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28, 29, Matt. x. 28, Luke xvi. 19-31, 1 Pet. iii.
Immortality cannot suffer, considered--Remarks upon
Introductory remarks, statement of the question, and method of
REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER, Believing you to be a sincere inquirer after truth, and a friend to manly discussion ; and feeling persuaded that the genuine doctrines of the gospel will not suffer by free investigation, I am induced to address you these Letters upon the subject of a future retribution, on which a difference of opinion obtains between us. And although I have every assurance of your candor and friendship, still I acknowledge that I feel no small share of diffidence in addressing a brother whose talents have rendered him eminent, and who has been in the ministry inore years than I have been in existence. But prompted by the importance of the subject, and encouraged by the consideration of your capdor and Christian affection, I propose in these Letters to offer such remarks upon your system as occur to my mind, state my own views upon the subject of future punishment, and adduce such evidence from scripture and reason, as has inclined me to believe, that, although all misery will be of limited duration, it will not be bounded by the death of the body.
I enter upon the examination of this subject with the more cheerfulness, from the conviction that I have no
thing to lose. For if the opinion I have embraced, be in accordance with the scriptures, I feel conscious that it cannot be overthrown; and if it be unfounded, the sooner I am convinced of my error, the better. I have nothing to fear, therefore, in this discussion. But on the contrary, though I have not the vanity to suppose that I shall be able to effect any material change in your religious opinion, I trust I shall be able, in some degree, to show the reasons of mine; and what is still more valuable, to show the public that a religious discus. sion can be carried on in the exercise of Christian feel. ings, without bitterness or personal reflections.
Neither will the difference of opinion which exists among our brethren, give any occasion for triumph to the daughters of the uncircumcised; for all denominations differ in opinion among themselves. While the believers in endless misery are divided into numerous sects and parties, and are so embittered against each other, that they will have no fellowship together, and will even exclude each other from the table of their 'common Master, it cannot be thought strange that a difference of opinion should exist among the believers in the opposite doctrine. Neither is the existence of
controversy in our order an unprecedented thing. The Unitarians, though' a respectable and flourishing sect, are greatly divided in opinion; and public controversy has existed among thein, as in the case of Price and Priestley. The Episcopal Church has furnished writers on almost every side of the question.
And in our own country, Professor Stuart and Dr. Miller, both orthodox divines and advocates for the doctrine of the Trinity, have lately discussed before the public the subject of the "eternal Sonship of Christ." The Presbyterians at the South have recently been engaged in controversy on the principles of church government. Now should a dif