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WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA, to wit :
BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the thirtieth day of January, Anno Domini, 1834, OLIVER SPAFFORD, of the said District, hath deposited in this Office the title of a Book, the title of which is in the words following, to wit:
“A Defence, containing 1st. The author's renunciation of Universalism, explained and enlarged; 2d. The notices and aspersions of Universalist Editors, answered and repelled ; 3d. The fundamental arguments and principles of Universalists, examined and exploded, and 4th. Religion and revelation vindicated, against skepticisin and infidelity. By Lewis C. Todd. As we have received mercy we faint not, but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.”-II. Cor. iv.1-2.
The right whereof he claims as Proprietor, in conformity with an act of Congress, entitled "An act to amend the several acts respecting copy-rights."
E.J. ROBERTS, Clerk of the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Ai thirty, man suspects himself a fool,
Knows it at forty, and reformis bis plan."— Young. Good reader, in Chapter 1. of this book, you will find a “Renunciation of Universalism," made in the spring of 1833 ; with some notes now appended, in consequence of the attacks of universalists. Upon reflection and observation, I became convinced that there are some people so good that they need no penal restraints; but that there are many others so bad that nothing but fear of penal sufferings will restrain thenı; and indeed some too bad to be restrained by any thing. Such I learned to be the melancholy but true picture of human nature. And as such I becaine satisfied, that universalism possessed not enough of terrour to restrain the corrupt part of mankind from crime. True, the terrours of hell, or gehenna, have not restrained all the wicked; but they have co-operated much with human laws to secure the peace of society. With these views, I reviewed the question in the light of scripture; and became convinced, that universalism is not the doctrine of Christ and the apostles. Hence I conceived it my duty to renounce that doctrine. But having strong feelings of afsection toward many universalists, I concluded to do it in language of kindness. And as I was heartily tired of theological controversy, I tried to avoid any appearance of hostile intentions toward them; and admitted much in favour of their morality, while I said not a word or syllable, in the Renunciation, against the morality of any of them. Yet I suggested, that the doctrine did not operate as a restraint on the vicious so as to reform them. This I had fondly hoped would render any personal attack from them unnecessary. But very soon universalist papers began their attacks upon me and my motives, from the banks of the Mississippi to the coasts of Maine! But these men had always represented themselves, as distinguished from all other sects in the world, as a non-persecuting, charitable, benevolent, peaceable people ; of course they must have an excuse for disregarding the solemn truths of the Remunciation; and waging a personal war with its author.-They therefore accused me of persecuting them-of slandering them--of calling them all immoral, &c.! llad they attacked only the positions of the Renunciation, instead of me, this book would never liave been written. I intended to have nothing farther to do with universalism ; but found
not only editors, &c. but many unprincipled men offended with me! And all those who have personally abused me, and who seem to be so euraged at me for giving my honest opinion on a general subject, were persons of no moral character, except the editors and preachers. I do not recollect that I have been abused or blamed for my opinion, by a single man of moral habits, except these writers. This makes me think, that I am not so much to blame for thinking, as they suppose. I regret that men will fight for opinion. What are opinions? They have neither form, figure, visibility, solidity, colour, por gravity! Yet they have been the pretext for alienating friends, whelming nations in blood, and involving millions in ruin. Editors might have quarrelled about opinions till they were grey for all me; but their aspersions against me, I confess did not tend to convince me that universalism made men charitable; ihey were considered uncalled for, unjust, and cruel. And as far as I am acquainted, every honourable and candid universalist is of the same opinion. Being thus accused and condemned, I thouglie it proper to give my assailants å few gentle touches of the pen. If I have touched them harder in my personal defence against their personal attacks, in Chapter II. than was necessary, it was not intended. It is true, that I sometimes found it difficult, to restrain the pen in repelling their personal abuse; and I held it back with all my might, sometimes, lest it should scratch them too much. I disclaim all intention to injure them as men, or to impeach, in the least, their individual and private characters. For if I cannot sustain my own opinions without becoming the assassin of private character, I had rather they would go unsustained. I found it necessary to remark upon the conduct of many professors of the doctrine without particularizing individuals ; but they are in the midst of community; and those, who do not know that I speak trnth on the subject, are at liberty to think me inistaken.
