Addressed to P.A.L. Smith, Esq.

DEAR BROTHER: - Although you have not named me in your communication in the SIGNS, volume 10, number 9; yet as it is well known to several that you wrote in consequence of a dissent on your part to certain expressions used by me in preaching, and of a discussion we afterwards had on the subject; I feel called on to notice your communication.

As this notice is designed simply as a contrast of my views with yours, I will briefly state the occasion of your communication. It is no secret with Predestinarian Baptists that their peculiar doctrine is represented by others, as making God the author of sin, and as implying that he made the wicked for the express purpose of damning them, irrespective of their character. Such in substance had formerly been charged upon my views of absolute predestination, in the neighborhood where you live. I have taken frequent occasion in preaching to rebut this slander upon our doctrine. In preaching to the church of which you are a member, in February last, from Songs 2:3 & 4, I was remarking on the absoluteness of the expression, “His banner over me was love,” endeavoring to show that in no point of view did the gospel involve anything but love; and in the course of these remarks I took occasion to meet the above named objection, as it had been made against one point of gospel doctrine; namely, election, and speaking in a way calculated to draw attention, I remarked that the final condemnation of the wicked was not on the ground of their not having been elected; perhaps I said the non-election of the wicked was not the ground of their condemnation, but that they were condemned as transgressors of God’s law. This is what you took exceptions to, and what afterwards brought on a discussion between us, in which you advanced and advocated the ideas that God made sin, and made the devil, a devil. As I did then, so do I now, maintain that the wicked are not condemned for not being elected, but for being transgressors of God’s law. And am I not sustained in this by the scriptures of truth, from the condemnation passed upon the serpent, “Because thou hast done this, &c.,” upon the woman, {Gen.3,} upon Adam, {Gen.3,} upon Cain, {Gen.4,} upon the old world, {Gen.6,} and on, in every recorded case of condemnation to the end of Revelations? As I did then, so do I now, reject the idea, that sin came directly from God, the Fountain of all good and holiness, although its introduction was a consequence of God’s creating goodness; that is, had intelligent creatures not been brought into existence, sin could never have had a being. And I did then, and do now, reject the idea that Satan, as the prince of darkness, came such from the creating hand of God, who is Light, and in whom is no darkness at all, and as the father of lies, from him who is the God of truth. To the contrary of this, I have uniformly maintained from the analogy of God’s having created Adam in uprightness, and from his attributes, as declared in the scriptures, that Satan must have come from his hands an innocent or upright being. If bother Beebe as editor, and the patrons of the SIGNS generally, can suffer such sentiments as the following extracts from your communications, to pass uncontradicted, as Old School Baptists sentiments, so be it. These are the extracts: “Who was made the prince of darkness to infuse his deeds into the world, whereby causing sin, sorrow and death.” Page 66, column 2. And this in the same column; “It was for this he made the serpent, the devil, that old dragon, and he made a people in him spiritually who should come into the world through Adam,” &c.; and this on column 3, “Always a devil – such he was made, and such he will be.”

As for myself, if I have had any experimental knowledge of God and of sin, it has taught me to view them as such complete opposites, that I think it not an unguarded expression, when I say, I can have no more fellowship for the idea of a devil-creating God, that I have for a god-making devil. The devil has introduced into the world many gods as objects of worship, for which I have no fellowship. Neither can I have any fellowship for the idea that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the fountain of all good, is at the same time the immediate fountain from whence has directly flowed that stream which has carried with it through the world – sin, sorrow and death, or that he is by direct creation the Father of the father of lies. Such idea confounds all moral distinction between sin and holiness, and destroys the notion of justice; for it represents God as making the devil, a devil to infuse his deeds into the world, and then punishing him for doing it. In conclusion I will express my sorrow to find you, a professed Old School Baptist, uniting with arminians in giving the same representation of the precious doctrine of predestination. They say that predestination makes God the author of sin; you say, to carry out predestination we must view God as creating sin. They design their remarks as a reproach; you do not design yours as such, but still as your view of predestination is the same in substance with theirs, if theirs is a reproach, so must yours be also. For you know that it is a problem in mathematics, that things which are equal with the same thing, must be equal with each other.

Yours, &c.,
Centerville, Fairfax County, Va., June 15, 1842.