« PreviousContinue »
(Rom. xi. 32.) How comprehensive these terms! All men were included in unbelief by their Creator. For what reason? The Calvinist replies, that he might reprobate the largest portion to endless agony!! The Methodist cannot away with a sentiment so heartless and cruel. He denies this, and insists that God included all men in unbelief, that OFFERS of mercy might be made to all; while he clearly foresaw before they were proffered, that the great majority would not accept them. In order to agree with the doctrines which my opponent and the partialist sects generally advocate, the Apostle should have written his language thus : - He hath concluded them ALL in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon a PART !!" But St. Paul believed no such sentiment. The all-important Truth which Divine Inspiration directed him to record, he has expressed in most clear and forcible language. “ He hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have MERCY upon ALL!!" Glorious declaration! Who can misunderstand it? Who can doubt its truth? Who can hesitate to enter into its belief!! Well might the Apostle, overwhelmed with the vastness, the grandeur, the glory of the precious sentiment he had just penned, burst forth in the sublime doxology--( the depth of the RICHES, both of the Wisdom and Knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!! * * * * For OF Him, and THROUGH Him, and TO Him, are ALL THINGS!! To whom be glory forever, Amen."
14. “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them-[i. e. in heaven, earth and sea,] heard I sayingBlessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, forever and ever!!"(Rev. v. 13.) Professor Stuart says-" Things in heaven, earth, and under the earth, is a common periphrasis of the Hebrew and New Testament writers, for the Universe.” And he adds, in reference to the passage just quoted— " If this be not spiritual worship, I am unable to produce a case where worship can be called spiritual and divine.” The entire universe, then, without one exception, will yet engage in paying spiritual and divine worship to God and the Lamb! Where is there room, in view of this mass of testimony, to indulge a doubt in regard to the final holiness and happiness of all mankind ?
Time would fail me to introduce an abundance of scripture testimony, yet remaining, all supporting in the strongest terms, the affirmative of this question. Here I rest the argument, and proceed to a consideration of as many of the declarations of my friend opposite, as the few moments remaining will allow.
Elder Holmes repudiates the doctrine of total depravity. He assures us he believes all men are brought into the world in a state
of moral purity. It gave me pleasure to hear this acknowledgment. I rejoice he has advanced from the modern evangelical theory, sufficiently far to reject the old and abhorrent sentiment of the depravity of infants. I trust he will maintain this ground, and not draw back from a position so honorable both to his heart and his head. On this he widely differs from the Cal. vinistic portion of the partialist ranks. They believe in total depravity, and election and reprobation. My friend spurns these doctrines--he repudiates and abhors them !! There is a radical and irreconcilable division upon this subject among the Evangelicals; and yet he talks of a few minor differences of opinion among Universalists, as positive evidence of the falsity of their distinguishing doctrine
In his distress to find something of weight to urge against a sentiment which his own heart loves, my friend flies again to the doctrine of future punishment. Suppose I allow all he has said on that subject, what does it amount to ? How does it touch the question in discussion, or come even within hailing distance of it? The question reads—" Is there sufficient evidence for believing that all men will be finally holy and happy?" Were the gentleman to prove what many Universalists believe, that men are punished thousands of years in the future world, what evidence would it be that all will not eventually become holy and happy? What difference can it make, so far as the argument is concerned, whether the wicked are punished a long, or a short period, or not at all, in the next existence, as long as scripture, reason and analogy prove that ultimately all will be brought to repentance and happiness? Whatever he may say on future punishment--however strongly he may prove it-has not the slightest bearing against the eventual salvation of all men. It must be plain to every observing mind, that the Elder's studied efforts to lug into the debate questions in regard to future punishment, the origin of sin, the materiality of the soul, and other matters have ing no necessary connection with the distinctive doctrine under discussion, evinces a melancholy lack of legitimate arguments, and his great desire to turn the attention of the audience from the true question, to collateral points, where he thinks there is more hope of success!
