Page images

Mr Austin says I “attempt to make out that Universalists believe infants will be tortured in fire thousands of years." What I said is this: "Mothers, will you hand your infants over to the tender mercies of a theory which subjects them to sin in this life against their will; and without a divine Savior, or the benefits of a vicarious atonement, plunges them into the miseries of future woe, to get out as best they may." You see from this, that all I said of the future wo of infants, was on supposition that they would grow up to mature years, become sinners, and die in impenitence. Why Mr. Austin should choose to mis-quote my words, and misrepresent my intentions, when he has before him the means for correcting himself, the audience and public can determine as well as I can.

There are several other things in Mr. Austin's 9th speech, which under other circumstances, I might notice. But I shall pass them for two reasons. 1. I have not time. 2. They were said in so bad a temper, I have no inclination to touch them. I have several times been amused, but not until my friend commenced his ninth speech, have I felt really mortified at the ebullition of bad feeling exhibited. I had hoped, as we were so near the close of the discussion, that the gentleman would maintain, at least, a moderate share of equanimity. But in this I am disappointed. It is true, there are palliating circumstances. It is no small prov ocation to have every argument one can present, whatever the labor in framing it, refuted by so slight an effort, and to be left without a single substantial dependence; and then to be plied with arguments so many and strong, as not to know which way to turn or where to begin the work of defence. I am willing to make due allowance for these trying circumstances. Yet my friend should have counted the cost, before he commenced the discussion, and should have prepared himself to meet all probable contingencies with firmness. It may not be too late yet. There is still a chance for the gentleman's mind to regain iis equilibrium. Be this as it may, I wish to notify my friend of one thing, viz: he must not think to turn me aside from my course of argument by threats. I esteem his threats to be as harmless as his arguments.

In the last speech, Mr. Austin said he believed man in the future state, would be, as in thisma progressive being. But what sort of progression did the gentleman mean? There may be progress without improvement. There is much of this kind of progress going on in the world now. This has been true of nations and of individuals in every age of the world. Egypt was once the emporium of the fine arts and of literature, but subsequently the

basest of the kingdoms.” Subsequently Greece stood first, but is now igrorant and degraded ; and Africa, what an example of progression we have in Africa. Babylon was the glory of the kingdoms, but is now blotted from existence.


Jews degenerated in morals during a number of centuries before Christ's day, and then, those who had looked for the promised Messiah with eagerness, filled up the cup of iniquity by shedding his heart's blood. As to individuals, we might multiply examples of this kind of progression by thousands. `Indeed, this is Úniversalism, as taught by Mr. Austin. He has taught us, God created man innocent, free from moral defect, and then subjected him to vanity, that is, to sin and misery. The unavoidable result is, though they were all innocent, they are now all guilty; and here is human progress. Surely Mr. Austin believes in human progression, only it goes the wrong way. And yet he says men will be progressive beings hereafter, as they have been here!!!

That man is capable of improvement, I have no doubt, but since he has become a sinful and depraved being, the only power of moral improvement he posseses, is derived from the atonement of Christ, conferred anterior to the crucifixion, by means of the Patriarchal and Mosaic dispensations, but now unfolded by the perpect dispensation of Christ. All moral improvement ever efiected, has been produced through this instrumentality, and whereever men bave neglected or rejected this true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” they have degenerated, and always wili. Those who despise divine authority, and the riches of God's grace, will degenerate in this life, and dying in this state, will have placed themselves beyond the reach of moral improvement.

Mr. Austin wishes to know if I believe in falten angels. My answer is, I believe just what the scriptures say. Jude 6, 2 Peter ii. 4, is my authority for believing there is an order of beings denominated angels, some of whom kept not their first estate, and for their sins and rebellion are “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.” This is not the first time the gentleman has insinuated that it is absurd 10 believe the plain statements of the Bible. For my own part, I aspire to no higher intellectual or moral dignity, than is acquired by those who, with humility and confidence, receive as infallible truih, the plain declarations of God's word.

I quoted the passage from Hebrews, on wbich Mr. Austin comments, to show the fact that some may so far apostatize from God as to put themselves out of the reach of mercy; and this fact, it shows conclusively; but it has no reference to common cases of backsliding:

In remarking on the sin of blasphemy, Mr. Austin concludes may be forgiven, since our Lord says, “all manner of sins shai be forgiven,unto men.

But the facts in the case are these : 1. Our Lord ercepis the sin against the Holy Ghost, declaring it shall never be forgiven “ neither in this world, neither in the world to come,” and 2. The forgiveness of other sins of which he speaks, is only conferred on those who comply with gospel conditions.

There is no intimation in all the Bible that the benefits of pardon will be granted to the impenitent. Hence the gospel declaration is, “ repent, that your sins may be blotted out." From the nature of a condition, it may or may not be complied with; if it is not complied with, there is no forgiveness ; if no forgiveness, no sal. vation.

