« EelmineJätka »
larly in the month of October, 1827, I concluded to give some lectures to my congregation on future punishment; and believing it might promote the cause of truth, invited the Universalist preacher in this town, the Rev. L. R. Paige, to a discussion of the doctrine of Universal Salvation, in the Methodist church.
In the course of the discussion I gave three lectures ; the first, on “ Future Judgment ;" the second on the “ Conditionality of Salration ;”—from both of which future punishment is inferred ;--and the third, directly on “Future Punishment."
In these lectures I have made large use of Rev. 0. Scott's “Letters" to Rev. T. Whittemore on these subjects. These letters were written in haste, and under a great pressure of pastoral duties, and for a newspaper; for which reasons less attention was paid to the language, to method and arrangement, than would have been given under other circumstances : in which respects, it is believed, the borrowed matter is improved in the lectures. But as these lectures were commenced without any thought of their being published beyond the congregation which heard them, and were written in haste that Mr. P. might have them the same week to make out his reply, the borrowed matter was not distinguished by the sign of quotation; and the object of doing it now would not compensate for the time it would require. And it is a question of no importance with the public whether this passage of Scripture was quoted by Scott or by me, or whether this or that argument were his or mine; but the only question of importance is, 66 What is truth ?"_Between the Rev. Mr. Scott and me there will be no difficulty on this ground.*
In the course of the discussion I have also delivered five answers, given to my opponent's replies. Concerning these I have little to say, except that my opponent never replied to my first answer ; that I did not answer his fourth " Reply” till since the discussion closed ; the reasons for which delay are given in the introduction to that answer, and need not be repeated here. To that answer I have now assigned its proper place in the series, and numbered it IV. My opponent's last reply (and the order of the discussion gave him the privilege of speaking last) is of course unanswered, except in a note or two; and indeed there was nothing in it that I cared much to answer, as it contained nothing new, little of argument.
I have not expunged a sentiment nor an argument either from the lectures or answers;
* My opponent has shown great solicitude because I used Mr. S.'s words and arguments without " giving him due credit ; notwithstanding I informed him when I put my manuscripts into his hands, that they were in an “unfinished state.”—He brought this subject into his reply, and has since published me as a “plagiarist.” His concern on this account has been much greater than his zeal to answer my arguments, many of which he has never deigned to notice.
and very nor have I added an argument or a proof to either. In these respects I send them into the world as they were delivered. In some places I have changed one word for another where the sense could be improved by it, or the connection better preserved. In a very few places I have changed one phrase for another, or added a phrase for the sake of illustration. In the second answer at the end of the supposed speech of the Universalist minister on the word." hang,” I have added the "concluding" paragraph to prevent abruptness and make the illustration more complete ; and at the end of the fifth answer I have given a paragraph, (which was written but not delivered with the answer,) which merely recapitulates some things in that an
In the reply in which my opponent gave his views of necessity, were some things not connected with that subject, and which, on account of the length of my answer, I could not notice at that time. These are now for the first time given to the public in an appendix to my fourth answer.
See the note prefixed to the appendix.
Throughout the whole I have used great plainness of speech, for which, I conceive, I need make no apology. Some may think that I have not only used plainness of speech, but an unwarrantable degree of severity toward my opponent. This is possible. But before this conclusion is drawn, they are desired to reflect on St. Paul's direction in a similar case,
recorded Tit. i, 13. It was not my design to be severe with my opponent, except where he has identified himself with his doctrine or his manner of defending it.
A man may honestly believe in error; but in this case he will not use sophistry in its defence, nor persist in asserting it when fairly beaten in argument. And when this is the case it becomes our duty to be severe. There is a difference, however, between severity and bitterness. The latter can never be justified.
I had thought of laying the whole correspondence between Mr. Paige and myself relative to the discussion, before the reader, together with that between the Methodist Society in this place and my opponent, relative to his joining with them in the publication of both sides of the controversy, with his reason for refusing; but he, having brought these subjects before the public in the newspapers, it may be sufficient to discuss them there. And his refusing to publish with the society is the less to be regretted, as I have made sufficient quotations from his manuscripts* to show his sentiments, and to enable the reader to judge of my arguments.
* Both sides of the controversy were written before they were delivered, and each had the other's manu. scripts to make out his replios.