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Elder Holmes has referred to my remarks last evening to the young. He calls them baseless arguments, and indeed is disposed to make merry over them—insisting that upon the whole, they were quite laughable. It was a matter of glee to him that young men should be taught of the certainty of the chastisement of guiltshould be instructed that the government of God is so organized, that the man who sins, cannot by any possibility escape from just and deserved punishment. While I was engaged in reading God's solemn admonitions to men, of the certainty of punishment-that " though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished," he, it would seem, was inclined to laugh in utter incredulity. Of course, he would have the young imitate him in this respect, and laugh too, when the voice of God is sounding in their ears—“I will by no means, clear the guilty.” Well, every man to his taste. To me, this is no laughing matter. The declarations of Heaven, on any subject, especially one so vitally connected with human good, as the doctrine of the indissoluble connection between sin and its punishment, are too sacred, too important, to excite merriment in my heart. If there is any doctrine which can make the sinful laugh and rejoice, it is that for which my opponent is now contending; that they can sin through life without punishment-repent at death-and enter at once upon the endless joys of saints and angels in Heaven !!
He refers to my assertion, that according to his doctrine, I could with impunity, destroy the lives of this entire audience, and escape all punishment. Well, is it not so ? Suppose I should slay this congregation-does not his system assure me that by repenting of the crime, I can avoid its punishment? I therefore repeat that there is a way opened by his doctrine for me to commit such a crime with impunity, and yet escape every particle of penalty, and be as happy as the best saint that has ever lived on earth.
He insists that his doctrine tells the young that if they do not repent, there is a severe and awful punishment in store for them. Ah, yes! “IF” they do not repent! That if, opens a wide door. The young will readily comprehend this, and take full advantage of it! They mean to repent, when they can sin no longer, and when repentance becomes necessary for their safety! They are looking to this very provision for escape when they see peril approaching. Will such a doctrine have any permanent restraint upon them? It cannot.
On the other hand, I come to them, and in the language of the Bible, impress upon them the certainty of penalty. I preach to them God's holy word of truth, that as surely as they sin, they will receive a just punishment for it, and that there is no escape, no salvation from that punishment. Who can fail to see that such a doctrine must have a far more restraining effect on the youthful and inexperienced, than that which assures them that they can sin and avoid punishment.
The Elder brings up the old case of the prisoner shooting the sheriff and going to heaven immediately. Tam disappointed that a gentleman of the candor and intelligence of my opponent, should allow himself to fall into so marked a misrepresentation of Universelism as he must have known this to be. The denomination of Universalists do not entertain any views of this description. They do not believe any man will enter Heaven until he is fully prepared for that high abode, by an instructive, purifying, reconciling process. The very object of the advent of Christ, and the establishment of his Mediatorial reign, was to prepare men for heaven--not to send sinners there with all their iniquities on their shoulders. All representations of the kind alluded to, are uiter perversions of our views, and show either great ignorance, or a wicked disposition to falsify the truth, in those who make them !!
He says I told young men it was an awful thing to believe in repentance! or that they should repent. I made no such assertion. I believe as strongly in the necessity of repentance as my brother opposite. But I insist it is an awful thing for young men to be taught from the pulpit, and made to believe that by repentance they can escape all the punishment due their crimes. This is both an awful and demoralizing thing. Nothing more surely leads them to wickedness!
The gentleman has also said something of my being afraid of deep water, in touching his argument. I am glad to be informed by my friend himself that there is deep water there, for assuredly I should not have been able to detect that fact in any other manner. He also insists I am afraid of distinct propositions and close reasoning. I would suggest it is rather an early stage of our discussion 10 indulge in a fling of this description. It will become abundantly apparent during our progress, bow well grounded the charge is. Let me call the attention of the audience to what he denominates close reasoning, and the deep water in which his crast sails. He gives it to us in the form of one of Luther Lee's syllogisms, borrowed without credit:
Sinners cannot be saved from sin and then punished.
Sinners cannot be saved after they have been punished all they deserve.
The construction of a syllogism is a favorite way to conceal sophistry. In this case, the sophistry is too evident to deceive even a child. It consists in taking for granted the exact thing in dispute, and which should be proved, viz: that gospel salvation is from punishment. This I deny. The whole tenor of the gospel shows that salvation is from sin, and not from punishment. Hence, the syllogism is stripped of all force, and becomes simply ridiculous ! Sinners can be saved from sin after they have been punished all they deserve.
Indeed they cannot be saved until they are punished
Jews at Galatia, and that many of them as well as of the Gentiles, had become Christians, when St. Paul wrote this epistle? If he doubts this, let me give him some authority on the subject, which he will not dispute. Dr. Adam Clarke says, in reference to the Epistle to the Galatians: “From the complexion of this Epistle, it appears to have been written to the Jews, who were dispersed in Galatia."—[Preface to Galatians. ] Our Methodist friends can take their choice between Dr. Clarke and Elder Holmes.
That the Apostle throughout the Epistle treats largely of the Ceremonial Law of the Jews, must be evident to every intelligent reader, from the entire current of his language. In this I am supported by all commentators, except Elder Holmes. " These Galatians,” says Dr. Clarke, [Preface to Galatians.] “ were doubtless converted by St. Paul. But after his departure from them, some teachers had got in among them, who endeavored to persuade them, and successfully too, that they should be circumcised and keep the Mosaic Law. And the Apostle labors to bring them back from the errors of these false teachers.” A knowledge of these facts, (of which my friend seems deficient,) will show that there was great necessity that St. Paul should write to the Galatians in regard to the Ceremonial Law; and good evidence that he referred especially to that Law, when he declared Christ had redeemed them from “the curse of the Law.” This is farther evident from the fact, that four verses (v. 17,) from that under consideration, the Apostle informs us, the Law, to which he refers, was that delivered to the Israel. ites 430 years after the covenant made with Abraham. What Law was ihat? Necessarily the Ceremonial Law established at the commencement of the Mosaic dispensation.
I now come to the consideration of the fifth argument in the af. firmative. It is drawn from “Forgiveness, Pardon, and Repen. tance." Universalists believe as strongly as any other Christian denomination, in the doctrine of forgiveness and remission of sins, and look upon it as based on the most beautiful attributes of the Divine Government. What is the nature of forgiveness, as applicable to the government of a perfect God? In other words—What is forgiven? My friend declares it is the just and deserved punishment due the sinner. Here we differ. 'I maintain that it is the sin, the offence, and not the punishment due the sinner, that is forgiven or remitted. No one can fail to see a wide distinction here. Forgiving or remitting punishment, is to screen a guilty soul from that infliction of pain or chastisement, which justice, equity and right demand, and which the good, the reformation of the sinner, require. I have already shown that to allow the guilty thus to es. cape what justice and right require, would be doing that which is palpably wrong and unjust, and moreover, injurious to the guilty themselves. Hence, this theory which charges such injustice, wrong and injury on the government of a holy and just God, must be false. The doctrine of forgiveness of punishment, is singularly