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ages before and since the reformation. And sir, there is one lesson which I earnestly desire that you and all the partialists of this age may learn from those fathers, who were with you in sentiment. I refer to the fact, that in no instance, did they withdraw their fellowship from Universalists, or give the slightest intimation of unfriendly feeling towards them, until A. D. 390, and even long after this, many of the bishops, who openly avowed it, enjoyed the full communion and fellowship of the church. How does this shame the exclusiveness, the denunciations, and the charge of heresy which Universalists now encounter from their opposers! Alas! times have sadly changed! Even you sir, with all your pretended liberality, cannot write a letter without interlarding it with heresy, heretic, heresiarch, and without accusing me of deliberate falsehoods.
From the conclusion of your letter I judge, that you have nearly exhausted your stock of argument. With all the cant and farcical solemnity of a stupid fanatic, you assume the character of a whining exhorter, like a bigoted old lady, with whom I once conversed. After I had disposed of all the arguments which she could muster, she said, with a sigh, 'I do not wish to argue any longer, but I wish to exhort and warn you of your danger.' And so with you; after having every argument, which you can adduce, promptly answered, you turn to warning and exhorting!
Not only so, you bring in the childish argument of a double chance, as though God will damn Universalists for believing him infinitely
good, or as though a belief in endless wo is essential to salvation, or as though the tendency of cruelty is better than that of love. Had you been just, you would have credited your double chance argument to the builders of Babel, for they, fearing that God might lie, thought it best to be on the safe side, and have a tower on which to go up, in case the promise of God should fail. You, with other partialists, are endeavouring to erect a Babel, on which you can climb to heaven, but you have already been cursed with confusion of tongues; for you agree on no point except that Universalists are heretics, and will be damned. I am, &c.
OTIS A. SKInner.
LETTER No. XIV.
Baltimore, April. 10, 1835.
To Rev. Otis A. Skinner.
Dear Sir-I do not consider it necessary to bring forward any more of the hundreds of arguments which I have in store, to prove the eternity of future punishment, as the question is unanswerably settled in my last letter. However, it may not be amiss to notice some of your unfounded charges and evasions.
In your second letter you charge me with making imperfect quotations from Lexicons; but the matter swells as you get along; for, in your ninth letter you do not hesitate to say I perverted authorities, with allusion to the same thing. In the introduction to your letter, you use the words 'perversion,' 'perverted,' 'perverting,' eight times
in reference to the same thing,' instead of producing an instance of perversion. This line of conduct shows that your arguments consist in assertions rather than proof. You go on and say, "Let us consider the eleven texts where aion is not governed by eis." But what follows? Six texts only, out of eleven are touched at: the other five are passed in silence! You go on and say, "I deny that aion in the singular, when governed by eis is endless in the following texts." Then follow twenty-five references including three of the texts in dispute! One of these texts which you say is not endless is, 2 John 2. "For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us and shall be with us forever." Now it is manifest, that, if the truth shall not be with us to eternity, it will leave us, or we shall be separated from it; and this can take place in only one of two ways, (viz.) we shall be annihilated, or be abandoned to delusion and falsehood, either of which destroys the doctrine of Universalism. Who would have thought that Mr. Skinner denied the doctrine of Universalism. The same argument, precisely, can be drawn from 1 Pet. 1. 23, 25, for the same word aphthartos, which is applied to the resurrection body, 1 Cor. xv. 52, is applied to the word of God, so that if the word does not mean endless, when employed to express the duration of God's word, neither does it mean endless when applied to the bodies of the saints. The word aion in 1 John 11. 17, must mean endless duration; as it is set in contrast with this world. The latter is said to pass away, but the former abideth forever.
You say I perverted or garbled Dr. Maclaine's
note, taken from Mosheim. I do not know what you mean by perverting the views of an author. If you mean that I have given something not to be found in the author quoted, it is your business to detect the matter; but, this you have not done. If you mean by the word 'perversion' that I have not given all the author has said on the subject, then, I admit I have perverted every author I qnoted, and our blessed Saviour, and the writers of the New Testament did the same, for in quot ing from the Old Testament, they did not quote all that was written on the subject of discussion.
I did suspect some of your citations to be forgeries, nor has my suspicion been removed. I did not call on you for dates or editions of Lexicons as you have more than once pretended, but I called on you for the page and dates of other authors, which you cited to set aside the views of some of the most learned men. One of these There you say,
occurred in your second letter. "Rev. E. S. Goodwin say's, that Aristotle never uses aion as signifying eternity, but as denoting being, life, existence, with out denoting their duration." You have given me no reference in this case; therefore, I have nothing but your assertion. Whereas, Dr. Clarke affirms that Aristotle says aion does properly mean always being or eternity. Com. on Gen. XXI. 33. You have given names by the parcel, without any reference to their works; as, Homer, Hesiod, Eschylus, Pinder, Hippocrates, Whitby, Grotius, Macknight, Hammond, Pearce, Lightfoot, Cappe, &c. One instance of this in a controversy might be endured, but a continual course of this sort is intolerable; and certainly does not
merit the slightest attention. You insinuate that all the writers except Universalists belong to my church, and that you might as well quote Murray, Winchester, Ballou, Balfour, Rayner, Streeter and Whittemore, as that I should quote Henry, Clarke, &c. Now sir, the fact is, I never quoted any author belonging to the church that I am connected with, unless they and myself be considered as members of the general church of Christ. But this is not the case with you, for you had recourse to the works of Hosea Ballou, who is known to be the mouthpiece of the Universalists. Now, it must be obvious that you were hard pushed when you were driven to use the works of such men as Ballou and Balfour, and the editors of the Universalist Exposi tor. Besides, these men have led you into inextricable difficulties and errors. See, for instance, the unsupported assertion concerning Discourse on Hades, and the failure to prove that Universalism existed before the time of Origen. Your quoting the Ancient History of Universalism to prove that the doctrine in question had an existence before the days of Origen, is nothing but the assertion of one of the Universalists of the present day. I want historical evidence of these matters, and not the unsupported assertions of self-interested men, for this is of no higher authority than that of Mr. Skinner himself.
I perceive by your Thirteenth letter, that you have entirely failed in establishing your position respecting the dates of the Targums. You state "Kuinoel, I say. relies on Eichhorn as authority, and quotes the Targums as the work of the 3rd or 4th century." Now this quotation contains