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: cy in its principles, because many who profess them
are very wicked men. But, say the objectors, those licentious persons who profess to believe the Bible, and of the above sects, do not understand the principles that they profess. Granted. And wby will not
the objectors allow that many who profess to be Uniį versalists do not understand and believe the principles
which they profess. If it is no reproach to the other sects to have such kind of professors, why should it be any reproach to the Universalists? The fact is, such kind of professors are no honour to any denomination professing the Christian name, and we once heard of a sect of Deists, who would not have receive ed them into their community, for they would not admit any immoral person among them. We are sure, the fact is too evident to be disputed, that wherever the eternity of hell torments has been published, and published too in all the horrors with which human eloquence could decorate it, and enforced with all the clerical dignity and civil authority that popes, priests, and kings could afford, it has not prevented wickedness in the earth. In my judgment it has . produced immorality and other evil consequences, which human nature, bad as it is, agrees to condenin.
Should an appeal be made to facts, by comparing the numbers of those who have lived licentiously, embracing the various religious systems which have been in the world, we are not prepared-to admit that the balance of the account would be against Universalists.
But admitting that it was greatly against them, all that this could prove, is, that their views tend more to licentiousness than the others. All these different systems produced it to a certain extent, but that of the Universalists was the most prolific. But such a mode of reasoning is false, for it is allowed that an argument which proves both sides of a question, cannot be a good one.
The fact is, that persons
professing the very best principles, have led licentious
But, if even a greater proportion of wicked, licen lor! tious men were externally attached to the sect of Uni. versalists, we should not be surprised, nor do we think at, for that this proves any thing against the doctrine I have taken a stated. When our Lord was in the world, we are cold, that "then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.” Luke xv. 1. He was also called by his enemies, of a Pharisaical spir it, “a friend of publicans and sinners." Had our Lord preached to them the doctrine of hell torments, why were they so fond of hearing him, and why was he accused of being their friend ? Certainly he said nothing to encourage them to continue in sin, but the thout very reverse; but we think it is equally evident that he did not preach the terrors of hell torments to turn pada per them from iheir iniquities. If he did not preach this and doctrine, there is as little wonder that sinners flocked items to hear him, as that now a great many of similar char acters should flock to the Universalists. We think, then, that, allowing a greater proportion of loose, importantes moral people should be disposed to hear the preachers who exclude the doctrine of hell torments from their preaching, the case is not surprising. It was so in the days of our Lord, nor is there any thing in the nature of the case but what might be expected.
But it is said further, “if I believed that there was no eternal punishment in hell, I would indulge myself in all kinds of iniquity.” Little need be said in reply to this ; indeed it does not deserve one. But as we must reply, we would ask, is this person's holiness of that kind, without which no man shall see the Lord ? If it is we do not see but that God must hold up the torments of hell even in heaven, lo prevent this per
son's becoming licentious there! When the stimulus of hell torments is removed, what is there to preserve such a person holy? Nothing: and even when thus prevented from licentiousness, what is his holiness good for? If it were not for bis evil example in so. ciety we would say to him,-indulge in all manner of iniquity, for your wickedness will as soon bring you to heaven as your holiness. But further; it is a very evident case, that the obedience of all such persons, is the obedience of a slave under the terror of the lash. Yea, it shows very clearly, that under all this bypocritical obedience, such persons are in love with sin, and nothing under heaven prevents their outward indulgence of it, but the fear of hell torments. Indeed, the objector openly avows, that if there was no hell, he would indulge his lusts without restraint. Holiness, for its own sake, he does not love. Holiness, from love to God, he knows nothing about. And instead of pursuing it because he finds it the way of peace and comfort to himself, or of any benefit to society, he confesses it to be a burden; and, but for the terror of hell tormenis, he would prefer a licentious course of life. Can any Universalist be a worse character than this ? and if there be a hell, can a man be found who is a more,fit subject for its punishment? The terror of hell torments is a common topic. It is held up in such a dreadful and terrific point of view, that we do not much wonder that the objector loses sight of every thing else, and thinks that all he has need to be saved from, is merely from hell torments. We must here indulge ourselves with a few remarks relative to this view of the subject.
Ist, To be saved from hell torments is all the objector seems concerned about. This we fear is the
We are not much surprised that it is so; for in preaching about hell, the chief thing up to view, is to be saved from such a dreadful
case with too many:
place of punishment. This theme is so much dwelt upon, and this place is described in such a way, that the hearer's mind is wholly absorbed with it. To be saved from this dreadful place is, with him, the most essential part of religion.
2d, The objector is constrained to practise selfdenial, much against his inclination, to avoid the torments of hell. If there was no hell he would indulge in all kinds of iniquity. But seeing that there is such a place, to avoid it, he restrains his inclinations. His holiness is the mere effect of fear. The man is chained and in fetters and cannot act himself. Only let him loose from these, by assuring him that there are no eternal torments in hell, and he would be foremost in the ranks of licentiousness.
3d, The objector has a very wrong view both of sin, and the salvation of Jesus Christ. He thinks sin a pleasant, good thing, if it were not for the hell torments in which it must end. He plainly intimates that this is the chief, if not the only thing which prevents his present enjoyment of all the pleasures of sin for a season. Now nothing, we think, more obvious from Scripture, than this, that sin is connected with present misery; and that truth and holiness are productive of happiness. The ways of transgressors are hard, whilst wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths lead io peace. A man that feareth the Lord, happy is he; but though the wicked join hand in hand they shall not go unpunished. Licentiousness is inseparably connected with loss of health, reputation, and property; besides all the pangs of remorse and mental agony to the individual. Holiness is connected with health, reputation, and temporal prosperity, in addition to peace and serenity of mind, which are worth every thing else the world can afford. B
But the objector does not think so; for he seems to think that a life of liccntiousness is the
most bappy kind of life he could lead, and bút for the dread he has of hell torments, would gratify every sinful lust and passion. But he has also a wrong view of the salvation of Jesus Christ. His mind is so much absorbed with the subject of hell torments, that he has no idea of being saved from sin, but merely from such a punishment. Now the objector should remember that our Lord received the name Jesus, because he should save his people from their sins. But does he find that he received this or any other name because he should save them from eternal torments in hell? I do not find it once mentioned in the Bible, that Jesus the Saviour, is said to save any persons from hell. He came into the world to save even the chief of sinners. He came to save men from sin, from the course of this present evil world, from ignorance, folly, crime, and death; but no inspired writer ventures once to say that he came to save men from endless punishment in Gehenna or hell. But this view of Christ's salvation seems, in a great measure, lost sight of: and with the objector and many others, is taken very little notice of, if they can only be saved from eternal punishment.
But the objector says further, “Look at the loose principles, and still more loose morals, of the Universalists; and adds, by way of triumph, whoever heard of a revival of religion among them ?” As to the first part of this charge, we think enough has already been said, showing, that persons who understand the true principles on which the doctrine of Universal salvation is founded in Scripture, can neither be licentious in their principles nor morals. Such Universalists are no more accountable for the licentious principles and practice of all those who style themselves Universalists, than Calvinists, Methodists, or any other sect, are for similar characters among them. The very same eharge has been brought against other der