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* Controversy in itself is not agreeable, and ought to be avoided when dot necessary; yet the apostle exhorts, tbat we should earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints;" but cer. tainly it vught to be done in meekn ss and in the spirit of the goso pel. And should it appear, that the writer of the following pages bas been prompted by a different temper, it would be to bim a cause of much regret. He is not aware of much influence from any other motive in undertaking this work, than the exposure of error, and the vindication of truth. He is not sensible of unpleasant feelings towards the person of his deceased opponent, nor of ill-will towards those who embrace his sentiments. He is sensible, that it cannot be long before he must also leave this world and pass 10 unseen regions; and be dares not appear before God, here nor hereafter with indulged hardness towards any creature. To a number of Univer. salists he justly on es respect, and from but few, if from any, bas he received unkind treatment. Why then should be be disaffected towards their persons ? On the contrary he greatly desires their present and future happiness, even the salvation of their souls
But respect for their persons or tender feelings towards them, does not lessen bis dislike of their peculiar religious principles. He soberly thjuks, that the doctrine of universal salvation, as it is called, is exceedingly dangerous to souls, and entirely in Contradiction to the precious word of God, which he thinks his soul loves. It cannot then with any good reason be thought strange, that under existing circuinstances he should raise a standart against it.
It is unpleasant to be drawn into a discussion of the meaning of original words used in the Scriptures, when we have so good a translation ; especially when we are no better qualified for it. And were we ever so will accomplished for the work, to many readers it would serve but little purpose, more than to perplex them, and to darken counsel by words without knowledge. The writer thinks, however, ibat by the specimens he has given from the Bible, it may be seen, tht aion, and aionios, must mean eternity, and eternal, or many passages where they are found will be rendered unimportant, if not without signiiicarion.
It is apprebended that sometimes readers do not take sufficient pains to understand difficult passages they may meet with, and so do jot get the instruction, which by care and diligence they might. But the writer fondly hopes, that the interestig natue of this subject, and the importance attached to those word reterred to, will excite that attention wbicb is needful to gain the intended information.
Hebron, Maine, Sept. 1829.
MR. HUTCHINSON'S APOLOGY.'
INTRODUCTION. Mr. Samuel Hutchinson, whose publication I am about noticing, was born in this State of reputable parents, and apparently pious. His father, Mr. Joseph Hutchinson, for several years was an Elder in the Freewill Baptist connection in this town; and his life, as far as has coine to my knowledge, was an honor to his profession; and his ministerial labors, it is believed, were not in vain in the Lord. His son Samuel for some time was a member of the church, of which his father was pastor. His natural abilities were considerable; but his education and general knowledge do not appear to have been extensive.
I am not prepared to say precisely, what his religious creed bas generally been; but so much is evident, that he left this town, about twenty years ago, in the character of a Freewill Baptist preacher. Af: terwards, lowever, his inind became wavering, his principles not fixed, and not long since he openly avowed the sentiment of universal salvation. His moral character. I believe, has been irreproachable. The work before me indicates, that he had read some, and thought much; but there appears but little accuracy in his method, composition or style. It is thought by some, that his book now under con. sideration will have but little influence; but notwithstanding his arguments are not very accurately stated, not very ably handled, and by no means conclusive; yet his many positive assertions, with a multiplicity of scriptures pressed into his service, are calculated to mislead such as are desirous of embracing his doctrine, and to perplex some, who are far from being inclined to his faith. This is one thing, that induces me to make some observations on what he has written.
Some may think, that the work of a man so illiterate,* and so little known in the learned world, is unworthy of attention. But be that as it may, as he has embraced in his perforinance, unless I mistake, most of the arguments and objections advanced by the more accomplished of his denomination, and as it has considerable circulation, a reply seems to be necessary. And being apprehensive, that such as feel some delicacy with respect to their literary respectability, will not be forward to appear in the field of controversy with so unaccomplished an antagonist, affords me another inducement to engage in the work.
In my strictures it is my calculation to pass over much that Mr. Hutchinson has written, and confine myself chiefly to the principal arguments by which he would sustain his cause.
Mr. H. has given to his book the following title: “An Apology for believing in Universal Reconcilia. tion: or an appeal from the Inferior Court of Bigo.
* Mr. H. does not pretend to great literary know ledge.