TEXT BOOK OF UNIVERSALISM;
THE ORIGIN OF THE SYSTEM;
A BIOGRAPHY OF ITS FOUNDERS;
ITS SYSTEM OF DOCTRINE;
AN EXAMINATION OF ITS PROMINENT ARGUMENTS;
A STATEMENT OF THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST UNIVERSALISM;
CHARACTER OF ITS SOCIETIES:
TERMS OF RELIGIOUS PROFESSION, OR CHURCH MEMBERSHIP;
THE PECULLARITIES OF ITS MINISTRY:
THE DUTY OF CHRISTIANS IN RELATION TO THE SYSTEM AND ITS FRIENDS.
PUBLISHED BY JOHN P. JEWETT & CO.
CINCINNATI: GEORGE L. WEED,
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1845, by
M. H.A.LE SMITH,
In the ClerkÔÇÖs Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
PR E FA C E .
THIS little work has been prepared for general circulation, at the request of many clerical and lay friends, whose
judgment the author respects, and whom he is happy to serve. It will occupy a place not filled by any other work.
It will be found to be, what its title indicates, a Text-Book upon Universalism. It is the prayer of the author that it
may assist in checking the spread of the deadly delusion of which it treatsÔÇöassist Christians in their labors against
the ministry of deathÔÇöwarn and save the youngÔÇöand be in some humble manner, instrumental in the recovery of
some ÔÇ£out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.ÔÇØ
M. HALE SMITH.
Dorchester, Mass., Oct. 15, 1845.
THERE is much unwritten history in respect to Universalism; much that can be learned only by a personal acquaintance with the system; much that must be known,before the evils that attend it can be fully realized, or adequate measures adopted to preserve the community from its dreadful moral influence.
The Bible hardly could be fulfilled did not such systems exist as Universalism. It records that anciently men preached ÔÇ£peace to the wicked, and made sad the heart of the righteous, by promising life to the ungodly.ÔÇØ It teaches that what has been,shall again be ; that Satan can transform himself into an angel of light, and that his ministers can transform themselves into ministers of righteousness,ÔÇ£whose end shall be according to their works.ÔÇØ We read that the time shall come, in which false teachers shall appear, whose business it shall be to deceive and destroy; who privily shall bring indamnable heresies, make merchandise of the souls of men, and gather a large company, who shall follow their permicious ways. No intelligent man can read these and similair declarations, without at once recognising their fulfilment in the system of Universalism and its advocates.
God at times gives men up to delusion, and permits error to have seed-time and harvest. If men will resist the truth, and deliberately choose the way of death, God will not, by a miracle, prevent them from so doing. He will dig no impassable gulf to keep them from destruction, and throw up no new barrier to save them from perdition. Universalism must be regarded as one of the great delusions of the age, the error of the mass; whether we look at those who embrace it, its influence upon men and the institutions of the age, or its ruinous power over the soul.
Already is it leaving its impress upon society. As far as it gains a footing and puts forth its power, it saps the foundation of all good, and directs its energies to the destruction of all that is holy. It is at war with every sacred thing. It is the common platform on which meet all grades of evil men, such as hate the cross and despise its sanctions. Some moral men may be attached to the system; but they are moral in spite of it; and they stand shoulder to shoulder with the worst of men, the most depraved ofour race. The peculiarities of modern Universalism are not well understood. Its changes are so frequent and rapid, that the public mind does not keep pace with them. The evils that directly and surely flow from it are not fully apprehended. It is found as frequently where not organized, as where it is. It is the hope of impious men, who live in sin, and die in sin, and expect to be saved, though they repent not. It blunts the edge of appeal everywhere. And when organized, it simply gives form to the evasions of the human heart, and reduces to a system the depravity of man, and his opposition to the cross.
Some portion of the church will grapple with Romanism; Puseyism will cross the path of others; and Unitarianism may need a rebuke before it expires. But all, who have anything to do with the human heart, will have to do with Universalism. Remain at the East, or visit the West,and the principles of this system will be found, constituting the subterfuges of evil men. Materials, out of which its societies are composed, abound everywhere. When not organized and named they wait only the visit of some minister of unrighteousness to mould them and give them form. From the temptation in the garden, to the present time, its doctrines of deceit and death have beenpromulgated, its work of ruin been going on. Changing perpetually to avoid detection, it has been consistent only in its evil result. The Universalism of this day contains not one opinion or doctrine that entered into the system of Murray. To refute modern Universalism, therefore, it is of no avail to read Edwards, Strong, or any ancient writer upon that system. For in system and argument, it is now another affair. Its friends laugh at such opposition; they say, ÔÇ£our opposers do not know what Universalism is; how can they, with understanding, oppose it?ÔÇØ A distinguished orthodox clergyman visited the city in which I formerly resided, and preached against Universalism. His object was to show how absurd the system was in itself. And to do this, he said that Universalists referred the latter part of the 25th chapter of Matthew to the general judgment: but taught that the sheep represented men, and the goats their sins; and that in the day of judgment the sins would be sent away into everlasting punishment, but the sinner into life eternal. It was a sufficient reply to this statement to say, that such were the views of John Murray, but they were discarded by the sect a quarter ofa century before; and if the preacher had understood the present form of the system he was opposing,he would not have fallen into such an error.
ORIGIN OF UNIVERSALISM
IN principle and spirit, Universalism is old as sin. It was taught in Eden, by Satan, who promised our parents exemption from punishment, should they break the divine command. In the time of the false prophets, it cried peace to the wicked in their sins, and assured them of endless life, though they turned not from their evil ways. From the age of the apostles till now, it has been steadily pur suing its work of death. It has not always been called by the same name; nor always similar in its mode of attack upon the truth; nor uniform in its own defence or creed; yet opposing itself ever to the command and authority of God, and urging men to walk the way of death, with the assurance that, at the end, they would find peace and rest in heaven. But, as a system, it is a modern affair. To give this delusion a form and name; to call it Christianity; to attempt so to wrest the Bible, as to make it seem to countenance Universalism, belongs to modern days. After the truth and nature of Christian doctrine have been set tled for eighteen centuries, Universalism appears; upturn ing all past belief, and introducing doctrines, not one of which ever before entered into a system called Christian ; while it rejects all doctrines which have been regarded by Christians in all ages as the fundamental doctrines of grace. Universalists claim Origen, Clement of Alexandria, and some others among the early fathers. Yet these fathers held not one doctrine peculiar to Universalism; neither did they believe in the salvation of all men. Origen taught the preexistence and the transmigration of souls; he be lieved that all men were created at one time; that in some period of their existence the lost would be restored; that they might again sin and again be lost; that while the once lost would ascend to heaven, those in heaven, would descend to hell. The Universalism in which he believed consisted simply in a migration from hell to heaven, and back again. Clement of Alexandria taught that all who died without a knowledge of Christ would have space for repentance. He did not believe that all thus favored with the opportunity would repent; much less that any could be saved without repentance. As a system, Universalism took its rise in England, and was early transferred to this country. Repudiated in the land of its birth, it has obtained a home in that of its adop tion. Gloucester, Mass., is distinguished as having early received a living preacher of this delusion, the way for whom was prepared by a copy of ÔÇ£Relly’s Union,ÔÇØ which was brought there by a Scotchman. When we call Universalism a novel system, we do not speak ofnovelty in its principles, but inits way of teaching them. It differs from the teaching of Satan in this:ÔÇö Satan did not presume to deny that God threatened men with death; nor did he assert that the assurance he gave our parents was the promise of God. He did not pretend that Adam or Eve had mistaken the nature of the penalty threatened; nor that it was their error that produced their fear; nor that while God threatened them with death, he intended to give them life. He threw himself across the command of God, and dared to assert that God had threat ened what he did not mean to perform. Universalists reach the same result in another way. They declare that men may live in sin, and die as they have lived; break every command in the decalogue, and reach the grave in the shortest way, with the most fearful crime upon their heads; and yet be as certain of heaven as Paul, Peter, or John. And farther than this, they assert, that their views are taught in the Bible; that the Bible was written expressly to teach them; that it teaches no otherdoctrines, which, though hid for eighteen hundred years,were,in lat ter times, revealed to Relly, Murray and Ballou. The novelty of Universalism consists not in its opposition to the law of God;ÔÇöthe father ofthe system set the pattern in Eden;ÔÇônor in the doctrines it avows; they are all old, and have been better expressed, andmore chastely defended by the ancient Epicureans and the Deists of modern times. Neither does its novelty consist in promising to the wicked security from future woe,and bliss in heaven equal with the good:ÔÇöthese are errors old as man. They are the foun dation ofsand on which, in all ages, the impious rest their hope of heaven. It is novel in this, that it claims for old errors the name of Christian ; though set up as antagonist to truth in other days, and so refuted, they are now gath ered up, arranged, and called Christianity; and the Bible is appealed to now as the source and support ofthe dead liest delusions which it was given to destroy. Under the ministry of James Relly and John Murray, between the years 1767 and 1770, they were framed into a system of Christian faith, named Universalism.
BIOGRAPHY OF ITS FOUNDERS.
JAMES RELLY. This sect arose under James Relly. He commenced his public career as an exhorter, in the connection of Whit field. He embraced and defended Universalism upon the idea that all men were united to Jesus Christ, and par took ofhis nature and his destiny. The divinity of Christ was the corner-stone of his system. He taught that all men were exposed to eternal misery; that from this dreadful doom they were rescued by the vicarious sufferings of Jesus Christ, who bore the curse and ransomed men from hell. Relly believed in no punishment for sin, actual or original, either in this world or that which is to come. Mr. Relly began his public ministry in London, not far from 1768. The character of his congregation, and the influence it must have exerted in the metropolis of the world, may be gathered from the followingdescription from the pen of Mr. Murray: ÔÇ£The house had formerly been occupied by Quakers; there were no seats, save a few benches, and the pulpit was framed of a few rough boards over which no plane had ever passed. The audience cor responded with the house:ÔÇØ i.e., it was as rough as the boards. Relly was a man of very ordinary talents, of limited education, and had very little personal influence. In the land of his birth and the field of his unholy labors no one can be found who has embalmed his memory. His name has perished from among men.
