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heart is contingent, depending on the condition of faith and the co-operation of the will of the creature. Though Christ died for all, it by no means follows that all will be saved eternally, for the disobedient and faithless shall be cast into the lake of fire; or in other words, be punished with endless misery.
Eph. i. 9, 10. "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself, that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one, all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are in earth, even in him." It is a universally admitted fact, both in church and state, that, that which proves too much proves nothing at all. And by this very rule the text in question can prove nothing in favour of Universalism. It is said that all things in heaven and earth shall be collected in one in Christ. Does this mean all men, angels, devils, beasts, birds, fishes, insects and reptiles in heaven and earth? Or does it mean only a part of all things? A part doubtless. But where are its limits? Does it include both men and devils? You deny the salvation of devils. I deny the salvation of all men. This text can be of no use to your cause till you prove that all things mean all mankind, and this you cannot do till the last trumpet shall sound. The true meaning of the text is this: God has determined to collect in one, in Christ, at the last day, all the parts of the general church, including angels and all the redeemed among Jews and Gentiles, in all the nations of the earth. From these remarks, it appears plainly, that if Universalism has got noth
ing but these four texts to support it, down it must fall to rise no more forever.
I shall now proceed to the consideration of some particulars in your eighth letter.
Your remark concerning Whitfield is too scurrilous to have any place in a religious discussion, or to merit any reply from me; therefore, I shall take no notice of it.
You say I was mistaken when I said Origen was the first Universalist. This is more than you have proved or can prove. I say again that Ŏrigen was the first Universalist, and I defy you to show that a single vestige of it existed before his day. Consequently, Universalism is a false doctrine, or Christ and his Apostles and all others who lived before Origen were ignorant of the true dectrine of the gospel. Take which side you please. But I shall adduce proofs of my assertions. In a note in the Encyclopædia, (Phil. Edit. vol. XIII. page 492) it is affirmed that"Origen is the first Christian, (whose notions on this subject have come down to us) who believed in the restoration of all things." The British Encyclopædia testifies the same fact. (Art. Origen.) The same sentiment concerning him is maintained by Dr. Maclaine, (See Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, vol. 1. page 168: Balt. 1832,) where his errors are summed up as follow: "The tenets of Origen," says the Dr. "which gave the greatest offence, were the following: 1 That, in the Trinity, the Father is greater than the Son, and the Son, than the Holy Ghost. 2. The pre-existence of souls, which Origen considered as sent into mortal bodies for the punishment of sins committed in a former state of being.
3. That the soul of Christ was united with the word before the incarnation. 4. That the sun, moon and stars, &c. were animated and endowed with rational souls. 5. That after the resurrection all bodies will be of a round figure. 6. That the torments of the damned will have an end; and that, as Christ had been crucified in this world to save mankind, he is to be crucified in the next to save the devils."
These sentiments, together with the circumstance of his excommunication, sufficiently warrant me in calling him a heretic; and also show evidently that he was the first Universalist.Mosheim says, "The greatest part of the Christian bishops approved the proceedings of the Alexandrian council" which excommunicated him from the Christian church.
You say the Basilidians, Carpocratians, and Valentinians held the sentiments of the Universslists before Origen. This I absolutely deny, and challenge you to produce proof. Mosheim represents Basilides, the founder of the Basilidians, as an extravagant fanatic, holding among other ridiculous absurdities, the foolish notion that there are 365 heavens, a heaven for each day in the year. Honourable authority indeed, for the doctrine of Universalism! The same historian observes concerning Carpocrates, founder of the Carpocratians, that, whatever may be said of Basilides, it is certain that he was far surpassed in impiety by Carpocrates, who was also of Alexandria, and who carried the Gnostic blasphemies to a more enormous degree of extravagance than they had ever been brought to by that sect."
(Ecclesiastical History, vol. 1. page 73. Balt. 1832.) The above cited author represents Valentine, founder of the sect which bears his name. as one of the wildest fanatics that ever embraced the Gnostic heresy; while his followers indulged in the most foolish and fanciful speculations, of which the human imagination is capable concerning the origin of the world, of created beings, and of our blessed Saviour. (Ibid.) So much for the honourable names that stand at the head of your system according to your own showing! I call upon you to prove that these fanatics held the sentiments of Universalism or else take back what you have said on the subject.
You say Universalism is advocated in the Sibyline Oracles, a work published about the year 150 to convert heathens to the gospel. Let us see what these Oracles are. Buck, in his Theo. Dict. says, "they are prophecies delivered, it is said, by certain women of antiquity, showing the fates and revolutions of kingdoms. We have a collection of them in eight books. Dr. Jorton observes, that they were composed at different times by different persons, first by Pagans, and then, perhaps, by Jews, and certainly by Christians. They abounded with phrases, words, facts, and passages, taken from the LXX., and the New Testament. They are, says the Dr. a miserable specimen of astonishing impudence and miserable poetry, and seem to have been, from first to last, and without any one exception, mere impostures.'
Such is the account we have of the Sibyline Oracles, and after all, no proof can be produced, either from them or from any other source, that any such doctrine as Universalism existed, in any
shape, before the days of Origen. If you cannot trace your doctrine to a higher and more respectable source it would be much better to give it up as the spurious offspring of the most contemptable parents, and take the unsophisticated word of God, in its common sense meaning, for your guide in search of religious truth.
You insinuate that I am ignorant of your order. Your order, if such it may be called, is such a heterogeneous mass, such a hodgepodge,such a b'abel of confusion, that no man in your own communion can fully understand it. Every man appears to have a system of his own, witness the great diversity of sentiment that exists among the oracles of Universalism. This is manifest by the violence with which you treated the sentiments of Dr. Chauncy, in the commencment of this controversy. Nor does it appear that any man among you holds the same sentiments one month together; a remarkable instance of this, may be seen in Abner Kneeland. Never did the moon pass through a greater number of changes than Universalism has assumed during the 65 years which have elapsed since the first heresiarch landed in this country.
Yours in the bonds of the gospel. JOSEPH M'KEE. P. S. Since writing the above, No. XVIII. of the "Pioneer" fell into my hands, in which I find a note from Mr. Whittemore, wherein he denies my statement of his creed respecting good and evil angels, and asks how I know he holds such sentiments. He shall have my authority in the most unreserved manner. It is the follow