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My first statement I find you disapprove, and likewise the use of the texts, I adduced to substantiate it. The idea that it is "the design of God to raise the whole human family from their defectible state, ultimately, to a state of felicity and true holiness," you think is not true. Then if God have any design at all, in relation to our argument, his design must be that the whole human family should not be raised to felicity and true holiness! Having no design that they should be the partakers of felicity and true holiness, it argues that he designs some at least should be made the subjects of endless misery. If such design may be called good, you will, in this way, understand the Psalmist when he says, "The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works."* But as the term good, by the most approved lexicographers, is explained as having desirable qualities, I conclude no man has a right to pronounce that good, which, on rational principles, he is unwilling to enjoy himself, and which would not be salutary to any living being. Neither is it easy to reconcile the design of endless misery with the exercise of tender mercies over all the Creator's works.
It will be a vain thing in this place to argue that men are moral agents, and that the offer of salvation is free to all, which they may accept if they will; that the atonement has laid a foundation for all, when the design of Deity is against a part of the whole. For you acknowledge in your letter, "that the scriptures clearly prove, that all God's designs will certainly be accomplished."
Relative to the design of God, one of three things, I think must be true; 1st. That it is his design to make all men holy, in a saved state. 2d. It is his design to save a part, and eternally damn the remainder. Or, 3d, He has no design about it. The first of these you disapprove. The second precludes even the possibility of all being saved. It is, therefore, only on the last, that you can argue that salvation is free for all, who will accept. If you say God designs to save all that choose to come and no others, this cannot be considered as a statement by itself; for it makes the design of God, as relating to the salvation of an indi vidual, posterior to his coming; of course there could be no *Ps. cxlv. 9.
previous design, relative to that person. This makes the last mentioned idea evidently appear to be included in the third thing proposed, that God has no design either for or against the salvatiou of men. This idea, however, indicates apathy in Deity, if it be not an approximation to Atheism.
You inform me that you acknowledge the doctrine incul cated in the first text I quoted to prove my first statement; but still it remains, that you and I disagree about what that doctrine is. The text, "For God sent not his Son into the world, to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved," I thought was sufficient evidence, that it was God's design to save the world; but you say, "The object of Christ's mission, when he came upon the earth in the flesh, was to make an atonement for the sins of lost men." Now as you deny the design of God to save all lost men, it ought to be fairly understood, what may be the meaning of making "an atonement for the sins of lost men;" or, "for the sins of the whole world," as you express in another place of your letter. If the design of \ God by the atonement, was not to take away the sins of all lost men, it is difficult to determine for what purpose the atonement was made for all; unless to consecrate their sins, that they might never depart, unto lost men for ever
You conclude I have done violence to the aforementioned text in St. John; and from a want of due attention to the context. Sir, if this business have been too much neglected, we will attend to it now. You have not said a word of my argument from the text; but a considerable portion of your letter is occupied in pointing out the absurdity of not considering the connexion in which texts stand; "and building a scheme solely on a very few such passages, in manifest violation of all the plain meaning of all the rest of scripture." This amounts to an acknowledgement that what I have said of the text, in a detached sense, is correct; but that the text detached does not express the same meaning that it does in connexion with the context, by which it is explained, and to which I ought to have attended. All, therefore, that is necessary to maintain my ground, is to show that the text means the same in connex
where to find the bastards, is uot for me to determine. No where can you find I believe, in the word of truth, the saints threatened with fiery indignation; the vengeance, the fury, the wrath, &c. of God. He will, he says, visit their iniquities with stripes; but his loving kindness will he not take from them, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail. But dreadful indeed are the denunciations of woe against his enemies, or the despisers of his Son and the gospel. Isaiah, lix. 18. "According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies." St. Paul says, "God will render indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of inan that doeth evil. "Vengeance is mine and I will repay, saith the Lord." "The Lord will be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude speaks of some who are set forth as an example, “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." I should find no difficulty in filling my paper with similar quotations, both from the old and new testaments. But sufficient has been adduced to show the different manner in which the s.cred writers speak of the children of God, and the impenitent despisers of his Son; a difference wholly unintelligible ou your plan of disciplinary punishment in hell. But again, The scriptures uniformly speak of God's peculiar and distinguishing mercy to his saints. He keeps them as the apple of his eye. He is their God, and no good thing will be withhold from them; while he sends wrath upon his enemies. But on the supposition that future punishment is inflicted to make those who suffer it better, I cannot understand why God is not equally merciful to all. Beyond all controversy he is infinitely merciful to those he punishes in a future world, merely for their own good. They would be infinite losers if not sent there; because we must go on the supposition that no other means could produce the desired effect. These are, of course, the best possible means which could be applied. Because if you suppose that milder means would effect the object; would bring these unhappy sufferers to repentance, you charge God with cruelty; charge him with inflicting unnecessary punishment without any good object. Possibly you may say that
ion with the context as it does by itself. I should have been happy, if you had quoted some text in the context to correct me; but seeing you have not, I will endeavour to clear myself of the charge of inattention to the context. The verse immediately preceding is, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Here we are told that God loved the world; and can any person suppose this is inconsistent with a design to save the world? We are told that he so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son;-what a remarkable testimony! But for what? That whosoever believeth in him, might not perish. Can you see any thing here, inconsistent with God's design to save the world, according to his love? To be sure you may infer that it is not the design of God that men should have eternal life in unbelief. But this effects nothing to your purpose, unless you can make it appear God designs some should be unbelievers eternally. Immediately after this, follows the text I chose to support my first statement. It is completely explanatory of God's design, in sending his only begotten Son into the world; containing meaning complete in itself, and serving rather to explain the preceding text, than the preceding text does that. This is plain by its being introduced by the causal conjunction for. "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him, might be saved."
At the close of your labour, relative to my first statement, you say you do not see, as I have advanced a single inch toward proving my first proposition. You, therefore, conclude the above text in connexion with the context, does not authorize a belief, that it is the design of God to raise one soul from defectibility to felicity and true holiness. For it is evident, that if the text goes to prove God's design to save a part, or even one soul, although it be not full proof of my statement, it goes in proportion to the number towards it. But you do not see as it gocs one inch; of course, you cannot see a design of God in the text to save one! If the text read, For God sent not his Son into the world to save the world; but that the world through him might ke condemned, it seems that with your present optics, in