« PreviousContinue »
As I have many things yet to say, I trust you will hear ine patiently, and pardon my plainness of speech. I have no disposition to wound your feelings, but I would entreat you as a brother, and pour the light of heavent upon your mind, that you may not perish through the delusion which ibis system throws around the soul.
My Dear Sir :
Agreeably to my proinise and your expectation, I will now proceed to state some further serious objections to Universalism. And,
1. I camot adopt your sentiments because they destroy the mercy of God. Mercy-you know is the darling attribute of our Heavenly Father; it is that disposition in the divine mind by which he pities, and relieves his creatures from their sufferings, sufferings which all must admit sinners deserve. But the doctrine of inodern Universalism knows of no such pity-no such relief. It contends that in all cases a full and equitable retribution takes place in this world ; that full and'adequate punishment must follow transgression, quick as the lightning's flash-that all the punishment deserved is immediately and fully inflicted.
Upon this hypothesis where is mercy? Annihilated ! No pityno compassion in the God of Universalism-no deliverence from deserved punishment--no forbearance-no long-suffering—no waiting to be gracious. The doctrine of Universalism is merciless in another respect. It knows nothing of the forgiveness of sins, properly so called.
What is forgiveness? You well know it is pardon-remission--acquittal from guilt and punishment. It is what the scriptures denominate, it, justification-blouting out our sins and remembering our iniquities no more against us.
Wellnow, as, according to modern Universalism every sinner gets all his punishment day by day as he passes on his journey to heaven, he can neither receive or need any pardon ; the whole
WHOLE PENALTY OF THE LAW.
penalty of the law is inflicted upon him ; and, as the account is thus daily squared up, there can be no room for forgiveness. That this is no misrepresentation is evident to all who are acquainted with your most approved authors.-Mr. Fernald, one of your preachers in Newburyport, upon this subject, says :“If any individual sins, he has got
There is no remedy for him. He may repent in dust and ashes, but this will never satisfy justice for the sin he bas committed. You may talk about sorrow and contrition, but this is nothing to the
This is Universalism undisguised. It is a system of legality. It knows nothing of any."remedy for the sinner. It leaves him without pity, without mercy, unforgiven, to "suffer the whole penalty of the law.” To say as some Universalists do to rid their system of this difficulty, that it is sin and not punishment that is forgiven, is to attempt an escape by a most weak and sophistical quibble. To say that sin is forgiven, and at the same time fully punished, is to utter a solecism. Let me illustrate :
Here is a man found guilty of sheep-stealing. "The whole penalty of the law of this commonwealth for such an offence is thirty lashes well laid on. The offender is caught, adjudged guilty by a “ jury of his peers, dragged to the whipping post, and 'suffers the whole penalty of the law! Now, suppose, just as the last blow has been administered, while his lacerated back is all bleeding with anguish, the lictor should pull out a governmental document from his pocket and profess to read off a pardon to the poor sheep-stealer !! Would not such an affair “shock all common sense?” Would it not be universally regarded as a ridiculous farce? a contemptible insult and solemn mockery? And yet this is the only kind of pardon compatible with Universalism.
“The whole penalty of the law.” The penalty of the civil law for murder is death by hanging. Now what would
you think to see the sheriff at a public execution, after inflicting “the whole penalty of the law” offering a pardon to the dead body, still hanging on the gallows? Such an event would illustrate a Universalist. pardon; but would it illustrate the mercy of that God who is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance ?
