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unavailable, the Protestant princes assembled at Smalkade, (A. D. 1531.) and entered into a solemn confederacy, for the purpose of defending by the sword, in case all other expedients failed, those sacred truths, the knowledge of which they had attained by such extraordinary means. The kings of France and England, actuated solely by political motives, consented to afford them assistance. But while the emperor was thus breathing vengeance against the propagators of our holy religion, a number of circumstances had occurred, which convinced him of the propriety of deferring his undertaking. The Protestant princes refused to ratify the succession of his brother Ferdinand to the imperial throne ; and Solyman, the Turkish sultan, was entering Hungary at the head of three hundred thousand men. Through the mediation, therefore, of the electors of Mentz, and Palatinate, an accommodation was effected; and by a pacification concluded at Nuremburg, the edicts of Worms and Augsburg were repealed ; and the Protestants, on their part, unanimously agreed to assist him, with all their forces, in the expulsion of the Turks. (A. D. 1532.)
We shall close this essay, with an enumeration of the principal fundamental truths of the Christian faith, concerning which all the reformers unanimously concurred, in order that the impartial reader, in comparing them with the tenets of the different religious denominations which now subsist, may see the deplorable apostacy, of many of these, from the very essence of Christianity :
“ 1. Of God's eternal purpose, and predestination of an elect people, ordained to life and glory eternal.
« 2. That man had lost all ability to do good, and freedom of will to choose it: and was in his nature, as fallen, inclined only to evil.
“ 3. That nothing ever did or can alter this propensity of the human heart, but the Holy Ghost by his own immediate agency upon the souls of men.
“ 4. That a sinner is, and can be justified by faith only; and this not of himself; being unable either to comprehend or receive the things that be of the Spirit of God: and, therefore, the faith itself must be the gift of God.
65. That merit in creature there is none, nor ever can be. From first to last a sinner must be saved by grace.
“6. That the vicarious atonement by the one oblation of Christ upon the cross, is effectual, not for the many called, but for the few chosen.”*
John A. GETTY.
(To be Continued.) Poplar Town, (Md.) 27th Aug. 1822.
* Haweis' Church History, Vol. II. p. 99.
ESSAY ON FUTURE PUNISHMENT.
(Continued from p. 396.) 4. The advocates for universal restoration allege many passages of the scriptures as direct proofs of their doctrine. How criminally they wrest the word of God, we shall now proceed to show.
1st, All those texts which declare that the Son of God died for the whole world, for every man, &c. are numbered among the proofs that all men will be finally saved. What was said upon the second objection was sufficient to shut out the Universalist from any advantage to his cause, from reasoning upon the atonement of Christ. Upon the principle contained in that second objection, no atonement for sin was necessary or possible. As our controversy here is not with those Christians who maintain the universality of the atonement, we pass that point with one remark. Those who hold the doctrine of general redemption, (excepting only the few who advocate the doctrine of universal salvation, do abhor the latter sentiment, and utterly deny it to be a just consequence of the former. They uniformly limit salvation as the Bible does, to the subjects of regenerating grace, to whom the benefits of the atonement are applied in the present life. That Christ did not purpose to give eternal life to sinners dying impenitent, has been fully proved in the former part of these remarks. He pronounces upon all such the sentence of eternal misery in the strongest language possible, that is, in negative terms; They “ shall not see life.” Of one sin He declares, “it shall not be forgiven.” Of the punishment of the wicked it is said, “their worm dieth not-their fire is not quenched.” It is called “unquenchable fire.” To say, notwithstanding these and innumerable other testimonies from the same source, that men dying in their sins shall partake of the redemption purchased by the Son of God, and shall enter into life eternal, is to say to the impenitent, “ye shall not surely die,” while the God of truth is pronouncing the contrary!
