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them holy? They were sinners before the Lord exceedingly, but I do not find that he believed this doctrine to keep himself holy, or preached it to others to deter them from licentiousness. Not a word is said, which would lead one to conclude that the antediluvians and Sodomites were all believers in the doctrine of universal salvation, and that this was the cause of their wickedness; nor is a word dropped that Noah, Lot and others, believed in the doctrine of hell torments and that tbis led them to holiness.
2d, If the doctrine of hell torments, is so well calculated to prevent sin, and promote Holiness, why did not our Lord teach it to the Jews, who are allowed to have been a race of very wicked men ? Can any man believe, that by the damnation of hell, our Lord meant a place of eternal misery, and that he thought it, like the objector, so well fitted to prevent licentiousness, yet only mentioned it once to the unbelieving Jews ? Did he think there was nothing left to prevent men from committing all manner of iniquity, and yet but once, and that in a discourse relating to the destruction of Jerusalem, say 10 them“ how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” It is not the easiest thing in the world for us to believe this.
3d, It is an indisputable fact, that the apostles of our Lord, never said a word about hell to the Gentiles. We ask then, what they had left to deter men from the commission of every crime? If they knew that hell was a place of endless misery, for the wick ed, and thought it such an excellent antidote against licentiousness, why did they never make use of it? They must have either been ignorant of such a doctrine, or very culpable in not preaching it, to deter men from crime; or they did not consider it so efficacious as the objector imagines. The Gentile -nations in the apostles' days, were very licentious. And it appears from chap. i. sect. 3. that they were also
believers in the doctrine of eternal misery in Hades or Tartarus. But we see that the belief of this doctrine did not turn them from their licentious courses. Nor did the apostles of our Lord think the preaching of eternal misery, either in Hades, or Gehenna, would effect this; for ihey do not say one word to them about punishment in either of those places. Let the objector then account for it, if the apostles were of his mind about this, why they did not preach this doctrine to prevent wickedness in their day. And let him account for it, why the Gentiles in believing it, should be so licentious. If the prophets, Jesus Christ, or his apostles, did not teach eternal torments in hell to promote holiness, ought not their doctrine to be charged with a licentious tendency as well as mine? There is no way of evading this, but by proving, that they did teach this doctrine to mankind. This we think never can be done. If I am then to be condemned, how are they to be cleared? And if their doctrine did not lead to licentiousness, how, in justice, can the views I have advanced be charged with it? I shall not feel much ashamed at being found in such company. These facts are sufficient to put down this objection forever. Nor need we be alarmed that the doctrine will produce an increase of iniquity when the inspired writers never used the opposite doctrine, to check the progress of sin in the world. They had certainly something left to deter men from sin, and which they deemed so efficacious, as to supersede the necessity of the doctrine of hell torments.
41h, Let us inquire, what that was, which they deemed sefficient without it. Paul says, "the goodness of God," and not hell torments, leadeth men to repentance. It is "the grace of God," not hell torments, which teacheth to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. It is the love of Christ,” not hell torments,
which constrains men not to live to themselves but to the glory of God. All, who are acquainted with the Scriptures know, to wbat extent I might here refer 10 texts of a similar nature, showing the same thing; but I forbear. Here then was the sovereign remedy, which they proposed, to cure a licentious world. If this failed, they had no other to propose. All other remedies which people have tried to effect it, have been like the woman, who spent her all on other phy. sicians, but rather grew worse. The love of God in the gift of his Son, is that, which when believed, and its influence felt, constrains to love and to good works. Every thing else to effect a cure without this, is only. religious quackery, and this we deem the very worst kind of quackery. But
5th, Those persons, who aver, that if the doctrine of hell torments be done away, there is nothing left to deter men from the commission of every crime, must certainly think, that where this doctrine is taught, it greatly tends to prevent wickedness. I believe that this will be strongly contended for. Is this then true? Can it be established by sufficient evidence ? Has the preaching of hell torments to mankind, produced such glorious effects, as such persons by the abore objection would have us believe? Our actual observation of its effects, we admit is very limited. But we have seen a little of it, at least in two quarters of the globe, and we think facts will warrant us to say, that hell torments, and heathenish morality have been preached to people, in many instances, until they have been preached into the grossest immorali ty. Was not this tried for ages among the Gentile nations, but did it turn them from sin to God? No;. it was when the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save ihem that believe. Besides, our own actual observation does not lead us to think, that where the doctrine
of hell torments is most preached, there the people are most holy.
6th, But admitting that the preaching of hell torments did deter men, in many cases, from the commis•sion of crimes,what opinion are we to form of the
morality produced by such a cause? We do not envy that parent, the respect and obedience which he receives from his wife and ehildren, who obtains it from the fear of being cast into a furnace of fire! This might do well enough for an eastern despot, but no rational man, far less the God of the universe, would think this true obedience or morality. We ven
ture to say that such a course, to produce obedience, : either among men, or in regard to God, is as bad state
policy, as it is false divinity. It shows as much ignorance of human nature, as it displays a want of common humanity. In the preaching of Jesus Christ and his apostles, I do not find any attempts made to frighten men from their licentious courses into religion, by terrific descriptions of hell torments. They had so many more rational arguments to induce men to obedience to God, than this, that they never made use of it. Had they deemed it of as much importance as the objector thinks it, we have no doubt but that they would have preached it to the world. At any rate, he must first prove that they did preach this doctrine, before his objection is of any force,
7th, The apostles' doctrine of salvation by grace, through faith, was denounced as leading to licentiousness. Let us sin, said the objector, because grace aboundeth. Now we should like to know how salvation, in this way to all, should be of a licentious nature, and not also to a few? The trutb is, the number saved, can make no difference in the case. Jf the doctrine is licentious when extonded to the whole human race, it must be so though limited to a single individual.' But every one knows how the apostles re.
futed the objection. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid : how shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein ?" We repel the charge in the same way. But the persons who bring this charge against us, seem to think that because no hell torments are prepared, that men are to go to heaven without any Saviour or salvation. We believe no such doctrine. On the contrary, we firm-ly believe that all who are saved, shall be saved from their sins, reconciled to God, and made meet for heaven. If there be any Universalists, who believe otherwise, we disown them, and would be glad to have them give up the name, until they have relinquished such principles. But we never heard of any Universalists, who held the opinion that any persons went to heaven in their sins. No: in their writings and preaching they disclaim it, and consider it not very candid, nor honourable in their opponents, to bring such a charge against them.
Should it be said here, “ but whatever they pretend, do you not see a great many who profess to be Universalists, living very licentious lives ?" We freely · grant this, but if this is any argument against the doctrine, we think it is one which will prove a great deal too much. It will prove equally against the Congregationalists, the Baptists, the Methodists, the Unitarians, and in short, every religious denomination in the world. Do you not find many who profess the principles of ail these different sects, who live licentious lives? We are sorry to say that this is but 100 evident. But this kind of argument, would even prove the principles of the Bible itself to be licentious. Are there not many who profess its principles, who lead licentious lives? Yes, alas ! too many. But you will seldom find that the disciples of Paine or Yoltaire, are so uncandid, and reason so incorrectly as to conclude, that the Bible is of a licentious tenden