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on them, and that there was no possible escape! Had Elder Holmes been stationed among them, and preached in a practical manner, the doctrine he defends in theory, he would have contradictel Noah, as he now contradicts God's word. He would have told the Ante liluvians to enjoy “the pleasures of sin"—to eat, dunk, and be merry, for there was no punishment in this life, or if any, it would be so light they would not know when they receivel it--that Gol's punishments are in the future world, and are awful and en:lless, but eisily avoided--that when they saw the gathering blackness begin to appear in the heavens, which was to pour out the flood to destroy them, if they would but be careful to repent, all would be well, and they could ascend at once to infinite glory and bliss !!
Mr. Holmes brings the entire of the two systems of Universal Salvation and Endless Punishment, into "a nut-shell," in the form of two or three of Luther Lee's syllogisms. These syllogisms afford as precious a specimen as he could give us, of his profound logic, and of that blind habit to which he is addicted, and which shows itself through all his arguments, of reasoning from false premises. In his syllogism on Universalism, he asserts that all a good earthly father would do to make his children happy, had he the power, God will do for the whole human race. But a good earthly father would make his children happy now, therefore God will make all men happy now!! See how slight a touch shall overturn the castle my friend has so laboriously built up. A good earthly father would not make his children happy now, provided he saw that by subjecting them to a healthful discipline for a season, he could make them much happier by-and-by. A father could make his child happy for the time being, by allowing him to refrain from study, and spend his time in idleness. But he knows he can bestow greater benefit on him hereafter, by subjecting him at present, to severe and laborious study and a judicious training. So God does not make his creatures happy now, because his wisdom dictates that he can exalt them to higher degrees of perfection and bliss hereafter, by first subjecting them to a well regulatel course of discipline and instruction.
Another of his acute syllogisms on Universalism, is something like this: A father having wisdom and power sufficient to make his children happy, and yet allowing them to remain in sin and misery, would be unfeeling and cruel. But God, though possess, ing wisdom and power, does allow his creatures to remain in sin and misery. Therefore, according to Universalism, God is unfeel. ing and cruel!. I am surprized at the short-sighted, school-boy character of my friend's syllogisms. Does he not see, that a father would not be cruel in allowing his children to experience temporary trials, if he foresaw, they would conduce to their permaDent and lasting good. Hence God, so far from being unfeeling or cruel, is both wise and good, in subjecting man to vanity, as
St. Paul denominates it, that through the discipline and instruction thus experienced, a higher and final good shall be experienced by all those involved therein. My opponent says these syllogisms are framed on genuine Universalist principles. I deny it. They rest solely on an undisguised perversion of our views.
The Elder's syllogism on Endless Punishment, cannot be worthy a formal reply. There is nothing of it. In other words, it is framed on principles in regard to which, there is no disagreement between us. Its laborious travail results in bringing forth this conclusion—that God will save all who repent and work righteousness! Marvellous! And who ever doubted this, or believed any thing else. Universalists adopt this as one of their fundamental principles. They believe all men in due time, will be brought by the influences and instructions of Christ, to repentance, and hence will experience the salvation of God!
Before proceeding to the discussion of the question now before us, would it not be well to look at the position we occupy--to glance at the field of debate we have been over--and take a brief survey of that upon which we are about to enter?
On the last Question I maintained that in due time, all the chil. dren of men will be brought to Repentance and Reformation, will be converted to Christ, and become willing and obedient subject:of his kingdom--that every intelligent being will, in due time, be reconciled to their Father in heaven, and filled with love to God, and love to one another. It will be acknowledged by every pious heart, that this doctrine is the most desirable, glorious and joy inspiring, that the human mind can comprehend? It is such a state of things as all Christian souls love---such as accord with their purest desires and most ardent prayers--and such as they would bring to pass, had they the power and opportunity! It will also be acknowledged, that of all conceivable states in which the existence of the human race could possibly terminate, this condition of Universal holiness and happiness, is infinitely the BEST that can possibly be imagined! Moreover, it will not be denied, that this result of creation is honorable to God, as the wise, benevolent, and perfect Father of all, and worthy of Christ, as one who died for all, and declared himself to be the Savior of the world!
