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along by the irresistible impulses of fate, there would be as much propriety in giving a moral law to a steam engine as to man. Such an incongruity can nowhere be found in the
ways and means” of a wise and benevolent Creator. The moral agency of man is one of that kind of truths, which, like that of the Divine existence, is everywhere taken for granted. And this is better evidence than one hundred individual texts, which might affirm it in so many words. For in such a case the sense might depend upon the genuineness of the texts and meaning of certain words employed; but now the sentiment is in more than ten thousand texts taken for granted, as something that neither men nor devils can successfully call in question. (2.) It is further manifest that man is a moral agent from the fact that mankind-their religious creeds out of sight-) universally regard each other as moral agents. They establish governments, form laws, form contracts, administer rewards and punishments, and regard each other as praiseworthy or blameworthy. But this would be a wretched anomaly if man were a mere automaton. (3.) The moral agency
(3.) The moral agency of man may be argued from universal_consciousness. Every man has the witness in himself. Every man who has not become a fit subject for the insane hospital, knows that he is a moral agent -that he has the power of deliberation and volition, and that he is blameworthy and praiseworthy. Hence man has a CONSCIENCE; but if he were a machine he would have no more conscience than the town clock. (4.) But I have one more reason for believing in the moral agency of man; which I will name.
It is this. The denial of this doctrine involves horrid blasphemy against God. If man is not a moral agent, then God is the direct author of all his acts, and as these acts are often sinful, God is the author of sin-all the sin in all worlds. And this inference is not only natural and unavoidable, but it is acknowledged and believed very generally among Modern Universalists. This doctrine makes God the only sinner in the Universe. As sin is the violation of the law, and as God is the Supreme Lawgiver, if he is the author of sin, he breaks his own law, millions of times every day, and is therefore the greatest,—the only sinner in the universe -an infinite rebel against his own holy throne !!! thought is HORŘID BLASPHEMY, such blasphemy as Satan himself would not dare to utter. And what renders this blasphemy still more supremely blasphemous, is that Universalism makes God not only the author of all sin, but it represents him as immediately and rigidly punishing the poor,
unfortunate creatures whom his own irresistible hand has plung, ed into sin ! This makes God the greatest tyrant in the universe. To plunge a poor, ignorant, powerless creature into a pit, and then punish him for the fall, is a species of tyranny which would disgrace the character of Nero himself. And is this the character of your Father in heaven! Perish the thought! Such a sentiment is blasphemy in a superlative degree ; and its utterance, though it be in silver tones, sends a thrill of horror to the heart of him who loves God and is jealous of his honor.
2. My second reason for not being able to embrace your system is, it is a cruel systen. You believe, you say, that
every one enjoys and suffers in this world according to their characters.” The unavoidable inference is—every one's character is according to his or her sufferings ; those therefore who are the greatest sufferers are the most guilty before God. Now to illustrate the cruelty of the system. Take the case of the pious, amiable wife of the besotted drunkard. She suffers with and for her husband; and while he is in his midnight revels at the drunkery or card-table, enjoying his Bacchanalian mirth, she is heart-broken at home with her worse than fatherless children, suffering with neglect and want. He is benumbed and insensible. She is alive to her deplorable condition, and her tender heart bleeds at a thousand pores. She evidently suffers the more of the two, and Universalism teaches her that this is a world of equitable retribution, that all suffer here according to their character, and as she suffers the more, she is the more guilty! Cruel doctrine to preach to those who suffer from misfortune, for righteousness'sake, or for the crimes of others.
Universalism knows nothing of suffering for righteousness' sake, nothing of the present afflictions of the righteous being rewarded in heaven-working out for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory! nothing of our suffering with Christ, and therefore reigning with him in glory. It knows of no moral connection between this world and the world to
All things must be equalized and adjusted, therefore, in this world, or they must forever go unequalized and unadjusted. This doctrine is not only unjust and cruel because it makes the measure of present guilt to depend upon the meas ure of present suffering, but because it not unfrequently makes the road of guilt and infamy the shortest cut” to glory, while it leaves the righteous to toil on and suffer in this world, in a Universalist hell!
Thus drunkards and debauchees, "wicked and blood-thirsty men,” hardly "live out half their days;" and the unavoidable inference is, that through rum and debauchery, blood and outrage, they take the shortest road to heaven, while the righteous are left to take the circuitous rout of bearing the cross,denying themselves, and following their Master through many trials and temptations, till death, by the slow process of nature, removes them to their glorious rest. Or as Peck forcibly expresses it;
" Thus Pharaoh and his mighty host,
Had God-like honors given,
By water up to heaven
So all the filthy Sodomites,
When God bade Lut retire,
On rapid wings of fire.
So when the guilty Canaanites
To Joshua's sword were given;
And pack them off to heaven.
God saw those villains were too bad
To own that fruitful land :
To dwell at his right hand.”
As I have many things yet to say, I trust you will hear me 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 heaven upon your mind, that you may not perish through the delusion which this system throws around the soul.
My Dear Sir :
Agreeably to my, promise and your expectation, I will now proceed to state some further serious objections to Universalism. And,
1. I cannot 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 modern Universalism knows of no such pity-no such relief. It contends that in all cases a fuil 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 pity-no compassion in the God of Universalism-no deliverance from deserved punishment—no forbearance -- no long-suffering -- no waiting to be gracious. The doctrine of Universalisni 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 – blotting out our sins and remembering our iniquities no more against us. as according to Modern Universalism every sinrer 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 penalty of the law is inflicted upon him; and, as the account is thus daily squared up, there can be no room for forgive
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 TO SUFFER THE WHOLE PENALTY OF THE LAW. There is no remedy for him. He may repent in dust and ashes, but this will never satisfy justice for the sin he has committed. You may talk about sorrow and contrition, but this is nothing to the purpose.” !!
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 affairs 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, my 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 committed, 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 be 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