Joshua King Ingalls among the Universalists (1840–1847)

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For the early reformers who would eventually find their way in the anarchistic camp, the path was often long and winding. For Joshua King Ingalls, the journey brought him into contact with nearly all of the reform movements of his era, but the beginning stages were in the Universalist milieu, where he began to develop his ideas about reform—and where he met the group of like-minded reformers with whom he would collaborate through much of his career. These pages will collect information about Ingalls’ career as a universalist minister, along with the sermons, speeches and articles he produced in that milieu.

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Delivered in the Universalist Church, Southold, L. I.

July 5th, 1840.


(Published by request.)

“And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.”
Zach. xiv. 9.

There are few days which call not to mind that another year has flown; which leave not, a twelve month farther in the past some event, the recollection of which is associated with feelings if lively interest. We believe it important that we give to these events, as their anniversary shall return, a few reflections; that we, profiting by he experience of the past, may derive knowledge which shall be serviceable for future years, and by observing the progress which truth and liberty have made in days gone by, look forward with assurance to the time when oppression shall case and righteousness shall be universal.

It is good, occasionally, to stop in our onward career, wherein is sought the wealth, the fame, and the power, which but for a moment can be ours, and turn our attention to the times which were; to look back by the aid of history’s light, and behold there, the first germs of that plant, which has wrought such wonders in the religious and political world, and which we believe is calculated at length to emancipate human nature from all tyranny, political, spiritual or mental.

Of all the events which are yearly brought to recollection, few, with the American, is more important than that which gave his country birth-the anniversary of which with yesterday passed away. The earth in its ceaseless flight, has made three score and five revolutions around the great centre of light and heat—sixty-rive years lave been numbered and departed, since a nation, spurning the galling chains which tyranny and forged, proclaimed to the world their determination to be free—to govern themselves.

It is not our intention to dwell particularly upon any incident in the history of the cause of freedom, for we consider it the same in all ages; and oppression, although it may have varied in different periods, or in different lands, in the fetters which have bound the body, or trammelled the mind, we believe is still the same.—That it all has its seat in the selfishness of the human mind; the narrow view which sees not the interests of mankind, as in harmony with our own. It is this, and not the spirit of christianity which has made religion a powerful ally to arbitrary power; which has imposed on the mind fetters that failed to secure the body, and perpetuated the thraldom which has made “earth’s countless millions mourn.” To this should be traced all the oppression which has existed in the church, and the existence of all government which has not for its object the good of the whole, or claims sovereign power independent of the people’s will. It is not, therefore, simply because that on this day we became an independent nation, that we look back with pride and satisfaction, and hail it as the “birthday of freedom,” but because we believe it a link in that chain of successive causes which shall ultimately emancipate the world.

Oppression, in some form, is nearly as ancient as the history of man. The first inhabitants of the earth were doubtless tillers of the soil, or like Abel, “keepers of flocks.” Even in this primitive mode of life, a little might have entered, but it was when they began to task their invention, to contrive instruments for the destruction of the beasts of the forest, that the idea seems to have been suggested, of subjugating and making each other tributary. When successful in their hunting excursion, the mind of the hunters naturally reverted to their superiority over the husbandman; and the excitement of the chase, and their familiarity with scenes of blood and strife, rendered them fit instruments to attempt the conquest of their race. From hunting beasts they came to hunt men; and thus early was the profession of arms made use of to raise tribute from the people. Immense strength and great animal courage soon made individuals conspicuous in this business; and these were chosen, as soon as the advantages of combination were understood, to lead their bands. Thus at a glance we have a view of the rise of kingly power, which has so long claimed the servile obedience of mankind; and since the cause which produced it has ceased, it has received support from various other sources, too numerous to receive particular attention, but among which perverted religion has been a most prominent one. Superstition nan ever been called to the aid of arbitrary power, and where ignorance has left the minds of the people a prey to its fears, that power has been absolute; and it is only when they have become informed that they have possessed power sufficient to break the chains with which the cunning of the designing minions of tyranny have secured their obedience.

This was clearly illustrated in the cane of our rupture with Britain. The thunders of the church were not wanting to awe us into submission.— We were told that our service of God would not be acceptable unless we yielded ourselves servants to the king, who ruled by Divine right; and for a while it was a matter of conscience with some whether it would not be an act of moral transgression to question the prerogative of majesty, and to declare ourselves independent. But thanks to the light shed by science, philosophy and true religion upon the world, the people were first becoming enlightened.

“Ah,” says the incredulous, “science and philosophy have done much; but we have been in the habit of supposing religion to be arrayed on the side of oppression.” Are you not aware that where Christianity never was known tyranny in a more aggravated form bus been exercised, and that, us much as we may lament the oppression which exists in professedly christian lands, that it was not the cause which first introduced it? I do not deny that, in its deformed condition it may be, and has been made subsidiary to the perpetuation of arbitrary forms of government. But I believe, take it as it is, as it has been even in its most corrupted days, that it has rather advanced the cause of civil freedom. Yea I believe that true liberty had never been known, had not the principles of Christianity been first understood. Show me a nation of people, who, without the aid of revelation, have ever broke away from the bounds with which custom and power have enslaved them I Do you point to Greece and Rome? What had they deserving the name of freedom? True they were not subjects, for a time, of single tyrants, but what was the condition of the common people, when they were most republican? Slaves the most abject Do you refer to France, who with her political freedom decreed, “there is no God? Alas! there was no foundation for the superstructure, and it became the prey of aspiring ambition, and it fell.

But there had been laid for the liberty of the American people a basis deep and sure; not by those alone who figured in the revolution, but those who had lived before them, even the first settlers of our country. And by those, too, who were not the rejectors of revelation, but devoted and exemplary christians.

Among those who have exerted a salutary influence on the destinies of our country is Roger Williams, the founder of the state of Rhode Island. In England he was an ordained clergyman of the established church. For the liberality manifested in this station he became the object of severe persecution, and was forced to leave his native land, and flee for shelter to the new world. Immediately after his arrival in the colony of Massachusetts, his new doctrines of government excited the jealousy of those who themselves had fled from oppression; and the patriot, the philanthropist and the christian was banished from among them. It is interesting to observe with what clearness he maintained his positions. There was a law at that time in the colony, against which he inveighed, that every man should not only aid in maintaining worship, but that they should, attend upon it, whether in accordance with their views or not. “No one should be bound,” says Williams, “to worship or maintain it, against his own consent.” “What,” exclaims his opposers, “is not the laborer worthy of his hire? “Yes,” he replies, with perfect calmness, “of those who hire him.”

To avoid a transportation to England, he determined to seek a shelter in the wilds of Naragansett. Of their chief he purchased a tract of land which was called Rhode Island, and with a few individuals went to take possession. He came through the domains of his oppressors, and it length reached its boundary, the clear, deep stream of the Seekonk river. He hailed its waters with the joy which breaks through clouds of sadness; such as we might suppose the Hebrews of old to have felt, when first the prospect of the promised land burst upon their view. These waters bore his little bark to its destination ; and as he reached the shore of his new territory, he raised his voice to heaven in thanksgiving, and pledged himself that here should be a home for the persecuted and oppressed. And as one who saw with prophetic view the destiny of our country, he here laid the sure foundation of all liberty, in liberty of conscience.

“Williams,” says a historian of the present day, “was willing to leave truth alone in her own panoply of light, believing that if in her ancient feud with error, the employment of force should be entirely abrogated, the chance for her success would be greatly advanced.” It may be asked where he derived those principles winch must be acknowledged to have exerted so great an influence in the cause of liberty. Let him answer, and he will tell you that he learned them from the gospel of Jesus.

We might also refer to Wm. Penn, and Lord Baltimore, both of them christians, one a Quaker and the other a Catholic, who founded Pennsylvania and Maryland, upon similar principles, although neither seems to have come at once upon the broad ground occupied by Williams.— We believe that to these three men America is more indebted for her freedom, than to the deeds of Washington, Green, and La Fayette; or to the writings of Hamilton, Paine and Jefferson.

It may be thought time that we make allusion to our text. It must have been deemed, by all my hearers, as a reference to the extension of the gospel kingdom; and the only use we intended to make of it was to show that christianity and republicanism were not opposites, but similar in their principles, and having as their end the destruction of all arbitrary power, and giving perfect liberty to mind and person. Christianity teaches that there is “one God,” and that all mankind “are brethren.” Who, that has read the precepts of the gospel, can find there any thing to favor usurpation? Who does not see there the abolition of all arbitrary power, the equality of all God’s rational creation? “Be ye not called rabbi, for one is your Master, and all ye arc brethren.” “Whosoever would be chief among you let him be your servant.” This is the exact doctrine of republicanism.

Christianity, when its principles shall become universally adopted, will effect universal emancipation. For here, that selfish power, which we remarked in the commencement had been the cause of all oppression, is subdued, and when all shall have obeyed them, then shall “the Lord be King over all the earth; in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name one.” Of course there can be no other king, for he will not give a portion of his glory to another. Before Christ shall deliver up the kingdom to his Father, he must have “put down all rule and authority and power. For he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet.”

Let us now look to the probable results of the general adoption of republican doctrines.— The same as with Christianity, the destruction of all tyranny, the banishment of all oppression from the world. And this could be effected without renouncing our obedience to the King of kings. Nay, we believe that liberty shall never be known to all, until all shall have entered the ” perfect law of liberty,” and be governed by its golden precepts. He who has entered this law, would never oppress his brother, and, with respect to himself, he is already free, whatever may be his condition in life. It is he alone who can personify the poet’s fancy of a freeman. Him,

“No gold can buy, no monarch can corrupt;
No faction crush, no storm annihilate
His spirit midst confusion flouts unharmed;
Just like the father, on the azure wave.
Let wild commotion rouse the angry deep,
And crested surge, in rolling mountains blaze;
It bounds from billow on to billow, nor
E’er sinks beneath the warring strife of winds;
Nor in the mingled elements is lost;
But, on the wild wings of the tempest,
Mounts the skies to wander ‘mong the stats.”

They are assimilated in another respect, by being advanced by the general diffusion of knowledge. By this is the spread of the gospel promoted; by this is the mind prepared for the reception of its holy truths; and by this are we lead to practice its righteous precepts, and to prize justly its sublimity and moral tendency. I know that the dawnings of modem science have been laid hold of by the enemies of Revelation to destroy our faith in its teachings; but the moment that they have assumed the form of truth, they have been wrested from their grasp by the champions of religion, and wielded, not only in its defence, but to the utter demolition of the very foundations of modern infidelity.— Such has been the case with chemistry, phrenology, geology and astronomy. And such we believe will be the case with every science which coming ages shall unfold. The gospel is a revelation of the goodness and love of God; and what can science over bring to light that shall not ascribe universal benevolence to the great Creator of heaven and earth? “Whoso,” saith the Psalmist, “is wise, and observeth these things, (that is, the order and perfection of his government, and the wondrous works of his creation,) even they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord.”

And knowledge is the only thing, upon which freedom can depend for permanency and support. It gave us liberty; but unless the people shall continue to be informed, it will prove evanescent. It is a want of knowledge which makes abject bondage regarded as a sacred duty by the victims of tyranny. Ignorance, is but another name for slavery. We boast a free government, and just and equal laws; but how long our government shall be free and our laws just, depends upon the uniform intelligence of the people, and not upon the wisdom, honesty, or good disposition of our law-givers. It is here that true freedom exists, and only here; and while our country can boast this, we may defy the powers of earth to enslave her. But, if the time shall ever arrive, when the attainment of knowledge shall be neglected, we may bid adieu to the bright hopes we have cherished for the success of her free institutions; they shall moulder and crumble into dust; the fostered bird of liberty shall mount upward with a shriek, and fly far away, to find a resting place in some other land. The ignorant man is the fit tool of servitude. It is the weakness and imbecility of ignorance, and not the wealth and power of their oppressors, which keeps millions of our fellow citizens in bondage. Freedom can be enjoyed by none, until they can prize its worth, and then the shackles of oppression will be burst in sunder. Take from the freeman his knowledge, and he is a slave; give it to the slave, and he is emancipated.

In a thousand ways, we might trace the similarity between the doctrines of the gospel, and the principles which called forth the Declaration of Independence; and their manifest, yea, inevitable tendency towards personal and national freedom; but enough has been said to direct the hearer to the subject, and he can follow out the system of illustration to any length he pleases.

Did time permit, we would like to enter upon a defence of the principles of popular government; and, especially, the stand which has been taken by most of the States, with respect to religious toleration; in which they have followed the example of the illustrious Williams, the first legislator in the world who held inviolate the freedom of the mind[1];* but it does not.—We will,however, briefly notice an indirect objection, sometimes brought against religion, which asserts that multiplicity of sects is the only safeguard of freedom—that, if any single sect should gain the supremacy, liberty would be endangered. We deny this conclusion, so far as it relates to the doctrines of the gospel. Where they have been corrupted by man, and where blindness has attached to their lovely appearance, the horrors and distortion of pagan superstition, we grant they may, we contend they must, subvert both civil and religious freedom; but we will not admit, what can never be proved, that Christianity, as taught and practised by Christ and his apostles, would lead, in the least degree, to usurpation and tyranny.

That, which approaches to heathen mythology, which clothes, in a robe of mystery and terror, a God of love, may cause its votaries to claim dominion over the minds of their fellow men; they who believe that he delights in the infliction of ceaseless anguish, in casting down the unbeliever to writhe in immortal flames, may deem it their duty to usurp the control of the conscience; they may, with the Catholics in their persecutions of the Albiginses, think it an obligation they are under to their God of vengeance, to send the heretic “through material fires, to those which are immaterial and eternal;” but they who believe in a God of infinite goodness, that he hath purposed in the dispensation of the fullness of times to gather together in one, all things in Christ, and that the unbelief of some, shall not make the faith and purpose of God without effect, have no motive to such conduct. And we believe, (deem us not a bigot,) that, though this should become the universal faith of Christendom, the cause of rational liberty would be but aided in its progress.

We look, then, upon the cause of freedom, and the cause of religion as the same; not only as harmonizing with, but dependent on each other. And, we hail the returning anniversary of our nation’s independence, because we esteem it an era in the advancement not only of civil, but religious and intellectual liberty. It is welcomed as a bright assurance of the rapid approach of the time when “the Lord shall be king over all the earth,” when righteousness shall be loved by all, and man be governed by the law of love.

It has been said, that an absolute monarchy would be the best government in the world, were the monarch but perfect. This, so far as it relates to man, is not a supposable case, but we can attribute absolute perfection to God, and as he is impartial, as with him, “there is no respect of persons,” there must be an equality among the subjects of his government; which can not attach to any form of government among men. And we believe the time advancing, when man shall bow to no power, but a power omnipotent, acknowledge no king but the King of heaven; when no sceptre shall be swayed in all the earth, but that which rules creation, and homage paid to none, but “the universal Father.” This shall be the triumph of religion and of freedom. This the effectual reign of that Sovereign, who “cometh to execute judgment in the earth—to judge the world in righteousness, and the people with his truth.” When people shall learn truth and practice virtue, and knowledge be universally diffused.

To this, we see the reforms, in systems of faith, rapidly tending; and we love to cherish the memory of freedom’s birthday in our land, as one of the mightier strides, towards the universal liberation of mind. The cause of political shall aid the cause of religious emancipation, shall co-operate with the reign of Christ in the subjugation of all things to God, in putting down all rule and all authority and power; in delivering mankind from all bondage and corruption, and establishing the universal empire of liberty and truth.

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth;
Make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise—
Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof;
The world, and they that dwell therein.
Let the floods clap their hands:
Let the hills be joyful together before the Lord:
For he cometh to judge the earth:
With righteousness shall be judge the world,
And the people with equity.”

(1) Maryland was settled two years before Rhode Island, but her Charier was not entirely free from intoleration. Pennsylvania was not settled till nearly half a century afterwards.

Joshua King Ingalls, “A Sermon, Delivered in the Universalist Church, Southold, L. I.,” Universalist Union 5, no. 41 (August 29, 1840): 641-644.


A few weeks since we noticed a proposed discussion between Br. Ingalls, of Southold, L. I. and a Methodist clergyman by the name of Henson, of Greenport, we believe.—It terminated on the 28th ult. and by the following letter from an esteemed friend in Southold, we judge very favorably for the cause of Universalism. If we had not known the writer well, and long known him as a sober, discreet and calculating person, we really should have suspected him of being a little fanatical. And our good brother Ingalls, too, must have pretty broad shoulders, to bear such a weight of commendation. “As his day is, so may his strength be.” However, the information contained in the postscript of our correspondent, furnishes a commentary on the result of the discussion, which can not be questioned.—We joy with them in their encouraging prospects.

Friend Price—The discussion between Br. Ingalls and the Rev. Mr. Henson, (Methodist,) which commenced in our church on Tuesday evening last, terminated last Friday evening—they having occupied 18 or 20 hours at intervals, in actual debate. The 1st question which was “Do the Scriptures teach the doctrine of future endless punishment for sins committed in this life, or do they teach that all punishment threatened in the Scriptures is confined to this life?” was opened by Mr. H. in favour of the first part of the question, who was followed by Br. I. in favour of the latter.

The parties having disposed of this question, (and the Rev. Rev. H. having in the estimation of every intelligent and unprejudiced mind present, entirely failed to establish his darling theory of endless woe, for a portion of our race,) then entered upon the 2d question, which was, “Do the Scriptures leach the doctrine of the final holiness and happiness of all men, or are the conditions of salvation confined to this life?” Br. I. opened in favour of the first part of the question, and Mr. H. the latter.

The discussion created an excitement never before witnessed in this town, within the recollection of the writer. Hundreds were in attendance during every meeting, and our church was literally crowded. On Friday evening, in particular, I never witnessed any church, in the country, so completely filled; the pulpit, pulpit stairs, the aisles, gallery, vestibule, and every spot where it was possible to gain a foot-hold, were occupied.

I have not time now to give you all the particulars of the debate, but this much I will say, that it has gloriously terminated for our cause. The swaggering Goliath felt the smooth stone, that sunk deep into his forehead, sent thither from the sling of David—the God of Israel directed its course; and notwithstanding he was one of the most ungentlemanly and disgusting opponents that the truth of Heaven ever had to contend with, regarding in many instances neither truth nor honourable debate, yet in the spirit of kindness was he met by Br. I., and I hazard the declaration that there was not a reading and impartial person present, who, if he were to speak the sentiments of his heart, would not say, he was most triumphantly met in the argument—if argument he used at all. Many who were before wavering, have been confirmed in the faith of God’s impartial grace, and our friends generally were never so elated as at present. Hereafter, I trust, we shall be able to give you a good account of ourselves.

One word more, Br. Price, and I must close. I have listened to some of the most able speakers that our country can boast of, both in the pulpit and at the bar, and truth and honesty compel me to say that I never yet witnessed such a specimen of native eloquence as burst from the lips of Br. Ingalls in his closing appeal to the congregation on the subject of the Resurrection. And such a perfect stillness reigned throughout the congregation, that a whisper would have been perceived in any part of the house. He far exceeded himself, and the expectation of his friends. Indeed, it seemed like an electric shock.

In the midst of this address, he was interrupted by Mr. H., who requested Br. I. not to appeal to the passions; to which, Br. I. remarked, that lie was addressing himself to the noblest feelings of the human soul. The death-like stillness, and the falling tears of joy, were too ominous of the feelings of the people to suit Mr. H. Nor in his answer did he attempt to do away with the arguments of Br. I. on the resurrection, in any other way, than by an appeal to their blind prejudices.

The principal arguments on both sides have been preserved, and will probably be published. At the close of the debate, Br. I. asked Mr. H. if he would let him have a copy of the argument before he published his version of the discussion, but he made no affirmative answer. Br. I. then told him that he (Henson) should be furnished with a copy of the argument, which he (Ingalls) should prepare for the press, as that he should not have the opportunity of saying that he was misrepresented.

I will now close, Br. P., by simply remarking that Mr. H. contended strongly that there was no change after death. Br. Ingalls intimated to him very pertinently, that heaven would not be a very desirable place if individuals, manifesting the spirit he had done through the discussion, were permitted to enter there without a change. And I will add, that I believe in no heaven, where such men can be admitted, without a thorough and radical change.

Yours truly,

Southold, L. I. Feb. 1, 1842. G.

P. S. Since writing the foregoing, between 20 and 30 persons have voluntarily offered their names as candidates for membership of our society; and there is every indication of increasing numbers; our pews are all rented since the discussion, and applications are still being made for more.

Source: G, “The Southold Discussion,” Universalist Union 7, no. 14 (n.d.): 216-217.




Between Rev. Mr. Henson, (Methodist) and Rev. J. K. Ingalls, (Universalist.)


The circumstances which led to the discussion between Mr. Henson and myself, are simply these. Early last fall, he delivered a lecture, in which he made an offer to meet any individual disposed to defend Universalism. After learning that he had fully committed himself, I addressed him a note, proposing to meet him alternately in his and our churches. He declined receiving me into his church, on account of the danger of my error. It was subsequently j agreed to meet in the Universalist Church at Southold, and discuss the following conjoint questions:

1. Does the Bible teach future and endless punishment, or that all awn are punished in this life?

2. Does the Bible teach the final holiness and happiness of all men; or that salvation is confined to those who comply with the conditions of the gospel in this state of existence?

These questions were discussed before crowded and intelligent audiences, commencing on Tuesday evening, Jan. 25, and ending Friday evening, Jan. 28, 1842, occupying in all eighteen or twenty hours in actual debate. At the close, Mr. Henson stated that he should publish the discussion, and asked me what I would give. Having little confidence in his representation, I inquired if I could have an opportunity to review my portion of it. He replied, he would not misrepresent me. As he had not taken notes, but referred to a manuscript in book form, which was written before the discussion commenced, (as the President of the meeting and several other persons can testify,) I then stated, I would publish the discussion, and that Mr. Henson should have the privilege of making the best of his arguments. It was written out from notes taken by Mr. Waldo, an unbiased person. I addressed a note to Mr. Henson, apprising him of the fact, and inviting him to call and review it. Of this lie took no notice, but addressed me an insulting epistle, stating, I could call on him and hear my arguments read, and that if I discovered error he would correct it!

In giving this hastily prepared sketch of the debate to the public, I have only to beg the indulgence of the reader.—Lack of time and a desire to condense, within certain limits, the subject matter, have sometimes given to it a disconnected appearance; but no main point of argument has been omitted, to my knowledge. The reader, I trust, will remember that my opponent had the lead on the first question, and that I am not so much responsible for the rambling manner in which it was discussed.

It will be discovered that some of my remarks are taken more at length than Mr. Henson’s. Mine were written by myself, and as I wrote much finer than the gentleman who aided in writing his, of course the space allotted would not contain an equal amount of matter. It was also found in several instances to be impossible to fill out Mr. Henson’s, except with sheer bravado and oft repeated asseveration, as he occupied much Of his time in that way. Besides, in three or four instances, he failed to speak his time out by ten or fifteen minutes.

A result of the discussion, and one which I trust will be farther secured by its publication, has been to disabuse the public mind in respect to the course pursued by Universalists. It is often alleged that we deal in declamation against other denominations. Those who listened to this debate have judged, those who shall read it, will judge, which has dealt in abuse, and which has treated the subject with the candor its importance deserves.

Such as a few spare moments have enabled me to make the minutes of this debate, they are confidingly submitted. If they shall in any way aid the cause of truth, my labor will be repaid.


Southold, L. L, March 1842.

We have read in manuscript the minutes of the Discussion, between Rev. Messrs. Ingalls and Henson, prepared by the former for publication, and have no hesitation in certifying that it is a fair and candid representation of the arguments advanced by each.

E. W Case. President of the Meeting. GILES WALDO, } Reporters. E. F. CARPENTER, Southold, Feb. 21, 1842. ______


Mr. Henson. We would address a word to this congregation with respect to the circumstances which led to this discussion. It is known to you that Mr. Ingalls and myself occasionally preach in the same house at Rocky Point. Finding error there, I felt it my duty to preach against it; and being unwilling to give the Universalists the opportunity of complaining that they were condemned without a hearing, I notified that I should give to any one who chose to controvert my positions, the opportunity of replying. I expected Mr. Ingalls, but he was not there, nor did any one see fit to oppose what I advanced. I afterwards received a note from him, accepting the challenge, for a public disputation, which he understood I had openly made. This was not my intention, but I was willing to meet any responsibility which attached to the expressions I did make, and we agreed to meet here, this evening to discuss the subject; I affirming on the first question that the Bible teaches future endless punishment, and Mr. Ingalls, on the other hand, that there is no future punishment. He on the second, that all men shall be saved, and I that those only shall be saved who believe, and comply with the conditions of the gospel.

I prove endless punishment first, by showing that salvation is conditional. The Apostle says, “now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation,” implying, there is a time when the day will end and there be no longer any opportunity, to be saved. This primarily referred to God’s dealing with the Jews, but as he dealt with them, so will he deal with all sinners. This day I understand to be the life of man, for the most part, though some are given over to blindness in this world.

Endless punishment should not, be considered a reproach upon the goodness of God. “It is necessary to vindicate his moral government, and manifest to the universe the consequence of infringing the divine law. Heaven was filled with angels and the worlds above with spirits who are to be benefited by this display of God’s displeasure of sin. A portion is destroyed to save the rest. It was better for Washington to execute Andre, than for a whole nation to become slaves through his instrumentality. So God punishes the sinner endlessly, rather than have his government subverted, and the universe dissolved.

That salvation is conditional may be farther argued from texts of positive character—“He that believeth shall be saved.” Mark i. 15; Acts ii. 38, iii. 19. Faith, in these cases, is requisite to the salvation of the soul, and the zealous christian alone, has the assurance of acceptation. In Revelations the command is given to be faithful unto death, and a crown of life is promised. If Universalism is true, we shall have the crown of life whether we are faithful unto death or no; this condition is destroyed, and there is no distinction between the righteous and the wicked. We are commanded to follow peace and holiness without which no man can see the road. Universalists say you can see him without this. But God can not consistently save man, without he is converted to him. What does he say? “Because I have called and ye have refused; I have Stretched out my arm and no man regarded it; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I will laugh at your calamity and mock when your fear cometh.” To suppose that there is no distinction between the good and the evil, is to encourage men in the way of sin, and open the passions to ungoverned indulgence.

Unless there is a future slate of punishment, God’s moral and righteous government can not be defended, for men are not sufficiently punished or rewarded for their works in this life. The contrary doctrine must make God unjust.

Mr. Ingalls. My opponent, in this discussion, the gentleman who has just addressed you, has stated the purpose for which we have assembled and the circumstances which have finally resulted in bringing us before you in this public manner, to canvass the views of each in regard to punishment and salvation. He has, however, misstated the ground which I have taken; it is not, that there is no future punishment, but that all the threatnings contained in the sacred Scriptures, refer to, and have their accomplishment in this world.

The subject which we are now discussing, is one of vast moment; embracing nothing less than the character and disposition of the divine Being. The gentleman has attempted to reconcile the endless suffering of a portion of mankind with the benevolence of God; but this is certainly a task which few will take upon themselves. He has labored to show that the sinner brings it upon himself, but can he avoid making Deity the Author of so horrid a condition; or deny that it is He who passes sentence and executes the judgment. It is nothing to call such a Being good. It is for him to show how infinite malignity would do worse. If he can make no distinction in the conduct of a Being of infinite love, and infinite hatred, his doctrine can not be defended by its accordance with the divine attributes.

If it is said that the universe requires this, in order to keep exhibited to its view the awful penalty of pin; I reply that God is infinite in resources, in wisdom, and power; so that the necessity for this can not be argued. If endless misery is true for man, it may be for the spirits in heaven, and as great proportion of the beings of all worlds, suffer it, as of mankind.

What has been said in reference to the conditionally of salvation, I do not know has any thing to do with the question. We are not now discussing our views of salvation, but of punishment.

As, however, I have an affirmative to support, I will employ my time in bringing forward my reasons’ for supposing that the inflictions of punishment threatened in the Bible have their fulfillment in this world. And I will come to the point at once.

The first intimation respecting punishment is when our first parents partook of the forbidden fruit. By a careful examination we shall find no reference to suffering after death; on the other hand, the duration of the evil is limited to such time as Adam shall return to the ground. Cain who slew his brother, complained that his punishment was greater than he could bear; yet said nothing of fearing immortal pangs. Abraham remonstrated with the Lord that he should not destroy the righteous with the wicked, Gen. xviii. 25, being evidently ignorant that one was rewarded and the other punished in a future state.

My opponent has raised something like an argument from Proverbs, “because I have called and ye have refused I will laugh at your calamity and mock when your fear cometh;” but it was not God who said this, although the gentleman would have you believe so. Wisdom is represented as lifting up her voice to the children of men, and as sporting at the calamities of those who would have none of her reproof. But suppose it was God, although it must shock our feelings of reverence for him, it would prove nothing to his purpose, until he shows that this calamity is endless woe. When he shall attempt this, we shall be ready to meet him.

What has been said of the apparent injustice of God, if there be not a state of future retribution, is met by noticing the immutability of his laws. They do not change. They are eternally just; and if this is denied, we desire to know how we can believe in the equality of his government? It does not do to say there will be a time when he will commence dispensing justice; for he is without variableness or the shadow of a turning; and the probability is, that if the righteous and the wicked do not receive the fruit of their doings here, they never will.

There is a problem which I hope my opponent will attend to, before insisting longer upon this point. If it takes an eternity to punish the sins of this life; how long, and where, shall be punished the sins of eternity?

Mr. Henson. My opponent has failed to meet any of my arguments from Scripture, and has taken up his time in declamation against an endless hell. I have quoted Scripture to sustain my positions, and I stand before you a fair arguer; while Mr. Ingalls avoids the question. If he argues dishonestly I shall argue dishonestly. I will clothe myself in universalist armor, and when we come to discuss that subject, I will make him cash his arguments. If there is no endless hell there is no endless heaven; if there is no future endless punishment there is no future endless life. Universalists do not believe in immortality, as I will prove by reading from Balfour, one of their most eminent men.

But I will proceed with my proofs. In Ecclesiastes vii. 15, we read “there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness;” consequently there must be a future state of rewards and punishments. As an instance, there was Pope Innocent, who persecuted the Albigenses, and was the cause of the murder of millions, who lived to a good old age, and died in peace and quietness. I believe God punishes men for discipline in this life, but this has nothing to do with the just retribution which awaits them hereafter. They are dealt with parentally in this world, but are punished capitally in the next. God can not, will not, save them if they refuse his calls of mercy, and if they suffer it is their own fault and not God’s.

Mr. Ingalls does not believe there is any sin at all. He makes God its author and the only sinner in the universe.

I can not admit the punishment of sin to be natural death, because Adam lived a long life after he sinned. Christ did not come to save men from natural death, but from sin. If men were net in danger on account of their sins, there was nothing to be saved from.

We may argue from the account of Adam’s punishment, that there was no heaven as well as no hell. We believe the death which Adam died, eternal, as it is put in contrast to eternal life. Romans vi. 23. In Heb. vi. we read that those who have fallen away from the truth it is impossible to renew again, proving that there is a fixed state of character and condition which can never be changed.

