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[MR. HOLMES' EIGHTH SPEECH.] Gent. Moderators:- Perhaps I cannot employ the first part of my present half hour to better advantage, than in answering one of the gentleman's recent objections to the doctrine of the final perdition of the ungodly, even though I shall be obliged to do it in an off-hand way. I refer to his twelfth argument, which is, that "endless punishment makes God dependent on the creature for the completion of his purposes." This rests first, upon an erroneous view of the purposes of God. I do not deny that God has purposes--eternal purposes, but they are not of a nature to control, absolutely and irresistibly, the moral conduct of men, or the results of that conduct, so as to make a given result absolutely and necessarily certain, in every case. Upon this assumed ground has Mr. Austin built all he has said on this subject. Hence, he has talked long and loud of the conflict between my views and the purpose-design-intention of God--that they defeat his designs”—“thwart his purposes”-“confuse his counsels," and
But all this is the merest stuff of declamation--it has not even the semblance of argument, when the nature of God's purposes is understood. What are God's eternal purposes? We answer,
1. It is his purpose to maintain a moral government for the display of his glory, and the good of all holy and obedient subjects. This he will do, in spite of the opposition of rebels, or the cavils and objections of Universalists and Infidels. And this is his eternal purpose; and all his enemies will find it to be so, whatever the consequences to them may be.
2. As God foresaw the lapsed condition of the human race, it was his purpose to redeem them from that condition, and give them the advantages of a system of restoring mercy. This purpose, as to redemption, he executed in the gift and advent of his Divine Son, and as to the application of it the wants of man, he is now executing it, in the agency of the Spirit, the dissemia nation of knowledge, and the proclamation of the gospel of salvation “to every creature.”
3. As God made man at first, with power "sufficient to have stood though free to fall,” that he might have a constitution adapted to the highest improvement and enjoyment, and hence made his continuance in holiness and happiness depend on his obedience : and as the object of redemption, and the gospel, was to aid men in a lapsed state, in the work of returning to God and securing the high object of their existence; therefore it was the purpose of God that the saving benefits of the gospel should be received and enjoyed on conditions which the sinner has power to reject or comply with, and that the final result should be according to their choice. Hence, the Old Testament exhorts sinners to choose this day whom they will serve," and the New Testa
ment proclaims—"he that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.” This purpose, too, is as unchangeable as it is eternal.
4. As it was the purpose of God that the human race should maintain their original state, only on condition of obedience-and as their only way of escape is through Jesus Christ and his gospel, therefore it is the unchangeable and eternal purpose of God, that those who willfully reject the gospel of Christ, and the blessings of redemption, shall not share the final results of this system of restoring mercy, but experience, in their future and endless condition, the legitimate results of their sinful career. Hence the word of God exhorts sinners, “now is the accepted time-now is the day of salvation ;" and in announcing the final consequence of unbelief and impiety, it solemnly declares, “ he that is unholy, let him be unholy still.''
5. As God foresaw there would be much unbelief in the world, notwithstanding the plainness of his revelation, and the proofs of his goodness, wisdom and justice—that there would not be wanting men who would "choose darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil”—would deny the authority of his word and “reject the counsel of God against their souls'--that even men professing to be Christians, and wearing the garb of gospel ministers, would stand up to arraign his wisdom and justice, and deny his right to institute and maintain a government which would hold its moral subjects responsible in their ultimate condition, for a voluntary course of rebellion and impiety-God, foreseeing all this, determined—it was, and is, his purpose-to in. stitute a day of General Judgment, the proceedings of which shall result in a perfect vindication of his character from the foul aspersions cast upon it by his enemies—and a justification of his gov. ernment, in the endless banishment of those who " choose death in the error of their ways"--while every man shall receive “according to his deeds, whether they be good or whether they be evil-and a shout of approbation from all holy beings shall proclaim to an assembled universe, the equity of the Divine Throne, saying--- Alleluia : salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God : for true and righteous are his judgments." -(Rev. xix. 1.) These are the main features in the divine “plans and purposes," so far as he has revealed them to us. And God necdș no assistance from men to maintain these fundamental purposes, nor can any thing that men can do, prevent their final completion.
And now let me ask, with which of these purposes does the doctrine of endless punishment conflict? Where is the incongruity? I know it disagrees with Mr. Austin's notion of the divine purposes, which is assumed without authority from the word of of God. But I confess, it is an instance of singular molesty, for an opponent to assume the very point in dispule, and then procee:)
to argue the falsity of the contrary opinion, because it disagrees with his assumption. This is one way, and as the gentleman has determined to try all ways, we will not complain.
But in the second place; in illustrating his argument, Mr. Austin not only destroys it, by proving too much by it, but renders it utterly impossible ever to prove the final holiness and happiness of all men. He argues that on my principles men may resist the will of God; but says he, if men may resist the will of God here, they may hereafter; and hence, may after all refuse to go into endless punishment.” To this I answer, it is a poor rule that wont work both ways. On his own principles, it would follow, as thousands refuse to be Christians here, they will have the same power hereafter, and may refuse to go into heaven.
