Page images
PDF
EPUB

which exists in death, may re-act upon death and destroy it. Let Mr. Austin prove this in regard to moral death, and he shall have credit for more success than attended the reasoning of Plato, who argued that all things spring from their contraries.[ Time expired.

[MR. AUSTIN'S SIXTH REPLY.] Messrs. Moderators : -My friend on the affirmative, not content 'with having the closing speech on the second question, in which he uttered many things of an erroneous, unjust and reprehensible character, when he knew I had no time to reply, but even now, he seeks every opportunity to go back and take up points on that question, which we have once considered and passed. He says he has no confidence in the list of eminent theologians, scholars and philosophers, which I gave in my last speech on the second question, as believers and defenders of the doctrine of Universal Salvation. Feeling that he must cast some disparagement upon that catalogue, he declares it was “a string of names got up for effect !!" By whom were these men “got up?" By me? No: They were men raised up” by the Almighty himself, to preserve and perpetuate the glorious gospel of his impartial grace and love through long and dark ages-when the doctrine of Endless Misery, and every heathen dogma that man's darkened wisdom could " invent,” reigned and rioted in their native blackness--and to keep its vestal flame from total extinction, until a more favorable era should allow its light to break forth anew, and fill the world with the glory and beauty of its presence. The Elder seeks to shake your confidence in the Universalism of these great and good men. How does he effect this end? By showing evidence that they are not believers in the salvation of the world? No, he simply asserts that there is doubt in regard to that fact. But his ipse dirit is good for nothing, without accompanying proof. These men were not simply believers that the atonement was made for all men. They were believers in the actual and complete salvation of every human being. Not a name is mentioned in that list, in regard to whom there is not good evidence to show that they were believers in that doctrine. Had I my books at hand, I could give extracts from the writings of many of them, where they plainly advocate the ultimate salvation of the entire race of man.

He refers to the answer returned to language the poet Young puts into the mouth of the supposed lost sinner. But the critical reader will see that ihe answer does not meet, nor do away with the force of the appeal the lost one makes to his Father. It would seem that the poet purposely made the answer defective. There can be little doubt that Young indulged in his extravagant descriptions of eternal agony, for the purpose of showing the absurd ity of that sentiment. That he was at heart a believer in the final

salvation of all men, at least towards the close of his life, is evident from the fact, that he speaks in high terms of “ Hartley on Man," a work in which the salvation of all mankind is ably advocated. In recommending the work to a friend he declared he had read it with “ great satisfaction.” He also spoke in favor of several works of Rev. Richard Clarke in which the same doctrine is defended. That Dr. Dcddridge did not believe in Endless Punishment, however warmly he may have preached it at one time, is evident irom a variety of circumstances. I will mention one. During a severe illness, he received a letter from a highly esteemed friend, in which the important fact that all men shall be made alive in Christ, and that the Redeemer shall eventually succeed in making an “entire and eternal destruction of sin and death,” was much dwelt upon. This letter so deeply effected Doddridge that his biographer declares that it was apprehensive his weakened frame would sink under the emotions of his gratitude and joy.*

There cannot be a doubt that Dr. Watts rejected the doctrine of endless woe, and believed in the salvation of the world—notwithstanding my friend opposite, declared in language exceedingly decorous, that such an assertion is “ false and slanderous." It is true, like Young, he said much that favors the common notion of eternal woe. Some of his psalms and hymns, written to suit the prevailing views on this subject, are surcharged with the blackness and venom of this doctrine. But occasionally a stanza in his poems, or a sentence in his prose writings, reveals the true state of his mind upon this subject, and fully coroborates the assertion I have made as to his Universalism. What sentiment but this is contained in the following stanza :

• His own soft hand shall wipe the tears

From every weeping eye ;
And pains, and groans, and griefs, and fears,

And DEATH itself shall DIE!!" If tears shall be wiped from every weeping eye-if pains, and groans, and griefs, and tears, and death, are to die, to be annihilated, how can there be a state of eternal death, and pain, and woe!! In one of his prose works, Watts declares that if a sinner in the future world shall sincerely repent, he cannot think a God of perfect equity and mercy, will still keep him in torment: but will release him from his punishment.

