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natural and rational inferences from the text I am considering.
Perhaps you would wish to maintain that the fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, is an endless fire. To maintain this, it must be made plain, that the devil will suffer endlessly. This will fix the meaning of the word everlasting in this place beyond dispute. But St. Paul tells us, that Christ partook of flesh and blood, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death; and expressly names him to be the devil. Heb. ii. 14. When the devil meets with this destruction, the everlasting fire prepared for him and his angels can burn him no longer. It may then as well cease to continue, when the generalisimo of suffering is destroyed. With reference to the 46th verse of the 25th of Matthew, you may gather my ideas from what has already been written.
Thus in as brief a manner as I well could, I have given you my opinion of the important scripture to which you directed me, as pointing primarily, and perhaps solely, to the present state of existence; but did it refer to a future, the whole argument against universal salvation would rest on the term everlasting, which is acknowledged to be an ambiguous term. It must fall much short of positive proof of the doctrine of endless misery.
I do not feel justified in closing this letter, without expressing my disbelief of the sentiment you write in these words: "Repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, is the condition on which eternal life is suspended." So far from being a condition, eternal life is the gift of God. See Rom. vi. 23. St. John, xvii. 2. I. John, v. 11. Repentance towards God, aud faith in the Lord Jesus, may be the efficient means of salvation; but not the condition. I believe salvation is suspended on the mission of Jesus Christ alone. By him repentance is a gift also; and not condition for man to fulfil. Acts, v. 31. Jesus compares sinners to lost sheep, which he came to save. What success do your suppose a shepherd would anticipate in proposing conditions to wild, or lost sheep? telling them I have a good pasture, and you shall be safely protected, on condition you will come? Can you suppose this method word bring one into the fold? I think you cannot. He
must be thought unwise indeed, if, instead of proposing conditions, he did not use coersive or attracting methods to bring them home. Why do men detract from the faithfulness of Jesus, to give man a share of praise in the work of salvation? But I must close. I shall write no more until I receive an answer, though I should be happy to continue this correspondence. As the subject is of great importance, I have had thoughts, the ensuing year, of laying it before the public. If either of us lose the object of our design, it still may be of public utility. It is sometimes necessary to sacrifice the feelings of an individual, for the benefit of many, and the cause of truth.
Be pleased to receive the sentiments of respect from me, who would be faithful in the ministry of the Lord Jesus; who desires no disfellowship among mankind, but prays for the union of the whole.
SAMUEL C. LOVELAND.
Rev. JOSEPH LABEREE.
Gilsum, December 24, 1815.
N. B. Many avocations have occasioned a delay of copying and preparing to send this letter, until the present date.
S. C. L.
Barnard, January 16. 1816.
To SAMUEL C. LOVELAND, IN ANSWER TO LETTER 111.
Jerico, January 5th, 1816.
When I first received from you a challenge to write, (if you will permit me to borrow a word from your own vocabulary) I did expect something which bore, at least, the semblance of argument. And when I received your first letter, I concluded you intended it only as a sort of a feint to throw your opponent off his guard, that you might fillhim with surprise by the force of your next assault. I will leave you to conclude what must have been my disappointment, when, instead of that powerful reasoning which I had expected, I found the same old statement again brought into the field, supported by the same feeble arguments, which I find pressed in to serve another campaign, with only a change of uniform; and which I, at first, thought hardly able to bear their own weight.
I confess, sir, I was driven to the conclusion, that your forces, to say the least, were neither numerous nor potent. You say much about the "design" of God to save all mankind. I presume you can claim the design of God in this respect, only from his word; and you will suffer me to repeat, that in my opinion, you have not advanced a single inch, towards making out your system from this word. In justice, therefore, you have no claim to any answer from me for your last communication; especially when we take into view the low witticism, and scurrility, and play upon words, and attempts at criticism, and whining about a challenge, and so on, with which your letter abounds. In my opinion you would have no reason to complain should I pass the whole in silent contempt. You will understand, therefore, sir, that what I now do, I do as a matter of fa
I will propose you a few plain questions, which if you will answer fairly, and with decency, I will consent to continue the correspondence. I shall not at this time propose any particular passages of scripture; I wish, if possible, to understand the ground-work of your system, and I ask the following questions for this purpose:
1st. What in your opinion was the curse of the divine law?
2d. Are any or all of mankind delivered from this curse? If so, by what means?
3d. Do you believe an infinite atonement necessary, in order for God to be just in the pardon of sin?
You tell me in your letter, that you think some of mankind may be subject to some future punishment. I ask
4th. For what reason is this punishment inflicted? Is the sinner, who is subject to this punishment, made better by it, and finally brought to repentance; or, does he suffer all that God in justice could demand of him?
A candid answer to these questions would give me great satisfaction.
Mr. SAMUEL C. LOVELAND.
NOTE...Mr. Laberee, having received from the pube lisher his Answer to Mr. Haynes' Sermon, sent it back with the preceding letter, with the following written upon a blank page:
1 know of nothing which I can send you, better calculated to convince a candid and unprejudiced mind of the weakness and corrupt tendency of the doctrine you preach, than this answer to Mr. H's sermon. I would advise you to review it. But for what purpose you sent it to me I am not able to guess.
TO REV. JOSEPH LABEREE.
Barnard, January 29, 1816.
I received the pamphlet I sent you, accompanied with a short letter, last Saturday evening. If it were a burden to you I am glad you used the freedom to return it. But I would remark, that you vary considerably in your instructions. You formerly pointed me to some passages of scripture to correct me: but now you "know of nothing which "you "can send" me, "better calculated to convince a candid, unprejudiced mind of the weakness and corrupt tendency of the doctrine" I "preach, than" my "Answer to Mr. H's Sermon." If you had a weapon against Universalism in your opinion full equal, if not better, than the scriptures, why did you not keep it for that purpose, and refer your friend to one of the same kind already in his possession?
One important reason why I sent it you, was in consequence of a personal agreement between you and me in Judge Brownson's house. It is possible the Judge and some of his family may recollect it. Why I should fulfil this agreement, it seems you are not able to guess. It is marvellous to you that a Universalist could be so honest.
The circumstances that introduced our correspondence, I remember to be the following: At the funeral of the aged Mr. Brownson, we were both present, and each took a part of the public exercise. After exercise, it being very rainy, we tarried in the desk, at which time you proposed a number of questions on my sentiments; some of which I briefly answered; but at length observed, I thought the present was not a proper time to canvass the subject; yet remarked, that at a convenient opportunity, I was willing to converse or to write. You then proposed to hold a cerrespon. dence by writing, which I accepted. You introduced the