Page images

purpose. The declaration of my opponent is in full corroboration of this position. I cannot allow him tbus to back from the odious sentiment to which he is committed. I insist that he has undertaken to prove that parents and children, and the dearest relatives will be torn assunder forever! Or what is the same thing, he is ardently laboring to prove a doctrine which unequivocally asserts this separation. If the Elder believes the doctrines he defends, he believes parents and children will thus be separated. Why does he shrink from this horrible fact? Why does he not frankly avow it in the presence of this audience? I have no doubt in his preaching before congregations where he thought it might be endured, he has many times described the separation of parents and children, brothers and sisters, at his famous judgment day. Why not give us a specimen of his eloquence on that interesting theme here? He knows too well where he is—he knows too well the odiousness of that feature of bis doctrine, to expose it in the presence of a discriminating and investigating audience.

My opponent does not relish my allusions to the shrieks and howls of damned spirits. He insists my object is to turn away the attention of the audience from arguments. But he entirely mistakes my purpose. Heaven knows I want the people to criticise his reasoning. When so strange an anomaly is presented, as a human being attempting to adduce arguments to prove that the God of Love will allow his creation so to terminate, as to plunge countless myriads of his own offspring into endless agonies, when he could save them by a single word, I am anxious that such arguments should be weighed in the scales of common

Sure I am the more deliberately they are examined, the clearer will their fallacies appear. But while I would not turn the attention of the audience from his arguments, I would draw their attention continually to the awful and odious features of the doctrine they are designed to support. The Elder believes--all his brethren in the Evangelical ranks believe-there will be wailing, shrieking, howling, in hell for ever-that the commingled roar, lamentation, and blasphemy, wrung by infinite agonies from millions of tortured souls, will go up from the abyss of hell, to form a horrid chorus to the songs of saints and angels in heaven!! Has he not often sung, or heard sung, the well known stanza-"There will be wailing--wailing-wailing-at the Judgment bar ?':*

This being the grand belief among those who receive the doctrine of endless woe, what objection can there be to my holding


• " Horrors all hearts appal,

They quake; they SHRIEK; they CRY;
Bid rocks and mountains on them fall!
But rocks and mountains fly!"


up this beautiful feature to the gaze of the world. I shall seck to be faithiul in this respect, and turn the attention of the public to the real enormities and absurdities of the sentiment which my opponent is endeavoring to bolster up in this debate.

Mr. Holmes in his third speech charges me with quoting the promises of the Old Testament to prove final holiness and happiness, and yet that I contend the promises and threatenings of that book relate wholly to this world. This is one of the most groundless and willful misrepresentations that he could possibly make. He, and all who have listened to me, well know my position on this subject, was that while the threatenings of the Old Testament are contined to this life, by the admission of the most enlightened orthodox commentators, many of the promises of that book extend to the future world, and give us an assurance of a final state of Universal holiness and happiness. A large class of these promises I introduced in my tenth speech.*

My third Negative Argument is, that the doctrine of Endless Punishment is purely of Heathen Origin. That the heathen believed this doctrine, from remotest antiquity, there can be no doubt. From whence did they obtain it? From God? There is no reason for such a supposition. The only authentic revelation from the Deity, in the early ages of the world, was made through the scriptures of the Old Testament. We have already seen that he did not reveal that sentiment in the Old Testament. This point is acknowledged by several able orthodox commentators. "Did the heathen learn that doctrine from the Jews? This could not be. The Jews knew nothing of it. Their law-givers, their prophets, made no allusion to a sentiment of that nature. Their teachings never proclaimed it; but inculcated the opposite theory, that there was to be a “time of the restitution of all things!" Where, then, did the heathen obtain this doctrine ? They INVENTED it! We learn this fact from their own confession. Cicero, one of the most learned and eloquent of the heathen orators, in his sixth oration, says : “It was on this account, that the ancients INVENTED their infernal punishments of the dead, to keep the wicked in some awe in this life, who, without them, would have no dread of death itself.”

