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torments and unlimited punishment. On the long vaunted argument of the infinite nature of sin, because committed against an infinite Being, and therefore requiring an infinite atonement, the author remarks,
"But this argument, however much vaunted, is in reality a mere sophism, calculated to impose only on such as do not reflect, or are not capable of reflecting, for it is liable to objections which are completely fatal to it. 1st, If sin be infinite, it is possessed of a divine attribute or of the divine nature, infinity being an attribute of God, that is, in other words, sin, according to this scheme, is one with God. 2dly, Sin being the act of a creature, and it never yet having been pretended that creatures are infinite, we have, according to this rational, luminous, and consistent system, the acts of creatures invested with an attribute which does not belong to those by whom the acts are committed. 3dly, If sin be infinite, it cannot in any case come to an end or be removed, the very circumstance of its termination or removal declaring it to be finite. 4thly, If sin be infinite, it cannot have had a beginning. But has this ever been alleged? How, I ask, are these four objections to be got over?
"That it required an infinite atonement. This argument likewise is a mere sophism, for, 1st, was it by the human or the divine nature of the Lord Jesus that the atonement was made? If by the divine nature, then God suffered! the word atonement signifying the substitution of the sufferings of one being in the place of those of another. If by the human nature, then the atonement was not infinite. How will my opponents extricate themselves from this dilemma? Not surely by alleging, that although it was impossible for the divine nature of the Lord Jesus to suffer, it nevertheless imparted efficacy to the atonement made by his human nature, for this, besides being a barefaced petitio principii or begging of the question, would, after being stripped of its disguises, and of the tinsel and unmeaning language, with which it is decked, either be saying, that God himself suffered-as I am unable to comprehend any way in which an atonement can be efficacious, if the definition of the word is to be adhered to, except by adequate suffering—or it would be saying nothing at all to the purpose, by assigning to the word atonement a sense different from that which it ordinarily bears. 2dly, If it be maintained, that an infinite atonement has removed evil, which in its nature is infinite also, are we not then treated with the curious idea of one infinite bringing another infinite to an end? Who shall prohibit our calling this the climax of absurdity? Let any plain unlettered man, endowed with common sense, ask himself calmly and deliberately, what is implied in the word infinite? Is it not absolute boundlessness of every description; a conditional or limited infinity, like a conditional or limited eternity, being a perfect solecism in terms? What then is proved by the circumstance of sin, which theologians have been pleased to style infinite, being removed or coming to an end, except the impropriety and absurdity of the epithet applied to it, and the fact of its being in reality finite or bounded?”
Mr. Thom, in prosecuting this subject, appears to entertain views similar to those held by many of the American Universalists, that the punishment of iniquity will take place in the present life. For the arguments which he adduces in support of these views, we must refer our readers to the pamphlet. We think it will amply repay the perusal. That all at once, the mind which has been bound up in error and unused to intellectual freedom, should arrive at uniformly consistent ideas, is not to be expected. We unfeignedly rejoice that so much light has beamed on this gifted individual, as is manifested in these pages. We earnestly pray, that he may be blessed with more and more. We hail him as a coadjutor in the holy work of Christian Reformation. Differ we may on minor topics, but shall, we hope, agree to differ. On the essential doctrine of the unbounded benevolence of the Almighty, we are united, and that is the sentiment before which all others vanish into comparative insignificancy.
We rejoice in learning, that by his strenuous efforts, Mr. Thom's congregation is numerous, and, we hope, go with him in his love of truth, and ardent longings for scriptural teachings. The dedication we regard as a pledge that such is their spirit. May the author enjoy that happiness which he has feelingly depicted, in the paragraph with which we conclude this notice-a happiness which those who are struggling for the mental emancipation of their race, and the pure knowledge of the Father of mercies, cannot be deprived of, either by the calumnies of the ignorant, or the persecutions of the interested.
"If I shall be able to demonstrate, that sentiments, with which, in infancy, our minds are imbued, and which advancing years in general tend but to strengthen and confirm, are, in reality, the offspring of ignorance and superstition, fostered and nourished by tyranny and self-interest, and that, instead of illustrating and commending, they obscure, and are at variance with the character of the God of Revelation, representing him as a gloomy Despot, whom Scripture declares to be LOVE itself, I shall enjoy the supreme happiness of being instrumental in relieving such as are convinced by my arguments, from a state of most degrading and painful thraldom, and of seeing the hideous fabric which, for eighteen centuries at least, men have been engaged in raising and consolidating, crumble into atoms, at the touch of divine truth."
THE CHRISTIAN PIONEER.
GLASGOW, April 1, 1828.
It is this month our melancholy duty, to record the decease of the Rev. William Worrall, the Pastor of the Universalist Church in this City. He was a native of Manchester, and settled in Glasgow about twelve or fourteen years since. His thirst for knowledge was ardent. Although brought up in the humbler walks of life, by industry and perseverance, he attained to eminence both as a teacher of youth and a preacher of the Gospel. His goodness of heart, and truly Christian disposition, were evidenced by his daily walk and conversation. Although differing from those around him, on many points of doctrine, he was always willing to grant to others, that right of individual judgment which he himself claimed. In him, civil and religious liberty found a zealous and indefatigable advocate. He was formerly of Calvinistic sentiments; but was led to consider and embrace the doctrine of the unbounded love of God, by attending the preaching of the late Rev. Neil Douglas. When he saw reason to change his sentiments, no consideration of worldly interest deterred him from the fearless profession. On Mr. Douglas becoming unable to officiate, from old age, Mr. Worrall was chosen his assistant; and afterwards, the regular Pastor of the Universalist Congregation. This office he filled for five years, with honour to himself, and usefulness to that body of Christians with whom he officiated. In the exercise of a Christian spirit, we condole with his Congregation, on the dispensation of Providence which has deprived them of the services of their Pastor; but, believing as they do, that the Almighty does all things well, and that every event worketh for the final good of the whole human race, they will bow with entire submission to His holy will.
