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through excessive love." But I. cannot pass over your unprovoked attack upon Origen (with a view to drive your point) without confuting you still farther, from that eminent historian, Mbshiem. Speaking of the principal writers of the third century, he observes, "The most eminent of these, whether we consider the extent of his fame, or the multiplicity of his labours, was Origen, a man of uncommon abilities, and the greatest luminary of the christian world that his age exhibited. His virtues and his labours deserve the admiration of all ages, and his name will be transmitted with honour through the annals of time, as long as learning ai.'l genius shall be esteemed among men." He was an admirer of the Platonic, not the Hindoo philosophy as you assert. Ruffinus, in his apology for Origen, alleges, "that his writings were maliciously falsified by die heretics, and that, in consequence thereof, errors were attributed to him, which he did not adopt; that the opinions in .which he differed from the church, were only proposed by him as curious conjectures." Now, allowing that I did "lay some stress" upon the opinions of such a man as Origen (which 1 have never admitted) compare him with "Marcion the heretic," the founder of your system, and say which is the most " respectable authority." Tertullian, the famous historian, who lived in the second century, owns that Marcion, who admitted two divinities, the one good and the other bad, was the first who taught that " some men would suffer endless tortures in the other world." Are you not ashamed of the origin of your sentiments. But farther:
In your portraiture of the character of Origen, you not only disregard candour and justice, but, strange! you lave recourse to the church of Rome, "the mother of harlots," to support you in yonr calumny. For, to prove that Origen was the character you represent him to be, you say, "he was, after his death, excommunicated from the church." But excommunication by the church of Rome (as the then orthodox party might justly be called) instead of detracting from, rather adds to, his character. Domition says, respecting this deed of excommunication, " They have rashly ran to anathematize the most glorious doctors of the church, and this under pretext of idenoimcing Origen, but thereby anathematizing all thegreatmen who were before him." According to this worthy bishop, it would appeal1, that all the great men before his time were of his sentiments respecting universal redemption, for that is the subject he is speaking about. But I shall now have done with "Father Origtm." By this time, I suppose, yon have got enough to make you regret your having hit upon this good man, as a specimen of the irrespectability of the fathers, who held the sentiment for which 1 am contending.
In the absence of scripture argument—for you have not attempted this—• you next go on expatiating on what you call the "general tendency," and the "ligitimate consequences" of the doctrine of universal reconciliation. And, indeed, in a private conversation I had with you, lately, when I urged you to confront me with scripture only, this favourite argument of yours was the only thing you brought against me. You seem to be greatly alarmed because "some ungodly people have approved of my principles, one of .which declared that he thought my work was excellent." But where is the occasion for all this alarm? Do not ungodly men often commend many excellent things? Do they not often commend the word of God, good institutions, good sermons, and even yourself? I heard you acknowledge, since I received your letter, that you suffered more defamation from good men, of other denoi ruinations, than from the men of the world; and that you gloried in being found acceptable to "publicans and sinners." I may now ask you, with equal propriety,—have you not then good cause to be alarmed yourself?—But to return to the argument. You object to the doctrine of universal reconciliation, because "some ungodly people have approved" of it. But why object to this doctrine on account of its being more palatable, and acceptable to sinners, than that which dooms them to never-ending misery.—Why grudge them the mercy the scriptures holds out to them? Can you not bear the idea that such poor guilty creatures should have any hope at all, unless they can be brought to see, and to think, in every particular, as you do? Surely this cannot be the nature of that gospel which is adapted to the case of every sinner, and enjoined to be preached to all, for their acceptance and joy. You say that Christ died for all, but that none shall be saved (infants excepted), but the few, who, in this life, believe the gospel. Of what avail is it then that " Christ died for all?" This can only be gospel or good news to these few. In this case there can be really no gospel and no Saviour to the numberless multitudes, of the non-elect; but, blessed be God, the scriptures tell us, that all shall be reconciled to him at last. And "faithful is He that hath promised, who also will do ifc" , That very gospel now rejected by those "ungodly people"
