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day: « Oh wretched man that I am--who shall deliver me from the body of this death.” Allusion is here made to the practice of chaining criminals to a dead body until they were poisoned by its putrifaction, and suffocated by its stench. This was the condition of the world morally, and of every sinner in particular. A sense of guilt and pollution, and fear of punishment, hung like an incu. bus upon the mind, and consumed their joys and drank up their spirits.
And this was true, though not to the same extent with the Jews. The revelations of Sinai, and the sacrificial demands of their law, taught them that man cannot be just with God. Oppressive conscience, and the ominous voice of nature, spoke of guilt in man, and wrath against such as transgressed his laws. The only relief they found was in the predictions of the prophets. These assured them of the coming of a Savior, of the introduction of a day in which God would be merciful to their unrighteousness and remember their sins and iniquities no more. This Savior, and this day, were heralded in by the celelestial messengers when they announced, “ Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy!” “Good tidings !" how? “Great joy !” on what account? That a Savior was to save his people from their sins and introduce peace on earth, and good will to man. The sum of this argument is, that the gospel cannot be good tidings in any consistent sense if we exclude from it the idea oi a deliverance from the consequences of sin. The gospel is the announcement of a general animosity to the world of rebels against the throne and government of God. That announcement is that those who repent of their sins and turn to God shall be saved, and relieved of that just and deserved punishment which must inevitably fall upon them unless some provision of this kind be introduced for their benefit.
Our second argument in support of this proposition, is based on Christ's aldent as expressed to Joseph by the Angel who appeared to him in a dream : “ Thou shalt call his name JESUS, for he shall save his people from their sins." The name Jesus signifies deliverer, or one who saves. It is a modification of the term Joshua ; the original name was modified by the addition of the first syllable of the name Jehovah. The import is, the deliverer, or one who saves. The name Jesus therefore indicates his business to be to save his people. He is denominated Christ, which signifies annointed, as he was for this work. He is also called Emanuel, which signifies, God with us. Christ was therefore a divine deliverer. What was his business? It was announced by the passage, “ He shall save his people from their sins.” But salvation means deliv. erance, hence is Christ delivers, there must be something from which be delivers. And this something must have a positive existence, otherwise there would be no deliverance in the case. The announcement says, that something, is sin. “He shall save his people from their sins," To understand how he saves from sin, we
must understand what sin is. “Sin,” says the Apostle, “is the transgression of the law.” Not a mere abstraction, or something that may be thought of or contemplated -a mere ideal existence. It is a reality, a fact which exists under the government of God, and which has as real an existence as any other fact. As there can be no sin without transgression, there can be no transgression without a transgressor. And when the law is transgressed, sin exists and not before. Hence it has a real existence in connection with the sinner's moral character, and is consequently a part of the moral character of the sinner. To save man from sin implies a modification or change of moral character, and must involve in it the effects of sin, or its natural and legal consequences. The passage says, “ He saves his people from their sins," and to be saved from their sins, they must be saved from the sins which they have committed. For in no other sense can they be called their sins. Therefore it is plain that to be saved from their sins, is to be delivered from the effects and consequences of their actual transgressions. This conclusion is irresistable; there is no other alternative. The effects and consequences of sin may be described as moral defilement, guilt, condemnation, and punishment. Is it said that Christ saves the sinner from sin by saving him from defilement ? I answer, this would involve deliverance from punishment, unless guilt remains after defilement is removed, which would be absurd, It it said that he saves him by removing his guilt? I again answer, this removes punishment, unless God should punish a being no longer guilty, which would be unjust. Is salvation effected by removing condemnation ? My answer still is, this would deliver from punishment, which always follows condemnation. If condemnation be removed, the punishment which follows condemnation must be removed also. Is it said the sinner is saved from guilt and condemnation after he has suffered all his sins deserve ? Still again I answer, if he has suffered all his sins deserve, he is no longer guilty or condemned, and hence cannot be the subject of salvation in these respects. To suppose him yet saved from guilt would be to suppose him still guilty ; if still guilty, he still deserves punishment hence to save him from guilt would be to save him from punishment.-[ Time expired.
