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REVS. ADIN BALLOU, AND DANIEL D. SMITH;
DO THE HOLY SCRIPTURES TEACH THE DOCTRINE, THAT MEN WILL BE
THE DEEDS DONE IN THIS LIFE?"
HELD IN BOSTON, ON TUESDAY MARCH 18, A. D. 1834,
AND CONTINUED THROUGH
WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY.
PRESS OF THE INDEPENDENT MESSENGER....G. W. STACY, PRINTER.
In the Independent Messenger of the 8th of February, 1834, appeared the following article :
•COME LET US REASON TOGETHER.' Rev. Fathers and Teachers in the Israel of Universalism :
I believe what you disbelieve—that the Holy Scriptures teach the doctrine of a future righteous retribution. You consider my belief a relic of heathenism. I consider your disbelief a proximate species of anti-Christian scepticism. A great controversy has commenced, and will be prosecuted to an issue, between yourselves and those who hold with me the doctrine of future retribution. Thousands of people need to be enlightened on the subject, who cannot be induced to plod through the pages of elaborate works, but would, nevertheless, be interested in an investigation carried on in the way of public oral discussion. Now, therefore, I invite you to a friendly public debate of the following question-Do the the Holy Scriptures teach the doctrine of future rewards and punishments? And I respectfully propose the following terins of arrangement, viz.
1. The Discussion to be holden in some commodious Hall or Edifice in the city of Boston.
2. Thirty days notice to be given in the public papers of its commencement.
3. Three Moderators to preside, with full power to enforce the most wholesome and approved rules of debate; the parties respectively choosing one Moderator, and those two the third.
4. In the affirmative of question myself alone; in the negative as many of your clergymen as you please.
5. The parties to occupy, alternately, thirty minutes space of speech.
6. Two experienced Reporters to be employed, with instructions to prepare for press a faithful Report of the whole discussion, as nearly verbatim as possible, wlthout subrnitting any part thereof to the previous inspection of the disputants, or any other persons.
7. The debate to commence on Tuesday and be continued with suitable intermissions till the close of Friday; and so on from week to week; till the parties are mutually willing to terminate it, or till one of them shall absolutely decline its further prosecution.
8. All expenses properly incident to the Discussion (time, labor, and mere personal expense excepted) and all income arising from the sale of the Report, if any, to be shared equally by the parties.
9. The printing of the Report, whether by the affirmative or negative party, to be decided by lot under the direction of the Moderators.
All which is respectfully submitted, with the humble hope that you will accept my invitation, proposals and terms; and that by a friendly, fair and full discussion of the question at issue, we may mutually contribute to enlighten and satisfy many thousand inquiring minds.
This article gave rise to the following correspondence:
Boston, Feb. 10, 1834. Rev. Adin BALLOU. Dear Sir-From your paper of last Saturday, I learn that you have sent forth a challenge to debate the question-Do the Holy Scriptures teach the doctrine of future rewards and punishments ?? I should prefer another form of expression, viz.-Do the scriptures teach the doctrine that men will be punished and rewarded subsequently to this life (or ufler death) for the deeds done in this life?
To your other proposals, I have no objections, except I cannot conceive it necessary to have two Reporters, as such an arrangement would greatly increase the expenses of the discussion. However I have no particular objection to such an arrangemement.
If, therefore, you will change the form of the question as I have suggested, I accept your challenge, and shall hold myself in readiness to meet you as you propose. And you may rest assured, Sir, that I will treat you with respect, and the subject with all the candor its merits demand.
As you have given the challenge, it devolves on you to appoint the time and place for the debate. I have confidence in my cause, and am willing to defend it. Please attend to this immediately, and oblige yours respectfully,
DANIEL D. SMITH. Rev, ADIN BALLOU.
Mendon, Feb. 12, 1834. Rev. Daniel D. Smith. Dear Sir_Your note of the 10th inst. has been received and considered. I am happy to find you ready to accept my proposal for a public Discussion. I deem it the best possible evidence, that your confidence is strong and sincere in the soundness of your distinguishing sentiment.
You prefer a change in the phraseology of the question, and would have it framed thus :" Do the Scriptures teach the doctrine that men will be punished and rewarded subsequently to this life (or after death) for the deeds done in this life ?" If understood in its natural sense, as expressing the general idea of rewards and punishments after death, on account of conduct and character in this life, I have no objection to the adoption of your language in place of my own. Presuming this to be the sense in which it is to be understood by the parties, and being willing to accommodate, I consent to the forın in which you choose to state the question.
As it respects two Reporters, I am not strenuous. If we can secure the services of a Stenographer, in whose skill and integrity we have both full confidence, I shall be satisfied with one.
I would name Tuesday the 18th day of March next, as the time for commencing the Discussion. The particular place in Boston, pot being yet provided, I must of course leave that with the other preliminaries to be settled hereafter. If you can do any thing to facilitate the necessary arrangements, I beg you will do so. Or if you have any method to propose, whereby we may be able mutually to forward those arrangements, please to give me im
enediate information. Let me hear from you soon, and in the meantime
At a subsequent period, Mr. Ballou selected the Rev.BERNARD WHITMAN of Waltham, for the Moderator on his part, Mr. Smith selected the Rev. LINUS S. EVERETT of Charlestown, and the Rev. Joshua V. Himes of Boston, was selected by these two, as their Chairman. The church of the Rev. Sebastian Streeter, Hanover-street Boston, was politely granted by the proprietors, as the place for holding the discussion. It commenced on Tuesday the 18th of March, and continued for three days.
The discussion was opened by Mr. Ballou, who delivered an introductory address, which had been prepared beforehand, and is printed from his manuscript. The remainder of the debate was entirely extemporaneous, and is reported from full minutes taken for that purpose. The report was prepared in pursuance of the terms of arrangement, and contains a complete statement of all the positions assuined by the opponents, and of the principal arguments, texts, and interpretations on which they respectively relied.
Tuesday, March 18th, 1834. After a prayer from the Rev. Mr. Himes, Mr. Ballou addressed the audience as follows :
CANDID AUDITORS ----I thank the Supreme Director of events for the privileges of this occasion. It is one which with proper improvement may be rendered a blessing to thousands of anxious. minds. I have long desired the opportunity it affords me of bringing before the public more conspicuously an important theological question. I feel perfectly justified in having procured the impending discussion. This method of controversy in my humble opinion is better adapted than any other to the state of the times. It is indeed liable to abuse, like every other good in our world. In settling the preliminaries of their debate, the parties have endeavored to guard it by every practicable precaution against such dangers. I trust also that they appear before you richly imbued with those sentiments of candor and kindness which constitute a still stronger safe-guard. Whatever may be the issue of this debate, I feel that I can never regret having proposed it. I am grateful, therefore, to my respected opponent for the manful and honest assurance with which he has advanced to meet me. He is