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mouth ; yet let him remember that there are still hearts who sympathize with him; and hands that are still lifted up in prayer, for his success in the Spirit of the Pilgrims, to the Pilgrim's God.
[The character of the following Letter will be best understood from the perusal of it. Suffice it here to say, that it proposes not to continue and advance the controversy between its author and his opponent, but only to correct misrepresentations; otherwise we should not publish it. Indeed, we had intended to publish nothing more of this controversy, and we accordingly so declared ourselves in a note to our friends and patrons, accompanying our January number. Inasmuch, however, as the views of Dr. Taylor have been thrice* exhibited, and Dr. Tyler's but twice ;-as Dr. Tyler complains of misrepresentations which he wishes to correct; and as Dr. Taylor has occupied more than twice the number of pages occupied by Dr. Tyler ; we have concluded, on the whole, to insert his Letter following in the miscellaneous department of the present number: and with this we have done with the controversy. If our brethren wish to carry it on, they have a perfect right to do it, but they must seek some other vehicle of communication with the public, besides our pages.]
DR. TYLER'S LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THE SPIRIT OF
MR Editor :
In the prospectus accompanying the first number of the present volume of your work, I noticed the following statement.
Several months ago, at the earnest solicitation of a number of its contributors and patrons, its pages were opened to a discussion between different classes of persons professing the orthodox faith, but differing in some respects; and something of this description has been inserted in most of its numbers since; but the discussions have not been acceptable to many readers, and after the conclusion of the next number of what is now in progress, this species of matter, so far as strictly controversial, will be excluded."
If any thing which has proceeded from my pen, has given just occasion for dissatisfaction to any portion of the Christian community, I most sincerely regret it, and shall be glad to do any thing in my power to make reparation. What I have written, I wrote from an imperious sense of duty, and I have had the happiness to know, that it has met with the approbation of many of your readers; and very strong desires have been expressed to me by some of the most intluential friends and supporters of your work, that I would prolong the discussion. But under present circumstances, it is with extreme reluctance that I ask the favor of occupying another page. There are two or three considerations, however, which, I am persuaded, cannot fail to convince both you and your readers, that I am entitled to some further indulgence.
* It ought to be said that Dr. Taylor's letter to Dr. Hawes in our number for March, 1832, was inserted not at his request or that of any of his friends, but as an article in which it was supposed our readers generally, whether they approved or not, would foel some interesi, and which they would wish to preserve.
In the first place-Dr. Taylor has occupied nearly twice the number of pages in the Spirit of the Pilgrims that I have done. On what principle is he entitled to this double privi
Secondly-Since the publication of my last communication, a Review of my Remarks, of forty pages, has appeared in the Christian Spectator, in which I am charged with having advanced opinions, which not only lead to the worst of heresies, but which involve the most horrid blasphemy. Immediately after this Review appeared, I inquired of the Editor, if I might reply to it in the Spectator, and was given to understand that no reply would be admitted, unless it was a short letter of a page or two," to be accompanied by as many notes and comments as he might see fit to append to it.
Thirdly-Both in the Review just mentioned, and in Dr. Taylor's last reply to me, my views on several points, are entirely misrepresented, and I stand charged before the public with maintaining opinions which I not only disbelieve, but reject with abhorrence.
In view of these facts, I submit the question to you, whether I am not entitled to a further hearing.
But as some of your readers have expressed a desire that the controversy might not be prolonged, I will waive, for the present, any further discussion of the points at issue between Dr. Taylor and myself, and only ask the privilege of correcting some of the misrepresentations to which I have alluded.
I. My views of the divine permission of sin, are entirely misrepresented. I am represented as maintaining that “ sin is a good thing”——“ good in itself"_" the only real good to man”that “to sin is the very end of man's creation, the highest end of his being, the chief end of man—and that when men sin " they do the very best thing they can do." That this is a fair representation of my views, cannot surely
be believed by any one who has read what I have published with attention and candor. So far from having maintained what is here imputed to me, I have maintained directly the contrary--that sin is an evil, infinitely hateful—that it tends to evil, and evil only; and if I have maintained that it is the means or occasion of good, I have maintained that it is so, only by being overruled and counteracted in its tendencies. In this sense only have I maintained that it is the necessary means of the greatest good,-a position on which so many changes have been rung by Dr. Taylor and the Christian Spectator. I explained in my first communication, the sense in which I arlopted this position. I said, “ If the existence of sin is not, on the whole, for the best, and in this sense, the necessary means of the greatest good, God would not have foreordained its existence.” And does the position that sin is, on the whole, for the best, imply that sin is good in itself? Does it imply any more than that God will so overrule the sin which exists, and 'counteract its tendencies, as to bring to pass a greater amount of good, than would be realized if sin bad not existed ? That this is all which I intended to express by the position, Dr. Taylor has been fully apprized; for I stated explicitly in my last communication, that in the sense which he attached to the position, I did not adopt it, nor was it maintained by any of the orthodox; for he might be challenged to show that any orthodox writer has maintained that sin is the means of good in any other sense, than as it is overruled and counteracted in its tendencies. Still, strange as it may seem, Dr. Taylor persists in representing me as maintaining that “sin is not an evil”-and that when men sin, "they do the very best thing they can do;" and says he is not to be stultified into the admission” that this is a misrepresentation.
