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For the Repository. MR. EDITOR, If you will insert the following remarks in your
useful Repository, you will oblige a patron, who promises not to trouble you with any further communication upon the subject. REPLY TO BR. HUDSON'S LETTER, IN NO. 6, vol. 6.
Dear Brother,-I regret that you so briefly noticed my "strictures," and universally condemned them, without a inore particular and impartial examination of thein. You state that what I have said upon the future punishment of infants and idiots, "contains an entire misrepresentation of your views.” Now, if you do not believe that they will be punished in that state, why did you expressly refer to them when you was laboring to prove future probation ? If they are only to be “enlightened," they have nothing to do with the subject; for no believer in a future state doubts but that all who are saved will be greatly enlightened. You not only alluded to the heathen, infants and idiots, but stated that “the greatest saints are imperfect, and need a moral change after death.” Now, how shall I understand you ? You are not willing that these persons should be subject to future punishment. Dear sir, are you imperfect, and do you expect a moral change after 'death without any suffering or inconvenience? If so, you surrender the argument, for all others may be thus enlightened and changed.
In reply to my question, "If salvation is of grace, &c. and some are sufferers for an age or ages, is not God a respecter of persons p" You say, "I think you will admit that all are not equally happy in this state." In answer, I believe that there is not that natural and moral difference in the condition of mankind that many imagine. The infirm are not always the most miserable, nor the healthy, who are involved in the cares of the world, the most happy. The same may be said of the high and low, rich and poor, &c. The denominated
sage is not always the most wise, nor the condemned criminal the most wicked. How many pass for honorable men, who commit as much wickedness as the open thief or robber? If you will make no more difference in the conditions of mankind in the future state than there is in this, I shall be satisfied; for I m sure that it will not extend to an age, or ages. You say, “when you can reconcile what takes place in this world with the impar. tiality of God, you will solve the whole difficulty.”Thus, it appears that you will contend for the partiality of God in this world, rather than to forego probation in the next. "God is no respecter of persons."
To my question ;--"If salvation is suspended upon the volitions of mankind, &c. what certitude have we of their final salvation i” you reply—“The promises of God are our only hope of salvation.”
A short answer indeed to a long question. But where is the utility of an age of suffering, if the sufferer is, after all, to be saved by grace, or the promises of God? Do you hold the promises of God to be conditional ? Now the “mediatorial reign of Christ” must proceed either upon the ground of grace or of works; if of works, and the subject still be a moral agent, and rebel, I repeat the question, what assurance have we that he will be finally subdued and saved ? Must not he at last be saved by the effectual and irresistible grace of God ? Or, will suffering effect a reformation, and lead him to lay down his weapons of rebellion, and thus his salvation be the effect of experience? Thus, it appears to me that your Very answer to my question is a surrender of the doctrine of future probation ; for St. Paul tells us, that “all the promises of God are yea and amen.” That is, they are not yea and nay, or conditional. .
What you say upon my remarks upon the unscriptural term probation appears plausible ; but I am not a little surprised, that you should suffer yourself to descend ta the low criticism of the misspelling of a word, which was either a slip of the pen, or a typographical error. You say, “I trust that you will allow me to use the word probation in future, especially as you have in your question used the term inscriptural."
Your remarks upon my denying a future state, &c. because I restrict the preaching of the gospel to this state, are, I think, a mere subterfuge, and “a misrepresentation of my views." You say, “I feel confident, however, that you do believe in a future state.” Yes, for I repeatedly alluded to that state, when all would see as they are seen, &c. Why then did you not endeavor to understand my words agreeable to their import and my intended meaning, and not lose the reader in a multiplicity of words foreign to the subject? The question is not whether God can show mercy to men after death, but whether, as I stated in my former communication, there is, or will be, a christian ministry instituted in the future world, and the gospel be proclaimed by heralds to departed spirits ? That this would be the case appeared to be your views by your applying the passage in Peter to that state. If you mean by the term gospel, the promises of God, a resurrection from the dead, and eternal life, I will agree with you, that it applies to a future state. But I understand the gospel to be the news of these things, and not the things themselves. "Behold I bring you glad tidings of great joy," &c. Thus God can show mercy after death without a preached gospel or future punishment.
But what shall I say when I read the following words? *You cannot prove a future state of existence without the aid of the New Testament,” &c. What! did not the Old Testament writers believe in, and teach, a future state of existence ? If they had no evidence of a future state, then, why did you refer to the 16th chapter of Ezekiel to prove future probation ? Or, as the gospel is the subject under consideration, do you consider the book of the Old Testament to contain nothing but law and death, (or annihilation) and the New Testament to be all gospel and life? What shall we do with the promises made to Adam, Abraham, David, &c. if they had no proof of a future state of existence ?
As to my remarks upon the passage in Peter, you have done little else but to pronounce them "miscellaneous and vague.” But it appears strange that you should consider the following remarks, which are the only one which have the least appearance of argument, to be an answer to my observations on that subjects which occupied two pages in the Repository. I will now notice your reasoning. “Peter says that Christ was the preacher, but you contradict this and say that the Apostles were the preachers. Peter tells us that the preaching was to spirits in prison, but you tell us that it was to men in the flesh,” &c. Thus you adhere to the literal interpretation of the text, notwithstanding you say, "must we be such slaves to the translators of our Bibles, as to be confined to those words only which they were pleased to use ?” Now, according to your reasoning, we must not spiritualize any of those passages which are considered to be figurative, lest we should contradict the inspired writers in almost every particular.” Thus, Christ says that the beggar died and was carried by angels to Abraham's bosom ; but, both Limitarians and Universalists say, that he was not literally in Abraham's bosom, but in a place of rest. Do you contend that the prison was inaterial? You must, or give ap your mode of reasoning. As you
have made use of no reason nor argument to show the fallacy of my remarks upon the 16th of Ezekiel, I shall still consider them unanswerable. Whether I was able to give a full explanation of the chapter, or not, is a consideration entirely foreign to the subject.
I stated reasons why your conclusions were not logical, and showed that we could not rationally suppose any analogy between “their former state, and the sinless state of the redeemed of the Lord. What is said about the salvation of mankind by the article death, &c. I have ever esteemed futile. For death cannot give life to any one. Death is the opposite of life. Life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. And let our term of punishment be ever so long or short, yet we must at last be saved by grace. Yours, in the bonds of
peace, , KITTREDGE HAVEN.
NEW HAMPSHIRE ASSOCIATION
Will convene at Jaffrey on the second Wednesday and Thursday of the present inopth. It is to be hoped, that there will be a sufficient number of ministers present to render the meeting respectable and useful.
Nothing new under the sun.- Our brother, Elias Smith, has turned again, renounced his belief in Uuiversalism, and embraced the doctrine of endless misery, or something else, we know not what. It will not be expected that we shall give an account of all the changes this man's mind undergoes, considering our work is only published once in two months.
OBITUARY. Died, in Gilsum, N. H. Miss Rhoda LOVELAND), aged 23 years. In the life of Miss Loveland, we behold many of the most engaging qualities of the human character, and feel that her loss must be sensibly realized in the circle in which she moved in life. As she was ever found true and kind by her relatives and friends, they cannot but be sensible of their loss, while calling to remembrance the numerous instances of her fidelity to them. Modest and unassuming in her manDers, and free from those malicious and revengeful passions, which delight in proclaiming and magnifying the failing's of others, she not only possessed the esteem of her particular