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in the gospel, the perdition of the wicked among the rest-shall be damned. If any wresting of the Scriptures can be to a man's destruction,-if any strong delusion and believing a. lie is a prelude to damnation, the delusion of the Universalist surely must have that character.
If this be admitted, I ask in the second place, is there not ground for all the warnings against heresy which appear in scripture, in the nature and tendency of this one system, if it be an erroneous system ? All the warnings against the receiving of erroneous doctrines, and all the earnestness and solemnity with which they are put forth have a solid basis, if the embrace of that system draws after it a train of consequences 80 tremendous. If there be an eternal hell, and the not believing, of the truth be the highway towards it, all the strenuousness with which apostles insisted on the belief of the truth, and the avoidance of heresy, was the proper dictate of Christian benerolence. But if there were no such perdition the apostles were beyond the occasion when they so exhorted men to contend earnestly for the faith—in levelling their curse at even the angel from heaven who should bring another gospel. If the most false and pernicious doctrines that man or even the angel of the buttomless pit ever put forth, are limited in their mischiefs to this world, there is no occasion for such flaming reprobation of them. If universalism be the truth there are no doctrines further from the truth, than those in this community called orthodox. But let the most bigotted Universalist take the arithmetic of the evils which flow from orthodoxy, and tell how much is lost in respect to individual and public happiness, and how much evil is brought in by the spread of so damnable a heresy as these must be in his esteem-how much the force of conscience is abated, by the expectation of a future judgment, how much licentiousness is gendered, by perpetually thundering in the ears of men, that the unbelieving and abominable of every class, shall have their part in a lake which burns with fire and brimstone-let him tell how orthodoxy weakens men's attachments to reading and studying the word of God, abates the religious zeal of men, dries up the fountains of public charities—let him tell how much more corrupt in morals are Orthodox than Universalist communities,-let him recount the names of every apostate or impostor, that has had a place in the church from Judas down to the last silenced minister, and hold them up as the pure specimens of orthodox character, and the pure results of orthodox doctrines. In short make the difference as wide as you cay, the advantage in favor of universalism as great as you can, and hold them up and let any man of common sense say if he dare, that these advantages were valued so highly by the apostles that they stigmatized the opposite doctrines as damnable heresies, as wresting the scriptures to men's own destruction, a strong delusion, preparing the way to damnation. Who can look at facts as they are, and claim for universalism any advantages over other systems as to results seen in this world, especially as to holiness or happiness, which would justify such emphasis of denunciation of opposite doctrines ? The sum of the whole is this-the doctrines of the gospel are such that the doctrines opposed to them are ruinous and destructive to men. But the doctrines opposed to Universalists have no such destructive tendency, even allowing the truth of Universalism. Therefore Universalism cannot be the gospel system,
: Another fact which has a serious bearing on the question before us, is, that while many men have been known to renounce Universalism on a dying bed, the instance never was known of one giving up a belief of future punishment in a dying hour. This proof is not relied on as of equal force with evidence from the bible, and yet it is worth considering in connexion with this evidence. With regard to the fact I think there is no mistake. I do not say that all Universalists find their foundations fail them in the near prospect of death. I know there are those who are given up to believe a lie, those of course who really believe it, and believe till the light of the world to come dispels their delusion. And suppose we admit that a great majority of Universalists, find their faith firm in a dying hour, it will not be disputed that there are frequent cases of those, who through life have been confident and assured, that there was no punishment after death, who have been deserted by all this confidence, when death approached, and left to a fearful looking for of judgment. This fact might be attested by a thousand witnesses. Then the universalist is challenged to point us to one instance of a man, who lived all his days in the belief of the doctrine of future punishment till his dying scene arrived, and then was convinced and avoided his conviction that he had been deceived. I think I am warranted in assuming that snch cases do not occur. And · if so, here is a serious fact which the Universalist is interested to explain. How happens it that in that honest hour when real and apparent are the same, that the conscience so often makes a shift from the one position but never from the other. If you resolve the fact that Universalists abandon their ground in a dying hour to the fickleness of the human mind, why should not that cause equally lead to a change in case of the others? Do you say those Universalists who renounce their faith in the hour of death never really embraced it? Well, but are there not instances of those who pretend to believe in future punishment without really believing it, and why do not they confess their hypocrisy also, in the hour of death ? I know of no sạtisfactory solution of this fact, consistent with the truth of Universalism.
