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provided a Saviour for fallen man, and provided none for the fallen angels, but has given them up to the vengeance of eternal fire ?
Universalist.--Let what will be said on the subject of a future and eternal punishment, I never shall believe it, without seeing some reasons which shall appear sufficient to justify such a supposition. I see no good reason at all why a part of mankind should be made forever miserable.
Calvinist. If God has plainly revealed the fact, we ought to sup. pose that He sees good reasons, if we do not. But I am far from believing that this subject is in so much darkness as is frequently supposed. We are explicitly told wliy God raised op Pharaoh to such a high degree of pride and wickedness. It was to show his power in him, and that his name, by this means, might be declared through. out all the earth. And how signally has this prediction been fulilled. Who can read the history of Pharaoh without clearly seeing, and most sensibly feeling, the power and sovereignty of God. Froin this fact, and from other facts and predictions, recorded in the Bible, I think it is evident that one important reason why the wicked will be punished eternally is, for the purpose of displaying the divine perseetions. And is not this a sufficient reason to justify the character of God while causing the smoke of their torment to ascend up forever and ever? Is not the glory of God, and the happiness he will enjoy in the display of it, of inore consequence than the happiness of the tipally impenitent? Is it not also desirable that the heavenly hosts should have constantly before their eyes a visible and clear display. of the power, and justice, and sovereignty and benevolence of God?'
Universalist.-But have not the divine perfections already been displayed in the works of creation?
Calvinist. The works of nature very clearly display the natura perfections of God. It is from this source that we learn that he is a being of infinite knowledge, and power, and wisdom, and skill. But his providence more fully displays his moral perfections. From his decrees and his treatment of moral beings, we learn that he is * being of infinite justice, and goodness, and truth, and faithfuloess. While the marble and the silver and the gold lie hid in the earth, is it not impossible for creatures to see their beauty ? Thus while the perfections of God are hid within himself, no creatore can discover the glory and excellence and loveliness of Jehovah. And who dare affirm, that the display of the divine glory which will be occasiones by the overthrow of the wicked, is not an object of more importance than the happiness of those who shall go away into everlasting poda ishment ? Moreover, the notion that you advanced a while ago, that all sinners will become penitent as soon as they enter eternity, is not true. Satan and the fallen angels have been in punishment for many thousand years, and as yet they give no evidence of penitence,
as ' roaring lions;' still fight against God and against his cause. And the Scriptures teach that though Satan shall be bound during the long periods of the Millennium,yet, will not lis malignity be subdued. Ennity against God, and against his holy kingdom, will still rankle fiercely in his unconquered heart. And while bound in the great chain of God's wrath, he will still brood over his frustrated plane and rained prospects-meditate new schemes of vengeance-and, ir the fury of his desperation, from amidst the clanking of his chains and the smoke and darkuess of his prison, he will hurl his blasphemy against the “ High and Holy One."
The Scriptores further teach, Rev. xx. 7, 9, that at the close of the Millennium, when “Satan shall be loosed out of his prison," he will shew that his enmity is not at all abated. He will "go out to deceive the nations-gather them together to batile-compass the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city," and will not cease to act out his malignity, but “ shall be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever."
Jesus Christ says to impenitent sinnets, John viii. 44, Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.' Punishmeot never did conquer the hearts of sinners, and bring them to penitence. Punishment never will do it. The Holy Spirit, and He only, can conquer the proud heart of a sinher, and bring him as a penitent to his God--but punishment produces no such effect. “And the fourth abgel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemted the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and bis kingdoin was fař of darkness'; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores,and repented not of their deeds. And there fell upon men a great hail out of hcaven, every stone about the weight of a talent ; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the bail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great. Rev. xvi. 9, 10, 11, 21. The sinner that remains unreelaimed by the gospel,' until he enters eter. nity, will continue to be a signer : " he that is unjust will be unjust still, and he that is filthy will be filthy still.” .
Bat even suppose that punishment in eternity would ultimately conquer the hearts of all sinners and bring then lo repentance.Such repentance would come too late the harvest would be past, and the summer ended. For the Bible informs us, I. Cor. xv. 24, that t the day of judgment, Jesus Christ will deliver up his mediatorial kingdom to the Father. There will then be no mediator betwe. En God and rebels in his government. There will then be no ground of pardon-no morc offers of mercy. The impenitent of Adam's race will then be left without any mediator, as the fallen angels now are And the high arches of heaven, and the dark caveros of hell, will reecho that awful voice that shall come out from the midst of the throne: “He that is unjust let him be unjust sti' - and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still--and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still—and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”
Universalist.--Rather than believe that doctrine, I would deg. translate, or explain in some other way, every text in the Bible thu speaks on that subject.
Arminian.—On the subject of future punishments, I must still thinis that they will be eternal. But as to the passages in the Bible which Calvinists bring to prove predestination and election, I will go all the tength which Mr. Wesley goes: “It were better to say those passages had no sense at all” than to suppose they prove that doctrine. “Whatever it proves beside, no scripture can prove predestination."
