Page images
PDF
EPUB

loose, skeptical, and ridiculous method of interpretation ; resolving the whole into the carnal mind, or the state of the human heart. In this way they make Christ to have possessed a Devil, since the scriptures say he was tempted of the Devil. Universalism cares not how much the character of Christ is defamed, and his name blasphemed, if the idea of a personal Devil can be explained away, and expunged from the Bible. Mr. Austin has often repeated the passage, " the Lord will not cast off for ever." In reply I have quoted the language of David to his son Solomon— if thou forsake him (God) he will cast thee off for ever." This language shows that the passage so much insisted on by my opponent, is contingent. Solomon did forsake God, and he cast him off; not from the throne, for he was more distinguished for a long and prosperous reign than any other Jewish king. The casting off referred to his moral state—the loss of God's spiritual favor.-[ Time expired.

[MR. AUSTIN'S FIFTH REPLY.] I desire, Br. Moderators, to call your attention, and that of the audience, to the admission of Eider Holmes, yesterday, in regard to depravity. He asserted' emphatically, and unqualifiedly, that he believes in TOTAL DEPRAVITY. Afterwards he endeavored to modify this declaration, by interposing a metaphysical distinction, which as I have shown, would virtually prove, that all born before the atonement was made by Christ, must have been totally depraved. For whatever he, or any of his school, urge to the contrary, it is absurd in the highest degree, to contend that the atonement of Jesus operated backwards, and even before it was made, had the effect to remove a total depravity, which would otherwise have existed !! The mere assertion of such a paradox, carries its own refutation.

It is in fact, evident from his own language, Mr. Holmes actually believes that all who lived before Christ, were totally depraved. In his discussion with Rev. Wm. M. De Long, he makes the following declarations :-“1. All men are by nature TOTALLY DEPRAVED—apart from the benefits of the atone. ment of Christ. 2. In consequence of the benefits of the atonement of Christ, who is the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” men are not NOW totally depraved, but enter the gospel dispensation, possess a gracious ability to repeat and turn to God. 3. Though men are not now, totally depraved, possessing as they do, the unconditional benefits of the atonement, yet they are still depraved; and if their depravity is not destroyed it will prove their ruin.” Here is as precious a specimeu of assumption, as can well be found in the same compass.

The emphasis the Elder throws on the word “now,"—"men are not now totally depraved under the gospel dispensation”-leaves unavoidably the inference, that he believes they were totally de

praved BEFORE the introduction of the gospel. This must therefore be an acknowledged fact in his theory. He asserts that since the atonement was made, men are not totally depraved. Hence, the infant that was born one minute before Christ expired on the cross, must have been totally depraved, while another infant borr. one minute after the death of Christ-say five minutes subsequent to the former-enters the world relieved from the mountain load of total depravity. This conclusion is necessarily consequent on my brother's theory! Yet, is there a man or even a child here, who can believe an absurdity so ridiculous ? I insist that according to Mr. Holmes' owa principles, the greater part of mankind are still totally depraved! He says “all men are by nature TOTALLY depraved-apart from the benefits of the atonement of Christ.” Although in the next sentence, to help himself out of his predicament, he calls these benefits “ unconditional,” yet it is well known to be a fundamental principle in his system of theology, that the benefits of Christ's atonement, are wholly conditional-that unless the creature believes in the atonement, and complies with all the terms of salvation, he receives no possible benefit from that atonement. This is precisely the position my friend has occupied, and for which he has earnestly and pertinaciously contended, during the whole of this discussion. It is upon the principle that large classes of men do not avail themselves of the benefits of Christ's atonement, that he insists they will suffer endless woe.

Now, as “ apart from the benefits of the atonement" all men are TOTALLY DEPRAVED, and as there are innumerable multitudes who do not in this life, comply with the requisite conditions to receive - the benefits of the atonement of Christ,” hence upon his own showing, much the larger portion of mankind even under the gospel dispensation, have been, and still are TOTALLY DEPRAVED!! I defy the Elder to extricate himself from this conclusion. Hence, when he speaks of man's inherent depravity, or “ natural depravity,” he means really, total depravity from birth.

