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of the earth, the changes of the seasons, and in all the varied provisions made for the wants of man and beast, without becoming deeply impressed with the goodness of the creating Being? That a few philosophical minds should follow the teachings of these lessons of nature, until they were guided into the belief that God's love is infinite, and that under its proinptings he will bring all his creatures to the enjoyment of his own endless bliss, is a confirmation, rather than a disproof of Universal Salvation. But when the heathen go to work and invent a doctrine to keep the ignorant in awe, as they tell us they did future torments, the evidence that it is a false doctrine, is overwhelming !
Mr. Holmes speaks of the condemnation of Origen's Universal. ism by the Fifth General Council. Thai fact is full of significance, in connection with the attendant circumstances. Many of Origen's religious and philosophical views, were disputed in his own day and for ages after. But it is an important circumstance, which I have already noticed, that during his life, and for several hundred years afterwards, not a single objection was made to his Universalism, in all the christian church. While eager to condeinn every thing he advanced which they deemed erroneous, not a word was breathed against the doctrine he so often advocated, and so long dwelt upon, of the final restoration and salvation of all mankind. I defy my opponent to produce a line or a word against Origen's Universalism for some two or three hundred years after his death, from any christian writer of those ages. This shows conclusively that the doctrine of the eventual holiness and happiness of all men, prevailed generally in the christian church, for several of the first centuries of the christian era. It was not until the church had become corrupted by floods of heathen error, and the priesthood had fallen into vice and ignorance, and the purity, piety, knowledge and intelligence of the early christians bad departed, that Universalism was at last condemned.
In noticing my fifth negative argument, the Elder declares that to reward man according to his deeds, is to give him the great resulls of his life. Properly understood, this is correct. God is continually giving men the results of their conduct, throughout their days. When they obey him, the result is a rich reward, bestowed at once, without delaying to another existence. If they disobey, the necessary result is wretchedness, from which no escape is allowed until a just punishment is administered. But the partialist system violates this just principle. It teaches that all the results of man's life are experienced in the future state of being—and that these results are not according as he had lived, but according as he dies. Though he live a saint, and die after an hour's sin, the result will be endless woe. But he may live to old age in the practice of every species of sin, yet if he repents before he dies, the result will be an eternity of felicity. This he contends is rewarding
men according to their deeds !-giving them the results of their lives!
My opponent inquires, whether a good man who apostatizes before death, ought to be rewarded ? I reply, he had ought to be rewarded for whatever good deeds he has performed, and punished for his apostacy. But not punished forever-for he does not justJy deserve such a punishment! He inquires also whether, if the sinner repents before he dies, his punishment ought not to cease ? The sophistry of this inquiry is seen, in a fact which is kept out of sight in the question, viz :—that according to partialism, the sinner is not punished at all in this life. Hence, by repentance he escapes all punishment—and for the good work of a day, he receives the reward of an eternity of happiness. This is the point where his system violates all the principles of equity. As to the passage of scripture which the Elder quotes from Rom. ii. 16, it has not the slightest allusion to a day of judgment in another world. Let the word dispensation be substituted for day, which is the true meaning of the Apostle, and the actual import of this long abused passage is easily understood :-“ In the day (Greek Lemeron-era, dispensation,] when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel." There could not well be a greater perversion of scripture than the Elder's application of this passage.