To the list of eminent believers of the final salvation of all man* In one of his works Dr. Doddridge says--- We cannot pretend to decide a priori, or previous to the event, so far as to say, that the punishment of hell must and will certainly be eternal."

t In a work entitled “ World to Come," Watts uses the following language"I grant that the eternity of God himself, before this world began, or after its consum. mation, has something in it so immense and incomprehensible, that in my most mature thoughts I do not choose to enter into those infinite abysses. Nor do I think we ought, usually, when we speak concerning creatures, to'affirm positively, that

kind, I might add that of Rev. Wm. Law, author of “ Law's Serious Call." That he advocated that sentiment near the close of his days, is a matier of no doubt. From much that I might quote, I give the following, as proof—“It is my capital doctrine that God is all love, and merely a will to all goodness: that he must eternally will that to the creature, which he willed at his creation." Can any logic be more sound than this ? Elder Holmes acknowl. edges God willed the salvation of all men, at their creation. Hence, this must always be his will. And all men must finally be saved, or the 'will of Jehovah will be forever frustrated. Again Law says—“As to the purification of ALL HUMAN NATURE, I fully believe it, either in this world, or some after ages! And as to that of angels, if it is possible, I am glad of it, and also sure enough, that it will then come to pass.”—Law's Collection of Letters-Lelter xii.

Elder Holmes in speaking of Calvin and Murray, asserts that since the days of these great men, Calvinism has been improving and Universalism retrogauling. How my friend's Calvinistic brethren will relish this thrust at their distinctive doctrines, and at the soundness of their noted leader, I know not. But the Elder is correct, Calvinism has become much improved. How? By enlarg. ing its views of salvation, and getting a little of the leaven of Universalism into its narrow confines. It is a significant fact, that every change, every improvement, in the views of the partialist sects, consists simply in an alvance towards the doctrine of Universal Salvation. Their faces are all set in that direction, and when they move at all, it is unavoidably thitherward !! In due time, I have not the least doubt, they will all arrive at the truth.

My opponent is confident that Universalism has grown worse. He asserts there is not a single element in it now, that there was anciently. But what is this talk about ancient Universalism? He has ridiculed the idea that there was any Universalism anciently, and insisted that the author of that system, is yet alive!! Now he is comparing Universalism of the present day, with that doctrine in ancient times. In this, however, he succeeds admiral ly in showing one thing, viz: his consummate ignorance of the whole subject. What is Universalism now? It is this one great central truth of Christianity, that in the fullness of times God will bring all mankind to holiness and happiness! What was Universalism anciently? What was it when preached “hy all God's holy prophets,” by the Savior—the Apostles—the early Christian Fathers-the eminent men in the church since the Reformation--and by Murray in oar land ? It was that God would in the fullness of times bring all men to holiness and happiness!! Universalism possesses now, every element it ever did. It is the same now that

their existence shall be equal to that of the blessed God-especially with regard to the duration of punishment !"

it ever has been. It has never changed heretofore-it will never alter hereafter. It is the same now it will be, when all the ransomed sons and daughters of Adam surround the throne of Infinite Love, to worship God forever!!

Yesterday Elder Holmes said he believed in total depravity. Today, he seems disposed to deny the doctrine.

Alr. HOLMES.---Let me exp!ain : Take man as he is now, and divest him of all the benefits he enjoys through the vicarious atonement of Christ and the efficacy or the Gospel light, and he is totally depraved.

