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cuity and precision, I take the liberty of arranging and condensing the matter of the discussion, in such a manner as is suitable to written composition, the hearer will see that real justice is done to the argument on both sides. . As my opponent has had a full opportunity of speaking for himself, so, in revising and correcting the work of his employed Reporter, he has had a full #. of writing for himself. To copy all that he has published, through his stenographer, for himself and for me, is not my design. Any one who has read those drowsy pages will readily excuse me, and any one who has not, may see a fair specimen in the piece signed Long-hand, published in the Democratic Press, of Sept. 22nd, and copied in No. 21, of the Introductory Documents in this work. This is one of the least important of many, newspaper publications connected with this controversy, with which it is thought proper to occupy the first o of this volume. For reasons explained in the intro
uctory documents, its bulk will also be increased by additional matter both in confirmation and refutation; and the latter of these shall now take the precedency, as the arguments of my opponent are all before me, in what he calls “as faithful a report as ever was made.”
In the Philadelphia edition of Buck’s Theological Dictionary, by Edwin T. Scott, 1823, Mr. Kneeland, under the article Universalists, boasts that several works written by himself and Mr. Ballou, “ have never been answered.” He was also in the habit of giving challenges from the pulpit, and he and his followers were in the practice of boasting that they were not accepted. In a note attached to his 8th Lecture, he says, “at each publication, the learned clergy have been respectfully called upon to shew wherein these statements are incorrect. They have not seen fit to do it; and it is believed, for this good reason, because they know the statements are true. As, therefore, the most important facts contained in this Lecture have been more than thirteen years before the public, and yet remain uncontroverted, they now come forth with this additional evidence of their truth. Because it is fair to presume (the facts here stated being so important in themselves to the cause of religion) that if they could have been contradicted, with any colour of evidence, they would have been before this time.” The following are extracts from the preface to his Lectures, viz. “The work has had an opportunity to be fully tested by public opinion; and notwithstanding the substance of the eighth Lecture (which is the most important of any in point of doctrine,) has been before the public nearly twenty years, and it is now more than five years since this work was first published, yet no one has attempted to point out a single error, in relation to the facts as herein stated, or to shew that any of the arguments are either unfounded or inconclusive. This is considered as a silent acknowledgement, that in the opinion of the clergy generally, the work is unanswerable: otherwise, being so often and so respectfully called upon to consider the doctrine and arguments here advanced, and point out the errors, if there be any, it is difficult to account for their silence on this subject.” “He therefore once more respectfully invites and intreats the clergy of other denoininations, or some one of them, the more learned the better, to discuss this important subject with him, and to point out to him and the public, the supposed errors of the following work.”
It is said that the Universalists have two Churches in the city, and there is a report in circulation that permission has been asked and obtained for me to preach in one of them. If I ever gave leave to any of my friends to make this request for me, (which is quite probable,) it was done inadvertently. But as it was granted, I take this opportunity of acknowledging the favour, and of informing you, or your friends through you, that for the present, the acceptance of it is declined. This is done, not from a belief that it is unlawful to preach our distinguishing doctrines in such a place, butbecause I prefer coming in contact with you, in a manner which has hitherto been more agreeable to your own wishes. I am informed that you have discussed the most prominent question in your creed with several laymen, and that you have, privately and publicly, given verbal and written invitations to the clergy in general, to defend their faith in public debate. This general invitation was published, perhaps, in the first edition of your “Lectures on the doctrine of Universal Benevolence,” in 1819, You tell us that this was not noticed. In the preface of your 2d edition, in the present year, you inform as, that “this is considered as a silent acknowledgment that, in the opinion of the clergy generally, the work is unanswerable : otherwise, being so often and so respectfully called upon to consider the doctrine and arguments here advanced, and point out the errors, if there be any, it is difficult to account for their silence on this subject.” Subsequently, in page 198, you inform us in a note, that your principles were published in New Hampshire, in 1805, and New-York, 1816. “And at each publication the learned clergy have been respectfully called upon to shew wherein these statements are incorrect. They
have not seen fit to do it, and it is believed, for this good reason, because they know the statements are true.” Accordingly, in the preface of this 2d edition, “The author,”. “once more, respectfully invites and entreats the clergy of other denominations, or some one of them, the more learned the better, to discuss this important subject with him; and to point out to him and the public, the supposed errors of the following work.” When your friends witness your great anxiety to submit your sentiments to unlimited investigation by word or writing, in private or in public, they admire and praise your candour and magnanimity, in proportion as they condemn our reluctance to encounter you. It is to be hoped that we shall not now change sides, and that a willingness on our part shall not cool your ardour for the contest. If God spare my life, it appears probable that I shall labour for some time in the city. Without any claims to superior learning, I do, after prayer and mature deliberation, feel disposed to comply with your reasonable requisition, and to gratify your repeated and urgent entreaties for a public discussion. That this may be prosecuted to advantage, it should be done in an orderly manner, according to a plan previously arranged. If you agree to such a measure, I should be glad, if, in your answer to this letter, you would give me the precise point which you mean to defend, in opposition to the absolute eternity of the sinner's future punishment. Do you plead for the annihilation of the wicked, as the Destructionists do o Do you believe in their restoration to heaven after being punished in hell? And if so, do you believe this punishment to be gratuitous, disciplinary, penitentiary, or satisfactory? Or do you believe that they are all, without going to hell, saved at death, or at the general resurrection, after receiving condign punishment on earth, or after receiving, not a condign, but a gratuitous, a penitentiary, or a disciplinary punishinent 2 it is hoped that your answer, as soon as convenient, will prepare the way for a speedy meeting. W. L. M'CALLA. Philadelphia, 69, North Third-street. July 2, 1824. Mr. Abner Kneeland.
first opportunity this morning to reply. You are under an entire mistake, sir, in supposing that I have “privately and publicly given verbal and written invitations to the clergy in general to defend their faith in public debate.” I have never solicited a public debate with any man, either clergyman or layman, unless what I have written in the preface to the second edition to my lectures can be so construed. And even there the discussion is limited to the supposed errors of that work; at the same time nothing is said about a public debate. My ideas are before the public, in print, and if any important errors are contained in them, I expect they will
be pointed out to me and the public in the same way; namely,
from the press. That I have discussed some important doctrinal points with laymen, in a society instituted for that purpose, is true; and I wish to have it distinctly understood, that while I have never solicited a public debate with any man, I have never declined one, and should I now come in “contact” with a clergyman, in this way, it would not be the first time. What I have solicited, is to have the supposed errors of my Lectures pointed out: If that is to be the subject, the discussion must be limited to what is there written. Should the subject of the Lectures be waived, (to which I have no objection,) I should come to the main question at once, mamely, Does the law of God require that sin, committed here in time, and in this state of mortality, should be punished in eternity, or beyond death, meaning to be understood by that term, a dissolution of this mortal existence 2 I shall deny the existence of any such law, and consequently of any such punishment. Hence we should have no occasionto discuss either the nature or the duration of punishment, unless the fact can first be proved. I shall contend, however, that no punishment, as coming from God will be incompatible with infinite and divine love to the individual that is
punished. A. KNEELAND.
Philadelphia, 31 South Second st. July 7, 1824.
/ No. 4. Mr. KNEELAND, Yours of yesterday has been duly received. You inform me that you have “never solicited a public debate with any man,” though you “ have never declined one;” and that you