Again, Universalism cannot be true, because it goes to invalidate the divine threatenings. This it does in two ways. First by adopting a system of interpretation which applies many of the most impressive comminations which appear in the bible to the men of one age and nation, and excluding them from all bearings upon the rest of the world. Most of the expressions in the New Testament in the shape of threatenings, however general may be the subject, and extensive the ground and reason of the threatening, are made to point to the destruction of Jerusalem. This is the chorus to every song.
Of course so much of the bible is divested of its bearings upon us. And then in the second place those threatenings which are admitted to be addressed to all mankind, such as the soul
that sinneth it shall die,” “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them ”_and others of like import are reduced to solemn trifling. Now suppose the penalty here intended to be nothing more than is made of it in this life. It is nothing more of course than every sinner suffers in this life. For it is a curse or dying to which every soul sinning is subject. Pardon here is out of the question;. for we speak of those living in their sins. Now by all these threatenings couched in such general language, no more is meant than the unhappiness which any or all sinners are seen to feel, as the result of their sins in this life. Go then and inform a sinning world, that God means no more by that language so often repeated with such awful emphasis, than that if sinners continue to sin they shall be just as unhappy as they are. Is there any thing in the threatenings so construed to take hold of the fears of men, and operate as a check on their perverse passions ? Could a God of infinite wisdom bë supposed io rely on such threatenings to command respect for his laws? God says the soul that sinneth it shall die. The sinner asks,-and shall not others also ? Do not all men die ? What death shall the sinner die that others do not? The Universalist answers he shall be deprived of the happiness of spiritual life, the happiness of the christian.- If that is all, replies the sinner, I shall not be much disturbed, it is a happiness that I never ardently aspired after, and the loss of which will little diminish my present comforts. Take up this threatening in this sense, and rehearse it in the ears of every variety of sinners, and whose fears will you alarm, or whose conscience will you excite ? Say to the drunkard if he do not forsake his beastly indulgences he will lose the happiness of the christian life, will the announcement break on his ears with the force of a divine threatening ? Say to the covetous, the extortioner, the licentious, that if he do not repent and forsake his sins he shall die, that is, he shall not be happy in the way that christians are happy. Assure him that it is really so, by quoting a thus saith the Lord, and instead of having
his fears awoke, such is his disgust for the pleasures of the christian life, he will despise the God who undertakes to move his conscience by considerations so inadequate.
Nor on Universalist ground can you say even this. . If to be a christian is to be a Unive salist, and the christian's joy and peace in believing consists in believing Universalism, I see not how the most wicked men may not partake of it. Nothing hinders but that the most infamous pirate, can be a firm believer in the salvation of all men! And Mr. Whittemore tells us that Universalism is most likely to flourish among such a class of men as publicans and harlots, because it is a doctrine 4 suited to their tastes.” Now it is not true on his own hypothesis that the harlot, if she do not:repent, will lose the happiness of the christian life, provided she be a Universalist. Every way then, Universalism goes to invalidate God's threatenings.
Again, Universalism excludes the mercy of God. Much is said in the gospel about the pardon of sin. I have found it impossible to ascertain in what way Universalism makes the mercy of God contribute to the salvation of men. I understand, that it is essential to that system, that all men are punished according to their full deserts in this life. And if so it leaves no room for the exercise of mercy. The state-prisoner, after having served out his term of years, does not-count himself pardoned out of prison. The truth is, God's law originally threatened eternal death to the transgressor, or it did not. If it did, it would not be unjust for him to inflict. eternai pains upon the incorrigible; for it would not be right to threaten what would be unjust to inflict. If it did, it is a principle of divine administration, that the conduct in this life should affect the condition in the future life, a principle which would overturn the main pillar of Universalism. But if it did not, salvation beyond the grave is no act of mercy, the saving of a mar from that to which he never was exposed, the remission of a penalty never deserved, and never threatened, is no mercy. Or look at the matter in another light. It was originally designed that man should be made answerable in the future