תמונות בעמוד

violence; and then it is impossible to describe their howlings and bellowings in their fruitless struggles to disengage themselves. A large bear once attempting to swim from Lofodon to Moskoe, afforded the like spectacle to the people; the stream caught hiin and brought him down, whilst he roared terribly, so as to be heard on shore. Large stocks of firs and pine trees, after being absorbed by the current, rise again, shivered to pieces: this plainly shews the bottom to consist of sharp craggy rocks, among which they are whirled to and fro. In the year 1645, early in the morning of Sexagesima Sunday, it raged with such dreadful noise and impetuosity that the island of Moskoe shook, and many stones of the houses fell to the ground.




M R. FULLER in his third letter makes several appeals to the Reader.

The following is the judgment of a Reader in consequence of those appeals.

In the paragraph p. 60. beginning with, “ You carefully avoid," Mr. Fuller has heaped consequences upon you, Mr. Editor, in a manner which is rather peremptory. In the heat of his zeal to effect this, he has founded his own argument upon a mistake. He takes it for granted that God's view of punishment, exactly coincides with Mr. Fuller's. He also mistakes in his choice of a rule when he says, “ we cannot have a more certain rule of estimating the just demerit of sin, than the wrath of God which is revealed from heaven against it.” But unless Mr. Fuller can tell the exact quantity of the wrath of God which is revealed against it, he must admit that he has chosen to determine with certainty, by a rule the measure of which is altogether uncertain.

Mr. Fuller not only takes it for granted that God's view of punishment is exactly coincident with his own by proposing “ the wrath of God which is revealed from heaven," as the most certain rule possible in estimating the future punishinent of sinners, a rule which he can know neither the length nor the breadth of, and which he could not speak of positively without taking for granted that his thoughts in this respect are God's thoughts--but also, at the close of the same paragraph, Mr. Fuller goes on to say, “ A criminal who has suffered the full penalty of the law, has noright to be told his liberation is an act of grace, or that it was owing to the mediation of another. Your Universal Salvation, therefore, is no point of that which arises from the grace of God." Here the Reader thinks that if it should be granted that Mr. F. may argue froin the conduct and laws of men, to those of God, yet that he has not stated a parallel.case. Mr. F. does not distinguish between this life and the next, or he would have perceived the futility of stating such a case. Such an one as the following would perhaps have been more to the purpose.

• Suppose a man to have committed a crime, and that instead of being instantly punished to the utinost rigor of the law, certain conditions of behaviour are proposed to him for his observance during a certain number of years, at the expiration of which he shall be brought up and examined upon the conditions, and receive sentence, according to what the condition certified to him, from the beginning to the end of the term, shall have prescribed; which, suppose to be the following alternative; to receive a rich inheritance, if his conduct shall be found to have come within the line marked out in the conditions; if otherwise, to be sent to the Hulks. This man's case is not applicable to the subject in question, till after the expiration of the term specified in the conditions. Now is there not rooin, even after the inan shall have been condemned and sent to the Hulks is there not room for an order from the king to some one or more of his servants to take such measure as shall effectually reform this criminal, and as soon as he shall be sufficiently reformed to liberate him from the Hulks? Here then let Mr. Fuller observe that there is both grace and mediation.

* The Scriptures (says Mr. Fuller, p. 61.) teach us that those who at a certain period are found filthy, shall be filthy still; that they shall be cast into the bottomless pit, which was prepared for the devil and his angels, and that they shall dwell with everlasting burnings."

The Reader is of opinon that Mr. F. here takes for granted the very thing he ought to prove. Do the Scriptures teach these things? You, Mr. Editor, will say they do not And the Reader is of opinion that in strictness of reason, your denial without proof, is as good as Mr. Fuller's affirination without proof. The Reader is not to be frighted from examination by bold speeches and claims to authority which have no support in truth and fact, and therefore he has compared this affirmation with the Scriptures alluded to in it. I say alluded to, because to deserve the epithet quoted, they should have been put down in the exact words of the sacred writers.