The Reviewer in the Christian Spectator, goes so far as to say, that I have "asserted that sin is a good thing.” When and where have I asserted this? Will the Reviewer be so good as to quote this assertion with reference to book and
That I have asserted this in express terms will not be pretended. The most that will be said in vindication of this charge, is, that I have asserted that sin is the necessary means of the greatest good, and that this implies, in the opinion of the Reviewer, that sin is a good thing. On the same ground he might charge me with having asserted that " God is the responsible author of sin”—that " man is doomed to sin by a natural and fatal necessity”-that he is a naturally unable to avoid sin and become holy, and therefore is not a moral agent”-that “the terms of salvation, and the exhibition of motives to comply with them, are a delusive mockery"—that “the true and only reason why sinners are lost, is not that they do not act, but that God does not”-that "regeneration by the Holy Spirit is unnecessary”— that “in respect to any capacity for happiness from the objects of right affection, man, as he is constituted by his Maker, is like a stone or a corpse”-that “the divine lawgiver is a deceiver”—that God " is a criminal tempter”--that in no respect is “Satan more truly criminal as a tempter than, God is”- that “if he [Satan,] does it (tempts) to secure the final and endless ruin of others, so does God"—that we ought “ to praise God for all the sin which we and others have ever committed”- that we ought "to take pleasure in other men's sins, and do what we can to forward the commission of them"—that“ to sin and be damned to all eternity is the result and the sole result in respect to the greater part of mankind, designed, preferred and purposed by their Maker”--that "those who are finally lost, are doomed exclusively to sin and everlasting burnings, that the smoke of their torment may endear heaven to the saved”-that “ celestial spirits, if they utter truth in their songs, praise God not that he vindicates his law and sustains his throne by the punishment of beings who have violated every will of his; but for exactly fulfilling the sole purpose of their creation: they praise God for that peculiar delight, those higher and exquisite raptures, which they could enjoy only by means of the agonies of others in everlasting fire”--that “the worst kind of moral action is the best”—and that “mankind are bound to believe that they shall please and glorify God more by sin, than by obedience, and therefore to act accordingly;"--for he insists that all these things are involved in the positions which I have maintained. But is it lawful to charge a writer with having asserted things which he has not asserted, merely because in our opinion they necessarily follow from other things which he has asserted? Has not Dr. Taylor said, “ It is confessedly unauthorized to charge opinions upon any man on the ground of mere inference”? How much more unauthorized must it be, to charge a man with having asserted what he not only has not affirmed, but has repeatedly and explicitly denied.
That I have denied that sin is a good thing, the Reviewer admits. He says, “If Dr. Tyler should say, that he utterly
“ denies that sin is a good thing, we answer, that we are fully aware of this, and regard it as a peculiarly grateful fact. But then Dr. Tyler also ASSERTS THAT SIN IS A GOOD THING -and is a man to be allowed without correction, to say that which is not true half of the time, because he says that which is true the other half ?" pp. 485, 486. I shall not allow myself to comment on passages like this. The candid reader will know how to appreciate them.
In regard to the position that sin is the necessary means of the greatest good, I wish here to say, that it is not a position of my coining, nor one which I ever should have coined. It was, I believe, first brought into use by Dr. Taylor himself.* He said in the note to his Concio ad Clerum, that it is a common assumption, that sin is the necessary means of the greatest good. Supposing that he meant to give a fair representation of the "common” notions which prevail in relation to the divine permission of sin, I understood him to use this language to denote the same as the following position : that God will overrule all the sin which exists, and so counteract its tendencies, as to bring to pass a greater amount of good, than would have been realized, if sin had never existed.f In this sense I adopted the position, and in no other; and in no other sense have I ever vindicated it. In any other sense, I have utterly disclaimed it. If this is not the sense in which Dr. Taylor meant to be understood ;-if he meant by the position that "sin is a good thing”_"good in itself”—and that when men sin,“ they do the best thing they can do ;" — then he has entirely misrepresented the views of his brethren, by saying that this is a
common assumption;" for no orthodox divine has ever maintained such a position.
In reply to my remark, that none of the orthodox maintain the theory that sin is the necessary means of the greatest good, if that theory is to be understood in the sense given to it by Dr. Taylor, he says, " That is, if Dr. Tyler and others
“ have contradicted themselves, they have not maintained that
* I will not say that this form of expression was never used by any writer, before it was brought forward by Dr. Taylor ; but I do not recollect ever io bave seer it.
+ That I had reason to suppose that this is the sense in which Dr. Taylor originally used this language, will appear by the following extract from the Christian Spectator for Sept. 1830. In the Review of Bellamy on the permission of sin, it is said, " In as. cribing to Dr. Bellamy, the theory, that sin is the necessary means of the greatest good, it is but just to remark, that he proposes it often in the form of a mere hypothesis, or as what may be true. Thus he says, it is easy to see how there may be more lioliness and happiness in th angelic world, than if sıū and mistry had been forever unknown In other instances, bowever, he adopts the form of positive assertion. He states 100, that is God had pleased, he could have hindered the existence of sin.' And this, he supposes, might have heen done in perfect consistency with free-agency. It is obvious therefore, thai Dr. Bellamy, in pari of his reasoning, proceeds on the supposition, that sin is the necessary means of the greatess good.” p. 531. That Dr. Bellamy has af. firmed, in so many words, that sin is the necessary means of the greatest good, will not be prelended. Yet the Reviewer ascribes to him this theory. And why? Be. cause he maintains, that“ if God had pleased, he could have hindered the existence of sin;", and that there may be eternally more holiness and happiness in the angelic world, than if sin and misery had heen forever unknown.” Now it will not be denied, that the views of Bellamy on this subject, have been adopted by the orihodox of New England generally.