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of punishment. Indeed, the idea of building up a doctrine so appalling and monstrous in its nature and consequences-so in opposition to God's goodness and holiness, and the purest and best desires of men or angels-on a strained and controverted construction of one or two exceedingly indefinite words, occurring in a few isolated passages-the idea that Jehovah would have revealed such a doctrine in a manner so blind, indefinite and uncertain-is a supposition most unreasonable. To one who never before heard of that doctrine, an attempt to charge it to God, on evidence so hard to be got at, so far-fetched, and when obtained, so slender and uncertain, would be viewed as presumptive as it was abortive! Had the Creator designed to reveal a sentiment so terrible, he would have caused it to be enstamped on every page in the Bible, in words too plain or positive to admit of doubt or dispute. If the Heavenly Parent had exposed his children to a doom of endless agony, he would not have left a knowledge of it to be obtained only by far-fetched inference, drawn from words of varying and uncertain meaning; but would have written its awful truth, and recorded his solemn warning, in letters of living fire all over the heavens !!
I tell my friend plainly, and all who sympatize with him, that the doctrine of eternal tortures, which he has so strenuously advocated, is a blasphemous imputation on the wisdom and goodness of God--a libel on the Savior of the world, and a disgrace to Christianity. It violates reason, contradicts the scriptures, and is utterly repugnant to all the purest and holiest feelings of the christian heart. No true Christian can love it. To all souls influenced in the slightest manner by the spirit of Christ, it is horrid and loathsome to the last degree. It has no connection with Christianity; but is the legitimate offspring of heathenism.Through the fears which its terriffic nature is calculated to xcite in unenlightened minds, it has become imbedded deeper and stron ger in the public belief, than kindred errors which were generated in the same source, but have long since passed away. Nursed by superstition--strengthened and upheld by ignorance-it has been enabled to perpetuate its dark features down to our own day!But it must pass away! Its faithful sentinels superstition and ignorance, which have so watchfully guarded it in ages past, are themselves disappearing under the onward progress of truth.Aside from these, it has none of the elements of perpetuity. Without their friendly aid it cannot stand an hour. The shades of night no more surely recede before the increasing dawn of morning, than must this product of a dark age, sink into its merited and native oblivion, as the bright rays of the "sun of righteousness" illuminate the minds and purify the hearts of the children of men.Already do we behold the unerring indications of a speedy dis
"See p. 667,
solution. Most of those clergymen who are its professed believers, fear to advocate it in public, or scarcely to mention it in their ministrations. And those who reluctantly step forth as its defenders, are ashamed of its odious features as formerly held, and continually seeking to conceal them from the people, by paint and tinsel, by equivocation and sopistry! I make no pretensions to the vision of a seer, but I desire to leave on record this prediction-That before two generatious shall have succeed the present, it will become a matter of as great surprise throughout all sects in Christendom, that people could ever have believed in Endless Punishment, as it now is that a belief in witches, fairies, and hobgoblins was so prevalent a century ago. Yes! it must go down! It is doomed! "Ichabod !" is inscribed upon it. And let it go 'down!! Who will bewail its departure-who lament its loss?-In its place shall arise the fair fabric of Truth-beautiful in all its proportions-and blazing with the glory of God and the Lamb! Let it go down! It shall be replaced by purer and better principles of action. Under the teachings of the Gospel, men will be brought to that high standard of perfection, where they will love God and keep his commandments, not through fear of hell; but through the promptings cf gratitude, filial respect, holy reverence, and a love of virtue for virtue's sake?
