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Pastor of a Chuioh in WeitoiinBter, Maai. 

<^1 b^imtdy tktrtfbft hunt I »p€kmC* «.PBALHifiT. 










[ OF A 

:^ttttire HetrfHtttf oii» 





Pastor of a Church in WeitoiinBter, Maai. 

^M b^imtdy tktrtfbft hunt 1 9p(deen'* psalmist. 

woodstock, ?t. 

pbihtko bt datid watson. 




J}Uhict Clerk'i Office. 

BE IT REMEMBERED, that od the Beventeeiith-day of 4%pril, 
A. D. 1827, in the fifhr-fint year of the independeoce of the 
United States of America, daARLBBiHuDBoir of the laid District, 
has deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof 
he claims as Aathof^Jn-thietw^rdt-foUDwinfff-to wit: 

A Series 6i Letters, addreased to'ReT.'Hofea BaNafl, of Boston ; 
being a vindication of the doctrine of a future retribution, against 
the ^no^l vfgmmiita mfldrfa^hvQ, Mr-itBalfouryand othecs. -By 
Charles Hudson, Pastor of^ Church .in Westminster, (Mass.) 
" I believed, therefore have I spoken.^' — Psalmist. 

In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, 
entitled ^'An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing 
the copies of Maps, Charts and JSaoks to the Authors and Proprie- 
tors of such copies during the times therein mentioned :^* and aho 
to an act, entitled ^An Act supplementary to an act, entitled. An 
Act for the encouragement -df learning, by eeouring the copies of 
Maps, Charts and Bookstto the Authors and Propnetors of such 
copies during the tines therein mentioned ; and extending the 
benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching 
historical and other prints.^' JOHN W. DAVIS, 

CUrk of the DUtrici of J^antukiuetU, 




hictoiy nmtutrin, sMowmI of Iks futgtian. and 
mMod of argmmentation. 

adpfftory reamiiu-^All secU differ UDOBg them- 
— Cootroveny Faluable» if rjglitlj oonducted— Sin- 
>UiigB remoQstnte sgaiiut a fuinre retribotion— 
lent of the question*-Mr. Bailmrs ■jrstem a $16/1^0' 
osi dewW l MP eaitire and nef^ire traaaferable— 4 
Ltemeat of the ^estion. p. 5— -17 


^Mtement and examination of Mr. B.^s Mysiem. 

smeat of Mr. B.'fe system— <!!reation and fonnation 
sred— The 2d chap, of Oen. a supplement to the Ist 
sin Qrigi9ates in the flesl^ considered — The soul 
pure, examined— Sin arises from the evil disposi- 
the mind— Men saved by death on Mr. B.'s system 
d by instruction— by the resurrection — without 
md repentaoce^-^T-hese positions contradictory to 
iien p. 18 — 54 



Ejfamination of Mr, BJ's arguments. 

aisery after death, because there is no sin there, 
ired— Criminality does not cease with the act — ^Mr. 
stement is begged, disproves future happiness, and 
hilosophical — The promise to Abraham, considered 
case of Adam, Cain, the old world, Sodom, Korah, 
kh and Judas, considered — ^The law of Moses, and 
ie of the Israelites, examined — Several passag-es of 
ire, Prbv. xi. 31,Eccl. xii. 7, Eccl. iv. 2, Rom. vi. 7, 
Bred. >^» ^— '^ 


Statement of the doctrine of a future retribution. 

Statement of the doctrine— Future miiery f^nm% out of 
Ibtnre consciousness— An equitable retribution does net 
take place in this world— Taught by David, Paul and Job 
•—also by observation and common sense— the progressive 
nature of religion, and the salutary design of punishment 
imply a future retribution. 91— -IS 

Ji future Judgments '\ 

Preliminary remarks-^Acts x^iv. 35, Acts xtii. "dO, 21^ 
Heb. ix. 27, 28, Matt xL 23, 24, 2 Pet. ii 9, Jude ver. 6, 
and 52 Cor. v. 8, 9, 10, considered— The design and utility i 
6f a future Jn^ment — ^Postscript 123^1^ 

• ' ' . • * ' 


Scripture proof of a future retribution. 

John V. 28,29, Matt x. 28, Luke'xvi. 19—31, 1 Pet. iii. 
18, 19, 20, and several other texts considered. 173—2! 


Future reward. Future misery the general opinion < 


Future reward grows out of the nature of the case — 
Christ rewarded after death for his labors and suffering 
on earth— Scripture proof of future reward — A future 
retribution the common sentiment of mankind — This doc- 
trine borrowed originally from revelation— The early 
fathers believed it — The doctrine of Purgatory grew out- 
of it — Few till within a few years ever doubted it— Mr. 
B.'s system founded by Simon Magus, and believed by 
the Gnostics— 'The deniers of future misery greatly di« 
vided among themselves. p. 240— 2J 


Objections considered. 

Imrooi^ality cannot suffer, considered — ^Remarks upon 

the resurrection — If men are punished in the next state 

for crimes committed in this, they must be punished in a 

third for crimes committed in the second, and so en to 

Biejnutfp coofidered— Human penalties confined to thi* 




worid, considered— Christ came not into this world to sare 
Bsn in the next, examined— Men do not sow g^rain in 
this coimtrf, and reap the hanrest in Enrope, considered— 
The righteoos and the wicked in the same man at the 
ssme time, examined. 358—984 

^ JHbral iwfiiunee, and eandudkig r$mark$. 

Preliminary remarks— Mr. B/s system of dan^ront 
ioAaence — Encourages rohberr and saicidc-Compared 
with Infidelity and Atheism— The case of the Saddacees— 
Mt, B.'s argument in fitror of the moral inilnenoe of tus 
' Kheniey examined— Fear snbTerts lore to God, consider- 
•i— Sinners tlunk they are doing their daty, examined — 
Mr. Bb*s character good« thooghUs system is of dangerooe 
tjBdeney — Deniers of a fbtnre retribution dwell but little 
spon practical religion— Term of fellowship— Concluding 
itmaiks. 285—307 



Jutroiudary nmarkif tlaUmint qf the qutiUotij amd mtihod of 



BelieTing 70a to be a sincere inquirer after truth, and 
a friend to manly discussion ; and feeling persuaded 
that the genuine doctrines of the gospel will not suffer 
bj free investigation, I am induced to address you these 
Letters upon the subject of a future retribuHotit on 
which a difference of opinion obtains between us. And 
ilthough I have every assurance of your candor and 
friendship, still I acknowledge that I feel no small share 
I of diffidence in addressing a brother whose talents have 
' rtndered him ^mipent,and who has been in the ministry 
i more years than I have been in existence. But prompt- 
ed by the importance of the subject^ and encouraged by 
the coiuuderation of vour candor and Christian affection, 
I propose in these Letters to offer such remarks upon 
your system as occur to my mind, state my own views 
i upon ttie subject of future punishment* and adduce such 
I evidence from scripture and reason, as has inclined me 
1 to believe, that, although all misery will be of limited 
1 duration, it will not be bounded by the death of the body.. 
I center upon the examination of this subject with the 
«pre cneerfiiiness, from the conviction thsX V Wt^. \is^-* 


thing to lose. For if the opinion I have embraced, bi 
in accordance with the scriptures^ I feel conscious that 
it cannot be overthrown ; and if it be unfounded, th^ 
sooner I am convinced of tnj error, the better. 1 have 
nothing to fear, therefore^ in tiiis discussion. But oil 
the contrary, though i have not the vanity to supposV 
that I shuil be able to eft'ect any material change iil 
jour religious opinion, I trust 1 hhall be able, in some 
degree, to show the reasons of mine ; and what is still 
inorc valuable, to show the public that a religious discu9» 
tion can be carried on in the exercise of Chris^tian feel* 
ings, without bitterness or personal reflections. 

Neither will the difference of opinion which exists 
among our brethren, give any occasion for triumph to 
the daughters of the uncircumcised ; for all denomina- 
tions differ in opinion among themselves. While the 
believers in endless misery are divided into numerous 
sects and parties, and are so embittered against each 
other, that they will have no fellowship together, and 

'will even exclude each other from the table of their 
common Master, it cannot be thought stninge that a 
difference of opinion should exist among the believers 
in the opposite doctrine. Neither is the existence of 
controversy in our order an unprecedented thing. The 
Unitarians, though a respectable and flourishing sect, 
are greatly divided in opinion; and public controversy 
has existed among them, as in the case of Price and 
Priestley. The Episcopal Church has furnished writers 
on almost every side of the question. And in our own 
country. Professor Stuart and Dr. iMiller, both orthodox 
divines and advocates for the doctrine of the Trinity, 
Kave lately discussed before the public the subject of the 
•^eternal Sonshipof Christ.'* The Presbyterians at the 
South have recently been engaged in controversy on the 

principleB of church government. Now should a dif* 


lerence of opinion among us create anj alarm* when a 
difference equally great, exiats in evcrj other clenominar 
600 P J>e him ihut is without sin, cast the first stone. 

A difference ofaentiroent in any denomination ia evi- 
dence of the aincerity of ita professora. The humaa 
Mind is 80 constituted, and our eilucationa are so yery 
different* that men will necessarily arrive at different 
conclusiona in mattera of religion* No entire sect or 
party of men, who have courage to think for themselvea» 
aad frankness enough to declare their opinions, will lit 
found agreed on every subject. When any entire deno- 
mination, therefore, profess to be united on every point* 
it is a strong presumptive argument, that they are want- 
ing, either in independence or frankness. A diversity 
of views is not alWays an evil. It may serve many val- 
uable purposes. It creates a spirit of inquiry, and calla 
into exercise many of the latent powers of the mindt 
which would otherwise have lain dormant, and wasted 
by inaction. It also opens a broad field for the exerciaa 
of that charity which is the distinguishing trait in th«. 
character of the Christian, and which is emphatically 
styled *'the hand of perfeetness.^^ Notwithstanfling refi- 
gious controversy has been greatly deprecated by many 
iincereaiid pious Christians, I am far from regarding it 
imiversally as an evil. A great part of Paul's epistles 
is of a controversial nature. And was not the gloriova 
reformation from papal superstition effected by contro- 
versy ? It is to free and manly discussion* that tha 
doctrines of Protestants owe their rise. And it is by 
the same means that the doctrine of the '^Restitution of 
all things" has been revived in this age and country. 
To free investigation, tUen, the Christian public ia 10- 
debted for many of its most valuable blessings. 

But religious controversy is not free from abuao* 
When it is carried on with an improper a^\t\t^\l\%^$cv 

d LETTEti I. 

ductire of mischief. If it originates in ambition, and r 
ends in bitterness ; if it generates the unhallowed feel- \, 
ings of hatred and ill-will, and destroys affection and ? 
fellowship, it maj be regarded as an evil. But then, the 
liiult lies not in controversj itself^ but in the parties 
who engage therein. That disputant who misrepresents 
Hia opponent, by artfullj giving a false construction to 
Us language, or bypassing over his principal argument j 
who labors to conceal his own views, and wanders from 
the question at issue, gives evidence of the weakness of 
his cause, and evinces to the world that he is governed 
by unchristian feelings, and is contending for mastery 
rather than truth. But if controversy is properly con- 
ducted, it is nothing more than fi^e and riitional dis- 

Though in these pages I shall attempt to support the 
doctrine of a future retribution, you are not to consider 
that it is from self-interest or personal ad vantage, that I 
plead for this doctrine. So far as selfish feelings are 
engaged, they remonstrate against a future retribution. 
Were I to shape my religious creed by my own indi- 
vidual feelings, 1 should exclude all misery, both present 
and future. If future punishment is true, I am exposed 
to it as well lib others ; and hence it cannot be supposed 
that I flatter niyself with any advantage from the truth j 
of this doctrine. Bbt human feelings are not the proper 
test Sin alwayi corrupts the mind, and leads the sin-. 
ner to hope that he may escape the righteous judgments 
of God. A just retribution is the dread of sinful crea- 
tures. When Paul reasoned of h judgment to come, 
the unbelieving Felix trembled. There is, therefore, 
much more danger of being biassed against this doctrine, 
than in its favor. If a future punishment be the truth of 
God, it is natural to suppose that it will meet with oppo-. 
MtiOD from the selfish feelings of the htiman heart ; while 


your scheme will be supported bj the same feeling8« 
though it be an error. lo order to judge correctly in 
the case, then, it is necessary that all selfish feeliDgp 
and personal interest be laid aside. 

Perhaps you may say that in the above remarks, I ha^^ 
adopted the maxims laid down by the believers in end* 
less misery. And what of that ? Must truth be reject- 
ed, because it is advanced by those who oppose onr 
general system P If we are candid, we shall be willing 
to receive the truth, bj whomsoever it may be advanced. 
I am far from desiring to differ from every other deno« 
inination. Shall we reject the being of a God, because 
the abetters of endless torment advocate that doctrine P 
Some of our public laborers appear to think that in order 
to support our general system, we must reject everj 
doctrine held by any other sect. But this thirst for 
innovation is extremely dangerous. It may show that 
they have a zeaU hut it shows at the same time, that it 
is a zeal •*not according to knowledge." We believe 
that man J of our brethren have run into an extreme by 
embracing the doctrine of endless misery. And this 
very consideration ought to teach us caution, that we 
may avoid the other. Nothing is more natural than for 
nen to go from one extreme to its opposite. And unless 
onr denomination have exercised more wisdom than all 
which have gone before them^ it is just to conclude, that 
some of us, in coming off* from endless misery, have 
carried our views into the other extreme. Surely, that 
person would be wanting in modesty ;, who should assert 
that every denomination but his own, embraced nothing 
bat error. There is not that difference between the 
Various theories, which some people imagine. The fun- 
damental doctrines of the gospel are embraced by almost 
every denomination, how much soever they may differ 
in explaining them. 

f * 


A truly Wise man will always endeavour to improve 

by the virtues and foibles of others. And as we are 

sensibfe that tnany religious teachers have dwelt too 

much upon the threatenings of tiivine inspiration, it be- 

coiAefs us to beware of the other extreme. A middle 

totirse is generally preferable. The gospel of Jesus 

Christ, though a dispensation of mercy, has threateniogs 

as well as promises. The author of this dispensation 

wflis anointed by the Father, to proclaim the day of ven- 

geanceofoUr God, as well as theUcceptable year of the 

Lord.* The Christian minister is to persuade men by 

tikttttrors of the Lord^i as well as to beseech them 

by the mercies of Qid^i Now if we dwell exclusively 

upon the proknises of the gospel, we go counter to divine 

inetruction. If we make no other use of the threaten- 

ings than to explain them away, and convert them into 

assurances of pardon, we Weaken the motives of our 

holy religion, and injure the cause we are laboring to 

support. These remarks, I think, will strike you li 

self-evident truths. 

The success of any cause depends much upon the 
course pursued by its public advocates. And, although 
I can say with pleasure that you hihre done much to 
ettend the cause of liberal Christianity, and havebeeii 
eminently successful in rectifying false notions relative 
to the character of God, and the destination of mankiitd, 
-still I have the mortification to say, that I think jw 
have carried your principles too far. Had you confined 
yourself to scripture phraseology, and been content it 
say, in the lang^iage of (he apostle, that the ec<momy*ol 
diyine grace will be accomplished **in the dispensatibi 
of the fulness of times," I should have rejoiced with joj 
unspeakable. But when you limit the benefits of th( 
gospel to this stat^ of «xJ9tence,:and thus fix <'the tinef 

^ y#«. JxL t, t.Jt-Ci^. T. \\. \ torn. i\\« U 


and seasons which the Father hath put in his own power/' 
I feel impressed by a sense of duty to enter my feebfe 
protest I do not mean, however, by these frank re- 
marks to call your sincerity in question, or to injure in 
the least, yonr moral or religious character. Personal 
tttacks and unfriendly insinuations always betoken an 
improper spirit, and injure the cause of the person who 
■ses them. Every thing of this nature I shall endeavour 
to avoid. But if, in the ardor of debate, the writer 
•hould unfortunately adopt them, it is freely acknow- 
ledged that it would not redound to his honor, nor pro- 
mote the interest of his cause. 

Having introduced the subject with these desultory 
remarks, 1 will now call your attention to a particular 

t statement of the theme in debate. The question is, not 
whether men are punished in this world, but whetlier 
they receive all their punishment here ; not whether 
they are punished here for their sins generally, but whe- 
ther they are punished for every sin they commit ; not 
whether some are fully recompensed on earth, but whe- 
ther this 18 true of the whole human kind. All passages 
and arguments, therefore, which go to prove that men 
are punished in this state, have no bearini; in the case ; 
they mdst' prove that every individual receivers all hii 
punistanent in this world, or that he will receive none 
mJUr death, or else they prove nothing in this controversy. 
That mei^are accountable for their actions-to the Au- 
thor of *their beitig, is plainly taught in the scriptures, 
md demonstrated by universal experience. To assert 
the contrary is downright Atheism, if there is a Ood 
then, to whom 'we are accountable, it (presupposes that 
"ke haftgiven us a law as the rule of our-condact ; amd a 
law supposes a penalty which must be inflicted in case 
of t^nsgression. The very id^a of accountability, there- 
fore, teaches us that virtue will be rewarded ^Mid vice 
panished, here or hereafter, flevrat&i VfiA Y^TiviK\^^et^Sk 


grow necessarily out of accountability ; and all the 
ishments inflicted by God are founded upon the. 
principle.* Now if it be cruel in God to punish 
according to their deeds in a future state, it is eq 
so in the present. And on the other hand, if punish 
apportioned to our deserts^ inflicted in this worldg^ 
not only just, but merciful, then punishment founde 
the same principles, will be just and merciful in a fu 
state. We do not pretend that punishment in a fu 
state, differs either in nature or design from punish 
inflicted in this world. Men after death are not p 
ished on the principles of revenge or retaliation* 
with a design to humble and reform ; or, in other wo 
to qualify the creature for the enjoyment of happtn 
We do not believe that those will be punished in a fu 
state, who have been duly punished, and have becoi 
penitent here ; no — this discipline will be experien 
by nonie but those who hav^ not been equitably rec 
pensed in this state, and who go out of the world in 
bellion. Now on this view of the subject, what reas 
able objection can be brought against a future, discipli^ 
nary punishment, which does not weigh equally agaiast 
all punishment in this world? Why then are you m 
averse to this sentiment? You will agree with me that* 
virtue and happiness are inseparably connected. Nonr 
religion is valuable only as it makes men happy, that ii^ 
•s it makes them virtuous. Why then insist so strenin 
oQsly that all punishment is confined to this world ? Dt.. 
you really think that this sentiment is more productivs 
of piety and virtue than a future limited discipline ? Caa i 
you lay your hand upon your heart, and say in the pre- 
•ence of God^ that you think a future retribution corrupts 

^ I Will here state for the inforniation of the reader, that I thall 
not, in this or any future Letter, labor to prove any positroa 
which M held in common by the writer and him to whom thtat 


morals of society; that it weakens the motived to 
e, and leads to the perpetration of crime ? 
In the discussion of the question before us, much has 
said about the ground of the controTeri^v, and the 
od of argumentation. You maintain that all the 
of proof derolTesopon the believer in future pun- 
ent You insist that future punishment must be 
ed true^ or else yon are justified in believing the 
ite ; and when jod are called upon to produce thl( 
ence in favor of your scheme, you complain that 
is burdening you with proving a negative, #hich 'is 
le of proof. In a discussion of this question 
Mr. Turner, yon say, *' Although you persist in con- 
ing that it is incumbent on me to prove the negative 
tf tar general question, I am still disposed to maintain 
Circverse, and to contend that it is incumbent on you 
ft attempt to prove the positive of our general question 
If the testimony and word of divine inspiration. Until 
ftif is done, and the doctrine of future punishment i^ 
jp^ved from the word of Ood^-this doctrine is not entitled 
< to our belief.''* 

Again yon say, to prove positively and directly that all 
iiseiy is confined to this life, "iii, to say the least, throw- 
kg all the lat>or on one side.'t Now, Sir, if to prove 
that all misery is confined to this life, in "throwing all 
(be labor op one side," then to prove that men will be 
pnnished after death, is ''throwing all the labor on the 
kCher side." This then is the onljr ground on which you* 
irill consent to meet your opponent in this controversy;. 
tie must go forward and prove his doctrine true— he 
(post pursue a course which according to your acknow- 
ledgement, is "throwing all the labor on one side." He 
must pursue a plan which appeared to jou 'So unrea- 
sonable," that you rejected it at ouce4 

« Oonpel Visitant, Vol. 3. p. 31S. 

' * U. MafaMiae, Vol 4, p. 20. \ Vo. V' ~^- 



The course which you have adopted, is pursued fa 
the principal advocates for jour views. They all 
dine producing any evidence in favor of their syf 
being^as would seem, determined to '-throw ail the 
on one side." Mr. Kneeland says, ^'It is not pre! 
ed, as we know of, that the scriptures prove there 
be no future punishment; for how can they pr 
negative F"* From these citations, and to these o 
Bright be added, it appears that you consider our sj 
as the positive, and yours as the negative of the < 
tioD before us. But permit me to ask you, have yc 
positive to your faith ? does your doctrine consis 
tirely of negation? does your faith rest solely 
disbelief? One would think so by your meth* 
meeting this discussion. When you are declaring 
views to the world, you are not at all deficient in 
live affirmation $ but as soon as you are engag 
controversy on this subject, your doctrine is all negc 
But, Sir, you cannot be insensible that in questit 
this nature, the positive and negative are transfi 
from one side to the other. If the doctrine of i 
punishment is advanced, that side of the questio 
comes the positive, and yours the negative. But i 
doctrine which limits all punishment to this woi 
advanced, then that becomes the positive, and i 
ponishment the negative of the question. Thu 
great cry which has been raised about proving a 
live, has no bearing in this case ; because it can b€ 
on one side as well as on the other. 

But, Sir, the doctrine which bounds all punisi 
by temporal death, for which you contend, mu 
eithera positive or a negative. Is it a negative ? . 
it is uicapable of proof; then you have no evidei 
favor of your hypothesis — not a solitary text of scri 

* Cbrifitiao Metieogec. 


' a single argament from reason ; then your system ia 
7 a negation, and jour faith disbelief—a creeti which 
lid better become a sceptic than a professed Chris* 
II. Thus bj pretending that your side of the qaes* 
B is only a negative, you in reality renounce all scrip* 
e evidence, and are compelled to say with Mr. Knee* 
d, *<It is not pretended that the scriptures prove there 
I be no future punishment" — But are your views a 
ftCive? Then let us no longer be told, that future 
dsbment must be proved true, or else it is nut entitled 
belief. If your scheme is a positive, then it is hoped 
t you will not refuse to hieet us on this ground. 
(I then have an affirmative as well as we, and you are 
ler as great obligation to prove your affirmative, as 
are to prove ours. Now if you refuse to meet us in 
I manner, you refuse to meet us on equal grouml, and 
I give the public reason to make unfavorable remarks 
.tive to your conduct, and the strength of your cause, 
ust you will not attempt to support your 8ide of the 
stion by asserting that the scriptures are silent upon 
re punishment ; for this is only preparing a weapon 
yourself. This is the popular defence which is set 
J the abetters of your system. But in fact, it ia 
lowledging that your system is only a negation of 
if« But popular as this mode of defence is, it is far 
I favoring those into whose service it is constantly 
aed. This argument, if it deserves the name, may 
etorted upon you with all its force. Thus, if yon 
proof of future punishment, I will give you the 
ice of tlie scriptures on the opposite doctrine, 
eeling disposed to treat the subject with all possible 
less, I will endeavour to state the case in a manner 
:h 1 think must be satisfactory to all candid inquir- 
and objectionable only to those who fear to meet the 
eci on its proper ground. Let the question be, 1$ 


all misery confined to this life ; or does it ex 
death? in this two-fold question, jour o 
mine are both stated. You believe in the afi 
the first que9tioD9 as much as I do in the ai 
the last Aod it is as incumbent on you to 
affirmative, as it is on me to prove mine, 
ment is so fair and equitable* that I cannpt 
jou will object to it fiut should you atten 
this statement as some have done, and insi 
question should be,^J9oes the bible teach the 
future punishment ? I shall regard it as shr 
the subject in debate ; or, to use your owi 
**throwiDg all the labor on one side." And 
posed, I could avail myself of the same ar 
that the question should be — Does the bih 
doctrine of the happiness of all men at t) 
deaths In this way we might dispute etern 
coming to the merits of the question. 

But 1 am not desirous of throwing all tl 
either side. I wish you to defend your 
positively and negatively, and I am perfectl 
do the same. I should show the weakness 
by refusing to advance evidence in favor o 
the q^estion, and you would betray the sam 
by refi^sing to do the same on your part. I 
fore I shall not be told that the burden of pr 
be with the plaintiff; for this again, is avoidi 
tiQD, as this plea can be made by us as wel 
The doctrine for which I contend, is the 
held by our order, from the third century d 
present day, with a very few exceptions. 1 
frould more naturally appear that you are t 
iU)d^^ the defendant. We can call upon yo 
for prpof, with more propriety than you c 
Wc arp filling, bpweyer. to yaivc this rigl 



n on equal grounds. The statement here made» is so 
and honorable, that I think it must meet your accept- 
ance. I do not mean by any of these remarks to call 
pur candor or sincerity in question, but only to suggest 

at you have been led to view the subject in an impro- 
^per light. Neither are you to understand the above in 

le light of a challenge. My only design is to state the 

;e in its proper light, to mark the course which ought 

io be pursued by all who controvert this question. The 

itatement and examination of your system will be at- 

tonpted in our next. 

Yours, &c. 



StatemerU and exammation oJMr, BaXUyi^M «y«<<9H. 


Having stated the question in debate, and the groui 
of the controversy, I will now endeavor to state yo 
system, compare its several parts together, and t< 
them by the volume of divine truth. 

Your system in brief, appears to be this ; — Man f 
sesses two natures, or principles, soul and body ; the c 
pure, the other impure. Ml sin originates in the fie 
and when the soul is dislodged from the body, it is nee 
sarilypure, and consequently happy. That this is a ji 
representation of your views, will appear from the f 
lowing quotations from your writings, 

''The opposition of the law of the heavenly man 
that of thefsshly, is meant by the prohibition."* "S 
is the fruit of the flesh."t "Ml sin originates in i 
earthly nature.^^t ''It is to the powers and appetites 
the flesh that every sin we commit, may be traced. 
"The scriptures plainly indicate that the constitutiot 
infirmities of flesh and blood are, in fact, the source frc 
whence all sinful temptations arise."|| «Now it is pla 
from scripture that all sin, all wickedness, and all ei 
doings, are the works of the fle8h."1[ "The mind, spir 
soul, or whatever the reader pleases to call the immort 
part of man, that spirit being eternal and immortal 
pure, was opposed to the passions which would immec 
ateiy rise from the fleshly nature."** "Another ve 

• Treatise on Atooement, p. ^4. t lb. p. 49. 

fOoB. Visit. Vol. II. p. 187. # Lectures, p. 74. 

Lect p. 78. f Le«t. p. 369. 
• Atoo. pp. 32, 33. 


LETTER n. 19 

l^at inconsistency is to suppose that after people shall 
live ceased from all Ihe sins enumerated in the teit, 
and are in a constitution of existence where no such 
crimes can ever be committed, they are there to be tor- 
neoted for what they did in this World."* "The hearer 
is cautioned against supposing that ^e allow that the 
text state will be subject to sin ; we distinctly say that 
^^4 tbe evidence of this, is wanting both in scripture and 
J^ r^aBon."t "As sin had its origin in the flesh and blood, 
tod is the natural offspring of the lusts by which med 
Ire tempted, and as no intimation is given in the scrip- 
tures, that sin ever was, or ever will be committed out of 
^ ^ lesh and blood, we venture to hope that sin will never 
f'^} exist after the present mortal state shall close."J 

Here then we have your system before us: that man 
msists of two natures, flesh and spirit; that the flesh ii 
^^ the source of all wickedness, and the spirit is "immorttil- 
iypure, so that the destruction of the body frees the soul 
from guilt. 
P 1 will now state the grand basis on which you found 
. jour hypothesis. In your "Treatise on Atonement," 
, . jou attempt to make a distinction between the creation 
\om *^<l /®'^*^*<'** of man. His created character was spir^ 
froi- ^^^' ^"^ pure, but his formed character was earthly 
^l^ and sensuaL You 8ay,§ "1 have argued that the forma- 
^ tion of man was after his creation, as appears from the 
irit account given bj Moses, in Genesis. It seems reasonable 
P^ to conclude that man, in a spiritual sense, was created 
j//j' in Christ, the heavenly nature, as his body was formed 
^^' in Mam, the earthly. And as all our bodies came from 
gj^* that one formation, so all our spirits came from that 
. one creation.^^ "If Christ be the image of God, and 

►. . • Lect. p. 242. t Lect. p. 409. 

X U. Magazine, Vol. III. p. 150v 
i AtoD. pp. 192, 193* 


20 LETTER n. 

man was created in God's image, it is plain that 
was created in Christ."* "We are then inform< 
the sacred text, that God formed (not created) m 
the dust of the ground*^ 

From these passages taken from your Atonemi 
would seem that man w^s first created a spiritual 
c^luUly pure f and was created in Jesus Christ 
that some time after his creation, God was plea 
/ormhim of the dust of the earth, and from this e 
constitution all sin proceeds. This hypothesis, 
and yisionary as it is, is the foundation of your sy 
it is the basis on which your whole scheme rests. 
is what you introduce to solve the profound qu( 
Whence came evil? 

You maintain that man was first created spi 
and pure. But of the truth of this, you have no 
duced a particle of proof. You further state tha 
was created in Jesus Christ. What idea you nn 
convey by saying that man was created in Christ 
unable to determine. One thing however is c( 
viz. that the evidence you adduce in support a 
position is weak and inconclusive. The first pi 
you quote for this purpose, is Rev. iii. 14, where < 
calls himself, "the beginning of the creation of ' 
Wakefield renders the passage, "the chief of the 
tion of God." If this be its meaning, it furnisl 
proof that Jesus Christ was created before men. 
it is probable that St. Paul means the same, bj 
first born of every creature," that is meant by "tl 
ginning of the creation of God." And this he ex 
by saying, "he is the beginning, the first born 
the dead.^^X Here the apostle explains ^<the firs 
of every creature," to signify "the first born fro 

• Aton. p. 31. t lb. p. 31. 

f Col i. 15, 18. 

LETTER n. j^l 

i^;'^ that is, the first who was raised to immortal 
life. The passage therefore does not even prove that' 
JesQs Christ was created before men. Bat if it should' 
be granted that Jesus Christ was created before Adam, 
what has this to do with the point in question ? If 
Christ was created before Adam, this furnishes no proof 
that Adam was created in Christ. I presume it will 
be conceded that angels were created before men. But 
does this prove that men were created in angels P 
According to Moses' account, it will be seen that tb^ 
beasts of the field, fowls of the air, and fishes of the seiC 
were all created before men ; and it would follow front 
this, that men were created in the brutes, as clearly as' 
it follows that men were created in Jesus Christ, fronl 
the position that he was the first of God's creation. 

Because it is said by Moses that man was created ill 
the image of God, and Christ is called by the apostle, 
"the express image of his person," you infer that man 
was created in Jesus Christ Now this argument rests 
entirely on the principle that the same word has invari- 
ably the same meaning in every connexion in which it 
may be found. But no man of sober sense will admit 
such a position. Should you admit this principle, it 
would follow that Jesus Christ is the self-existent Jeho- 
vah, that Moses is the God of the universe, and that tlie 
Jewish rulers are the Supreme Being ; for the same 
names and titles are applied to Jesus, Moses, and the 
Jewish magistrates in some passages, which in others 
are applied to the Deity. It would prove that Jesus 
Christ is literally a lamb and a lion, a shepherd, a vine, 
ft door, a star, and at the same time a stone. It would 
prove that Job and Christ are one ahd the same being, 
for both are called God^s senmnU Nay, it would prove, 
that the words, create and form, have the same meaning 
in the first and second chapters of Genesis, because 

3 ♦ 


they are used synonymously in other passages, as will 
be shown below. Now I cannot believe that you will 
contend for a principle which will disprove every propo- 
sition, and leave you in scepticism. 

St Paul, it is true, calls Christ the image of God, 
and the same Apostle says also that man is the image 
of God.* Now this passage proves as clearly that man 
was created in himself as you have proved that he was 
created in Jesus Christ ; and the former is no more 
mystical than the latter. If any person has discernment 
enough to understand what is meant by man's being 
created, that is, first brought into existence, in Christ, 
I presume that he can understand what is meant by 
man's being created in himself. For my own part, I 
can form no conception of either. According to your 
views of the subject, the idea I am opposing is a leading 
feature in revealed religion. You make use of this no- 
tion to account for the origin of evil, to explain the 
doctrine of atonement, to show the nature of salvation, 
and to limit the extent of punishment. Your views of 
the creation and formation of man are, therefore, the 
fundamental article of revealed religion. And can we 
suppose that an article thus important would be wrapt 
up in mystery to that degree, that not one in ten thou- 
sand can understand it? The declaration, that man 
was first created in Christ, is to me utterly unintelligi- 
ble, and I very much doubt whether any person what- 
ever can form any definite idea upon the subject. If 
this be revelation, then revelation instead of enlighten* 
ing, tends to perplex, darken, and bewilder the human 
mind. The doctrine of two natures in man appears to 
be too mystical for belief. You object to the Trinitarian 
notion of two natures in Christ. You reject it because 
it is so mysterious that no definite idea can be formed 

• 1 Cor. xi. 7. 


upon the subject. But jour doctrine is liable to the 
same objection. You regard the Trinitarian notion of 
two natures in Christ as a subterfuge to shield them 
from the arguments of their opponents. When any 
passage is quoted expressive of Christ's inferiority to 
the Father, thej immediately say, this applies only to 
his human nature. This course, you strictly condemn. 
But you make use of the two natures in man in the 
same manner. The parable of the wheat and chaff jou 
explain in the same way. The wheat signifies the 
heavenly, and the chaff the earthly nature.* 

To support the idea of two natures in man, you 
lometimes quote 1 Cor. xv. 45, 46, 47.t "The first man, 
Adam, was made a living soul, the last Adam was made 
a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which 
is spiritual, but that which is natural ; and afterward 
that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, 
earthy ; the second man is the Lord from heaven." 
irVboever will take the trouble to read this passage in its 
:onnexion, will be sensible that the Apostle was speak- 
ng of Christ and Adam, and not of the two natures in 
nan. But for the sake of the case, we will admit that 
^aul was speaking of two natures in man. The passage 
heUf instead of favoring your views, is directly opposed 
them. You maintain that man was first created a 
firitual man, and afterward was formed a natural 
nan. But the Apostle maintains the contrary. He 
»ys, "That was not first which is spiritual, but that 
Bvhich is natural; and afterward that which is s'piri- 
tttoL" You contend that man was at first heavenly ^ 
and afterward by formation, became earthly. But Paul 
nras of another opinion. He says, "The first man was 
of the earthy earthy ; the second man was the Lord 
from heaven.^^ Your opinion is so directly opposite to 

* Aton. p. 119. t Notes on the ParableSf p. 17. 

£^ LETTER n. 

that of the Apostle, that 1 shall offer no further comir 
upon the passage. 

By examining the two first chapters of Genesis, I 
discover no ground for the distinction you attemf 
make between the creation and formation of man. 
assert that after man was formed of the dust of 
ground, he was a "partaker of flesh and blood, and 
sessed appetites and passions."* Now the propaga 
of our species certainly requires the existence of i 
and blood, and appetites. St. Paul mentions adul 
and fornication as the works of the flesh.t Remar 
upon this passage you say, ''These works, (i.e. adult 
fornication, &c.) are all the natural productions of 
fl^hly, earthly w«iure."J Again ; "These are the 
which our fleshly minds are daily producing."§ 1 
you acknowledge sexual intercourse to be the woi 
our fleshly, earthly nature. Without such interco 
our species cannot be propagated, and this work ne 
sarily requires the existence of flesh and blood, 
man in his created character, as you term it, was < 
inanded to propagate his species. As soon as man 
created, he was commanded to "be fruitful and m 
ply," verse 28. Since procreation necessarily supp 
the existence of flesh and blood, and bodily pass 
the command to multiply in the created state, incoi 
vertibly shows that they were in a condition to com 
i.e. that they were composed of flesh and blood at 1 
first creation. So that the distinction you make beU 
creation and formation, appears to be unfounded. 
we have seen that man in his created state, as 
denominate it, possessed those very appetites w 
you ascribe to flesh and blood, and attribute to 
earfhly nature. It is expressly said, that man waa 

* Aton. p. 31. t Gal. v. 19. 

% Leot p« 74. f Aton. p. 49. 


^f tted male and female, verse 9,7. But I would ask, does 
' this distinction exist among spiritual beings P Have 
^'. we any account in scripture of male and femaie souls? 
^1^ Does our idea of spiritual intelligences harmonize with 
«< the work of procreation— a work which necessarily re- 
I'l quires fleshly organs P Can we suppose — But J will 
^1 drop this delicate subject. 

'"■ What is there, I demand, in the account of man's 
first creation, which will not comport with a corporeal 
creation P The same terms and phrases in the same 
connexion, are applied in common to men and to brutes, 
;{ Must we understand that the brutes also were created 
'* spiritual ? It is said in verses 21, 22, that "God created 
-, great whales and every living creature that moveth» 
^ which the waters brought forth abundantly after their 
-: kind, and every winged fowl after his kind. And Qod 
^ blessed them, saying. Be fruitful and multiply, and fill 
^ the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth." 
Now this language is precisely the same as that made 
use of to express the creation of man, and ought to be 
understood in the same manner. If the word create^ 
when applied to man to express his introduction into 
being, signifies that his existence is spiritual, and not 
corporeal ; then the same word in the same connexion, 
when applied to the brutes, ought to be understood in 
the same sense. There is no intimation in the account 
that this term has one meaning in one case, and another 
entirely different, in the other. After the fish and the 
fowls were created, they were commanded to be fruitful 
and multiply, and fill the waters and the earth. After 
man was created, he was commanded to be fruitful and 
multiply, and replenish the earth. Now if the fact that 
the brutes could propagate their species, proves, as all 
will admit, that they possessed corporeal bodies, then the 
same fact relative to man, proves that he possessed a 


20 LETT£R U. 

corporeal body, and that, at his first creation ; for im- \^ 
mediately after his creation, he was commanded to ^^^ 
multiply; If the phrase, be fruitful and multiply, when [,^ 
applied to brutes, is un<lerstood of a corporeal multipli- ^ 
cation, then the same phrase, in the same connexion, ^, 
ought to be understood in the same sense, when applied ' 
to men, since nothing to the contrary is intimated in 
the connexion. If we are allowed to interpret the same ^^ 
terms and phrases difFeiently, when they are found in i, 
the same connexion, and when the subject does not re- l 
quire, but absolutely forbids it, we can make the scrip- I 
tures mean what we please. Men and brutes were ^ 
created in the same manner ; and you must either ad- ^ 
mit that the brutes were first created spiritual beings, J 
or else give up this fundamental article of your system, i 
Again ; you say,* «'After God had finished his work j^ 
of creation, consecrated the seventh day, and rested 
from his labor, we are informed that there was not a 
man to till the ground. This information is reasonable, 
and authorizes me to say, that as man stood in his ere* 
ated character^ which isChtist, the heavenly man, be 
was not at that time formed of the dust of the ground, 
was not of the earth, earthly, and therefore was not a 
tiller of the ground." The sentiment here expressed 
is. diametrically opposite to the account given by Mo- 
ses. Instead of there being no man to till the ground, 
after the six days' work was accomplished, we are 
assured that no sooner was man created, than he was 
commanded, not only to increase and multiply, but to 
replenish the earth and subdue iU I cannot expose 
your statement more effectually thap by giving the 
language of the historian. Verses 27, 28. "So God 
created roan in his own image ; in the image of God 
created he him ; male and female created he them."t 

* A ton. p. 31. 

f Mais and/emale sreaitd he l/ietn. The lewra^d Ot. ^^c\l- 

liETTER IL j|7 

td God blessed them ; and God said vnto them. Be 
itful and multiplj, and replenish the iarth, and tub- 
e it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and 
^r the fowl of the air« and over everj living thing that 
>veth upon the earth." 

Upon this passage let it be observed, that this is the 
st account we have of the creation of man. Our first 
rents here stood in the created character, as jou are 
tased to call it. But instead of their being spiritual, 
i find they were distinguished bj sexes, and com- 
LOded to propagate their kind. You say after the six 
ys' work was finished, there was not a man to till 
i ground. But the language of our historian is en- 
e\y different. He informs us that man was com* 
inded to replenish the earth, and subdue it, while in 
3 character in which he was created. Subduing the 
rthi^ tilling the ground; and this, man was com- 
loded to do on the first day of his creation. It was 
so on the first day of his creation, that dominion was 
ven him over the brute creation. This is another 
oof that man was at first created with a corporeal 
idy. Will you pretend that the brute creation were 
it in subjection to man while he was entirely detached 
om matter, and only a pure spiritual intelligence ? 
Tould such dominion be a blessing to spirits abstracted 
omall corporeal substances? The farthest from it 

rd, in his elaborate connexion between Sacred and Profane 
istory, has the following remarks upon these words. *'Thc 
iebrew word» might be translated— //le male and the female^ he 
'toted them ; th«it is, he created both : not the male only, but 
le female also. The words of Moses are very plain ; he tells ut 
lat God on the sixth day created the woman as well as the man. 
[e, doesBot say that God created bn(h at the same instant, nor 
I the sam iwnner ; for this he distinctly considers in the next 
hapter. Bm^be here hints to ns, that God made both the male 
od the female within the tim« ^i this ai&tlv d%.|,^'^^ ^«^^^V^» 
»/>• 67, 68, 


It is further evident, that our original ancestors were 
at first created corporeal beings, from verse 29 — "And i 
God said, (to Adam and Eve) Behold, I have given you ^ 
every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the 
earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree 
yielding seed ; to you it shall 6« for meat.^^ Here we ' 
find that God provided man with vegetables for his food. ^ 
But will you absurdly maintain that beings purely spir- 
itual, feed upon vegetables ? No, you will not You 
say yourself, *<it does not satisfy the soul, her food is of 
a different kind.""^ Thus from the first chapter of 
Genesis we are taught that man was at first created an 
earthly, corporeal being, and distinguished by sexes;- 
that he was commanded to propagate his species, and 
cultivate the earth ; and that he might do this more 
effectually, God provided him with vegetables for his 
food, and gave him dominion over the brute creation. 

The gross mistake into which I conceive you have 
fallen, arises from considering the second chapter of 
Genesis a continuation of the history begun in ttie first* 
Instead of its being a continuation of the first chapterj 
it appears to be only an explanation or supplement to 
the same account. In the first chapter Moses has giv- 
en a summary account of man's creation; in the second 
he has given the same account in detail. As the subject 
of man's creation was vastly important^ and as the ac- 
count of that event was more brief, according to its 
magnitude, than the account of other events, Moses 
thought proper to enlarge upon this subject, and inform 
us of the manner of its accomplishment. Consequently 
in the second chapter he resumes the subject, and gives 
a circumstantial account of the creation of roan. In the 
first chapter he tells us that man was made riHile and 
female; in the second he informs us of the ^cess. He 
Mja the male was made of the dust of the earth, and 

* Aton.p.32. 


LETTER n. 29 

animated by the breath of the Almighty ; and that tb« 
woman was taken from the man. In the first chapter h%' 
informs us that man was commanded to subdue the earthi 
m the second he gives the particulars. He says that 
Grod planted a garden, and put man into it, to dresf and 
to keep it In the ^rs^ he informs us that God gave maa 
the trees and herbs for food ; and in tlie second, that 
man was permitted to cat of the trees of the garden. 
Let any unbiassed person read these two chapters with 
attention, and it would seem that he must discover that 
they both relate to the same event. Moses wrote as 
most of our military commanders write in these days. 
First by giving a summary of the event, and then by 
giving a detailed account of the same event. In this 
manner Moses wrote the history of man's creation; 
first by a summary, then in detail.'*^ 

Our historian commences the second chapter by say- 
ing, '^Thus," (that is, in the manner described in the 
first chapter) **the heavens and the earth were finished, 
and all the host of them." In the second and third 
verses, Moses gives an account of God's ending his 
work, and consecrating the Sabbath. Here Moses ends 
bis summary or general account of the creation. You 
allege a clause in the fifth verse to prove that after the 
seventh day, there was not a man to till the ground. 
We readily admit that Moses declares there was not a 
man to till the ground. But he gives no intimation 
that this was after the seventh day. On the contrary, we 

* ^^The first and second chapters of Genesis,^' sajs Dr. Shuck- 
ford, ^^give us the ivhote of what Moees relates concerning the 
creation of mankind. Now we shall see that they accord perfectly 
with each other *, if we consider the first chapter as giving a short 
md genera] account of this great transaction ; and the second to 
be a resumption of the subject, in order to relate some particular! 
belonging to it, which, in the conciseness of the first relation^ 
were passed over unmentioned.'* ConueiLioii^ N^VV). V«^« 
**Tbe gecond chapter is no more than a »up^\«uk«uX \A^%Wt-> 


30 LETTER n. 

have endeavored to show that the second chapter is only 
a supplement to the first If this be the case, then the 
clause jou cite> instead of applying after the seventh 
day> applies before. But let us examine the passage 
itself, with a view to ascertain the time to which the 
clause in question alludes. The fourth and fifth verses 
read thus — <*These are the generations of the heavens 
and of the earth, when, they were created; in the day 
that the Lord God made the earth, and the heavens, and 
every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and 
every herb of the field before it grew ; for the Lord God 
had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was 
not a man to till the ground.^^ Now let us ask, when | 
was there not a man to till the ground ? The passage 
shall answer. In the day that the Lord made the hea- 
vens and the earth, the plants and the herbs. B^ turn- 
ing to the first chapter, it will be seen that the plants 
and herbs were created on the third day ; and that man 
was created on the sixth day. So it was true that 
there was not a man to till the ground on the day in 
which the plants and herbs were created ; for man was 
not created until the sixth day, that is, three days 
later. Thus we see that the fifth verse of the second 
chapter does not furnish a particle of proof in favor of 
your hypothesis ; but, when taken in its connexion, goes 
directly to confirm the views we have advanced. Will 
you still maintain that • this passage applies after the 
first week of the world, when the subject, the context, 
and every rational consideration forbid it? I think you 
will not. 

I know of no argument which you adduce in proof, of 

your hypothesis, which has not been examined, except 

the one founded upon the words, create and form. Be* 

cause Hoses in the first chapter uses the word create 

mnd fn the second the word form, you tak^ Vl W ^x^xvVftii 

^s^ these terms express ideas eu\^re\y ^\S«?c«^\.^t^'(s 


each other. But we have already endeavored to show 
that the same is meant bj creating in the first chapter, 
that is meant by forming in the second. The isubject 
and connexion pot the same meaning upon both terms. 
1 have already shown that the word create is, in the first 
chapter, applied to the brutes as well as to men ; and if 
it necessarily signifies bringing into spiritual existence, 
in one case, it must ^gnify the same in the other. Nky, 
the argument you draw from these terms to prove that 
man possesses two natures, the one Spiritual and pure, 
the other earthly and sinfiil, proves 'that the brutes also 
possess two such natures. Moses, it is true^ ^aji in 
the first chapter of Genesis, that God eredtedmin, and 
in the second chapter, that he formed him. And he 
says precisely the same concerning the briite creation. 
Chap. i. 21. «And God created great whales, and every 
living creature." Chap, ii^ 19. *'And but of the groufnd 
the Lord God formed* every beast of the field, afnd 
every fowl of the air»'' Here then the same brute ani- 
mals are said to have been created in one cha^pte^ Snd 
formed in the other ; and if this circumstance relative 
to V^aix proves that he potssesses two disiinctand dissim- 
ilar natures, it proves the same concerning the brutes. 
But will you contend that the brutes possess two dis- 
tinct natures, the one immortally pure, the other sinful ? 
I think you will not* You will piobably admit that 
when Moses, in the second chapter, says the hord formed 
the brutes, he alluded to their being brought into exist- 
ence, which is expressed in the first chapter by the 

** Dr. Shuckford has the following remarke upon the word 
formed. "We say formed^ in the perfect tense ; but the Hebrew 
perfect tense is often used in the sense of a preierpli^perfect, to 
speak of things done in a time past. The Syriac version is rightly 
rendered, God ^ad formed ; for the creatures were made before 
man.^' Thus our learned author understands the word form to 
have the same meaning as the word create in the two first chai^- 
Utb of Genesis. See Connexion, Yo\. VV • ip^. ^1— ^\ % 

82 LETTER n. 

word create* If this then is the sense relative to the 
brutal, it is undoubtedly the sense relative to the human 
creation. Besides, in the second chapter it is expressly 
said that the woman was made, <<And the rib, which 
the Lord Gud had taken from the man, made he a wo- 
man, and brought her unto the man," verse 22. It is 
manifest from this passage that Moses has expressed 
what you call the formation of man by the word make, 
a word which is certainly synonymous with create. You 
eontend that man was created in the image of God. But 
when the divine Being addressed Noah after the flood, . 
tn«l fixed the penalty of murder, he assigns this as a 
reason : "For in the image of God made he man."* Here ' 
it is expressly said that man was made in the image of ' 
God. And Moses, as we have seen above, declares that f 
the woman was made from the man. Hence it is appa- [ 
rent that the distinction, for which you contend, was 
unknown to our historian. And if we inquire into the 
•cripture use of the terms create and formt we shall 
find that the sacred writers use them to signify one and 
the same thing. When speaking of men, they use these 
words promiscuously to express their introduction into 
being. They pursue the same course, when speaking of 
inanimate nature. The Lord by the prophet says, "I 
form light, and create darkness ; I make peace, and 
create evil.^t It is obvious that the words, create and 
form, are used synonymously in this scripture. It it 
also worthy of remark, that God is represented in the 
first chapter of Genesis, to have created that very light, 
which he is here said to have/ormeil. In a great variety 
of instances, God is said to have created the heavens 
and the earth. But the psalmist expresses the same 
thing by the word form. Addressing his Maker, he 
says, "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever 
thou hadst formed the earth or the world, even from 

LETTER n. 33 

everlasting to everlasting thou art God."* The earth 

itself, therefore, is said to have been created in one pas- 

: sage, and formed in another. But shall we maintain that 

I the earth possesses two natures ? that it was first created 

■ spiritually, and then that the earth was formed of the 

^~ dust of the earth ? This would appear like trifling with 

|r. the subject, but it appears to me to be just as consistent^ 

, as the distinction jou make between the creation and 

. formation of man. 

I think. Sir, that a person must have a strong inclina- 
tion for the marvellous, to discover your favorite dis- 
tinction in the two first chapters of Genesis. Even you 
yourself, when this part of your system is out of sight, 
I admit the views for which I am contending. You ac- 
"^ knowledge that our bodily appetites were created. Your 
^ words are : ''Our appetites and passions are at all timet 
with us : and they are all good in the place for which 
they were made, and for the use for which they were 
created."! In this very Lecture, you maintain that all 
appetites and passions are a part of our earthly nature ; 
iaA you here expressly say that these appetites were 
criiCtd; consequently the creation and formation of 
man are one and the same thing. In fact, I know of na 
distinction which you can make between the words, 
crdate and form. You would probably explain the 
%rord /orm to signify to eompose, to org-ani^e, or put 
t<J^ther of materials which are already in existence. 
And JUrbuld ask, what different sense you can put uppn 
the wWd create? You cannot say it signifies to mate 
oM of nothing ; for you do not allow such a creatioi)4 
S6 upon the whole I very much doubt whether you can 
pnt amy signification upon the word /orm, which will not 
apply equally to the word create. 
We have now examined the two first chapters of 

• Ffcjrc* tLeot. p.79. % (kXMa.^.'8a« 

4 * 

84 LETTER n. 

Genesis* on which you found your notion of two natures ^ 
in man, and find no authority for its support. We have 
seen that there is no more evidence that man was created 
in Jesus Christ, than there is that he was created in him- 
self; that the two first chapters of Genesis allude to 
the same events ; that there is no more proof that men 
were created spiritual beings, than there is that the brutes 
were created such ; that what is ascribed to man in the 
first chapter, is as indicative of a corporeal body, as 
what is ascribed to him in the second ; that the words 
create and form have one and the same meaning in Mo- ' 
ses' account, and that on your system it is hardly possi- 
ble to give them different significations ; that all yoar ' 
arguments prove too much, and of course prove nothing ' 
atall ;— »In a word, that your whole scheme of two dis- 
tinct, complex natures in man, is nothing but a phantom 
too mystical for belief. ' 

Having shown that the idea of two natures in man, ' 
the one created and pui^, the other formed and sinful, is 
unfounded, we will now inquire further into the truth of * 
your repeated assertion, that all sin originates in the 
Jlesh. Though you lay this down as an axiom, it is a po- 
sition which is by no means admitted. Before attending 
to this particular, we will observe, that this is a neces- 
sary part of the two natures in man. This grows out 
of your notion of the formation of man. If what has 
been offered against that visionary idea be valid, the 
point we are now upon, is already decided. Every ar- 
gument which weighs against one, opposes the either. 
Now we ask proof of the assertion that all sin originates 
in the flesh. This assertion, though constantly made, is 
not accompanied with evidence. You will probably say, 
that sin arises from lust, and lust originates in the flesh. 
To this let it be replied, that lust, or temptation, self' 
eonnderedt is not vicious. It is no crime in me that an 
^wf saggestioa preaenU itself to ioay mad% U \% t)x« 


ent of the mini] to the suggestion, or the resolution 
:oiniiiit the act, which constitutes the criminalitj. 
e body is a mere instrument in the hands of the mind, 

may so express it. An act of the body, considered 
itself, is neither virtuous nor vicious. It is the roo- 
e or disposition of the mind, which gives the character 
the act. Take away the motive of the mind, and the 
: has no more character, either good or bad, than the 
iwing of the breath, or the motion of the eyelids. 
lis is the common sense of mankind ; this principle 
ever admitted in all courts of justice. 
If sin lies in the act of the body, then the surgeon who 
iputates, is as guilty as the felon who breaks a limb 

his victim, and the sheriff is as guilty as the mur- 
trer he executes. But there is no end of examples of 
is nature, all of which show the absurdity of the 
-inciple I am opposing. It is so obvious that sin lies 
[ the motive of the mind, and not in the act of the 
}dy, that it seems a waste of time to labor this point 
ay further. You yourself, when your system is out of 
iew, contend for the principle I here advocate. When 
pposing the infinity of sin, you say, "It will be granted 
n all sides, that no action, unconnected with design. 
ught to be considered sin ; it is then an evil intention 
hat constitutes an evil action. For instance, a man 
xerting himself to the utmost of his abilities to save 
he life of his neighbor, accidentally takes his life ; the 
onsequence is not the guilt of murder, but a heart- 
ching grief for the loss of his fiiend. Again, a man 
xerting himself with all his ingenuity and strength t^ 
ake the life of his neighbor, misses his intention, and 
aves his life from immediate danger ; the consequence 
B not the approbation of a good conscience for having 
aved the life of his neighbor, but condemnation for 
laving designed his death, and perhaps mortification in 
us ditappoifltoen t By these Instauce* ti^ t^^^t \ftxi 


see that no act can be determined to be morallj 
or evil by the consequences which follow, but only 
the dispoMion or intention which the actor possi 
when the act is done.^^* Again jou say, "The fact i 
the moral distinction between virtue and vice, is tl 
diflference between meaning well and meaning emV^\ 

In these passages you declare in the most uneqaiv(j4!<i 
cal manner, that every moral act proceeds from tlii^ 
evil intention, disposition, or motive of the mind, and^i'^ 
not from the act of the body. According to your con*«> 
fession, an act is criminal, not because it was suggesteffR 
by any bodily appetite, but because the motive of tht^^ 
mind was evil. You say that an act can be determindl^i 
to be good or bad, "only by the disposition or intention*^ 
of the actor; and this you lay down as an established)" 
principle, which "will be admitted on all sides." Thti8,|' 
Sir, when your mind is free from the bias of system, we I 
find you advocating views which appear rational and*^ 
self-evident to every reflecting man. You ascribe aft 
moral actions, and consequently all sin, to the evil dis- 
position of the mind. And if all sin proceeds froiii tiHS 
evil intentions of the mind, then surely it does not pro- 
ceed from the appetites of the body. As it is unphild- 
sophical to admit of any effect without an adequate 
cause, so it is equally un philosophical to ascribe any 
eflfect to more than one adequate cause. So after ascribe 
ing every sinful act to the evil disposition of the mind, 
it would be absurd to ascribe it to any other cause. 
Once more; you ascribe sin to ignorance. Your vironk 
afe these — "Ignorance was and ever is the cause of tin.'t 
I inrtii hot in this place attempt to show the impropriety 
of this statement^ but will observe that ignorance^ as 
far as it i^ any thing, is a state or condition of the mit^i 
and nbt of the body. Knowledge is a inental acquis^ 

• Atop. pp. 21, 22. t U. Mag. vol. IV. p. 153. 

!^'Lec't. p. l6. 


an, and as ignorance is the opposite of knowledge, so 
must be a state, not of the body, but of the mind, 
ence sin cannot proceed from the body. 
Perhaps you may say, though the immediate cause of 
I may be the evil design or motive of the mind, still 
mare remote cause may be the wants and appetites of 
i flesh, for without these no evil action would be com- 
tted. This does not affect the argument in the least 
r if the wants and appetites of our nature move us to 
:ioD, this action is not sinful till such a character is 
en it by the motive or intention of the mind. We 
i free to acknowledge, that the wants of our nature 
»ve as to action, and this activity is a duty. Our 
nts then only impel us to action, and were it not for 
I evil disposition of the mind, we should act aright. 
r instance, the appetite, hunger, prompts us to obtain 
h1, but it does not prompt us to steal. Theft is sug- 
sted by the evil disposition of the mind, and not by 
nger ; for hunger would have been as well satisfied 
th the food obtained lawfully, as witli that got by 
salth. The most that can be said of our appetites, is, 
it they impel us to action; but whether the act is 
0(1 or bad, depends entirely an the intentUm of th€ 
tor. If an act be criminal, because its remote cause 
the wants and appetites of our nature, then all actions 
e criminal; for in a certain sense all actions proceed 
Hn the wants and imperfections of men. These re- 
irks will meet your approbation ; for you say, <^The 
ost distant of the immediate causes of sin, are the 
me as the most distant of the immediate causes of 
rtue." After instancing a case of two laborers, one of 
liom made a bad, the other a good use of his earning, 
lu add ; **The reader may see that those two men acted 
[oally alike from their natural wants, appetites, and 
issions. Had neither of them any wants, appetites, 
passions, neither of them would have done any thing 


at all. Therefore we see that want, appetite, and 
sion in one produced virtue, and in the other, vice; 
still the more immediate causes were not the sam< 
both persons."* 

Here you admit that sin arises from our appetites 
passions no more than virtue. Good actions arise 
the flesh in the same sense that bad ones do. So 
then, as actions proceed from the wants and appetil 
our natui'e, so far they possess no moral character; l^j. 
far they are neither virtuous nor vicious. The 8^|,,j 
earthly nature which produces one, produces the o< 
also. But you say, *'the immediate causes are diffei 
True, but what are these immediate causes ? Tl 
cannot be our appetites and passions ; for you ackn< 
ledge that these produced virtue in one persoB. 
appetites and passions produced virtue in one^ and 
in the other, then they could not be the sole canset 
either. There must be some other cause which reinderB< 
action good, and the other bad. And what is this cam 
You have confessed that it is the disposition or 
of the mind^ and that only, which renders an act vit 
Thus it will be seen according to your own confc 
that sin does not arise from the fleshy any more 
virtue, and that all sin is produced by the evil disj 
tion or motive of the mind. After the arguments 
have adduced, and these concessions on your part, wl 
becomes of your numerous assertions, that all sin arii 
from the fiesh? Will you still maintain that idea, ai 
continue to contradict what you have said in tbea^ 
-passages ? 

But there are various other arguments which mi^i 
be alledged to confute this notion. If vice lies if 
temptation or the possession of appetites, then Jesw 
Christ was a sinner; for the Apostle testifies that * 
was tempted in all points as we are, and yet withoQ 

• Aton. pp. 41, 42. 

LETTER n. 39' 

^ This text furnishes us with demonstrative evi- 
ce that sin lies not in temptation or the possession 
ippetites, but in something else. And what can this 
It is an evil disposition^ which Jesus did not pos- 
»• Christ was without sin, because no evil disposi- 
I existed in him. Thus we see that temptation 
kes no part of sin. Sin lies wholly in the disposition 
the' mind. Again, if the soul is always (^ure, how 
;li we introduce the Christian doctrine of regenera- 
n ? Surely you will not pretend that it is the body, 
ich is to be regenerated. 

When you maintain that all sin originates in the flesh, 
a imply that the soul is always pure, and free from all 
>ral defilement. This is not only implied by your 
itement relative to the source of all iniquity, but you 
ipressly state that the soul is eternal and immortally 
ire. This is no misrepresentation, of your views, 
ar when you argue that there can be no sin after the 
idy is destroyed, the whole strength of the argument 
Mtft upon the principle that the soul is always pure in 
Aelf ; and when you assert that all sin arises from the 
fsb, you virtually say that the soul is not sinful. And > 
lis you confirm by saying directly that the soul is im- 
tarbdlypure. And further ; the distinction you attempt 
omake between the creation and formation, goes directly 
show that you believe man to be pure in his spiritual 
>r heavenly nature. You have recourse to man's for- 
natioD to account for the existence of moral evil. These 
hings then show us plainly that you maintain that the 
md is always pure. I will however do you the justice 
» admit that you have, in many instances, contradicted 
iA%; but still this does not affect what you have plainly 
rtated in other parts of your writings. 

I will lay this down then as a leading article in your 
icheme, that ih».$oul. is always pure. You Ainat that 

« Heb. ii. 18. and iv. 15. 


the soul, spirit^ and mind signify one and the 
things* Now we have already seen that you admit 
ail sin arises from the evil intention of the mind or m 
How then can you pretend that all sin arises from 
flesh, and that the soul is immortally pure, and at 
same time insist that the evil intention of the soul a 
produces every vicious act P You tell us that the 
is immortally pure, and then tell us in the very 
breath, that ''the powerful vibrations of the fleshly 
ture immediately absorbed his mind, (that is, his 
he sought to the carnal roan for food, eat and died.' 
Again you say, "When the creature-like nature I 
the whole man captive, it is then that the soul is ia i 
state of unreconciliation and death i but when the hea 
venly child whispers heavenly invitations to the son 
the soul immediately ceases to confer with Jlesh md 
UoodJ^^X You say the mind is the soul, and yet you wj 
again and again, that the carnal mind is the source of all 
evil, and constitutes the devil.§ Thus, Sir, does the sonl 
of man, which you represent immortally pure, becone> 
according to your own acknowledgment, absorbed by Hu 
flesh; nay, it confers with the flesh, becomes unreeoH' 
eUed and dead, is the source of all evil, and constitute jTl 
the devil II It is rare that we find a gentleman of your 
talents and reputation as an author, contending thai 
warmly both for and against the same proposition. 

I am almost tempted to distrust my own senses, while 
examining what you have said upon the subject. At 
one time all sin arises from the body, at another froin| 
the mind, and then from ignorance ; at one time the I 
toul is always pure, at another it confers with the flesh; f * 
now it is heavenly, and then constitutes the devil. These t 
adverse statements, and the distinction between the [ 
creation and formation of man, constitute a leading ! 



