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ernment and laws, are the most feeble, erring and imperfect things in existence-trying to confer an immense benefit on the world, yet like a blinded child, causing far more evil than it can effect good-and that too, throughoui eternity !!
Mr. Holmes declares that what the law demands now, it will always demand. Acknowledged. What does the Law demand now, of the sinner? I answer obedience to its requirements. Then it must demand obedience forever. But my friend does not believe this. He does not believe the law will require obedience of lost sinners hereafter. Or if he does, he only believes it guilty of the wicked absurdity of requiring an impossibility. For he contends that when the wicked depart from this life, the law will allow them no opportunity or ability to comply with its requirements. Hence, my friend is compelled to admit, either that God's law will not always demand of the sinful what it now requires-or, that it will cruelly demand, what it has itself deprived them the ability and option to comply with. Upon one horn or the other, of this dilemma, the Elder finds himself suspended by his own weak theory. The law of the Most High will, indeed, ever demand that obedience of the wicked which it now so justly asks. But so far from placing them where they will not have the privilege of a compliance, it will always yield every conceivable opportunity for the disobedient to yield their adherence to its claims, so long as a sinful soul shall exist in the universe! Here is consistency-and here is truth.
My brother opposite, contends that law cannot exist without penalty; and as the law of God will endure forever, its penalty must necesssrily be enilless! Here we have an artful attempt to deceive those who are not accustomed deep thinking, and who are liable to give more weight to sound than sense. Can it be possible my friend is serious in offering an argument so shallow ? Let us apply the dissecting knife of truth. I acknowledge that as the law of God will exist forever, its penalty will also exist forever. But does it follow that it will be inflicted forever, on any, one being? Here is the point where the Elder has adroitly assumed the exact thing he should have proved—an assumption, which, in fact, covers all there is in debate between us. Let him show that the Di. vine Law requires its penalty to be inflicted endlessly on the offender, and he will have the question. But this he has not done, and he cannot. I beg him not to take for granted, that which it is his sole business to prove. A penalty may exist always, and yet not always be inflicted on the same persons. The law against theft has a penalty, which condemns those who violate it io im. prisonment.
This law will exist for thousands of years, and so will its penalty. But what would be thought of the intelligence of a lawyer, who, on the trial of a thief, should insist that inasmuch as the penalty against this crime will always exist, therefore the punishment of the culprit should be perpetual imprisonment? Such an argument could but excite the laughter of court and bar,
Yet this is precisely the logic of my opponent. The penalty of Gol's moral law will forever endure, but this is no reason for supposing that it will be inflicted forever npon each sinner. Because i. The sins of this life cannot upon the principles of strict justice, deserve a punishment which shall be endless. 2. The object of the penalty is the same as that of the law itself-viz: to promote the good of the guilty. Hence, it cannot perpetuate his misery forever, without violating the object which gave it existence. 3. The law and its penalty, are reformatory-designed to bring the sinful to repentence and reformation; and when this end is secured, in regard to any sinner, it ceases its inflictions in that case. 4. Although there will always be a penalty against violating God's law, yet it will be inflicted on each guilty being, in accordance with his demerit, and will endure until he has turned from his wickedness 10 repentence, and no longer, in that instance. Why should it continue its afflictions, after he turns in sorrow from his evil ways? Can any one answer?
