Imágenes de páginas

indubitable expressions of scripture, which deny future good to the sirmer j or future forgiveness: or which deny an end to bis sorrows; which '^fpeak 4iis sinal state to be miserable; which deny htm those blessings that compose heaven; or that represent his character sixedly an evil one, without any change to take place; I will frankly acknowledge to him that such scripture expressions are a Arong proof of endless punishment. But till he is certain of being able to de this, I should not advise him entirely to drop the use of those doubtful expressions, #/«r« -aal, ever lasting, for ever i because, so Jong as he it resolved to hold the doctrine of eternal misery, it were better for him to have some doubtful proof, than none at alL

Another observation is on p. 86. '*' Farther, aH -the promises of sinal salvation, which are made to persons of a certain character, and to certain graces, most strongly imply that some shall not be saved. Why are the gospel promises made in this way, if all men indiscriminately are to share in the benefits?" :,. ,

"He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned.** No good christian wishes to enjoy heaven on easier terms than these { nor does he believe that any person ever will. No rational consistent man expects to inherit the promises of the gospel, without faitk and salience; or to enter heaven without holiness. The reason why gospel promises are made to a certain .,.•:•' . character sharacter is, that the good things promised' belong only to a certain1 character.

Furtheri Mr. S. obsorvesj p. 96. "The scriplure exhortations', to diligence, watchfulness, perseverance, striving to the end, imply, that some men? will conduct in such a manner, as not to obtain %~ hi the present lise; if Mr. S. had added those words; all would have been right. He goes on; "Final redemption in another world is the gospel prize, and if men cannot miss of this," in this lise, if Mr. Si. pleases; "there seems to be no propriety in such cx» to nations;" so fay I.

"It is the general tenor of scripture, that men. are in a dangerous situationyaBd~tha| there is some evil to be avoided." If Mr. S. is writings to men, who suppose that no evil awaits mankind, and that all will be happy in the next state of being, whether virtuous or vicious in-this; there may be some pertinency in such kind of observations; though 1 should regret the time spent in writing to such stu» pid animals..

Mr. S. among other miscellaneous things, make* a very kind, obliging concession to the universalists*. p. 89. We will make a supposition, (though I ©n» \y allow it as a supposition) the most favorable to* the UniversalistS) which they themselves can demand.—That there are few passages, which will bear the construction they wish to put upon them? it is also true, that all such passages will bear anoints construction. If the universal construction, appears pears either to be a constrained one, or contrary to the general tenor of scripture ; and the, other cOp> ftruction be perfectly consistent with the generat tenor of scripture; common sense and candor will

determine it to be the true one."

As to suppositions so kindly and graciously made^ as the above by Mr. S. j I am fare every universalist, throughout the United States, and the world, must seel the warmest emotions of gratitude, at hi j \try heart, for the indulgence graciously vouchsafed him, by the most generous and. munisicent author. I hardly know how to express my sensibility to fb great a benefactor; especially when 1 consider, that the noble author of the above amazing supposition, is far beyond all possibility himself, of ever wanting a concession, or supposition, of that, or of any other kind, from the universalists. As to coda strained and natural interpretations of scriptures adduced in this controversy, Mr. S. and I must consent that the public judge of our interpretations of scripture. For my part, I am entirely willing to leave the matter on this decision.

Mr. S. has made some observations on the wordi used to describe the continuance of the future punishment of sinners, and on their meaning in the original languages, Hebrew and Greek.

Page 91. 1st. "It is a well known fact, thai the Hebrews and Greeks, in whose respective Ian' guages the Old and New Testaments were written, understood the, punishment described to be eternal;


[ocr errors]

fcftd trie descendants of those nations who now have the best knowledge of the power and meaning of words in these languagesj understand them so to this day. It is conceived, this is a sufficient reply tp all modern criticisms on this ground, against the doctrine of eternal misery.'' Does Mr. J>, mean, that the Hebrews arid Greeks Understand the future punishment of the wicked to be eternal, in the endless sense, merely from the force and leaning Of the Words used to signify the duration of that punishment, or from some other considerations ? if from the force and meaning of the Words; I Would aslc, Whether the Hebrews understood the covenant of .circumcision to be everlasting, in the endless sense, from the natural meaning of the Word olam, or its derivative? but that covenant has ceased to be, for seventeen hundred years. How is this ? the word olam does not naturally signify a duration without end; or Moses made use of a wrong Word, in describing the perpetuity of the covenant; Or the Hebrews do not judge of the perpetuity Of any thing, merely frOm the force Of the word olam. If the word olam naturally signisies a duration without end, Moses certainly was unhappy in his choice of that word, to desine the duration of the covenant of circumcision. The Hebrews are as fully persuaded of the perpetuity of their covenant of circumcision, as they are of the perpetuity of the future punishment Of sinners. But if the Hebrews, with Moses at their head, are all mistaken as to the natural force and H h meaning


[ocr errors]

meaning of the woid otam, in one instance, thep

may be in others.

If it be said that, neither Moses nor the Hebrews' may be mistaken as to the natural meaning of the word clam; and that, when it was applied to signify a limited duration, it was used in its sigurative, and not in its natural meaning; if this be so, then whenever the word clam is applied to desine the duration of any thing, we must determine whether it be used in its natural, or sigurative, endless, or lim» 'ited sense, by the nature and circumstances of the thing whose duration is desined. And this is just what I have said before. I desire to know of what importance it is, in this controversy, whether the word clam naturally, or siguratively, signify duration without end; when it is, or must be, conceded, on all hands, that, to determine its real present meaning, in every instance where it is used, we must consider the aature and circumstances of the subject described. If the word o/awhave not one sixed meaning, it is of no importance whether the meaning it ever has, be natural, or figurative, that I can see. If others seel disposed to contend about its natural and its sigurative, meaning, they may contend without me. AU that I consider of importance in the matter, 13, that the word o/aw-has not one sixed, permanent meaning; and that, therefore, whenever it iV applied in the description of the duration of any object, the nature and circumstances of that object are ever- to be consulted, to sind its real meaning.


[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »