Hezekiah, to his well beloved Brother William:
In his argument he says, “When Jesus came to John’s baptism, he says, suffer it to be so now for thus it behoves us to fulfil all righteousness, as much as to acknowledge the gospel kingdom is at hand, but now we must fulfil all the righteousness of the law while under the law.” Directly he asks, “Was Christ made a prophet, priest, and king under the law?” this he labors to prove by quoting Paul to Gal. iv. 4,5, and sophistically reasoning for it. As by his argument he is preparing the way in due time to destroy the proper validity of John’s baptism as a gospel ordinance, I will call in the aid of inspired men to show the fallacy of his arguments. Mark. i, 1,2,3,4, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God, as it is written in the prophets, behold I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare the way before thee; the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord make his paths strait. John did baptize in the wilderness and preached the baptism of repentance, for the remission of sins.” This is plain positive testimony, that John’s preaching and baptism was the beginning of the gospel dispensation. Luke, xvi. 16, declares that the law and the prophets were until John; since that time, the kingdom of God is preached. This testimony shows that the law dispensation held its strength in full force until John came preaching, and no longer; baptism as preached and practised by John, was nowhere found in any of the Jewish laws – it could not therefore be the fulfilling of a legal righteousness to be baptized with John’s baptism. It was the introduction of an ordinance of the gospel of Christ; we find that it was practised by the disciples of our Lord, while he was with them: see John iv. 1,2,; it was also practised by the apostles after they had received the promise of the Father at the day of Penticost: see Acts x. 47; by which we learn the fact, that being baptized with the Holy Ghost did not disconnect the practice of baptizing with water. Was Jesus consecrated a high priest according to the law of Moses? neither by being baptized with John’s baptism, nor any other way. He was made a priest not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life: see Heb. vii. 16, for the Jewish or Levitical priests were made without an oath – but Jesus Christ, with an oath, and they twelve were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death. By this man (Christ,) because he continueth, ever hath an unchangeable priesthood, for the law maketh men high priests which have iniquity, but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the son, who was consecrated for evermore: see Heb. vii. 21, to end. Here it is plain that Edwin’s whole argument in this place is fallacious. Conclusion page 161, he says, speaking of the character of God, “whom we are all bound to acknowledge to be the God and father of all spirits.” Page 163, he says again, “All other spirits are his” (God’s) “offspring” – “of course all spirits must remain forever under the fatherly care of that God who is one spirit, the father of all subordinate spirits.” Page 166, “It is impossible that God should hate any of his offspring;” 176, “God’s power never begets any thing contrary to his likeness. Therefore, as he is holy, he never made an unholy thing, hence God never made a sinner.” Page 178, we have the same expression over again. Does our author, and C.R. Marsh, the publisher, really believe these statements themselves? I do not see how it can be possible, unless God has left them to believe a lie and be damned. What! all bound to acknowledge God to be the Father of all spirits – that all subordinate spirits are the offspring of God! The devils then are the offspring of God, and must forever remain under his fatherly care, and at the same time believe that God’s power never begets any thing contrary to his own likeness – that he never made a sinner. What man in his senses, can believe such glaring contradictions – a contradiction in terms – a contradiction of plain matters of fact, that comes within the observation of common minds – a palpable contradiction of divine testimony as recorded in the Bible. That God made all things is a truth so plainly and repeatedly stated in the Bible, and so commonly acknowledged, that we need not cite the passages in this place to prove it; we allow then that God made all subordinate spirits, but it does not follow that they are all his offspring, and enjoy his fatherly care and protection as his own dear children. As well might we call dogs and swine the children of God, as to call unclean spirits, familiar spirits, witches, whoremongers, and sorcerers, the children of God; these either are or have been in existence; they have now or have had a being. Who gave being to unclean spirits, familiar spirits, the spirits of devils, are they self-existent? No, Edwin tells us they are all the offspring of God; he says God is the author of all subordinate spirits, and also that God’s power never begets any thing contrary to his likeness! that God never made a sinner. God made men – men are sinners; did men make themselves, or did God make them? If God made them and they are his offspring, did not God make sinners? He most certainly did make them, notwithstanding they have corrupted their way before him; but, Edwin’s statements and requirements, appear designed to insinuate that “it is impossible that God should hate any of his offspring;” so that none of all the spirits he has made, can be sufficiently wicked to move Jehovah to damn them eternally. Here I would ask, what will become of all the evil spirits, that according to Edwin, are the children or offspring of God, when him that hath the power of death is destroyed? Will they be annihilated, or will they be purged from all their sins? Or will they be left the monuments of God’s displeasure, with all those sinful beings that were the vessels of wrath, fitted to destruction?
Appendix, page 103, in an inference drawn from a conclusion of his own, he says, “It is good for every man to have a moral active existence. Therefore in the economy of God, no man can on the whole, be a final looser, by any mode of his existence, but will eventually have good reason to say, it is good for me that I live;” another contradiction in plain english of Bible testimony. The Son of man goeth, as it is written of him, but wo to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he never had been born, Mark, xiv. 21. If Jesus spoke the truth, then certainly eventually that man who betrayed the Son of man, has no reason to say, that it was good for him to live. Page 195, “The benevolent plan of God’s grace contains no sin in it as a means of grace. Of course it is directly opposed to any thing and every thing of a sinful nature.” That holiness is opposed to sin we have no doubt, and that Jesus by grace saves some men from sin, we would not dispute; but how Jesus by his grace could save sinners, if there was no sin? We challenge all the Universalists to tell. If God in eternity discovered the whole plan and operation of things, and determined to save a people from their sins, declaring the end from the beginning, (which we have no doubt is true,) how cold he determine to save a people from their sins, if no sin had been in the plan of operation determined? But perhaps Edwin might think that if any act had been determined of God, it would be no sin to perform it; but I am willing to let it rest according to divine testimony: Him, (Jesus) being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain, Acts ii. 23. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast annointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done, Acts iv. 27,28. Thus I have given a few of my thoughts, on a few things written in the book entitled, “The Plain Restitutionist;” you may peruse them if you please. I might have noticed many things more, and written much more full, but a word to the wise is sufficient. One thing is certain, that if the doctrine be true, it does not need so much falsehood to support it: if it is not true, no arguments of men or devils, can make it true.
I subscribe myself,
Orwell, July 9, 1834
Signs of the Times
Volume 3, No. 3
February 4, 1835