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Christ towards us who have trespassed against him, is, according to the above passage, to determine our course of action. What then should be our course of conduct? Why according to my friend's doctrine, Christ never exercises “forbearance”-or forgiveness, in the sense of treating sinners better than they deserve. Hence we are not required under any circumstance to forbear to take full satisfaction in any way that affords the best promise of
And when we have exacted and obtained our full demand by corporeal chastisement, or legal process, we may award to him a pardon for his offence, and we may not do it before, on pain of violating the example of Christ. Such is the theology of Universalism, but thank God, it is not the theology of the Bible. The example furnished by the conduct of Christ towards us, is one of forbearance and mercy. God is justly displeased with the sinner: there is a quarrel between the law of God and the transgressor. Yet instead of visiting him according to the demerit of his crimes in the plenitude of his mercy, he provides a way for our deliverance. He offers us a free and full pardon for our sins and from the consequences which flow from them, and he makes this the criterion by which we are to forgive one another. Where is the room for the exercise of forbearance or forgiveness towards one another, if the criterion of our action is, that we are to receive the full amount of our punishment, in accordance with our transgressions against the divine law? There is no forbearance in the case, for, forbearance supposes that we are not punished to the extent our sins deserve. Ephesians i. 17: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." Now the meaning of the word redemption is well understood. It means to buy oti, to ransom from thraldom: it is an act through which we obtain deliverance. Christ has done this for us. In him we have redemption through his blood even the forgiveness of sins. And this how ? According to the principles of law which deal out exact punishment to all. No, but according to the riches of his grace. Where is the riches of God's grace on the principles of Universalism? In our Lord's prayer we are taught to say- forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us." The same principle carried out in the conduct of God towards us, is made the criterion by which we are to deal with our fellows. How should this read-how should a man pray according to the principles of Universalism. He should kneel down before God, and say, “punish us for our sins, and then pardon us, as we punish those who trespass against us and then pardon them.” I cannot for the life of me, see how it is possible to pray consistently with the principles of Universalism, unless it be something in this way. From the foregoing passages, and many more of similar character, which time will not allow me to produce, it is perfectly plain that Universalism on this point is wholly inconsistent with the
scriptures. My friend says these scripture requirements are intended simply to teach us, we should not be revengeful. Admit this to be correct, and it does not help the gentleman out of his difficulty in the least. To avoid revenge, we must copy the example of God's merciful dealings with us, “be followers of God as dear children." But to imitate God is to do in our sphere as he does in his-hence on the principles of Universalism, to avoid revenge we must withhold forgiveness until we have obtained full satisfaction for insults and injuries. As this conclusion is absurd, it follows that the language of the Bible is directly adapted to mislead us, or Universalism is palpably false.
My fourleenth argument, is founded on the fact that the dogma for which Mr. Austin contends, contradicts the common sense of mankind, and would be absurd and impossible in practice. First, the notion that God never forgives, or pardons in a sense that relieves the offender from punishment, contradicts the ideas that men generally entertain and attach to the words pardon and forgiveness. All men, except Universalists, and even they when not engaged in argument to support their dogmas, use these terms to mean exemption from the legal and moral consequences of their transgressions.
Secondly—it contradicts the meaning of these terms as found in our law books, the usages and customs of all nations, and the practice of all governments, and judicial tribunals-all of which proceed upon the supposition that pardon delivers from punishment.
Thirdly-it contradicts the standard or classical definition of these words, as found in all standard authorities. There is not a Greek, Latin or English Lexicon of any authority in the literary or religious world that does not directly contradict Universalism. My friend has not quoted from a dictionary that I know of during this discussion. He has to be sure given us a number of definitions, made to order, on the principles of Universalism, as for instance, his definition of justification. Yet these definitions are inconsistent with the scriptures, and unsupported by the authority of a single standard author. Universalism needs a new dictionary.
Fourthly--a pardon like that contended for by my friend, wou not be considered worth a straw, by any sane man, in its app cation to the Judicial affairs of this life. What would the co. vict in the State Prison, or the criminal on the gallows think oi pardon like this—that offered them no relief from punishmen: Such a pardon would be despised as of nothing worth, or consid ered an insult intended to aggravate their sufferings. Suppose a Universalist raised to the office of Governor of the State of New York; he takes it into his head to make a practical use of his doctrine in the discharge of his official duties. As soon as he ascertains that a convict has served out his time in prison, he goes
to work and draws up a formal pardon, to wit: “This certifies that A. B. has been selected as a subject of executive clemency, and is hereby freely and entirely pardoned of the crime committed against ihe laws of the State; the officers of the prison are thereiore directed to set him at liberty forth with.” How long would such a Governor maintain his reputation for sanity? If this is not sufficient proof of the absurdity of this notion, let any man not yet convinced attempt to reduce it to practice in his common intercourse with society, and if he does not renounce Universalism in twenty-four hours, it will be because he has not sense enough to discern the difference between wisdom and folly: or is not sufficiently honest to renounce in theory, what he finds ab surd and impossible in practice.
