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come forward, like an ingenuous antagonist, and present his best evidence, in support of a charge which “beggars all description.”
3. The application of the passage from Ezekiel was unmannerly and disengenuous. I could also point my finger at him, and say, you make the hearts of the righteous sad, &c. and with as much propriety as he did. That language was addressed to Prophets, or regular Priests, in Israel, who deceived the righteous by their pretended Orthodoxy, and made their hearts sad, by leading them into transgressions. After they made the people wicked or idolatrous, they strengthened their hands by promising them life in that wickedness ; not, by preaching salvation through the blood of Christ. Does not the subject apply to Dr. Pay. son, as well as Mr. Streeter ? He contends that God will give eternal life to all whom he saves by his grace, and I contend that he has given eternal life to all whom he will save ? and that he says he will have all men to be saved. Then how does he make out that I promise life to the wicked, any more than he does ? If it be not promising life to a few wicked men, to maintain that the Lord Jesus will redeem that few, why does it promise life to all other wicked men, by maintaining that he will also redeem them? Does any reader believe that a man would be. encouraged to sin, by being assured that he would be brought to immediate punishment ? Judicious legislators affix a penalty to the violation of laws, which would be sufficient to prevent its commission, on supposition, that the transgressor believed he shall be detected and suffer for his deed. Now if he does not believe he shall be detected and punished, what is the difference, whether the penalty be greater or smaller ? Hence it is evident that the certainty of punishment is more influential, than its duration, where all is uncertainty. Now, unless I preach a punishment for sin, which is incredible and unreasonable, or which would not prevent it, admitting the people believed it was certain to be inflicted, Dr. Payson's allegation is unjust and untrue. And if he is a man or a christian, he will exhibit his proof, that I either strengthen the hands of the wicked, or promise them life, any more than he does. Did Jesus strengthen wicked hands, when he said he came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance ?
4. Will Dr. Payson argue that his doctrine of total depravity, personal election and reprobation, saints perseverance and endless misery, have a more salutary influence than the sentiments of the Merciful Doctors ? Let us compare his people with others, or rather, soppose they were all as good as himself ; which is saying great things.Then, what effect does it have on him ? Look at his own words. It leads him to do every thing which he ought not. He ought not falsely accuse a fellow-creature-he ought not commit sacrilege-ought not assert things he cannot prove-ought not be a very wicked and sinful man-ought not so conduct as to deserve the pains of hell forever! All these things his doctrine encourages him to do, with the promise that he shall finally see life. Now suppose all his Church do as well, and do every thing which the Book says, “ Thou shalt not do," must it not be that his doctrine is remarkably influential ? If they are not thus sinful, and yet say they are, does it not lead to untruths ? Unless the Doctor is as wicked as he wished to be considered, he will come forward, and support his charges, or confess his error. If he does neither, we must conclude that he has the promise of life, in doing many things which he ought not, and leaving undone, what he ought to have done ; or that he had rather do a neighbor and a friend injustice, and have no promise of life, than to do as he would be done by, and enjoy it. Let us turn the table for a moment. Suppose I had shut him out of a pew, in which I knew he was invited to sit, and in which he frequently had sat, and as an apology, should accuse him of the worst of crimes and of preaching a doctrine which encouraged wickedness and shed the blood of immortal souls! Would he not have a
ight to demand an explanation ? and ought I ever to be ooked upon as an honest man, if I refused to grant it ?
