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in my second statement which you only ridiculed; and undoubtedly it was the best way you could get over it, and maintain your popular notion, that divine justice requires the endless misery of the sinner. Therefore divine justice is satisfied in the salvation of sinners; and that retributive justice which sin requires, for it requires its wages, is fulfilled in death.

It will now be asked, how great a death sin deserves or requires? Answer...In proportion to the heinousness of the transgression. If it be asked how long it may continue? I answer, it is altogether indefinite, being never fixed by the word of God; but must, of unavoidable consequence, continue until destroyed; for the sinner is never able to do it away himself. God can, therefore, reward every sinner according to his work, and save him when he please; as the time of condemnation is not expressed nor understood.

If you say this explanation is adopted because a favourite scheme is in distress, pray sir, look at your own. You believe God has threatened endless punishment to all. . . . Some by the grace of God are delivered from threatened punishment, which makes out that God says, and does not. Others you say are rewarded according to their works; but how does this appear on your own plan? Can they ever receive the full extent of endless punishment? No; for if they did, there would be an end to it. Then God will be

endlessly rendering to them according to their works, but never does it; for the moment it can be said he has done it, it makes an end. Does divine justice require endless punishment? Then divine justice is not satisfied until it is inflicted; and if ever a period in eternity arrives, when divine justice is satisfied, then the punishment must end; but if the punishment be endless to satisfy divine justice, divine justice the darling attribute of God, will never be fully satisfied till endless punishment comes to an end! Now on your own ground, what difference does it make with divine justice, whether the sinner be punished, or not; for either will not satisfy it.

If you feel justified in saying, God will reward the wicked according to their works, believing their reward to be endless misery, when a period never arrives in which it is said to be fulfilled, cannot you easily discover how men

may be rewarded according to their works, and yet be sav ed, when no particular time is fixed or understood in their just desert? To this point, see Isa. xl. 2.

I have before hinted that a man's receiving according to wicked works, is no step towards salvation, neither is the curse of the law disciplinary punishment, nor is this punishment to satisfy divine justice. From this it is evident that when the sinner receives the wages of sin, according to his desert, he has no more demands for life and salvation than he had before. Therefore the doctrine of free grace and forgiveness of sin may be introduced with propriety. Sin is forgiven when it is destroyed and its consequences cease.

You have asked whether I "believe an infinite atonement necessary in order for God to be just in the pardon of sin." I answered in the negative. Perhaps you will think me a Deist, but I believe the scriptures, and am willing to abide their testimony. I will state that I do not believe any thing is necessary in order for God to be just in the pardon of sin. It ever was just for him to pardon sin, as just before Christ as after he came into the world; as just without Christ as with him. But as sin could not be pardoned without being done away, God has made his beloved Son the Saviour of the world; of course the atonement or reconciliation is an effectual mean of destroying sin, by which means it is pardoned. I do not believe the Deity ever made any law that ever put him under any disadvantageous restrictions, so but what it was as just for him to pardon at one time as another.

I have now gone through with what I proposed, except considering the sin and blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. This I shall omit for the present, and refer you to two discourses from my pen on the subject, already before the public, in which you will find my opinion.







Barnard, May 29, 1816)

I begin with the following quotation from your letter: "I had always supposed that the language of the Bible was intended to be understood by common people; and that it meant something different when what a common man like myself would suppose were the most dreadful threatenings, and curses, and woes, pronounced on wicked men, from what it did when it spoke of the chastisement of the child of God. Why, on your plan, are those who are sent to hell, said to be cursed; to be lost; to be cast off forever; to be reprobates; to have judgment without mercy?" This quotation carries the idea of a material distinction among men, and a very material difference in God's treatment with them. We are frequently told on scripture authority that God is no respecter of persons. How then can we account for this different treatment of which you talk? Will he not treat, not the wicked only, but all the human family according to their works? You ask, "why those sent to hell are said to be accursed" (having the doctrine of universal salvation in view.) I ask, why the whole human family are said to be cursed? When you answer my question and make out a partial salvation, I shall doubtless find ground to answer yours. The apostle says, "Christ hath redeemed us. from the curse of the law;" then those whom he redeemed were cursed by the law before their actual redemption, but not afterward. "Now we know that whatsoever things the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world become guilty before God." to be guilty? No one will deny this. ask, "why those sent to hell are said the apostle says it is the whole world?

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to do them.' Now, failed in one point to If all are saved, you Did you forget that lost?" Man may be

ture more; "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, written in the book of the law sir, you must find a man that has not find one that has not been cursed. ask, why some "are said to be lost?" Christ "come to save that which was lost at one time, and at another be saved. You further add, why are they said "to be cast off for ever?" I do not remember as the expression is in the Bible. I recollect one that says, "the Lord will not cast off for ever." Lam. iii. 31. Why they are called "reprobates?" Answer...The Bible

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does not call any reprobates that are sent to hell. It speaks of some reprobates in this world; "reprobates concerning the faith," and some others. Again, "why they have judg ment without mercy?" The answer is, because they "have showed no mercy. But why do you apply this to hell. St. James says nothing about hell in connexion with this text. If you admit hell to mean any place of affliction, your application of these texts would do; but otherwise, you have taken for granted what ought to have been proved.

I now pass to notice the following; "By a curse common men mean an absolute evil, and those who are cursed suffer real evil; but to put men under an administration of grace cannot be called an evil, it is certainly a great good, an unspeakable blessing, if no other means can bring them to endless felicity." From what has already been said, it is hoped by this time, you have a proper view of my ideas of the curse of the law, and the requisition of divine justice. The great commandment of the law is, "Thou thalt love the Lord thy God," &c. of course this the law requires... The law being a system of divine justice, divine justice would naturally require the same, according to my second statement. Every punishment, therefore, which divine justice approves or requires, I believe is for the emendation of the punished. I think all punishment, whether present or future is disciplinary. It is to confer some good to the punished, or to those with whom they are concerned. Any punishment different from this, I believe is not countenanced by the great Creator, nor any of his laws. From this, I except the curse of the "divine law," which cannot

properly be called punishment, any more than sin, but the natural and unavoidable consequence of sin; which will constitute it an evil according to the above quotation from your letter, and every punishment a final blessing. This I think, unravels and explains most of the difficulties and paradoxes, you supposed were contained in my former letters, when compared with the sacred scriptures. I shall now, undoubtedly, be understood when I state, God never saves any from punishment that justice requires, never saves from just punishment, but saves from sin and its wages. By taking away the curse, he destroys the contin uance of the effect.

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I will consider now your idea of chastisement contained in the following quotation: "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth; if ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons. For what son is be whom the father chasteneth not? Butif ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons. "Now, sir, I would ask, why this distinction in the language of the Bible between saints who are disciplined on the earth and the wicked who are sent to hell to be put there under a course of discipline? If their punishment is inflicted on them for their good, everlasting good, why are they not said to be blessed? Why are they not called sons and said to be loved of God? It appears to be the idea of the apostle that there were some who did not receive mere chastisement, whom he calls bastards: all who are sons partake of chastisement; the wicked in hell, if they are only chastised for their own good, are sons; and where to find the bastards is not for me to determine."

From this quotation it appears you reject the doctrine of Universal Salvation, because on this scheme, in all our heavenly Father's family, you can find no bastards! If you could, you think it would be quite an argument in my favour. O superstition, and prejudice for the endless misery of millions! what odious thing have you to except from the character of the Supreme Author of good? when will your slanders cease?

Will you again look at the text you quoted from Heb. ali. 6, &c. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.”


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