Mr. Austin quotes from various authors who have had painful reflections on the subject of endless misery. But what has this to do with the merits of this question ? He might have quoted as many more who have had reflections equally painful on the subject of limited misery; but after all, the facts remain the same in both cases. Any man of correct sentiments must be more or less affected in contemplating the wilful wickedness, guilt, and consequent wretchededness of his fellow men. And to my own mind, the painful character of these reflections would be increased a hundred fold, did I believe (with some of the writers quoted by Mr. Austin,) that God had unconditionally reprobated part of the human family to sin and misery; or did I believe as Mr. Austin has taught here, that God has subjected the human family to sin and misery against their will, and has thus become the direct author of this sin and misery—that his will respecting human character and conduct is absolute, is never resisted, and is always doneand, consequently, that men always have been, are now, and always will be, just as bad and no worse, and just as good as God would have them—and by farther consequence from these principles, that the measure of human happiness has always equaled the benevolent intention of the Almighty--did I believe this, there would be no alleviating element in my cup of sorrow. I should be robbed of the consolation I now have in believing that God is holy—that sin exists as the result of voluntary transgression on the part of his creatures, by the abuse of those high powers, given them with the most benevolent intentions, and of which they could not be deprived without losing the power of happiness. It is right that the mind should be stirred in contemplating the miseries of guilty men, either present or future ; it incites to activity in the cause of human salvation. We can only escape from these feelings by an abandonment of all religious and moral principle, in the embrace of atheism; giving man no higher character than that of an intellectual brute, whose existence ceases at death, and who is only responsible to the regulations of human society-or, if we acknowledge a God at all, by regarding him as indifferent to the affairs of this world, placing no moral estimate upon man, and viewing

“With equal eye, as Lord of all,

The hero perish, or the sparrow fall." I am quite willing the gentleman should appropriate to his system all the credit which does, or can arise, from the indiffer

ence with which it looks upon the moral state of the world, and contemplates the wretchedness of guilty men.

In remarking upon death, the penalty of the divine law, Mr. Austin thinks he has shown the unsoundness of my argument to "a perfect demonstration.” Of this you will be able to judge better, after a moment's attention to the process by which he reaches his conclusion. 1. He says I have not proved that death is, in its own nature, eternal. I answer, I have not attempted to prove it in any other way, than by stating the proposition as one of those axioms which are self-evident. A proposition can only be proved by drawing conclusions in its favor, from premises admitted to be true, or the truth of which is more evident than the proposition itself. But there is nothing more evident than that death is death, hence it cannot be proved by an appeal to anything more certain than itself. To attempt to prove that life is life, or that the man who is alive is not dead, would be an absurdity—and no less so to attempt to prove that life is an element of death, or that he who is dead is also alive. 2. He asserts that death is not eternal, and thinks his assertion as good as mine. On any doubtful point, I will admit that his assertion would be as good as mine; but should he assert, in opposition to me, or any other one, that the sun does not shine in a clear day, or that a man may die without parting with his life, I submit to this audience to say what such an assertion would be worth. 3. But, says he, death is not endless, because “it is not an entity-a thing expressly created to exist forever.” This is truly a wonderful discovery!!! However, it is only so to the genileman himself. I presume no one of this audience ever supposed death to be created at all. It is simply the negation of life. In a moral or spiritual sense, it is the negation of moral life—a separation from the source and fountain or moral life. Please attend here to another specimen of my friend's logic. Death, he says, “is not an entity,” and yet he maintains that there is an element of life in death ; that is, a non-entity embraces an entity, or nothing embraces something-there is in nothing a recuperative power, which is a sufficient pledge for the production of something, which will live forever. Most marvelous. 4. He still farther argues that death is not endless, because some who were dead have been brought into a state of life--and the words of Paul, "you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins," are quoted. But, let me ask, who quickened these dead souls? Was it death? Was it the element of moral life in death? Was it “the sheer exercise of its own energies” which destroyed death and produced life in this case ? Let the language speak for itself. “You hath He quickened." God performed this work, in harmony with the principles of the gospel, and the conditionality of salvation. If this external, gracious, and divine power had not been brought into requisition, the death here spoken of would have been eternal; and as this death is the penalty of sin, therefore, the penalty of the law is eternal. 5. Finally, Mr. Austin thinks the penalty of God's law against sin is not endless, because the Greek word thanatos, which is applied to physical death, is also applied to moral death ; and the scriptures say, by the use of this same word thanatos that both physical and moral death shall be destroyed. Now, how' thanatos can be made to exclude physical life, when applied to physical death, and at the same time embrace an element of moral life, when applied to moral death, I leave the gentleman to explain at his leisure. As to the destruction mentioned in 1 Cor. xv. 54, 55, it relates wholly to the death of the body, which will be revoked at the general resurrection. But this effects no change in the moral character; but, on the contrary, our Lord says, "they that have done evil shall come forth to the resurrection of damnation.”

The foregoing are some, not all of the inconsistencies of the gentleman's reasoning on this point; and after this multiplication of words and flourish of trumpels, as though I were wholly demolished, or at best in a position where farther resistance would be fruitless, with a modesty only equaled by that of a certain general on the battle ground of Buena Vista, he calls upon me to surrender at discretion. I beg to be excused. I never surrender, much less in obedience to such a summons.

Mr. Austin says men fall into error and absurdity for the want of reason. This is true: it is the ground I have taken. It is the want of perfection, and infalibility in human reason, which makes revelation necessary. And the same deficiency in reason proves the point for which I contend, viz: that reason must not presume to dictate, negatively or positively, in regard to the plain doctrines of revelation. The truth of the doctrine should be determined by the testimony revelation, and not by the approval, or disapproval of that reason which is so liable to err as to need the interference and corrective voice of revelation. If our reason sees occasion to approve a doctrine made known to us by revelation, we have additional satisfaction in receiving the doctrine as true: but if our reason fails to comprehend, or to perceive the prin. ciples, and facts which sustain a doctrine of revelation, the doctrine is not on that accouul false.

As to pure reason of which Mr. Austin says so much, no such reason can be predicated of man in his sinful state. In his best, and most improved condition in this life, he is liable to err on the most vital points. Against this there is no security except in humble reliance upon the infallible teachings of revelation. I suspect however, should the gentleman give us a definition of pure reason it would be,—"that reason, which rejects orthodoxy, and embraces Universalism.”

Mr. Austin's 11th negative argument is, that my doctrine repre

« PreviousContinue »