Matt. xii. 31, there is recognized a sin which hath never forgivness, neither in this world nor in the world to come. Will Mr. Ingalls say that this does not extend to another world? No, but I have not proved an endless hell! Then he can not prove an endless heaven. If you reject the one you must reject the other. If Universalism is true, what penalty is there for self-murder?

In Hebrews xii. it is said that after a certain falling away there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin. That the state of the wicked is fixed at death may be seen from Rev. xxii. 11, “He that is holy let him be holy still, and he that is filthy let him be filthy still.” We are to conclude that this unjust and filthy slate is to endure for ever. If it does not mean this; it means nothing. “The wicked is driven away in his wickedness, the righteous hath hope in his death.” Here is a contrast made between the two characters. David prayed to be delivered from men who had their portion in this life, and says—“I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy life.” Ps. 17. In the 73d Psalm he speaks of the wicked as enjoying this life, but he saw their dreadful end, when he went into the sanctuary of the Lord. He expected God to receive him to glory, but did not expect the wicked to be received there also.

“The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God.” This can not mean the grave, for the righteous and those that remember God are turned in also; this therefore must mean a place of future punishment.

Mr. Ingalls. My opponent has told you much about what I believe, and what Universalists believe, without waiting for me to tell you—among other things, that we believe God the only sinner in the universe, and that man has no immortal soul.

To the first of these charges I reply, it is my opinion that sin is imperfection, attaching to the Creator’s works, until they shall be completed. Hence, in an absolute sense I do not believe God the author of evil. We ate created such beings as we are, and it is not for us to find fault with our Creator, for not having made us perfect, when He chose to have us attain perfection by progression. That he might have made us incapable of sin, I have no doubt, but we should not have been men.

With regard to the other, it is sufficient to state, that Mr. Balfour has his own peculiar notions, and with which but few probably in our denomination agree. But the gentleman knows that the author whom he has willfully misrepresented, believes in a future immortal existence, with as firm a faith as himself: basing that hope upon what I had thought to be the christian ground, the resurrection of the dead.

To invalidate the arguments which I advanced to prove that this was the state of retribution, we have been favored with the case of the Pope, who persecuted the Albigenses; who notwithstanding the millions he murdered, enjoyed all his heart could wish. But I would ask is this the reward of virtue? Did he enjoy the fruits of well-doing for his crime? It is said that he died in peace. This is impossible, in the very nature of things; unless it can be shown that the dead lethargy of sin-destroyed feeling and the holy, quiet rest of the virtuous are the same. The idea that men are punished in this life holds so prominent a place in the teachings of the Bible, that expressions of the most emphatic character are used to convey it to our minds. Pr. xi. 31. “Behold the righteous are recompensed in the earth, much more the wicked and the sinner.” It is said also in Isaiah, in reference to judgment inflicted on the Jews—Judah hath received double for all her sins. We do not contend that the stings of conscience are the only punishment. Conscience was not given to torment man, hut to be a source of the highest enjoyment, and he who sears this, and degrades it, though it may cause pain, yet his punishment consists in having destroyed this great storehouse from which that is derived, which constitutes our most exalted pleasures; the consciousness of having done right.

But my opponent has at length brought forth one passage, on which I may expect him to make a stand in support of endless misery. Ps. ix. 17. “The wicked shall be turned into hell,” &c. This has only, however, to be read in its connexion, to prove that the judgments of God are executed in this world. It is said in the verse but one preceding, “The wicked is snared in his own net.” Verse 16. “The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth.” Surely we are not to understand that he is to be known in another world, for the judgments which he is going to execute there. But the word is (he same which in other places is rendered grave, the assertion to the contrary notwithstanding; but it is not to be understood strictly the grave; it means the state of the dead. Jacob was going down to hell, to his son Joseph, mourning, although he supposed him not buried at all, but torn in pieces by wild beasts.

But, says the gentleman, if this means the grave, there is no sense in the passage, for the righteous are turned into it as much as the wicked! To which I reply, that there is a vast difference between going down to the grave in peace, as the righteous do, and being driven there by some overwhelming scourge, which should almost blot the nations out of existence. If he can not see it, I am not fearful but the audience will. The gentleman attempts to avoid the force of my argument, from the fact that Adam, Cain, the antediluvians, &c, were not apprised of the awful fate that awaited them hereafter, by saying that it is an equal objection to the idea of a heaven. But I say this comes home to him with double force; for if the object of this life as he has told us, and as is embraced in the couplet, was, “to escape from hell and fly to heaven,” the argument is doubly strong against himself. They certainly should have been informed in regard to the infinite hazard they were running, and the infinite good they were to secure. But with my views there is nothing inconsistent in supposing that Deity should have withheld from man a knowledge of futurity until he became prepared to receive it; yet admitting that immortal good and ill depends upon our conduct here, what palliation can there be for this neglect on his part to instruct them, through a period of 4000 years.

Mr. Henson. Mr. Ingalls refuses to notice any of my arguments, but goes on declaiming against an endless hell. Why don’t he notice my proof texts? Why hasn’t he told us what it means, when it says, “let the filthy be filthy still, and the unrighteous be unrighteous still?” He cannot say that this refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, for it was destroyed twenty or thirty years before the book of Revelations was written. Now I do not do so with the passages which Mr. Ingalls brings. I notice them all. “The righteous are recompensed in the earth,” &c. This means that they have peace of conscience, while the wicked have not, but has no reference to the just judgments of heaven. The death of the sinner is not equal in agony to the martyrdom of the righteous; hence it must require a future state to reconcile matters between them. It is also said in Revelations, “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, they shall rest from their labors and their works do follow them.” Universalism makes all blessed, whether they die in the Lord or die in sin.

Romans ii. 6—11, “Who will render to every man according to his works, to them who. by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, honor, immortality, eternal life; but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish.” Here are two characters in contrast, one is to receive immortality; does it refer to this life? The other tribulations; shall we say that one refers to an immortal state and the other to this?

John v .28, “The day is coming in which all that are in their graves shall come forth. The good to a resurrection of life; the evil to a resurrection of damnation.” Thus you see the Bible makes distinction between the righteous and the wicked in life, in death and in the resurrection. If so be they deny that this is the literal resurrection, they must deny a literal resurrection altogether. Will it be said this is a moral resurrection? Why should men morally raised come forth to damnation? It cannot mean a political resurrection, because that has not taken place yet to the Jews; their nation is yet politically dead, it never has had a resurrection.

In Rev. xxi. 7, the distinction is still kept up.— “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God and he shall be my son.”

Mr. Ingalls says that all are the sons of God; that he loves one just as well as another; the sinner just as well as the saint; him that serveth God, as him that serveth him not. The Scriptures read different. “But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” No, says Mr. Ingalls, these are all going straight into heaven.—They are poor, unfortunate beings. There, that is Universalism! If you can swallow that, you can swallow any thing.

Will my opponent say that this refers to this world T The second death must be subsequent to the first death. The first death is the death of body; the second death the death of the soul. If he argues that this is in this life, he will have to prove that men are twice dead, before they are dead at all. This cannot mean that the wicked are all going; to heaven; for the contrast of character is observed here and hereafter.

Mr. Ingalls. I wish the audience distinctly to understand that we are not now discussing Universalism; nor of the wicked going directly to heaven. I may, however, remark, that our orthodox friends find no difficulty in getting murderers and all kind of characters into heaven. Even those drunkards, whose reproach we have had to bear, and who say they professed our doctrine only to cover up sin, are saved on a dying bed, and thought fit candidates for heaven! We scarce ever hear of an execution, but we are told that the subject is hopefully converted. “We do not see any great difference in regard to the society of heaven, whether one be correct or the other; only, they do not believe in any moral change after death, we do. But we are not upon this subject now; we are discussing our peculiar views of punishment.

We will notice first my opponent’s text in Revelations, “He that is unjust let him be unjust still, and he that is filthy let him be filthy still.” That this does not refer to another life, but to this, we shall have no difficulty in proving, if you will bear in mind the reading of the next verse, “And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be.” Will you observe that this is a reward according to works; that this coming was to be quick? See also verse 20. The verse preceding the one the gentleman has quoted, reads thus, “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.”

In Matthew xvi. 27—28, we read of a coming of the Savior, with the angels of his Father, when he will reward every man according to his works, and he continues, “Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here,, which shall not taste of death, until they see the son of man coming in his kingdom,” It is vain to say that men are to be rewarded here according to their works, and hereafter also. I have, then, proved that this is the slate of retribution.

I will now notice the gentleman’s arguments, to show that people are to be rewarded hereafter for their virtue. The passage in Revelations is certainly one of dubious import, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, they rest from their labors and their works do follow them.” There is nothing said about their being rewarded in heaven for their labors, but that they rested from them. Their labors were labors of love, in disseminating the everlasting Gospel. By their works following them, we understand the progress of those truths in the world, for which they lived, and suffered, and died. In this sense, the works of all men follow them, whether for good or ill. Jesus worked but a short time on earth; apparently he had done little, but his works followed him; not to another world, but in this; increasing in might and magnitude as they have come down the rapid current of ages; destined at length to cover the whole expanse of human depravity and woe.

In commenting upon Rom. ii. 6, 7, 8, my opponent attempted to make you believe, that immortality was the reward of well-doing. No one, however, who will read the passage will be deceived. Eternal life is the reward of well-doing, and seeking for glory, end honor, and immortality. He believes the sinner will be as immortal as the good, or he will give up the doctrine of ceaseless torments. By seeking for immortality here, I understand a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus; for he came to bring “life and immortality to light.”

Hebrews vi. 4, 5, 6. This case of impossibility does not trouble our brethren, who do not believe in falling from grace. They believe none will fall away; if I mistake not, however, our Methodist brethren do believe they can be renewed; at least such is their conduct; we have known some who professed to have been renewed the fourth or fifth time.

The sin against the Holy Ghost may be answered at the same time, for Though a different act, its consequence is similar. The expressions here used, are often employed to express what is difficult. When the young man who had great possessions went away from Jesus, he remarked, how hardly shall a rich man enter the kingdom of heaven? “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. The disciples were astonished at this, saying, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus answered them: “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible;” Matt, xix. 26. So in appearance many things are impossible, which offer no obstruction to the works and designs of the Almighty. It was in fact impossible to reclaim the drunkard a few years since; but now thousands have been saved within a few months in our own land.

We come now to his argument from the passage, “There is a righteous man who perisheth in his righteousness, and a wicked man who prolongeth his life in his wickedness.” If he had read the following verse, I should not have been under the necessity of noticing it at all, for you would have understood what kind of righteousness was referred to. “Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself overwise, why shouldst thou destroy thyself?” Eccl. vii. 15—16. It was those who were overmuch righteous, overmuch wise, who perished; what this proves to the gentleman’s purpose, I am not able to discover.

The next of his proof texts that I shall notice, is John v; 28, 29, where all that are in their graves are represented as coming forth; they that have done good to a resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to a resurrection of damnation. The Savior evidently quotes this language from Dan. xii. 2, where it is represented as connected with a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time, (verse 1.) This Jesus applies to his generation. Matt. xxiv. 15. 34, and says that it shall not pass away until all these things be fulfilled.

Thus we perceive, that every text which has been adduced, proves, not endless woe, but the side of the question which I have taken, that the threatening contained in the Scriptures, have their execution in this world. What has been said about its refetence to a moral or political resurrection, does not conflict with my views at all. I regard the resurrection here to refer to the condition of the religious world. The light which had gleamed from Mount Sinai had gone out, and as that was the only source of life, the world were dead, and in the grave of error and ignorance. But they were to hear the voice of the Son of God; were to hear the gospel preached, and those who had done good under the law, were to come forth to life everlasting; those who had done evil under the law, to a resurrection of damnation, for not believing on the only begotten Son of God.

Source: Joshua King Ingalls and Joseph Henson, “The Southold Discussion,” Universalist Union 7, no. 17 (March 12, 1842): 257-261.


Transcript, continued (1)



Mr. Henson. My opponent should show more zeal in supporting his cause, than he has yet manifested; he should meet me fairly and without delay. Has he met my arguments? He certainly has not; and I wish this congregation to bear in mind that he has not answered a single argument. Mr. Ingalls has manifested no disposition to meet me fairly. He will soon have to take the affirmative and we will see how he will get along then. See if I serve him the same. If I do, just suspect me of dealing unfairly with you.

Mr. Ingalls has quoted the text “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shall surely die,” to prove that the threatnings therein are confined to this life, and do not refer to a future state. Now would man have died if he had not sinned? Mr. Ingalls will say yes; then I say this death would be eternal. How was it in the case of Cain and Abel? Righteous Abel died and his murderer lived. The Scriptures contradict the idea that men are punished in this life for their evil deeds; Eccle. vii. 15, “There is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in wickedness.” Now if so be, as Mr. Ingalls has said, that conscience is not the source of punishment, what then is the punishment that reaches the wicked here?

The idea that God is possessed of infinite malignity is contradicted by man’s senses; by the love of God in saving man; by the gift of his Son, &c.— Universalists say, when a man sins, “O! he is a poor unfortunate being!” and seem to think he is not to be blamed, but pitied; they look upon it as a misfortune, and not a fault. Now if so be, that sin is a misfortune, God has the blame of creating him unfortunate, and thus they make God the only sinner in the universe.

Job ix. 22,23, “God destroyeth the righteous (perfect) and the wicked; and he will laugh at the trial of the innocent;” xii. 6, “the tabernacles of robbers prosper.” Now Job’s comforters preached the same doctrine that Mr. Ingalls does, and the sentence of God is pronounced against them in Job xiii. 4. Were the Roman Catholic clergy punished here, for all the wickedness they done in the earth? Certainly not. And yet according to Universalism they have the crown of glory, equal with the martyrs they had slain.

I now come to the parable of the wheat and the tares, and here a distinction of character is taught. The wheat is to be garnered up and the tares to be burned. Matt. xiii. 30—38, “the field is the world (kosmos,) the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one. The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world, (kosmos) and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world,” (kosmos, not aion, the word upon which the Universalists quibble so much.) “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Is there wailing and gnashing of teeth here, in this world? How then can it refer to this life?

What Mr. Ingalls has said on the resurrection to damnation, that it was probably quoted from Daniel, is mere assertion; there is no proof on the subject, but if it was, what does everlasting mean here? Does it mean an age? Did the Jews suffer an age, when they were cut off instantly? In Matt. iii. 10, it is said, “the axe is laid at the root, therefore every tree which bridgeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.” Now what is meant by “hewn down” in this passage? It evidently means death. What “fire” is meant here? Surely there is no punishment in burning the body! Therefore this must refer to punishment in a future state. In Matt. xxii. 13, it says—“Bind him hand and foot; take him away; and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” This then refers to the gentiles because Jerusalem had been destroyed previously.

Mr. Ingalls. My opponent has shown that he con boast. Perhaps I have not met a single argument; but he nor myself are the judges in the matter, but rather a candid and enlightened audience. What disposition has he made of what I have said in reference to the goodness of God? He says if He had been malignant, he would have damned all and have given none a chance of salvation; but this is not so; the fiend may love his friends; but as christians we are to be judged by our conduct toward our enemies. The Scribes and Pharisees were prohibited the kingdom of heaven because they loved their friends and hated their enemies. Malt. v. 20, 43—48. To say that God will punish his enemies endlessly, is to say that he is malignant, and not merciful. This is an argument which the gentleman feels he dare not look in the lace. He reiterates the assertion that we believe all sort of men are going to glory together, to divert your attention from the dilemma in which ho finds himself; for that is not the question under discussion, as I have repeatedly reminded him. He told you last evening that if I argued dishonestly he should. He said also that I did argue dishonestly, though the proof was wanting; and I discover now that he goes upon the supposition. I have a flagrant instance of dishonesty to prove upon him before I take my seat.

Out of the case of Cain and Abel be has endeavored to make a strong argument. But I do not admit that the suffering of Abel was punishment; it could not have been; men may suffer as Job did but can not be punished, unless there is guilt. He has advanced no proof that the friends of Job were condemned of God for contending that all punishment was confined to this life; or that Job was approved, because he referred it to a future life. The passage in Eccl. has the word life supplied. In the next chapter it is said, “Though the sinner do evil a hundred times; yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God; but it shall not be well with the wicked neither shall he prolong his days.” In the 5th verse of the 9th chapter, it is said, “the dead know not any thing; neither have they any more a reward.”

I will now proceed to do, what I pledged myself to do in the commencement; prove dishonesty upon my opponent. He read to us the parable of the wheat and the tares, and in giving the comment of the Savior, told you that where it says the “field is the world,” that “the word is kosmos, which was true. He also told you that in the 39th and 40th verses, where it says, the harvest is the end of the world, and that so shall it be in the end of this world, that it is the same world, and means literally the world, which is false. This might be seen by the English reader; for the harvest is not the end of the field, but of the crop. And the application which the Savior makes of this parable is this, “So shall it be in the end of this aion.”

Mr. Henson (interupting) kosmos!

It is aion.

Mr. Henson, prove it!

Here it is, I hold the Greek Testament in my hand, Our Moderator is a Greek scholar and capable of judging. I shall refer it to him. He decides that I am correct. That in the 39th and 40th verses, the word is aion not kosmos.

I next notice those passages, which speak of being cast out into outer darkness, where shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; for they are all of the same character, and probably refer, to the same event. He imagines these can not refer to this life; I will show that it is impossible to refer them to a future state, and that they must necessarily refer to the casting out of the Jews, from their religious and political enjoyments. Matt. viii. 11, 12, “I say unto you, that many shall come-from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” If the gentleman is disposed be can refer this to a future world and make out, that at some time there shall come a great multitude and crowd those out of heaven, who have been there for a great length of time. If he says that this refers to the reception of the gospel among the Gentiles, while the Jews, who were by birthright the children of the kingdom, were to be cast off because of unbelief; then he has given an answer to his own argument, in favor of endless misery, from these expressions. But, says he, in the parable of the marriage supper, the individual cast out then could not have been the Jews, for they are represented as the people who slew the servants of the king, and who were destroyed with their city by the armies of the monarch. This is admitting our interpretation of the passage as far as it goes. We suppose that the man who had not on the wedding garment to represent those who should apostatize from the christian faith.

All parables of this description might be better understood, would we notice the language in which they are stated. It does not say the kingdom of heaven is going to be likened, in a future world, but is likened in the present time.

The gentleman has attempted to evade the force of my argument, by saying that his texts from Rev. can not refer to the Jews, since Jerusalem was destroyed 20 or 30 years before John wrote this book. But I will show from Dr. A. Clarke, the great Methodist Commentator, that he was of a different opinion. In his introduction to the Apocalypse, he says, that many critics, “consider it to have been written before the destruction of Jerusalem; and in this opinion they are supported by the most respectable testimonies among the ancients.” “Of this opinion are many eminent writers, and among them Hentenius, Harduin, Grotius, Lightfoot, Hammond, Sir Isaac Newton, Bishop Newton, Wetstein, and others.” It also bears internal evidence of having been written before the dispersion of the Jews, by referring to the Temple, as may be seen by reference to the 11th chapter, 2d verse.

Mr. Henson. The question is what saith the Scripture? what does that teach? and not what saith Mr. Ingalls. Mr. Ingalls has told you that God created all things imperfect; God says he saw all things were good. Now which are we to believe in this matter? The Scriptures or Mr. Ingalls. He says that God made man imperfect, but the Scriptures say he was created in righteousness and true holiness.

Universalists have a peculiar way of getting along with every thing in the Bible that says any thing about hell, and the future punishment of the wicked. When they meet the text, “The wicked shall be turned into hell,” O, they say, that means the grave! hell always means the grave! If you ask them what “everlasting fire” means, they will tell you it means the place back of Jerusalem where fire was kept burning; that it means this, it means that, and it means nothing at all! This is the way they get along with it.

In Matt, xviii. 8, 9, it says, “Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee cut them off, and cast them from thee; it is better for thee to enter into life halt, or maimed, rather than having two hands, or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee pluck it out, and cast it from thee; it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.” And again, “fear not those who may destroy the body, but rather fear him that hath power to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Destroy both soul and body in hell! What does that mean? But Universalist do not believe that man has an immortal soul, any more than a dog has, and that when he dies, he dies like a beast. There, that’s it—that’s Universalism! If you can swallow down that idea, you can swallow down any thing. If you want proof about it, I’ll prove it to you, from Universalists themselves, and show you that they believe that when a man dies, he dies like a dog; just as the Atheist believes.

I now come to the consideration of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. I know very well that the Universalists refer this to the Jews and the church, and evade, and quibble, and attempt to show that it does not refer to punishment after death. But what says the Bible? The beggar died and was carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and being in bell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment. Here then, we find, that he had died, and was in torment after death; and consequently that the parable refers to a state of future punishment—punishment after death. Now I want Mr. Ingalls to show how this can refer to the present state of existence? If he can, let him do it. Take if you please the case of Mr. Rothschild, the great banker, who died some time since, as an illustration; and make an application of it to him, and to a poor ragged beggar in the streets, half starved, and famishing—and let us see what he can make of it. Here is Rothschild surrounded by every comfort that wealth can purchase. Servants furnish food and clothing to his hand; and here, he is, in the midst of all this luxury, lifting up his eyes in torments! while some poor christian is lying alone in some almost deserted tenement, suffering from pain, sickness, and want; he is in paradise! Here is Lazarus enjoying his good things! What a nonsensical doctrine is Universalism!

But the Jews believed in a hell, according to Josephus, and consequently this must have been intended to refer to punishment after death. They believed that these words gehenna, hades, &c, were figurative, referring to a future state, consequently the Savior must have designed, in this parable, to convey the idea, that there was to be a punishment after death.

Rev. ii. 10, 11, “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” Now what is meant by “second death” in this passage? I say it must refer to a future state, because they are supposed in this passage, to have been faithful unto death. The term “second death” must therefore have been applied to a future state of suffering. But at the rate my opponent gets along, how is he to get up with me in this discussion? He has not yet noticed but a very few of the texts I have brought forward, and my arguments therefrom; and here I am, clear ahead of him. Does not this look as though he were afraid to meet my arguments? When he comes to take the affirmative just see if I skip over his arguments in this way; see if I do not notice every one!

Mr. Ingalls. I once read of a hare who ran a race with a turtle. He commenced with much vigor and soon distanced his competitor. He looked back with disdain upon his tardy companion and concluded to take a nap. But while he slept, the turtle, in the even tenor of his way, came up, went past, and reached the goal. My opponent seems eager enough to keep out of my way, slowly as I may proceed. But I have no expectation of finding him at the point when I reach it. I have learned already in this discussion, that I need not expect my opponent to make any stand, in defence of his favorite dogma. Therefore I must be content to follow along in my own way, and notice as fast as possible, the various texts he depends upon to prove endless woe.

The first to which I shall refer is the second death, mentioned in Revelations. This is a phrase which occurs only in this book, and here but four times; and we have seen that it was written before the destruction of Jerusalem, it may have reference to that event; at least it will be much easier to give it this reference than any other. Especially will it be difficult to show that it has any reference to an immortal state. My opponent asked triumphantly, when commenting upon this, “Can it be proved that men are twice dead before they are dead at all?” Let us see. In Jude it is said of some, (verse 12,) that they are “twice dead and plucked up by the roots.” This is certainly a second death.

The second death was evidently subsequent to the first resurrection. This we have seen was the reception of the gospel by the world. The second death and the resurrection to damnation may be synonymous. Thus those who had part in the first resurrection, that is, had received the gospel, should not be hurt of the second death, or the overwhelming destruction which was to come upon those who had rejected it. In making some remarks upon my explanation of the resurrection to damnation, my opponent wishes to know, if this is parallel with Daniel, what everlasting means? if it can refer to the punishment of the Jews when they were cut off instantly? and if we make it mean age, how it will apply? I answer that they have not only suffered an age, but the whole age of the christian religion, and are now without a true knowledge of their God.

The gentleman attempts to misrepresent my views, by saying I do not believe in free agency. I regard this a vague—rather contradictory term. I choose to say, I believe man a moral agent, and morally responsible for his actions. I do not, as he would represent, believe in a compulsory influence upon the will. But what are the views of free agency as they have been advanced? That man has a power to act as he chooses, until he damns himself, and it is then taken away! But if man is such a free agent, why are motives presented to influence him to do differently? Why is a place of future endless woe depicted to his imagination, but for the purpose of changing his will? Has any of this congregation sufficient freedom of will to plunge into a pit of ceaseless, quenchless flame? We are told that man will get there by the exercise of this agency, but it will leave him there to endure it forever!

There is also another point on which he misrepresents me continually. It is the origin of evil. Although the Bible refers evil to the Lord, yet I do not make him the author of it, any more than the gentleman himself. I believe moral evil to have resulted from the moral agency, which was conferred by Deity to make us capable of progression. This idea he objects to, and would have you believe that the Bible taught the perfect holiness of Adam at creation. But he has entirely misrepresented the teaching of the Bible. It does not say that Adam was created in righteousness and true holiness, but Jesus, the new man. Eph. iv. 24.

I thought I had before stated plainly my views in respect to the punishment inflicted by conscience. I do not regard it inadequate, but of a negative description. Neither do I admit that the laws of nature are subject to exception, as my opponent would represent. They act with a certainty which precludes the possibility. He has brought some cases, from the violation of social law, where one suffers, while the other escapes, but does not this very fact show that punishment is certain, and that society even, cannot violate the laws of God, without receiving the retribution in someof its members?

The sin against the Holy Ghost, the gentleman thinks irrefutable. Suppose, then, we should let him have the few who were guilty of this sin, to satisfy his longing for endless torture; and we have the unqualified declaration in this very connexion, that “All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men.” Mark iii. 28. But I have noticed this passage before. I will state, however, that Dr. Clarke says, “I am fully satisfied the meaning of the word is neither in this dispensation (viz: the Jewish) nor in that which is to come, viz: the Christian.” [See his note on Matt. xii. 32.]

Mr. Henson. Mr. Ingalls tries again to make God the author of evil, and refers to a passage which says that he created it. But this is not moral evil, but natural; it is for him to show that it is moral. If he will, he will prove that God is the only sinner in the universe. I know that many writers date the Apocalypse before the destruction of Jerusalem, but the greater portion contend it was written afterwards; and if so be it was, then the second death, and the fixed unholy state, must refer to another world.

From what Daniel and the Savior says of the destruction of Jerusulem, that there never was. or should be such a time of trouble, Mr. Ingalls supposes there can be no endless misery. But there had been greater evils before; the deluge was greater; the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah was greater; and there has been since; the Russian campaign; the burning of Moscow, and the flight of the French army.

I pass now to the proofs of a future judgment. If I succeed in this, it must prove future punishment; for judgment supposes punishment to follow. If there is to be a judgment after death, it proves that all men arc not punished here.

Romans xiv. 8, 9, 10. Here is shown the object of Christ’s death and resurrection, that he might be Lord, both of the dead and the living; and a reason is given why we should not judge our brother, “for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” For it is written, as I live saith the Lord every knee shall bow to me and every tongue shall confess to God. If Universalists quote the language in Isaiah, and Phil, to prove that all men must be saved, they must admit a future judgment, for Paul makes this application of it. The confessing to God and bowing the knee doe9 not imply obedience and holiness, for the devils believe anil tremble.

Again. 2 Cor. v. 9, 10, it is said, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” This is a-judgment after death because Paul says in the preceding verse, “we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.” Mr. Ingalls can not say that this refers to the Jews, because it was written to the Corinthians.

If we prove that men die in their sins, we prove they will be raised in them, and be judged according to them. In Acts xvii. 30, 31, preaching to the Athenians, Paul tells them that the ignorance of former times was winked at by God, but that he “now commandeth all men every where to repent; because he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” This could not refer to a judgment of the Jews; Paul was preaching to the Athenians. I don’t want Mr. Ingalls to deny that this refers to endless misery and declaim that I have not proved a hell. Let him show what these passages do refer to, and make them apply to his side of the question. If men die in sin they must be judged hereafter. If there is a judgment there is future punishment, and if so, there must be a place for it. Then why make so much ado about proving a place. But I will turn his own weapons against him, when he comes to lake the affirmative. We will see if it is not as difficult to prove an endless heaven as an endless hell.

But he is very careful to meet none of my arguments. What has he done with the passage, “Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation?”

Why don’t he show that it is all the same whether we accept salvation or not? That God will save us whether we will be saved or no? Here is another text which he has not mentioned; “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” Why has not my opponent shown, that without holiness, we should see the Lord just as quick, and thus make St. Paul a liar?

“He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.” I would just as soon tell Jesus Christ he lied, as believe Universalism, and say that he that believed not would be saved just as quick as he that believed.

If Mr. Ingalls does not meet my arguments, lay it to his inability to do it; and suspect him of dishonesty. He complains he has not time to answer them. He finds plenty of time to declaim about my not having proved an endless hell. Why not then notice my proofs? and if he can not meet them, acknowledge his conviction that the Bible teaches a place of future and eternal woe?

Mr. Ingalls. A complaint is made that I do not keep up with my opponent. The reason is this—the gentleman runs all over the Bible, and quotes passages, many of which do not so much as refer to the question under discussion, and expects me to take them all up and give an exposition of them. I endeavor to select those, upon which, I suppose, be places the most reliance; but in no instance has he made a stand in defence of one. When I show that they go to sustain my ground not his, he goes on to quote a still greater number, as though he thought this was to decide the question. Why does not he come to the rescue of some of his favorite passages, when they are wrested one after another from his grasp, and used as arguments against him? Because there is more safety in keeping as far as possible from the subject.’

We come now to the strong hold of orthodoxy, the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. And our exposition shall be as brief as possible. The rich man was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. This we suppose refers to the Pharasaic Jews. The high priest was clothed in purple, the Levites in fine linen. From the altar in their temple went up daily, morning and evening, a sacrifice to the God of heaven. They thus “fared sumptuously every day.” The oracles of God were also committed to their care. They were represented by the rich man. There was also a beggar, lying at his gate, who desired to be fed with the crumbs which fell from his table. I understand him, to represent the Gentile world, who were not permitted to enter the temple, but had to wait at the gates for those crumbs of heavenly wisdom which were permitted them. Thus when the woman of Canaan, who desired Jesus to heal her, was asked if the bread should be taken from the children and given unto dogs, replied, “Truth Lord: yet the dogs eat. of the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.” Mau. xv. 27. They died, that is, the light and life or the Law departed and left the world in darkness and death, in hell, the place of the dead, the rich man finds himself in torment, and sees Lazarus afar off”, in Abraham’s bosom, who had been carried there by the angels; by which we understand that by the preaching of the Apostles, the Gentile world were received into the covenant made with Abraham; for “they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” Gal. iii. 9. At the 27th verse, the plot of the parable is changed, and the rich man’s five brethren take his place, prospectively, and represent the same people. That these people were the Jews, none will deny, who ever read the parable with attention; for Abraham gives, as a reason why he should not send Lazarus to warn them of their fate, “they have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” Who had Moses and the prophets? none but the Jews; and these alone can be meant. The design was to reprove them for their unbelief as may be seen from the last verse, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one should rise from the dead.” This proved literally true. Jesus raised one of this same name from the dead, but they believed not but sought to take his life. He was also raised from the dead himself and yet they believed not. (See also John v. 46, 47.)