^^Jff'f'^ tlb.p.^. I 

/ Aton. p. tS9. I Atou. l^U lio* te. 


feature in your "Treatise on Atonement ;" a Wv 
vhich has been highly complimented, and pronounced 
in '^excellent and unanswerable work."* 

We will now inquire whether the scriptures counte- 
nance the sentiment that all sin originates in the flesh. 
St Paul exhorts his followers to put on the whole armor 
of God ; "for," says he, "we wrestle not against flesh 
and blood ; but against principalities, against powers, 
against the rulers of the darkness of this world, 
against spiritual wickedness in high places.'^! In this 
passage the apostle represents spiritual wickedness aa 
the most powerful foe to which man is exposed, and 
flesh and blood the most feeble. He exhorts us to put 
on the whole armor of God, and then assigns the reason 
why we must take to ourselves this powerful armor. 
For, that is, because we wrestle not against flesh and 
blood, those weak and feeble enemies, but against spiri- 
tual wickedness, that most potent of all foes. In this 
passage St. Paul represents spiritual wickedness as vast- 
\j more dangerous than flesh and blood united. Again, 
tiie apostle speaks of our walking in wickedness, ^'fulfil- 
ing the desires of the flesh, and of the mind.^^ t To the 
Corinthians the apostle speaks of spiritual corruption. 
He exhorts them to cleanse themselves from all <*fllthi- 
ness of the flesh and sptri^"§ In these passages, does 
the apostle teach your doctrine, that all sin arises from 
the flesh? He does not ; he speaks of spiritual corrup- 
tion, and the lusts of the mind ; nay, he represents spir-- 
itual wickedness, as the greatest enemy to virtue and. 
happiness. St. Faul to the Romans speaks of the lusts 
of the flesh. But we have already seen that the same 
apostle frequently speaks o^ spiritual wickedness, filthi- 
neas of the spirit, and lusts of the mUid. From these 

• See Kneeland^B Lecturer, pp. 71, 96. 
t Eph. vi. 11, 12. % EvK* u« ^ 

t g Cof, vn» It , 


'\|jj LETTER n. 

passages it is clear that he believed in the soul or spiral '^ 
being corrupted. And can we suppose that the apostU f» 
has taught elsewhere, that all sin is confined to the flesh, r 
in contradiction of what he has said in these passages? *- 
Besides, in the seventh and eighth chapters to the Ro- ^ 
mans, a portion of scripture on which you rely in no ^ 
small degree to support your hypothesis, the apostle ^ 
explains whathe calls the flesh to signify the carnalminl * 
In chapter viii. verses 5, 6, 7, 8, the apostle says, "For * 
they that are after the flesh, do mind the things of the ■_- 
fiesk ; but they that are after the spirit, the things of the 
spirit For to be carnally minded is death ; but to be 
spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the car- 
' nully mind is enmity against God ; for it is not sub- 
ject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So thea 
they that are in the flefih cannot please God." Here it 
is manifest that by the fl^sh, St. Paul means the carnal 
mind. He say3 <*they that are in the flesh cannot please 
God." But how does he support this position ? He 
infers it from the statement he had already made, viz. 
•*the carnal mind is enmity against God." The apostle's 
argument therefore is this; — they that are in the^sft 
cannot please God, because the carnal mind is enmity 
against God. Now unless we admit that the apostle by 
Vlie flesh meant a wicked and depraved mind, we destroy 
the whole force of his argument, and make him reason 
very inconclusively. Thus does the apostle ascribe all 
sinfulness, not to literal flesh and blood, but to an evU 
disposition^ or corrupt nUnd, 

St. James says. "Every man is tempted, when he is 
drawn away with his own lusts and enticed. Then 
when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin ; and sin, 
when it is finished, bringeth forth death."* Though you 
quote this passage to support your favorite hypotbe8i8,t 

LETTER a 4^ 

nothing can be more foreign to jour purpose. Two con- 
siderations clearly show that the passage does not favor 
jour views. 1. The Apostle says we are tempted by 
lusts. But he does not say that these lusts are the lusta 
of the flesh. We haj^e already seen that the sacred wri- 
ters speak of the lusts of the mind^ or spirit, as well at 
lusts of the flesh ; and I have the same authority to saj 
that these lusts are the lusts of the soul, that you have 
to say th^y are the lu^ts of the body. 2. But if it couM 
be proved that the lusts alluded to, are the lusts of the 
body, it would not yield you that assistance you want. 
We have already seen that lust or temptation, self-eon- 
iidered, is not vicious- A man maybe tempted, as Christ 
was, and still b» innocent. The passage says, ''lust, 
when U hath conceived, bringeth forth sin." Here we 
learn that iiist does not bring forth sin till after concefih 
tion, i. e. the mind must assent and unite with the 
temptation, before any evil act can be performed. It ia 
the assent of the mind, therefore which produces the 
sinful action. Were it not for the assent, or rather 
suggestion of the mind, men might be tempted, and this, 
inbtead of rendering them criminal, would confirm their 
virtue. Hence the Apostle says in the context, "Blessed 
is the man that endureth temptation." Thus does St. 
James confirm the views I have advanced relative to the 
source of sin. 

But it matters not where sin originates ; if the soul 
participates and becomes an accomplice with the body, 
as you have acknowledged again and again, it is sinful ; 
it is corrupt, and the dissolution of the body can render 
it neither holy nor happy. It is a maxim of truth, that 
the partaker is as bad as the thief. And if the soul ac^* 
quiesces and becomes an accomplice with the body, it is 
as culpable as though sin originated in the soul itself. So 
if it could be proved that all sin originates in the flesh, 
it woui J aot afford you any relief. I^vi\. yi^ dk^ \k^V.\&^ 





constrained to make this concession. For we have al 
ready seen that this notion is destitute of scriptore or \ 
reason for its support ; that it involves many difficulties, i 
and is acknowledged by yourself to be unfounded. 

To expose your system still further, we will for a mo- ) 
roent admit it to be true. But if the soul is always pure, 
and if the destruction of this earthly house exempts the 
Isoul from suffering, then salvation consists simply in 
throwing off the body. This you ^tate as an article of 
your faith. <*God has revealed his divine and glorious 
purpose of bringing man back from his formed state, and 
tinder the law of the earthly Adam, to his original cre- 
ated state, forever to be under the governing power of 
the law of the heavenly constitution.^* Here then wc 
•ee in what your salvation consists. It comets in bring- j^ 
ing men back from what you call their formed state, to 
their created state. And how is this to be effected ? 
Only by the death of the body. But where, I demand, 
are we told in the scriptures, that this is the salvation 
Chriit came to effect? Can any such passage be produ- 
ced ? I say there cannot. It ought also to be remarked 
that no man can be saved by Jesus Christ. Our Savior 
when on earth did not effect a complete salvation in any 
lone. Even his own disciples, with whom he associated 
about three years, were not saved by him. Salvation 
you assert consists in being brought back from the form- 
ed state. Now on your system, the body owes its exist- 
ence to the formation of man ; and in order to bring man 
from this formed state, this body must be destroyed. 
Now inasmuch as Jesus never did, nor never will des- 
troy men's lives, he can never be their Savior. He says 
liimself that the Son of man is not come to destroy mm^s 
lives, but to save them.t In this passage it is expressly 
said that Christ did not come to destroy men^$ livei. 

» Aton.p. MJ. t Luke ix. 5, «. 


This, accordiog to jour system, roust mean that he did 
not come to save men ; for we have already seen that no 
man can be fully saved without destroying the body. I 
do not intend to misrepresent your views. I will there- 
fore admit that on your plan Jesus Christ may do some- 
thing towards effecting the salvation of some; those 
who hearken to his instruction in this world, may de> 
rive some good from his gospel ; but still they are not 
completely saved by Christ. As all sin originates in 
the earthly formed nature, which is the body, so the 
most effectual and the principal means of deliverance 
from sin, is to destroy this earthly body. Complete 
salvation therefore cannot be effected without the des- 
truction of the body. So Christ cannot be a complete 
Savior to those who hearken to his instruction in this 
world. And as it regards those who never hear of hit 
gospel, or obey its requirements in this world, they are 
not saved by Christ at all. Since on ^our system all 
men are in a degree saved by death, and the salvation 
of most men is effected wholly by the dissolution of 
the human body, the declaration of Jesus that he came 
not to destroy men's lives, amounts to a plain declara- 
tion that he did not come into the world to save sin- 
ners ! If salvation is effected by the death of the body, 
then Alexander, Csesar, or Napoleon, might be called 
Saviors with much more propriety than Jesus ; for they 
have slaughtered, (u e. "brought back to their created 
$tate,^^) millions of human beings, but Jesus never 
slaughtered one. ^ 

Tou assert that as all sin originates in the flesh, so 
when the body is destroyed, there can be no more sin, 
and consequently no more suffenng. Now the whole 
strength of this argument rests upon the principle, that 
all sin originate in the flesh — a principle which is by no 
means admitted, and which ought not to be assumed with* 

•«t proof. Besides, we have already aUeis^^Vft&NiQ^^ ^^^^ 



futation of that position, how successfully is submitted to 'm 
the reader. But if what has been offered in oppositida )■ 
to that doctrine be valid, this argument has been already n 
refuted. But we will admit it true, and then notice -^ 
some of the consequences. Now it requires no supe- ^ 
nor discernment to discover that in this method of salva- fi- 
tion, Christ has no agency. If men are exempted from ' 
suffering necessarily from the dissolution of the body, if ^ 
death translates them to a state, where pain is excluded > 
of necessity, and happiness must be their portion, they b 
are saved not by Christ, but by death. It is the immu- 
table law of animal nature, that every thing which cornea 
into the world, must suffer dissolution, and return to its 
kindred dust ; and in the operation of this law of na- 
ture, Christ has no more agency than he has in the revo- 
lution of the earth upon her axis. If Christ exercises 
a saving power in the dissolution of the animal frame, 
tlien he is the S^ior of the human, no more than of the 
brute creation. In what sense, I demand, is Christ the 
Savior of the heathen on your system P He does not 
save them in this world, for they never hear of him ; he 
does not save them in the next, for death places them 
beyond the reach of pain, and brings them to the fruition 
of glory. They are saved by death, i. e. by a physical 
law of their nature ; and if Christ had never made his 
appearance, their situation would have been precisely 
the same that it now is. I need not inform you that all 
who are saved, are saved by Jesus Christ, while the 
Scriptures expressly assure us that there is no other 
name than that of Christ, whereby we can be saved, and 
that there is salvation in no other. 

Now on your scheme, instead of all men's being sav* 
ed by Christ, he is the Savior of but a part of mankind. 
Were you a believer in the Vicariotis MonemenU you 
might in some degree extricate yourself from this dilem- 

/ hut with jour present belief yoa ace deatitute of 


that forlorn hope. Now by far the greater part of roan- 
kind on your system are saved by death, which has 
generally been considered the destroyer, rather than 
the Savior of men. The heathen and all who die im- 
penitent, are brought to the fruition of boundless feli- 
city at the moment of death ; and that not because they 
have repented of the sins they have committed-— not 
because they have exercised genuine faith in the Lord 
Jesus — not because they have obtained that knowledge 
which is life eternal— nay, not because Jesus was ap- 
pointed as a Savior; but because they have been slain 
by a law of nature in which Christ has no agency. I 
might go still farther, and say, as no man is fully saved 
or brought from his formed state, while in the body, so 
Christ is not, in strictness of speech, the Savior of any 
human being, but all are saved by a physical law of na- 
ture. Your position thatileath frees the soul from sin, 
supersedes the means of the gospel. The Scriptures 
assure us that unless we repent^ and are converted, we 
cannot enter heaven. But what has repentance to do 
with the salvation of multitudes on your scheme? If 
death places a man beyond the reach of pain, and in- 

^ troduces him into heaven, there is no repentance in the 
case. He is saved, not because he has repented of his 
sins, but because death has snatched him to glory. 
Thus do your views appear to set aside the scheme of 
salvation bj^ Christ. 

To avoid this difficulty, perhaps you may say that 
men are not saved by deaths but by divine instruction 

' imparted by Christ after death. Then let us hear no 
more of the boasted assertions, that the soul is neces-^ 
sarily happy at death ; that our appetites and passions 
being destroyed, sin and its consequences must neces- 
larily cease ; and that death places us beyond the reach 
of pain. If men are saved by being instructed after 
death, the maiii grmnd of the controNtt^^ '\% ^^^V^% 



and the arguments on which you have mostly reltedif^ 
given up. If this position is urged, the other, viz. thit. ^ 
death places us beyond the reach of pain, is relinquished* ^^ 
Now I ask proof of the assertion, that Christ will in- ^ 
struct all sinners in a moment at death, in such a man*-'' 
ner as to qualify them for immediate felicity. I ask ^ 
for one single text which asserts that men, who dieia 'T 
confirmed "Wickedness, will be totally changed in the ^ 
instant of death ; raised from the lowest state of moral j" 
corruption to that of immaculate purity. If men are ^ 
saved by being instructed after death, then they do not P 
escape all misery in a future state ; for a process of ^ 
instruction necessary to qualify the mind for the enjoy 
ment of happiness, must of course, require a period 
time for its accomplishment $ and during this period the 
creature must be more or less unhappy. An infinite 
mind may grasp infinite knowledge in a moment ; hot 
finite minds are incapable of this. They obtain their 
knowledge by degrees. It requires but little know- 
ledge of the human mind to know that all information 
is acquired in a gradual manner by finite beings as we 
are. This remark will meet your approbation ; for yon f 
say, "I would further argue, that, as man is constituted 
to enjoy happiness on moral principles, to the know- 
ledge of wh ich principles we come by degrees, it is as 
reasonable to believe that all men were intended to ob- 
tain a consummate knowledge of the moral principles 
of their nature, as that any of Adam's race were."* In 
this passage you admit that a consummate knowledg§ 
of moral principles is requisite to qualify the mind for 
complete happiness, and that this knowledge is acquired 
in a gradual manner. 

Again you say, '<Man exists on such a principle at 
renders him capable of improving in knowlege and 

* ilfon. p; 183. 


lappiness, which he obtains by experience. We send 
«r children to school for the purpose of learning that of 
rhich they are ignorant ; and it is by degrees that those 
ciences are obtained. Men begin their moral existence 
n the same way'^but as fast as they become taught, they 
tonrorm to the divine rules of their Master."* Here 
igaiD you admit that men are saved by knowledge which 
B gradually acquired, being obtained by experience^ in 
he same way in which children obtain a knowledge of 
icience, and that men conform to their divine Master 
lo faster than their knowledge increases. According 
to your own acknowledgment, therefore, men cannot be 
connpletely happy, till they arrive at consummate know- 
ledge ; and this must require a considerable period of 
Hme^ for you assert that this knowledge is acquired by 
degrees. Now, Sir, to affirm that those who die in con- 
firmed ignorance and wickedness, will be consummately 
wise and perfectly pure the instant after death, is to 
speak without scripture authority, and to contradict 
every just principle of philosophy, and your own ex- 
press declaration. That men will be thus instantly 
changed at death in a moral point of view, the scriptures 
give us not the least intimation. Beside, this view of sal- 
vation is the reyerse of that taught in the 8<;riptures. 
The sacred writers assure us that without faith it is im- 
possible to please Chd^for whatsoever is not of faith is stn.t 
But if the vilest sinners are brought in an instant into 
the presence of God, where they must possess divine 
knowledge, it entirely excludes the exercise of faith. 
''Faith," says an Apostle, ^'is the substance of things 
hoped for $ the evidence of things not seen.^^X Since 
faith is the substance of things hoped for^ it supposes 
that those things are not already in our possession. In 
this manner the Apostle reasoned upon this subject. 

• Aton. pp. 190, 191. t Roin.xiT.23. Heh.u«€l« 

f Hffb, xK I. 


•*For," says he, "we are saved by hope ; but hope that il 
teen, is not hope ; for what a man seeth, why doth htl'^ 
yet hope for ? But if we hope for that we see not, thea'*'^ 
do we with patience wait for it."* Again, as faith is the'-^ 
evidence of things not seen, it would be absurd to tell OP" 
men's exercising faith in an object already in their pos- '^'^ 
session. Thus would your views exclude the means of '^ 
the gospel, and introduce men into heaven in a way o(j^ 
which the scriptures are totally ignorant. ^^ 

But probably you are ready to say that men are sa? 
by the resurrection, and consequently by Christ* Beit' 
•o. This, however, is giving up both the other positio 
on which I have been remarking. For if men are savefli" 
by the resurrection, they are not saved by death's stop^^v* 
ing their career of wickedness ; not by being instructed ; 
and I may aild, not by faith and repentance. That tbisl^ 
is a position which you sometimes take, may be seen liyf ■ 
the following quotations. "The Apostle did not believe 
in a state of sin and misery after the resurrection, but 
a glorious state of life and im mortality."! "It seemt 
Bore proper to say that the resurrection into im* 
mortal life effected the preparation fur eternal /e/icify.'t' 
In fact, it is a common saying with you that there can bt 
no suffering after the resurrection. But let us attend 
closely to this subject for a moment. I wish to inquire' 
when this resurrection takes place. The principal 
scripture you cite in proof of a resurrection, is first 
Corinthians, fifteenth chapter. The resurrection, accord- 
ing to this passage, is to take place or commence at 
ChrisVs coming. Now I will submit it to you to say 
when this coming of Christ did, or will take place, [f 
you say it alludes to his ^rst coming, or to his coming at 
the destruction of Jerusalem, then it will follow that all 
men in allies were raised to immortality at that periodi 

• Rom. viii. 24, 25. t Lect. p. 94. 

/ Gag. Visit Vol n. p. 188. 


lough it were hundreds of years before thoac now lir- 
ig, had a being! But with all the absurdity attendant 
pon this view of the subject, future punishment is by no 
leans avoided. If men were not raised to immortality 
tttil ChrisVs coming, then the old world, and Sodom, 
.orah and his company, Pharaoh and his host, and 
mltitudes of others may have remained in suffering for 
long series of years, between death and the resurrec- 
on. Again, if the resurrection is future, thousands 
Ay now be unhappy, being as yet destitute of salvation. 
hould you, to avoid this difiicutty, contend that they 
lay be made happy before the resurrection, I reply, 
len they are not saved by the resurrection, and the 
osition now before us falls to the ground. The post- 
on that men are saved by the resurrection, must apply 

I all men, or else it is nothing to your purpose ; for if 

II are not saved by it, then some may remain in misery 
Rer the resurrection, and so your notion of no future 
UBishment must be given up. To answer your pur- 
ose, then, it must apply to all men. And this resur- 
Bction by which all are to be saved, must be either 
ftst or future. If it be past, then it involves the absur- 
ity that many thousands of human beings were raised 
I a state of immortality, hundreds of years before they 
ad any existence ! And if it be future, then many may 
e in misery at the present moment, though they have 
een dead for thousands of years. So in either case, it it 
ir from yielding you that assistance you want. 

I know not how you can extricate yourself from these 
bsardities, unless you unite with the visionary Sweden- 
lorg, and maintain that each man is raised at the mo- 
•ent of death. This 1 think is the only course you can 
tdopt. For the views you have advanced, relative to 
he 80tt{ of man, forbid your saying with the materialist^ 
hat there is no existence between dealVi aikdi ^^ \«vqcc- 
eetioiu I do not remember having aeeu vtt) viaVk^^^ 

52 LETTER 11. 

in which jou have directly advocated the notion of ai 
immediate resurrection, though in some cases you seen 
to suggest such an idea.* But in opposition to an imioe' 
diate resurrection, we will urge the 15th chapter of firil 
Corinthians. St. Paul through the whole chapter speab 
of the resurrection as a future event. But if each mat 
is raised at death, the resurrection was past as well ai 
future. The Apostle also represents Christ as thejlrsi 
fruitSf or as he expresses it elsewhere, "the first bon 
from the dead.^^i But if every person is raised at deathj 
Christ is far from being the first who arose from the 
dead ; for thousands have arisen before him. St. Pan 
assures us that the resurrection is to take placie a 
Christ^s coming. Now let this coming be when it may 
if evidently alludes to some particular period, and con- 
8#(|[uently the resurrection cannot take place with everj 
man at his death. And further ; the Apostle assures at 
that when the dead are raised, those who are alive oi 
the earth, shall be changed to immortal beings. Henc 
it is demonstrably evident that the resurrection is ye 
future. Again: on the day of Pentecost St. Peter cite 
from the Psalms a passage expressive of the resurrectioi 
which he applies to Jesus Christ To show that Davi 
could not apply this passage to himself, the Apostle ii 
forms us that David had not yet ascended, i. e. had nc 
arisen from the dead.j: Thus it may be seen that tli 
resurrection does not follow immediately upon deati 
St. Paul to Timothy speaks of certain impostors who ai 
filled with profane and vain babblings, and who ba^ 
erred from the truth, saying, "the resurrection is fa 
already.^^§ It is not at all probable that these impostm 
pretended that men then living were raised from the deal 
their only meaning, we may presume was, that those wl 

* U. Mag. Vol. 1. Dialogue betwetn a Lim. and a Univ. 
f Col i. 18. J Abts u. 86^34. 

/ f Tim, ii. 1$0 


had departed this life were raised* So that their hereej 
amounts simply to the doctrine, that men are raised at 
death. But if each person is raised at death, the resur- 
rection is past as much as future, and these apostates 
were not far from the truth. From these considerations^ 
it appears that the resurrection is a future event. Je- 
sus Christ himself, though he did not see corruption, did 
not arise on the day of his death. We challenge the ex- 
hibition of a single passage which says that each man is 
raised at the moment of death. And if this should be 
granted, it would profit you nothing; for Jesus declares 
that some shall come forth to the resurrection of damna- 
tion. Therefore, if you say with the apostates of old, 
that the resurrection is already past, or if you say it is 
present or future, I think you will do well to get rid of 
^11 the difficulties 1 have mentioned. 

1 have now examined the three positions on which you 
ground your doctrine of immediate happiness for all men ; - 
viz. 1. that m'en are saved by throwing off' the body. 2. 
that they are saved by being instructed after death, and 
3. that they are saved by the resurrection. But on either 
ground, we have seen that faith and repentance, those 
indispen3able prerequisites for heaven, are entirely ex- 
cluded. Besides: these positions are at variance, one 
with the other. The moment you advance either of 
these positions, you renounce both the others. Thus if 
you say that death frees the soul from all pollution, you 
in reality say that men are not saved by being instruct- 
ed, nor by the resurrection. If you say that men are 
saved by being instructed after death, you confess that 
they are not freed from sin and qualified for heaven 
by throwing off* the body, nor by being raised from the 
dead. And if you say that men are saved by the resur- 
rection, you admit that neither the dissolution of the 
body, nor divine instruction, fits the sovxV iw >^^«is^w^- 
acDt ofbliaa. And yet you urge eac\i ol \!ftfc%^ -^^^Snss^V 



together, as though they were in perfect unison with 
each other ! 

But perhaps you will attempt to maintain a consist- 
ency by saying that you predicate your views, not on 
either of these positions separately, but on all united. ? 
This then, is confessing that neither of them separately jt 
is sufficient to support your system ; so that all argu- l 
ments resting upon either position alone, are not to be f 
admitted as full proof of your views. This reduces ? 
your proof to a chain of three links, each of which ;, 
must be sounds or the chain is broken. Now if any i 
flaw can be found in either of these links, the chain is z 
broken as effectually as tho every link were destroyed. ;. 
And all that we have urged against these positions sep- i 
arately, will apply with equal force, if they were united. 
This ground then is only subjecting you to greater 
inconveniences ; for instead of having one position to 
' maintain, you have three. This perhaps may induce 
you to rely upon one only. But remember that when- 
ever you urge either of the positions, you renounce both 
the others. 

I have now closed my examination of your sys- 
tem, and what has been offered is submitted to the 
reader. If Ihave effected what I attempted to effect, 
i. e. to show that it has no support from scripture or 
reason, but is in opposition to both ; that it is inconsis- 
tent with itself, and acknowledged by yourself to be 
unfounded, it must surely fall. It is. hardly necessary 
to examine your arguments, for if the foundation on 
which they rest is sappeO, their force is entirely obvia- 
ted. But as you have several arguments which you 
keep constantly in view, I will examine them at large 
in the next Letter. j 

Yours, &c. 




Examination of Jtfr. Bailouts argumentt* 


As was proposed in my last, I will now attend to some 
of the principal arguments on which you relj for the 
support of your system. The first argument I shall no- 
tice is this ; — ^s sin and misery are inseparably connect- 
ed, and as there will he no sin after death, so there can be 
no punishment. That this is an argument on which 
jron rely, will be seen by the following. "As sin had its 
origin in flesh and blood, and as no intimation is given 
in the scriptures, that sin ever was or ever will be com- 
mitted out of flesh and blood, we venture to hope that 
sin will never exist after this present mortal state shall 
close."* This quotation will justify the argument stat- 
ed above. And although there is a taking plausibility 
n this argument, and those of your views place great 
Jependence upon it, still I trust that it can be made to 
ippear that it is as false, as it is specious. 

Upon this argument we remark — 1. This argument is 
founded upon the principle that all sin originates in the 
lesh, and that death saves the soul. But in the preced- 
ing Letter, it has been prpved from scripture, reason, 
ind your own acknowledgment, that all sin arises from 
the evil disposition or intention of the mind, and not 
from the flesh. We have also seen that if death qual- 
fies a man for. heaven, he is not saved by Christ, but by 
I |(hysical law of nature. This has been stated at large 
[^ my last, to which the reader is referred. And if 
what is there advanced be conclusive, then this argu- 
ment is already refuted. For if the foundation be des- 
troyed, whatever rests upon that basis must fall. 

• U. Mag. Vol. III. p. 150. See «ko Lec\. w* ^^'^'^^ 



2. The argument before us is also founded upon the 
principle, that all criminality ceases as soon as the sin- -. 
fui act is performed ; a principle repugnant to the scrip- 
tures^ and the common sense of mankind. No man is 
a sinner until he has committed sin^ and unless the 
criminality outlives the act, then guilt is as momentary 
as the act. And hence all punishment inflicted in this 
world, is cruel and vindictive, if it continue one mo- 
ment after the crime is perpetrated. This principle 
would destroy all society, and fill the world with rapine 
and blood, should it be reduced to practice. Human 
laws cannot take cognizance of an act until after it is 
committed, and if criminality ceases with the act, then all 
punishments inflicted by human laws are unjust and cru- 
el ; then human laws are engines of oppression, and ought 
to be repealed. Thus, Sir, would this principle destroy 
all government and law, and introduce a state of general 
anarchy and confusion. But this principle, dangerous 
as it is, is the basis on which your argument rests. 

The divine law, it is true, is not thus confined. That 
can punish us in the perpetration of the crime as well as 
afterwards. But tho the divine law can and generally 
does punish the sinner in a degree, while in the act of 
transgression, thousands of instances can be produced 
in which men are punished by the divine law long after 
the commission of the crime. You contend that Caia 
was punished for the murder of his brother by being a 
fugitive and vagabond in the earth; but was all this 
inflicted upon him while in the very act of murder? 
Surdy not. When treating upon the blasphemy against 
the Holy Ghost, y9U say, "For nearly eighteen hundred 
years the Jews have wandered in outer darkness in con- 
sequence of this blasphemy, and how much longer they 
are to continue in this unhappy situation, none but our 
merciful Father in heaven knows.'"*^ Here then, instead 

* Lect. p. 144. 


of limiting the criminality to the time in which the act 
was committed, you continue the punishment, and con- 
sequently the guilt, for ages of ages, even upon their 
innocent offspring. With what propriety, I demand, 
can you maintain that it would be unjust to punish a 
man in a future state, who is taken out of time in the 
very act of murder, when you insist that the poor Jews 
have already been punished nearly two thousand years, 
for a crime of which they were innocent and knew no- 
things— a crime in which they had no agency — commit- 
ted hundreds of years before they had a being P But to 
return — In the case before us, you acknowledge that 
the guilt does not cease with the act, but continues hun- 
dreds of years. 

In your devotions you undoubtedly use that model of 
prayer left us by our Savior, and say, ''Our Father, 
which art in heaven, /or^it?e us our sins.^^ By this you 
acknowledge yourself a sinner , though you are not in the 
perpetration of any sin. You will acknowledge that 
prayer is a duty, and by laying your confessions and 
petitions before God, you are in the discharge of Vis 
duty. But still, while in your devotions, that is, while 
faithfully discharging your duty, you confess yourself to 
be a sinner ; a sinner in consequence of sins committed 
before that period. Thus you acknowledge that criminal- 
ity outlives the act of committing sin. You confess that 
a man may be a sinner after the sinful act is commit- 
ted, though at the time he may be performing an act of 
virtue. As in the case of prayer, so in other cases, a 
man, though then in the line of his duty, may be a 
sinner in consequence of sins committed before that 
time. You acknowledge that sinfulness outlives the 
sinful act, and thus admit a principle which saps the 
foundation of your argument. 

The term sin signifies not only the act of wickedness, 
but the evil disposition which ptoduc^i. \\.« ^xA ^^ 



corruption or depravity which it continues upon the 
mind. A person who has formed a design to murder, 
is as much a murderer at heart, as though the crime 
were committed ; and if he cherishes a murderous, that 
is, a hateful disposition after he has taken life, he is as 
much a murderer then, as he was while in the commis- 
sion of the crime, fivery man who has committed sin, 
IS a sinner, and will alwavs retain that character, until 
he repent. If I committed murder ten jears ago, 1 
am considered and treated as a murderer at the pre- 
sent day, by him who knows the thoughts and intents 
of my heart, unless I have repented and reformed. And 
a man who goes out of the world in the perpetration of 
such horrid crimes, will be a murderer in a future 
state, unless it can be proved that he reforms in the 
instant of death. But you say a man cannot be a sinner 
after he has ceased sinning* I reply ; a murderer con- 
fined in a dungeon, has not only ceased from murdering, 
but is in a situatiAi, where perhaps, he can commit no 
actual transgression. But does this render him holy ? 
l^lffrevj wretch to be regarded as a saint, simply be- 
cause he has no opportunity of pursuing his villanies ? 
The principle you advance proves this, or else it is noth- 
ing to your purpose. But perhaps you will say that by 
ceasing from sin, you mean not only ceasing from actual 
transgression, but from a sinful disposition, and de- 
praved feelings. To this I reply, 

S» This is a mere begging of the question. For if sin 
and misery are inseparably connected, then to say there 
are no sinners in a future state, is precisely the same as 
to say there is no punishment there, which is no argu.- 
ment, but a bare assertion and a begging of the question. 
Sin and misery being inseparably connected, if it can 
be proved that men will be punished in a future state* 
it will follow that they are sinners there. There is no 
need of actual transgression in a future world, to consti* 


llDte men sinners in that state. If they die in a state of 
alienation from God, they are sinners after death, though 
they may commit no actual sins in that state. We 
shall endeavor to prove hereafter that men will be pun- 
ished in a future world, and proving this will prove 
that men retain sinful characters in that world. St. 
Peter says, the Lord knoweth how to reserve the unjust 
onto tke day of judgment to be punished. Thus it may 
be seen that men may commit sin in this state, and be 
reserved to a future state to be punished. 

Butyourargument,if admitted, would prove too much, 
and consequently prove nothing. It weighs as much 
against future happiness, as against future misery. Vir- 
tue and happiness are as closely united as sin and mise- 
ry. Were I desirous of proving that there would be no 
future happiness, I could adopt your argument in all its 
force. Thus — as virtue and happiness are inseparably 
connected, and as all benevolent actions, such as feed- 
ing the hungry, and clothing the naked, are confined to 
this state, so there can be no happiness after death. 
By this argument, future happiness can be disproved as 
clearly as future misery. The scriptures give no more 
account of virtuous actions being performed in a future 
state, than they do of vicious ones. We have no account 
of relieving the distresses of mai kind in a future state, 
and according to your argument, there can be no happi- 
ness in that state. If you say that virtue may exist in 
principle in a future world, notwithstanding there 
maybe no opportunity to perform benevolent acts; it is 
replied, the same may be said of vice. Your argument 
above is frequently presented in a philosophical dress, 
thus ;— Sin is the cause of misery ; the cause ceases at 
death ; the effect, therefore, must cease at death also. — 
We have already shown that sin lies in the motive or 
disposition of the mind, and not in the act of the body. 
Now to say that this evil disposition ceases at deaths is 

60 LETTER in. 


assuming the point at issue. Let it be proved thattl 

mind becomes pure in an instant at death, and the coi 

elusion will follow with some degree of propriety. Bi 

upon this argument I will remark ; — The very idea 

cause and effect, supposes the effect posterior to ti 

cause. The signification of the terms proves this. *! 

say then that the effect must cease the instant the can 

ceases, is destroying all ideas of cause and effe 

There may be many intervening causes between the/: 

cause and the final effect. That which is the effect 

relation to the first cause^ becomes the cause to the j 

lounng effect. To assert, therefore, that the final ^i 

will cease in an instant with the first cause, is unphi 

sophical in the extreme. That this may appear cle 

I will instance a case. Suppose a person's flesh is la< 

rated at the whipping-post. Now the rod may 

considered the first cause of the pain. But will ' 

pain cease the moment the rod is withheld ? Your ar| 

ment proves this, or else it proves nothing toyourpurpc 

But the fact is, there is an intervening cause betw< 

the rod and the pain. The wound which is the imm$ 

ate effect of the rod, becomes the proximate cause 

the pain; and this pain will not cease with the ji 

cause, but will continue until the proximate cause 

removed. Now in the dispute between us, sin la 

cause of misery, but there are intervening causes ; s 

ning depraves the heart, and thus depravity or gi 

must be removed before the misery will cease. 1 

have now examined your argument, and have seen tl 

its whole strength rests upon a position which is assu 

ed without a particle of proof, but in opposition to ' 

scriptures and your own confession ; that it invol 

prineiples which would overthrow all civil governmei 

and that it disproves future misery no more than futi 


Your next argument which I shall notice, is dra 


>m the promise to Abraham. You saj, "*I'he promise 
■lade to Abraham is the substance of the g(»spel But 
nn this promise there appears to be no intimation of the 
loctrine of future punishment. If it be necessary for 
tthe Christian to believe in the doctrine of future punish- 
icnt, whj was it not equally necessary for the father of 
.the faithful to embrace this indispensable article ?''* 
I Toar argument, briefly stated, would be this i-^There 
t aoi he no punishment after deaths because it is not threa- 
fined in the promise to Abraham. This, I coTjfess, is a 
new and strange argument. No future punishment, 
because it was not mentioned in the promise to Abra- 
ham ! We might as well say, there is no futuir happi- 
nes, because it was not mentioned in the woe pronounced 
upon Judas. We do not expect to find the extent of a 
retribution clearly stated in those passages which treat 
-exclusively upon some other subject. But in tlie pro- 
mise to Abraham there is nothing said of puoiph*trcnt in 
this world, but shall we conclude from this circun«8tance 
: that men are not to be punished here ? But you appear 
\ to-think that every truth contained in the gospel fiispen- 
f lation, must have been made known to Abraham. But, 
^ Sir, it is impossible for us to decide a priori, what God 
ought to have communicated to Abraham. We have 
no positive information that Abraham had a definite idea 
of the nature of the blessing promised, or of the suffer- 
ings, death, and the resurrection of the Savior by which 
this blessing was to be effected. And I might a<lopt 
your language and say. If this he necessary far the CliriS' 
'^iian to believe, why not for the father of the faithful/ 
The promise in question overlooked all the means, 
and spoke of the end. It says that all nations shall be 
blessed. But it does not mention the process by whicli this 
blessing is to be effected. But although the means are not 
alluded to in the promise, St. Paul tells us that they are 

* Go8. Visit. Vol U. p. 109. 



to be blessed with justification through faith.* By thjf a 
passage we learn that the promise to Abraham includeoLt 
means, tho those means were not stated in the promiifc^ 
itself. And who can say that a future disciplinarTu: 
punishment was not one of those means ? The Lord ^ 
revealed to Abraham more than is recorded by MoseSy^ 
or he did not. If he did not, tlien Abraham was igno- , 
rant of many truths which have been made known to 
Christians by the gospel. And it is no more absurd to 
suppose that Abraham might be ignorant of the doctrine 
of future punishment, admitting it true, than that htt 
was ignorant of other truths which are brought to light 
by the gospel. But if the Almighty revealed more to 
Abraham than is recorded by Moses, who knows but that 
future punishment was also revealed to him ? We shall 
endeavor to show in the sequel that the Jews were believ- i 
ers in a future punishment, and it is altogether probable f 
that Abraham did not differ from the rest of the nation I 
in this respect, especially as they looked to him as their 
guide and director. 

But after all, the promise to the fathers cannot be well 
understood without admitting a future discipline. The 
promise asserts that all nations shall be blessed in Christ • 
And as many nations became extinct before the appear- 
ing of Christ, it is manifest they were not blessed in 
Christ in this world ; and hence the blessing must ex- 
tend into a future stale. If the inhabitants of the old 
world, for instance, were translated to glorj bj the 
flood, they were saved by death, and not by Christ For 
it would be absurd to say that Jesus Christ, after his 
appearing in the world, saved those who had been in hea- 
ven two thousand years. It appears therefore, chat the ^ 
promise before us overlooked all the means, and conse- ' 
quently future punishment among the rest, and spoke of 
the final consummation of the gospel ; and that the old 

• Gal. iii. 8. i 

LETTER m. 53 

m r 

plj^rld, for example, \yill receive a chasKisement after 
I death, before thej will come into the enjoyment of the 
Uesaing. This is clearly taught in St. Peter's account 
of Christ's preaching to the "spirits in prison," which 
will be treated, of in a subsequent Letter, to which the 
reader is referred. 

The next argument which claims our attention is 
drawn from the case of Adam^ Cain, the old world, So- 
dom, Korah, Pharaoh and Judas.^ The argument drawn 
finom these examples, is this .* — in all these cases, though 
funishment was inflicted, there is nothing said of punish- 
fMnt after death ; hence there is none. As all these 
eases furnish precisely the same argument, we shall 
treat them together, or rather select one as a specimen. 
I will tiierefore call your attention to the case of Sodom. 
'Tis true that there is no intimation in the nineteenth 
of Genesis, where Sodom's destruction is treated of, 
that the Sodomites would be punished after death. But 
are we authorized to infer from hence that no such pun- 
ishment awaited them ? If the silence of these scriptures 
on the subject in question, be evidence that there is no 
future punishment, then the silence of the same scrip- 
tures on the subject of future existence, is evidence that 
there is no existence after death. Thus does your argu- 
ment, on which you rely with no small share of confi- 
dence, disprove a future state of being, as much as it does 
a future state of punishment. But perhaps you will say 
in answer to this, that punishment was the theme spok- 
en of, and if punishment in a future state awaited them, 
it is natural to suppose that it would have beenmention- 
edy whereas the duration of man's existence was foreign 
to the subject. To this I answer, the punishment, as in 
the case of the old world, Sodom, Korah, and Pharaoh, 
was to terminate their earthly existence. This rendered 

• Led. pp. 8, 311, 315, 316, 311, 319. Go%. N'v»X..N ^.W- 
/r« iffO, 


the duration of existence a theme in view, as much as? 
the duration of punishment And as man's earthly exis-f 
tence was ended by this punishment, it is as natural to^ 
suppose that a future state of being would have been^ 
mentioned, if it were true, as that a future punishment ' 
would have been mentioned, if that were true. Endless-' 
existence is certainly a subject of as much importance r 
as a future limited punishment; and destroying man's"" 
earthly existence would seem to cut off a future existence ^ 
much more naturally, than punishment in this world 
would cut off punishment in a future state, endless ex- 
istence being admitted. And as these scriptures are 
silent upon future existence, it is natural to suppose 
that they might be silent upon futura punishment. And ' 
this silence in the one case, proves as much as in the ^ 
other. It destroys a future state of being as much as a 
future state of punishment 

But probably you will say, that it is derogatory to the 
character of God to admit that his children are exposed 
to a punishment ot which he has given them no intima- 
tion. It would aigue cruelty on the part of the Deity, 
if he should punish Cain, Sodom, &c. in a future state, 
when he had given them no intimation that such was 
the penalty of his divine law. To this we reply, any 
argument however plausible it may appear, must be 
given up, if it contradicts plain matters of fact. Now 
your argument is this; that God never punishes his 
creatures with any punishment, without first informing 
them that such a punishment would be inflicted in case 
of transgression. But this statement is contradicted by 
sober facts. Cain was punished by being a fugitive and 
a vagabond in the earth, and Sodom by being destroyed 
with fire from heaven, when neither Cain nor the Sodom- 
ites had any intimation beforehand that such would be 
Jfaeir punishment in case of transgression. But tbovgh 
/6e Lord gave tbem no particular m\^\mu.\!\QU>dciah\.%^^ 

* « 

LETTER m. 05 

would be their punishments in case of transgression, jet 
these punishments were actually inflicted. And if God 
could inflict these punishments without giving any pre* 
Vious intimation of them, he could inflict a punishment 
ip a future state, and one would not impeach his charac- 
ter any nfore than the other. Thus do the very cases 
^ before us furnish a sufiicient answer to yoUr argument. 
,.i But if the old world, Sodom^ K.orah, and Pharaoh 
\ were introdticed immediately into heaven, then they 
.7r '^^re saved by death, and not by Christ; so that the 
p^ declaration that Christ is the Savior of the worlds 
,/ must be used in a restricted senses In relation to the 
^ old world, St. Peter informs us that they were in prison 
^.^ in the days ^f our Savior; and with reference to the 
Sodomites, the same Apostle says, that they were re- 
served to the day of judgment to be punished. But 
these passages will be considered in a future Letter. 
: . • Most of the cases you have mentioned, instead of oppo- 
<r^i '^''g * future retribution, show the propriety and need of 
^^ such a measure. Take Sodom for example. Though we 
;^^ are taught that there were not ten righteous persons in 
^;^ that city, still I presume you will agree with me that 
this was spoken with reference to adults, and not to 
infants* There were in all probability many innocent 
infants in that city. But according to your views these 
; little innocents were punished as severely as the great- 
est adults in wickedness. And among those who are 
denominated wicked, there was in all probability a con- 
" ' . siderable difference in their characters. Some were of 
. course much more vicious than others. But they all 
; fared exactly .alike. One common destruction befel 
' y them all. Now as God has declared that he will re- 
ward every man according to his works, it is manifest 
that unless a future retribution takes place, the inhab- 
r itants of Sodom are not dealt with accovdxw^l^ \!si^v& 
moral characters. Tlje jftme. teukark vi^JX ^VS^l '^ 




Pharaoh and his legions. Though the scriptures assure 
us that Pharaoh was obstinate and hard-hjearted, we have 
no reason to believe that all his troops possessed this 
character. But still' they were destroyed as well as he. 
Since the virtuous and the vicious were destroyed alike, 
it argues the necessity of a retribution beyond death. 
Besides, in the case of Sodom, Rorah, and Pharaoh, their 
only punishment was instant death. But do you regard 
temporal death as a punishment for sin ? No, you do 
not. You maintain that temporal death results from ^ 
mortal constitution, and is no punishment for sin.* The 
Sodomites, &c. would have suffered temporal death, if 
they had been as virtuous as the Apostles of our Lord. 
So that according to your own acknowledgment, they 
were not punished at all. Their deaths, instead of be- 
ing more aggravating than ordinary,* were more easy. 
They were taken away in a moment. Their destruction, 
therefore, was no punishment at all ; but in fact, was a 
means of rendering their departure out of time more easy 
than it would have been, had they been virtuous. Now 
with what propriety can you call that a punishment for 
sin, which, in fact, you maintain is no punishment, and 
which lessens the pains of temporal death, and intro- 
duces men into heaven much quicker than they would 
otherwise have been ? 

But according to your views^ while these abandoned 
wretches were thus rewarded (t say rewarded, for sure- 
ly that cannot be called a punishment, which lessens the 
pains of death, and introduces men sooner into heaven,) 
for their iniquity, the righteous were left in this state 
of affliction. The Lord then was as merciful, nay he 
was vastly more merciful ia the wicked than to the 
righteous. Thus if all men are introduced into hea- 
ven at death, then the inhabitants of the old world were 
matched to immediate felicity as a reward of their 

^ See Leot p. 93. Aton. p. 59. 


wickedness, and the righteons Noah was left in this 
world of woe ; then the wicked Sodomites were cursed 
with immortal glory, &nd the just Lot was blessed with 
pain and distress ; then the rebellious Korah was in- 
stantly convejed to heaven, and those who were obedi- 
ent were left in the desert; then the bard-hearted Pha- 
raoh and his oppressive legions were translated in an 
instant to the paradise of God, and the oppressed Is- 
raelites were left to wander in the wilderness ; then the 
treacherous Judas was introduced into glorj by suicide, 
and so arrived at heaven sooner than his Master. 

Perhaps the above paragraph may sound harsh to some 
of the abettors of your system, but on close examina- 
tion I think they will find it a plain, undisguised view 
of your system in relation to these cases. I have re- 
viewed the paragraph with attention, and acknowledge 
that I do not see, but that it is the legitimate offspring 
of your belief. Your discernment will enable you to 
discover that Uie portrait is just, though the visage may 
appear a little repulsive. At any rate, if it can be shown 
that these consequences do not follow from your views 
of these cases, I will pledge myself to retract them. 

Another example from which you draw the same ar- 
gument, as in the above cases, is the threatenings de- 
nounced upon the house of Israel under the law. But 
18 this example contains several ideas not found in the 
ither cases, I have thought proper to reserve this for a 
eparate consideration. You say that all the threaten- 
Dgs denounced upon the Jews, in the law of Moses, 
irere confined to tliis state of being. In the twenty- 
ixth of Leviticus, in particular, we have a long, cir- 
anistantial account of the judgments which were threa- 
ened upon the Israelites, and these are said to be ac- 
;ording to their sins, and yet are all confined to the 
sarth.^ The argument is briefly this ;-->there can be no 

* Leot p. 303, Sermon OD 1 Peter iv. \1, \%. v ^\^^» 


punishmeDt after death, because the judgments threat- 
ened in the law are temporal. Now this argu men t« if it | 
proves any thing, proves that there can be no happiness 
after death ; for all the blessings in the law are tempo- 
ral as well as the judgments. You say- yourself, *'Iti8 
worthy of special regard, that the divine promises and 
threatenings, recorded by Moses and the prophets, with 
which God was pleased to signify his approbation of 
righteousness^ and his disapprobation of sin, relate to 
blessings and punishments, which have been enjoyed and 
suffered by the house of Israel in the earth. For their 
encouragement the Lord promised them all manner of 
temporal blessings ; and as a terror, he threatened them . 
with all manner of temporal calamities.^ 

Here then we have your acknowledgment that the 
law is as silent upon future happiness, as it is upon 
future misery; and if this silence proves any tbingp 
relative to future misery, it proves the same with regard 
to future happiness. And it is not a little surprising 
that you and those of your sentiment should insist so 
much upon an argument, which, instead of supporting 
your system, overthrows your system, and Christianity 
with it. If we inquire into the nature of Moses' law, 
we shall find it a civil or political institution. It was a 
temporal institution introduced for the benefit of the 
Jews as a nation. Now as the ritual of Moses was j 
nothing mor^ than the civil or political government of ] 
the Jewish nation, it is natural to suppose that its pen- 
alties would be of a temporal nature. Temporal or 
political sanctions are the best suited to temporal or' 
political institutions.! Since the Mosaic law was a 

• Lect. p. 303. 

t Dr. T^ppan ofTers the fallowing, among other reasons^ why 
temporal rewards and panishments were the beat adapted to the 
Mosaic economy. 

1. ^^There was no need of incorporating with the Jewish ritail 
a aewand expresB reveJation of a future state \ because such a 

LETTER m. 0g 

olitical or civil code, we may naturally suppose that its 
lenalties will be of a temporal nature. But what has tliis 

tate had already been notified to the world by nature and reason, 
ssisted by early revelation and tradition, and had alto been dis- 
oyered to the Hebrews by special comoiunications made to their 
lious ancestors. Agreeably, the belief of the sooPs loimortalitT, 
od of future rewards and punishments, was interwoven with the 
clolatrous system of the ancient heathen. On this principle they 
leified the souls of their eminent men, and consulted the dead. 
The same general belief appears to have been early and constantly 
tntertained by the Hebrews. SauPs effort to obtain counsel from 
he spirit of departed Samuel, was founded on tliis belief. Tlie 
Jewish law proceeds. on this principle in forbidding necromancy 
tnd consulting the dead. 

2. ^^As this law was ceremonious and temporary, it was fitly 
enforced by temporal rewards. As it was given chiefly in pureu- 
ince of the peculiar covenant made with Abraham and his teed, 
i covenant which insured to them the land of Canaan, and great 
rorldly prosperity in it; we plainly see that sanctions best suitf^d 
:o this covenant were temporal blessings or judgments, in tlie 
M)untry which Jehovah had thus granted them. 

3. ^^These temporal sanctions directly struck at the root of 
dolatry, and destroyed its principal suppoit. For it was iUu 
leading sentiment of those early times that worldly prosperity was 
iueparably connected with a strict observance of their idolatrous 
itea, with a devout worship of the stars, of demons, of tutelar 
ieities, and that a contempt of these gods, or a violation of their 
Htitntions, would be punished with temporal calamities. Even 
Ibe Israelites, as appears from their history, were deeply infected 
nth this vain and pernicious idea ; and this was the main source 
f tiieir frequent relapses into idolatry. To eradicate thb fatal 
fror, it waft necessary that their divine Lawgiver should denounce 
nd inflict the same penalties on those who deserted his worship, 
rbich were supposed to follow the neglect of the pagan deitrf e ; 
Dd that he should promise and conspicuously grant the opposite 
leaaings to those, who, abjuring their former idolatry, acknow- 
(dged and obeyed him as their only Sovereign ; in short, that he 
lould hold up full evidence, that he was the sole Dispenser both 
fgood and evil. This was to destroy idolatry with its own wea- 
ODs ; it was to tear away the grand props on which it rested, 
tid to transfer them to the opposite side, viz; to the support of 
lat allegiance, which is exclusively due to Jehovah. 

4. ^^Ir the rewards and punishments of a future life had been 
anezed to the Hebrew ritual, this would naturally have led the 
etrs into a superstitious or exclusive regard to ceremonial duties, 
I if these alone could expiate moral guilt, and procure everlast- 

3r bappinesf.** Lectorei on Jewish Antiquities, pp. 23^ 24> Sdx 


to do with the doctrine of future punishment ? The law 
of Moses did not even teach a future state of existence* 
and it would be downright contradiction to admit that '' 
the law was enforced by penalties extending into a 'i* 
future state, when the law did not reveal such a state*' "^ 
But the silence of a civil code on the subject of future 
punishment, is no argument against such a punishment ^ 
The laws of our country do not extend their penalties r 
into a futute state ; but can we conclude from this that . 
there is no future retribution ? Because our legislators 
do not affix to the laws they enacts a penalty extending 
into a future state, would it be just to conclude that they 
are not believers in punishment after death ? Surely, 
not. You will readily grant that a great majority Qf our 
law -makers have been believers in a future retribution, 
notwithstanding all the penalties which they have affixed 
to their laws, have been temporal. Now may not this 
be true of Moses and the children of Israel, as well as of 
men in our own state and nation ? They might l>elieve. 
in a future state of punishment, though their civil law 
said nothing upon the subject; and there no 
more absurdity in their case, than there is in ours. Sap- 
pose a person should attempt to disprove future punish- 
Tnent by the fact that the laws of Massachusetts do not 
extend their penalties beyond death. I presume you 
would regard the argument as weak and inconclnsive. 
But to me it appears just as cogent as the argument yoa 
draw from the law of Moses. 

But you say, Moses declared that this punishment 
should be according to their sins. Whoever will examine 
the twenty-sixth chapter of Leviticus, will be sensible 
that all the promises and threatenings therein contained, 
relate to the Jews as a. nation^ and not as indiviidiials. 
They were to be punished by discomfiture in battle, by 
famine, by being driven from their own land, dispersed 
Mtaong the heathen^ &c. The very nature Qf thM« 


{idgments shows that thej were national judgmtnts. It 
would be absurd to admit that every individual was 
jqstlj and equitably punished by such calamities as are 
mentioned in this passage. Take famine, for example. 
Who would suffer the most by such a judgment? Not 
the most vicious, but those who are in the most indigent 
eirciimstances. Now it is very far from being the case 
in any nation, that the most wealthy are the most virtu-, 
ous. It most generally happens that those who possess 
an overgrown fortune are the most vicious. It very fre- 
quently happens also, that their wealth is the offspring 
of their wickedness ; that their fortune is acquired by 
dishonesty and oppression. And on the other hand^ we 
find in every country some of the most virtuous charac- 
ters among the industrious poor. Now in the case of 
famine, it is manifest the poor would suffer the most 
severely. While the virtuous roan, who is in indigent 
circumstances, is famishing for food, the rich man, who 
obtained his. fortune by oppression, has bread enough and 
to spare. Thus it will be seen that such calamities are 
very far from being an equitable retribution upon every, 
individual. A judgment of this nature may be perfectly 
jast upon us as a people, but a$ individuals, it is far from 
being according to our demerits. 

The same may be said o^ war. Though it may be a 
just punishment upon the nation, as a nation, it does not 
measure its penalty to every individual according to his 
moral character. Suppose we as a nation, should be- 
come corrupt, and (jrod should permit the. savages of the 
wilderness to overrun our country, and practise tb.^jr 
accustomed mode of warfare. Now it is manifest that 
there would be some virtuous a^d good people among 
u^ though as a nation, we were corrupt. But evory 
person of common discernmenf must see that this judg- 
Bient» though it might be just upon us, as a people* would 
not be apportrdned to the demerits of every ^eraoa. tba 

7jb lewer in. 

innocent women and children would in all probability' '^ 
suffer most. They; being the most helpless* wpuld be r 
the first to fall a prey, while the most abandoned of the ' 
citizens would perhaps escape their ferocity. Nay* the l' 
most unprincipled of all, would- probably join with tiie ^ 
barbarous foe, and imbrue their hands in the blood of ' 
their innocent countrymen. This has ever been the case f 
when a nation has been overrun with a savage enemy, f 
Some unprincipled wretches would join the enemy, and 
thus escape in a great measure, those cruel sufferings 
which the patriotic soldier and innocent female would 
be called to endure. Thus we see that such calamities 
do not fall upon every individual according to the degree 
of his moral turpitude. And as we have hinted before, 
when a pinching famine reigns in a land, the laws of 
equity are at an end, being superseded by the law of 
power. The strong will seize upon the possessions of the 
weak, and thus the daring wretch has enough and to 
spare, while the innocent and defenceless are famishing 
with hunger. These remarks must appear just to every I 
person who has any knowledge of national calamities. ' 
Now the Jews may experience those national calam- 
ities which are mentioned in Leviticus, and this maybe 
a just punishment upon them as a nation ; it may be ai 
Moses expresses it, according to their sins, as a people, 
but as it regards individuals, it would be very far from 
being just and equitable. Another remark upon national 
punishments ought not to be omitted. Nations are not 
punished for their sins, till the measure of their iniquity 
is full. The Lord bears long with them, till their corrup- 
tion is deep rooted. Npw this national corruption is 
gradually acquired. So there may be many monsters of 
Wickedness, who contribute more to the corruption of 
the nation, than any other citizens, and these may die 
before the deserved punishment falls upon the nation. 
Slid according to your views, be tuken to consummato 

LETTER m. yg 

.citj» and their innocent descendants and countrymen 
Y be left to SHffer those evils, which, in a great mea- 
e, were brought upon their country by their own hor- 
wickedness, and corrupt example. This principle is 
implij&ed in the case of the Jews, who you say,* have 
Xk p^nished nearly two thousand years for the bias • 
^my committed by the Pharisees in the days of our 

S^ow the judgments threatened in the twenty-sixth of 
nticus.give no support to your system. This chapter 
is not even insinuate that there will be no punishment 
5r death. But when ve consider that- these judg- 
ats are national, and that national judgments, though 
y may be ace,qTding to the sins of the nation, as a 
ion, do pot fall equally upon every individual, accord- 
to the demerit of his crimes, but generally fall bea- 
st upon the innocent and defenceless. We then see 
necessity of a future retribution* to render the ways 
he Lord equal. I say« when we consider that the 
gments mentioned in Leviticus are of such anature, 
t it is morally impossible for them to recompense 
ry individual according to his just deserts, we are 
lished with an argument from hence in favor of a 
ire retribution. For as the judgments generally fail 
vily upon the innocent and defenceless, while many 
the most corrupt, escape them entirely, unless a 
*ibution in a future state be admitted, we cannot 

^'Vindicate the ways of God to man.*^ 

fow>Sir,it is to be hoped that you will no longer use 
fti^ument to disprove future punishment, whichif it 
ves any thing, would overthrow Christianity itself by 
;)roving a future state of existence ; an. argument 
eh, when strictly examined, shows the necessity of a 
ire retribution, to enable us to vindicate the charac* 

* Lect p. 144. 


ter of God. I will conclude mj reply to this ai 
by observing that the law of Moses tttVeatens th 
est temporal punishments, even death 'itself; 
Paul carries the gospel penalty further. He 
that those who tread under foot the Son of G 
receive a sorer punishment than death without t 
I will now attend to some passajges of scriptur 
you cite as direct proof of your system. Bui 
noticing any passage, 1 will observe that by quoi 
passage of scripture, to prove directly that all n 
confined to this life, you give up the plea you fre 
make that your side of the question is a negat 
in future, I trust that we shall not be told that it < 
upon us to prove our system true, while you 1 
thing to do but to examine our arguments. 1 
passage which claims our attention is Proverb 
"Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in tl 
much more the wicked and the sinner." N 
passage simply says, that virtue and vice ha' 
ward in this state. This we are ready to adn 
this is not the point at issue. The question is, 
receive all their punishment here ? And in suj 
this, the text is nothing. I might with propriety 
the passage with the above remark, but as y< 
to attach great importance to this scripture, I wil 
few words more upon the subject. The book froi 
this passage is taken, is a collection of maxims^ t 
of which will hold good in common cases. T 
appear from the very title of the book, A Pro' 
general truth, but it will not bear a strict applic 
all cases. We have many maxims among us, w 
founded in wisdom, but still cases frequently i 
which they will not hold good. Proverbs, wh 
are interpreted as general truths, are of great uti 
when applied strictly, they are, of all language,! 
likeljr to mislead. 

LETTER in. 75 

Now in the book from which this passage is taken* 

Monion has collected several hundred proverbs, the 

lit of his wisdom and experience. These proverbs 

not designed to teach us the doctrine of Christian- 

% but to aflfbrd us a variety of useful maxims for the 
imon concerns of life ; and,with a verj few exceptions, 

ij apply to this world. I will illustrate mj views of the 
rerbs by a few examples taken from the very chapter 

i which the passage before us is found. Verse 9th — "A 
>ocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbor*" 

lis as a proverb, is true, but it will not hold good in 
^ery case. There are some hypocrites whose charac- 
ters are so well known that thejr word is not regarded 
lathe least, and consequently their influence will injure 
V^one. Verse 10th — "When it goeth well with the 
^ghteous, the city rejoiceth ; and when the wicked per- 
fili, there is shouting." This is so far from being true 
%iall cases, that the reverse is frequently the fact. Cities 
'lo sometimes lament the death of a wicked person, and 
"^Njoice at the calamity of the good man. Verse 12th — 
^Aman of understanding holdeth his peace." No person 
"^11 interpret this to signify^ that the wise man never 
^eaks at all. Verse 14th — "In a multitude of counsel- 
ors, there is safety." This as a proverb is founded in 
Visdom. It is true, interpreted on the principle I have 
^entionedi but applied strictly, it is not correct in all 
tases. For the largest bodies of men have often been 
deceived, and a host of counsellors cannot always insure 
•ttccess. Verse 15th — "He that is surety for a stranger 
thall smart for it." Will any one pretend that this is 
always the case ? They will not, if they have any know- 
edge of human events. 

Now hundreds of examples might be produced from 
the Proverbs of Solomon similar to those I have cited, 
frhere jou will not pretend that Solomon had axi^ r^fer* 
ince t» the doctrines of the gospel, or iVv^t ^<^ ^>s^%a^^ 


76 LETTER ni. 

will bear a strict application. From this view of (he] 
Proverbs, it will appear that the passage before us wiiiT 
not designed to teach the extent of a retribution, bot 
onlj to teach what generally happened, in a greater or'f^ 
less degree. So that the passage simply means, that in 
the common concerns of life, virtue is generally reward- ^ 
ed, and vice punished. By what authority t ask, doyod | 
apply this passage to a doctrine of the gospel, and give - 
it a strict interpretation^ when at the same time you | 
acknowledge, that Solomon ailmost uniformly spoke only 
of the common affairs of life, und even then, his lan- 
guage will not bear a strict application. That system 
must surely be weak, which has nothing for its support ' 
but the rigid application of the maxims of Solomon-^ ! 
maxims which were never designed to teach us doctrin- 
al points. And my astonishment is a little excited when 
I iind that you rely more upon the maxims of Solomon, 
to support your views, than upon all the rest of the Old 
and New Testament. That men do not receive all their 
reward in this world is evident from many passages of 
scripture. Jesus sajs to th6 afflicted, "Rejoice and be 
exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven,^^ 
How can it be maintained that the righteous receive all 
their reward on earth, when the inspired teachers assure 
us that they shall have a great reward in heaven ? That 
men will be both rewarded and punished in a future 
state, will be shown hereafter. 

But, Sir, if you understand the passage strictly, it 
will be nothing to your purpo.^e. "The righteous shall 
be recompensed in the earth; much more the wicked 
and the sinner." Now if you understand the passage 
strictly, according to the letter, it would amount simply 
to this ; The righteous shall receive all they desle^ve in 
this world, and the siniker shall receive much mof^d than 
he^leserves! Thus does this passive yield you no as* 

*Matt. V. 1^. 