Against this doctrine my opposing brother has labored with all the ability he possesses. He has endeavored to overthrow all these Christian hopes, these great and good views of God. He has exerted himself to make you believe that a consummation so desirable and glorious, can never be accomplished! That it is asking too much of God-placing too much dependence on his Goodness, his Love, Mercy, Wisdom and Power, to believe he will achieve so great and holy an undertaking as this! He has strived to convince you, that the BEST THING God could pos: sibly plan—the BEST THING Jesus could accomplish-the BEST THING angels could desire, or men could hope for, has been defeated, overthrown, and forever ruined. That there was no ability in Gud, Christ, angels, or good men, to bring to pass a state of things, which all loved to contemplate, and which would fill the universe with light, peace, love, and cause all intelligences to “ rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory!"
On the present Question, the position of the parties is changed. My opponent takes the affirmative, He seizes the laboring oar, and leads us in the investigation now in hand! After having labored to show you that in a world over which a Deity reigns who is Omnipotent in Power, perfect in Wisdom, and infinite in Love, the best state of things that man or angel could wish for, or God could design, or Christ accomplish, can never take place, he now volunteers to go forward and maintain, that in the same world over which the same perfect Deity reigns, and does his will, the WORST state of things that man can fear, or that demons could desire, will actually transpire, and endure as long as the Throne of the Eternal shall stand. I say the worst state of things. In the name of Heaven, what could possibly be worse than that even one soul should fall into ENDLESS SIN and WOE, to writhe in agony -to shriek and groan in dark despair, and blaspheme the name of its Creator through the endless cycles of eternity!!! But when he contends, as he will, not that one soul alone, but COUNTLESS MILLIONS of souls shall experience this doom, I feel authorized to declare that he will maintain the worst state of things of which it is possible to conceive !
Can it be possible that my opponent, that this audience, and the Christian world, have ever attempted to realize the awful, revolting nature of the doctrine of Endless Woe, or considered the dark and unholy imputations it casts on the character of the Ruler of the Universe ! Charity would urge us to believe they have not! Think steadily, deeply, maturely, of that doctrine! Do not turn away from its contemplation with a single glance. Strive to enter, if but slightly, into its gloomy and fathomless depths! Contemplate the nature of the task to contend for it! My opponent will labor to prove that an innumerable multitude of souls, each one of whom has been endowed by the Creator with capacities, which, under proper instruction and development, with the aid of appropriate means, and an opportunity of sufficient duration, would enable the possessor to rival Gabriel, in knowledge, holiness, and love, will, after a brief space of time, be denied even the privilege of improving, repenting and seeking after truth and holiness; but will be thrust down to interminable wretchedness, where they will be compelled to sin and agonize forever!
Parents! He will labor to prove thousands of you who have lost children, that had arrived at years of discretion, will never meet them more! He will seek to convince you that your dearly
beloved ones have gone to buffet the black waves of Almighty Wrath, and fight with howling devils forever! Children! He will strive to make you believe that multitudes of you have beloved parents in hell this moment!! That the Father or the Mother who watched over you in infancy-who toiled and sweat to promote your good--who discharged faithfully the duties of kind, provident, loving parents—whose venerable locks you followed to the tomb with grief--whose grave you have watered with tears of sorrow-are now shrieking in endless despair and anguish indiscribable—that they are calling on God for even the slightest display of mercy, the smallest mitigation of torment; but alas! calling in vain! The only answer to their cries for pity, from Him who made them, will be infinite Frowns of implacable Hatred and Vengeance !