Elder Holmes goes on to state that the penalty of God's law is death. In this he is undoubtedly correct. But what kind of death is it? If it is natural death, then all men will be punished for their sins; for all must die. Yet for two days my friend has contended that Christ came expressly to save mankind from the infliction of the penalty of God's law. But if the penalty is moral death, then the subject is presented in another light. A siate of moral death is, without question, a result, and hence a punishment, of a course of sin. It is perfectly descriptive of the condition into which those are brought, who give themselves up to the dominion of depraved passions. But what is its duration ? My opponent takes this ground—“That as death in its own nature is eternal, therefore all must endure it, unless brought out of it.” Our hearers cannot fail to notice his old errors, in this position. He has given us assumption instead of proof. He says moral death in its own nature, is eternal. What evidence does he present in support of this position ? Not any. It is a sheer assertion. My assertion is as good as my friends, and I insist that moral death in its own na. ture, is not eternal. There is nothing in it, or of it, that necessa. rily makes its duration endless. What is moral death? It is not an entity, a thing expressly created to exist forever. It is a state. a condition of sin and alienation, the duration of which depends not upon any thing in its own nature, but upon the doings of the being involved in it. It cannot exist forever in any possible case connecied with man. The Creator has implanted in man a recu. perative power, a capacity to change and improve his moral condition-lo seek for li ht and truth, until he finds and enjoys them. This power of itself, by the sheer exercise of its own energies, would in the process of time, enable its possessor to work his way out of the deepest moral darkness and death. But when we reflect that God has thrown around all human beings, a thousand outward
means and facilities to aid them in the acquisition of light and knowledge--when we remember that by availing themselves of these resources, we see men every day, coming forth from moral death to spiritual life--the assumption that moral death is necessarily eternol, becomes ridiculous. And above all, when it is bronght to mind that the express work Christ came to accomplish, was to instruct and enlighten men, and to save them from sin and death --and when to these considerations we add the express scripture declarations, that Jesus shall be successful in his mission, and bring all mankind to truth and holiness—the argument of my friend falls into its original nothingness.
His reference to the downward career of the drunkard is unfortunate for him. Nothing is more true, than that men in the use of intoxicating drink, will often wax worse until they become con firmed sots. What does this show ? That they have no power to resist temptation-no capacity to reform? No. It only proves that they failed to exercise ihe self-restraint with which God had endowed tham. There are thousands of instances where men who had become the most ahject slaves to this brutal appetite-who had been reduced to the lowest depihs of degradation, and had seemingly lost their very humanity-have suddenly rallied, made a solemn resolution to reform--carried it into complete execution--and from a condition of habitual drunkenness, of long years standing, have arisen to the position of sober, useful citizens, and devout chris. tians. There was nothing miraculous in all this! It was accomplished by the exercise of those regenerating powers with which all have been endowed, stimulated and aided by the influence of important considerations bearing on the mind.
The fact that some, yea, many drunkards have thus reformed, proves that All have the power to do likewise.
This fully confirms my position of man's inherent capacity to reform-improve--progress ! Was not the Prodigal Son involved in the deepest moral death? Did he not possess an inherent ability to reform? Did he not say “ I will arise and go to my father ?" And did he not return to the embrace of his parents, as one alive from the dead-dead in irespasses and sins ? What the Prodigal Son did, all sinners can do. And what they can do, in a matter so vitally effecting their happiness, we must believe they eventually will do-espec ally when a Savior ever stands ready to lead and assist them in a work so worthy and desirable.
In vies of these considerations, all Mr Holmes has said on “the endless duration of penalty,” stands without the slightest support. He says he has proved that death is endless. He has proved nothing of the kind, as all can see. If moral death is endless, then when it once esisted in regard 10 any individual, it would never cease-there could be no redemption from it. But nothing is more evanescent. To-day it enfolis the heart of man-lo-morrow it has been expelled by the light of truth! How ridiculous the assumption that such a state is eternal!! Besides, if eternal death is the punishment of sin, why has it not been revealed in the Scriptures ? The Bible contains no declaration, no sentiment of this character. In many places, and in numerous forms of speech, it describes the kind of punishment God will bring on the sinner; but in no instance does it declare, or even hint, that such a punishment as elernal death will be inflicted. The Bible positively contradicts Elder Holmes' heathen notion of eternal death, by proclaiming the utier extinction of death. St. Paul declares that * Death the last enemy shall be DESTROYED!!"-(1 Cor. xv. 26.) That it shall be « swallowed upin victory !!!"-(verse 54.) He represents mankind when they shall all be brought into the resurrection state as exultingly exclaiming-(0 death, where is thy sting! !”—(v.55.) The same Apostle teaches us that Christ came to * destroy him that hath the power of deaths—that is the devil-(or evil personified) and deliver them who through fear of death, were all their lite time subject to bondage.”—(Heb. ii. 14, 15.)
