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have, before now, come in contact, in this way, both with the laity and the clergy. As you profess a williogness to do the same again, we will leave the community to judge whether all that you have said and done, and written and published, will amount to an invitation or not.
As we have soon agreed to meet, the preliminary regulations need not occasion much delay. I would propose the following:
Rules of conference adopted and signed this
day of 1824, in the city of Philadelphia, by Abner Kneeland and W. L. M*Calla. Duplicates given to the parties.
1. The proposition for discussion shall be as follows, viz. Is the future punishment of the wicked absolutely eternal ? or is it only a temporal punishment in this world, for their good, and to be succeeded by eternal happiness after death?
2. Each speaker shall be entitled to an alternate address of thirty minutes, and no longer, opless the other party waive bis right.
3. The discussion shall be moderated by three men, each of the parties choosing one, and these two a third, who shall be considered the President of the Bench. 4. The discussion shall (God willing,) commence on the
inst. at the Church, at half past 9 o'clock, A. M. and continue, if necessary until noon. It shall, if necessary, be resumed at 4, and continued until half after 6, and so on from day to day until both parties are satisfied.
5. The debate shall be opened and closed by one party in the forenoon and anot.ber in the afternoon. And in case of a continuance, the party who relinquished this privilege on the morning of the first day, shall, if requiring it, enjoy it on the morning of the second ; and so on.
The only difficulty likely to occur in the consideration of the above rules is in the first of tbem, which settles the subject of discussion. In your letter you propose a question for debate, without which you say
we should have no occasion to discuss either the nature or the duration of punishment.” To this I answer that the duration of punishment is the very point in question between us, and the only one on
which I am willing to meet you : and of course I should not wish to turn my attention to one wbich would exclude it. This is the very feature wbich distinguishes the Universalists
om oth sects. And remember, Sir, that you are called a Universalist preacher, your book is on universal benevolence, and it was addressed to the Universalist church. The fact that this book treats principally on the duration of punishment, was the reason of its invitation being accepted. If it sbould now be postponed for another, you may afterward introduce another and another without end. Some would suspect this to be a plan of procuring an indefinite postponement of a question which you profess a great willingness to discuss.
But let us see whether you have not done injustice to your own question. Without its accompanying explanation it reads as follows; viz. “ Does the law of God require that sin committed here in time, and in this state of mortality should be punished in eternitv or beyond death ?" This is a question about eternal punishment; and how you could investigate it, and at the same time “ have no occasion to discuss either the nature or the duration of punishment," I am at a loss to know. The duration of punishment is the very jet of the question, and I would freely undertake to discuss it, were it not for the very reason which (as some would suspect) induced you to propose it. That reason is, that this question is an attempt to preclude me from the benefit of all but one argament, and that thought to be the weakest one of many arguments by which our opinion is supported. You would not permit me to confine you to one argument any more than to one text, and a persevering attempt to do either would be easily understood by those friends wbo have so long admired your polemical prowess.
The question as stated in the above rules does justice to you and myself. It trammels neither, but leaves each at liberty to manage his cause in his own way. It is hoped, therefore, that there will be no farther difficulty about the investigation of questions confessedly irrelevant to the subjectespecially as the discussion of such questions was never made a pre-requisite to your former debates with either laymen or clergymen.
As the young men's Missionary Society bave sent me an appointment which may soon be accepted, it is but right to inform you that this correspondence was undertaken on my
own motion, after asking counsel of God, and of course, is not to be considered as attaching any responsibility to the Missionary Society or to the Clergy of the city.
W. L M CALLA.
LLA Philadelphia, 69 North Third-st. July 8, 1824,
Mr. Abner Kneeland.
No. 5. Mr. CALLA,
Yours of this morning, proposing a conference, or public debate, has been received, and now lays before me. I hereby accept your proposals, and agree to the arrangement, with the exception of a single word in the first proposition, a word entirely unnecessary on your part, and which involves a mair question with me. I mean the word “ future" in connection with punishment. The reason why I wish to exclude this word from the proposition, may be obvious: the terms "future panishment” are so generally understood to mean a punishient in another world; it would seem that I had admitted the fact of the existence of such punishment, by agreeing to discuss its duration, a doctrine which but few Universalists believe, and which is not contained (but proofs to the contrary are contamed) in my Lectures. You must be sensible, sir, that it will be altogether nugatory to talk about the duration of punishment in another world, until we have good evidence that such punishment either does, or will, at some future period, exist. I do not deny you the use of any evidence, or any arguments which go to establish this fact; but unless, sir, you are prepared to prove this, namely, the certainty of punishment in another world, that is, in another state of existence, you must, I think, be sensible that you cannot prove that pun. ishment is “ absolutely eternal.”