[MR. AUSTIN'S FIRST REPLY.) Gentlemen Moderators, and Respected Friends :-I can fully agree with my friend on the opposite side, in so much of his intro. ductory remarks, as relate to the importance of a discussion of this character. His personal allusions, however, are far to flattering to allow me to pass them without a decided disclaimer. I do not possess nor claim the reputation of a controversialist. Indeed, public discussion is measurably new business to me. Neither am I entitled to the encomiums for scholarship and critical abilities, which have
been so profusely bestowed upon me. My pretensions in regard to ancient languages, are humble; and my displays in that de partinent will be confined exclusively to such original words as will necessarily be involved in the discussion before us. Moreover the rank assigned me in the denomination to which I have the honor and happiness to belong, is much above my merit. I am but a humble co-worker with a multitude of devoted and noble hearted brethren, engaged in proclaiming “ the great salvation” to a needy world. There are others who tower far above me. There is one person my friend would have preferred to me, as an opponent on this occasion-Rev. D. Skinner. Most heartily should I rejoice, could he have been gratified in this respect. The age, talents and experience, of the eminent individual named, would have enabled him to defend the cause I shall advocate, with far more success than I can hope for. Nevertheless it shall be my aim to fill his place in such a manner, as to give Elder Holmes as little cause of complaint on this score as possible.
I have come to this labour not in my own strenth, nor in reliance upon the possession of any superior ability, tact or shrewdness in conducting an investigation of this description. I realize the want of these qualifications, now at the commencement of my allotted task. My dependence rests on the Cause I shall advocate-believing as I do, that it is the cause of Truth and of God. If he will aid me-if he will condesend to recognize me as his humble instrument-I feel I shall be strong in his strength, and mighty in the power of his truth. Honor, wealth, glory, I neither seek, nor expect to obtain, in this discussion. My great object is to present and defend in such manner as I may be able, great and important topics, intimately connected with the improvement and welfare of man. Did I not nelieve my labors would result in some degree of good to my fellow beings-in drawing them nearer to God, in obedience and love, my tongue would rest in silence.
I must return the compliments of my friend opposite, in regard to personal endowments and standing. Most happy am I to meet a gentleman whose great talents are well known and appreciated in this community-and who, it is evident from the station he occupies in his denomination, and the honors conferred upon him by its highest Literary Institution, is in possession of the entire confidence of his ministerial bretheren. It is evident they are willing to commit to him, the defence of their cause on this occasion. I am confident he will do all that can be done, in defence of his system. If he fails, it will not be because he lacks talent, expereince, or any of the qualities of an able controversialist; but solely for the want of that indispensable requisite to success- TRUTH !
Before entering upon a direct examination of the question before us, I wish to offer a remark or two, of an introductory character. The proposition now to be discussed, is not one of my own selection. I am frank to acknowledge I objected to it, when proposed by the Brother on the opposite side, and made an effort to have it passed by. Not, be it understood, from any want of confidence in the position I shall take on the question ; but because I believed this topic would in some degree, intercept our approach to questions of greater importance, which I am desirous to have thoroughly investigated before this enlightened community. As the world is, the public can leave their business and their homes but a brief space of time, to attend a public discussion. It is so, 1 have no doubt with my opposing friend-I know it is with myself. Having many duties to perform, I cannot devote any great length of time to a public investigation of questions, unless they are of the highest consideration. I believed it would be better to go at once to the great fundamental principles which take hold upon man's eternal destiny, and spend what line we have, in their examination rather than in discussing minor issues. It is assuredly not of so much importance to determine whether men be saved from punishment, or through punishment, as whether they are to be saved at ALL! That was the point at which I wished to arrive directly. Inasmuch, however, as my friend would not consent to discuss the doctrines of Universal Salvation and Endless Misery, without debating the present question, I have consented to the arrangement.
