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England, Maine, New-Hampshire, Troy, Oneida, and Genesee Annual Conferences," published before he commenced his third and last tour. He attended all these conferences but the two last. Nothing of unusual interest transpired at any of them except the New-England and New-Hampshire, where the first conference difficulties on the subject of abolitionism arose. His conduct there was marked by his usual judgment and firmness. Subsequently he prepared the episcopal address to those conferences, signed by himself and Bishop Hedding, and whatever opinions may be held as to his views of abolitionism, none can deny that the subject is therein treated with a master's hand. As for slavery itself, that “root of evil,” as he characterized it, his views were well known; abolitionists themselves never held it in deeper abhorrence. The Troy Conference of 1835 was the last which he attended. On the sixteenth of December following he met his untimely end.
In this article the writer has endeavored to set forth the character of John Emory with all the impartiality which is compatible with the deepest reverence and the tenderest love; at the close he may be allowed one breathing of his own personal feelings. Little did he think, when, at the Troy Conference of 1835, the bishop, at the close of an interview in which he had imparted some of the rich treasures of his experience in kind advice, folded him affectionately in his arms and bade him farewell, that it was a farewell for ever! Earnest was his last gaze upon that form beloved, but O! how earnest would it have been had he known that it was the last. Carefully did he record in his memory the words of manly wisdom that fell from those honored lips-how would each precious syllable have been treasured, had he known that these were the last accents of that almost father's voice that should fall upon his ear! To the writer, the name of Emory is fragrant with a thousand blessed recollections. And many hearts, throughout this continent, will throb in unison with his own, when he declares, that for him, that name is the very synonyme of nobleness and honor, associated, as it is, with all that is elevated in intellect, all that is magnanimous in self-devotion, all that is pure in virtue, and all that is sublime in piety.
Dickinson College, Oct. 27, 1841.
Art. V.- Universalism as it is; or, Text Book of Modern
Universalism in America. By Rev. EDWIN F. HATFIELD. Pp. 341. New-York : published by J. A. Hoisington, theological bookseller, 156 Fulton-street, third door east of Broad
Salvation through the sacrificial death of Christ is a doctrine which lies at the basis of the Christian system. Repudiate this, and the gospel is a fable. “It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to SAVE SINNERS.” This is the soul-inspiring theme of every truly Christian minister. That he is commissioned to offer pardon to the guilty, and consolation to the condemned, through the merits and mediation of a crucified and risen Saviour, gives inspiration to his ministrations, and renders the gospel he preaches the power of God unto salvation. Hence the emphasis with which all who claim to be Christians are wont to use the word salvation. As containing in itself the fundamental principle of the system, its distinctive importance in preaching and religious conversation is essential. Without this the most ignorant would discard the pretensions of any who should profess the Christian name or obtrude themselves as gospel teachers. But among all who talk, and preach, and sing of salvation, none are louder or more ardent in the strains of exultation with which they dwell upon this theme than are Universalists. Who, that has been accustomed to hear them converse, or preach, or to read their writings, has not remarked the stress which they lay upon this topic, and their impassioned and glowing ardor when speaking of the goodness of God in redemption, his love in giving his Son to die for us, and the salvation of the world through Christ? “A free salvation"_"a full salvation"_"a complete salvation"_"the final salvation of all God's creatures,” &c., &c., are phrases which they constantly employ in a way to signify that they alone, in their own estimation, understand and appreciate the doctrine of salvation as taught in the Scriptures.
Now it is upon this fundamental principle of the gospel, the salvation of sinners through the sacrificial death and meritorious intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we join issue with the Universalists. And arrogant as they are in their pretensions, we propose to show that their gospel is not a gospel of salvation—that there is not an element of salvation in it-and that, by consequence, they have no claim to the reputation of Christians in the proper sense of the term.
The main difficulty of settling points of dispute with Universalists has heretofore been, that they have had no system sufficiently stable and abiding to endure sober and critical investigation. All have agreed, and uniformly asserted, that the doctrine of eternal punishment, as professed and maintained by orthodox Christians, is an absurd dogma, at variance alike with the attributes of God and the revelation of his word; and that, as it is inconsistent to suppose that an infinitely good God can permit any of his intelligent creatures to suffer eternally, he has provided for the final and inevitable salvation of all. This they call “universal salvation," a general appellation embracing all the varieties within the wide range of the single negative article which repudiates eternal punishment. But in endeavoring to maintain this position, they have heretofore presented no well-defined theory or system of faith to be adopted, or uniform set of opinions to be controverted, but have shuffled from one position to another to resist the present exigences and evade the force of truth. In the course of the discussion they have published so much, that by carefully selecting and arranging the principal points unequivocally maintained by their leading men, the absurdities for which they must hold themselves responsible may be successfully exposed, and their mischievous influence arrested. For aid in this, the work before us is peculiarly adapted. In this respect it is an important production, for which the author is entitled to the thanks of the Christian public.
In the first chapter of this excellent volume the author shows that the sect is divided into two classes, differing from each other in some important respects, but agreeing in others. The first class is made up of those who flourished before the elder Ballou ; and their prominent teachers were Relly, Murray, Chauncy, Winchester, &c. The other class consists of the followers of Mr. Ballou, who have adopted his peculiar views in contradistinction from those of his predecessors.
Of the former class it is said, “The views which they embraced differed from those of the Christian church generally in the article of future endless punishment. They believed, for the most part, in the distinguishing doctrines of Christianity with this one exception. Their hopes of universal salvation were based on the atonement of Christ, whom they regarded as constituting in his superior nature, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, the one only God himself. They expected eternal life, only on the ground that Christ had died for all men, and so had delivered them and the whole human family from the condemnation of the law.” A modern Universalist says of Dr. Huntington, a Presbyterian minister who left a posthumous work in which he maintains the doctrine of universal salvation, that “ he held to the sinner's absolute depravity by nature; the justice of the sentence of endless misery, which he saw plainly threatened in the Scriptures ; the doctrine of the atonement, whereby Christ suffered for us the penalty of the law," &c. And similar views are ascribed to Winchester, Chauncy, and Murray, of the same school.
“But,” says our author, “ Universalism is not what it was. They who judge of it by the writings of either Chauncy, Huntington, Murray, or Winchester, form a very erroneous idea of the system. Since that period it has undergone an almost constant process of transition.”
In this he is sustained by one of their own writers, Mr. Wittemore, whom he quotes as saying, “The radical changes, which have taken place in the opinions of American Universalists, constitute one of the most interesting traits of their history.” Again, “We apprehend that as early as 1800 very essential departures had been made ; and, finally, the doctrines of the Trinity and atonement, and all kindred notions, were discarded by the whole denomination with very few exceptions.” It is further asserted by one of their writers, that “the sentiment by which Universalists are distinguished, is this: that at last every individual of the human race shall become holy and happy ;” and, consequently, that "all persons who truly believe in the eventual salvation of all mankind by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, are Universalists." “ It makes no difference," they say, “what are the individual's views concerning punishment, if he holds the doctrine above described."
This is their common ground. All classes that range under the general designation of “Universalists" have agreed in adopting it as the basis of their superstructure; and in performing our task of showing that they repudiate salvation altogether, we shall have occasion to keep in view this distinguishing characteristic of the sect.
Their first and final argument—the alpha and omega of all their
This work is entitled Calvinism Improved. It is an attempt to build Universalist conclusions upon Calvinistic premises. The author, as is said in the text, was a Presbyterian minister ; such, in fact, he died, without publishing his peculiar views to the world. The above work was found among his manuscripts, and published, or sold, by some of his heirs. But it may be doubted whether the book ever made any converts to the entire theory of the author ; the leading principle of which is, that Christ, as the sinner's substitute, suffered the eternal punishment which he deserves, and so all sinners are unconditionally delivered from a liability to such punishment.--Ed.
reasoning on this subject—is founded in the infinite goodness of God. “God is love." This declaration of the apostle they confidently rely on as settling the whole question. From Murray and Winchester down to Sawyer and Williamson, they concur in this, that the goodness of God, as expressed in these words of the apostle, is incompatible with the idea of endless punishment; that it is absurd to suppose that God, whose very nature is love, could inflict everlasting misery upon any of his intelligent creatures; and that we are therefore to construe whatever may be found in the Scriptures which seems to favor this idea as meaning something else, because the divine goodness forbids that such an idea should be sustained by any portion of his word. “Moreover,” says Mr. Ballou,“ we feel it a duty to state, that, in room of straining particular passages, which speak of the punishment of the wicked, so as to favor the idea of unlimited punishment, we should feel justified in restraining any passage, could such be found, that should seem to favor an opinion so dishonorable to God, and so revolting to our best feelings.” Thus do they declaim with much apparent feeling on the potency of the love of God to neutralize every thing contained in his word which favors the idea of endless punishment. Forcibly as this reasoning addresses itself to the feelings, it will require but little discernment to perceive that it is decidedly opposed to the fundamental doctrine of salvation through Christ, as revealed in the gospel. Let us test it.
“GOD IS LOVE.” This is the text. The argument is, because God is love, he has no law by which he can inflict endless punishment upon any of his intelligent creatures, as the law of his nature forbids the existence of such penalty. Here they take their stand. Now it follows that if God, because he is love, has no law by which he can inflict endless punishment upon the wicked, he never had, never could have such a law, for his nature is unchangeable. Then man was never liable to endless punishment, for the plain reason that he could not be, as God never had and never could have a law to inflict such punishment. What then becomes of the atonement ? What has it accomplished ? Saved man from endless punishment ? Surely not, because he was never liable to such punishment ! God never could make him liable to it. The atonement then accomplished just nothing at all for man. Christ died in vain. If man be exempted from endless punishment, it is not because Christ died to save him from it, but because God could not inflict it. This is the basis of the creed of Universalists. And it most clearly excludes every element of salvation by Jesus Christ, as taught in the gospel.