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The number of the loved we learn from Christ's words, John iii. 16. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Does not this text expressly say God loved the world? But you will say, unbelievers are excepted. No, sir, I think not. They are excepted from having eternal life, because it is impossible for them to have it in that state, but not from the love of God. It must be from the love of God that unbelievers become believers. "We love him," says the apostle, "because he first loved us." If he first loved us, he loved us when unbelievers; as Christ also died for the ungodly.
St. Paul adds, "But if ye be without chastisement whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and _not_sons." From this you remark, "Now, sir, I would ask, why this distinction 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?" Answer...I cannot discern any distinction. The apostle says, "all are partakers." He makes no distinction, nor finds any bastards. But on the supposition there were any without chastisement, they would be bastards, which supposition he takes away by saying, all are partakers of chastisement. But it has just entered my mind, that you would qualify the word all, and say it means all the saints and no others. But this requires proof to be admitted; which is to be learned from the context or other scripture. In the 14th verse we find the word all again, and the translators add the word wen, which appears reasonable. If the sense require the term saints anderstood to all in the 8th verse, it would likewise require the same in the 14th. Then the 14th would read, "Follow peace with all" saints; and the conclusion would be, You may quarrel with all others if you please.
When the prodigal son returned home, the father reseived him, contrary to the expectation of the elder brother. He was very angry and would not go in because his father did make a bastard of him. I hope, sir, you will not be so stubborn but what you will be willing to go in, should you learn that God admits all his family and bastardizes none. For my own part, I would not have Br. Laberee made a bastard, because he intimated that I am a
non compos mentis, or any other kind of abuse that he has practised; nor would I have him free from the chastisement that benefits the children of God.
You have quoted a number of texts which you call "Dreadful denunciations of woe against the enemies" of God. These you suppose describe the punishment of the wicked in hell; which on my plan is to you unintelligible. You never hesitate to apply any such passages as you have quoted to hell, though no such application is made by the inspired writers. I need only observe I believe they will be fulfilled.
You further write, "But again, The scriptures uniformly speak of God's peculiar distinguishing mercy to his saints; he keeps them as the apple of his eye; he is their God, and no good thing will he withhold from them: while he sends wrath upon his enemies. But on the supposition that future punishment is inflicted to make those who suffer it better, I cannot understand why God is not equally merciful to all." Very true, I understand it just as you dc; "God is equally merciful to all." I believe the Psalmist was of the same opinion. Ps. cxlv. 9. "The Lord is good to all; and his tender mercies are over all his works." But of God's peculiar distinguishing mercy of which the scriptures uniformly speak. See Rom. xi. 32. "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all." Here is nothing said about distinguishing mercy. Ephe. ii. 4. "But God who is rich in mercy, " &c. Here is an explanation of God's mercy, but peculiar and distinguishing is left out. James iii. 17. But the wisdom that is from above is...full of mercy...without partiality.' From this we learn there is a plenitude of mercy, contained in heavenly wisdom; but the apostle instead of writing peculiar and distinguishing, supplied the phrase, “without partiality."
I will now quote a few passages that speak of the grace of God. See Heb. ii. 9. "But we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God, should taste death for every man." Rom. v. 15. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more * Page 39.
the grace of God and the gift by grace hath abounded unto many." Titus ii. 11, according to the marginal reading, the original Greek, and Archbishop Newcome's translation. "The grace of God, that bringeth salvation to all men hath appeared." From what has been already cited from the scripture, your assertion that "they uniformly speak of › God's peculiar distinguishing mercy to his saints," appears plainly and peremptorily refuted.
But admitting your ideas of God's distinguishing mercy and his chastising the saints, as you term them, for their good, and dealing exactly different with the wicked, I desire to compare it with your sentiment, "that salvation is free for all the human family, whether Jew or Gentile; that an infinite atonement is made for the sins of the whole world." On your own system why was an infinito atonement made for the wicked when God had no mercy for them? The saints who have the advantages of a disposition, somewhat refiued by grace, he chastises for good when they err. But the wicked, destitute of this refinement, have no advantages from chastisement, nor the grace of God, but are punished for their sins with the heavy wrath of heaven to satisfy divine justice in making worse. What chance have they for their lives? What would become of the saints with all their advantages if God did not chastise them for their faults? Thousands of them must be lost. Then think of the wicked, never refined by grace, how can they choose life? And if it be possible, how can they walk in the way of life, when God will not help them? Tempted by Satan, shrouded in darkness, ignorant of the true God, how can they choose him? how can they persevere unto holiness? Still Deity punishes them for all their faults, but not for their good!!