Having thus been brought to the investigation of this subject, it affords me an opportunity-of which I shall not be backward to avail myself-of exposing to public view, a class or opinions, which, although hoary with age, and sanctioned for generations by popular favor, and the high regard of the world, are nevertheless, errors that have exerted an influence highly deleterious to the Morality as well as to the Religion of Christendom. I must be permitted to express my deep surprise and regret, that gentlemen of the learning and respectability of my friend opposite, and a majority of the so called Evangelical Clergy, should take the positions they do, on the subject involved in the present question, and on kindred doctrines. 'I can but be astonished that men of their intelligence should turn away from the light and knowledge on Biblical Criticism and Sacred Literature which have illuminated the world during the three hundred years that have elapsed since the Reformation, and setting their faces rigidly back to the dim shadows of the past, cling with the desperation of a death-struggle, to doctrines originating in the very Midnight of the dark ages, and which bear stamped on their every lineament, the Heathen ignorance from which they emanated. This holding fast to darkness in the midst of light, I can compare with no case in the history of the world, except the perversity with which the Jews clung to their old religion, when the light of the gospel beamed upon them in the days of the Savior. It is a marked illustration of the power of early education, the strength of prejudice, and the seductive influence of popular favor.
The moral position occupied by my opponent and myself, on this question, is very different. If I err in maintaining, in this discussion, that there is no possible escape from punishment that when a man has committed violence against the law of God and Right, he must necessarily, receive a just and deserved chastisement-it will be an error on the right side. Pray what injury can come to the world in making the sinful man believe that a certuin punishment will be inflicted upon him for every act of wrong doing? What harm can result from teaching the world, that as certainly as men do wrong, God will punish them? Can it possibly make any individual a worse man? But if my friend errs, I warn him he does it at the expense of the morals of the community. It will be a fatal error, in its practical influences on the public mind. It will be an error which must throw down the bars to sin, and remove that which alone the sinner Fears--the certainty of punishment! When that certainty is removed, it opens a way for the votaries of sin; and depend upon it, they will pursue it. ' Better, far better, to err, if we err at all, in teaching and believing that punishment is CERTAIX, than in proclaiming that men may violate God's law, and vet escape the just penalty due their wickedness. An error of the lat. ter description is much more fatal and deleterious in its moral and practical effects in community, than to insist on the great truth, ev. ery where laid down in the Bible, that whosoever sins inust make up their inind that God will visit upon them a certain and adequate punishment.
To arrive at a just understanding of the merits of this question, it will be necessary to allude to first principles in regard to Law, and its Punishments. The simple possession of power, gives no being a true, moral right, to exercise authority, or inflict punishment. Might cannot be of itself a source of right. Did I possess more physical power than my brother on the opposite side, it would confer no moral right on me, to exercise authority over him. Such an exercise would be an usurpation-a tyranny. Indeed Might is the only Right possessed by despotic governments. This is the distinguishing characteristic of despotism. Moreover it is the only principle which prevails in the brute creation. Might is deemed to be right there, because they can comprehend no higher source of authority. But it is a principle unworthy of man, and in fact, entirely inapplicable, in any just sense, to moral and intellectual beings. What, then, is the true and legitimate source of authority? In a single word, it is-GOODNESS. The right to exercise authority, to enact laws, to command obedience, and to administer rewards and punishments, can arise solely from an intention to make such use of these powers, as shall advance the interest, promote the good, and secure the happiness, of those over whom authority and law are exercised-Not only the good of all, collectively, but of each, indi. vidually. The authority of a government organized and administered for these purposes, is legitimate, and can rightfully command obedience. But if authority is exercised for any other purpose, it is an usurpation,-it cannot be legitimate. These are deductions,