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by the spirit of revenge, murders him. The murderer is arrested, tried, found guilty, and sentenced to be hung. While confined in prison, awaiting the day of execution, he is visited by the pious clergy. They pray with him, exhort him to repentance, and finally, through their instrumentality, he is truly converted. On the day of execution he is swung upon the gallows, and his happy spirit is wafted to the realms of bliss. While there, he looks over the battlements of heaven, and sees the man whom he murdered on earth writhing in the agonies of hell. Now, let us suppose that this murderer, if he had not committed this crime, would never have repented, but would have died in his sins and went to hell. Is it not plain that, in this case, the act of murder has been the means of sending a man to hell, who would have otherwise went to heaven; and of sending another to heaven, who otherwise would have went to hell? What a tremendous power is this to commit to erring man!
30. The doctrine of endless hell torments is built on poetry, parables, metaphors, figures of speech, fancy and imagination. The heated imagination of the ancient poets first conceived the idea of endless torture. And the advocates of the doctrine at the present day, so far as they rely upon the Bible to prove it, appeal to the parables, metaphors and figures, which abound in that book, rather than to any plain, positive or direct testimony.
31. It teaches, that not only millions and millions of human beings, who have lived and died in our world, will be made endlessly miserable, but that millions and millions yet unborn, will, if they exist, become the subjects of the same misery. Now, in reference to those yet unborn, there is but one way to prevent their being endlessly miserable. Proclaim universal celibacy,- cease to propagate the human species, and of course you will cease to be instrumental in bringing beings into existence to be plunged beneath the liquid fires of hell's sulphurous flames. Benevolence, justice and humanity, lift up their voice and demand that this course be pursued by every rational man. A doctrine, from which such conclusions can be legitimately drawn, cannot possibly be true, but must inevitably be false.
32. It teaches that God has annexed a penalty to his law, which, if inflicted, will produce the very thing which the law was designed to prevent. It will not be disputed that the law was designed to prevent misery and to promote happiness. This design is accom
plished in so far as it prevents disobedience and secures obedience. But if, when it is violated, it inflicts endless misery on the transgressor, then the design of the law is completely thwarted by its own penalty. It may be said that, "allowing the penalty to be limited misery, yet, if the penalty is suffered, the design of the law is defeated as well as in the other case.' We reply, if the object in inflicting the penalty is to prevent transgression and enforce obedience, then the design of the penalty is in harmony with the design of the law. On this principle we avoid the monstrous absurdity which is evidently involved in the idea that an infinite penalty is annexed to the law.
33. It teaches that God has annexed a penalty to his law, which, if inflicted, will forever prevent a large number of its subjects from complying with its requirements. The law demands obedience. It always did and always will require this of all men. But, if God dooms any portion of mankind to endless spiritual death, then it will be impossible for such ever to obey the law.
34. It teaches that God's law rests and is satisfied with the infliction of its penalty. Now, if this is the nature of God's law, then, as "all have sinned," the law would be just as well satisfied with the endless sin, rebellion and misery, of all mankind, as with their obedience. A most singular law such would be surely.
35. It teaches that God has annexed a penalty to his law, which, if inflicted, would be a greater evil than the transgression of the That transgression of the law produces misery we admit. But, then, that misery is finite and limited, it being the effect of a finite and limited cause. Now, if God inflicts endless misery on the transgressor, then it will be seen at once that the remedy is infinitely worse than the disease.
36. It teaches that God's law is directly arrayed against his promises. God has promised to bless all mankind in Christ, the seed of Abraham. Acts 3: 25. This blessing consists in turning men from iniquity and saving them from sin. Acts 3: 26. Now, the doctrine of endless misery teaches that God's law will continue to be violated and trampled under foot, by a large portion of its subjects, throughout all coming time. How, then, can God's promises ever be fulfilled? How absurd to suppose that God has involved himself in a dilemma like this!
37. A doctrine so repugnant to reason, so directly opposed to the dictates of benevolence, humanity and justice, cannot be believed by any well-regulated and well-balanced mind. Hence, the wise and good of all ages, whenever and wherever this doctrine has been known, have rejected it.
ON THE AUTHORITY OF THE APOSTOLIC AND CHRISTIAN FATHERS.
THOSE early converts to Christianity, who distinguished themselves in defending and publicly teaching the Christian religion, and who lived before the year 120, and who by possibility might have associ ated with some of Christ's apostles or evangelists, are called the Apostolic Fathers." Those who succeeded them, and lived after the year 120, up to the time of the establishment of Popery, are called the "Christian Fathers." In the various controversies, on religious points of doctrine, which have agitated the Christian church, the disputants have been in the habit of appealing to the authority of these fathers. In the course of the controversy between Universalists and Limitarians, the authority of these men has sometimes been appealed to as sufficient to settle the point in dispute. Both parties have appealed to their opinions with great confidence; as if what they believed and taught was a matter of great consequence. Now, it appears to us that more importance has been attached to the question, What did the Apostolic and Christian Fathers think, and how did they believe? than it is really deserving of. A few of our reasons for so thinking will now be given. 1st. We will speak of the Apostolic Fathers. 2d. Of the Christian Fathers.
I. The Apostolic Fathers are Clemens, Romanus, Ignatius, Polycarp, Papius, Barnabas, and Hermas. These are all whose writings have come down to us. That their opinions are deserving of but little weight, is evident from the following facts: 1. There is no
proof that either of them ever associated with any of Christ's apostles or evangelists. If they did, one thing is certain, they have not in their writings mentioned one of the historians of Christ. See Dodwell's Diss. on Irenus. 2. It is said that Clemens and Ignatius were acquainted with the apostles; and that Polycarp was the disciple of John; but of this there is no direct proof. Allowing it to be true, however, all this might be, and yet they not learn anything from the apostles respecting the great point in dispute now between Limitarians and Universalists. The circumstances of times then made it necessary that the doctrine that Jesus was the true Messiah, and the Sent of God, should be the prominent and fundamental doctrine taught; and but little was said about anything else. Besides, the writings of Clemens, Ignatius and Polycarp, afford no proof of the doctrine of endless misery. It is thought that they believed in a limited resurrection, and that none except the righteous would be raised from the dead. If so, they held an opinion at variance with that taught by the apostle Paul; and, of course, could not have learned it either from him or from the teachings of Christ. 3. The writings of these men prove that they were "men of but little learning; and, for the most part, of as little judgment; and whoever reads them, expecting to find them either instructive or edifying, will rise from their perusal in disappointment, if not with disgust." The epistle of Clemens is the best of them all, and "contains but one instance of those absurd allegories which abound in the succeeding fathers." The writings of Ignatius "contain some puerile conceits, betray a fondness for the Eastern fables concerning the angelic world, and are filled with earnest injunctions of the most unreserved submission of reason, faith and practice, to the CLERGY; whose authority is often likened, expressly, to that of GOD and JESUS CHRIST." Polycarp's writings evince "a more regular and intelligent mind than most of the ecclesiastical writings of that age. The author is guilty of one exception to his general moderation, when he exhorts his brethren to be subject to the elders and deacons, as unto God and CHRIST.'" Papius formed "a collection of idle tales and foolish notions, and published them to the world as the authoritative instructions of Christ and his apostles; and succeeding fathers adopted some of its fictions." The epistle of Barnabas “ was composed by some Jewish Christian of mean abilities, for the purpose of epresenting the Mosaic law and other parts of the Old Testament