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fore he took them out, the world included the whole.... From these passages I find the world means numerically every one in a defectible state, and indeed no others could be saved from it; of course they prove nothing against my ideas of the term world in John iii. 17.
After all it seems you have attempted to show what might be done without much reference to the subject of controversy. For you write, "But the universality of salvation was not the subject of discourse." You then say, "You will allow that our Saviour in the same discourse would be consistent with himself." Yes; but what hinders this universality? Answer. "He that believeth not is condemned already." Then it appears you understand condemnation to be a sentence to endless misery. If so, look at the number, expressed in Rom. v. 19; "By the of fence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation.' Is not Christ now consistent with himself, in a design to save the whole, as well as a part?
You understand the texts in John iii. 17, and 1 John, ii. 2, to convey the idea that Christ made an infinite atonement for the sins of the whole world; not, however, with a design to save the world. This 1 learn from your first letter. Now the question is, whether the world mean numerically every individual of the human family. Yout have undertaken to prove that it does not. On this ground, the following is the conclusion: Christ has made an infinite atonement for the whole world, which is not numerically the whole human family, and did not design to save the whole world; though the whole be but a part of the human family. This is reducing a part to a still smaller number.
Where you represent Christ as correcting Nichodemus, you write, "For God sent not his Son to condemu the world, but that salvation might be free to all the human family, whether Jew or Gentile," But where did you learn that salvation is free for all the human family? Did you gather it from the term world? This you have just been trying to limit to a part of the human family; and you had no other term or phrase in the text or context, from which you could draw such a conclusion. If you understand the term world, in John iii. 17, to mean all the human family
why did you try to limit it to a part? It makes your work all confusion.
In the beginning of your letter, for an apology for past neglect, you write; "To attempt to reason with a man, who assumes the sole point about which we contend, appears to me perfectly idle." You tell me towards the close of your letter, you "will try," and when you come to introduce what has now been under consideration, you say; "I will endeavour to show you [by argument no doubt] that those texts of scripture do by no means lend you the support which you suppose." Now I find you engaged in attempting what in the beginning of the same letter you informed me appeared to you perfectly idle. And I submit it to the judgment of the candid, whether your success is not equal to what might be reasonably expected, even of a common man like yourself, when he undertakes to perform what appears to him perfectly idle.
SAMUEL C. LOVELAND.
Rev. JOSEPH LABERFE.
TO REV. JOSEph Lazerez.
Barnard, May 27, 1816,
You seem to express a doubt, whether you will be able to convince me that you make any attempts at reasouing, but say, "I will try." Sir, I hope I never shall be so ungrateful as to deny my opponent the just merit of his labours. To meet him on the ground of reason and scripture, was what I at first desired, and am now happy in being gratified. Should you now lose the object of your arguments, I hope you would not say, it was for want of exertion on your part; or, should you gain it, that you attained it without labour. I acknowledge you have argued, but do not acknowledge your reasoning altogether conclusive, and in many instances I think you have mistaken in your premises.
The inference that you draw from my saying, that "I did not believe an infinite atonement necessary in order for God to be just in the pardon of sin," I think, wants.propriety. If it be my belief that the Son of God is not the eternal infinite God, still I think you have no right to declare it from any thing that I have written to you. You say, "that in order to support" my "favourite system," I "find it necessary." How so? If it require an infinite atonement made by an infinite God to save a part of the human family, is it necessary to have a finite atonement by a finite person to save the whole? Does it cost so much less to save all mankind than it does to save a part? If this be the case, and it be the will of God, who could complain if he adopted the cheapest and most salutary method?
What right had you to say, I "robbed the Son of God of his Divinity," from my not admitting an infinite atonement Cannot an infinite being necessary in the pardon of sin? Cannot he make thing do a finite work if he please?
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 condemnation 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 fol lows 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. God will no more rescind from his threatenings, than he will fail to fulfil his promises. He will reward every one of the human