Chapter III. contains a small part of my arguments against the doctrine. It is only a sketch of proof. Togo over the vhole ground of x ontroversy would require volumes. There are many imperfections in it of a literary kind; and many ideas are so briefly, or partially, or imperfectly expressed, thai my opponents may sily find meanings that I never intended. The work was not intended as a display of learning or talent. It is perfectly an extemporaneous composition. Commenced in October last, it was written in about three months; and mostly at leisure times, between circuit appointments. Indeed much of it was never read over until it was in type. But it is thought to be in
telligible and sufficient for honest inquirers. That it will either convince or confound such, as " convinced against their will, are of the same opinion still," I have not the vanity to suppose. I think it cannot be fairly controverted in its general and leading arguments.
Having succeeded in defending myself against the assaults of my old brethren in the ministry, whom I esteemed much, I now forgive their unjust aspersions; and feel perfectly friendly toward them all. If they now feel disposed to bury the tomahawk as respects individual crimination; and do the best they can with my arguments on general principles, I think there will be no occasion to reply. But if they say,
our voice is still for war," and " gird on the sword” of personal wrath, I shall be governed by circumstances. Though I stand alone, like David, surrounded with a host of Goliahs--10-I will not say what I shall do.
After all that had been said by men, who knew not, and could not judge my motives, I should not have attempted a defence, had not their aspersions been echoed over by the unprincipled part of society, who love mischief. Such a worthless and miserable brotherhood, (unfortunately for honourable universalists,) cling to their cause, echo their sayings, fight their battles, and blight their system with an incurable curse.
Such characters knew certain that I could make po defence; that I could not adduce a single passage of Scripture; and dare not contradict the sayings of their leaders, if they were ever so false, on account of their unbounded talent to make out what they wish right or wrong!
I never loved publick life. But friends urged, and I yielded. My object has always been to do good. Most of my publick labours have doubtless been useful; as they had no necessary connexion with the question, whether all will certainly be saved or not. And when I found by actual experiment, that universalism could not be successfully used to persuade people to be good, I thought it consistent to abandon it. I always professed to be fallible ; always said I did not know that all would be saved ; always said I would renounce the doctrine, sliould I ever be convinced it was errour. If my converts have followed my advice, and lead good lives, they will do well enough; if not, it is their own fault. Is it such an unheard of thing, that one should change his opinion on one point, that it must be wafted over half the world, and arouse the sleepless vengeance of all the professors of exclusive charity ? Must I be proclaimed over the globo as a liar, a hypocrite, an impostor, an atheist, &c. for changing my views on one question? Have not my persecutors changed their opinions of
me by their own confessions? Why may not my ower opinions change as well as theirs ?
My ideas in this book are original, as I have never read much against universalism. How far my views now accord with those of any body of people, I scarcely know, having never read their systems much; but I have given my own views ; and no body is responsible for the ideas but myself. On the other hand, I am responsible for no opinions but such as 1 voluntarily lay before the publick. Let no man accuse me of holding doctrines, or saying things that I have never written.
Clípter IV. was written and published by the author in the latter part of the “ Genius of Liberty." I have given it here, because many conceived it capable of doing much good, as it is a clear and brief vindication of revealed religion ; though about one-third of it as originally published, is now omitted for want of room, The Renunciation has already produced much effect in the region where it appeared. And this book will do much in improving universalists, while it will convince many that their doctrine is but a pleasing visiou, unsupported by reason and Scripture, and never to be realized. And when the author shall sleep, cold and unconscious in the silent grave, where the storms of sectarian inalice will fall in vain, he believes this book will be doing good--that it will be some instrumental in restraining the young, the giddy, and the passionate, from vice and ruin-will sometimes shake a criminal purpose---sometimes palsy the daring hand ere it strike a fatal blow; and blast the embryos of blood and horrour, ere they wring the soul with unavailing anguish.no Lord grant it.
Erie, Pa. Feb. 17, 1834.