My friend agreeing so far with the Calvinists as to adopt virtually their doctrine of total depravity, he must be considered with them an advocate of INFANT DAMNATION!! This follows necessarily and unavoidably. He believes man's depravity is inherent-i. e. that he is born a corrupt, depraved being! Infants possess no means to avail themselves of “the benefits of the atonement of Christ,”—they possess no “gracious ability,”—to repent of their total depravity, or of their “natural” depravity and “turn to God.” What becomes of them, when taken from the fond embrace of loving parents, by death ? They are born depraved, they die depraved. Àssuredly, depraved beings cannot enter heaven. Moreover, the Elder contends there is no change after death. He has set hiinself firmly against this idea, and has repeatedly challenged me to show the slightest evidence that anything can be done to secure salvation, after passing the portals of the grave.

What, then, becomes of infants after death ? As certain as the sentiments he advocates are true, every infant called away by death, falls into the nether depths of Eternal Damnation !!! This is the plain and positive teaching of those doctrines, whether Calvinistic or Methodistic, which boastingly and impudently claim to be exclusively “ Evangelical !"

Moreover, according to those enlightened expounders of man's nature, when Jesus took little children in his arms and blessed them, he embraced and blessed depraved imps. When he exclaimed—“ of such is the kingdom of heaven,” -he declared tha: the kingdom of heaven was composed of depraved beings. And when « Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, [his disciples,) and said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven”—we must understand him as teaching that men must become depravedbefore they can enter the kingdom of heaven !! It is impossible to avoid these conclusions on the principles advocated by Elder Holmes. Parents, I must appeal to you once more, although perhaps my friend will insist I am addressing a very depraved feeling in your heart. What think you of this evange!ical doctrine of DEPRAVITY, whether total or natural ? Can he reason even one of these mothers into the be. lief that the cherub which slumbers so calmly and sweetly on her breast--whose bewitching smile and innocent prattle appear so harmless and innocent —is a corrupted wretch, with its little heart surcharged with black depravity? Can he make a father or a mother believe that the children whom death has torn from their embrace, have gone down to dwell in darkness and woe forever? I tell you plainly, parents, you must believe all this, or wholly reject the system of doctrine my opponent is seeking to establish in this debate !!

Elder Holmes has declared he believed in Total Depravity, and yet he has labored to convince the audience that he does not be. lieve that odious sentiment. It is difficult to determine what his real views are upon the subject, or whether he has any clear and settled opinion. Indeed I am at a loss to know what his real belief is, in regard to the main topic of our debate. He declared in his last speech on the second question, that “if he believed Universalism he would not preach it!! This has the merit of being very plain language. He means he would not preach what he believed to be the TRUTH. The inference is, that he would delibe. rately and wilfully proclaim what he knew to be FALSE!!! I have not a doubt there are many clergymen in the world who are influenced far more by the dictates of selfish policy, than the high convictions of duty. Only let error be popular, fashionable and wealthy-let it be capable of bestowing worldly titles and honors upon them-let it be dubbed “ Evangelical,” though the name be a perfect misnomer—and they will become its vociferous advocates

