Page images




THE writer of the following pages, probably, would never have conceived the design of becoming an author on one of the most important subjects that ever engaged the human intellect, had not a train of circumstances compelled him to enter the ranks of the disputers of this world, or abandon what he deemed to be fundamental truth in our holy religion, to the wreckless assaults of its enemies. It is true he had from the earliest period of his christian experience, and especially from the commencement of his public ministry, marked the irreligious tendency of the sentiments against which these pages are directed; yet he would most probably, have deplored the evil, and looked for it to be removed by some more able hand, rather than to have opposed his own efforts to an error which carries with it the full force of the natural inclinations of the unrenewed heart of fallen man, had not the votaries of the error, grown bold through neglect, challenged him to public combat, under circumstances which left him but one alternative, either to give up the truth as indefensible, or estly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.

From oral controversy recourse was had to the public Journals, and the discussion was continued until it began to attract public attention more generally, and appeared likely soon to come to an important crisis, when suddenly the universalist's columns were closed against it, and no one could be found longer to maintain the contest, oral or written. Under these circumstances the design of publishing the present work was conceived, having already bestowed much labour upon the subject, and having no better method of laying it before the publick, for whose benefit the investigation was first commenced. And after devoting the few leisure hours, to be spared from pastoral duties, to the subject, the work is at last completed, and presented to an enlightened publick, whose right it is to judge of its merits.

Though the author makes no pretensions to perfection in style, yet he humbly trusts he has succeeded in expressing himself in a manner to be understood by the plain common sense reader, for whose benefit his labours in this work have been principally int nded. He has dealt as sparingly in original criticism as the nature of the subject, and the oft and clamorous appeals made to the original language by the abetters of universalism would justify him in doing; and in those instances in which an appeal has been made to the original text, the unlettered reader has not been deserted; for such appeals have not only been made in a manner to be understood by those who have studied no language but plain English, but the same points are supported by a variety of other arguments, which may be understood by all who are capable of reading the common translation of the holy scriptures. If universalism b.: an error, it must be acknowledged by all to be one of alarming magnitude, fraught with consequences as lasting as the immortal souls it ruins. For assailing such an error, the writer

needs no apology, unless it be for not having done it more effectually. Some, indeed, inay suppose that enough has been written on the subject; that there is no call for a work of this description at the present time. This has been considered by the author; and after a due examination of the principal works on this important subject; he has come to the conciusion to add one more to the number, for which he offers the following reasons :

1. The works which have already been published have not yet fully put a stop to the errors against which they have been directed, nor do they appear likely to accomplish this object, very seasonably, without additional effort. While others have commenced the assault and battered down some of the bulwarks of error, the writer of these pages wishes to add his humble efforts, hoping that others will follow his example, until her strongestnolds shall be demolished, and the heresy shall be driven from the records of time.

2. Universalism has so shifted its ground and changed its complexion, that many of the works which, at the time they were written, were directed against it with a deadly aim, are now left to spend their force in the air, the enemy having Aed and erected his battery on other ground, from whence he renews his incendiary warfare, and talks as much of courage and victory as though he had never heen defeated.

3. Most or all of the works which have been published on the subject, have been directed against some particular author or confined to some one point in the controversy, insomuch, that though there are a number of very able treatises against universalism, yet the writer of these pages has not yet fallen in with any one volume which covers the whole ground of controversy, and pursues and refutes universalism in all its dark retreats, and complicated foldings of error. The author has looked upon it as an object of no small importance, to put into the hands of the publick in one convenient volume, a refutation of universalism in ail its various forms, which it assumes as it is driven from one position to another; indeed, that such a work has not before this time appeared, from the pen of some more able hand, he has looked upon as a defect, to supply which, so far as his humble powers will permit, the present work has been undertaken. How far he has succecded in the undertaking, he will leave for others to deterinine, while he indulges the hope, that with a mind honestly inquiring after truth, and with this volume in his hand, the reader will be secure from the assaults of universalism in any form in which it has heretofore made its appearance before the public.

In conclusion, whatever may be the fate assigned to these pages by the impartial judgment of the publick, the author can appeal to the searcher of hearts for the rectituue of his motives, to whom he directs kis most fervent prayers, that both writer and reader may be guided into all truth.




The Original State of Man. AS it is the primary design of the following pages, to refute the doctrine of unconditional universal salvation, and to establish the doctrine of the endless punishment of such as do not comply with the conditions of the gospel in this life, it will be seen at once, that the original state of man has an important bearing on the subject. If God created man in the same moral state, in which he now exists, with the same impurity of nature and propensities to evil, it might appear reasonable, with our present views of the divine attributes, that he should not only save sinners from, but actually reward them for, all the evils, which are the necessary result of the natural movement of that system, which he put in operation when he bade man awake to conscious and responsible existence. On the other hand, if God created man free from all moral evil, and if his sin and misery are the result of a first transgression, and his continuance in this state the result of his wilful rejection of a sovereign remedy which God has provided in Christ Jesus ; these facts are a full vin


dication of the divine goodness, though sinners perish forev

We will then enter upon our undertaking, by considering the original state of man, in which we shall attempt to maintain that he was created holy; and that he was not subject to bodily dissolution while he remained in his first state of innocence.

First, we say that man was created holy. In support of this position we urge the following considerations.

I. Man was the effect of a holy cause. God created man; and as man was passive, and not active, in his own creation, he could have possessed no nature, powers, nor even tendency of powers, which he did not receive from the plastic hand of his Creator. God imparted to man all that he possessed, when he first awoke to conscious being, even the first breath he drew; hence if man contained in his nature, any moral evil, God mụst have been its author. Man's body, which was formed of the earth, must have. been a lifeless and irrational form of matter; and could not have possessed moral quality, before it was animated by a rational soul; all therefore, that man possessed in his first existence that was moral, was imparted to him when God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and constituted him a living soul; therefore, if man was morally corrupt, or contained in his nature any propensity to evil, it must have been infused by Jehovah's breath! Now as God is holy, nothing but holiness could have proceeded from him; man, therefore, must have been holy in his first existence, as he came from the hands of his divine author.

II. “God created man in his own image." Gen. i. 27. By the image of God, in this text, we understand the moral likeness of God, consisting in righteousness and true holiness. No other consistent explanation can be given of the subject. It would be absurd to say that the image of God consists in bodily form, for if form be applied to the Deity, such form must be bounded by geometrical limits ; which is opposed to infinity and omnipresence, perfections which are essential to the Supreme Being. Nor can it be consistently said, that the image of God wherein man was created, consisted in his having authority over the other creatures, which God created, as his vicegerent on earth, for this was on

« PreviousContinue »