5. Dr. Payson's observations were altogether inconsistent with his Creed. He is a Calvinist in the proper sense of the word, and holds that God determined to save a certain number of individuals, whom he will save, and that none of that number can be finally lost. He does not believe that any man can save himself, or prevent the accomplishment of the divine purpose, in saving that elected number. When he publishes a contradiction of this, I will
publish an acknowledgement. But he will not do it.Hence the intellects of every one should be considered weak, that connot see, that he does not believe that any the less will be saved, or more lost, for my preaching. If God saves, all his elect, I can do them no harm ; and as for others, his Creed does not make it barely possible for them to be saved. The Doctor can indirectly contradict these things in the desk, and in conversation ; but he is too prudent to let any thing of the kind be seen in print, with his signature. · I should be glad to know what Dr. Payson means by saying that I am in the most dangerous situation of any man in town. Does he think his God will do worse by me, than to make me as miserable to all eternity, as is possible ? If he does not, I am in no worse condition than all the reprobates. • Has the Doctor such a degraded opinion of my understanding, as to suppose I am so easily panic-struck as to be frightened lest I should be more than once endlessly miserable ? Do I not know as well as his Doctorship, that if his own nearest and dearest relatives were not included in the Covenant of grace, their condition will be as awful as mine, “ ages of hopeless end ?" If the works of all unregenerate men are infinitely sinful, why shall one suffer more than others? Yea, reader, if, as Dr. Payson has positively asserted, all men, even Patriarchs and Apostles, would be condemned and cast off forever, if they were judged and rewarded according to their works, and the only hope they can have is, that they will not be called into judgment; I say, if all this be true, do not I stand on as good ground as the best of them ? Can I deserve worse than they do, according to his belief? The Doctor must suppose I am ignorant of his Creed and preaching, and do not know that if the God whom he worships appointed me to that hapless doom, we ought to “ ascribe righteousness to our Maker," as his determinate counsel is irrevocable.-Whether he holds, with Calvin, that God foreordained the endless suffering of the non-elect, because it was his sovereign will, or with Hopkins, imputes that foreordination “to universal. benevolence, or a supreme regard to the highest good of the universe,” is wholly immateral. The naked truth is, if I am one of their reprobates, there is not even a possibility of my being saved ; and for the Doctor to pretend the contrary, is, to renounce his darling Calvinism, for which he has contended for years, or offer an insult to the lowest capacity. But admitting he was in earnest in what he said, did he show himself “ gentle unto all men, in meekness instructing those who oppose themselves ?” II Tim. 11. 24–26. Did he follow his example, who condescended “ to eat and drink with publicans and sinners ?” Instead of saying, “ Come unto me all ye,” &c. does he not say, in substance, Lord, I thank thee that I am not like this Universalist? Heaven be praised that such men do not legislate in this State, and country, nor have the power to bind on others heavy burthens, while our Constitutions so boldly confront the aspirations of priestcraft and tyranny.
Should the Doctor reply or apologize, we shall be happy in presenting it to our readers ; but if he views this publication beneath his notice, and treats it with silent contempt, we shall be at liberty to proclaim to others his declining popularity, without being suspected of wishing to disturb his magisterial tranquility.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE INTELLIGENCER. Rev. SIR–Being a member of the Universalist Church in Roxbury, I will attempt to comply with your late request* that we would state our reasons for omitting our peculiar and distinguishing tenet in our DECLARATION OF Faith. It must be understood, however, that I am not authorized by the other members to speak in their behalf; I can only assign the reasons which induced me to advocate that omission.
Before I proceed to those reasons, it may be well to remind your readers, that a Declaration of Faith or Articles of Faith, or Creed, (whatever we call it, for it is all one) as used by all churches, is an instrument which every candidate is obliged to sign or assent to, before he can be admitted. There is an important difference between a simple declaration of faith by individuals, and the formal Declar
* See page 94. Article, “Another Church.”—Ed.
tion of Faith incorporated into the Constitution of a Church ; because, in the former case, the declaration regards only the individual who makes it, and imposes no restrictions on others,-it is simply an acknowledgement and profession of a certain belief; but in the latter case, the declaration becomes a test, by which the church must try every candidate ; so that however virtuous and pious, however worthy as a christian he may be, he is inevitably excluded if the creed contain even one article which he cannot subscribe to.
1. Now, Sir, one reason which induced me to advocate the omission of all sectarian sentiments in our Declaration of Faith, is that I think it wrong for a church of Christ to establish such barriers as will inevitably exclude any christian from membership ; and therefore, that it ought not to demand of its candidates any other faith than what is necessary in order to constitute them christians. I look on a church of Christ as a society simply of christians. I look on christians as its proper members, and as naturally entitled to its privileges, as children of the same family are to the privileges of that family, or as citizens of the same State are to the rights of that State. If this view be correct, it is certainly improper to use a creed which demands sectarian qualifications of candidates.
I hope not to undervalue neither those particular truths which are believed and advocated by Universalists, nor other particular truths to which many of almost every denomination arrive by reflection and study. I consider them important; but I think them misused when they are made the tests of qualification of candidates,—the indispensable conditions of admission into our churches. For instance : the truth taught to Peter, by the vision of all manner of four-footed beasts and creeping things, was one of great importance ; yet it would have been improper to demand St. Peter's assent to it, as an indispensable condition of admission into the church, because our Saviour adınitted him, and even appointed him to the Apostleship, long before he did assent to it,
2. Another reason, which I think ought to have great weight, is the example given by the Apostles. It seems that they demanded of the candidates for the primitive