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is no pleasant undertaking. It is the drudgery of the ministerial work, or rather the business of a scavenger, and for that reason, probably others more competent, who ought to have undertaken it, have declined it. But the work of the scavenger is needful; what the cause of truth demands, we have no right to withhold.
With regard to the manner of performing the work before me, I shall make no large professions of candor not sustained ; no pretence of carrying my mind in an equal balance through the investigation; as if the question of the truth or error of Universalism, had never been decided in my own mind. I shall come to the discussion as one who is deeply convinced of the falsehood and pernicious tendency of the system, and who feels competent to make it appear, and in whom it would be hypocrisy to pretend the contrary. Yet I shall labor clearly to understand and fairly to state the views of my opponent, and to make use of no argument which is not in my own apprehension valid. Without touching upon every subordinate topic introduced by Mr. Balfou., I shall endeavor to leave nothing of importance unanswered. I intend to fix on the strong points, so as in the shortest compass to make out what shall, at least virtually, amount to an answer to the whole. And if any thing be found, in the books under examination, to which I have not given a direct or implied answer, it is such as I am willing should have all the weight it can with any mind. The books which will come under special examina
tion are, Balfour's first Inquiry, third edition, Balfour's second Inquiry, second edition, and Balfour's Essays. I shall also occasionally notice Balfour's reply to Stuart, and Whittemore's work on the Parables, first edition. These works abound in criticisms upon the Greek and Hebrew of the Bible. But I shall be under no necessity of leading the unlearned reader far beyond his depth, in my reply, and I have here no ambition to decorate my pages with such ornaments. I trust I shall be able to adapt the style to popular use, and yet leave no depths of Mr. B.'s learned criticism unfathomed.
The main questions on which we are at issue with the modern Universalist, and which will now come under discussion in review of Mr. Balfour's books, are–First, that of the immortality of the soul, or whether souls exist in a state of consciousness after death and before the resurrection. Second, whether those passages of the Bible which speak of judgement, condemnation, damnation, &c. teach the doctrine of a retribution after death. Third, whether those passages which speak of everlasting or eternal life, mean a life enjoyed in this, or in the future world. And next, we shall inquire respecting the meaning of the words everlasting, eternal, &c. when applied to punishment. In the next place, whether any passages speak of a place where punishment after death is inflicted. Next, examine Mr. Balfour's attempt to disprove the existence and agency of evil spirits. And then we shall dwell on some miscellaneous topics connected with the discussion.
And may the God of truth, by the Spirit of his grace, guide the understanding and the heart of the writer; that he may be kept from the exercise of all feelings and purposes inconsistent with the high ends of such a discussion; and be governed by the single desire to sustain the truth against the assaults of its enemies, and commend it to the consciences of men ; and may his understanding be assisted properly to conceive, and present the subject, feeling himself the tremendous weight of the truth he inculcates. And may the reader come to the examination of the question with a mind willing to see and
w the truth, and carry through it the impression that if the doctrine of eternal punishment be true, it is tremendously true, and ought to take hold of the deepest principles of the mind and heart.
ON THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL; OR THE SOUL'S EXIST
ENCE IN THE INTERMEDIATE STATE.
No one unacquainted with Universalism, according to its latest pattern, would dream of its being needful to prove the immortality of the soul, in an argument with those whose doctrines provide an eternal salvation for all men. But for reasons which will appear in the sequel, Mr. Balfour strenuously denies it. In his reply to Stuart he says, “It is my honest opinion, that the whole doctrine of future punishment, whether limited or endless, depends on this,—Is the soul immortal, and is it capable of suffering or enjoyment in an intermediate state ?" The reader then will understand, that proof of the immortality of the soul, and of the fact of its existence after death, and before the resurrection, amounts by Mr. B.'s own confession, to proof of the doctrine of future punishment.
In considering this subject, I shall for convenience sake reverse the order of subjects which Mr. B. has pursued; so that I may dispose of the less important consideration first. His last section is devoted to answering objections to his denial of of the soul's separate existence. And he promises in the outset to confine himself to such as are likely to be urged. I am willing that Mr. B. should enjoy his belief that such objections, the mere creations of his own brain, are likely to be urged, but