Page images

prevail extensively, or are they confined to but few ? Let other quotations decide. Hosea Ballou teaches and defines the doctrine of the influence of the sufferings of Christ on the final salvation of man as follows : “ The common doctrine, which teaches us that Jesus Christ came into this world to save us in another world, is contrary to all the representations which are found in the Scriptures.” “ There is just as much propriety in exhorting people to get an interest in Adam, so that they may inherit from him the natural faculties of the body, as to exhort us to get an interest in Christ.” “ It seems that all, which the Savior did, was a manifestation of those things which our heavenly Father had given us before the world began.Mr. Ballou, the originator of the present scheme of Universalism, gives an unreserved exhibition of his opinions relative to the . sufferings of Christ. 1. Ile denies that Christ's death has any influence, or was intended to have, in securing the blessedness of heaven-this was secured, he says, for man- • kind before the foundation of the world and was infallibly certain. 2. He declares, that the only object in the mission and toil of Christ, was to make known those things in store for the hụman race. We ask, does Mr. Ballou believe that Christ died to redeem us from the curse of the law, or that by the merit and efficacy of his blood we may procure a remission of sins? Does he believe that without the's shedding of the blood of Christ,” God could have forgiven sins, or that men would have gained heaven independent of the death of Christ ? “ All the Savior did, was a manifestation of those things our heavenly Father had given us before the world began.” If so, how much better are the views of Ballou, Lewis and others than those of Thomas Paine, who asserts that Christ died as “a reformer and revolutionist?” Again, Mr. H. Ballou, says, “Christians have for a long time believed, that the temporal death

[ocr errors]

of Christ made an atonement for sin, and that the literal blood of the man who was crucified has efficacy to cleanse from guilt ; but surely this is carnality, and carnal-mindedness.” So neither the death of Christ made an atonement, nor saves from sin, in the estimation of this man, though the Bible says, “his blood cleanses from all sin.”

The voice of Mr. Ballou finds a response in many of his disciples, and they have re-echoed the sentiment to the utmost limits of their influence. Mr. D. Skinner of Utica, pronounces the common doctrine of the atonement, as among “ the absurdest dogmas that ever man believed, and which had their origin among the darkest ages the church ever witnessed ;” and that instead of being a satisfaction to divine justice, it would have been a most flagrant and eternal violation of every principle of justice.” 0. A.. Skinner declareş, “Neither is it necessary to the sinner's salvation, that one should suffer as a substitute. Every man must suffer in his own person all that the law threatens; and for Jesus to take the place of the sinner would be doing him the highest disservice.” Mr. Williamson asserts, that “ the whole system of vicarious atonement is wrong an outrage upon all justice and right, and as such, is pronounced by the voice of inspiration, an abomination in the sight of the Lord... . . But the question might be asked, how, to what extent, and for what purpnse did Christ suffer? If Christ did not suffer to redeem us from actual sin and the penalty of the law, nor as a substitute to effect a medium of salvation, what, and for what were his sufferings ? Hosea Ballou says, “We really do not comprehend, how it is that our heavenly Father cannot forgive the sins of his own children, without doing it in pursuance of such a sacrifice, as the execu

tion of an Infinite being on a GALLÒWS erected in the cen- tre of the Universe.! :« The sufferings which Jesus en

dured, and the sufferings which the apostles and disciples -- encountered, were all in the same cause, and required the

same end.” H. Ballou jr. would have us believe that the Scriptures recognise the fact, “ that men, mortal men, did frequently endure the same kind of sufferings with those of Christ, and that they were capable of enduring them with patience.” “With respect to the intenseness of his sufferings—those he endured on the cross did not equal, or at most did not exceed, those which the inhabitants of Jerusalem were to experience in the approaching destruction of their city.” 0. A. Skinner says, “ He suffered, as the apostles and christian fathers suffered.” “ Jesus gave' himself for the redemption of the world, just as the revolutionary fathers gave themselves to effect the freedom of our country." · Mr. LeFevre adds his testimony in the following language : “ The object of Christ's mission, life, . sufferings, and death, was to reconcile man to God and to his fellow. In this cause he shed his blood. The subject. may be thus illustrated. The heroes of our revolution shed their blood in the cause of freedom, and through their devotedness and sufferings, we enjoy all the advantages of civil and religious liberty. It may therefore be said almost . without a metaphor, by their stripes we are healed.Wews need not add, that Abner Kneeland, the notorious infidel, though once a champion of Universalism, holds the same language, and expresses himself in the same manner relative to the sufferings and death of Christ. .. .