JOHN MURRAY. This person is canonized as the Father of Universalism, though Mr. Relly first publicly preached it. His auto biography proves him to have been a mere changeling in theology, a man destitute of education, and a bankrupt in character from his youth. He was born in England, of pious parents, but was a wayward youth, causing his father trouble, and his mother shame. At the age ofeleven years he began his career by stealing a boat and quitting his home. He was pursued and brought back. In similar feats he passed his youth. Before attaining the age of twenty years he professed to reform; he made a profession of religion, and became an exhorter. He soon relapsed into his former habits, and became more vicious and abandoned. He was instrumental in destroying the peace of a happy home, and in breaking up a family which in kindness had opened their doors to him when in want, and made him welcome to their hearth Stone. Bankrupt in character, dissipated, stung with remorse, Murray strolled, as was natural, into Mr. Relly’s meeting. He tried to become a convert to Universalism, and succeed ed. His faith, but not his character, was changed. Soon after his conversion to Universalism he was arrested for theft; next, he attempted to commit suicide; then, he em barked in dishonest trade for gain; and then ÔÇ£left his country for his country’s good.ÔÇØ Helanded in NewJersey, in September, 1770, and was soon introduced as the herald of salvation to benighted America. If we may credit Mr. Murray, or his friend, almost miraculous manifestations attended his visit to America. While he was carousing in England, the spirit ofprophecy was given to an old man in New Jersey, assuring him that this same Murray was in latter days to be a preacher of Universalism to America. For his sake, currents wa?ted the vessel out of its course, and contrary winds kept it from its destined haven, till Murray should deliver his message. The whole being equal to the nightjourney of Mahomet. The story, as told by Murray, is this. On his passage from England to New York, the vessel in which he sailed was driven out of her course, and ran aground in Cranberry Inlet. Murray went on shore to purchase a fish. A man introduced himself to Mr. M., made him a present of a fish, and informed him that he had been long expecting him. The stranger, whose name was Potter, informed Murray that some years before he had built a meeting-house at his own expense. He closed it against Presbyterians, Baptists and Quakers, assuring his neighbors that God would send him a preacher. Long and patiently had he waited. His neighbors tauntingly would inquire, ÔÇ£Potter, where is your preacher?ÔÇØ But the moment he saw a vessel on shore, a ORIGIN OF UNIVERSALISM. 13 voice said to him, ÔÇ£Potter, in that vessel, cast away, is your preacher.ÔÇØ He believed it, so he says. And when Mur ray came up to purchase the fish, the same voice said againÔÇöÔÇ£Potter, this is the man, this is the person whom I have sent to preach in your house.ÔÇØ Yielding to a solici tation to preach, on condition that the wind remained con trary, Murray became the guest of Potter. Several days passed; still the wind was contrary. He preached on Sabbath morning. At noon the wind changed, and this heaven-sent ambassador sailed out of Cranberry Inlet, on SABBATH AFTERNoon, As suPERCARGo of A sloop Bound For New York. Such is the story related by Mr. Murray, in his auto biography, which is myauthority for most ofmy statements in relation to him. He preached three years in disguise. Among the Presbyterians he passed as a Presbyterian; among the Baptists, as a Baptist; when with the Method ists, he was supposed to be one of them. It was only by stratagem that thedisguise was torn away; a stratagem of which he complains most bitterly. He then found his true level, having made a beginning which befitted the father of a system rightly called the ÔÇ£refuge of lies.ÔÇØ SystEM.ÔÇöThe system of Murray wassimilar to Relly’s; embracing the divinity of Christ, the vicarious atonement of the Saviour, salvation from endless woe, and a denial of all punishment for sin. PERSONAL CHARACTER.ÔÇöFrom those personally acquainted with Mr. Murray we learn that he was destitute of dignity and reverence in his public ministry; distinguished for low cunning, and foolish jesting in the pulpit; as a man, securing little respect from those who knew him best. He would open the tin kitchens of his host to see if the roastwas to his taste, before he accepted an invitation. On one occasion he was inquired of for his credentials, as an accredited minister of the gospel. ÔÇ£Here they are,ÔÇØ said he, striking his hand against a pair of red plush small clothes, which he wore, ÔÇ£these are all I desire.ÔÇØ Such was the father of the system, himself being our authority; and such his claims upon our confidence and respect.
ELHANAN WINCHESTER. Cotemporary with Murray was Elhanan Winchester. He was born in Brookline, Mass., and began his public life as an exhorter, in the Free-Will Baptist connection. Though he had no fellowship with Mr. Murray, yet, like him, he preached some time in disguise; professing to be a Baptist preacher, while he was a believer in Universal Salvation. System.ÔÇöThe system of Winchester was, in all essen tial points, unlike that of Murray. He taught that men must suffer for sin, and for all sin. He believed that re pentance only could save from hell, and that men would literally be redeemed by fire. He referred all those pas sages of HolyWrit which speakof hell fire,punishment in hell, and judgment to come, to the future world. His opinion was, that the wicked would be punished, millions and millions of years, so long as to defy the power of man to grasp the duration,-so long, as to justify the term eternal as applied to that duration. CHARACTER.ÔÇöMr. Winchester was distinguished for instability of character. In the midst of much success in Philadelphia, he left his people for London, giving them only forty-eight hours’ notice of his intentions. He preached in London, with very great success; crowds attended his ministry. When at the height of his influ ence, his friends were alarmed by the intelligence from his wife that he was missing. Advertisements were inserted in the papers, search made, and large rewards offered for his discovery. At length a friend received from Mr. Win chester a letter, containing the interesting intelligence that he had fled to America. Nearly all the organization Universalism ever had in England was through the instrumentality of Mr. Winchester. Ten or twelve societies were formed before his death, not one of which now remains. A single society holding any fellowship with American Universalism, now remains in England. And the pastor of that says in respect to his charge: ÔÇ£A few stragglers, amounting in all to some hun dred, is the sum of all our members.ÔÇØ Mr. Lefevre, a delegate sent to Europe from the Universalists of America to ascertain the actual condition of the cause in Europe, states that, after the most diligent inquiry about the foun ders of Universalism in England, ofthose the best qualified to know, he could find no one who had ever heard anything about Relly or Murray; and no one who honored the name or memory of Winchester. Though Mr. L. was sent out by the General Convention of Universalists in America, and assured his friends before he sailed, that he expected to preach much in London and Paris, and to lift up his voice, even in Rome, in defence of his faith, yet the end corresponded but feebly with the promise at the beginning. Mr. L. was absent several months from America. He preached but once in Europe. He was invited to preach in a Unitarian Chapel in London. The day was dark and stormy. The audience was com posed of thirty persons. If it had been pleasant, there would have been, Mr. L. says, about as many more. It was the only opportunity he had to preach. No one was interested in him or his message. Nor were the names of Balfour, Ballou, or Whittemore, known across the Atlantic. Such is Universalism in the land of its birth.
HOSEA BALLOU. To this gentleman was committed the task of re-casting Universalism, and settling upon himself the title of ÔÇ£Fa ther of modern Universalism.ÔÇØ He was born in Richmond, N. H., and in early life made a profession of religion. He says, in his autobiography, that the reading of a Deistical book induced him to embrace Universalism. He was excommunicated from the church of Christ, and then became an advocate of Universalism. Mr. Ballou’s ability to understand critically the sacred book, and explain its meaning, may be shown from the fact, that so far from being able to read the Bible in the original, he has a limited acquaintance with the grammar ofhis own native tongue. I have his authority for saying, that he began the study of English grammar some years after he commenced preaching. No one claims for Mr. B. the credit or authority of learning. Limited in his read ing, deficient in intellectual culture, almost unread in his tory, the system which he has moulded must be like its author. He is possessed of little personal influence. He has resided in Boston more than twenty years, yet has he left his impress upon no public institution; his name is associated with no good or generous thing; no liberal or far-reaching policy. And when he dies and is buried, he will, like Relly, Murray and Winchester, be forgotten even by the few who regard him as a true prophet of God. SystEM.ÔÇöWhen Mr. Ballou began his public ministry, his system, as far as he had one, blended the tenets of Murray and Winchester. He believed, with the one, that men would be saved through the atonement and imputed righteousness ofChrist; and with the other, that men would suffer for sin, both in this life and in that which is to come. CHANGES.ÔÇöMr. Ballou began the work of changing the system, by the denial of the divinity of Jesus Christ, and adopting the lowest form of humanitarianism. Mr. B. claims, and not without reason, to be the first open advocate of Unitarianism in this country. It is certain that ÔÇ£Ballou on the AtonementÔÇØ was the first work in which that senti ment was openly defended. The denial ofthe divinity of Christ was, in the estimation of Mr. Murray,a denial of Christianity. He therefore disowned Mr. B. ; did not acknowledge him to be a Chris tian; nor, from the hour in which he embraced Unitarianism, would he hold fellowship with him. After Mr. Murray’s decease, Mr. Ballou, then of Barnard, Vt., was invited to supply the pulpit in Boston in which Mr. Murray had preached. He came; and in his first sermon, advanced some of his Unitarian notions. A member of the society arose, and stated that the society did not believe such sentiments. Mrs. Murray, then present, pronounced them to be infidel, and not Christian, doctrines. The congregation would not allow him to proceed. He claimed pay for the three Sabbaths for which he was engaged. He was paid, and went home to Vermont, bearing upon his brow the stamp of infidelity, placed there by the Murray Universalists. Christians are accused of bigotry, because they do not recognize modern Universalism to be Christianity, and its ministers to be ministers of Christ. If so, then was Murray the prince of bigots; for he disowned his brethren and denied them the Christian name, when they differed from him in one thing only; while Universalists now dis believe all things which we regard as Christianity. No sooner had the denial of Christ’s deity been reached, than other changes followed. Original sin; the depravity of man ; his exposure to the wrath of God; his need of an atoning sacrifice; his liability to judgment and endless death without the mediation of the SaviourÔÇöall of which composed the Universalism of MurrayÔÇöwere swept away. Angels were said to be men only, who were commissioned to preach. Hell fire became the love of God, and going away into everlasting punishment was simply sending wicked men into the fires of regeneration to make them fit for heaven. Change succeeded change, till, in 1818, Mr. Ballou announced that Universalism knew no state or condition beyond this mortal existence, but life and immortal ity; and ÔÇ£that the scriptures begin and end the history of sin in flesh and blood.ÔÇØ Mr. Ballou’s style of preaching becomes the doctrines which he defends. His pulpit performances are offensive to good taste. His language, often rude, is coarse and in correct. His allusions and illustrations are of the lower cast, and frequently indecorous. The writer relates from actual knowledge when he says, that Mr. B. seems to feel that he has a low-mated taste to gratify, and seems never so happy as when he is able to gratify it. I have seen his congregation, during whole sermons,kept in a state of con stant mirth, and louder peals of laughter are seldom heard in the halls ofa Lyceum, than I have heard repeatedly in the house where he was preaching. So marked, so gen eral, was it often, that the preacher would seem to enter heartily into the mirth. The burden of Mr. B.’s pulpit efforts consists in attempting to caricature Orthodoxy, and bring into contempt its advocates. He usually divides his sermon into three parts: 1. What the Orthodox believe; 2. The Orthodox are mistaken ; 3. Show what Universalists believe. His principal illustrations are Joseph and his brethren, and the prodigal son. These may be found in twenty-five out of every thirty sermons thathepreaches. Such are the claims of the father of modern Universal ism to confidence and respect. Can he have ability to correct the united voice of eighteen centuries, as to the meaning of the Bible. Shall we cast aside the wisdom, the research, the piety, the vast accumulation of light and wisdom, gathered by our fathers, and follow this modern prophet? We lose nothing,ifhe be true, though we reject him. We lose everything if he be a deceiver.