The gentleman wants me to make an application of this parable to present times. This I am not bound to do, believing it had a particular reference to a peculiar time. But there are some things in connexion with it which makes the common mode of Interpretation altogether discordant. The reason Abraham gave, why the rich man was tormented and Lazarus comforted, was that in their lifetimes one had had his good things and the other evil. 25th verse. See how this will accord with other Bible doctrines, if it refers to man’s eternal state. “The willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land,” this is faring sumptuously. They must then be tormented hereafter. “Who hath woe? he that tarrieth long at the wine.” He is receiving now his evil things, he shall be comforted hereafter. Is this the doctrine of modern orthodoxy? Universalists are going to carry drunkards into heaven! I wonder if any will get there on this principle! Will my opponent learn prudence, and that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones? or must I leave argument and adopt ridicule to meet him on his own ground?

But, here is suffering, described as in hell! How can that be, if hell is not a place of punishment? It is represented as such, because the Jews and Gentiles were represented in a dead state. But we may expect that Jesus would use this word in its Scripture, not in its Pagan sense; especially as he told them that in order to escape this place of punishment they should read Moses and the prophets. Now Moses and the prophets have said nothing about a place of punishment after the dissolution of the body. Nor is hades, the word rendered hell, ever spoken of as a place of suffering, in any other instance. Hence Jesus must have been mocking the Jews when he said, “ye have Moses and the prophets,” if he referred to any such thing. But the interpretation, I have given, makes this remark perfectly consistent; for they had written of the rejection of the Jews, the woes which should crime upon them, and of the new covenant which should embrace the Gentiles, in the gospel preached to Abraham.

But it is absurd to base the doctrine of endless woe upon the word hades, for it is to be destroyed. Hosea xiii. 14, “O death I will be thy plague; O grave, (hell) I will be thy destruction.” At the resurrection we are informed this saying shall be brought to pass, “Death is Wallowed up in victory, O death, where is thy sting? O grave, (hades, hell,) where is thy victory!”

Source: Joshua King Ingalls and Joseph Henson, “The Southold Discussion,” Universalist Union 7, no. 18 (March 19, 1842): 273-277.


Transcript, continued (2)



Mr. Henson. This is the last evening of the discussion on the first question, and yet Mr. Ingalls does not notice any of my arguments. He has not referred to any that I have advanced upon the judgment. I referred to Paul’s preaching to the Athenians, and said it could not mean the judgment of the Jews, for it referred to a judgment of the world (kosmos.) They would have laughed at Paul for preaching about the destruction of Jerusalem to them. What did they care about that? And yet Mr. Ingalls takes no notice of it whatever. Look out for him; he will cheat you in this matter, if he can. If, he does not come to the point, suspect him of inability or dishonesty. But I shall go on with ray arguments in this respect, whether he will notice them or not.

Acts xxi v. 25, “And as Paul reasoned of righteousness, temperance and judgment to come, Felix trembled.” Who ever knew a man to tremble under Universalist preaching? This was not a judgment of the Jews, for Felix was not a Jew. Will Mr. Ingalls show how this is to be applied if his doctrine is true?

I will read about this, from M. H. Smith’s confession. He says that when he preached in a new place, and Mr. Ingalls will not deny that this is generally the case, his preaching assembled around him the drunken and the profligate, and these are such as his preaching never reclaimed. Says Mr. Smith, “the doctrine is downward in tendency and in practice; I have never known it to make any belter, but on the contrary worse. I have never known a case of reformation under my preaching, nor am I acquainted with an instance under the preaching of any other preacher of that order.”

Mr. Smith is a convert from the Universalists, having found (hat his preaching did no good he became thoughtful, and finally renounced his error. He was once preaching from this text; when he commenced preaching about righteousness, his people began to stare; when he came to temperance, his audience began to leave the house, and if he had’ gone upon the judgment to come, he is at a loss to know what they would have done!

Peter speaks of the earth, the material world, being burnt up. This can not refer to the destruction of Jerusalem; the material world was not burned up then.

Matt. xxv. 31—46. The coming of the Savior is here spoken of, who shall gather together all nations, and shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from his goals. And then follows the judgment. To those on the right hand he says, “come ye blessed of my Father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Was this an earthly kingdom? It may be said, this is the kingdom, in the heart of the children of God; but this evidently refers to outward circumstances. This was conferred, in consequence, of their having visited the little ones, and ministering to their comforts while in prison. Yes, the christians of that early period were imprisoned, were crucified, were tortured. This, Mr. Ingalls says, is all the heaven they are to have. The others were commanded, “to depart into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” O! that refers to this world! Will he tell us then where is the fire? Where is the devil? O! it is back of Jerusalem, somewhere! Well, are those who neglect to visit the persecuted christians now, turned in there? If not, what application will he make of it?

“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” What is that? O! it is the life which the christian has in his heart! Well, then the thief on the cross had eternal life five minutes. Stephen’s eternal life lasted until he was stoned to death; and Peter’s, and Paul’s, until they were beheaded in Rome. And John had his in the Isle of Patmos, and so on! Their heaven was one of torture, crucifixion, suffering and death. This was the only heaven they had, and they are to have none hereafter, for Mr. Ingalls believes we all die like dogs. But if the life eternal refers to another world, the punishment does also. And if they are not endless, God is not endless. The same word, which applies to the duration of God’s existence, applies to the duration of punishment; if one is not eternal, the other is not.

This word is to be understood according to the duration of the subject to which it is attached. When it applies to the existence of God, and his perfection, it expresses their eternity; when to temporal things it signifies their whole existence, and when it is applied to the duration of the punishment of the wicked it makes it equal to the whole duration of their being.

I do not want Mr. Ingalls to go all round Robin Hood’s barn, and say these passages don’t mean this, and don’t mean that. I want him to tell us what they do mean, and not run away from the question.

Mr. Ingalls. I acknowledge, I have been round the barn in question, but it was to follow the gentleman. He is not likely to let me find him, however, on this side, or that. He seems disposed to keep as far out of reach as possible!

We will attend to his proofs of a judgment day in the immortal state. The word judgment is used with great latitude in the Scriptures. It seldom means an act of dispensing special and retributive justice. Often means a reign, or rule, as of a sovereign. Thus God is the judge of all the earth. In the gospel it frequently means the reign of the Savior, which I consider its meaning in Romans xiv. 9, 10, 11, where we are commanded, not to judge our brother, since we are under his rule, and must answer at his judgment seat. The same remark will apply to 2 Cor. v. 10. If the supplied words be left out it will read, “for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things in body, according to that he hath done, whether good or bad.” What the gentleman has said of being present or absent, has no reference as we can perceive to a future state of existence; for in the fourth verse, he desires to be clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Not that he would die, but have such a living faith as to be insensible to his mortal frailty. (See 13 verse, and xii. 2, 3.) If this be a future judgment, I most firmly believe in it; it refers, as I understand it, to the final triumph of Christ’s kingdom.

Paul’s preaching to the Athenians, in respect to the day appointed to judge the world by Christ, I suppose means the same, the gospel day, which is to end in the subjection of every thing to Jesus; the bowing of every knee, the confession of every tongue, to llie glory of God. In vain my opponent says that bowing the knee, and making confession with the tongue does not prove holiness of heart. The passage in Isaiah can not be mistaken; “Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.” The gentleman believes in an almighty devil, who will succeed in alluring to endless woe a great portion of mankind. “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear; surely shall say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength.”

The next, I shall notice, is Paul’s preaching before Felix. Universalism it is said never makes men tremble. I had thought one object of the gospel was to dispel fear. The judgment which made Felix tremble, I presume, was the coming judgment which he was to render upon Paul. He did not know how to show the Jews, a favor, and yet do his duty as a Roman magistrate; for it says that when he left his office, he left Paul bound.

I will step aside, this time, to reply to the uncharitable remarks which the gentleman has condescended to read from M. H. Smith; who says he left us because we could not bear moral preaching. The truth is, he could not bear our discipline. This was the cause, and the only cause, for which he left us. I have seen a statement in his own hand writing, in which he acknowledges himself guilty of lying. He was also to have been dealt with, for wronging the widow and fatherless. No wonder Universalism did not make men belter in his hands. He is now under 85,000 bonds, and Elder Knapp is also to twice that amount, for defamation of character, and these are the instruments orthodoxy uses in its slanderous, unholy, crusade against our cause.

With regard to temperance; the congregation who meet in this church, know whether it is preached. I was a short time since invited to lecture before the Temperance Society in Greenport, and had my opponent for a hearer. If he has the manliness, lie can tell you whether I preached temperance or something else.

I am well aware that where our doctrine is new. it calls out all classes. But if the most respectable religious societies in the Union are formed from such materials, greater is the merit of our doctrine. Jesus was scornfully termed the friend of sinners. “If they call the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more they of his household?” But I return.

The destruction of soul and body in hell, he supposes unanswerable. Let us see whether it refers to future punishment? The word translated bell here is Gehenna. Its use in the Old Testament referred to a valley where the worship of Molock was observed. It afterwards became a place to deposite the filth of the city, and there was kept burning a perpetual fire to consume it. It is not used once by the Apostles in all their preaching to the Gentiles. There{fore we are to conclude that the punishment, embodied in the figure, was confined to the Jewish nation. There was no future punishment revealed under the law, or in the prophets. The Jews could not understand the Savior to mean one, when he applied this threatening to them; for this punishment was threatened in the prophets, as we shall see by reference to Jer. vii. 32; xix. 6, 7, where it is said, “it shall be called the valley of slaughter; for they shall bury in Tophet (the same word) till there be no place left.” This is what I understand by the destruction in Gehenna.

The gentleman’s arguments then from all the passages where hell and hell-fire are translated from this word are met. But, in this passage, there is supposed to be something done to the soul, after the body is destroyed. This is not, however, the case. In the parallel passage in Luke no distinction is made between the soul and body; and we suppose the expression used, to denote utter and signal destruction; as “root and branch” are used in Malachi iv. 1.

I know of but one other passage where this expression occurs. It is there employed to denote the calamities obviously of a temporal nature, which the Lord would bring upon the king of Assyria. Isa. x. 18. There is not, as some have supposed, any thing said in respect to a punishment of the soul after it had left the body, but a complete destruction of both together. I regard this passage as illustrative of the greater and more awful ruin, that would overwhelm the Jews, and also those who should apostatize from the faith of Jesus, through fear of them; compared with the trials and persecutions which the disciples of the Lord were called to pass through.

Mr. Henson. The view which Mr. Ingalls has given of the judgment, which caused Felix to tremble is most ridiculous. Why should he fear the Jews? He was their ruler. “He did not fear them; they feared him. In regard to Mr. Smith and Elder Knapp, I do not believe they are guilty of what has been represented; Elder Knapp was converting all the Universalists in Providence, and their only chance was to prosecute him and put him to silence in this way. We wish him success until he has converted all the Universalists.

In 1 Thess. iv. 14—17, we read of a distinction in the resurrection. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, them also which sleep in Jesus, God will bring with him.” If Universalism is true, it does not make any difference whether we die christians or any thing else, we shall all get to heaven just as soon. But the distinction is again made in the 16th verse; “The dead in Christ shall rise first,” implying that some are out of Christ, and shall be raised sinners just as they died.

1 Cor. xv. 22—25, “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” “But,” it is added, “every man in his own order, Christ the first fruit, afterwards they that are Christ’s at his coming; then cometh the end.” “For he must reign until all enemies are put under his feet.” These are to be banished for ever from the presence of the Lord.

2 Thess. v. 7, 8, “It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled, rest with us; when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be admired in all them that believe.” What does this everlasting destruction mean? O! it is only a moment’s suffering in the destruction of Jerusalem! But these were not Jews, but Thessalonians who troubled the Church. It could have no reference to that event. What is it to be banished from the presence of God, and the glory of his power? O! it is to go direct to heaven! But this supposes they are opposed to God, and will for ever continue so; never to be received to his favor. He is to be admired in all them that believe. Yes, and in all them who do not believe, if Mr. Ingalls’ theory is correct. This supposes a subjection of his enemies to his power; they shall be for ever after under his control. They are to be made his footstool, but they are not honored by this. The footstool is not a place of honor, but subjection, and signifies the place where God will confine the enemies of the gospel.

In 1 Cor. xv., we read of a change; that we must all be changed; but this docs not refer to change of soul, but of body; a natural change; there is no change of soul taught in the Bible. I defy Mr. Ingalls to show that there is any taught after death.

Matt. x. 15, “Verily, I say unto you it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city;” alluding to those cities who should not receive the disciples. When was this judgment to take place? in a future world; because Sodom and Gomorrah had long since ceased to have an existence.

“As many as have sinned without law, shall be judged without law;” this refers to the heathen; but when are they judged? It must be in a future state for they are not judged here.

Malt. xii. 41; “The men of Ninevah shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and behold, a greater than Jonas is here!” In this passage, a resurrection is spoken of, a judgment, and a final condemnation. This must refer to a future state, for the earthly existence of the Ninevites was lost centuries before. Their rising up in judgment must be at the resurrection of the dead, which proves a final judgment after that event. So Christ is to be the Judge of the living and the dead.

Why will not my opponent meet these arguments in the room of quibbling about an endless hell; about hades, sheol, gehenna? Is it not because he knows they are unanswerable? He has answered none of my arguments upon the judgment. He has told you nothing about what is meant by the gathering together of all nations, the separation of the righteous and the wicked, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats; the welcome “come ye blessed,” the denunciation “depart ye cursed;” the entering of one, into eternal life, and the other, to eternal punishment. He wants to keep this out of view. It would destroy the doctrine that beholds, that sheep and goats, righteous and wicked, are all going to heaven together.

In Judges vi., we read that “the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.” Now what does this mean? O! it means that all punishment is confined to this life! and yet they who were cast down centuries ago are still confined in everlasting chains.

Mr. Ingalls. Signally has my opponent failed to prove his darling theory. I feel that he has failed, and he feels it too. Why else does he abandon the strong holds of endless woe, the moment I approach them, and manifest so much fear lest I should give the Scripture meaning of those words which are relied on to prove it! He would divert attention from the main issue, and blind your eyes, lest you should come to a knowledge of the truth.

He has made no attempt to reconcile his doctrine with the attributes of Deity. Jesus requires us to love our enemies that we may imitate God. We can not conceive, and we despair of any attempt being made to show, how infinite love can inflict upon its object infinite woe. The gentleman can not be made to look at this objection to his system, and yet he goes on quoting scripture entirely irrelevant, and then calls upon me to meet his arguments. He runs as fast as possible, and then complains that I do not meet him.

I will proceed to notice, in my slow way, his proof from the text in Thess. He seems to exult, that he has at last found one text which I can not apply to the destruction of Jerusalem. For he says that this judgment referred to the Thessalonians ‘and not to the Jews; for it was Thessalonians who troubled them. Let us see who it was that troubled them.

Acts xvii. we read of Paul’s preaching to the Thessalonians, through which many believed; but the Jews which believed not, gathered a company and set all the city on an uproar; and they troubled the people. From this Paul went to Berea where many also believed. “But when the Jews of Tlicssalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.” 5—13. This was a punishment “from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power.” But what are we to understand by the presence of the Lord? I had supposed the Omni presence of the Deity, to be admitted by all christians. Psalm cxxxix. 7—12, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence. If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in Hell, behold thou art there,” &c. What then is meant by his presence? Evidently his special presence, which was in the holy of holies. They have literally been banished from this presence, and their destruction has been everlasting. It has endured for ages, and they are not yet restored to the more glorious presence which attaches to the covenant of grace. Thus we see, it was the Jews who troubled the Christians at Thessalonica; it was they alone who could be banished from the special presence of God, for the Gentiles did not enjoy it.

What has been said, of the Judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah, Ninevah and the cities which they were to rise against, is no doubt very forcible. We have, however, the Goliath of Methodism, to meet it for us; so that we feel quite safe. This can not be referred, my opponent says, to the destruction of the Jews. Certainly not.’ It is referred to the judgment coming upon the cities which our Savior designates. But let us read Dr. Clarke. “Perhaps not meaning die day of general judgment nor the day of the destruction of the Jewish state, by the Romans; but a day in which God should send punishment on that particular city or persons for their crimes. So the day of judgment of Sodom and Gomorah, was the time in which the Lord destroyed them by fire and brimstone from the Lord out of heaven.” Note on Matt. x. 15.

My opponent calls upon me to prove that there is a moral change after death. This is the negative of the very question he came here to discuss; for he affirms, on our next question, that the mercy of God to sinners ceases at death; yes and he has told us he believes it terminates, sometimes, before. I do not call upon him to prove this now. Why does he call upon me to prove the negative, before we come to the question at all? He does it to avoid the difficulty he finds in applying the subjection of God’s enemies to his theory. But if there is no moral change, I fear that my opponent and myself may not enjoy ourselves there. He must possess a greater love of truth than he has manifested here before heaven will be a place of bliss for him.

If I here is no moral change, will he tell us whether Calvin will burn Servetus there? I ask not this irreverently but to illustrate the fallacy of his assertion.

Mr. Henson, (interrupting,) I do not admit that Servetus is in heaven, or any who believe his doctrine.

Will the gentleman say there are no Quakers in heaven? These died at the hands of holy puritans. How will heaven be a place of peace, except, one or other are changed?

Let us attend to the argument upon the subjection of God’s enemies. From the fact, that they are to be put under the feet of our Savior, the gentleman supposes it must be by a forced and tyrannical one. When Mary was subdued by his love, and came to his feet, bathing then with her tears and wiping them with her hair, was she crushed and trodden under foot? No, it was by the working of that resistless power whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself. And had my opponent read you another verse, he would have informed you, that the Son was also to be subject unto Him that did put all things under him, that God might be ALL IN ALL!

He would have you believe that the difference he insists on, is recognized in the resurrection, from the fact, that “every man” is to be raised “in his own order.” But this certainly is nothing to his purpose. There appears to be three orders to the resurrection. “Christ the first fruits, and if the first fruits be holy the lump is also holy.” Ro. ii. 16—there is no moral change after death! says my opponent—“afterwards they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end”—here is where we base the ultimate holiness of all—“For he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” And He alone is excepted, which did put all things under him. The exception of God shows that there is no other exception. But the doomed in hell would be just as great enemies to God as they were on earth, and this is one argument to prove sinners will suffer eternally, because they never will be reconciled.

Mr. Henson.—Mr. Ingalls has taken no notice of my proofs that there is a distinction, in life, in death, and in the resurrection, between the wicked and righteous. He attempted to show, that as all die in Adam, all will be made alive in Christ, holy and happy. This is not the meaning of the text. It means that they shall be raised in Christ, just as they die in Adam. Those who die in sin shall be made alive in sin. I have proved, that they shall then be judged, and that damnation follows. But he lakes no notice of this. That punishment shall be eternal, is proved, by expressions which negatively assert its duration. “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life;” this is spiritual and eternal life. This the unbeliever shall never see, consequently he must suffer the condemnation of unbelief, eternally.

When the Apostles inquired, if there be few that be saved, Jesus told them that many should seek to enter in, but should not be able. Let Mr. Ingalls show that if they die in this state of unbelief, they are going right to heaven; or give up his erroneous theory. If he refuses to tell us what becomes of them, may they not be endlessly punished? If they do not go to heaven, where do they go to? I will tell you; if Universalism is true, they die like dogs, and good and pious people die the same. A man once said he did not want to go to hell for fear of meeting his friends there; if Mr. Ingalls’ doctrine is true you need not fear meeting your friends in heaven. They will never gel there; nor you either.

Hebrews iv, 9, 10, 11.—“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God,” implying, there is no rest for those who are disobedient to his commands. It is also said in the 6th verse, “they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief.” By this we are to understand, that some shall never enter heaven, for this is the rest which remaineth for the people of God.

Punishment is also proved to be eternal by language which asserts, it shall not end, Mark iii. 29. The sin against the Holy Ghost is never to be forgiven, but those who are guilty of it are in danger of eternal damnation. The same word here used to express the duration of damnation, is applied to the existence of Deity. Will his being ever terminate? It probably will, when punishment terminates! Il is said this word is sometimes applied to things of earth. But Paul says not. “The things which are seen are temporal; the things which are not seen are eternal.” Punishment is said to be eternal; it, therefore, belongs to the invisible state. “He that believeth shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned.” If you cannot be damned endlessly, you cannot be saved endlessly. The Bible teaches the same chance for one as for the other; because it addresses man as a free agent.

Rev. xx, 12, 15.—“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according, to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” O this is the valley of Hinnom. You’ll have to stack them up to get them in. This must be understood literally or it has no meaning at all. It is most ridiculous to give lit a figurative meaning which can have no application. For all general truth must have a general application, and if this has not, it has no business in the Bible.

2 Peter, iii, we read of “scoffers, walking after their own lusts and saying, where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as from the beginning of the creation.” This applies to Universalists. They scoff in the same manner. In the 5th verse the heavens and earth are referred to standing out of the water. This must be literal. For it speaks of it being overflowed with water. 7th.—“But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” 10th.—“The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also and the works that are therein, shall be burnt up.” Mr. Ingalls cannot say this is figurative, for it is the same heavens, and the same earth. Here is a judgment that takes place after the dissolution of this material world; and the perdition of ungodly men is to follow. Will the gentleman say that this is in this life?

Here, then, I have proved, what I came here to prove to you, that there is future punishment, and that that punishment is endless. Mr. Ingalls has not met my arguments at all. I now conclude my arguments by referring to John vi. 21—“Then said Jesus, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins; whither I go ye cannot come.” Again, in 24th verse; “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” Where did Christ go, to heaven or to hell? Where he is, those who die in their sins can never go. Let Mr. Ingalls show that he lied, and that those who die in their sins will get there just as soon as those who do not.

Mr. Ingalls.—My opponent has closed his argument, and what has he done? He has asserted much; among other things, that Paul was mistaken when he said, “If the first fruits be holy, the lump is also holy.” For says he, “They shall be raised in Christ, just as they die in Adam.” “Those who die in sin will be made alive in sin.” Thus making Christ a minister of sin.

We come now to the last text which is much relied on to prove endless punishment. And if I do not show that the threatening herein contained relates to this world I will acknowledge defeat. If I do, it is vain for the gentleman to cry out, that I have not noticed all the texts of scripture which he has seen fit to run over. I prefer to notice his strongest texts, and give them a careful examination. Did lime permit I would take up every one, and show that they go, as far as they refer to the subject at all, to establish my side of the question. But if I succeed in showing that all his strong texts, prove that this is the state of retribution, it will satisfy every rational mind; for it is certainly unphilosophical as well as injudicial to suppose there are more than one. My opponent does not contend for ibis. But attempts to prove that this is not a stale of retribution, from the fact that the scripture threatnings refer to another world. Whether his facts will bear examination you are to judge when I have closed.

Matth. xxv. 31, 46.—This is the parable of the sheep and the goals. It commences by saying, that, “When the Son of Man shall come in his glory,” “before him shall be gathered all nations. A. question arises, “when!” in this world or a future? for upon this depends the issue of the question. The 24th and 25th chapters comprise a discourse delivered by our Saviour to his disciples, on the Mount of

Olives; in answer to the questions; “When shall these things be? what shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the world (aion, age,) xxiv, 1. In answer, he admonishes them not to be deceived, that many shall come in his name and deceive many; that they should hear of wars, &c., but tells them, 6th verse, “the end is not yet.” 14th verse, “This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” From the fifteenth to the twenty-eight, he speaks to them of the signs which shall attend his coming. When they should see (implying that they should live to see it) the desolation of which Daniel spake, standing in the holy place, or the Temple, he instructs them to fly from Judea to the mountains. For that there should be a lime of trouble such as the earth had not witnessed and should never witness again. (Compare xxiv. 21, with Dan. xii. 1.) Immediately after the tribulation of those days; the coming of the Son of Man shall lake place, 29, 30, 31. Which is described as nearly like the one in the 26th chapter, as it could be, without tautology of expression. In the 24th he is described as coming “with power and great glory;” in the 25th “in his glory” and silting “upon the throne of his glory.” Before one coming the gospel was to be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; in the other, all nations were to be gathered before him. In the 24th chap, and 34th verse, he tells them, “Verily I say unto you this generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled.”

This is evidently a coming in which he was to reward people according to their works. The welcome was given to those on the right hand, not because they believed in endless misery, for their neighbours, but for having ministered to the wants of Christ’s disciples; the denunciation upon those at the left, because they had not; and not on account of believing God so good, (hat he would save all. In Matt. xvi. 27, 23, a coming of the Son of Man is spoken of, “in the glory of his Father;” when he shall reward “every man according to his works.” The same kind of coming in every respect. “Verily I say unto you there be some standing here which shall not taste death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Rev. xxii. 12—”And behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be.” Daniel and John, prophecied of the same event, of a judgment out of the book. (See Rev. xx. 13, 15, of the lake of fire, and a judgment according to works, and Daniel xii. 1.) Daniel lived about five hundred and fifty years before John, and to him the command was given, xii. 4, to “seal the book, even to the lime of the end;” and to John, xxii. 10, “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book for the time is at hand.” Surely this could not mean two thousand years, as my opponent must interpret it, if he attempts to make it yet future.

But the word applied to punishment is the same that is applied to the life of the righteous—the same that is applied to the existence of God, and if one have an end the other must! This is the substance of the gentleman’s remarks upon this word. Let us see how this will apply. Heb. iii. 6, “The everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual (same word) hills did bow: his ways, (the Lord’s) are everlasting.” Will the gentleman say, that the ways of the Lord, are scattered and bowed down, at the same time with the everlasting hills and mountains? He may with the same consistency, that be made I the above assertion. The fact is, these words are temporal in their application in the Scriptures, almost without exception. They seldom, if ever, refer to an immortal slate. Even when they apply to God, they manifestly do not embrace the eternity of his being. It is rendered by our translators, “of old,” “ancient limes,” &c. Thus the mercy of the Lord is said to endure from generation to generation. Bui we are not to suppose that when generations shall cease, the love and mercy of God shall cease also.

I will take up what spare lime I may now have, in noticing the passage in Peter, respecting the perdition of ungodly men. This must be a future judgment, because reference is made to the burning up of this material earth; for says my opponent, the same heavens and earth that were destroyed by water are to be destroyed by fire. The same heavens and earth! Let us see. 2 Peter iii. 6. “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, PERISHED.” It is the same world, and yet that one had perished! “But the heavens and earth which are now” are kept in store, by the same word, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men. In the 10th verse, it is said, the heavens shall pass away, the elements melt, the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up. I am inclined to think that we should understand this figuratively; as heavens and earth are often used in this way to represent thrones and dominions; sometimes the church and slate. lam led to adopt this view from the connexion in which this language is found. Peter exhorts his brethren in the 11th verse, to be in all holy conversation and godliness, seeing “that all these things shall be dissolved.” In the former letter he also exhorted them to be sober, and to watch unto prayer, and have fervent charily, as the end of all things is at hand. (1 Peter iv. 7, 8.) I am also confirmed in this opinion by what is said in the 15th verse, where it is evident, they expected to live until this time: “Nevertheless, We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” By which we are doubtless to understand the gospel kingdom.—

The time having expired, Mr. Henson came into the desk and desired to bring the discussion to a close by asking his opponent a question; manifesting his readiness to answer any that should be proposed to him.

Mr. Henson. I want Mr. Ingalls to say, whether in the passage he has just been commenting upon, he understands what is said in the 5th verse literally, and what is said in the 7th figuratively?

Mr. Ingalls. I do.

Mr. Henson. I pity your understanding. Have you a question to ask me?

Mr. Ingalls. A. very important one. In the 5th chapter of Matthew 44, 45, Jesus instructs us to love our enemies, to bless them that curse us, and to do good to them that hate us, and pray for them which despitefully use and persecute us; that we may be the children of our Father in heaven. I desire the gentleman to answer, whether, if God loves his enemies as he calls upon us to do, he will inflict upon them endless woe?

Mr. Henson. Let Mr. Ingalls first show that God loves his enemies, as well as he does his friends, and then I will answer his question.

Mr. Ingalls. The gentleman refuses to answer my question! The congregation can judge from what cause!

Note. There are but two passages noticed by the affirmative that have not been commented upon by the negative, which the reader will be likely to think gives any support to the cause of endless punishment. These we intend to notice briefly. We were prevented doing so on the evening of the discussion by the expiration of the time.

The first is John viii. 21. “Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me and shall die in your sins: whither I go ye can not come.” To arrive at a correct idea of what this expression means it would be sufficient perhaps to refer the reader to the 14th verse, asking him to notice the word “again” in the passage. But there is another reference which sets the matter completely at rest. Chap. xiii. 33. Speaking to his disciples, he says—“Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me; and, as I said unto the Jews, whither I go, ye can not come; so now I say unto you.” If this language, therefore, prove endless misery, it proves also that Christ’s disciples are suffering it.

With respect to the fallen angels, I would simply remark, that if my view of it should not appear reasonable, it is no proof that endless misery is taught there. It is altogether a dark subject, as there is little to be found in the Bible by which we may determine the meaning of the expression used. I am of an opinion that, by the angels, is signified the people who lived before the flood. (See commencement of the 6th chapter of Gen.) I am inclined to this opinion, from the fact that there is nothing said in Jude about the flood, while Peter, who is the only inspired writer who makes any allusion to this subject, speaks of it in connexion. (See 2 Peter ii. 4, 5.) Both liken this judgment of the angels to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, whom Jude says “are set forth an example suffering the vengeance of eternal fire;” and Peter, that they are made “an example unto those that after should live ungodly”—“the judgment of the great day,” may be, the day on which this fire and flood was rained upon them from heaven. Being reserved under darkness in everlasting chains, may refer to the waters coming upon the earth. In Jonah ii. 6, he says, while in the sea, “the earth with her bars was about me for ever,” The reservation does not necessarily mean that for thousands of years they are held in suspense with respect to their ultimate fate; but as we understand it, refers to giving them up to the mighty ruins. To suppose that there were spirits of another world, who are suffering endless torment, or that the inhabitants of those cities were, makes the declaration that it was for an example, entirely irrelevant; for no mortal has the opportunity of beholding it, nor has any such thing ever been revealed.

Source: Joshua King Ingalls and Joseph Henson, “The Southold Discussion,” Universalist Union 7, no. 19 (March 26, 1842): 289-294.

Transcript, continued (3)



Mr. Ingalls. Having closed the discussion on the first question, we come now to the subject which distinguishes Universalists from all other professing christians, the belief that all men shall be made, finally, holy and happy. This, I affirm, the scriptures teach. My opponent, on the other hand, denies this, and affirms that there is no hope of mercy for the sinner after death, which I of course deny.