Mr. Holmes says he does not repudiate reason. I take issue on this point, and insist he has virtually repudiated reason. Has he not cast every indignity on reason. Has he not endeavored to undermine our confidence in this, our highest capacity, by asserting that no dependence can be placed upon it?that it leads the heathen and the infidel into their absurdities?
and finally declared, in so many words, that it is “an erring guide ?” In his article in the Methodist Review, July, 1847, he says— Besides the practice, which unfortunately [i. e. unfortunately for orthodoxy,] is too prevalent, of subjecting the doctrines of revelation to the test of human reason, has long been a fruitful source of diversity and error in matters of religion.”—(p. 414.) This I call repudiating reason quite effectually! He charges me with maintaining that it is the province of reason to determine what the scriptures ought to teach, and if they do not teach as I think reason demands, I throw them away. I deny this allegation—it is totally unfounded, length and breadth. I do not elevate reason above revelation, nor take the ground that man's reason should determine what the scriptures should teach. My position is, and my opponent well knows it, that we must depend upon our reason to learn what the scriptures do reveal. Without such an exercise of reason, the Bible would be no more a revelation to us, than to the cattle of the field. It is the evangelical party who are disposed to throw away the scriptures, if they find they do not teach their sentiments. A member of an “orthodox” church
in this place, declared to a friend of mine, since this debate conmenced, that if he thought the scriptures did not inculcate the doctrine of vicarious atone nent-i. e, if it did not teach that God suf. fered his innocent Son to be put to death, that men might be allowed to go on and sin to their fill, and escape all punishment --then he would say,
Away with the Bible !!" My friend asserts that Universalists make Christ to be a devil, because we say he was subjected to temptation.
Mr. Holmes.— I think I said possessed with the devil—that is, he had in him that which would lead him to temptation,
MR. Austin.-I understood the brother to say that we made Christ to be a devil Well—"possessed with the devil.” This amounts 10 about the same thing. We only repeat on this subject, the exact language of the Apostle-that Jesus “ was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”—(Heb iv. 15.) For what purpose was he tempted ?— For in that he himself suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted."(Heb. ii. 18.) We do not believe that his temptations were the workings of corrupt passions within him. They were the outward allurements of worldly fame, power, wealth and glory. In reply to all he his said about a devil, it is only necessary for me to re. mark, that in scripture phraseology, according to ancient modes of speech, the principle of Evil, is personified under the name of Devil or Satan. This single fact kept in view, will lead to an easy and consistent understanding of both of these words, wherever they occur in the Bible. I would like to ask Elder Holmes if he believes in the existence of a semi-omnipotent Devil, as an actual personage? If he does, will he inform us how it is he has escaped from hell, and is wandering in freedlom among men ? Will he also inform us why the Almighty allows him to range over the earth, and allure millions of God's own offspring down to the pit of endless agony, when in an instant he could chain him a prisoner, where he could do no more mischief, or by a word could annihi. late him forever!!! I request my opponent to give me distinct answers to these inquiries.
The Elder for some strange purpose, most singularly charges me with maintaining the doctrine of “purgatorial purification. He must have known this was a base fabrication, when he uttered it. He and the audience are perfectly aware I repudiate the whole FICTION whether of purgatorial or eternal torments. The public have sufficient discrimination, if my opponent bas not, to distinguish between a high course of salutary, elevating, purifying discipline and instruction, and a gross infliction of brutal tortures! I would submit to the audience the condition of a man's heart, and the nature of his cause, who is driven to indulge in sheer misrepresentation, instead of bringing forth sound argument! He
insists that in my fifth negative argument I violate the principle for which I have heretofore contended, that punishment is designed for the reformation of the transgressor. According to this theory, he maintains, the moral desert of the transgressor is not a consideration--that the question is, not what the sinner deserves, but what is necessary to reform him. Is it possible my friend's perception is so dull, as this stupid blunder would show? Or is his idea that punishment is simply retaliation and revenge so fixed in his mind, that it blinds him to the true rule of its infliction ? Moral desert is a consideration in that punishment inflicted for the reformation of the offender. The amount of punishment necessary to induce repentance and reformation, is precisely the amount he deserves, on the equitable principle of moral desert. Hence all the straining of the Elder to show that I have changed my position and contradicted myself, and the silly “twaddle” with which he indulges in regard thereto, serve only to display his weakness, and the desperate condition of his cause. Come friend ! step up to something manly and dignified, and leave to children these low attempts at wit and ridicule !!