WALTER BALFOUR. To this gentleman, Mr. Ballou was indebted for the general spread of the system of Universalism as remodeled by himself. Mr. Balfour was born in Scotland, and was brought up in the doctrines of the Scotch Church. He early became a Haldanite, a small sect of open communion Baptists, feeble and little known. By them, Mr. B. was sent to America, as a missionary to the Puritans. As such he was introduced to the late Dr. Morse. In a short time after his arrival, he professed to be a Congregationalist. Then he became a Baptist. Then a Puritan Baptist, cele brating communion every Sabbath, and washing his disci ples’ feet. From this sect he turned to Universalism. He was not, as is represented by Universalists, a popular Or thodox preacher; he had not enjoyed, for years before he became a Universalist, the confidence of the Christian com munity. True, he made a hurried descent through Unita rianism and Restorationism, before he avowed himself a Universalist; and, before he became an open Universalist, he addressed to Rev. Professor Stuart a series of anony mous letters, professing to be an inquirer after truth, and asking for light. These letters, appearing in a print in which an inquirer after truth seldom is found, received no attention. None was expected; the whole was done for effect. Mr. Balfour then threw off his disguise and ad dressed the Professor over his own signature. But he secured less attention, ifpossible, when known, than when he appeared as an anonymous writer. He gained his ob ject, however. He was received by the Universalists as a mighty man; one whom Professor Stuart even could not anSWer. SystEMÔÇöMr. Balfour adopted Mr. Ballou’s system, and carried out the principles with so bold a hand, that many were startled; and the more moderate of the sect did not hesitate to pronounce Mr. Balfour a Deist. He was, however, ofgreat service to the sect. Parts of the Bible have ever been so stubborn, as to appear to teach a doctrine the opposite of Universalism. The great labor ofthe sect has ever been to explain away those parts, or to harmonize them withtheir system; as the Devil labored to provethathisassertion,ÔÇ£Ye shall not surely die,ÔÇØ was more worthy of credit than the threatening of Jehovah, ÔÇ£Ye shall surely die.ÔÇØ The principles ofexegesis adopted by Universalists are not designed to get at the real meaning of the Bible; but to remove the difficulty which the Biblepresents in the way of their system. Any interpretation, no matter how absurd, will be adopted, that will answer this intent. As an illustration, take Matt 25:31, 46. Mr. Murray applied this passage to the future state, and believed that it was descriptive of the judgment of the last day. How then could he believe that all men would be saved ? In this way;-all men were to stand before the judgment seat of Christ; at that place and time, the sinner and his sins would be separated: the sinner, compared to sheep, would be placed upon the right hand in glory; the sins, likened to goats, be sent away into everlastingpunish ment ‘ ‘ But Mr. Winchester regarded this interpretation as absurd, as would be the conduct of a sheriffwho allows the criminal to escape, but very gravely presents the coat ofthe guilty to the court, with the request that that might be tried and punished. He asserted that the passage was to be understood literally to signify a punishment of such terrific duration, as to justify the term endless; a punish ment which should run on for millions and millions of ages. He called upon the impenitent to avert their doom by timely repentance. Mr. Ballou, thinking such a punishment, so dreadful in duration, was too much like the notions ofthe Orthodox to allow a distinction, reached the profound conclusion that that Scripture did not refer to the future life at all, nor teach any punishment. It revealed this idea simply, that men were to be cast into the love of God, to be purified and made fit for heaven. And going away into everlasting punishment simply meant togo away into the love of God. At this crisis Mr. Balfour came to the rescue : he discovered a valley on the south side of Jerusalem, to which this and all kindred passages refer red. In this valley of Hinnom, all, or nearly all, the threatenings of the Bible had their fulfilment eighteen hundred years ago, when the Romans sacked Jerusalem. In the book of Mr. Balfour, to which the Universalists are indebted for their knowledge of sheol and gehenna,we have this reference settled. When Christ says, ÔÇ£It shall be more tolerable for Sodom in the day ofjudgment,than forÔÇØ those who heard and rejected Christ; Mr. B. says, it was in the destruction ofJerusalem. When Paul informs the Gentile Thessalonians that ÔÇ£the Lord Jesus will take vengeance upon all those who know not God, and obey not the gospel,ÔÇØ ÔÇ£in the day when he shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire;ÔÇØ Mr. B. says this threatening, addressed to Gentiles, was fulfilled in the destruction of the Jews. And when Peter assures us, that the ÔÇ£heavens and earth are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and the perdition of ungodly men,ÔÇØ Mr. B. informs us that this also had its fulfilment when Jerusalem fell; notwithstanding it was spoken to Gentile Christians on the borders of the Black Sea, a people who had no more interest in the fall of Jerusalem than we have in China. But this was a great discovery for the Universalists. It changed the whole current of their theology. All their interpretation of scripture was made to fit the new application; and poor Jerusalem now bears the curse of the whole earth. By this new mode of interpretation, more importance is attached to the sacking of Jerusalem than to the deluge. Pella, which sheltered a few Christians during the siege, is of more consequence than the ark which pre served all who perished not in the flood. Emboldened by his success, Mr. Balfour made further progress in invention and discovery. He took up the sys tem where Mr. Ballou laid it down; and attempted so to change all existing things, that Universalism, when perfected, should not contain one doctrine or duty peculiar to the Christian faith. Mr. Balfour not only denied thatmen were exposed to hell, but asserted that there was no hell to be exposed to. He asserted not only that men were not tempted by the Devil, but that there was no such being to tempt men. True the Bible spake of such a being, ascribed to him quite an agency in the fall and ruin of the race, and associated so much might with his existence,that it was necessary that the divine Redeemer should take upon himself flesh and blood to destroy him, and release men from his fatal power. But Mr. Balfour meets the difficulty by assuring us, that those expressions are meant to describe simply, bad men, or diseases, or robbers, Not only did Mr. B. assert that the immortal soul could not be lost, but that there was no such thing; no man was im mortal: death was the end of men, unless God should recreate our race; and in such a new creation, which he calls the resurrection, no remembrance of this life will be retained. To such conclusions Mr. B. was driven by his system. He informs us, that, if he allows future punishment, he must allow endless punishment; for the same reasons which demand its existence, demand its perpetuity. Does he allow that the soul is immortal? then may it suffer for ever. And as men are to go into everlasting punishment, the soul will suffer eternally, if it be immortal, because the word everlasting signifies the longest duration possible to the subject with which it is connected. Evil men and seducers wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. If Mr. Balfour is to be credited, he has made no great bargain by embracing his present faith. He announces, in tones of bitter complaint and disappoint ment, that his books have not yielded him a dollar’s profit, but have been a bill of expense. Many, he says, have for got to pay for them,-and after all his toil for the cause, he is deserted in his old age by those who have been so much indebted to him. After years of labor and success; after having seen his views adopted by thousands, and all the good his system could possibly accomplish done by his own hand, as he reviews the whole, he puts forth the following, as the result of his bitter experience in the ministry of death :ÔÇöÔÇ£I HAVE BEEN TEMPTED To CURSE THE DAY I EVER PUBLISHED A BookÔÇöI AM HEART sick of IT, AND TO BE TOLD THAT MY BOOKS HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE RAPID SPREAD OF UNIVERSALISM HAS NO TENDENCY TO REMOVE THIS KIND OF sickness.ÔÇØ
THOMAS WHITTEMORE. The history of the founders of Universalism would not be complete, should I omit the name of the editor of the Trumpet. He may be regarded as the great prophet of the day. Though not among the first founders of the system, Mr. Whittemore has done somewhat to give a peculiar form to Universalism, in respect to its meetings and public gatherings. To remove the charge of impiety and hatred to revivals of religion, Mr. W. introduced a sort of wild fire services, dignified with the name of conference meet ingsÔÇösometimes they are called prayer-meetings. The singing, and remarks in favor of ÔÇ£our cause,ÔÇØ compose the services of the occasion. Tunes are sung, such as usually are sung in seasons of revivals; and sometimes re vival hymns, with an expurgation such as would be need ful to adapt them to a Universalist revival, are used. But amid all this pretence, you detect the impiety of the men. The same persons whom, in the evening, you may hear singing revival tunes, may be found, the next day, swear ing about the streets. The same men who talk about the love of God and of Christ, will be found to bear the most deadly hate to Jesus and his cause. Theirs is a conversion which changes no man’s character; it is a regeneration which leaves the heart evil; which shows you a converted man who casts off fear and restrains prayer; which breaks up devout habits where they had been formed; and which leads to no reform in any of the passions or vices of men. It presents a profession of religion which a man may put on without breaking off one bad passion, or renouncing one evil habit. Mr. W.’s all engrossing passion is the love of money, and his zeal for Universalism is made conducive to this, with him, great end of life. A man once asked Mr. W. why he did not elevate the character oftheTrumpet. The reply was characteristic :-” Some actors play to the pit; some to the boxes. Those who play to the boxes, get the most honor: those who play to thepit get the mostmoney.ÔÇØ No man who opens the Trumpet can be at a loss to know to what class its editor plays. He has made money; and, while poor Mr. Balfour complains of the leanness of his reward, the editor of the Trumpet, as he treadshis spacious halls, and ÔÇ£fares sumptuously every day,ÔÇØ ÔÇ£being clothed in fine linen,ÔÇØ can exclaim, ÔÇ£Sir, ye know that by this craft I have my wealth.ÔÇØ
RESTORATIONISTS. Up to the period in which Mr. Balfour’s view obtained a general spread, the term Universalists embraced all that believed in the final salvation ofall men. But the adoption of the view put forth by Mr. Ballou, and defended by Mr. Balfour, induced a large and respectable number of preach ers and laymen to withdraw from the sect. They formed a distinct sect, under the name of Restorationists. They hold no fellowship with the Universalists, and are recognized by them as a distinct sect. When the Restorationists formed themselves into a distinct denomination, they were called by the Universalists, a new sect. It was asserted in the Universalist prints, that by no class were the Univer salists so bitterly opposed as by them. A few persons may now be found among the Universalists who profess to be lieve in future punishment. But they maintain their position by profound silence upon that subject. The Res torationists have been merged in the Unitarian sect, and most of the preachers are now settled over Unitarian societies.
