Images de page

the further they went in this direction, the greater the difficulties grew; and Mrs. W.'s cousin fe exhausted and nearly suffocated upon the floor. Mrs. W., still able to keep her feet, seized the fallen woman and dragged her back to the chamber where they had slept. She then raised the window, from which the smoke commenced to escape as from a chimney's top, and lifted out the half-sensible creature, and let her go to the ground. The two young clergymen whom we have named were there, dimly visible through the smoke and falling cinders, and sought to catch the body, thereby abating the violence of its fall. Having done this, they cried again to Mrs. W., "Jump! jump! for your life!" She sprung into their arms, and was saved, the last who left the tottering edifice. In ten minutes everything was a mass of ruins in the cellar. The intelligence of this event, so terrible while it was passing, reached Mr. B. (as we have said) at Hartford; and the mingled emotions of horror, surprise and joy, at the great danger and narrow escape of his friends, nearly overwhelmed him. It was only about one week before he left Boston for Philadelphia that he had visited Mr. Whittemore at Milford, and slept, with his young friend, Hosea Ballou, 2d, in the very chamber from which his sons had escaped. He thanked God, again and again, that none had suffered the terrible agony of a death under such circumstances. Waiting a few hours at Hartford, to recover from his exhausted state, he left in the stage on Saturday morning; and he arrived at home between one and two o'clock in the night. We will not leave this part of our subject until we say that he immediately exerted himself among the

people of his charge to make up to Mr. Whittemore, of Milford, the loss he had sustained, which, by his exertions, and the kindness of other friends, was fully done.



Mr. Ballou had scarcely got home from his journey, when an article appeared in the Philadelphia Universalist paper, from a gentleman of that city, calling upon him to sustain his interpretation of Romans 6: 7,-" For he that is dead is freed from sin." Mr. Ballou was utterly unable to see the least propriety in supposing that there will be punishments for sin in a state where sin will never exist. To him it was altogether unaccountable why the advocates for future punishment should always direct their observations to the particular subject of punishment, and never attempt to prove that men will sin in that state, by which this punishment will be rendered necessary. St. Paul said, "He that is dead is freed from sin." With this scriptural declaration before us, Mr. Ballou would ask, Can we say that men will be sinners in the future state? If not, what use will punishment serve? In reply to the writer in Philadelphia, he said:

"If the whole of the apostle's statements and arguments, in this place, are founded on the literal death of Jesus Christ, then must it be granted that the word dead, in the seventh verse, means the extinction of animal life. That we may ascertain this, let us carefully examine the context.






It seems to be evident that the word dead

here means what the same word in the whole of the context means, namely, the extinction of animal life. The fact is, the apostle

in the seventh verse expresses the grand maxim on which his whole argument rested, namely, that whoever was literally dead was of course freed from sin. And for this very good reason, the body of sin being destroyed, sin could no longer exist. If sin exists after the body is destroyed, then I acknowledge that I see not the least sense-in all the apostle has here said.”

We have given this interpretation in this place, first, because it belongs here in the order of time; and, second, because we must show somewhere, in the course of this work, the sense which Mr. Ballou put upon the passage here explained, and which he continued to regard as its true sense as long as he lived.







FROM MAY 1822 TO MAY 1824.



SOON after Mr. Ballou's return from Philadelphia, there sprung up a correspondence between himself and a Mr: Jacob Tidd, a lay-preacher, we believe, among the Christ-ians, or Free-will Baptists. We should not think this matter of sufficient importance to deserve a notice hére, had it not happened that a book grew out of it; and we should regret to have any person take up a book hereafter, to which Mr. B. was in any way a party, of which some information could not be obtained in the work we are writing.

Mr. B., it seems, had been urgently invited to attend. a lecture preached by Mr. Tidd. On his return home, he addressed him a letter, of which we here give the introductory paragraph. Mr. Tidd probably knew that Mr. Ballou

was among his hearers, and he accordingly embraced the opportunity to assail the doctrine of universal salvation:

"Boston, February 5, 1822.

"DEAR SIR: It is now some past nine in the evening, and I have just returned from your meeting, where I went by an invitation of gentleman who is your friend, as well as mine. He gave me so good a recommendation of you, as an honest, good man, that I thought the time might be well spent in attending to what you might deliver from the sacred Scriptures; and although I have, on some accounts, been disappointed, yet I hope all may finally tend to some profit. Believing the good report which our mutual friend gave me of yourself, I entertain a hope that you will receive from me a few suggestions and queries, in the spirit of Christian friendship, and consider them with suitable candor, and return me a rational answer when it shall suit your convenience. "As you had much to say, in a very unfavorable manner, against Universalists, in a discourse from the words of St. Paul, 2 Corinthians 5: 19, God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation,' it is in my mind to ask you whether you can discover anything in this text which naturally suggests opposition to the final reconciliation of all men to God. If you allow that God really undertook to reconcile the world unto himself, can you, consistently with this, contend that he will not finally effect this reconciliation ?

[ocr errors]

"As you contended, with much labor, that the human family would have been all annihilated if Jesus Christ had not made an atonement by his death and resurrection, and as you earnestly endeavored to give your hearers to understand that there is no other way for us to obtain salvation, only by accepting the pardon offered through the death and resurrection of Christ,— it came into my mind to ask you what you think of the future state of all the millions of mankind who lived and died before Christ made this atonement; and also of the millions of the human family who have lived and died since that great work was accomplished, but

« PrécédentContinuer »