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quarter, requiring us to admit new and strange principles of interpretation. It every where assumes that it is enough to show that a word or phraze may have in some connexions the desired meaning, in order to prove that it has it in the case considered. It cuts short the labor of applying acknowledged principles of interpretation, and from them determining what the writer means, but searches out instances without regard to connexion, where the word is used in the desired sense. For instance-it wants to prove that everlasting punishment is a something limited to this life, and it overlooks the multitudes of cases where the word everlasting is used in the literal obvious sense, and finds a few cases where it is used in a metaphorical and limited sense, and thence jumps to the conclusion that everlasting punishment means a temporal punishment. So when it is attempted to show that paradise means the grave, and not a place of happiness for departed spirits, it is not even pretended that the word is used in any author, sacred or profane, in that sense, but that there is a word in some of the Shemitish languages, enough like it to be its root. And that this word means "to separate," and that therefore the word means an enclosure, and therefore the grave. And whenever it happens that even such a method is impracticable-and one would think the cases might be rare-then without any exposition of roots, or any instances of a like meaning-we have Mr. B.'s assertion, that the word means so and so. See his comments on John 12: 48, the word translated judge. When the whole of Mr. B.'s leading principle of interpretation seems to be, that if by any process of torturing plain language, the desired meaning can be extracted from it, it is lawful and safe to do it. But if the laws of the commonwealth were interpreted after this manner, they could not be put in force. If the blackest offender were allowed to use the same quibbles in his defence, he could easily enough show that there is no law against him. We are required then to believe that the enactments of heaven are to be subjected to principles of interpretation, that would reduce to wreck and nonsense the plainest laws of the land,
Again, the true Balfourean must believe, that any quotations brought from the writings of any believer in future punishment to sustain any of the parts of Mr. B.'s system, are good and sufficient reasons for believing in the soundness of those parts. If among all that has been said by such a diffuse and fanciful writer as Adam Clark, or among all the wild assertions of Parkhurst, a name of no authority, an interpretation of a passage can be found that favors his scheme, it is the practice of Mr. B. to bring it forward, as if we were bound to receive it as inspired because it came from a believer in future punishment. No small part of Mr. B.'s books consist of quotations real and perverted, from the writings of believers in future punishment, with a design to make out that we must believe this and that, because such a man has said this and that. Mr. W. has made still more reliance on this kind of proof. And recently I have seen a notice in his paper, commending a forth coming work, which consisted entirely of compilations of such a sort, from such a class of works. So that we are to understand that this is a favorite method of proof with them. So then I am called upon to believe that as soon as all the parts of Mr. B.'s system can be made out from collections of all the foolish and erroneous interpretations, yea, from the scrapings of the nails of the thousands of orthodox writers, I am bound to receive them as the revelation from God. How would Universalism be able to stand before such methods of argumentation? Suppose every opinion that was ever uttered by a man bearing the name of Universalist adverse to the views of Mr. B. were brought forward as good and sufficient reasons for disbelieving his system, how much of that system would be left? And yet Mr. B. supposes that what the learned Adam Clark has said in his wildest moods, no believer in future punishment is at liberty to gainsay. The admission of such a principle is not the least of the exorbitant requirements of the system before us.
Again, before I can subscribe to the assertions and comments of this author, I must discredit the testimony of my own eyes, with regard to authorities on many essential points. I
must for instance believe that it is "universally allowed,” that the new heavens and the new earth, spoken of 2 Peter 3: 13, refer to the kingdom of Christ, in this world, and not any thing after death, when every author that I read on the subject, such as Scott, Dwight, Chalmers, Rosenmeüller, Storr and Fuller, refer the passage to the new heavens and the new earth, which are to emerge from the ashes of the present system. So of the passages in the Apocalypse, that speak of the wicked being tormented forever and ever, I must believe that "no well informed man urges them as proof of eternal punishment,” when I find writers as well informed as Edwards, Saurin, Scott, Dwight, Rosenmüller and Stuart, involved in the alleged absurdity. I must furthermore believe that Mr. B. has examined in a given essay, all the passages which are supposed to teach a retribution after death, when he has passed in silence the very passage whose language is of all the most full and unequivocal, i. e. "I saw the dead small and great stand before God,&c." I must believe that the word daimon which occurs in scores of passages, "is well known to have no reference to that being which christians call the devil," and that all these passages are so irrelevant to the question of the existence of the devil, that they need no consideration by him who labors at disproof, though many of them are much relied on for proof. I must also believe that when he offers to bring under examination all the passages which are supposed to teach the separate conscious existence of the soul after death, and then leaves two of the most material passages out of his discussion of that subject, and then introduces them in another place incidentally but briefly, noticing their bearing on the first question just to save appearances,—I must believe that such a method of breaking the force of scripture testimony, comports with fair and ingenuous reasoning, and with a proper treatment of the word of God.
This list of indigestible matter, might be much more extended, but this will serve as a specimen. The faith that can receive all this has digestive organs more powerful, than those of the ostrich. The rational mind that can call these things
reasonable, when distinctly set before it, or that can read with approbation works in which such things appear, and not discover any thing out of the way, must be subject to an alarming obliquity of moral vision. The fact that these books are read as oracles by men of some intelligence, goes to prove what a wreck can be made of the mind, of the habits of moral perception, and of the moral sentiments, by pursuing the dangerous enterprise of wresting the Scriptures into coincidence with depraved desire.
MISCELLANEOUS PROOFS OF FUTURE PUNISHMENT.
I PROPOSE in this chapter to adduce some disconnected and independent considerations, in proof of the punishment of the wicked, in the future world, such as it was not in my way especially to notice in any of the preceding chapters.
Conduct has, in many respects, a language more intelligible and impressive than words, written or spoken. And the conduct of such a man as Paul, is capable of throwing much light on this subject. It is a proper subject of enquiry, whether the conduct of Paul harmonizes with the notion that universal salvation was the gospel which he spent his life in promulgating. And fortunately we have not only the history of Paul's conduct in the ministry, but the express reasons assigned for that conduct in various particulars. So that both his conduct and the reasons therefor assigned by himself, mutually confirm the testimony of each other, as to the real sentiments of his heart. In one instance he gives us a reason for his conduct in this shape-Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord we persuade men, 2 Cor. 5: 11. Here we learn that the apprehension he had of the terror of the Lord, was the cause which impelled him to such efforts as he made in persuading men. Now let us look at this matter a moment.-Here was one of the most valuable of lives, with great exclusiveness of purpose, and with strenuousness unexampled, devoted to the business of persuading men. Prospects of worldly distinction had been relinquished, mental endowments and advantages of rank and influence, second to those of few, were counted as dross and as dung—the favor of the great ones of the world, was exchanged for their frowns,-poverty, perils, persecutions and toils unceasing, were encountered in the business of persuad