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is "his capability of receiving the spiritual law." Now it is well known that a person may be capable of receiving a thing, and yet not actually receive it. Capability of doing or receiving, and actually doing or receiving, are two things. It appears then according to this definition of his, that all men, whatever their moral conduct may have been, are the children of God, except idiots, insane persons, and infants. These are not
capable of receiving the divine law; and, of course, are not capable of being saved by Christ. "In fact," says our opponent, "they need no salvation. Why not? Because they are not sinners." He further says, "Had a beast a sufficient capacity of mind to distinguish between moral right and wrong, he would be capable of being saved by Jesus Christ, with the same body and spirit that he now possesses." Notwithstanding these and many other remarks, Br. Brooks seems yet unwilling to allow, that his views "bring men to the level of a beast in relation to spirit, as well as in relation to a temporal body." But in view of his present explanation, let me press the question in relation to insane persons, idiots, and infants. What plea of excuse can he make, in applying it to them, according to his own statements? In relation to others, I am not fully satisfied that sonship is resolvable into capacity; and that it is capacity alone that distinguishes a man from a beast. But when Br. Brooks comes to prove his statement from scripture, he quotes Luke xxii. 36. "And are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection." Now if this passage is any proof of his position, it goes to show that a "capability of receiving the spiritual law" is "the resurrection;" of course, all except idiots, insane persons, and infants, are the children of God, because capable of receiving the divine law, however wicked and miserable their present condition may be! But can this be my opponent's meaning? I think not.
I confess I see nothing in his present definition of man's capability, which is at all consistent with what he has before written, or with his present explanation from scripture. He thinks, on this subject, he has seen my pen foiled in attempting to overthrow his views; but has he not failed in preserving consistency with himself? or else, what is equally as deficient on his part, rendered himself altogether unintelligible? His present explanation is a capability to receive the resurrection, according to his views of it; but his proof is the reception of the resurrection itself.
Br. Brooks seems to have taken an entire new stand respecting man's subjection to God, and more particularly so in relation to the use of the past tense for the future. This was to him a matter of convenience, to make it appear that I had refuted my own argument on the same subject. In number 3d of the Repository he undertook to show that man's being created in the image of God, respected the future and not the past, and that the past tense was used for the future. But now because I noticed that there were exceptions to the exercise of man's dominion, he wishes to have the exceptions apply to man's creation in the image of God. His argument is, if there be an exception in one case, it follows equally that there would be in the other. But this is by no means true. The exception which I noticed is one which the apostle himself made, and which the nature of the subject clearly suggested. But there is no such exception made, to man's being created in the image of God; neither, as I can see, does the nature of the subject require it, as is evident, from St. Paul's use of the quotation which he made from the heathen poet. But for the sake of the argument, grant Br. Brooks his position, and what follows? It follows that all men were not created in the image of God, and altho man, in the future, will be created in the image
of God, there will be exceptions! The sensible reader cannot but discern, that where my opponent thought to take some advantage of my remarks, he has done it to the expense of his own faith in universal salvation. But it appears, that my opponent would now change his ground on this subject, and admit, contrary to his former endeavors, that man's being created in the image of God relates to the past with some exceptions, but will be verified, in the end, in relation to the whole human family. Should we understand him in this light, it will be to the expense of his former arguments; if we understand him according to the import of his present argument, it is to the detriment of his general sentiments in universal salvation. So either course turns to his disadvantage, and a third I am not able to gather from his arguments.
Br. Brooks asks, "Pray, what is the image of man between death and the resurrection, when he has no body at all ?" Answer; the image of man is the image of God. Had my opponent attended to the sentence to which he alluded, enough to have understood it, it might have spared him all the remarks which he was disposed so freely to indulge, on account of my supposed false education. As it is plain that he did not understand me correctly, so it appears he did not quote me correctly. "The spirit or soul which is the image of God, when clothed with an earthly body bears, not is, in itself, the image of the earthy; but in the resurrection it bears the image of the heavenly." He evidently understood the word to bear, in the sense of the verb to be. The very phrase in which I undertook to make the meaning plain, he has misquoted, and in his application perverted my meaning. Instead of "not is, in itself," he quoted "not in itself." This, no doubt, he has not done by design, but from the influence of a misunderstanding of my meaning. The body bears clothes, but the body itself
is not clothes, because it bears them. So the soul or spirit bears an earthly body, but the soul or spirit, which is the image of God, does not cease to be so, but bears the image of man, namely, an earthly body. My opponent, by taking a review of this subject, will perceive that all his remarks about nobody and somebody, in which he appears to enjoy a degree of self-complacency, were founded in mistake. It is often observable that men laugh most, about those things that they the least understand.
Is it possible that my opponent can be sincere, when he speaks of Christ's preaching to the spirits in prison, 1 Peter iii. 18, 19, 20, in the following language? "This text just as much proves that the spirits in question existed without bodies, when they were disobedient in the time of Noah." The text says they were disobedient in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing; that the flood came and drowned the world of ungodly. As there were but eight souls saved by water, we are at liberty to conclude the others were drowned by the flood, and if drowned they had bodies. If this were not the case, why was this circumstance mentioned, in connexion with the account of the spirits in prison? What use or what meaning could the mentioning of this circumstance have in connexion with the subject of the spirits in prison, while not spirits in the flesh, nor men that were drowned by the flood?
At my question, "Does Br. Brooks expect to attain to an immortality beyond the reach of Almighty power to destroy ?" he has given an evasive answer, and then adds, "It remains to be proved that man is immortal, soul or spirit. He is never said to be immortal in scripture." In reply, I say, this is a mistake, he is said to be immortal in his resurrection state, "this mortal must put on immortality."
My opponent says, "If a soul or spirit gets drunk, &c
-Ah indeed, if such a thing should be! What then? If-mind your ifs-a soul under disciplinary punishment gets drunk! or steals!! punish him to prevent his renewing the draught or theft? Yes; I say, punish him! till he will give heed to good preaching, and lay aside his cups and light fingers!
Thus you see, dear reader, how much trouble there is in the world; what use one brother will make of another's sentiments, to make them appear ridiculous. One believes in future disciplinary punishment, another talks about a spirit's getting drunk, and punishing a spirit to prevent a spirit's getting drunk! Would it not be time. enough to make such remarks, after they were learned from the believer in future punishment?
SAMUEL C. LOVELAND.
Reading, May 29, 1826,
Brother Hazeltine of Moretown, a subscriber for the Repository, gives it as his opinion, that a few remarks upon those passages of scripture which speak of the sin and blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, might be of some service in his vicinity, and modestly requests that they should be inserted in the present number, We therefore, in obedience to his request, insert the following excellent illustration which we take from the (Portland) Christian Intelligencer.
REMARKS ON THE SIN AND BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST.
"Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation : Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit." Mark iii. 28, 29, 30.
Many of the friends of endless misery rely on the above passage, to support their favorite doctrine. But we are happy to state that some of the more candid of