Mr. Austin.-If this explanation throws any light upon ou" minds, it is that Elder Holmes does not believe men are now totaliy depravel. What are we to understand then, by his vociferous declaration yesterday, that he did believe in Total Depravity!! But his explanation only makes “confusion worse coniounded.” What are the benefits men enjoy from the vicarious atonement of of Christ, according to my opponent's doctrine? They are salvation from punishment and an entrance into the abodes of endless blessednes, through faith in the merits of Jesus. But do all men exercise this faith? Have any in this life experienced this salvation, and entered the aboles of felicity? These questions must be answered in the negative. Then, they have not enjoyed the benefits of the atonement, and according to his own showing, are now totally depraved. Hence, after all, the Elder does in fact, believe in total depravily!!

Mr. Holmes says, that infants would never have existed, had it not been for the atonement of Christ !! I frankly confess this is a point which reaches beyond my depth. What connection the atonement has with the propagation of our species--whether my friend believes nobody would have inhabited the earth but Adam and Eve, bad it not been for the atonement--or that there were no infants before the atonement was made--are enigmas beyond my solution. It is probable the partialist clergy have some peculiar views on this subject, to which we heretics are strangers. But it seems to me the Elder's declaration has reference to matters which it would not be proper to discuss before this audience.

Ile maintains that infants born since the death of Christ, are justified ; and that if they die, they are saved. It gives me pleasure to hear him admit as much as ihis. But what is the condition of infants who died before the death of Christ ? Does he say the atonement worked backwards ?

MR. HOLMES.—I did say so.

Mr. Autsix.—Then if the atonement operated both for the past and the future, and justified all infants that have been orn, there has never been any depravity in the human heart at birth. What becomes of Mr. Holmes' declaration that he did believe in total de

pravity ? Moreover, what becomes of the article in the Methodist creed, that men are naturally depraved ? They both vanish into thin air! Thus, after denying and ridiculing my position, that men are born pure and innocent, he now virtually allows it by asserting that all infants are justified. If they are justified, they are not depraved. Who ever heard of a depraved justified being? If they are not depraved, they must be pure and innocent. But how is it, on his system that infants are justified at birth? He has contended throughout our protracted discussion, that failh was all-es. sential to justification. Many times he has reiterated this position. Can infants exercise faith? He will not claim this ability for them. Then they cannot be justified, but must be depraved, and when they die, ihey necessarily fall into endless perdition, according to the admitted rules of orthodoxy. But if infants can be justified without faith, then all men can be justified without faith. The Bible gives us no knowledge of two kinds of justification, or justification on two different principles. The truth is, my friend's views in regard to depravity, are involved in inextricable chaos.

He acknowledges that infants are saved. If on growing to adult years, men become exposed to eternal misery, would it not be much better for all to die in infancy!—and should not parents pray that their children may be removed by death before they cross the dangerous line, that exposes them to an evil so terrible? In this view of the case, the poor crazed mother-crazed by the very doctrines Elder Holmes is advocating in this debate—who a few years since, killed three of her little children, to make sure of their happiness hereafter, acted on principles not so unreasonable as might appear at first sight. And as she undoubtedly believed she could repent, and meet them in heaven, there was at least, on orthodox principles, not a little “ method in her madness."

My opponent's eighth argument in the affirmative, is drawn from the moral turpitude of sin. His position is that the heinousness of crime is increased in proportion to the station and dignity of the being against whom it is committed ; and the result of his argument is, that as God is infinite, therefore sin is an infinite evil, and deserves an infinite punishment. This is not a strictly safe nor correct rule of judging. If it was, then to steal a pin from a monarch, would be far more heinous than to rob a widow and her orphan children of all their liule possessions, and leave them to starve !! But allowing, that to a certain degree, the magnitude of crime is increased by the dignity of the being sinned against-allowing as I do, that sin against a God of infinite goodness, is more heinous than against a fellow-being—this would fall far short of establishing the conclusion that sin is an infinite evil! An offence cannot derive any quality from the natural properties of the being against whom it is committed. An offence against a strong man, does not make it a strong offence, nor against an old man an old offence. It is as absurd to insist that sin is an infinite evil, because

« PreviousContinue »