I argue, first, the salvation of all, from the relationship we sustain to God. He is our Creator, our Father and Saviour. “God created man in his own image,” Gen. i. 27. Creation presupposes design. If this be denied, the existence of God as a Creator cannot be proved; for it is only through the design manifested in creation that we attain views respecting the character of Him, who created all things. What this design was we learn from Isa. xliii. 7,—“For I have created him for my glory.” “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for thou hast created all things; and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Rev. iv. 11. The old catechism well expresses the end for which man was created, “To glorify God and enjoy him for ever.” This glory and pleasure I understand to be the progression and ultimate perfection of his creation. To .this end he has given man a moral agency; not a free agency’, which is subject to no law; but a moral agency subject to moral law, and governed by moral power. The main argument in proof of endless misery has been, that this free-agency has been bestowed on man. Then the designs of God must clash. The design of God in creating man was his own glory, but, if he had a design in conferring freedom of thought, it was that he should be for ever miserable, and continue to all eternity, to curse and not glorify him.

Let not the gentleman divert your attention from the main question, by accusing me, of making God the author of sin. I do it no more than himself. He believes moral evil to have resulted through the exercise of man’s free agency; I, that it results through the exercise of his moral agency. The only difference is, he mikes it eternal; I only attach it to the early stages of man’s progression, arising in consequence of ignorance.

The design of this moral agency, I regard to be, to elevate man, and bring him up from the condition in which he was first formed, to one of holiness and perfection. The employment of eternity I believe will be, an advancement in truth and love. I do not believe, (his agency shall cease at death, but continue for ever. That the joy of heaven shall consist in the free choice of the creature, of that which is true, and pure, and good.

Through the exercise of this moral freedom, mart sins; but is the design of God frustrated thereby! Certainly, if this shall not be overruled for good. Or else God had two designs, one that man should glorify him, and the other that he should not. A perfect holy law, was given man to obey. And this we suppose a transcript of that moral perfectness to which God is engaged in elevating his rational creation. “Ye shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy,” Lev. xix. 2. To the transgression of that law he has annexed a penalty. But for what purpose? Surely to secure the obedience of his creatures, to that law. To suppose that he gave the law with a design to have it obeyed; and inflicts an evil upon his creatures for disobedience, which shall forever incapacitate them to obey, is to accuse the Deity of having two designs, which are diametrically opposed to each other. The object then of punishment must be to make obedient. And on this ground the scriptures inquire, “Why doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?” proving that men are punished for their sins while they live, and that the suffering is for their good. This agency, however, does not give man the power to sin to an infinite degree. The moment we violate a law of our God, the whole universe is at war with us. We may persist for a while in our course, but it is a most difficult struggle, and we must at length yield; as saith the Psalmist, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain,” lxxvi, 10.

We have seen then, that in creating man, in giving moral freedom, and making him subject to moral law, the design of God is the same. If therefore he have not a design in punishment which is opposed to his previous designs, the object of this also, must be, the reformation and improvement of the creature. But will this pleasure and glory of the creator be realized? Yes, he is a “Faithful Creator,” 1 Pet. iv. 19. There is none of this glorious chance work in our system of theology. Every thing uncertain and contingent! The designs of the Most High can only be promoted by those means which infinite wisdom employs to accomplish its objects. They cannot be frustrated and opposed by them. “He doth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say unto him what doest thou?” Hence, when he afflicts his children, it is to do them good, and what he designed as such, must restrain, ultimately, from sin, and secure a willing obedience to his commands. Let not my opponent say we make punishment our Saviour; we suppose it simply one of the means employed by our Creator to secure the object he had in creating us, his own pleasure and glory.

Mr. Henson. Mr. Ingalls in the speech just made, has said something to you about free agency. Now Mr. Ingalls does not believe in free agency; he believes in Do such thing. He believes that God has produced sin, and nursed it here to make it an angel in another world. That is the idea. Will you swallow down that? He believes that all punishment is for the good of men, and designed to make them better. Now how was it with the Sodomites? Was punishment in this case designed for their good? Was it for their benefit that they were thus suddenly destroyed? Certainly not. Mr. Ingalls says that punishment was designed to save men. Is this so? Does punishment save the drunkard? Does he not continue in his course despite the punishment he receives and the evil he suffers? and though he continue in sin and die in sin, yet he goes straight to heaven, if so be that Universalism is true.

Now Job’s friends, like Mr. Ingalls, contended that men received their punishment in this life, but God decided against them, as I have before remarked to you. You see, then, that according to Mr. Ingalls’ theory, Job must have been a wicked man, else he would not have been afflicted here.

Mr. Ingalls has quoted the text, “Commit yourselves to God, as to a faithful Creator,” but this does not prove any thing like Universalism. God is a “faithful Creator” in punishing the wicked, as well as in saving those who commit their souls to him; this is evident from the whole tenor of the Scripture. But the Universalists believe in no such God at all as the Scripture teaches.

I am perhaps a little better acquainted with the way in which the Universalists argue than Mr. Ingalls may suppose. They argue in this way: God is willing that all men should be saved. Is he not? Well, he is able to save all men. Is he not? Therefore all men will be saved. This is the way they argue. But man is a free agent, and salvation is conditional. Man must therefore comply with the terms of the gospel before he can be saved, God will not crush this agency and force man into heaven. There must be a willingness on the part of the creature, to comply with God’s commands, before God will or can save him; and thus, by destroying man’s moral agency, you destroy in effect the throne of God, overturn his system, derange the whole structure, and annihilate the whole system of God’s government. You make man no longer man, the creature is no longer a creature, but he becomes a mere machine, acted upon like the water wheel of a mill, on the same principle precisely.

The argument which the Universalists use, as you see, supposes that the creature does nothing but what God wills, and that every thing that transpires, takes place according to the will of God; and that man is, as I said before, the mere agent, a mere machine. Thus, you see, they take the whole responsibility away from the creature and throw it upon the Creator; thus making God the only sinner in the universe; or according to Mr. Ballou “the innocent and only cause of sin.” There you have it—that’s Universalism!

This is not in accordance with God’s word. He has said, “I have called but ye have refused.” This evidently supposes that man does not as God wills him. If I may so speak, God cannot make us holy now or at death, if it interferes with our moral agency, because it would destroy his system of government. .

I have told you that Universalists do not believe in free agency, and I will prove it to you by Universalists themselves. Abner Kneeland says in so many words. “God makes man do all.” I know very well that Mr. Kneeland is not now a Universalist, but I will hold them responsible for what he said while he was a Universalist. And Ballou says that “man can do nothing to hurt God.” “If God be impotent, he can’t help us, if malignant, we can not have confidence in him.” Now I know well enough that we cannot hurt the Almighty, but we may transgress his law, and go counter to his will. Universalism is nothing but materialism in fact. Look at what Mr. Ballou says on this; point, “God” says he “hath nothing but his eternal nature to create from,” and what is this but materialism? Now do not let the Universalists gull you into the belief that they believe in a God; they believe in no such thing, they believe that God is the Universe, and the Universe God, that’s what they believe. When I asked Mr. Ingalls, whether he believed in the personality of God, he told me, “That was a difficult question.” That is Universalism—mere Pantheism. Now, if so be that God is a material being, and we are a part of God, there is no God in effect.

Mr. Ingalls. The manner in which my arguments have been met, is somewhat singular. No attempt has been made to destroy the force of reasoning from the relation between the creator and the creature; or the design manifested in all the works of God, that all his dealings with the human race are for their improvement. To evade the argument that punishment must be of this description, or conflict with his other designs, it is said that God does punish when it is not for their good; and we are cited to the case of the Sodomites. I grant that, if the doctrine which my opponent has failed to prove, be true, it was not for their good; but, on the other hand, would prove God a most malignant Being. If bowever, what he terms Universalism, be true, it was certainly the greatest possible good he could confer on them, for they were taken direct to heaven.

Again if my opponent’s theory is true with respect to the enjoyment of sin, it was certainly not good to be taken away from such superior enjoyment; but if it is true, as I hold, that sin and misery are inseparable, it was good to prevent them from sinning more. The truth of these sweeping assertions depend upon the truth of his doctrines; he can not therefore bring them in proof.

But he manifests a great horror lest we shall make God the author of evil, and give him power enough to govern the free agency he has given man. You will not, I trust, be deceived by his attempts to prejudice your minds. The difference of our views, is simply this—I believe evil to be necessarily connected with man’s early improvement. My opponent that it is to be connected with his existence for ever. So that in fact when God bestowed it, he designed to damn as many as he designed to save. It is all absurd to talk about his purposes and designs of salvation. He has no more design, according to the gentleman’s own showing, about saving, than about cursing with endless woe. God’s will to save man, can not be accomplished without the concurrence of man’s will, we are ready to admit; but we read— “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” Ps. cx. 3.

Paul was journeying toward Damascus for the purpose of binding and casting into prison both men and women, who should be found calling on the name of the Lord Jesus. A light shone around him, and he fell to the earth. But Jesus commanded him to stand upon his feet, saying, “I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness.” It matters not which side of the argument my opponent takes. If Paul’s agency was not violated, it opposes no obstacle to the accomplishment of man’s salvation; but is one of the grounds upon which it is predicated. If he contends that his will was forced, then it is reasonable to believe that the wills of all men, that are opposed to their own salvation, will be also.

We are not fearful, the gentleman will deceive the intelligent portion of this audience, by his garbled extracts from Balfour and Ballou. Nor by what he has read from Hatfield’ “Universalism as it is.” But we will turn aside this once to notice briefly his gross misrepresentations. It is a most horrid thought of Mr. Ballou’s that we can not hurt God. Well, does he believe we can? This would appear to me a blasphemous thought. Then what would he make of it? Any thing that would portray Universalism in a dark and repulsive form! You can not have mistaken the gentleman’s effort to prejudice you, in every respect, against whatever I advance. I have no disposition to retaliate. I choose rather to address your reason and your conscience than your blind prejudices. But Father Ballou makes God the innocent and holy cause of sin. It is perhaps proper to remark that he was brought up under the influence of a strong Calvinistic bias; and it is likely that he owes much, to early habits of thought, of that strong savor of necessity which pervades his works. But if his views were strictly analyzed, I apprehend they would amount to the same as Mr. Henson’s and my own—that God is the author of sin, only In having given us being, subject to temptation and error.

It may be well to notice, here, that our doctrine has been advocated on almost every possible hypothesis. Origen and some others have defended it, in connexion with that of the pre-existence of souls. It has been united to the doctrine of the Trinity, it is Generally now advocated on the Unitarian ground. We have good reason to believe that Wesley died a Universalist.

What my opponent has said respecting our ideas of the existence of God, scarcely needs notice. What tie has quoted from Ballou, does not refer to the existence of God, but the creation of man. So what he has told you. I said in conversation, was of a like character. These are subjects of metaphysics, not of religion. Our ideas of the existence of deity are extremely finite. That he pervades all things we thought admitted by all. Does the gentleman deny his Omnipresence? The Methodist Catechism affirms God to be “without body or parts.” It seems to me, a more vague expression could not be used; and yet I do not take advantage of it, to accuse them of believing that God is the universe, or that there is no God at all. When a disputant is driven to such shifts to maintain his ground, is it not an indication that he feels his utter inability to support it?

Mr. Henson. I expected when Mr. Ingalls came to take the affirmative, that he would go straight ahead with the subject, and give us his ideas, and state his arguments fairly and at length. And that then, I should have an opportunity to reply. But he has not done so; instead of that, he has gone on dodging the question, clear around Robin Hood’s barn, and seems determined to keep as far off from the question as he can. This is the course he has pursued through the debate. I want the congregation to tike notice of this fact; and so observe that be has not manifested any disposition to meet me. When we were discussing the other question, he would not answer my arguments, and out of some three hundred texts which I quoted, he only noticed a very few, and skipped over the others, and passed them by without any notice whatever. Does not this look as though he was afraid to look my arguments in the face? And he knows very well that he cannot answer them. Have I used him in the same way? No. I have answered every one of his arguments, and if he has brought forward a text to prove his theory, I have noticed it, and showed to you that it proved no such thing as Universalism. What argument has he advanced, that I have not answered? If there is a single one, it is because I have forgotten it, and if you will remind me of it, I will answer it now.

While I am up I may as well say a few more things, though Mr. Ingalls has offered nothing for me to reply to, and there is nothing for me to answer, for he has brought no arguments. Why does he not come forward and state them, and give me a fair opportunity to reply to them at once, and not be perpetually complaining about want of time?

The Universalists do not now believe as they did formerly. Then they grounded their faith on the atonement, and rested their argument here. They said, did not Christ die for all men? Did he not give himself a ransom for all? Did he not make an ample and sufficient atonement for all men? And if he did, will not all men be saved? This was the way in which they argued then.

But we believe that Christ made a full and sufficient atonement, but we also believe that the sinner must comply with the terms of the Gospel in order to receive it, and that unless he does he cannot be saved by it. The atonement was made for all, but unless the sinner chooses to comply with the terms on which God has offered salvation, then he will not be saved, and if so be that all comply, then all men will be saved. This is what we believe.

But now you see that the Universalists believe in no such thing as free agency: not a word of it. They believe that man acts just as he is compelled to act, and that he is nothing but a mere machine.

I have answered all the arguments of Mr. Ingalls and he is now on the defensive and not on the offensive. If he does not get along faster I shall have nothing to say, for I am here to reply to his arguments, and I cannot reply when there is nothing to reply to. But the Universalists believe that all men are going straight into heaven, the murderer, the whoremonger, and idolater, all will sit down in the kingdom together, and Nero will shine in heaven with the same glory as Jesus Christ, according to Mr. Ingalls’ theory. Who can swallow down such an absurd idea as this? But Mr. Ingalls will have it, that if any are not saved that God intended to damn them. We say no such thing. God does not intend to punish the sinner unless he violates the law, and if he does violate it, he is then punished for his acts.

Mr. Ingalls. My opponent complains of my giving him nothing to do, when I turn and meet him on his own ground, and fails to occupy his half hour by some ten minutes; he would even take the lead and reply to arguments which I have not advanced, rather than meet on any point in fair debate. But why has be not taken up his own question, that God has no mercy for the sinner after death, if he has nothing to do? He has not yet alluded to it, nor will he, if he can avoid it.

He would have you believe that Universalists hold to no punishment for sin, but he will not deceive you. I have shown that the punishment of sin, is no objection to our final deliverance from it; but on the contrary one of the means of securing it. God is not only the Creator but the Father of our race. Malachi ii. 10, “We are also his offspring.” Acts xvii. 28. That we are correct in referring the retributive dispensations of God to a parental disposition, may be learned from Deut. viii. 5, “Thou shall also consider in thy heart that as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee.” Also Hebrews xii. 10. So far from giving license to sin, this seems to us the only view of punishment which is calculated to reform. It holds out the certainty of punishment and the design of God to have his law obeyed. But do not Universalists sin? O yes, but it is when their doctrine fails to exert its influence; or rather when they have lost its Spirit.

It is necessary to the reform of the child, not only that he is convinced that his disobedience will be punished, but that his father has also the power to make him obedient. Then he will be an obedient child. So with men; if they shall feel they have no power, eternally, to stand it out against the Most High, they will the sooner yield. Suppose the father tells his children that he cannot make them mind; but that he has a furnace of fire into which he will plunge them in wrath if they do not, would they in truth, think you be more obedient?

Endless misery supposes that God is satisfied with punishment, and does not require obedience. I argue from the obedience which he asks of man, that he will not be satisfied with anything else, and hence that, having power and wisdom, ho will secure it.

The gentleman draws an analogy favorable to endless torment from capital punishment, never supposing that this law had been condemned by moralists of the highest character. God’s government is not civil, but moral, parental. Now is there any capital punishment in the charming of the father? Let a father try it, and see how soon the arm of civil power would interfere, to save the son from parental rule? But it may be answered that the father does not always secure the obedience of his children. No, ho has not sufficient power, or knowledge, or love. But we must be aware how we charge this against God. The father who has unruly children, is without exception, considered to be deficient in some of the above respects. But the existence of temporary sin is not an objection to the perfections of God, if he shall overrule all for good; but if perpetuated as an end in his government, it must prove fatal to his love or power.

God is our Creator, our Father, he is also our Saviour. Paul tells us, that he both labored and suffered reproach, because he trusted in the “living God who i? the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe.” 1 Tim. iv. 10. ii. 3, 4. The salvation is freedom from sin. Whether this will ever be fully accomplished in this stale of being does not become us now to consider; or how, or when, or where. That it will finally be done, the Scriptures most clearly teach. That it is not all done at once, is no proof that it will not be, unless it disprove the relation altogether. The state in which man was created, being subject by his nature to temptation and sin, can only be reconciled with divine benevolence on the ground, that he shall ultimately be saved from it, and ultimate, eternal good, be the final result. If, it is said that he will be only the Saviour of such as believe, I reply, belief is a means not a condition of salvation, that it is unbelievers alone who need to be saved. It is those, who are in unbelief, that have not proper views of the character of Deity, who are sinners, and it is only such of whom God will be the Saviour; because if there are any who have no sin, they cannot be saved from it. Those who believe on the Son of God are already saved, and God is not their Saviour prospectively, but in reality. They are the specially saved, the first fruits of that ingathering which is to embrace the whole rational Creation.

In the work of salvation he has deputed Christ to be the Saviour of the world. He came to seek and to save that which was lost; to make believers of unbelievers; to bring man a better knowledge of his God; and, by the exhibition of truth and love, win mankind to their Father in the skies. If this was not the original purpose of God; he is not, nor can be said, to be the Saviour of men. But if he designed it in his creation, and does not accomplish it, then his design has failed, and he is not a being in whom we can put confidence. If, as a father, he designed to bring all his children to obedience, and has already abandoned that object and become contented with inflicting ceaseless woe, we can put no trust in him. And, if, as a Saviour, he designed that all men should come to the knowledge of the truth, but is now disposed to abandon them to the darkness of an eternal night, he has then given up all claim to that character.

Mr. Henson. Mr. Ingalls has got up here and appealed to your passions, and to your mere human feelings as parents. What a dreadful thing it is for a parent to punish his child with such severity!—For a father to put his child into the fire! to punish his child to the greatest possible extent! It is absurd to appeal to such feelings. We don’t come here to appeal to your passions, but to reason on the subjects. I have addressed your reason, but Mr. Ingalls wants to carry his point by addressing your passions. This isn’t honorable and fair. In this way he would make God like a human being. The Scripture says: “Thou thoughtest I was one like thyself.” This is what Mr. Ingalls would have you think. But this is not so. God is not like one of us. He does not have the same feelings and passions that we do. God destroyed the Sodomites—overwhelmed them in fire, and burnt them all up together. Would you have done so? What father is there here who would punish his children in this way? This shows that God does not do as we do, and we can’t make our conduct a rule to judge of his by.

Mr. Ingalls says that men ore punished here for the sins they have committed. I know men suffer here, but they don’t suffer so much as they deserve here. Sin is an infinite evil, as I believe, and deserves an infinite punishment. But men cannot be punished infinitely here, therefore, they must be punished hereafter. Universalists think sin is a small evil, and that a man can be punished enough here. They make sin a sort of imperfection in the government of God.

Mr. Ingalls believes our spirits are a part of God; so if our spirits sin, it is God that sins, and this makes God the only sinner in the universe. This making every thing a part of God, is what the Atheists believe. Universalists are no better than Atheists. They go from Universalism to Atheism. Abner Kneeland was first a Universalist.

Mr. Ingalls believes man is a material being.—God didn’t design that men should sin; but I’ll tell you what God designed. God designed that if men sinned, they should be punished. That’s God’s design, and don’t you believe Mr. Ingalls if be tells you it isn’t so. He talks about an eternal principle of evil. Now I say, if so be that man can exist forever the evil in man may exist forever.

Mr. Ingalls has quoted such passages as these, “God the Savior of the world”—“the Savior of all men.” He would make you believe that God is going to save all men from their sins. If so be that Christ came to save all men from their 9ins; why don’t we see it so now? That is n’t the meaning of these passages. I’ll tell you what they mean, Fll tell yon what this salvation is. God is going to save all men in the propagation of the gospel. The gospel is going to be preached every where, so that all have salvation within their reach. This is general salvation. Special salvation is of them that believe. They shall be saved from their sins.

Mr. Ingalls says that God is a father, and don’t inflict any capital punishment. Why, in the nature of things it becomes proper, sometimes, for a father to inflict capital punishment. For instance, a son of Charles 4th of Spain, conspired against his father, and was taken; but finally pardoned. He conspired the second lime, and his father was thrown into the hands of Bonaparte by his means. Now would it not have been better, if he had been at once sacrificed, so that he should not have had a chance to act the part of a traitor again? This is the principle on which God acts in his government, in punishing the sinner; all traitors must fall. Mr. Ingalls tells you that all capital punishment is wrong—that it is not found in paternal government; but God says, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” There, that’s what God says. Now if so be that Mr. Ingalls says it is unjust; lie accuses God of injustice. The Bible says that Esau sold his birthright, and “found no place for repentance.” If so be that Mr. Ingalls’ doctrine is true, we may sell our birthright and find a place for repentance after all.

Mr. Ingalls. As I have only fifteen minutes to speak, I will not advance directly in the argument, especially as my opponent has made no attempt to invalidate what I have advanced, except by caricature and slanderous misrepresentation.

He says, I believe in materialism, that man has not an immortal soul, &c. And he quotes Mr. Balfour to prove it, when he knows that I do not agree with Mr. Balfour. He would make you believe, also, from the same author, that we do not believe in a future life; when he knows that Mr. Balfour firmly believes in one, although he does not base it on the speculation of man’s native immortality, hut as a gift of God. The Scriptures declare, God only hath immortality. We do not believe man is, but that he will be made immortal. And what possible connexion the subject of materiality or immateriality, of the mind, can have with the final holiness and happiness of all men, I cannot perceive.

He argues that if man is material he cannot be a free agent; but from what premises, or by what method, l am at a loss to determine. Whatever the mind may be, we can judge of its freedom only by its actions; and we know what are the acts of the mind, consequently, so far as this quest ion is concerned, the metaphysical subject into which my opponent has thrown himself, does not come into the discussion at all. And the spiritual or material nature of Deity, what has it to do with the subject? I believe him a spirit, the gentleman’s assertion to the contrary notwithstanding. But what has he to argue from this belief to make it inconsistent with the salvation of all men T Nothing, only he would accuse us of believing every thing that is absurd and gross.

I have made no attempt to address your passions. It was parental love to which I would appeal, and I feel authorized to so do. Matt. vii. 9—11. Not that I suppose God is like unto us; but because that his love is revealed to be stronger than a father’s or a mother’s love. If he loves, he must pity the object that suffers. And unless it can be proved that he hates, or will hate his children, it can not be proved that he will cast off for ever; for love worketh no ill to its neighbor.

But the tendency of Universalism is downward! Kneeland was a Universalist! That we may have some men in our denomination who possess speculative minds I do not deny, but others have them also. Gibbon was first a Protestant, then a Catholic, then a Protestant, and then one of the most bitter enemies Christianity ever encountered. Will he tell us when the French were Universalists, previous to their becoming a nation of infidels! How sadly a man must be pressed for something to say, when he resorts to such a course as this!

God is not the Savior of man, in any positive sense, we are told. He has a birthright but he can sell it, as Esau sold his. But this was only a birthright to certain privileges. There is an inheritance which can not be sold. We have been triumphantly called upon to prove an endless heaven, the only course the gentleman could pursue to cover his inability to prove any thing like an endless hell.

We can not prove the eternity of God either, it is said. Let us see. “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible.” 1 Tim. i. 17. “Incorruptible God”—“his eternal (not aionios but aidios) power and godhead.” Rom. i 20,23. Now what can be said of the duration of future life? “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” You can sell it! the gentleman tells you. The only word my opponent has attempted to show attaches to the duration of punishment is aion and its derivatives. Here are four words, aidios, aphthartos, amiantos, amarantos, applied to the being and perfection of God and the future existence of mankind. Have I proved an endless heaven, or that God shall continue to exist though punishment cease?

There is another equally strong term, 1 Cor. XV. 53; “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality,” athanasia. Let the defender of endless misery, find a place of woe, that is incorruptible, undefiled and unfading. Let him read from the Bible of eternal, immortal sin and suffering, and the call to prove an endless heaven will come with a better grace. We do not depend upon the words to prove the immortality of our race, which are ever attached to punishment. We have produced five, the strongest terms in any language; if these are not sufficient there are others still.

Mr. Henson. We will see whether the inheritance can be sold. Had Mr. Ingalls read the next verse, you would have seen that it was reserved only for those who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. And what happens unto those who are not “kept”? Surely they can not, according to the common sense acceptance of the text, be put upon a par with those who are “kept” and remain faithful unto death. But according to Mr. Ingalls’ theory they are all received alike by God and all will go to heaven together. What nonsense, such a perversion makes of God’s word! Immortality is no stronger a term than heaven. Heaven is a place or stale where the good go after death; and hell is put in opposition to it; it is a place where the wicked are turned into after they die. If one is not endless, the other is not.

Mr. Ingalls is quite a conjurer at this business. You must beware he does not deceive you. He says I want to prejudice you against him. No, I want to prejudice you against his faith—that’s all. I wouldn’t injure a hair of Mr. Ingalls’ head. But this inheritance is only for the believers. “He that believeth shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned.” Here is a single text that overthrows Mr. Ingalls’ arguments, the whole of them. Why don’t he notice it? Because God is the Father of the human race, Mr. Ingalls thinks he can not punish them for ever; for that would prove that he did not love, but hate them. Now the Bible says that God does hate his enemies. Isa. lxiii, 10. “But they rebelled and vexed his holy spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and fought against them.” 1 Chron. xv. 2. “The Lord is with you, while ye be with him, and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.” There, now, let Mr. Ingalls settle that with his doctrine that God loves the sinner just as well as the righteous; that he loves his enemies and his friends the same!

Man is a free agent and he can obey God or not as he chooses. But at length they become so attached to one course that it is impossible to change them. By continuing in sin man at length becomes so sinful, that he has no disposition to change. The robber and pirate do not want to become better; the drunkard sticks to his cups and can not be induced to leave them. And we read that the drunkard shall not enter heaven. But my opponent says he shall get to heaven just ns soon as the sober man; and sooner too, if he drinks enough to kill himself. So a man who pursues a life of holiness, at length becomes incapable of sin; consequently there is no danger of the saints sinning in heaven as Mr. Ingalls intimated. That a time will come when there will no longer be any opportunity to repent may also be seen by the text in proverbs. “Because I have called and ye have refused; I have stretched out my hand and no man regarded; but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof; I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.”

O, says Mr. Ingalls, ibis is wisdom, that is speaking! What if it is? Did not God write it? If so, it will be carried out.


Mr. Ingalls. I come before you, christian friends, this afternoon, from a sick bed; but I am grateful, that I am permitted to stand as a witness for the truth. The discussion has taken the same turn, I warned the gentleman it would take, on the first evening. To call your attention from the hideous system he came here to defend, he commenced an’ outcry against Universalism, and about the free! agency of man. And now that we have began to discuss our system in earnest, he has nothing new to advance; but continues to reiterate the hackneyed phrases, again and again. And he seems verily determined to make you disbelieve your own senses, by boasting of what he has done.

To the gentleman’s charges of Atheism and materialism, I have but a word to offer. And this is simply to show him, and this audience, how easily I the tables may be turned against himself. We believe, he says, that God is matter and matter God, because we say that man is a part of God. Let us see if we can not make him admit the same thing. He contends that Christ is God. “The head of every man is Christ;” and of course the head off every man is God, and if the head, why not material?

Again, we are joint heirs with Christ; that is with God, for Christ is God. If this does not make God material, it at least makes him like unto ourselves, and hence his charge applies to himself with equal force, that it would against us, did we believe the nonsense he has ascribed to us.

The charge of Atheism is altogether gratuitous. He has held up before you a doctrine of CHANCE in which the Atheist might glory. Let us see if they do not agree in other respects.

Atheists say, evil is eternal, he says the same. We are both agreed with respect to the origin of moral evil; we differ only in regard to its duration. I regard it temporal, my opponent regards it eternal. It is therefore an infinite evil in which he believes. He has disclaimed an almighty devil. But personify infinite evil, and tell us what you would call it else. Is it reasonable to suppose that our Creator would have given a free agency to man, which should result in an infinite evil to his creation? But this was not God’s fault, but man’s; and if he is damned for ever, my opponent says, he will have none to blame but himself. This completes the analogy!

The Atheist believes the result of things to be equally uncertain; and whether good shall overcome evil, or evil, good; or whether, they shall strive on with equal strength to all eternity, is a matter which Atheism and Methodism have no power to, determine!

My opponent has associated endless misery with capital punishment, and I rejoice that he has done so. The intelligent and philanthropic, of all sects and patties, repudiate the one, and they will shortly disbelieve the other.

To make some show of argument on this point, he lakes it for granted that capital punishment is right, because God has said, “whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” But this was not a command but a permission. The Jews emerging from their almost savage state, were granted this feature of savage life. But whatever force we may attach to these words; they would not sanction modern capital punishment, but rather, the Lynch Law of our country; the right of each individual to take the execution of justice into his own hands; the fierceness and perseverance with which the savage of the wilderness pursues the object of his revenge.

But this law is abrogated by the Savior. Matt. v. 38, 39. “Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; but I say unto you, that ye resist not evil.” Philanthropy, intelligence and the mild principles of the gospel shall exterminate from the world, the idea that men must be sacrificed upon the altar of public safety: and christians will shortly abandon the opinion that it is necessary to the safety of God’s universe, that he immolates a portion of his children; and inflicts upon them unending woe. The government of God is parental. He punishes not in anger, but in love; “for God is love.” His design in giving moral agency was to elevate his creatures, and, as we have seen, the design of punishment must be the same, or he has two designs respecting the same thing.

We find, in Eph. i. 9, 10, the mystery of his will revealed, which he hath purposed in himself in accordance with his good pleasure, and it was for this, man was created, “that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ.” In 1 Tim. ii. 1—6. Exhortation is given that prayers, supplications, ice., be made for all men. Does the gentleman pray for all men? If he does, does he pray in faith? “What is not of faith is sin,” But why make prayers for all men J “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom FOR ALL to be testified in due time.”

Ah yes! God wills this, but salvation is conditional. It can not be accomplished, except man mils also! So says my opponent. What says the word of God? “My counsel shall stand, and J mil do all my pleasure;” “as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; as I have purposed, so shall it stand.” Isa. xiv. 24, xlvi, 10. God. can not save any one against their will. But whose will shall be done, God’s or man’s? “We also have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of His Own Will.” Ephes. i. 11.

