« 上一頁繼續 »
seph M'Kee,puts to flight the whole army of German critics! Keeping in rememberance your quotation from Maclaine, I call for the language of Kuinoel, sustaining what you have said res pecting my misrepresenting his views. Charges of this nature,must be proved. But if I had even mistaken Kuinoel's opinion, it would not materially affect the argument; neither would it justify your ungenerous inference, that all my quotations from German critics are false! Sooner than be tied to a cause, which requires such low and despicable means for support, I would scornfully throw it to the moles and bats. Kuinoel's assertion that the Targums contain the notions which the Jews always believed, is refuted by the facts of my last. Your dragging in his opinion about Gehenna and apokteino only shows, that you are determined to prop up by great names, what you cannot support by argument.
You have quite a summary way of settling my positive proofs of Universalism; but Sir, as others may not admit that you have proved all you assert, I am induced to offer a few more arguments on this subject.
1. The scriptures assert that God is infinitely good. David says, "God is good unto all, and his tender mercies are over all the works of his hands." AnApostle says, "God is love." Now you admit, that it is the disposition of goodness to communicate happiness as we read "love worketh no ill--herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son; &c. God so loved the world, that he sent his Son," &c. In the infinity and nature of goodness then, we find an unanswerable argument against Cal
vinism, for if God be alike good to all, and goodness works no ill, he certainly could decree no man to endless suffering, for this would be an infinite evil. But is this any more certain, than that infinite goodness would provide means which would be effectual in saving all men? The goodness of God, must not only be impartial, but infinite in degree; and if it be infinite in this sense, it will as assuredly provide effectual means for the salvation of all, as it would be ímpartial in its plans.
You say, a decree of reprobation, would prove God wanting in goodness; but would it any more, than not providing effectual means for the salvation of all? Surely not; for what a being desires, he always seeks to accomplish, and his efforts to accomplish it, are always in proportion to the strength of his desire. Therefore as God has an infinite desire to save all, his plans will correspond with this. Hence the common Methodist sentiment, that God gave man an agency, which he knew would prove his endless ruin, is as directly at war with goodness, as the old Calvinistic notion of reprobation; because it would be a voluntary act against the eternal interest of man ; and thus prove, that God did not desire the happiness of all. The same may be said of the Methodist scheme of salvation; it does not correspond with God's infinite desire to save all; it is wanting in that efficiency which characterises the plans of an Almighty Being.
This reasoning is fully sustained by Scripture. Paul, speaking of his conversion says: "Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God, given unto me by the effectual
working of his power." Had this grace been wanting in power, the purpose of God might never have been accomplished. Grace therefore, is not only impartial, but it is armed with a power equal to its benevolent designs.
2. Let us consider this subject in connexion with the goodness, wisdom, and power of God. Having proved his goodness, we need only say, His understanding is infinite; all things are naked and open before him,' "Known unto God are all his works, from the beginning of the world:" "To Abraham he saith, I am the Almighty God." As our limits forbid numerous quotations, we wil confine our remarks to Isai. xxv. 6, 7, 8, in connexion with these three attributes of God. The prophet says: "In this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees; of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined." Respecting the number for which this feast is prepared, there can be no doubt it is for all people. Nothing less could be expected from infinite goodness. Calvinism, in the light of this, must hide its head in shame and confusion. But does not this text as fully teach, that all will partake of the feast, as it does, that it was prepared for all? The prophet continues: "And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth; for the Lord hath spoken it."Now how can these words be true, without all
being brought to a participation of grace? The vail of ignorance is to be taken away, death destroyed, and tears wiped from all faces. This is what we should expect from infinite wisdom and power, for if God be infinitely wise, he would form a perfect plan to accomplish his desires, and if he be infinitely powerfu!, he will that carry plan into complete execution. Therefore, if you deny Universalism, you must either say, God can save all but will not, or would but cannot, or can and will. If you say the first, you deny his goodness, the second, you deny his wisdom or power; but if the third, you make him a perfect Being, worthy the unreserved confidence and unmingled praise of a world.
This reasoning fully justifies the expressive figures used by the prophet—a feast of fat things for all people-swallow up death in victory— wipe away tears from all faces! How full of meaning! It has been said, that the imagination of the poet, never conceived a more beautiful figure, than the dove returning to Ararat with the olive-brach, over the still, solitary, measureless, waters, gazing down upon her own shadow, and listening to the music caused by her own wing. But if this exceeds in beauty the figures of the prophet, those exceed this in interest and importance; for while one teaches that the wide waste of water was retiring from the earth, the others teach that the floods of sorrow shall retire from the world, sin and death be destroyed, and all men sit down in the city of the living God, to feast forever on the riches of immortal grace. OTIS A. SKINNER.
I am, &c
LETTER No. XV.
BALTIMORE, April 26, 1835.
To Rev. Otis A. Skinner
Dear Sir, I shall in the course of this letter, confine myself to an examination of your positive proofs of the truth of Universalism, not because they contain any thing of a subtantial nature, but because the superficial reader might think them unreasonable if I were to pass them unnoticed.
What you have said, in Letter eleven, to vindicate your exposition of the phrase "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive," is so trifling that I consider it a surrendering of the argument drawn from that source. The most careless reader must see,that Paul was speaking of the temporal death of mankind in consequence of the fall of Adam and their resurrection at the last day in consequence of the atonement of Christ, and not concerning either happiness or misery in a future state.
You endeavour to draw an argument from Rom. viii. 19-22. in favor of the final happiness of all mankind, and say, "Here the word rendered creature and creation is the same (ktisis) and consequently all, (that is the whole creation) who are subject to vanity, are finally to be delivered into the glorious liberty of the children of God." As this is the principal text, among all which you have quoted to prove the final restoration of all men, that carries with it the appearance of argument, I shall give it la mature consideration. It appears that the chief