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[MR. HOLMES' FOURTH SPEECH.] My opponent attempts to avoid the necessity of meeting my argument from human depravity, by raising a dust in respect to total depravity : thus changing the issue, by connecting my deduction with premises not named by me, nor assumed as the foundation of my argument. I have not introduced the subject of total depravity into this discussion, because I do not wish to clog, embarrass, or confuse it with matter which has no direct relevancy, and can only be properly and adequately discussed as a distinct proposition. To such discussion I shall have no objection at a proper time and place, but for the present, I hope the gentleman will be contented to keep to the subject in dispute—“Is there sufficient evidence for believing that any part of the human family will be endlessly miserable in the future state ? In what Mr. Austin has already said against total depravity, he has, so far as relates to the present debate. contended with a man of straw, and consumed time which might have been devoted to a better purpose. I will only say further on this point, that it is very clear the gentleman does not understand the doctrine about which he says so many bitter things. He evidently misapprehends the whole subject, and consequently, to minds well instructed in Christian theology, his remarks must appear so very singular, as to be only worthy of ridicule. For my own part, though not required to do so by any obligations assumed by me, yet so confident am I of the soundness and defensible character of the doctrine for which my friend affects so much contempt, I will explain it as I understand it, without the least hesitation. What, then, do I mean by total depravity? Answer. I mean, that in consequence of defection from original righteousness though voluntary sin and transgression, man is deprived of God's moral image, ' created in righteousness and true holiness”—and depraved in his affections, so as to be of his own nature inclined to evil and that continually. Apart from the benefits of atonement through Christ, he possesses no moral goodness, and no moral power which he can, (of himself,) bring into exercise, by which to acquire moral goodness. But as Christ has died for all men, and is " the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” and hence all men are more or less made partakers of the gracious fruits of his redemption, by which they are brought into å state of initial salvation, and have the promise of final endless salvation, on condition of improving what they have received-it follows, that just so far as men are morally and spiritually benefited by Christ, through the light and gracious aids of his Spirit, and the teachings of his word, they are elevated above their natural state of total depriration and depravity, and advanced into the gracious state ; that is, so far as they are now saved by Christ, they are not now totally depraved. You will recollect, however,
that the argument with which I closed my last speech, was based on the general fact of human depravity, and not on total depravity, in the technical sense or use of that term. I placed it upon this ground, because I supposed Mr. Austin would not attempt to dispute the fact of human depravity.
Mr. Austin has maintained, as you doubtless remember, that sinful and depraved men can, and will, at some stage in their downward career, recover themselves by the mere force and energy of a recuperative moral element in the human constitution, which will rise up, rebel against, and roll back the tide of moral corruption, and restore them to moral health and soundness.
I have so pressed him with difficulties, in the way of this theory, that to avoid them, he now changes his ground, by bringing the influence of Christ and his gospel to the aid of this recuperative energy. I am glad the gentleman has given this proof that he feels the force of my reply to his strange and groundless as-sumption, in respect to the inherent and independent capabilities of the moral nature of man. But I wish you to observe particularly, that in bringing Christ and his gospel to aid his self-restoring theory, he gives up the very point for which he contended in his former speech with so much confidence. If there is in hu. man nature a recuperative energy, which can and will react upon and destroy its corrupt and downward tendencies, there is no need of a Savior, no occasion for the restoring influence of his gospel, and it is neither wicked nor unsafe, to reject the one or despise the other. What does a man want of a physician, who has the medicine which is to cure him, already in his constitution ? What does he want of a Savior who can save himself ? But on the contrary, if the Savior and his gospel are supposed necessary, in any sense, to the final salvation of men, then the notion of an inherent element of our constitution, which is of itself a sufficient pledge and security that all men will be saved, is certainly no better than refined nonsense.
Nor does it help the case, to associate punishment with this fantastic idea of inherent self-recuperation. We have before us the history of the world, but it furnishes no examples of reformation by the moral effect of more punishment. Thousands have grown worse, the more they were punished, and have died with. out exhibiting the least disposition to reform. And the reformation of those who have been restored, is not at all traceable to punishment, as the primary and efficient cause. Punishment is the effect of sin : and to suppose punishment can of itself destroy sin, is to commit the inexcusable blunder of supposing that pain cin cure the disease which occasions it, or that an effect can re. act upon its cause, and annihilate it. You will please remember, we are speaking of moral reformation, not of intellectual or edu. cational refinement. Mere mental culture may be, and often is effected, without improving the heart. We find many examples
of this, in every nation and every age. But such improvement constitutes no part of moral reformation. It is, after all, but a state of refined barbarism. The reformation of the heart and life 60 essential to human happiness, and final salvation, can only be achieved by the gracious appliances of God's system of restoring mercy
Mr. Austin again repeats the allegation referred to so often already--that I am here to prove that parents and children will be separated on the day of final decisions. It is very probable there will be separations of this kind. They take place in this world, by the operation of moral causes, and as like causes produce like eifects, unless counteracted by direct and superior agency, it is fair and logical to conclude that the wicked and abandoned will be separated from the good, as one of the natural results of their sinful course.
But I am not here to assume a determination of what will be the future condition of any one of my auditors. This question must be determined by yourselves—by the principles you adopt, and the moral practice you pursue. We are now in a state of death, and must remain so, unless we make use of the means of salvation which God has provided. I stand here to assert the principles of God's law and government, and vindicate the Law-giver and Governor from the charge of injustice, so wickedly and wantonly brought against him by Universalism.
