« 上一頁繼續 »
The modern system, taught by universalian doctors of divinity, differs very materially from former views on that subject. Winchester and others who formerly advocated the doctrine that all men would be finally saved, whether they submitted to the requisitions of the gospel in this life or not, believed in future punishment, though they did not believe in endless punishment. They supposed that the wicked would go to hell and suffer the just demerit of their sins, until their sufferings should bring them to repentance. Modern universalists have relinquished this view, from a conviction, we presume, that the same scriptures which support the doctrine of future punishment prove that punishment to be endless. Hence they have taken their stand upon the ground that all the punishment inflicted on sinners is inflicted in this life, and that there is no punishment in a future state.
This system involves so many difficulties that its abettors have traversed every point of the compass to steer clear of them, and in so doing have run foul of many truths in the bible, and advocated many of the errors that have been broached since the days of the apostles, including that of the old Sadducees in denying the existence of fallen angels and disembodied spirits, in addition to which they have fabricated some new absurdities.
I am aware that the above is a sweeping charge against the universalists; but I purpose showing that it is amply sustained by their standard writings. This I will do by giving quotations as I proceed.
The first truth that their system calls in question is that of man being made in the image of God.
Mr. Balfour, in his Essay on the Intermediate State of tho Dead, page 97, says, “When it is said God created man in his own image, it will not be contended that this referred either to his immateriality or immortality.” This, in connexion with his denial that man has any soul, except his animal life or breath, at once sets aside the scriptural doctrine that man was created in the image of God; for, if man has no soul, no immaterial. part, no spirit, to be formed in the image of God, it undeniably follows, that this grand truth is set aside—for no man in his benses would suppose that man's body was made in God's image.
In the second place, the editors of the New York Christian Messenger and Philadelphia Universalist have published to the world, that our first parents were not constitutionally holy when they were created; for had they been they never would have yielded to the temptation. See Vol. 4, No. 23, Article Original Creation of Man.
What is the plain inference to be drawn from the above? Is it not that the Almighty is not a holy being? If he is, then he did not make man in his own image. Thus, you see, universalism denies the scripture doctrine, that man was made in the image of his Maker.
In the third place: universalists have adopted the ancient error of the old gnosticks, who believed in a two-principled deity, who was the author of both good and evil. This two-principled deity of the universalists has two wills--one that wills all the good that comes to pass, the other wills all the evil: and these two principles harmoniously agree to act in direct opposition to each other! When one revealed it to Adam that he should refrain from eating the forbidden fruit, the other secretly overruled matters, and caused our first parents to transgress. When God said, agreeably to one of those wills, “ Thou shalt not kill,” the other secretly overruled it, so that Cain killed his brother Abel.
That this is the principle of procedure of the two-principled deity of universalism I refer you to the 3d column, 4th para
graph of the aforesaid essay: viz. “ All will admit that it was in the power of God to have prevented sin, if he had chosen so to do: but he did not prevent it: therefore, it was his will it should be. If any thing is done against the will of God, what providence or omnipotence does it leave him?" Thus you see universalism accommodates both saint and sin
If one does right he fulfils the revealed will of God; if the other does wrong, he fulfils the secret will; for, "if any thing," good or bad, “is done against the will of God, what providence or omnipotence does it leave him?" Now, is it not plain that those two wills must spring from two opposite principles in deity that have no more natural connexion than light and darkness; or, to speak without metaphor, than heaven and hell?
This fact, should the universalists be right, is established by the reasoning of the apostle James, 3d chapter, 11th and 12th
“ Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olive-berries; either a vine figs? So can no fountain yield both salt water and fresh.” No wonder universalists have denied the existence of a personal devil, since they have fathered all the execrable work in creation on this two-principled deity.
In the fourth place: universalists set aside the doctrine of man's free agency. Some of them, it is true, admit that man is a free agent, so far as respects his submission to the requisitions of the gospel, in this life; but they all deny that eternal life is suspended upon any thing man can do in the present life.
From every thing that can be gathered from their standard writers it appears that they refer the whole of the gospel threats and promises to the final overthrow of the Jewish nation and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans: at least they refer all those threatenings to the present life. They sometimes admit that man is a free agent so far as to be re. sponsible to the Almighty's government in time. This they do from a conviction that it would be unjust for the Almighty to punish men, if they could not act otherwise than they do: yet
upon no one point wherein we differ does inconsistency on their part take a wider range.
To show that they positively deny the doctrine of free agency I give you the language of Abel C. Thomas, one of the editors of the periodical already mentioned. In Vol. 4, No. 33, Article Journal and Cogitations, fourth paragraph, he says," in the afternoon had two and a half hours private controversial chat with a methodist brother. His arguments were of the usual kind. As is customary with the methodists, he mounted the favourite hobby of free agency, and was disposed in this way
to enter into the kingdom. When I satisfied him that free agency was a contradiction in terms, and informed him that I admitted as much moral agency in man as the God of the bible had given him."
What the gentleman means by moral agency in contradistinction from free agency I know not. I take moral agency to mean those acts that are done by an agent that can choose and refuse, and so are either meritorious or punishable. This is free agency, according to the use methodists make of the doctrine, because we cannot see how actions are either morally good or bad, if man is not free to perform them or let them alone.
Again: Mr. Hosea Ballou, in his Notes, on the Parables, gives the following: “It is a self-evident fact,” says he, “that neither endless happiness nor endless misery is according to the virtues or vices of mankind, in a finite state or limited time.”
How Mr. Ballou became acquainted with this self-evident fact I know not. I have to confess that my vision is quite too imperfect to discover any evidence that this is a fact. My feeble vision, however, has discovered another fact: namely, that the vicious conduct of our first parents subjected themselves and their posterity to a state of endless sin, misery, and death.Should Mr. Ballou, or any of his friends, dispute this, we ask them, what did Christ come to save mankind from? Was it not to save our race from sin, misery, and death? If they admit this, we wish them to answer this plain question: How long