though in so doing, they should trample in the very dust beneath their feet, that which they believed to be God's holy truth. I know not how others may estimate such principles of action, but for myself, I utterly detest them! Whether my opponent belongs to this class of preachers or not, I leave the world to determine from his own words. He plainly declares that he would not preach what he believed to be the solemn and revealed truth of God. Though he was convinced that the Bible doctrine is true, which declares the absolute certainty of punishment for sin—that“ though hand joined in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished”-yet he would not proclaim a sentiment so salutary; but would stubbornly persevere in his present course of virtually encouraging men into sin, by proclaiming the doctrine that they can indulge in every vile propensity, in every wicked habit, and still escape the just punishment of their crimes by repentance before death'! Yea, he unblushingly tells us, that did he believe God would so arrange his Providence, so administer his government, so exhibit his truth and grace through the gospel of Christ, as to bring all souls to sincere repentance, obedience and love--a sentiment admired and loved by every christian soul, by every pure spirit in the universe - he would absolutely refuse to proclaim it to men!! But while believing that sublime and glorious doctrine, the probability is, he would still continue preaching what he felt in his heart to be the abominable FALSEHOOD of endless wrath and woe!! After this avowal, I shall not know where to class my opponent. He may be a believer in endless punishment-but, I have some suspicions he at heart believes in the salvation of all men. I know he does not acknowledge this; but he has told us he would not own it, if it were true. Perhaps he belongs to that class, of whom the orthodox Professor Stuart speaks, when he declares that “not a few of Evangelical clergymen, are in SECRET, believers in the salvation of all mankind! It may be, after all, that I am holding this discussion, with a real, confirmed, Universalist! And it is possible, before we close, my friend will be ready to confess the fact to the world. On due repentance of his sin of concealment, I should be most happy to receive him as a believer and preacher of that doctrine, which has been proclaimed " by all God's holy prophets since the world began." Were I to judge the Elder by his heart, I should have strong evidence of the justness of my suspicions that he is already a Universalist. For he acknowledges he desires the salvation of all men, and prays that they may be saved! But alas! should I judge by his head, his logic, by his manner of reasoning, by his plain contradiction of that most positive of all declarations in the Bible, God

will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth”-my hopes of his Universalism would vanish!

Elder Holmes' seventh Argument in support of the doctrine of Endless Punishment, is drawn from the Atonement. We have

once gone over this entire ground. Why he has returned to it again, it would be difficult to decide, unless it is to swell the numerical array of his arguments, or in the hopes of supplying some of the deficiencies of his former positions on this topic. In this argument I can perceive nothing new of any great importance. It is but a repetition of his former positions and assertions, which have been introduced so often that they have become absolutely thread-bare. I have already shown to the satisfaction as I trust, of the enlightened and candid, that the views of the Atonement held by Elder Holmes and partialists generally, are unscriptural and inconsistent. I might, therefore, pass by this argument in silence. But lest my friend should complain that I do not treat his labors respectfully, I will notice a few points he has advanced under this head.

He insists there is no way to account for the sufferings of Christ except that they were expiatory-i. e. in the place of others ! With his permission, I reply that there is a very easy and consistent way of accounting for the Redeemer's sufferings, on a principle entirely different. Cannot one being suffer for another, without suffering in his place, as a substitute, to receive the punishment his due? This question grows out of a common sense view of the subject, and admits of but one answer. The world is full of instances going to show that men often suffer for each other's good, on principles of benevolence, without taking each other's place. Did not the noble Howard endure privation and suffering for the good of the most wicked and wretched of men, even of felons and murderers, without suffering in their place, or expiating their guilt? Did not the heroes of our Revolution suffer every hardship for the benefit of our common country, without expiating the sins of their fellow-citizens ?. In my notice of this subject, on the first question, I gave several instances where the Apostles spoke of suffering for each other, and of suffering for Christ. Were their sufferings expiatory ?-Did they suffer in each other's place, or in the place or stead of Christ? I also showed that the same Greek word [uper) which was used in the New Testament to describe the sense in which the Apostles suffered for one another, was used to denote the sense in which Christ suffered for the world.* Here is sufficient evidence to satisfy us of the truth of the following conclusions. 1. The atonement effected by Christ was not designed to save men from endless punishment. My friend has not shown to the satisfaction of any, that men deserve such a punishment, or were even exposel to it. Until he proves this, his argument from the atonement rests on sheer assumption. 2. The sufferings of Christ were not expiatory--they were not to screen men from the just punishment of their sins. It is the undivided testimony of the

[ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »