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SAMUEL M'CULLOCH, ESQ.,
ANDREW WATSON, ESQ.,
PETER MACINTYRE, M.D.,
THE OTHER FRIENDS OF FREE DISCUSSION
IN MATTERS OF RELIGION,
WHOM HE WAS SUPPORTED
LATE ARDUOUS STRUGGLE
PRESBYTERY OF GLASGOW,
THESE PAGES ARE RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED
PROPOSED AND ANSWERED.
THERE are three questions,growing out of the information, with which we are furnished by the scriptures, that have often struck me, as demanding more than ordinary attention, viz,
I. What was the death threatened to, and incurred by Adam, as the consequence, and punishment of his first transgression ?
II. What is the cause of the resurrection of the dead?
III. Is there any authority in scripture, or in reasonings legitimately derived from scripture, for the ordinary doctrine that the wicked shall be eternally punished, in a state of existence succeeding the present ?
It is impossible for any sober minded and reflecting individual to deny, that these are questions of the last importance. They do not, like those barren and unprofitable speculations, which, in every age, have occupied the minds, and engaged the attention of theologians by profession, turn upon trifling cobweb distinctions, make a cold appeal to the understanding, or afford an opportunity for learned leisure, to while
away the tedium of a vacant hour, but lead at once and inevitably to practical and glorious results. If, in the prosecution of them, I shall be able to demonstrate, that sentiments, with which, in infancy, our minds are imbued, and which advancing years in general tend but to strengthen and confirm, are, in reality, the offspring of ignorance and superstition, fostered and nourished by tyranny and self-interest, and that, instead of illustrating and commending, they obscure, and are at variance with the character of the God of Revelation, representing him as a gloomy Despot, whom scripture declares to be Love itself, I shall enjoy the supreme happiness of being instrumental in relieving such as are convinced by my arguments from a state of most degrading and painful thraldom, and of seeing the hideous fabric which, foreighteen centuries at least, men have been engaged in raising and consolidating, crumble into atoms, at the touch of divine truth. Nor let it be imagined, that there is any part of the argument, that might have been spared. A candid, and enlightened attention, to what I have written, will, I trust, suffice to show, that all the statements, and inquiries, which precede, are indispensably requisite to bring out, in its full lustre, the conclusion that follows. So close, I should rather say inseparable, is the connexion subsisting among all the questions proposed for examination, that without understanding the grounds, and principles of the answers, which I return to the first and second of them, it is impossible to perceive, and apprehend, the full force of the answer returned to the last. In order to prevent disappointment, however, let it be observed, that in what follows, it is very far from being the intention of the writer to present his readers, with a regular and systematic treatise ; all that they have to expect from him