SYSTEM OF DOCTRINE. The doctrines which are peculiar to modern Universalism are novel, destructive, and fatal. They are unlike those which are adopted by Christians. Between Universalists and their opposers, there is no common ground. They employ terms which are familiar to Christian ears; they use the words that are found in the Bible to express their system of doctrine in part. But when employed by Universalists, those words have another sense, widely different from their real meaning. Universalists talk of the gospel, profess to believe it, to have a commission to preach it. But what is it ! A mere mockery! It has noredemption in it; for men are punished in full for all their sins. It even gives no man a title to heaven; for no one has lost that title. It cannot save from sin; for men sin till this life closes, so that they are not saved here from sin; there is no sin in the next life, so that it cannot save there. It redeems no man from death, for all die; nor from the grave, for all must lie there; nor from hell, for to that Universalism says men were never exposed. It remits no penalty; it saves men from no punishment due to their crimes, for this system says that that would be unjust. It writes no one’s name in the book of life, for none was ever blotted out. Its whole business, and the only purpose for which it was given, is to teach that hell is a fable, future punishment a relic of superstition; and that no one need be afraid to die ; for die when or how a man may, nothing remains for him but an immortal state equal to the angels of God in heaven. It professes to believe in the evil of sin; yet it is an evil that is not fatal; and it is no great thing to be redeemed from it; no great thing not to be redeemed at all. Sin is not an evil in the sight of God; and, in the estimation of the sect, God would rather prefer to have his law broken than kept; and, as a proof of it, has determined to raise all, who persist in their rebellion till life shall close, to a seat at his right hand. Universalism talks of the death of Christ; but denies the atonement. It talks of the death which Jesus tasted for all; yet it affirms most boldly that Christ does nothing for men that they cannot do for them selves; nor would any be lost if he had not died at all. He lived to teach Universalism : he died to show that a Universalist could die and rise again from the dead. Such is the great and mighty mission given to the Son of God, according to that system which, above all others, professes to magnify the mercy of God through Jesus Christ. Nor is this all. It teaches that life is not a probation; that no act of man can affect in the least his future condition ; that all will stand upon an equality in the next world, all start from the grave upon the same level, however they may have lived or died; that secret prayer is not a duty enjoin ed by its creed; that the Sabbath is an institution of expediency, and not of divine appointment; and that all are hastening to the grave, and to a world beyond, in which no difference will be made between the evil and the good, ÔÇ£between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not.ÔÇØ The system ofdoctrine peculiar to Universalism is this: a gospel not essential to salvation; a death for sinners with no redemption, no atonement in it; a denial of depravity, regeneration, and a life of holiness; a belief that sin is not an evil in the sight of God; that it can do no great harm to men in this life, and will debar no man from heaven; a denial of the immortality of the soul, and of future retribu tion. Such is the system of Universalism. The founders and advocates of such deadly errors pre sent themselves before the world as teachers of righteousness and ministers of truth. They would have the world believe that prophets predicted such doctrines by inspira tion; thatangelsannounced their approach ; and that Jesus Christ left the bosom of his Father to cast such sentiments over the earth, lived and suffered to teach them, died to sanction and confirm them; and that, though revealed in the Bible,they were hidfrom all men, for eighteen hundred years, and at length were revealed to Murray, Ballou, and Balfour. How true it is, that when men like not to retain God in their knowledge, he gives them up to vile inten tions; and when they will not repent, but persist in their evil ways, he sends them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.
AN EXAMINATION OF THE ARGUMENT. It has been common for Universalists to complain of Christians, that they overlook the arguments which they present in proof of their system. They affirm, that when a man opposes their faith, he arrays against it a certain part of the Bible, presents certain objections to it, calls it licentious in its tendency, and fatal in its result, while the argument in its favor is wholly overlooked. Our view of Universalism would not be complete without a glance at this argument. And as this work is designed to make the reader acquainted with the system as it is, and assist him in bringing against it an intelligent opposition, I shall present a few of the more important and popular arguments by which the system is sustained. Before doing this, a few things should be kept in mind as we pass along.
1. It is only necessary to notice the argumentthatis peculiar to Universalism; that which proves that all men will be saved. Much that is called Universalism is common to many forms oferror. Those parts which sympathize with Atheism and Deism, are already met in Natural Theology and our Treatises upon the Evidences of Christianity. A part of the system is identified with those who find in the Bible false readings, interpretations, and false translations; the answer to whom is found in the defences of the inspiration and authenticity of the Bible, and in works upon biblical criticism. A part of Universalism is a revival of the old errors of Simon Magus. Another part embraces the old exploded errors of Unitarianism, with its cavils and rash assertions. Another part embraces almost every form of destructive error that has sprung up by the wayside as the car of truth has travelled onward from generation to gener ation. To each of these errorsand notions a reply hasbeen furnished by those who have defended truth, and assailed error in all ages of the church. When we speak of the arguments in favor of Universalism, we refer to those which touch the distinctive features of UniversalismÔÇöthe notion that all will be saved.
2. All candid minds must be struck with the meagre amount of proof that Universalists adduce from the Bible to sustain their faith. Withthe principles of interpretation that they bring to the Bible, one would suppose that a thousand proof texts might easily be produced. The work of its advocates is, so to wrest the Bible, that it may seem to teach Universalism. But both their principles and pro fessions avail them but little in their work. Few are the proof texts that they dare rely upon, or present to an intel SYSTEM OF DOCTRINE. 29 ligent mind. A few years ago, the sect felt the need of a popular tract, which should be a compendium of the scriptural argument in favor of Universalism.- This was supplied by Thomas Whittemore, in a tract, which was announced as containing one hundred scriptural arguments in favor of the system. But Mr. W. could not find one hundred distinctpassages of scripture which even he would dare quote as proof texts. He has compiled what he calls one hundred arguments. They are the most feasible and popular that the sect employ. They include all that any Universalist generally quotes from the Bible to support his faith. To make up one hundred, some texts are di vided into three parts, and others into two ; each part making a separate argument. Some are repeated several times, and each repetition makes a new argument. There is added frequently an inference by the compiler, and each inference is offered as a scriptural proof or argument. In this way a hundred arguments are secured to prove that Universalism is the very doctrine the whole Bible was given to teach.
3. Most of the proofs from the Bible upon which Universalism rests are irrelevant, having nothing to do with the subject, as the context proves; and others, so far from teaching that all men will be saved, teach, in their proper connection, most emphatically another doctrine.
4. The glaring inconsistency of the system, and the recklessness of the men to whom the author of the system has committed the preaching of his faith, are in no way so vividly displayed as in connection with the defence of Universalism. Bringagainst thatsystem those parts of the Old Testament which assure the sinner that he shall die; that he shall rise in the future world to shame and ever lasting contempt,and be banished forever from the presence and favor of God, unless he repents and turns to God; and Universalists will attempt to evade their force by asserting that the Old Testament does not refer at all to a future life; and that all its promises and threatenings are limited to this world. Yet by far the larger part of the scriptural proofs upon which Universalism rests is taken from that very book of which Universalists assert that it does not refer to the future at all. If endless death be not in the Old Testament, endless life is not there. If all the threat enings are confined to this world, so are all the promises. With this marked absurdity around them, Universalists call upon an intelligent community to receive their system as the one revealed in the word of God. When it is said in the Revelation, that all men are bound to the judgment, and that the wicked will be cast into a lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, from which the smoke oftheir tor ment will ascend forever, Universalists reply that the Revelation had its fulfilment some 1800 years ago, when Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans. And then, as if to show that they are blind leaders of the blind, they gravely adduce a part of this very book to prove that all men will be saved, and find the Revelation to be the treasure house of some of the most important and popular proof texts they present. With great power does the apostle describe such men, ÔÇ£as opposing themselves, being taken captive by Satan at his will.ÔÇØ
We will now exhibit the principal arguments on which Universalism relies.
ARG. I.-God has promised to bless all nations in the seed of Abraham; that seed is Christ; that blessing is spiritual: therefore all nations will be saved. REPLY.-It is true, that all nations will be blessed in Christ; no one exclusively favored, no one necessarily ex cluded, for he has made no difference between the Jew and the Greek, the bond and the free. But the promise extends to nations, not to individuals. All nations may be blessed, and yet individuals live and perish in sin. A nation may be free, and yet thousands belonging to it may be bound in prison. A nation may be intelligent and refined,while many individuals in it are rude, uncultivated and ignorant. The storehouses of a nation may groan with the abundance of food within them, and yet persons with their eyes upon such granaries perish for lack of bread. Some out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, John saw upon Mount Zion before the throne of God. But all the individuals in those nations were not there. The seed of Abraham alone are to be blessed in Christ: ÔÇ£If ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.ÔÇØ (Gal. iii. 29.) The gospel is to be preached to all people. By many it may be trampled under foot, and theblood of the covenant account ed an unholy thing: but when men believe and obey the gospel, they become the seed of Abraham, and are adopted into the family of God. (Rom. viii. 9.)
ARG. II.-” The Bible contains universal promises. It assures us that God has made a feast for all people, and said that from all eyes tears shall be wiped away.ÔÇØ REPLY.-God has made no universal promise without annexing thereto a condition, compliance with which is in dispensableto the obtaining of the promise. God has made a feast; man must eat thereof to be blessed by the pro vision. God has opened a fountain; man must wash in it to be clean. God has thrown up a pathway to heaven; man must leave the path of death, and walk in the strait and narrow way, if he would secure life eternal. The promise in Isaiah xxv. 8ÔÇô11, to which the argument re fers, while it proves that none are excluded from the offer, also assures us that many will miss the blessing promised. By rejecting the invitation they at thelast wouldbe trodden down ÔÇ£as straw is trodden down for the dunghill;ÔÇØ while the people of God alone were to have their tears wiped away, and ÔÇ£their rebuke taken from off the face of the whole earth.ÔÇØ
ARG. III.-The oath of God, that every knee shall bow, and that all things shall be subject to the Son; which im plies the obedience and salvation of all men.ÔÇö(Isa. xxv. 23, 24.) REPLY.ÔÇöAll who believe the Bible, believe that all things are to bow to Christ, and be subject to him. But it does not follow that the subjection is a willing one, or that the subjected are reconciled or blest. There is a subjection of conquest, as well as of love. Nations may yield to an overwhelming superiority of force, while the spirit ofrebel lion and opposition remains unsubdued. Men often yield to the arm of power, not because submission is welcome, but because resistance is useless. The daring pirate treads the scaffold without offering resistance, because compelled to submit. The bold villain bows to the discipline of the prison, and allows the grated door to close between him and liberty, because he cannot avoid it. Devils are sub jectto Christ; they believe and tremble; yetare they devils still. Fallen angels are subject to Christ, yet are they not blest nor reconciled. They are subject because, confined in chains and darkness, they await their final doom in the judgment of the great day. While it is called an ÔÇ£accept ed timeÔÇØ men are commanded to repent, to bow the knee to Jesus Christ. Now, they may bow as willing subjects, and take the pardon which Christ offers. If they bow not as subjects, then in the judgment must they bow as foes. ÔÇ£As rebels without hope, must theylie beneath the feet of earth’s mighty conqueror.ÔÇØ ÔÇ£He must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet.ÔÇØÔÇö1 Cor. xv. 28. To teach this truth was the scripture, by which the Universal ist argument is supported, given. St. Paul asserts that the passage in Isa. xxv. 23, 24, is to be fulfilled in the judgment, when every man shall give an account of him self unto God, and when the unbelieving shall be ashamed and confounded.ÔÇö(Rom. xiv. 10, 11.)