Mr. Holmes charges Universalism with teaching that it makes no difference how men live-that they have but to seize the pleasures of the present day, reckless of the future. In his ninth or tenth speech, he also cried out, in the sublime language of some doggerel rhymester—" No devil !-no hell!--no broad gate!!" And then burst forth in ejaculations of horror at the enormities of the doctrine of God's impartial grace. In the first place, let me state my conviction, that in making these declarations, he must have been fully aware he was wilfully misrepresenting the sentiments I advocate. He knows Universalism utters no such
language-holds out no such inducements—inculcates no such principles. These charges afford a fair specimen of the views and motives of a large class among partialist professors of religion. To worship and serve God from the promptings of love, gratitude, and filial respect—to lead a religious life, for the high satisfaction, the sweet peace, it day by day bestows upon the sincere christian--to be honest, virtuous, temperate, benevolent, from a love of these principles--does not seem ever to have entered their imaginations. They appear to consider religion to consist in a hurried scramble to get away from an omnipotent devil, and a flaming hell. This is the only object they can possibly conceive that calls for any religion. And if these things did not exist, if they were not under a continual terror in regard to them, many have confessed they would set no bounds to the gratification of the wicked passions which burn in their bosoms. Hence their surprise, that there can be any kind of true religion without resting on faith in the devil and hell; and hence the ridicule they attempt to cast on the idea, that a system without these notions as fundamental principles. can exert any moral restraint on those who adopt it. Universalists believe all the Bible says of the devil, and of hell. But they do not dress up these words in the borrowed fictions of heathenism!! He speaks of " seizing the pleasures of the present day'_by which he means sinful pleasures!
This is the light in which Elder Holmes and his class of religionists, view sin. They look upon it, and describe it--as he now does--as something desirable--something calculated to give great pleasure. And it is from this view of the pleasures of sin, that they seem led to look upon a religious life as a great “cross" --a heavy burthen, which christians are compelled very reluctantly to carry! While treading with tardy footsteps the way of duty, they appear to look with longing eyes to “the pleasant paths of sin," as a road they would like to travel and would, too, were it not for their fears.' Yea, one of the arguments on which they predicate the future reward of the righteous, is that God deprives them, in this life, of so many enjoyments and pleasures, which the wicked experience—and compels them to subject themselves to so many deprivations, while the sinful are prosperous and happy, that he ought to reward them, on the plainest principles of justice, with endless felicity hereafter!! Now, allow me to show the language which modern Orthodoxy addresses to men; and it shall be no misrepresentation of its teachings. It virtually says to the world—“It makes no difference how you LIVE; but it makes a great difference how you DIE!" You can " seize the pleasures of the present day"'--you can dance along the fiowery and delightful way of wicked indulgence--you can sin to your heart's content! Only be careful to DIE right! Be sure to REPENT before your departure, and give in your adhesion to the true Evangelical faith! Then you will enjoy two chances for happiness
you will taste all the pleasures of sin in this world, and at death be wafted into the enjoyments of endless bliss !!!
