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subject of general belief, and afterwards become a matter of tradi. tion! Mr. Holmes says the Jews always believed in the doctrine of Endless Punishment. This is a bare-faced assumption, without one particle of truth. I deny it, most positively. I challenge my friend to produce the slightest evidence that the ancient Jews, in the days of their purity, when blessed with the instructions of patriarchs and prophets, ever believed that sentiment. He insists it was revealed to Enoch and Noah and ibe other patriarcbs. What evidence does he offer! Simply the assertion of David Holmes-nothing more! The effort to force the language of Enoch (Jude 14, 15,) into the support of eternal agony, where he simply asserts that God will punish and “ convince" (reform) the wicked, would be laughable in the extreme, were it not a serious matter to see a professed preacher of the gospel, deliberately distort God's sacred word, to build up a theory so wicked and blas. phemous as endless woe. If the Creator revealed that doctrine to the patriarchs or prophets of old, why have we not some record of the fact in the Old Testament ? Not a word in favor of such a sentiment was ever ullered by the ancient servants of God; and yet a modern Methodist Elder guesses it must have been revealed to them, because the heathen generally, he asserts, believed it was revealed by their false gods. Does my friend imagine the public are so hood-winked by superstition, so blind and stupid, as to build their faith on his guess-work? The Elder has once declared that Universalism was found among the heathen. How did they obtain that doctrine? It must have been by tradition. All tradition in regard to religion, he says, can be traced to some common origin-some revelation from God to man. Hence Universalism must have been originally revealed from God, on my friend's own iheory! Come, Elder, is a poor rule that will not work both ways. You must acknowledge that if the prevalence of endless punishment among the heathen, is evidence that it was originally revealed from God, then the fact which you assert, that Universal Salvation was believed by heathen, is proof equally strong of its divine origin.
Mr. Holmes in his ninth speech challenges me to show that any such system of doctrines as that which I advocate, was believed in the ancient christian church previous to the days of Luther. This is a tacit admittal that such a system did prevail at or near the time of Luther-some three hundred years ago. Yet be has not failed whenever the slightest opportunity offered, to reiterate Matthew Smith's senseless twaddle, that Universalism was the work of a man still living, (Rev. Hosea Ballou,) and deciares it is composed of the odds and ends of ancient Gnostic and other heresies, strung together by modern author. Universalism contains not a single feature of ancient heresy, and incorporates none of the doctrines of the Gnostics, but those portions of their sentiments which they obtained from the New Testament. Indeed, in the early ages of the
Christian era, eminent believers in Universal Salvation, were sent out by the orthodox party, to preach against the Gnostics, and other hereiics. History attests that the doctrine of the final salvation of the entire race of man, was believed for ages, by many of the most eminent of the early Christian Fathers. The attempt to distort and conceal this fact, on the part of Elder Holmes, shows him to be either profoundly ignorant of ecclesiastical history, or deliberately attempting to deceive the public.
My opponent asserts that the Sibylline Oracles were not written by professing Christians, but that they existed long before the days of Christ. He says there is no evidence that ancient Christians either wrote, believed, or in any way became responsible for the theological tenets inculcated in these books.* I am astonished at these declarations. They show a want of information which I was not prepared to find even in my friend. That there were Sibylline Oracles extant among the heathen, previous to the advent of Chrisi, is a well known fact, which I have not thought of denying. But that that particular collection of “Sibylline Oracles,” which foretold the advent of Christ, etc, was written before the christian era, is a declaration made in the face of all history. These were forged oracles, written by some fanatical and weak minded christians, under the pretence that they were found among the ancient “ Sibylline Oracles.” The authors of these forgeries supposed they could in this manner convert the heathen to christianity. That they were written since the christian era, is a well established fact. Cave thinks some of them were written A. D. 130, and the remainder about A. D. 190. Du Pin dates them about the year 160. LARDNER believes they were written A. D, 169, or 190. That these forged “Oracles” were composed by professing christians, is a fact equally well established. Dr. Jortin says they were written by Christians, and as proof shows that they abound with quotations of words, passages and facts taken from the New Testament. How could they contain quotations from the New Testament, if they were not written after the days of Christ? Mosheim gives his testimony that these “Oracles" were written by professing christians. Mr. Holmes says they were never believed hy christians. This is a great mistake They were believed and quote l as genuine, by Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Theophilus of Antioch, and other eminent Christian Fathers. Although these "Sibylline Oracles" were forged for a foolish purpose, yet we can obtain from them a good idea of the doctrines which prevailed in the christian church at that early day.