will, one day, he hailed by them, even the vilest of them, with inexpressible joy, when the Saviour shall have "reconciled and subjected all things unto himself/' For this gospel is declared to be glad tidings—to whom? the elect only? No; "to every creature." We have the assurance of God himself that it is " glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people," even to those "ungodly people," on whose despicable characters you rest your objection to the doctrine. God "hath concluded all in unbelief," not that he might eternally damn the greater part (as you affirm) namely, all who die in unbelief. But God "hath concluded all in unbelief" for this very purpose, "That He Might Have Mercy
Were the " legitimate consequences" of my principles such as you describe, I might well be shocked; but that they are very different from what you assert, I am prepared to prove, and have proved already. You remark that my system "hasan obvious tendency to relax the influence of the fear of God on the human mind." Now, I affirm that its more obvious tendency is to promote the love of God, and to fear, and love God, are synonymous terms in the New Testament; and remember that "love is the fulfilling ofthe law." Its tendency, instead of relaxing, promotes the love of God, by imprinting on the human mind the divine character in a more amiable, lovely, and scriptural point of view; and, of course, more calculated to affect and attract the hearts of his rebellious creatures. I repeat it,—that my system (or rather God's system) is more calculated than yours to lead sinners to repentance, and to promote and excite the love of God in the heart, and all the genuine fruits of the spirit. This I have sufficiently shown in my former letter, which you cannot refute by scripture argument. Therefore, its "legitimate consequences," and "obvious tendency," must be more excellent than yours. Yours is a system of terror,—mine of love. Which, then, is the most likely to reconcile sinners to God?—for, let it ever be remembered, that "we love him, because he first loved us." And, until the "love of God is shed abroad in the heart," there can be no repentance unto salvation, and hatred of sin. But it is not all the firey darts of your system, that you can let loose upon them, that will ever reconcile a sinner to God. It is "the love of Christ constraineth us." Thus, then, it is a sense of the love of God to us that reconciles us to him. And, when reconciled, what is it that restrains christians from sin, and animates them to persevere in their christian course? It. is love to God, the spring of obedience. Let the love of God be once implanted in the heart, and the fear of God will naturally be produced. Let this theme hold the chief place, and form the basis of your discourses, and you may give full scope to your fertile imagination, without danger. St. Paul, when speaking on this subject, seems at a loss for language to express himself, when he says, "that ye being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge." It has a breadth, and length, that reacheth all created intelligence. It is high as heaven, from whence it originated; it is deep as hell from whence it rescues guilty men.
But again :—You remark that my system (why not call it God's system) is eminently calculated to prevent any exertion for the spread of the gospel. And you say, "if the knowledge and abuse of the gospel will, at all events greatly increase the amount of intermediate misery, then the propriety of doing any thing to facilitate its promulgation may, in a moral and philanthropic point'Of view be fairly questioned." By what fatality have you hit upon this argument! Might not any one, with half of your penetration, I had almost said, with half common sense, perceive, that this argument turns against your system, with a force, not tenfold, nor a thousand fold, but with a force no less infinitely greater, than eternity is to time. For, according to my system, the knowledge and abuse of the gospel will, on your own finding, only increase the intermediate misery of the wicked; but, according to your system, it will increase their misery through a never-ending eternity. I am almost ashamed of the weakness of an opponent, who could stumble on such an argument as this.
But, before I take leave of this letter of yours, I would be doing you injustice (notwithstanding that expression in scripture "rebuke not an elder,") were I not to administer that salutary castigation which the following expression merits, "The greater part of tile Universalist8 are Arians, and Socinians, or what is the same thing Deists." I really pity, from my heart, the spirit of the person who could substitute such an assertion, in the room of scripture argument, or proof of any kind! In the first place, I remark, that we have nothing to do with any man, or sect of men, in the matter before us,—it is doctrines that we are contending for; and the scriptures are the standard by which we are to try them. Keep