He will labor to prove that vast numbers of parents who may be so fortunate as to arrive in heaven, will be childless there; and thousands of children there, will be orphans! That when the Redeemed and Saved shall strike their golden harps in praise of the Majes of Heaven, the sweet melody of their songs will be accompanied by wailings and lamentations from the dearest objects of their affections, tossed on the raging billows of Infinite Anger!! My God! My God!! what a doctrine! what a thought! to be contended for, under the light of that sun, whose sweet and blessed beams, falling alike on the evil and the good, attest the impartial love of the Being, whose name is thus to be maligned. What a sentiment to be defended before an audience who have hearts to feel, and minds to think! What a work to engage the high and noble capacities of the human mind, in a christian community and in this enlightened age--and that too, by a professed preacher of that Gospel, which the angels declared to be " good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people !!!. Alas! my brother! I pity you! I commisserate your sad condition, in the gloomy work, the abhorrent task, you have taken upon yourself! My heart yearns over one so lost io truth, to reason, to the word of God, as to volunteer in such an enterprize!! I can but bewail your wretched lot, in being placed in a posture where you can be induced to advocate a sentiment from which every impulse of that heart which God has placed within you, revolts with unspeakable and utter abhorrence !!!
It is my duty-and one most pleasing to my soul, and willingly discharged-to contend against this direful sentiment, with what little ability I may possess. I shall endeavor to show that it is dishonorable to God, disgraceful to Christ, repugnant to reason, opposed to the scriptures, abhorrent to the best feelings of the human heart; and that there is impressed on its very frontlet, all the marks and features of a dark and horrid Falsehood! And may Almighty God, whose name is Love, give me power to execute this task in such a manner as to receive his approbation, and
convince the most faithless and unbelieving heart, that he is indeed and in truth, "good unto all, and that his tender mercies are over all his works !
Weight of Testimony.--A few words in regard to the weight of testimony to be adduced on the question. I maintain that my opponent has altogether the improbable side in this discussion. To assert that the God of Infinite podness, whose very nature is Love, cannot premeditate evil or cruelty-cannot bring helpless beings into existence, coolly purposing, or plainly foreseeing, that their ultimate fate will be interminable sin and woe-to assert that a God of Infinite Wisdom cannot err, in any of his plans or purposes—to insist that a God Omnipotent in power cannot be thwarted, disappointed or defeated, in his designs--is to lay down propositions requiring but little, if any, testimony to support them. There is a probability, a self-emdence, enstamped upon them, which carries conviction to all intelligent and unprejudiced minds! But to assert that a God of such characteristics and perfections, can premeditate evil-can urge creatures into being, determining or foreknowing, their existence will prove an endless curse to them, and to the Universe--to contend that the plans of Infinite Wisdom are so imperfect that they can be disarranged and thrown into irremediable confusion--to maintain that Omnipotence cannot execute his designs, nor do his will—is to take positions which carry an astonishing IMPROBABILITY-yea, a most marked CONTRADICTION on their very face!!! Hence it will require not a slight touch of logic and sophistry, but a vast amount of solid testimony to bring such a doctrine even to a probability ; and an infinite weight of the most convincing evidence, to make it approach to any thing like a certainty!!
Again—To contend that a wise, good and affectionate Father will watch over all his children with ceaseless constancy-will in every thing so wisely order his affairs as to promote their permanent welfare--and through whatever trials, afflictions and exposures he may think proper to lead them, aim at their final deliverance and their greatest happiness-would be but to assert that which was probable, and which it would require but little proof to sustain. But to insist that such a father would voluntarily, and without any thing urging him to it but his own good pleasure, place his children where they would be exposed to endless torment, when he plainly saw, and knew, they would fall into its deep abyss, would be to contend for a most abhorrent IMPROBABILITY!!--an improbability requiring testimony of the most convincing and irrefutable nature !
These improbabilities, I insist, are precisely the positions which my opposer must advocate on this question. IMPROBABILITY is enstamped on every feature of the doctrine of endless punishment!! It is radically opposed to the whole array of