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According to my ability I have endeavored to bring to the Scripture test two very important articles in the Protestant creeds- Is the devil a fallen angel or real being ? — Are the terms Olim, Aion, and Aionios, rendered everlasting and forever, used by the sacred writers to express endless duration when applied to punishment? These are the two principal points on which I wished my investigations to bear. Other articles of the Protestant creeds, particularly those noticed in Part 1. Section iv. intruded themselves in the course of my researches, and it was deemed proper to give them a due share of attention, being very closely connected with my subject.
The importance of the articles I have attempted to discuss, few will question. Their relative importance to others discussed in the present day, as far exceed them, as the substance exceeds the shadow. If it be worth while to inquire, how many persons are there in the God, or was the second person eternally begotten, it is surely of greater importance to inquire, is the devil a person or real being, and is he possessed of the almost infinite powers which have long been ascribed to bim. And is it true that this being has ruined the human race, which ruin shall end in the everlasting destruction of not a few of them? I agree with Professor Stuart, that “glory is bursting in upon the church, in various ways intimately connected with making her light to shine still more brightly.” Believing, that the common doctrines of the devil and eternal punishment
have long been a disgrace to the church of God, I have ventured to attempt their removal, that her light may shine more brightly. None ought to be offended at the attempt, for if such doctrines be false, surely none in the symbols of the Protestant churches have so much eclipsed her glory as they have done. If it should be proved that I am mistaken, and that such doctrines are diadems in the crown of the church of God, her glory must even be promoted by this investigation, for it will be made the inore manifest that the devil and eternal puuishment are her glory. As Mr. Stuart justly observes, a failure to investigate such articles in the Protestant creeds, “must arise from undue regard to the authority of fallible men, or from mere inaction-from absolute sloth."
It may be thought by some, that if the things stated in Part i. Sect. 4. be true, the Second Part is a superfluous discussion; for it follows, of course, that endless punishment cannot be true. This we admit; but the texts where everlasting is applied to punishment, will not be given up, by many, as teaching endless punishment, until some rational, Scriptural interpretation is presented, showing that their former views of them are incorrect. I here can speak from experience; for I never would have relinquished the doctrine of endless punishment, unless I had come to see how such texts could be fairly explained as not teaching it. I have felt the power of such previous views on my own mind, and make allow
ance for others in the same condition. On this account, if my explanations of the texts where everlasting is applied to punishment be correct, the Second Part, so far from being superfluous, is highly necessary. Many of my former friends have no doubt wondered, how I could embrace my present views with such texts staring me in the face. One object with me, in the Second Part, has been, to show them that I did not shut my eyes to these texts, but having them opened to very different views of such texts, I finally embraced my present opinions. Whether my present views of them be correct, they can now see and judge for themselves. If I have embraced error, they are requested to have the goodness to correct it.
In the following pages, we have expressed our opinions frankly and sincerely, and appealed to the Scriptures as the test of iruth. The author hopes that the spirit in which his remarks are made can give offence to none. He has studied to avoid all harsh and provoking language, convinced that man's wrath can never work the righteousness of God. If he has in any instance turned aside from this path, he shall regrat it much more than any of his readers, for his object is to convince, not to irritate. Should it be said, some of the opinions controverted are not held now by our orthodox brethren, nor durst any preacher avow them, without forfeiting his station. We are glad to hear of this, but doubt if it is without exception true; and certainly, we have never
As to the last, though he has used all tepute a: heard, that any public disavowal of them has good on ever been made. For example; has it ever been wrong
, openly disavowed, that infants may be eter- the pri nally damned? And is it universally disbelieved, Woer that the happiness of those in heaven, shall be sve us sweetened to all eternity in beholding others in der na eternal misery? If such opinions are not held, ako to why not publicly denounce them ? For it will no not be denied, that they have been held by Cal- the vinists in ages that are past. At any rate, we answer
. would say, it has been far from our heart to mis-Ima represent the opinions of our brethren.
Should any one reply to the following pages, the author begs leave to say, that it will be of no consequence to point out defects in his which I manner of discussing the subject, or to show that aben in in some instances he has misunderstood the many
It texts which have come under his consideration. Mabile As to the first, had his time and avocations
permitted, he might have rendered the work freer of lee from defects. means in his power to interpret the Scriptures 'doi per correctly, yet it would be surprising, if in no in- tion stance he had inisunderstood the sacred writers. A reply merel; bearing on these points he will pass over in silence. But if any one will show, that the devil is a fallen angel, and, that the punishment of the wicked is of endless duration, atencion he will listen with profound attention to whatever may be advanced. He will attend to argument and evidence drawn from Scripture, come from what quarter they may, whether stated in a
pages remarks, for they are chiefly taken from authors hem be good or bad temper of mind. If convinced he is rer be wrong, he will be silent, but if not, he will claim been the privilege of stating his reasons for his dissent. believe Whoever undertakes to reply, we beg of them to shall be give us proofs, and not mere assertions for what nbersit they may advance, and to pay particular attention met held also to what we have advanced in Part i. Sect. 4.
To point out defects, without fairly meeting bricadl the grand points at issue, will be considered no
I make no apology for availing myself of quotations from various authors in the course of my
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whose religious creeds embraced the opinions in his which I have controverted. None of thein are w the taken from professed Universalists, for by most
people their testimony would be deemed exceptik tionable, however well supported by evidence.
The testimonies quoted in favor of my opinions,
are from ajen competent to judge, and in high al repute as critics and commentators among ortho
dox people. They are quoted, not to give sancp! tion to my views by the weight and number of
their names, but on account of the evidence which i they produce.
In the present work, the strongest texts in favor of endless punishment are considered, and attention given them in proportion to the degree of stress laid on them in favor of this doctrine. In some instances, we have referred to our former Inquiry into the words Sheol, Hades, Tartarus, and Gehenna, for an illustration, which the