But that pardon, as administered in the divine government, includes a salvation from punishment, as well as from sin, is fully developed in several passages of the Word of God. A few will make it too plain to be honestly misunderstood. Paul says, "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be SAVED FROM WRATH
THROUGH HIM.” Here then it is declared that justification saves from wrath. I hope, mv dear sir, you will commit this passage to memory. Ponder it well. It may be the means of saving your soul from destruction. You know that wrath is punishment, and those who are justified by his blood are saved from punishment. I will give you a passage or two from Ezekiel to the same point. “The soul that sinneth it shall die;
but if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath comınitted, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live; HE SHALL NOT DIE.” Again, “When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive, because he considereth and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live; HE SHALL NOT DIE.” Here you see the penalty of the divine law. It is death. But there is a "remedy.” If the offender turn away from his iniquity, which he hath done, he shall not die, he shall surely live !! Glorious provision of free grace! Blessed pardon for the penitent! But such mercy cannot co-exist with Universalism. It knows of “no remedy.” Without mercy it inflicts “the whole penalty of the law.” Rom. . 5: 9. Ez. 18: 20-22, 27, 28. See also Ez. 33: 14-16.
2. My second argument in this letter is drawn from the fact that modern Universalism destroys the whole plan of salvation by Christ. Take whatever view of the subject you please, and the result here stated is inevitable. It de
stroys the whole plan of salvation, in the first place, by denying that mankind are or ever were lost. If you are at all acquainted with the sentiments of your standard authors on this point, you know that they ridicule the idea that mankind are in a fallen, revolted and ruined state. They believe man is now, as he was originally created. This view you will find expressed very fully in Mr. Balfour's works. But the whole plan of salvation proceeds upon the ground that man is lost.
Hence Christ came to seek him, died his ransom, and presents overtures of reconciliation. If man is not lost, then he cannot be saved. Universalism knows of no salvation worth calling by that endearing name.
Salvation - UNIVERSAL SALVA TION!! Universal salvation from a future.hell ? Noit says there is no such place. Universal salvation from future sufferings and death? No: it says mankind have never been exposed to any such sufferings. Universal salvation from punishment in this world ? No—it says: "if an individual sins, he has got to suffer the whole penalty of the law”* and “there is no remedy." Universal salvation from sin in the world to come? - No: it says, “Universalists now know of no-condition for man beyond the grave, but that in which he is as the angels in heaven.”+ Universal salvation from sin in this world? No: for Universalists freely admit that there is much moral evil in this world. What then, according to their own system, are Universalists saved from? I know of no salvation for them, if their system is true, unless it be a salvation of all persevering Universalists from believing the gospel. Such a system may, with much more propriety be denominated Universal damnation, than Universal salvation. It universally punishes all, and universally saves none.
You will please pardon my seeming severity. The inconsistencies of the system cannot be shown up without great plainness of speech. I have some other illustrations going to show to my own mind, that the system which you have, in an evil hour embraced, destroys all salvation by Christ, which I must reserve for next week. Yours, &c.
* Mr. Fernald, Universalist Preacher. *Mr. Whittemore.
My Dear Sir :
With your permission, I will now proceed to give some additional reasons for rejecting the distinguishing sentiment of Universalism, viz, that the righteous are always fully rewarded, and the wicked fully punished in this world. My closing position in my last was that Universalism destroys salvation by Christ. I will give one more illustration of this fact. According to your system there is, strictly speaking, no grace of God, no mercy, no forgiveness, no salvation ; but if you call a state of future happiness state never forfeited by, sin, salvation, then DEATH and not Jesus Christ, is the Saviour. Death pacifies the guilty conscience, reconciles the soul to God, saves it from a Universalist hell, and instantaneously fits it for the presence of God and the society of angels and perfected saints.Death is the “universal catholicon," "the grand panacea, "the good physician and matchless sanative” for the souls of the wicked. The most hardened rebel against God is by the soul-saving energies of death, made at once
5. To meet the endless glories of the dead,
By cold submersion, razor, rope, or lead." Souls thus redeemed, on reaching heaven, cannot sing the new song, “Worthy is the Lamb who has redeemed us to God by his blood out of every nation, kindred, tongue and people.” No--if they sing at all, they must ascribe their salvation to death and those bloody tyrants and human butchers who have literally “scattered around them firebrands, arrows and death,' and
"Now, Buonaparte is dead he'll find,
I am aware that your preachers attempt to evade this objection to your system by saying, that death is only the instrument of salvation. Well, if it be an instrument, it