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that are finite in their nature? Who made "the finite creatures of God" of which you speak? Did not an infinite Being? If so, you had no sure ground for your inference. It was nothing but a conjecture. But you state it as a fact, and then stigmatize me with adopting, to support my sentiments, "one of the most pernicious errours that ever disgraced the name of a christian." Would it not be bad enough for you to state this, after I had told you my sentiments on the subject?
You state that "if an infinite atonement has not been made, then Christ is not a divine person.?? This reasoning is not admissible; for a divine person, if he can do an infinite work, he can do a work that is not infinite, according to the strict sense of the term. But according to your reasoning, when a Being works he must use the utmost of his power, whether it be superfluous or necessary. But, granting that Christ is not equal to the Father, still as a Son, from his sonship, he would be entitled to the appellation of "divine person.' Whoever wrote the title of St. John's Revelation, gave the apostle this appellation, Saint John the Divine, doubtless without supposing him to be infinite as is the Supreme Creator. St. Peter speaks of God's "giving unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature." 2 Peter, i. 4. Why are not those that partake of the divine nature divine persons? But if they be it would not argue they are infinite as God is.
We now cone in our labours to the curse of the divine law, which I stated to be, "The pointing out to the transgressor the heinousness of sin, and that sentence of condem nation which its just demerit requires." This sentence of condemnation I think I might grant to be endless misery according to your ideas of atonement, which would afford ine data to argue for the salvation of the whole upon the same principle that you could prove the salvation of a part. Then I should only have to invalidate what you have said of God's rendering to the wicked in the world to come according to their deeds, to maintain my argument. But for certain reasons, this is not my sentiment. If sin be infinite, it appears it will admit no degrees; it will neither admit addition, nor suffer diminution. All offences must
be alike heinous, yea they must coalese or form a junction, something like the mystery of Three in One, in Hopkintonian divinity, which all hold to be inconceivable. Again, God himself is no more than infinite; he fills no more than infinity; his attributes of mercy, justice, goodness, and truth, are no more than infinite, and if sin be infinite, the sinner must be his equal opponent. If to avoid this absurdity it be said sin is infinite in a subordinate sense, the concession is an acknowledginent that sin is not really infinite according to the first sense of the term. Furthermore, man is acknowledged to be a finite being; of course he possesses but a finite capacity by which to act; consequently, his actions must be finite. His acts of goodness are not conceived to be infite, why then his acts of wickedness?
The curse of the divine law I stated to be a sentence of condemnation. This condemnation we learn from the
scriptures to be death. "In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." "The wages of sin is death." Here divines have made a distinction of death temporal, death spiritual, and death eternal; but the last requires proof to be admitted. The second I conceive to be the natural
consequence of sin. The apostle explains it in these words, "To be carnally minded is death." "For the carnal mind is enmity against God." This death or condemnation which is the curse of the divine law, I believe is neither disciplinary nor penal, but consequent. Neither is it the requisition of divine justice, but of that retributive justice that awards to the sinners the wages of sin. It follows and accompanies sin as naturally and unavoidably as a temporal death does a mortal state.
Now for a deliverance from the curse of the law. A salvation or deliverance presupposes one of two things; either a freedom from evils to which men are exposed, or from the continuance of evils in which they are involved. It appears to be your belief that the saved are delivered from evils to which they are exposed, and not involved; but others are plunged into those evils, and rewarded according to their works, whereas the saved are not. to me, is both unscriptural and unreasonable. more rescind from his threatenings, than he will fail to fulfil his promises. He will reward every one of the human
This God will no
family according to their works. You say, "But on your plan they are not punished according to strict justice;" because I said they are delivered from the curse of the law. You then add, "Now there appears to be some difficulty here. The scriptures most decidedly declare, that the wicked in hell are punished according to their works." Do they declare this? Then it seems the wicked in this
world are not punished according to their works. Let us hear the testimony of the apostle; "Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Rom. v. 12. This passage, if it mean any thing, means that death, the curse of the divine law and the end of sin, actually passes upon all men. See also 1 Cor. xv. 22. "For as in Adam all die," which the apostle takes for a granted truth.
