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pamphlets will be inaccessible ; and as the “ Argument" and “Reply” are two parts of one Discussion, and belong together, and neither can serve its proper mission without the other, I put in both Parts in full.
To do this is my perfect legal right, as I take it from the columns of the “Christian Freeman," through which it was given to the public freely, and from which it can never be gathered up by any subsequent copy-right. When an author has once given his production to the public without copyright, he has no more subsequent control of it than any other man. But in doing this thing I have regard to the public religious instruction. I have heard but an undivided voice of surprise, that the affirmative part of this able and instructive Discussion should be withheld from its own native place as part of a whole. I act upon the highest principle of honor and right, in presenting it to the public in its proper wholeness.
While it is generally conceded that the AFFIRMATIVE ARGUMENT is one of the most abłe pleas for the doctrine of endless punishment which has ever been given to the public, numerous testimonials from the highest intellectual and Christian sources, estimatė the Reply by the editor of the “ Christian Freeman" as a thorough and conclusive vindication of the Scriptures from the imputation of the least favor for that appalling theory.
This revised edition contains some additional notes in the body of the Reply, and a table of contents following the original preface, and also an index of texts explained, at the end of the book. Much pains has been taken to make it a convenient aid for universal use, to a successful and profitable study of the Scriptures. The reader's humble servant,
SAMUEL T. COBB.
Ir is with no ordinary degree of satisfaction that we present to the public a labored and thorough discussion of Future, Endless Punishment, the leading and affirmative part being wrought out by so learned and every way competent a theologian of the Orthodox school, as Rev. Dr. Adams. The origin of this discussion was as follows :
In the month of May, 1858, Dr. Adams published a discourse in advocacy of the “Reasonableness of Future, Endless Punishment." This discourse we reviewed in the columns of the Christian Freeman; and at the close of the Review, we addressed to the author of the sermon the following
To REV. DR. ADAMS: Dear Sir,, - In your Sermon, to the review of which I have devoted some labor as above, and in last week's Christian Freeman, though you propose to treat the reasonableness of future, endless punishment, yet you are perpetually falling back on the assumption that it is true, and is asserted by the Scriptures ; and your argument for its reasonableness is but little else than an assumption based on the former assumption, to wit, that it must be reasonable, because in God's economy it is true.
And now, I respectfully invite you, and proffer you the columns of the Christian Freeman for the work, to show the Scripturalness of future, endless punishment. And to avoid losing the subject in a wilderness of verbiage, and in running quotations of fragmen
tary Scripture passages, I propose that you select the first passage
Boston, July 6, 1858.
“And now, I respectfully invite you, and proffer you the columns of the Christian Freeman for the work, to show the Scripturalness of future, endless punishment. This will afford you an opportunity to carry your strongest reasons into several thousands of Universalist families ; and I earnestly hope that you will accept my proposition.”
The form in which you propose that I should do this, viz. : by an exposition of isolated proof texts, each to be debated by you before I proceed to another, does not strike me favorably. I will comply with your invitation if you will allow me to do it in my own way, — upon one condition, that there shall be no notes or comments on what I write, in the number or numbers of your paper containing my communication. Very respectfully yours,
N. ADAMS. Several notes in direct succession were subsequently interchanged between us, of which we give the following extract, which is from our second to the Doctor:
which you say:
Boston, July 6, 1858. Rev. N. ADAMS, D. D., - Your note of this morning is received. We can undoubtedly come to an agreement in respect to the manner of conducting the proposed discussion. My reasons for the method I proposed will undoubtedly commend themselves to your good judgment on your duly considering them. I have observed that the advocates of endless punishment in controversial encounters with Universalists, usually fill their space with a long string of promiscuous quotations from the Bible, throwing together fragmentary texts regardless of the connections from which they are taken, presenting no argument for their use of the passages collected, but relying on the sound of certain phraseology upon the ear of popular prejudice. Then, when the Universalist follows with his reply, he must employ argument on each passage he deems misused, and would be obliged to fill a volume to get through thus with the catalogue of texts which the other hastily huddled together. You see the unfairness and unprofitableness of this course. If you and I enter into this discussion, it will be with reverence for God's word, and a sincere desire to promote an understanding of it among our readers. And the method which I propose is just as fair for you as it is for me. It is, in its main features, the only method by which you can do the work which you must do in order to make the discussion of any manner of use to the community.
You object to my plan, requiring an “exposition of isolated proof texts, each to be debated by me before you proceed to another.” In truth my plan no more requires you to explain isolated proof texts, than any other plan you might propose. Your sending to me a collection of Scripture passages unexplained, and my printing them in the Christian Freeman, would be of no service. You will agree with me that you are to give your reasons for your use of Scripture texts, and your reasons on the texts one by one. And the method proposed by me allows, and even requires you, when you have selected your supposed decisive proof text, to make such quotations and use of other and collateral texts as you may judge expedient, in order to sustain your use of the
leading proof text. My object is, not to run a gauntlet, but to discuss these matters wherein we differ, rationally, and as Professor Stuart would say, "philologically and exegetically." Yours most truly,
S. COBB. Finally, we acceded to the method proposed by Dr. Adams, providing that he should do his complete work in argument for future endless punishment in one long article. And we now regard this as the best method. It brings his whole argument in one continuous and connect. ed work, under seven important classifications, thus giving us at once the best thing that can be done for the doctrine in question. If this fails, the doctrine cannot be sustained.
It will be seen by the extract of our second note to the Doctor, that we were particularly solicitous that he should show reasons for whatever applications he might make of Scripture texts to his espoused position. If it shall be found on review that he has not done this, we are sure that it is not his fault, but the difficulty is in the nature of the case. We regard the Argument for Future Endless Punishment as able as any that we have seen, and we do not believe a better can ever be produced. And the excellent spirit in which the work is conducted is signally creditable to the author. We commend the whole,
Argument” and “Review," to the candid and prayerful perusal of the lovers of truth, in hope that, by the blessing of God, it will conduce to the honor of His declarative glory, and the spiritual interests of many people.