« PreviousContinue »
THE FINITE NATURE OF SIN IS ARGUED,
AND ITS GLORIOUS CONSEQUENCES,
OF ALL MEN
TO HOLINESS AND HAPPINESS.
BY HOSEA BALLOU.
AUTHOR OF "NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS ON THE PARABLEJ,"
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”—St Paul
MARSH CAPEN AND LYON.
SCR. 13X 7941
Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1832,
A LETTER TO THE READER.
I KNOW it is frequently the case, when a person takes a new work in hand, he first casts his eye over the title page, and if he find no word on it that indicates perverse sentiments; and the name or denomination of the author be agreeable, he may think of having patience to read it; but, being something in a hurry, passes slightly over the preface, supposing it to be of little consequence. But what sensations may have struck your mind, on reading the tittle of this book, and finding it to be the intention of the author to prove the doctrine of universal holiness and happiness, through the mediation and power of atoning grace, I cannot say; however, I would invite you to read, with candor and attention, not only this letter, but the whole of the work, and make up your judgement afterwards.
Many circumstances might be mentioned, which, in their association, have induced me to write and publish the following treatise; but I can say, with propriety, that the central object was that, in which I always find the most happiness, viz. to do what I find most necessary, in order to render myself most useful to mankind.
I have, from my early youth, been much in the habit of inquiring into the things of religion, and religous sentiments; and have, for a number of years, seen or thought I saw, great inconsistencies, in what has, for a long time, passed for orthodoxy in divinity.
The ideas, that sin is infinite, and that it deserves an infuite punishment; that the law transgressed is infinite, and inflicts an infinite penalty; and that the great Jehovah took on himself a natural body of flesh and blood, and actually suffered death or a cross, to satisfy his infinite justice, and thereby save his creatures from endless misery, are ideas which appear to me to be unfounded in the nature of reason, and unsupported by divine revelation. Such notions have, in my opinion, served to darken the human understanding and obscure the gospel of eternal life; and have rendered, what I esteem as divine revelation, a subject of discredit to thousands, who, I believe, would never have condemned the scriptures, had it not been for those gross absurdities being contended for, and the scriptures forced to bend to such significations. Christian authors and preachers have labored much to dissuade those whom they have caused to disbelive the Christian religion, from their infidelty. But, in this case, the salt has lost its savor, become good for nothing, and is trodden