LETT£R nL ^ 

srstanceon either interpretation. If it be understood in the 
light of a proverb, it simply nieans^ that in the common 
iffaira of life, virtue generally brings comfort and res- 
pect, and vice generally meets with disapprobation ; and 
if it be understood literally, it involves the absurdity, 
that the wicked receive a greater punishment than 
they merit There is notliing in this passage to express 
a retributiOfi but the word recompense, and this word, 
applied to sinners, signifies nothing, more than that they 
shall be punished. Now I ask, doea a* passage which 
asserts that men eadei here, prove that they will not 
exist hereafter ? Every sane man will answer in the 
negative. I ask again, doea a passage which asserts that 
men are punished here, prove that they will not be pun- 
ished hereafter ? The answer mdst be the same. In a 
word,- the term recompense must include all that men 
deserve, or it must not. If -it does not^ then it is nothing 
to your purpose; for men' may be punished in a future 
sti^e, though they have received some punishment here. 
But if the term recompense does include all that men 
deserve, then the passage tnvolvea the absurdity that the 
wicked receive mUchmcfre than they deserve. Now, 
although you pronounce the exposition I have given of 
the paBsaige, ^A m08t palpable absurdity,'"^ I will submit 
It to the' reader to determine whose exposition is the 

nodt consistent and rational. 
The neit passage which claims our attention isEccI. 

til. 7.' '^Thett' shall the dust return to the dust as it was ; 
uid the- spirit shiall return- to God who gave it.^ This 
passage ydu adduce in support of your vie ws.t The re- 
marks already made upon the writings of Solomon, will 
apply to this passage. It was not the design of the 
wHetnkn to give us a syirtemaftic view of the doctrines 
of the Bible, but only to give his views upon the com- 

• Lebt p. 29B. t l*c\* ^« ^\« 


mon concerns of life. In order to a right understand- 
ing of any portion of scripture, it is necessary to exam- 
ine the connexion in which the passage is found, and if 
possible, to learn the object the writer had in view. If 
we apply this wholesome rule to the passage before us, 
we shall learn that Solomon was not treating upon the 
condition of man, after death, but was inculcating early 
piety. He begins the chapter by saying, **Remember 
now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil 
days come not" From the first verse to the seventh, he 
speaks of the troubles, trials, and death to which more 
advanced age was peculiarly subject. Now the whole 
scope of the argument is this ;— Remember thy Creator 
while in youth and health, before trouble, sickness, and 
death overtake thee. This is clearly the wise man's ar- 
gument. To suppose that he hath, in the seventh verse, 
taught the final condition of man after death, is to ad- 
mit that he introduced something totally foreign to the 
subject Besides, Solomon commands us to remember 
our Creator, before the evil days come, and then reckons 
the day of death among the evil days* But surely if 
death translates every person to immediate glory, it 
ought to be considered a happy , rather than an evU event 
llie whole strength of your argument rests upon the 
presumption that the word spirit means the immortal 
soul. But you cannot be ignorant that the term spirit, 
has various significations in scripture. Sometimes it 
means the disposition, and sometimes tcind, air, or breath. 
In the latter sense it is used by Solomon in the very 
book in which the passage in question is found. ^Wbo 
knoweth the spirit of a man, that goeth upward, and the 
spirit of the beast, that goeth downward to the earth.''* 
Here the word spirit is applied to the brutes, as well as 
to men, and consequently must signify something which 
men hold in common with brutes. By spirit is probably 

• Ecoh uutU 

IJBTTER m. y% 

it breathy for surely it cannot signify the immortal 
which brutes have not. So the passage in question 
ib\y means, when the bodj returns to its original 
the breath returns to its kindred atmosphere. But 
u understand the word spirit to signify the immor* 
oul, it would only involve you in difficulty. The 
ige seems to teach that both body and spirit, at death, 
'n to their original state, and become as they wert 
*e creation. ^'Then the dust shall return to the du^t 
wast^^ that is, as it was before creation ; ''and the 
t shall return to God who gave it,'' as it was before 
tion. The passage, therefore, understood in your own 
would teach, that at death, the spirit or soul would 
'n to its original state, and become as it was before % 
isted, that is, it would cease to exist in an individual 
city. Besides, you think it very absurd to say that 
;rs are to be punished out of the presence of God, 
i God is omnipresent.''^ According to your represen- 
n of omnipresence therefore, if the spirit goes to a 
; of misery after death, it goes to God, since he is 
f where present. 

lere is one passage more from Solomon, that I will 
^e, not because I consider the text of any conse* 
ice at all in this contr^ersy, but because you seem 
•esent it as something formidable.t The passage is 

. "Wherefore I praised the dead which are already 

I, more than the living which are yet alive." Eccl. 
. It is truly surprising that a gentleman of your 
Its should lay hold of a passage like this. Nothing, 
[i persuaded, but the want of evidence elsewhere. 
Id have induced you to cite a passage so foreign to 
• purpose. As this text does not even intimate that 
nisery is confined to this life, or that there will be no 
shment after death, I shall oflfer no comment upon it, 
will cite another passage from the same book, which 

^rmoD on 2 Theaa. i. 7, 8, 9. ^ ^^^^'^» ^."iRfik. 

80 LETTER in. 

aflbrds as much evidence of future pumhment, as this 
passage does of the opposite doctrine. *'For to him 
that is joined to all the living there is hope ; for a living 
dog is better than a dead lion." The remarks already 
made upon Solomon's maxims, will apply to both the 
above passages. There is one passage in the New Tes- 
tament on which you place ^reat reliance;* The pas- 
sage is Rom. vi. 7* *'He that is dead is freed from sin." 
Your argument rests solely upon the presumption, that 
the death here spoken of, is the death of the body. But 
if it can be made to appear that the death spoken of in 
the passage, is not temporal death, your ai^ument is en- 
tirely destroyed. In order to a right understanding of 
^his text, it is necessary to observe that the apostle very 
frequently speaks of the literal death and resurrection of 
Christ, and then makes use of them, as figures by. which 
to represent oixr deaih to sin, and life po holiness* You 
think, because the apostle alludes to the literal death of 
Christ, that the death spoken of in the Tth vei^se, must 
be temporal death. But this is very far from being the 
case. St. Paul says in a certain instance, J die daily* 
Itwilbbe admitted by all that this death is not tempo- 
ral death. For it would be an absurdity to admit that 
Paul died a temporal death evj^ry day. But still I would 
inquire, from what subject did the apostle borrow the 
term cHe, which he uses in this passage? He borrows 
theterm from temporal death. But no one will pretend 
the apostle meant temporal death in this passage, be^ 
cause he borrows his language from that subject. And 
so in the sixth chapter of Romans ; the apostle speaks 
of the temporal death of Christ, but uses it as a simil- 
itude by which to represent our death to sin. 

With this principle in view, let us attend to the sixth 
of Romans, where the passage before us is found. The 
apostle begins the chapter by ^ying, «<What shall we 

♦ Leot. p. 363. U. Mag. Vol. lU. p. 131^ \«i, Sio. 


uj iheni shall we continue in sin, that grace may 
•bound ? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to 
sin, live any longer therein ?" Here then we learn the 
rabject of which St. Paul was treating. He was speaking 
open a death to sin, and not of the death of the body. Hav- 
ingintroduced the subject* viz. a £{ea(/i to ^n, he illustrates 
it by the literal death and resurrection of Christ. Ver- 
ses Sd and 4th — **Know ye not» that so many of us, as 
were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his 
death ? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism 
into death ; that like as Christ was raised up from the 
dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should 
walk in newness of life^^ The apostle in these verses 
speaks of the death and resurrection of Christ, and 
makes them a simile of our death to sin, and life to holi- 
ness. His argument is this — As Christ died and rose 
from the dead, so ought we, who profess to be dead to sin, 
to '^waUc in newness of life.'' This argument he enfor- 
ces by verse 5th — *'For if we have been planted togeth- 
er in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the 
likeness of his resurrection." Having stated the death 
and resurrection of Christ, the apostle applies the 
principle to the moral state of the Romans. "Knowing 
this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the 
body of sin might he destroyed, that henceforth we should 
not serve svn*^^ Verse 6th.*^Here the same death is 
spoken of; crucifying the old man, and destroying the 
body of sin, signify the same as being dead to sin» 
mentioned in the preceding verses. This verse teaches 
us in the plainest manner, what death the apostle was 
treating of. It was a death to sin, crucifying the old 
man, or destroying the body of sin. 

We have now noticed all the verses of this chapter^ 
from the first up to the passage in question. And that 
file reader may have the whole subject before him, I will 
observe, that in the preceding chapter^ tke «k^^%l\.^V>9 ^ 


82 LfiTTER lit. 

been treating of the Universality of Ood^s grace. And 
in the first verse of this chapter, he anticipates an objec* 
tion which is frequently made to this doctrine, viz. that 
it leads to licentiousness. To meet this objection, the 
apostle endeavors to show the absurdity of the principle, 
that those who had embraced dhrist and become dead to 
sin, should continue to violate the laws of God. *'How 
s^iall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein ?^ 
This subject the apostle keeps in view, to the sixth verse* 
where he informs us, as we have already seen, that the 
old man was crucified, not that we might live in sin, but 
that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth 
we should not serve sin. This he confirms by the words 
in debate, ''He that is dead, is freed from sin ;^' that is, he 
that has become dead to sin, by having the old man cru- 
cified, instead of continuing in sin, as the objection sug- 
gests, is freed from sin. This is clearly the apostle's 
argument, and taken in this light, we see its force and 
pertinency. But if the death here spoken of, be the 
death of the body, the force of the argument is lost en- 
tirely. The objection states that God's boundless grace 
leads to sin. And the apostle, according to your views, 
answers this objection by sayipg, in sentiment, that if a 
person dies in the very act of murder, he will go to hap- 
piness as quick as the greatest saint This instead of 
meeting the objection, would rather encourage it. But 
God forbid that we should ascribe such futile re^isonjng 
to an inspired apostle. 

Further ; we have already seen that the sentiment of 
the 7th verse is explained by the 6th. What the apostle 
means by the term dead, in th^ 7th verse, is explained 
in the 6th, to signify crucifying the eld man ; and what 
is meant in the 7th by the phrase, freed from sfn, is exr 
plained in the 6th to signify, that we should not serve sin* 
And in the 4th it is explained to mean that we shouU 
^a& in newness of lift. But the apostte not only 

LETTER in. gg 

Huiled the expression, Mie that is dead is freed from 
D^" in the verses which preceded it, but in the follow* 
g verses he does the same. His words are-^'*Like- 
tse reckon ye also yourselves to he dead indeed unto 
ft, but a2ivei»?i^o God through Jesus Christ our Lord.^^ 
ere again, the apostle expresses the same idea as in the 
h verse. He explains the word dead, to signify dead 
ito sin, and the phrase /reed /rom sift, to signify being 
ive unto God through Jesus Christ He then adds, 
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, that 
i should obey it in the lusts thereof." Here again 
e see the nature of this death. Those who were dead 
the sense of the 7th verse, were still in their mortal 
dies. Let us now inquire, are we authorized to un* 
irstand the term dead, in verse 7th, to signify the ex- 
iction of animal life, when it is not used in that sense 
the context, so much as once, when applied to men ? 
lali we deviate from the apostle's repeated definition, 
ly to support a preconceived opinion P Is this receiv- 
g with meekness the word of divine truth ? 
But probably you will say that the term, death, is used 
squently in the connexion to signify the death of the 
dy. We readily admit that it is used in that sense, 
len applied to Jesus Christ. But what of that ? Does 
follow that it must have the same meaning, when ap- 
ied to men, when the apostle has told us repeatedly 
at it has not ? Now for the sake of the case, We will 
Irait that your reasoning is correct. Your argument is, 
at the death mentioned in the 7th verse, must signify 
e death of the body, because it has this meaning in the 
fotext. But to whom is it appHed in the context, when 
means temporal death ? Only to Jesus Christ. So 
en verse 7th, "He that is dead, is freed from sin," ap- 
fes to Jesus Christ And the argument in support of 
mr system, would be this ;— Beonise Jesus Christ, whe 
5ver Qonnitied any sin, was by death fwei fe<wk^ui\ 


therefore those who die in sin, will pass immediately to 
happiness. This reasoning, to saj the least, is not Yer/ 

The view we have given of Rom. vi. 7, receires the ^ 
fullest confirmation, when we attend to what the same ^ 
apostle has said upon the same subject elsewhere. To ^ 
the Galatians he says, «I am crucified with Christ ; ne* j 
vertheless I live ; yet not I, but Christ livethinme; . 
and the life I live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son 
of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."* 
Here as in Rom. vi. the apostle speaks of a death to situ 
J am crucified, says he. This he illustrates, as in Ro- 
mans, by the literal death of Christ. I am crucified unth 
Christ; nevertheles I live by faith in the Son of God. 
This passage conveys the same idea as that in Romans. 
There he says, '*He that is dead, is freed from sin ;" and 
here he says, *'I am crucified, nevertheless I live by 
faith in the Son of God." Now it is clear that St. Paul 
means the same by being crucified, in this passage, that 
he does by being dead, in the other ; and what he call» 
being /ree(2/rom sin, in the one, he calls living by faith, 
in the other. And in both passages alike, he illustrates 
this by the literal death of Christ. But did Paul mean 
that he was temporally dead, in this passage to the Gala- 
tians ? No one will assert this. Again, the same apos- 
tle says, ''But God forbid that I should glory, save in the 
cross of our Lord Jesus Christy by whom the world is 
crucified unto me, and I unto the world."t In this pas- 
sage Paul says that he is crucifUd to the world. "Bj 
this he means the same as by being dead, in Romans; 
and the idea conveyed in one passage, by the phrase, 
freed fromsin, he conveys in the other, by the phrase, 
the world is crucified to me, that is, worldly lusts cease to 
influence my conduct.. In another passage, the apostle 
Paul alludes to the same subject, and illustrates our 

' • GaJ. tt. 20. t GaU vi, 14. 

LETTER ni. ggf 

lal resurrection by the literal resurrection of Christ, 
represents those who are dead to sin, as being de- 
rered from its baneful influence. His words are these 
'If then ye be risen with Christ, seek those things 
uch areabove, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of 
1^. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ 
11 God,*** -This passage teaches us that the Goiossians 
^^ dead'With Christ, and riaen with him. Now in all 
^e passages, St. Paul speaks of the same thing as in 

t* ▼!. r. He speaks of a death tosin, and represents 
those who are dead in this sense, were freed from 
m raUng power of sin. And in every instance he iilus- 
^les this by the literal death and resurrection of Christ. 
inr^ person whose mind is free from the bias of system, 
XMiid acknowledge these passages parallel to the one in 
B^mans. But will you pretend that the death spoken 
^ in these passages, is the death of the body? Will 
^^dmit that Paul was literally dead, when he wrote 
is epistles, and that those to whom he addressed them. 
Id departed this life ? 

Having noticed several passages in the epistles of 
lul, let us now inquire what the other writers say upon 
is subject. St. Peter has a passage parallel to Rom. 
. 7. "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us 
the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the samemind, 
r he that hath suffered in the flesh, hath ceased from 
ly that he no longer should live the rest of his time in 
e flesh, to the lusts of men, but to the will of 6od."t 
IIS passage renders the one in Romans perfectly Intel* 
;tble. Paul says, "He that is dead, is freed from sin." 
iter says, <<He that hath suffered in the flesh, hath 
ased from sin." Peter uses the phrase, suffered in 
zfl^eshtto mean the same as died* It is the same ex* 
ession which he uses in the same passage, to express 
e death of Christ. All must acknowledge that St. 


Peter means the shine bj suffering in the fleshy i\i%i 
Paul does by being dead ; and the former meaos 
same by ceasing from sin, that the latter does by bei 
freed from sin. Here I think every unprejudiced pereo; 
must admit that both apostles were treating upon 
same subject, and laboring to establish the same 
Both of them speak of the literal death of Christ, 
infer the point in debate therefrom. Now if we can 
certain what St. Peter meant by suffering in the fieAi0t 
and ceasing from sin, we shall then have a8certaine4l|i 
what St. Paul meant by being dead, and freed from simt^L 
But what was Peter's meaning ? It is absolutely certaiOkB 
that Peter by suffering in the flesh, did not mean tempo 
ral death ; for after declaring that he who had thus safi 
fered, or was thus dead, had ceased from sin, he tells 
the effect, or influence of being Uius dead — "that he niklj 
longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh, ii^^ 
the lusts of men, but to the will of God." Those who 
had suffered in the flesh, and ceased from sin, in St 
Peter's sense of these expressions, had not experienced 
temporal death ; for it would be a flat contradiction to 
say that they had died a temporal death, that thej 
should live the rest of their time in the flesh, according 
to the will of God. 

Now from the clause, ''that he should live the rest of 
his time in the^esV it is as clear as any thing can b€| 
that he was then in the flesh, and consequently the 
death cannot be temporal death. The death alluded to 
is a death to sin. This is corroborated by what Peter 
«ays in another passage in the same epistle. Speaking 'Z 
of Christ he says, "Who his own self bear our sins in his il 
own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should L 
live unto righteousness."* This passage expresses the j. 
same idea as the former, and removes every doubt fron li 
the apostle's meaning, if any doubt could exist before. 

* / Peter, il, 24. 


LETTER m. 57 

lexplains the death spoken of in the passage to mean a 
to sin^ and what he expressed in the other passage 
the phrase, ctased from sin, he here explains to mean 
live unto righteousness. It is incontrovertiblj eri- 
it that St. Peter and St. Paul were treating upon one 
the same subject ; and as St Peter's language can- 
possibly be interpreted of a temporal death, it fol- 
rs with moral certainty that the language of St. Paul, 
^e that is dead is freed from sin," cannot be interpre- 
W of the death of the body. After what has been 
•fcred upon the subject, I flatter myself that it will 
ippear obvious to the reader that the passage, '<He that 
bdead, is freed from sin," will not bear the exposition 
foa have given it. We have seen that the whole scope 
f the apostle's argument, and the context forbid it ; 
iat all the passages in which Paul treats upon the same 
ibject forbid it; and that St. Peter in a parallel passage 
rpressly cuts it off. 

Before we dismiss this subject, we will notice an 
jection which may probably be urged against the view 
have given of the passage. The objection is this ; — 
e death spoken of can mean nothing short of temporal 
iath, for no person is completely freed from sin in this 
arid. This objection, however plausible it may appear, 
founded upon a mistaken idea of scripture phraseology. 
Then the scriptures treat upon any subject, they do it 
I popular language. When they speak of the right- 
tus and the wicked, for instance, these terms are not 
led with strict philosophical exactness, but only in a 
slative sense. By a righteous man, the sacred writers 

not mean a man who is absolutely perfect, or virtu- 
as in the strictest sense of the term ; but only that he 

1 comparatively so, more virtuous than men in general, 
knd so on the other hand, of the wicked. In the scrip- 
lire sense of the terms, a righteous man is not free from 
\]\ BID, aeitber is a sinner devoid oC a\\ %qq^tv^%%« ^^^ 


is chWedjt^st, Lot just and righteous^ Job a perfect 
tin upright man, and Nathaniel an Israelite in wM^ 
was no guile. Now these terms and phrases am 
expressive of immaculatt purity, as the phrase 
from sins and as jou will acknowledge that the foi 
apply to men in this world, there can be no. inpsst, 
pricty in the latter's applying to this world alsc Yf%^ 
do not suppose that the apostle meant to teach tbatbi^ 
brethren were absolutely perfect, or free froioiall iupik^ 
rity. No, his only meaning was» that they were compiM^ 
atively righteous* In a word» that. they were freed froBif. 
sin, in the same degree they were dead to it^.that id«iiL%^ 
relative sense. ,' 

The passage in Romans is to be understood in tha^ 
same sense as many other passages. St John ^J^^ti 
^'Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sini."\^ 
Now we cannot understand this passage strictly, withott! 
involving many absurdities. John himself confesses tb 
he was not without sin, and still he believed that he had -j^ 
passed from death unto life. But I need not labor a 
point which must be obvious to every reader of the 
scripture. If we turn to the 6th chapter of RomaB%[| 
where the passage in debate is found, we shall see thai: 
Paul did apply the phrase/ree/rom sin, to men in tbist 
world. Verse 14th — "For sin shall not have deminiaa 
over you." This amountstoas much as being freedfron^ 
sin ; for they were freed from sin, if sin had nodemkiieB: 
over them. Verse 18— "Being then m^Ae free fmom sm^^ 
ye became the servants of righteousness*" In- this paasafa. 
it is expressly asserted that those to whom the apMtle^ 
addressed himself vrtrt free from sin* Verse di3i—«But« 
now being made free from sin^ and become ^servants i»* 
God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the icnde-verr' 
lasting life.^* Here then it is .expressly said in two^ ver^ 
tea at leasts that the brethren of the Sooun churoh. ware 

• 1 John ui. 9. 


LETTER m. 89 

•eefrom sin. This not only removes the objection, but 
trnishes an additional argument in favor of mj con- 
raction of verse 7th. We find bj these quotations, 
lat what is said in the last clause of the 7th verse, 
{iplies to men in this world, and this is a weighty argu- 
lent in favor of the whole verse having such an appli- 
ation. At all events it destroys your argument. For 
t is clearly proved that the phrase, /ree/rom sin, in the 
th of Romans, does in two instances apply to men in 
his world, where you will admit that its meaning is only 
omparative ; and if the expression,/r6e({ /rom sin, has 
•nly a comparative signification, even if you apply it to 
. future world, it will not exclude all iniquity. From 
rhat has been offered upon the subject, I think it will 
.ppear that the passage in question does not favor your 
ystem in the least ; and that the passage simply means, 
'He that is dead to sin, is freed from its consequences." 

I have now noticed the principal arguments which are 
alledged in support of your views, and how far I have 
■emoved their force, is submitted to the reader. Thus 
far I have confined myself to your system, and the argu 
nentsby which you support it I have endeavored to show 
that your system is defective, and your arguments incon 
elusive; and if in any instance I have used expressions 
which are thought to border upon disrespect, I will offer 
this explanation ; my remarks have been directed to the 
system, and not to its author ; and while I express my 
disapprobation of the one, I do not intend any disre- 
spect to the other. If what I have offered in opposition to 
your views, be valid, then the doctrine of the happiness 
of all men at the article of death, must be given up. 
For while I consider your system weak, I firmly believe 
at tiie same time, that you have defended it in the best 
possible manner. The defect lies not in tVv^ ^^n^^^^^ 

but in the system he has the TOisfortaxi^ Va ^^^^tA% 
Your defience being the best possib\e>\i ^^^^ w^\S!^«^^ 


can be fairly answered, the system must inevitably fall 
And if your system, which limits all punishment tothii 
world, be unfounded, then the doctrine of future puniBk 
ment will follow of course. In the subsequent Letters,! 
I shall adduce evidence in favor of my own views upeH' 
this subject, and endeavor to obviate the objections jeoj 
have offered against these views. I shall not howeverj 
confine myself solely to your objections, but shall occa- 
sionally notice arguments which have been offered bj 
other writers on your side of the question, whenever I 
find any thing advanced by them which is not coBtained 

in your argutn<»nts, ' 

Yours, &c. I 


SiaUment of the doctrine of Future Punishment. 


Having examined your system, and the principal argu- 
^ meats you aiiedge in its support, I will now state in a 
J definite manner, the views which I shall attempt to de« 
j fend. I shall endeavor to show that those who die im* 
ifi, penitent wUl^ after death, enter into a state of misery, 
jf, consisting ofananety, guilt, and remorse, which toillcon- 
I '. Hnue until repentance or reformation is effected. We 
Ji do not believe that this misery will arise from any exter- 
^ nal application, but from the internal state of the mind. 
It is not our belief that this punishment will be inflicted 
j by the immediate hand of God, and as it were, out of the 
common course of his moral dealings, but that it will 
grow necessarily out of the moral natures God has giv- 
en us ; that it will be the legitimate fruit of that guilt of 
which the mind will be conscious, in consequence of 
past transgressions. We know by what we feel in our- 
selves, and see in others^ that one overt act of wicked- 
ness leaves tlie mind in a statp. of condemnation and 
misery ; and as many commit the most atrocious crimes 
the instant they leave this world, it is reasonable to sup- 
pose that they will enter into a state of remorse and 
inquietude after death. To me this has all the force of 
moral demonstration. Sin always leaves the mind in 
condemnation. This is an established principle; it 
grows necessarily out of the nature which we possess. 
Take men as they are, and it is, impossible for it to be 
otherwis.e. Now a person taken away in the perpetra- 
tion of a horrid crime, must be unhappy after death. 
His moral nature renders immediate happiness im- 
possible. Unless his accountability is destroyed, his 

consciousness done away, and his moral nature annild- 
lated ; in a word, unless man is changed into some other ^ 
creature, it appears morally certain that those who ^ 
depart this world in gross wickedness, will enter into ^g 
a state of infelicity. :ts 

If men exist in a future state, they must retain their :^ 
identities; that is, they must be conscious that they are j 
the same beings who have existed in this world, and per- ,£ 
formed such and such actions. Without this conscious- ^ 
ness, men cease to exist. If I fall asleep to night, and ^ 
awake on the morning of to-morrow without my con- ^ 
sciousness, that is, without any knowledge or recollec- ^ 
tion of having existed before, it ceases to be myesjf, and \ 
becomes another being. Nothing which existed in me, | 
and went to make up my personal identity, or individu- \ 
ality, is found in him ; but he is as distinct and as sepa- ; 
rate from me, as Peter or Paul. The same will hold 
good in relation to a future state. In that state we must 
possess a consciousness of having existed here, or it is 
not we who exist, but it becomes a new creation. All 
then, that goes to make up an individual, must exist af- 
ter death, or there is no future life to us. How do men 
in this world distinguish themaelvea from one another? 
It is solely because they possess an individual identity 
or consciousness ; that is, they have a conscious know- 
ledge that they have existed before that moment, and 
are the same beings who have thought, and felt, and acted 
thus and so. This consciousness is what constitutes an 
essential ingredient in an individual. Destroy this con. 
sciousness, and individuality ceases. Now if we exist in 
a future state, we must possess this individual conscious- 
ness, and all those principles and feelings which consti- 
tute personal identity. To talk of men's existing in a 
future state, without this consciousness, would be the 
height of extravagance and absurdity ; it would be some- 
thing similar to the notion that all men sinned in Adam, 

Letter iv. 93 

I position you would bj no means admit. But it is no 
more absurd to saj that men sin, without a conscious- 
ness of sinning, than it is to say that they exist, without 
I consciousness of existing. 

It appears clear from the nature of the case, that men 
in a future state must retain their consciousness, and 
this idea receives additional support from the scriptures. 
Jesus Christ, who is our pattern or example, retained his 
consciousness after death. He knew that he was the 
}ame person who had been baptized by John, betrayed by 
Judas, and crucified by the Jews. He knew that he had 
existed before ; he recognized his disciples, and com- 
manded them to preach that gospel which he had died to 
establish. Hence it will be seen that Jesus Christ 
retained his consciousness after death. And this will 
be the state of all men in a future world. The apostle 
intimates to us, that in a future state, we shall see as 
we are seen, and know as we are known.* We are told 
in passages which you apply to a future state, that the 
redeemed will ascribe glory and honor to Jesus Christ in 
consequence of his having suffered and died for men in 
this world.t These passages contain full proof that men 
retain their consciousness after death. The redeemed 
in a future state praise Christ for what he has done for 
them, and as the blessing was made known to many of 
them in this world, it is manifest that they had a reali- 
zing'sense of the blessings they received while here ; and 
Kence it is clear that they were conscious after death, of 
evi^nts which occurred here in time. 

l^hus it appears both from scripture and reason, that 
men will retain their consciousness after death ; they 
will be the same individuals there they were here, and 
will have a realizing sense of their conduct in this 
world. We will admit for the sake of the case, that men 

• 1 Cor. xiii. 12. t Rev. v, 12^ 13, 



in a future state, though they may be conscious of ha?- W 
ing existed here, may not have a distinct recollection 
of all the actions they have performed. But this will 
not effect the argument. They will remember the last !^ 
act of their lives here, especially if it be an act of gross ^t 
wickedness, and this is all the argument requires. ^^ 
Now a man who goes out of the world in the very act of ^ 
murder, for instance, will in a future state, have a real- f^'. 
izing sense of his character and conduct. There will ^^ 
be no necessity of his being informed that he is a pi 
murderer, for he will be conscious of this ; he will know ^ 
that the last act of his life in this world, was an act of In 
gross immorality, and this will render him unhappy. It y. 
would be impossible for him to enjoy quietude of mind, u 
while he is possessed of his consciousness, and knows fs 
that a weight of guilt rests upon his mind. Unless, ^ 
therefore, at death man is changed into a stock, or stonei |l 
or some other creature, it appears perfectly clear that p 
th6 character before us. cannot enter upon immediate j 
erijoyment. Knowing himself to be a murderer, he must 
be unhappy. There is no need of any executive au- 
thority to inflict a punishment upon him ; for his own 
feelings will constitute his miserj, and his sin will be its 
own avenger. We know by our own experience, that 
men cannot be instantly happy after committing such 
horrid crimes. Misery flows necessarily from the state 
of mind attendant upon transgression. This is true 
of men in this world, and this misery arises from a con- 
sciousness of their past bad conduct ; and as men will 
retain their consciousness in a future state, it follows, 
that those who die in the very act of transgression, will 
be unhappy after death. 

We do not believe that men will be consigned to any 
- particular place of punishment, as suc/i; but that the " 
punishment will arise from their own unholy feelings 
Jind disturbed minds. The remora^ ol ^qt3aw.t5l^^ \okV 


be the punishment, and hell will be found within them. 
The future punishment in which we believe, is no differ- 
ent in nature or kind, from what men experience in this 
world. And anj person who is opposed to future pun- 
ishment on this view of the subject, does, if he would 
confess it, feel equally opposed to all punishment in this 
world. It would seem that no reflecting person, who is 
friendly to virtue and morality, could oppose a future 
punishment of the nature 1 have mentioned. It has fre- 
quently been said by Christian writers, that if the 
unbelievers in revelation were men of real integrity* 
they could not possibly feel opposed to the moral pre- 
cepts of the gospel. And it appears to me that the same 
remark will apply to the case before us. If a man is 
friendly to the cause of virtue and holiness, and is 
impressed with a just sense of accountability to God, I 
cannot conceive what motive he can have in opposing a 
future retribution, properly understood. 

Having stated the doctrine of future punishment, and 
shown that it is included in the idea of future, conscious 
existence, and is no different in its nature from punish- 
ment in this world, I will now call your attention to 
several considerations which lead the mind irresistibly 
to the thought of a future retribution. 

1 . Ai equitable retribution does not take place in this 
world. If this proposition can be established, a future 
retribution follows as a necessary consequence ; for the 
Almighty declares that he will render to every man 
according to his works. There are many passages of 
scripture which teach us that a just and full retribution 
does not take place in this state. It was said to the rich 
man, who was in misery after death, "Remember that 
thou in thy life-time receivedst thy good things, and 
likewise Lazarus evil things ; but now he is comforted, 
and thou art tormented."* This text not only teaches 

* Luke xvi. 2o* 


us that mea are not full j rewarded in this world, hafl 
that a retribution does take place after death. Tlu|i 
passage will be treated of at large in its proper plac6«i 
We readily admit that sin is punished in this world, bi^t 
because men are punished here in some degree, it deep 
not follow that they are punished to the full extent of 
their deserts. Wh^t we shall attempt to maintain \%t 
that a full and equitable retribution does not take pl&ce 
in this state. David was fully convinced of this. Whea 
he saw the prosperity of the wicked, his heart was 
grieved within him, because he could not reconcile the 
retribution which took place in this world, with the jus-* 
tice and equity of the divine Being. Speaking of the 
prosperity of the wicked, he says, ''There are no bands 
in their death ; but their strength is firm. They are not 
in trouble as other men ; neither are they plagued like 
other men. Therefore pride compasseth them aboot 
as a chain, violence covereth them as a garment. Their 
eyes stand out with fatness ; they have more than heart 
can wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly con- 
cerning oppression ; they speak loftily. They set thrir 
mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh 
through the earth. And they say. How doth God know? 
and is there knowledge in the Most High? When I 
thought to know this, it was too painful for me. Until! 
went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their 

Now although this description of the wicked will not 
hold good at all times, and in every situation, yet there 
are instances in which this is a just representation of Ae 
condition of the righteous and wicked. Look for exam- 
ple to the first ages of Christianity. The meek and 
humble followers of the Lamb, were persecuted beyond 
measure. They were exposed to every hardship, and 
called to suffer every agony which human nature coald 

• Ps. kiiu. 4—17. 

LETT£R IV. gy 

ly feel, or the ingenuitj of their persecutors could 
t. But while these iDnocent Christians were thus 
ing every torture, their cruel persecutors and 
irers were enjoying peace and quietude, and revel- 
1 sensual indulgences. To an age like this, the 
ption of the Psalmist will apply. At such periods 
obvious to the eye of unbiassed reason, that an 
retribution does not take place in this world. St 
knew by sad experience that the gospel subjected 
ind his brethren to greater trials and difficulties, 
those to which the enemies of Christianity were 
ed. Reflecting upon this subject he says, *'If in 
ife only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men 
LOst miserable."^ Now this passage rests upon the 
iple, that the gospel in that age subjected its pos** 
rs to greater sufierings than other men were called 

e apostle, it is true, was speaking not of a future 

^hment, but of a future existence. But in either 

the argument is precisely the same. The apostle's 

3ient is this ; — If there is no future existeu/ce, then 

en at death are in one and the same situation ; they 

irecisely alike relative to happiness or misery ; and 

re of all men the most miserable, because we are 

id to encounter greater sufferings in this world than 

t who reject the gospel. And the same may be said 

lere be no future retribution. For if all men are 

>y after death, they are all in the same situation ; 

are all alike as much as though they were all anni- 

;ed. Hence the apostle might say. If there be no 

re punishment, we are of all men the most miserable. 

apostle's declaration, <'we are of all men the most 

srable," is founded upon the principle, that his trou- 

in this world were greater than other men's. And 

ther he was treating upon future punishment or 

* 1 Cor. XV. 19. 


future existeDce, this principle remains the same. Bat 1 
probablj it may be said that the apostle had greater'! 
consolations than other men» as well as greater trials. ; 
To this we reply, however great the apostle's consoU" 
tions might have been, his sufterings were so weighty as ^ 
to leave the balance of misery over happinessy greater ^^^ 
in him than in the enemies of the gospel. If the (^ 
apostle's consolations or enjoyment kept pace with bis }^ 
sufferings, so as to leave him on the whole as happy as <« 
other men, he could not say with a shadow of propriety, '^ 
or even truth, that he was the most miserable of all mea, ^tu 
if the dead rise not For if men do^ not exist after «i, 
death, he could not be more miserable thaa other men, jn 
unless he had a greater balance of misery over happiness m 
in this world, than other men. So the apostle's dech- (I 
ration goes directly to show that he and his Christum lie 
brethren had more troubles in this world, than thejic 
persecutors of the gospel. This passage then proves. Job 
i neon t rover tibly that a just retribution does not take c: 
place in this world, and so confirms the account given iH 
by the Psalmist, that the wicked are sometimes prosper- C 
ous in this world, even beyond the righteous. ^ 

Here then we have the testimony of David and Pauli 
that men are not fully recompensed in this state* But 
you will probably say that the Psalmist gave thift repre- 
sentation, when he was ignorant, before he went into the 
sanctuary, and learned the truth. 'Tis true, that Da- h 
vid's perplexity arose from his ignorance. He could jiL 
not reconcile the enjoyment and prosperity of the wick-je 
ed in this world, with the justice and equity of the Deity* li 
But after he obtained information on the subject, these k 
perplexities were all dispelled. David, when he was I 
perplexed, was ignorant, it is true. But of what was he | 
ignorant? Not of the prosperity of the wicked; for r 
that he had already seen. Not of their quiet and 
^enjoyment ; fur that he had witnessed. But he was I 


tguorant of their end. *^When I thought to know thig, 
it was too painful for me ; until I went into the sanctu- 
iry of God» then understood I their end.'*^ Here then 
was the additional knowledge which David received. 
He was not informed that his representation was false, 
>r even exaggerated ; but rather it was confirmed. But 
the knowledge which he acquired related to their end, 
that is, the state which awaited them after death. Your 
lystem requires that men be punished bj theqompunctions 
[>f conscience, day by day as they pass along. But it was 
not this which gave ease to the mind of the Psalmist ; he 
anderstoud that in the end they would be recompensed. 
To call that punishment which falls upon men day by day 
their end^ is destroying the meaning of language, and 
making the scriptures mean what we please. 

The whole book of Job goes to prove that men are not 
dealt with in this world according to their moral cha- 
racters. Job, we are told, was Si perfect and upright 
man, one that feared God, and eschewed evil;. in a 
irord, that there was none like him in the earth.* Job 
then was a virtuous man ; he was unparalleled in good- 
ness. But was his happiness on earth as much greater 
than other men's, as his character stood fairer ? No one 
will pretend this. No man ever experienced more 
severe trials. His fortune, his children, and all that he 
had, were torn from him. His friends proved false; his 
bodily and mental agonies were almost insupportable. 
The nany trying and severe jdiictions which befel the 
perfect and patient Job, teach nsin the plainest' wanner 
that men are not always dealt 'with in^ this wiorld ac- 
coc^ng to. their moral charaeters. 'While the^nghteoas 
are groaning under many 'afflictions,! the' wicked are 
fre^neiitly prosperoms and happy. Not only the -case of 
Jobi but the.-oonvertation betwMK kim: utLdi A&^^riBbtiB^^ 
mconteatablj abows that God doeft unt ^N9f:sv^itibiL'v<S^ 

•/oil,!. «. 


men in this world according to their moral characteniki 
The contest between Job and his friends was simffy||m 
this;— Job maintained that God did not always AtA\fi 
with men here according to their deserts, but his friendl %^ 
maintained that he did ; and because Job was afflicted i 
more than other men, they inferred that he was mort q 
criminal. No person can read the book of Job under- ^^ 
standingly, without perceiving that this was the dispute i|r 
between them. i^ 

His friends, to establish their side of the question, sa^i \^ 
**Who ever perished, being innocent ? or where were the pp 
righteous cut off? Even as I have seen, they that plow y 
iniquity and sow wickedness reap the same." **The ^^ 
wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, and the if 
number of years is hidden to the oppressor. A dread- L 
ful sound is in his ears ; in prosperity the destroyer k 
shall come upon him. He believeth not that he shall Vn 
return out of darkness, and he is waited for of the |i 
sword." "The light of the wicked shall be putoot, 
the snare is laid for him in the ground, and the trap for 
him in the way. Terror shall make him afraid on every 
side, and shall drive him to his feet Destruction shall 
be ready at his side, his confidence shall be rooted oat 
of his tabernacle, and it shall bring him to the king of 
terrors. He shall be driven from light into darknessi 
and chased out of the world. Surely such are the 
dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him 
that knoweth not God."* From these and various other 
passages, we learn the doctrine for which Job's friends 
contended. They maintained that God in this world 
always dealt with men according to their moral charac* 
ters ; or, in other words, that a just retribution always 
took place in this state of existence. 

But Job, on the other hand, contended that the wicked 
frequently prospered in this world, even beyond the 

. • Job IF. 7, 8. XV. 20, ai, ». xvm- ^►-^V, 

(LETTER IV. ,101 

^ lighteous* la support of this, among other things, he 
|l HLys, "The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they 
I tluit proToke God, are secure ; into whose hands God 
■ Mngeth abundantly." "God hath delivered me to the 
vngodly, and turned me over into the hands of the 
wicked. I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder, 
he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to 
pieces, and set me up for his mark. His archers com- 
pass me round about ; he cleaveth my reins asunder, and 
doth not spare ; he poureth out my gall upon the ground. 
He breaketh me with breach upon breach, he runneth up- 
on me like a giant My face is foul with weeping, and on 
mj eyelids is the shadow of death. Not for any injus* 
ticc in my hands ; also my prayer is pure." "Where- 
fore do the wicked live, become old, yea are mighty in 
power? Their seed is established in their sight with 
them, and their offspring before their eyes. Their 
houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God 
upon them. They send forth their little ones like a 
flock, and their children dance. They take the timbrel 
and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ. They 
spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to 
flie grare. Therefore they say unto God, depart from 
ns ; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways."* 

By the above passages we learn that Job was far from 
admitting a just and full retribution in this world. He 
says, that robbers prosper, while he, though innocent, is 
greatly afflicted by God. He tells us that the wicked 
prosper, not only in temporal things, but also in their own 
feelings; in their minds they have peace. They are 
safe from fear, and the rod of the Almighty is not upon 
them. Thus, Sir, it appears that Job's friends believed 
with you, that God always dealt with men in this world 
i according to their moral characters ; that a full and 

• Job ail. 6. xvi. 11—17. xxi. 7— ia» 



equitable retribution invariablj takes place here. Bii|^i 
Job maintained that this was not the case. 1 i^ 

Here then we have the case plainly before us* Ub \m 
asserts that God does not deal with men in this state d| jian, 
being strictly according to their deserts ; but his frieuds y, 
assert the opposite. Now the only question to be dectt ^ 
ded is this ; — whether Job was correct, or his /riemiii ^ 
This question is happily decided by the Judge of all th« i^ 
earth. *<And it was so, that after the Lord had spokey if 
these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz tlHi^.hi 
Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee and against ^ 
thy two friends ; for ye have not spoken of me the thiMg u 
that is rights as my servant Job hath. Therefore take li 
unto you seven bullocks and seven rams^ and go to my ij, 
servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a bi^rnt offeriogi % 
and my servant Job shall pray for you ; for him will i.L 
accept : lest I deal with you after your folly , in tftot y#» L 
have not spoken of me the thing which is right, ^}]^ 
servant Job*^^* Thus does the divine Being expressjijiL 
approve of the sentiment advanced, by Job, and cea« ^^ 
demn that advanced by his friends. Hq says that Jelh 
had spoken right, but his friends had not.. We havtf 
already seen that Job maintained that a full and comt:) 
plete retribution did not take place in the present world*r 
and this sentiment is approved by God himselC But; 
Eljphaz and his associates, by maintaining the oppositflk 
excited the wrath of the Lord, and were formally conf i 
demned by him. This then is fqll proof th(it menai^ . 
not equitably recompensed on this side the grave* AimJ: 
hence the necessity of a future retribution. 

But you will probably say that we cannat tell, how, 
much distress of mind the sinner feels in the midst /of- 
temporal prosperity. How then can you determine that ( 
hQ receives the full reward of his iniquity here in tijoei; 
If we are ignorant of the sinner's feelings, then surely 

♦ Job ilii. 7,8. 


9t say that he is puDished to the full extent of 
8. So this veil of ignorance which jou woald 
' the subject, is an acknowledgment that your 
mot be established. But is it certain that the 
when undergoing the severest temporal and 
afflictions, always enjoy mental peace and 
? Our Savior, when clothed in our nature, 
\ was pure and spotless, experienced no small 
jrief. He says, "My soul is exceeding sorrow* 
leath." To say that all good men enjoy perfect 
ty under the greatest earthly afflictions, is to 
t our own experience, and the common aedtt- 
mankind. Does it appear from the history, 
enjoyed mental happiness in the midst of his 
The farthest from it possible. The whole of 
versation goes to show that his mind was pain- 
I as his body. Neither is it true that the wicked 
' smitten with remorse in the midst of their 
prosperity. Job, as we have already seen, days, 
3 safe from fear, neither is the rod of the Al- 
pon them." Thus it appears that they are 
Y destitute of that fear and anxiety which many 
n are called to experience. David also says, 
are not troubled like other men. The apostle 
esses himself the most miserable of all men, in 
nee of the troubles which the gospel drew upoh 
is world. From these scriptures it is mani- 
:ases sometimes occur in which the wicked are 
more prosperous, but in fact are more happy, 
righteous. We do not pretend that this is 
e case. Facts will not permit, neither does my 
quire, me to say that as a general thing, virtue 
enjoyment than vice. But the same facts and 
testimony constrain me to say that the wicked 
;imes prospered even beyond the righteous vx 


~ Bat on jour system, you must maintain the rev 
Your views require that jou maintain that our m 
always increases with our guilt. It is a necessary 
of your system that men are sufficiently punishc 
their own feelings, and that conscience is the j 
which will render to all men their just due. Your v 
system then rests upon the presumption that the 
•cieoce is always pure, and invariably metes out 
punishment strictly to our demerits. But this poc 
is repugnant to both scripture and reason. Experi 
plainly teaches us that the compunctions of consci 
are far from being in proportion to the enormity of 
guilt This remorse does not keep pace with our v 
edness. The novice in crime will feel more remors 
stealing sixpence, than the adept in wickedness doe 
a robbery or a murder. We know by our own ex 
ence, that conscience becomes more pliable, the oft 
she is made to bow to our evil inclinations. 'S 
we first commence a sinful course, conscience rei 
strates with becoming firmness i but if we continn 
walk in that path, we shall find that conscience will 
its sting in nearly the same proportion that we pro| 
in wickedness. It is the nature of sin to blunt the n 
feelings, and lay the conscience asleep. The p( 
who drinks too deep at the intoxicating bowl for the 
time, experiences shame and remorse, while the hafa 
drunkard has lost all sense of shame, and has no < 
regret than that he does not possess the means of | 
ging deeper into that destructive vice. And so o 
other vices. The fashionable murderer, the duellist, 
takes the field, and with deliberate aim kills his rivi 
filled with rejoicing, rather than remorse. He will 
boast of his bloody exploits, and will take the 
again, whenever an opportunity presents itself, 
while this aspiring murderer is arrogating to himsel 
greatest honors, and has the satUCacUoa of being fea 

LfiTTER IV. 100 

lid applauded bj a corrupt multitade, the tjro in crime 
rxperiences the severest remorse of conscience, and is 
lerhaps pining in prison. Instead of the reproTings of 
Minscience bdng more and more severe, as we progress 
h wickedness, the very reverse of this is the troth, 
fhe more virtuocis a man is, the more he is alive to a 
lense of accountabilitj to God, and as he increases in 
An, his sense of accountability decreases. The greater 
[he sinner therefore, the less are the reprovings of con- 
science. Every person who has given any attention to 
the subject, must be sensible that the feelings of con- 
science are more acute in a virtuous, than in a vicious 

Novir what is so clearly taught by observation and 
experience, is further corroborated by the scriptures. 
St. Paul says, '*The blood of Christ shall purge your 
tonsciences from dead tvorksJ^^* This purging of the 
conscience from dead works, necessarily supposes that 
it had oDce been defiled by acts ot wickedness. Again 
he says, '^'The worshippers once purged should have no 
more conscience of sin.^t This passage plainly implies 
that before the worshipper was purged^ his conscience 
was sinful. The conscience frequently becomes corrupt 
and sinful. Hence the apostle says, <*having our hearts 
sprinkled from an evil conscience.^^ The apostle to 
Titus teaches the same truth— "Unto them that are 
defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure ; but even their 
mind and conscience is deftledJ^^^ Thus it appears that 
sin corrupts the tbhole man; even his mind and his 
conscience partake of this defilement. Once more, the 
apostle speaks of apostates who speak lies in hypocrisy, 
•Slaving their conscience seared tvith a hot iron."|| Now 
will any person pretend that a conscience thus callous, 

• Heb. ix. 14. t Hebx. 2. 

t Heb. X. «2. ♦ Tit. i. 15 

I 1 Tim. iv« g. 



aad stupified, is a suitable tribunal to deter 
characters of mcD ? We are told that the Ju< 
the earth will do right But can the same be 
conscience which is sinful, evil, defiled, s 
with a hot iron ? Since conscience frequently 
corrupt and hardened, it follows of course th 
not to be the final judge of the characters of m 
who could expect a correct decision, in all cas 
corrupt judge ? and shall we look to a defiled c 
as the last and onlj tribunal, bj which the 
men are to be tried ?"* 

Men are naturally selfish beings; and si 
corrupts the heart, and blunts the moral feelin 
degree that the old veteran in wickedness wj 
little remorse for the most atrocious deeds. 1 
af sin is so alluring, that the old offender wi 
perfuade himself that his behavior is not repi 
Now can we reasonably suppose that a consc 
seared and defiled will do perfect justice in 
It is the common consent of mankind that it ^ 
Would it be wise in all cases of a civil natun 
the defendant upon the bench, and let him <] 
own case ? Are robbers and murderers general! 
the privilege of deciding whether thej shall b< 
or not? Much otherwise. And the reason] 
It is the common sentiment of mankind that 
would alwajs favor himself at the expense of j 
equity, should he be permitted to decide his o 
And so with a defiled conscience; its decisi 
partake of that selfishness which is characteri 
tinner. The remorse we feel, arises from a jus 
our accountability to God. But the adept in \i« 
has little or no sense of his accountability, ai 

* 8e€ DisfiertatioDs on future puDighment by Rev. I 
land, poblUbed in tbe Christian Repository, Vol. IV. 
J^e found muaj excellent reiaark% upon thU aubject. 


i^vom habituallj to baniah God from his thoughts. In the 

deacription of the wicked given bj the Psalmist, which 

ve have already noticed, does it appear that they had a 

realizing sense of their accountabilitj to God? The 

faithest from it possible. The passage informs us that 

thej set their mouth against the heavens, and say, How 

doth God know ? and is there knowledge in the Mont 

High? Here instead of admitting their accountability 

ta God, they seem to doubt his taking cognizance of 

their conduct. Job also, as we have seen, represents the 

wicked as prosperous, and in consequence of this, they 

become haughty, atid say unto God, depart from us; for 

we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. Thus instead 

of feeling their accountability, they harden their hearts, 

and command God to depart from them. St. Paul after 

the Psalmist, says of certain vile characters, there is no 

fear of God before their eyes,* 

Now it would be the summit of weakness to say that 
these characters had a realizing sense of their accoun- 
tability to God, when they had no fear of him before 
their eyes. Who will have the presumption to say that 
ginners feel a just sense of their accountability to their 
Maker, while they have no fear of him, do not desire his 
instruction, but command him to depart from them f 
Since remorse of conscience arises principally from a 
sense of our accountability to God, and the most cor- 
rqpt sinners have the least sense of their accountability, 
it appears morally certain that conscience does not render 
to every man according to his deeds. Who can believe 
that the selfish, mercenary being, who will destroy his 
neighbor's life to increase his temporal interest, will by 
the bar of his oWn conscience condemn himself to a just 
and equitable punishment?— But we will drop all rea- 
soning of this sort upon the subject, for the sacred wri- 
ters have decided it forever. They assure us that the 

•Rom. til. 18. 


conscience becomes defiled and seared, so that the most \ 
abandoned sinners, instead of feeling accountable to the i 
divine Being, renounce his control, despise his instruc* n 
tion, and command him to depart from them. 

If we look at the conduct of men, we shall see that 
the sting of conscience does not restrain them from sitk 
Old transgressors continue to commit sin, notwithstanding 
ail the horrors of conscience. When tempted at any 
time to commit sin, thej do not inquire whether they 
shall experience remorse of conscience ; for they know 
that this, to a certain degree, always attends transgres* 
sion. But this they are willing to bear. Should you tell 
an old offender, that if he continued in sin, he would 
experience almost intolerable remorse in every act of 
transgression, he would probably inform you that he was 
as well acquainted with his own feelings as yourself, 
and that if he could escape human laws, it was all be 
expected or desired. The principal inquiry which an 
old sinner makes is, not whether he shall escape re- 
morse of conscience, but whether he shall escape human 
authority. We find that men are in ^ovewith sin, much 
in proportion as they practise it There is something ia 
sin which strikes the virtuous mind with dread, but the 
sinner rolls it as a sweet morsel under his tongue. 
Hence we read, '*Men loved darkness rather than light, 
because their deeds were evil. For every one that 
doeth evil, hateth the light." Will you inform the sin- 
ner, that, if he violates the laws of God, he will expe- 
rience darkness ? This is just what he desires ; he loves 
darkness rather than light. And will you call that a 
just punishment for sin, which the sinner mostly desires? 
'<Are we to look to the very darkness which men love, 
as containing a full and equal punishment for their 
transgressions ? Is this the whole chastening of the 
Lord, which is to humble and subdue the hardened stn- 
nerP We Gad that men are gf^uet^Wj m lo>oe vivtii ini- 

LETTER ly. 109 

quitj, much in proportion to their practice of iniquity. 
And although we grant that the love of iniquity is found- 
ed on deceptive principles, and the promised happj 
consequences are all a cheat to the soul ; yet they are 
Mich as flatter the sinner, and are, by no means, calcu- 
lated to dissuade him from pursuing his accustomed 
coarse. Would a person be apt to account that which 
he lores, as a punishment ? No ; nor would it, properly 
speaking, have the effect of a punishment upon his mind, 
till he is enabled to realize its chastening power. The 
argument, then, that sin does not, in many instances, 
carry with itself the reward of its full demerit, appears 
fsUy supported from the nature of the case."* 

Again : the idea that the conscience punishes all men 
to the full extent of their criminality, is of the most fatal 
moral tendency. It at once aims a blow at the founda- 
tion of civilization and order, and tends to introduce 
anarchy and confusion. If the conscience of every man 
punishes him to the full extent of his demerit, then hu- 
man punishments are unjust and cruel. Human laws 
frequently sentence men to imprisonment for life ; they 
go further, they sometimes put men to death in the most 
lingering manner. Now if conscience punishes each 
individual to the full extent of his deserts, any other 
punishment is unjust. It is inflicting a punishment 
upon those who had been, or would be sufliciently pun- 
idied without the interference of human authority. On 
this ground then, human laws are only engines of cruel- 
ty, and ought to be repealed. And if all laws are repeal- 
ed, then all government, all order, all civilization must 
fall. Now, Sir, if you maintain that conscience is a 
judge which will in this world render to every man 
according to his deeds, you are in duty bound to oppose 
the execution, and even existence of human laws. But 
do you desire to subvert all human authority, and intro- 

* Chtutian Repository, vol. IV. p* ^^. 

1 10 LETTER IV. 

duce a state of anarchy? I am sensible that j¥t 
would shudder at such an idea. Then reject the «a- |^ 
scriptural notion that conscience is the only tribunal at j^ 
which men will be tried — a notion devoid of all authori-* L 
ty, and one which aims a death blow at all order and », 
regularity. Thus it hath been shown that conscience it >^ 
far from being a just and equitable judge* and conss' j^ 
qnently it cannot be pretended that men receive their 
dae reward as they pass the journey of life. 

We frequently see instances in which it is obvious to 
the eye of unbiassed reason, that a just retribution does 
not take place in this world. To illustrate this, we will 
suppose a case. We will suppose then, that two neO) 
A and B, start in company to commit robbery and mur- 
der, and while in the very act of taking the life of the 
innocent traveller, A receives a shot through the heart, 
of which he dies instantly; but B escapes alive with 
the booty. And to avoid detection fi flee8« and after 
wandering several months in a distant part of the eoun* 
try, is detected, brought before a magistrate, and com- 
mitted to prison, where he remains for several months 
more. He is then brought to trial, receives the sentence 
of death, is remanded back to prison, where he remains 
for months loaded with chains, and at last suffers an 
ignominious death upon the gallows. From the time of 
the murder until the execution we will say was one year. 
Now this is no visionary representation. Cases of this 
nature frequently happen. 

Now I would ask, if A went in a moment to perfect 
bliss, is it not evident that A was punished too little, or 
B too much ? I will observe here that their characters 
must have stood upon a perfect level, when they assault* 
ed the innocent traveller. It matters not what their 
conduct might have been before they commenced this 
daring enterprise. For if men receive all they deserve 
in this world, they must be puuUh^d «tA^ b^ ate^ as 


>a8S along, so that if they are taken awaj at any 
nt, thej will have received all their panishment^ 
}o be obnoxious to none after death. If one 
'ore had been ten times as vicious as the other, he 
eceived ten times as much punishment; conae- 
\j thej m.ust both have stood on equal grounds at 
ime ; they must both have received up to that time 
it was due, no more nor np )ess« They roust there- 
lave cancelled all their debts up to the time of the 
A and B were alike guilty in this affair, and for 
done were they guilty* Now I will renew the 
ion whether these men were punished alike for the 
I of murder. B continued in this world one whole 
[)efore his execution ; during the whole of which 
he was extremely unhappy. His whole year's 
e suffering was closed by the agonies of death. 
^ who was equally guilty, went, according to your 
;, instantly to glory. In what sense could A be 
hed for that crime ? Will you say that he was pun- 
by being killed on the spot ? The innocent traveller 
was punished as severely as the cruel murderen 
B also was killed upon the spot And B also, A's 
nplice in wickedness, after suffering a whole yeai\ 
red death. 

either is temporal death a punishment for sin. If A 
been as virtuous as St John, or Jesus himself, he 
|d haire suffered temporal death; and perhaps in a 
^er ten times as painful aa to be shot thro«gh the 
U. So that by being killed insta&tly,. he in bet 
ped those long and severe paags which are the coin- 
lot of those who die a natural death. This^suddea 
li therefore* ought tO' be considered a reward rather 
e punishment He went out of the world nore easy 
he probably would have done, had he been innoeent. 
^QQOitmAiPtatft that A vi^s duly punished by loaing 
ife ; for you do not consider tem\^qital ^«j(^!\^>ak ^ 


punishment for sin. Your words are— "Moral death ii 
the effect of sin, natural death is the effect of a mortal 
eonstitution.^^* Again; "Men die natural deaths, be- 
cause they are naturally mortal ; but they are not nat- 
urally mortal* because of sin. My opponent will say, 
that the death of the body is in consequence of sin, 
when one man murders another; to which I reply, one 
roan could not murder another^ if men were not mortal 
1 will acknowledge that sin is often the means wherebj 
natural life is ended, and my opponent must acknow« 
ledge, that it is often the means of persons' being intro- 
duced into natural life* Perhaps an hundred are intro* 
duced into existence by illicit connexions, where one i( 
taken out by malice prepense.'t Here we have youi 
testimony that temporal death is no punishment for sin 
You cannot maintain therefore, that A was sufficient!} 
punished by being killed. 

But perhaps you will say, if death, self-considered 
was no punishment, it was a punishment to him to b( 
taken from this world ; from his business, friends aw 
relatives. But if A goes in an instant to the enjoymeD 
of perfect bliss, it ought to be regarded as a reward, an< 
not a punishment. By committing this crime^ he wa 
pot only taken out of the world easier than he wouI< 
probably otherwise have been, but he was introduced int 
heaven sooner than though he had been innocent. Th 
loss of life in this world, therefore, instead of being 
punishment, was the greatest blessing. By this untimd 
death he was inducted instantly into all the enjoyment 
of a glorified state. But while A, on your system, wa 
feasting upon immortal joys, in the presence of God, f 
his accomplice in wickedness, was for a whole year, wan 
dering a vagabond, or pining in a dungeon. Nowi Sii 
with your system out of view, can you say that joi 
think these two men were punished to the same extan 

^ Aion^ p. 69. t XaoU p. 9X 


n this world ? Were you to sit as a juror^ and decide 
m a question of this nature, I am confident that jour 
rerdict would be» that their punishment here was une* 
[ual; that B was punished too much, or A too little. 

But perhaps you may say that it is impossible for us 
to tell what the feelings of either of these men were, 
ind consequently we cannot determine which was pun- 
ished the most Now this is virtually renouncing your 
lystem. You contend that all punishment is confined to 
this worlds or in other words, that all are equitably 
rewarded here. We have introduced a case in which it 
appears verj evident, that a full and equitable punish- 
ment does not take place in this world. In order to 
rapport your views, it is necessary that you should be 
ible to prove, that these two individuals are punished in 
this state according to their ill deserts. But when you say 
it is impossible to tell what their feelings are, you in 
reality say, that it is impossible to prove your system 
true. . Besides, such suggestions generally have an im- 
proper influence, as they tend to bewilder, rather than 
enlighten the human mind. We are not willing to grant 
that we are totally ignorant upon subjects of this nature. 
There are certain principles or properties pertaining to 
the human mind, which are possessed in common by us 
all ; and by knowing what is true of ourselves, we know 
«rbat is true of others in the same circumstances. We 
know by experience that all mental agony arises from 
reflection, and the consideration of our state or condi- 
tion. We know also that all ideas take place in succes- 
sioD, and consequently that a period of time is necessa- 
ry in order to our experiencing either happiness or mis- 
ery. Knowing that this is true of ourselves, we can 
conclude with a great degree of certainty, that this is 
true in relation to others. We know that the human 
mind is so constituted, as to be incapable of admitting 



4 £4 LETTER IV. 

or enduring a vast degree of suffering in an instant ^t \ 

Now on the supposition before us, A was killed in an 
instant. We know then with a good degree of certaiutr. 
^at his sufferings could not have been great* To deny 
this, is to reject all moral OTidence, and give up the only 
proof we can have of the existence of a God. And on 
the other hand, we can be well persuaded, that B's pun- 
ishment was severe. No person will pretend that hift 
situation was verj enviable. Chains, iinprisonment, and 
im ignominious death, are not what people generally 
covet. B's sufferings during this whole year, ipstead of 
being le^s, were in all probability greater than we are 
H^ imagine. But while B was enduring the greatest 
pain, A was partaking of boundless felicity. Now if 
heaven is better than a dungeon, and the throne of the 
l<amb than a gibbet, then it is certain that B was punish- 
, ed more than A ; or rather, that one was punished severe- 
ly, the other not at all. Henpe arises the. necessity of a 
future retribution. 

Besides, A was t^ken away in sib, and could not be 
happy without repentance. The scriptures assure, us 
that faith and repentance are necessary qualifications 
for the enjoyment of heaven. "£xcept a man be bom 
again^ he cannot see the kingdom of God." Repen- 
tance then, is necessary for salvation ; but repentance is 
a progressive work. It requires mental exercise. And 
every person who has any knowledge of the philosophy 
of the human mind, must know that all ideas take place 
in succession* A period of time is requisite for every 
idea, thought, or resolution. No volition can exist in 
the mind, until the various objects presenting themselves 
are taken into consideration, and duly weighed. A pe- 
riod of time therefore, is necessary for every? rational 
volition. Repentance is. a complicated work, and of 


course must require a considerable length of time. That 
resolution which is formed hastily, and without due con- 
sideration, is frequently repented of. That repentance 
which is sudden, hardlj deserves the name. For how- 
ever just it may be in itself, if the resolution was taken 
without due consideration, as it regards the individual* 
it was an inconsiderate rather than a virtuous act. Re- 
pentance, to be genuine, roust be rational ; and to be 
rational, it must be the result of consideration and 
reflection, which must necessarily occupy the mind for 
a considerable time. Thus it is obvious from the nature 
of the human mind, that repentance must be a gradual 
work. And the scriptures confirm this opinion. The 
apostle says to his brethren at Corinth, "I perceive that 
the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were 
hut for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made 
sorry, but that ye sorrowed unto repentance." Here we 
learn that repentance consists in sorrowing for a season. 
Repentance is always attended with sorrowing, though 
sorrowing does not always effect repentance. "For," 
continues the apostle, "godly sorrow worketh repent- 
ance unto salvation, not to be repented of; but the sorrow 
of the world worketh death."* By this passage we are 
taught that that repentance which is genuine in its na- 
ture, is always attended with sorrow or pain ; and thai 
this sorrow always lasts for a season, or period of time. 
Repentance, therefore, is a gradual, progressive work. 
Now let us apply this principle to the case before us. A 
was taken from time in an instant, in the very act of mur- 
der. He cann6tbe happy without repentance, and repen- 
" tance is a painful process, which requires a period of 
time. For a season therefore, he must be unhappy. 

Faith, which is another prerequisite for the enjoy- 
ment of heaven, is a mental work. Faith is a firm assent 
of the mind to the truth of a propositiou, A.\\A <^:\*i^\s\ 

» 9 Cor. vii. 8, 9, lOf 


be valuable, must be founded upon good evidence. It 
would be rashness in any person to give credence to a 
proposition, until he had, to the best of his understand- 
ing, examined the evidence on both sides of the ques- 
tion. Now this is a work of no small magnitude ; and 
the more important the question, the greater care meD 
ought to bestow in adjusting and weighing the evidence. 
To pretend that faith is onlj a momentary work, is to 
contradict good sense, and the daily experience of man* 
kind. <<Faith," says the apostle, '^cometh by hearing ;" 
that is, faith is produced by the weight of evidence. To 
be well grounded, it must rest upon substantial evidence. 
Faith in God must arise from the evidence he has given 
us in the volumes of nature and revelation. And who 
will have the vanity to declare that by a single glance 
of the mind, a man may see and examine all the eia- 
dence contained in nature and revelation ? It is im- 
possible for a man, wi^i the ordinary faculties of our 
nature, to acquire a genuine and well-grounded faith in 
a moment. Thus we see that faith and repentance, 
which are absolutely necessary for salvation, are both oi 
a gmdualf progressive nature ; both require a period ot 
time for their full and perfect exercise. 

