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horizon than they. To speak plainly, the whole word of God represents the path of the church, like that of the just, to be as light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The kingdom of God always has been, and still is, progressive. Glory is bursting in upon the church, in various ways intimately connected with making her light io shine still more brightly. Is she yet perfected in doctrine? Are all the treasures of the divine word yet unlocked? Are her fairest days past, and her brightest constellations set, to rise no more? The thousand years,' of glory yet to come, will supply a ready answer to these questions.
"So long as we profess to be Protestants, and of course, profess to believe that the Bible is the sufficient and only rule of faith and practice, so long, if we act consistently, we believe in the symbols of faith which we receive, only because we find them supported by the Scriptures. It is not only lawful then to put them to the test; but it is an imperious duty for every man to do it, who is able to do it. There may be a show of modesty and humility in receiving what others have believed, without examination and without scrutiny ; but in every case, where there is ability to investigate and bring to the Scripture test, a failure to do it must arise from undue regard to the authority of fallible men, or from mere inaction from absolute sloth."
According to my ability I have endeavored to bring to the Scripture test two very important articles in the Protestant creeds—Is the devila
fallen angel or reul being ? - Are the terms Olim, Aion, and Aionios, rendered everlasting and forever, used by the sacred writers to express endless duration when applied to punishment? These are the two principal points on which I wished my investigations to bear. Other articles of the Protestant creeds, particularly those noticed in Part 1. Section iv. intruded themselves in the course of my researches, and it was deemed proper to give them a due share of attention, being very closely connected with my subject.
The importance of the articles I have attempted to discuss, few will question. Their relative importance to others discussed in the present day, as far exceed them, as the substance exceeds the shadow. If it be worth while to inquire, how many persons there are in the Godhead, or was the second person eternally begotten, it is surely of greater importance to inquire, is the devil a person or real being, and is he possessed of the almost infinite powers which have long been ascribed to him. And is it true that this being has ruimed the human race, which ruin shall end in the ererlasting destruction of not a few of them? I agree with Professor Stuart, that “glory is bursting in upon the church, in various ways intimately connected with making her light to shine still more brightly.”. Believing, that the common doctrines of the devil and eternal punishment have long been a disgrace to the church of God, I have ventured to attempt their removal, that her light may shine more brightly. None ought to be offended at the attempt, for if such doc
trines be false, surely none in the symbols of the Protestant churches have so much eclipsed her glory as they have done.
If it should be proved that I am mistaken, and that such doctrines are diadems in the crown of the church of God, her glory must even be promoted by this investigation, for it will be made the more manifest that the devil and eternal punishment are her glory. As Mr. Stuart justly observes, a failure to investigate such articles in the Protestant creeds, “must arise from undue regard to the authority of fallible men, or from mere inaction--from absolute sloth.'
It may be thought by some, that if the things stated in Part i. Sect. 4. be true, the Second Part is a superfluous discussion; for it follows, of course, that endless punishment cannot be true. This we admit; but the texts where everlasting is applied to punishment, will not be given up, by many, as teaching endless punishment, until some rational, Scriptural interpretation is presented, showing that their former views of them are in
I here can speak from experience; for I never would have relinquished the doctrine of endless punishment, unless I had come to see how such texts could be fairly explained as not
I have felt the power of such previous views on my own mind, and make allowance for others in the same condition. On this account, if my explanations of the texts where everlasting is applied to punishment be correct, the Second Part, so far from being superfluous, is highly necessary. Many of my former friends
have no doubt wondered, how I could embrace my present views with such texts staring me in the face. One object with me, in the Second Part, has been, to show, that I did not shut my eyes to these texts, but being opened to very different views of them, I finally embraced my present opinions. Whether my present views be correct, they can now see and judge for themselves. If I have embraced error, ihey are requested to have the goodness to correct it.
In the following pages, we have expressed our opinions frankly and sincerely, and appealed to the Scriptures as the test of iruth. The author hopes that the spirit in which his remarks are made can give offence to none. He has studied to avoid all harsh and provoking language, convinced that man's wrath can never work the righteousness of God. If he has in any instance turned aside from this path, he shall regret it much more than any of his readers, for his object is to convince, oot to irritate. Should it be said, some of the opinions controverted are not held now by our orthodox brethren, nor durst any preacher avow them, without forfeiting his station. We are glad to hear of this, but doubt if it is without exception true; and certainly, we have never heard, that any public disavowal of them has ever been made. For example; has it ever been openly disavowed, that infants may be eternally damned? And is it universally disbelieved, that the happiness of those in heaven, shall be sweetened to all eternity in beholding others in eternal misery? If such opinions are not held,
why not publicly denounce them? For it will not be denied, that they have been held by Calvinists in ages that are past. At any rate, we would say, it has been far from our heart to misrepresent the opinions of our brethren.
Should any one reply to the following pages, the author begs leave to say, that it will be of no consequence to point out defects in his manner of discussing the subject, or to show that in some instances he has misunderstood the many texts which have come under his consideration. As to the first, had his time and avocations permitted, he might have rendered the work freer of defects. As to the last, though he has used all means in his power to interpret the Scriptures correctly, yet it would be surprising, if in no instance he had misunderstood 'the sacred writers. A reply merely bearing on these points he will pass over in silence.
But if any one will show, that the devil is a fallen angel, and, that the punishment of the wicked is of endless duration, he will listen with profound attention to whatever may be advanced. He will attend to argument and evidence drawn from Scripture, come from what quarter they may, whether stated in a good or bad temper of mind. If convinced he is wrong, he will be silent, but if not, he will claim the privilege of stating his reasons for his dissent. Whoever undertakes to reply, we beg of them to give us proofs, and not mere assertions, for what they may advance, and to pay particular attention also to what we have advanced in Part i. Sect. 4. To point out defects, without fairly meeting