I will now consider your scripture testimony of the wicked being punished in kell. "Job xxxiv. 11. For the work of a man shall be rendered unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways." This you say is punishing the wicked in hell, but there is nothing said about hell in the text or context. The reward is not confined to character, time, nor place. When the text says "every man," why do you limit it to the wicked? When it says nothing of time, of place, why do you apply it to hell only? You believe there are some righteous that are not in hell, nor ever will be. Do you not think they also will find aecording to their work? If not, how can they be happy?
You quote Matt. xvi. 27, for the aforementioned purpose, where it says he will reward "every man," which I bove shown, in a former letter, from the following verse, was fulfilled in the then present generation. That you may see that I am not alone in this sentiment, I will refor you to Bishop Newton's Dissertation on the Prophecies. See page 286. "The coming of Christ is also the same period with the destruction of Jerusalem, as may appear from several places in the gospels, and particularly from these two passages: "There are some standing here," says our blessed Lord, Matt. xvi. 28, "that shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom;" that is, evidently, there are some standing here, who shall live,
not till the end of the world, to the coming of Christ to judge mankind, but till the destruction of Jerusalem, to the coming of Christ in judgment upon the Jews." I hope, sir, you will so far excuse the learned Bishop on this subject, as not to accuse him of a want of "common intellect,” though, without the name of Universalist, he expresses the sentiments of your opponent.
Your next passage is found in Matt, v. 25, 26. with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out, thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." This text I cannot conceive how you can apply to your subject to advantage. Who do you think the adversary represents? If it be God, I object that he is an adversary. "God loved the world," and he cannot therefore be an adversary to the world, which we have before found to be the wicked. But if God be an adversary there can no agreement be made with him; he ever must be an adversary, for he changes not. Again, are we in the way with him? In a spiritual or moral sense we are not in the way with him when we are wicked; and in no other can we ever be out of his way; therefore the text does not apply. Christ, who came to save that which was lost, who died for the ungodly, cannot be an adversary... And if Satan be the adversary, whom we are always to resist, according to this text alone, we must now be condescending enough to agree with him. If you say the divine law is the adversary, and demands a complete reward by good works, it may be replied from your letters, Christ has answered all the demands of the law; and if the sinner has it to pay, he must pay an old debt that had been settled once before.
In James ii. 13. Where it says, "he shall have judgment without mercy," it is to him "that hath shewed no mercy;" which is but a reward according to works. And if the latter must be understood with a degree of limitation, the former must be equally limited.
I deny that Rev. xiv. 10, has any reference to a future state, which is evident from its connexion, as also in the
following verse. The particular circumstance of day and night," evidently confines it to time. For as in the New Heavens and New Earth, there will be no night, so in endless utter darkness we cannot imagine there would be day; but at the time of the fulfilment of that scripture there will be "day and night."
Having thus briefly noticed most of the passages you quoted to prove the certain reward of the wicked in hell, I pass to consider the following quotations from your letter. Of course, according to your method, no one of mankind will ever suffer the curse of the divine law." "But Christ delivers from the curse of the law; of course those whom he delivers do not suffer that curse.” Now, sir, admitting the above quotations correct, when compared with scripture, we shall find that it will not suffer the salvation of one person. "For," says the apostle, "we have before proved, both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin." "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God." If death be the curse of the law, as it appears cannot be denied, then this curse hath actually passed upon all men according to the scriptures. Of course every oue that is delivered from the curse of the law, is not delivered from suffering it at all, but is delivered from suffering it longer. He is not delivered from a threatened evil, that he never experienced; but from the continuance of an evil in which he is already involved. Hence we learn that a man may suffer the curse of the divine law, and yet be delivered from it; and that God can render to all the wicked according to their works, and yet save them by grace through Christ. But you say, when they have suffered according to their desert, they have a claim to mercy without Christ. Yes, if they have suffered to satisfy divine justice; but otherwise they have not. If they suffer, as believe, in receiving the wages of sin, as that which sin naturally requires, and not divine justice; they have no demands of life, neither are in a state approximating to life any more afterward than before. I believe divine justice requires the life and not the death of the sinner; his eter wal salvation, and not his damnation. This is contained