So far from any revelation of endless punishment having been made by God, his Inspired Word contradicts it, as we have seen, in the most positive manner, and establishes beyond doubt the final salvation of all men. I have shown in this discussion, by positive scripture declarations--1. That God has Promised to save all men. (Gen. xxvi. 3, 4-Ps. lxxxvi. 9.) 2. He has Purposed to save all men. (Eph. i. 9, 10.) 3. He has Willed to save all men. -(Eph. i. 9, 10.) 4. He has pledged his Oath to save all men (Isa. xlv. 23, 24.) 5. He has proclaimed a time of the Restitution of all things, by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (Acts iii. 20, 21.) 6. He has sent his Son to save all men. (1 John iv. 14.) 7. Jesus tasted death for all.-(2 Cor. v. 15.) 8. He gave himself a ransom for all.-(1 Tim. ii. 6.) 9. He became a propitiation for the sins of the whole world.-(1 John ii. 2.) 10. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.— (Phil. ii. 9, 10.) 11. All shall be made alive in Christ.--(1 Cor. xv. 22.) 12. All who are in Christ shall become new creatures. --(2 Cor. v. 17.) 13. God has declared he will not retain his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy.-(Micah_vii. 18.) 14. He has declared he will not contend forever.--(Isa. lvii. 16.) 15. That he will not cast off forever, but will have compassion, according to the multitude of his mercies.--(Lam. iii. 31, 32.) 16. Sin and all the works of the devil, are to be destroyed.(1 John iii. 8.) 17. The devil himself, is to be annihilated.--(Heb. ii. 14.) 18. Tears are to be wiped from off all faces.—(Isa. xxv. 8.)
19. The grave [hell] is to fall into oblivion.-(Hosea xiii. 14.) 20. Death, the last enemy, is to be destroyed-(1 Cor. xv. 26)--and swallowed up in victory.-(Isa. xxv. 8.) 21. God will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.-(1 Tim. ii. 4.) 22. He hath concluded all in unbelief, that he might have M■CRY upon ALL!—(Rom. xi. 32.) 23. He shall finally become ALL in the hearts of ALL his creatures.-(1 Cor. xv. 28) 24. Every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, will at length be heard saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.-(Rev. v. 13.)
I insist here is a mass of testimony which no man who believes in the Bible, is at liberty to resist, or can resist with the approbation of his reason and conscience. It totally annihilates the doctrine of endless punishment, and clearly establishes the truth of the final salvation of the world. These passages are not figurative, parabolical, or in any way indefinite in their meaning, as those are which my friend has cited in proof of the ceaseless duration of punishment; but they are literal, plain, positive and unquestioned in their meaning. If they do not unequivocally assert the truth of Universal Salvation, then human language cannot express that glorious sentiment. We have seen this doctrine bears all those distinctive features which ever characterize God's truth, and commend it to the reception of those of sound minds and honest hearts. It is a doctrine which is Scriptural, Reasonable and Desirable. That it is Scriptural, to an unprecedented degree, we have just shown. And what can be more Reasonable than the fact that a Father, who is infinitely holy, good and merciful-whose spirit is Love-who is omnipotent in power, and abundantly able to do whatever he pleases, both in heaven and earth -should at last, bring all his offspring to repentance, holiness and happiness? This is so reasonable, that my opponent has felt himself compelled to urge men to distrust their reason on this subject. That this doctrine accords with the purest desire, will not be doubted. My friend desires its truth--all good men desire it. Surely nothing can be more desirable to the sincere Christian, who loves his God and his fellow man--nothing can more highly gratify the purest and holiest emotions of his soul, than this most blessed assurance of a reign of Universal Holiness, Love, and Peace!
Coming to us with all this weight of evidence, and under these impressive sanctions, it becomes not only our Privilege, but our Duty, to receive and rejoice in the doctrine of the salvation of all mankind. Equally is it our duty to abandon forever, the infinite libel on God's character, contained in the fiction of endless wretchedness! Let none believe they incur any danger, or can expose themselves to peril of any description, by embracing a sentiment
so honorable to God, so worthy of Christ, as that embraced in the final salvation of a lapsed world! Let none entertain views of God so low and wicked, as to imagine he will visit evil upon any being for believing the plain declarations of his word, and attributing to him the best and holiest work that an Infinite Deity can accomplish! No where can intelligent creatures be in a position so safe, as to plant themselves on the Truth!! That truth we have found. Behold and accept it, O man!