ARG. IV.-God has said,that he will not castoffthe sin ner forever. If no one is cast off forever, then must all ultimately be restored.ÔÇö(Lam, iii. 31.) REPLY-It would be a sufficient reply to this argument to say, that God has explicitly declared, that, if men for sake him, he will cast them offforever-(1 Chron. xxviii. 9.) The one declaration is to be credited as much as the other. The passage in Lamentations has no reference to God’s purpose or pleasure in respect to the race of man in the future life. The people to whom the prophet referred, were at that moment cast off. They were in captivity in a strange land. That bondage was to cease; the days of their mourning and captivity to cease; and they be restored to their own land and city. It was at that time, and in respect to that captivity, that those people were not to be forever cast off. But this gives no assurance to wicked men, that God will not at some time cast them foreverfrom his presence. Nor does it contradict those repeated asser tions in the Holy Book, that all who forsake God and per sist in their rebellion, shall be cast offforever, and shall go away into everlasting punishment, and shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. ARG. W.-By the mouth of all God’s holy prophets has the restitution of all things been spoken of.-(Acts iii. 21.) – REPLY.ÔÇöThe restitution of all things of which the prophets spake, and the salvation of all men of which Universalists speak, are two very different things. The resti tution was to be effected in part by John the Baptist; though no Universalist would assert that John was the sa viour of all men. ÔÇ£Elias must first come and restore all things,ÔÇØ not save all men.ÔÇö(Mat. xvii. 11.) This restora tion, in thecontext, iscalledthe times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, (v. 19,) to enjoy which, men mustrepent and turn to God; to neglect which, exposed each soul to destruction.ÔÇö(Acts ili. 19, 23.) 1. ARG. VI.-God wills the salvation of all men.ÔÇö(1 Tim. . ii. 4.) REPLY.ÔÇöIn the same sense he wills their repentance and their reception of the truth. Yet men live in impenitence, and die without coming to the knowledge of the is truth. Ifmen may resist God’s will in respect to repent- ance, they may also in respect to salvation. God is not willing that any should perish ; yet men do perish. It was the will of Christ that the Jews should be saved. ÔÇ£How oft would IÔÇöbut ye would not.ÔÇØ God calls upon all to be saved; for all has he made provision; upon all does he call to repent; upon all who perish must the whole blame of their destruction be found.
ARG. VII.-God is the Saviour of all men.ÔÇö(1 Tim. iv. 10.) REPLY.ÔÇöThis declares a present truthÔÇöÔÇ£God is the Saviour of all men.ÔÇØ If all men are now saved, not withstanding all the woe, and inequality, and sin of this life, then may all the destructions set forth in the Bible be fulfilled in eternity, and still God be the Saviour of all, then as now. The accompanying clause, ÔÇ£especially of those that believe,ÔÇØ proves that, while in a certain sense, God is the Saviour of all men, there is a higher sense in which he is not. He is not the eternal Saviour of all men. Paul, the author of the text under consideration, asserts, that Christ became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.ÔÇö(Heb. v. 9.)
ARG. VIII.-All who die in Adam will be made alive in Christ.ÔÇö(1 Cor. xv. 22.) REPLY.ÔÇöThis passage reveals the certainty of the resurrection of all men;ÔÇôa truth denied in the apostolic age. But it asserts nothing in favor of the salvation of all. It || says that all shall live again; but reveals not the character or destiny of the race. Universalists have not done their work when they prove that all shall live again. That truth no Christian denies. They are to prove that in that life, all will be equal, all will be happy; that the good and the evil, the just and the unjust, Judas as well as Paul, will all have one resurrection and one destiny. The pas sage quoted asserts no such doctrine. It asserts the con trary. ÔÇ£For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made aliveÔÇöbut every man in his own order,ÔÇØ i.e., according to his character. ÔÇ£He that is unjust or ÔÇ£unholyÔÇÖ will be so still.ÔÇØ According to their characters will men, at the command of Christ, come out of their graves, ÔÇ£to everlasting life, or to shame and everlasting contempt.ÔÇØ
ARG. IX.ÔÇöGod is love : he cannot punish men with everlasting death.-(John iv. 8.) – REPLY.ÔÇöGod is love: it is a present truth; it is a fact this moment, and has been since the creation, as much as it ever will be in eternity. He can punish men all the days of this life, and be a God of love. He may punish them all the days of the next, and be a God of love, there as here. Men are now subject to sin, woe and death, though God is love. If such suffering is consistent with love for a day, it can be so forever. Ifhe cannot punish men in the future world because he is love, then he cannot punish them now, for he is even now love. But he does punish them here; then may he hereafter. If the infliction of misery cannot be made consistentwithlove, it maybe inflicted nevertheless. It is inflicted here, on the Universalist theory. Hence it may be so hereafter. For thousands of years God has been doing what this argument asserts he cannot do. Human misery here exists in spite of the fact that God is love; it may so exist in the life that is to come. The benevolence of a government, and the love of a parent, are seen as perfectly in the punishment of the guilty, as in rewarding thegood and the obedient. The love of God acts in perfect harmony with his justice. It will have as much to do with casting men into hell, as it will in introducing men to realms of bliss.
ARG. X-The omnipotence ofGod is a pledge that all will be happy. He can save men from sin and woe in the future, if he will. If he does not he is not good. REPLY.ÔÇöGod is as omnipotent in respect to the evil of this life, as he can be in respect to that of the next. He has all the ability to save from woe at the present time that he will have for the future. He is able to make this life a paradise as to make the life beyond the grave. If the existence of universal happiness in the eternal world is a proof, either that God is not omnipotent, or not good, then is it equally true in regard to this world. God may be both powerful and good; and yet allow men, both here and hereafter, who sow a harvest of death, to reap the same, and eat the fruits of their own doing. Thus the argument falls to the ground. For all that an omnipotent God may do in this world, he may do in the next. Sin and woe are permitted here, and they may be there.
ARG. XI.-The paternal character of God is a pledge that all men will be saved. – REPLY.ÔÇöIt is equally a pledge, thatcreatures made holy would be kept so. But were they so kept2 Did they not sin and perish 2 Before the firsttransgression, God was as much the father of men as he ever will be. It is but rea sonable to suppose, that, if his paternal character was pledged to save men from misery hereafter, it was equally pledged to keep men from sin at first. It did not keep Adam from rebellion, nor save him from its curse. Before men suffered the miseries of this life, God was their father. Did that character save men from the woe and wretched mess of this life? Did it arrest the deluge 2 save Sodom from the fiery flood? or the world from wrath and desolation? The paternal character of God is not pledged to save men from falling into sin; how then can it be a pledge that men shall be saved from the results of sin if it keeps no one from misery now, what assurance does it afford that it ever will ? All that God may now do con sistently with his paternal character, he mayever do. But in the savingsense, God is not the Father of all men. Men are aliens. They must possess the spirit of adoption be fore they can cry, ÔÇ£Abba, Father.ÔÇØ
ARG. XII.-The gospel, that it may be good tidings to all men, must convey the idea that all will be saved, and not the doctrine of eternal death. Reply.ÔÇöOne might as well say of a pardon, because it is good tidings to a prisoner, that it cannot imply imprison ment or guilt. Without the guilt and punishment, what would a pardon be worth As well might it be said, that the announcement of a cure for a fearfully fatal disease could not convey the idea of sickness or death, because such an announcement must needs be joyous; or that the news ofpeace could not imply desolation and carnage, be cause the proclamation is welcome to all. The value of the gospel is found in the fact, that it comes to save from eternal death. It does not create that death. It is not responsible for it. Pardon does not create the crime, or the penalty. The medicine is not responsible for the disease, nor its deadly character. It was man’s state of condemnation which called forth the gospel, and gives it its value. If men disbelieve the gospel, it does not con demn them, for they were condemned already. It simply leaves the sinner to the doom which awaited him before it came, and from which it offered to deliver him. When men despise the gospel, it leaves them to perish. As the messenger who stands at the call of the prisoner, urging him to accept the proffer of mercy which he brings, with draws the offer of pardon, when he has been insulted and his mediation despised, so does the gospel. It calls upon all to live; if they will not hear, it lets justice take its course. It is a savor of life or death to all men. (2 Cor. ii. 15, 16.)
ARG. XIII.-Endless death, as the penalty for sin, defeats the end of punishment, which is the good of the punished. REPLy.ÔÇöThe end of punishment is not the good of the punished. If the guilty are restored, it is well. Ifnot, the infliction of the penalty is not in vain. The people of the old world were not drowned for their own benefit. Sodom and Gomorrah were not condemned to an eternal overthrow to make their inhabitants virtuous and happy. We do not imprison a man for life to make him better; nor execute the murderer to transform him into aninnocent man. We punish men because they transgress; theirdoom is a warn ing to the ungodly, bringing a restraint upon evil doers. (2 Peter ii. 4, 6. ARG. XIV.-” Punishment must be corrective tobe just. It is not merci?ul when it fails to reform.ÔÇØ REPLY.ÔÇöIt is not the sole object ofpunishment to reform. Maintenance of law and order, the security of property and life, are the ends sought by public justice. Men are sel dom made better by imprisonment; yet shall the desperate and hardened be turned loose upon the community,because they are incorrigible Punishment is not cruel, it is not useless, even when it fails to amend. There is in it a restraining power which protects the whole nation. Its value in regard to all the interests of society can never be known this side the judgment seat of Christ.
ARG. XV.-The punishment of endless death for the sins of this short life is disproportionate. No man can deserve such a penalty; therefore it must be unjust. REPLY.ÔÇöHow do these reasoners know how much evil sin has done in the universe ofGod? or how much punish ment it deserves2 We know whatone sin has done; how its influence has travelled on for six thousand years, working in our world to the present hour. How long will it be just to punish sin Let the Universalist say. Suppose a man should sin all the days of this life; may he be punish ed all the days of this life? Universalists answer, Yes. Then if he sins all the days of the next life, may he not justly suffer during all those days Universalists them selves being judges, the punishment is just, the penalty proportionate. The sinner will then be left to himself. No gracious calls will arrest his steps. No offers of mercy will invite him to turn from his evil way ! All restraint will be taken off; and he will go on from gloom to gloom. He will reap what he sows. For him no day-star of hope will shine; no space for repentance be found. The man who will waste this mortal state of probation, who will live in sin, and die in impenitence, would waste another, if given to him. ÔÇ£In thy lifetime thou receivedst thy good things,ÔÇØ was the overwhelming reply of Abraham to the rich man’s impassioned entreaty for relief from his place of torment. A ÔÇ£death without mercy,ÔÇØ and aÔÇ£punishment sorerÔÇØ than that, was threatened by Paul to all who ÔÇ£tramp led under foot the Son of God.ÔÇØ (Heb. x. 26, 31.)
ARG. XVI.-God is good to all, impartially good, un changeably good; hence all men must be happy. REPLY.ÔÇöGod is as good in this present state of things as he ever will be. In no other sense than that which now holds true, will he be good to all men; for the argument presupposes the immutability of God. It is evident that universal goodness leads to no results in this life, such as Universalists say it will lead to in the next. It does not now lead to universal happiness: all men are not happy. It does not lead to equality of condition; all men are not equal in the gifts of intellect, fortune, or health. It does not lead to an equality of nations: one has the Bible, another is sunk in the most degrading superstition; one is 40 SYSTEM OF DOCTRINE. intelligent and refined, another barbarous and rude ; one is blest with civil and religious freedom, another is ground to the earth by the iron heel of despotic power; one abounds in food, thousands in another die forlack ofbread. The argument assumes the universal goodness of God as a present fact; and yet all are not happy; all are not equal. It assumes that God is unchangeable; so then must the same difference in condition, the same inequality, always continue while God shall endure. If he is not now good, the argument based upon that supposed goodness is lost. If he is now good, then must all those distinctions in char acter and condition exist in the future state, which the Bible so clearly reveals.