Çalvinist. To say that “no scripture can prove" a doctrine which you dislike, is taking bold and dangerous ground. It is in fact saying, the Almighty may aesert that doctrine as plainly as he can, but I will not believe him.-To affirm that “ It were better to say tbose passages had no sense at all," than to adinit they teach a doctrine you oppose, is the same as to say: "I would rather contend that the God of wisdom speaks nonsense, than give up my prejudices against a plainly revealed truth.” This is the very ground taken by the U. nitarian, who say that our Lord Jesus Christ was a mere man: and that his death was no atonement for sin. He says that if the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the doctrine of atonement were asserted in a hupdred passages in the Bible, he would not believe these doctrines ; for he considers them absurd. The Unitarians have accordingly made many alterations in the New TESTAMENT, for the purpose of getting rid of the divinity of Christ, and the atonement, They have made great efforts to bring the altered copies of the Testament into circulation. You both take the same ground. One of you would alter or explain away every text that teaches the doctrine of eternal punishment :-the other would alter or explain away every text that teaches the doctrine of Predestination and Election.
Now, gentlemen, what would become of the Bible if the Unitarian is allowed to make his alterations--and the Arminian allowed to make his alterations--and the Universalist, and every other man, that finds his heart rebel against the plain import of God's word, is allowed to make such alterations as suits himself? Does not every American patriot feel greater veneration for the farewell address of Washington, and would he not feel more reluctant to tamper with the language or alter a single word in that address, than many professed Christians seem to feel for the language of their Creator ? Does not the Turk manifest a higher reverence, for the inviolable
sacredoess of the Alcoran of Mahomet, than many professed Chris. tians appear to feel for the words of him who spoke as “man never spake.”
ANSWER TO ENQUIRER. DEAR SIR-If scripture were not always to be understood accords ing to its plain and obvious import, still it would be evidence of the truth of a doctrine,' to find numerous passages, in all parts of the sacred volume, which plainly and obviously teach it, and but here and there one, which has the appearance of contradicting it. Calvinists, therefore, by quoting so many passages, which so expressly and unequivocally assert the efficient agency of God in the production of moral evil, has, we think, done a good deal towards proving the doctrine, and made it incumbent on those who deny it, not only to assert, but to show, that the passages which he has quoted, “understood literally," "contradict the general tenour of scripture-and appear to impeach the Divine character.” We do not think that "much explanation," nor any explanation of the passages in Calvinist's creed, is necessary, till it be made to appear, as we do not believe it ever can be, that the tenour of scripture addresses man precisely as if he were the cause of his own volitions. The labouring oar is obviously in the bands of those who controvert the doctrine of Divine efficiency. When a “controversialist” has quoted passages, which appear plainly to favour his position, it “devolves on” his opponent to show that “by being so understood,” they “contradict other passages equally plain.”
By admitting that some parts of scripture need explanation, we do not concede, that any passage “is not always to be understood according to its plain and obvious import,” when the terms in which it is expressed, the connexion in which it stands, the object of the wri-, ter, and the apprehensions of those addressed, are duly taken into consideration. The literal meaning of a passage, is not always, perhaps seldom, its most plain and obvious meaning. The passage, “ As in Adam all die,” &c. plainly and obviously relates to temporal deatlı and the resurrection of the body: the passage, “ And I, if I be lifted up," &c. plainly and obviously relates to the crucifixion of Christ and the multitudes assembled to behold it: and the meaning of Solomon's direction how to answer a fool, is plain and obvious to every reader of common sense. When God is said, as in the scriptures quoted by Calvinist, to turn, fashion, and harden the hearts of the wicked, and to move and stir them up to do evil; the expressions are all figurative, but the mcaning is none the less plain and obvious.
Admitting, what is inadmissible, that the Lord “barely permittel" The lying spirit to enter Ahab's prophets ; you will hardly think this
a case in point to prove, that when God is said to move, turn, fashion, harden, and even to create, nothing more may be meant, than bar permission.
That the holy • exercises of saints are caused by the Holy Spirit, you think • agrees with their own language ;' and consequently you admit, that saints are “voluntary machines." These are truly machines of a singular kind, and though they disclaim all merit,' and, in your view, are divested of their free moral agency and accountability, yet they are represented in sacred scripture, as objects of commendation and praise, and are promised a Divine and eternal reward!
Upon supposition a man causes his own choice, the manner in which he does it, is not so material, in this discussion, as the manner in which he does not do it. You admit, that be does not do it, by choosing to do it ; for you justly say, that to choose to choose is a contradiction.' But is it not equally a contradiction to talk of a man's causing any thing, without choosing or willing to cause it? When a man causes any thing, he must either choose to cause it, or choose not to cause it, or be perfectly indifferent as to its existence. If he is in a state of indifference, he acts without any motive, or preference of doing to not doing it. If he chooses not to cause it, he acts against his will, and is the subject of compulsion, and therefore not account. able. To say that a inan causes his own choice “ by the exercise of the same kind of faculty by which the Creator causes bis," is to take for granted what is by no means conceded, viz. that God causes his own exercises of choice. We do not believe, that God causes either his own existence, or his own free voluntary exercises ; althougla there is a ground or reason of both, which, in either case, is alike incomprehensible. And it would be just as conclusive, to argue from the ground of the Divine existence, to prove the self-eristence of men, as to argue from the ground of the Divine volitions, to prove that men possess a self-determining power.
An evil intention is the same, in itself, whoever may be its cause, and is criminal, in its own nature. Says President Edwards, “ If the essence of viciousness or fault does not lie in the nature of the dispositions or acts of the mind, then it is certain, it lies no where at all." It seems incumbent upon you, therefore, to show, in what respect an evil intention caused by one's self, differs from an evil intention caused by another; and why, in the former case, it is criminal, and in the latter case, innocent.
To “undertake to separate intention from its author," i. e. from the person who intends, as the term author properly means, in this connexion, we grant, is absurd; and therefore think it absurd to undertake to separate the criminality of murder from the criminality of the murderer; as though they were two distinct crimes,