I onil reference to many points in Mr. Holmes' last speech, to which I was anxious to call attention, and proceed to introduce my eighteenth Negative Argument. Endless l’unishment destroys the peace of those who believe it, and who strive to realize it. Fortu
nately for their happiness, there are some professed believers in that doctrine, so constituted that they can keep it at a distance, and will not look it fairly in the face. But it is not so with all. Erery sincere and real believer in eternal wretchedness, who is a can. did man, will acknowledge that when he reflects upon it, his peace of mind is destroyed. How can it be otherwise ? Putting aside entirely the peril in which he must ever feel that he is involved, when he views the condition of others, how can he find peace ? When parents look upon their children, and children upon their parents, and reflect on the danger that threatens them, and the separation that may soon and forever take place between them, how can they be happy? How can any man possessing a heart of flesh, who believes this doctrine, enjoy life at any time. When he meets his neighbors, his associates, his friends, and thinks they may all sink to endless darkness and woe, what horror must thrill his frame. Yet I have frequently seen believers, yea PREACHERS of this doctrine, really smile-yea, even LAUGH oughtright and heartily, in the presence of those who, according to their beliei, were going straight down to an endless hell!!! Where were their hearts?
Some of the most able preachers of endless woe, have acknowledged that it destroyed their happiness. Hear what the eloquent French Hugenot preacher Saurin says on this subject : “I sink! I sink! under the awful weight of my subject! I declare, when I see my friends, my relations, the people of my charge, this whole congregation : when I think that I, that you, that we are all threatened with these torments, when I see in the lukewarmness of my de. votions, in the languor of my love, in the levity of my resolutions and designs, the least evidence, though it be only presumptive, of my future misery, yet I find in the thought, a mortal poison, which diffuseth itself into every period of my life-rendering society tire. some, nourishment insipid, pleasure disgustful, and life itself a cruel BITTER. I cease to wonder that the fear of hell hath made some mad, [insane,) and others melancholly."
Hear Dr. Barnes, of Philadelphia, one of the most eminent Evangelical Clergymen in the United States. He says—“That the immortal mind should be allowed to jeopard its infinite welfare, and that trifles should be allowed to draw it away from God, and virtue, and heaven-that any should suffer FOREVER!-lingering on in hopeless despair, and rolling amidst infinite torments without the possibility of alleviation and without end-that since God can save men, and will save a part, he has not purposed to save all[Elder Holmes admits he has purposed to save all, but declares he will be defeated)--that on the supposition that the atonement is ample, and that the blood of Christ can cleanse from all and every sin, it is not in fact applied to all-that, in a word, a God who claims to be worthy the confidence of the universe, and to be a Being of Infinite Benevolence, should make such a world as this
full of sinners and sufferers--and that when an atonement had been made, he did not save all the race, and put an end to sin and woe forever.