ARG. XVII.-The character of God will prevent His destroying the work of his own hands. It is true, man is a sinner; but the power and goodness of God will prevent any man from going to hell. RePLY.ÔÇöDid it save the old world, when a flood swept away the ungodly Did it spare guilty Sodom, in whom not five righteous men were found2 Would it have saved the people of Nineveh, or averted their fate, if they had not repented before God? God will by no means clear the guilty, who will not repent. All he has said will be done, whether it relate to the judgments of this life, or the loss of the soul in hell. –
ARG. XVIII.-No man can be happy in heaven with the knowledge that any are in hell. But as heaven is a happy place, all will be happy. REPLY.ÔÇöCan no man enjoy freedom,with theknowledge that many are in prison 2 Can no man enjoy life, because the murderer is hung 2 Cannot the fruits of temperance and industry be relished, because the intemperate and indo lent suffer 2 The argument is absurd and false in respect to this life: it will be equally so in respect to the life that is to come. No man is glad that evil men abound and do wickedly. But when they are detected, all respond to the necessity of the punishment. We are alarmed when the incendiary is abroad, and the man ofblood goes undetected. We rejoice when the murderer is taken. We know he has forfeited life. We wish justice to take its course, and the more pure we are, the more we acquiesce in the just doom of the guilty. In the eternalworld,the mouth of the guilty will be shut; and the redeemed will say, ÔÇ£It is well ?ÔÇØ As Israel rejoiced in their deliverance, though PharaohÔÇÖs host perished; so in heaven will the full chorus go up, though many judge themselves unworthy ofeternal life.
ARG. XIX-Men are fully punished in this world for all the sins they commit; and in justice they cannot be ex posed to further punishment in the future state. REPLY.ÔÇöThe Bible does not teach that this life is a state of complete retribution; but rather of discipline andproba tion. It is compared to a race in which a man keeps on to the end before he is rewarded ; to a stewardship and a warfare, which imply respectively that the master must return, and the war close, before a just estimate can be put upon the case. The Bible does not refer us to this world as the theatre in which the moral government of God is vindicated; but it refers to the day ofjudgmentas the time in which men shall ÔÇ£turnanddiscern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not.ÔÇØ In this life, the innocent suffer with, and often more than, the guilty. Those sins which lie at the bottom of all crime, the sins of the eye, the heart, the imagination, cannot be known, much less punished here. The deeds ofmen live long after the actor is dead. Until the work ceases, no one can be adequately rewardedÔÇöas men often do more evil after their death than while they lived, it would be impossible to reward men according to their works in this life. Conscience cannotpunish a man. It may prompt or admonish. But it may be seared. Its pulsations grow more and more feeble, as men grow bold in sin. It may be wrong. It has sanctioned all the perse cutions for the truth’s sake from Saul of Tarsus down to the present hour. Law cannot secure to men in this life an adequate punishment, nor secure the ends of perfect justice. Many are above law; many escape detection, or through the imperfection of evidence escape the penalty. The Bible emphatically declares, that ungodly men and fallen spirits are ÔÇ£reserved unto the day ofjudgment to be punished.ÔÇØÔÇö(2 Peter ii. 4ÔÇö9.) Such in substance are the arguments in defence of Uni versalism. These are the principal reasons, changed, re peated and modified, which make up the one hundredargu ments. Take in hand any treatise upon the subject, and you will find one or more of these proofs, which I have examined, constitutingthe main defence.
STATEMENT OF THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST UNIVERSALISM.
1. It has all the marks of being the doctrine of Satan which attended the temptation in Eden. Its purpose, its result is the same.
2. It answers to the false teaching, which, in the days of the prophets, seduced men from the path of truth to the way of death. Like that, it is a system of van ity and lies, cries peace to the wicked, daubs with un tempered mortar, sews pillows to all arm-holes, and with lies makes sad the heart ofthe righteous,by promising the wicked life, though he turn not from his sins. In no way can Universalism be so well described, or its ministers be sographically represented, as by reading the prophets refer red to.
3. It fulfils the prediction of the apostlesin respecttothe errors of later times. ÔÇ£For such are false apostles deceit ful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himselfis transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of right eousness; whose end shall be according to their works.ÔÇØÔÇö (2 Cor. xi. 13ÔÇô15.) Such were to ÔÇ£bring in damnable heresies;ÔÇØ ÔÇ£deny the Lord that bought them;ÔÇØ ÔÇ£make merchandise of the souls of men;ÔÇØ and ÔÇ£lead many from the truth to ?ables.ÔÇØ Those delusions which have been scattered over the surface of time from the firsttemptation, may now be found embodied in Universalism.
4. It has the marks of falsehood which distinguish AtheismÔÇöall nations, in all ages have rejected it.
5. It does notappearupon the face of any partofthe Bible. Take any part, print it in the form of a tract, and it would not convert a single soul to Universalism. The sermon on the Mount, or on Mar’s Hill, for example. When they read the scriptures in public, Universalist preachers are obliged to use great care in the selection.
6. It makes the Bible an unmeaning or deceptive book. If Universalism be true, the Bible has misled the mass of Christians, the best, the most devoted students, for eighteen hundred years. Martyrs at the stake have died in defence of sentiments which were false, but which they supposed they found in the Bible. It is nota light shining in a dark place. It is not an unerring guide unto truth.
7. Its age is against it. The father ofthe system has not been dead fifty years. The first society in America was organized in 1785. And the man yet lives who gave it its present form.
8. It has no fixed character. It is not the same in any two periods of time. It is a child of many parents. At one time it teaches, that men are to be saved from hell; and at another, that men were never exposed to hell. It teaches at one time, that Christ, by his death, made a vica rious atonement; at another, that his death was simply that of a witness to the truth. We are told by one father, that men will be saved, because Christ has ransomed them, or paid their debt; by another, that men are adequately punished, and are saved on the ground of strict retributive justice; and by still another, that the resurrection is to do the work and prepare men for heaven. At one time, men are thought to be justly exposed to endless punishment; at another, endless punishment is regarded as cruel and unjust. With some, Christ was divine; with others, he was simply a man. The explanation of scripture adopted by the sect is equally contradictory. Two or three differ ent and contradictory interpretations attend the same text. When one of the explanations does not remove a scriptural difficulty out of the way of Universalism, another is adopt ed, and then another. Thus the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew is, by Mr. Murray, referred to thejudgment. It shows that sinners are to be cast into the love of God, ac cording to Mr. Ballou. And Mr. Balfour is very certain that it refers to the valley of Hinnom.
9. The positive teaching of Christ, that men were ex posed to hell, to a punishment after the death of the body, a punishment more dreadful than the death of the body, puts down the system.ÔÇö(Mat. x. 28.)
10. The fact that men could commit a sin which would never be forgiven, which would expose the guilty to eternal damnation, proves that Universalism is a ÔÇ£ministry of lies.ÔÇØ Such a sin did Ananias and Sapphira commit; for it they died.ÔÇö(Mark iii. 29. Acts v. 3.)
11. The distinctions to be made in the resurrection con fute the idea of universal salvation. ÔÇ£Some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.ÔÇØÔÇö(Dan. xii. 2.) ÔÇ£They that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.ÔÇØÔÇö(John ix. 28, 29.) ÔÇ£Thou shalt be re compensed at the resurrection of the just.ÔÇØÔÇö(Luke xiv. 14.) ÔÇ£Them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.ÔÇØÔÇö(1 Thess. iv. 14, 16.) We find, that, in the resurrection, some will ÔÇ£be clothed,ÔÇØ and some ÔÇ£be found naked.ÔÇØÔÇö(2 Cor. v. 1ÔÇô4.) We read of the ÔÇ£better resur rection,ÔÇØ for the sake ofwhich holy men often endured per secution and death for the truth’s sake, (Heb. xi. 33ÔÇô35;) and ofÔÇ£the resurrection of the just and unjust;ÔÇØ and of ÔÇ£the first resurrection,ÔÇØ which will save all who have a part in it from ÔÇ£the second death.ÔÇØÔÇö(Rom. xx. 6.)
12. The destruction of the old world, as a type of future judgment, is utterly opposed to Universalism.ÔÇö(2 Peter iii. 7.)
13. The fact that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are set forth as an ÔÇ£ensample, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire,ÔÇØ and are to be judged in common with all our race, effectually disproves Universalism.ÔÇö(Jude 7. Mark vi. 11.) A.
14. Universalism is disproved by the Bible doctrine, that death is the penalty of sin, which men may escape by repentance. The penalty is not natural death : from that no man can escape though he does repent. The penalty is not spiritual death; for that is the crime. It is eternal death. When God said to our first parents, ÔÇ£In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,ÔÇØ he conveyed by the term death the idea which the Jews attached tothat word in the time when Moses wrote. All know that it signified the eternal death of the soul by the threatenings of God against sinners. What death is to the body, the penalty of God’s law will be to the soul.
15. Universalism is confuted by that large class oftexts, which runs through the entire Bible, and which compares this life to a race, or a warfare ; which presents conditions to salvation; which leaves the event doubtful and the danger certain.
16. Universalism is inconsistent with the conduct of all holy men of old, who lived and walked with God, suffered for His name, and went joyfully to death for his sake, that they might secure a crown of life, and dwell with God for ever.ÔÇö(Heb. xi.)
17. Another argument is afforded by the testimony of Paul, that he lived, preached, and labored in view of the judgment, that at last he might be accepted and not be a cast-away.ÔÇö(2 Cor. v. 1ÔÇô11.)
18. Universalism is discredited by the number, learning and piety of those who reject it, compared with the char acter of those who embrace and defend it. The one hav ing maintained these views for eighteen hundred years; the other sect newly come up.
19. Universalism is contrary to that repeated declaration of Christ in respect to the certainty, nature, and endless duration offuture punishment, as found in the first sermon that fell from the lipsofthe Son of God, in the entire record ofhis teachings. 20. The current language of the Bible is irreconcilable to Universalism.ÔÇöMat. xvi. 24ÔÇô30. Mat. x. 28. Mat. xxv. 31ÔÇô46. Luke xvi. 19ÔÇô31. 2 Thess. i. 6ÔÇô10. 2 Cor. v. 1ÔÇô11. Heb. x. 26ÔÇô31. 2 Peter ii. 1ÔÇô9; iii. 7ÔÇô9. Rev. xx. 11ÔÇô15; xxii. 11ÔÇô19. In this compendium I have purposely omittedarguments drawn from analogy, reason andthe fruits of Universalism. I selected these as among the more prominent reasons for rejecting the claims ofthe system. Let the reader compare these twenty reasons for rejecting Universalism with the nineteen that are offered in favor of it, and then judge.