Mr. Fuller, in the above quoted sentence from p. 61. aliudes, first of all, to Rev. xxii. 1. but in this passage there is no such expression as that which he has put in italics. The common English version reads it, as it ought to be read, in the imperative, “ he that it unjust, let him be unjust still; and he that is filthy let him be filthy still.” Surely the language of exhortation, or bidding, is not to be construed as though it were the language of an absolute irreversible decree! The Reader thinks Mr. F. could not well have made a more unfortunate choice of a text than this, if his intention be to support the eternity of hell torments. It is unfortunate, because the adverb rendered in English “ still," is a word of a very indefinite sense, and requireseven in this very book of the Revelation to be variously rendered. St. Jerome's Latin version thus renders the passage, “Qui nocet noceat adhuc, et qui in sordibus est sordescat adhuc.Tremellius and Junius i render it, “Qui injuste agit, injuste agat adhuc;, et qui sordibus est . sordescat adhuc.". Supposing this to apply to the subject in question, · how very far is it from helping the cause of. Mr. Fuller! How very far short does adhuc fall of æterne, or in eternum!..nezt minis

This allusion of Mr. Fuller's is unfortunate for his cause, since it does not apply to the time in question, for ver. 12. proves that the warning in the 11th verse is intended to operate for the reformation of men in the present state so as to prepare them for Christ's coming at the day of judgment. “ Behold I come quickly; do not therefore, if wicked, continue in wickedness; or, if righteous, do not renounce your righteousness, seeing that, at my coming, which will quickly take place, I shall bring a reward with me, to give to every inan according as his works shall be." Thus the Reader paraphrases ver. 11, 12. This allusion, then, gives the cause of eternal punishment no support. It is incorrect. And if it were correct, it applies to a period, previous to the day of final judgment, at the second coming of Christ; and is not intended to condemn, but to save mankind.

The next allusion of Mr. Fuller is most probably to Rev.-XX. 1-4. Here it is said that the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, being bound for a thousand years, was cast into the bottomless pit. But Iwish Mr. Fuller would instruct the Reader where it is said that any of the human race was cast into this bottomless pit together with him? For it is said, ver. 5. " But the rest of the dead lived not again until die thousand years were finished," so that, unless the righteous mentioned ver. 4. were thrown in, I know of no other, that could possibly. This allusion to the bottomless pit then seems to have no colour, even of similitude, in favour of Mr. Fuller's cause.

This bottomless pit, Mr. Fuller next tells us, his Readers, '“ was prepared for the devil and his angels." The Reader would be glad Mr. Fuller would please to direct him to any passage in Scripture which authorizes this affirmation. Mat. XXV. 41. there is mention of a fire

prepared for the devil and his angels, and Rev. XX.10. of a lake of fire and · brimstone, into which the devil should be cast, where the beast and the

false prophet also should be tormented day and night during the period there specified, and ver. 15. that whosoever shall not be found recorded in the book of life, shall be cast into the lake of fire. But no where in Scripture can the Reader find any mention of a bottomless pit prepared for the devil and his angels. The reader begs Mr. Fuller to point him to such a passage.

The next thing with which Mr. Fuller acquaints his Readers, is dat " the Scriptures teach us, that those who at a certain period are found filthy-hey shall dwell with everlasting burnings."

The Reader supposes Mr. Fuller to allude in this expression to Isaaih, xxxiii. 14. “ The sinners in Zion are afraid, fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites; who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who amongst us shall dwell with everlasting burnings." ' .

Surely Mr. Fuller never attentively considered this passage, or he would hardly think of alluding to it as though it proved the eternity of hell torments. Yet the Reader, knows of no other passage whence he could extract the phrase “ everlasting burnings." As some understand it, the prophet here, so far from teaching the eternity of hell torments, only repeats after them, the language of affright, in which hypocrites discover their apprehensions of punishment, in a moment when terror

had entered into their souls: or, as, perhaps with still greater accuracy, it has been remarked, “ The inquiry contained in the verse is made, not by the singers and hypocrites mentioned in it, as the Chaldee paripbrast and others understand it, but by the prophet, who having observed that they would be terrified at the interposition of God in the destrution of the Assyrian army, proceeds to put this general question to his own countrymen, “ Who among us shall dwell with God, who will be a consuining fire to the wicked part of us, as well as to our eneinies ?" See Deut. iv. 24. ix. 3. and IIéb. xii, 29.; and with the question and the answer iminediately following it compare Ps. v. 46. xv. and xxiv. 3-5.

