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me my argument on the Intention of God? Why, he wants first to know what salvation is. It is truly remarkable that my brother, with all his experience as a preacher, and all his attainments as a scholar and theologian, has not yet learne:l what salvation is. And supposing the people to be as ignorant as himself on this point, he is anxious I should explain to them what salvation is-as though they had no Bibles in their hands, or could not read that holy book for themselves! The very first lesson in the gospel--the very first chapter in the New Testament, explains the whole of this subject, in declaring the simple truth that Christ came to save men from sin! I know that this answer does not suit the Elder, for the reason that the Bible and his own theory are at variance. But I can give him no better reply. The scriptures furnish me with none other. He desires me to inform him when and where, men are to be saved? I answer, when and where they repent of sin! In this world or in any other, when a being truly repents of sin, he is saved from it.
The Elder admits the correctness of my premises, in the argument on the Intention of God. He has no doubt the Deity originally intended to save all men. He must take this ground, or step on the old Calvinistic platform. But in making this admission he admits all I can ask, and gives me the Argument. If God originally intended to save all men, then my friend must necessarily také one of two positions, viz: that God's original intention will be fulfilled, or it will be defeated. If it is defeated, then Jehovah is an imperfect being, and no dependence can legitimately be placed upon him for any thing. But if his intention be fulfilled, then all men will finally be saved from sin, and made holy and happy!! There is no possibility of avoiding one of these conclusions. My friend can adopt that which is the most agreeable to him.
He has made an attempt to answer my argument from the Desire of God. He takes the strange ground that notwithstanding the Creator DESIRES the salvation of all men, it is no evidence they will be saved. To sustain himself in this position, he insists that God's desires are not always accomplished! That he desires men to be holy and happy here, but they do not become so. Therefore he feels no confidence that they will be holy and happy hereafter, notwithstanding Jehovah desires it. This is one of the most common and favorite objections to my position, and yet it is most illogical, Atheistical, and fatal! It is illogical, in that it takes the ground that whatever God desires for man in a future and ultimate condition, he desires for him in the present life. There is no soundness in this position. It overlooks the important fact that God was pleased to create men subject to vanity and imperfection.---(Rom. viii. 20. 21.) This subjection was not for the purpose of exposing them to endless wretchedness-much less for the purpose of plunging them into such a state. But it was
designed as a state of discipline, which by its varied lessons of experience, will prepare those who pass through it, for a more exalted and perfect condition of happiness than they could otherwise attain to. It overlooks also, that man is created a progressive being, both morally and mentally. God designs him to pass through various stages of progress until he arrives to the full developement of all the capacities of his soul. He will then have arrived at that ultimate state of perfection and happiness into which the Creator from the first designed to bring him!
In view of these facts, what folly to insist that God desires men in this life--the first stage of their progress, to be in the same condition of perfection, that they will enjoy when they have passed through the entire progressive journey and attained to the high position whither it will lead them. And what greater folly to insist God's desires are frustrated, because man at the commencement of his progress, is not at the same point, he will be, at its conclusion. This is as consistent as it would be to insist that God's desires are not accomplished because the child is not as fully developed in his capacities, as the man-or that his purpose and desire in nature, are frustrated, because the twig, when it shoots from earth, does not produce fruit, like the mature tree. How profound such theology! How deep the water !
The position that God's desires are not always accomplished, is Atheistical. If the Deity cannot fulfil his desires, then he is imperfect. He either cherishes wrong desires--or if his desires are good and proper, he lacks both in power and wisdom to satisfy them. In either case, he must be imperfect. If he is imperfect, he is not the TRUE God-and if He is not the true God, then there is no God!!
The objection that God's desires are not always accomplished, is fatal to those that urge it; inasmuch as it cuts off the surely of their own hopes of salvation. If the desires of such a being as Jehovah, are not accomplished in some respects, they may not be in others. I presume Elder Holmes will acknowlege God desires, that all the partialist clergymen and church members, shall finally become perfectly holy and happy, in the future world. If this is so, then according to his logic, God desires them to be perfectly holy and happy in this life. But his desire in this respect is not accomplished-they are neither perfectly holy nor happy here hence his desire that they shall become perfectly holy and happy hereafter, cannot be accomplished—and my friend and all his evangelicals must be lost forever!!
The imperfection of this species of logic is, it overlooks the fact that God's desire in respect to man's ultimate condition, does not imply that he desires the same for him now in the incipient stages of his being—and that the subjection of the creature to vanity and imperfection in this life, is in accordance with, and not in opposition to his original Will and Purpose! Besides all this,
the position of Elder Holmes that God's desires are not always accomplished, involves a point-blank contradiction of the Bible, and puts the stamp of falsehood on the declaration of Jehovah !! The scriptures expressly declare of God, that " what his soul desireth, even THAT he DOETH.” (Job xxiii. 13.) But my friend insists that God does not accomplish what his soul desireth !! I leave the Elder to reconcile his assertion with the declaration of God's holy word! One or the other has manifestly uttered that which is false ! My Fourth argument is predicated on
THE FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW OF LOVE. PROPOSITION.-1. The Creator, in his moral law, has enjoined it upon every human being, as a sacred obligation, to love God supremely, and his neighbor as himself. 2. That law will in due time, be universally fulfilled. 3. When all men thus love God and their neighbor, they will be holy and happy.