Now how is A, who was killed in an instant, in the 
very perpetration of a heinous act, to be admitted to 
heaven ? He cannot be saved without repentance ; and 
repentance is not only a progressive work, but is always 
attended with a hearty sorrow for sin. Repentance, 
self-considered, is a punishment It is a regret which 
is always attended with compunctions of conscience. 
A, therefore, before he can be admitted into heaveui 
must be exercised by repentance, and the very idea ol 
repentance supposes pain and remorse. For a periodj 
at least, he must be unhappy. Again ; he cannot be 
saved without faith ; but faith is a work of time. He 
ciUiaot, therefore, enter immedVateVj m\A ^^ vuy^^taAxit 

LferrfiR iv. Hy 

erfect bliss* Now on the sapposition before us^ it is 
vident, as almost any truth whatever, which rests 
1 moral evidence, that these two persons are not 
irded in this state of being according to their deserts, 
here are manj considerations which go to show 

a full retribution does not take place here in tim^. 

verjr idea of accountability supposes a time of ren- 
ng an account ; and as men are accountable for the 
)ns performed the last moment of their lives, it tft 
ifest that the time of rendering the account must be 
r the close of this mortal life. This idea is confirmed 
hose passages which speak of a day of judgment^ 
zh will be considered in our next. From what has 
I offered already, I trust it is apparent, that, as a 

retribution does not take place in this world, w6 

reasonably look for it beyond the grave. Since 
e men are punished for a long series of years for one 
le, and others are taken from this state in an instant; 
le very perpetration of a crime Equally atrocious, it 
ear that they must be punished after deaths if they 
punished at all. Neither are such persons in a right 
le of mind to enjoy happiness. You cannot say with 
tistency, that they are qualified for heaven instaYitly 
r in death, for, 

It is an acknowledged principle with you, that 
^ion is progressive in its nature and operations. 

have just been laboring to show ^hat faith and re- 
tance are of a gradual character, on that a period of 
I is requisite for their proper exercise." But we might 
3 saved ourselves this lat>or ; for it is a principle for 
3h you strongly contend. We have already seen,*^ * 
; you maintain that men are saved -by knowledge 
ch is gradually acquired* No one is JRore .oppos^ 
Mstantaneous conversions, than yours^elf. You coa- 
iHj represent the woik of tte kitif^fna u&^ii ^niMJoX^ 
• Letter iu. 


progressive work. Now will you assert, in opposition to 
your own sentiment, that those who die in gross wicked- f 
ness, will be changed in a moment? If God leads sinners 5 
to repentance in this world, only by a gradiMl, painful t 
process, can we suppose that the moral principles of the % 
divine government will be so far changed at death, as f 
to introduce a murderer instantly into heaven ? Will ^ 
God alter fundamentally the principles of his govern- : 
ment, only to let the most hardened sinners escape the 
punishment which they so justly deserve ? Can we 
admit such an essential change in the divine Being, 
when the scriptures assure us, that he is immutable — 
without the least variableness, or shadow of turning P 
—•You admit that all moral changes in this world are of 
a gradual nature. This principle being laid down, will 
apply in all cases, unless the contrary be clearly proved. 
When any general rule is acceded to by both parties, 
we have a right to apply it in every case, unless the ex- 
ception can be clearly made out. And the party which j 
shall assert that there is an exception to this rule, is 
bound by all rules of fair debate to make good his asser- 
tion. The labor of proof lies entirely with him who 
asserts an exception in general rules. This principle, 
which I think will be admitted by every sound man, will 
apply to the case now before us. You assert that all 
moral changfi^ are gradual^ and to this I accede. Now 
I have a right to apply this principle in every case ; and 
if- you object to its universal application, it is your busi- 
ness to prove thftt there is an exception to this role, and 
not mine to prove that there is not. Now a person is 
taken from this world in a gross act of iniquity, and as 
repentance is necessary to his admittance into heaven, 
and as repentance is a gradual work, it is manifest that 
such a person cannot be immediately happy. But if 
you, to avoid this conclusion, assert that he was changed 
JagtaotlfHt death, it belongs to ^ou to ^ksh^ \3ql\& sMftr- 


tion. But if you decline this, you decline supporting^ 
your system by honorable means. J have been thus 
particular in stating this principle, because I conceive 
tlkt it has frequently been overlooked. It is useless to 
argue* unless we have distinct views of the ground on 
which our arguments rest. 

Our knowledge of a future state is derived from the 
scriptures. But although reason alone could never havtf 
taught a future state of being, yet a future state being 
revealed in the scriptures, reason comes in, and enables 
Qs to form consistent notions relative to the nature of 
that state. Now we have no argument from reason which 
casts so much light upon a future state, as that drawn 
from analogy. We know with a good degree of certainty 
that pious and virtuous affections will produce happiness 
in a future state, because this is analogous to what we 
experience in this world. You very frequently advert 
to analogy to disprove endless misery. You say, it is 
evident that God will be good to all his creatures in a 
future state, because he is good to them here. 

Now let us introduce analogy in the case before us. 
You maintain that conversions in this state are of a grad- 
ual, progressive nature. This being true in this world, 
analogy teaches us that the same will hold good in a 
fiiture state. Analogy in this case has more than ordi- 
nary strength ; for the principle for which we contend, 
is analogous, not only in relation to the divine govern- 
ment, but also in relation to the faculties of the human 
mind, to what is experienced here. Unless the divine 
Being alters fundamentally the moral principles of his 
government, and men ^re converted into infinite beings 
by changing worlds, it follows that repentance will be a 
gradual work after de^th, as much as it is before ; and 
that it will be attended with sorrow or pain there, as well 
as here. But perhaps you will be ready to say that this 
aoalogsr will not hold good ip all ca%«^ \ ^^t ^^ \.^\\v 

lgQ Letter iv. 

tures plainly teach some doctrines relative to a future-^ 
state, which are not analogous to what takes place her^. .^ 
This is read il J admitted. But let it be shown that|||ie ^ 
«ase before us is of that description. We ask for one ^ 
solitary text, which plainly says, that God, in a futore v 
state, alters the principles of his moral government, so 
as to take a murderer, whose heart is full of malice, and |" 
whose hands are reeking with blood, instantly to heaven^ ^ 
when similar characters, in this world, would have been '^ 
punished for months and years. We are disposed to 
grant that there are some things pertaining to a future 
«tate, which are quite different from any thing we sec in 
this world ; but still we insist that the moral principles 
of the divine government are always the same. And if J 
you deviate from these general principles, and alter 
fundamentally the government of God,. yon ought to be 
able to produce a thus saith the Lord, to prove your 

S, It is an acknowledged principle with us both, that 
all punishment is salutary. But, sir, we frequently see 
men subjected to punishment in consequence of their 
sins, and this punishment continues to the day of their 
death, without producing any beneficial effect* Not- 
withstanding all the punishment which attends them 
here, they live in sin, increase in wickedness, and die at 
last in open rebellion. We know that this punishment 
was not salutary, that it did not reform the sinners in 
this state ; for they died in the perpetration of some 
sinful act Now if this punishment does not extend int« 
a futpre state, it is evident that it does not reform them. 
The punishment then, was not salutary, and of course 
not raercifuU Perhaps you will say that these men were 
reformed by death. But this is only begging the ques- 
tion ; and if we should grant it, you would gain nothing 
thereby. For we have already seen that you do not 
atfmit temporal death to be a pumft\imeTi\. ^ot ^va. 


Now with what propriety can you maintain that ail 
panishment is designed to reform the offender, and that 
it is certain of its object ? In the case before us, we have 
seen that a person was punished for ^ears, and during 
that time only grew hardened in sin, and was finally 
reformed by some other means. He could not, on your 
system, be reformed by punishment Suppose a person 
should be sentenced to the State Prison a certain num- 
ber of years for the crime of theft; and that immedi- 
ately after his time had eipired, and he was released, 
he should wilfully commit the crime of murder. Would 
any person pretend to say that this confinement proted - 
salutary to him ? No man of sober sense would advance 
Mich an idea. Neither can it be said with any propriety, 
that the punishment which Ood inflicts upon men in this 
world, effects tkeir reformation, when the punished close 
their lives with deeds of iniquity. Thus, sir, you must 
give up your favorite theory, relative to immediate hap- 
piness, or else confess that punishment is not salutary, 
but vindictive. And if you admit that punishment is 
not salutary, you must renounce the doctrine of the 
'^Restitution of all things." But only admit that pun- 
ishment is extended beyond death, and the whole diffi- 
culty is solved. Though punishment is salutary, our 
daily experience teaches us, that for a season it may be 
productive of the opposite effect. A little punishment 
will frequently enrage a person, when a continuation of 
the same punishment will humble and subdue him. So 
on our scheme we can with propriety admit, that all the 
punishment men experience in this world, does in some 
cases fail of its object ; but by continuing this punish- 
ment into a future state, till it produces reformation, we 
can consistently maintain that all punishments are salu- 

From the considerations adduced in this Letter, it 

Bppears that punishment must be extenAe^ VoX^ ^\m\3^\^ 


state. We have shown that an individual consciousness ^ 
is inseparable from a future state of existence, and that 
this consciousness must of necessity, make those unhap- 
py after death, who leave this world in the very perpe- 
tration of crime. We have further seen that a full and 
equitable retribution does not take place in this world, 
and consequently it must in a future; — that those who 
are taken away in the commission of crime cannot enter 
into immediate happiness, fur repentance is necessary to 
salvation, and that is a progressive work, and is always 
attended with sensations of remorse ; — and that punish* 
inent must, in certain cases, be extended into a future 
state, otherwise we must give up the idea that punish- 
ment is salutary. Now these considerations, were there 
nothing else in the scriptures, would naturally lead our 
minds to the thought of a future retribution^ When the 
sacred writers had told us that men should be punished 
according to their deeds, or till they became penitent, 
they had plainly involved a future discipline. They 
knew the scenes we had witnessed ; they knew that we 
had seen many depart this life in gross wickedness, and 
they inform us that such persons shall be punished, till 
they reform. There was no great necessity of their say- 
ing that such characters would be punished after death; 
they knew that this would follow from the nature of the 
case. They were very careful to lay down the premises, 
being, as would seem, sensible that we could not mistake 
the conclusion. 

In my next I shall call your attention to more direct 
proof of a future retribution. 

Yours, &c. 


tmTTER \. 

A FtUure Judgment. 


Hftviag stated several considerations which necessarily 
iBpl J a future retribution, I will now, as was proposed, 
:all jQur attention to more direct proof on this subject. 
The point which now claims our attention, is that of a 
future judgment. But before adducing any scriptures 
in proof of this, four things will be premised. 

1. Though the scriptures teach a future state of exis- 
tence, yet the passages applying to that subject, or even 
to a future state in any fprm, are much fewer in number 
tha;i most people are apt to imagine. I speak of those 
passages which apply directly and necessarily to a future 
state. When I say that the passages of this description 
ire. not so numerous as is frequently thought, I advance 
I sentiment in which you will readily acquiesce. Now 
8. the texts which apply to a future state are not very 
umerous, it cannot be expected that we shall be able 
D produce a large catalogue of passages in proof of a 
iture judgment, or even of a future retribution. But a 
09t of texts are not wanted. To use the language of 
1^, Bible itself, *\by the mouth of two or three witnesses, 
v^ry M{ord shall be established." Now if it can be 
roved by two or three passages that there will be a 
jture judgment, |;his will be amply sufficient And that 
»pc8oa who will not yield to such evidence, would not 
»e convinced by a larger number of texts. 

fL A future judgment necessarily supposes a future 
m^shment. The very iijea of a judgment or trial sup* 
poses that some may be subjected to' suffering. Ofthis^ 
you and those of your sentiment ap^etit Xo \^^ ^^wi'^^S 


124 LETTER V. | 

for you deny a future, general judgment. But this poM ,||. 
i« clearly decided by the scriptures. St Peter sayi^ thal.^ 
God reserves the unjust unto the day of judgmsid <o It ,» 
punished.* This passage plainly asserts that the ttiyoit »^ 
will be punished at the day of judgment They are rft- , 
served to the judgment^ for the express purpose of beings 
punished. St. Paul speaks of the righteous j«d^*meiil rf^_ 
Grod, who will render indignation and ivrath, tribulation \ . 
and anguish, to every man^that doeth evil, in the day^ -^ 
when God shall ju(2|^e the secrets of men by Jesus Christt 
This passage also makes it evident that when the jndg* , 
ment takes place, some will be subjected to suflferingt. | 
Every passage therefore, which speaks of a future judg- 1 
ment, teaches a future punishment^ even though punish- \ 
ment is not expressed in the passage. The idea of pun- \ 
ishment is included in that of judgment ; and whenever 
a judgment is mentioned, a punikh^ent is im|died» If a 
future judgment, therefore, can be established, a future 
punishment will follow as a matter of course? 

3. Not only every passage which speaks of a judgment 
in a future state, but every passage which designates 
any particular period of judgment in this state» is aa 
argument in favor of a future retribution. Your aystea 
doesnot admit of any f^ecioZ judgment; that is, ofanylj 
judgment which takes place at any specified time* Ac- 
cording to your views, men are punished at one period 
as much as at another. There is no period or time, when 
they are punished by God beyond their deserts. Bven 
at the destruction of Jerusalem, to which period you 
apply almost every threatening in thq New-Testament 
men, you contend, received no more than they justly Bier- 
ited ; and on your system, this is exactly what they have 
received in all ages of the world. No one period, there- 
fore, can be called a day of judgment any more tbao 

•5 Piter ii. 9. t Ron. ii. ft—ie. 




LETTER V. 185 

'Mother. Now any passage which treats of a day of 
■ Jfudgment, though it should appear that the passage ap- 
plies to the present world, is in reality a confutation of 
yirar system ; as it supposes that the judgment does not 
tike place at all times^ at one period as much as at an 
' Mier. 

4. In order to understand any writer, it is necessary 
I ta take into view the opinions of those to whom he ad- 
dresses himself. This is a principle of interpretation to 
which no reasonable man can object. Now let us apply 
this wholesome rule to the case before us. What then 
Was the opinion of those to whom the gospel was address'- 
ed ? They believed in a future state of rewards and 
\ fanishments. Not only the Jews, but the heathen, be- 
i lieved in a future judgment and punishment. For the 
\ troth of this, there is the best authority."^ Mr. Balfour, 
a late writer on your side of the question, has clearly 
proved on the authority of Dr. Whitby, Dr. Campbell, 
Le Clerc, and others, that the Jews and all the heathen 
Bations believed in a state of rewards and punishments 
after death. When we speak of the Jews as believing 
10 a future punishment, it will of course be understood 
that we except the small sect of the Sadducees, which 
did not believe in a future state at all. Such then was 
the opinion of those to whom our Savior and his apostles 
addressed themselves; they all believed in a future 
judgment and punishment. I do not mention this as 
iSbrding direct evidence of a future judgment ; but I do 
contend that it is necessary to consider this circumstance, 
in order to a right understanding of those passages which 
speak of a day of judgment. Every person of any dis- 
cernment must know that the same terms and phrases 
will be understood differently by different persons, and 

• 8«c Tappaii^s Lectures on the Jewish Antiquities, Josephua' 
Works, Broker's Hntoria Critica Philosophical Prideaui'a Coti- 
necticatf Ac* 


126 LETTER V. 

that their different customs and opinions contribute to 
this in a very great degree. Tell a person in the State 
of New-¥ork that you will give him a shilling for a cer- 
tain article, and he will understand you mean by the 
term shUlingf 1£^ cents ; but if you tell a person in. 
New-England that you will give him a ^hilUng^ he will 
understand you to mean 16f cents* Now this difference 
in understanding the same term, arises solely from cus- 
tom ; they being in a habit of reckoning 8^ and we but 6 
shillings to the dollar. We should both on bearing the 
word shilling, conclude that the person used &er word 
in its common acceptation with us» and soiilioald onder- 
stand it differently. 

And it is precisely so with regard to mattery of opin- 
ion. For instance, the phrase, ^reat 6o<i, would con- 
vey very different ideas to different persons. All 
persons who have enjoyed the light of revelation^ would 
understand the phrase to denote the self-existent Jeho- 
vah. But the heathen who believed that Ju|?iter» the 
son of Saturn, was the greatest of all the gods, wtmld 
understand the phrase, great Qod^ to denote Jupiter. It 
is manifest therefore, that 6very person, when he hears 
any language made use of^ will interpret it according to 
his own opinion, or in other words, will understand it in 
its common acceptation, unless he is expressly told that 
the terms are to be understood in another sense. Now 
any Christian who should go. among the heatheD» and 
speak in praise of the great god, with a knowledge that 
they would, of course, understand him to allude to Jupi^ 
ter, would be accused of dishonesty. And he could not 
vindicate himself against this charge, without aaying 
that he meant to confirm them in their opinions^ being 
persuaded of their truth. Every person who meana to 
be understood, will vary his language according to the 
opinions of those to whom he speaks. 
Now let it be distinctly remembeT^^ l\\^t \hMft tm 


Krhem Christ and his apostles addressed themselves, 
vere believers in a future judgment. '*Now if this doc- 
nne be false," sajsa judicioas writer,* **we should iiat- 
Brally expect that Christ would have offered something 
Urectlj against it ; or if he had not thought proper to 
have done this, he would have avoided the use of expres* 
Rons, which are calculated by their natural import to 
ittpport the doctrine. We think it will not be denied, 
that a nnmber of passages, with comparatively few 
exceptions, have been understood by the Christian world 
to refer to, and clearly support the belief of such a peri- 
od. For instance, let us take the expression of our 
Lord, For every idle word that men shall speak, they 
ihall give an account thereof in the day of judgment. 
These words are spoken without comment to a people 
who already believed in a future judgment and retribu- 
tion, and were written as a standing testimony of our 
Savior for the benefit of their posterity, who Would 
oaturally interpret them according to these circumstan- 
ces. It is a well known fact, that every gian who means 
to be understood, calculates to adapt hi«r language to the 
Bituatron of his hearers in such a manner, as to accom- 
modate himself to their customs and usages. People 
seldom think-, when a man uses their language^ that he 
means something very different, unless particulariy in- 
structed that such is his meaning, or his known senti- 
mentd and mode of speaking suggest the idea. But we 
know not that Jesus ever offered any plainer language 
on this subject, than has reached our times. To bring 
this matter to ourselves, we think the public will bear us 
testimony, that our brethren who oppose our views on 

* Rev» Samuel C. Loveland, of Reading, Vt« I will embrace 
this opportunity to recommend to the attention of the public, 
five ^Dissertations On future punishment,^' written by our author, 
and published in Vol. IV. of the Christiaii Repository, of wbioh 
he was then the Editor, as an able defence of out x\eY7& <»i liv\% 
subject i shall arail nyself of sevetaV q|QA\«AAC»A Sxf^m^^^ ^^ 
the $Ql^eci-oltkeju4gm>ent. 


this subject, very seldom or never fiad occasion in their \ 
writing or sermons, to mention such passages of scrip- 
ture without a labored comment, to show thi^t they do 
not favor either future punishment, or the common doc- 
trine of endless misery. And why is this ? No doubt, 
because they suppose tl^e public prejudices are suchf 
that those texts cannot safely be adverted to without 
being misunderstood. Well, if the public are liable to 
be led astray by the natural import of such passages 
now, were they in a better situation in the days of 

Christ ?"* 

Since Christ and his apostles, when speaking to fftiMe 
who believed in a future judgment and punishment, 
used language which naturally teaches such a doctrine, 
it is manifest that they meant to inculcate that doctrine. 
They could not with any propriety, nay, they could not 
with common honesty, use such language to persons in 
that situation! unless they intended to countenance a 
future retribution. And the use you make of such pas- 
sages is evidence of this. The; prevalence of the doc- 
trine of a future judgment and punishment in the apos- 
tolic age, will account for the manner in which the 
sacred writers have treated it They do not introduce 
it very frequently, and when they do, they do not labor 
the point so fully as they do some others. This circum- 
stance, however, instead of weakening the evidence, 
tends to strengthen it. It shows that this opinion was 
not disputed, and that the little they said would be 
readily understood ; and \h\% was confirming the doc* 
trine in the strongest manner possible. St Paul, when 
writing to his own countrymen, speaks of a future judg- 
ment as a truth admitted by all. He refers to it as to an 
acknowledged fact, and makes use of it to illustrate the 
death and resurrection of Christ. <*As it is appointed 
unto men once to die, and after this the judgment, so 

* Cbriatim RepoBhotyi Vol. IV. pp. \\^\^. 

LfiWEA V. 120 

Christ once offered up himgelf."^ This passage not 
onljr contains direct proof of a future judgment, but it 
goes also to show that a future judgment was believed 
bj the Hebrews. St Paul assumed it as an admitted 
principle, as a truth of the greatest notoriety, which he 
never would have done* if this opinion had not been pre- 
valent When the same apostle assumes the Universa- 
lity of the atonement,t and argues from it as a truth of 
notoriety, the passage, as jou will admit, contains the 
greatest proof possible, that Christ died for all. It not 
only shows that this was the apostle's opinion, but it 
shows at the same time, that those to whom he wrote 
acknowledged the same truth. And so of the passage 
in Hebrews. The apostle in that passage not only 
teaches his belief in a judgment after death, but he 
teaches us at the same timCf that this was a sentiment 
whioh none who believed in a future state, presumed to 
call in question. 

Having hinted that but few passages comparatively 
apply to a future state at all, and consequently that the 
passages which treat of a future judgment, cannot be 
very numerous ;— that the very idea of judgment in- 
cludes punishment ;^-that all passages which designate 
any particular period as the time of judgment, neces- 
sarily involve a future retribution ;— and that those to 
whom the gospel was first preached, were believers in a 
future state of rewards and punishment, and conse- 
quently that the New Testament writers could not with 
safety or even with honesty use such language as they 
did, unless they intended to teach a future judgment — 
we will now call your attention to some of those scrip- 
tures which appear to inculcate the doctrine in question. 

The first text I shall introduce to prove a future 
judgment is Acts xxiv. 25 ; **And as Paul reasoned of 

• Heb. ix. 27, » ^ St Cw. -^ . \^,\^, 

180 LETTER V. 

righteousness^ temperance, and a judgment to eom$t m 
Felix trembled." — We have already seen that a belief ti, 
in a future judgment prevailed generally in the days of fei 
Christ and his apostles. Felix probably believed in that id 
sentiment, though like most men in power, he thought « 
but little upon religious subjects. Or at least, he must tu 
have heard of the doctrine, and on hearing Paul treat H 
upon that subject, the principle of fear was excited. )k 
Upon this passage Mr. Loveland remarks^* "The apos- '.|i 
tie's reasoning upon righteousness and temperance, in tt 
connexion with a judgment to come, set home to i 
Felix's mind a strong conviction for his iniquity, and 19 
powerfully portrayed to his view, the unhappy and last- In 
ing consequences of a wicked life. Is it not reasonable 
to conclude that the cause of Felix's trembling was his 
hearing the doctrine of righteousness and temperance It 
clearly explained, and the practice more powerfully en- ^ 
forced ; and in addition to this, a future judgment and 
consequent punishment for wickedness, more certain 
and more terrible than he was accustomed to hear? Can 
it be rationally accounted for on any other considera- 
tion ? On the other hand, had St Paul reasoned on these 
subjects as many of our preachers now do, would Felix or 
any other man like him, be likely to tremble ? Had Felix 
totally disbelieved the doctrine of future punishmenti and 
St Paul had reasoned against it, what could have made 
him tremble ? Had Felix believed the doctrine of future 
punishment, and Paul had reasoned contraiy to his 
views, his attention would have been called to less pun- 
ishment than he believed, of course no one trould sup- 
pose that in that case, he would have trembled* Hence 
it is perceived, that the text cannot but have a strong 
bearing in favor of future punishment from this consid- 
Your remark upon the passage, is, that it give$ no 

^ Cibhitian Repository, Vo\« W, p. \^« 

LETTER V. 48 i 

imatian that the judgment is in a future state.* It 
true, the passage itself does not expressly mention a 
Qre state, neither does it mention the present state ; 
IS eqaally silent upon both. But the expression* 
ignnent to come^ or future judgment, seems to carry 
e mind into a futare state* much more naturally than 
confine it to this. And we have seen that a rational 
count can be given of Felix's trembling, by applying 
e passage to a future state ; but if the passage be 
ipUed to this world, we can give no probable cause of his 
embling. Neither can you, on your system, make any 
»lerable sense of the passage. Paul spoke of a j udgment 
y come* But on your exposition, the phrase, to come, is 
itally senseless. Why did the apostle use the expres- 
ion^ to come, unless the event was future ? But on 
our scheme, the judgment is as much past as future, 
len, after St Paul made this declaration, received only 
heir just desert, and this, according to your views, is 
rhat they have always experienced. Paul, therefore, 
lad he believed with you, might have reasoned of a past 
»r present judgment, with as much propriety as of a 
ature one. Suppose th^n Paul had reasoned of a pre- 
^nt judgment, instead of Felix's trembling, he would 
irobably have regarded it as an insult, and told the 
ipostle that he knew his own feelings, as well as any 
ither person knew them. To pretend, as you probably 
Rrill, tiiat this judgment wad then future, but still in the 
present world, is in fact renouncing your system. For 
if Felix stood exposed to some signal judgment, for the 
crimes of which he had been guilty, then he was not 
iufficiently punished for his sins as he passed along ; 
and this being the case, it argues the need of a future 

Another passage in point is Acts xvii. SO, 31. "And 
tiie times of this ignorance, God winked at, but now 

* Reply to Merritt, p. \Z. 

438 LETTER V. 

commandeth all men every where to repent ; because he j 
hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge thSj;^ 
'd in righteousness, bj that man whom he hatfi '^ 
inedy whereof he hath given assurance unto all, iu |^ 


that he hath raised him from the dead.'^ On this pue^Kp.^|! 
I shall adopt the remarks of my worthy friendi* [I 

1. <^If the punishment of sin is always im^ed:iatel| i^ 
and inseparably connected with the act, we know notr 
how God winked at the "times of ignorance/^any mone !^ 
than under the dispensation in which the light -of the ^ 
gospel shone. jf 

2. God's appointing a day to judge the world, denotes ^ 
some particular period. Did it denote any day what- "' 
ever, it could not be an appointed day. '^^ 

S. It being an appointed day to judge the world, the r 
judgment must of course naturally follow the works f^ 
of the world, for which it is to be judged. 

4. God's calling all men every whei*e to repent, is 
enforced from the consideration that all men are to be 
judged in the day which God has appointed. 

5. If the day which God has appointed, denotea some !^ 
specified period, and not any time whatever, and was in 
the apostolic age, then the text does not call upon those 
of after ages to repent, from the consideration that there 
will be a judgment; because the judgment is already 

6. But if the judgment is some particular period, and 
all the world are to be judged, it will foUow that that 
day of judgment is in future life." 

To avoid the force of this passage, you labor to show 
that the word, judge, signifies to rule. But if this should 
be granted, it would be nothing to your purpose. For 
the very idea of ruling, supposes a law, and a law sup- 
poses a penalty, which will be inflicted in case of 
transgression. So that yourfssertion, there is nothing 

* See CbrisUui Repository^ Vi^ W . p, \^a* 

f • 


LETTER V. £33 

d of condemning any,* is entirely futile. But let us 
k for a moment to the consistency of your exposition. 
>a apply the passage to what you call the gospel day in 
A state, and explain it to mean that Christ will rule 
t world by his gospel. But you say, there is nothing 
id oj condemning any, that is, no one will be punished 
this world ! Thus would you argue all punishment, 
th present and future, out of existence. So that if 
ur remarks have any weight in this case, they oppose 
ur views as much as they do mine. 
Hebrews ix. 27, £8, next claims our attention. ''And 
it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this 
e Judgment ; so Christ was once^ oftered to bear the 
AS of many ; and unto them that look for him, shall 
\ appear the second time, without sin unto salvation." 
his passage asserts in the plainest manner that the 
dgment is after death. And the apostle's mentioning 
is as a truth of notoriety, shows that it was then an 
knowledged doctrine. The view I have given of the 
%t is natural and easy ; it is the most obvious sense 
the passage. The scriptures being given for the ben- 
Lt of mankind at large, the majority of whom are far 
fm, being critics, that interpretation which most natu- 
lljr presents itself to the unbiassed mind, is generally 
eferable to that interpretation which is forced upon a 
ssage to make it harmonize with a preconceived opin- 
n. The exposition you give of the passage is so far- 
tched and unnatural, that I presume that not one in a 
indred would ever have hit upon it ; and it would be 
siing a reproach upon the Deity, to say that he has 
ven us a revelation which would mislead ninety-nine 
indredths of his children. Your interpretation of the 
issage is this ;— As the high priest under the law died 
I his sacrifice ; so Christ once died. That the reader 
\nj see how far your exposition differs from. tl\e tA^t^L 

♦ KepJy to Merritt, p. le. 

1^^ LETTER V. ' I 

will subjoin the passage* and place your exposition di' ^ 
recti J under it in italics. ' 

^'And as it is appointed imto men 
^nd cuUis appinnUd unto men, who are high prUiUy 


to dieJigureUively in their sacrijicea ; ^ 

"but afterthis the judgment ; so Christ was once, &c. 
hutt^erUmy justiJuxUion ; so Christ was once^ Sfc j 

By the abore it will be seen that you both add to, and 
take from the passage. You lesve out the emphatic werd, 
oncBf aittd add the' clauses, who are high priests, and JLg* 
uraikfely in their sacrifices. Ton also substitute the 
y^or A justijieation, for that o( judgment* But is not thii { 
taking undue latitude in explaining the word of God ? 
Grant me such latitude, and I can make the scriptures 
teach whatever I pl^tfie. 

But you attempt to jtnfify your exposition by the con- 
nexion. Tou say,<^Wm^to the Hebrews, the aposUe 
very prudently endeavored to lead their minds into the 
true knowledge of Christ by using the Htes of the law 
dispensation, to which they were religiously attached, to 
represent Jesus and his ministry of reconciliation.''* ; 
This statement, though true in the main, is'not fully cor- 
rect ; or, does not embrace the whole truth. The apos- j 
tie alluded to the law dispensation, but this is not all ; he . 
frequently called their attention to events which madei 
no part of that dispensation. It was the design of the |. 
apostle to recommend -the gospel to his brethren, bj 
showing them that it was quite similar to something 
which they already believed. That the apostle did not 
confine himself to the <*rites of the law dispensation/ 
appears by his referring to Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abrahanf 
Isaac, Jacob, Melchisedec, &c.t persons who existed long 
before the giving of the law. The apostle not only com- 
pares Christ and his gospel with persons and events 
pnor to the giving of the law, b\it in thU very epistle, he 

* Sermon on Heb. ix. 27, 2Q, t CYi«9«. ^% V\* ta^ 

LiETTER V. £311 

ipares our Savior with mankind, that is, with men in 
ages. Hia words are — **For we have not an high priest 
Lch cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirm- 
18 ; but was in all- points tempted like aa we are, yet 
hout sin«''* Here Paul found that the «*rites of the 
^ dispensation failed him, and to represent the char- 
er of our great High Priest perfectly^ he had recourse 
[latucal things ; he compares him with the children of 
n generally. Again, he compares Jesus with man- 
d. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of 
h and blood, he also himself likewise took part of 

game ; that tiirough death, he might destroy him 
thad the power of death, that is, the devil."t Here 
in, Paul referred to mankind to set forth the Savior's 
iracter in its proper light. But why did Paul leave 

Mosaic dispensation? For this good reason; he 
nd nothing in the rites of that dispensation which 
aid anawer his purpose on this point And knowing 
t an iii|doubted fact drawn from any source, would 
wer 1^ purpose equally as well, he referred to the 
istitutional infirmities of men, to show that our Lord 
} subject by nature to the same infirmity. And here 

figure was complete. As men partake of flesh and 
Od, so Christ partook of the same. Thus it will be 
p, that instead of confining himself to the "rites of the 
N dispensation," the apostle had recourse to any ac- 
iw^4ged fact, which would serve his purpose in set- 
B forth our Savior's character and labors correctly. 

the passages we have already cited, we have seen 
t he refers to mankind at large, to exhibit one trait in 
i Redeemer's character. And so in the passage in 
ntion. The death and appearing of Christ, are rcp- 
lented by men's sufiering literal death, and appearing 
nn at the judgment. It is also worthy of remark, that 
5 passages we have quoted teach us that Chriat tjwk;. 

♦ Heb. ir. 15. t Bf^/^^^ 

j[36 LETTER V. 

upon himself our mortal nature, that he might stiff^r 
death. He took flesh and blood, sajs the passage, "that 
through death, he might destroy the devil." This pas- 
sage virtually tells us, that Christ took oar mortal 
nature, that he might die like mortal creatures. Now 
as the apostle refers to mankind to represent Christ's 
taking his mortal nature, we may naturally suppose 
that he would refer to men to represent his laying it [*" 
down. And this he has done in the passage before us. 
As men die once, so Christ once died. 

But you say, the apostle '<in the context draws a 
parallel between the high priest under the law, and the 
great apostle and high priest of our Christian profes- p 
sion.''* This is readily admitted. But he finds his 
figure fail him. The high priest offered his sacrifices 
yearly; but Christ died but once/ the high priest did 
not die literally, but Christ did. Here then was a great 
dissimilarity. The high priest as a figure failed him in 
two important particulars. This the apostle acknow- 
ledges when he says, verses 25th and £6th, "Nor yet 
that he should offer himself often, as the high priest en- 
tereth into the holy place every year by the blood oj 
others; for then must he qfj^en have suffered since the 
foundation of the world ; but now once in the end of the 
world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice 
of himseip^ It will be seen by this quotation, that the 
apostle confesses that the parallel between Christ and 
the high priest did not hold good in all cases. It failed 
him in two important particulars, viz. 1. The Jewish 
sacrifices were offered often, but the Christian but mtx, 
£. The high priest offered the blood of others, but Christ 
offered his own. The Jewish high priest and sacrifice 
failing him, the apostle has recourse to another figure 
which would express the very thing he desired, viz. that 
Christ died literally, and died but once. And this he 

* Sermon on Heb. ix. ^ , tu. 

LETTER V. £3y 

Gads in the condition of mankind. As in a former case. 
he refers to mankind to represent Christ's taking im- 
mortality, so here he refers to mankind to represent his 
laying it down. Accordingly in the verse next follow- 
ing those last quoted^ he introduces the human kind as 
a figure to represent the process through which Christ 
had to pass. His words are — "And as it is appointed 
unto men once to die, but after this the judgment ; so 
Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many ; and 
unto them that look for him shall he appear the second 
time without sin unto salvation." Here the parallel is 
drawn, not between Christ and the high priest, but 
between Christ and mankind. As men die literally 
once, and after this appear at the judgment; so Christ 
died once literally, and after this, will appear again, 
llius. Sir, the context, instead of supporting your expo- 
sition, goes directly to support the one for which we 

We will now attend to the language of the passage. 
'<And as it is appointed unto men once to die." 'Hie 
comparison expressed by the conjunction, as, relates to 
the number of times. As men die once, so Christ died 
once. But on your exposition, the comparison is entirely 
Io8t^ as we shall presently show. *'As it is appointed 
unto men once to die." The scriptures represent man's 
continuance on earth as fixed ; the time of his defith as 
appointed. Job says, ^^Js there not an appointed time to 
m^n on the earth ?"♦ Again, he says, "Thou hast ap- 
pointed his bounds which he cannot pass.^t Well then. 
might the apostle say, it is appointed unto men once to. , 
die. The passage says, "it is appointed unto men to 
die." The word men is here used without any qualifi- 
cation or limitation, and consequently must apply to 
mankind at large. To limit this to a part of mankind, 

•JobviLl. tJobxiv. 6. 


|g8 LETTER V. 1 

and especially to the Jewish high priests alone, is to . 
¥iolate all just rules of interpretation. Who ever thought i 
that the terra, wen, in scripture, meant tlie Jewish high 
priests ? Your exposition violates the language of the 
passage. Suppose we should take this liberty with the 
scripture, and wherever the word men occurs should add, 
"who are high priests." Take Paul's language to Tim- 
othy for instance. "God is the Savior of all men ;*' and 
then add by way of explanation, "men, who are high 
prUsts ;" and it would express a sentiment which you 
would be the last to admit. But still we have as much 
authority to make this addition here, as you have to make 
it in the passage in Hebrews. Besides, if we should 
admit this unauthorized and arbitrary addition, it would 
introduce absurdity into the passage. '*As it is appoint- 
ed unto high priests once to die, so Christ once died." L 
Now the death of Christ was literal ; he died a temporal ^ 
death. But did the high priest die literally in your sense j^ 
of the text ? No — ^you yourself do not pretend this. The L 
high priest in your sense of the text did not die at all, h 
The apostle says, he entered into the holy place by the it 
blood of others. Now what parallel is there between the |i 
high priest who did not die at all, and Christ who did i 
die } As to your explanation, to die in their sacrifices, it ! 
is entirely arbitrary. To die in a sacrifice would be a 
strained figure indeed. Who ever thought of sajiug 
that a butcher was dead, simply because he had killed 
an animal ! But this would be no more unnatural than 
your explanation. And further ; if we admit this strain- 
ed interpretation of the term die, the difficulty would 
not be surmounted. The high priest died every year; 
he died often, as the apostle expresses it ; and conse- 
quently there could be no propriety in saying that it was 
appointed to him once to die. Upon the whole, your 
interpretation destroys the whole force and harmony of 
the passage. It would come precisely to this '^-^Jb U is 

LETTER V. 139 

ffdnied to high priests to offer sacrifices often, so CArut 
ed once! Now what resemblance is there between the 
gh priests offering; a sacrifice and Jesus Christ's suffer- 
g temporal death ; or between the high priests offering 
orifices often, and Christ's dying once ! We cannot 
cribe a comparison like this to an inspired apostle. 
We will now attend to your explanation of the word 
dgmenU You think jou ''have proved, beyond contra- 
ction," that the y»ord, judgment, means in this passage, 
iiness, light, and perfection, or in one word, justifica^ 
»n. But to roe this is far from being evident For 
e quotation you have made from Exodus fails of its 
ject. There is no evidence that the word, judgment, 
ere mean justiiScation. And if that should be granted^ 
at passage has nothing to do in explaining the word 
dgment in Hebrews* The word judgment in the scrip* 
res is almost invariably usedto signify coficfeiiifui^ioft, 
ial, or punishment. This is particularly true of the 
ew Testament. Now we ought by all fair rules of 
terpretation to explain the word judgment in the pas- 
ige before us, in its general acceptation, especially as 
le passage and subject both require it Let St Paul be 
is own expositor, and the subject will be perfectly clear. 
t Paul uses the word judgment very frequently, but I 
link not to signify justijlcation* There is one passage, 
nd one too which you quote as applying to this same 
ibject, which we will notice. Paul says, ^'asby the 
ffence of one, judgment came upon all men toeondemna' 
Ion."* But how would it answer here to shj, justi/lca- 
'4fn came upon all men to condemnation ! If we should 
nbstitute the word justijiciUion for judgment in the 
lew Testament, it would make singular sense of nearly 
II the passages where the term occurs. St Peter for 
sstance, speaks of those who are **re8erved to the day of 
jdgment to be punished." But how would it SLa«««.5: 

*Rom, F. 28. 



to read it, reserved to the day o( jmtijteation to befun- ^ 
ighed? Every person who reads the New Testament ^ 
with any degree of attention, must be sensible that the ^ 
word judgment almost invariably signifies condemnatm ^ 
or trial. But the course you pursue in relation to the 
signification of terms, is very singular. In the last gen- ^ 
eral passage which we quoted, you explained the term l 
judge to signify to rule ; but in this, you explain the j^ 
word judgment to signify justijication. But if all this ,^ 
liberty is allowable, we can make the sacred book mean . 
what we please. 

The remarks we have made upon the word judgment, 
will apply to the original word from which judgment is 
rendered. The Greek word xQL6ie^ here rendered judg- 
ment, is defined by Parkhurst to signify, Jui^gm^n^jus^to, 
judgment of condemnation^ condemnation^ damnatunutiit 
ftound of condemnation or punishment. Here are sev- i, 
eral definitions, but there is not one which evenapproi- ; 
imates towards the sense o( justification. KgiiSt^ is ren- 1 
dered damnation in Matt xxiii. 33- "How can ye escape | 
the damnation of heUJ^ But how would it appear to 
render it, thejustijication of hell ? This would be calling 
darkness, light, in good earnest. It is also rendered 
damnation in Mark iii. £9. "In danger of eternal dam- 
nation.^^ But surely the bold blasphemer would not fear 
eternal justijication. It is rendered condemnation in 
John v. 34. "Hath everlasting life, and shall not come 
into condemnation.^^ But I hardly think you will main- 
tain (hat a person can have everlasting life without com- 
ing into justijication. We could multiply remarks of 
this nature, but it appears too much like trifling with the 
subject ; and had it not been for the forced construction 
you have given of the word judgment, we should not have 
troubled the reader with these remarks. KgijC^q or 
xpttf£€i}( is the term rendered judgment in all those pas- 
sages which speak of the dajf of judgment) viVx^t^ ^<&^ 

LETT£R V. m 

yourself will acknowledge that a punishment U threat^ 
ened. After the foregoing remark, what must we tbivfc 
of your assertion, that jou have fnxoed beyond coiffMi* 
iittion that the word judgment means justification f I 
think it must be obvious to every reader that the word 
judgment in Hebrews ii. £7, signifies a state of trial at 
which some will be condemned. The passage now in 
question clearly teaches a future judgment. It plainly 
declares that it is after death. This interpretation, as 
we have seen, is the most obvious, and is supported both 
by the text and context, while your exposition has the 
support of neither. 

The words of our Savior in Matt xi. 23, 24, plainly 
teach the doctrine for which we are pleading. <<And 
thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt 
be brought down to hell ; for if the mighty works which 
have been done io thee, had been done in Sodom, it 
would have remained until this day. But I say unto 
you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in 
the day of judgment, than for thee.'^-«This passage 
clearly teaches us that Sodom and Capernaum are to bf# 
arraigned at a particular, period called the day of judg- 
inent. Our Savior speaks of this judgment as a future 
event; He speaks of it as future in relation to Sodom 
as well as Capernaum. By Sodom our Savior must 
mean that ancient* corrupt city which was destroyed by 
fire from heaven ; for her overthrow is mentioned in the 
passage. Now as the Sodomites were all destroyed so 
as to leave no descendants, it is manifest, that Jesus 
must have alluded to those very persons who perished 
with the city. And as Sodom was destroyed long before 
our Savior's day, and her judgment was then future, it 
is clear that it must be in a future state. And as Ca- 
pernaum is to be judged at the same day of judgment, 
her judgment must be in a future state also. And as it 

is to be more tolerahle for one than the other at tkla d%.^ 

15 » 



of jutlgQient, one at least must bto gubjecfted ti> a state rf 5- 
ctMiati8e«eii:t '"^ 

itk the [ireceding verae, the Redeemer says, "Woe ifci 
«Dtothee, Ohot'aain! woe unto thee> Bethsaida! for if !) 
the might J works which were dene io you j had been dene & 
IB Tyre and Sidon» they wcwld have repented long ago p 
in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be 
more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon, at the day of judg- 
li>eat, than for you." The remarks made upon the case 
of Sodom and Capernaum will apply here. The inhabi- in 
tants of Tyre and Sidon, alluded to in this passage, » 
were those who were impenitent long ago. But our | 
Savior speaks of their judemetit in the future tense, j. 
The judgment of Choraain aad Bethsaida is represented 
as no more future than that of Tyre aad Sidon. Thus 
does the divine Teacher plainly assert that SodoiUi 
Tyre,aod Sidon^ Capernaum^ Ghorazin^ and Bethsaida \ 
shall all be arraigned at a Oayiof judgment; and this 
judgment was future in bis day, though this was hun- 
dreds of years after some of them had departed this life^ 
^Hence this judgment must be in a future lifot 

But here I anticipate your objection. You maiiitaifi 
that this judgment was threatened upon the ^anilor^tTi 
and not upon the inhabitants.^ This interpretation yes 
attempt to support by the language of the passli^j '4t 
shall be more tolerable for the taml.of Sodoat thaofor 
thee." Upon this objection we Will offer tiie fblhmng 
remarks. In the 2Sd verse, where Choraain and Bttb- 
saida are compared with Tyre and Sidon, the word land 
does not occur. And In the parallelpassagesr Mark vL 
11, «nd Luke x. 14, the word hnd is omitted* Now if 
the whole exposition of the passage depends mp%t[. ihe 
word, landt then Mark and Luke omitted an important 
part of Christ'^ declaration. Nay, they omitted that 
part on which uhne, tke duty eonfistent ivterptfetatuM 

* Reply to Damon, U. Maf^asVae, V%V\\. 

LETTER v. 14^ 

But it must be obvious that Matthew lAeant no 

by 'Hhe land of Sodom," than the other evangelists 
J "Sodom." 

lat person must be very ignorant of language, who 
not know that the word land^ is verjr frequently 

to mean the people who dwell in the land. This 
netonymy^ that is, a figdre of speech, where the thing 
ining is put for the things contained. And it is 

astonishing that a gentleman of your talents should 
an ai^ument upon such a slender foundation. The 
:ice you adopt upon other subjects plainly shows 
you regard the interpretation of this passage as 
You constantly quote passages like these— 
ftt came to save the U'orM; he is the Savior of the 
d $ God so loved the tvorldt &c« But what should 
think of a person who attempted to avoid the judt 
ence from these passages, by saying that the word 
i does not mean men, but simply the material sys- 
^ Again, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the 
of the earth V This passage you quote in favor of 
iltimate happiness of all men. But if you believe 
the term land^ or earth, does not mean the people, 
limply the ground or soil, you are surely guilty of 
erting the divine record. You cannot be insensible 
the term land, is frequently used to signify the 
le whf^ dwell in the land. God by the prophet says 
irael, "All hattons ahall 6all yOu blessed; for ye 

bea deiightsome toiil."* Here the word land is 
ained to mean the people. Cail you seriously be- 
^that wtien Christ eompated the city of Caperna- 
wtth that of Sodom, that he used the term city to 
ify not the people, but th^ land ott which the city 
built ? The same evangelist tells us that on a certain 
isfon, '*The whole city came out to meet Jesus ; and 
D they saw him, ^^ besought that he would depart 

• Ma), in. 12. 

144 LETTER V. 

out of their coasts."* Now according to your interpre- . 
tation, we must suppose that the land, that is, the literal P 
earth or soil^ went out to meet the Lord, and that then, \ 
that is, the earth, desired that he would depart out of 
^^etr coasts ! But we should suppose that a person who , 
should contend for such an interpretation, was desirous 
of turning the Bible into ridicule. Besides^ in the im- 
mediate connexion of the passage which he compares So- 
dom and Capernaum, the evangelist has eiplained the 
term city to signify the people. Matthew introduces the ^ 
comparison between those ancient cities which were de- r 
stroyed for their wickedness, and those cities which f 
abused the preaching of the gospel, by saying,t ^'Then j^ 
began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his ^ 
mighty works were done, because they repented not." r 
Because vfho repented not ? Say, Sir, was it the inhab- J 
itants? or the literal land? You must see that the ^ 
evangelist was speaking of the people, and bot of the 
literal land or soil. By the land of Sodom, thereforei 
the people of Sodom were intended. Moreover, what 
propriety would there be in comparing the inhMMiU 
of one place, with the literal land or soil of another ? It 
would be a gross absurdity, which we cannot ascribe to 
our divine Master. But after all, if the literal land is 
meant by Sodom^ you are hereby called upon to show 
that the land of. Capernaum suffered a more complete 
destruction than the land of Sodom, which was destroyed 
by fire from heaven, continued burning for a long period, 
and has been desolate ever since.:^ 

Another method which has been adopted to evade the 
force of this passage, is to interpret the future tense to 
convey the past idea. On this system of interpretation 

* Matt. viii. 34. t Chap. li. fO. 

± See Christian Repository, Vol. III. p. 82, and Vol. IV. p. 
137, where ^od justice is done to this subject, by Mr. Loveliod, 
io whom J am indebted for tome of the above hia^. 


LETTER V. 145 

le phrase, shall he/\B mtde to signify, hath been** But 
lose who contend for this interpretation are not able to 
reduce a single instance in which the sacred writers 
ftve ever used the future tense to express an event 
hlch had already been accomplished. Now is it allow- 
>Ie to construe scripture in such a manner, especially 
hen we are not able to produce a single example from 
le sacred record ? If this right is assumed, instead of 
.terpreiingf we actually contradict the scriptures ; it is 
ampling the sacred volume under our feet In this 
anner every future event in divine revelation can be 
me away. We may therefore shut our Bibles ; for on 
is principle of interpretation there is nothing contain- 
I therein which reache^ forward to our time ! 
But we are told that Jesus spoke of Sodom's destruc- 
an in this passage as a past event-^But what of that P 
oes it follow that her judgment is past, because her 
rerUtrow has been accomplished P We ikiight as^ well 
*etend that a criminal has had his trial, becausfe he has 
ten taken by the officer. Because Sodom's overthrow 
understood to be past, agreeable to the declaration of 
krist, are we to conclude that another event, her 
dgmentf must be past also, in direct opposition to the 
,ine divine Teacher? Because we believe Christ's 
sclaration in one verse, must we, to be consistent, con- 
adict a declaration of his, equally express, in the next! 
his is what these gentlemen require of us. But who- 
'er will look at the language of the passage, will see 
at the judgment of Capernaum is represented to be 
ture, no more than that of Sodom. They are both 
lited together, and the same expression is applied, to 
em both. The phrase, shaU be, is applied to them 
ken together, and of course must have the same signi- 

• See Philadelphia U. Magazine, edited by Rev. A. Kneeland. 
ho Balfour^s Reply to Sabine, pp. 63—66. I'oi \fefe <iVi»xmVjA 
Mr, BaUbuT^a workB, fee P, S. to thia LeiUt. 


146 LETTER V. 

fication relative to both. To contend, as the advocaUl 
for this objection in reality do, that the self same phraiCi 
occurring but once, has two distinct and diametricallf 
opposite significations at the same time, is violatisg 
every principle of interpretation, and destroying tlvi 
meaning of all language. 

The phrase, s^a^/ 6e, has but one signification, and itfv 
iaust be either in the pasU presentp w future tense. Now ^^ 
if the event was pasU when our Savior uttered the wordijii 
of the passage, then Capemnum, Chorazin, and Beth* 
saida were judged and condemned in the days of Sodom. 
The crime of which Capenaum and the other cities wer« 
guilty, was this ; — they abused the miracles and preach- 
ing of Christ. Now if their judgment was past, when 
Jesus addressed them in the language of this passage} ^ 
then, they were judged and condemned for a crime long 
before it was committed, and before those who committed 
it were born ! Thus does the exposition I am opposing, 
involve its advocates in the grossest absurdity. But let 
us see if we can make the passage consistent by aader- 
standing it in the presenMense. If the judgment was 
present, when the passage was spoken, then the judg- 
ment of Sodom was in our Savior's day, though this was 
hunderds of years after her destruction, and consequently 
must tie in a future state. And as it regards CapernauiRi 
she was judged, and coat down to hell, and ea^alted up to 
heaven, at the same moment of time ! But if the judgment 
of Sodom and Capernaum was future when the passage 
was spoken, as it must be to avoid the absurdities we 
have mentioned, then it is evident that their judgmeot 
must be in a future state of being. Thus it will be seen, 
that the interpretation we have given is consistent, and 
has the support of the language of the passage, and can- 
not be overthrown without expressly contradicting the 
words of our Savior, and involving the absurdity, that 
Capernaum^ &c. were judged aud coud^isitk^d W ^.^tlsBA 
JoDg before it was committed. 

LETTER V. 447 

ft seems obvious from the nature of the case» that 
dom was not equitably punished by her temporal 
Btruction. We have s.een in a former Letter* that her 
Btruction by fire could not be apportioned to the de- 
*t8 of every individual. All were involved in one 
Himon ruin; the innocent suffered destruction as 
ich as the guilty. Now as God has declared that he 
11 reward every man according to his deeds* and as 
i9 equitable retribution could not, from the very nature 
the case, take place with the Sodomites at tlie de- 
ruction of their city, it follows that Sodom's tern- 
ral destruction and her judgment are two distinct 
d separate events, and that her judgment must be in 
^utnre state. And as Capernaum and Sodom are to be 
dged at the same day of judgment, it follows that her 
dgment must be in a future state also. 
The view I have taken of the punishment of Sodom is 
mfirmed by the prophet Ezekiel.* He teaches us that 
^e restoration of the Sodomites was future in his day, 
id in fact, that Sodom should not be returned to divine 
Lvor until all the Jews are brought in. You quote the 
6th of Ezekielt to prove the salvation of Samaria and 
odom. In this manner you concede to the truth of my 
tatement For if the prophet was speaking of their 
alvation in the passage you have quoted, then their sai- 
ation is future. Ezekiel tells us, that the salvation of 
>odom and of Israel will be simultaneous. Now as 
srael is not yet restored, it is manifest that Sodom is 
itill in her captivity, and will remain in this state of 
larkness, till Israel shall find favor with God. Thus 
)oes the prophet confirm the interpretation we have 
^iven to the words of our Lord. Jesus speaks of ^oA- 
jm^a judgment as future, and the prophet tells us, that 
Bodom will not be returned to God's favor, until the 
lews are redeemed from their sufferings. From what 

• Chap. i?j. 46^$3. t ParabUB^ ipV W^^^%'5^ • 

l^ LETTER y. 

has been offered upon this subject, I trust it appein 
that Sodom, Capernaum, &c. stand exposed to a fotirt \^ 
judgment This will appear more clear when we shiU ^ 
have attended to the next passage, which I shall brisg ^ 
forward. U 

^'The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out rf 
temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the dajrf 
judgment to be punished." 2 Pet ii. 9. This passage, ^^ 
like the one before examined, speaks of ti future day of ^ 
judgmenU At this judgment the unjust are to be ^ 
punished ; for they are reserved to that day for that ^ 
very purpose* But if the wicked are punished to the ^, 
full desert of their crimes, as they pass along, there is ^ 
no such thing as reserving any person to any particular j, 
period to be punished ; because they are punished at all , 
times — at one period as much as at another. By exam* l 
ining this passage in its connexion, we learn that St 
Peter was treating of a future judgment in the context 
In the 4th verse of this chapter, St Peter not only 
speaks of a future judgment, but he speaks of it as a 
truth generally admitted. *'For if God spared not the 
angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and deli* 
vered them unto chains of darkness to be reserved uoto 
the judgment"— It is not material to our present par* 
pose, to determine whether the angels spoken of in this 
passage, are kings of a higher order than men, or whether 
they are human beings. It is sufficient to say they 
were beings who sinned, and did not receive their full 
recompense in the act of sinning, but were reserved to 
the day of judgment to receive the full reward of their 
iniquity. But with what propriety could the apostle use 
such language, if men were equitably punished in the 
very act of transgression ? Besides, the apostle intro- 
duces this as an admitted principle* "For if God spared 
not the angels that sinned,'* &c. As much as though he 
Add sal^, si^i^ itM ^iwlMAJfli these suuiira $tfere not 

LETTER V. 149 

'fmwi§hed in the act of transgression, but are reserved to 
Vie day of judgment to be punished. The apostle here 
Bpeaks of a fatore judgment as a truth of notorietj* Mr. 
Valfour, when remarking upon this verj passage^ shows 
that the heathen generally, and ^/iose also to whomfht 
tpHstU was addressed, were believers in a future retri- 
iution.* St. Peter knew that he was 4iddressing those 
who believed in a future judgment, and if this doctrine 
had been erroneous, he would, he must^ as an honest 
mai^ and especiailj as an inspired aposde^ have correct- 
ed their mistake. He snrelj would have informed them, 
that their ideas on this subject were false. But instead 
of even intimating that this opinion was unfounded, he 
uses his endeavors to confirm them in their opinion.- 
He adopts their language, and admits the principie in 
relation to the angels that sinned. But this is not all, 
he not only admits the principle true relative to the 
ang'els, but he makes it a general principle, and applies 
it to <<aH those that after should live ungodly .*' 

St. Jude speaks in almost the same language. His 
wordi^iiu^— <*Aad the angels which kept not their first 
estate, i>ut left their own >habttation, he hath reserved in 
everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of 
the great day." Verse 6; Now it matters not what 
beings are intended here by the term angels, neither is 
it of any consequence to our argument, whether the 
apostles quoted this from some apocryphal book, or not. 
They use the language, and make the sentiment their 
Dwn. The passagetherefore, speaks the real sentiments 
Df the apostles. St Paul, on a certain occasion, quoted 
the heathen poets ; but as he quotes them with approba- 
tion, you yourself contend that it is as full to the pur- 
pose for which it is brought, as though the apostle had 
med his own language.t Now both Peter and Jude 

• Inquiry, pp. 73—88. 

t AcUxvfi. 28, 29. See 2 Repkr W^«m^^^.^\» 


180 LETTER V. 

were addressing those who believed in a future jud| ^ 
ment and punishment ; and they adopted the language of ^ 
those to whom they wrote, with a perfect knowledge ^ 
that their readers would understand this language ts |, 
teaching a retribution beyond death. This clearly 
shows that the apostles meant to give currency to tbat 
opinion. On any other supposition, their fidelity and Y^ 
faithfulness cannot be defended. But perhaps it may be 
said, that the apostles spoke in accommodation to the 
feelings and prejudices of the people. To this we re- 
ply ;-—if the apostles considered the doctrine of a 
future judgment and punishment an error, they not only 
accommodated themselves to the prejudices of their 
readers, but took the most effectual method to confirm 
them in their prejudices. The apostles availed them* ^ 
selves of the sentiments and language of those to whom ^ 
they wrote, and never gave any intimation that they 
themselves used this language, to convey any meaning 
different from that, which their readers had attached to 
such language. This was literally telling them that 
their language and opinions were both correct The 
apostles then, it would seem, must have been pitiably 
weak, or basely dishonest, to have written as they did, 
on supposition that they believed a future judgment to 
be a falsehood. But whoever will look, for one moment, 
at the conduct of the apostle Peter, will be convinced 
that he was not disposed to sacrifice truth to save the 
feelings of the people. This apostle, after the resurrec- 
tion of his Master, was ready at all times to vindicate the 
truth, though at the peril of his life. On the day of 
Pentecost, he openly accused the Jews of the murder of 
his Master, and severely reproached them for their un- 
belief and hardness of heart.* We cannot believe that 
St. Peter, who was so willing to reproach the Jews by 
Vindicating the truth, would all at once become so afraid 

* AcU ii, ^%-*36. 


LETTER V. 151 

' offending the people, as to volunteer his service in 
iproving of their sentiments which he believed to be 

Do you think. Sir, that conduct, such as this objection 
scribes to the apostles, is commendable ? Would you, 
rhen addressing those whom you knew to be believers 
I a future judgment and punishment, make use of such 
inguage, as the apostles have done, and like them leave 
t without comment, to have its own influence upon the 
>eople? I say you would not. Whoever will read 
'6ur writing with a view to this subject, will find that 
rou have cautiously avoided such language. In this 
nanner you tacitly confess that this language naturally 
caches a future judgment and punishment. Now if St 
'eter and St Jude were as faithful to their trust, as you 
ire to yours, they surely would have avoided such Ian- 
Ullage, if they had been with you in opinion. We have 
ilready seen that those to whom. the apostle addressed 
itmself were believers in a future retribution. Now it 
ippears obvious that St. Peter meant to countenance this 
opinion ; or in other words, he told them that he agreed 
vtth them in sentiment This is plainly taught in the in- 
troduction of the epistle, which begins with these words 
— «^Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus 
Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith 
with U8, through the righteousness of God and our Savior 
fesus Christ."* Thus we see that, instead of Peter's 
mentioning a sentiment of theirs, only on the principle 
»f accommodation, without designing to give it his au- 
thority ; he mentions it as his oum, as an opinion held in 
common by them both. For he tells us that there was 
no difference of opinion between them, having both ob- 
tained the like precious faith. 

Now let us look at the language of Peter taken in 
its proper connexion. Verse 4, <<For if God scared not 

• 2 Peter i. 1. 

453 LETTER V. . 

the angels that sinned, but cast them dbwn to bell, and. 
delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved 
unto judgment." This passage will justify the follow- 
ing remarks. 1. The apostle speaks of a future judg- 
ment as a truth generally admitted. £. He tells w that 
these sinners were cast down to hell. The word rapr«» i 
^» here rendered hell, was used by all cotemporary wri- l 
ters to signify a state of misery in another warUL \ 
Hence it is altogether likely that Peter used the word 
hell in that sense. 3. It appears that these angels were 
not sufficiently punished in the act of transgression, foe 
they are reserved to the judgment to he punished. 4. It 
is also evident that what is here said relative to these 
angels, (or messengers, as some have rendered it) is true 
of all other sinners^ for the apostle applies this principle, 
to mankind at large. Verse 9, "The Lord knoweth how 
to deliver the godly out of temptations^ and to reservt 
the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.*^ 
Thus by examining this passage in its cosnenon, we see 
that St Peter was of the opinion that men were not 
punished to the full amount of their crimes^ as they pas- 
sed alon^ but that the ungodly were exposed to a fa- 
ture judgment and punishment. 

But we are told that this judgment must be of a tem- 
poral nature, because Peter mentions Noah and Lot as 
specimens of those who were delivered out of tempta- 
tions. They were delivered from the corrupt multitude 
by whom they were tempted. And so on the other band, 
the old w.orld and Sodom are mentioned as specimens of 
those who were reserved to be punished, and their pun- 
ishment was only temporal.* 

We readily admit that the old world and Sodoroi 
together with Noah and Lot, are mentioned as examples. 
But this is in our favor, as it shows that the judgment is 
general. We have already seen that our Savior spoke 

* Balfour^B Reply to SaVme, pp. Qd>^^. 

LETTER V. 103 

dgment of Tjre, Sidooy and Sodom, as well as 
lorazln, Bethsaida, and Caperoamn, and repre- 
lis jadgment as future with regard to them all* 

also seen that Kzekiel represents the recove- 
dom as an event jet to come* It has also been 
at her temporal destruction could not have been 
able retribution upon every, individual; and 
they went immediately to happiness at deaths 
e saved by their own dissolution, without either 
repentance or the mediation of Christ As it 
:he old world, it is manifest that they were not 
according to their deeds by their temporal des- 
for at that time the greatest sinner received no 
lishment than the least. Besides, St. Peter, on 
Dguage we are now remarking, informs us else- 
hat those who were disobedient in the days of 
sre in prison in the days of our Savior. But 
Eige will be attended to in the sequel. But let 
e what is meant by delivering the godly out of 
m$. We will, if you please, take the examples 
I Mr. B. speaks — Noah and Lot. Was Noah 
d from temptations so long as he remained in 
Id ? By no means. For after the flood he was 
, and fell a prey to the wine he had made. '*He 
' the wine, and was drunken ; and was uncover- 
is tent."* Thus we see that delivering Noah 
old world, was not delivering him from temp- 
The same may be said -of Lot. After he left 
he was tempted, and yielded to the temptation, 
not only guilty of drunkenness, and incest, but 
Ityof repeating these crimes.t Here we see 
ih and Lot were not delivered from temptations 
r taken, one frbm the old world, and the other 
dom. St. Peter made the declaration,. f^« Lord 

how to deliver the godly out of temptation^ to 

14 » 

154 hETtm V. 

enjcoqrage the virtqcMiA, ^nd support thete iincter tnoii^ 
trials. But yiraiild it yi^d the flints any support to teU 
theii that the Lord w^ld deliver them from one teinp- 
tatijQiQ, and bring them into a^olther, which would be to 
great as to oyercpme them f It wpuld ^ot Tbea ve 
mu&t 9uppose that something more was meant by deliv- 
ering Lpt and Noah, than t^ing the former from Sodomt 
and the latter from the pld world. Their deliverance 
was net completely effected till they were taken from 
this world. 