CHARACTER OF UNIVERSALIST SOCIETIES. The communities gathered under the influence of such a system as Universalism, and gathered to sustain it, are such as might be expected, both in character and duration. They are composed mostly not of the soberÔÇönot of the moral or virtuous;ÔÇôbut of men of no religious principle;men tired of restraint, wishing the largest license, and ask ing for a form of faith which will strengthen their hands to do evil. Such societies become the home ofbad men; the refuge of apostates. Excommunicate a man for wickedness, and you know where to find him afterwards. They take all that is left in a community; and it is a common remark of such as have no other habitation, when asked where they belong, that they are ÔÇ£Universalists, if any thing,ÔÇØ or they, ÔÇ£attend a Universalist meeting when they go anywhere.ÔÇØ If a man hangs himself, or dies of delirium tremens, no doubts exist as to who will attend his funeral, or what bell will announce his interment. Infidels are among the most zealous supporters of such meetings; and boys, young men of loose principles, the irreligious and profane, law breakers, with all others who have not the fear of God before their eyes, swell their ranks, support their cause, and bow to the minister as he passes through the streets, as to their spiritual guide. To accommodate such as attend their worship, meeting houses for this sect are sometimes, in the country, placed near a tavern. In some cases, keepers of taverns dispute about the location of a house, and offer a premium to have it placed near their own tavern to secure the Sabbath custom; as in the town of Epping, N. H. In other cases, liquor is bought by the quantity, and kept in a chest, as a society concern, for the benefit of the faithful; as happened in the town of Southbridge, Mass. In other cases, a contract is made with the landlord to place a decanter of spirit in a secret place, to which the initiated should have access; as was done in Stafford, Ct. And frequently a landlord will pay quite a sum to have a Sabbath’s preaching near his house, by some smart preacher of Universalism; as was done in Lee, N. H. Such associations are not formed for devotion, the ad vance of morals, or the reading ofthe Bible. Universalists read some parts of the Bible; those parts which they regard as proof texts. So do the Catholics. But the Catholics are not more ignorant of the Bible than they. All know this, who have anything to do with them. The daily read ing of the Bible for devotion and profit is not observed. They do not love the book; as they frequently express it, ÔÇ£The Trumpet is Bible enough for them.ÔÇØ Universalist societies do not long abide,-one goeth and another cometh. Men learn out in a short time, and hav ing assured themselves that there is no hell, care for little else in respect to religion. There is no room for wonder that so many societies exist: with such an abundance of material in every place to compose them, the marvel is, that there are not more. The pastor of the society in Philadelphia complains, that men who once were thepillars of the congregations, become Sabbath breakers, wandering about the streets and fields, while he preaches to empty pews. Mr. Balfour, calls Universalist societies ÔÇ£ropes of sand,ÔÇØ falling to pieces, leavingonly a fragment. He states that societies within his knowledge are made up ofÔÇ£infi dels and profane swearing menÔÇØÔÇöbuilding churches to shut up, or to transfer to other denominationsÔÇömaking Universalism a ÔÇ£hissing and a byewordÔÇØÔÇöcausing men to wonder that any one ÔÇ£could remain in the ministry.ÔÇØ Mr. Charles Hudson, now member of Congress, and for merly a Universalist preacher, states from the observation of years, that more than nine tenths of societies formed are of an irreligious, profane, ungodly character; ÔÇ£more than two thirds ofall that wereformed within the past ten years have perished.ÔÇØ H. Ballou, 2d, compares Universalist so cieties to a ÔÇ£dead body;ÔÇØ and preaching to ÔÇ£galvanism, operatingÔÇØ upon the body, which presents a ÔÇ£horrid mock ery of life.ÔÇØ He compares them also to ÔÇ£worthless car cases, which are half buriedÔÇØÔÇöÔÇ£a festering corruption on the face of the earth.ÔÇØ
TERMS OF RELIGIOUS PROFESSION. The Universalists have some churches. A few join them. But what is the character of the profession? What are the terms of church membership ! What must a man put off, and what put on, to qualify him for such a profes sion ? In the times of the apostles, men were required to repent, to become devout, to love holy men and holy things; to abstain from profanity, drunkenness, licentious ness, and all evil. The same is now demanded ofall who join the Christian church. It is nothing to say, that all who join Evangelical churches are not of this character. Such, at any rate, are the requisite terms of church mem bership. It would not be urged to the condemnation of Universalism, that all its church members were not what they ought to be. We have to do with its requirements; with what it makes indispensable to church membership. Churches are by no means general among the sect. Many prominent Universalists deny them altogether. A. C. Thomas, one of their leading men, has challenged in public any Universalist to prove that the Lord’s Supper was to endure after the destruction ofJerusalem. H. Ballou, 2d, says, that ÔÇ£two thirds of all the societies in the denomination are destitute of churches.ÔÇØ Few unite with them, when formed. Some think as did a Universalist in Salem, who said to me, that ÔÇ£if he should unite with the church, it would be carrying the joke too far.ÔÇØ Many are not sufficiently satisfied with the system to risk so much. Some are afraid of that fearful declaration, ÔÇ£He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drink eth damnation to himself.ÔÇØ They shrink from doing that which may harm, if Universalism should fail; and can do them no good, if it be true. While another class, though they profess to believe in Universalism, think that men ought to be changed before they goto the communion table. 5 And it is by no means true,that the more sober or thought ful join the church, or go to the table of the sect. But, so far as qualification and fitness are concerned, the whole community might be embraced; no change of char acter is requiredÔÇöÔÇ£He that is unjust is unjust still,and he that is filthy is filthy still.ÔÇØ It is regarded as no more sacred to go to the communion, than to the public meeting; and nothing that would not bar a man from hearing a ser mon on Universalism can debar him from its communion. There meet at a Universalist table, the Atheist, the Deist, the profane, the gambler, the drinker, and the adulterer. Ihave seen them all together at one table. I have broken the bread to them all. A professed Atheist, a member of Mr. Ballou’s church, was in the habit of attending Mr. B.’s meeting in the forenoon, and Mr. Kneeland’s in the after noon, except on communion afternoons, when he remained at Mr. B.’s to commune. When I was settled over the Universalist society in Hartford, Ct., a lady presented her self to me for admission to the church. As she was one of the most active women in the society, I asked why she had not before joined. She replied that only one thing had prevented, and she did not know but now it would stand in her way. It was thisÔÇöshe did not believe in Jesus Christ. A prominent member ofa Universalist societywas noted for his profanity. One day his minister reproved him for the practice. His reply was this. ÔÇ£I will tell you what it is; I know I swear a great deal, and in your pulpit you pray a great deal; but we do not either of us mean any thing by it.ÔÇØ In a town in Rhode Island the Universalists have communion service once or twice a year. At such times the elements are passed to the whole congregation indiscriminately. Some months since I visited that place. A Sabbath or two before, at their communion, the boys and girls, taking the bread as it was passed to them, converted it into spit-balls, and passed their time very much to their edification in throwing them at each other across thechurch. ln a town in N. H., a Universalist Church was organized, and three deacons chosen. At the close of the meeting, the deacons went over to a tavern and treated each other on the strength of their election; proving that, in their own opinion, the whole thing was a solemn mockery or farce. ÔÇ£Whosoever will, let him comeÔÇØ to the communion, is the practical invitation.
PECULIARITIES OF ITS MINISTRY. It has few things in common with the Christian ministry. Its peculiarities are its own. Little is known of this minis try. Who the men are that preach Universalism, whence they came, what their character, or their attainments are, the public know not. It is presumed that a minister is a gentleman, a man of good morals, and of education. All the reputation which the preachers of Universalism enjoy, comes from the profession. The public do not know that men may retail liquor by the glass, be profane, be infidels, be bigamists, have it all known, and yet maintain their rank as good and acceptable preachers. And yet the ministry of Universalism holds such men at this hour.
IT IS AN UNEDUCATED MINISTRY. Universalist preachers talk of Hebrew and Greek; while many of them are ignorant of the English tongue. They talk of Lightfoot, Jahn, and Campbell, men of whom they know nothing, except by help of a little book, published by one of the limited number competent to the work, and called, ÔÇ£Selections from Commentators.ÔÇØ The father of Universalism could preach for years very successfully, without a knowledge of English grammar. It has been asserted by the sect, in one of their public prints, that their ÔÇ£best and most successful preachers know nothing ofgrammar or rhetoric.ÔÇØ The Hudson River As if sociation have decided that ÔÇ£a knowledge of English grammar is not a requisite for ordination.ÔÇØ A young man, destitute of education, tired of some honest calling, may, in three or four weeks, become the Rev. Mr. B , able to argue all the good people out of their patience, if not out of their faith. A preacher left the Baptist denomination, and became a Universalist. In the account he gave of the reasons which made him a Universalist, I heard him relate this : Being troubled with his faith, he resolved to visit Andover, and converse with the professors of the theological school. After repeated conversations with Drs. Woods and Stuart, and finding himself, like the woman in the gospel, ÔÇ£no better,but rather worse,ÔÇØ he resolved to avail himself of the large library in the seminary; and, by close study and much prayer, remove his doubts, and firmly settle himself on the foundation of truth. But all his labor was in vain. His difficulties increased; and he was obliged to become a Universalist. Some young men at Andoverwere disposed to know how profound his investigations were. They examined the books of the librarian, and found that in the course of three or fourweeks he had taken from the library two booksÔÇöone was Hitchcock on Dyspepsia, the other had something to do with Dietetics. A Mr. Davis, writing in the Universalist Magazine at Utica, states that a man by the name of Carder left the ministry of Universalism and joined the Shakers, because ÔÇ£he could have three good meals regularly every day.ÔÇØ Judging from books referred to by the anxious inquirer at Andover to remove his doubts upon Orthodoxy, one would suppose that the seat of the difficulty was not in the head. A Universalist preacher, in Brunswick, Maine, proposed to preach a series of sermons on the original words rendered hell in the Bible. The professors and students of the college were particularly invited to attend. His first lecture was on what he called Shoel. ÔÇ£The wicked shall be turned into hellÔÇØÔÇöthat is, said the preacher, into Shoel. ÔÇ£If I make my bed in hell, thou art thereÔÇØÔÇöthat is, in Shoel. He closed the lecture much to his own satisfaction, leaving convincing proof upon the minds of his auditors of the depth of his learning, and proving himself much better acquainted with the psalm tune, Shoel, than the Hebrew word, Sheol. Learning is not essential to the ministry. Their most popular preachers, so they publish to the world, understand neither grammar nor rhetoric. –
IT IS A DECEPTIVE MINISTRY. You can get from it but an imperfect knowledge of the real sentiments of the sect. The preachers of Universalism confess to each other difficulties of which their opponents do not know. The irrelevancy of arguments; the bad re sults from the doctrine, and the fact that reasoning which satisfies others does not satisfy themselves, is admitted to each other, but deniedbefore men. You cannot from their papers get a true account of the number who leave them, nor of the societies which run down. The defence of Universalism varies according to circumstances. Some times it will be defended on one ground, and sometimes upon another and a contradictory ground. They will bap tize or notÔÇöin any way, or in no way, as best may suit. When unable to effect their purpose openly, the work is dome in secret. Sermons preached to Universalist congre gations are sent out as essays, and sold as religious books, while their real character is disguised, to influence public sentiment. Annuals may be found upon some tables, sup posed to be merely literary works, while they are full of Universalism. Books for children, written by Universalist preachers, and full of heresy, are sent out as being free from sectarianism. The Catholics are not more busy; they are not more deceptive and jesuitical. Under the cry of no sectarianism, they send out their deadly delusion. They publish garbled extracts from commentaries, to show that the fathers apply theirprinciples of interpretation; and in their hymn-books you will find Watts’ Hymns, with all that made them Watts’ expunged; thus leaving the im pression that that revered psalmist wrote the hymns they sing. – We see them at one time setting forth a fierce warfare against Sabbath Schools, and then adopting them; manifesting the most deadly hate towards revivals, and then professing to enjoy the blessing which attends them. In one era, the most determined foe to temperance, and in another attempting to lead the temperance host on to victo ry. The father of the system has not been dead fifty years; yet not one opinion for which he contended is respected or retained. Nor does the sect hold one thing in common with Christians. They use the termsÔÇöGod, Christ, inspiration, conversion, heaven and hell; but they mean not by them what Christians mean. And to become a Universalist, is to deny all that Christianity teaches.