MR. Austin. Let them stay out then.
" Let them stay out.” So says the doctrine of moral agency-analogy—the moral attributes of God, the nature of the divine law and its penalty-and the moral turpitude of sin says, “ let them stay out.” And the doctrine of probation and the common consent of the world repeat, “let them stay out." And Jesus Christ says in the solemn decisions of the judgment day, “let them stay out;” and all holy beings will echo back the sentence with loud acclaim, " let them stay out."
I will now direct attention to my twelfth affirmative argument, deduced from
THE CONDITIONALITY OF SALVATION. That salvation in this life is conditional, I suppose Mr. Austin will not dispute. I go still farther, and say, that salvation in another life is conditional also. Does my friend dispute this? Then let him attend to the following arguments.
1. The salvation Christ confers upon men is gospel salvation, that is, salvation from sin and its consequences—"he shall save his people from their sins.” If Mr. Austin knows of any other salvation, I should like to hear him explain it. But if it be gospel salvation, deliverance from sin, then, whether enjoyed in this life or after death, it is the same in its nature. If it be not the same in its nature, it is something else; if something else, then it is not gospel salvation, and if not gospel salvation, it is not conferred by Christ; hence, Christ is not the Savior of all me even on the principles of Universalism.
2. If the salvation of those who “come up through great to ulation, having washed their robes and made them white int blood of the lamb,” and are made “kings and priests unto Go forever and ever," be gospel salvation; then it is enjoyed in the other life as in this, on the terms, and according to the constitution of the gospel : if not, then the gospel has one constitution for one state, another for another state ; is conditional for one class
of men, and unconditional for another, enjoying the same light and privileges; salvation is conditional to the same man at one period of his existence, and unconditional at another. Moreover, if the constitution of the gospel be changeless, then to make salvation conditional to one man and unconditional to another, would be a subversion of its constitution. If conditionality agrees with the nature of the gospel, unconditionality must contravene its nature.
3. The notion that those who die in sin are unconditionally saved in heaven, has not one particle of evidence to support it, either in reason or revelation. Give me an argument from reason to support this notion, and it shall be considered. Give me one clear passage from God's word, affirming that those who reject the gospel and die in sin and unbelief, shall be saved with the felicities of heaven, and I have nothing more to say,
4. But so far from this being true, the Bible abounds with proofs of the conditionality of future salvation. What I have to say on this point, may be briefly summed up under the three following heads:
1. Not a single promise of spiritual salvation to be enjoyed either in this world or the world to come, is made to the sinner, unconnected with conditions expressed or implied. If there be such a promise, Mr. Austin knows where to find it. If he will produce it, I will give it my special attention.
2. All the promises of future salvation, either in this world or the future state, are made to the righteous, or those who become 60 by repentance, faith and obedience. To support this, I could cite you a hundred passages, but a few must suttice as specimens of the rest. (Matt. v. 8.)-- Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (xxv. 21.)—“Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (1 John ii. 25.) --" And this is the promise that he hath promised us, (those who abide in Christ,] even eternal life.” (Ps. cxii. 6.)
--" The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance." Also (Ps. i.)— Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly," &c. Verse 3d, “His leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
3. Finally, the promise of fuiure and endless salvation is uniformly hung upon conditions which imply a moral fitness for heaven, acquired in this life. (Rom. ii. 6-8.)— "Who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory and honor, and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath," &c. (Gal. vi. 8, 9.)- "He that soweth to the spirit shall of the spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well do. ing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (1 John v.
11.)—"God hath given us eternal life and this life is in his son He that hath the son hath life, and he that hath not the son, hath not life.” (Rev. xiv. 13.)—“Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord' from henceforth : yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors and their works do follow them." (Heb. iv. 9.) --"There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God.” (Rev. ii. 10.)- Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Matt. xix. 16.)--"What shall I do that I may have eternal life? Jesus answered, if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." (John ii. 16.)--"That whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Rom. vi. i. 22.)-“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness; and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (John X. 27.)—“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them (not to the goats) eternal life; and they shall never perish.” (Matt. xix. 28.) —" Verily I say unto you, that ye who have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” (2 Pet.i.x.)—"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure." If sure already, why give diligence to make it sure? He adds, "for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly, into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” The plain implication here is, that if "these things" are neglected, we shall * fall," and fail of entering into the "everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ."
The above are but a tithe of the multitude of passages of like nature. Let it be understood, the words everlasting and eternal, in these quotations, are a translation from the Greek "aionios, whose primary signification is, " being without end."
I am not unaware of the twisting, turning, sleight-of-hand methods, by which the force of these and other passages is sought to be evaded. But men of sense and candor will not be satisfied with such forced and chamelionized expositions of scripture. If the gentleman is disposed to enter upon this bootless work, he has my consent, though I shall not deem it necessary to follow him any farther than the merits of the question demand.
Now, the plain, common sense, unavoidable sequent from the Bible testimonies above adduced, is, that future and endless hap. piness is conditional: and that those who fail in the conditions, will also fail of entering into life. This inference is so irresistible, that I most cheerfully submit it to the decision of all candid men.