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ON THE DOCTRINE OF
CINCINNATI, O., FROM MARCH 24, TO APRIL 1, 1845.
REV. E. Me PINGREE,
IVERSALIST CHURCH, LOUISVILLE, KY.
REV. N. L. RICE, D.D.
Taken down by a Reporter,
REVISED BY THE PARTIES,
LOUISVILLE: NOBLE & DEAN.
ВҲ 9946 .P65
CINCINNATI, April 26, 1845. Having carefully examined the Stenographer's Report of the within discussion, and compared it with our notes and memorandums, we hesitate not to commend it to the public, as a full exhibition of the facts, documents and arguments, used by us on the question debated.
E. M. PINGREE,
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845, by
J. A. J A MES,
Stereotyped by J. A. James
Proposal to Rev. N. L. Rice.
Louisville, Nov. 9, 1844. Rev. AND DEAR SIR-I have recently seen in different religious periodicals the following
“ PROPOSAL.—Dr. Robert J. Breckenridge, of Baltimore, Revs. N. L. Rice, of Cincinnati, and Wm. S. Plumer, of Virginia, will meet åt any convenient time and place bishop Whelan and any two others whom he may select; or we will meet any three Roman bishops, archbishops, cardinals, priests, or deacons, and discuss with them this question* Is the Romish church the church of Christ?' The bishop and his friends may affirm, and we will deny. Or we will affirm that “the Romish church is not the church of Christ,' and they may deny. Or two of us will meet any two of them on the terms stated above. The ordinary and equal rules of such debate to be adopted hereafter. The above is a standing proposal.”
In the ~ True Catholic,” published in Louisville, I also find the following note from your pen, copied from the " Watchman of the South :"
“The Discussion. Although the proposition for a public discussion with the Papists, to which you did me the honor to attach my name, was originally made without my knowl. edge, yet, not doubting that the circumstances demanded it, I cordially sanctioned it. I had no expectation, however, that it would be acceded to. The Roman clergy have become too wise to expose their cause thus. There is in error a conscious weakness, which causes its advocates to shrink from a thorough investigation of its claims. Your proposition, however, will prove to the unprejudiced, that we have all confidence in the principles we advocate, and are willing to have them subjected to the closest scrutiny.
Yours, truly, N. L. RICE."
Now, Rev. sir, in view of this, your challenge to the Romanists, and especially of your remarks last quoted, in relation to the “ conscious weakness of Error," I would respectfully make you the following proposal, to test “ the confidence you have in the principles you advocate,” relating to the immortal destiny of the human race. I do this the more readily, because you are known to be fond of public controversy, and have the reputation of being a good disputant; so that you will hardly decline the present offer of a discussion on the merits of Universalism and Partialism.
PROPOSAL.-I will meet you, Providence permitting, at any convenient time, in the city of Louisville, and discuss with you the question—“Do the Scriptures teach the ultimate holiness and salvation of all men ?"! or, “Do the Scriptures teach the endless misery of any portion of mankind ?" either or both, as you choose; to be conducted according to the usual and equal rules of controversy, as may be agreed upon hereafter.
A similar proposal has been made to your friend, Doctor Breckenridge, of Baltimore; and I think he has accepted it. Another has been made to your other friend, the Rev. Mr. Plumer, if I mistake not, and he has declined it. I hope you, dear sir, will not decline this, but accept it at once; for what is the question—" Is the Romish church the church of Christ?" compared with that most momentous inquiryWhat is to be the immortal doom of the human soul ? Shall it be pure and holy, finally, to rejoice forever in the glory of heaven? or, Shall it remain impure and unholy, to curse God and endure 66 all hell-horrors” throughout eternity ?
I moreover anticipate a ready acceptance of this invitation, from the fact of your having recently discussed with the Rev. Alexander Campbell, questions of infinitely less importance than the one I now propose to you; as of Baptism, its mode, subjects, objects, &c.
Hoping to hear from you at your earliest convenience, I remain, respectfully, your humble servant,
E. M. PINGREE.
Reply to E. M. Pingree's challenge. Messrs. Editors I received through the post-office, a few days since, your paper of November 30th, in which I find a proposition, or challenge, from one of you (Mr. Pingree) to a public discussion of the merits of Universalism. I have never given a challenge of this kind to any one. My name was used by Dr. Plumer, in his proposition to the Roman bishop of Virginia, without my knowledge, and, as I stated in the article to which Mr. P. refers, the thing was approved by me, because my confidence in his prudence forbade me to doubt that the circumstances fully justified his course. Yet I am not opposed to public debates ; nor do I feel at liberty to decline a proposition of the kind, provided the subject be one, the discussion of which is desirable, and the challenger be a man in whose ability to do the subject justice, his brethren have confidence.
Much good, I doubt not, would result from a thorough discussion of the merits of Universalism, properly conducted; but whether Mr. Pingree is considered by his brethren capable of doing justice to the subject-whether they would be willing to trust the defence of their views to him, I have no means of knowing. If, however, the Universalists desire a discussion, a few of their leading preachers and members can easily signify through their paper their confidence in Mr. Pingree's ability; or they can select a man in whom they have confidence, and they shall be accommodated; provided, the discussion occurs in Cincinnati, (which, for obvious reasons, is preferred to Louisville,) and be reported by one or more competent stenographers, and published.
I cannot consent to turn aside from other important engagements, to enter into a thorough discussion of this subject, unless it be given to the public in a permanent form, that it may be extensively read. Nor can I consent to meet a man in whom his own party have not confidence; for then his failure to sustain himself would be attributed to the weakness of the man, not to the indefensibleness of his cause, and thus my labor would be lost.
Now, Messrs. Editors, you have my reply. I should not have challenged you to a debate. My engagements are such as fully occupy my time. But as you have challenged me, thus making it impossible for me, without seeming to shrink from the defence of truth, to avoid a discussion, you must meet the responsibility. Very respectfully,
N. L. Rice.
Mr. Pingree to Mr. Rice.
Cincinnati, Jan. 3, 1845. Dear Sir-Your reply to my first letter reached me in due course of publication of the “Star in the West,” dated December 14.