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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 refined 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 *hem “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 cruelly 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 ef
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 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 character you ever saw, without pointing out a single instance in
hich I am guiky. 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
see, if, in judging another, you have not condemned yourself. See if yours is not the language of the ancient Pharisees and scribes, "This man blasphemeth;" and of the Greeks to whom the preaching of the cross was foolishness. Consider whether you have not returned railing for plain sentimental language, and contempt because it did not altogether agree with the popular notions that you have learned in modern schools of divinity. This is plain talk, and if I did not think you needed it I would spare it. I pray the Father of infinite goodness to bless it to your instruction, that you may see how you have been fighting against him, and how you have vilified his character by rep resenting him as bastardizing a large portion of his family; I say his family, for the whole human family is his; that you may see that you have represented him the author of infinite cruelty, and unspeakable partiality in the gift of his grace; and that you may see the impropriety of your boasting in the Bible a the foundation of your sentiments, which evidently speaks a language against you. You have the popular opinion on your side, without a doubt; so had the Scribes and Pharisees of our Saviour's day. It is proper evidence only that can support any system of faith; by this let every popular opinion be tried, and the doctrine of Jesus maintained, who is the Saviour of all men, and especially of those that believe.
I remain, sir, your friend for the gospel's sake,
Rev. JOSEPH LABEREE.