Polybius an ancient Greek historian, tells us plainly, that “since the multitude is ever fickle and capricious, full of lawless passions and irrational and violent resentments, there is no way left to keep them in order, but by the terrors of future punishment, and all the pompous circumstances that attend such kind of FICTION. On which account, the ancients acted in my opinion, with great judgment and penetration, when they contrived to bring in those no. tions of the gods and a future state, into the popular belief.” Strabo, another Greek writer, speaks to the same purpose. “It is im

See pp. 327—330, 331.

possible,” he says, " to govern women, and the gross body of the people, and to keep them pious, holy, and virtuous, by the precepts of Philosophy. This can only be done by the fear of the gods, which is raised and supported by ancient fictions and modern prodigies.” He tells us further that " the apparatus of the ancient mythologies was an engine which the legislators employed as bug. beurs, to strike a terror into the childish imagination of the multitude.” One cannot but be struck with the similarity between the ancient system of Moral Philosophy, and that entertained by certain modern religionists, in regard to the best method to hold wo. men, and the gross body of the people, in restraint! Thus we prove conclusively, that endless punishment was an “invention," a "contrivance,” a “fiction,” a “bug-bear,” invented by heathen philosophers and law-makers, to frighten their women and gross people, into restraint !

We can trace this heathen doctrine back to the very first sugges. tion of the idea. It was the custom in early ages, to bury their dead in deep caverns or sepulchres, dug in the sides of mountains, or in the bowels of the earth. The dark catacombs of Egypt, found to this day, filled with multitudes of embalmed bodies of the dead, show how universal the custom of burying in such caverns was, in ancient times. In relation to this burial custom, Bishop Lowth, in his Lectures on Hebrew Poetry, makes the following observation. Thus, observing that after death the body returned to the earth, and that it was deposited in a sepulchre, after the manner just described, a sort of popular notion prevailed, “among ancient nations,' that the life which succeeded the present, was to be passed beneath the earth.

Here we find the very germ of the idea, that the souls of the dead descended to a dark place, when they separated from the body. But we trace this singular history still farther. These gloomy caverns and dark sepulchres were, in some places, in the remote ages of antiquity, inhabited by a mysterious, savage, under-ground race of people, sometimes called Cimmerians. They were blood-thirsty in their disposition, and much feared by dwellers above ground. Bishop Lowth in reference to this subject says: “It is evident that Homer first, and Virgil after him, derived their notions of the infernal regions, from these Cimmerian caves of Campania.”

The notion of an infernal region, having once been started in this manner, it did not require a great length of time, to have the suggestion seized by heathen priests and legislators, as an instrument of terror, to an ignorant people, in a benighted age. The idea, so simple at first, was in due time magnified to a vast Hell! peopled with every kind of infernal spirit. In explanation of this matter, Bishop Lowth remarks — The prompt and fertile genius of the Greeks, naturally adapted to the fabulous, has eagerly embraced the opportunity to indulge in the wantonness of fiction, and has peopled the infernal regions with such a profusion of monsters

as could not fail to promote the ridicule even of the ignorant and the vulgar.“

We have thus learned not only that Endless Torments originated among the heathen, but have seen what first suggested the idea to them, and how it grew up in their midst. Now allow me to ask, is such a doctrine, the invention of artful heathen, in the inost ignorant age of the world, worthy of being received and adopted in this enlightened day, as a Christian sentiment? By what mystic power, by what strange alchymy, can a doctrine strictly and purely heathen in its origin, become transformed into a Christian article of faith? Which are we to suppose possessed the truth on the subject, Moses and the Prophets, who not only positively contradictel endless punishment, but proclaimed the times of the restitution of all things,” or Homer, Confucius, and heathen priests who taught the doctrine of future and endless punishment? The Christian advocates of that sentiment maintain that Christ taught it, and incorporated it into his gospel! I deny this. I insist that by no fair, consistent, enlightened, construction of the language of our Savior, can it be shown he ever taught or countenanced such a doctrine. We have seen that it was not proclaimed by Moses or the Prophets. They taught a very different sentiment. But it was taught by heathen priests. Allow me to inquire which would Jesus be more likely to proclaim and incorporate into his gospel, doctrines taught by heathen priests, or those revealed through the ancient servants of the Most High?