I will now notice your definition of "cruelty." "Because if you suppose that milder means [than what God uses] would effect the object, you charge God with cruelty; charge him with inflicting unnecessary punishment without any good object." Now how does this definition agree with your sentiments of God's dealing with the wicked? His distinguishing mercy for the saints is not for them; his chastisements for the saints are not for them; he punishes them "without any good object," and mocks them with an
infinite atonement without helping them to receive it by his grace. But you reply, he renders to them their desert to satisfy divine justice. Yes, when Jesus Christ had satisfied it once, by an infinite atonement, and paid the debt, they have it to pay over again by suffering, when eternity is not long enough for them to do it. Is not this cruelty beyond degree? When they have suffered till arithmetical num. bers are exhausted, eternity is still before them, and justice is as much unsatisfied as before they entered eternity; then tell me of any object in their punishment but CRUELTY if it can be found.
I have now considered the most important arguments contained in your letter, and endeavoured to point out many of the contradictions they involved. Although you appeared very confident they were unanswerable, I think they presented no unanswerable difficulty to the belief of Universal Salvation from the scriptures. With what sentiments these letters will be received I am unable to determine; but should you think there are any quibbles, you will be at liberty to point them out. But in no respect censure without giving a reason. By carefully perusing these letters, you will be able to attain some just views of my sentiments, which before you have but partially understood. I have now one quotation more to notice, which on your account I was very sorry to find. It is the following: "As to your exposition of part of the 25th of Matt. I will just observe, that a greater disregard of plain scripture truth, and even a more studied contempt of common decency, I never saw manifested in any man. I speak soberly, when I say, had I seen that comment, and had not known from whom it came, I should have supposed either that the writer was not serious, and intended his piece as a burlesque on the language of the Saviour, or that he had not been gifted by his benevolent Creator with a common share of intellect." "Sir, I inform you I was very serious indeed in writing that comment, and did not intend it a burlesque on the language of the Saviour, nor an imposition upon you. Now; sir, you must soberly think that your opponent has not "a common share of intellect;" for who can see that your knowing that it came from Samuel C. Loveland can make any difference? Having your opinion
me, I also find what opinion you have of yourself. You call yourself "a common man;" and I believe it is allowable that "a common man" generally has common sense. Now I shall derive some peculiar advantages from this. According to your opinion, there is no room for me to fall, and you, though you have not the highest station, have considerable good sense that may be lost. Again, should you find that in the view of candid and serious men, you had not maintained the ground you have endeavoured to support, you must be extremely mortified to find that with common intellect, you were obliged to yield the argument to one that did not in your opinion possess that gift. Another thing; you have put me out of the pale of law, and must excuse me in saying what I please. Let me heap the the worst epithets on your character that language will admit, whether true or false, you have no room to blame me. You say my "comment is the most studied contempt of common decency you ever saw manifested in any man." Sir, retaliation is not commendable; but I will use my liberty in asking the following questions for your reflection and profit. Did you manifest a share of "common decency" in undertaking an argumentative correspondence on a subject of theology, and laugh at one plain statement, and ridicule another, as you did my second and fourth? Did you exhibit the dignity of "a common man," in saying you expected "something which at least bore the semblance of argument," when you had received a lengthy laboured letter in answer to one in which, you afterward acknowledged, you did not attempt to reason? How did you manifest "common decency" in agreeing to receive a pamphlet as a present, and when it was sent you, to return it, writing on it, "for what purpose you sent it to me I am unable to guess"? I ask one more question. Did you manifest the dignity of "a common man" in intimating you received “a challenge from me to write," when you made the proposal yourself; and attempt to father it on me by saying you borrowed it? You have condemned me as the worst charac ter you ever saw, without pointing out a single instance in hich I am guilty. And your caprice, not satisfied with this, must add a want of intellect. Sir, I wish you were clear; but reflect, I entreat you, on your past conduct, and