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seen that all the principal defenders of Universal Salvation, both in Europe and America, till within a very few years, have believed in a future retribution; while the system for which you contend, has, from its first appearing in latter times, been in a state of almost perpetual fluctuation. This is a just statement of the prevalence and permanency of the two systems, and this is just what might naturally be expected on supposition that a future retribution is the truth of God, and its opposite the invention of man.
REV. AND DEAR BROTHER,
In this Letter I propose to consider some of the principal objections which you urge against a future retribution, which have not already been answered in these Letters. Some of your arguments which I shall here notice, are perhaps more properly arguments in favor of your system, than objections against mine. They may, however, with propriety be introduced here. Your most popular objection to a future punishment is this ;-All men are to be raised immortal, and immortality cannot suffer, consequently there can be no misery after death. That you make great use of this argument, may be seen by many quotations, among which is the following.— "Whoever will pay a serious attention to the subject under consideration, and lay all prejudice aside, will soon learn that divine revelation allows no condemnation -no sin--in an immortal state."*
Your argument in relation to immortality, rests upon two positions. The premises from which your conclusion, that there can be no condemnation after death, is drawn, are these, viz. that immortality cannot suffer, and that all men put on immortality at the moment of death. If either of these positions be untenable, then your conclusion will fail. Do you assert that immortality cannot suffer? You do. Thus far then, you have the confidence to state one of your premises. But do you state the other position, viz. that all men are raised to immortality at the moment of death? No; you do not.
Reply to Merritt, p. 34. See also Lectures, pp. 94, 369, 370. U. Mag. Vol. IV. p. 151.
You dare not hazard that assertion. Thus we see that you dare not state your premises, and still you appear to be very fond of exhibiting the conclusion. But you will probably say that all men will be immortal in the resurrection. This is only evading the question. The question is, do all men put on immortality at the moment of death? To say that all men become immortal, does not answer your purpose. For, if we should admit that immortality cannot suffer, men still might suffer between death and the resurrection, if the resurrection does not take place immediately at death. You frequently represent men as being saved by the resurrection. This is admitting that they may be unhappy till the resurrection. Now in order to support your doctrine of no misery after death, you must not only prove that immortality cannot suffer, but you must also prove that all men become immortal at death; or in other words, that death and the resurrection are simultaneous events.
The above is all the reply this objection merits. You cannot with any consistency at all urge this objection, until you have proved both of the positions mentioned above. Will you, who possess such strong reasoning powers, pretend to say, that the conclusion will be valid, when the premises are false? And will you still continue to urge a conclusion whose premises you dare not even state? Now, Sir, I call upon you in the most imperative manner to come forward and prove that all men are raised to immortality at death, and that immortality excludes all suffering of necessity; or else never presume to urge the objection we are considering, against a future retribution. Though this objection has been sufficiently examined, as you lay great stress upon this point, I will condescend to give it a particular examination. Let it be remembered then that this argument rests upon two positions. 1. That all men will be raised at the moment of death to immortality. And 2.
That immortality cannot suffer. These positions we will examine separately.
1. All men are raised to immortality at the moment of death. This proposition, which is one of the main pillars on which your argument rests, is diametrically opposite to the scriptures. When you urge this argument against our views, you virtually say that men are saved by the resurrection. We have already seen* some of the absurdities attendant upon that view of the subject. When you rely upon this argument, you in fact confess that' your other grounds are untenable: for if men are saved by the resurrection, they are not saved by death's stopping their career of wickedness-not by being instructed, and not by faith and repentance, those indispensable prerequisites for the enjoyment of heaven. But the question is, are all men raised to immortality at the moment of death? We have in a former Letter, pointed out some of the objections to this notion. It was then shown that the scriptures declare, that Christ was the "first born from the dead," which could not have been the case, if all men rise from the dead at the moment of death. It was also seen that David had not arisen in the days of the apostles, which shows that the resurrection is a future event.
But on the subject of the resurrection you constantly refer to the 15th of 1st Corinthians. Let us then for a moment look at that scripture, and see if it teaches us that all men are raised to immortality at death. The apostle after speaking of the resurrection of Christ, commences the subject of man's resurrection in the following language;-"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." Verse 22d. Here it is asserted that all shall be made alive, but there is not the least intimation that this resurrection takes place at death. After declaring that all shall be made alive, the
*See Letter II. to which the reader is requested to turn.
apostle adds, "But every man in his own order; Christ the first fruits, afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming." Verse 23. This verse, instead of favoring your idea, is directly opposed to it. The apostle here assures us, that Christ is the first fruits of the resurrection, that is, the first who rose to immortal life. This is also taught in verse 20th-"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept." This proves that the Lord Jesus was the first who put on immortality. This sense of the passage is confirmed by verse 21st-"For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead." Death is said to come by Adam, because he was the first who experienced it. In like manner the resurrection is said to come by Christ, because he was the first raised from the dead to life immortal. Elsewhere the apostle says, that Christ is the first born from the dead. These passages clearly prove that Christ was the first, who arose from the grave to immortal life. But this cannot be true, if every man is raised at the moment of death. We must, therefore, conclude that your argument is founded upon false premises, or that the apostle was mistaken in his opinion.-But the apostle, after having stated that Christ was the first fruits of the resurrection, informs us that men shall be raised afterwards. "Christ the first fruits, afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming." This passage not only says, that Christ rose first, but it also says that men shall rise afterwards. No language can more clearly contradict your position.
Besides the apostle informs us, that those who are Christ's, shall be raised at his coming. Now I will submit it to you to determine whether this alludes to his first coming, which is already past, or to his future coming. But in either case, it shows that all men are not raised at the hour of death. Christ's coming must mean some particular time, and hence the resurrection cannot