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I cannot here hint at even the heads of argument that might be pursued, should the scriptural ground be thought insufficient, each of which might be auxiliary to the truth. Still the writer repeats, that such a course of investigation he does not wish to pursue, not because he has the slightest doubt as to the result, but from the wish to restrict the discussion within its appropriate limits. The scriptures are a common arbiter, and to their decision, fairly made out, each party, as yet, allows itself bound to submit. When we make reason, unenlightened by revelation, the umpire, we enter on a wide interminable field of fancy, vagary and folly, which different minds may explore, and, culling what suits, and rejecting what opposes their conflicting theories, they may make out by apparent learning and wily ingenuity, a plausible defence of any system, however futile or preposterous. To those best acquainted with the history of controversies, these remarks will appear most pertinent and forcible. I repeat again, that the proper arbiter is that, whose decision is final and authoritative, the Bible. To this the discussion has in these Letters been confined, and to this, so far as the writer is voluntarily concerned, it will continue to be confined.
I have one request to make of the reader of these Letters, viz. that he will consider why the terms “principle of evil,” and “ disease," have been so frequently repeated. These are the main theories of those professing to believe the scriptures, and yet denying the personal existence of the great adversary of souls, and of evil spirits.
Rev. and Dear Sir,
Reflecting on the arguments presented in these Letters, each of which proves the position taken, some remarks suggest themselves of solemn import.
One is, That while men doubt or resolutely deny the agency of Satan, they may at that very moment be giving strong evidence that his malignant influence is greatest
The writer's powers of exaggeration fail, who describes the Orthodox belief as a notion that the world is under the dominion of a presiding spirit, who divides the empire with the only God.” The prince of this world is not content with a divided allegiance or sovereignty. He is a thorough usurper. He, whose right it is to reign, the Creator and Preserver, the Redeemer and Sanctifier of man, is cast out from the heart, while Satan meets with no resistance to his ill-gotten authority from man himself. Man does not, by nature, even know that he is thus enslaved. When the declaration is made, he denies it; his feelings rise in anger at the imputation. Examine, examine well the feelings that rise in your bosom at this declaration ; you must be turned “ from the power of Satan unto God.” He that is of God heareth God's words. The declaration of Baxter is naked, but momentous truth, that “the soul of every man is by nature Satan's garrison; all is at peace in such a man till Christ comes, and gives it terrible alarms of judgment and hell, batters it with the ordnance of his threats and terrors, forces it to yield to his mere mercy, and take him for the governor ; then doth he cast out Satan, overcome him, take from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils; and then doth
he make a firm and lasting peace.” Have you ever reflected that you have an invisible active saults can be resisted only by repentance for sin, by faith in the divine promises, by prayer for heavenly strength and light, by the word of God, by a holy life, by the hope of salvation through Jesus Christ ? Clad in this panoply of heaven, the Christian soldier may go forth to his spiritual conflicts, fearless of assaults and confident of victory, and while engaged in the heat of battle, he may send forth shouts, jubilant of praise to his great Captain, who fought, conquered as he fell, rose, reigns, and shall forever reign.
Another remark is, That Satan has few more successful servants, (though they know it not, and mean not so,) ihan those professed teachers of Christianity, who either openly deny his existence, or, by never asserting it, let it slip out of the minds of their hearers.
The amiable and estimable qualities, the varied learning and beneficent dispositions of such teachers, may make them revered and loved and honored in any community. But if there prowl about a terrible adversary, “as a roaring lion,” thirsting for blood, seeking with a sleepless activity " whom he may devour," and they disbelieve and deny it, and, watchmen and shepherds of the flock as they are reputed, they cry “ all's well," "peace, peace," when imminent danger threatens, and "there is no peace,” but “ sudden destruction cometh,” are they not the greatest enemies of those committed to their trust? It is, indeed, a most ungrateful task to bring forward, either directly or by implication, such a charge against a highly respectable portion of the community. Sensibility would gladly keep silence. But, if the argument, herein pursued, be valid, I trust to the intelligent candor of the gentlemen implicated to say, whether the charge is not well fuunded, and whether duty does not demand that it be
made. I take my stand on the declarations of the New Testament. If these have been interpreted correctly, all must allow that the charge is too true; and surely we should not shrink from publishing the truth Christ preached, whoever may feel themselves condemned by it. If this interpretation be erroneous, let these gentlemen, who certainly are competent, show it, and I will as readily acknowledge my error and make all concessions, by them and the public deemed proper, as I now bring forward this charge. It will be seen, on a moment's reflection, that the imputation which may by some be thought personal and invidious, is the necessary inference from the Orthodox view of this contested subject. Truth, truth, not men, should be sought and honored. Determined opposition to the opinions, by us deemed false and dangerous, of those about us, may certainly consist with the kindest feelings towards those who entertain those opinions. No one would more readily pay the tribute of merited respect to the integrity, the exemplary manners, the kindly social virtues, the literary and general intelligence of the Unitarian clergy of New England, than the writer. Eulogium I shall not write. Truth I will not conceal, but with the modicum of ability I possess, will distinctly state, without fear or favor or hope of reward."
I call upon those, who are standing as beacon lights to direct immortal voyagers over
that vast ocean they must sail so soon,” to beware, lest they put the coruscations of their fancy in the place of that light which has burst upon our world from the throne of God. Vain are all brilliancy of imagination, kindliness of affection, and nobleness of nature, vain are all intellectual attainments, all cultivation of taste and refinement of feeling, which exist independently of the great change, the second creation in Christ Jesus to good works, that divine regeneration by the Spirit of God, by which holiness is wrought into the undying soul, and “without which no man shall see the Lord.” All else is but bran, chaff, husks. The chisel may have unveiled the majestic form ; the pencil may have caused the all but living group to start from the canvass; the orator by the energy or the pathos of his eloquence may have “ ruled the wilderness of free minds with unbounded authority;" the poet, catching inspiration from the fervid glow of his own intense and creative spirit, may have sent forth strains of unearthly sound, and more than earthly might, by which he outlives kings and conquerors and empires; yet upon the walls of this glorious fabric, erected to honor and perpetuate the triumphs of human genius, a man's hand may be seen writing, thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting. Knees, that trembled when rising to address a British or an American senate, may never have knelt in humble reverence to the King of kings. The noble heart, that scorned an ignoble deed, may never have felt one throb of penitence for sin, or one pulsation of gratitude for redeeming love ; no, may have scorned the service of Him, that, born in a manger, was crucified with thieves. Artists and poets and orators and statesmen there have been, that have given too fearful evidence that they knew not God, and obeyed not the gospel of his Son ; whose great engrossing object of pursuit has been, not, to render thanks to the giver of life and talent and opportunity of personal improvement; not, to adore the perfections of Infinite Eternal Excellence; not, to admire “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” which arrest the inquiries, and pass the comprehension of the heavenly host ; no, none of this ; but to perpetuate their own fame, when they themselves shall have quit the earth, and have been called into the presence of their Maker and their Judge. Is not the hand of the Great Deceiver in this, thus to hold out an illusive shadow before these gifted intellects, which they pur