« PreviousContinue »
9. In denying future judgment and future punishment.
10. In their moral influence upon society.
11. In the motives they hold out to reformation. And I might say that Universalists agree with Deists,
12. In treating experimental religion with contempt, and sneering at piety as though it were superstition.
13. In assuming a higher order of intellect, superior understanding, and freedom from the shackles of bigotry and superstition.
14. In overlooking the arguments of their opponents, and asserting what has been confuted again and again.
15. In the arts of sophistry which they employ in support of their cause.
These facts I cannot illustrate in this introduetion; and with those who are acquainted with the two systems there will be no need of either illustration or proof. But if Universalism and Deism are substantially the same in these points, there is no difference between them except in name; and this renders the former more dangerous and more detestable than the latter. Here infidelity is seen stalking through the land in a garb which she has stolen from the sanctuary ; by means of which she has deceived many of those who were willingly ignorant” in a matter where inclination was opposed to duty, and where self indulgence had the promise of impunity. But the moment you remove this partial covering, and look her full in the face,
you may read infidelity and despair in every feature, I know the Universalists will be offended at this ; and I say it only because the truth compels the unwelcome assertion. If they deny this charge let them meet us fairly. Let tbem show by facts and arguments wherein we are deceived, and wherein we misrepresent them. Till they do this we cannot cease to warn our fellow men against so dangerous a delusion. But I fear we are not all clear in this matter, and especially that the ministers of the Gospel have not sounded the alarm as loudly and repeatedly as they ought to have done. They have seen and lamented the baneful effects of this doctrine wherever it has obtained
footing; but the dread of controversy, and the fear that noticing it might give it a consequence to which it was not entitled, have induced many to stand aloof from the contest, and thus, this newfangled divinity, meeting with little opposition, has spread itself through the land. Thus did not the apostles, and confessors, and martyrs, and reformers; but they attacked every prevailing error that threatened the subversion of true religion, however weak and contemptible, popular or powerful it might be. And this is a duty enjoined upon the ministers of the Gospel by the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls.
With these views and impressions I have from time to time raised my feeble voice against this pernicious error; and particularly in the month of October, 1827, I concluded to give some lectures to my congregation on future punish
ment; and believing it might promote the cause of truth, invited the Universalist preacher in this town, the Rev. L. R. Paige, to a discussion of the doctrine of Universal Salvation, in the Methodist church. In the course of the discussion I
three lectures; the first, on " Future Judgment;" the second on the “ Conditionality of Salvation ;" — from both of which future punishment is inferred ;-and the third, directly on “ Future Punishment.”
In these lectures I have made large use of Rev. 0. Scott's “ Letters" to Rev. T. Whittemore on these subjects. These letters were written in haste, and under a great pressure of pastoral duties, and for a newspaper; for which reasons less attention was paid to the language, to method and arrangement, than would have been given under other circumstances: in which respects, it is believed, the borrowed matter is improved in the lectures. But as these lectures were commenced without any thought of their being published beyond the congregation which heard them, and were written in haste that Mr. P. might have them the same week to make out his reply, the borrowed matter was not distinguished by the sign of quotation ; and the object of doing it now would not compensate for the time it would require. And it is a question of no importance with the public whether this passage of Scripture was quoted by Scott or by me, or whether this or that argument were his or mine ; but the only question of importance
is, “What is truth ?”– Between the Rev. Mr. Mr. Scott and me there will be no difficulty on this ground. *
In the course of the discussion I have also delivered five answers, given to my opponent's replies. Concerning these I have little to say, except that my opponent never' replied to my first answer ; that I did not answer his fourth
Reply" till since the discussion closed; the reasons for which delay are given in the introduction to that answer, and need not be repeated here. To that answer I have now assigned its proper place in the series, and numbered it IV. My opponent's last reply (and the order of the discussion gave him the privilege of speaking last) is of course unanswered, except in a note or two; and indeed there was nothing in it that I cared much to answer, as it contained nothing new, and very little of argument.
I have not expunged a sentiment nor an argument either from the lectures or answers ; nor have I added an argument or a proof to either. In these respects I send them into the world as they were delivered. In some places I have changed one word for another where the sense
* My opponent has shown great solicitude because I used Mr. S.'s words and arguments without "giving him due credit;” notwithstanding I informed him when I put my manuscripts into his hands, that they were in an “unfinished staie.”—He brought this subject into his reply, and has since published me as a “plagiarist,”His concern on this account has been much greater than his zeal to answer my arguments, many of which he has never deigned to notice.
could be improved by it, or the connection better preserved. In a very few places I have changed one phrase for another, or added a phrase for the sake of illustration. In the second answer at the end of the supposed speech of the Universalist minister on the word "hang,” I have added the “concluding” paragraph to prevent abruptness and make the illustration more complete ; and at the end of the fifth answer I have given a paragraph, (which was written but not delivered with the answer,) which merely recapitulates some things in that
In the reply in which my opponent gave his views of necessity, were some things not connected with that subject, and which, on account of the length of my answer, I could not notice at that time. These are now for the first time given to the public in an appendix to my fourth answer.
See the note prefixed to the appendix.
Throughout the whole I have used great plainness of speech, for which, I conceive, I need make no apology. Some may think that I have not only used plainness of speech, but an unwarrantable degree of severity toward my opponent. This is possible. But before this conclusion is drawn, they are desired to reflect on St. Paul's direction in a similar case, recorded Tit. i, 13. It was not my design to be severe with my opponent, except where he has identified himself with his doctrine or his manner of defending it. A man may honestly believe in error ; but in this case he will not use