Mr. Worrall was the Editor of The Philanthropist, or Universalist's Miscellany, three volumes of which were completed at the close of the last year. He was also the author of several single sermons; and was ever studious in promoting the best interests of mankind. United with the Universalist Congregation in the belief of the great doctrine of the final restoration of the whole human race, to purity and happiness, Mr. Harris has offered to officiate on Sabbath evenings, to the Congregation, till they are settled with another Pastor.
We have also to record the decease, on the 9th December last, at Brattleborough, United States, of a venerable individual, whose manners and appearance, on his last visit to his native country, in 1818, made a deep and permanent impression on all who enjoyed the pleasure of his society. The accents of wisdom which flowed from his lips" the prophetic snow which the winter of age had shed upon him"-the animation with which he detailed the progress of truth, and the establishment of liberty in the land of his adoption-and the interest with which he listened to similar information as to his father-land, will now be dwelt on with melancholy satisfaction. We copy, from a funeral sermon by the Rev. Dr. Willard of Deerfield, Massachusets, the following tribute to the memory of Dr. Wells:
"Dr. Wells was born in August, 1744, at Biggleswade in Bedfordshire, in England. He was bereaved of his father, before he knew his worth, and of his mother at the age of seven years. After this, he was taken under the protection of an uncle in Carrington, where he was intimate with the philanthropic Howard. As there was no dissenting church in Carrington, he attended worship with his uncle's family in Bedford, in the society which had been rendered famous by the ministry of Bunyan. After some preparatory studies, he received his theological education in the school, which was successively under the superintendence of Doddridge, Orton, and Ashworth. On his introduction to the ministry, he was settled at Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, where he continued for more than twenty years; when, by the attractions he saw in this land of freedom, he was induced in 1793 to remove hither with his family, and settled in Brattleborough. Here, without being installed according to the usual forms, he discharged the duties of a minister, till the year 1818; when he visited his native country. After his return, he preached occasionally, but not constantly, till within about two years of his death.
"In speculation, Dr. Wells embraced in his youth those sentiments, which, in his riper age, he steadily maintained; believing in the personal unity of God, the subordination of our blessed Lord, and the all-sufficiency of that grace, which is provided through him for an apostate world. These principles, in connexion with those which are common to all Christians, were his guide in life, and his unfailing support and consolation in the immediate prospect of death. In his own opinions he was firm and independent, and of course he was forbearing and candid to others. In many of those whose opinions were at variance with his, he could see much to admire and commend. He was not disputatious in public or private. He dwelt chiefly, both in preaching and conversation, on those great principles which have the most direct bearing on the heart and the life. He was opposed to all needless
divisions; and though it was a matter of regret, that any of his fellow-labourers on the walls of God's spiritual house, 'should build with wood, hay, and stubble,' instead of the more solid and precious materials, with which all are in some measure furnished, it was still more painful to him to see them hindering one another, indulging mutual jealousies, and inflicting mutual pains. He was moderate-peaceful-and yet he was ever ready to vindicate the cause of those, who, in his apprehension, were suffering unjust reproach for the truth as it is in Jesus.'
"As a preacher, Dr. Wells was serious, instructive, and affectionate. No one who heard him, could doubt his sincerity. His style and manner in his latter years, which alone were known to us, were very suitable to his age; and if he did not make so much display as some others, we have reason to believe that, in that day, ' when they shall come from the east, and the west, and sit down in the kingdom of heaven,' many, from the old world and the new, will appear as happy witnesses of the fidelity and power of his preaching.
"Some, no noubt, have published too much. Of Dr. Wells, I think it is to be regretted, that his modesty did not allow him to publish more. He was active however, and perhaps equally useful in other ways. He was much in scenes of sorrow; in the abodes of sickness, death, and bereavement, administering those rich consolations, which belonged to his profession. He was much with his people too in seasons of health and prosperity; and, I believe, was a welcome visitor to the old and the young, in all places and at all times. In his manners and conversation, gravity and cheerfulness were happily blended. He was always entertaining, without descending from the dignity which harmonized so well with the majestic stature and form of his person, his advanced age, and the sacred office he filled. The domestic character of Dr. Wells was highly interesting and exemplary. In those declining years, which are too often marked with impatience, he knew well how to prize the kind attentions of his children and friends. He was predisposed to be satisfied and pleased with every thing they did. Between him and them, all was confidence and affection to the very close of his life.
"I have said that, on the approach of death, Dr. Wells found support and consolation in those views of religion which he had entertained from his youth. I might say more. For many years, death was a favourite subject of contemplation, and was viewed with so much cheerfulness and hope, that he could, and, as I believe, did adopt the language of Paul, and say, 'I have a desire to depart, and be with Christ.' It is true, that, under the lassitude and infirmities of the last four or five weeks, his hopes were somewhat obscured, and, like most other persons in the decrepitude of old age, he had some fears of death. These fears, however, were transient. When his sun was in the western horizon, it beamed forth without a cloud, and set in cheerful glory. He died on the evening of the Lord's day, December 9th; and, as we believe, has gone to enjoy that perpetual sabbath, which remaineth for the people of God.' He had fought a good fight; he had finished