« AnteriorContinuar »
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859,
By C. F. II UDSON, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
BX 9946 .H22
THE “ Affirmative Argument” here offered to the public, upon the question stated in page 21, first appeared in a discussion held with the Rev. Sylvanus Cobb, editor of the Christian Freeman, in the columns of that paper. The use of it as part of a volume was granted to Mr. C. at the outset, and the whole discussion was published by him in that form, in January last. Declining an offer made in the mean while for publishing, each party at the expense of his own matter, Mr. C. courteously grants the use of his plates for the present volume. This will account for its appearance as part of a work, though in itself complete.
The “Rejoinder” which was made occupies about twenty pages of the larger work, but is too closely connected with the “Negative Argument” to appear in place without it.
The writer intimated a wish to present, at some future time, a more full and thorough criticism of the Universalist faith. (P. 24.) This is still his desire, if he may ever think himself competent, and find leisure for the task. But he can not now flatter himself with that hope, and therefore the more readily offers the present essay. And, though no other person would execute precisely his design, yet he finds so many things uttered elsewhere, quite to his mind and far surpassing his ability, that he need little regret if his wish is finally disappointed.
The turning-point of the whole controversy, he believes, will be found in the question of free-agency. In his work on “Debt and Grace” he has signified his approval of that view which regards sin as mystery (c. 2, $$ 2, 3); and he also finds something of man's dignity in his power to choose immortal life, and to make it in that special sense his own (c. 13, $$ 4, 5). And though his view of the end of evil is commonly deemed heterodox, it should do no harm if he commends, on the question of free-will, large portions of Dr. Bushncil's “ Nature and the Supernatural,” and of Dr. Squier's “Sin not of God,” his “Reason and the Bible,” c. 14, and his article on “ The Power of Contrary Choice,” published in the New Englander, May, 1860. It is also to be wished that some of the more abstruse discussions of this matter in Dr. Müller's “ Christian Doctrine of Sin” could be popularized; but this, perhaps, can only be when the people at large shall be brought, by a fresh and practical interest in theology, into the same range of thought.
Meanwhile, the common consciousness of accountability, betrayed in the love of praise no less than in the sense of guilt, must ever suffice for the practical argument. Yet, as the dearth of virtue and the prevailing unfitness for an after-life may have caused a general despair of immortality just before Christ appeared, so mere argument for free-will can effect little except with the daily example of high moral sense. The upright life, abhorring the evil and cleaving to the good, can alone thoroughly persuade men that they may either lose or gain eternal life.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov., 1860
$ 4. The Exegetical or Analytic Argument. Gen. ii. 17; Ezek.
xviii. 31, 32; Luke x. 25, 28; John xiv. 19; Rev. ii. 10,
11; Matt. X. 28; and 2 Pet. ii. 12, examined .