What is here said of No9.h and l^ot, will apply to all 
the righteous. They are not completely delivered fnom 
sinful temptations so long as they inhabit this frsm 
tenement. But the Lori knowefh hew tQ deliver 
them ; and h^ will deliver them out of all their tempta- 
tions ; but the full accompli£»l|me9t of this ia reserved 
for a future state. Now as the righteous are not fully 
delivered in this world, it follo>ws that the wicked are 
nT)t fully punished in this world* Since the former part 
of the verse does not have its fulfilment here \xk time^U 
is manifest that the latter part does not. FuPther; the 
unjust are reserved^ that is, retaimd or k^pi, to the day 
of judgment to be punished* Tbas it appears that they 
were not punished immediatelyibut were kept to a certain 
distant period. This could Ikot be said <if the temporal 
destruction of Sodom ; for it is said of her that she was 
overthrown H a mome^.^ Mr> Balfour $ays> «Tbe 
general meaning of the word, rendered rfsart^, is, *to 
keep or reserve something tiH afterwards.' If il be 
asked, reserve or keep the unjust, till after wbat I The 
answer is, until after the Lord hath delivered the godly 
out of their temptations^'t Here it i& acknewledged 
by one of your own writers that the wjoked are nel 
punished, until after the Fightepus |tre deiivered fiHHB 
their temptations. Now a^ the righteous are. l^ol deUv*^ 

* Lfim* IF. 6. t Repi; to Sahvie, p. 74^ 


LETTER v. 100 

tnn their temptatioDS, until they leave this world, 
le wicked are not to be puDighed, till after the 
»us are delivered, it follows that their pamshmefit 
i after death. Or to apply it to the old world and 
I ; as Noah and Lot were not delivered from their 
itloQB, till long after thawold world and Sodom 
enced their temporal destruction, so this temporal 
ction could not be their punishment* No ; for 
his, they were reserved or kept to a fatorc period^ 
^y of judgment to be punished, Thns it appears 
he passage in Peter, that there will be a judgment 
ure life. Both Christ and his apostles teach the 
doctrine. They both speak of the judgment as a 

event, and both mention Sodom as an example. 

lot only shows that the judgment ts in a future 

ut also that it is general^ including all the nations 


)ther scripture to the same purpose is 2 Cor. v. 8, 

<<We are confident I say, and willing rather to be 
t from the body, and to be present with the Lord, 
refore we labor that, whether present or absent, w« 
be accepted of him. For we mast all appear 
d the judgment'Seat of Christ ; that every one 
*eceive the things done in his body, according^ to 
he hath done^ whether it be good or b«d."«-^ 

this passage we remark ;-^The apostle speaks 
iing present mik the body, and absent from, the 
The one is explained in the context to mean to< 
this, life, the other ia the future. And he says, 
labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be* 
^ted of him.'' Here it will be seen that the apostte 
ed that he might be accepted, when absent from ihe 
that is, in afuiure stats. This tmplies that thbre l# 
er of being rejected, after death. It would beuae-^ 
and absurd to latior for ftiture aicceptance, if there 
)o peaaibility oC anj one's being rejectedi The cofi« 

466 LETTER V. 

sideration of his laboring that he might be accepted, when 
absent from the body, supposes that there was danger off' 
not being accepted, and that those who did not laliar' ^ 
thos, would experience this rejection. The probabili^ /^ 
of being rejected in a future state, the apostle enforces bj i 
this consideration ; — '*F«r we must all appear before the^^' 
judgment-seat of Christ; that every one maj revive r 
the things done in his bodj." This clearlj shows that J 
the judgment will be after death, when men are absent ^ 
from the body. The apostle says, verse 6th, '^While f 
we are at home in the body, we are absent from the ^ 
Lord." Since at the judgment we are to stand before ' 
Christ, and while we are in the body, we are absent ^ 
from the Lord, it is manifest that the judgment must be '^ 
after death, when we are ^^absent from the body, and fl 
present with the Lord." 


The apostle's argument is clear and forcible. In 
the first place, he informs us that there is danger of being 
rejected when absent from the body. He then states 
the grounds of this danger, viz. that there will be a fu- 
ture general judgment, at which some will be rejected. 
His argument, in a logical form, is briefly this;— -There 
will be a future, general judgment, at which some will 
be rejected, therefore we labor that we may not be of 
that number. The interpretation we have given, makes 
the apostle's reasoning clear and cogent ; but on your 
interpretation, his reasoning is entirely destroyed. Tou 
understand the ''appearing before the judgment-seat of 
Christ," to take place in this world, to which all pun- 
ishment is confined. Now let us look at the consistency 
of the apostle's reasoning, on your exposition of the 
« judgment-seat." His argument would stand thus ^— 
We labor that we may not be punished after death, 
because all punishment is confined to this world ! This 
actually appears like a burlesque upon the apostle's 
reasoning, and if it was given by an unbeliever in reve- 

LETTER V. isy 

tioD^ I should think that jour exposition was designed 
bring contempt upon the scriptures. Besides, Paul 
presents this judgment as future. We have already 
en that he tells us in another passage that the judg- 
sot is after death* So in the passage before us, he 
lis lis that the judgment is a future event. ^^Wemust 
md before the judgment-seat of Christ" But on jour 
terpretation, the judgment is past or present, as much 

future. Further ; on jour interpretation, none can 
judged but those who live Under the light of the gos- 
:!• But the apostle includes all mankind in this judg- 
SDt. He sajs, *^we must all appear before the judg- 
snt-seat 6f Ghrist." That all men are the subjects of 
is judgment, appears not onlj from the passage before 
, but in a parallel passage he places this point bejond 
spute. His words are — *'But whj dost thou judge thj 
other ? or whj dost thou set at nought th j brother ? 
)r we firtiall all stand before the judgment-seat of 
irist. For it is written. As I live, saith the Lord, 
ery knee shall bow to me, and everj tongue shall con- 
Bs to God. So then everj one of us ishall give account 

himself to Qod.""^ Here the apostle speaks of the 
me judgment*seat as in the other passage, and he sajs 
5 must all stand before it. Paul, in this passage, uses 
e term, aU, which includes everj one spoken of. And 

cannot be pretended here, that the apostle, bj the 
rm, we, meant the apostles or believers onlj, for he 
eludes those who judfge and set at naught their bre-. 
ren. Since he included both saints and sinners, it is 
inifest that the judgment is universaL And to con^ 
m this still further, and to place the universalitj be- 
ind a doubt, he cites a passage from the prophet,t 
lich jou jourself contend applies to the whole human 
mitj. Having done this, he concludes bj sajing, **Sa 
en everj one of us shall give account of himself to God." 

• Rom. xiv. 10, 11^ 12. \ \%^.t\n»1^. 

£58 LETTER V. 

The passage before as teaches a future general Judj^ 
ment If the judgment be general, it cannot applj 'to 
the destruction of Jerusalem, nor signify the gospel dis* .j^ 
pensatioo. For a very small part of roaukindji^ere.iip- i^ 
on the earth at the destruction of Jenisale«fe|^ or e\eii ^ 
exist under the gospel dispensation. And if ike judg- \^ 
ment be future, it must be in a future life. For the whole :^ 
human family cannot be judged at any one time in this ^ 
state of being. Again ; the apostle speaks of not being u. 
accepted, when absent from the body, or in other words ^ 
in a future state ; and this he infers from tUe fact that 
there will be a future, general judgment^ at which all 
will stand before Christ. And as this judgment is fu- 
ture, and men cannot be present with the Lord, until 
they are absent from the body, it follows of course that 
this judgment must be in a future life. 

We have now attended to several passages which 
speak of the day of judgment Instead of its being fast 
or present, the sacred writers uniformly represent it as 
future. They speck of it as an event yet to be accom- 
plished. They call it a judgment to come, and say it 
shall be after death. Instead of its being an event 
which is taking place from day to day, they unite in 
declaring it is to take place at a particular, specified pe- 
riod. They say^ God hath appointed, or $et apart a day 
or period for that purpose. And instead of its being 
confined to the Jewish nation, or to those who are upon 
the earth at any particular time, they inform us that the 
judgment is ^encrflZ— that Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon, ^ 
Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, shall be judged. 
Nay, that the whole world shall be arraigned, and all ^ 
shall stand before the judgment-seat of Christ We i 
have further seen that the very idea of judgment includes \ 
that of punishment to apart at least. Nay, several of 
the passages we have noticed, expressly state that the 
wicked are reserved to this day o^ )\xd^\A^Yit. ta be pus- / 


ished. And all these passages were addressed to a 
^ple who were believers in a future retribution. The 
inspired penmen speak of a future judgment as a truth 
srhich no one who believed in a future existences pre- 
Leaded to deny. This shows most clearly that the scrip- 
ture writers meant to teach a future punishment. We 
ainnot defend their faithfulness and integrity on any 
Bther supposition* 

Several other passages might be quoted in proof of the 
jadgmenty but we want them not. Besides, it wouM 
swell this work beyond its contemplated size, to notice 
every scripture which relates to this subject. I will 
here remark, as I did at the introduction of this Letter, 
that every text which speaks of a judgment which is to 
take place at any specified time, though it may be in this 
world, is an argument in favor of a future retribution, as 
it shows that men are not fully recompensed in the act 
of transgression. To conclude my remarks upon this 
subject, I will observe that if the arguments here made 
use of to prove a future judgment be valid, a future ret- 
ribution is clearly established. Though a future state of 
punishment does not necessarily involve a future, gene- 
ral judgment, yet a general judgment involves a future 
punishment as a necessary consequence* 

Before closing this Letter, it may perhaps be profita- 
ble to offer something upon the design or utility of a fu- 
ture, general judgment. This is the more necessary, 
as the advocates for your views generally give an incor- 
rect representation of this subject. They frequently 
represent the abettors of a future punishment as believ- 
ing that the judgment will proceed on the principle of a 
common trial in a court of justice, where witnesses will 
be called, for the purpose of giving the divine Being cor- 
rect information relative to the characters of men. And 
I am sorry to say that you have sometimes offered that 
which seems to countenance that representation^ 1\!l 


your Sermon on 2 Thess. i. T, 8, 9 ; after stating that 
is generally believed that the righteous go to enjojmei , 
and the wicked to misery at death, you say, page tAtjr 
'^Now if this tradition be correct, what need is there tffj* 
a future judgment? Will it be neces&ary in drier to'"! 
ascertain whether the former sentences were accordiftf; J 
to justice ? Will those who have been in heaven thou- W 
sands of years, be now called to judg;mentP Must all p 
their crimes which hjive been forgiven, now be rc-exim- 
ined, and their souls be put in jeopardy? Look on the 
other hand ; here are millions of wretched immortalsi 
who have groaned away many ages in the torments of jv 
hell, now permitted to have their trial ! But stop — the 
absurdity of this tradition is too palpable to require fur- 
ther examination." 

The first remark I shall offer upon this quotation isi f 
that it is an entire misrepresentaiion of the subject 1 
do not mean to insinuate that you intentionally misre- 
presented this sentiment, but I do insist that it is very far 
from being the common opinion entertained by the 
"learned doctors of the Christian church," as yOu de- 
nominate them. You ask, "Will a future judgment be 
necessary in order to ascertain whether their fohner 
sentences were according to justice ?" Now this pas- 
' sage implies, that God institutes the judgment in order 
to ascertain what the real characters of men are. Again 
you ask, *'Must all their crimes which have been forgiv- 
en, be re-examined, and their souls be put in jeopardy f^ 
This implies that the judgment is designed to give the 
Almighty some new information, relative to the charac- 
ters of his creatures ; and that possibly Ood wilffind on 
strict examination that he has misjudged some of man- 
kind, and so will of course, reverse his sentence;, and 
send some to misery, who have long been in' heaven ! 
And this you wish to palm upon the world, as the com- 
nion opinion relative to a fulute y]id^t(it.tLll Your re- 



LETTER V. j[6£ 

i^reteDtation abofe is so far from being the commoa 

^t^iiion of the '^earned doctors," that I verj much doubt 

^^h^ther you can produce a single writer of any repute^ 

"^ho has advanced ahj thing like the representation y<ft 

have given. 

Bot it is nothing to me what others believe on this 
slibject. I write as a sitigle individual, and am not 
bbund to defend any opinion but my own. You say, if 
^Oine tnen go immediately to happiness at death, and 
others go to misery, what need is there of a future 
judgment ? In answer to this, let it be observed, that it 
is Te^y di£Qcult in many cases, for finite beings to deter- 
mine the utility of every measure the Deity may be 
pledged to adopt. It is difficult to determine, why the 
Lord has permitted evil to enter the world, and yet facts 
compel us to acknowledge that evils do exist But be- 
lieving God to be a benevolent being, we are led to con- 
clude that it will answer some valuable purpose. And 
so in relation to a future judgment. It may be difficult 
tb ascertain every motive which led the divine Being to 
institute sucih a process ; but dtilt as God does nothing in 
v^ih, #e mtrst conclude that som^ valuable purpose will 
b)fe'ansii^ert6d- by siich an event But you thiilk there is 
ail incoAlristency ii^ supposing ^hat men will be brought 
t6 jtidgm^nt aftfit they have deceived ai pstrt of their pun- 
idUinktit. But the same difficulty exists on your system, 
ahtl-yotf dre as niuch bound to solve this difficulty, if it 
be otie, as lam. Your ^ont^nd that civil governments 
afe instituted by Grod. Your wdrds are these — "In rela- 
tion to the' crimes of individuals, we well know that God 
hasln^tiitefd penalties, according to the nature of of- 
fences, and has given special directions concerning their 
beitag duly inflicted. This is not only true in respect to 
fgriiel, bat it ils likewise true in respect to all nations.'^ 
Here you elpressty state that civil government is 

* LeoL p, 9» 


i6j8 LETTER V. 

established bj God ; that he makes the laws, and gives * 
directions concerning their being executed. Now jm V 
maintain that all punishment is confined to this world« '* 
^ut I would ask, is all this punishment inflicted bj i ^^ 
civil tribunal ? This you will not pretend. Every per- ^ 
son who commits sin, experiences some punishment, ^' 
before he is taken into custody by a civil officer, and ^ 
perhaps he may remain for months in prison before he '} 
receives his trial and sentttice. In this case the man 
enters into misery, before he is brought to the bar of 
justice. And I might ask here, as you have done in the 
other case, if the offender is unhappy as soon as he com- 
mits the crime, what need is there of a future trial ? It 
is strange that you should object to a future judgment, 
because it involves a principle which is equally attend- 
ant upon your own views. 

But this objection rests entirely upon the principle 
that the only object of judgment is to inflict a punish- 
ment upon the wicked, and bestow a reward upon the 
righteous. Now when we shall have attended to the 
design or utility of the judgment, we shall see that 
this objection has no force. What then is the design of 
this judgment day P It is not the sole object of this 
judgment, to dispense rewards and punishments. The 
grand object the Deity has in view in all his judgments 
is to reform the transgressor, and qualify him for enjoy- 
ment. Thus far there is no dispute between us. But 
punishment, self considered, will never lead men to re- 
pentance. It is the influence of the divine spirit or.a 
display of the divine character, which punishment seta 
home to the mind, that leads the sinner to repentance. 
Inflict a punishment upon any being, without giving him 
any knowledge of the being against whom he has sinned; 
or of the design of those laws he lias violated, and it could 
be regarded in no other light than that of cruelty. Now 
one great object of a future general judgment undoabt- 

LETTER V. 103 

J is, to make a display of the characters of men, and 
( moral principles of the divine government. Men are 
t called to judgment for the purpose of giving the 
Ige any new information relative to their characters ; 
t to make the characters of men known to themselves, 
d to one another. 

The wise man says, "God will bring every work into 
Igment, with every secret things whether it be good, or 
rether it be evil."* The apostle says, *'Judge nothing 
fore the time, until the Lord come, who both will 
ing to light the hidden things of darkness, and make 
anifest the counsels of the heart.^^i Again, says the same 
)08tle, ''Every man's work shall be made manifest, 
r the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed 
' fire.'-:]: These texts not only enforce the fact that 
ere will be a general jndgment, but they teach us the 
ssign of this judgment, or the effect produced by that 
rent. They inform us that the judgment will make 
anifest not only the outward conduct, but the inter- 
il disposition of every man. All will then see the 
sctitude of the divine administration. The saint will 
ive a more glorious view of the divine character, and 
le sinner will see the justice of the misery he experien- 
»s. This will have a tendency to lead the sinner 
Itimately to repentance. Many of the dispensations 
rthe Almighty look dark and mysterious to us, while 
I this world ; but then the veil will be taken away, and 
le rectitude of the divine character will be obvious 
) all men. In this world, we frequently see vice 
iumph over virtue. We have shown in a preceding 
setter, that in some cases, the wicked prosper and 
ejoice in their iniquity, while the virtuous experience 
reat calamities both of body and mind. This furnishes 
he irreligious with one of their strongest objections 
gainst divine Providence. But at judgtneat tlvU dv^- 

* EocL xii.:t4. t 1 Cor. iv. 5. \ ^ C^^^'va- >^^' 


culty will be solved. It will then appear that the wick 
ed shall be dulj punished, and the virtuous rewarded 
These and njanj other valuable purposes wjll probabl; 
be effected bj a general judgment. This view of tk* 
subject entirely obviates your objection, and furnisljes.ii. 
with an additional argument in favor of such a judgment 

As to the mode and manner of this judgment, Qod ha 
not seen fit to inform us. I think, however, we n^ay n 
tionally conclude that the misery which the sipixer wil 
be called to experience at that time, will not be inflicte 
by the immediate hand of Gqd, or any other intellig^ 
agent appointed by God ; but that the misery will aris 
from the sinner's own feelings. If all his iniquity i 
brought to light, and even the motives of his heart ar 
displayed before him, the obstinate sinner must b 
unhappy. There will be no need of any executiv 
authority to inflict a punishment upon him ; his guil 
will be his own tormentor, and a hell will be enkindle 
within him. 

To conclude this Letter, I will observe, that if th 

views here exhibited, are sopnewhat repulsive to oi; 

feelings, it is nothing more than may be reasonably es 

pected, even admitting the doctrine to be a fact; whe 

Paul reasoned ofh judgment to come, the unbelievin 

Felix trembled. 

Yours, &c. 

P. S. As we have in these Letters referred to the wri 
tings of Mr. Balfour, and shall have occasion in the » 
quel to notice them again, it will probably be gratifyin 
to the reader, to subjoin a brief account of the natur 
and merits of his works. Mr. B.'s first and principi 
work, is, «*An Inquiry into the scriptural import ofth 
words, Sheol, Hades, Tartarus, and Gehenna, all trans 
lated Hell, in our common English Version." Thi 
work evinces a considerable decree of resea^rch and pa 

LETTER V. 165 

tient investigation, and manifests a good temper of mind. 
But it seems to have been written without any definite 
oliject. He tells us in the verj first sentence of hisbook, 
that ihe simple object in view is» to examine the founda- 
tion on which endless misery is built. He then telis us 
on the very same page, that his object is, principally, to 
determine whether a future punishment is taught in the 
scriptures. And so he shifts from one to the other, as 
iieat answers his purpose. This indefinite object intro- 
duces confusion into a considerable part of his book. 
This circumstance leads us to conclude, that whenhe 
wrote his Inquiry, he had no settled plan in view ; oth- 
erwise we should be under the necessity of making the 
unfavorable remark, that he was artfully laboring to 
undermine what he durst not openly attack. 

Another feature of his book is, that he seems more 
desirous of pulling down, than building up. To gratify 
this propensity, he has, in expounding some passages, 
involved himself in the grossest inconsistency. Some 
of these inconsistencies we may have occasion to notice 
in the course of these Letters. Mr. B.'s Inquiry was 
answered by Mr. Sabine in a ^'Series of Lecture?," to 
which Mr. B. replied. We have already said that the 
Inquiry was written with candor. But in his Reply to 
Sabine he seems to have forgotten the spirit manifested 
in the Inquiry. The Reply abounds with severity and 
personal reflections, hardly worthy of the Christian, or 
the gentleman. In his first book Mr. B. maintained a 
becoming degree of humility ; but after his work was 
before the public, and several extravagant encomiums 
were lavished upon it, by Newspaper writers, his vanity 
was excited to that degree, that he came out in a weekly 
paper, and challenged a confutation of his work! This 
circu Instance is not mentioned to wound Mr. B.'s feel* 
ings, but tonly to suggest to him the propriety of desist- 
jng from such a course. As a vrtliiev^ ^t«^A% ^\i:^n^ 


166 LETTER V. 

tous and proHx.^ This will appissgr from the &ct» that he 
has writtei^ 445 pages qctayo, to defiae four words. la 
point of scholarship, I will reip^rk — though he makes a 
great display of Hebrew and Qreek learuipg, wjioeyer 
will tftke the trouble to examine his writings, will rea^i-" 
\j seq that a great p&rt of his criticism? are quotations 
from other authors. As to his own criticisms, they are 
almost invariablj criticisms upon a single term. And 
any npvice who knows the Hebrew and Greek alphabets^ 
can take PiM^khurst's Hebrew and Greek Lexicons, and . 
criticise in the same manner. However, we ought iu 
justice to S9y, that his writings show mqre learning than 

. Mr. B. in the introduction to his Inquiry, gives us to 
understand that all the priqcipal authors, who have, 
written in defence of Universal Salvation, have been 
ignorant of their subject, and have only been beating 
the air; for they proceeded on the ground thaf there 
was a punishment in a future state, for those wha died 
impenitent. He flatters himself that he haa discovered 
a new and more advantageous method of attacking the 
doctrine of endless misery — a method by whiok its 
foundation may be swept away in a moment Th^ plan 
of attack which Mr. 3* has introduced is tbi9;*«^TQ 
show that the words translated h^U in the scripture^, dn 
not signify misery in a future state, whether temporary 
or endless. Now if Mr. B. has succeeded in his attempt, 
if he has proved to demonstration that neither Sheol, 
Hades, Tariarus nor Gehenna imply misery in a future 
state, how does this effect the point at issue ?• AU that 
he has said about the import of these words, inay be 
true, and still future or even eternal misery remaieaua- 
.touched. Endless misery may be taught in other wocda, 
though Shepl, Hades, 8^. may have no suoh si^ificatiaB. 

* The remainder or thfe P. S. was writttp by the antl^pr of 
fhe^LeiterBf aad pjoMbh^d ia tk« CVim\\MLiX«vo«tar^^'iaa4 

LETTER V. 167 

I will now attempt to show that Mr. B.'s pian of at- 
tack, inatead of beiDg superior to the course usually par- 
suedidoes not meet the point in dispute. He maintainsr 
and juatiy, that Sheol and Hades are synonymous, and 
signify the grave, or rather the state of the dead in gene- 
taU He asserts repeatedly, that they do not signify 
misery at alk Now if Sheol and Hades do not signify 
l^aniahmeat at all, then they have no bearing in the 
case; for certainly endless misery nor future misery 
cannot be proved false, by putting a limited signification 
vpon words which do not in any case imply misery. 
The third word on which Mr. B. remarks is Tartarus ; 
which he explains as he has Sheol and Hades, not to 
mean misery. Now in order to ascertain, whether Mr. B. 
has aucceeded in confuting future or eternal punishment, 
it is proper to leave all he has said upon Sheol, Hades, 
snd Tartarus, out of the question ; for surely if they do 
not mean misery at all, as Mr. B. contends, they can 
have not the least bearing in deciding the question, 
whether misery be endless. Mr. B. has said repeatedly 
that neither Sheol, Hades, nor Tartarus is used to signi- 
fy misery. The only word he allows to signify misery, 
is Gkheona ; and wherever it occurs in the New Testa- 
Hie^t, it is, he says, applied to the Jews, and expresses 
those judgments, and those only, which fell upon that 
nation at the destruction of Jerusalem. The punishment 
of Gehenna, says our author, was never threatened upon 
the Gentiles. 

So the whole of Mr. B.'a labors comes precisely to 
this ;-<»If the destruction of Jerusalem doea not mean 
endless misery, that doctrine is not taught in the scrip- 
tures ! He has written more than 400 pages to show 
tliat there can be no punishment in a future state, be- 
cause Jerusalem was captured in this ! — It is not my 
design to misrepresent Mr. B.'s work ; but really I do 
not see why this is not the naiuvaV Wi%v\\. ^IVv^ t«ws^- 

468 LETTER V. 

ing. He has undertaken to examine the foundation on ^^ 
which future endless misery rests. He confines him- — 
self to four words — Sheol, Hades» Tartarus, and Gehen- '- 
na. Now these four words embrace the whole founda- ^ 
tion of future eternal miserj. or they do not. If they «*- 
do not» then Mr. B. has failed in the very onset. His ^ 
plan, though original, is defective ; and ail bis argu- j^ 
mentSy resting on this base, fail of their object ; for all he p 
has written may be true, and still future, or even end- j 
less misery may be a verity. — But if these words do em- I 
brace the whole foundation of future eternal misery, then ! 
future, eternal misery rests entirely upoti the term 6e- J 
henna; for certainly it cannot rest npon Sheol, Hades, P 
and Tartarus, words which, according to Mr. B. do not t 
signify misery at all. Now if eternal misery rests sole- 
ly upon Gehenna, then this term embraces all the pun- j 
ishment ever threatened ; then the Gentiles were never ' 
threatened with any punishment; for Mr. B. says, the 
Gentiles were never threatened with the punishment of 
Gehenna. And as Mr. B. applies this term to the 
destruction of Jerusalem, and contends that it will bear 
no other application, the most that can be made of his 
reasoning is this ; — There can be no punishment after 
death for any individual, because the city of Jerusalem 
was destroyed in this world ! Punishment cannot be 
endless, because that city did not stand an eternal siege ! 
This, I think, is the grand result of his whole Inquiry. 
All that he has done (admitting what he has written 
to be conclusive) is, to show that future eternal misery 
is not taught in the words rendered hell, in our version. 
But this is very far from meeting the point in debate; 
for all he has written may be true, and still endless 
misery may remain unshaken. Hell is not a term on 
which we rely to support a future retribution. It is not 
a term on which the learned rely for the support of end- 
Jess mlserj. They frequently call eudleaa misery by 


e name^ hell; but thej do not rely upoa that term, 
lien they attempt to prove that doctrine from scripture. 

they quote texts where this word occurs, still the 
gument is drawn from some circumstance or phrase . 
nnected with the passage, and not from the word hell. 
am far from bein^ a believer in endlessjoisery, but 1 
A free to confess that I find nothing in the Inquiry, 
iich convijpices me of its falsity. 
But the very definition which Mr. B. has given of 
leol and Hades, does not exclude misery. He saj'S 
ain and again, that Sheol and Hades signify ths state 

the dead in general. Now does this definition of 
leol and Hades oppose a future, or even endless mise- 
? Not in the least We might as well contend that 
ere will be no future happiness, because Sheol and 
ides do not signify happiness, as to contend that there 
11 be no future misery, because these words dfi not 
piify misery. To maintain that there will be no mis- 
y beyond the grave, because Sheol and Hades do not 
san misery, is entirely sophistical. In this manner 
y proposition can be proved. Misery, for insti^nce» 
uld be argued out of this world. Thus — the word 
rth does not signify misery, therefore there is no mis- 
f in the earth ! What should we think of a person who. 
Dttld undertake prove that there was no misery in the 
:j of Boston, from the consideration that the wordg^ 
iston, did not mean misery ? 

But although Mr. B. has repeatedly said that Sheol 
d Hades did not mean misery, either temporary or 
dless, still he acknowledges that in several instances 
ay dp mean misery. Where our Savior is said to have 
en compassed about by the sorrows of helU where 
ivid was delivered from the lowest hpM, and where 
tpernaum is threatened jwith being cast doum to /ie^2, he 
nf^sses that hell sigmfies misery. Now if hell signi-. 
fl misery in these passages, aa Mr. "B. ««wtt\.s,>Maf^ ^^*;»^ 




he maintain that it never means misery, either temporarj ,^ 
or endless ? And if it means misery in these passages, ^ 
who knows but that it does in others ? It is not my de- ^ 
sign to point out the instances in which hell means mis- 
ery, but only to avail myself of the concessiona he has ^ 
made ; and these are amply sufficient to weaketi his ^ 
reasoning. When treating upon Gehenna^ Mr. B. con- u 
tends that it would be extremely improper to borrow f 
language from a temporal scene to represent an etenud ^ 
one. A great part of his reasonings when remarking '^ 
upon Gehenna, is founded upon this principle. But .^ 
what is the course he has pursued in relation to Sheol ■ 
and Hades ? He contends that these terms signify tAc k 
place, of the dead, that is, they apply to a future worlds \ 
But he makes use of them as figures to express suffering | 
in this state. Now if Shebl and Hades, a place or state | 
in a future world, can be used figuratively to express 
misery, it is much more natural to suppose that they , 
express misery in a state to which they belong, than in j 
a state to which they do not belong. But Mr. B. has 
pursued the opposite course, and so has contradicted 
what he has said elsewhere. It is perfectly proper to 
borrow figure from time, to represent things in eternity. 
For human language was designed to express our ideas 
of things belonging to this world, and unless we are al- 
lowed to speak of events in a future world in language 
which originally applied to this, .we cannot speak of 
them at all. But there is not the same necessity of 
borrowing language from a future state, to represent 
things in this. But as the sacred penmen have done 
this according to Mr. B.'s own corifession, it gives us 
good reason to believe that they have done the other also. 
In his 2d chapter Mr. B. tells us on the authority of 
Dr. Campbell and others, that the term Gehenna is deri- 
ved from the Hebrew words, Ge and Hinnom, that is, 
the valley of Binnom, near JeruaaX^m. 'tt.^ ^y^^^\% \a 

LETTER V. lyi 

ik of Gehenna as a proper name, and because the 
ey of Hinnom does not signify miserj in a future 
e, he argues that such misery cannot exist But 
i not everj person know that the proper name of a 
« does not express the state or condition of the in- 
itants relative to happiness or misery ? The word 
!m» for instance, signifies peace. But who ever 
ight of inferring from hence, that there were never 
broils or contentions in the town of Saiem ? What 
lid we think of a person who should assert that 
e never had been, and never would be any misery in 
State of Vermont, because Vermont signifies Green 
mtain, and not a place of misery ? Will Mr. B. as- 
that the inhabitants of Jerusalem never experienced 
of the horrors of war, because the word Jerusaltm 
lifies, they shall see peace 9 His reasoning proves this 
ilearly as it proves that there will be no misery after 
th. But the fallacy of this reasoning must be obvi- 
to the weakest capacity. — I think Mr. B. cannot 
plain of this as misrepresenting his reasoning, for he 
nowledges that he has spoken of hell as a place of 
ery, and constantly he speaks of hell or Gehenna as 
name of that place. And I believe the representa- 
I [ have given above, is the impression which is given 
plain unlettered readers, who in many respects are 
most impartial judges. 

ihould any person feel disposed to disprove future 
rnal happiness, he might adopt Mr. B.'s plan with 
antage. By tracing the word heaven to its primitive 
t, he would find that it did not signify future happi- 
s, or even happiness in any state. He might pursue 
course which Mr. B. has, with considerable plausi- 
ty. He might take the first of Genesis — "In the be- 
aing God created the heaven and the earth," and show 
t heaven did not signify happiness, but simply the 
rounding air, or the firmament He tKv\^\. ^x^^ "^^ 

lyg LrETTBR V. 

as this was the first time the word heaven occurre 
the Bible, and as it did not mead happiness in this c 
it ought not to be understood as having that meanin 
any other passa^/ unless the writer gave special no 
that he vsed the term in a senile different from thi 
Genesis. He could also quote many texts, where I 
▼en has the same meaning as in Gen. i. 1. He ro 
then turn to the New Testament, where he would 
the word, heaven, for the first time in Matthew thii 
^<The kingdom of heaven is at haiid," in which pas 
heaven doubtlessly signifies the gospel dispensa 
By examining the New Testament, he would find n 
passages to corroborate this signification. And i 
found a few passages whieh did not appear to coin 
with his views, the same labor which Mr. B. has bes 
ed upon the rich man and Lazarus would solve the i 
culty. He might call it parabolic happiness, and 
literal enjoyment. In this manner he could prove 
there will be no future happiness, as clearly as Mr 
has proved that there will be no future misery. V 
ever will read the Inquiry with attention, will, I fl: 
be convinced that the representation of the work g 
above, is substantially correct. 

Mr. B. has also published ah Inquiry concerning 
Devil and Satan, and the duration of the tenhs, (] 
Aion, and Aionios. This work, like the former, ex!h^ 
a good temper of mind, and no small degree of pal 
investigation. It, however, contains nothing peculi 
original, except an exposition of the blaspfieitkjr Kgn 
the Holy Ghost, and a few other passages, whict 
regard as vague and inconsistent. Though this v 
contains much truth, we believe that in many r^ipi 
he carries his principles too far, and manifests a dis|j 
t!on to pull down rather than to btiild up. But thiiit 
;>ears't6 be policy adopted by all the advocat^s( ftlt 

17a . 



Scripture proof of a Future RetribuHotL 


is letter I propose to call yoar attention to some 
es which, to my understanding, teach the doc- 
a future retribution. I shall, however, confine 
to a few passages, as I find that I am likely to 
my contemplated limits. The first text I shall 
is John V. 28, 29. '^Marvel not at this ; for the 
coming, in the which all that are in their graves 
ear his voice, and shall come forth ; they that 
me good unto the resurrection of life ; and they 
\re done evil unto the resurrection of damnation." 

fioted this passage in this place in consequence 
nity to the passages already considered, under 
d of a future judgments The passage before us 
a future judgment, and informs us of its concern- 
ments, viz. a resurrection^ and a state of punish- 
The passage before us^ I think, applies to a future 
ind teaches a future retribution. I am sensible, 
T, that you confine the passage to this world, 
>ly it to the destruction of Jerusalem. But against 
mstruction, and in favor of mine, there are many 
f considerations.* 

will readily acknowledge that the passage in 
m holds forth the idea of a retribution — a retri* 
which is to take place at a specified time or peri- 
lOW the fact, that this retribution is to take place 
B particular, specified time, let that time be whea 
. goes directly against the doctrine which limits 

i tnbttance of our remarks upon tlriv pawage has been 
id by the writer of these Letters, id the GbriStiaia l^o^ois^ 
Oct. 1836. 



all punishment to this world. For, if men are punished 
to the full desert of their crimes here in time, it is 
manifest that they must be punished step by step as the; 
pass along, so that if they be ta]ceii awajr at any moment, 
they will have received all they deserve, and so be obnox- 
ious to no further punishment. Thedoctrine for which you 
contend, therefore^ forbids the idea of any special judg- 
ment ; for it maintuns that m^O: aire punished at one 
time^ as much as at another ; that they are punished daily 
fqr their sins, so that if by any accident any one should 
be taken away instaptly at any timei the account would 
1)10 squared in : this, state^ and the sJDl:gect would itand 
exposed to no future discipline. Now it is .perfectly idle 
on your schema to talk of any special judgment, that is^ 
a judgment which is to take place at any ^^ified time. 
It is totally senseless and absurd to .speak of any jiar&- 
ular time, as the^ judgment, if :the judgsiM|fc takes 
place every day— at oqo period as much as at another. 

What should we think, of a distinguished philosophefi 
who should pretend that he. had some important fact tc 
make known to mankind, and then should gravel; 
assert, that on a certain given day, the tide would eU 
and flow at New- York? Since the ebbing, and . flowing 
of the tide is what takes place, regularly, and constantly 
we should conclude, that this learned man was,triflia{ 
with our understanding, or else. h« was disonlered ii 
his intellect. Just so must our Savior appear^ on you 
interpretation of the passage. On; your scheme^e mns 
suppose that Jesus Christ called our attention t» a sub 
ject, as though it were something of transcendant impor 
tance, and then gravely told ua, that great power wa 
given him by the.Father, that he npight be.ena{)Ied at i 
certain future period to accomplish, what ? Why, tka 
which has taken place daily in all ages of the woijd 
without any assistance on his part ! ! But 9hail wj^ atlri 
bote auqh consummate trifling to him whe^-wu incapaU' 

tXTTfSR VI. , lYB 

eceit-^'Svho spake as nfever roan spake P" Far be 
thought It is so evident that a special judgment 
aught in this passage, that you are free to acknow- 
;e it, though this acknowledgment is fatal to jour 

ut jou inform us that our Savior was speaking of a 
itual resurrection in the context, and has given no 
ee of any change of the subject.* — That Jesus was 
iking of a spiritual resurrection in the context^ is 
lily admitted, but that he did give intimation of a 
>^' of the subjects we shall attempt to show. And it 
orthj of special remark here, that you yourself apply 
SSth and 29th verses to an event totally distinct, 
entirely different from any thing taught in the con- 
And certainly you would not apply the different 
ts of this chapter to different events, in direct opposi- 
ito your own statement, unless such an application 
taught in the discourse. But to proceed j— In the 
ri verse Jesus says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, the 
r is coming, and new is, when the dead shall hear 
voice of the Son of God^ and they that hear, shall 
." This is undoubtedly a moral or spiritual resur- 
:ion. But a spiritual resurrection admits of no 
:ial judgment to follow the resurrection. It only 
;hes us, that those who are dead in sin, are raised to 
'ness of life or spiritual enjoyment. After speaking 
spiritual resurrection in verse 25th, Jesus says in 
ses £6th and fi7th» ''For as the Father hath life iq 
self ; so hath he given to the Son to have life in him- 
; and hath given him authority to execute judgment 
I, because he is the Son of man." Here our Savior 
only speaks of his ability to impart that life of which 
liad spoken in verse 25th, but speaks of his ability tp 
cute judgment aba. Thus we learn that he did 
nge the sutgect of discourse* From fhat of a spiri^iial 

♦ ?d ^ep]y tp Mrtfitt, ^. ^* 

1^8 • LETTER VI. 

resurrection, which precludes the idea of a retributioDy 
he changes to that of a literal one, connected with a 
retribution or judgment. This change of the subject is 
plainly taught by his speaking of executing judgment in 
contradistinction from raising men to spiritual life. 
*<Hath given him power to execute judgment also.'' 
Unless there is a change of the subject, the emphatic 
word, alsOf has no meaning. It is perfectly evident 
from the discourse itself, that there is a change in the 

Knowing that he had introduced something in addi- 
tion to what he had been treating of, the divine Teacher 
tajs, <*Marvel not at this ;" that is, though I have intro- 
duced something new, do not be surprised. . And then, 
to confirm and illustrate what he had hinted relative to 
executing judgment, he adds the passage in i|aestion. 
"Marvel not at this ; for the hour is coining, in the 
which all that are in their graves, shall hear his voice, 
and come forth ; they that have done good unto the re- 
surrection of life ; and they that have done evil, unto 
the resurrection of damnation." Now it is perfectly 
evident, from the manner of introducing the 28th and 
29th verses, that they allude to a subject entirely diffe* 
rent from what is taught in verse 25th. 

By comparing the 25th verse with the 28th and 29th, 
we shall discover at once that they treat of different 
events. 1. In the 25th verse, it is said, «'the hour Is 
coming, and now is;" in the 28th, *'the hou r is comiit^." 
Here then is a striking difference ; one is represented 
not only future, but present also$ the other is repre- 
sented as exclusively future. 2. It is said in verse 25th, 
^'the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God ;" in 
the 28th, **ail that are in their graves shall hear his 
voice." Here again is a striking dissimilarity. The 
former asserts that the dead shall hear. The term dead 
10 uted very frequently in the New T^at&meat to m^Hre* 

LtrrtEti VL 177 

: those in a ^Ute of condemnation— '^dead in ires-. 
»e« add sins.^^ But the word grave it not used by 
New Testament writer in that sense. Though you 
s figurative meaning upon the tetm gravei, in this 
lage, you are not able to produce a single instance in 
whole New Testament, where the wdrd is used in 
t sense ; but you are under the necessity of repairing 
ine of the highly figurative visions of Ezekiel. But 
) is an unfair mode of inteif reting any writer. It is, 
tccU not explaining his meaning by his own uniform 
of the term,#ut by the single use of it by another 
ter, in another age of the world, and that too in a 
nexion, where it is acknowledged, that the language 
brthest possible from being literal. Who would feel 
lifted in explaining the meaning of a term, in a writer 
»ur own age and nation, by the use of this term in 
f connexion only in a single writer in the days of 
Mce or RoiiK ; especially when it is acknowledged, 
t this ancient writer, in this instance, used the term in 
eose entirely different from all his cotemporaries, and 
ferentfrom his own accustomed method of using it? But 
I would be no more unjust than to explain the word grave 
St. John's gospel, by the sense in which an ancient 
iphet once used it Now it appears to me to be much 
ire proper to explain the meaning of the word ^rai^e 
9t John's own uso of it, than ta go to the Old Testa- 
tnt to ascertain its meaning. But for the sake of the 
(69 we will go to the Old Testament The word gra^e 
curs very frequently in the Jewish scriptures. But it 
not even pretended that it is used to express the state 
the spirituaUy iead^ except by one writer, in one con- 
rion only* If the Old Testament, therefore, is to 
cide the question, it is much more rational to explain 
by the general use of the word by various writers* 
in to explain it bj the useof one Writer only, and that 
an excepted cast* 


Now if we let St. John be his own expositor, a privi- 
lege which all other writers claim, the matter will be 
decided at once. The term /ivrjua^ here rendered gravB^ 
occurs at least sixteen times in John's gospel. Four 
times it is applied to the grave of Lazarus, where it will 
be admitted bj all, that the term signifies the place of 
the literally dead. Eleven times it is applied to the 
grave or sepulchre of Christ, where its meaning will not 
be disputed. Now as this term is used fifteen times in 
John's gospel to signify the literal grave^ it is natural 
and just to conclude, that it has this o^eaning in the re- 
maining instance ; especiall j as this is the sense in which 
the other New Testament writers uniformly use the 
term, and this sense best agrees with the passage itself. 
3. In the S5th verse Jesus says, "They that hear, or 
listen,^^ as Wakefield renders it, ''shall live." This 
plainly implies that all do not listen or regard the voice. 
, By the dead^s hearing the voice of the Son of God, men- 
tioned in the preceding part of the verse, nothing more 
is meant, as you will acknowledge, than that the gospel 
is preached to those who are dead in sin. Now both 
scripture and observation teach us, that many who hear 
the preaching of the gospel, do not listen, or regard its 
requirements. Thus the clause, "they who listen, shall 
live," implies that a part only of those who enjoyed the 
preaching of the gospel, obeyed its requirements at that 
time, or were altered by what they heard. But not so 
in the 28th and 29th verses. There we are told that aU 
shall hear, and come forth. Here again the difference 
is such as to lead us to the conclusion, that the two 
passages cannot apply to the same event 

4. The 25th verse says, "all that hear shall live ;" 

that is, all that come forth, shall enjoy happiness. But 

this is far from being the case in the JBth verse. There 

we a^e told, that '*some shall come forth to life, and 

H^m^ to eondemnationJ^ TViua vre a^t tioAi ^ae yassa- 


lar from teaching the same thing, and of course 
ipply to the same event. The latter passage is 
;ed as something in addition to the former, and 
; from it ; and by comparing the passages toge* 
find that thej teach doctrines es^ntiallj dis- 
d dissimilar. The 25th verse represents tho 
oken of as present ; the 28th and 29th, ^% future: 
ler speaks of the dead in sin ; the latter, of those 
literal graves : in the one case, a part only obe j 
e ; in the other, ihej all jield obedience to Uie 
IS : in that, all who obej come forth to enjoj- 
in this, a part come forth to damnation , there, a 
ion is precluded ; but here, it is clearly taught 
hat passages, ( ask, can be more dissimilar? 
; but the bias of system, I should think, could 
y person to interpret these pas;sages of the same 


ler ; the 28th and 29th verses cannot be explain- 
spiritual sense without involving the greatest 
ty. A resurrection implies a change ; it is ta- 
en from one situation, and placing them in ano-. 
fferent from the former. But if the passage be in- 
ed of a spiritual resurrection, it makes confusion 
passage. It would then amount simply to this ;— 
who are dead in sin experience a great change, 
resurrection $ they are raised to that degree, 
sy are sunk much deeper than before. Or they 
ught from a state of moral death, to what? a state 
tl life P No — they are brought from moral (i^th 
il death ! that is, they have experienced no re- 
;ion at all ! Or in other words, their change is so 
that they are in the same situation after they 
cperienced this change, as they were before. But 
Dt every person see that this entirely destroys tbii 
tency of the text ? Besides, the passage is intro- 
with a mark of attcation— "Mlw^A w^V vV>K\*»^:^ 


But if Jesus meant nothing more in the 28th and 
▼erses, than he had taught in the 25th, he must haT< 
fled with a solemn subject Suppose a speaker, 
having dwelt a considerable time upon a subject, sfa 
call our attention as though some new subject of in 
tance was about to be introduced, and then should n 
what he had already stated several times before, 
should think the man was partially deranged, or th 
was sporting with his audience. But God forbid th; 
should ascribe such conduct toS Teacher sent from 

You apply this passage to the destruction of Je 
iem, and represent it as expressing the situation o 
Jews as a nation.* By this application you admit 
our Savior did change the subject of discourse, 
then do you contend that the 2dth and 29th verses 
be interpreted in the same manner as the 25th ; an 
the same time interpret them essentially diffei 
Bat I would ask, on what authority do you applj 
passage to the Jews as a nation, and confine it t 
destruction of Jerusalem ? There is nothing in the 
text which justifies this. The Jews as a nation, oj 
destruction of Jerusalem are not spoken of, nor 
alluded to in the passage or its connexion. Not 
word in the whole context can be found which an the 
such a construction of the text Neither will the 
sage bear a construction so limited. The langoa 
univtrsaL *'M that are in their graves." There 
more propriety in applying this to a part of manl 
than there is in applying those passages which spei 
Christ's iyin^/oraU, to a part of mankind; which 
^plication you would be the last to admit Besides, 
liave already seen that the passage speaks of thai 
^mvlitiBral graves; and certainly you will not pre 
that all the liUrally ^ead were raised to life in 
Mpmtalic age. If we should tdmit'tkatthis reMrriM 

* L%oU pp. 396, Vn« 


18 spiritual, the passage then couid not bear your con* 
ruction. All men in a state of moral death did not 
tr the voice of the Son of God, that is, the gospel, at 
it period. It cannot be said with a shadow of proprie- 
I or even of truth, that the gospel was preached to the 
lole human family, at the destruction of Jerusalem. 
We will go still farther, and for arguments sake, will 
mit that the resurrection was spiritual, and that th« 
ssage applied to the destruction of Jerusalem. Now 
uik, in what sense did the Jews hear the voice of the 
n of God at that period ? They clsrtainly did not 
ir the preaching of the ' gospel ; for those ChristiasMi 
lo were at Jerusalem were commanded by our Savior 
■self to leave the city* and flee into the mountains, 
ntheris it probable that one tenth part of them ever 
1 hear the gospel. And if it should be granted that 
i gospel was preached at the destruction of Jeru8alem# 
s would not answer the description of the passage. 
\t text undoubtedly means something; it expresses 
nething which does not ordinarily take place. Now 
ipose that the gospel was preached at that period ; 
I is nothing different from what takes place at other 
let, and so does not answer the description given in 
i passage. They must hear the voice of Christ in 
se extraordinary manner, in order to come up to the 
,se of the text. But in what sense did they hear thii 
ce at the destruction of Jerusalem ? Jesus made no 
aonal appearing at that time. They could not hear the 
ce of the Son of God at all, unless the besieging army 
considered that voice. But who will admit an absur- 
f like this ? If the besiegers be the voice of Christ, 
D every besieged city hears that voice; then the Jews 
not hear that voice in the apostolic age, any more than 
Y did when Nebuchadnezzar razed their city to the 
and, and carried them captive to Babylon. But 
ij with absurdities like these.— li\x\. \xi viWX. %^^xvw« 


were the Jews raised at the destruction of their di] 
Were thej made better or more virtuous ? No— tfai 
who were sinful, remained so. Now this resurrection, 
■lean anj thing, must mean that their state was site 
ttther for the better or the worse* They were not m 
better, for the passage says, they come forth to cond 
nation. It follows then that they were made ii 
nnhappy, and plunged deeper in misery. This, 
would think, appears more like sinking than mi 
them. Can a single instance be produced in which 
aacred writers, or any others whatever, express the 
tmetion of Jerusalem, or any other city, by the t 
raurreeHon? We should call that writer a fMU 
who should call the capture of a city, a resurreetitiH. 
Again ; you apply this passage to the destrttcti( 
Jerusalem, at which time you maintain that a sp 
judgment took place. Now the Jews were rewa 
jaccording to their deeds, during the ages which prec 
the destruction of Jerusalem, or they were not. If 
were not, then many of them went out of the world ^ 
•out an equitable retribution ; then many will be pQ 
•ed in a future world, so the system for which you 
tend must be false. But if the Jews, and conseqm 
all others, were rewarded in this world accordii 
their deeds in the ages which preceded and foil 
the destruction of their city, as they must have 
to avoid a future punishment, then there is not the 
propriety in applying this passage to the apostblic 
The passage, on your construction, teaches nothin] 
« retribution, and might as well apply to the lai 
of our forefathers at Plymouth, as to the destnicti 
Jerusalem. For on your scheme, men are rewi 
according to their deeds at one period, as niuch i 
another. At the destruction of Jerusalem men re 
ed no more than they justly merited, and accordii 
jrour views, the^ have received ttvat m all agea ; o 


leotly the pasMge in question applies to the destruo- 
«i of JeruBalem, no more than to the jear of jabilee 
ider the law. 

The method jou adopt to prove that the passage in 
ohn applies to the destruction of Jerusalem, is to con* 
der it parallel to the one in the l£th of Daniel* which 
supposed ta apply to that erent* In the first place, 
is not absolutely certain that the passage in Daniel 
ludes to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, 
it if this should be granted, it furnishes no proof that 
le passage in John alludes to the same event There is 
^ evidence at all that our Savior borrowed his language 
om Daniel. In fact, the phraseology of our Savior in 
le passage before us, is entirely different from that 
ied by Daniel. There is scarcely one term ussd in 
)mmon by them. Now how can it be pretended that 
ir Savior borrowed his language from Daniel, when 
is language is entirely different from that used by the 
rophet? But if it could be proved that Christ borrow- 
1 bis language from the passage in Daniel, it would 
>t follow that he alluded to the same event that Daniel 
id. Whoever has examined the subject with attention, 
ill be sensible, that even when the writers of the New 
!*estamei4t quote the precise language of the Old Testa- 
lent, they- frequently accommodate it to the subject of 
iiich' they are treating, when this subject is .entirely 
iiiurent from that, to which this language originally 
f|ilied. And as this is true of quotations, it surely 
mimothe pretended that two writers are describing the 
lame.even^ because their language is somewhat similar. 
iU th.e accounts we have of the invisible world, are 
pvei^ inianguage borrowed from this. But what ration- 
d.. nuud ever • thought * that* God possessed a corporeal 
\mdjv from the fatot that ^ords are applied to him, which 
irere4>ripiially aptpli^,' and are constantly applied to 

'* Jteplf to Mem'tt, p. 16* Leolwev ^« 


the human system i John, in describing the saints it 
heaven, says, they were clothed with white robes, with S 
palms in tlieir hands. But who would understand this,, 
in a sense strictly literal, because this language was 
borrowed Trom literal objects ? 

You cannot be so ignorant of^the scriptures as not to « 
know that the sacred writers, when speaking upon one : 
subject, frequently' borrow language, which originally I 
applied to another. And will you rest your expositioB 
of the passage before us, upon a principle which yov 
will admit to fail in very many cases ? Give me the , 
latitude which you take to apply John v. 28, 29, to the 
destruction of Jerusalem, and I will engage to prove any 
thing, or rather to disprove every thing, and leave you 
in scepticism. There \g not a passage in the New Tes- 
tament which you applj to a future state, but that maj 
be explained away in the same manner. Take for ex* 
ample 1 Corinthians, 15th chapter, where a resurrection r 
is taught. You, who apply the passage in John to the 
destruction of Jerusalem, contend that the 24th of Mat* 
thew applies to the same event. Now there is a much 
greater similarity between the phraseology of certain 
passages in the 24th of Matthew and the 15th of Corin- 
thians, than there is between the passage in ^john and 
the one in Daniel. Examples. In Matthew we read 
repeatedly of ChrisVs coming ^ in Corinthians, of "those 
who are Christ's at his coming-^* Matthew says, <'then 
shall the end come^^^ Paul says, "then cometJi the end? 
Matthew speaks "of the sound of the trumpet ;" Paul sayg 
••the trumpet shall sound." Now this proves that the 
apostle in the 1 5th of Corinthians was speaking of the 
destruction of Jerusalem, as clearly as you can prove | 
that the passage in John applies to that event. In fact 
the proof is much more to the point; for we are notun- 
der the necessity of calling in the visions of Bzekiei to 
o«r aid, and travelling through the visions of Daniel, bat 


can compare the passages directlj together. Not only 
the 15th of Corinthians, but every passage which you 
ipply to a future state, can be explained away in the 
same manner ; and did it not look too much like trifling 
tnth the subject, we would apply your method of inter- 
pretation to every passage which is thought to apply to a 
Future state of being, and show that they can all be 
made to apply to the present world, as well as the pas- 
sage in John. Perhaps you will say that there is some- 
thing in these passages which will not allow of their 
leing applied to this state of being. 1 answer, there is 
something in the passage in John^ which does not allow 
iuch an application, as we have already seen. I am 
ully persuaded, that with no more ingenuity than I 
»ossess, I can take every passage which you apply to a 
Qture state, and interpret them as applying to this 
rorld, and justify the interpretation by arguments of 
fie same nature of those which you adopt to avoid a fu- 
ure punishment. 

The exposition we have given of John v. 28, 29, is 
onfirmed by other passages which speak of the resur- 
ection. When Paul was accused, and brought before 
uthority, and was permitted to speak for himself, he 
ays in his defence, among other things, "And have hope 
owards God, which they themselves also allow, that 
h^re will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just 
nd unjust*^* Here the apostle speaks of a resurrec- 
ion of the dead. This I think you will admit, is a lit- 
ral resurrection. And this resurrection is general. 
?aul not only says there shall be a resurrection of the 
had, but he particularizes and says, *<both of the just 
ind unjust.'' And this he speaks of as a truth general- 
y admitted — a truth "which they themselves also. al- 
ow." Thus it appears that not only Paul, but the peo- 
ile generally in his day, believed in a resurrection of 

^ Acta I XIV. 15. 



the dead, both of the just and unjast It cannot be pre- 
tended that Paul in this passage admitted their views 
for the sake of justifying himself, for he says in the pas- 
sage, that he has hope towards God in thisvesunredinm. 
From this passage we learn that there is a distinctionof 
character among the dead, as well as among the liifing 
The apostle speaks of the dead in general ; he ;tben di 
vides them into two classes, thtjust and unjust. Thk 
incontrovertibly shows that all do not become holy a 
death. There will be a resurrection of the just and un 
just, 05 such. They will retain their characters in thi 
resurrection. The just will be raised to happiness ;. an 
the unjust to misery; or, as our Savior enLpresses it i 
the passage we have already examined, *<they shall com 
forth unto the resurrection of damnation." The resui 
reetion of the just and unjust, of which the apostl 
speaks, cannot be a spiritual resurrection ; for we hav 
already seen that a spiritual resurrection of the unju: 
involves a solecism ; as it supposes that they are raise 
from moral death to moral death, which is no resun'e 
tion at all. That rewards and punishments will be a< 
ministered at the resurrection, appears fr^m the languid 
of the divine Teacher. '*For thou shalt be reconipen» 
at the resurrection of the just."* These passages .plain 
teach us that there will be a resurrection of the just at 
unjust, as such; that one will be rewarded, > and ti 
other punished ; and so they go directly to eM^firm ti 
exposition we have given of John v. 28, 29. Frc 
what has been offered upon this passagft, I think it A\ 
ously appears that there will be a general resurrection* 
the dead at some future period, and that a state of i 
wards and punishments will follow that event 1 1 
aware that you will urge the 15th of Ist Connthians 
opposition to these views ; but tliat scripture will I 
attended to hereafter. 

• Luke xiv. 14. 


le next passage which claims our attention is Matt 
"And fekrnot them which kill th^e body, but are 
ble to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is 
to destroy both soul and body in hell.'* The paral- 
Eissage is Luke xii. 4, 5, which we will transcribe. 
I I say unto you^ my friiends, be notafraid'of them 
kill the body, and after that have no more that th^y 
do : but I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear, 
him, which after he hath killed, hath power to cast 
hell ; yea, I say unto you, fear him,**' These passa- 
toth relate to the same discourse of our Lord, and 
with propriety be examined' together, as they muia- 
throw light upon each other. They (each us that 
^s power is limited by death; Tbey may kill the 
% but "after that have no- more that tHey can 
But not so with God^ After he hath killed fh^ 
r, he can cast us into hell, that is; he can punish uis 
future state. But you say, "I understand that the 
tie Teacher, in^be instance mentioned in these pas* 
8, alluded to the power of God, and not to what H 
tlie will of Grod ta doi"* This then is your ioter- 
ation of the passage ; — God is abU to cast into hell 
r he hath killed the body, but it does not follow that 
'ill do it. By examining the context, we find that 
ist sent out his disciples to preach and perform 
Lcles. He apprised them of the danger they would 
t to encounter. And to encourage them in a faithful 
harge of their duty to God, he utters the words irf* 
passage before us. The disciples were placed in a* very 
ical situation. If they were faithful to God, they 
N upon themselves the severest persecution. But 
avoid this persecution, thej shrunkf rom their duty, 
jT drew upon themselves the judgments of God. In 
trying dilemma their Master addresses them— 
ar not them which kill the body, but are not able toi 

* Vm. Mag. Vol. Ul. p* V^. 


kill the soul ; but rather fear him which is able to de- 
stroy both soul and body in hell." Upon this view of 
the subject^ it appears that the passage before us was 
designed to excite their fears. But if there was no 
danger that God would inflict that which is here men- 
tioned, then Jesus used duplicity. He attempted to 
excite fear from a motive which did not exist. We 
must, therefore, admit that there was danger that God 
would punish us after death, or else ascribe duplicity 
to a Teacher sent from heaven. 

Besides, on your exposition, the whole force of the 
passage is lost. It converts the whole into a mere 
farce. The spirit of the text, on your exposition, is this. 
Jesus with the utmost gravity says to his followers, 
*<Fear not those who kill the body, but are not able to 
msike you unhappy after death ; but I will forewarn you 
whom to fear; fear God who is able, not only to destroy 
the body, but also to make you unhappy after death, 
though he will not do it /" Or mqpe briefly — fear not 
those who cannot make yon miserable after death ; but 
fear him who can, but will not I But does not every 
person see that this is destroying the whole force of the 
passage — the entire strength of the motive ? What 
should we think of a legislature which should make a 
law, and as a motive to excite obedience to that law, 
should declare that they were able to punish the trans- 
gressor of the law, but were determined not to do it ? 
Such a law, with such a penalty, would be a disgrace to 
any legislature. This would virtually be inviting trans- 
gression, and telling men that they might sin with 
impunity. It would be granting them a license to tram* 
pie the law under foot. Tell a hardened wretch just 
liberated from the State Prison, that if he steals again, 
the government has power to cast him again into prison, 
but that they are determined not to exercise this power ; 
and he will laugh at your weakness, or else will tell 

tktfUR VI. 189 

i» that he cafes nothing about the paw0tf if it is not to 
brought into exercise* It is not the power, but the 
^rcisi^ of the po^er Which excites fear. We general I j 
isider those parents ilnwise, who attempt to command 
I obediience of their children by threatening them with 
lunishment which thej do not, or cannot inflict. Now 
niUst either asbribe conduct of tliis nature to the 
nor, or else admit that there is danger of a punish- 
nt in a future state. I will here ask, whether you 
rsue the course which your exposition attributes to 
i divine Teacher ? Do you attempt to excite men 
obedience by the consideration that God is able to 
nish them in a future state? The farthest from it 
»8ible. You represent a future retribution as impeach- 
; the character of God ; and as God cannot contradict 
aselF; so it is impossible for him to punish his creat- 
es after death. This is what yoii constantly maintain 
sentiment at least. Thus yoi^ acknowledge that the 
iductof our Savior was unwarranted on your exposi- . 
D) by carefully avoiding such language yourself. 
Besides, how can you maintain that God is able to 
Dish men in a future state, while you contend at the 
ne time, that such a punishment would impeach his 
iracter ? The scriptures assure us that God cannot 
. It is impossible for him to speak contrary to the 
ith. But this impossibility is entirely of a moral 
ture; he cannot lie consistently with his character. 
^ cannot deny himself. Now on your system, the 
rhe impossibility lies against punishment in a future 
ite. Inflicting such a punishment, according to your 
sws, would impeach the divine character as much as 
oclaiming a falsehood. With you therefore, it is as 
lich impossible for God to punish his creatures in a fu- 
re state, as it is for him to lie. Now with what pro- 
ietyxanydu admit that God is able to inflict a punish- 

ent after death? However coM\%\,^t^V\X. x^Vs^^^*^ 



admit that God is able to do this ; it is totally absurd oo 
jour sjstem to admit that God possesses this ability. 
But perhaps jou will say that the passage would not -^ 
teach a future punishment, if it should be granted that ^ 
God does perform that which he is here said to be able. ^' 
1 acknowledge that you have said, <<if a man was de- -^ 
stroyed, both soul and body, it appears to me that this p 
man would not exist."* But it is a little surprising '^ 
^hat you should make an observation like this, since joa .' 
are decidedly opposed to the doctrine of annihilation^ r 
You must know that destruction is not only threatened, -^ 
but is actually inflicted upon some human being84 Now ' 
in the passages here alluded to, and in many others, the 
wicked, or some part of them, are said to be destroyed. 
And do you understand by this, that they are annihila- 
ted ? No — you contend tliat they will all be made eter- ' 
nally happy. Why then do you intimate that destroy in 
the passage in question, means extinction of being? 
Nothing but a prepossession in favor of a system, would 
have induced you to make the above remark — a remark 
which you must either recal, or renounce the '*restito- 
tion of all things." You cannot be ignorant that tbe jii 
, word destroy^ frequently signifies nothing more than 'i 
trouble, pain^ or misery. So it is perfectly evident that 
if the passage before us has its fulfilment, a future retri- 
bution will take place. 

On our exposition of the passage, the motive to fear 
God rather than man, is clear and forcible. We have 
already seen the purpose for which this passage was 
spoken. Jesus was then about to send out his disciples, 
and he tuld them that they would be persecuted even to 
death, for his name's sake. Tbus by being faithful in 
the cause of the gospel, they were in danger of losing 

• Univ. Mag. Vol. HI. p. 134. t U. Mag. Vol. VI. p 6. 
X 2 Pet. ii. 1. Matt. vii. 13. Jer. xvii. 18. Ho«. iv. 6. xiii. 9. 
P«. jicii. 7. xc. 3. 



their lives; but if thej were unfaithful, they would 
meet the di8«|probation of God. Now in this critical 
situation, what course must they pursue? Must thej 
fear men, or God? Our Savior tells them that they 
must fear the latter. But why fear God rather than 
man? For this good reason; — men can put you to 
death, but there their power ceases. The injury they 
inflict cannot extend beyond the grave. But not so 
with God. He can not only take your life, but he can 
subject you to suffering in a future state. Therefore it 
becomes you to fear God rather than man. Since it is a 
fact that men would take their lives on supposition that 
they were faithful in the cause of God, it follows of 
course, that God would subject them to a future state of 
discipline, if they were unfaithful. Thus on the expo- 
sition we have given, the motive to fear God is strong 
and clear. But on your exposition there is no motive 
at all. You make Christ tell his followers to fear God 
rather than men ; and then to enforce this duty by rea- 
soning which shows that we ought to fear men as much 
as we fear God. If God does not inflict a punishment 
after death, the motive to fear men is equally as great as 
to fear God. Men can not only put us to de;4th, but 
they can, as Jesus expresses it in the context, persecute 
and scourge, before they inflict death ; that is, they can 
put us to death in the most lingering, painful manner. 
And on your system, God can do no more. Hence you 
have no motive at all to fear God rather than man. But 
on our exposition, as we have seen, the motive is power- 
ful, and the reasoning cogent. 

Since our Savior would not reason inconclusively, nor 
use deceit, it is manifest that there is a probability, that 
Qod will inflict a punishment upon those who are diso- 
bedlent ; and that this punishment will extend beyond 
the grave. It also appears from the context that the 
motive whicb our Savior presented vraft «^ t^'^V \s!k^>ki^. 