How came the doctrine of Endless Punishment to be transmitted from heathenism into the Christian church: This is very easily explained. It is well known to all who are conversant with Ecclesiastical History, that after the conversion of Constantine the Great to Christianity, in the Fourth century, the Christian religion became greatly corrupted in all its fundamental doctrines. Immense multitudes of heathen entered the church of Christ, with little or no change in their pagan notions of religion. The dark ages began to spread their gloomy pall over the civilized world.

The simplicity of the gospel was lost sight of-its most grand and glorious doctrines were obscured by pagan superstitions, and finally rejected entirely, to give place to the wild vagaries of heathen Priests and Poets.

Mosheim describes the ignorance that prevailed during this era, in the following language-" Nothing can equal the ignorance and darkness that reigned in this century. The most accurate and impartial account of which will appear incredible to those who are unacquainted with the productions of this barbarous period.” Dr. Enfield, in his History of Philosophy, in allusion to the corruptions which flowed in upon Christianity from heathenism, during these dark periods, says—“In order to account still further for some of the more striking features of the Eclectic sect, it is necessary particularly to remark the arts which the leaders of this sect employed

to obstruct the progress of the Christian religion. By combining into one system, all the important tenets, both theological and philosophical, which were at that time, received either in the Pagan or Christian schools, they hoped to confirm the heathen in their attachments to their old superstitions, and reconcile the Christians to PAGANISM! Not a few anong the professors of Christianity, suffered themselves to be so fai deluded by the pretensions of this sect, as to imagine that a coalilion might, with great advantage be formed between its system and Christianity. But the consequence was that Pugan ideas and opinions, were by degrees MIXED with the pure and simple doctrine of the gospel. The fanatical philos. ophy of Ammonius corrupted the pure religion of Christ; and his Church became a field of contention, and a nursery of error! The Fathers of the Christian church soon DEPARTED from the simplicity of the Apostolic age, and corrupted the purity of the Christian faith!”

It was in these dark ages, and amidst these heathen corruptions, that Endless Punishment, with its kindred sentiments of the Trin. ity, Vicarious Atonement, Total Depravity, etc., after having been brought in from Paganisın, and propagated for a length of time, at last became fully incorporated into the doctrines of the Christian church and declared to be genuine orthodoxy. In the midst of this darkness, ignorance, and corruption, this prevalence of heathen dogmas, and superstitions, the doctrine of Universal Salvation, af. ter having been unquestioned as a Christian sentiinent, for hundrels of years, and alvocated by many of the ablest and most eminent theologians and scholars that had arisen in the church, since the days of the Apostles, was finally condemned by the Fifth Gene. ral Council, in A. D. 553. It was a fit work for a dark and ignorant age, and for a body of Ecclesiastics, ignorant, debased and corrupt !

It is a remarkable fact, susceptible of the plainest proof, that every point of doctrine now considered as essential to “orthodoxy" -every article of belief which distinguishes self-styled Evangelism from the more liberal sects, who, throwing creeds aside draw their tenets directly from the scriptures-are corruptions borrowed from heathenism. My friend will pardon me for saying, I cannot but view them as the cast-off slough of Pagan philosophy and priestcraft. What are the points of belief that distinguish partialist sects from others, and which form the distinguishing features of modern orthodoxy? A belief in God ?--in Christ?—in the scriptures ? in rewards and punishments?-in repentance ?-in the resurrection?-in immortality? No! no!! no!!!. None of these, for these are incorporated in the doctrines of Universalists, Unitarians, etc. The orthodoxy of the limitarian denominations, consists in their belief in the Trinity-Vicarious Atonement—Total or Moral Depravity—the personality of the Devil--and Endless Punishment. Yet every one of these dogmas can be traced directly back to hea. thenism, as their original and legitimate fountain head.—[ Time expired.

« PreviousContinue »