Mr. Henson. Mr. Ingalls has made some remarks which are not true. He said I believe evil is infinite. I have not said so. I don’t believe evil is infinite as God is infinite, but that the punishment of the wicked is endless. That’s what I believe. Mr. Ingalls has talked about immortality and incorruption to prove that there were stronger terms applied to the existence of God and the life of the righteous, than to the punishment of the sinner. Now corruption is moral death. “He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.” Well incorruption then is moral life. This is enjoyed here; consequently on Mr. Ingalls’ ground, this does not relate to a future existence. Now where is Mr. Ingalls’ endless heaven? he can’t prove any on his ground. Immortality is synonymous with eternal life. It is put in opposition to it in Rom. ii. 7. “Who, by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory, honor, immortality, eternal life.” Eternal life, Mr. Ingalls says, refers to the life of the christian here. If so be it does, then immortality refers to the same thing and is given as a reward for well doing. There, didn’t I tell you Mr. Ingalls couldn’t prove a heaven. It all belongs to this world, according to him. Why then don’t he come out and acknowledge that the punishment of the wicked shall endure while the life of the righteous does? while God shall exist? Why does he declaim about what I have not done, and refuse to do the same thing himself? He has done nothing. He has told you that John Wesley, died a Universalist. If he would prove this, he would do something to the purpose. Let him find something from Mr. Wesley’s writings that shall favor his system, or else let him acknowledge that he has stated something he can not prove. No. John Wesley was as far from being a Universalist as hell is from heaven!

If mind is matter, as Mr. Ingalls says, then moral evil is matter, too, and can only act as God designs, hence God is the only being who sins. But men can act contrary to his designs, for they are free agents. If free agents can not do any thing in opposition to him, what then is the use of free agency?

The text in Eph. is nothing to his purpose. It refers to the Jewish and Gentile nations, and states that all believers shall be gathered together of whatever nation. They shall be gathered in Christ; there is nothing said of any who are out of Chris. That’s what he has got to show; that those that are in Christ, and those that are out of Christ, are to be gathered together at the same time. Let him do that; let him show that the righteous and the wicked are all going to heaven together, and he will do something towards supporting the question.

I have a false key which will unlock the whole of Mr. Ingalls’ theory. He argues his doctrine from the relation of God to man. From his will or purpose; and quotes 1 Tim. ii. 4—6. God will have all men to be saved. But it is only those who believe.

I will take Mr. Ingalls’ arguments and prove universal damnation. It is God’s purpose and pleasure, that “he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark xvi. 16. His purpose shall be accomplished. Isa. Iv. 9—11. “My word that goeth out of my mouth shall not return to me void; but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” There, that’s Mr. Ingalls’ method of reasoning carried out. I know how universalists reason on this subject better than lie supposes.

But, says Mr. Ingalls, you have said nothing of God’s purposes with respect to salvation; therefore you argue dishonestly. True, but he has said nothing of God’s purposes with respect to damnation, therefore, he has argued dishonestly. I told you I would argue dishonestly if he did, and I have been arguing dishonestly now that you might see how he argues. Take his method of reasoning and I can prove endless damnation, and that all men will be damned.

He gave me six propositions. 1. The relation. 2. God’s will and purpose. 3. His promise. 4. His oath. 5. The mission of Jesus. 6. The resurrection. I can, from these propositions, prove universal damnation as well as he can prove universal salvation. He has purposed to damn the unbeliever. His purposed will be accomplished. He has promised it. He will fulfill it. He has sworn that he will make the enemies of Christ his footstool. Jesus came that those who believed not might be damned. The object of his mission will be accomplished. They that have done evil shall come forth to the resurrection of damnation. There! I have proved from all the gentleman’s propositions, that universal damnation is true. But I have not been honest, because I have said nothing about salvation; he has not been honest, because he has said nothing about damnation.

Mr. Ingalls says, I have not brought forward a text upon which 1 would rest the doctrine of endless misery. I have, one which he has not noticed. Let him notice it now if he will. “Follow peace and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.” There, what does that mean, if it does not mean that they shall be banished from the presence of the Lord for ever?

Mr. Ingalls. I desire to call the attention of the audience again to Rom. ii. 7. I have more than once referred to the false construction put upon ibis passage by the gentleman. And I now request that each hearer go home and take his Bible, and see if he can put upon it a similar one, without outraging all rules of language. No honest man will say that we should understand immortality as the reward for seeking for glory and honor and immortality, who understands the English language. They seek these, that is, a knowledge of them, and their reward in seeking is not immortality but eternal life.

Mr. Henson, (interrupting.) I understand the English language as well as some others. And if you deny that immortality and eternal life are synonymous, I can find a man of talent, who is not afraid to risk his reputation in confirming me in my construction of it.

Mr. Ingalls. The terms are not synonymous, but this has nothing to do with the point. The gentleman has read this passage in a manner to suit the unhallowed use to which he would put it, setting all rules of grammar and punctuation at defiance. I appeal to the President, whether I have not read it in agreement with the rules of each.

The President. It does not belong to me to decide the meaning of words. This is a part of the subject under debate. But I will say that in reading the passage, Mr. Ingalls has observed the correct punctuation, and grammatical construction.

Mr. Ingalls. I am aware of the purpose my opponent would accomplish by the unjust construction of this passage; but it will not avail him. I have Dot and will not admit that immortality in the Scriptures, ever refers to this life, or is promised as a reward of action. Neil her does the word incorruption refer ever to this state of being; corruption I grant does, and we reap this of the flesh; but it does not say, we shall reap incorruption in consequence of sowing to the spirit, but eternal life. It is only by such unholy wresting of the Scriptures that he has any chance of success. I shall demolish this “forlorn hope,” and he will have nothing to sustain him but his unbounded self-esteem.

He has at length referred to one passage, on which he is willing to rely, to prove endless misery. “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” This must mean banishment for ever from his presence! We have shown you that God was every where present, and that this expression must refer to a special presence. But my opponent would raise a false issue if he could. He wants me to show that people will see the Lord who are not holy. Had he dared to read the question we are discussing, you would have discovered his unfairness; but he is determined to blind your eyes, and make you believe we are discussing another. One which would authorize some of the absurd and ridiculous charges he has preferred against us. I hope the congregation will bear in mind, if he does not choose to, that the question is not whether mankind shall be saved holy or unholy, but whether all shall at length become holy and consequently happy. Why docs the gentleman continually misrepresent, not only my arguments, but also the question we are discussing, if he has any confidence in his own cause?

His false key applies to our argument, the same as his reasoning does to the true question. God designs to damn, therefore all will be damned. God, then, has two designs. But do they conflict with each other? No; or God is opposed to himself. I believe all the Bible says about damnation. I do not believe all that Mr. Henson says; that is the trouble. I believe in universal damnation and salvation also; and I will prove what I believe from the word of God. Who are to be damned? the unbeliever. How many are unbelievers? “God hath concluded them ALL in unbelief.” Rom. xi. 32. “By the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation.” Rom. v. 18. Let us see if my opponent will not prove universal damnation, in earnest, on his ground. Condemnation, he says, is eternal death. In the 15th verse, it is said, “By one man sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so death (endless?) passed upon all men, for all have sinned.” Is this sufficient to believe in respect to damnation? This is what I believe. I expect, however, it is more than the believer in endless misery will admit. But this I do not consider is opposed to universal grace. “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” “As by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; EVEN SO by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” This is the gospel doctrine of damnation and salvation.—The latter supercedes the former, and as sin hath reigned unto death, so shall grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life.

Having disposed of my opponent, I will proceed in the order we had contemplated. Because, he could find no intimation, in the account of man’s first transgression, to prove his doctrine, he thought by calling upon me to prove mine from the same account, he had escaped all trouble. But we shall find that at the time of the first sin a promise was made that it should be destroyed. Surely this has something to do with the ultimate deliverance of our race from it. With the sentence of condemnation came the promise to the woman, that her seed which was Christ, should bruise the serpent’s head; a most vital part; evidently alluding to the final destruction of evil. Here, then, the ultimate holiness of all is taught in the first book of Revelation, but nothing is said in this or any other of endless misery, or why are we not pointed to it? God promised Abraham that in him and his seed should all families, and kindreds of the earth be blessed. The heathen are promised for the inheritance of the Savior, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. Ps. ii. 8. If it is said that these promises are made only to believers; I reply there were no believers when they were made. Besides “all the promises of God in him (Christ) are yea, [not yea and nay] and in him amen to the glory of God by us.” The unbelief of some shall not make the faith of God of none effect. If it is said that the blessings will only be bestowed on those who shall believe; it is replied that faith is one of the blessings conveyed in the promise; and it remains to be proved, that some shall continue for ever in unbelief.

Mr. Henson. You see how Mr. Ingalls, evades the argument. I did not do this way. I went straight along and gave him plenty to do. He kept complaining he had not time—I do not complain for want of time—I have answered all his arguments, I and have nothing to do. He has said nothing this time; has not advanced any in the argument, except by a reference to the promises. All this I had answered long before Mr. Ingalls advanced it. But; what has the prophecy to Abraham to do with Universalism? Does it say anything about an endless heaven? or about salvation after death? Nothing of the kind. It only refers to the Gospel being preached to all families and nations of the earth. But all are not saved by the gospel in life; many die in sin. What reference then has this text to the subject?

If Mr. Ingalls shall come and preach Universalism to you who are not saved here, there may be a chance for you to he saved; but there is nothing certain about it. The safest way is to believe here; for you can not refer the promise made to Abraham hereafter, for that is confined to this life. All are not saved now. Hence no proof can be derived that they ever will be. Paul’s comments upon this text knocks Mr. Ingalls’ argument on the head; completely destroys it. Rom. ix. 6, 8, “For they are not all Israel” which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children; but in Isaac shall thy seed he called. That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” It is then believers who are “blest with faithful Abraham,” that are the children of promise. Let Mr. Ingalls show that God promises to save the unbeliever, this is what he believes; don’t let him deceive you.

In writing to the Hebrews, he warns them to fear lest a promise being left any of them should come short of it. And speaks of some, whom the preaching of the word did not profit, “not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”

There! I have answered all the arguments of Mr. Universalist, and have not spoke half my time out!! I did not serve Mr. Ingalls so. I gave him enough to do; but he does not give me a chance to say anything, for he does not advance any new arguments for me to notice. Here I am—got entirely through with his arguments, and refuted all he has brought forward. And I have now fifteen minutes to spare!

Mr. Ingalls. It hardly belongs to me, to judge of what I have done, and what my opponent has not done. I expect this enlightened audience to judge more impartially than either of us, whether I have given the negative any thing to do, or whether he has done all that was given to him. I shall therefore pass to the consideration of the oath of God.

It is said, because he could swear by no greater, lie swear by himself to Abraham saying, “surely j blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.” “God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation.” Heb. vi. 14, 17, 18. Ah, but this is only for the believers. Man has a free agency and God’s oath will not be accomplished, unless we believe it. Then it is altogether uncertain whether any of the blessings,! contained in the promises of God, will ever be realized. We can not let our opponent have Calvinism and Arminianism also to fight Universalism with. Let him just tell us which he chooses, and we will meet him. But if he takes the ground he has occupied all along, he can not prove that a single soul will be saved, no, nor lost either. Perhaps there will be some believers, and perhaps there will be none. So that if he can prove an endless heaven, or an endless hell, he can not prove that any of the human race will get to either place. He can prove nothing from the design or purpose of God, or a his relation with respect to a part, which I will not prove in reference to all. Do not let him evade this, by saying, God designs to save all who believe. For if God has not designed how many shall believe, it is not a subject of revelation and we can know nothing of it. But if he will prove that God designs some shall believe, I will prove that he designs all to believe. John i. 7. He must therefore admit Universalism, or give up all objections to it, which is much the same thing; for he has nothing positive to advance in opposition, except he lakes the Calvinism: ground. If he is disposed to do this, we shall see whether he will succeed better with that.

But the oath of God does not simply refer to what he will do for the righteous; but also to the world’s becoming righteous. Isa. xlv. 22—25. “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear, surely shall say in the Lord have I righteousness and strength,.” He has not left the fulfilment of his oath to chance. But has highly exalted our Savior and given him a name which is above every name. “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father.” Phil. ii. 9—11.

This brings us to the consideration of the object of Christ’s mission to the world. It was to save his people from their sins. Matt. i. 21. My opponent would make you believe we are discussing the proposition, whether the wicked are going to heaven with the righteous; but he knows well, we are discussing no such question; or why does he avoid the force of argument, from those passages which speak of the subjection of all things to the Savior by alleging that it is a forced and not a righteous subjection? Jesus came to save men from sin. I do not know that he denies this. The question at issue is whether he shall save all or a part, and make them righteous; not whether sinners are going to heaven. But this salvation is conditional—Jesus will save none but believers, and those that are righteous! The Savior gives the lie to this doctrine. “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” He does not save the righteous; can not possibly save them; they are already saved. The same remark will apply to believers. They are already saved. But the unbeliever is condemned already. It is the unbeliever that is lost, and needs to be saved. “The whole need not a Physician but they that are sick.” “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost;” Luke xix. 10, not that which is going to be lost. “He that believeth not shall be damned.” He is lost, is he not? It is him then that needs to be saved, whom Jesus came to seek, yes, and save also.

I am accused of arguing dishonestly, because I leave out what the Scriptures say in reference to damnation, but have I not shown that salvation supercedes it; that God hath concluded them in unbelief that he might have mercy upon all; that judgment came upon all men to condemnation, and that the free gift to justification of life, came upon all men likewise.

John xii. 32, “I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me.” This is conditional. But is there any contingency in respect to it? Was not Jesus lifted up? then the consequence follows, “I will draw all men unto me.” This is to be done by the power of truth and love, operating upon the moral agency of man, not forcing men to heaven but draining them there by its mighty influence.

My opponent has not shown yet that he once thought of the question he came here to discuss. He leaves off speaking, at the expiration of half his time complaining that I give him nothing to do. Why not then take up his own question and give me something to do? Is it because he fears to read to you the unmerciful position he agreed to take in opposition to Universalism?

Mr. Henson. Mr. Ingalls has referred you to the promises of God to Abraham in order to establish his theory; but this can not be interpreted, so as to prove anything like Universalism. On the contrary it proves the opposite doctrine, that salvation is conditional; for we read in Romans in. 6, “For they are not all Israel that are of Israel, neither because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children; but in Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Now you see this establishes the very opposite thing from what Mr. Ingalls wishes it to establish; for those which are the reed of Israel are the righteous. Who is spiritual Israel or the children of the covenant? According to Mr. Ingalls, all are the children of the covenant, the unrighteous and the righteous; all are spiritual Israel; and there is no distinction between the believer and the unbeliever; one is just as good as the other; and all are going to heaven together. But the Scripture teaches no such doctrine as this.

In Rom. iv. 10—13. Speaking of faith and circumcision, it says—”How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of uncircumcision; a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, yet being uncircumcised; that he might be the Father of all them that believed, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed to them also. And the Father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham which he had, being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” Thus you perceive that the conditionally of salvation is plainly pointed out, and that we are called upon to exercise our faith as you will find by reading the remainder of the chapter from which I have quoted. And unless we comply with the requirements, of God, in this respect, we can not be counted as children of the promise, and be blessed with faithful Abraham, for we are all to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. What are mankind to be judged for, if they are all to be made holy? There is no necessity for it all, if so be that Universalism is true, and thus the Scriptures arc made to mean nothing at all, or mere jargon and nonsense.

The text which Mr. Ingalls quoted from Isaiah, has no reference to the moral subjugation of this world to Christ, or to the getting of men to heaven in their sins; but merely refers to Christ’s sovereignty, and his power over the earth, as a ruler and king, and you may see what is meant by the terms, “things in heaven,” “things in earth” “and things Under the earth,” in Phil, by reference to Exodus xx. 4, which says—“Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” All things are thus in the sense I have mentioned subjected unto Christ, and he is the ruler of the world, has all power, and all things ate at his disposal; and yet we see that all men are not righteous, good, or holy; and that they are not the subjects of Christ here, but go counter to the will of God, and persist in wickedness and evil doing.

What reason then have we for supposing that all will become the willing and obedient servants of God in a future state? We see evil here existing, and why may not evil come upon those who do evil, in a future state, as well as here? Is not God as just now as he ever will be? Are we not as holy now as we ever will be? And is not God just as good now as he ever will be? And just as well disposed to us? We see evil and misery existing here, and why may they not exist hereafter as well as exist now?

If Mr. Ingalls shall not show that there is more love to be shown to you than there now is, at some other time, what reason have you for believing that God will not punish men in a future stale?

Why did not Christ draw the Jews? Had he not as great a desire to draw them then as he ever will have? Yet he says, “if I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me.” Yet he did not draw them—therefore, salvation must be conditional? God will not destroy men’s moral agency, and force them into heaven.

Mr. Ingalls quoted the text, concerning Christ’s coming to save men from their sins, and the same argument I applied to the other text will apply to this also. For Christ has not actually saved them from their sins, because they will not come unto him.

Before I sit down I will give you a specimen of Universalist charity. I told Mr. Ingalls that I could not admit him to the Methodist house, because he had such erroneous views; that if his doctrine was true, we should be no better for believing it; but if our doctrine was true, all would be damned who disbelieved it. But says Mr. Ingalls, if endless misery is true, none but Universalists will be saved. There! that’s a specimen of their liberality! They believe in a salvation for themselves, not for other people!

Source: Joshua King Ingalls and Joseph Henson, “The Southold Discussion,” Universalist Union 7, no. 20 (April 2, 1842): 305-310.


Transcript, continued (4)



Mr. Ingalls. The disposition which has been made of Phil. ii. 9—11, is truly a curiosity. I quoted it to prove the salvation of all men; my opponent says it means all beings, fowls of the air, beasts of the held, fishes of the sea, &tc. But this only makes the salvation more universal than I affirmed! I should suppose, if all beings are to be understood by this, that it must include all men. But for my opponent’s edification, I will give Dr. Clarke’s comment upon this passage. He says, that by things in heaven and earth, and under the earth, we are to understand, “That all human beings should consider themselves, redeemed unto God by his blood, and look for an application of this redemption price, and that all who are saved from their tint, should acknowledge him the author of their salvation. In a word, that—all the spirits of just men made perfect, now in a state of blessedness:—all human beings still in their probation state on earth:—and all that are in the shades below, who have, through their own fault, died without receiving his salvation, should acknowledge him.”

The gentleman intimates, that what is said here and in Isaiah, may refer to a lime when the reign of Christ shall become extended in all the earth. But is it probable that such a lime will ever arrive? There is certainly nothing positive about it. For man is a free agent, and it may terminate the reverse of what God designed, and where he intended Christ to reign, sin may reign with uncontrollable sway! But perhaps God can overrule man’s free agency! If he can, to secure a millennium, he can, also, to secure the salvation of all men!

It is true, all are not Israel that are of Israel, but it is this lost part who are to be saved, Rom. xi. 26,, whose sins are to be taken away. It is those, who do not bow the knee and confess with the tongue, that are to be subdued by the grace of God. That this confession and worship is not forced, may be seen from 1 Cor. xii. 3, “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” “Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God.” 1 John iv. 2.

I resume the course of argument. Another object of Christ’s mission was to destroy the works of the Devil. My opponent has seen fit to deny his Almightiness, and also, the infinity of evil; but he contends for its eternity; and it is this endless power of evil which constitutes the basis of modern orthodoxy. If good and evil are equally eternal, I cannot perceive, but that the one is as much infinite as the other. But evil is not eternal. Sin shall not always exist. 1 John iii. 8. “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Is he a free agent, so as to frustrate the purpose for which Christ came into the world? But his works are not only to be destroyed; the devil is to be destroyed also. Heb. ii. 14, “Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself look part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them, who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject unto bondage.” That is, I suppose, it free agency should not determine that he should not be destroyed, but have everlasting dominion over the greater portion of God’s creatures! But, then, there is nothing certain; and there is a chance that it will decide in favor of God’s purposes for the salvation of all men!

This, I think, has something to do with the question. For, it is the works of the devil, that oppose the holiness and happiness of all. When these shall be destroyed, there will be no impediment. Rather the making man holy, will be the annihilation of sin and wretchedness.

A serious objection to our charity has been raised, because we suppose ourselves the only individuals who will be saved, if endless misery be true. But is not this, the case with others. Its advocate has told you, that you must believe it, or you cannot be saved from it. But I will make good my position. Psalm xxxiii. 22. “Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope thee.” “None of them that trust in him shall be desolate.” Here, the promise is, to those who trust in his mercy. But, who are to endure endless misery, if it is true? “The fearful and unbelieving.” You perceive it is not Universalists. It is the believer who is to be saved, the unbeliever who is to be damned. But, what are we to believe? 1 John v. 10, 11, “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself; he that believeth not God hath made him a liar.” All liars shall have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. But why did they give the lie to God? Because they believed not the record, which is this, “that God hath given us eternal life: and this life is in his Son.” This is what we believe, and what we call upon all men to believe; but those who believe endless misery, do not believe this, and consequently, will be damned, if what they believe is true, for believing it!

Another object of Christ’s mission, was, to reconcile man to his God. God never was unreconciled, but man was. Jesus came to reconcile the creature to the Creator, the child to the parent. “God commendeth his love to us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for ns.” And while enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son. Rom. v. 8—10. Though enemies to God, mankind are his children still, and in his mercy he has purposed to bring them to himself. Eph. ii. 15—18, Col. i. 19— 21. For this purpose he has given our Savior all power in heaven and in earth; and he “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working, whereby he “is able to subdue all things unto himself.” Phil. iii. 21. The main argument my opponent has used throughout this discussion, is here met and refuted by a single passage. “Working,” supposes time to work in. O, all are not saved now! There is evil in the world, it is not all destroyed yet! It therefore never will be! This puerile argument was anticipated, and answered nearly eighteen centuries since. Heb. ii. 8—10, “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. But now we see not yet all things put under him: but we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man.”

Mr. Henson. Mr. Ingalls, in his last speech, has said something in reference to the Millennium. Now, all do not believe in the Millennium. It is a subject on which there is much difference of opinion. For my part, I do not believe it to be a time on the earth, when all men shall be righteous and perfect; a time when the gospel shall be received by every individual. I believe it to be a time when the gospel shall be preached in its fulness to all the inhabitants of the earth, and when some of all nations shall accept it, and comply with the conditions on which God has offered salvation to man.

Mr. Ingalls has told you he came here from his bed, but by the loudness of his voice, I am not inclined to believe him very sick. I think his mind is sicker than his body.

The Universalists, as I have told you before, believe that everything takes place according to the will of God, and thus they charge all crimes upon the Deity, and make him the only guilty being in the universe. But I thank God, that I believe Him to be clear of guilt.

Mr. Ingalls has told you what Dr. Clarke says on the text in Philippians. I don’t care what Dr. Clarke says about it, or any other man. I can comment on the Scriptures myself. But why did not Mr. Ingalls read all that Dr. Clarke says on this passage? I believe that Christ died for all as much as Mr. Ingalls does. But he that believeth is saved; and if so be that all men believe, then all may be saved. Does he really believe all denominations besides his, do not believe in the mercy of God? We believe in God’s mercy as well as the Universalists, but we believe that God is just as well as merciful, and that men will be punished for their evil deeds. But, let Universalists start in a new place, and you will see all the drunkards, and deists, and atheists assemble round the Universalists, and hear them hurrah for Universalism. It is not so with the Methodists. It is by receiving the gospel that we receive salvation.

Mr. Ingalls cannot find his doctrine in the Bible. If he finds it at all, he must find it in the Koran. “He that committeth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning.” God will not destroy moral agency; he will not convert men unless they receive the gospel. But, according to Ballou, God placed the devil in man’s heart; but I believe in no such thing as necessitating foreknowledge.

What does Mr. Ingalls believe is meant by the devil? He believes it is nothing, only the carnal mind. But does the carnal mind have the power of death. No such thing. But the devil has according to Scripture. Mr. Ingalls don’t believe the Bible, then, for he believes the devil is the carnal mind. “God is able to succor those who are tempted.” “Consider Christ and believe on him,” and we can have no ground for believing that Christ saves those who do not believe on him. I believe, as well as Mr. Ingalls, that Christ died for every man, and every man can, if he will, be saved by that death.

1 John v. 7—11. The law is here put for the effects of his death. If we do not receive his truth we make him a liar. Will God be pleased with him for this? Yet, according to Mi. Ingalls’ theory, he is pleased with all. God loves the sinner with the love of pity, and not with the love of complacency. He will not always love them in this way.

Rom. v. 6—12. Those whose received reconciliation, we see, are to be saved, and no others. If God is to save men unreconciled, let Mr. Ingalls show it. The atonement was made for all, but all would Dot receive it. Mr. Ingalls, says, the ransom which Christ made, was to be testified in due time. They do not receive the atonement while they live, and God cannot preach to them in their graves.

Eph. ii. 15—19. In quoting this passage Mr. Ingalls’ did not tell what enmity it was, that was abolished. This was the law of commandments, and making peace between the Jew and Gentile. These are to be saved in compliance with the gospel, and such are to receive the sanctifying influence of the gospel, on complying with its terms; and none ever will be saved unless they do comply with the terms, and such as do not are under God’s displeasure and anger. If God is never angry the Bible must lie. “Though thou wast angry with me, yet thou hast comforted me.” To those who show no mercy, God will have no mercy.

Mr. Ingalls wants to crowd down the idea that he believes in .moral agency, but he does not believe it, as 1 have shown, but he believes that the hell preached by Peter, was a Pagan hell, and why not believe the Bible teaches a Pagan heaven.

In the passage quoted by Mr. Ingalls from Col., why did he not read on a little further? It says that “If ye continue in the faith,” &c. Did every person continue, and does every person continue? and if so be we do not continue, then, we shall be lost.

Mr. Ingalls quoted Phillipi. iii. 21, to establish his theory. But this evidently refers to our being raised from the dead, immortal. Does he believe that Christ is to make every one holy on being raised from the dead?

Heb. ii. 3—8. This passage completely refutes all Mr. Ingalls’ sentiments, for he does not believe that Christ was crowned with glory because he suffered death. He believes that Christ was a mere man, ‘ and died like Paul, a martyr; and that his death was no more than that of the death of any other man.

Mr. Ingalls. It is a serious objection to Universalism, that when proclaimed, it assembles around it the drunkard and profligate. There were some people so righteous in olden times, that they could not bear to have the sinners preached to; and hence Jesus was charged as being their friend, a wine bibber and a thousand other terms of reproach. But if they are really such characters who first assemble: around the herald of glad tidings; and instantaneously, almost, we behold societies Armed of the most respectable and intelligent portion of the community, how are we to infer the downward tendency of the doctrine 7 The gentleman is fearful I shall make you believe that God loves the sinner. I have proved this by his word. But it is not a love of complacency! I have not said it was, but on the contrary. have told you that the sinner will most certainly suffer the consequence of his sins. He loves the sinner with the love of compassion, and though when he chastises him in severity, in accommodated language, he is said to be angry, yet it is not a hate of malignity; this must be proved, before endless misery can be established.

He has told you, that the subjection, hereafter, cannot be a moral one, because God will not destroy man’s free agency; and yet he has argued that it will be destroyed at death, that man shall have no chance after that to do right. It is a dreadful thing for God to take away this free agency, and make a saint of the sinner; but to take it away, and make him a fiend is wonderfully consistent with the divine attributes!

To do away with the force from my argument that the devil and his works are to be destroyed, he draws your attention from the point, by saying that we believe the devil is the carnal mind. The question is not what the devil is, but whether he shall be destroyed. This we have proved, and it is to turn your attention from this fact, that he raises a question foreign to the subject. But what does he do different? He says evil results through the exercise of free agency; so if I were to adopt his rule of inference, I should say he makes free agency the devil. But does he deny that God bestowed upon us the powers of our mind, our passions and affections? It is not sin to properly exercise any faculty of our nature. It is only their abuse which is sin; when there is a want of harmony between them. Even conscience and benevolence may sin, when not directed by enlightened intellect.

All our powers were given for good, and when we exercise all in perfect reference to each, no sin or evil arises. It is when we deviate from this course, that suffering ensues. And although my views have been subject, to wicked and continual misrepresentation, yet I have endeavored to carry the idea through the whole, that sin is unavoidably followed by punishment; also, that the object of chastisement is to teach us wisdom and the government of ourselves. Such is the nature of punishment; all experience bears testimony; the drowning man, if he can be made to feel pain, will be sure to recover. So with all suffering; it is the effort of nature to throw off disease.

The analogy holds good in respect to moral pain. If we can bring the sinner to feel pained for his sins, we certainly have done him great good. The argument is often urged that people are not sufficiently punished here, from the fact that they cannot be made to suffer; hence it is thought they must suffer hereafter. But how can the sinner be made to suffer then? Before he can suffer morally he must have a moral nature, and the moment he begins to suffer, he begins to grow better; and the modern hell of conscience must be the most moral place in the universe. The old idea, of literal fire and physical suffering, is much more consistent with the doctrine of endless sin and woe.

I was a little surprised to hear it said that I could find my doctrine in the Koran. This is a wide mistake. My opponent can find his doctrine there, length and breadth. A hell of woe unending, “built on spite,” a sensual heaven “built on pride,” where those we despise can never come. There is no Universalism there. It is found alone in Christianity, which recognises God as the Father and the Friend of all. Which represents him as administering fatherly correction for their good. The gentleman is afraid I shall appeal to the feelings of the parent in confirmation of my views. God, my friends, appeals to these better sentiments of your nature, in condemnation of a sentiment which so dishonors him. ,

My opponent has failed to reconcile his unmerciful theory even with justice, to leave out divine love and benevolence altogether. The sinner sins: justice requires satisfaction, but will it ever be received? No, endless ages shall roll round; the unfortunate victim of divine wrath, will make the circuit of that burning lake, and, as again he shall raise his eyes to those heavenly gates which enclose all that is dear to his heart, the parent, child, and nearest friend, and shall raise his voice and cry, “How long, Almighty God, shall these endure?” From heaven shall be heard the awful sound, Eternity! Eternity!! Is justice ever satisfied? It never can be; but the same cry will continue to destroy the harmony of the universe, while God shall exist. Is there a father or a mother here who has such ideas in respect to justice? How abhorrent is the thought to every parent heart! But God has not mere human passions, we are told; his thoughts and ways are above ours. Thank God they are! “Can a mother forget her sucking child? She may forget! J will not forget.”

The reforming nature of the chastisements of the Almighty, are shadowed forth, under the figure of fire. Now there is nothing so purifying as fire; God is termed a consuming fire. He will sit as a refiner’s fire, and purifier of silver. The dross, the impurities will be burned up, but the substance will not be consumed; only rendered more valuable by the fiery trial. In 1 Cor. iii. 13—15, it is said, “The fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, so as by fire.” The salutary results of punishment are every where taught in the Bible. “For the Lord will not cast off forever: but though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion, according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” Sam. iii. 31—33.

Mr. Henson. God destroyed the Sodomites by fire and brimstone. Would a father put his child into the fire? God is not a man with all the feelings of a mere man.

The Sodomites, I contend, were Universalists, and we will, just for illustration, suppose Mr. Ballou to have been there. Ballou writes a letter to excuse the Sodomites, and commences in this way: “We have been informed our Father is about to destroy us and our city by fire. We do not believe that God will cast off his children, and save Lot only. He can not save Lot, for this makes distinction. We think that the fire, of which we have heard, must be the fire of Divine Love, and we do not believe in the report. Sin can not hurt God; and we hope you will treat our messengers well and return an answer soon.”

