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vice, and the virtuous only be raised from the dead. Although so much light had burst into my mind, by tracing the divine perfections of the Supreme Being, 1 had only studied the negative side of the question, without ever once taking a view of the affirmative, to see what system would result from a combination of infinite wisdom, almighty power, and supreme goodness. The light had so far shone on my path, it was impossible for me to remain a negative believer only. After I had fully satisfied my mind on the negative side of the ques. tion, I examined my Bible, with a view of determining what were the purposes of infinite wisdom in the creation of the human family. I clearly saw, that if I was governed in my researches on this side of the question, by the same rules of reasoning which had first broke the charm of superstition, I should land in the doctrine of universal salvation; but not that universalism which conducts us through a purgatory to a paradise. I had already disposed of the doctrine of future punishment by examining the negative side of the question, and had so clearly discovered its absurdity and extreme re. pugnancy to all the divine perfections in deity, if I had found it to be a bible doctrine, it would only have made me a confirmed deist.
This new view of universalism, as I then thought it to be, (for I did not know at that time that there ever was a universalist under the sun but what admitted a state of future punishment,) was so essentially different from any thing I had ever heard or thought of before, although I clearly saw it would unavoidably flow from the premises I had laid down, and by which I intended to be governed in all my researches, I received it with the utmost caution. I first examined the scriptures as a general system, to see what was the general doctrine of salvation, as taught in the Bible. I then discovered, for the first time, that by far the greatest part of the Bible formed a perfect neutrality on the question; the body of the book being simply historical, while a considerable portion was written either enigmatically, allegorically, poetically, preceptively, or epistolatory-the book itself not being a system of any doctrine. Hence I discovered, that to collect the system of salvation out of the Bible,was like collecting jewels from a heap of rubbish. But after I had gone through the Bible, and carefully examined every passage of the book where I found the doctrine of salvation by Jesus Christ, either expressed or implied, it was always spoken of in general
terms, as embracing the whole human family: Christ was said to be the Saviour of all men, the propitiation for the sins of the whole world that he by the grace of God gave
himself a ransom for all, and tasted death for every man--that there was to be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust, and that all were to be made alive in Christ. I found it nowhere said affirmatively, that he was the Saviour of some men only, or negatively, that he was not the Saviour of all men.
Thus I discovered universal salvation was fairly taught in the Bible. But one difficulty remained: there were many passages urged on me as proof of future and endless punishment, which I could not explain; although I did not see any evidence in them in favour of the doctrine in question, I could not tell what they did mean. I now determined to become acquainted with Biblical criticism, as far as my liniited education would admit. I purchased as many of the most celebrated authors on that subject as my means would justify.--Having a large family to maintain by the labour of my hands, I resolved to double my diligence, and devote one half of my time to the study of the Bible. My authors being of the orthodox cast, I found it necessary to read them with the most profound reflection, compare them with the Bible, with each other, and with my own views of propriety. In reading Mr. Wesley, I found the following rules recommended in the study of the Bible; namely, that detached passages ought not to be taken in thạt sense they might even seem to require abstractly considered, but ought to be explained, 1st, According to the connexion in which they stand, and the tenor of scripture doctrine. 2d. Having a due regard to the character and perfections of God; and 3d, Abide by the rules of reason and
This advice of Mr. Wesley appeared to me 80 reasonable, I resolved to make it my rule, square, and compass, and even a pruning knife to lop off, if I should find it ne cessary. However, my authors gaye such satisfactory expla. nations of hard words and difficult phraseș, as to give me but little use for Mr. Wesley's advice as a pruning knife, but in other respects it was of the utmost service,
My orthodox critics, instead of shaking my faith in universalism, as some supposed they would do, established me more fully than I was before I read them. I discovered that some passages in the book, which involved difficulty, were admitted to be interpolations, others falsely or badly translated.
while the original words rendered hell, damnation, everlasting, &c. were all explained in a way which rendered them perfectly consistent with universalism, the character and perfections of God, and the rules of reason and common sense. I now found the whole of my difficulties removed.
After having formed a considerable acquaintance with orthodox criticism, I, for the first time, got hold of soine universalist authors. I was much pleased and entertained to find, that in order to prove their doctrine, they pursued, as a matter of choice, the same path that orthodox writers are compelled to tread when they write as critics: this fact spake a volume on the subject.
From my own experience, attentive research, and close observations on men and moral principles, I became fully satisfied that the doctrine of future and endless punishment was not only false, and degrading to the character and perfections of God, but that it was both corrupt in its character and influence on the morals of society. I therefore considered it a duty I owed to my God, my conscience, and my fellow beings, to oppose it with all my abilities.
