« 上一頁繼續 »
Provision is made in the economy of grace for. the salvation of all mankind, consequently, all who believe and cbey shall be eternally saved.
LETTER No. XV.
BALTIMORE, April 29, 1835.
To Rev. Joseph M'Kee:
Dear Sir-I did expect, as you were stating objections to, and examining the claims of Universalism, that you would consider the arguments by which it is supported. As yet you have not dared to approach these; and even the few which I have adduced, are passed in silence, or with the remark that they war with the threatnings, or that they are too trifling for a reply, or that they prove nothing; or else the whole is turned off by a round-about criticism, showing how many times a particular word is used, &c. all of which has little or nothing to do with the subject. Thus in your whole letter before me, you only attempt a reply to three of my proof texts. The rest are disposed of by mere assertions! Such is the case with 1 Cor. xv.; 1 Tim. i. 1-7. I have only therefore to consider Rom. viii. 19-22; Eph. i. 9; and Heb. ii. 10.
1. Rom viii. 19-22. As you admit that pasa ktisis, twice signifies the whole creation, out of the five times in which it is used, it is only requisite to observe, 1. That the apostle here uses it, to signify all who were made subject to, vanity. "For (ver. 20) the creature (ktisis) was
made subject to vanity." Now as all were thus made, he must have referred to the whole world. 2. The same number which were made subject to vanity, are to be delivered: "Because (ver. 21,) the creature (ktisis) itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, &c. 3. What he expresses in these verses, by ktisis, in verse 22 he expresses by pasa e ktisis, (whole creation.) The whole creation groaneth &c. Now as all were made subject to vanity, as all were subjected in hope, and as all groaned and travailed in pain, the apostle must have referred to all men. This is farther evident from the manner, in which he introduces the phrase, whole creation." Speaking to Christians,-christians who were converts from Judaism, he says, "I reckon that the sufferings of this present state are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature (klisis) waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." Now if by the creature (ktisis) he meant the Gentiles, how could their "earnest expectation," be proof of the future glory of Hebrew Christians? This inference of the apostle therefore, shows, that by creature, creation, whole creation, he meant mankind in their state of vanity. Their earnest expectation in this state, their being subjected in hope, and it being ordained, that they should be delivered from this bondage of corruption, served to strengthen the apostle's belief in the coming glory of christians; for he saw clearly through the Divine plan, and how all the evils they were suffering would terminate in good. Hence he says, not only they-the creation in its sinful
state-but we, believers, the first fruits of the spirit, even we groan within ourselves, though in a measure redeemed from the vanity and bondage in which we have been-being a part of this creation which was made subject to vanity, we also groan within ourselves. Thus do we see that Paul is speaking of all men, and teaching their final deliverance from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. This is the deliverance of the whole creation, (pasa ktisis.) Amen! Glory to God!
Your criticism on all things (panta) refutes your own doctrine, for in every case you have given, it means all of the thing spoken of. Thus they "told every thing that had been said," "gather out of his kingdom all things that offend," "come for all things are ready." Now according to your own criticism, the phrase means all of the things spoken of, and as in my proof texts, it is applied to men, it must mean all men. Therefore all men will be saved. You seem to have been aware of the bearing of your criticism, for you seek to evade it by saying, "those who fed swine did not tell the matter to every human being," when panta (all things) is applied to what was said, and not to whom it was said. Besides you do gross violence to your own explanation of the parable of the wheat and tares, for you say it is a representation of the final separation between the good and bad. Will not all that are bad be at the judgment cast out? I apply the text to the destruction of Jerusalem. Therefore instead of weakening, you have established my
arguments, and I almost suspect that such was your intention.
I admit that pollous rendered many in Heb. ii. 10. must be "interpreted according to the scope and general design of the passage where it occurs." This is the rule by which I was guided to the conclusion, that in Heb. ii. 10. it means all the world. Parkhurst says, this is its meaning here. The connexion proves that he is right. That it is sometimes used in a limited sense, none deny; and there is scarcely a word expressing number or duration but what is. Hence your criticism on pollous does not affect my argument,for you have not attempted to prove, that the scope of the subject limits it in Heb. ii. 10.
Having offered all that is requisite for a full reply to your letter, I will call your attention to some further proof in defence of Universalism.
1. God's promises. 'Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers **** For this is the
Covenant that I will make. * * * I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people; and they shall not teach every man his neighbour and every man his brother, saying, Know ye the Lord, for all shall know me from the least unto the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." Heb. viii. 8-12.
This being a promise of the New Covenant, I
give it as a specimen of what God has promised, and of the manner in which he has promised.1. he has promised that a knowledge of him shall be universal. This agrees with Isaiah's declaration, that the vail of ignorance shall be taken from all people. 2 He has promised that he will be merciful to the unrighteousness of those embraced in the New Covenant, (which is all,) and that he will remember their sins and iniquities no more. But you say, he will remember them endlessly. and punish their authors with vindictive vengeance!
To learn the manner in which God has promised these infinite blessings, we have only to observe the comparison made between the new and old covenant. The old was, if ye will do, I will do. But this proved faulty. The New is unlike this. That reads, I will write my laws in their heats; I will be to them a God; and they shall be to me a people, I will be merciful. * * I will remember their sins no more.
But according to Methodism, the promise of the new Covenant is like the old-altogether conditional; but if so, like the old it would be faulty, and we should have occasion for a third But the new is a more excellent ministry, founded upon better promises-as much better as the promise of God, is better than the pnomise of
2. God's Oath. God has not only promised the salvation of all, but he has confirmed his promise by an oath; and an oath, says Paul, for confirmation, is an end of all strife. Therefore if I can give the oath of God, it is enough. God said "by myself have I sworn * that thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemy,