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In speaking more directly of the sources of Universalism, I shall first take the position that the depraved inclinations of men are a fruitful occasion of their embracing it. I suppose I shall not be required to prove in this place, that there are some men whose hearts are inclined to sin. And I suppose most readers will admit that all hearts are more or less so inclined. And I suppose it will also be admitted, that as strong as is a man's desire after an unlawful gratification, so strong is his interest to wish that no painful consequences might follow the indulgence. So strong as is a man's inclination to pursue a sinful course of life, so much is he inclined to wish there might be no punishment for sin in the world to come.
That some wicked men are troubled by the fear of hell, I think will not be doubted. That many of them suffer a great amount from such fears is true. The Universalists are wont to tell us of
the great amount of suffering, created in the minds of men by Othe doctrine of future punishment: and to make that a reason
why it should not be preached. Now if some minds suffer so much, by entertaining the idea of future misery, as consequent on a life of sin, is it strange, considering how much the interests and the desires influence the decisions of the understanding? Is it strange that some through their wishes come to believe that there is no hell? It is familiar to every one, with how much case men convince themselves of that which they wish to believe. And what doctrine can a man, determined on a life of sin and impenitence, have a stronger wish to believe, than that of no judgment to come ?
Again, the strong affinitie's which this doctrine has for wicked and dissolute men goes to the same point. What the Earl of Rochester said of the Bible, will particularly apply to the doctrine of a future reckoning for sin. “A bad life is the only grand objection to it.” A bad life, a life at variance with the requirements of the Bible, constitutes an ever present, and powerful bias of the mind, towards Universalism. And men of dissolute lives have the strongest objections to a future judoment. The fact, which few except Universalists will deny, and which some of them confess, that dissolute and immoral men,
are specially inclined to Universalism, goes to show that a bad life is an all powerful argument, multiplying the conquests of Universalism. I have good authority for saying, that some Universalists confess this fact. Mr. Whittemore, p. 195, while drawing a contrast ween the Scribes and Pharisees, which he makes the representatives of the religious men of the present day, and the publicans and harlots, which he will have us believe, have their successors in the Universalists-says that the publicans and harlots were exceedingly fond of the society of Jesus, and that his instructions had a special attraction for them. But I must give the paragraph entire:
“ There can be no question that what is here stated was a fact. This class of people became exceedingly fond of the society of Jesus, and listened to his instructions with great delight. Matthew himself had been a Publican. They ate and drank with Christ, and he was contemptuously styled by the Pharisees, the friend of publicans and sinners. Despised as they were by the leading religious people of the age, accustomed to reproach and contumely, they rejoiced to find their cause espoused by the great teacher sent from God. His doctrine met and siisjiea ineir desires, and they received it with joy. The common people heard him gladly. For the proud, the censorious, the self-righteous who thought they had gained heaven by their own exertions, and who anticipated with fondness the joyful day, when they should see those they des-. pised, suffering the fierce displeasure of God—for such the benevolent, impartial religion of Jesus had no charms. Such people always opposed Christ when he was on earth. And in every age since, those of a kindred disposition have hated his doctrine. These are the reasons why publicans and harlots, entered the kingdom of God before the professedly religious scribes and pharisees. WE LEARN FROM THIS, WHAT CLASS OF PEOPLE IT IS, AMONG WHOM AT THE PRESENT DAY, THE DOCTRINE OF THE IMPARTIAL SAVIOUR (universalism] SHALL FLOURISH IN ITS PURITY."
Here we are unblushingly told, that what Mr. W. calls the doctrine of the impartial Saviour, that is Universalism, had in the days of Christ and now has a peculiar attraction for abandoned men and women. And this it seems not because it had any tendency to change their tempers, and characters, and make them religious, but because the doctrine "met and satisfied their desires.” Not because Christ, by the force of his doctrines, won them over to his cause, but because they rejoiced to find
THEIR CAUSE espoused by the great teacher sent from God." Here we are told in so many blasphemous words, that Christ espoused the cause of the publican and harlot!! · And what in the name of purity and decency was that cause? It seems that Christ met and satisfied the desires of the publicans and the harlots! Oh, shame where is thy blush! It seems too, that Universalism now does the same. That it shall flourish in its purity among those abandoned of all purity! The purest specimens of Universalism, according to one of its own doctors who ought to be competent to inform us, are to be found in the abodes of harlots. It is no wonder then, that females, who have regard to character and purity, are so shy as they proverbially are of being found under the droppings of Universalist sanctuaries, 'ha tondency of a wiciod
lite, to vegét Univorsalism, may be illustrated by a passage in the life of Rosseau a man equally distinguished for a dissipated life, for finished scholarship and libertine sentiments. After his apostacy from the Protestant to the Catholic Religion, he went to reside with Madame de Warrens, with wkom he sustained a criminal familiarity. This woman often suggested, that “there could be no justice in God, should he be strictly just to us. Because not having bestowed what was necessary to make us essentiaily good, it would be requiring more than he had given.” Rosseau at first, was far enough from being of that opinion, yet he confessed he dared not combat the arguments of the lady, while acting on the same principles. “Finding in her,” he adds, “all the ideas I had occasion for, to secure me from the fears of death and its consequences, I drew confidence and security from this source.” This story is full of instruction, as to the matter before us. Universalism, like the sentiments of
that woman, furnishes the wicked man all the ideas he has occasion for. He cannot consistently combat it, because his whole conduct is based on the presumption of its truth. It requires but half an eye for him to see himself, pledged to a Universalist belief. The influence of early education, and the light yet lingering in his conscience, may prevent his adoption of it—he may be so inconsistent as to assert a contrary beliefthe decisions of his understanding may be strong against it, yet it requires but little discernment for him to see, that every word he utters against universalism, condemns himself. Like Rosseau, while far enough from being convinced of the truth of such doctrines, he cannot freely combat them. The inconsistency flashes upon him-he sees that the whole tenor of his life, demands such a belief, and every step of argument by which he would disprove it, goes to prove himself alarmingly at war with his own eternal interest. In this way a wicked life by unobserved, influence, represses those efforts of thought and reason, which should keep before the mind a steady supply of proofs of a judgment to come, and throws the mind under a bias towards the hope and the belief that there will be no judgment.
In the next place, Universalism every way furnishes the wicked man the ideas he has occasion for. His occasions for such ideas are as frequent as his wicked acts and his remorseful reflections upon them. Every admonition of conscience points to a judgment to come, alarms his quiet and makes occasion for repose, in the hope that there will be no reckoning day. And the occasions become more urgent, as these alarms of conscience become more deep and loud. The man who is determined to indulge in forbidden gratifications, is reduced to the necessity of facing the reproaches of his own conscience, or of doing habitual violence to his convictions, or of screening himself behind the miserable subterfuges of Universalism. So that, whether he distinctly purposes it or not, all the faculties of his mind feel the pressure and embarrassment of such a necessity. His fancy obeys its impulse in the conceptions it forms of religious things. His memory does its office with a partiality equally obedient. His perceptions are clear or clouded, on this or that side of the argument, in proportion to the force of the desire that employs them. And so his judgment is prepared to strike the balance on the side whither the occasion presses. And the whole mental machinery is governed in its movements, by the overwhelming interest at stake.
And then the doctrine confirms its dominion in the confidence it imparts to an impenitent life. After the mind, under the influence of the necessity of which we have spoken, grasping at the least shadow of evidence that appears to favor the desired doctrine, and bracing against every thing that makes against it, begins to admit some glimpses of assurance of it, such a confidence of the safety of an impenitent life comes in, as is not easily surrendered. The sense of security in sin, increasing in proportion as a man's belief in universalism approaches to assurance, places a mind in such a position, that it is about as difficult for him to entertain the thought, however forcibly urged, of stepping off from his universalist ground, as it would be for a man who was riding quietly. in a vessel, in the midst of the ocean, to entertain the thought of stepping off into the pathless sea. His determination on an impenitent life, fostered by the universalist hopes, becomes so fixed, that he is satisfied that he shall sink if his Universalism fails him. Thus the doctrine swells the nuinber of its adherents, by being a place of refuge to shield the ungodly from the fears of the just judgment of God, a retreat from the scorpion lashes of a guilty conscience.
Do I say by this that all Universalists are dissolute men? By no means. I affirm no further than that a wicked life fosters Universalism, and Universalism favors a wicked life. I do not deny but there are some Universalists of correct moral deportment. And with regard to their morality as a sect, I wish not and need not to affirm. It is a matter about which every man can form his own opinion.
Again, the mind of every man, who is conscious of wickedness, feels in the decision of this question, something of that embarrassment, which a condemned criminal feels when judg