In order to fix on time and place, and make such other arrangements as may be necessary, bave the goodness to call on me this afternoon at 5 o'clock, or as soon as convenient.
A. KNEELAND. Thursday, 3 o'clock, P. M.
No. 6. The Rules of Conference adopted and signed by the parties may be seen in No. 16, where they are introduced by a Universalist preamble, which, though written over my name, was no more my own production than the speeches which Mr. Jennings has attributed to me.
FROM THE DEMOCRATIC PRESS OF JULY 20; 1824. We had not intended to have taken any notice of the late Theological Controversy which took place in this city, but a friend having taken the trouble to prepare the following we do not feel at liberty to set it aside, whatever may be our unwillingness or reluctance to publish any thing which may savour of religious disputation or sectional prejudices.
FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PRESS.
M CALLA vs. KNEELAND.
Still in the right to stay ;
To find that better way.”
The dispute between the above named gentlemen which continued for four days, which was concluded this evening, Friday; I presume is no news to you. To give some account of this strange controversy, or I should more properly call it this novel mode of conducting a religious controversy, I devoted a few minutes after retiring from the scene of action, (the Universalist Church in Lombard street) hoping that it may be agreeable to your readers both in " town and country” to know something about this spirit stirring affair which has brought both ends of our town together, day after day, since the discussion commenced.
The subject of debate between the Rev. Mr. M.Calla of the Presbyterian persuasion, from Kentucky, and the Rev Mr. Kneeland, Universalist, of this city, was whether there is, or is not, a “ State of Future and Eternal Punishment."
The mode of dividing the time between the speakers had been previously agreed on; each was to have half an hour alternately, until the disputants or subject was exhausted. The debate began, and was continued, with all the earnestness, learning and zeal of the opponents. Every text, or perhaps nearly every text, was cited for or against, which is to be found in the inspired volume, and commented on in some shape or other. I think it proper not to say fully discussed, for it was declared this morning that the Church would be closed after to-day, and Mr. M*Calla had not, nor could not, get through his argument as he had originally intended to pursue it. He however abridged his comments in order to finish in the required time. In the course of this long debate there certainly was a handsome display of Biblical erudition on both sides, as well as good logical argument; but in the early part of the dispute there was one illiberal taunt against the “raw backwoods Kentuckian to undertake to
teach theology in Philadelphia” which caused considerable asperity in reply, and was not forgotten through the whole debate. The Kentuckian not only proved himself a zealous servant of his Master, a good theologian and an able debater, but also a good Greek, Hebrew and Latin schofar, and well read in the fathers of the Church.
At half past six o'clock on Friday evening the contest closed. Mr. Kneeland reiterated many of his favourite texts, made a last and powerful appeal for the reason, plausibility and mercy of his doctrine, and concluded by insisting that his construction of Divine Law was the true and catholic gospel of Christ. Mr. M•Calla had the last half hour, and concluded the debate by a concise recapitulation of some of his strongest proofs in support of his opinions. His peroration was really excellent, solemn and impressive; his reasoning was sound and irrefutable. A description I cannot attempt; the whole will be printed I presume, but the reader will not, nay, I had almost said, cannot, have an adequate idea of the intense zeal and fervour of the speaker, to instill into every mind the BLESSED TRUTH.
The disputants shook hands and separated with perfect good will towards each other as men, though as widely differing as Christians as when they first met. The immense crowd of spectators also separated in a very peaceable quiet manner.
No. 8. Paul was answered by a Vestryman who denied that I had been excluded from the church. In the Democratic Press of July 24th, he replies; after which Mr. Kneeland, in the same paper, of the 27th, confirms the account of the Vestryman.
FROM THE DEMOCRATIC PRESS, JULY 24. M'CALLA AND KNEELAND ONCE MORE. Mr. Editor-You will confer a favour by inserting the following brief reply to “ A Member of the Vestry,” and you may rest assured that I shall not trouble you again on this subject.
The following sentence which I still aver to be substantially true, is roundly pronounced false by the vestry man;—. It was declared this morning (meaning Friday morning,] that the church would be closed after to-day, and Mr. M.Calla had not, nor could not, get through his argument, as he had originally intended to pursue it.” Now I say words were never plainer spoken than these were by Mr. Kneeland, that “this house (meaning the Universalist Church,) could not be promised after