192 Letter vl 

For both MatttieW and Luke, in the imo|»diate cohnet- 
ion» say that Christ wUl rye^t those tmm reject Aim* 
Matthew says, verses d2d and 33d, ''Whosoever, there-* 
fore, shall confess me before men, him will 1 confess 
also before mj Father which is in heaven. But whoso* 
ever shall deny me before men^ him will I also deny 
before my Father which is in heavenJ*^ This passage 
makes it perfectly evident that the punishment which 
God is able to inflict after he hath destroyed the bodyi 
will be inflicted. We have already seen the situation 
in which the disciples were placed. They must eithei 
fear God or man. Jesus says to them in the S8th verse, 
**But rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul 
and body in hell." Here the fear of God is enforced 
by the consideration that God is able to punish in i 
future state. In verse 29th, he tells us that God takes 
cognizance of ail things, even the fail of a sparrow ; in 
verse SOth, that the hairs on our heads are all numbered, 
and in verse 31st, that we v^ of more value than many 
sparrows. Then follows the passage we have already 
quoted. "Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before 
men, him will I confess," &c. Thus we see that the 
3£d and 33d verses, which declare that Christ will 
confess those, who confess him ; and will deny those, 
who deny him, are inferred from the preceding ver« 
ses. In verse 28th, Jesus says, that God is able to 
cast into hell, after the body is destroyed, and in 
verses £9th, 36th9 and 31st, he tells us that God's 
knowledge and power extend to every event. He then 
infers from these verses, that those who confess him, 
will be confessed, but those who deny him, will be deni- 
ed'by God. That the 32d and 33d verses are an infer- 
ence from the 28th, 29th, 30th, and 31st, appeat-s evident 
from their being introduced wit\i,therefore. '^Whbsoever^ 
therefore, shall confess me," &c. The argument of our 
Si ffot is persptcuous and CorcftA^ \t \% VimfC^ \kU v— 

' LETTER VI. 193 

iince Qod is able to cast into hell, after he hath killed 
le body, and takes cognizance of all events; it follows 
lat those who deny me, will be denied by God. This, 
len, settles the question entirely. It shows in the 
learest manner, that that punishment which God, in 
erse 28th, is said to be able to inflict, will be inflicted 
pon the disobedient. Those who deny Christ, will be 
enied by him. It is unnecessary to inquire whether 
ny do deny Christ, because it will be readily admitted 
lat he is denied by thousands. It will be of no avail to 
ly here, that the passage does not say that Christ will 
eny them in a future state ; for St Luke, in the par- 
llel passage, says expressly, that God has power to cast 
ito hell, after the body is destroyed ; which clearly 
bows that Uie punishment is beyond the grave. 

The 32d and 33d verses furnish us with an argument 
1 another point of view. It is frequently said by the 
dvocates of your system, that the passage, **Fear not 
lem which kill the body,'' &c. was addressed only to his 
isciples. fiut in the 32d and 33d verges, this sentiment 
' principle is made general. '^fFhusoever shall confess 
e." Thus we see that this passage is made of general 
^plication; it embraces not only the disciples, but 
en universally. Whoever has read the New Testa- 
ent with attention, must be sensible that in very 
any case;*, what is addressed to the disciples applies to 
hers as well as to them. Who ever thought that those 
cellent instructions, contained in Christ's Sermon on 
e mount, did not apply to all men, from the fact that 

was addressed to Christ's disciples ? But if the 
riptures apply to those only to whom they were at 
•st addressed, we may close our Bibles immediately, 
r nothing in theiu applies to us. It is strange that 
en, to support a system, will lay down principles which 
jstroy Christianity itself. We have now offered all 
at is thought necessary to meet ytmr exposition, at 


the ptsMge. We have seen, that in order to free tl 
divine Teacher from the charge of duplicity, we mu 
admit that God will punish men after the death of t 
body ; and this our Savior confirms in the immedii 
connexion, by saying, that those who deny him befc 
men, shall be denied by hiin before his Father 

That there is great difficulty in reconciling this p 
sage with your system, appears evident from the num 
ous and contradictory expositions, which have been gii 
of the text by the abetters of your views. Mr. Kneeli 
gives two different interpretlltions of this passage, 
the first place, he explains it as you do. He tl 
4»ecomea dissatisfied with this exposition, and in 
same controversy, he adopts the following as its me 
ing — ^Pear not men who can kill the body, bot fear n 
who can not only kill the body, but leave it unbut 
after it is dead !* I will not attempt to confute i 
wild exposition, but will content myself with remark 
that our author must be in great distress for bis favoi 
•ystem, to have recourse to an exposition like this. J 
Mr. Balfour's imagination is too fruitful to be confii 
to two interpretations. In the first place, he expla 
the term sml, expletively^ that is, to have no signiji 
tion, and used only to Jill up the sentence; and then 
term soul is explained to signify animal life, in dir 
opposition to liis first interpretation. At one time, < 
a^o^ is explained to signify annihilation $ at another, 
signify misery at the destruction of Jerusalem. / 
after all, there is no certainty that this punishment y 
be inflicted upon any one; for it is not said that ( 
will do it, but only that he is able.t All these van 
and contradictory views are given by Mr. B. and 

• Christ. Repository, Vol. HI. pp. 53, 60, 61. Also Phil» 
phia Univ. Magazine. 
/ j^ai/bur^s Inquiry, pp. \^9— aV4. 

LETT£R VI. 10^ 

M4ien treating upon this, passiige, adopts first one, and 
then another of these ei^posittons, as best answers hia 
purpose. Now this multiplicity of interpretations* 
which hare been given of the text bj the defenders of 
your fyatem, is proof positive that the. passage does not 
tiaturallj correspond with your views. What else 
could have induced Messrs. Kneeland and Balfour to 
offer such various and discordant constructions ? 

Before dismissing this sntyect, I have a few Remarks 
to offer upon Mr. B.'s labors upon this text In his 
Inquiry and Reply, he has about 50, pages to reconcile 
this pass^ige with his views — a circumstance which plain- 
ly shows that he found no small share of difficulty. In 
the first place, Mr. B. tells us that the term soul, is used 
expletively in Matthew. In proof of this, he says that * 
Luke does not mention any thing but the body ; and if 
Matthew by the word soul, meant the immortal part of 
matt, there is a great deficiency in Luke's language in 
relating this discourse of our Lord's.* Now if we look 
It these passages, I think we shall find no deficiency in 
Luke's language, on supposition that Matthew meant 
the immortal part of man by the term soul. Matthew 
^ays, <*Fear not them which kill the body, but are not 
able to kill the soul ; but rather fear him which is able 
to destroy both soul and body in hell." Now let us 
look at Luke's laiigiiage. *<I s^y unto you, my friends, 
be not afraid of them that .kill the body, and after that, 
have no morO' that they can do. But^ 1 will forewarn you 
whom ye shall fear. Fearhim which, after he hath killed, 
hath power to cast into hell ; yea, I say unto you, fear 
him." We have now JDoth ,passi|ges before us, and 
.on examination, WQ shall find that th^y teach one and 
the same thing. 

In the first p)ace,.l4 fttthew si^ys, "fear>nQt them that 
kill thc^&(%, but are not i/LbkiokiU liJM^i^iiL" Luke 



sajs, **be not afraid of them that kill the body^ and afUf 
that have no more that they can do,^* Now it appears ""^ 
that Luke recognizes the same distinction between soul jp 
and body, as is expressed bj Matthew. *^Fear not them r^ 
that kill the body.^^ Why did Luke mention the bodtj, ^ 
if he meant to convey the idea, that every thing pertain- !| 
ing to man died with the body ? By speaking of the ^ 
body, he implies that man possesses something besides ~ 
the body ; something which survives it, and is not de- ^ 
pendent upon it for existence. Suppose I should say of ^ 
Gen. Warren, who fell in our struggle for independence, ^ 
that his head was killed at Charlestown. Would not 'i 
every person consider this as very singular language ? 
They would. Mr. B. himself would say, that it was 
absurd, as it implied that the rest of his body was not , 
killed. For he would say, if his whole body was killed, 
why mention the head in particular? Every person at | 
all acquainted with language, would say that it was ab- ^ 
surd to say of the General, or of any other person, that \ 
his hend was killed, since the head and body always die i 
together. Just so absurd must St. Luke's language ap- 
pear in speaking of the death of the body, unless he meant 
to recognize something which outlives the body, and 
which Matthew expresses by the term soul. Thus we 
see that the language of Luke cannot be understood 
without involving an absurdity, unless we admit that be 
recognizes the distinction between soul and body, which 
is expressed by Matthew. By the single term body^ 
therefore, used as it is by Luke, all is virtually taught, 
which is expressed by the other evangelist. 

But further— Luke says, "Fear not them that kill the 
body, and after that have no more that they can do.^^ 
It is necessary to keep in mind that Christ in this pas- 
sage was speaking of what was calculated to excite fear. 
He says, as Luke records it, that men can kifl the body, 
and there their power ceasea ; ^*a^tw \5^^\. VJsvvj \iv^^^<;\ 


LETTER V!. ^gy 

that they can do." No more that thej can do to 
? Not to the body ; for they can do what they 
e to that. But whatever is done to the dead body 
not injure the deceased, and so is no motive to ex- 
iear. Here we see that there is no propriety in the 
nee, and after that have no more that they can da^ 
s there fs something which survives the body, and is 
id the grasp of human beings. Thtis we see that 
's language cannot be understood consistently, un- 
^e admit that he means the same by the sentence, 
after that [death] have no more that they can do," 
itthew means by the sentence, **but cannot kill the 
' In fact, the expression s have one and the same 
ng, on all fair rules of interpretation. But Luke 
lot stop here. He says, "But I will forewarn you 
ye shall fear ; fear him, which after he hath killed, 
lower to cast into hell." Cast what into hell nfter 
h killed the body ? Not the body alone ; for cast- 
e dead body into hell or Gehenna, would have no 
tin exciting fear; and we have already seen that 
ct wi^s mentioned to move Christ's followers to 
rdd. But if it was the body alone that God could 
ito Gehenna after death, as some pretend, there 

be no motive at all to fear God rather than man. 
en can^cast the dead body into hell or Gehenna as 
8 God. The meaning of this part of the passage 
ious. God, after he hath killed the body, hath 
to cast the soul, or after the resurrection, is able 
bboth soul and body into hell. Now in the pas- 
IS recorded by Luke, there is a complete antithe- 
Ne are commanded not to fear men, but to fear 
The former is supported by the consideration, 
nen can kill the body only, '*and after that they 
o more that they can do ;" they cannot afflict the 
fter death ; — the latter is supported by the conside- 
, that the divine Being is not so limited ; be^ '"aft^r 


.he hath killed, hath power to caat into beil ;" that is, hi 
can do what men caoDot; tie can afflict the soul after 
death, which is bejond the power of hmnan beings. This 
is the sentiment taught by Luke, and this is precisely the ; 
idea conveyed by Matthew. Thus we see that there is do 
deficiency in the laDguagc4)f JLoke, on supposition that the 
word soul in Matthew means the immoridlpartofman. 
Their language is a little different, bat the same idea is 
taught by both the evangelists. 

All that Mr. B. has said about the term souZ's being 
u^d expletively, and about the deficieoey of Luke's 
language, amounts to nothing. This in fact he confess- 
es himself ; for afteriaboring some time to prove that the 
term soul is used esopUMvely, oris a mere Hebrew idioms 
he abandons this ground, as untenable, and then tells as 
that the term soul signifies natural or ami^l life* Now 
it oMght to be remarked here, that when Mr. B. gives up 
his first position, that the word soul is a HebraUm, or is 
used expletively, and explains it to signify animal life, 
he admits a distinction made by Matthew between soul 
and body, as much as those do, who estplain the term 
soul to mean the immortal part of man. 'He eonsiders 
the word soul to mean animal life, and thus admits that 
the terms soul^nd ftod^,have different^ignificatiens, and 
convey different ideas. Now as Mr. B. noakes the 4erins 
soul and body in Matthew, convey different 4deas,ai 
much as those who explain the soul 'tO mean the immor- 
tal part of man, if there is any deficiency in Luke's lan- 
guage on supposition that the soul means the immortal 
bpirit, there is the same deficiency on supposition thait 
the word soul means animal life. But does Mp. S. ad- 
mit that there is any deficiency in iLuke^s Unguafs? 
Does he acknowledge that it falls short in anyparticu- 
lar, in conveying the same idea which Matthew has -ex- 
pressed ? No ; he tells us that both passages oenvey 
prcicis€^y the same idea. He h«B«VQu4nsei*tea anoHai 


(he end of hts book, to show that he does uot allow 
*^Uiat Matthew has expressed more thaa was included 
in the mode of expression used by Lulce»"* Thus does 
Mr. B. himself, though in direct opposition to his own 
statement, labor to show that what we have been plead- 
ing for, is correct ; he contends with us, that nething 
more is expressed bj Matthew than is implied by Liike^ 
Now if what Mr. B. has said concerning the term 
souVs being a Hebraism^ be true, then all he has. said 
concerning its signifying animal LifB, must ^^faUe $ and 
if what he has said in favor of the latter be trti€, then 
what he has said in favor of the /ormer mustbe/abei 
This is self-evident. For if the term soul be used ex- 
pletively, and have no meaning, as he first contends, 
thea surely he cannot with any consistency pretend, that 
it signifies animal life* But although these interpreta*- 
tions are in direct opposition to eftch other, Mr. B% 
uses first one, and then the other, as best answers his 
purpose. He appears to set out with this principle, viiL 
that a future retribntion shall be put down $ and to this 
end he is disposed to sacrifice every thing, even his own 

Mr. B. tells us that the Greek term, i/^v/??, rendered 
soulf in this passage, and its corresponding Hebrew 
word, e^ts:, signify animal life. But how does he 
prove this ? Why, he makes learned quotations from 
Whitby and others, to show that these words frequently 
signify mere animal life. But to what does this, amount? 
Because the Greek term, 1^1^/97, /r€giien% signifiesr atii- 
mal life, does it thence follow that it has alwajfs thi»8ig<- 
nification P Because it signifies animal life in passaged 
where the sense requires this meaning, shall we con^- 
clude that it roost have this meaning in other passiages, 
where the sense does not require, but absolutely fiH'bids 
it P T\^i^ is what Mr. B.'s argument reqiMires of o*. 


But where would such reasoning lead us? Mr. B. tells 
us that it is not ipvxv* soul, which is used in scripture 
to signify the immortal part of man, but 7rv£t;^, spirit. 
It is 7tvev/ia, and not ipvxrj^ he informs us, which the 
sacred writers use to express that part of man which 
never dies.* But suppose we should institute the same 
inquiry concerning the use of nvevfia, as Mr. B. has 
done concerning the use of yjvxtj* should we not find 
that this term also is frequently used to signify some- 
thing different from the immortal spirit? Tes^the 
same Mr. B. has furnished this labor for us. He tells 
us elsewhere,t that the Greek word, nvevfia^ and its 
corresponding Hebrew word, nn» which Are translated 
spirit, frequently have other significations. He has enu- 
merated about one hundred and sixty instances* in which 
these words are rendered, wind, east wind, whirl'Wind$ 
side, bl{ist, air, breath, cool, large, shovel, refreshed, 
apace, courage, quarters, respite, enlargement, their no- 
bles, anger^ &c. Besides, he tells us that they are used 
to signify the person or individual, &c. &c. &c. 

Now if we should introduce Mr. B.'s argument which 
he applies to the use of the term, ^Jvxt], we should ar- 
gue the immortal soul or spirit out of existence. We 
might take any passage, which is thought to teach us that 
man possesses an immortal spirit, and say as Mr. B. does 
concerning ifjvxfi, that the term, xvevfia and its corres- 
ponding Hebrew term, signify wind in scores of passa- 
ges, therefore this passage does not prove that man pos- 
sesses an immortal spirit. By reasoning in this manner* 
we might become Sadducees in good earnest. I cannot 
believe that Mr. B. intends to undermine our holy reli- 
gion, but I must be permitted to say, that I do think his 
writings go more to support naturalism than Christiani- 
ty. But in his Reply to Sabine, Mr. B. grows more confi- 
dent than in his Inquiry. He tells us in the Reply that 

• Inq, pp. 20S, «07, «0a. t l^vuk. B.%v*^^^l> ^^"^ ^» ^^V 

Letter vl j^q^ 

tli^ term ipv/tj^ does not in a single instance signify the 
iminortal part of man. My limits will not permit my ex- 
amioing the passages in which the terinwvxr] occurs, but 
1 will just remark, that Mr. B. mainAns that the sou^ 
frequently signifies the mind. Now what idea Mr. B- 
would attach to the immortal part of man, I know not 
I presume however, that he would admit that if there is 
any part of man which survives the death of the body, it 
is 86mething which is capable of thought and perception. 
And what is this but the mind of man P I should be 
obliged to Mr. B. if he would inform me what idea he 
would attach to the immortal part of man, different from 
what he would attach to his mind. Admit then that 
ipvxfj frequently signifies the mind, as Mr. B. contends ; 
this is admitting all that we ask ; for we conceive that 
the mind is the very thing which outlives the body* 
Again, Mr. B. tells us that yjvxv frequently signifies the 
person or individuaL But this is no more to his purpose 
than the other. This is a common figure of speech, in 
which a part is put for the whole. In those passages* 
the whole man is expressed by a term which, strictly 
speaking, applies only to a part. But this language is 
founded upon the principle, that man does possess a 
soul as well as a body, and that this soul is one essen- 
tial part of his nature. So instead of confuting, this use 
of the term ifru/77, goes directly to establish the idea for 
which we contend. 

But Mr. B. assures us that the word soul, {xpvxfj) gen- 
erally signifies animal life.'* We readily admit that 
this term signifies animal life in some passages, but what 
has this to do with Matt x. 28 ? Let us for a moment 
look at the passage. '*Fear not them which kill theJiody, 
bit are not able to kill the soul.'' Let the term soul 
mean what it may, one thing is obvious, viz. that it is 

♦ Repljt p. in. 



something which survives the body, and so is not depen- 
dent upon it for its existence. But can this be said of 
mere animal life ? By no means. Killing the body, is . 
killing the Hf^ By interpreting the term soul to signi- 
fy life, the whole force and consistency of the passage 
are lost. On that interpretation the sentiment of the 
passage is, <*fear not them that kill the life, but cannot 
kill the life !" Mr. B. says, "this would indeed be an 
absurd consequence," but he contends that this is not a 
consequence drawn by himself.* It is true that Mr. B. 
does not draw this inference, but he lays down the pre- 
mises from which this inference flows^ and that necessa- 
rily. He says that the word soul, in this passage, means 
animal life. Of this he is so very confident, that he 
thinks he can convince every candid man that his state- 
ment is correct.! Here then is one of the premises 
dearly laid down. The other is this ; — killing the body 
is killing animal life. This is a self-evident proposi- 
tion. Animal life cannot exist without the existence of 
the body, and the body cannot live without the exist- 
ence of animal life. To say that animal life can exist 
without the existence of that animal body, of which it is 
the life, is a plain contradiction. And it is equally con- 
tradictory to say that the bo«ly can live without the life 
which constitutes it a living body. So it is evident, 
even to demonsti*ation, that killing the body is killing 
the life. Now on supposition that the term soul means 
animal life as he contends, the conclusion is fair and 
logical. Thus— 

The term soul signifies animal life : 

Animal life cannot exist without the existence of the 
Animal body ; 

Therefore killing the body, is killing the animal life. 

Hence the sentiment of the passage, on his interpreta- 
tion, is, fear not those who kill the life, but cannot kill 
t)ie life. 

♦ Bepjf^ p. 110. ^ ^^V^^n^* \v?u 


s is a just consequence from Mr.B.'s exposition of 
ssage, and it is not in his power to avoid it. Id 
le admits it true in one sense. He says, *'\t is 
; or destroying the life from this world.'* But he 
'Men cannot kill the life, so as to prevent its rean- 
ig the body; but God can not only kill the body, 
event its ever living again. God's power reaches 
s ; for he is able to destroy the life, or in other 
, never raise the person to life again."* Here Mr. 
knowledges that killing the body is killing the 
s far as it relates to this world. Bat how is it 
egard to the future ? He says, men cannot pre^ 
he life's reanimating the body. This is true, and 
equally true that they cannot prevent the botly's 
raided from the dead. Men can prevent the life's 
nating the body, as much as they can prevent the 
8 becoming the receptacle of the life. Their pow- 
squally limited with regard to both. Wh^n they 
le body therefore, they kill the life at the same 
and in precisely the same sense. If killing the one 
3 to this world, killing the other relates to thi« 
also. But Mr. B. says that men cannot kill the 
o as to prevent its living again. The same maji be . 
if the body. The scriptures declare that God will 
en our mortal bodies^ as well as give us life. In 
loing one is doing the other. So there is no way for 
}. to avoid this conclusion, which he himself ac- 
ledges to be absurd. He admits that killing the 
is killing the life, as far as it relates to this world, 
we have seen that the same is true as it relates 
c future. Hence he makes our Savior say, "fear 
lem that kill the life, but cannot kill the life ; but 
r fear him which is able to destroy both life and 

a hell." 

t Mr. B.'s zeal to pulldown a future retribution^ 

* Inq. pp. SOo, 306. 

so* LETTER Vl. 

has involved him in another absurdifj. In these passa- 
ges Mr. B. says, men are ^'dissuaded from the/sur^^ 
mant and the fear of God is strongly inieulcated ujMi; 
them.*^^ But how is this fear inculcated ? Not bj whtti) 
God can do in this world, for Mr. B. acknowledges thai \ 
men do as much as God does in this state, to excite fear. 
Men can kill the bodj, and killing the bodj is killing ' 
the life, as far as it relates to the present state* Now if '■ 
to fear God rather than man is strongly inculcated^ God ■> 
must do something more than to kill the body, and con- 
sequently the life, in the present world ; and what this 
something is, Mr. B. has informed us. He says in lan- 
guage already cited, '*^God is able to destroy the life, or i^ 
in other words, never raise the persofi to li& again.^ jn 
Here Mr. B. admits that the passage applies t7 afuturt juj 
state. Men, he says, cannot prevent the life's reanima- li 
ting the body in a future world, though they can destroy k 
both body and life in this. But Goil can do more; hif N 
can refrain from raising them from the dead. Now as k 
Mr. B. will not pretend that the resurrection of the bodj i 
takes place in this world, so he is compelled to adnit, i 
after all his labor to the contrary, that the fear of God is 
^'strongly inculcated" by the consideration of what God 
can do in a future state. Mr. B. tells us again and 
again, that this passage applies to this world, and is con- 
fined to the destruction of Jerusalem. But after all 
this labor, he is constrained to acknowledge that the I 
passage applies beyond the grave. 

But after all Mr. B.'s labor to prove that the term soul 
means animal life, he appears to give it all up, and con- 
cludes upon the whole that this term is used expletive ly, 
and is a *<mere Hebrew idiom." By saying this, he de- 
nies that the term soul means animal life, as has already 
been shown, and need not be repeated again. That ^r. 
B.does give up the idea, that the soul means animal life, 

• Inq. p. 1B9. 



^d finally espouse his first interpretation, that it is a 
>\j9ebraisfn, may be seen bj his closing remarks upon 
4hese passages« both in the Inquiry and in the Reply.* 
'/fes — before he leaves these passages, he brings up the 
interpretation he first gave, though this is in direct op- 
position to the drift of his labors upon the texts.— But 
Mr. B. tells us that the passage does not say that God 
will inflict such a punishment, but only that he is able to 
do it. This part of his interpretation corresponds with 
joars, and has already been examined. I will however 
offer one remark upon this statement of Mr. B.'s. He 
tells us repeatedly that this passage is parallel to Matt, 
txiii. 33, and so applies to the destruction of Jerusaleoi. 
Sfow according to his representation, we roust conclude 
hat Jerusalem has not been taken, and never will be ; 
or he tells us, it is not said that God will do it, but only 
hat he is able. As to his remarks that the terms kill 
ad destroy may mean annihilation, I will only observei 
hat as he contends that this is not his opinion, and that 
.onihilationdoes not follow on his interpretation of the 
Assage, it does not follow on oars. * 

I should not have detained you so long in remarking 
ipon Mr. B. had not his inquiry been esteemed by ma* 
ly almost as an oracle, and had he confined himself to 
iUj one interpretation. From what has been offered 
Ipon this passage, I trust it is apparent that the term 
M>al signifies the immortal spirit ; something Which men 
:annot affect, though they kill the body ; and that God is 
;o be feared from the consideration that he is able to de- 
(troj, that is, afflict or punish the sinner after death. 
We have also seen that it must have been probable that 
)uch a punishment would be inflicted, otherwise we must 
:harge the Son of God with duplicity; and this inter- 
pretation is confirmed by the Savior, who tells u« ex-* 
grossly, in the immediate connexion, that those who de« 
ly him, shall be denied in return. 

* loq. p. 444. Reply, p. \%\. 


Your attention is next requested while we attend ll 
Luke zvi. 19 to 31 inclusive. **There was a certain ridi 
man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, andW 
tared sumptuously every day : and there wa« a certaii|iilic 
beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, faUlboi 
4>f sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs whnJkjuiYt 
fell from the rich man's table : moreover the dogs cavi'iiita 
and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that thebe^lhai 
gar died, and was carried by tlie angels inta AbrahanH %'^ 
bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried; airilji|iiii- 
in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in tortnentB, andW 
seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in bis bosorob Andpti,, 
he cried, and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on m^M^ 
and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his fing^jjirti- 
in water, and cool my tongue, for 1 am tormented in tMi i^tj 
flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou h L 
thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and tikewiie k^ 
Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, wd%^ 
thou art tormented. And besides all this, betwees kig 
tis and you there is a great gulph fixed ; so that thej fnn^ 
which would pass from hence to you, cannot ; neither 
can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 
Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thn 
wouldest send him to my father's house : for I have fivt 
brethren ; that he may testify unto them, lest they alst 
come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto 
him, They have Moses and the prophets: let them heir 
them. And he said. Nay, father Abraham, but if one 
went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And 
he said unto him. If they hear not Moses and th« pro- 
phets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose 
from the dead." 

As detecting error is frequently necessary to the dis- i 
covery of truth, we will, in the first place, examine your ' 
interpretation of the passage, and in order thereto, ve 
will notice several obaervatious which have beeu i»^ik 



diflTerent advocates for your evposftion. We are 
netimes told,. that unless yfe admit this to be a parable, 
I .mnst understand the whole literally,— But every 
raon who is but superficially acquainted with language, 
I8t i&now that in every literal history, there is some 
iiratiive language. Inattention to this plain principle 
8 Jed to the remarks we are now considering. Mr. 
ftlfoitrand Mr. Pickering inform us, that on the com- 
on interpretation, we most admit that the rich man 
as punished in a future state, for no other crime than 
miff rich.* And Mr. P. adds that the beggar went to 
UMren, ;only because he was poor, and full af sores. I 
Ali direct my remarks on this subject entirely to Mr. 
.partly because they are not so pertinent on Mr. B.?s 
eposition of the passage, and partly because we shall 
camine Mr. B.'s exposition hereafter. Now did it not 
t&ce occur to Mr, P. that, if there was any difficulty on 
Its subjeot, he was ini^ved in it, as much as others ? 
In his interpretation he admits, that the rich man expe* 
fenced deep mental affliction. And I will here submit 
he question to him, was this for the crime of being 
^iehf The beggar, he admits, entered into the joys of 
he godpel. And I ask again, was this solely for being 
foor and fuU of sores? Mr. P. m\>st see that the 
ibsurdity he would chargeupon athers, is equally charge- 
able upon himself. If God can punish men in this world, 
who have never committed any crimes, he can do the same 
in the future. The principle is the same in both cases, 
and the latter does not impeach the character of God 
any more "than *the former. 

'Btrt doefS >Mr. P. believe Ithtft the rich man was guilty 
of ' BO crime ? He- does 4Mt. Though he says, '^no crime 
is •specified against bim,"^ he contends that^he rich 'man 
represents ithe Jewish nation, which far her s{ii9,'was 

ttr, p. Sdy tio* 


rejected bj God. He admits that this parable is paral- 
lel to the 25th of Matthew, .where the Jews are repre- 
sented, as he contends, as being rejected for crimes, 
^here enumerated ; and also parallel to the parable of 
the wheat and tores, where he admits that the tares are 
the children of the devU in character* He contends that 
the rich man received his punishment in the apostolic 
age, in which Christ came to reward men according to 
their deeds. In this manner he admits the rich man to 
be a sinner, though he is not charged with anj crime in 
the passage in question. Now if Mr. P. will grant others 
the same liberty which he takes himself, they can easilj 
free themselves from the absurdity which he would fix 'j 
upon them. Relative to the point before us, 1 will ob- |r 
serve, that as sin and misery are always united, the ex- ;, 
istence of the one, supposes the being of the other. Aoj 
passage of scripture which informs us that any individu- 
al is a sinner, virtually tells t^ that he is, or will be 
punished, though the passage itself may express nothing 
relative to punishment. And so on the other hand, aoj 
passage which informs us, that an individual is punished, 
virtually informs us, that be has committed sin, though 
nothing of this is expressed in the passage. This is a 
* principle which I am confident Mr. P. will admit, and 
this entirely does away the force of his statement on 
which we have been remarking. 

Mr. P. indulges himself a little farther, and gives ns 
to understand, that if his representation of the passage 
be rejected, we must consider it all literal, and so admit 
the Christiari's heaven is the bosom o/a tnan, &c. Now 
if Mr. P. designed this as a specimen of wit, or a mere 
play upon words, we grant that 41 possesses some merit; 
bntifhe designed it as an argument of any weight, we 
must say that he has utterly failed of his object. Sup- 
pose we should apply the same rules of interpretation 
to Mr. P.^a own language. Take for instance, not where 


LETTER Vl 20g 

be 18 speaking in parables, but where he is describing ▼!- 
siUe objects. Describing the face of the earth, he sajs, 
"The luxuriant vales, clad with a vernal carpet; the nu- 
meroua streamlets, pouring their wUling tribute into the 
hoeom of the deep," ice* Here we might adopt Mr P.'s 
principle of interpretation* and say that this must all be 
understood as a parable, otherwise we must absurdly 
suppose that the valleys wear literal garments made of 
carpeting', and that the streams are literal beings, pos- 
sessed off free will, and from choice pay a literal trUtute 
to the ocean, which receives it in her bosom' What 
would Mr. P. say to such remarks upon his language? 
He would undoubtedly say that they showed more of the 
wit than of the logician ; and this is precisely the cha- 
nicter of his remarks now before us. 

Before attending to your exposition of the text, I wish' 
to offer a few words upon the nature of parables, and 
the principle of expounding them. A parable is an in- 
vented story told in a literal form. They are designed 
to teach some important truth, and to enforce it more 
powerfully upon the mind. And though parables are 
only fictions, they are always founded upon some prin- 
ciple which is true. In this point of light, there is no 
difference between a parable and a literal history. 
Those who agree with you in opinion^ are very fond of 
calling the scripture now before us, a parable. But 
what of that ? A parable is as true as any literal histo- 
ry. It matters not whether this scripture be a parable, 
or a literal history ; the doctrine it teaches, is precisely 
the same on either construction. An able writer justly 
observes, that if it be a literal history, it teaches what 
f^ taken place ; and if it be a parable, it teaches what 
iMy tnke placet Sa far as it regards the doctrine taught, 
it is of no consequence whether it be a parable or not. 

• Sermon on Lnk© 3ti», 38, p. 6. 
t See Dr. A, Clarke on tli« paMa{<ft. 



In order to a right understanding of the parables of otrr 
Lord, it is necessary to observe the purpose for which 
thej were introduced. The parables are generally iB' 
troduced for one purpose only, and ought to be interpre- 
ted as bearing upon that point in particular. Nothing is 
farther from the design of the parables of the New Tes- 
tament, than to have them interpreted in such a manner 
as to make every sentence and word teach some impor- 
tant doctrine— some separate truth. For instance ; in 
the parable of the lost sheep^ there is no particular idea 
conveyed by the number, an hundred ; any other nu'm^ 
ber would have answered the same purpose. Accord- 
ingly we find in the very next parable, spoken for the 
very same purpose, that our Savior uses the number teiu 
'<0r, what woman having ten pieces of silver.'^ So in 
the parable of the prodigal son, where the father said* 
"firing forth the best robe, and put it on him ; and put a 
ring upon his hand, and shoes upon his feet ; and bring 
hither the fatted calf, and kill it ;^" — we are not to sup- 
pose that the robe, ring» shoea, and calf teach any sepa- 
rate truths, or are designed to represent any distinct 
points of doctrine. The whole sentence quoted only 
goes to show that the father received him joyfully, and 
treated him kindly. Any person who attempts to inter- 
pret the parables in such a manner, as to make every 
expression teach some distinct truth, may show his in- 
genuity, but he does it at the expense of the more valua- 
ble properties of his mind. There are always some 
leading points in every parable, and to these all the or- 
namental parts ought to be kept in subserviency. 

We will now give a brief view of your interpretation 
of the passage, and compare its several parts together, 
and the whole with the scriptures. Your views a|)pear 
to be these — 1. The rich man represents the high priest 
under the law. The death of .the rich man is the eloM 
af the law dispensation; and his hurial represents the 


fctgh ppiest "closed up in his earthly character and na- 
ture." The rich man's torment after his death, repre- 
sents the state of misery into which the Jews went after 
the destruction of their city and temple. And the great 
gulf signifies the purpose of God. 2. The beggar repre- 
sents the Gentiles, and his death, the conversion of the 
Gentiles to Christianity. Abraham's bosom represents 
the faith of Abraham^ or the gospel.* 

These appear to be the leading features of your in- 
terpretation. I have not mentioned every particular 
contained in your Notes, because they have no direct 
bearing upon our subject. W^ will now consider the 
particulars we have transcribed. — 1. You say the rich 
man represents the high priest under the law. But 
what evidence do you produce in proof of this ? No- 
thing b«t the following ; — ^'The rich man's clothing was 
purple and fine linen, ti garment which Moses was com- 
manded to put upon Aaron, the first high priest." But 
is^ it certain that one person is designed to represent 
another, beeause two articles of their clothing happen to 
be of the same kind or color ? Would any jury convict a 
prisoner arraigned for murder, when they had no evi- 
dence that he was the murderer, only that one article of 
his clothing was of the same general kind, and the other 
of the same general color, as that worn by the perpetra- 
tor of the horrid act ; especially when this clothing was 
in general use among certain classes of men ? They 
would not ; they would consider it no evidence at all. 
Now this is a just re|)resentation of the argument before 
us. The high priest was not the only person who wore 
purple and fine linen. We are told on sacred authority, 
that Mordecai wore not only purple send fine linen^ but 
z\m gold &ni\ blue — two other ingredients in the dress 
of Aaron. ^ Here is a much greater resemblance be- 
tween Mordecai and the high priest, than there is be^ 

• ffoteis gn the Parables, pp. 04^— OT • ^ ^'8^- "*^^* N^' 


tweoD the rich man and the high priest. Their gar- 
mepts corresponded, not iu two particulars onlj» but in 
ftfur. But no person was ever led bj this coincidence to 
conclude that Mordecai was the high priest, or a repre- 
sentation of him. Now we have just as much proof that 
the rich nan represented Mordecai, as jou have that he 
represented the high priest. The woman seen in John's 
vision, was clothed in purpleJ^ It is also said of Baby- 
loo, ikkt she "was clothed in Jim linen and furpU, and 
scarlet, and decked with gold« and precious stones, and 
pMu-ls.''t Here is a description which would corres- 
pond vastly better with the garments of the high priest, 
Hiao that given of the rich man in the passage before us. 
But who ever considered Babjlon a figure of the high 
priest ? Once more ; tlie prophet represents the city of 
Tynis as clothed in purple undjpne linen4 The city is 
here p«t for the people ; hence it is evident that purple 
Andjlne linen was a common dress among them. Now 
what authority have you to say that the rich man, clo- 
thed in purple and Jlji^ linen^ alluded to the high priest 
under the law, when this dress was generally worn by 
the wealthy ? There is not, in fact, one particle of proof 
that our Savior alluded to the high priest. This part of 
your interpretation, therefore, is entirely destitute of 

Neit comes the death of the rich man. You say, "By 
the death «>f the rich roan, I understand the close of that 
dispensation which gave him all the preeminence, which 
he enjoyed above the beggar under the law." Here you 
virtually abandon your first representation, and intro- 
duce another. The rich man you first made to represent 
the high priest ; but the death of the rich man you jnake 
represent not the death of the high priest, but the close, 
or death of the law dispensation ! But what evidence do 
you give of the truth of this? Nothing but ;^ur bare 

LfittER VI. 818 

ion, and as such I leave it. But the most marvel- 
f all» is that of his burial. What does the burial 
J rich roan represent? You answer, "the high 

closed up in his earthly character and nature.'^ 
' up in his earthly character and nature ! What 
ou mean to convey by this phrase, I am at a loss 
ermine. But as you elsewhere explain the "earth- 
ure," to signify the body, I conclude that this must 
ur meaning. The high priest closed up in his 
And what person is not closed up in his body ? 
oes this constitute a burial P A person must be 
ed to mysticism, to give countenance to such a 
nterpretation* As to your statement, that the 
gulf signifies the purpose of God, — since you offer 
ig in support of it^ I shall leave it without remark. 
a say, "the Gentiles are signified by the beggar." 
ere again you bring no proof. The Gentiles are 
en mentioned in the passage or context. Again 
ji "By the death of the beggar I understand the 
rsion of the Gentiles to Christianity." This is a 
ar death indeed. And what makes the absurdity 
reater, you explain the two deaths differently; the 

the close of the law dispensation, the other is the 
rsion of the Gentiles to the gospeL But it has the 
support as the rest of your interpretation. 
)n your explanation of this scripture, I cannot help 
king, that it is far-fetched and -unnatural ; and is 
ysteriuus for common people, for whom as well as 
ij the scriptures are designed. Your interpretation 
*ar from the literal language of the passage, that [ 
[ne not one in a thousand would ever have hit upon 
ind I cannot believe that God would give us a reve- 
, which would deceive so large a portion of his 
ires. You apply this passage in your Notes to the 
P Pentecost.* This you say was undoubtedly the 

• ^otes on the ParableB^ pp* \b4*\b?»^ W^* 

gl4> LEtT£R VI. 

time in which the passage had its fulfilmeat. tSutU \vi 
confident as joti were at the time jou published /oar >tti 
"Notes on the Parables," jou are now eqaallj confideat jut 
that jou were then mistaken in the application of this, \\ 
and m;nj other passages. All those passages which ii 
JOU then applied to the daj of Pentecost, you now appij ri 
to the **destruction of Jerusalem." The destructioo of fi, 
Jerusalem appears to be the kej^ with jou and those of i 
jour sentiment, bj which to unlock almost the whole ^fi 
Bible. Take a person who never saw the New Testa- i 
ment, and was totallj ignorant of the doctrines it taught) jr 
and let him read what joUj and those of jour sentiment, k 
have published within a few jears, and he would be led |^ 
to conclude, that the destructUm of Jerusalem was the ji: 
sole object embraced in the New Testament. Jiimf, he ^ 
would conclude, was the grand centre, where everj d«- "* 
nunciation of wrath met; and upoathe poor Jews everj t 
threatening in the New Testament was inflicted. He |« 
would also be led to believe thst the diiipeDStttioQ of re- if 
wards and punishments began and ended with the siege i 
of that devoted citj. This is the impression w^ich jour 
writings are calculated to make. 

We will now compare the different parts of jour in- 
terpretation together. The rich man, who died, and 
went to a place of torment, jou saj, represents the high 
priest under the law. And from manj things contained 
in jour illustration, it seems that jou put the high priest 
for the whole Jewish nation^ which did not embrace the 
gospel. Your words are these ^— "The miserable state 
of moral darkness and death* iato which the order of 
high priests under the law, ami time of the house of Is- 
rael, who adhered to those blind guides, w<»re cast, will 
be shown, as is represented under the similitude of a 
rich man, his deaths and his circumstances after, as sta- 
ted in the last paragraph of this chapter."* Bj this 

* Parablet, p.%&>* 


notation it appears that the rich man, on your inter- 
retation, reprc^sents not only the high priest, but alto 
lat part of the Jewish nation, which rejected the gospe/. 
That this is your meaning, is further evident from what 
ou say on pages 261, 262. You say, '* Jeremiah des- 
;ribe8 the wickedness of the priests, prophets, and peo- 
)fe, as follows." You then quote a passage which treats 
if the wickedness of the people, together with the 
[iriests; yon then add, **H€re is the rich man who was 
clothed in purple and fine linen — on whom our Savior 
pronounced the greater damnation." Here you admit 
that the rich man represented the people, as well as the 
priests. You say, the Savior pronounced the greater 
damnation upon the rich man ; but you tell us that this 
greater damnation was threatened upon the Jews, or 
"Jewish church," as you call it in the connexion. That 
this is no misrepresentation of your views, is evident from 
what you say elsewhere.* «*By the rich man the high 
priest might be particularly intended, as a representa- 
tive of the Jetvs in generaU^ 

From these passages it appears that by the high priest, 
you mean ill the Jews who rejected the gospel. Now 
let us look at the consistency of your interpretation. 
You have already declared that the high priest, and all 
the rebellious Jews are represented by the rich man. 
This rich man dies, and goes to a place of torment. This 
jou say represents the state of darkness into which the 
rebellious Jews were cast at the close of their dispensa- 
tion. But does this statement compare with the lan- 
guage of the passage ? No ; for when the rich man and 
consequently all the Jews, were in hell, they had bre- 
thren without, who wertjive times as numerous as them- 
selves! Your explanation, therefore, involves the 
grossest absurdity. It supposes that all were in hell, 
and at the same time, that j^ve iia^ths of them were ont 

* Serinoa on the pafts^^e. 


But perhaps you will say that this is a misrepresenta-. 
tion of your views; for you have said in your Notes, "By 
the rich man's five brethren is meant that part of the 
house of Israel, which rejected the Savior." I readily 
admit that you have made this statement in your Notes* 
But this is only contradicting the other part of your ex- 
planation. This contradiction is not only once stated, 
but it seems to be a labored contradiction* In the 7th 
section of your Notes, you contend that **the Jews who 
rejected the Savior," were in hell with the rich man, 
and there confined by the purpose of God, which is re- 
presented by the ^reaf ^u(f. You further say in this 
section, *'By those who arc in Abraham's bosom, desiring 
to go to the rich man, I understand the desire of the 
Gentile believers of going to the aposfa^e Jews with the 
gospel which they reject." Here you expressly say, 
that desiring to go to the rich man, is desiring to go to 
the apostate Jews* By this you admit that the apostate 
Jews were represented by the rich man, and of course 
were in hell, f his is clearly taught in the 7th section. 
But in the 8th section you maintain the contrary, that 
these apostate Jews were not in hell. You tell us that 
they were the^ve brethren for whom the rich man pray- 
ed, that they might not come to that place of torment 
Thus we see that your interpretation is at war with it- 
self. What you say in one section, you contradict in 
another. Here you say that the rebellious Jews are all 
inhell; and there, that the greater part of them are out 
of hell ! Here is a plain and labored contradiction, and 
it is out of your power to reconcile the differ-ent parts 
of your explanation. Explain it either way, and the 
same contradiction exists, and equal difficulties present 
themselves. If you say the Jews were aZZ \n hell, you 
not only contradict your own positive statement, but you 
involve the absurdity, that when all are in hell. Jive 
staphs of them are out! If you say that the high priest 



ly was in hell, and the rebellious Jews were the fivn 
stbren who were out of hell, jou not only contradict 
lat 70U have before stated, but jou contradict plain 
Ltters of fact. This interpretation supposes that the 
fjti priest was in hell, long before the rest of the Jew- 
1 nation. But this is contrary to facts. For histor j 
aches us that the high priest and the Jewish people fell 
to the same state of trouble, at one and the same time ; 
id in fact, this is the representation which jroa jourself 
inerallj give of the subject. 

But jeur exposition is contrarj to fact in another 
^int of view. You make the high priest pray that the 
entiles may be sent to his brethren, the Jews, with the 
Mpel, and that the Jews may embrace it. But nothing 
an be farther from the truth. The Jewish authority 
rucified the Savior, and persecuted the apostles^ and 
ave ever entertained a deadly hostility to the gospel, 
nd to the Gentiles ; and to say that the high priest car- 
testly desired that God would send the Gentiles to the 
ews with the gospel, is not only to speak without au<- 
hority, but in direct opposition to matters of fact. As 
m your own interpretation, the rich man represents the 
whole Jewish nation who rejected €hn»t, and as facts 
constrain us to say that the people and high priest were 
i\\ involved in one c«>mnion ruin at the same time; it 
'ollows on your interpretation, tliat the whole Jewish na- 
ion are desirous of having the Gentiles come to them 
with the gospel. But does, fact accord with this repre- 
sentation ? You yourself will not pretenil it— Thus we 
Bee that your interpretation is assumed without one par- 
ticle of proof; that it is abf^urd and contradictory in it- 
self; and is in direct opposition to acknowledged facts. 

I will now give what 1 conceive to be the true mean- 
ing of the passage. The parables of our Lord were fre-* 
[^uently spoken to expose the corruption of his enemies. 
In the Idth verse of this chapter, our Savior says to hla 


followers, <*No man can serve two masters ; for either be 
will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hoU 
to the one, and despise the other: ye cannot serve Godf 
and mammon." Here the divine Teacher reproved r 
those who trusted in riches. The word mammon signi-i 
lies riches, or the god of riches.^ So when our Lorl f 
said, "ye cannot serve God and mammon/' he virtuallj^^ 
said, that those who trusted in riches, could not be htt r 
true and faithful followers. This was a cutting reproijtr 
to the Pharisees, who were rich, and took pride in coat-* 
ly apparel. This rebuke the Pharisees sensibly felt; for 
the evangelist says, verses 14th and 15th, *'And tbt. 
Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these tbinpft 
and they derided him. And he said unto them» ye are 
they which justify yourselves before men; but Go4 
knoweth your hearts ; for that which is highly esteemed T 
among men, is abomination in the sight of God." By . 
this passage we learn the character of those Pharisees t 
to whom our Lord addressed himself; they were ^'covi" b 
tous;'^^ they placed their affections upon the wealth and 
grandeur of this world; and consequently, they were 
wounded, and derided him, when he told them, that thej 
could not serve the true GotI, and the god of wealth*: 
In reply to their derision, Jesus told them that God 
knew their hearts, and judged very different from roeot 
And then to inform them what the judgment of God 
would be, and to show them their own characters, and 
the vanity of that wealth and grandeur in which they 

* The learned Mr. Farmer fells us that Mammon was the Pa- 
gan god of wealth. Referring to the text, ^^Ye cannot serve God 
and mammon,^^ he sajs, ^^I acknowledge that MaTnmon fnayftj^ 
nifjr indifTerently, either riches or the god of riches, just as Ceres 
denotes corn, or the goddess of corn ; but Mammon being used 
here in opposition to the true God, there must be a reference to 
this false god ; and he is put for those riches over which he is 
thought to preside." 

See Farmer^s Essay on the Demoniacs of the New Te^tameoC) 
p. 199. 

LETTER VI. gl9" 

asted, Jesus related the account of the rich man and 
KzaruSy which we need not transcribe. 
In the rich man, our Savior represented the character 
these rich and haughty Pharisees, and in the beggar^ 
e character of many of the poor,'whom they despised. 
nd then to illustrate and confirm what he had already 
ated, viz. that God knew their hearts, and regarded 
\at as an abomination, which men esteemed honorable, 
B informed them that the rich man died, and went to a 
lace of misery, while the poor beggar entered into a 
tale of happiness after death. It is not my design to 
ifistrate every part of this parable, but only to attend to 
hat part which bears upon the point at issue. And I 
egard this passage as teaching a future retribution. 
rhe death here spoken of, I conceive to be temporal 
leath. This is the most natural and easy construction. 
t is that which most readily presents itself in reading 
Ills passage. Several things appear in the passage itself, 
vhich show the death spoken of to be literal. 1. It is 
fraid that the rich man died, and in hell^ he was in tor- 
Bent. The term,ad??s, here rendered hell, is defined by 
all critics of note, to signify, the place or state of the 
l-Uerally dead ; or place of departed spirits. It corres- 
ponds with the Hebrew word, SiKK^, in signification. 
These terms occur seventy-five times in the scriptures ; 
and it is not pretended by any writer that I have ever 
aeen^ that those terms are ever used as applying to this 
Btate of existence, if we except two or three disputed 
tests. From this circumstance, it is natural to conclude 
ttat the term, d^rjg, in this passage signifies the place of 
:the Uterally dead* 2. The situation of the rich man and 
XaztraSy when the former was in misery, and the latter 
in happiness, is contrasted with their life time. ''Thou 
in thy life-time receivedst thy good things, and likewise 
I^azarus evil things ; but now he is comforted^^and tK<\^ 
art tormented." Here we learn tt\at ^^ tvdci\ft»XLW- 


perieoced this misery after his life-time had closed, 
is, after he had closed his temporal existence* 3. 
rich roan desired that one might be sent to his bret 
from the dead, that is, from the state in which Las 
was at that time. But Abraham sajs in reply. If 
hear not Moses and the prophets, neither would thi 
persuaded though one rose from the dead. Thu 
learn that the death here mentioned is literal ; it 
death which introduces a person into hades^ the pla< 
the temporaUjf dead ; it is a death which closes 
life-tinu here on earth ; it is a death from which 
literallj arise. 

The passage then teaches a retribution bejond 

world. Yes-— after this life is closed, and men pass 

hadeS) the place of the literallj dead, then some wil 

tormented. And as I before observed, it matters. 

whether this portion of scripture be understood as a 

rable, or a piece o( literal history. The doctrine it 

ches is the same in both cases. If it be a real hist 

it informs us that a certain rich man, like the wea 

and self-righteous Pharisees in character, died and 

tered into a state of punishment, and so gives ua rei 

to believe that this will be their fate. And if it! 

parable, it teaches qs what will take place ; that ti 

Pharisees will experience miserj after their life'tim 

ended, and they are gone to the regions of the dead. 

Before we dismiss this passage, we will notioe the 

terpretation which Mr. Balfour gives of this poriioi 

seripture. In the first place Mr. B. insinuates, tha 

the rich man is a ntipposed persen, the torment OHiat ( 

paraMic tormemiJ* It is reallj a matter of aatMiJ 

ment, that a gentleman of Mr. B.'s parts, should hi 

fir biassed bj sjstem as to oflTer such a remark. Fa 

bolie tarMMi ! What possible idea c»n any pewn 

t»ch tQ «lick an expression 9 Torm^t must be real, 


it is no torment at ail. If misery arises from iraaginarj 
objects, the misery is as real and literal, as though it 
arose from any other source. And to speak of figura- 
tive, or parabolic torment, is to use words without any 

But let us see what Mr. B. says further upon this sub- 
ject. "If," says he, "people will interpret a part of thfo 
parable literally, to suit their own religious opinions, we 
insist that they go through with a literal interpretation 
of the whole of it. If it is maintained that hades was to 
this man a place of torment, they must allow that literal 
fire was the cause of it. They must also admit, that his 
body was tormented in hades. It must also be granted, 
that while tormented in the flames of hades, he could 
see, and hear, and hold conversation with Abraham, &c. 
But in these, and other things, the literal sense is aban- 
doned, and the part only which speaks of his torment, is 
literally interpreted. But we bave a right to ask why 
this is done. Who gave any man the privilege to cull 
out a circumstance from this parable, and consider it a 
literal fact, and view all the other parts as mere fiction^ 
to fill up the body of the parable P Why fix upon the 
torment rather than other things in this parable, and ^ve 
ita literal construction? The reason of this I think is 
obvious. This part of the parable, so interpreted, does 
very well to support the popular idea, that the wicked 
go to hell at death, and are tormented in this place. 
But every candid man must allow that this is a very 
s^ange and arbitrary mode of interpreting parables ; 
yea, any part of the Bible. Give me leave thus to in- 
terpret the Bible, and I pledge myself to prove almost 
any thing from it.'^* 

Id this passage Mr. B. manifests great disapprobation 
ef those who interpret a part of this scripture literally, 
and a part figuratively. He pronounces this method •f 

♦ /uq. pp. 46, 47. 


L - .. 



interpreting scripture^ strange and arbitrary, suggests 
that it is done only to support a preconceived opinion, i " 
and pledges himself to- prove almost any thing by such a ] 
method of interpretation. But what is the method he 
has adopted relative to the interpretation of this scrip- 
ture ? Why, he considers the 3 1st verse — "If they hear 
not Moses and the prophets, neither would they be per- 
suaded, though one rose from the dead," to teach the 
whole doctrine of the passage.^ Yes — after disapprov- 
ing of others for interpreting a part literally, and a part *" 
otherwise, he proceeds within two pages to practise the i|^ 
same himself. To practise the same, did I say? He ' 
goes vi^stly beyond them all ; he interprets a portion of '- 
scripture consisting of twelve verses, in such a manner j 
that eleven of these verses mean nothing at all ! One ^ 
verse only, according to Mr. B. contains all the senti- j*^ 
ment of the passage, the other eleven being mere cy- r 
phers ! Thus in direct opposition to reason, common >^ 
sense, and to the rules of interpretation, which he him- 
self has laid down^ Mr. B. considers^ one verse only as 
being true, and throws the other eleven entirely away ! 
This violation of all just rules of interpretation, this 
gross inconsistency inclines us to believe of him, what 
he ascribes to others, viz. that his reason has run ma(2.t 
Mr. B. tells us that our Savior related tlie account of 
the rich man, only for the sake of saying, "If they hear 
not Moses and the prophets, neither would they be per- 
suaded though one rose from the dead." Rut of this 
there is not one particle of proof. Besides^ could not our 
Savior utter the sentiment of the Slst verse, without 
giving a preamble of eleven verses — a preamble not 
bearing at all upon the point, but teaching a doctrine 
diametrically opposite to truth ? If Jesus instructed 
his followers in this manner, he hardly deserves the 

* Inq. p. 4Q. t Inq. p. 40. 


appellation of "the light of the world.^^ Mr. B.'s expo- 
sition of this passage is arbitrary in the extreme. I will 
here ask in his own language already cited, "Whj Sx 
upon the 3 1st verse rather than others in the parable, 
and give it a literal interpretation ?" This question is 
happily answered by himself. «^Tht reason of this I 
think is obvious. This part of the parable, so interpret- 
ed, does very well to support the popular idea, that there 
Ivill be no misery after death. But eve*y candid naa 
must allow that this is a very strange and arbitrary mode 
tif interpreting parables ; yea, any part of the Bible. 
Give me leave thus to interpret the Bible, and I pledge 
myself to prove almost any thing from it." 

But after all, Mr. B.'s interpretation of the parage 
favors the doctrine of a future retribatioo* He admits 
that the language of the passage teaches a punishment 
beyond death.* This he admits by saying that Christ 
did not give this as his own sentiment, but spoke in ac- 
commodation to opinions of those who believed in a re- 
tribution beyond death.* Since it is acknowledged that 
the language of the passage teaches a future retribution, 
H follows that this sentiment is the truth, unless we ad- 
mit that Jesus intended td confirm the Jews in their er- 
rors, which would be totally unworthy of atay instructor, 
especially of an Instructor sent from heaven. 

Another passage to our purpose, is 1 Pet. iii. 18, 19, 
20. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sifts, the 
just for the unjust, that he might biing us to Ood, being 
put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit; 
by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in 
prison ; which sometime were disobedient, when once 
the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, 
while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight 
souls, WIS re saved by water."— 

In remarking upon this portion of scripture, we will 

^ Jn<j. pp. 49, 5\, h%* 


adopt your own language upon the same passage, which 
of course cannot be objectionable to you.* "As long as 
men are disposed to learn the scriptures how to talk^ be- 
fore they are witling to be taught by them, the scriptures 
will be forced to speak as many different languages, as 
were spoken at the building of Babel, and with as much 
confusion. But our duty is plain, and as easy as ft is 
plain. It is only to let the scripture speak its own most 
nahiral language, connecting the divine testimony, and 
permitting one part to explain to us what may appear 
tuigroatical in another. It may be proper, in the first 
place, to carefi\)ly examine the passage in Peter with a 
▼iew to see what it tays; and in the second place it may 
be proper to allow that the passage says what it really 
means ; and then to illustrate the text by the assistance 
of other passages. The text says, 1st, That Christ has 
once suffered for sins. 2d. That he, being just, suffered 
for the benefit of the unjust. 3d. That the benefit which 
was designed to result to us, as the unjust, from the 
sufferings of Christ, is, our being brought to God. 4th. 
Christ being put to death in the flesh, was his suffering 
for sin, and his being quickened by the Spirit, enables 
him to bring us to God. 5th. Christ having been put to 
death in the flesh, and quickened by the spirit, by which 
he had power to bring sinners to God, he went and prea- 
ched to the spirits in prison. 6. These spirits in prison, to 
whom Christ preached, were disobedient when the long- 
suffering of God waited in the days of JVonA. Vth. 
The preaching to those spirits in prison, was performed 
by Christ, after he was put to death in the flesh, and 
quickened by the Spirit. The foregoing seven particu- 
lars are as plainly expressed in this text, as we coujd 
reasonably expect they might be in so few words, nor 
does it appear that there are any words wanting to carry 
those ideas with plainness to the mind. In this subject, 

f Gospel Visitant, Vol, 1. pv ^^% '^\ ^'^^ 

LETTER VI. gjgfll 

there is not the least ambiguity, nor is there anj other 
difficulty than that it is as plain and direct a contradic- 
tion of the commonly received opinion, as can possibly 
be stated. It may be proper by way of indulgence, to 
ask which appears most warrantable, either to allow this 
. subject to stand exactly as the scriptures above quoted, 
state it, or to contradict those scriptures without any 
authority from scripture for so doing!" 

Here you interpret the passage to signify, that ChHst 
after his death, went and preached the gospel to the ante- 
diluvians who were then in prison. This interpretation 
you say, is so clearly expressed, that no words are want' 
ing to carry it with plainness to the mind. To advance 
any other interpretation, is, in your opinion, to deviate 
from the most natural language of scripture; nay, it is 
contradicting the scriptures^ and learning the scriptures 
how to talkj rather than being taught by them. But 
notwithstanding you speak so positively on this subject* 
and feel so fully satisfied with this interpretation, we 
find you on another occasion, giving an exposition en- 
tirely different. Before noticing that interpretation, I 
win just observe, that a gentleman of your discernment 
would not have expressed himself with so much confi- 
dence, as you have done in the interpretation already 
stated, had not the passage been exceedingly clear. You 
must therefore acknowledge, that you were hasty and 
inconsiderate in giving your first interpretation with so 
maeh confidence, or that you were unauthorized in 
deviating from it. 

Your second exposition of the passage is expressed in 
these words— ••The particular subject to which the apos- 
^^tje alluded, when he spake of Christ's preaching to the 
f^spirits in prison, in consequence of being put to death 
in the fiesh, and being quickened by the spirit, is thought 
to be this, viz. he went and preached fo the Gentiles u^a 
were dead in trespasses and sins,^ and of a ^o?ra<^«:t ^*«^- 


lar to those abominabk people who were destroyed by the 
flood J^* It would appear by this exposition, to use 
your own language in your first piece, that instead of 
being unlling to be taught by the scriptures, you were 
disposed to learn the scriptures how to talk ; for thi& 
interpretation contradicts the apostle in almost every 
particular. Let us for a moment compare your inter- 
pretation of the passage, with the passage itself. The 
apostle says that Christ preached to the spirits in prison ; 
but you say, it was the apostles who preached. Peter 
says, that the preaching was to the spirits in prison ; 
but you say it was to men in the flesh. Peter tells us 
that the disobedience was in the days of Mtah / but you 
contradict this, and say it was in the days of the apostles* 
Peter informs us that the preaching was to those who 
were disobedient in the days of Noah ; but you express- 
ly contradict this, and say it was not to them, but to 
people who lived more than two thousand years after the 
flood ! Thus it will be seen that your exposition of the 
passage expressly contradicts the language of the apos« 
tie in almost every particular. Search the whole field of 
theological controversy, and no instance can be found, 
of a more glaring violation of all just rules of interpre- 
tation, and express contradiction of the language of a 
passage, than the exposition now before us exhibits* And 
if St. Peter could not express the sentiment, that the 
apostles preached to the Gentiles, in any plainer language 
than to say, that ''Christ went and preached to the spirits 
in prison, which sometime were disobedient, when once 
the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, 
while the ark was preparing," I shall despair of ever 
learning his meaning. 

Every person who pays any attention to the language 
of the passage, must learn this sentiment, that Christ, 
after his crucifixion, went and preached to the spirits of 

* GoMpeJ Vifitant, Vol. III. p. 900* 

• LETTER VI. 8gy 

lose who were disobedient in Noah's daj; and no one, 
am persuaded, would ever have thought of anj other 
iterpretation, were it not to favor a preconceived opin- 
io. And the interpretation we have given of the pas- 
age, is confirmed by what the apostle says in the next 
hapter. "For, far this cause was th^ gospel preached 
Iso to them that are dead, that thej might be judged 
iccording to men in the flesh, but live according to God 
n the spirit." Chap. iv. verse 6. Here it is asserted 
:hat the gospel was preached to the dead. Though you 
issert that the terra dead, is used figuratively, to denote 
the dead in sin, still I think it is obvious from the pas- 
iage and context, that it signifies the literally dead. 
The dead here are placed in opposition to the quick. 
The apostle says in the preceding verse, that Christ 
ivill judge "the quick and the deadV The quick, signi- 
fies those who are literally alive. Thus we find that the 
resurrection of Christ to literal life is in the passage in 
[question, expressed by saying, he was quickened. You 
say yourself, "I understand that by being quickened by 
the spirit, is meant his resurrection."* Now if to be 
quickened, signifies to be raised to /i/g, then the quick 
must signify those who are literally alive, Tn opposition 
to those who are literally dead. Thus we see that by the 
quick and dead, is meant the living and the dead literal- 
ly. And in the very next verse the apostle says, the 
gospel was preached to the d^ad. Now according to all 
just rules of interpretation, we ought to understand the 
word dead, in the 6th verse, in the same sense in which 
it is used in the context ; which is to denote the tempo- 
rally dead. 

And this interpretation is conGrmed by the passage it- 
self. **For this cause was the gospel preached al^ to 
the dead." The term also denotes something in addic- 
tion. But there is no propriety in saying that the gos- 

• Gob. Visitant, Vol. III. p. 2ni6. 


pel was preached also to those who are dead in sitii 
because those are the characters to which the gospel is 
generally preached. It would be absurd to saj that the 
gospel is preached also to those to whom it is always or 
even generally preached, fiut understand the term 
dead in the sense for which we contend, and this difficult 
ty is entirely avoided. Again ; it is obvious that the 
word dead is to be understood literally, from the con- 
cluding part of the passage. The apostle says that the 
gospel was preached also to the dead, ''that they might 
be judged according to men in the flesh, but live accord- 
ing to God in the spirit." Here we see that the gospel 
was preached to the dead, that they might be judged 
according to men in the flesh. This implies that thej 
were not in the flesh ; for it would be grossly absurd to 
say, that the gospel was preached to men in the flesh, 
that they might be judged like men in the flesh. You 
acknowledge the force of this remark, and consequentlj 
attempt to show that the word flesh signifies the law,* 
But this construction is unnatural and arbitrary. Let 
us look at the context with a view to learn the meaning 
of the term, flesh. Verse 1st, "Forasmuch then as Christ 
hath suffered for us in the^?s^, arm yourselves likewise 
with the same mind ; for he that hath suffered in the 
flesh hath ceased from sin." Here the word flesh oc- 
curs twice, once it is applied to Christ, and once to men. 
But what does the word flesh signify when applied to 
Christ ? «*Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh,*^ says 
the passage. But did Christ suffer for hs in the law? 
You will not pretend this. You will readily admit that 
Christ was put to d^ih in this world ; that be suffered 
while in the literal bddy. Thus the apostle says in the 
parallel passage, /*being put to death in the fleah.*> Here 
then we learn that the word flesh was used literally as 
applied to Christ* But what does it mean in the other 

• G«8. Viritant» V^, \\\. ^, ^i^l. 


instance, v^her« it is applied to men ? The apostle sajs, 
"He that hath suffered in the flesh, hath ceased from sin, 
that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the 
flesh, to the lusts of men, but to the will of God." Will 
you pretend that the term flesh here signifies the law ? 
Wilt joa ass^t ^at men are slain by the power of the 
gospel, that they may live to God under the law of Mo- 
ses f I know that you will pretend that the gospel was 
preached, that men might still remain under the law. 
Thas it clearly appears that the apostle in this chapter 
uses tlve wordHesh literally, and hence the clause, "ac- 
cording to men in the flesh," signifies, according to men 
in this state of existence, or men who still inhabit a lite- 
ral bod y^ 

Now Si Peter says, that the gospel was preached to 
thedead^ that they mig(it be judged according to men 
in the flesh, that is, accoriling to men here on earth. And 
this impi-ies that they were not in the flesh, but that they 
had departed this life. Thus does the apostle in this 
chapter teach us that the gospel was preached to those 
who were literally dead. This then goes directly to 
confirm the account given in the preceding chapter of 
Christ's preaching to the spirits in prison. Thus does 
the apostle Peter teach us in the* plainest manner^ that 
Jesus Christ, after his crucifixion, went and preached to 
those who had long before closed their eyes on temporal 
objeicts. That Christ visited the regions of the dead, 
or the place of departed spirits is taught, not only in the 
passages we have noticed, but also in several others. St. 
Paul speaking of the ascension of Christ, says, "Now 
that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended 
first into the lower parts of the earth ? He that descend- 
ed is the same also that ascended up far above all hea- 
vens, that he might fill all things."* In the figurative 
language of scripture, a place of happiness is generally 
represented as above, and a place of \xi\%^\^ ^"^k \)^x\ft.«.\>\< 

• Eph. iv. 9, 10. 