The Reader thinks the manner in which Mr. Fuller argues from Scripture (if arguing it can be called) highly objectionable. Mr. Fuller's object is 10 prove the future punishment of mankind eternal. In order to this he takes one passage from the xxiid of Revelations, which he supposes to refer to eternal torment, he sets it down very differently from the sense and even words of the sacred writer; to this he joins an expression found in the xxth chapter of the same book, which does not refer to mankind at all, to this he conjoins a third expression found in Mat. XXV., he then subjoins a fourth, extracted from the prophet Isaiah; these he connects into one sentence, and affirms of it, so the Scriptures teach us! The Reader is apprehensive that any thing most impious and false may be proved froin Scripture after this inethod, and cannot but be of opinion that the sentence now under consideration, may be added to the well known instances of delusive proof from holy writ, namely “ there is no God," and, “ Judas went and hanged himself ;" “ go thou and do likewise,”

P. 52. Mr. Fuller asks “ W'hai doctrine Besides that of Universal Salvation will you find in the Bible which affirds encouragement to a sinner going on still in trespasses, and which furnishes ground for hope and joy, even supposing him to persevere in them till death?". Now the Reader does not think there is any reason for that air of triumph with which this question is asked. For, the question admits that the doctrine of Universal Salvation is found in the Bible. If so, is it not true? And if true, what does it avail towards the support of Mr. Fuller's doctrine of eternal punishment, to ask what doctrine BESIDES encourages the sinner in the way Mr. Fuller mentions ? · In addition to this the Reader is of opinion that you, Mr. Editor, have as good a right to charge the consequence of encouraging a sinner cortinuing in his sins, upon the doctrines of Calvinistic predestination, vicarious satisfaction, and imputed righteousness, as Mr. Fuller has to charge that consequence upon the doctine of Universal Salvation. It is of no avail to Mr. Fuller, to say, that he himself does not allow this conesquence to follow from the admission as true of his favorite doctrines. Your word of affirination or of negation is, I trust Mr. Editor, as good as Mr. Fuller's. If he persevere in pressing this conséquence, as conclusive aga rst Universal Şalvation; "you can-presscit as conclusive against what he esteems, as the peculiar and most excellent doctrines of the Gospel. VOL. IV.


I Mr. Fuller should deny ever so prereinptorily, ihat the Calvinistic doctrines just mentioned do give joy to siuners continuing in their sins, you also inay deny, as peremptorily, that charge from him, and with bi good reaso.1 at least

. And finally, the Reader cannot but judge, speaking of this 3d. letter as a whole, that, the impression, which must necessarily be made by it upon the ininds of those who should peruse it with attention and receive it as true, respecting the divine character, is shocking to reason and directly contradictory to the language nt Scripture." Jehovah is good to all, and hi tender mercies are over all his works."

There are two other circumstances, in which an appeal seems to be lodged with the Reader, and which appears to demand from him an impirtial judgment. • The first is with respect to yourself, Sir. “In a work of which you are the Editor (says Mr. F. p. 58.) a falsehood has been published concerning me, and you have not honour enough about you to say you are sorry for i."

The Reader hopes this is not true. He cannot believe this of you, Mr. Editor. He cannot but think Mr. Fuller's determination to make “ no other reply" hasty, and rash. If Mr. Fuller will persist in this, his testimony in his own cause will be taken by "all impartial and intelligent readers," with this grain of allowance that a speaker, in the course of a sermon, may let fall expressions which he cannot exactly recolleci. and the force of which he may be unable afterwards exactly to estimate; especially if he is not certain that he entirely confined himself to a written composition before him in the pulpit at the time of delivery. The Reader also believes that if Mr. Fuller will afford a fair and reasonable proof of his assertim, i. c. that you have inserted a falsehood in your Miscellany, you will immediately prove, by a suitable conduct with respect to such insertion, the impeachment of your character in his 2d, assertion, to be entirely destitute of foundation in iruth

The second circumstance I refer to is, the judgment Mr. Fuller gives p. 63. and which he thinks he gives upon sufficient evidence, namely, that there is a near resemblance between your labours, and those of the deceiver of mankind. Is this the way in which Mr. Fuller would gaini our belief to his doctrine? Is the consequence of our holding with him to be that we inust think you and your friends in league with the enemy and destroyer of our race? Is it thus we shall follow more exactly, the lamb of God, who when he was reviled, reviled oot again?

Well, then, let us, for a moment, gran Mr. Fuller his argumen: Let us for a moment suppose the doctrine of eternal torments to be exactly as he states it: What follows why that our brother Fuller is in danger of that very punishment! Startle not, fellow-readers; I will prove my words; of, tather, Mr. F. shall prove them, in conjunction with the Scripture. , · In Gen, ii, what the serpent says to the wounan is altogether upon his (the serpent's) own authority Mr. F. tells us you, Mr. Editor, have spoken upon GOD's authority. Mr. F.'s. owa testimony, in his ow

[ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »