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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1844,
BY ABEL TOMPKINS,
GEORGE A. CURTIS,
1058 135 2
R E V. HOSEA BALLOU,
OF BOSTON, MASS.,
AS A TOKEN OF THE HIGH ESTEEM OF THE AUTHOR, FOR ONE
WHO HAS FOR HALF A CENTURY
ABLY AND SUCCESSFULLY ADVOCATED
THE DOCTRINE OF
A WORLD'S SALVATION.
The author would state distinctly at the outset, that in the following Arguments, he appeals directly to the reason of the reader. If it could possibly be deemed necessary to justify this course, the authority and example for adopting it, are found in the Volume of Inspiration. In the requirement of the Most High, “Come, now, and let us reason together"-in the inquiry of the Saviour, "Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?”-in the declaration of St. Paul, “ I speak as to wise men : judge ye what I say "-an abundant authority is found for appealing to man's reason in regard to religious subjects. It would be difficult to determine for what purpose the faculty of reason was bestowed by the Creator, if not for its exerciseespecially on a subject so purely speculative and spiritual as religion. Indeed, the Bible is a revelation to man's reason—its doctrines, its requirements, its injunctions and exhortations, are all based upon reason, and addressed to
Take away this faculty, or shut out its light from the human mind, and the Scriptures would be enshrouded in darkness, and their influence and usefulness destroyed. It is true the legitimate exercise of reason is exceedingly dangerous to all doctrines embodying error, as light is dangerous to everything that requires darkness to conceal its deformities. But surely it will not be contended that this is a sound argument for the abandonment of this valuable faculty. God's truth has nothing to apprehend from reason.
It is itself the embodyment of pure reason.
Hence the more faithfully and closely it is weighed in the scales of reason, the more apparent become its consistencies and beauties. It is exceedingly important, however, that the reader should ever be careful to distinguish between that which is above the comprehension of man's reason, and that which is in opposition to reason. By confounding these extremes together, great disparagement has been cast upon reason, and much injury done to truth. As an illustration—to declare that the Universe has bounds, would be directly to contradict reason. To assert that the voids of space are without bound or limit, would be to utter that which perfectly agrees with reason, but which, at the same time, surpasses the comprehension of
Would it be consistent to confound this contradiction, and this want of comprehension together, and insist that reason is not to be trusted in either case? So, also, if it were asserted that a God of infinite Goodness voluntarily and deliberately put into operation causes for the production of infinite evil, it would be making a proposition in self-evident contradiction to reason. On the other hand, the declaration that a God of infinite Goodness must necessarily design all his plans and movements to eventuate in boundless and eternal good alone, harmonizes perfectly with the decisions of reason—but the times and seasons, and all the ways and means, which Divine Wisdom adopts to accomplish these plans, are beyond the comprehension of man's present reason.
But shall we therefore confound that which opposes, with that which but outreaches reason, and conclude it would be as consistent to believe the former as the latter ? Equally consistent would it be to reject those plain dictates of reason which declare the existence of an intelligent, overruling Creator, because the origin and mode of his being cannot be comprehended! Man ought and must follow his reason, as his guiding star; although he is unavoidably compelled, in some instances, to believe that which reason