Now this passage expressly declares that Christ, before 
he ascended into heaven, descended into the lower parts 
of the earth. This cannot be interpreted of his burial; 
for no person will pretend, that Christ's grave, or sepul- 
chre, extended to the lower parts of the earth. It is 
asserted as clearly in this passage that Christ descended 
into the lower parts of the earth, as it is that he ascend- 
ed into heaven. So in the passage in Peter, it is as {■ 
clearly asserted that Christ went to the spirits in prison, A' 
as it is in the same chapter, that he went into heaven ; ' 
and there is no more propriety in explaining away one 
than the other. 

That Christ does possess all, the dead as well as the 
living, is told us by St. Paul.* "For none of us liveth 
to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether 
we live, we live unto the Lord ; and whether we die, we 
die unto the Lord : whether we live therefore, or die, vre | 
are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and 
rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the | 
dead and living." This passage positively asserts that / 
Christ is Lord of the dead as much a^ of the living. In 
fagt, this is a leading doetrine with you. You strenuous- | 
ly contend, that all me^ are given to Christ ; and they 
are given to him for a benevolent purpose. But where 
would be the benevolence in giving the dead to Christ, 
nnless he could do them good ? And how can he do 
them good, unless he makes them acquainted with that 
gfispel which is the only sure means of salvation P There 
is no more absurdity in supposing that Christ preaches 
the gospel to men in another state, than there is that he 
will raise men from the dead in another state. The fact 
that Christ visited the abodes of misery in another world, 
is so clearly taught in the scriptures, that many Christ* 
ians acknowledge it, though it is in direct opposition to 
their system. The Episcopal Church, both in Europe 

LETTER VI. 1831 

and America admit it. In their Creed, which is general- 
ly denominated the Apostles' Creed, thej assert that 
Christ descended into hell, or the place oj departed spi- 
ritSf,* Now as the Episcopalians do not generally ad- 
mit a moral change after death, this article must be in 
direct opposition to their general sentiment. So that 
nothing but a full conviction, that it was taught in the 
scriptures, could have induced them to admit it as an 
article of faith. 

We will now notice several objections which you 
urge against the exposition we have given. One objec- 
tion on which you rely is this ;— This subject is not men- 
tioned by any of the sacred writers except St. Peter, 
and by him only indirectly .t In answer to this objec- 
tioa* we remark, 1. The objection is unfounded. It is 
not true that St. Peter i* the only writer which alludes 
to this subject We have already quoted two passages 
from the writings of St. Paul, and it is believed that se^ 
veral other texts can be produced both from the Old and 
New Testament. Besides, this sentiment is involved in 
the very nature of the gospel, especially on our under- 
standing of it. You, Sir, believe that all men will be 
saved by Jesus Christ. But the sacred writers inform 
us that no man can be saved without repentance and 
faith. And we are also told on divine authority, that 
faith cometh by hearing. It is necessary therefore, that 
all. men should hear the gospel, otherwise all cannot be 
«aved. Now as many do not hear the gospel in this 
world, it follows as a necessary consequence, even on 
yoHv own system, that the gospel will be made known to 
many in a future state. Thus the doctrine for which we 
contend is involved in the very nature of the gospel ; 
and without this sentiment^ you cannot consistently 
maintain the ^'restitution of all things." 

• See the Common Prayer Book. 

t Go9. Viiitaot, Vol. III. pp. %99^ ^K^« 

28jb letter VI. 

2. But if we should admit that St. Peter is the only 
writer who has mentioned this fact, it would not invali- 
date the passage. One divine asseveration is entitled to 
our confidence. And it would be a singular kind of rea- 
soningy to contend that what is said bj Peter must be 
false, because the same thing is not mentioned by Paul. 
Would such evidence as this be admitted in a court of 
justice ? No ; it is an acknowledged principle that the 
testimony of one man is not weakened, by the other wit- 
nesses testifying that they did not see what he declares 
he did. Suppose A is arraigned before a civil tiibunal, 
and B testifies that he saw A commit larceny, would any 
person attempt to procure his acquittal by producing 
witnesses who would testify that they did not see him 
commit the crime ? No ; any counsel would be ashamed 
to set up such a defence. But a defence like this would 
be quite as consistent as your argument in the case in 
question. For none of the sacred writers assert that 
they did not know that Christ preached to the spirits in 

We find marfy instances in the scriptures in which a 
remarkable circumstance is mentioned by one writer, 
and omitted by all the others. The resurrection of La- 
zarus is one of the most striking miracles performed by 
our Lord, and still it is recorded by John only ; Mat- 
thew, Mark, and Luke being perfectly silent upon this 
subject. But will you refuse your credence to thi« im- 
portant miracle, because it is mentioned by one writer 
only? You will not. Christ's resignation of his king- 
dom to the Father, is an important doctrine, and stjil is 
mentit)ned by one writer only : and he has mentioned it 
but once. But notwithstanding this, you believe the 
declaration, and make great use of that passage. In this 
manner you acknowledge the weakness of your objec- 
tion in the case before as.— 'But you inform us that Bt 
Peter, when he speaks of Christ's preaching to th» spi- 


rits in prison, '^onlj throws an allusion to it, while la- 
boring on another subject." — So much the more to our 
purpose ; for it shows that this opinion was nothing 
new to those to whom his epistle was addressed, Had 
this doctrine been something which was not generally 
believed, St. Peter would in all probability have labored 
it more at large'. But as he brought this in to illustrate 
4nd enforce another point, it teaches us most conclu- 
sively, not only that Peter himself believed this doctrine, 
but that it was generally admitted among the brethren in 
his day. Thus does your objection strengthen our inter- 
pretation, rather than otherwise. 

Again, you object to the exposition we have given, in 
the following language : — ''If the opinion disproved, be 
allowed, how shall we account for this particularizing 
the people who lived in the days of Npah P" To meet 
this objection, we remark, — 1. If this consideration has 
any weight, it opposes your interpretation, as much as it 
does mine. For on your interpretation, you confess that 
the gospel was preached to a people similar to those in 
the days of Noah. And I can ask with as much propri- 
ety as you can, "how shall we account for this particu- 
larizing the people in the days of Noah P" 2. There is 
not the least difficulty as I can see in the case. Though 
you suggest that the passage would imply that those 
^ho lived in the days of Noah were the only ones who 
enjoyed this preaching, on the interpretation here con- 
tended for, I should infer the very reverse. For as God 
is no respecter of persons, if Christ went and preached 
to the antediluvians, it would be natural to conclude 
that he preached to others also. You interpret the text 
to mean that the gospel was preached to the Gentiles* 
whose characters were.similar to those who lived in 
Noah's day. But does this imply that the Gentiles in 
relation to moral chaYacter, would compare with. \Nft 
other corrupt people than those 'wVvo \vst^ \w^^^^ 



world ? You will not pretend this. So in fact you ac- 
knowledge your objection to be frivolous. Peter in the 
|Ni9sage in question, alluded to the old world only as an 
example, or specimen. As this is what you yourself 
must contend for, I tru&t you will not object to it. As 
the same apostle in another place,* mentions the old 
world, together with Sodom, as examples, in regard to 
punishment, there is the utmost propriety in mentioning 
the old world as an example with regard to blessings. 

Before we dismiss this subject, we will notice one 
objection more. After quoting Wakefield's rendering 
of the passage, you say, "In this translation there is no- 
thing hinted of Christ's preaching to the spirits of those 
who lived in Noah's time.'t Since you lay so much 
streBs upon this translation, I will transcribe it, and 
mark the italic words, as I find them in his Testament, 
that the reader may see what he has added to the origi- 
hal text. "Because eiven Christ once suffered for sin, a 
righteous morn, for unrighteous men^ that he might bring 
us unto God; being killed in body, but made alive bj 
the spirit ; in which indeed he went and preached to the 
minds of men in prison ; who were also hard to be con- 
vinced in former times ; as when the patience of God 
continued waiting in the days of Noah, whilst the ark 
was a preparing." The reader is informed that all the 
words in the above passage which are printed in italics, 
are not found in the original, but were added by Mr. 
Wakefield himself, and marked by him, as you here find 
them, to show that they were not of divine authority. 
By reading this rendering of the passage, and oniitting 
the supplied words, we have the same sense, as is convey- 
ed in the common rendering of the text. Thus, Sir, does 
this translation yield you no assistance. We Ivill also 
notice Wakefield's rendering the parallel pafllsage in the 
next chapter. VerSe 6th--*-"Pof this indeed Was the 


effect of the preaching of the gospel to the dead, th^t 
some will be punished as carnal men, but others lead a 
spiritual life unto God." This passage, as it stands,, 
would favor your ideas of the subject. But let us see 
what authority he offers for this strange rendering. 
Whoever is acquainted with his New Testament, knows 
thai when he deviates from the Received Teqct, he dtwes 
not rest it upon his bare assertion, if anj authority caiji 
be produced. This will be seen by his elaborate NotefLt 
which are appended to his Testament. But let us tee 
what authority he produces in justification of bis ren- 
idering of the passages before us. We Avill give it iii bi^ 
own words. <<By the /ivin^, I understand Christians; 
and by the dead^ the unconvwted Gentiles; and uppn tiufp 
idea have attempted to give some meaning to a pa98^e, 
which is^ to me, at least, otherwise unintelligibleJ^^ 
Thus we see that Wakefield can offer no authority fSt 
his novel translation. He justifies it only by sayings 
'^that otherwise the passage to h\m would be unintelligi- 
ble." Mr. Wakefield, I believe, was a Vestru'ttionist, 
a/id probably a Materialist, and consequently he could 
not admit with any consistency, that the gospel was 
preached to men between death and the resurrection. 
So we can no -longer wonder why the passage would ba 
unintelligible to him, without his unauthorized variation 
from the common rendering. Thus we sjee tli^t Wake- 
field in translating these passages, was governed not by 
the Greek text, but by his own preconceived opinion. 
Now, Sir, I think your scheme must be in distress to call 
such a translation to its aid. The above remarks are 
designed to.apply not to Wakefield's translation in 
general, but only to his rendering of the passages la 

I have now noticed all the principal objections which 
you urge against the interpretation here contended for, 

* See Notes on 3d and 4th of Peter^ v* ^^^' 


and I think their force is entirely obviated. Our inter- 
pretation therefore stands on a permanent basis. St 
^Peter expressly declares that Christ after his passion, 
went and preached the gospel to those who had long 
before departed this life. This passage then goes di- 
rectly to prove a future retribution. The spirits to 
whom he preached were in prison ; they were unhappy, 
otherwise they would not have needed this gospel. Be- 
sides, it was preached to them, <<that they might be 
judged according to men in the flesh." This implies 
that they might be punished even after the gospel was 
made known to them. And further, it was preached to 
them, that they might repent, might ^'live according to 
God in the spirit." And this implies that they . wer« 
th^n impenitent, and consequently miserable. This 
passage therefore, furnishes us with a good argument in 
favor of a future punishment ; and it is not in your pow- 
er to reconcile this scripture with your sentiment, unless 
you adopt the principle of Wakefield, and decidedly 
contradict the apostle to favor your own opinion ; or to 
mse your ow« language, unless you are determined "to 
learn the scriptures how to talk." 

Before we close this Letter, we will notice several 
other passages which strongly imply a punishment be- 
yond death, and so confirm the doctrine for which we 
plead. St Paul says, "He that despised Moses' law, 
died without mercy under two or thr'ee witnesses ; of how 
much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought 
worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, 
and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith 
he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite 
to the Spirit of grace."* — This passage asserts that 
those who despised the law of Moses were put to death ; 
they suffered death without mercy. And he informs us 
that those who despise the gospel, shall receive a sorer 

• Heb. X. aa,^9. 


punishment. Since death without mercy is the greatest 
punishment which can be inflicted in this state, it natu-^ 
rally follows that those who despise the gospel, and re- 
ceive this sorer punishment, will be punished beyond 
death. But the advocates for your sentiment, think it 
absurd to admit that the gospel threatens a severer pun- 
ishment than the law. In reply to a suggestion that 
future punishment may be taught in the gospel, though 
it be not found in the law, Mr. Kneeland says, "Well, 
surely this is a very strange thing indeed ; what ! does 
the gospel of eternal life unfold and brings to light a pun- 
ishment which the law knows nothing of? and which we 
have not been able to And in ail the Jewish records P 
O strange !"* 

This quotation contains much more affected sensibility 
than sound judgment. It is a principle taught by com- 
mon sense, recognized in the scriptures, and ever ad- 
mitted in all courts of justice, that the same act is more 
or less heinous in proportion to the knowledge of the 
offender. The greater our light and knowledge, the 
greater is our criminality, if we transgress. This you 
acknowledge, though this acknowledgment is fatal to 
your system. Your words are — "The scriptures abun- 
dantly prove that those who are farthest advanced in 
knowledge of divine things, are the most guilty if they 
disobey: and this is agreeable to reason and experi- 
ence.^t In this manner you pronounce Mr. Kneeland's 
suggestion unfounded, and acknowledge that the gospel 
inflicts a greater punishment than the law. The gospel 
contains more light than the law, and consequently those 
who abuse the gospel, and tread under foot the Son of 
God, will be subjected to a greater punishment than the 
law inflicted. It follows therefore, from the very nature 
of the case, that there are some who live under the light 
of the gospel, whos^ punishment will be sorer than death 

• KaeehndU Lectures, p. 85. ir B.e|»Vvl%'^«m\\.^\*'^* 



without mercy, or in other words, will be punished be- 
yond the grave. This sentiment appeared so clear to 
the apostle, that he submitted the question to the deci- 
sion of his brethren. "Of how much sorer punishment 
suppose ye, shall they be thought worthy, who have trod- 
den under foot the Son of God ?" 

Of nearly the same nature is the declaration of Christ 
— "Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which be- 
lieve in me, it were better for him that a mill -stone 
were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned 
in the depth of the sea.''* To be cast into the sea with 
a mill-stone about one's neck, is as severe a punishment 
as can well be inflicted in this state ; but as those who 
offend these little ones, are to be punished more severe- 
ly* it is just to conclude that they will experience mise- 
ry after the death of the body. Our Savior told the 
penitent thief on the cross, that he should be with him 
that day in paradise.t But if all men go immediately to 
happiness, the impenitent thief would be with Christ as 
soon as the penitent one, and so there will be no difference 
between those who are penitent, and those who are im- 
penitent. When Christ said to the penitent thief *'To-day 
shalt thou be with me in paradise," he virtually said that 
the other thief should not. This is a principle for which i 
you contend. To establish this point you sayj "Let a ! 
case be proposed. There are in prison ten persons ; five 
of which were committed for offences committed inthe 
year 1810, the other five for offences committed in 1816. 
The proper authority directs an officer to go and liberate 
from prison, those who were disobedient in 1810. In 
all respects in which this order concerns the other Jive, 
it means that they are not includedJ*^ Now if we apply 
this plain principle to the case before us, it means that 
the other thief is not included. Thus we find that the 

• Matt, xviii. 6. t Luke xxiii* 43. 

fGos. Vi«t. Vol. Ill, p. sm. 


short sentence, this day shalt thou be with me in para- 
dise, clearlj shows that the other thief would not be 
admitted to immediate happiness. And what is true of 
the impenitent thief, is also true of many others. 

Manj other passages might be adduced in proof of a 
future retribution, but our limits will not admit of their 
being brought forward. In fact, we want them not. 
What we have offered in this Letter, is, I conceive, suf- 
ficient to establish a future retribution. And the same 
ingenuity which can do away the force of these passa- 
ges, can disprove a future existence, or any other doc- 

In our next we will call your attention to a future 
reward for the righteous. 

Yours, &c. 



Future RevHird, Ftdure misery the general opinion, of man- 



As was proposed in my last, I will now invite your 
attention to the subject of sl future reward for the right- 
eous. A future reward is a just counterpart to a future 
punishment. If either of these be established, the other 
follows as a necessary consequence. You appear to be 
sensible of this, and consequently you deny a future re- 
ward for the righteous as much as a future punishment 
for the wicked.* We will now inquire whether the re- 
ward of virtue does in any case extend beyond death. 
We admit that men have a reward in this world. We 
acknowledge that some good deeds have a full reward 
here on earth. But the question is, whether every act 
of virtue receives its full reward in this state. Wc 
- have already seen that the human mind is so constituted, 
that all ideas take place in succession, and consequently 
a period is requisite for every thought and reflection. 
The reward of virtue arises from the reflection of hav- 
ing done our duty, and promoted the enjoyment of our 
fellow creatures. Now as the reward of the righteous 
consists in that happiness, which arises from the reflec- 
tion of having performed some virtuous action, and as 
these reflections cannot exist, till after the act is per- 
formed, it follows that the reward must be subsequent to 
the virtuous act. And as many are taken from this 
world in the performance of an act of virtue, it i« mani- 
fest that they must be rewarded after death, if they are 
rewarded at all. • 

• Lectures, pp. 3&%^^«^. 


It cannot be pretended that virtue is always rewarded 
in the very act, for our Savior tells us that we must 
take up our cross, if we would be his disciples. This 
plainly shows that virtue is sometimes painful for the 
time being. Were not this the case, there could be no 
cross to take up. Since virtue is not always rewarded 
in the very act, it follows that the reward must succeed 
the act of virtue, and so in some cases at least, will ex- 
tend beyond the grave. Thus it appears from the very 
nature of the case, that virtue will be rewarded in a fu- 
ture state. And what is so reasonable in itself, and 
what grows out of the very nature of things, is also 
taught in the oracles of God. 

In the first place we will attempt to show that the 
Lord Je^us Christ was rewarded in a future state, for 
the arduous duties he peformed in this. St Paul says 
of Christy <<He made himself of no reputation, and took 
upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the 
likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a 
man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto 
death, even the death of the cross.'' Here the apostle 
gives us a brief account of the trials and sufferings of 
Christ, and of the meekness and patience with which he \ 
bore them. Now what was the reward which Christ 
received for this work of patience, this labor of love? 
The apostle informs us in the very next words, "fVhere- 
fore,'^^ says he, or "for this reason,''^ as Wakefield ren- 
ders the phrase, "God also hath highly exalted him, and 
given him a name which is above every name." Phil. ii. 
r, 8, 9. Nothing can be plainer than that Christ was 
exalted as a reward for his benevolent deeds performed 
in this world. But where was Christ exalted? in this 
world, or the next ? It is evident from the language of 
the passage, that this reward was granted him after 
death, for it was in consequence of his death, that he was 
exalted. In fact, every person will admit^^ that Chriat'a 


exaltation was after his death. This passage, then, tea- 
ches us in the clearest manner, that Christ was rewarded 
in a future state, for virtuous actions performed in this. 
That Christ was exalted as a reward for his sufferings 
and death, is further taught by the same apostle. "But 
we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the an- 
gels/or the suffering of death, crowned with glory and 
honor.^^ Heb. ii. 9. The same doctrine is taught io 
these words : — "Looking unto Jesus, the author and fiq- 
hhtt of our faith ; who, for th^ joy that was set before 
him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set 
down at the right hand of the throne of God.'' Heb. xii. 
£. This passage not onlj informs us that Christ acted 
with a view of a reward, but it also teaches us the na- 
ture of this reward. It consisted in ''sitting d^tva at' 
the right hand of the throne of God." 

From these passages it is demonstrably evident t1iat 
our divine Master '^had respect to a fjecompense of re- 
ward,'' and that he was exalted in a future state, as a 
reward for his sufferings and death here on earth. Now 
if a future reward was necessary to engage the benevo- 
lent Jesus in his duty^ is it not equally necessary to en- 
gage us in our duty? Since Christ is our pattern, and 
was rewarded after death, it is just to conclude that a 
future reward awaits all his faithful followerg. And to 
this he himself bears witness. To the Laodiceans he 
says, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with 
me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set 
down with my Father in his throne." Rev. iii. 21. 
This passage teaches two important truths. 1. Th^t 
Christ was rewarded after death for his labors on earth. 
"I also overcame, and am set down in my Father's throne." 
This passage teaches us that at the time of John's vision, 
which was after the ascension of Christ, our Lord was 
then enjoying a reward for the labors he performed in 
this world. He was then sitting in bis Father's throne. 

LETTER VII. jj,|3 

This passage therefore, eoncurs with those before quoted, 
in teaching us that Christ was rewarded after death. 
£. This passage also teaches us that men, who are faith- 
ful, will be rewarded in the same mantier. "To him 
that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me iii mjr 
throne, even as I also oyercame, and am set down with 
my Father in his throne.'* Here Jesus declares that his 
faithful followers shall be rewarded, as he has been — 
shall sit in his throne after death, as he has set in his 
Father's throne after death. And as Jesus sat in his 
Father's throne as a reivard for his labors in time, so will 
the faithful disciples of Christ sit in his throne as a 
reward for their faithfulness in this, state of being. 
Thus does the faithful and true Witness promise a 
future reward to all sincere Christians. 

The blessed Jesus promised the same to his disciples 
during his personal ministry. On a certain occasion a 
man came to Christ, and asked him what he should do to 
inherit eternal life. Here the subject of a future 
reward was introduced. In reply to him, Jesus says, 
"If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." 
This is saying, that keeping the commandments would 
entitle him to a reward beyond death. But while Jesus 
Was treating upoii this subject, Peter said unto him,--- 
"Behold we have forsaken all, and followed thee ; what 
shall we have therefore ?" Here Peter puts the question 
directly to our Lord. He asks him, what reward (he 
disciples were to expert. <^And Jesus said unto them, 
Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye which have fol- 
lowed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall 
sit in the t^rbtle of his glory, ye also shall sit upon 
twelte thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." 
Matt. xix. 17, 27, S8. Here again sitting upon thrones 
is inentioned as a reward for their fidelity. We have 
already seen that sitting upon thrones would take \ita<^ 
in a future world ; and thift sew%^ \% CQf&r«iftSL V^ ^^'^ 

844! LETTER Vn. 

passage now under consideration. Besides, all the 
principal advocates for Universal Salvation, allege this 
passage in proof of the future happiness of Judas. And | ' 
you, Sir, revert to this passage, to show that Judas will ( ' 
be brought in.* Cn this manner jou acknowledge that 
the reward mentioned in this passage, will not be reali- 
zed on this side the grave. 

In the parallel passage, Mark x. 29, SO, Jesus sajs to I 
his disciples, who declared that thej had left all and | 
followed him, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, there is no j 
man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, j 
or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, I 
and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundred-fold ' 
now in this time, (that is, in this life,) houses and breth- : 
ren, and sisters, and mothers, and lands, with persecu- 
tions ; and in the world to come, everlasting life." See . 
also Luke xviii. 29, 30. It is evident from this text, 
that virtue is not only rewarded in this life, but in the 
future also. "In the world to come, they shall receive : 
everlasting life," as a reward for having forsaken all, 
and followed Christ There can be no doubt, but that 
the {aimv) world to come, is here used to express a state 
beyond death, because it is placed in opposition to a 
state in which we may possess houses, and brethren, and \ 
sisters, and mothers and lands. Thus does our Savior j 
expressly declare that men shall be rewarded in the 
life to come. 

Matt. vi. 19, 20, is also in point. "Lay not up for 
yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust 
doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; 
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where nei- 
ther moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do 
not break through nor steal." See also Luke xii. 35. 
Here Jesus commands his followers to lay up treasures 
in heaven. Heaven is here used to express a state be- 

* LectQits, p«^\d. 


LETTER yil. 84^ 

jond the present, because it is placed ia opposition to 
the earth. Neither is there so great securitjr in ajiy 
blessing in this world, as is expressed in this text. Now 
as Christ has commanded us to lay uf> treasures 'm a 
future state of being, it follows that we can do something 
here to effect our happiness hereafter. To denj this, is 
absurdly to admit that Christ is a hard master, and re- 
quires impossibilities. Again, says the divine Teacher^ 
•'Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your re- 
ward in heaven^ Matt. v» 12. This passage asserts 
that some shall have a great reward in heaven, and as 
heaven is placed in oppositioti to a state^ which admits 
of persecution, it must be beyond the confines of this 
world. Christ expresses the sam«when he says, "Thou 
shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.^' 
Luke xiv. 14. We have already seen in a preceding 
Letter, that the resurrection here spoken of, was literal. 
Hence this reward will be conferred at the resurrection 
of the dead. Paul to the Corinthians recognizes a fu- 
ture reward. "Know ye not," says he, "that they which 
nin in a race, run all, but one receiveth the prize ? Sp 
run, that ye may obtain. And every mani that striveth 
for the mastery, is temperate in all things. Now they 
do it to obtain a corruptible crown ; but we an incorrup- 
tible." * 1 Cor. ix. S4, 25. From this passage it will be 
seen that the apostle and primitive Christians ran to ob- 
tain an incorruptible crown, lliis was their reward, as 
much as the corruptible crown was the reward of those 
who arrived first at the goal in a literal race. And as 
you will not pretend that this incorruptible crown is 
granted in this world, this passage is clear in proof of a 
future reward. It is further evident that the apostle 
Paul looked forward to a future state for a reward, from 
what he has said elsewhere. "I am now ready to be 
offer edy^ says he, "and the time of my departure is at 
hand. I have fought a good ft^t, V Vvvi'^ ^Ns^^t^ ^ss^ 



course, I have kept the faith ; henceforth there is hid 
up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the 
righteous Judge, shall give me at that daj ; and not ts k 
me onlj, but to all them also that love his appearing.^ ^ 
2 Tim. iv. 6, 7, 8. Upon this passage, we remark, 1. 
Virtue cannot be fully rewarded in the act, for the apos- 
tle had performed manj acts of virtue — ^*had finished 
his course," but his reward was then future. His iabon 
were already accomplished, but his reward was jet te 
come. 2. The apostle fixes the time when he should 
receive this glorious reward. He first states that the 
time of his departure is at hand, and then sajs that 
the reward will be given him at that day, at the time of 
his departure. This reward will, according to the sense 
of the passage, be after death ; and you will not pretend 
that a crown of immortality and glory is given in this 
world. S. It appears that this glorious crown is given 
as a reward ; for the apostle speaks of its being granted 
in consequence of his faithfulness. He also says that it 
will be granted to all others who love his appearing. 
This shows that the crown is granted as a reward for 
virtue performed in this state. 4. This passage not only 
teaches us that the virtuous shall receive this rewardi 
but also that the wicked shall not When Paul says, 
that this crown of righteousness will be given to those 
who love Christ's appearing, he implies that it will not 
be given to those who dp not love his appearing. 

St. Paul to Timothy teaches a future reward in the 
clearest manner. "Bodily exercise," says he, *'profiteth 
little; but godliness is profitable unto all things; having 
the promise of the life that now is, and of that wkich i$ 
to comey 1 Tim. iv. 8. This passage is too clear to 
need comment. Our Savior expresses it all when he 
says, '*Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a 
crown of life." Rev.ii. 10. From the passages intro- 
dueifd itt this Letter^ and \.V\e«« ure ^ti\^ a specimen, it 


fiidently appears, that a future reward for the righteous 
U a doctrine of the New Testament. We have seen 
that Christ was exalted to his Father's throne in a 
future state^ as a reward for his labors and suftering in 
this. We have also seen that Christ promised to reward 
his faithful followers in the same manner; he promised 
them a throne, and eternal life in the world to come— 
commanded them to laj up treasures in heaven-^Aud 
said that thej should be rewarded in heaven^ and recom- 
pensed at the resurrection of the just. We have had 
the assurance of St. Paul, that the faithful looked for a 
crown of righteousness, and ran fur an incorruptible 
crown-— in a word» that godliness has the promise of the 
Ufa which is to come. And finally, we have seen that 
the faithful and true Witness assures us, that if we are 
faithful unto death, he will give us a crown of life. 
Tbesa passages incontrovertiblj prove that the reward 
of the righteous will be extended into a future state. 

I am aware however, that you meet these passages, ^t 
lereral of them,, by saying, that the blessings mentioned 
ire satd to be given, and if they are gifts, they cannot 
>e considered as a reward. I shall not attempt to an- 
ivrer this objection at large, but shall content myself with 
wo remarks. 1. The fact that they are said to be giv- 
n, does not oppose the idea of their being a reward ; 
or they may be given as such. To give, or grant a re- 
t?ard, is no solecism. 2. The blessings which the right- 
eous enjoy in this world, are said to be gifts, and if this 
teatroys the idea of their being a reward, then we must 
conclude, that they are not rewarded at all; which is 
epugnant to the scriptures, and your system also. So 
hia objection can have no weight. A future reward 
;hen, is substantially proved. Now a future reward is 
inly a counterpart of a future punishment. And all the 
passages which inform us that the righteous will be re- 
warded in another 9tate, virtuaWj UW^%,\Sa»X^^H»\0«.- 

£48 LETTER Vn. 

ed shall not enjojf that blessing; and this is saying, that 
they shall be miserable. This remark will accord with 
your own sentiment^ for you acknowledge that the scrip* 
tures every where hold forth the idea that vice wiU be 
punished as long as virtue is rewarded. Your words are 
tkese — "On the' other hand, he, (meaning yourself,) does 
not believe that the wrongs a man may be guilty of, can 
justly be punished to a greater extents than his well- 
doing can be rewarded. No reason ts seen for extend- 
ing the punishment of a man's wickedness, beyond the 
rewards of his righteousness. It is moreover believed 
that the scriptures every where justify this view of the 
subject"* In this passage yoa admit that vice will be 
punished as long as virtue is rewarded. Now ad we 
have already seen that virtue will be rewarded in a fu- 
tui^stlttei we ftre authorized by scripture^by the nature 
of tke case, tnd by your own confeMioo, to oonelnde that 
pinishment will be extended beyond death iiketrrser 

Aftother argument ii» UlvoP of a fatiire rttrib«tioii> is 
dVawn from thd liommofi eonsent ef mankls^. Itist 
fact stfbiHantiated by kistofy, that the doctrine ^f t f^* 
ture retribution has geirerally prevaiied in all ages and 
iiationa. The ancient covenant peoplei the Jews;, be- 
lieved this doctrine; and atl the feeathen nations^ of 
v^hose opinidfls the world has any knowledge, entertain 
the same views. In proof of this, I will refer to author- 
ities mentioned in a former letter. This then, is a fact, 
which no person of information will deny, viz. ThtU a 
future retribution is a doctrine which has prevailed gen- 
erally in all ages of the world. It does not weaken this 
argument to Say, that many of the heathen believed in 
the transmigration of souls. For this is virtually a fi^ 
tore retribution ; as it supposes that men are not suffi- 
ciently punished in the act of transgression, and so it 
becomes necessary, that the soul at death should pass 

• Reply to Meinll^ ^^, ^^ ^. 


into some other animal^ in which it will receive a ju$t 
retribution for its past iniqaitj. Transmigration is, in 
reality, a future punishment If the soul of a sinner 
passes at death into anj other animal, and is there 
punished, this punishment is as much after death, as 
though it were inflicted in another world. In fact, the 
doctrine of transmigration shows how verjr strongly a 
future retribution was ri vetted into the minds of the 
heathen ; for rather than abandon this fundamental arti- 
cle, they would have recourse to almost any extravagance. 

But perhaps you will say, that the heathen differed in 
opinion on almost every subject, had different views of 
a future retribution, and embraced absurdities too nu- 
merous to be mentioned. This is readily admitted, and 
this strengthens our argument. It shows plainly, that a 
retribution beyond death was so firmly believed, that 
how much soever they differed on other subjects, and on 
this very subject, they all admitted the doctrine in some 
form or other; and how absurd soever they were in 
other respects, no one thought of relinquishing this all- 
important, this fundamental article. A future retribu- 
tion then was the general opinion, both of the Jews and 
the heathen. And the question to be decided is, from 
whence arose this opinion ? 

Now as it regards the Jews, they undoubtedly derived 
this doctrine from revelation. It is the opinion of many, 
if not of most commentators, that many revelations were 
made to Adam, and his immediate descendants, of which 
we have no account in the Pentateuch. We are told in 
the New Testament, that Jesus performed many things 
which are not recorded ;* and there is bo absurdity in 
supposing that Moses omitted many things also. Con- 
sidering the brevity of Moses's account, it is perfectly 
evident that he gave only a history of some of the most 

* John x&i. S5. 

230 * LETTER Vtt 

important events. Considering the infancy of the world, 
and the lack of experimental knowledge at that time, it 
is highly probable that the Deity interposed frequently, 
and gave the first inhabitants raany directions, which are 
not recorded. This supposition is rendered still more 
probable on your system, which supposes that Adam was 
created no more wise or perfect than other men.* 

Without admitting that the Deity gave the first in- 
habitants of the world some instruction more than i» 
mentioned in the scriptures, it is extremely difficult to 
account for the sacrifices offered by Cain and Abel» and 
for many other things which are mentioned in the scrip- 
tures, and which could not have been learned from 
nature, especially at that early age of the world. For 
instance, when Cain slew his brother, be felt condemna- 
tion as much as Adam did when he violated the expre8S 
command of God. But wis have no account in Genesis 
that God had prohibited murder at that time. Now, 
from whence arose Cain's condemnation for slaying his 
brother ? It must have been that God gave them a law 
before that time. Otherwise I do not see why he should 
have felt condemnation. " Where there is no law," wc 
are told on divine authority, "there is no transgression." 
SinceCain felt condemnation for slaying his brother, 
we are led to conclude that murder had already been 
prohibited, though nothing of this is mentioned bj 
Moses. Hence we are compelled to adroit, that God 
revealed to his new-created offspring, many things which 
are not mentioned in the scriptures. Numerous cases 
might be mentioned, which lead us to the same con- 
clusion. And it is worthy of remark, that the scriptures 
-do not pretend that every event is recorded therein, but 
on the contrary they intimate that this is not the case. 
Hence we conclude, that many things were made known 
to Adam and his descendants, which are not mentioned 

* See Atoiiement, pp. 3^ — ^S. ^^<i «\%^"\-^V3i«*%^YV'^^— ^* 


in the scriptures. Now as the Jews, an far back as we 
can have knowledge of their opinions, believed in a 
future retribution, it is natural to conclude, that this 
opinion was borrowed from divine revelation. This 
hypothesis wiU also account for their belief in a future 
state ; for it is admitted, that we find but very little 
evidence of this doctrine in the Old Testament. 

But, perhaps you will say, that the condemnation 
which Cain felt, arose from the common sentiment which 
God has implanted in man, that takitig life is a crime. 
But tiris is no more to your purpose than the other posi- 
tion. For if the common sentrment of mankind, that it 
is a crime to take life, establishes that principle, then 
the common sentiment that there will be a retribution 
beyond death, establishes that princifde also. But from 
whence arose the heathen opinion, that a future punish- 
ment awaited the ungodly ? It is an acknowledged 
principle in moral as well as in natural pliilosophy, that 
every effect results from some adequate cause. And 
from whence arises this general belief? It is the opin- 
ion of most Christian writers, that the hfathen borrowed 
their opinions from early revelations.''^ Now if this be 
the case, as [ think appears pretty evident, the belief of 
the heathen furnishes us with a good argument in favor 
of punishment beyond death. We are willing to admit, 
as was before observed, that the heathen mixed much 
Vable with their doctrines. But this is just what might 
naturally be expected, on supposition that a future retri- 
bution was first borrowed from divine revelation. Who- 

• See Dr. ShtTcUforxJ's Connexions between Sacred and Profane 
History, a work worthy of a critical perusal. The doctor con- 
tends that the Lord made many revelations in the first ages of the 
world, which are not recorded in the sacred volume, and that the 
heathen borrowed their doctrines from the traditions of early reve- 
lations. And before any person adopts the opposite hypothesis, 
he ought to be able to refute all the docter^s arguments. 

See also Frideaux'a Connexions. 


ever is acquainted with the heathen doctrines and fables, 
and the origin of their mythology, will be sensible that 
the heathen built their fables upon doctrines^ and not 
their doctrines upon their fables. The doctrine was first 
believed, and then some fable was built upon it . Though 
these fables frequently corrupted their doctrines, still it ; 
will be found that in almost every instance, their fables 
were not invented, till after the doctrine on which they 
rested, was generally believed.* Now although their 
fables are numerous which relate to a future state of | 
punishment, they are all founded upon a belief in that i 
doctrine, which belief gave rise to these fables. Now 
from these brief hints, I think it will be apparent, that 
the heathen were indebted to early revelation for their 
belief in a future retribution. 

But you will undoubtedly object to this. Then it de- 
volves upon you to account for this belief. Was it bor- 
rowed from nature ? I know of nothing in the appear* 
ances of nature, which even teaches a future state of 
being ; and it would be absurd to assert that nature 
taught the heathen a future state of suffering, when it 
did not so much as teach the existence of a future state. 
Is it the common sentiment implanted by God in our 
very natures ? Then this sentiment must be the truth* 
for we cannot suppose that God would impress a false- 
hoLod upon the whole world of mankind. You cannot 
consistently admit that the plain^ unlettered sentiment 
of mankind is wrong, since you deny the doctrine of 
innate depravity. Does this belief arise from corrupt 
appetites and passions f Sinful feelings instead of fa- 
voring, remonstrate against the doctrine. Whtfn Paul 
reasoned of a judgment to eome, the corrupt Felix trem- 
bled. To conclude, this general belief in a future retri- 
bution, must arise from divine revelation, be taught in 
nature, or be implanted in every breast by God himself. 

* On tbiM subject also^ tee SbncktoidH C<yocQAii5fefiL«^ 


It could not be learned from nature, for nature does not 
even teach a future state of being. It must therefore 
either aiCe from revelation, or be the common sentiment 
of mankind interwoven with their very nature. In either 
case it affords us a good argument in favor of the doc- 
trine for which we plead. 

Another consideration which induces a belief in a 
future retribution, and that the ancient heathen borrow- 
ed their views from revelation, is this : The early Chris- 
tian fathers all believed in a future retribution. Yes; 
Clemei/Sy Origen and others, who believed in the *< resti- 
tution of all things/' were all firm believers Sn this 
doctritie. As these men lived in the first ages of (Dhris- 
tianity 9 before the gospel became corrupted, they cer- 
tainly had a better opportunity ef knowing what waft 
tauglit by Christ and his apostle^, than men can have at 
the preset day« Now a» these early fathers a^ec4 
wUk the Ancient heathen in opinion^ it goes to shoni^ that 
the heathen originaHy received their doctrine from the 
same divine soaree< It also goea to show that Christ 
and his apostles taught a future retribution* 

The Romish doctrine of Purgatory, which is frequently 
mentioned as a burlesque upon our sentiment, is acfuaHy 
an argument in its favor. The papal corruptions did 
not consist in inventing new doctrines, but in corrupting 
the genuine doctrines of the church. Their doctrine of 
indulgences wajs nothing more than an abuse of the scrip- 
turai doctrine of remission vf sins. And so of their 
other abuses. They all consisted in the perversion of 
some scripture doctrine. The doctrine of Purgatory 
was only a corruption of the original doctrine of a fu- 
ture disciplinary punishment. The doctrine of Purga- 
tory, therefore, goes directly to show that a future 
limited discipline was the original doctrine of the 
church. And it is no objection to our system to say 

that the Papists corrupted it, WVvo «s^t \Jwwi'^\.^\ x^-^ 

29^ LETTER Vn. 

jectiog the Eucharist, because the Papists held to Tran- 
substantiation ? Will jou discourage good works^ be- 
cause the Catholics held to Supererogatiq;i ? The fact [ 
is, everj professed Christian holds some doctrines which 
the Church of Rome abused. But as manj of your sen- 
timent wish to ridicule our scheme bj branding it with 
the name of Purgatory ^ we will for one moment inquire 
into the origin of the system in which you believe. 

By perusing the pages of ecclesiastical history, we 
learn that the Gnostics, that ancient sect of heretics, 
who disturbed the peace of the church, agreed with you 
in your distinguishing doctrine. They held that the 
-soul was an emanation from the Deity ; that there was 
DO material resurrection ; that the body was a mere 
clog to the soul, which went to immediate happinea, 
when dislodged from the body. And this sect was*^ 
founded by Simon Magus, that ancient enemy of the' 
|;ospel.* Your system then can boast of considefaUt 
antiquity, but it cannot be regarded, even bj yourselfi 
as a great honor to any system to be founded by a 
magician, and nursed by the Gnostics. 

But to return : All the writers of any reputation who 
have defended the doctrine of Universal Salvation, have 
believed in a future retribution. Yes, oUr writers in all 
ages, both in Europe and America, have been agreed on 
this point. I speak of those now off the stage. We do 
not intend to attach too much consequence to this cir- 
cumstance, but still we think it is entitled to some 
weight. Antiquity, though of itself no evidence of a 
doctrine, ought in all cases to entitle a doctrine to re- 
spect, till it be fairly proved to be unfounded. Anti- 
quity also does in some instances furnish us with good 
evidence, by carrying us back to the times in which the 
thing itself originated, giving those early believers an 

• See PrieiUeyH Church HibIotj, ^oV \. ^v ^> ^*^> W5. 




^pportanity of knowing the truth. And this is the case 
n the instance before us. But whilst all the principal 
irriters in all ages, who have adopted our genera! sys- 
em, have believed in a future retribution, the doctrine 
►f immediate happiness was scarcely heard of till within 
L very few years. Dr. Huntington was the first writer 
►f any note who denied a future punishment And since 
hat time, which was about thirty years ago, his scheme 
las been generally rejected^ and the doctrine which in- . 
reduces all men into heaven at death, has undergone 
nany fshanges, and in fact is still fluctuating. There 
ire scalrcely two persons on your side of the question, 
rrho are agreed in opinion. One founds the doctrine of 
mmediate happiness upon materialism; another sup- 
loses, that sinners are first suffered to drop out of being, 
md. then will be introduced into immediate happiness, 
ind another saves them by an imputation of righteous- 
less. You yourself do not appear to be at all settled in 
rour peculiar views. At one time you save mankind by 
leath, at another by instruction, and at another by the 
resurrection. This fluctuation of sentiment, this differ- 
ence of opinion, among the deniers of a future retribu- 
tion, plainly shows that there is great difficulty in their 
system. This multiplicity of sentiment verifies your 
ieclaration, that '' as long as men are disposed to learn 
the scriptures. how to talk, they will be forced to speak 
IS many different languages as were spoken at the build- 
ing of Babel, and with as much confusion." 

Before dismissing this subject, I will state one notion 
more which has been advanced by those who deny fu- 
ture misery. They pretend to believe in a future retri- 
bution, but they qualify it in such a manner, that to my 
mind it means just nothing at all. They assert, that 
men will be punished after death, if they die impenitent; 
k>iit they assert that this punishment is only a negative 
punishment, consisting not in any d^t^^ ^^ \sw\%Kx^^\K^> 

gjg LETTER VJ!. 1 

in a less degree of happiaess !♦ This sjstem appears fo : 
be composed of sound rather than signification. I will 
not detain jou bj attempting a labored refutation of ^ 
this novel sentiment, but will just remark : This nega- j7; 
tive punishmentt as it is called, either renders the sin- L 
ner unhappy, or it does not. If it does not, then it is I 
no punishment at all. To talk of men's being punished, , 
when thej themselves experience no unhappiness, is a 
contradiction in terms. So on supposition that this pun- 
ishment, as it is called, does not produce any miser j, this 
sjstem is no different from yours, which denies a future 
retribution in full. And if this negative punishment i 
does produce misery, then this system agrees with ours, \ 
and admits of actual suffering in a future state. It is 
useless therefore, for the abettors of this scheme to pre- 
tend, that this is a half-way system between yours and 
the one for which we contend. In fact this subject 
admits of no medium. If a person has any settled • 
opinion, he must either believe or disbelieve the doc- ] 
trine of future suffering for the impenitent. 

From what has been offered in this Letter^it will be 
seen that a future reward is reserved for the righteous. 
This consideration shows that a full retribution does not 
take place in this state. Fvery passage which teaches 
a future reward, teaches a future punishment also. This 
you acknowledge. And as a future reward is clearly 
proved, it follows of consequence that there will be a | 
future punishment. We have also seen that a future 
retribution is the common sentiment of mankind. If this 
sentiment is borrowed from dirine revelation, it is deci- 
sive in favor of our opinion; and if it arises from any 
principle implanted in our nature, by the Dei^, asit I 
must, if it is not derived fram revelation, it furnishes os j 
with an argument nenHy as forcible. We have further 

♦ See Cbristfan Telescope^ «A\\*A\>7 %«^.T^«YV^«t^^. 

LETTER Vn. 25y 

seen that all the principal defenders of Universal Salva- 
tion, both in Europe and America, till within a very few 
years, have believed in a future retribution ; while the 
system for which you contend, has^ from its first appear- 
ing in latter times, been in a state of almost perpetual 
fluctuation. This is a just statement of the prevalence 
and permanency of the two systems, and this is just 
what might naturally be expected on supposition that a 
future retribution is the truth of God, and its opposite 
the invention of man. 

Yours, &c. 




Objections considered. 


In this Letter I propose to consider some of the prin- 
cipal objections which you urge against a future retribu- 
tion, which have not already been answered in these 
Letters. Some of your arguments which I shall here no- 
tice, are perhaps more properly arguments in favor of your 
system, than objections against mine. They may, how- 
ever, with propriety be introduced here. Your most 
popular objection to a future punishment is this ; — All 
men are to be raised immortal, and immortality cannot 
suiTer, consequently ther^ can^be no misery after death. 
That you make great use of this argument, may be seen 
by many quotations, among which is the following.— 
<*Whoever will pay a serious attention to the subject 
under consideration, and lay all prejudice aside, will 
soon learn that divine revelation allows no condemnation 
— no siu'^in an immortal stete.''* 

Your argument in relation to immortality, rests upon 
two pn^iitions. The premises from which your conclu- 
sion, that there can be no condemnation after death, is 
drawn, are these, viz. that imnutrtality cannot suffer, and 
that all wjtn put on immortality at the moment of death. 
If either of these positions be untenable, then your 
conclusion will faif. Do you assert that immortality 
cannot suffer ? You do. Thus far then, you have the 
confidence to state one of your premises. But do you 
state the other position, viz. that all men are raised to 
immortality at 4ie moment of death ? No ; you do not 

• Reply to Merritt, p. 34. See alio Lectares, pp. 94, 3#9, 370. 
U. Mag. Vol IV. p. 161. M n- 'J , 


f ou dare not hazard that assertion. Thus we see that 
'ou dare not state your premises, and stili you appear 
o be very fond of exhibiting the conclusion, fiut you 
Yill probably say that all men will be immortal in the 
*esurrection. This is only evading the question. The 
][ue8tion is, do all men put on immortality at the mo- 
ment of death ? To say that all men become immortal, 
does not answer your purpose. For, if we should admit 
that Immortality cannot suffer, men still might suffer 
between death and the resurrection, if the resurreetion 
does not take place immediately at death. You fre^ 
quently represent men as being saved by the resurrec- 
tion. This is admitting that they may be unhappy till 
the resurrection. Now in order to support your doctrine 
of no misery after death, yoii must not only prove that 
immortality cannot suffer, but you must also prove that 
dtl men beconie immortal at death ; or in other iwords, 
that death and the resurrection are simultaneous events. 
The above is all the reply this objection merits. You 
cannot with any consistency at all urge this objection, 
until you have proved both of the positions mentioned 
above. Will you, who possess such strong reasoning 
powers, pretend to say, that the conclusion will be valid, 
when (he premises are false ? And will you still conti- 
nue to urge a conclusion whose premises you dare not 
even state ? NoW, Sir, I call upon you in the most im- 
perative manner to come forward and prove that all men 
are raised to immortality at death, and' that immortality 
excludes all suffering of necessity; or else never pre- 
sume to urge the objection we are considering, against a 
future retribution. Though this objection has been suf- 
ficiently examined, as you lay great stress upon this 
point, I will condescend to give it a particular examina- 
tion. Let it be remembered then that this argument 
rests upon two positions. 1. That all men will be raU 
sed at the moment of death to %mmoTlAV^>^- te.^ ^ 

850 LETTER Vm. 


Thai immortality cannot suffer. These positions we 
will examine separately. 

1. Ml men are raised to immortality at the moment of 
death. This praposition, whicK is one of the main pillars 
on which your argument rests, is diametrically opposite to 
the scriptures. When you urge this argument against oar 
views* you virtually say that men are saved by the re- 
surrection. We have already seen* some of the absur- 
dities attendant upon that view of the subject. When 
you rely upon this argument, you in fact confess that 
your other grounds are untenable : for if men are saved 
by the resurrection, they are not saved by death's stop- 
ping their career of wickedness— not by being instruct- 
edf and not by faith and repentance, those indispensable 
prerequisites for the enjoyment of heaven. But the 
question is, are all men raised to immortality at the mo- 
ment of death? We haveittfi fer«er'I*ott»ry pplntfld j 
out some of the objections to this notion. It ,was then i 
shown that the scriptures declare, that Christ was the 
**first bom from the dead," which could not have been 
the ease, if all men rise from the dead at the moment of 
death. It was also seen that David had not arisen in 
the days of the apostles, which shows that the resurrec- 
tion is a future event. 

But on the subject of the resurrection you constantly 
refer to the 15th of 1st Corinthians. Let us then for a 
moment look at that scripture, and see if it teaches us 
that all men are raised to immortality at death. The 
apostle after speaking of the resurrection of Christ, com- 
mences the subject of man's resurrection in the follow- 
ing language ; — "For as in Adam all die, even so in 
Christ shall all be made alive." Verse £2d. Here it is 
asserted that all shall be made alive, but there is not the 
least intimation that this resurrection takes place at 
death. After declaring that all shall be made alive, the 

* See Letter 11. to wb\oU IV^^ t%^^<6t u t^c^^Xft^Va Va^tix* 


ipostle adds, "But everj roan in his own order ; Christ 
the first fruits, afterwards thej that are Christ's at his 
coming." Verse 23. This verse, instead of favoring 
rour idea, is directly opposed to it The apostle here 
.ssures us, that Christ is the first fruits of the resurrec- 
ion, that is,^the first who rose to immortal life. This is 
Iso taught in verse 20th^^*But now is Christ risen 
rem the dead, and become the first fruits of them that 
lept." This proves that the Lord Jesus was the first 
yho put on immortality. This sense of the passage is 
;onfirmed by verse 2l8t — ^"'For since by man came death, 
y man came also the resurrection of the dead." Death 
s said to come by Adam, because he was the first who 
txperienced it. In like manner the resurrection is said 
o come by Christ, because he was the first raised from 
he dead to life immortal. Elsewhere the apostle says, 
hat Christ isthe fir si horn from the dead. These pas- 
sages clearly prove that Christ was the first, ^ho arose 
Vom the grave to immortal life. But this cannot be 
:rue, if every man is raised at the moment of death* 
We must, therefore, conclude that your argument is 
bunded upon false premises, or that the apostle was 
mistaken in his opinion.— But the apostle, after having 
itated that Christ was the first fruits of the resurrection^ 
nforms us that men shall be raised afterwards. ''Christ 
he first fruits, afterwards they that arc Christ's at his 
coming." This passage not only says, that Christ rose 
irst, but it also says that men shall rise afterwards. 
STo language can more clearly contradict your position. 
Besides the apostle informs us, that those who are 
Christ's, shall be raised at his ceming. Now I will sub- 
nit it to you to determine whether this alludes to his 
Irst coming, which is already past, or to hi"^ future com- 
ing. But in either case, it shows that all men are not 
aifsed at the hour of death. Christ's coming must mean 
lome particular time, and hence the r^^^x\^^V^N^ ^^^ss^^^ 

Sg;i LETTER Vm« 

take place at ODe time as much as at another* Again ; 
the apostle says, verses dlst and 52d — '^Behold, [ show 
jou a mjsterj ; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all 
be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at 
the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the 
dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be chan- 
ged." Paul in this connexion by sleep means death. 
So when he says, '<we shall not all sleep, but we shall all 
be changed," his meaning is, we shall not all die a tempo- 
ral death, but we shall aH be changed from mortal to 
immortal beings. But when shall this take place? The 
passage shall answer. "At the last trump, the dead 
shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." 
This then informs us, that when the dead are raised to 
immortality, the saints who are alive on the earth, shall I 
be changed to immortal beings. This truth is taught 
still more clearly, if possible, in 1 Thess.iv. 14, 15, 16, ^ 
17. "For if we believe that Jesus Christ died and rose \ 
again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God { 
bring with him. For this we say unto you bj the word 
of the Lord, that we which are alive^ and renuiin wdo 
the coming oftheiLord, shall not prevent them which are 
asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from hea- 
ven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and 
with the tramp of God. And the dead in Christ shall 
rise first. Then we which are alive, and remain, shall be 
caught lip together with them in the clouds, to meet the 
Lord in the air. And so sliall we ever be with the 

This passage teaches us that the resurrection is to 
take place at Ci^ris^'s coming, which shows that all men 
are to be raised at some particular period. It farther 
informs us, that, when the dead are raised, those whieh 
are alive on the earth, shall be changed, so a« to be able 
io ascend up into the clouds, and meet the Lord in the 
Min Hei'e then we can «ipf «ii\ lo ^Valn matters of fact. 


Has this time ever arrived ? Have those who are alive 
an the earth ever been changed to immortal beings ? 
Have thej ever been able to ascend up and meet the 
Lord in the air? No man will even pretend this. 
Then it is evident that the resurrection is a future event ; 
and consequently it cannot be a fact that every person 
is raised to immortality, at the death of the body. What 
has been offered is deemed more than sufficient to con- 
fute your position, that death and the resurrection are 
simultaneous events. 

But perhaps you will say, that I might have saved 
myself the labor Qf confuting a position which you have 
never advanced as your opinion. But why have you 
not advanced this position ? Your argument absolutely 
requires it. You are bound by all rules of reasoning to 
advance this position, or else abandon the inference you 
draw from it. It is of no use to you to say, that im- 
mortality cannot suffer. It would be of no use to prove 
tba^ immortality excludes all suffering, unless yuu prove 
also, that every person is raised to immortality at death. 
Suppose that immortal beings are incapable of pain, how 
does this prove that there is no misery beyond death ? 
If men do not put on immortality, until long after death, 
they may be miserable after death, and this misery may 
continue till the resurrection. 

Now we have already seen, that the resurrection is a 
future event. This completely saps the foundation of 
your argument. You say, there can be no suffering in 
an immortal state. We admit it, and what follows ? 
Not that there is no suffering after death ; for as the 
resurrection is yet future, men may have suffered for 
hundreds or even thousands of years already, since their 
death, and their suffering may continue hundreds of 
years to come, before they put on immo|:tality.. Now if 
you were able to prove, that there could be no suffering 
in an immorial state, it would yield you no assistance. 


They may suffer in an intermediate state^ if they do not 
after the resurrection. Though destroying one of your 
premises overthrows your conclusion as completely» as 
if both of your premises were destroyed, still we shall 
not rest satisfied, till we have shown them both to be 
false. Having seen that your first position is void of 
foundation, let us now inquire into the truth of your 
other position, viz. That immortal beings cannot eJcpB' 
rience suffering. You frequently assert, that immor- 
tality cannot suffer. But we shall be better enabled to 
judge of the correctness of this assertion, when we shall 
have considered the subject maturely. 

In the first place, this declaration comes from yoo 
with a very ill grace. For you are in the habit, when 
pressed with any difficulty relative to a future retriba- 
tion, of saying, that we have no knowledge of a futun 
state. Attempting to expose a future reward for virtue 
you say, "Why should we believe that divine wisdom, 
with an intention to engage us in the service of virtue, 
should place its reward in a future state of existence, in 
a world we know nothino of, from which no traveller 
ever returned^ Again, in the same connexion you say, 
« But all this must be carried on in a secret place^ oat of 
sight of all the living ; and none to report it to its, only 
those who know voTHiNa about it,^^* Again you say, 
" As amazed as any one may be at my ignorance of a 
future state, I have no prtde in pretending to know that 
of which I am totally ignorant Aftfr all that has been 
said by our doctors of divinity pn the subject qi a fu^re 
state, reason will acknowledge that they have no mum 
knowledge concerning its partifiulmr^^ Ifton an infant 
cAiM."t Otvce more yoi sayf what man's {tonstitution 
in a future state will be, '' I biimbly Ibnceive qo Hving 
man knows or §an know.i In these paasa^csd yoii fissert; 

• L€ctur€i, pp. 899, 900. f U. Mar. vd. A pw 131. 

$ Ibid. p. 133. * 


that you know nothing of a future state, but arc total- 
ir ignorant of it. Now it is not a little surprising that 
a person who is so completely, so totally ignorant of a 
future state, should be so intimately acquainted with 
immortaiitj, as to know, that it necessarily excludes all 
suffering. When jour system requires it, you know 
nothing at all about a future world ! But no sooner is 
the case altered so as to require more knowledge, than 
your former ignorance is entirely forgotten, and all at 
once you are so well acquainted with a future world, 
and the texture of immortality, that you know that im- 
mortal beings can experience no suffering ! But where 
do jou obtain your knowledge, that immortality cannot 
suffer? Nowhere. You say yourself, •' For aught we 
fcnQW for certainty, sin may exist in a future state, and 
may then be purged by the power of divine goodness, 
and yet we may now be enabled to prove this to be the 
ease!"* In this passage you confess that you know 
not, but that men may suffer canderonation for sin in a 
future state. Nay, you confess thst this may be the 
oase, though we are unable to prove it. 

Now aifter these numerous concessions, with what 
pi^opriety can yod assert that immortality excludes mise* 
vf ? You lay it down with all the force of an axiom, 
that immortality cannot suffer ; and still you admit that 
the soul of man is immortal in this world, and experi* 
ences a great degree of suffering! In fact you urge 
this as an argument to prove that men will not be pun- 
ished after dealti. Since men suffer so much mental 
agony in this state, you think, it would be unjust to 
punish them beyond the grave ! Now this is giving up 
the whole force of the argument. For if the immortal 
soul suffers in thid world, with what consistency can 
you assert, or even suggest, that impaortality cannot 
suffer? The soul jou acknowledge is immortal here,t 

• (7. Mt^. vol Ul. p. 186. t S^e Mo\xeiiiwA\W*'^V^* 


and of course, it can be oo more than immortal in a 
ture world. And if it suffers here, it may suffer there ; ^ 
at least immortality will not prevent it Now if ymir ^w 
sentiment^ that the immortal soul suffers here be true, 
then your statement, that immortality cannot suffer, 
must be false. But if the latter be true, then the former |b 
must be false. But as you consta'ntly admit, and as ^^^ 



your system requires that you should admit, that the 
soul is immortal in this state, and does experience mis- 
ery, it follows of course, that your posithin, that imtiior- 
tality cannot suffer, must be false. 

But perhaps you will say, that in the present world 
the soul is united with a sinful body, and this occasibns 
the suffering which the soul feels ; but in a futare stfttei 
tna soul will be delivered from this corrupt body, asd 
consequently will be exempt from all misery of* pain^ 
This is giving up the whole positioa at oncn. It i^ uy* ji 
ing« that Immortality does suffer in this world, and li 





night suffer* in the next, were it not separated from 
corruption or sin* This then is resting your system ef 
immediate happiness, not upon Ihe supposed fact, tint 
immortality cannot suffer, but upon the circumstance, 
that men will then be free from sin. This is giving ifp ' 
the ground on which your argument is based. But do 
doubt you wish to inquire, whether the apostle does net 
declare that men shall be raised incorruptible, as well as 
immortal. We answer yes — he says this of certain I 
characters. But this again is deviating from the point ^ 
By referring to this scripture, you seem to admit that it 
is not from the simple fact that men will be raised im- 
mortal, but from something else, that you would infer 
their happiness. The passage to which you refer shall 
be attended to in its proper place ; but this is not its 
proper place. The simple inquiry before us is, whether 
immortality excludes all suffering. 
Oa the subject of immorUlvty^l conceive that manj 


[>eople essentially err. The word immortalUyt simplj 
lenot^i^an exemption from deaths or an endless life* 
Fhis term has reference only to the endless continuance 
i>f existence. It has no reference to the character of 
the being, or to his situation, relative to happiness or 
misery. An immortal being may be either virtuous or 
vicious, happy or miserable. We cannot prove that God 
is good or happy, from the fact that he is immortal. 
The soul you acknowledge is immortal here, and still 
vou confess that it is sinful and unhappy. In a certain 
sense, every man is immortal in this world. He has an 
immortal soul. He may be immortal in another sense. 
You, Sir, contend that all things take place by divine 
appointment, or in other words, are as God predetermin- 
ed they should be; and consequently they could not 
have been otherwise.* Now Adam, for instance, lived 
nine hundred years. And according to your views, it 
was the purpose of God that he should live to that advan- 
ced age; and it being the purpose of God that he should 
live thus long, it was impossible that he should have died 
before. During that period then, he was immortal. He 
was not subject to death ; it being as impossible for him 
to die, as it is for the purpose of God to fail. Now if 
the life of Adam had been protracted to ten thousand, or 
ten million of years, that would not have altered the 
principle. Or, if the Deity had been pleased to have 
continued him in being to eternity, the nature of his ex- 
istence would have been the same. The nature of his 
existence^ would not have been changed, if his life had 
been continued from period to period, and even to e4er- 
nity. If we live for a limited period, we live net only 
by divine permission, but by divine support If we live 
only for a limited period, we are upheld by God, and 
that continually. This is a truth you will readily ac- 
knowledge. Now if our lives are continued to eternity, 

* Atontnent, pp. 31-^-4K^. 

£gg LETTER Vm. 

this caDDot alter the principle in the least. For surely, 
if we cannot live for a limited period without being con- 
stantly upheld by God, we cannot expect to live through 
eternity, independent of his support St Paul in a con- 
nexion where he was treating of a future^ as well as the 
present life, says, "In him we live, and move, and have l' 
our being.'** r 

But you seem to speak of immortality, as though it 
were a certain substance, which if once given to men, 
they would always possess ; or in other words, as though 
the Deity in a future state would give man a constitu- 
tion, which would continue itself in being to eternitj, 
without the upholding or supporting hand of God.— Thii 
notion, I conceive, is contrary both to scripture and rea- 
son. The sacred writers plainly teach us that our pre- 
sent and f^iture existence depends constantly upon God. 
Our Savior when teaching a future life, says to his disci- 
ples, *<^Because I live, ye shall live also."t This passage 
teaches us that we shall live in a future state by the con- 
stant support of Christ, as agent of the Father. The saints 
shall live, because Christ lives. But if the constitution 
given us in a future state, be immortal from its very 
nature, so as to require no support from God, or his 8<m 
Jesus Christ, there can be no propriety in the declaration 
of our Lord; for on your view of the subject, if men 
are once raised to a future life, they would live to eter- 
nity, though Christ should not Qur Lord confirms this 
interpretation, in the same connexion, by sayin^^ **I am 
the vine, and ye are the branches,"]: BranchM, we Hi 
know, are constantly dependent upon the vine. The 
branches Uve, not because the Tine gives them an exist- 
ence which will continue tbein ia biring without aopport 
from the vine, but because the vine constanflynoairishes 
and Qipports them. Without this isuppdrtifinnn the me, 
thia brafachies wUl soon perish. *. The branches live by 


being constantlj supported by the vine. This is a just 
representation of our future life. It is a representa* 
tion given by our Savior himself. Our future life will 
be endless, not because God will give us a constitution 
which will necessarily continue us in being to eternity 
and render us independent of the divine Being, but be- 
cause the Deity will be pleased by the constant exercise 
of his power, to continue our lives to endless ages. 