Universalism teaches another doctrine. Instead of saying it makes no difference how men live-instead of predicating every thing on the condition of the soul, at the exact moment of death -it declares that, so far as their enjoyments are concerned, EV. ERY THING depends on how they live!! It teaches that the way of piety and uprightness, of temperance and godliness, is a path full of ihe purest and highest enjoyments of life-that “wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace
-(Prov. iii. 17)-ihat" the path of the just is as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day"—(Prov.iv.18) -that no intelligent and moral being in this world, or any state of existence hereafter, can experience anything that can be called true happiness, except through the practice of the high principles of truth, morality and godliness! These are the only inlets of happiness to the human soul. On the other hand, it teaches that a life of sin, is necessarily a life of wretchedness--that “the way of the transgressor is hard"--(Prov. xii. 15)-- it cries, “woe unto the wicked! it SHALL be ill with him ; for the reward of his hands SHALL be given him"-(Isa. iii. 11)-it declares that " there is No peace to the wicked"--(Isa. Ivii. 21)—and that " though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished !" -(Prov. xi. 21.] Moreover, Universalism instructs men that sin is as destructive to the peace of the mind, as poison is to the health of the body! It rejoices to proclaim the great truth, that God has put into operation a class of means and influences through the reign of Christ, which will finally result in restoring all to obedience and happiness. But it distinctly declares that so long as men continue wicked, so long must they continue miserable; and that neither in this world, nor in the next, can they find the happiness which all desire, until they repent of sin, turn from its practice, and serve and love the living God! Can these representations lead men into sin ? Could it be any inducement for a man to break all his limbs, and endure the excruciating pain to which such an act would subject him, to inform him the surgeon would finally cure him! Our views may be illustrated by another figure: Here are two roads running parallel with each other. One is a straight, smooth, McAdamized way. It leads through green meadows and aromatic groves, and beside gently flowing
The sun always shines cheerfully upon it, and pleasant scenes present themselves on every hand. This is the Road of Righteousness. It leads directly to heaven, and gives those who walk therein, a sweet foretaste of joys to come. The other road leads over gloomy mountains-down frightful precipices, through dark gulfs! It abounds with deep quagmires and filthy pools, with mud and mire, with briars and brambles, and sharp cutting stones. Noxious reptiles breed in pestiferous sloughs,
and hissing serpents spit their poison at every step. Overhead hang black and threatening clouds, and on all sides desolation and dreariness prevail. This is the path of SIN, as Universalism describes it. Those who travel therein, find it a “hard way"-an “ up-hill work!" They pitch and flounder from side to side. Now they sink to the very eyes in noisome mire-now they are entangled in thorny brambles-and now they stumble down a rough precipice into the craggy gulf below. Thus, bruised, bleeding, covered with itching and painful sores, and with the stench of all conceivable filth, they drag their weary limbs along! To an individual who stands contemplating these two roads, and who perfeetly understands the nature of each, can it induce him to enter the path of sin, to inform him that at some future time during his painful journeying, he may hope that a benevolent hand will be stretched forth, to rescue him from his weary and painful way? Would he not have the strongest possible inducement to avoid it entirely? The good sense of each hearer will answer these questions. So, because Universalism teaches that God has prepared a plan to bring back those of his creatures who stray into sin, it can be no conceivable inducement to a rational mind, which has been properly instructed of the nature and consequences of sin, to plunge into its practice, and experience all its ills and woes!
My friend says I do not believe men would have been lost had Christ not come, and yet I build an argument in proof of the salvation of all men, on the Mission of Christ. This he conceives to be a great contradiction. It is certain the Elder's perception must be exceedingly obtuse, or he imagines those of our hearers are so. How shallow this objection! Why do I believe all men would have been saved, even if Christ had not come? Because the Father of man, who watches over the interests of all his children with unwearied faithfulness, would have adopted some other equally successful method to accomplish a work so great and good. Why do I build an argument on the Mission of Christ? Because the fact that God sent his Son to save all men, is proof, that it is his purpose to save all; and because, moreover, it places the affirmative of this question infinitely beyond the reach of my opposer. This objection is as intelligent as another he virtually urged a day or two since, that if it is true that all men are to be saved, then there is no salvation !!!
Mr. Holmes insists I leave out the death of Christ from my argument. He then quotes from Ballou and Williamson on the Atonement-declares that the death of Jesus cannot be accounted for except on his views of the Atonement-reads from Hatfield, and cries out in dolorous tones—" What, has it come to this !! Tlie blood of Jesus trampled under foot," etc., etc. I trust the brother will be sustained in the midst of his horror! His fright was occasioned by his own “man of straw!" Because we do not believe the blood of Christ was poured out to slake the thirst of a principle