2dly, To the same purpose are alleged those parts of the scriptures which assert the universal sovereignty and dominion of the Mediator. Of these we shall examine one passage only, and that the strongest. Mr. Winchester, with an air of triumph, calls this,“ one passage fully sufficient of itself to settle the dispute for ever.” It is Col. i. 15th to 20th : “Who is the Image of the invisible God, the First-born of every creature : for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers, all things were created by
Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the Head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the First-born from the dead ; that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father, that in Him should all fulness dwell: and having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
If this be the foundation of an impenitent sinner's hope of life eternal, let us try its strength. Mr. W. rests his argument from this illustrious passage, upon the meaning of the word all, which he strongly reiterates, must be understood, throughout the paragraph, in an unlimited sense. “As the word all,” says he, “is generally acknowledged to be used in its most extensive sense, in every place in this paragraph except the last, there is no reason to be given why the apostle should change the sense of the word without giving us the least notice of it; and indeed it would be very unkind if not unfair for him thus to do, as it would tend to mislead us in a matter of very great importance.
This last clause savours too much of trifting with inspiration ; a taint that pervades the whole of the little work of that writer. Leaving the followers of his error to judge how far they may safely follow his example, we observe:
There are the strongest“ reasons” imaginable for understanding the word “all” in the close of the above cited passage, differently from its meaning in the former verses. It is said, because the Mediator is Creator of all things, Upholder and Sovereign of all, universally, he must be the Reconciler of all. But whither will this lead us? The Son of God is the Creator of universal nature, and upholds all things by the word of his power; therefore he created the holy angels : but could the angels that never sinned be reconciled? Reconciliation presupposes variance. The angels of God then are an important exception to the universality of the terms “by Him to reconcile all things' unto Himself.” Again, the Son of God is the Creator and Sovereign of the whole immensity of worlds and creatures, “ visible and invisible.” Is it pretended that his atonement reconciles to God, the earth, the heavens, the moon and the stars, which he hath ordained ? Here is an innumerable class of exceptions to the universal application of the words “reconcile all things unto Himself.” It is incumbent on our adversaries to show any one “reason" why devils and impenitent sinners of the human race, shall not also be exceptions.
If, in reply to this, it be said, that no other beings are understood to be reconciled by Christ, than those which have offended and are proper subjects of reconciliation, the argument is given up. For its whole force, if it had any, must depend upon the use of the word all in the 20th verse : one single exception will limit that word, but we have exhibited a multitude. If the argument then prove any thing, it proves vastly too much, and thus destroys itself. It leads to an unavoidable absurdity, and totally fails to support the doctrine of universal salvation. Our objector is still bound to prove that fallen angels and sinners dying impenitent, are proper subjects of reconciliation.
The remarks made on this passage are equally true and conclusive on the meaning of the whole class of scriptures which reveal to us the universal dominion of the divine Mediator. They will not, in one instance, bear the inference that Christ is head over all things for the purpose of saving all mankind.
Is it asked, what probable meaning then can be given to the words, “ whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven?” We answer, the saints in glory were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, and their redemption will be perfected at the resurrection of the just. The saints on earth, all who do or ever shall believe on the Lord Jesus, are and shall be reconciled in him as their covenant Head.
In the passage under consideration there is one clause which, in a far different way from that intended by Mr. W., ought to " settle the dispute for ever :" “ And He is the Head of the body, the church.” That writer dwells more largely upon what he terms the “reheading of all things” in Christ, than upon any other argument for the “restoration.” But is there any hint in all the sacred volume, that Christ assumes this dignity for the benefit of all things? Is it not one avowed design of his mediatorial reign to crush his incorrigible enemies? 1 Cor. xv. 25. “Unto the church” “He is Head over all things.” That church is termed His fulness--but there is not the shadow of a proof that fallen angels or children of Adam dying impenitent, will ever be admitted into the community of glory.