Philanthropists, would you have an assurance of the final good of all our race? Christians, would you enjoy a hope, that at last, all enmity, bitterness and strife, shall cease; that disobedience, evil and sin, shall be destroyed, and holiness and happiness fill the entire Universe? Parents, children, relatives, friends, do you yearn for a confident faith that you shall hereafter meet all the the objects of your hearts' dearest affections? Here alone, in the belief of Universal Salvation, can such assurances, such hopes, such a faith be found! Embrace it as the beacon-light God hath kindly sent, to lead you to peace and joy! None will say I exhort you to adopt a doctrine of a painful or repulsive nature. The very thought of the final repentance and salvation of all intelligent beings, fills the soul of the good man, the humble christian, with the highest rapture. All christians, all pious followers of Christ, all holy and pure men, love this doctrine. This entire audience love it. You, Gentlemen Moderators, love it. My brother opposite, although contending against it, with all his might, and strength, and soul, still LOVES it with all his Might, and Strength, and Soul! He has not denied this love, but will freely acknowledge it. And he will yet BELIEVE the doctrine he now so ardently loves!! Yes, my brother, I anticipate with the highest satisfaction, meeting you in a world where there will be the most perfect unanimity of feeling and opinion between us! No longer will you raise your hand, or lift up your voice, in opposition to God's glorious purpose of reconciling the world to himself. In the midst of the countless throngs of the great race of man, all made holy and happy, you will see, and feel, and rejoice, in the truth of that doctrine, against which you now exert those talents which God gave you for a better purpose. You will acknowledge your fault in combatting a truth so evident and so glorious. That will be a happy day! Hand in hand we will walk the streets of the New Jerusalem, recounting the scenes of past existence, beholding the displays of infinite wisdom, goodness and power, which will blaze around wherever we direct our admiring eyes, and rejoicing at the movements of that wonderworking Providence, which from imperfection, darkness and sin, will have educed universal perfection, light, and holiness!!
In conclusion, I beg the Moderators to receive the expression of my sincere thanks, for the dignified, patient and impartial manner in which they have presided, during this protracted dis
cussion. I pray God to reward them for this labor of love, and to bless them with all spiritual and temporal good, and at last to grant them an abundant entrance into his endless kingdom of grace and peace.
In taking leave of my brother opposite, I tender to him my regard and friendship. If in the ardour of debate, and the excitement of the moment, I have uttered anything that has wounded his feelings, or the feelings of any who sympathize with the sentiments he has advocated, I can but express my sincere regret, and beg them to attribute it to an error of the head and not of the heart. If I know myself, my feelings towards those who differ from me, are characterized by friendship and good will. Although my opponent has said many things ungenerous and ungentlemanly during this debate, yet I feel I ought to charge these things more to his false, blinding, and pernicious doctrines, than to any confirmed depravity in his principles of action. I design to pay him the highest compliment, when I assure him I have a much greater estimation of the qualities of his heart, than of his head! His affections are right-his thecry is wrong. The best prayer I can utter in his behalf is, that he may speedily be converted to the WHOLE truth, as it is in Christ Jesus, and become highly instrumental in proclaiming far and wide, that heaven-born Gospel ofUniversal Grace and Salvation, which he has on this occasion, labored so assiduously to overthrow. May Heaven's choicest blessings rest upon him and his, through life, and through eternity!
To the audience I return thanks for the respectful attention they have given during this debate. I exhort them to weigh candidly, whatever they have heard from either party. Let them imitate the conduct of the Bereans, of whom St. Paul speaks, who "were more noble than the people of Thessalonica, in that they received the word in all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so." May we all be led to love God supremely, and our neighbors as ourselves-to discharge faithfully, our every duty in all the relationships of life! May we enjoy his light and truth while we live, and when we die, may we hear his voice whispering peace and trust to our departing souls, saying, "Fear no evil; I am with thee; my rod and my staff shall comfort thee." Amen and Amen!--[Time expired.