Now as death is all the puninhment Elder Holmes claims or pretends, that sin will ever receive, and as I have shown to a periect demonstration, not only from the nature of moral death, but from the most positive declarations of God's word, that it cannot endure forever, but will eventually be destroyed and swallowed up in victory"—the affirmative of this question falls prostrate to the earth! His attempts to prove eternal misery, have proved wholly abortive. Here was the vital position of my opponent--to sbow that death, the punishment which God inflicts upon the wicked, will be endless! This is the only point on which he could achieve a victory. If he had established the eternity of death, he would have sustained his cause. But failing in this, as he has so evidently that the most prejudiced cannot avoid acknowledging it -coming into direct conflict with God's holy word—a signal and total defeat has overwhelmed him !! Whatever he may say here. after-whatever positions he may take-however plainly he may appear to reason, or profuse may be his quotations from Scripture -all will avail him nothing! He has failed to establish the eternity of DEATH, the only punishment he claims man will receive; and hence, all else, depending as it does, on the truthfulness of this position, must fail also !
The Elder charged me with maintaining that the law of God is satisfied by the punishment of the sinner. Is the man beside him. self? Has he twisted and turned in so many instances, that he bas become bewildered, and does not know which way he faces ? This, my friend, is your own position. It is the genuine evangelical doctrine, that God's law is satisfied only by punishment, inflicted either on the sinful, or Christ as their substitue, or on both. The ground I have occupied from the beginning of this discussion, is, that the law is not satisfied or fulfilled, by the simple infliction of pain on the guilty. But that it is satisfied only with that for which pun.
ishment is administered, viz: obedience and love. Punishment duly administered, leads to repentence--and repentence ends in obedience and love. When this result is obtained in the case of each sinner of the race of man, then the Law of God will become wholly satisfied; and his wisdom and goodness in its enactment and execution, be made manisest to an admiring universe!!
Allow me now to altend 10 a few declarations made by my opponent at the commencement of his last speeeh. He says all I have uttered in regard to his belief in Total Depravity, is a man of straw! If it is a man of straw, it is one of his own building. He unequivocally declared in so many words, that he did believe in total depravity! But my remarks in regard to this declaration, have evidently had the effect of bringing him to his senses on this subject. He now apprehends that others see the odious features of that doctrine, and he shrinks back from the responsibility of san:tioning the repulsive conclusions to wbich it leads. Hence, he makes an attempt to modify his belief in this sentiment, He has seized upon a happy thought to relieve himself of the difficulty into which he has blindly run. Stepping half way back from bis former position, and with an attempt to make a compromise with his old fashioned Calvinistic brethren, he declares his belief at the present moment to be, that men would have been totally depraved, if they had been without a Savior!! And this is his total depravity! Wonderful!! Well, let us look at this a moment. If all ihat now prevents men from being depraved, is that a Savior has been provided, then it follows, that all who lived before the advent of Christ, must have been, in the true Calvinistic sense, totally depraved! Or, to use a phrase which will conform to my opponent's notins, they must have been TOTALLY, "totally depraved!” In this view of the case, he but uttered his true opinion when he said he believed in total depravity! But will my friend inform me what distinction there is, between the totally depraved sinners who have existed previous to the death of Christ, and the sinners who existed since that day? If the fformer were totally depraved, and the latter were not, there must have been a vast difference between their moral characteristics. Yet who will undertake to say that sinners of our own age, are not quite as depraved as they were before the Savior died? I shall probably allude to this subject again.
The Elder asserts that the Indians have been six thousand years without improvement. I know not on what rules of chronology, he dates back the Indian race six thousand years.
But I would like to be informed how he knows they have not improved ? Has he any data by which he can compare their present, with their past condition ? Even allowing that, as a race, they have not improved, owing to local circumstances, does this show they are not improvable? I insist there has not been one of all the Indian race, or any other class among men, in possession of his nat.