Under this objection are marshalled a number of texts, some of which are totally foreign to the subject of future rewards and punishments. Others will come into view in the sequel.*
This writer largely explains 1 Pet. ii. 19, to be an account of what our Redeemer performed while in the state of separate spirits : that in the interval of time between his death and resurrection, his human soul went and preached “ salvation to the spirits" then in the prison of hell. The main feature in the scheme of Winchester and Chauncey is, “limited future punishments of various degrees and durations proportioned to the guilt of sinners dying without an interest already secured in Christ.” To give this popish error a colour of plausibility, the above absurd interpretation of the apostle's testimony is brought forward with swelling pomp by those men. For if it could be made appear that the fire of hell is a means of grace, and that God adds all other means to persuade the damned to repentance and conversion, their doctrine would be established. But if in this attempt, w. has done violence to that text, what shall we say when we find him calling up Ps. cvii. 10–16, as a direct revelation of the purpose of God to liberate the danned from the prison 5. Universalists affirm, that all those passages of sacred writ which seem most clearly to establish our doctrine, may be explained consistently with theirs. The advocates of their error endeavour to show that the words both Hebrew and Greek which we translate forever, forever and ever, eternal, &c. ought, when used with reference to future punishments, to be understood of a limited duration. To limit the meaning of these words, and thus to overturn the doctrine of endless punishments, the writer, principally in view in these remarks, as well as others of the party, labour most abundantly; for they know that a failure here involves the ruin of their cause. Mr. W. rests his conclusion mainly on two arguments, if they can be so
of hell! This is using latitude indeed. “These shall go away into everlasting punishment,” would have proved his point just as well.
After having copiously dwelt upon the efficacy of means, motives, and torments, with condemned men and angels, Mr. W. in another part of his Dialogues, throws out some remarks quite at variance with the supposition that the gospel is ever held forth to the damned. In his endeavour to remove an objection to his error, grounded on the pointed and unqualified denunciations so frequent and various in the word of God; he is evidently pressed and embarrassed between conviction of the truth and reluctance to part with his own pestilent error. Observe his solution of the difficulty; these are his own words: “Whatever may be the final intention of God towards these miserable creatures” (the damned) “it is evident they are shut up in a state of keen tormenting despair, or dreadful suspense, and may be fully persuaded that they shall never be released, of which it is likely they may not have the most distant hope, or the least degree of knowledge," &c.
To see the inconsistency of this with the above interpretation of 1st Peter, observe: All the victims of justice in hell, were, while on earth, either heathens, (without the advantages of revelation) or impenitent Jews, or impeni. tent hearers of the gospel. If heathens, they are still ignorant of the gospel, except as instructed by the Saviour according to that construction of 1st Peter; still they have no hope of release, and by the supposition never will have any knowledge of it until released !—If they were impenitent Jews or hearers of the gospel, some of them, no doubt, bad on earth a full belief, or knowledge as this writer would call it, of the doctrine of the restoration. Many of the Jews have been strong Universalists, so far as the salvation of their own nation was concerned; their rabbies taught that no son of Abraham could be eternally punished for his sins. Yet, in hell, this knowledge is wholly lost; and their ignorance and despair continue invincible, after the means and motives of grace have been extended to them along with their purgatorial torments. So utterly inconsistent is error, and so various are the absurdities that follow in its train.
The words from W. "whatever may be the final intention of God,” &c. amount to a concession that his scheme rests on no certain ground. That concession is given in still broader terms near the closc of his work. On the objection to his plan, arising from the obstinacy of human depravity, he says, “I confess to you that it requires a faith, if possible, more strong than that of Abraham, to believe the doctrine of the restoration steadfastly, in the midst of so much evil as prevails in the world, and which seems to render it impos. sible; but my only hope is in God.” How presumptuous a hope must that be which intrudes thus into the presence of the Lord, while it is proclaiming falsehood in the face of his testimony, and resisting all the evidence of reason, conscience, and experience! But it is a faltering hope, or it would not leave a man to lower the tone of triumph so often, into the stammering language of doubt and self-contradiction.