Having some business at Indianapolis last winter, during the session of the legislature, by request I delivered lectures in the representative hall. At the close of my last lecture, the “rev.” Edwin Ray, of that place, arose and informed the audience, that he should reply to the arguments advanced, at some time, but did not say when. I insisted, if the Rev. gentleman intended a reply, the proper tine was while I was there to speak for myself, and not to take up my arguments in my absence. Several gentlemen present insisted on Mr. Ray to reply, at that time, and not in my absence: it was proposed by some gentleman that the house should come to order and attend to Mr. Ray's reply: but all would not do.Mr Ray said he was not prepared for a reply at that time. I could but remark that I thought it strange indeed, that the brother had been preaching his endless hell so long, and yet not prepared to prove it true,
R+ther than Mr. Ray should reply to my remarks in my absence, I agreed to meet him at any time. Next morning Mr. Ray was introduced to me at my boarding house, and the following rules of debate were agreed on and subscribed to:
RULES By which a Debate between Jonathan Kidwell and E. Ray is
to be conducted. 1st. The debate shall take place on Thursday, 21st January, 1830, in the town of Indianapolis.
2d. The subject to be discussed shall consist of two general features :- 1. Is there any future punishment to be realized by any of the human family after death? 2. Will all men ultimately be saved, and brought to the enjoyment of heaven?
3. The affirmative of the first question is taken by E. Ray, and the affirmative of the second by J. Kidwell.
4th. Each disputant shall speak, not to exceed half an hour in succession.
5th. All ungentlemanly and unchristian personal allusions shall be avoided.
6th. Each disputant shall select one, and the two thus selected shall choose a third, who shall preside during the debate, and determine on all points of order.
7th. Only one passage of scripture shall be quoted or explained at a time by the disputant.
8th. No appeal to the prejudices of the people shall be made at the close of the debate.
EDWIN RAY. P. S. The Hon. Isaac Blackford is selected by E. Ray, and the Hon. James Gregory by J. Kidwell to preside as moderutors in the debate.
When I returned to Indianapolis, on the morning of the 21st of January last, I was informed by a Mr. Vanhouten, that Mr. Ray would not abide by that article in the rules of de bate which provided that but one passage of scripture should be examined at a time. I was also informed there was strong combination of the clergy against me, and that Mr. Ray was advised not to confine himself to the article above named.
Several gentlemen requested that arrangements should be made to take the arguments in short hand, and have them published Inentioned it to Mr. Ray, but he would not consent to the measure. I plainly saw, through the whole of the debate, that the information I had received from Mr. VanQouten was correct, and that it was the object of the opposite
party to evade as much as possible, and make a blast after the debate; and if possible form a reaction on what they considered the probable influence the debate might have in that place. On the discovery of this movement of the enemy,
I resolved on publishing the arguments used in the debate, and after the investigation, called on Mr. Ray, in company with Judge Smith, informed Mr Ray of my intention, and requested a copy of his arguments for that purpose. Mr. Ray refused me the use of his manuscripts, as will be seen by Judge Smith's certificate.
Indianapolis, Jan. 26, 1830. This day J. Kidwell called on the Rev. E. Ray, in my presence, and informed the said Ray, that he, the said Kidwell, was about to publish a series of strictures on the investigation which took place between him and the said E. Ray on the 21st inst. in this place; and that if the said E. Ray would furnish him with a copy of the arguments and manuscript used by him,the said E. Ray, in said investigation, that he, the said J. Kidwell, would publish them at his own expense. I proposed to the parties to publish the work in conjunction, and go equal in the expense and profit: to which said Kidwell acceded, but said Ray refused to have any thing to do with the expense of the publication, and observed that his friends had spoken to him about the publication of his arguments,but that he,the said Ray, was not willing they should be published at his own expense, nor was he yet willing to furnish a copy, and let said Kidwell publish them,lest his arguments should be misrepresented.
J. Kidwell then informed the Rev. Mr. Ray that he had called on him from motives of friendship, and requested a copy of his arguments to enable him to do that ample justice to Mr. Ray's side of the question which he, the said Kidwell, could not do without a correct copy, as he, the said Kidwell, had only taken brief notes of the arguments advanced in the investigation, by the said Ray: and that if the said Ray would furnish a copy of his arguments, revised and corrected, to the full satisfaction of the said E. Ray, if the said J. Kidwell did not publish his arguments correctly, the misrepresentation would easily be detected. And the said J. Kidwell further proposed, that if the said E. Ray would consent to the proposition, he should be furnished with a copy of the manuscript before the work went to press, and have the liberty to correct any misrepresentations that inadvertently might