of his sufferings for us as sinners.
Isaiah xlv. 22–25.-" Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear. Surely shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength; even to him shall men come ; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.” On this I remark,
First-Dr. Clarke understands this paragraph to embrace a prediction of the general spread of the gospel among the nations of the earth, which we know to be predicted in the Bible in various places. The word of God has gone forth, that the gospel shall be preached in all the world. “ Surely shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength,”~he regards as the words of Cyrus, acknowledging God as the author of his successes. But if we suppose the whole passage to refer to the future and final state of men in another world, it is difficult to see how it can be
pressed into the service of Universalism, since the language employed requires us to make a marked distinction between the righteous and wicked. This seems plain from the foilowing facts: 1. It is the "seed of Israel” who are to be justified and glory in the Lord. This language is never employed to designate all mankind; its most extensive signification would embrace only the literal Jcws and spiritual Israelites, who became so by faith. 2. It is said —" all those who are incensed against him, shall be ashamed." These are presented in direct contrast to the seed of Israel, who are to be justified, and glory in the Lord. 3. In Rom. xiv. 11th, St. Paul uses this passage to illustrate the proceedings of the day of judgment, when every man “must give account of himself to God”—when the righteous shall glory in the Lord, and those who are "incensed against him, shall be ashamed.” Thus, you see, so far from establishing Universalism, this paragraph teaches a doctrine directly the reverse of it.
Psalm ii. 8—"Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” This is a prediction of the general spread of the gospel in the earth, in view of which the “ Kings and Judges of the earth are exhorted to " be wise," and submit to its claims, and are admonished that a refusal will incur divine displeasure—“ lest ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.”(verse 12.) No Universalism here. Eph. i. 9.-" Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself; that in the dispensation of the fullness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth ; even in him, in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things things after the counsel of his own will.”
The “mystery of God's will,” in this paragraph, is the purpose of God to make the Gentiles partakers of gospel blessings, on a footing of equality with the Jews. This was hidden from the Jews, until revealed throngh Christ. “The fullness of times,” is the proper period for developing this benevolent design of heaven. To "gather together in one, all things in Christ,” relates to the actual execution of this purpose of God ihrough Jesus Christ, who broke down the middle wall of partition, and offered salvation to Jew and Gentile, on the same terms. To predestinate, and“ work all things after the counsel of his own will,” is to form a purpose of general benevolence respecting his subjects, and execute that purpose in accordance with the principles of his government, and the agency of man. In this way, the Apostle and those to whom he was writing, had “obtained inheritance in Christ,” being chosen to salvation “ through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.” For “whom God did foreknow, (as believing the
ind being sanctified by the Spirit,) them he did predestinate to
be conformed to the image of his Son :” and by consequence, whom he foreknew, (as rejecting the truth) them he predestinated to the consequences of their sin and unbelief. Hence the language of the great commission, “ He that believeth not, shall be damned.”
Mait, v. 44.—“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate,” &c. From this, Universalists argue, that God will save all men in heaven, whether they become reconciled to him or not. The passage teaches our duty to be kind and forgiving in our intercourse with one another, but gives us no assurance of inevitable, universal salvation. Our Lord explains this latter point, as well as the application of divine love to the subject of human salvation, when he says,
" God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life.” Philip. iii. 21." Viho shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdne all things unto himself.” On this we remark, 1. This passage refers to the second coming of Christ, and the resurrection of the human body-here denominated “our vile body." Universalism denies the resurrection of the body as here taught-and maintains, that it is not“ our vile body,” (the same we have here) but some other body, which is to be possessed at the resurrection. 2. The 18th, 19th verses make a clear distinction of character and destiny, by describing certain characters, denominated “enemies of the cross of Chrisi, and “whose end is destruction.” 3. Being "able to subdue all things to himself,” is no proof of universal salvation. Though taken in connection with his promises and threatenings, it is proof that he will fulfill the former in the final felicity of his people, and execute the latter upon his enemies, in the literal realization of the words of the context, “whose end is destruction.”
Philip. ii. 9-12.—“Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” There are three things set forth in this paragraph. 1. The reason why God has highly exalted Christ : "he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” 2. The obligation to confess Christ, growing out of his character and exaltation : “ that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” This obligation rests upon all intelligent creatures. 3. The nature of the confession : “confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” This is not an assurance of unconditional, universal salvation, but it is a pledge of his final coming to judge the world, when he will be seen and acknowledged in his true character, even by those who have rejected him.
“ disallow” Christ here, but then he will vindicate his