Mr. Ingalls is defending the sinner in the same way to-night, and why can not he defend the Sodomites on the same ground? God has said—“Thou thoughtest I was such an one as thyself.” and men are often apt to imagine that God is such a being as themselves.

The Universalists say that God is Love God is not all sensibility, but he is a God of justice also. Thus they strip him of all but one attribute, and in this way, the Universalists have nothing but an imaginary God. We must then believe that love is exercised consistently with his other attributes. The Koran teaches that women have no souls. Mr. Ingalls believes this, and that men have not any either. God is compared to a consuming fire, and he will destroy the unrepenting sinners. This passage which Mr. Ingalls quoted, refers to false teachers, who have labored under error by mistake and they may be saved as by file. God grant that Mr. Ingalls may be one of them.

Sam. iii. which Mr. Ingalls quoted, has reference To the Babylonish captivity, and to the return of the Jews. “Out of the mouth of the Lord proceedeth not evil and good.” Mr. Ingalls says the contrary. The text he quoted for support, has reference to temporal evil. Chron. xxviii. 9, “For if thou forsake him he will cast thee off” for ever.” This means for ever in the proper sense of the word.

I have quoted twenty-two or twenty-three passages on judgment, and Mr. Ingalls has noticed but tour or five of them. I have not served him in this way. No. I notice and meet every one of his, and do not overlook them and pass them by as be does mine.

Mr. Ingalls has seen fit to appeal to your passions, in order to influence your judgment, but I disdain to do any such thing. I should be ashamed to do it. God is not a man. He has not similar passions to ours, and it is right for him to do things which it is not right for man to do; and what use is it for him to attempt to excite your feelings on the subject of future torments. “Vengeance is mine,” saith the Lord. I will lake care of that, you Deed not trouble yourselves on that point.

There is no salvation in Universalism, it is damnation, for a man must suffer to the full amount, and there is no forgiveness of sins, if so be that their doctrine is true. Suppose a man put in States Prison for seven years. At the close of the time, he is told the Governor pardons him? This is universal salvation.

Now what has Mr. Ingalls done thus far? Nothing. He has not advanced a single argument at all, not one! Let him bring forward his arguments. I’ll blow them away like chaff before the wind! I’ll fix him!

There’s going to be a collection taken up now. I hope our friends will give liberally towards defraying the expense of warming, and lighting, and cleaning the house. It is too bad to come here and give the Universalists such a whipping, and then make them pay for it! I shall have to make it up myself, 1 believe, if they do not gel enough!

Mr. Ingalls. The expression “I will” and “I will not cast off for ever,” the gentleman has arrayed against each other, and thinks that the first should be understood strictly, and the latter in an accommodated sense; because it referred to the restoration of Israel from captivity. But if you will read the contents of the passage, you will find it certain that the threatening and promise refer to the same thing. So that the promise to restore, must necessarily follow the execution of the threatening, and the sentiment is only strengthened, He will not. cast off for ever. It is also a horrid thing to believe that God deals with all men according to their works! This makes him without mercy! We had thought, and have labored to show that punishment itself is a proof of mercy. “Also unto thee, O Lord belongeth MERCY, for thou tenderest to every man according to his work.” Ps. lxii. 12.

I have labored to sustain the ground that all were the creatures, the children of God, and the subjects of his salvation. I have shown the tendency of all the dispensations of heaven, to improve and bless our race. I now proceed to notice the revelation of a purpose for the completion of the original design. The works of creation, of parental care, of a Savior s love, are not confined to this life, as my opponent agreed to prove. A new creation succeeds the first. Adam was made a living soul; Christ was made a quickening spirit. 1 Cor. xv. 45. The word, the spirit of the eternal God, which first moved upon the face of the waters, in creation’s early morn. This spirit, this word, was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. John i. 14. It was given power over all flesh; to subdue the passions of the flesh and bring the whole man to a slate of reconciliation to God. “Full of grace and truth.” Love was the all-powerful means employed; that charity which “never faileth.” Truth and light divine quickened the dormant qualities of man’s nature, and they ever triumphed. Jesus was persecuted, he was crucified, and laid in the silent tomb; but, in that last moment, love conquered. As in anguish his lips parted, they were heard to breathe a prayer for his bitterest foes. He did not slumber ever in the grave, but the power of the Spirit of the Father enabled him to burst its massive bars in sunder and reveal to the astonished world a future and immortal existence for mankind. Having died for all, all rose in him, and as we have borne the image of the earthly Adam, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” But it is said, they shall be raised as they died! Those who died in sin, in sin—those who died in holiness, in holiness! But I ask for what purpose are they raised? Is it to torture them world without end? Might not then the victim well exclaim in the language which Dr. Young has put into his mouth? Why

“Push into being a reverse of Thee,

An animate, a clod with misery?”

It need not be objected that I appeal to parental feeling. I appeal to strict justice, to negative the doctrine of endless woe. But God is the Father and Savior, as well as Creator of mankind. He will therefore not do any thing inconsistent with his character as each. And he will do what shall further his purpose in the capacity of each.

But let us follow but the doctrine involved in this subject. It is feared I shall send drunkards to heaven. But I no more believe that the sinner will go to heaven, than that our material bodies will go there.

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep in death, but ice shaft all be changed.” There is no change after death! “The dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” Do we believe that men and women die like dogs? “This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” 1 Cor. xv. 50—55. The grave had no longer a victory. Hades is destroyed and can hold in fetters the children of our God no more. The sling of death, which is sin, is removed, and man rejoices in immortal life, and perfect holiness. The promise made on the day of transgression shall then be fulfilled, and the serpent die of the wound he had received. The purpose of God in the salvation, reconciliation of his children, and their deliverance from sin, will be accomplished, the mission of our Savior will have terminated, and resigning his delegated power, God will be all in all.

Where then shall exist that endless power of evil? Where shall be the abode of those who suffer? Hell is robbed of its usurped dominion, sin is banished from the universe, and all our race are raised in incorruption. This is the work of that Love and Truth, that word which dwelt in Jesus, and was given do minion over mortals, with power to change our vile bodies, like unto his most glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Mr. Henson. Universalism cannot be proved from the resurrection of Christ, because the Scriptures speak of a resurrection of the just and the unjust; when those who have done good shall come forth from their graves lo everlasting life, and those that have done evil to a resurrection of damnation. There! I have met all Mr. Ingalls’ arguments on this proposition.

But, says he, that to which you refer is a figurative resurrection! I reply that the other is a figurative resurrection also. “For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised.” This, I contend, is a baptismal resurrection, and typical of our moral resurrection; if the morally dead rise not, then Christ has not risen from the baptism, in which he was buried by John. “Christ must reign until all enemies are put under his feet;” that is, all moral enemies. “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death,” that is, moral death. It speaks of baptism for the dead, which of course means, Tor the morally dead. When it says, “It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption,” it means moral corruption and incorruption. Corruption is moral death, incorruption is moral life. “It is sown in weakness, (moral weakness,) it is raised in power;” that is, moral power. “This mortal must put on immortality.” Now, according to Mr. Ingalls, immortality does not refer to another state of existence, but is religion in the heart. So when it is said, “Death is swallowed up of victory,” we are to understand that moral death is swallowed up. “Death, where is thy sting?” that! is, moral death, where is thy sting? If he understands death and resurrection figuratively, I may. He believes that man would have died naturally, if he had not sinned, so that these passages must refer, on his own ground, to moral death, and moral resurrection. Corruption refers to the present life, of course incorruption does, because it is the opposite of it. The doctrine that sin is the sting of natural death was never acknowledged by any Universalist. Mr. Ingalls must renounce Universalism, or abandon his method of reasoning. There! I have drawn every dollar out of the bank of Universalism! I know I have argued dishonestly, and on false grounds, but it was lo show up his dishonesty; and! have driven him out of Universalism. And any man that continues to believe it, must make his Bible an allegory, the same as “Volney’s Ruins.” On Universalist principles, I have proved there was no resurrection; and so with every doctrine of the Bible might be disproved.

The subjection of all things to Christ does not mean that all shall be saved. Being put under his feet does not mean that they shall be received to his arms;’ but everlasting subjection in the place of woe.

Now I have taken up all Mr. Ingalls’ arguments, and met them fairly; but he has not done this way. I have adduced arguments that have not been met—on the Judgment, on the conditionally of salvation, &c. The doctrine of the judgment stands immovable, the sophistry of man cannot overthrow it.

My design, in coming here, was not to make a show of my learning and eloquence, but to do good, and convert souls to God. I had his glory in view; and I call upon you now to renounce a doctrine so opposite to holiness of heart, it is dangerous to believe any sentiment which makes virtue and religion of no account. Without holiness of heart no man shall see God. Do not believe that you can, but prepare to meet him.

Mr. Ingalls. The want of reverence manifested by my opponent in meeting my arguments from the resurrection, renders it unnecessary for me to refer to it farther than to express my sorrow, that a Christian can so far forget himself. The resurrection is “the end” of the gospel kingdom, the consummation of all God’s revealed purposes in respect to his children; the fulfilment of his oath and promises of salvation; the completion of his work of creation, in which all his designs are accomplished, and the whole intelligent creation delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For when they shall rise from the dead, they are as the angels which are in heaven; and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. Mark xii. 25, Luke xx. 36. That this state is one of holiness, none can question; or why is it asked, “Death where is thy sting?” If sin exists at all, it will continue to be the sting of death to such as are under its influence, and it has never been its sling to any others.

The caviling in respect to the kind of death of which it is the sting, will not avail my opponent. He may have it the sling of all kinds of death if he chooses. The sting does not necessarily mean the cause of death, but that which makes death painful. In this way I consider it the sling of natural death. But of whatever death ft may be considered the sling, or in whatever way, the conclusion is the same; it is to be destroyed, and man redeemed from its blighting power. This is a consummation worthy of a God of love; worthy a Creator, a Father, and a Savior. I have done.

Mr. Henson. Do you admit that sin is the sting of natural death?

Mr. Ingalls. When you answer the question, whether God will punish endlessly his enemies whom he loves, I will answer a question of your proposing.

Mr. Henson. He will. Now answer my question.

Mr. Ingalls. I believe sin to be the sling of natural death in the sense I stated.

Mr. Henson. (Striking his opponent a blow upon the shoulder with right good will.) I have got him now. I have got the rope around his neck, and now I have him swinging in the air! He must acknowledge conversion, at least, on one point. I know what writers of his order have written on this subject!

In conclusion, I would say, I don’t want you, my friends, to suppose, because I have spoken plainly, and handled Mr. Ingalls’ arguments with some severity, I have no kind spirit. I didn’t come here merely for the sake of debating this question with Mr. Ingalls. I came with kind feelings towards you. My object is to do you good. I want the Universalists to be converted to the truth. I do not say that a man who believes in Universalism cannot be a Christian; but if he is, he has forsaken his first love. Universalism is a matter of opinion, and it may not so much affect the feelings of the heart as to destroy all Christian spirit. But a man who has the love of God in his heart will not long cling to this error. It is all important that you forsake your sins, and go to God to find the truth.

I hope no one thinks I have an unchristian spirit. I have only desired to snatch you from the awful delusion of Universalism. I would have you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. You may I escape hell, although you are Universalists, but you must believe there is something after death, or you will not be very anxious to escape from it.

Mr. Ingalls. I desire to say a word to the congregation; not in argument, but in regard to the uncharitable charge made against those who receive, in its power, the doctrine I have feebly advocated. “Comparisons are odious,” and I have no desire to draw them; although we have nothing to fear from such a course; but Mr. Henson and myself art before the public, and that public will decide for itself, which has exhibited most of the spirit of his Master.

I disclaim all unfriendly feeling. Great, as has been his unfairness, I can now take him by the hand with Christian, brotherly affection, and pray God to make him better.

Mr. Henson. I wish I could believe Mr. Ingalls a Christian.


Source: Joshua King Ingalls and Joseph Henson, “The Southold Discussion,” Universalist Union 7, no. 22 (April 16, 1842): 337-342.


☛ In the discussion between Mr. Henson and Mr. Ingalls, the reader will find the following admirable logic, emanating from Mr. Henson:

“Mr. Ingalls does not believe there is ANY SIN AT ALL. He makes God ITS AUTHOR, and the only SINNER in the Universe!”

Shades of Jamieson and Hedge! preserve us from the power of such a reasoner! Why, it must have absolutely astounded Br. Ingalls, and the auditory—paralysed them! And this, probably, was the reason the former did not reply directly to it! He had not recovered sufficiently from the shock to be fully certified of his “whereabouts”!

Believe there is No sin; and yet make God the AUTHOR OF IT, and the ONLY SINNER! Well done, Br. Ingalls, thou must be a marvellous man indeed, according to the showing of Mr. Henson!

Source: Editor, “Note on ‘The Southold Discussion’,” Universalist Union 7, no. 17 (March 12, 1842): 264.



This week closes the publication of this Discussion. If the reader has not been entertained with deep, thorough and searching argument on the questions involved in the Discussion, he can not have failed to observe the strongly marked contrast in the spirit exhibited by the respective disputants. A blustering, vain-glorying spirit has been exhibited by Mr. Henson throughout, while on the other hand, it is apparent, that Br. Ingalls has constantly endeavored to occupy the time in throwing light upon the subject under discussion.

But we do not wish to canvass at length the merits of the Discussion. It is before our readers, and they can judge for themselves. We merely wished to say at the close of it, that we are assured from different sources, by those who were present, that Br. Ingalls has not done justice to himself in the report given to the public. A desire to compress it as much as possible, has evidently, as he observed in the introduction, given to it a disconnected appearance in some parts, and crowded out many remarks which were quite pertinent in their places. And beside, we are told that the abusive and bravado spirit of Mr. Henson is greatly softened down, from what it actually was in the Discussion.. In the name of goodness, what must it have been then?

As an evidence of the favorable influence which it has wrought in the vicinity in which it occurred, we may state that between forty and fifty have connected themselves with Br. Ingalls’ society since its close.

The entire discussion will be issued in pamphlet form (making 110 or 112 pages) early in next week, and may be had of Br. Ingalls, at Southold, as soon as we can forward a lot of them to him. It may also be had at this office, price 124 cents single copies.

Source: Editor, “Southold Discussion,” Universalist Union 7, no. 22 (April 16, 1842): 345.


Notice of publication


We have recently received a 12mo. pamphlet of 56 pages, purporting to be—“The Substance of a Discussion,” etc. between “Rev. Joseph Henson and Rev. J. K. Ingalls—with an Introductory Address, by Homo.” Also, a long notice of the same by an esteemed friend in Southold.

We decidedly question the utility of occupying so much time and space, with a person, such as this Mr. Henson has shown himself to be, throughout this whole business. Several individuals who were present during the discussion have assured us that his course, as reported by Br. Ingalls, was all mildness and courtesy, compared with his actual conduct on the occasion. And we are sorry to say, that the pamphlet above mentioned, which is evidently issued by Mr. Henson himself, confirms their testimony, but too fully! The introduction, which is unquestionably a self-glorying production, is ample evidence. The reckless abuse of Universalists, and the palpable falsehoods therein contained, demonstrate in the clearest manner, that it is but solemn mockery for such a man to talk of “christian piety,” and “the vital life of godliness in the soul.” Well might we adopt his thread bare Latin quotation at the close of his introduction—“O tempora! O mores!”

Our correspondent says truly, “the best commentary that can be made upon such a production, [as the pamphlet entire,] is to be found in its perusal; for I challenge an intelligent man, be his faith what it may, to rise therefrom with any other feelings than those of pity, or disgust, for the person who penned it.” Of this we are satisfied ourselves, particularly if the reader examines Br. Ingalls’ publication in connexion with the testimonies which accompany it, of its faithfulness. Mr. Henson’s pamphlet is endorsed by his Moderator as follows:

“I certify that this is a faithful representation of the arguments adduced at (he Discussion held in the Universalist Church, at Southold commencing 25th of January, 1842. HENRI S. RACKETT, Moderator.

We know nothing of Mr. Rackett, and will not therefore question his intentions. But we do know the other Moderator, Isaac T. Tuthill, and we feel every confidence in his word, and do not believe any consideration, whatever, would sway him a hair from the truth. He certifies as follows:

“I hereby certify. That I have read the discussion between the Rev. Mr. Henson and the Rev. Mr. Ingalls, prepared by the latter, and have no hesitation in certifying that it is a fair and candid representation of the arguments advanced by each. And I further certify that I have read a pamphlet containing 55 pages, purporting to be ‘The substance of a discussion on the doctrine of future and eternal punishment and Universal salvation, by the Rev. Joseph Henson of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Rev. J. K. Ingalls of the Universalist Society, held at Southold, Jan. 1842, with an Introductory Address by Homo,’ which I unhesitatingly pronounce a complete caricature and perversion of the arguments, as advanced at the discussion by Mr. Ingalls, and I am sorry that my associate, Mr. Henry S. Rackett, should have sanctioned such gross misrepresentations by appending his signature thereto.


Southold, May 5th, 1842.

We need only observe, in addition to the foregoing, that Judge Case, the President of the Meeting, is a gentleman of liberal education; and that he possesses the confidence of the community, the offices of responsibility and trust which he has held in his county, abundantly show. Giles Waldo and Enoch F. Carpenter, who acted as reporters, we are assured, are “both highly respectable for talents and integrity.” These three individuals have publicly certified to the faithfulness of Br. Ingalls’ Report. Add the fact, that over forty persons, embracing some of the most respectable citizens of the place, have united with Br. Ingalls’ Society since the discussion, and we are sure it can elicit no other feeling than pity for the recklessness of Mr. Henson’s course.

Source: Editor, “The Southold Discussion,” Universalist Union 7, no. 27 (May 21, 1842): 424.



In Pamphlet form, 111 pages 18mo, for sale at this office. Single copies, 12½ cents.

Source: Editor, “The Southold Discussion,” Universalist Union 7, no. 28 (May 28, 1842): 448.


That “there is a way, which seemeth right unto a man,” but whose end is death, is no more clearly declared in God’s word, than it is evident from observation, when directed to modern orthodoxy, as traced in its bearings and results upon the moral and spiritual life of any community. Nothing will be hazarded in saying, that the whole fruit of its pernicious and deceptive errors, is “evil and only evil continually.” Nor shall we hazard more in challenging the world to show one instance where endless misery has practically influenced any man, before selfish and vicious, to become a true and sincere Christian. The reverse is invariably the case. They become more sordid, selfish, hypocritical. And when the sentiment has been adopted, that the wicked will not be punished in this world, and that all future consequences of sin may be easily escaped, it has emboldened in crime.

It would not be difficult to show many instances where men, having been discarded the society of liberal Christians, have immediately become clamorous advocates of Partialism. And many of those claimed to be men of charily (if men of charity they have among them) have generally more liberal views, and are attached to their system only through the love of popularity. In fact, few men can at once, bring their minds to a belief of this “primitive doctrine of Satan, as preached to Eve in the garden,” that in the day of transgression they shall not surely die, without a long course of training in childhood, and a special and systematic effort to convert them, at last.

It will not be denied that there are some sober, moral, reputable men who believe this error, but it is seriously questioned, whether it had any influence in the formation of their character; the probability is, that with a better faith, they had been better men. For there is nothing in this, grateful or salutary to the growth of Christian piety, or the vital life of godliness in the soul. It has no note of harmony in common with the fundamental principles of the gospel, or with the best desires and feelings of the Christian’s heart; but tends to make its believers, like their Ishmaelitish brethren, raise their hand against every man.

If the reader will reverse the application of the foregoing remarks, with such variation as shall make them becoming the opposers of Universalism, he will have the major portion of “an introductory address by Homo,” accompanying a pamphlet claiming to be “a faithful representation” of the Southold discussion. The writer of this charitable and truly evangelical address, is undoubtedly the Rev. Alonzo Welton, of Southold, the counsellor and approver of Mr. Henson in his wicked and cowardly assault upon our faith and character. With this latter gentleman, and his aspersions, no ink or paper need be wasted; but the countenance that is given Mr. Welton, as an orthodox clergyman, requires that this address be alluded to. After giving vent to the ebullition already noticed, he continues, “To the exposure of the dangers of this way …. our brother Henson has nobly and ably, interposed his youthful strength. With what success the reader of the following discussion will judge.” Truly the reader of that pamphlet will judge how ably and nobly this was done; if not with what success. But; he intended to deceive the reader, and make him believe that that was a true statement of the matter.

The paragraph that follows, presents the climax of piety, (?) and charity, (?) and truth, (?); with which this address abounds; “That he drew out his opponent, and discovered to the audience clearly many of the infidel sentiments of Universalists, embracing the most flagrant and open Materialism, with a mixed motley of semi-Atheism, combined with a tincture of almost every absurdity as held by their standard authors, was but too evident, not only from the numerous extracts quoted, but from the violence, tumult, and profane,language that were used by some choice believers in this moralizing doctrine, proof beyond doubt, that the Southold Society felt responsible for the sentiments, and hence, like ‘the wounded bird, fluttered,’ or like ‘the galled jade, winced.'”

The “numerous extracts” by which our Atheism and Materialism were proved, consist in four garbled sentences and parts of sentences, neither of which occupies two lines in the pamphlet before me. Materialism is proved by the question of father Ballou—”What had God but his own eternal nature to create his creatures from:?” backed by a falsehood of Mr. Henson’s, that when he asked me whether I believed in a personal God, I said it was a difficult question. Mr. H. never asked me any such question. I never gave him any answer in reference to any such subject! This is all I need say on this point.

The writer of this introduction, intends to be understood, that the Southold Society employed “violence, tumult, and profane language,” although he did not dare to say it expressly. But he knew that no violence was used but by Mr. H. He knew there was no tumult but what “our [his] brother,” and his friends commenced. He knew, also, that no profane language, if any was used at all, came from any member of the Universalist Society. If Mr. Welton desires it, we will enter into an investigation of the profanity in Southold, and will pledge ourselves to find as many in his Church who are guilty of this sin, as he shall find in our “Society;” and to find five in his congregation to every one that he shall find in ours. The classical reference at the end of this paragraph is truly indicative of the source whence it emanated, but like most of the author’s vulgar stories, and low witticisms, it is borrowed.

He thinks our defeat further proved by the selection of remedies applied to heal the “gaping wounds,” and by the “affected flourish of names and numbers” heralded forth “for the purpose of hiding” our “almost complete discomfiture.”

Undoubtedly, the flourish of names and numbers is sufficiently trying to one so fond of popularity as Mr. Welton, who, from the first, objected to the discussion—that it would “call away public attention” from himself; and who had resorted to the lowest trickery to secure a “popular” audience. But, I doubt, whether even this would have called forth these bitter, unchristian reflections against his neighbors, had he not felt that there was a moral power in our faith, which had made better those who had been led to embrace it; and had he not also been convinced that there was no other way of sustaining a sinking cause but by misrepresenting and slandering those opposed.

He concludes by saying, “The following pages will show the reader that the cause of truth has not suffered in the contest,” etc. That the truth did not suffer in the contest is probably true; but that it did suffer in those “pages,” all will admit who peruse them.

That this introduction was written by the individual referred to, we presume his friends will not deny. No attempt to shrink from the responsibility will avail him, for the sentiments and language have often been expressed by him, both in public and in private, and the style is known to be his. And I will hope that, rather than aggravate his fault by denial, he will repent of his sins and seek to be forgiven of God and man.

I have only now to say, that we are perfectly satisfied with the discussion and its results. The course pursued and the feelings evinced by our Methodist and orthodox friends, show that they are not. If, therefore, they think “our brother Henson” too “youthful” a champion, let them select their mightiest “man of valor,” and if they deem “a boy” unworthy of his prowess, they shall be accommodated with an opponent of whatever “calibre” they choose.

J. K. Ingalls.

Southold, L. I, June, 1848.

Source: Joshua King Ingalls, “Homo, Alias Rev. A. Welton,” Universalist Union 7, no. 30 (June 11, 1842): 366-368.


“Homo,” Again


We take no pleasure in alluding to the follies and moral delinquencies of our fellow men, and more especially when those delinquencies are exhibited in the clerical profession; for every thing of this kind is directly calculated to undermine confidence in the ministry, and lead lo a latent, if not openly avowed skepticism. If we may not look for purity of motive and integrity of conduct, at the holy altar, where in the wide world shall we seek it.
Our readers will bear witness that we have seldom seized upon the gross moral defections, which have been but too common in the clerical ranks for some years past, and blazoned them to the world. As a general thing we regard it unwise. A constant detail of iniquity—a familiarity with crime, is not conducive to the moral purity of any community, much less when it is a detail of “spiritual wickedness in high places.” These delinquencies may all be found in the ranks of those opposed to us as a religions denomination; still they are calculated to degrade the ministerial office, and will of necessity excite distrust in our own ministry, to a greater or less degree. And just so far as this distrust prevails, will their usefulness be impaired.
But when mere pretenders to spirituality, under the ministerial garb, go entirely out of their way to assail their belters—to vilify and traduce those whose moral character and standing would be a pattern for them to copy, it is well to remind them of their own frail condition and standing—to hold the mirror up to their view, at least so far as to remind them of the excellent admonition—’Physician, heal thyself.’
These and similar considerations must be our apology for admitting the following note of “Inquirer.” It is proper for us to say that it comes from one whom we know, and knowing, in whom we have confidence. If Mr. Welton of Sourhold, is identical with the one of our correspondent, he needs to blush for his course, and is a very suitable person to indite such an article as “Homo,” and preface such a work as Mr. Benson’s.
We speak plainly, because the circumstances are aggravating. If we are doing Mr. Welton the least injustice, we shall be prompt in rectifying it, when satisfied thereof. But he has stepped entirely out of the path of his duty to vent his feelings against Universalism and Universalists, and must abide the consequences.

Br. Price—In reading an article in your last paper, headed “Homo alias Rev. A. Welton,” I am led to inquire whether this is the same reverend gentleman that figured so conspicuously at different times in Poughkeepsie during the last 10 or 15 years. Is this the man that came there from the South with great pretensions to wealth and family connections, being related to no less a personage than the immortal Washington himself, &c. &c? By these and such like representations, the good people of that place were induced to build for him a church and parsonage, and thus he commenced operations in swelling style! But his race was short. His adherents, one after another, dropped off from him, and before a long time he was left almost “alone in his glory.” In consequence of alledged improprieties, the members of the society felt constrained, much lo their mortification, to call an ecclesiastical council to pass upon several trifling charges. The result was, he left the congregation, and left Poughkeepsie. Where he went to I know not.

The next we hear from him, he is in Albany; remains there a short lime, then leaves, much the same success having attended his labors, as at Poughkeepsie.

Again I lose track of him for a season; but “in the course of human events,” this man comes back to Poughkeepsie, and on entering, published his card, boasting that he had come among them once more, with the intention to live down the bad impressions of the people of that beautiful village! By great efforts a subscription was set in motion, and after much exertion another church erected; and also a dwelling. In this new edifice meetings were kept up by him for a time, but not long. And to make short of a long story, the reverend gentleman left the town—his society having become divided—part uniting with the former society, another portion formed themselves into a Congregational Society, and the remainder are scattered to the four winds. The church was sold by execution to satisfy the claims of the builders; and if I am correctly informed, the dwelling shared much the same fate.

It is but just lo add, that in dividing and scattering the society, he was much indebted to the labors of the renowned Jedediah Burchard!

From Poughkeepsie this man was next heard from in New Jersey. He was remarkably fond of a good horse ; and it has been said, with how much truth I know not, that he is quite at home when traveling in company with those jovial souls that are fond of the “good creature,” especially if he thinks himself incog.


Source: Inquirer, “‘Homo,’ Again,” Universalist Union 7, no. 32 (June 25, 1842): 505.



” I. D. Williamson, vid. Ch. Mass. v. iii. p. 56.

According to previous appointment, a Conference of the New York Association of Universalists was held in Huntington, on Tuesday the 7ih instant, and organized a council by appointing Lewis Seymour, Esq.,. Moderator, and Rev. J. K. Ingalls, Secretary.

Reports were made of the condition of our cause in their several neighborhoods by Rev. Mr. Ingalls. of Southold, L. I.; Rev. Mr. Sawyer, of New York ; Mr. Oakley, of Huntington ; Mr. Scudder, of Babylon. From the reports it appeared that the cause of Universalism in Southold and its vicinity is prosperous beyond any former period; in Huntington it has maintained its own, notwithstanding it has been until recently, without regular preaching for the last two or three years. At present it enjoys the labors of Br. S. J. Hillyer one quarter of the time, and its pros peels are highly encouraging. In Brooklyn, a very flourishing Society has within the last three months been commenced, which employs constant ministerial labor. It has leased the neat and commodious chapel formerly occupied by the Unitarians, and its congregation is very respectable both for numbers and character. It is expected soon to settle a minister, and we entertain confident hopes that its future course will equal its present promise. Notwithstanding so little has been accomplished on Long Island, still we have occasion to be thankful to the Great Head of the Church, that the cause has made, and is making a gratifying progress. Within seven or eight years two churches have been built and a third leased for our use, and a fourth is in contemplation, and some preparation made for its erection.

To secure the more harmonious action of our friends on the Island, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted.

Whereas, we deem unity of action essential to the success of any cause, and as we believe that many friends within the Association, are willing to give their support to the cause of truth, who are prevented by a want of organization ; therefore,

Resolved, That we recommend to them,even where there are but “two or three,” to form themselves into Societies, auxiliary to the New York Universalist Missionary Society, which will receive their contributions and secure them the services of some faithful brother, as often as such contributions shall defiay the expense, and as much oftener as its funds may justify ; or, where it is deemed preferable, an independent organization.

Resolved, That we recommend to our friends in every place, that they assemble every Lord’s day for the purpose of public worship, to read, and sing, and pray, when the services of a minister of the gospel can not be enjoyed.

It was voted, that Br. Ingalls be requested to prepare the minutes of the Conference, and accompany them with a circular epistle to the frieuds within the limits of this Association.

Lewis Seymour, Moderator. S. K. Inualls, Clerk.

CIRCULAR. The New York Association of Universalists, to all friends of the better covenant, sendelh greeting :

It will be perceived by teference to the resolutions, that an important subject, which the Council had under consideration, wasthe mote effectual organization of our widely scattered numbers, particularly upon Long Island. This portion of our Association contains many friends, without any method or concert of action. There are not enough in any place, perhaps, to sustain preaching by themselves, yet it is believed that by the friends, in different places, becoming acquainted and acting in concert with each other, a circuit might be easily formed, which would soon sustain one or more efficient ministers of the Word.

The formation of societies, auxiliary to the Missionary Society in the city, is deemed an advisable method, and its consideration is earnestly recommended. At any rate, let there be a bondofuoion of some kind; let us know our strength, and exert it harmoniously. Those who are disposed toorganize in connexion with the Missionary Society, can be supplied with preaching, by addressing the Corresponding Secretary, Rev. Win. S. Batch. And the Society will do, in addition, all that its funds may enable it, to assist such auxiliaries, and to have the message of truth and love delivered to those who are destitute.