That God could as well, and with the same propriety, forgive sins, before or without the sufferings of Christ, as after, or with, is a prominent sentiment of Universalists in : reference to the value and efficacy of Christ's death. That ... mortal men endured as much and the same kind of sufferings as those of Christ, they unhesitatingly testify. And that the sufferings, blood, and death, of the apostles and early

fathers were endured in the same cause and for the same · purpose as those of Christ; and that the death and struggle incident in our political revolution, is a proper illustration of what Christ did and suffered for the welfare of man. Does the Bible teach such doctrine ? Universalists reply, most assuredly it does. Well, we have not so learned Christ, nor do the above quotations correspond with the views we cherish of the value and efficacy of the blood of the Redeemer.

We have heretofore proved, that Universalism teaches, that all punishment for sin is confined to this life ; that all *the enjoyments which flow directly from the gospel are

circumscribed by the same limits ; that the deportment of man, whether good or evil, shall not affect his existence in the future life for weal or woe, being wholly confined to . this mundane sphere ; and that the mission of Christ into this world, his labors, his teaching, his self-denial, his passion and death, do not affect the existence of mankind in the spirit-world, either one way or the other, but their influence is confined to this world. So far as the attainment of future blessedness, an exemption from all evil and the full enjoyment of fadeless glories, are concerned, they were just as certain and easy of access, independent of Christ, as with his aid. Mr. Sawyer says, “ Christ came to save his people from their sins, and not from the punishment of sin; to save man from deserving punishment, rather than from punishment deserved.If the only object of Christ, and for which he is rightly entitled to the name “ Savior,” is to save the children of men from sinning, from deserving punishment, and as Universalists maintain that in this life sin can only be committed ; then it is evident, that all the efficacy of Christ's teaching and death, whatever it may be, is alone effective in this state of being. But above all, he is a very inefficient Savior, for but very few, if any, are

saved from deserving punishment. Where is the man who sinneth not, and consequently deserves no punishment? We feel pretty well assured that the sound morality of Universalists is not free from the taint of sin and blur of wrong, consequently they are not saved by Christ in this life, nor will they be in another world ; for to its glories they are entitled without the interference of the Redeemer, if their notions of the Scriptures are correct. Neither will they participate in the ecstatic anthem of the redeemed from every nation, for they ascribe glory, honor and praise to the Lamb slain for their salvation. To Mr. Sawyer's, let us add the testimony of Mr. Ballou. He says, “ All those passages of Scripture, which define the nature of salvation, agree that Jesus Christ saves man from evil which attaches to him in the present world, and which he suffers in his present state of being,” Mr. Whittemore says, “ 'The evils from which Jesus came to save men are in this world, and for this reason he came into this world to save them.” If Christ came to save men from the evils of this world, and not of the future, and since nothing good or evil done here, shall transcend the bounds of time, therefore all the work and good Christ designed to effect for the human race must close with time. This being the case, when Universalist preachers descant on the final holiness and happiness of the human race in and through Christ, and as infallibly certain because he died for all, they either prove that they do not sincerely believe in their own doctrine, or else they design to deceive the people by conforme ing to the preaching of the orthodox, when in heart and theory they reject the very doctrine. Else since in theory they reject the doctrine, that the final salvation of the human race is in anywise attributable to Christ, why do they not openly and as honest and fearless men, declare the same before the world, then none would be hoodwinked and de

« PreviousContinue »