My eighth Negative Argument is, that Endless Punishment has a tendency to make men hard-hearted, cruel, revengeful and blood-thirsty ! I do not hy any means assert that all believers in that sentiment possess these characteristics. No ! thanks to God! he has made the hearts of most of those who receive the doctrine, to be far better than they have made their own creed. But on certain classes of its believers, it has exerted an influence of the most deleterious nature--especially in those days when it was preached more openly and nakedly than now. Let me give some specimens of the influence of this doctrine in hardening the hearts of its believers. Tertullian, a Presbyter of Carthage, in Africa, was the first preacher in the Christian church who ever proclaimed the literal endlessness of punishment. This was in the third century. See what effect ihe doctrine had upon him. In speaking of his heathen neighbors, he says :-" How shall I admire, how laugh, how REJOICE, how EXULT, when I behold so many kings worshipped as gods in heaven, together with Jove himself, groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness. So many magistrates who persecuted the name of the Lord, liquefying in fiercer flames than they ever kindled against Christians! So many sage philosophers, blushing in raging fire, with their scholars whom they persuaded to despise God, and to disbelieve the resurrection.
Then shall we hear the tragedians more tuneful under their own sufferings; then shall we see the players far more sprightly amid the flames; the charioteer all red-hot in his burning car; and the wrestlers hurled, not upon the accustomed lists, but upon a plain of fire.”—(Tertull. De Spectaculis, cap. 3.) Was this a christian disposition ? Was it not rather the exhibition of a spirit, savage, revengeful, and cruel ?
Hear again, Rev Thomas Boston, an orthodox divine of a past age, in his work entitled “ Four-fold State." "The godly wife shall applaud the justice of the judge, in the condemnation of her ungodly husband. The godly husband shall say amen! to the DAMNATION of her who lay in his bosom! The godly parent shall say hallelujah! at the passing of the sentence of their ungodly child. And the godly child shall, from his heart, approve the damnation of his wicked parents, why begot him, and the mother who bore him."--(p. 336.)
Thomas Vincent, a Calvinistic Clergyman who preached in London, in the 17th century, indulges in the following strain : " This will fill them with astonishing admiration, and wondering joy, when they see some of their near relatives going to hell; their fathers, their mothers, their children, their husbands, their wives, their brethren, their sisters, their intimate friends and companions, while they themselves are saved !
Those affections which they now have to relatives out of Christ, will CEASE ; and they will not have the least trouble to see them sentenced to hell, and thrust into the firey furnace.” If the affections which professing Christians now cherish towards those connected with them by the dearest ties, will cease hereafter, and they be brought to view with indifference the endless agonies of those they now love, will not their feelings become hardened? Will they not have exchanged a heart of flesh for a heart of stone ?
President Edwards, formerly of Princeton College, New Jersey, who stood at the head of the orthodox ranks in the last century, makes use of the following language: “The sight of hell's torments will EXALT the happiness of the saints forever. It will not only make them more sensible of the greatness and freeness of the grace of God in their happiness, but it will really make their happiness the GREATER, as it will make them more sensible of their own happiness. It will give them a more LIVELY RELISH for it. It will make them prize it more." Again says President Edwards—"When they shall see how miserable others of their fellow creatures are, who are naturally in the same circumstances with themselves—when they shall see the smoke of their torments, and the raging of the flames of their burning, and hear their dolorous SHRIEKS and CRIES, and consider that they, in the mean time, are in the most blissful state, and shall surely be in it to all eternity, how will they rejoice !"
I might quote many pages of this kind of sentiment. But this must suffice. Must not the heart be brought into a condition harder than adamant, to feel that in heaven, they can find added happiness, a higher zest for enjoyment, in contemplating the damna. tion of the dearest objects of their affections ? Parents, husbands, wives, children, brothers, sisters, how do you relish the prospect thus held out before you ? How do you like a doctrine, that pre