The regular weekly meeting, on the Lord’s day, for the purpose of divine worship, reading, prayer, and praise, we consider vastly important. It would greatly tend to keep alive the interest of the friends in the good cause, promote their growth in grace, and the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It will also serve gteatly to unite and strengthen their efforts, and to secure the permanent establishment of them in whatever neighborhood it is introduced.

Do not let a neglect of duly in this respect, longer paralyze the hopes of friends, or give countenance to the slanders of opposers. We will hope belter things of you, brethren, and things that accompany salvation; and that when we meet again, many reports shall speak of your faithfulness.

By order of the Council,

J. K. Ingalls.

  • Joshua King Ingalls, “Conference at Huntington, L. I.,” Universalist Union 7, no. 32 (June 25, 1842): 500-501.


These, Br. Price, are questions asked by W. S. B., in a late number of the Messenger, after having staled the prospects of Universalism in that state. I have thought much of these questions, and thought seriously. Who does not love the name of Oberlin? Who does not aspire to imitate that great and good man. But how often has every aspiration been crushed by the reflection that our own subsistence is precarious, and (hat while we endeavor to impart the bread of life to others, it is uncertain whether we are not beggaring our children. It is no doubt fine in theory for those who are surrounded by wealthy and attentive friends, who have every want administered to, if not anticipated, to talk of the glory of an Oberlin life. But it is quite another thing to encounter indifference and neglect, lo have a seamy pittance withheld, or reluctantly meted out. To wrestle with want, or what is equally trying, its expectation. To see our best years passing rapidly away, with no provision in store for the winter of age, bearing about with us the anathema of the apostle, ” If any provide not for his own, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.”

Nor can I think any effectual good will be seemed to the cause by sacrifices of this kind. Those congregations whose neglect has been encouraged by the delicacy of their ministers have invariably waxed worse and worse. And if we commence preaching without giving our hearers to understand that we must be fed and clothed; and spend our time and health and substance, without aid from them, they will always expect it, and justly loo. For if an Oberlin life means what seems insinuated, then we should not only commence in this way, but continue in ii. Oberlin did not vary his method of life. But in the room of hazarding anything, he came in possession of an income which supplied all his wants and enabled him to return much in charily lo the poorer members of his parish. And hence it strikes me that to imitate his example it is not necessary lo go to New Jersey, but the rather to some place where the salary is sufficiently large to enable us lo make sacrifices for the good of the cause, which shall not jeopardize our own welfare, nor transmit poverty and dependence as an heir loom to our children.

Southold, L. I.

J. K. I.

Joshua King Ingalls, “Who Will Be an Oberlin? Who Will Go to New Jersey?,” Universalist Union 8, no. 11 (January 28, 1843): 167.


Monday, May, 29.—At sunrise I left home in the stage for the railroad. We had proceeded but a short distance up the Island, before the wind sprang up fresh, chilly from the East, accompanied by a rain which lasted most of the forenoon. But if the ride was dreary, it was also rapid, for at one o’clock we reached the Suffolk Station, a distance of 50 or 60 miles, although we stopped an hour or more at Riverhead for breakfast. We were under the necessity of waiting some lime for the cars, and obtained a very good dinner, in a shanty where you would have scarce thought of finding any thing comfortable.

At length the ‘iron horse,’ now refreshed by his feed and water, started off at Ground gallop, and in due time I found myself ascending the stairs at 140 Fulton street. It did not add to the delight of that day’s dreary travel, to be told that you and the New York friends had departed for the Convention that morning.— However, I determined to overtake you, and proceeded directly on board the ‘South America,’ which left for Albany at 7 o’clock. Just before I reached the boat, I was accosted by a ‘runner,’ who wanted to sell me tickets to go any where and every where, and soon his employer, or associate, accidentally met us, and so benevolent were these officious gentlemen, that they were offended when I signified my determination of paying ‘as I went along,’ rather than avail myself of their kind offices, whereby I might save $1,50. That they would have willingly relieved me of any spare change, I had not the least doubt; but I was ‘green’ enough to think that ray money would go as far as their tickets; and so the result proved ; I saved twelve shillings instead of losing, even if their tickets had proved genuine.

There was little to see on our passage up the Hudson, for though the storm, of which Br. Ballou complains, had subsided, yet it was cloudy, and consequently dark. It was also too cold to stay much on deck. But there were two incidents which occurred while 1 was on board the boat.which may serve to illustrate some lessons of prudence, such as every one requires sometimes, but by which many fail to profit. A young man came on board, left his baggage, paid his fare and secured his berth; but as the boat was not to leave immediately, he stepped on shore to transact some business, or speak with a friend;and before he returned the lines were cast off, and the steamer began to move out of the slip. He endeavored to get on board but it was too late. He ran the whole length of the dock, but it was all useless. When he saw that he could not attain his object, he turned with a saddened look of disappointment, in which every beholder seemed to sympathize. Would not this serve as matter for a chapter on earthly trials and vexations, as well as the necessity of punctuality, and attention to travelling while we are travelling?

The other incident is illustrative of the latter suggestion. There was on board a young aspirant for the honors of ‘ Old Yale,’ or some other renowned institution, going to prepare for college, at some academy in the interior of the State. I remarked, when he retired, that he left his pants outside his berth. In the morning, after the boat had been at Albany some lime, as I was passing through the cabin for my valise, I observed young hopeful just crawling from his resting place, rubbing open his eyes that he might distinguish more clearly. But he soon made a discovery which caused them to open readily. It was nothing less than this :— he had some thirty dollars in gold, loose in his pantaloons’ pockets, on the night before ; but it would seem, that tired of this delay, they had gone on shore without him, having no doubt found a firmer friend, and one who appreciated their merits more correctly than himself. As the boat had not stopped on the way, there would have been a probability of his having found the runaways, had he arisen at the proper hour; but as it was, the chase was useless.— However, if this occurrence shall make him a a more prudent youth, or an earlier riser, it may yet prove more benefit to him than injury.

Of the remainder of the journey to Cooperstown, our kind reception there, and the proceedings of the Convention, there is no need of speaking now. But there are a few remarks in reference to such meetings in general, for which I shall probably find no more convenient place.

Generally the Committee for arranging public services should consider that they are appointed to accommodate those preachers who are most forward in offering their services ; and they should attend little to the dictation of their own judgments, or the wishes of the people.— To have relieved one anxious soul in the attainment of so cherished an object, should be deemed glory enough for one occasion. I would offer a suggestion of prudence to such of our brethren as should be placed upon committees to nominate a preacher for the Occasional Sermon, and delegates to attend the General Convention, &c, to take advantage of such appointment to bring themselves into notice. And a farther suggestion still, if brethren will permit: that they prepare for these occasions some ‘crack’ discourses, which having been preached many times, shall be perfectly familiar, and which shall cover all the ground possibly consistent with a systematic arrangement. By this course, those who are accustomed to hear ‘every day preaching,’ from ‘every day men,’ such as are obliged lo husband their resources to supply the people every Sabbath in the year, with something interesting and instructing, will be astonished at the display of gigantic genius, and be led to look down with regret upon some better, perhaps some abler, brother whom they have had the misfortune to engage as pastor. It strikes me that reflection on these subjects would prove beneficial, both to preachers and societies. I hope we may try it.

Sunday, June 4.—Preached at Albany.— There are good men and true in this Society; and though their former excellent pastor has lately left them, they continue strong in their faith, and in their purpose of sustaining the preached word. May the Lord send them another in whom they can unite, and who shall be instrumental in building them up in the truth and in a love of every good word and work!

Monday, June 5.—Left for Utica by railroad and packet. Rain in abundance—under hatches most of the day. I formed a travelling acquaintance with two young men, who were expressing their own and the public’s obligations to the Washingtonians, for the reform and sobriety of so many of the hands employed on canals, steamboats, railroads, &c.— But I was surprized to find that these same young men could not go to bed without a ‘drop of something to keep the cold out.’ True friends of temperance they ! They would go total abstinence for the ‘ lower classes !’ The time is fast coming when the fashionable ‘ nobility’ of our land will prove the greatest nuisances to the traveller. And Washingtonians will lay him under renewed obligations when they shall have removed these.

Wednesday, June 7.—Left Utica, in company with the brethren there, to attend the Central Association at Morrisville. Passed through Now Hartford, Clinton, Branchville, Madison, &c. This is a beautiful country, but the roads were at this time most miserable. I have heard of wheels being buried in the mud to the hub, but I had never witnessed an occurrence of the kind until I had travelled in Madison county. Here this thing is no ‘figure of speech,’ but a serious reality. However, the roads soon become dry when the weather is favorable. Two dayg after, the mud had thickened to such consistency as to bear much of the way. At Madison our friends have a church, and preaching, I think, half the time. At Morrisville there is no church owned by the Universalists, and they have only occasional preaching, for which they obtain the Court House. The friends are few here, but zealous and hospitable. Two miles from this, in a northeasterly direction, there is pleasant little village called Pratt’s Hollow. I slopped at this place several days, and shall not soon forget the kindness with which a stranger was entertained in a strange land. A few friends here secure occasional preaching in a commodious and quite convenient school house. I held forth Sunday evening, the 11th June, in it, to quite a respectable audience, and received most respectful attention to the word uttered. During the day, I had preached at Stockbridge.— Here they have a neat church, and had, considering the weather on that day, a good hearing. Br. D. S. Morey is located in this place; but on account of ill health, caused by too zealous efforts to do good, is desirous to suspend labor for the present.

Wednesday, June 14.—Went to Utica to attend the Washingtonian State Convention. But of the good things enjoyed here, I could not attempt a description short of several such pages as these. The true spirit of the gospel was there, and diffused its influence over a thousand hearts. The drunkard, and even the dealer, were reached, converted—held by its power. How beautifully do the Washingtonians demonstrate the value and efficiency of those principles which we have adopted theoretically, they practically!

On Friday left for Syracuse in a packet.— These are fine boats, and the travelling is cheap and pleasant. One dollar for 61 miles and they ‘eat you,’ and ‘sleep you’ into the bargain.— As regards the eating, there is ‘no mistake’— every thing in the best order and of the beat kind, but the sleeping is a more questionable matter, especially if it be the first night. But a roan may get used to almost any thing, after a while, and being hung up on a hook will serve very well to rest those who are accustomed to it. There were some friends on board who were returning from the Convention, and we soon found one another out, as well as other Washingtonians. We commenced singing some praises of cold water, when we were joined on deck by a number of ladies, so that we formed quite a concert. The swells which occurred, sometimes in the middle of a strain, as we passed under some of the low bridges, our heads close to the decks, must have been peculiarly entrancing, had there been any to have listened, but as all our auditory were busy at that time in taking care of themselves, the probability is that the most effective portion of our performance was unappreciated.

An individual who had been in the cabin from the time of leaving Utica, came on deck just previous to our arriving at a bridge. He had walked to the bow of the boat and turned round, apparently surveying his fellow passengers, who crowded the more central portion, when the helmsman cries out ‘bridge.’ The preparation which the passengers made for doing homage to the above named object, only seemed to excite astonishment in the gentleman, who was evidently engaged in a revery. The cry was repeated by the passengers, but all to no purpose. There he stood, as immovable as Atlas of old, not expecting, however, to receive a world, or even a bridge, upon his shoulder. But the boat drew nearer and nearer ; some screamed, some laughed at the absent expression with which he regarded his kneeling companions, all trembled for his condition, but they were now too near, and going at too rapid a rate for any one to think of rising. A ‘hand,’ however, left the stern and ran to him, crying out, ‘a bridge.’ ‘A what?’ inquired the absent minded gentleman. ‘A bridge.’ ‘Sir!’ responded he of the stubborn will, and commenced looking listlessly around, when he struck the bridge with such force as to precipitate him into the canal, just giving his monitor sufficient time to prostrate himself and escape a similar fate. He was soon rescued from his unpleasant situation, and will be likely to understand hereafter, I think, that ominous sound so often heard on the canal, and be more humble for the future.

Syracuse is a thriving place, but its situation is low. Br. Grosh preaches here one half of the time. From this place to Skeneateles the scenery is enchanting, notwithstanding it is marred with innumerable salt works. Within about 8 miles of Auburn, there is a Branch Road to Skeneateles, with wooden rails and a horse locomotive. I entered the only car there was, with two or three other passengers, and our horse began to pull us up the hill. About two thirds of the distance to Skeneateles, there is a neat village called Mottville. The Universalists have a neat little church, which indeed is the only church in the village. There are a few zealous friends, who have had preaching one half the time. I preached to them Sunday, 18th. Attended temperance meetings on Saturday and Sunday evenings in the neighborhood, where quite a number of pledges were taken, and apparently much good done.

On Monday left for home, where I arrived Wednesday evening, having stopped a night at Albany, and one at Brooklyn. I experienced nothing during my absence from home, to change the current of good opinion I have been six years in forming of the Universalist public; but every thing to strengthen it. Our villifiers must have been acquainted with a very different class from those I have generally met, if they have even a tittle cloth from which to manufacture their stories.

On the whole, I think the cause of a world’s salvation is steadily progressing in the central portion of our state. So far as I have seen and heard, liberality of thought and feeling are every where manifesting themselves ; and although times are hard, and business men embarrassed, so as to present no rapid increase in the means of societies, yet the path is being made straight, the way prepared in the popular mind for a great and enduring advancement.

J. K. Ingalls.

Southold, L. I., June 30, 1843.

Source: Joshua King Ingalls, “Incidents by the Way,” Universalist Union 8, no. 35 (July 15, 1843): 557-559.

We copy the following at the request of Br. Barray. We know nothing of the subject matter of it; but we venture to guess—(the universal prerogative of a Yankee)—that, if Br. Ingalls had any personal application of his remark in view, both of these brethren greatly misapprehend and mistake each other. Br. Ingalls would certainly be the last man we should suspect of harboring feelings of envy. We always thought his bump of—we hardly know what the phrenologist terms it, but we set it down as—go-a-head-ative-nsts, was not sufficiently developed for his own good. But we may err.

My Own Matters.

It would appear from several sources, that there are those disposed to censure me for—the Lord knows what; save that I was appointed to deliver the occasional Sermon at the next session of (he New York State Convention. Was I to be blamed for that? It was none of my seeking—I cared nothing for the appointment—I would rather it had been conferred on some other individual. “But were you not one of the nominating committee?” I was. “You had a hand, then, in your own nomination.” Not at all. A friend of mine, Lewis Seymour, Esq. of New York, also one of the Committee, expressed a desire that I should receive (he appointment alluded to, and so far insisted, that I finally consented to have my name appear, and withdrew from (he Committee. Was there any thing very wrong in this? Many seem to think so. And a certain young man in a recent No. of the N. Y. Union, evidently makes a thrust at me, when he very modestly, proffers his very sage advice, to nominating committees. Your blade was too short, Sir—it did not reach me. But would not the same weapon applied to yourself wound an itching for notoriety.

To spare the feelings of a few dear friends, who seem deeply grieved, I hereby “throw up” my appointment, and name Rev. H. B. Soule my substitute. I hope he will not decline; and, unless he does, I shall consider his consent given to my request. A. C. Barbat.

Fort Plain, July 29, 1843.

P. S.—For the information of all concerned, I would state, that there was no contest between Br. Goodrich and myself by way of determining which of our names should be presented in nomination. A. C. B.

A. C. Barray. “My Own Matters.” Universalist Union. VIII, 40 (August 19, 1843) 652.


That honest men should sometimes change their sentiments, is a proposition which no one can regard as strange; but that this change should be instantaneous, in a mind given to reflection, is to me very questionable. And it is for this reason that I have put little confidence in the sincerity of those, who, amid the occurrence of untoward circumstances, have pretended to receive new light, and became converts to a new profession, when the old would no longer serve the purposes of their self-advancement.

Especially in a protestant and republican land, it would seem that no one could be so entirely thoughtless as to have no opinion of a religious character, formed by some little process of thought. And that consequently some time would be necessary to overcome the established sentiment by something like a form of reasoning.

That this should be accomplished in a day, where two such antagonistical theories as endless misery and universal redemption are at issue, certainly speaks little for a man’s head, whether it be from the former to the latter, or from the latter to the former. But that it should occur on a day when some obstacle has arisen in the pursuit of personal emolument, and on the day when the position can be no longer sustained in the present profession, speaks less for a man’s heart and its sincerity.

We have been blessed (cursed) with some such renunciations of Orthodoxy and embracings of Universalism. But those who have been real accessions to our cause from the opposing ranks, are such as have been gradually drawn into a reception of the truth : and who have not been induced to the profession by promises of success and worldly advancement, but on the other hand have sacrificed much in making known to the world the enlargement of their faith. My mind reverts to several of this glass in our ministerial ranks, and many among our laymen. But I must say that I have never known a convert of a day who added anything to the success of our cause by his name. Not unfrequently have such “renounced back again.”

Renunciations have ever been considered of importance in determining disputed points in all controversies, and when they are genuine, they afford, perhaps, some argument in favor of what has last been embraced. Because, if an individual is a sincere believer of one sentiment, and has been brought by reflection to embrace another directly opposed, he has the advantage of having seen the subject from the opposite extremes, which can hardly be said of those who are partizans. But when the convert comes out and unblushingly declares, that hencver regarded his former sentiments as sound, but always thought them demoralizing, he destroys all claim to our confidence in his qualifications as a sincere inquirer, or an impartial judge between the sentiments concerned.

In the instances where there have been converts claimed from our ranks, by our opposers, all of the above named difficulties seem to arise. Firstly, they are instantaneous ; secondly, there are circumstances which induce a question as to motive. Is it not for his wordly personal interest to do this? Thirdly, they have generally declared that they never really believed the doctrine, but only held it as a pleasing device to the carnal heart, and to give them license in sin. And if such be the character of those who renounce our faith, I will pray that renunciations be more instantaneous and frequent, until our whole community be purged of such members ; and they by this course or some other, brought to a comprehension of something Real in things. What has led me to these remarks is a communication lately received concerning a Mr. Mosher. Within the year past, I understand he passed himself off as a Universalist Preacher, a Huntington, L. I. Without asking proper reference, the society there countenanced him, satisfied with his ipse dixit, (or seemingly so,) when they should have had undoubted vouchers for his character and standing. But they have learned a lesson which I hope few of our Societies will have to learn again experimentally. After running through there, and at Babylon, he made bis appearance at Southhold, and by saying that he was a preacher from Huntington, was readily admitted into the church on the Sabbath. He there made known his intention of taking a school, and with very trilling encouragement, moved his family. But in the interim, there having been a report from Huntington that he had not conducted properly while at that place, he was given no countenance as a preacher on his return. Other circumstances transpiring to defeat the success of the plan he had formed for himself, he left the Universalist meeting and attended on the ministrations of wrath, where Rev. A. Welton (of Homo, Poughkeepsie and other memories) officiates. Being taken under the especial care of this anxious proselyter, he came at once to see the error of his way, in holding to a faith which he had never believed! But all this was not to pass off without a stir and a show, and notice was given out that the converted man would preach his renunciation sermon in Mr. Welton’s desk; and accordingly it was preached there, a week last Sabbath evening, to a crowded audience, and Universalism was proved false, because this man never believed it, and because his wishing it true, had sapped the foundations of virtue in himself and family! Poor man! may he be better is my only desire in regard to him; but this, methinks, he never can be, wishing endless misery to be true!

And alas for Mr. Welton! After having labored so devotedly to get owe genuine convert from our faith, that this should turn out a sham! I fear that this conversion will not aid the respect in which religion is held in Southhold. For when hypocrisy folds itself up in its ecclesiastical garb, people often fail to distinguish between the semblance and reality—rather to suppose that it is all semblance and no reality. But on the whole I am not averse to having this matter take its course, satisfied that its range will be limited to a flourish of trumpets and affected demonstrations of triumph. For my part, I was greatly relieved when I learned that matters were no worse; for, while he might have proved an injury to the cause, had he been countenanced by the Southold Society, as it is, good only will come of it, if they retain their integrity, and continue united, as I have the assurance that they do.

But I cannot close this article, without saying (with all proper deference, however, to our brethren there,) that I deem the course pursued by the friends in Huntington, essentially wrong; not only in the first instance, of giving encouragement to one of whom they had no certain knowledge, and who was in no way fellowshipped; but also for not having made known his character to the Universalist public, after his proceedings there; for that he did not act over his impostures at Southold, was owing not to them, but to common report, and the prudence of the Society. In a denomination which has the facilities of communication which ours possesses, no impostor should be allowed to repeat his impositions, especially not in the limits of the same Association, and of the same county. To be sure, the exposure is no desirable task, but it is a duty which no one should shrink from, however disagreeable it may prove.

With regard to Mr. Mosher, I have no personal animosity to gratify, for I have never seen him, and know nothing of him save from what I have gathered from flying reports. Neither have I been led to this course because be has renounced. For immediately on learning that be had removed to Southold, I addressed a member of that Society, fearing that they might be imposed upon, and stated to them that lie could in no wise properly be tolerated as a preacher, under existing circumstances. I wish him no ill, but all the enjoyment he can derive in the course he is pursuing, and a speedy reformation from his errors. If he is sincere in his profession now, which he acknowledges he has not been heretofore, he will reform his life j but judging from the well known character of the man who has taken it upon him to be his spiritual guide, sincerity is a commodity for which there will be little demand.

Of the renunciation, I rather rejoice to hear, than otherwise, for however our opposers may shout over it, the Southold friends should deem themselves extremely fortunate in thus being freed from one, who would be likely to do them more injury by advocating, than by opposing their sentiments. It shows moreover in what estimation our Presbyterian friends hold the Universalists; that they make this ado, over one who never believed the sentiment, and whose character was such that he could no longer be countenanced as a preacher, or even a believer. It is sometimes said that it is safer to be a Partialist, because if our faith is true it catches all at last. But if our doctrine is as depraving as is contended, we are safe enough, fur when it has so depraved us that we can no longer be tolerated among Universalists, Orthodoxy will open her arms to receive us I And if we can bring with us a certificate that we have ever belonged to a Universalist Society, or been in any way connected with them in name, even though it be of expulsion, a about of triumph will go up over us, that a heretic has renounced and left his soul-destroying delusion!

I must close these remarks by adding, that I hope this circumstance as well as others of this description, will serve to hasten the time when we shall have a more strict and uniform system of discipline, and that societies will be careful how they tamper with the reputation of our cause, by countenancing imposture.

J. K. Ingalls.

Banbury, Conn., Nov. 1, 1843.

Joshua King Ingalls, “Another Renunciation,” Universalist Union 8, no. 52 (November 11, 1843): 829-831.  

Occasional Sermon.

Delivered before the Southern Association, at Stratford, Conn., May 15, 1844.


I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. John xvi. 12.

In his search for moral and spiritual truth, the philosophic inquirer is led back through the long galaxy of names, which have shed their light on the moral world, to Jesus of Nazareth, who never fails to fix the attention and secure the admiration of the lover of purity and goodness. He has not alone been eulogized by christian moralists; for Pagans, Mahometans, unbelievers, all, who have contemplated the life of Jesus, as a life, have been forced to acknowledge its unblemished purity, its profound depths of sympathy and love. If they could not receive Christianity as a faith, owing to their own blindness, ignorance and prejudice, or the corruptions which have attached themselves to its form, they have uniformly admitted the transcendent virtues of the Savior’s character, in life and in death. The most benighted Pagan, and the most philosophical unbeliever, have united their voices in bestowing upon him the title of God-man.

Jesus attained the highest ideas of truth, and reduced them to perfect examples, for he was tempted in all points like ourselves, yet without sin. His religious and moral conceptions were perfect. Not only were they the best of his time, but of all times; embracing that excellence to which our natures are ever striving, that glory which the prophet of every age has “ desired to look into,” that beauty which all poets have attempted to embody in their song, and that consummation, for which every pious heart has yearned, in which the moral and intelligent universe shall be subdued to that obedience to heaven’s laws of right and love which the nature of the creature, and his relation to the great Father of all, demand.

The fundamental truth of all progress is here shadowed forth. In order to advance, we must have a rule in precept and example evermore beyond and above us. The idea of human progress is not only assumed in the Gospel, but the Gospel is represented as being itself the revelation or exposition of this progress, and Jesus as the head,

or elder brother of this spiritual family, which is to grow in grace and the knowledge of the truth, until it attains, in the unity of the faith, unto a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Other reformers have lived in advance of their age. Jesus was not only in advance of his contemporaries, but of all the ages which have yet developed themselves, and promises to hold out a bright and glorious example still, and to be a teacher of righteousness to ages yet unborn. We should ask no farther evidence j of the divinity of his mission, than its enduring and universal character, its adaptation to all people and all times, especially to those farthest progressed in the developement of their spiritual and moral capacities. Other teachers instruct people of their time. Jesus instructs people of every time. We read a human author until we attain his idea, and he is our teacher no longer. Jesus teaches us in our youth, and in our age. We never get beyond him; we never indeed arrive in this world to the point, where we feel not still the consciousness that we have almost infinite progress to pursue, ere we can grasp the sublime conceptions we behold manifesting themselves in him; and hope, in its holiest aspirings dare not promise us on earth, that perfection in practice which he maintained through a life fraught with trial and sufferings.

Had his age comprehended him fully, he would have ceased to be a teacher. Had he not taught 1 truths, or rather embodied them in his life, adapted to all time and all progress, then his mission may have ended long ago, and any farther hope for the race be despaired of; for he has either ceased to be a teacher, or else has put a stop to human progress, and is content with repeating the same things forever, imparting no new conceptions as we become prepared, or indeed allowing us to become prepared for any farther revealings of the truth or indwellings of the spirit of the Highest.

But we discover that he realized the poet’s dream, and prophet’s vision, and that their ideal, whether of ancient or modern lime, of christian, heathen or skeptic land, has never exceeded, has never equalled, the reality the Savior demonstrated of heavenly truth and divine love. Whatever the philanthropist, whatever the holiest and best men have longed for and attempted to grasp, is contained in the Gospel of the Son of God. All the dim shadowings of our purest thoughts, of our farthest reaching charities, of our deepest devotion to truth, to liberty and the weal of man, we can trace in their fullness and perfection when we contemplate the life of our blessed Lord and Savoir.

The gifted but unbelieving Rousseau is forced to confess:

“When Plato described his imaginary good man, enduring all the shame of guilt, yet meriting the highest rewards of virtue, he describes exactly the character of Jesus Christ; and exclaims—’ What prepossession, what blindness must it be to compare the son of Sophroniscus to the son of Mary! Socrates dying without pain or ignominy, easily supported his character to the last. He invented, it is said, the theory of morals. Others, however, had before put them into practice; he had only to say, therefore, what they j had done, and reduce their examples to precept. But where could Jesus learn among his competitors, that pure and sublime morality, of which he alone has given us both the precept and example? The death of Socrates, peaceably philosophising with his friends, appear the most agreeable that could be wished for; that of Jesus, expiring in the midst of agonizing pains, abused, insulted, and accused by a whole nation, is the most horrible that could be feared. Socrates in receiving the cup of poison, blessed the weeping executioner who administered it; but Jesus, in the midst of excruciating tortures, prayed for his merciless tormentors. Yes! if the life and death of Socrates were those of a sage, the life and death of Jesus were those of a God.”

But this admission, beautifully, truthfully as it is expressed, goes not far enough. Jesus was not only beyond the conception of his contemporaries, but almost infinitely beyond the progress we boast in our enlightened age. Have we ever formed, in our moments of holiest, loftiest thought, one flitting idea which we find not more than realized in him? With all our knowledge, and love of man, and devotion to truth, were we now to draw the picture of our “ imaginary good man,” would it not be an image of the son of Mary?

Paganism, Sabian and magian, existed after its day, but at length crumbled to pieces like the mighty tree which, having lived its time, becomes decomposed by the action of the same elements which had supported it in existence. The changes, in the elements of human knowledge and feeling, left it without sympathy or support, and facilitated its decay. But before it gave up the ghost, it required repeated modifications to accommodate it to the progress of the mind. So Mahometanism, which was in fact better than the nominal Christianity of its period, has required frequent revision. In truth Mahomet was excelled by his immediate successors; and the Dr.’s of the faith find it necessary now to give the greatest latitude of construction to many of his teachings, besides changing, diametrically, sentiments he insisted upon most strenuously. The human mind hag made such advancement, that the faith, which some ten or twelve centuries since, awakened the deepest enthusiasm, scarcely inspires now one spark of devotion. Like an inhabitant of the past, all unsuited to the society of the present, it sits there, in enchanted silence, with folded arms, awaiting the coming fate, when some theme, more consonant to the spirit of the times, shall attract the inert powers which enable it to “ sit still.”

But has Jesus any followers who have added any thing to his Gospel! With all our progress and reform, have we been able to give his sublime teachings even an adequate appreciation? Have not the greatest lights in the church been left in the back ground by the march of mind, the spread of human sympathies, and more extensive reception of the spirit of the Savior? If Mahomet would have been unsuited for a reformer and prophet of this age, so would Luther and Calvin. With their doctrines of final perseverance, election and reprobation; with the torch and faggot in their hands, they would find no work to do, were they to come upon this world again, great as was their work when they did live. But what if the enlightened and philanthropic prayer, which is breathed in the secrecy of the closet, and finds its outward manifestation in the benevolent enterprises and reforms of this age, could be fully embodied, and the worker sent of God which should correspond to our purest ideas of excellence; should we not see Jesus coming down again from above’, although it is eighteen hundred years since he ascended to his Father, and our Father, to his God and our God? And oh! does he not come down, wherever heaven’s love is felt? Is not the promise verified, “Lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world!”

The immediate followers of Jesus were unequal to the conception of his glorious Gospel. They were not only accused by him of misconceiving, entirely, the spirit of his mission, but of being unprepared, after all his instructions, to receive the communications of his grace in its fullness. It was found necessary to teach Peter, by vision, long after the ascension of the Savior, one of the first principles of the Gospel, and of some of the most important teachings of the Son of God, it is said, “ they understood not the saying.”

Oh long, long, has the church been employed in comprehending her head! The truth is, she has never been half christian. I would by no means invalidate die authenticity of the Epistles, or deny that the disciples sustained Christian lives; but that they had imbibed the spirit of the Gospel in its fullness, may be doubted without subjecting to the charge of heresy. I do not doubt that like the prophets, they even wrote of things, of which they had but faint conceptions; and certainly the church of that early time was not without deep blemishes and derelictions, according to the testimony of those very Scriptures. This condition is by no means to be attributed to the religion of Jesus, for in its diffusion in the world, it was necessarily burdened with many of the corruptions and superstitions of poor human nature.