Proof.-1. It has been enjoined on every human being to love God supremely and his neighbor as himself. “ Master, which is the great commandment in the Law ? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the
first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”—Matt. xxii. 36-40.) The enjoining of Love to God and to man, is the sum and substance of all the commandments which the Creator has laid upon men. The great object of the Holy One in establishing the Levitical law, in all his teachings through his holy prophets, and in sending his Son to establish his gospel, was to bring mankind to yield obedience to this requirement. The entire moral law of Jehovah, and all his requirements of man, are summed up in these two commandments. Îo yield obedience to them, is to obey in every thing God requires of his creatures. The this is the Great Law of all the Laws of God—that it comprehends all the duties enjoined on man—is not only evident from the language of Christ, but also from the declarations of his Apostles. "If there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”——(Rom. xiii. 9.) St. James denominates it " the Royal Law.”—(James ii. 8.) "Love is the fulfilling of the law.”—(Rom. xiii. 10.) “All the law is fulfilled in this word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."-(Gal. v. 14.)
This is not an arbitrary law, originating simply in the sovereignty and will of God; but one growing directly from man's nature, and enacted with special reference to his happiness. It is for the want of this love, that men commit evil, and injure and destroy one another. It is from the absence of love, that the greater portion of human wretchedness proceeds. Let a man fultil the law of love, and he is necessarily happy. Let all men
yield it their obedience, and universal happiness prevails. God loves all mankind and blesses all. From this fact, an obligation grows, binding all men to love God, and one another, in return.
2. This law of Love, will in due time, be universally fulfilled. All men will yield it their obedience. This position may be maintained on the simplest rules of moral philosophy. “Like begets like.” God loves all mankind with infinite and endless love. A knowledge of the existence of this love, in our Maker, will in process of time, as certainly awake a returning love in the bosoms of all men, as cause produces effect. The great reason why so many in this life, fail to love God, is their ignorance of God's love for them, or the want of a proper realization of that love. I regret I am constrained to declare that much of this ignorance of God's love, and the lack of its realization, is to be attributed to representations of Deity, made by limitarian clergy from the sacred desk. It has been held up to the world in such light, that sinners have been lead to imagine he entertains for them, any other emotion than love! But when men become emancipated from the thraldom of false doctrines, and the clear sunlight of his love, falls gently and sweetly on the souls of all, as it must in due time, in this life and the next, it will awaken returning love throughout the entire ranks of humanity.
That this law of love will be obeyed eventually, by all men, is proved positively by the declaration of our Savior. He came expressly to bring about such obedience. * Think not that I came to destroy the law, or the Prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till Heaven and Earth pass, one jot or one tittle, shall in no wise pass from the law, till be fulfilled."-(Matt. v. 17, 18.) Here Jesus declares the law of God shall all be fulfilled, in every “jot and tittle." The fulfillment of a law is the accomplishment of the purpose for which it was enacted. What is the fulfillment of this law of love ? Nothing else, and nothing less, than its obedience by every creature upon whom it is enjoined—i.e.-all men. The fulfillment of a law is the bringing of men to an obedience to its demands. This law demands love, of all men. St Paul declares "Love is the fulfilling of the Law.” Hence so long as one being in the race of man refuses or neglects to love God and his neighbor, the Royal Law of Love, remains unfulfilled.
The laws against theft and slander are unfulfilled so long as men steal and calumniate. To punish men for violating these laws, does not fulfil them. When all men scrupulously respect the property and character of their fellow beings, the laws against theft and slander will be fulfilled, and the object of their enactment accomplished. In like manner the punishment of those who neglect God's Law of Love, although surely inflicted, is not its fulfillment. It is but one of the means which lead to its fulfillment. When all human beings shall be brought by the enlightening in
fluences of the gospel, to love God with all their heart, soul and mind, and their neighbors as themselves, then the sublime and glorious Law of Love will be perfectly fulfilled!! That time is yet to arrive. The Savior solemnly declares that the Law which thus enjoins love, shall all be fulfilled, in every jot and tittle, in every possible respect. Nothing shall frustrate its fulfillment.
Heaven and Earth” shall sooner pass away, than that law fail of accomplishment in every individual being of the whole race of man!!
3. It is self-evident that when all men are brought to cherish the spirit of love to God and their fellow-beings, then all will be holy and happy. Where perfect love presides, there all is holiness and happiness! Gracious promise-precious pledge!! Love shall yet prevail throughout the Universe! Every created heart shall beat with the delicious rapture of its presence. God has purposed it-Christ is pledged to accomplish it-angels are engaged in the work of completing it—the prayers of all good men and saints, are uttered for so desirable a consummation!!! And who would prevent it? Who can prevent it? What power can interfere to thwart it? What agency, what being, shall stand between God and the hearts of his creatures? Who will saywho dare say—that the Father of Spirits, shall not yet receive that which is so justly his due—the supreme love of every being formed in his image ? My Fifth Argument is drawn from
THE PARENTAL CHARACTER OF GOD. PROPOSITION.-1. God is the Father of all men. 2. His affection for his offspring, is of the same nature as that of a wise and good earthly father, but infinitely strong: er and more enduring. 3. All that a wise and good earthly parent would do for his children, had he the power, our Heavenly Father will do, in the fulness of times, for all men.
PROOF.--1. God is the Father of all men. "Have we not all one Father ?"——(Mal. ii. 10.) And hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth. For in him we live, and move, and have our being: as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we [Jews, Gentiles, Christians, Pagans] are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device."-(Acts. xvii. 26–29.) “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."—(Eph. iv. 6.) “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things.”—(1 Cor. viii. 6.) “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in Heaven and Earth is named."'—(Eph. iii. 14, 15.) God is “the Father of Spirits.”—Heb. xii. 9.) "Our Father, which art in Heaven.”—Matt. vi. 9.)
Parental relationship is not artificial; it does not originate in