My fifteenth argument, is founded upon the fact that if men cannot be saved from punishment, they cannot be saved at all, and universal damnation must follow. This we argue, first, from the nature of punishment itself. This is death—" The wages of sin is death,' --The soul that sinneth it shall die." Now as there is no life in death, and nothing in death that can produce life, hence death is in its own nature eternal. I care not what kind of death it be, physical or moral, or any other kind, if you will show me that in death there is any life, you may do something towards effecting a refutation of this argument. For if life exist in death, that life may possibly overcome that death itself; but if there be no life in death, then death is of its own nature eternal. Death is the punishment of sin—the sinner will be saved from this punishment or he will not. If he is not saved from it, he must remain dead eternally—if he is saved from it, then he is saved from deserved punishment. Hence if he is not saved from deserved punishment, eternal damnation must follow as a natural and necessary consequence. Secondly—if men are punished all their sins deserve, then if saved at all, they must be saved either before they are punished, or at the same time they are punished, or after they shall have ceased to be punished. Mr. Austin admits that they cannot be saved before they are punished, for it would not only be unjust to punish a man after he is saved, but if punishment be inflicted after salvation, it follows that salvation is no preventive of damnation. Again, men cannot be saved at the same time they are punished for their sins, for then salvation and damnation would meet at the same time in the same individual. This also, is admitted by my opponent. Only one alterna. tive remains. They must be saved after they are punished all their sins deserve or not at all. But this we shall soon see is impossible. God's law requires our love and service to the full extent of our powers—mark that. Hence when sin is once committed, the sinner can never expiate his sins by personal suffering. To suppose he can, is to suppose he has moral powers with which to endure punishment, which are not already pledged to God in
the way of obedience, which is unscriptural and absurd. It is the demand of the law-_- Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” Therefore the sinner cannot answer the demands of God's law, and be punished for his sins at the same time. While he is being punished according to his deserts, he cannot be loving and serving God with all the heart, hence his sin is increasing, and he is deserving more punishment, while he is being punished what he already deserves. He cannot cease to sin, until his punishment ceases, and he cannot cease to be punished until he ceases to sin. Hence if he may not be saved from punishment by pardon, his sin and punishment must be eternal.
I will now attend to some points in my friend's last speech not yet noticed. He carries the idea, in all he says of the atonement of Christ, that he was compelled to endure punishment for our sins-that the father took the son and punished him, and thus forcibly laid on him the iniquities of the guilty-compelled the innocent to suffer for the guilty. Now the fallacy of this, is found, in the fact that it is not true. It is not the doctrine of the Bible, nor of any orthodox church of which I have any knowledge in our land. The doctrine is, that Christ, in concurrence with the will of his father, “ gave himself a ransom for the world.” He did, what you or I or any other individual has a right to do; employed his powers in benevolent acts for the good of those who needed his services. As the poet most beautifully expresses it:
" With pitying eye, the Prince of Peace,
Beheld our helpless grief,
He ran to our relief.
This is the doctrine of the Bible--the doctrine I preach, and which I understand to be held by all orthodox churches. There is nothing in it inconsistent with the principles of justice. It is what every benevolent man does on a limited scale, every year of his life. Mr. Austin says that if Christ bore the sins of men, then he was guilty—that the guilt of men as well as their punishment became his. This is a non sequiter. To bear the sins of men involves a transfer, not of guilt, but of the legal conseqences of guilt to deny the possibility of this, is to war with facts. A common form of this tranfer, though not for the same end, exists in the infant world, who, though personally innocent of crime, nevertheless experience in part the consequences of another's guilt. It is a fact that men may and some men have, voluntarily assumed the consequences of the sins of others, and this to some extent, is done by every philanthropist, who in the benevolence of his heart endures labor and suffering for the benefit of the human race. But does this imply or involve a participation in the guilt of those whose miseries are alleviated? Does he who by personal suffering and toil, lifts the drunkard from the
ditch, and restores him to habits of sobriety and industry, become thereby a sharer in the drunkard's guilt? Does he who interests himself in behalf of the criminal, and by incurring pecuniary expense, or otherwise giving satisfaction and security to the violated law-obtains pardon, and release from punishment, become thereby a criminal himself ? Did the Lockrian king, in submitting to lose one of his eyes, that he might support the law, and at the same time relieve his son from the full penalty of the law against the crime of adultery, become himself guilty as an adulterer ? So it would seem, according to the gentleman's notion : and yet the idea is so palpably erroneous, that the bare statement of the above examples, is a sufficient refutation.
Mr. Austin says the murderer to whom I alluded in a former speech, was led to his fatal end, by the system which I advocate. Unless the gentleman's intellect is more obtuse than I have reason to suppose, he knows this is untrue. There is a great want of generosity and fairness, in such representations. I can only account for the pertinacity with which he clings to those false representations of the doctrince of salvation from punishment, on the ground that it is his only hope of success in this discussion. As he cannot answer my arguments, if he fails to make an impression at this point, the ground he occupies, is destitute of even the semblance of validity.
One of Mr. Austin's objections to the doctrine of atonement, is, that it represents God as exacting of the substitute, the whole amount of what was due from the sinner. Though this is not strictly true, yet, if it were, it could not be consistently urged as an objection by a Universalist, since it is fundamental in Universalism, that God never pardons a sinner until he has paid the last mite. This objection comes with an ill grace from the gentleman who appears here as the champion of a theory which admits no pardon, without the full infliction of penalty. This however, is a specimen of the consistency and harmony of my friend's course of argumentation.
We have said the above objection is not strictly true; that is, it does not represent the subject fairly. Christ, as the sinner's substitute did not make satisfaction for him, by suffering, in kind and quantity exactly what the sinner deserved: but the satisfaction is found in the dignity of the substitute, and the moral value of his sufferings.
The gentleman also says there is no pardoning power in a perfect government. But is not God's administration perfect ? and is it not the doctrine of the Bible, that the pardoning power exists in the divine government? If he means to say that in a perfect government there is no occasion for the exercise of this power on account of misgovernment, I agree with him; but if he intended to say that there was no pardoning power in such a government, that I deny. God is the arbiter of the whole universe, and prof