Mr. Austin stigmatizes my views of future punishment as heathenism. But let me ask the gentleman, is a doctrine untrue, because believed by heathen? Is he ignorant of the fact, that most of the fundamental and acknowledged principles of God's moral government have been preserved amongst all nations, and are seen, though it may be but dimly, even where the light of written revelation has not extended? There never was a nation which did not embrace the doctrine for which I contend, nor a time when they had so corrupted it, as to hide all its original features. Whence did they derive it, but from the original oral revelations made by divine agency to the ancient patriarchs, and preserved to the present day, by means of tradition, with a greater or less degree of clearness?
But if we allow the full force of Mr. Austin's objection to the doctrine of endless punishment, arising from the fact that it is recognized by heathen, while it does not disprove the doctrine itself, it contradicts and overturns his argument against the same doctrine, drawn from human reason, inasmuch as the heathen, more than any other portions of the human family, have been left dependent on the deductions of human reason. According to the gentleman's logic, the doctrine of endless punishment is wrong, 1. Because it is contrary to reason. 2. Because reason has taught the heathen world to believe it true. Here is a fresh specimen
of the harmony and consistency of Universalist arguments!! I shall have more to say on the subject of heathenism hereafter.
I will now resume my affirmative proofs, presenting as my next, an argument based on
THE NATURE OF THE DIVINE LAW. The law of God is like himself, perfect, unchangeable, and eternal. It is a transcript of the divine mind. In the language of Paul, it is holy, just, and good." The law of God is holy and perfect, because it is the embodiment of his moral perfection, holiness, wisdom, and goodness, adapted to guide the destinies, and promote the happiness of his intelligent creatures. It is the outward and tangible expression of his own perfect mind and will, as relates to his created dependencies. It is alike the rule of life to angels and men, and to every part of his vast dominions.
What the moral law God is now, it always has been, and always will be. It is as changeless as the character of God, and as enduring as his throne and government. Hence, what it claims now, it will always claim. There can be no abatement of its claims upon the subjects of God's moral government. What the moral subject is bound to render at one period, he is bound to render during every period of his entire existence. Any other supposition would be a reflection upon the government of God. Should the law of God require of us less hereafter, as moral subjects, than it does now, the inference would be irresistible, either that it requires too much now, and is therefore unjust to man, or it will require too little then, and hence be unjust towards God. In either case, there would be manifest imperfection in the divine government. But as this thought cannot be for a moment indulged, hence it follows that what the law demands now, it will always demand. If we are now under obligation to love God with all the heart, that obligation will rest upon us while our relation to the divine government continues—that is, forever.
In a law revealed for the government of moral beings, there are necessarily embraced three particulars--the rule of actionthe reward of obedience--and the penalty of transgression. The reward and the penalty, are the sanctions by which the law is enforced, and without which it would be a dead letter. And the sanctions are as eternal as the law. Indeed, they constitute a part of the law, and exist in eternal union with it. The law can no more exist without its penalty, than the penalty can exist without the law. The penalty is, therefore, as perfect, changeless, and righteous, as the law itself. It is, therefore, as right and just that the penalty should be inflicted upon the transgressor, as that the law itself should require obedience, and reward filelity. Hence, whatever be the nature of the penalty, it is as eternal and unalterable as the law itself. There can be no such thing as law without penalty, and there can be no repeal of pen
alty without a repeal of the law; and as God's moral law is never repealed, hence its penalty must be eternal.
Moreover, law knows nothing of mercy. It makes no provision for the relief of those who incur its penalty. Its language is, “ cursed is every one who continueth not in all things written in the law to do them.” The law itself affords no relief, or grace, or power of redemption to those who sustain the character of transgressors. Its demands are stern and unyielding as the principles of eternal justice. If, therefore, those who incur the displeasure of the law, and become obnoxious to its penalty, are ever relieved from their unhappy condition, it will not be by the repeal of the law, nor by the repeal of the penalty, nor by the restoring influence of the law itself; for all that the law does, or can do, in itself considered, the condition of the sinner is hopeless.
And this is true, let the penalty be what it may. Penalty is a disability of some kind, and be it what it may, it is inflicted by the sanction of law, and as it is inseparable from the law, and constitutes a part of law, it must be as eternal as the law, and as the law is changeless and eternal, so also must be the penalty. From this conclusion, there is absolutely no escape. Thus far, our argument has proceeded without regard to the particular nature of the penalty. Whatever its nature is, the conclusion is irresistible, that its duration is eternal.
But we have a strong and really unanswerable confirmation of this conclusion, in the nature of the penalty, as revealed in the Bible. This penalty is death. “In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” The “soul that sinneth, it shall die." The "wages of sin is death.” The death here threatened must be physical or moral death, or both : but whether it be the one or the other, or both together, matters not, so far as relates to the strength of this argument. In any case, the penalty is death. We will say, for the sake of the argument, the penalty here threatened is moral death alone, and what is the conclusion? Why, as there is no moral life in moral death -as there is no power in moral death to create or produce moral life, hence those who experience this penalty, are morally dead, and as death in its own nature is eternal, they being left to the force and operation of the death penalty, are forever cut off from the enjoyment of spiritual life.
If Mr. Austin can prove that death is not in its own nature eternal-that there is moral life in moral death, or power in moral death to produce life-then he may evade the force of this argument; otherwise, he must admit that the penalty of the law is eternal death.
Recollect, this moral death is the condition of every man who does not now enjoy, in himself, the benefits of redemption through Christ. This is the position: We are now in a state of death. We need not attempt to prove that men will die ; they are dead,