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belief of future punishment in a dying hour. I do not say that all Universalists find their foundation to fail them in a dying hour. Cases indeed occur in which the soul clings to it to the last, and even with apparent triumph. Many do believe a lie and hold fast their delusion to the last. But the cases are far more frequent of those who though they have through life remained unshaken, yet at the near approach of death they have been filled with distress and terror, and have confessed that their false system has ruined them. Now where can a person be found who believed in the doctrine of endless punishment during life, that has testified with his dying breath that his principles have ruined him? If he has been a speculative believer only in the doctrine, and on his death bed has a foretaste of despair, he testifies that his system has done him do harm ; that his speculative views have been correct; and that he has failed through want of a heart conformed to the spirit of his speculative faith.
Are you certain that when you will be called to die, your foundation will not give way and leave you to sink down in the faintness of despair forever? What would be your feelings if summoned to the bar of God, you should hear the Judge with a frown of terrible indignation pronounce upon you the sentence of condemnation, and say, “Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” “O that you were wise, that you understood this; that
you would consider on your latter end!” Deal honestly with yourselves! When I think of your danger I tremble for your fate! And what shall I say more?
In view of what has been said in these Lectures, we see that you are in danger of endless punishment. You are condemned already, and the wrath of God abideth upon you. It is for this reason that Christ has died for you, and is now offering you his salvation. “ Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world !" Here is the offer of a gratuitous pardon. Yonder is the New Jerusalein with its pearly gates and its streets paved with gold. Below is the bottomless pit from which arises the smoke of an eternal torment. With these scenes before you, will you remain
unconcerned! unconverted! O renounce your delusion and return home to the bosoin of your offended God on the ground of a gracious pardon, or you must perish forever!
“ Ye sinners seek his grace,
So shall that curse remove,
If the exhibition of truth contained in these Lectures should not convince you of the false and unscriptural character of Universalism, but should provoke you to give them a review and furnish to them a reply, I hope you will pursue a fair christian course. I hope you will not charge me with misrepresentation. If you believe in do punishment beyond the grave, or in a limited one only, you must take that portion of ihese Lectures only which belongs to yoursella
I hope you will not charge me with contradicting myself. This is a common mode of attack when all argument fails. You may take
passages from their connection and place them beside each other, that, without the illustration contained in the context, may have the appearance of contradiction. I hope you will not puff me as an author that has presented the very ablest book to the public ever written on future punishment, and then take one or more of tho weakest arguments and one or more of the less conclusive texts, and hold them up before the eyes of your readers as a fair specimen of the whole work. You will have accomplished nothing to the purpose till you shall have answered every argument and explained away every passage of scripture. I hope you will meet every argument and exposition with fairness. Some when they cannot answer an objection, will talk about the subject, endeavor to establish usfounded premises by which to bring out conclusions that shall overthrow an argument; and others will raise a cloud of words
NATURE AND CONSEQUENCES, &c. (LECT. 10.
before the eyes of their readers, go round and round the subjeci, and eventually evade the real point at issue.
I hope you will not endeavor to overthrow the arguments for endless punishment by sneers, ridicule, wit and sophistry, with which many of your writers abound. It is easier to frame a sneer than a solid argument. But the time is gone by when this mode of attack will have any influence on the minds of sensible men.
Such as these Lectures are, they are now thrown into the hands of the public. They may contain errors which a more matured judgment would rectify.
Owing to my distance from the press, and my want of an opportunity to examine the corrected proof sheets, a few trifling mistakes appear in the text, which I request the reader to correct; some of the most important of which I have noticed in the Errata.
To the candid and pious of every denomination I would say in conclusion, in the language of young Coleridge,
“ If aught of error or intemperate truth
THE POWER OF DIVINE GRACE ILLUSTRATED IN THE
SURPRISING CONVERSION OF A PROFESSED UNIVERSALIST,
The death of Mr. NATHAN DYER is one of those striking instances of mortality which we record with more than ordinary interest The grief which this bereavement has inflicted upon a numerous circle of surviving friends, is greatly mitigated, as it clearly illustrates the efficacious power of divine grace in fitting the soul for a happy transition from its state of probation to its eternal destiny.
Mr. Dyer was born in Steuben, Washington County, Maine, in 1808. He was a young gentleman of respectable connexions, good natural judgment and disposition, and a more than ordinary thirst for mental improvement. His advantages for literary culture were quite limited; but having a disposition to improve by those he enjoyed, he acquired a respectable common education. He was the subject of early religious impressions. But these impressions, of childhood and youth soon wore away, in consequence of his becoming associsted with those evil men who corrupt and destroy the young by thrusting into their hands books and newspapers which are artfully designed to unhinge their moral and religious principles,
* While delivering the preceding Lectures, the subject of this narrative wa's called to exchange worlds. The circumstances of his last painful illness wero peculiarly interesting, as they illustrate the power of sovereign grace in the conversion of the sinner. These circumstances I related in the sermon which I preached at his funeral, and also in the delivery of these Lectures. I have now thrown the remarks then made into this appendix, hoping they may prore interesting to the friends of religion.-W.C. RIDER.
and by assailing the great truths of religion with sophistry and ridicule. At twenty-one he became a confirmed sceptic. He now put away the subject of religion with entire thoughtlessness and with fixed aversion; and exhausted all the resources of his wit, ridicule, and argument to disprove the validity and divine authenticity of portions of the holy scriptures. And by endeavoring to bring into contempt a part of the Bible, he aimed to destroy the authority of the whole. How long he persisted in questioning the sacred character of the scriptures, I am not able to state with precision. On reflection, however, he came to the conclusion that the Bible, which contained the very best system of morals, and the most excellent institutions, and bore so many signatures of divinity, must be of divine authenticity and inspiration.
But he foresaw that if he received the Bible as the word of God, he must admit the doctrine of eternal rewards and punishments. To the reception of this truth his heart was barred. And owing to the stratagems of Satan, the spiritual adversary; the want of a real hold of Christianity in its substantial blessings; the pride of reason the fruit of man's corrupt and depraved nature ; and the strength of youthful passions, he was led to enquire if he could not be a believer in Christianity, and yet deny all that he deemed offensive in its doctrines and uncomfortable in its restraints,
That modification of Christianity of recent date which existed ander the name of Universalism, was at this time preached in the place of his residence. He listened to the pleasing sound of “peace, peace,” for a few sabbaths, and became prepossessed in favor of this new-fangled divinity. It announced to him that eternal felicity was sure to him and to the whole human family; though they should walk in the imaginations of their own hearts to add drunkenness to thirst.
The scheme appeared exactly suited to the prevailing inclination of his heart, and coincided with his reigning views and pursuits. It promised him impunity in the paths of vice, and confirmed his wavering hopes and feeble prospects of future happiness. After listening to the principles and preaching of Universalists for a few weeks,