This is the view of immortality which the scriptures 
hold forth, and this view is consonant with reason and 
philosophy. It would be^absurd to suppose, that at the 
resurrection, God will give his creatures a nature, which 
will render them independent of him to eternity. It is 
a false philosophy which teaches us that God put all 
things in motion, and gave them such powers as render 
them independent of himself for ever. It is unnatural 
to suppose that> when every thing else is active, the 
Deity has nothing to perform, and is only an idle spec- 
tator of the scene. " It has been the opinion of many 
of the wisest and best philosophers," says a learned 
writer, " that the laws of nature are not only the ap- 
pointment, but the actual agency and immediate energy 
of the divine Being himself, exerting itself according 
to certain stated rules which infinite wisdom has pre- 
scribed." The same writer quotes the immortal New- 
ton, together with Drs. Price and Priestley, to substan- 
tiate this principle.* These distinguished philosophers 
unitedly contend, that every cause and every effect de- 
pend upon the immediate ^nd constant eocereise of the 
fower and mercy of the divine Being* 

Thus we see that the common sense and the most 
learned philosophy of roan concur with the scriptures, 
in teaching us, that every cause and effect depend upon 
the constant exercise of the power and energy of God. 

* 8€C Behham^f Evidences of Re've^\^^^^\\\g«s^^^\^•^'^^'^ 
fee also Farmer on Miracles. 



gyO LETTER vm. 

This being established, it is manifest that immortality --^ 
jdoes not form an exception to this- rule. Nay* we hate j^ 
already seen that this doctrine is clearly taught by the 
divine Teacher. Hence we are to consider the immor- 
tality of man in this point of view, vis. not that God 
gives us a constitution which is in and of itself incapa* 
ble of decay, but that our lives will be continaed by the 
constant, the uninterrupted agency of the Deity. 

Thia view of the subject will entirely obviate an ob- 
jection, which is frequently made to our views, viz. If 
immortality puffers, it will finally decay and perisk-— 
which is a solecism. This will also enable as to -see 
hoy^ an imnftortal soul can suffer in this world. Now if 
we regard our endless existence as proceeding from the 
continued energy of the divine Being, and not from m 
organic system with which we shall: be clothed, we can 
easily perceive^ that men may suffinr in an immortal 
state, and their existence may continue to -eteniity. It 
is the height of presumption in any man, espemally io 
one who admits that the immortal suffers in this worlds 
and who knows nothing about a future world, to say that 
immortality cannot soff*er. That Being who givea us 
immortality, can easUy make us susceptible of pun in 
that state. 

We have now examined your, position, that immortal 
beings cannot endure pain, and have«een that it is un- 
founded. We have seen from the nature of an endless 
existence, that miseiy is by no means excluded. We have 
also seen that you acknowledge that immortality does 
suffer in this world ; and since you confess that you 
know nothing of a future world* you cannot maintain 
your position, without the greatest inconsistency and 
contradiction. We have now considered the premises 
from which you draw your inference that there can be 
no misery after death. We have seen that, instead of 
each man's being raised at ^«a.^i)cv« ^^^ ^^Tv\k\:^\^^ ^^>^<^^ 


«U3 that the resurrection is a future event. And instead 
of immortalitj's excluding pain, we have seen that the 
reverse of this is taught in the scriptures. In a wordt 
we have seen that one of your premises you dare not even 
state^ and the other you acknowledge to be unfounded.' 
No«r will you continue to make use of an argument, the 
foundation of which you acknowledge to be false ? Will 
you impose upon the public, by reaisoning from prin- 
ciples which have no existence in truth ? We have s^en 
that your favorite argument is entirely destitute of 
foundation, and by relying upon this argument in future^ 
you will only show the weakness of your cause. 

But you say that the apostle in 1st Corinthians, l5th 
chapter, teaches us that men will be raised hot ' ohlf 
immortal but incortUptible and ^rlorious. Thiff p^AtCigB 
will require consideration. In the first places I' will 
refinark; that this passage does noit ftivdr your sohem^in 
the least For as you do not assert,' and as you c&mot 
prove, that airmen are raised to immortality atdeath, 
this passage furnishes you With no evidence, that men 
will iie happy before they are raised to this immortaU 
glorious state. But in reality it implies the contrary. 
You maintain that men are saved by being raised immor- 
tal and glorious. This is saying, that they are not saved 
until they are thus raised; and as you contend that 
there is ito medium between the mortal and immortal 
man,"^ it follows from hence, that they are unhappy after 
death until the resurrection. And as the resurrection ii 
a future event, the old world, for example, may now 'be 
in misery. Thus we see that 1st Cor. 15th chapiter, fur- 
nishes a complete confutation of your system. You 
may urge this portion of scripture against us, butyoudo 
it at your peril. And surely your case must be despe- 
rate, if you are disposed to sacrifice others on the altar 
of your own destruction. 

» j^e U. Mag. Vol. \V, p. \h%. 

27^ LETTER Vm. 

But in relation to the resurrection as taught in let 
Cor. XV. let it be observed ; — we have already seen on 
the authority of Christ and his apostles, that some are 
raised jusf, and some unjust, some come forward to life, 
and some to condemnation. Now whatever the apostle 
means in the passage in question, it is manifest, that he 
did not mean to contradict what he and the other sacred 
writers have said elsewhere. We acknowledge that 
when the apostle says, it is raised in incorruption, glory, 
, and power, he means that the subject thus raised, is 
brought to the enjoyment of happiness. But the ques- 
tion is, whether all men are first raised to that happy 
•tate, Christ, as we have already seen, says, that some 
shall come forth to damnation. And if we attend to the 
ptssage in question, it will be seen that Paul's language 
it in perfect accordance therewith. I conceive that the 
description which the apostle gives of the resurrection, 
applies only to the saints in this passage. 
.. BnXjovL will probably say, that the apostle says, verse 
f 2d,---**For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall 
all he made alive." We readily admit that this passage 
applies to all men. But what does the apostle say in the 
very next verse? «<But every man in his own order; 
Christ the first fruits ; afterward they that are Ohitst's at 
his coming." Here we learn, not that all men will be rai- 
sed alike to happiness at the same time, but that there 
will be a dift'erence. ''Every man in his own order.^^ It is 
evident that the apostle meant to make a distinction 
among those raised from the dead. But if all are alike 
raised to enjoyment, there is no order, no distinction. 
The first order mentioned by the apostle is, "They that 
are Christ^s at his coming." This implies that all 
are not his. It would be absurd to say, that those who 
are Christ^s, would be raised next, if all men were his. 
It is true however, that there is a sense in which all are 
Christ's. They are all his by redemption. But charac- 

LETTER Vni. S^8 

Icristically they are not all his. Paul says, "Now if any 
man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of W»."* 
Here we see on the authority of the same apostle, that 
there is a sense in which the wicked are not Christ's. 
So by those who are Chrises at his conring, we are to 
understand believers, and believers only. This is the 
first order. The apostle teaches the same doctrine in 
Ist Thess. iv. 16, a passage which we have already quo* 
ted. There the apostle says, "The dead in Christ shal 
rise first." By the dead in ChrisU in this passage, Paul 
means the same as he does in the other passage by f^ose 
who are ChrisVs. It is manifest that by tl^e dead in 
Christy Paul means believers. Paul when writing to the 
same church, uses the phrase, in Christ, to signify to 
become Christians. "If any man be in Christ, he is a 
new creature."t Hence it is evident that by tha dead 
in Christ, the apostle means believers. The apostle 
says, "The dead in Christ shall rise first" We cannot 
suppose that the apdstle meiins all men by the dead in 
Christ, for it would be absurd to say of all men, that they 
shall rise Jlrst* This passage then, confirms the inter- 
pretation we have given of 1 Cor. xv. 23. One passage 
asserts thht those who are Christ^s, shall be the^rs^ or^ 
der of the resurrection ; the other asserts that the dead 
in Christ shall rise Jlrst. And both of these passages 
assrureus that the apostle was not speaking of all men» 
but only of believers. 

But if all men are to be raised to immortal, happy 
life, at the same time, where is the order of which the 
apostle speiiks ? And if all men are raised tQ immortal 
happiness at once, how could the apostle say, that the 
faints shall rise first? Perhaps you will say, that the 
otdef to which the apostle alluded, was between Christ 
and mankind ; for Christ is spoken of as the first fruits* 

• Rom, viii. 9. \ ttCcK'** Vl% 



To this I answer, Paul was speaking of the resurrection 
of mankind, and not of the resurrection of Christ. He 
mentions Christ's resurrection, it is true, but he men- 
tions it only to show, that mankind shall be raised. In 
the preceding verse he says, " As in Adam all die, even 
80 in Christ shall all be made alive." Here you will 
perceive that the apostle was speaking, not of Christ's 
being made alive, but of mankind^s being made alive by 
Christ. It was of mankind therefore, that the apostle 
was speaking, and consequently the order mentioned 
related to mankind. Thus we see that St. Paul makes 
a distinction in the resurrection. Believers are the first 
order, or ks he expresses it in the other passage, they 
shall rise first. This is clearly taught in verse SSd. He 
then, by way of parenthesis, in the £4th, £5th, 26th, 
97ih and £8th verses, speaks of the rest of mankind, or 
the other order, and gives us to understand, that they 
also will be brought in before the end of the mediato- 
rial reign.* The apostle in the £9th verse resumes the 
subject of which he was treating in verse £3d, and con- 
tinues speaking of believers only through the rest of the 

Here then we have a view of the whole subject. In 
▼erse ££d, Paul assures us that all men shall be raised 
to life ; in verse £3d he tells us, that they shall not all 
be raised to happiness at the same time, but every man 
in his own order. He also tells us in this verse that 
believers will be the first order. Here then believers is 
the subject introduced. From verse £4th to £8th intlu- 
sive, he, by way tf parenthesis, speaks of the other 
order, viz. unbelievers. And then in verse £9th, re- 
sumes the subject of believers which was introduced in 
the £3d, and so continues through the remainder of the 
chapter to speak of believers, and believers only. FrQm 

* See Dr. Chauncej^s lUttTptelaAioYi ot V!Ki« V^^^^m^^^^^^^to. 
c/aJU MeOf pp. 203— S08. 


verse £9th to 41 inclusive, he makes several remark^ 
upon the subject of the resurrection, and then at the 
4£d verse commences a particular description of the 
resurrection of the righteous* 

But probablj you will ask whether I do not believe 
that all men will enjoy immortality and glory ? I an* 
swer, yes. I believe with the apostle that all men shall 
be made alive, but with him I believe also, that believers 
and unbelievers will be raised in their own order. And 
for the sake of the case, 1 will admit that the descrip- 
tion given of the resurrection in the 42d and following 
verses, applies to all men ; (and in fact I believe it 
does in principle,) it does not hence follow that all will 
be brought to this enjoyment at the same time. The 
case, would then stand thus, in the 42d and following 
verses, Paul speaks of the process of the resurrection, 
but he has guarded us against any mistake here, by 
telling us, verse S3d, that every man should be raised 
in his own order. 

The view of the subject we have now given, makes 
this passage harmonize with other passages of scripture. 
But on yo&r interpretation this harmony is destroyed. 
And granting your interpretation to be true, it yields 
you no assistance, as we have already seen. 

Before we dismiss the subject of this objection, we 
will notice one passage more, which you frequently 
bring into view, when treating upon this subject. The 
passage is found in Luke xx. 34, 35, 36. ** And Jesus 
answering, said unto them. The children of this world 
marry, and are given in marriage ; but they which shall 
be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resur- 
rection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in 
marriage ; neither can they die any more ; for they are . 
equal to the angels ; and are the children of God, being 
the children of the resurrection." Two c^^sax^^'^^^m^ 
tbif passage will show how littXe VI V% \ft l«^^ ^^x:^^^ 

aye LETTER vni. 

I. There is no intimation in the passage that this resttr- 
rection takes place at death ; and so it does not answer 
Tour purpose, as men may suffer after death in an inter- 
mediate state. 2. Though you apply this passage to all 
men alike,* there is no intimation in the text or its con- 
nexion, that it is designed to apply to all men. Does 
this passage prove that all men will exist beyond death? 
You yourself will not pretend it. If this was the only 
passage which speaks of a future state, no one could 
prove that all will exist beyond the grave. Now it 
would be palpably absurd to say, that a passage which 
does not prove that all men will exist after death, proves 
that all men will enjoy equal happiness in that state. 
The passage itself plainly implies that a part only will 
enjoy that blessing. When our Savior says, ""they 
which shall be accounted worthy" to obtain that world, 
he virtually says that all shall not be accounted worthy, 
and of course will not obtain it. If this favor was to 
be enjoyed equally by all, at the same time, there woald 
be no propriety in making the distinction which we find 
in the passage. We cannot interpret this text agreeable 
to just rules, without admitting that it applies to the 
righteous only. We have now finished what we had to 
offer upon the subject embraced in this objection. If 
you think our remarks have been extended to an unne- 
cessary length, we have our apology in the great stress 
you lay upon this point. Now, sir, interpret the Ist Cor. 
XV. as we have done, and it furnishes an argunient in 
our favor. But if to oppose our views, you contend for 
a difiler^nt interpretation, you do it at the expense of 
your own system. As you cannot prove that all men 
are to be raised at the moment of death, you cannot 
give a construction to this portion of scripture, which 
does not entirely overthrow your scheme^ 


We will now consider sereral objections which jou 
make to a futare retribution, not so much because we 
consider them of weight, as because they are so fre- 
:][uentl7 made use of by the abettors of your system. 
A.B I regard these objections of but little consequence, I 
»hall treat them with brevity. 

You sometimes object to future punishment in these 
RPOrcfi : " If we reason correctly, when we argue that 
there must be a future state of retribution in order to 
Dure the crimes committed in this state, why will it not 
be necessary that a state of retribution beyond the next, 
i>^ instituted to cure the crimes committed in the next? 
A.nd why. do we not in this way, prove the doctrme of 
sndless sin and misery?"* This objection briefly stated 
[ft this: If meo are punished in a future state for crimes 
Kommitted in this, they must be punished in a third 
state* for the crimes committed in the s^isofu2, and so on 
to eternity. Now the whole strength of this objection 
rests upon this principle, viz. that punishment is noi 
salutary, but vindictive ; a principle in which neither of 
us believe. Hence you cannot urge this objection with- 
out rejecting your own favorite opinion. Besides, this 
objection Mrel^s m rou«h agi^inst ^our theory as against 
mine. You believe that men are punished in this world 
during a period of time, for crimes committed ia a prs' 
ceding period. Hence this objection can be urged against 
you, thus : If men are punished during one period for 
crimes committed in a preceding period, they must be 
punished a third period for crimes committed in the 
second, and a fourth, for crimes committed in the thirds 
and so on to eternity. Now, sir, when you can reconcile 
this objection with your own system, you will then have 
exploded your own objection. 

Again; you object to future punishment on the 

* U. Magazine, vol. 111. p. 133. 


ground that civil goveriunent and human laws are or- 
dained by God, and Btill the penalties of human laws \^^ 
are confiued to this woi^ld. After stating that human '^^ 
laws are ordained by God, and the penalties are confi- 
ned to this state, you say, ^<Now if ail this, which is as 
plain as any thing in the scriptures, be granted, what 
room is there for the supposition that the penalty due to 
transgression, is punishment in the future eternal 
vorld ?"* Though this objection has, in principle, been 
answered in a preceding Letter, I will in addition offer 
the following. Human governments are either a perfect 
transcript of the divine government^ or they' are not If 
they are not, then the cirGumstance that hunsan penal- 
ties are confined to this world, is> nothing t^ yiMir {pur- 
pose. For though baman: governments do net ftkiAA 
men after death, the divine govemmentv may. * But if 
human governments are a perfect -traiMcript of the di- 
viniBi as they must be to answer yeur purpose, then' tome P 
men under the divine government will assuredly escape 
all punishment, and others will^be panidhed unjuftly; 
for you will acknowledge that this is frequently ihef ease 
under human governments. Betides^ if human govern- 
ments are a perfect transcriptof the divine, then^Qman 
governments supersede the necessity of the difine; 
then there is no government but human, so when anar- 
chy prevails in any nation, there is no goyernment at all 
to take cognizance of the' actions^ of men ! ! Thus is 
your argument false in principle, and dangerous in its 
influence. But as weak and corrupt as it is, we find 
you frequently bringing .it forward. Thus you say, **Lct 
us look around us, and see if prisons, dungeons, and 
gallows, are not a sufficient argument to prove that die 
wicked are recompensed in the earth."t Acc6rdng to 
this statement, if men are not confined in prison, hung 
upon the gallows, or punished in any other way by civil 

* L«c(ureB, p. 9. ^ IacV.. ^*^j5^» 







power, they are not punished at all, how guilty soeYer 
they may be. 

-^gftin ; you tell us that temporal rewards are suffi- 
cient to stimulate us to religion and virtue.* But how 
are they sufficient? Do they actually produce this 
effect? Are all men religious and virtuous? No one 
will pretend this. And' to say that any cause is suffici- 
ent to produce an effect^ which it does not produce, 
lodes a little like a contradiction. 

Again ; You object to a future retribution by saying, 
"That Christ came'into this world, to save us in another, 
is contrary to all the representations which are found in 
the scripture."! A few remarks will sh<xw, that this 
statement is hasty and unfounded. You will admit that 
Christ came into this world to save us from sin. But is 
this salvation effected in this world ? You will not even 
pretend it. You frequently assert, as we have already 
seen, that men are saved by the resurrection. But does 
the resurrection to immortality take place in this life ? 
The absurdity of the supposition is manifest* So it is 
evident, that Chri&t saves sinners in a future state. Now 
if ChHst does not save men in another state, some will 
not be saved at all. - l^he heathen who never hear of 
Christ, cannot be saved by him in this world. They 
nufit therefore be saved by Christ in a future state, if 
they are saved at all. You must then give up your be^ 
lief in Universal Salvation, or acknowledge that this 
objection has no weight. 

Another objection to a future retribution is contained 
in these words— "If one sows grain in a field in New- 
England, it follows, of natural consequence that the 
harvest will be gathered from the'same field; but there 
appears to be no natural connexion, as between cause 
and effect, between sowing grain iii this country, and 
gathering a harvest from it in Europe. St. Paul «a^iL^ 

♦ Lect. p. 301. ^ Vo\^*^.\^* 

ggQ LETTER Vin, 

•He that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap cor- ^ 
ruption.' This seems perfectly natural, because 'what- ^^ 
soever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.' But to 
argue that corruption may be gathered from an incor- 
ruptible state, is to argue against the very nature of 1^ 
things.''* ^ i 

This passage seems to present several distinct idca8i.|* 
One is, that immortality cannot suflFer, which has been ■ 


already examined. Another distinct part of the ai^a- 
mentis contained in the passage of scripture, •*hc that 
soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption." 
Because this passage says that they shall reap corrup- 
tion of the flesh, you conclude that it must be in this ^ 
state of existence. Now if all this should be granted, it 
would not oppose our views. Because men are punish- 
ed in this world, it does not follow that they will not be 
in the future. But it is not certain that the tttmJUsk, is 
here used literally. The word flesh is frequently used . 
to signify sin or sinful dispositions. This ia probamj | 
its meaning in this passage. But your argument re- 
quires that the word^sA should be used literally to 
signify the corporeal body. Now the word flesh in this 
passage must be used figuratively, or it must not. If 
it is used figuratively, the passage is nothing to your 
purpose. For the text would then read in sentiment, if 
men are sinful, they shall reap their reward from sin. 
The passage would then teach tiiat sin shall be punished 
without any reference to time or place. But if the word 
flesh is used literally to signify the corporeal body, thei 
sowing to the flesh, is doing things in obedience to the 
wants and necessities of the body ; then any thing 
which is done to satisfy the wants of the body, is ainful, 
and will be punished. Even if we labor industriously 
to clothe our bodies, or to procure food for their subsist- 
ence, we sow to the flesh ; we commit sin, and shall 

LETTER Vlir. 281 

Surely be punished. Thus, Sir, jou reap absurdity rath- 
er than advantage from your argument. 

You attempt to support your interpretation of the 
passage, by saying, "There appears to be no connexion 
between sowing grain in this country, and reaping a har- 
vest from it in Europe. But if we sow grain in a field 
in New England, we shall of natural consequence reap 
the harvest from the same field." — Now this statement, 
though true relative to agriculture, does not justly apply 
to the case before us. You say there is no connexion 
between sowing grain in this country, and reaping the 
harvest in Europe. True — and for this good reason ; 
the field in this country and the field in Europe are not 
one and the same identical field. They are two distinct 
and separate fields, having no relation to each other. 
But will you say the same relative to present and fu- 
ture existence ? Will you admit that an individual in 
this life, and the same individual in a future life, are as 
distinct from each other, as one field in America, and 
another in Europe P that they are two distinct intelli* 
gent beings? Dare you assert that Paul, for instance, 
in a future state, is another being totally distinct from 
what he was here, having no more relation to what he 
was in this world, than there is between the two fields 
abovementioned ? If you will not admit this, you acknow- 
ledge that your argument is foreign to the point, and so 
amounts to nothing. And if you do admit it, you es- 
pouse a cause which is no other than infidelity in dis- 

Since you have borrowed your figures from agricul- 
ture, and since the apostle uses sowing and reaping to 
represent our actions and their reward, let us for a mo- 
ment look at the process of raising grain. Dc we, as 
your system requires, sow grain, and reap the harvest in 
the very act of sounng ? Or do yi^ wq1» ^% wx\ v^^\fcxsv 
requires, sow the grain, and iViexi v>i«a\ «^ ^^wA V«^ ^^ 


S8S LirrTER vm. 

harvest? Let the eiperience of husbandmen answer 
the queitioii. 

Another method which you adopt to avmd a fature 
punishment for a part of mankindi is to represent all 
men equally guilty. If you do not state this in express 
words, still yon use language which naturally gives this 
impression. At one time you represent all "whose la- 
bors have been in the ministry from the highest prelate 
down to the lay preacher," as equally guilty.* At an- 
other time you represent a ^'company of mee^ and hum^ 
hie believers in Jesus," and a '^company of profaw 
sailors,*^ as being alike pious in the sight of God.t But 
does this description correspond with the scripture ac- 
count ? Do the sacred writers represent all men as 
possessing one and the same character ? or rather do 
they not divide mankind into two classes, the righteous 
and the wicked ? It is so evident that the scriptures 
speak of two classes, the righteous and the wicked, that 
you admit the distinction. But you attempt to do awaj 
its force by pretending that they ar^ both found in tlie 
eame individual at the same time I You say, "We find 
the righteous and the wicked in the same individuaL— 
Yes — in the same man and at the same time, we find the 
righteous and the wicked, *him that serveth 6od, and 
him that serveth him not' "j: We readily admit that 
the same individual may be wicked at one period of 
his life, and righteous at another. When the evil dispo- 
sition predominates, he is, in scripture phraseology, de- 
nominated wicked; and when the good disposition pre- 
dominates, he is denominated righteous. But to assert 
as you do, that the righteous and wicked are in the same 
man at the same time/is not interpreting, but destroying 
thescrif^tures. You make the righteous and the wickefl 
not individuals, but simply abstract principles or charac- 

* Noten on the Parabkt) VP- ^^ \^^?ft. ^ Va^^\^V^*^V 
t Lectnrtit^ p. ft92. 




ters. But what nameroiis absurdities doaa this princii 
pie invoWe! If th^ righteous a,Bd the wicked aign^jr 
not persons, but abstract characters, as thej must w 
your interpretation of these terms, then the indiyidual 
experiences neither 4iapfpiness normiserj; for when the 
sacred writers say that the righteous shall ei^oy happi'^ 
ness, a«d the wieked experience misery^ we must coo* 
^lude that the indiyidual has nothing to do with either ; 
the ofte being eiyoyed by the good pnaciple, aad the 
other endured by the bad ! ! 

Besides, it is a palpable absurdity to say that a char- 
acter abstractly considered, is capable of experiencing 
either happiness or misery. But let us look at some 
passage, where the terms righteous and wicked occur, 
and see if we can understand them consistently on your 
sense of these terms. Take the £5th of Matthew, for 
instance. Id that scripture the righteous and the wick- 
ed are spoken of; they are said to be separated from 
each other; the one are rewarded, the other punished. 
When Christ sentenced the wicked to a state of panish- 
ment, he assigns the reasons for so doing. *<For I was 
an hungered,^' says he to the wicked, **and ye gave me 
no meat ; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in ; sick 
and in prison, and ye visited me not." Now if by the 
wicked, we are to understand, not persons, but an evil 
principle, then we must absurdly suppose that Christ 
sentenced an evil principle to a state of punishment, be- 
cause it had not visited him ! J This I trust will be 
sufficient to show the falsity of your statement, that the 
righteous and the wicked are in the same man at ihe 
same time. As to all men's being equally guilty, I 
conceive that no considerate person will admit it And 
you yourself will not admit that in point of moral exceU 
lence, you stand no higher than the convicts in the 
State Prison. In this manner you acknowledge^ that 
there is a difierence in the cV\a.r«LCX^T% ^1 \SiWw* 

884 LETTER vjn. 

I have now attended to all the principal objections 
which jou urge against a future retribution, so far at 
least as I have learned them. I have endeavored to state 
your objections in all their force. If you have any 
other objections more formidable than these I have 
considered, I am ignorant of them. And I think you 
will admit that the arguments and objections which I 
hai^e considered, are those on which you mostly rely. 
The moral influence of the two systems will be con- 
sidered in our next 

• Yours, &C. 



Jifomi Ii\ftuencei und Condud^ Bwwrfu. 


tn tiikiog leave of this sutyjeot, I think it not improper 
to offer a few remarks upon the moral influence of th« 
two systems. It will readily he conceded that truth has 
a more salutary infloencis than error. That system 
which has the best influence upon society, must have a 
higher claim to our faith than any other theory. The 
gospel is designed to save sinners. Christ visited the 
earth to "save his people from their sins^^^ And this 
salvation is effected by rendering them virtuous and 
holy. Since virtue and happiness are inseparably con- 
nected, that system which is the most productive of vir-> 
tuoy best answers the purpose for which the gospel was 
gWeo, and consequently is the most likely to be the 
truth. These remarks will strike your mind as self-evi- 
dent truths. Before inquiring into the moral influence 
of the two systems, two things will be premised. 1* 
Doctrinal views do not have so great an influence upon 
the morals of society, as most people imagine. There 
may be many causes which counteract the natural ten- 
dency of a doctrine. The natural disposition of the 
person may, in a great measure, destroy the Jegitiroate 
influence of a system. <<The doctrine may dwell in the 
head more than in the heart It may be believed in the- 
ory, but not reduced to practice."* So that upon the 
whole, theoretical divinity does notprodttcesogreat an 
effect upon morals, as we might at fii^t imagine. 

* See a Sermon on the lubject of thii oontrpTcnY^ h\ ^^^^^ 
£dwai«l Tufoer. 

£5 ♦ 


2. Doctrines have different influences upon different 
persons. When a man by his own study and reflection, 
conies understandingly into any doctrine, however fatal 
its natural tendency may be, it will not be very likely 
to corrupt his morals. If any inquiring mind in search 
of truth, should at last settle down in Atheism, and 
embrace this sentiment, in an understanding manner, 
bis morals might remain as they were when he was a 
believer in divine revelation. His knowledge of the 
nature of things would induce him to be honest and up- 
right in his dealings with mankind. But let him pro- 
claim this doctrine to the vulgar, who would take it on 
trust, and defend it with arguments which he had put 
into their mouths, and it would be likely to have a very 
different effect. Though they might believe it as firmly 
as their master, and even might have less doubts upon 
the subject than he, still it would naturally corrupt the 
one, more than the other. So a man who comes under- 
standingly into a belief of your system, may continue 
to be exemplary in virtue. The refinement and eleva- 
tion of mind, which he may have acquired in search of 
truth, may continue to influence his conduct, and pre- 
serve him from falling into sin. But let this doctrine be 
taught to the public at large, and it will have a different 
influence. Upon men of less study and reflectiontit 
will be left to have its natural influence, and so will 
tend to weaken their sense of accountability to God. 
But upon men of more study and refinement, the delete- 
rious eff*ect8of (his doctrine are neutralized by the more 
exalted sentiihents of their natures ; and if their sense 
of accountability is weakened by. this theory, still that 
reflection and study, which led to its embrace, will have 
refined the mind ; and this mental refinement will exert 
an influence over the man in a considerable degree, 
and so keep the man moral. Though there may be 
exceptions to this, a% a\V ^eu^xuV x^l^%^ «till I am. per- 


suaded that what I have stated will hold good in most 

To speak of the moral influence of your system, is a 
subject of a delicate nature. This consideration almost 
inclines me to omit this part of the subject. But there 
ts one consideration whichi induces me to believe that I 
can treat upon this part of the subject, without giving 
oflTence. The writer of these Letters, with others, pub- 
lished, a few years ago, his belief in the immoral teti' 
dency of your system, and although at first you were a 
little dissatisfied, still an assurance on our part, that 
we regarded you with Christian fellowships was *<fully 
satisfactory" to you, and induced you to ^'reciprocate 
Christian feelings and fellowship."* Since an assurance 
of our fellowship was all that was required at that time, 
we presume that the same will be fully satisfactory at 
: this. From the circumstances alluded to above, 1 feel 
fully assured that I can speak freely of the immoral in- 
fluence of your system, without giving any off*ence, when 
I assure you that I do not intend this as a withdrawal 
of fellowship. 

We have several times, in the course of the Letters, 
mentioned the immoral tendency of your system and 
some of your arguments. You maintain that all men 
are duly punished in this world. Now if this be the 
ease, then sin punishes itself sufllciently, without the 
intervention of any person or power. Some men com- 
mit sin, and are not punished by any human law ; and 
as you maintain that these persons, as well as others, 
are sufficiently punished in this state, it follows that a 
punishment, amply sufficient, grows necessarily out of 
every act of transgression, and so punishes men to the 
full amount of their deserts, without the interference of 
the civil arm. This grows directly out of your views, 

• See ChriBtiaii Repository, Vol. III. p. 165. See also the 
• Minutes of the Southern Auoc'iaUon fet J«i^* ^\i^Vi^^* V^^ 

2gg LETT£R IX. 

and 18 what you frequently contend for. Now if m 
punishes itself sufficiently, then there is no need of any . 
human laws; nay, human laws are only engines of cru- 
elty, for they punish those who have been sufficiently 
punished already. Since human laws, on your aystemi 
are cruel and unjust, they ought to be repealed, {fp. 
good citizen can countenance a law whicli inflicts a 
punishment upon the innocent, or, which is the same: 
thing, upon those who are duly punished already. Your 
system aims a death-blow at the very foundation of all . 
law, and consequently, of all order. It saps the very 
foundation of all institutions, and if it were reduced tQ 
practice, would introduce a state of general anarchy and. 
confusion. This is the fataU but legitimate tendency of 
your scheme, if reduced to practice. 

But while your system has this fatal tendency, nothing 
of the kind can be charged upon our system. I very 
much doubt whether you can lay your hand upon your 
heart, and say in the presence of your Maker, that yon 
believe that a future retribution corrupts the morals of 
society. But if your system has any salutary influence, 
ours has all its advantages, and others saperadded. Ton 
say, that virtue is rewarded in this world ; we believe 
in all the reward which is enjoyed in this world, and 
also in an additional reward hereafter. And will in- 
creasing the reward make people less virtuous? No; 
the reward will be greater, the motive more powerful, 
and consequently will be more likely to stimulate to vir* 
tue. Our system not only exhibits a greater incentive 
to virtue, than yours, but it lays a greater restraipt 
upon vice. Your doctrine tells the villain who is plot, 
ting the assassination of his fellow creatures, that if he 
falls in his attempt, superlative glory will be his immt- 
diate portion ; ours tells him, that if he loses bis life in 
such a horrid attempt, he will experience a state of 4:or- 
rection and chaaii»enkeut. Kxisy^ V\^ ^ll^^xt v^ten, 

LETTER IX. 1289 

might not the robber go forth with composure, and say 
to himself, I am siaoing, it is true, but if I succeed f 
shall obtain a fortane ; and if I lose my life in the at- 
tempt, [ shall go in an instant to the enjoyment of 
heaven? In either case I shall be a gainer, he might 
▼erj naturally say, therefore 1 will embark immediately 
in this bold adventure. I do not mean to signify that a 
belief in your system will make every man a robber. 
Bat let a person who is meditating upon this subject, 
and who has weighed all the other motives which have 
any bearing upon the point, and finds his mind in a state 
of equilibrium — I say, let such a person, under these 
circumstances, take your system into the account, and I 
will submit it to the judgment of mankind to determine, 
whether it would not encourage, rather than dissuade 
him from his bold adventure. Suppose a person to be 
in a state of trouble, would he not have an inducement 
to put a period to his own existence ? Might he not say, 
and say with speciousness^ that God required nothing 
of him but what would promote his own happiness, and 
by committing suicide, he migfit exchange the troubles 
of earth for the joys of heaven ? I will appeal to reason 
to determine which system would be likely to have the 
most restraint upon a person who was upon a poize be- 
tween virtue and crime. 

Tou, sir^ embrace the gospel in opposition to infideli* 
ty. You consider the gospel as an invaluable treasure, 
thank God for this great gift, and pray that the religion 
of Jesus may become universal. But if your system be 
the gospel, how is it preferable to infidelity? What 
motive to virtue, or what restraint upon vice does your 
system contain, which is not found in some systems of 
Deism? How can you invite an unbeliever to embrace 
the gospel ? Or what excellency does your system con- 
tain more than his ? You believe that the ^q&^^I \s. 
valuable only as it makes men v\tI\xoxx^. ^^h^ w^^^^'^'^ 


you should invite a deist to embrace the gospel, he 
would naturally ask you wherein the gospel waa better 
than natural religion ? You would probably tdl bin 
that the gospel had a more salutary iDflttence thai 
deism. He would then challenge you to produce i 
stogie motive to yirtue, or restraint upon vice which did 
not exist in his system. Should you tell him, that ik$ 
^<^y of the transgressor Ufos hard in this world, while 
the virtuous and good enjoyed peace of mind, he would 
probably tell you, that he believed that virtue was re- 
warded and vice punished here ; that he believed in all 
the rewards and punishments which are experienced in 
this world, and you could believe in no more. Thus far 
he wo»ld tell you, that your system had no advaatsge 
over his ; and you would be compelled to acknowledge 
it. Should you tell him that the gospel taught the final 
happiness of all men, and had a great demand upon 
their gratitude, he could tell you, were he a disciple of 
Tinda), for example, that he believed in the endlesi 
happiness of all men also ; and if this wad an incentive 
to virtue, it was found In his system as much as io 
yours. How would you, how could you meet such an 
opponent? [ do not see how you could avoid confess* 
ing, that your system had no advantage over his. 

But perhaps you will say that most deists deny a future 
state, and of course your system would have an advan- 
tage over theirs. This then is admitting that some 
systems of deism have as high a claim as your system, 
though others fall below it. But in relation to a future 
statelet us inquire, what your particular views are ? 
You represent the soul of man as an emanation from tki 
Deity,* and contend that his future happy life consists 
in returning to the fountain from whence he came, 
This, as far as I am able to judge, is the common opio- 

• Atoneoient, p^. l^<^ \^« 

LETTER IX. jggi 

ion eDtertained bj the generalitj of those who embrace 
your system. Now this opinion was not only embraced 
l¥y tiibse ancient heretics, the Gnostics, but is the popn- 
hV opinion of infidels at this day.* No unbeliever in 
£yine revelation, who is not i complete Atheist, would 
otject to a future existence on this ground. Thus we 
se6 thdt your system, relative to its moral influence, 

fthe only thing wherein any system can be valuable) has 
ittle or no advantage over infidelity. In fact, some of 
the principal advocates for your system seem to admit 
this. Mr. Kneeland, when treating upon tins very siU)* 
feet, says, "But what is there, after all, in rational De- 
ism, that will not perfectly coincide with rational Chris- 
tianity ?"t He further pronounces the book of Revela- 
tions a "heretical figment, void of reason." lie labors 
lo point out the discrepances between the evangelists, 
pronounces their manner of writing "careless and loose," 
and finally gives it as his opinion, that the gospels were 
not written by those whose names they bear, but were 
the forgeries of a later age. But while he speaks thus 
contemptuously of the Scriptures, he compliments the 
book of nature in true deistical language. His words 
ire — ^Nature is '*a book, in which all can read with the 
tyes of the understanding ; which has not been, as we 
know it could not, neither indeed can it ever be, adul- 
terated by the arts of designing men. It has neither been 
interpolated nor mutilated; nor can any part thereof 
t>e spurious; which cannot be said, with truth, respect- 
ing the Bible !" But the above cannot surprise us, when 
we consider that Mr. Kneeland joins issue with the 
Atheist, and contends that God is matter, and that mat- 
ter is eternal. He says, that God "is an elementary 
principle of real matter, which inheres in caloric and 

• Palmer^s Principles of NatHTft^l^O. 
/ Pka»d€lpbia U-Msgaaine.. 

S9 2 LETTER IX. 1 

ozjgen, is as much material as thej are» and is nerer : 
separate from them !''* i 

I will not attempt to confute these wild and anti* 
christian notions, but will observe that they are the \ 
genuine fruits of the system I am opposing. Mr* K. is . 
^ a gentleman of candor and frankness^ and will fearlenly < 
state whatever grows out of his system. And when 
men are prepared to reject a future retribution, we mij 
naturally expect, if they pursue the subject to iti final 
result, that they will embrace views like those expressed 
above. That system, which leads men to pronounce 
some of the most distinguished miracles of Christ ''alto- 
gether incredible," and to assert they *^8urpass all be- 
lief," and "do no credit to Jesus, admitting them true," 
may, with no small degree of propriety, be called mo- 
ther gospel. This Mr* K. has done, and this appears 
to be the natural offspring of the system here contro- 

1 will go farther, and with your permission will coai- 
pare your system with Atheism. You maintain that 
your system has a peculiar advantage, because it brings 
the rewards and punishments immediately home to the 
hearts of men ; whereas a future retribution, by being 
at a distance, loses nearly all its influence.! Acoording 
to your views then, rewards and punishments in the 
present life are the only stimulants to virtue; and 
these, we have seen, you consider sufficient Now let 
us compare this with Atheism. You believe that rewards 
and punishments are experienced in this world, and the 
Atheist believes exactly the same. Though he disbe- 
lieves the being of a God, still his experience and ob- 
servation teach him that virtue and happiness, sin and 
misery, are united either by chance, or something else. 

* See Three Sermons^ delivered in New-Tork, March, 18SI, 
hj Abner Kneeland, pp. 6^ ft^ 5K>> 5^^ AA. 

t Led. pp. 299, 300. Mio Kt^^Al ^o^lUrn^^i^V VV^* 


He believes in all the happiness and misery which men 
experience in this world, and jou can belieye in no 
more. Now what advantage, relative to moral influ- 
ence,, has jour system over Atheism P The Atheist's 
scheme presents the same retribution, and of course the 

. same motives as yours. And I acknowledge, that I do 
not see wherein your system, in this respect, has any 

. vbetter moral influence than Atheism. 
.. But you will probably say that your system unfolds a 

. glorious immortality, which furnishes us with a strong 
motive to obedience — a motive which Atheism does not 
present. We confess that this statement does, in a 

; degree, prote your system preferable to Atheism. But 
still this statement only involves you in another diffi- 
culty. By saying that a belief in a future state of hap- 
piness furnishes a strong motive to obedience, you ac- 

^ knowledge that a future retribution will have a great 
influence upon the actions of men. For certainly, if the 
prospect of future happiness leads men to pursue virtue, 
the prospect of a future punishment will lead them to 

; forsake sin. So if you contend that a future retribution 
furnishes no additional motive to virtue, you admit that 
your system has no better influence than Atheism. And 

:jf, to avoid this, you admit that a retribution beyond 
death does increase the motives to virtue, then you ac- 
knowledge that our system has a better effect upon soci- 
ety than yours, for you contend that men are always 

- governed by motives. 

The view I have given of your system, is that which 

.'is entertained by those who have no interest in the dis- 
pute between us. Dr. Bancroft says, *• Every view we 
can take of the character of God, of his moral govern- 
ment, and of the final issue of his administration, forbids 
the supposition, that God beholds the righteous and the 
wicked with the same favor 5 and that he will, at the 
consummation of the present ft^%\A\iv ^'l ^vx^^ ^i^^^'?^ 



them iadiscriminatelj in the game condition of glory 
and happiness. Could the doctrine of Universal Salva- 
tion, in the above sense, be with confidence embraced, 
Christian faith would no longer have efficacy as a pcia- 
ciple of moral action; motives to. a virtuous life, in 
prospect of a future retribution, would lose all their 
force ; and to all tiie moral purposes ofsocietjft in prim- 
ciple there could he no difference hetmefu the Christian 
and the Atheist:'* 

This statement is taken from a work which yon have 
complimented in the following manner : ** The Christian 
charity and capdor^ which are peculiar and permanent 
characteristics of the. work, justly entitle it to the re- 
spectful attention of an enlightened public.'*t The 
Doctor, although h^ neither believed in your systeni nor 
mine, but wrote expressly against both, speaks of our 
scheme with respect, while he considers yours no better 
than atheism. This is an evidence of the public senti- 
ment upon the subject. 

I conceive that your doctrine leads very naturally to 
a denial of a future state of being. You say, that nten 
are rewarded and punished in this world to the fall 
amount of their deserts. Now it might be very natural 
to inquire, why should man live in a future state, if his 
accounts are all squared at death P Why should he be 
continued in being, if he has no punishment to receive 
on the one hand, nor reward to obtain on the other? 1 
say, these inquiries naturally grow out of your views. 
We have a striking example of this recorded in history. 

'' The Sadducees, a sect among the Jews, derived their 
name from Sadoc, a Jewish scholar who was president 
of the Sanhedrim, about two hundred and sixty years 
before Christ. He taught his pupils that they ought to 
serve God, not from a mean regard to future reward 
and puniahment, but from pure filial love. to him. Hence 

* Sermom, pp. 385, 386. ^ \is^^V ^^\A^, v\^V 

LETT£R IX. £99 

Sadoc inferred, that there wai no reward or j^ntshment 
after this life. By degrees their doctrine assomed a 
verj libertine and impioos form. The New Testameint 
assures us, that in the first ages of Chrirstianitj, thej 
denied the resurrection of the dead, the existence of 
angels and departed spirits. According to Joiephus, 
they looked upon death as the final extinction of soul 
and body: they maintained, that the providence add 
retributions of God were confined ito this world, and on 
this ground only they worshipped and obeyed him."* 

In this case we 4)ave the different stages through 

which this doctrine passed. Sadoc tegan by denying a 

future reward. From this he inferred, and very justly, 

that there would be no future retribution. This led 

him to believe that there was no future state of being, 

and this gave rise to libertinism and impiety. Since 

this appears so natliral from the very nature of the case, 

and since we have the above striking example before us» 

may we not be permitted to say, that this is the natural 

tendency of your syHtem f This conclusion is justified 

by the fact, that among tht warm admirers of your sys* 

tern, there is a good proportion of them who deny the 

resurrection of the dead ! a circumstance truly painful, 

but still a sober fact. 

From what has been offered, I trust it will appear, that 
in point of moral infiuence, youlr system has neariy the 
same influence as that of atheism. I do not mean to 
insinuate that you are inclined to that system, but still 
1 am greatly astonished to hear you advocate the prin- 
ciple l^at nutn is actmntabU only to the law of his own 
mind /t a principle at war with revelation, and even 
with the existence of a God— a principle which is the 
very foundation of atheism, and pernicious in its influ- 

• Tappan'B L^cfo^ ou the Jewhh AntiquilieB, pp. 2^f7^ 8M. 
t Atonem^Dtf pp. 15, 16, SO. 


ence. Bj GompariDg the moral influence of jour scheme 
with that of a future retribution, I think it must be ob- 
vious that the advantage lies entirely on our side. 

We will now notice several arguments which jou 
offer in defence of the moral influence of jour system. 
To show the salutarj influence of jour sjstem above 
ours, JOU saj,* *'Mj joung son asks me what recom- 
pense will be allowed him, if he is faithful to me in all 
things, until he is of age P I tell him that his recom- 
pense will be mj full approbation, daj bj daj, as much 
wholesome food as he wants, together with all needed 
clothing, with all other comforts and favors which he 
needs. He then proposes to relinquish one half of his 
food and raiment^ and to go hungrj and half naked, and 
jet do his whole dntj, if I will make him an equal heir 
with mj other children, in mj will. I replj to mj 
child, and saj. Son, mj love to jon has secured to joa 
all that jou ask in respect to mj final will, and joa 
shall have the whole recompense of well doing during 
jour nonage. Should I bj this lessen his motive to 
obedience and filial faithfulness ? No ; surelj, I should 
greatlj increase his encouragement." 

It is manifest that jou designed the above as a just 
representation of the two sjstems in regard to their 
moral influence ; for jou introduce it for that express 
purpose. But a more entire misrepresentation of the 
subject cannot be stated. The impression which jour 
similitude is calculated to give, is, that jour sjstem 
allows men all the comfort thej can enjoj in this world, 
while ours deprives them of one half. But the falsitj of 
this must be obvious to everj reflecting mind. We be- 
lieve in all the reward which is ej^perienced in this 
world. And do jou believe in anj more ? You must 
answer this question affirmativelj or negativelj. If jou 
MDSwer in the affirmative, then surelj jour faith is un* 

• U. Mag. f o\. 4. p. \a4» 


foumfi^tdi, tor jroa believe in a greater reward here on 
earth than exists in fact And if ^ou answer in the 
ne^tire, then you acknowledge that your repiresenta 
tion above is aiyust* There is no other alternative. 

Your argument, stated in a logical form in its greatest 
plaoribilitj, would stand as follows : Tou would say. 
** My sjrstem gives men a full reward here, while that 
of a future retribution givei them htU half that reward 
here. Now as the whole is griealer than one hdlff it 
follows that my system has twidfe the moral influence of 
the other.'' Though there may be a' taking plausibility 
in this argument, or rather sophism, every person wIm> 
possesses a small degree of judgment, must see its fal- 
lacy. We have already observed that we believe in all 
the teward which is experienced in this world, and you 
can believe in no more. This then I will lay down as a 
settled point, viz. Aat we both believe in the same quan- 
tity of reward in this umrld. Now you believe that tlie 
reward men receive here, is their full reward, but we 
believe that in addition to this reward which is enjoyed 
here, they will receive a glorious reward hereafter. We 
then believe in a greater reward for virtue than your, 
system admits. 

Now let us test your argument by mathematics, a 

science which will show the result even to a fraction. 

We will suppose that the sum total of the reward of the 

righteous in this world is equal to 50, and the reward 

wluch we believe will be bestowed upon the righteous 

after death, is equa4 to 50 more. . This makes the whole 

reward on your scheme amount to 50, and on ours to 

100. Now to state your argument mathematically apd 

in a logical form, it would stand thus ^— My system of* 

fers a reward of the whole of 50, while that of a future 

retribution offers only one half of 100 ; and as the whole 

of 50 is more than one half of 100, it followa tKal^i^^ 

system offers a greater rew^tA CImml ^3oii&x%^ ^^^ "^^ 
&6 • 


18 a perfect representation of joar arguroent, and its 
fallacj muit be obvious to the weakest capacity. Bj 
this representation it will be seen that oor sjstem ofTers 
a reward in this world, eqaally as great as jours. And 
in addition to this, it offers a great reward hereafter. 
And is not the motive greater on our system than tn 
yours ? There is no' room for debate here. What cao 
be offered to show that your system has as salutary an 
influence as oui s ? Does your system bring the reward 
immediately upon the act of virtue ? So does ours. And 
if this adds to the motive, our system enjoys its advan- 
tage as well as yours. In fine, our system has all the 
advantages of which yours can boast, and others in 

You frequently object to a future punishment on the 

ground that it excites fear, and fear subverts love to 

Ood.^ Upon this we will offer the following remarks^ 

Jt is just and proper to excite the fears of menm All the 

threatenings in the scriptures are designed to excite the 

fears of sinners. And to say that our fears ought nottir 

be excited, is precisely the same as to say that all the 

threatenings ought to be erased from the scriptures. 

The sacred writers exhort us to fear God in numerous 

instances in the scriptures. And what is so clearly 

taught in the divine oracles, is in perfect accordance 

with the dictates of reason. Why has God implanted 

within us the principle of fear, if it is never to be brought 

into exercise? And are penalties affixed to human 

laws for any other reason than to excite fear ? This is 

evidence that it is the common sentiment of mankiikd, 

that it 'is proper to excite the fears of the disobedient 

Now if you object to our system on the ground that it 

excites fear, you in reality object to the universal senti* 

ment of mankind and to the uniform language of the 

scriptures. Besides, when you say t^t our aystem 

• U.Mag. voVW.p,\^. 


sxcites fear more than jours, you acknowledge that it 
3re8ent8 a greater dissuasive from vice. And further; 
t is a common sentiment with jou» that men always act 
with a design to increase their happiness, and will not 
*efrain from sin, till they are convinced that sin destroys 
:heir happiness. Now this is acknowledging that their 
'ears must be excited in order to induce them to repent 
\nd.bow can this fear subvert love to God? You ac- 
knowledge that they will refrain from sin, when they 
ire convinced that sin is destructive to their enjoyment. 
\nd how does this induce them to refrain from sin ? 
VThy, by exciting their fears. And does it subvert love 
bo God to induce men to refrain from sin ? Do you never 
tell your hearers, that the way of the transgressor is 
hard ? Yes. Why do you make this statement ? To 
prompt them to a virtuous course. Thus you confess 
that it is proper to excite the fears of men. And this, 
instead of subverting love to God, actually produces it. 
Again ; you frequently assert that your system has a 
greater moral influence than ours, because it brings the 
punishment near, and so increases the motive to break 
off from sin. Now surely you will not be so inconsist- 
ent, as to object to our system on the ground of its ex* 
citing fear, while you boast of yours for that very reason. 
. When treating upon this very subject, you frequently 
quote the passage, ''The goodness of God leadeth to 
repentance." This text is brought forward to show, 
that it is improper to persuade men by terror. But let 
]|I8 not be imposed upon by words. The term goodness 
is sometimes osed in scripture to signify the pure mercy 
which God manifests towards his creatures in conferring 
real happiness upon thero^ and sometimes it is used in 
a broader sense to signify idl his dealings with bis 
creatures, including punishments as well as rewards. 
This you will acknowledge. ^ The term goodness^ in tho 
passage in question, must have one or tK* <iti«.t ^^^Sriwm^ 


meaningfl. Now if the term goodnm it med in itf 
broadest sense* to include all the divine administratiMi 
judgments as well as mercies, it is nothing to jonr par- 
pose. On this interpretation of the word goodnesst the 
passage simplj teaches that punishments as well u 
rewards, the justice as well as the mercy of God, lead 
to repentance. 

But if the term goodness is used in the other sense to 
signify mercj, and that alone, what does the passige 
teach ? Why, that the mercy of God leadeth to repoi- 
tance. But does the passage teach us that mercy is theoa- 
ly means which leads to repentance ? No ; it does not ; it 
simply says that the goodness or mercy of God leadeth 
to repentance. But do not judgments also lead to repen- 
tance f Yes ; the same apostle says that ''godly sorraw 
worketh repentance.^' The case then stands like this; 
men are led to repentance by mercies and byjadgme&tib 
And you yourself constantly maintain, that punisbmeDt 
is salutary ; that God punishes his creatures only to 
amend them. Now when you say that all punishment 
is salutary, you acknowledge that punishment leads to 
repentance. Now with what propriety can yon assert 
or even insinuate, as is often done, that the fear of pun- 
ishment has no efficacy in leading sinners to repentance, 
while your whole scheme rests upon the principle, that 
punishment is salutary, and is Inflicted only to reform 
the transgressor f These remarks are sufficient to show 
that your objection has no force. 

From what has been offered upon the moral tendency 
of your system, I think it will be obvious to the reader, 
that it is corrupt in principle, and if reduced to practice, 
would have a bad effect upon society. And the repre- 
sentations you frequently give of sin, are such as would 
naturally impress the mind with the idea, that sin is do 
evil, and that the sinner ought not to be puniahed at aJL 
In order to show the desert ot a\i\»a.iL^Wii ^«x vl^^^^t 


to be punished, you introduce the following simile. 
"YoQ who are the parent of a number of children, have 
an enemy, who,' taking advantage of the dusk of the 
evening, and by putting on some of your clothes, and by 
imitating your voice, deceives jour children, so that 
while they think they are following your directions 
through the most dreary, unpleasant wajs,they are zea- 
lously executing your enemy's most cruel injunctions. 
The poor deluded children sometimes complain of their 
hard service, and of being destitute of refreshment or 
rest, but are told to hold on with good courage, that 
ihxiugh their lot be hard at present, they may rest assur- 
ed> that as it is their kind father who is leading them, 
he will reward them ten-fold for all they suffer. This 
deception goes on till morning. No sooner than day- 
light appears, one of your children happens to get a 
glance of the haggard visage of your inveterate foe ! 
He starts back, and refuses to go any further, and calls 
on his brethren and sisters to stop, and tells them they 
are all deceived, and are devoted to the service of their 
father's enemy. They no sooner see their error, than 
their deluder leaves them, and you find your wandering 
offspring, wounded and half dead. When they see you 
they rejoice, and fly to your embrace, deeply regret the 
delusion that has led them from you, and humbly im- 
plore your favor. The question now before you is this* 
will you now punish your emaciated offspring because 
they have been deluded into misery and want ? Your 
answer is anticipated. You reply, no, surely my chil- 
dren have suffered enough, I will now let them see that 
their father's yoke is easy, and that his burthen is 

Let any person read the above, and he can no longer 
doubt relative to the moral influence of your system. 
The sentiment therein expressed goes directly to justify 


♦ Lect. p. ibO. 

30a LETTER IX. , 

every transgreSBion. In the first place, the Bentikneiit ii ^ 
utterly false. It was introduced by you to show the |^ 
just desert of sin. But it gbes directly to show that lii . 
does not exist. You state, that these diildren Tinii ^^ 
they are following their fatherH direttionSt while tbej j^ 
are followinj; their father's enemy. By this you wooM I 
teach us that every sinner, when committing the giDis- : 
est iniquity, really thinks that he is obeying the com- \ 
mands of God ! But will this sentiment accord with |. 
the scriptures ? By no means. We reatd of those who i' 
know their master's will and do not perforin it, and of \ 
those who sin wilfully after they have received the I. 
knowledge of the truth. Now will you pretend that \] 
those who sin wUfully, think they are obeying the com- 
mands of God ? It is a direct contradiction in terms. 
And will you presume to say that the thief, the pirate, 
and the murderer^ think that they are acting in obe* ^ 
dience to the requirements of their heavenly Father! . 
Every person must acknowledge the falsity of your | 
statement. And yet you represent this as the just de- • 
sert of sin ! ! 

Having seen the falsity of your representation, now 
let us inquire into the moral influence of the above 
quoted paragraph. By your simile you give us to un- 
derstand, that every sinner is so far deluded as to be- 
lieve that he is doing his duty, when perpetrating the « 
most horrid deeds. Yes, according to your represents- < 
tions, the pirate, when robbing his fellow beings of their 
property, and wantonly taking their lives to glut hil 
insatiate cruelty, thinks that he is following the diree* > 
tions of his Father in heaven ! I will not remark upon 
the absurdity of this supposition, but I will suppose that 
this strange sentiment should be generally believed, 
What would be the effect r Why, men would conclude, 
and justly too, from their system, that murder and rob- 
bery were no crimes *, aud, \ii &u«i \^^\. ii^ ^^^V. hiVvV»«c 


was sinful. For do person will pretend that it is crimi- 
nal for any person to do that which he reall j thinks God 
hfL% comijDanded him to perform. And being persuaded 
tbat DO act was sinful, thej would of course contend 
tbat DO person ought to be punished ! Thus, sir, if your 
^tem was generally embraced, and reduced to practice, 
men might steals rob a^d murder with a high hand, and 
feel the fullest assurance that they should not be pun - 
uhed by any law, human or divine ! Now if such a sen- 
timent is not r.'^plete with mischief, and pernicious in its 
in^uence, I know of no sentiment that can be. 

Many who have been the advocates of your scheme, 
b^ve been convinced of its deleterious influence. It is 
worthy of remark, that those who have come over to the 
system of Universal Salvation, and have since rejected 
the system, have been strenuous advocates for your 
particular views. Grossman, Kinsman, and Smith, who 
have lately renounced the doctrine of Universal Salva- 
tion> and have declared to the world .that the doctrine 
waa of dangerous tendency, were with you in sentiments 
and doubtlessly judged of our general system, by their 
particular belief. 

Though I have labored to show, and I think have 
plainly shown, that your system is of an immoral ten- 
dency, you will not understand me as saying, or even 
insinuating, that your character is bad. You will un- 
doubtedly perceive that I have spoken of your system 
as such. The corruption I have been endeavoring to 
point out, lies in your system, and not in your character. 
Your character may be good, notwithstanding your sys- 
tem may be corrupt. Because some climates are un- 
healthy, it does not follow that all the inhabitants of 
those climates are dangerously sick, or that they are 
sick at all. There may be many causes which coun- 
teract the unhappy effect of the climate, and preserve 
some ^t least in perfect health. AAkd%^VDk\^^^^ "^ 


your system — there may be many causes, which exert 
an influence upon the mind more powerful than a belief 
in a speculative opinion. In a word, I speak of your 

system in the same manner that you speak of CalTiiuflin, 
for instance. You pronounce that system of dangeroui \ 
influence. But you do not mean to be understood, that | 
all who profess that doctrine are immoral men. Tou 
are free to declare that there are many pious and prac- 
tical Christians professing that belief. I joyfully admit 
your moral character, and will do you tho justice to as- 
cribe it to your virtuous disposition, and not to your 

But although your system may not produce imuiorality j 
among its public advocates, still I believe that I may • 
assert that it has one unhappy effect even upon them ; 
it induces them, in their public labors, to dwell too , 
much upon doctrines, and too little upon moral duHes* \ 
I think the public will bear me witness when I say, that 
those preachers who are with you in sentiment, dwell 
less upon practical piety and morality, than those do, 
who believe in a future retribution. 

1 ha've already stated that I do not, by any thing con- 
tained in these Letters, mean to be understood as deny- 
ing you my fellowship. And I will here repeat, that I 
do not, by any thing herein contained, intend to deny you 
"the name and characterof a Christian minister.'* With 
this assurance you have already acknowledged yourself 
satisfied, and consequently all further apology is unne- 

As Christian fellowship is now introduced, I will o9er 
a passing remark upon that subject. The ground of 
Christian fellowship with me is simply this ; — a belief 
in the divine legation of Christ. If a man possessing a 
good moral character, professes to believe in the divinity 
of the scriptures, I consider him entitled to my fellow- 
ship as a Christian. CVimlLi^tk ie\\QV)%Vi\\^ d^e.^ dot de- 


.'^ocrnrHrrv^Ttnposip a pcrfcct ufiitj of Sentiment on cverj 

' f . ivii'jcioii. Men may believe in dif- 
:tS t;il:* rer»t (loctrioes, and belong 
•-. -.r ;>,,K'is,anH still be in fellow- 
VVs i \ 'ell a person, that I fel- 
li > ... t . . • .'. 1 !•» nut pledge mjself to 

^ •, ti:\'»'i ., ; i; v' ; pi.'iMjn ill which he believes. 
Ill lU' -w.* I • uf-k', : ^fwcver, and in fact, in all that is 
coauint^.i m liiesie Letters, ( write simplj as an indi- 
vidual. Tiiough many of my brethren agree with me in 
believing a future retribution, I know not how far the 
arguments I have made use of in these sheets, maj 
meet their approbation. 

1 have now closed mj examination of this subject. 
M J object has been truth. I have endeavored to pre* 
sent the doctrine of a future retribution in its proper 
light, and to exhibit some of the principal arguments 
which convince me of its truth. And in examining jour 
system, I have endeavored to state it correctly, and to 
meet your arguments fairly. And though I have spoken 
with the greatest freedom relative to your opinions, I 
have endeavored to avoid every thing which would look 
like an attack upon your moral character. How the 
arguments I have adduced will strike your mind, I am 
unable to determine. In examining and weighing the 
arguments in favor of a future retribution, you will 
consider that the question is not, whether any one argu- 
ment, separately, is sufficient to establish that doctrine, 
but whether they are all sufficient, when taken collec- 
tively, and in a proper chain. All moral evidence is 
made up of probabilities ; and though the probability 
may not be great, when each ai^ument id viewed sepa- 
rately, still when a great number of probabilities are 
vnited, they amount to moral certainty; And it is in 
this connected view, that yon are de«Vx^ \i^^^^ '^•ft^ 



argoHMiits adTattced in the different parts of mj book in 
faYor of a future retribntioD. 

Though these Letters are not written to provoke 
controversj, still, as thej are submitted to jou and the 
publie for examination, thej are liable to be attacked. 
Nor have I the least objection to their being reviewed* 
But, sir, should you attempt a reply, I have this request* 
to make, viz. that you give a definite statement of your 
views ufon, the sv^ed. As you believe that all men 
will be bappj immediatelj at death, 1 wish to be inform- 
ed on what ground you rest your belief;— whether the 
immaculate nature of the soul exempts it from sufiering, 
or whether it is saved by being divinely instructed in- 
stantly after death. Or if you rest your system on the 
resurrection, I hope you will state definitely your views 
upon that subject, and inform us whether you believe 
that the resurrection takes place at the moment of 
death, or whether you believe in a future general resur- 
rection. This request is made that we may see wherein 
we differ, and wherein we are agreed, so that we may 
not dispute about words only. I request this the more 
earnestly, because I am at a loss to know your precise 
views upon this subject Though I have read your 
works with a view to learn your opinions, I am still in 
the dark relative to the ground on which you base your 
scheme. As 1 have stated my views in a clear and de&- 
nite manner, I flatter myself that you will not hesitate 
to state yours in a manner equally clear. I cannot be- 
lieve that you will refuse to comply with this request, 
for this would be confessing that you are ashamed of 
your system. Yes ; — should you come forward to con- 
fute what is advanced in these Letters, without stating 
your own opinion with precision, the public would con- 
clude of course, either that you have no settled views on 
the subject, or that you are sensible of the deformity qf 


jour system, and therefore wish to conceal it In either 
case it would operate to your disadvantage. 

I cannot conclude these Letters without expressing 
the satisfaction I feel in the reflection, that we can en- 
tertain different views, and even discuss them before the 
public, and still regard each other with Christian fel- 
lowship. Hoping that what has been offered may pro- 
mote the truth as it is in Jesus, and that the pure gospel 
may flourish amongst us ; that friendship between us 
may long exist, and that Christian fellowship may not 
be interrupted, 

I subscribe myself. 

Yours in the faith of the Gospel, 




Pagpe 60, line 10 from the bottom, for thus read this. 
Page 65, line 10 from the bottom, for adults read adepts. 
TsLge 137, line 2 from the top, for immortality read mortality. 
Fage 148, line 11 from the bottom, for ktntfs read beings. 
Pag'e 163, bottom line, for at judgment, read at the judgment. 
Page 170, line 14 from the bottom, for figure rend figures ^ 
Page 229, line 8 from tha top, for utUl freUnd read uiUl not 

NoTB. The authar^s rttidenee being ai a greai diHtmee from 
i^ <Sfi^ ^ 2a6or qf earrecHng proofs has devolved esdirdy 
upon the printer. This wUl serve as tm apology /or any emits 
^M€h ike imJtdUgemt reader may ditcover. 





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