I have read to some extent, what wise and good men (of the orthodox school] have written. I have looked at their theories and explanations. I have endeavored to weigh their arguments-for my whole soul pants for LIGHT and RELIEF on these questions. But I get neither! And in the distress and anguish of my own spirit, I confess that I see no light whatever ! I see not one ray to disclose to me the reason why sin came into the world; why the earth is strewed with the dying and the dead, and why man must suffer to all eternity! I have never seen a par.. ticle of light thrown on these subjects that has given a moment's ease to my tortured mind!! Nor have I an explanation to offer, or a thought to suggest, which would be of relief to you. I trust other men-as they profess to do--understand this, better than I do, and that they have not the anguish of spirit which I have. But I confess, when I look on a world of sinners and of sufferers; upon death-beds and grave-yards; upon the world of woe filled with hosts to suffer forever! when I see my friends, my parents, my family, my people, my fellow-citizens when I look upon a whole race, all involved in this sin and danger, and when I see the great mass of them wholly unconcerned--and when I feel that God can only save them, and yet he does not do it--I am struck dumb. It is all dark-DARK-DARK, to my soul, and I cannot disguise it !” -(Barnes' Practical Sermons, pp. 123–125.)
This is the effect the doctrine of endless suffering has upon the mind of Dr. Barnes. Why is the poor man involved in all these doubts, and overwhelmed in this darkness? Because he has not yet got a glimpse of the light of truth in regard to the destiny of man! Let him abandon his false theory-let him see and believe that God has not put in “ jeopardy” the final welfare of a soul of of men, but that through all the vicissitudes of this life-through the light and darkness--the enjoyment and suffering of earthly be. ing-he is leading all, to final deliverance, to holiness and heaven and all his gloom would depart--his darkness would disappear, and he would be enabled to " rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory!!"
I might read pages showing the unhappy effects a belief in ceaseless agony exerts on the mind, but my time has expired. Think you the doctrine which produces so much wretchedness of heart in those who receive it, forms any part of that gospel which was declared by the angels, to be a good tidings of great joy to all peo, ple ?"--[ Time expired,
[MR. HOLMES' ELEVENTH SPEECH.] Gent. Moderators, and respected Auditors:-Having quoted many passages of scripture bearing on the subject of future punishment, in which the Greek word "aion" occurs in some one of its forms, it seems proper that I should bestow some attention upon the philology, signification and scriptural use of this term, and its adjective form “aionios."
The proposition I lay down and intend to support in this, my seventeenth argument, is, that the proper, or primary grammatical meaning of the Greek words translated eternal, everlasting, forever and ever, is duration without end.
Mr. Austin has anticipated me some somewhat in this, having already given you an extended essay on the same subject. In commencing his argument on this point, he remarked that he did not expect it to be understood or appreciated by the audience, but he placed it in the discussion, that the reader might refer to it in the printed form, and read and understand it at his leisure, or words to this effect. To this I reply, when the reader shall have finished Mr. Austin's essay on "aion," and "aionios,” he will consult his own interest, as well as aid his mind in obtaining a proper view of the subject in all its bearings, by turning over a few pages to my argument on the same words, and giving it a deliberate and thorough perusal. I hope, however, to make myself pretty well understood by this audience. And to avoid confusion by embra. cing too many things in the same view, I will first direct attention to the
PHILOLOGY AND SIGNIFICATION OF THESE WORDS. 1. Aion and aionios, the first a noun, and the second the adjective form of the same word, are compounded of aei and on. The first of these signifies “always," or "ever," the second -being:" in their compounded form we have aion, or aionois, “always being.” The parts of which these words are composed, do, in their separate and individual state, convey the idea of duration withoul limitation. Thus, “aci" is from a and eo, "to be.” The primary meaning is always,” or “ever.” It has subordinate and accommodated meanings, but the true, essential, and first meaning; 'as given by Parkhurst, is “always;" by Donnegan “perpetually:" expressing in either case the idea of duration, without any prefix of limitation. So also, “on," which signifies“ being," or existence, without any intimation of limitation or termination of existence. That this is the primary signification of “on," is confirmed by the fact that it is employed by the Septuagint in translating the Hebrew of Exodus iii. 14, where God says, “I am that I am." Also, in Revelation iv. 8, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, [on] and is to come.” In both these places it is used to express the idea of absolute and underived existence. In regard to the passage in Exodus, Clarke