The Gospel, may I say, never was intended to change our race in a moment; but by indefinite progression. With the exception, perhaps, of the inspired Apostles, none have ever received any more of Christ than what they were capacitated to enjoy and appreciate. Nothing has been given the church of any age more than what it was able to bear. If to grow is the law of our nature, and the progress of the race be assumed, then that which is Christianity in any age, must correspond to the developement of man s moral and spiritual powers. That the gospel is a reforming and progressive idea, we earnestly contend; and regard as its distinguishing glory, that it is not a reform—that is, confined to one subject and one time, but the- great soul of all reform, of all time. For it not only reforms and restores what has been lost by vice and error, but imparts to the soul a new life and increasing joy which a negative state of innocence never can impart.

It is therefore no disparagement, but the highest compliment to the reforming power of the gospel, when we say that it is subject also to the law of progress, in its application to the human mind. A Paul may be changed in a moment, yet should we waive the consideration that this was a miracle, we should derive no support to the idea that means are not necessary to carry out the great work of reform and advancement proposed by the dispensation of love. For not only the experience of the Savior, as regarded his immediate disciples, demonstrated that this doctrine could not be appreciated at once, but the experience of eighteen hundred years has corroborated this truth, and proved besides, that man is a progressive being, and that the gospel is adapted to every stage of his progress, keeping still in the advance, urging and leading us ever onward and upward; so that Paul’s is still the declaration of all good and wise christians: “Not as though I had already attained either, were already perfect; but I follow after, if that. I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus —forgetting the things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

But there is a lamentable tendency on the part of man, in holding fast the good that has been received, to the exclusion of all improvement. When too much light beamed upon the eye at once, it has contracted rather than expanded the powers of vision. Hence systems, and periods to this work; and surprising it appears, with what impatience we bear farther communication and revealings of the truth. Even in Apostolic times, the proclamation of the gospel among the Gentiles, had well nigh produced an irreconcilable division. And as Christianity advanced and received accessions from heathen and benighted converts, its true light became less and less supportable.

The early success of the gospel was owing to the presentation of simple propositions, for which the world was prepared. It enkindled an enthusiasm which has no parallel in the history of the world. A superstitious fear and consciousness of guilt which ever attend error and vice, pervaded all nations, which their sacrifices and propitiations could not appease. They were prepared to receive the doctrine of free forgiveness, and confide in the propitiation made by one for the sins of the whole world. Jesus was hardly received by them, in his highest character, but in what corresponded to their actual wants and could be comprehended by their limited conceptions. The gospel has never been received, generally, in any age, as a great system of truth and science of human progress, but rather as an expedient, and for this very reason any advancement which would deprive it of the expediency, has been dreaded and opposed.

The history of the church is but a repetition of the diffusions, corruptions and purifications of the principles of the gospel; thus progressing in the developement of its heavenly powers in the world, in accordance with the progress of mind, leading our race up from primitive barbarism and grossest superstition to the enjoyment of its blessed light and liberty. Yet while the gospel has been, and promises to be, the same yesterday, to-day and forever, adapted to aid man in every stage of his progress, and holding out to him a goal of higher perfection still; he, though running well for a season, has often become indolent, and desiring rest, has fortified his position against all new impulses to press forward, and attempts to induce all men to the opinion that his stand-point is the only desirable one. Indeed, the modern church is scarce more than such a fortification, which may protect from outward error and vice, but at the same time shuts out all instruction. She holds on with unrelaxing grasp to what has been attained, yet fights with infuriated zeal against all improvement. The Gospel is the science of progress itself. The Church has ever been conservative, yielding only as she has been forced to conform to the renovating power of truth, and the spread of human sympathy. There have been points where she has made rapid strides, but it has hardly been willingly. Some ungovernable child, like Luther, has dared to look out of her entrenchments, and found for goblins, and demons, and darkest Egyptian night, heaven’s light, and man’s hope beaming there instead. But how soon does he form shackles for the minds of his successors, and window-blinds for his church, lest those who came after should behold more light and embrace with farther reaching charities the creation to him unknown.

The fault of the church has been, that it has stopped short, or endeavored to do so, without proving all things, not that it held fast what was good. Even those who have made some progress, regard it sufficient evidence to substantiate a sentiment which divides them from more liberal christians, that it was held by the Fathers, while they will by no means admit this authority in their controversies with the more orthodox.

As soon as the church was prepared, the gospel, in its character of individual liberty and responsibility, was spoken and received : and this produced the Reformation, of which the doctrine of election was a necessary accompaniment. The Pope had assumed all power, temporal and spiritual, and regarded the fate of men and nations as dependant on the decisions of his pleasure. He had obliterated all individuality but his own; and God’s mercies and judgments were dispensed through him, and the ordinances of the church, of which he was the infallible and irresponsible Lead. To promote a reform of this nature, what more efficient than to proclaim God’s regard for the man, the unchangeable election of the individual, which nothing in earth, or heaven, or hell, could frustrate or oppose, the evidence of which depended not on the decision of Popes, or councils, or the absolution of priests, but upon the consciousness which the christian himself possessed within! With its leading idea, of justification by faith, borne conspicuous on its banner, no wonder Protestantism prevailed. The world was prepared for it; the church bore it. But was all the gospel embodied in that reformation? Certainly not; or whence sprung Arminianism? The doctrine of election embraced the truth of God’s immutable love for the individual, yet it had neglected that of his impartiality. Romanism had employed Christianity as an expedient, and appealed to men merely as individuals anxious to adopt some scheme for personal safety. Calvin and Luther adopted the gospel as a system of truth, and rule of life, but applied it only to the individuals. Romanism was endeavoring to save with its patent divinity. Arminius next promulgated “ universal redemption;” but as the world was not prepared, and could not bear this extension of idea in connexion with the predestination of Calvin, in fact, it amounted to little more in practice than a popish system of expedients, under which Jesus is adopted rather as a scapegoat, than as a teacher sent of God.

The elements of truth, heretofore evolved in the progress of gospel light, evidently composes the last form of it which the world is prepared to receive. I mean the undying regard of our great Parent for man, irrespective of all forms and establishments, which Calvinism has shadowed forth; the universal and impartial nature, of the Divine Benevolence, presented in Arminianism; and the subordinate yet efficient character of the Saviour to carry out the Father’s purposes for the instruction and elevation of mankind, which forms the distinctive feature of Unitarianism.

That the church should have been long employed in bring these important truths to coalesce, will not be thought remarkable when we consider that those to whom each has been respectfully committed, have been satisfied with that as a whole, when it formed but a part, and opposed those other parts which they thought hostile to their truth, but which in fact belonged to it; their capacity was too limited to discern the harmony, and hence they appeared discordant.

This disposition to hold fast to partial good, and to reject without investigation all new developed truth, has constituted the orthodoxy of the church in all time. Sitting, with her face reversed, she grasps the shadows of the past and metes them out to more benighted mortals as serious, living realites. All not discovered there, is opposed as most dangerous heresy; and dying man is pointed through all her mists and mouldering antique

relics, to a most questionable Savior—-one the tenth century might have recognized, but which the nineteenth will hardly acknowledge, notwithstanding we are assured the chain of succession is entire and unbroken!

But the Christianity of the present, is no expedient. It is a living, earnest truth, into which more of the spirit of the Savior enters than of all former periods. Hence we need not your rusty, time-worn chain, reaching wherever it may, thro’ the inists and barbarisms of the dark ages, which we nor you can penetrate. We must have a religion we can live and feel; we have indeed little care now for any scape-goat religion. We have some trust in God, some faith in man as his child. We prefer walking up to the new Jerusalem, comedown from God out of heaven; where flowers are strewn on every hand, and where heaven’s light, and peace, and joy, attend each advancing footstep, to being drawn by your clanking chain through the dark abyss our forefathers have been so long in crossing. Jesus is not in the past but in the future, and the glories of his gospel are beckoning us ever onward. Go, present to the hungry mortal, just reaching out his hand to pluck the ripening gram, the husks of former years, and let him see by your sallow visage that such is your daily food; but oh! do not mock the soul thirsting after righteousness with the Christianity of the past ages!

Like Paul, we are persuaded that not behind, but before, we shall find the Christ. Your feeble taper may have been serviceable to our fathers m aiding them to grope their way through the dark night of the middle ages; it is of little use to us in discovering this glorious sunrise. It will tend rather to circumscribe our vision and discolor this beauteous world, which the early morning rays are tinging with brightness; it will make us unconscious of heaven’s blessed light which is bursting upon enwrapt senses from every quarter of the universe. Reverse then your position, and in place of looking back, look up! Before you, extending in everlasting progression, God’s truth and love, and man’s life, and hope, and destiny, appear. We need no chain to draw us backward, only the light of heaven to guide and cheer us onward. We want not now a Saviour for an “ark of safety;’“ we want one rather who will give us some insight into our own waking sympathies, and teach us to give expression to those sentiments of love and deep desires for light we find struggling for utterance in speech and action. The time has come when the church will bear something more than a scheme of salvation. The question, this age is asking for solution, is not “what shall we do to be saved?” but what shall we do to aid oppressed, degraded and down-trodden humanity? how our brethren may be turned from vice to virtue, and become instructed ii: the right way of the Lord? Self enters less into the thoughts and impulses of this day than any which has preceded it: and but for a most grasping mammonism, which cannot bear a rival in the human heart, nor the words which the prophet and teacher must soon speak out, our religion ere this had been more practicable, if not less theoretical.

The signs of the times indicate that a great and good thought is struggling even now in the human breast. Even the late attempt to go backward in Tub Church, proves that she has been startled by the rapid advancement of the world, and has discovered that neither on earth or in heaven is there any such thing as sitting still forever. The stride-of-the-fence position, between Protestantism and Papacy can be maintained no longer. She must come out into the light of the present, and submit her claims to its searching gaze, or retire within the gloomy precincts of Rome, and by pompous pretensions and mysteries, by the credulity and mental ignorance of her adherents, shield them from the rigid scrutiny with which this age scans all things.

If we look from authoritative Christianity, to its other extremes of fanaticism and extravagance, the signs are equally pregnant with hope for the race. In the vagaries of the deluded Miller, one great and ennobling truth stands out in glaring contrast with the absurdities which enshroud it: to wit, the destruction of sin. No matter though it involves the destruction of the sinner! Better thus, than to have the one increasing in strength and malignity, the other writhing in infinite tortures through all eternity, despite the power, wisdom and boundless love of God. It shows that the world will by and by endure the extension of this idea, and the character of our heavenly Father not only become vindicated from the horrid aspersions that he designs and inflicts interminable pain, but glorified by the view of a world redeemed and saved from sin. The heart will next desire the salvation of the sinner, in connexion with the destruction of the sin. The spirit which suggested to the disciples that fire should be sent down from heaven and consume his earthly foes, will not now permit them to understand the spirit of Jesus, but finds exercise in contemplating the burning up of the wicked; the time, however, will come when the same impulse which substituted annihilation for the immortality of suffering, will also secure the adoption of that reforming, renovating idea which presents a God laboring for the uplifting and instruction of his children, with an undying regard which no circumstances or time or change can effect.

If we turn to the moral condition of the world we discover an equal tendency to a more christian view of reform, and nowhere, but in our own ranks do we behold other than brightest hope for our own cause. Universalism is not only in advance of the age, enlightened and philanthropic as it is, but of its professors. We have embodied more of the spirit and teaching of Jesus in our system than all sects beside, and yet how much coldness and indifference, how little comparative enthusiasm! Is it the fault of our faith? No; of ourselves. We are not able yet to bear, in its length and breadth and height and depth, the glorious gospel of the blessed God,

All that has called forth the devotion and enthusiasm of other times is embraced in that gospel as professed by us. Calvinism was loved for its strong assurance of hope for the individual; it was never loved for its narrow partialities, though ignorance, and prejudice, and bigotry could endure no farther advancement. It was the confidence it gave the man of the changeless love of his heavenly Father, which inspired devotion, not the thought that others were passed by and reprobated from the divine favor. The enthusiasm of the Arminian was induced by the idea of God’s impartiality and regard for all, not by the atheistical uncertainty adopted to escape the inevitable tendency of the system to Universalism. So that whatever has inspired true devotion in all systems and all times is embodied in our faith. Whatever the advocates of any creed have truly loved, is presented here in harmonious fullness. And yet we profess to receive it, and feel no better, no deeper devotion thrill through our being; can look upon the progress of mankind unconcerned; and sit and fold our aims to sleep, indifferent to the best interests of our race; satisfied to believe that by and by things shall come out right, and the world be saved! May not some of us have adopted Christianity for an expedient, and the Savior for a scape goat? When I see Universalists saying by word or act that they are satisfied to know that all are going to be saved, and see no use in preaching and praying and striving to lead a christian, God-like life, I think, somehow, such must have got misplaced .in the ages, and should have been born last century, or in some Catholic or heathen land, where the sounds of the gospel in its fullness never could have reached them, for they cannot bear it now. Their concern for religion is to get self saved, and seeing no other prospect except all are saved, they adopt a kind of Universalism our opposers have taught them!

To all such professors, let me ask: may you not want after all a Savior and system for some better purpose? Have you never felt in all your lives that there is a higher purpose to pursue than an expedient to get to heaven by? Have you not felt that to live was something and that some things were as necessary to life as earthly possessions? What matters it whether you are saved or no? You cannot carry that bag of gold, nor that selfish heart with you. But if to be saved is a good worthy your belief, suppose you partake some of its enjoyments now! Begin to live; you have never lived yet in any true sense—begin to live and you will find Christ of value as an instructor; His life and gospel will become your study and delight, a lamp to guide your feet in the way of life, and a bright example to encourage you to go on to the perfection your being requires; and which impulses within continually urge you to pursue, however grasping, selfish or foolish you may have become.

But we have I trust in a measure avoided the evils to which reference has been made, as attaching to the Church. The progress of our denomination shows that we do not look backwards, entirely; but have received the gospel as an exposition of progress. It is but a short time since Sabbath Schools and Conference meetings, and the administration of the Lord’s Supper, were almost unknown among us; but it is quite otherwise now. Within my remembrance, the doctrine of the Trinity, with the vicarious character of the Savior was held by many. Now the unity of God is generally received, with the idea of Christ as a teacher sent of Him, to instruct us in the duties of our stations, to be to us an example that we should follow his steps; and to reveal the paternal character and changeless love, and immutable purposes of God. He is believed and followed, I trust, as the bright star of morning, which is to lead us onward in our heavenly life toward the divine perfections; in all our progress in knowledge and love, still shining on with undiminished lustre, until faith is lost in sight, and we behold him as he is in truth.

Brethren in the ministry of reconciliation, and friends of the great salvation, let us strive to improve our own hearts, and to let our lights shine, that others seeing our good works may be led to glorify our Father who is in heaven; and we shall see the Church and its great Head approaching nearer and nearer to each other, until she becomes as a bride adorned for her husband; and the union be consummated, when the deep love and unblemished purity of the Savior shall be reflected in all her thoughts and actions. Let us labor in the cause of truth and love with the cheerful assurance that we shall ever have him for a guide and instructor, and that the farthest stretch of our powers, the fullest developements of wisdom, and the utmost expansion of our charities, will only ally us more and more to him, who will never cease to lead us onward and upward from glory to glory.

As our system of Faith embraces all the good of every system, all that inspires true devotion and gratitude to God, let our practice and life embrace also more of Jesus and the spirit of his gospel; and in love to God, in love to man, and in devotion to truth, let us demonstrate to the world that we receive, with grateful hearts, the instructions of the Son of God, and will attempt to improve, to our own and man’s good, whatever farther revelations our Father in heaven may have in store for us.

Joshua King Ingalls, “Occasional Sermon, Delivered before the Southern Association, at Stratford, Conn., May 15, 1844,” Universalist Union 9, no. 6 (June 22, 1844): 497-502.  


Are they Natural or Supernatural.


This question has been repeatedly discussed; at least one side of it; but would it be altogether improper to review, with candor, the other side likewise? It is the province of wisdom to “prove all things,” while only the good should be retained. The position and grounds of those who contend that miracles are unnatural, it is unnecessary to state, as they are before the public.

Those who contend that all miraculous phenomena are to be referred to the operations of natural law; believe that every thing acts in accordance with the power and wisdom bestowed upon it by the Creator. For instance; if he has bestowed upon me the physical strength of two ordinary men, my corresponding action will be wonderful, miraculous, to those who are not able to perform half the labor; and yet there might be in it no “art, which any man might learn.” So with mental and moral; and, what may be called, vital power. These will develope phenomena in accordance with their strength, and will be inferior or superior, ordinary or extraordinary, commonplace or wonderful, in exact proportion to the strength and nature of their producing causes. Perhaps it would be well to explain what we mean by nature before deciding whether any thing is in accordance with it.— Those who lake the above ground assert that the principal law of nature is this: that every effect must have an adequate cause, and that like causes produce like effects. Now there can be no phenomena of any description, but must conform to this rule, consequently, when we behold new or strange developments, they appear unnatural, only because we are not acquainted with their cause, or a similar one. To say that the relation of the causes and effects with which we are acquainted, constitute all nature; and that if any different effects are manifested, they result from no cause at all, would evince a miserable stupidity of mind; and yet we do this whenever we claim that nature’s laws are suspended;—for no suspension between a cause and an effect can produce a causation. But it may be asked, “cannot God, at that point step in and do that which he sees necessary to be done?” If God “created the Universe,” once, “as he saw fit,” and now only gives it occasionally a “check of the reign,” or slops the wheels to make a repair, or change in the government, then indeed that supposition might be treated with some respect, but if “He works hitherto,” and “evermore,” then no such emergency can arise. It maybe said that, though God has usually employed means, and only produced effects through causes, yet he can just as well, “for an adequate purpose;” work without means! There is, however, “an adequate purpose” acknowledged to be necessary. But we are not told what this may be, nor whether it would not have been effected in harmony with his own laws; especially if a wise, as well as Omnipotent Law-giver! Perhaps the slaughter of a few, thousand of his children, or the recovery of a sick king, would be an adequate cause for his suspending the action of the spheres and causing the sun to “stand still,” or even “go back ten degrees upon the dial of Ahaz”—not however in my estimation; Again, the whole orthodox world, I suppose, would say that the “salvation of a soul” was an adequate cause, why the almighty should suspend the law which visits “tribulation, and anguish upon every soul that doeth evil,” and “perform a work in opposition to it”—the punishing of an “innocent being in their stead! It is certainly strange that Universalists, who are so tenacious about the immutable nature of God’s moral Government, should still hold to the exploded notion in other things, that God may be. subject to change in his Omnipotent sway. If he may suspend one law, he may all laws; and with what consistency ban we say that his moral law is unchanging, while his physical laws are subject to repeated interruption? Has not He appealed himself, to the stability of nature, to convince us of the certainty of his purposes of grace being accomplished! (see Jer., xxxiiii: 20,) “Thus saith the Lord, If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, so that there be not day and night in their season, then may also my covenant be broken with David, my servant.” We may speculate, if we have no more useful employment, upon what the Supreme Being might do, if be had the mind; and so we might affirm that he could lie, although the Bible says he cannot: for if “the Great Lawgiver is (so much) superior to any of nature’s laws,” that he can lie in a physical sense, so there should not be day and night, in their season, he can also; according to his Own admission above, lie morally, so that the wicked shall go unpunished, the innocent suffer for the guilty, and his purposes and covenant of grace wherein he proposes “to gather together in one all things In Christ,” may be forever suspended; and a work performed in direct opposition thereto.

To such a conclusion does the hypothesis, assumed for supernatural or unnatural miracles, lead us. But not this alone; it stops not with sapping the foundations of our trust in God’s faithfulness, and the immutable character of his righteous government: it goes beyond and strikes at the basis of all hope of immortality.—For what language does it hold with regard to the resurrection? “And the miracle of Christ’s resurrection: does it accord with nature, that a person should rise from the dead, or would such an event be directly opposite to nature? No conclusion remains, but that Christ was raised from the dead by the immediate agency of God.” No inference can be drawn from the foregoing, but that Jesus was guilty of the greatest folly in attempting to prove that the “dead are raised,” and that all “live to God;” while the Saducees were entirely consistent In Saying that it was “directly opposite to nature!” Paul, too, must have been beside himself, by attempting to prove the same thing from the analogy of the seed which “is not quickened except it die!” May we be informed where God has promised to’ raise us up by his “ Immediate agency;” or to suspend his laws so that we may “live again?” or whether that would be a suspension which occurred so often and so universal? If “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ Shall all be made alive,” I ask whether one is more unnatural than! the other? Certainly, if we call that natural which is general, for one is as general as the other.

Having said thus much in generals, let us notice some of the particulars; and let us not be terrified by the assertion that we “come directly in contact with the claim of Moses, and brand; him a Liar.” It is well known to close Biblical students, that in ancient times every thing was ascribed to God; not only of a good, but also of an evil character. Every thought, word, action, I and phenomenon, was supposed to depend on the “immediate agency of God.” It was in this Way Moses felt himself culled upon to deliver the children of Israel from their bondage. Himself impressed with the superstitious notions of the age, every circumstance, that reminded him of his duty, and brought their condition vividly before him, was interpreted as a direction of God, both to himself and them. That he was unwilling to be their deliverer is equally true, as many men are unwilling to perform what they know to be their duty, and yet arc compelled by force of conscience. In this nineteenth century I have heard men relate as marvellous things as those related by Moses, and assure us they were unwilling to speak to the people, on account of the cross, and yet speak because they thought God directed them to do so. We hear of men being called of God to. preach, and to engage in various works of revivals, &c, yet we are not ready to “brand them as liars,” or question their sincerity.

That such were the opinion’s prevalent in those times, there is abundant evidence, to prove; It is said that the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart; and the same thing is evidently meant in both cases; and no doubt the Deity had as much “immediate agency” in doing that, as he had in helping Moses work his miracles. It is also said that the Lord commanded certain warriors to attack cities, and burn and destroy “men, women and children, and leave none alive;” (and it is certainly desirable that such laws should be suspended;) but we are not authorized to say that they were not sent of Him, in the same sense in which Moses was sent to be the guide and deliverer of the Israelites; nor are we to say that they were impostors or liars, when they have represented things as they appeared to them, and honestly expressed their opinions of things. For my part, I can conceive of no greater impiety; than to give a literal interpretation to many passages of a kindred character: for instance, the 23d chapter of Exodus, from, the 10th verse to the end; where not only a literal contradiction occurs, but the Mormon idea is established, of the corporeal existence of the Deity. We must use more reason and latitude in the interpretation of scripture, or yield ourselves to the just sneers and scoffs of unbelievers, and abandon the Bible to their ridicule. We find that sceptics, I generally, agree that the Bible teaches the doctrines of the Trinity, vicarious atonement, endless misery, total depravity and unnatural miracles, and, on this, base their hostility; and the course pursued! by the Christian world, has only I more confirmed them therein. Drs. of Divinity have attempted to show the naturalness and reason of these doctrines, at the same time they are claiming them to be unnatural, hostile to nature and to reason; endeavoring to compel belief by stating them in still more unreasonable terms; and by appealing to still more inconsistent relations for confirmation.

As for the miracles of the New Testament there is no such claim put forth for them. In the most simple style they are related, without the assumption that the truth of Christ’s teachings depended on their occurrence, or if it had, a question still back of this arises, whether Jesus employed natural means to effect his work, of whether he worked without means. Did he heal the sick without first removing the disease! Did he cause the blind to see without restoring the organ of vision? Did he restore the leper without cleansing him of his leprosy? or is there any proof that he suspended the laws of nature and produced effects without cause? On the other hand, is it not evident that his wisdom and power were equal to the work he performed? You might just as well say, that the Hydropathist suspends the laws of nature, because he dispels in a few hours, or even minutes, a fever which the M. D’s tell you must run its course for several weeks. He works according to his wisdom and power, they do the same, Jesus did no more, nor, (with reverence be it said,) can the Deity do more.

If God’s system of Government is the best that could have been established, then there can be no necessity for the suspension of one of his laws, for the development of another; so that we are not in reality discussing whether the Lawgiver cannot set aside his laws or suspend them at pleasure; but simply, whether an infinitely wise Lawgiver has not established such as will never conflict with each other or with the accomplishment of all his purposes, for the moral and spiritual elevation of his intelligent creation. If the advocates of unnatural miracles will meet the question here, upon its proper ground, our labor will be light, for the position of that man cannot be an enviable one, who contends that God has reserved “to himself the power to govern, change or unmake” the universe again (for an adequate purpose,) and at the same time assents to the proposition that “every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of a turning.” Perhaps, however, this adequate purpose may refer to some gifts which are not good or perfect; as, for instance, when he sends “them strange delusion, that they might believe a lie, that they might be damned.” But it is said, we must interpret such passages so as to make them harmonize wit the general teachings respecting God’s character, and those well known laws of mind, whereby error begets infatuation and a perverseness of heart which indicates its own condemnation. But if he can send delusion without “immediate agency” and intervention of physical or mental laws, it is speaking but very poorly for the perfection of his government to say, that he cannot send instruction, and cause to be brought to light “life and immortality,” with other good and perfect gifts, unless he shall “suspend some one or all of his laws, and perform work in direct opposition to them.”

I may not be able to give a satisfactory interpretation to every passage in the Bible, which the wonder loving “claim to be works performed in opposition to natural causation, and by the direct and special agency of God;” nor do I propose attempting it. What has been said will aid the reader in respect to most passages of the Old Testament, the writers of which were sincere, and gave their revelations in such language as was understood at the time, and put forth such claims as, in this sense were real. Here are two however which require especial attention; I mean those in Joshua and Isaiah, respecting the suspension of the law which gives day and night. The one in Joshua, is confessedly an interpolation; the quotation from the book Jasher, being acknowledged. The reader can also see that the narrative would read much more connectedly, if the 12th and 14th verses inclusive, (10 chapter) were entirely omitted. It is, besides, of a poetic character, so that if it was genuine, it would not prove that we should understand it literally. The same objection will apply to the passage in Isaiah. It is worthy of remark that the reason which is given in a popular work on Astronomy, for the visit of the ministers of the king of Babylon to Hezekiah, is any thing but a true one.—They did not visit him to ascertain the truth of an astronomical phenomena, but to spy out his treasures; although they might have used this as a pretense, if they had supposed, he was impressed with such a superstition. The passage of the Red Sea is described in glowing language, and portrays the sentiment of a people thus seasonably delivered from the jaws of destruction. Gen. Green was thrice delivered by the timely inundation of some three rivers in succession, which interposed their flood and saved his retreating forces from a vengeful foe. Our forefathers regarded this as truly providential, and I can but feel that the purpose was as adequate for intervention in one case as in the other. If the reader will look into the 5th chapter of Judges he will read that when the Lord went out of Seir, and marched out of the field of Edom, “the earth trembled, the heavens dropped, and the mountains melted,” but whether for an adequate purpose is not said. In the 10th chapter of Joshua, it is said: “The Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon the Amorites;” a phrase as indicative of immediate and special agency as any we call to mind, and yet, unfortunately for the miracle monger, it is immediately added: “They were more which died with the hailstones than they which the children of Israel slew with the sword.”

There are some miracles recorded in the New Testament which it will be difficult to explain in accordance with our understanding of nature’s laws, and the relation of cause and effect. But, shall we say, because our knowledge is not sufficiently perfect to see their agreement with nature, that therefore it does not exist. How absurd!—As though we understood all the divine laws, and could trace all effects to their causes! If, however, we make due allowance for the hyperbolic language in which much of the New Testament is written, and also for the accommodation of its style to the comprehension of an ignorant and superstitious age, their number will be greatly reduced. I submit to the candid mind, whether it is less honorable for God or consoling to man, to believe that the Deity exercises, at all times, an unchanging and uncontrollable sway over his universe, impelling every portion towards ultimate perfection; and that his laws have been constituted and instituted with this direct object in view, so that the redemption of his intelligent creation, their spiritual and immortal advancement shall result as the glorious consummation to the whole order of his providence, the harmonious operation of every department of a perfected whole; or, to believe that “God created the Universe, in the beginning, as he intended it should remain through all coming time,” and that “to break the spirit’s prison bars, and to reveal to its comprehension a spiritual Father, and spiritual things,” it was necessary, he should make an “exception;”—“perform works in opposition” to his previous laws, and hold the whole dread order of the Universe in suspense, that he might accomplish that, but to secure which, the material creation never would have had an existence.

I object to this whole system of reasoning, which is admitted to be in opposition to reason. The idea that truth can be substantiated by such anomalous acts, is as ridiculous as it has proved baneful to the intellectual and spiritual growth of mankind. Truth appeals either to the reason, in which case it may be demonstrated, analogically, or to the spiritual interior, in which case it is known intuitively, and its pompous clothing or accompaniments can in neither case be of the least consequence. It is only in a false state that man substitutes impressions of outward manifestations, for internal convictions, arid the vagaries of a wonder loving imagination for the exercise of the divine powers of reason. But when a false and arbitrary standard of truth is set up, an artificial test which we may not question, at the peril of damnation, no wonder that our judgments become dwarfed, our conceptions of God and of his plans of grace should be rendered exceedingly narrow and superficial, so tint we might be led to suppose, that He, who had made all worlds, and governs them by harmonious laws, all beings and conditions of being, could not give his child a revelation without outraging his divine economy; or intimate td him his heavenly inheritance, or even secure it to hint, without making any “exception” in his rule and government. Strange we should be such greedy seekers after “signs” as to go back through the mystified interpretations which men have put upon a book, when its own teaching would require us to reason! Strange, that we can turn aside With such feelings of wonder when we read that five thousand have been miraculously fed, and feel such strength of faith that a God did exist; when every day a thousand millions are fed in the present, by him, who opens his “hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing!” That we should close our eyes to the light of that day which utters speech, and that night which shews forth knowledge, and seek some poetic or fabled account of the suspension of those laws which bring them in their season! That tradition should have so completely blinded our perceptions of inherent truth that we can be satisfied with the sham and outward semblance! When nature, and a revelation according to nature, teach us, that “what may be known of God is manifest—for the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead!” Or that we should become so lost in our attachment to the “letter which killeth,” as to be rendered Insensible to the “spirit which giveth life!” Like Mary, many seem to seek and to put their trust in the dead body of their Lord. Do not, they say, take away the face of this covering cast over all people! Let not the light shine into this tomb of Superstition! We believe our Lord is there, though dead! And when the light is permitted to enter, like her, they dole a mournful try, “ye have stolen away my Lord; and I know not where ye have laid him.” And the enquiry propounded to her may not be inapplicable now: “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” If, then, we would strengthen our faith, let us “consider the lilies of the field, the teaching of the germinating grain “which is not quickened except it die,” and believe that, in perfect harmony with, not in direct opposition to the order of God’s providence, when the earthly house of this tabernacle shall be dissolved, we shall be clothed upon with a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal and in the heavens.

For my own part, I find abundant confirmation of the existence of God in the wonderful order and harmony of nature, in the contemplation which tells me I am “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and in the progressive tendency of all things, material and spiritual, I read my own immortality; but I do not and cannot believe that this is to result in consequence of a suspension of any of the divine laws, but rather in perfect harmony with them, and as one of the grand aims in their establishment.

Southold, L. I., Sept. 1.

J. K. Ingalls, “Miracles: Are they Natural or Supernatural,” Universalist Union 12 no. 9 (No. 49, October 16, 1847): 779-782.


About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.