IT IS A MINISTRY DESTITUTE OF COURTESY. Most of the preachers of Universalism are strangers to the common courtesies of life. They are bold and impu dent. They will go, uninvited, into a religious meeting, for the purpose of interruption. They frequently disturb the service, and insist upon giving a notice of their own; or demand that you accede to their request, under the penalty ofbeing branded with cowardice. For effect, they will send a challenge to men who they well know will take no notice of them; and will send for a sermon which a pastor has thought expedient to preach to his own con gregation. You cannot find in the community a class of men so destitute of the common civilities of life. Parents have left the Universalist meetings, assigning as a reason PECULIARITIES OF ITS MINISTRY. 55 that they were afraid to bring up their children undersuch a ministry. And the fact is notorious, that comparatively few females are found in the Universalist congregations. IT IS A MINISTRY THAT TENDS TO INFIDELITY. It does more than simply tend to infidelity. Itembraces men who have openly avowed their unbelief in parts of the Bible, and some who have announced that they have no confidence in the sacred book. Nor is this charge pecu liar to this day. Mr. Murray called the Universalism of Mr. Ballou infidelity, the worse for being disguised. Mr. Mitchel, the last of the Murray Universalists, said openly, that he regarded modern Universalism to be Deism. With its advocates he would hold nofellowship; he denied them the Christian name. He promised them his untiring oppo sition. He died in the house in which a Universalist min ister boarded. He refused to hear him pray or talk; he refused, on the ground that the man was not a Christian. The principles ofinterpretation adopted by Universalists make the Bible a mere text-book of Atheism or Deism. And the same reasoning that expunges endless death from the Bible, blots out endless life; the same that removes hell from the Bible, removes heaven; and that which proves that Satan is a mere figure of speech, will disprove the existence ofGod, the Creator. Its doctrines are mere gilded infidelity, and its war upon the Institutions of the gospel conclusively shows what it hates. In one case, we see the editor of a Universalist paper in New England offer to the public, through the columns of his paper, a reward of a thousand dollars to any one who can prove public prayer to be a duty; and the same man might be seen, refusing to dismiss the assembly with a benediction, but gravely announcing the close of the service, by taking his hat, and walking out of the pulpit. In another case, we know that a popular Universalist preacher, A. C. Thomas, used his influence to persuade some young men to work upon the Sabbath; presenting his character as a preacher, and his example as a man, to break down their scruples. In another, we have seen the same man chal lenging some of his own class to prove that the communion is binding on any one. Men in good and regular standing have avowed themselves to be infidels, and yet kept their rank. Men have explained away and rejected the whole Bible, save a single book, and yet been none the less popu lar or successful as ministers at the altar. In this place mention must be made of Mr. Kneeland, who used to preach Universalism, with the prospectus of the ÔÇ£Free InquirerÔÇØ in his pocket; and who, to remove the objections to Universalism which the New Testament presents, made a translation to favor his end, and by the light of it ran into Atheism. L. S. Everett was known to be, and declared himself to be, an infidel; and yet was in good and regular standing; and who, while he was a preacher of Universalism, negotiated with infidels to be come the editor of their organ; averring that as a preacher he was sick of his business, and hoped that the day was not far distant when he should be able to obtain an hon est living. O. A. Brownson, who, for many years, was editor of a Universalist paper, says, that out of twenty-five hundred subscribers, more than half were skeptics. Upon her visit to Boston, Fanny Wright numbered Hosea Ballou, L. S. Everett, and other of the Universalist ministry, among her warmest friends; they accompanied her to her lectures, and remained seated with her upon the plat form. Universalist meeting-houses are opened toinfidels to lec ture in ; they are used for theatrical purposes; exhibitions ofthe circus are sometimes given, to help build such edifi ces. ÔÇ£The Clinton Liberal Institute,ÔÇØ in New York, the only institution of learning the sect have ever sustained, is =as essentially infidel as the Girard College. It was found ed by Universalists, for their own use. The most popular Universalist ministers were agents to collect funds to build it. . And yet no form of religion can ever be introduced into the school. Neither public prayer nor the reading of the Bible, as an act of devotion, can be performed in the school. The charter and the articles of compact were formed that infidelity might be taught under the name of Universalism. It was so understood by the ministry, and so supported. And recently a Universalist minister of the city of New York has beenappointed to be its head, though its character and purpose are unchanged, and ever must be. IT IS NOT A PURE MINISTRY. There are moral men in it; so are there immoral. There are men in good and regular standing who have commit ted offences which are punishable by the statutes of the state. Yet are they not exposed. Some are retained in fellowship, after the commission of acts, which, in other denominations, would at once depose a man. Men guilty of bigamy have been declared by Universalists, in grave council, to have ÔÇ£committed no offence whatever against any law of morality or religion.ÔÇØ One of the oldest preachers ofUniversalism now living, was for many years celebrated for using profane language, selling rum and drinking rum. He kept so disorderly a house that the selectmen of the town took away his license. He appeal ed to the town, and the action of the selectmen was sus tained by a decided vote. And not far from that time, when the Universalists removed the remains of Mr. Mur ray to Mt. Auburn, this gentleman made the principal prayer . And no man can long be in company with these men, or visit the place where they congregate, listen to their jests, conversation, and obscene stories, and not reach the conclusion that the ministry of Universalism is not a moral one.
IT IS NOT AN HONEST MINISTRY. Many, no doubt, believe what they preach. Many be lieve it in fact. Many know better than to preach it; and iftheir own doubts and misgivings could be known, their congregations would disappear like the morning dew. Many are not satisfied with the doctrine, nor the evidence by which it is supported. They are unable to explain to their own satisfaction, certain parts of the Bible which are urged against their views. With the moral results of their faith they are familiar, and know them to be evil; and could the deluded votaries, hoodwinked by these men, read their own confessions of doubt and evil, at once would they break the slavery that binds them as servants to Satan. A Mr. Richards, Universalist preacher of Portsmouth, N. H., wished to leave the ministry of Universalism; he was shocked at its fruits. He made known his determination in a letter which was read by persons not of his so ciety; Mr. R.was entreated,and threatened,to prevent him from renouncing his faith. He yielded for a time though he was not happy. He removed to Philadelphia, and closed his earthly career by suicide : A Universalist preacher in Hartford, Ct., confessed to one of his principal men, that he could not defend Universalism from the ob jections urged against it; that parts of the Bible he could not explain in harmony with that system; and still he preaches that all will be saved. A Universalist minister, while settled in Salem, stated explicitly to his society that he had doubts of the truth of Universalism; and stronger doubts ofthe propriety ofpreaching Universalism, if true. By earnest entreaty he remained with that society, as a preacher, three years, and still is a Universalist. One of the most popular preachers of Universalism of the present day has declared that he did not believe Universalism to be found in the Bible, but was to be proved from other sources: still he takes his text, and on the Sabbath labors to prove that his system is supported by the word of God.
IT IS A MINISTRY OF EVIL, It does no good. It has no benevolent tendency,nor has it originated a single plan of philanthropy. It does evil and only evil; removing the principles ofbenevolence from minds where they had once existed. It leads none to the devout and prayerful study of the Bible; none to set up an altar at their hearthstone. If persons having such habits, embrace Universalism, they, in almost every case, abandon their devotions at once. And when they do not, it is generally the case that a religious wife or mother holds them to the altar. No sooner do men embrace this delu sion than they run down, surely and rapidly. Not only does it do no goodÔÇöbut it does harm. It is a ministry demoralizing in its tendency. Bad men love it; they call it their own. The drunkard loves to be told that he shall enter the kingdom of God; the profane, that God will hold him guiltless; and those who are unfaithful in their conjugal relations prefer thatfaith which bids them shorten the days of this life by lust, that they may the sooner be admitted to the paradise of God. The practical results of Universalism are summed up in a line: it makes men bad, and keeps them so. I have known men of good principles, educated in the fear of God, to embrace Universalism; and in six months after to have no scruples about working on the Sabbath ! It takes only a few months to break down the good habits which have required years to form and establish. I have known a wife and a mother to go to a Universalist meeting, at first with great reluctance, then feel a strong attachment to the system, and then on her death-bed exclaim, ÔÇ£For God’s sake give me some more rum.ÔÇØ All this and more have I seen as fruits from this system. But neverany good results from it have I known. It is evil, only evil, and that continually. I have recently visited the field of my early labors as a Universalist. My heart was pained with what I saw, nor could my eyes be refrained from tears. Many whom I knew fifteen years ago, and knew them as intelligent, moral, and promising men, are now ruined. Many then in good business, are now without character; and some, who then were in public life, chosen to fill places of trust and confidence, are now dissipated and sunk to the lowest point of disgrace. Alas, what might has Universalism to break down the best prin ciples, and hurl men from honor to disgrace It is great in mischiefÔÇömighty in evil result. ÔÇ£O my soul come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor be not thou united.ÔÇØ Take almost any place in which Universalism has been preached for several years, and the death of the departed, and the life of the living, upon whom its influence has been exerted, are an awful comment upon its bad results. No one can be surprised that a popular preacher-who, after a ministry of seven teen years, saw nearly all who settled him in their graves, and knew that most of them that died were Atheists, Deists, or drunkards, and saw that the rising generation were fol lowing in their steps, no one can be surprised that the re trospect should fill him with dismay and bring him nearly to the grave. Those not familiar with Universalism cannot realize the social evils which attend its ministry. It causes men to be rude, morose, uncivil, unkind and uncultivated. On chil dren its influence is disastrous. It brings them up without the fear of God, and teaches them early to cast off fear and restrain prayer. You may see its effects upon children as they attend meeting; or as they rudely on the Sabbath pass through the streets on their way home. It makes their youth evil and their manhood reckless. Its touch is like the leprosy; none meddle with it without injury. It harms the soul; cheats it of all good; inclines it to waste its probation; to believe it has repented and been born again, while in the gall ofbitterness and bond of iniquity; induces it to build upon the sand, and to make lies its refuge. It harms the temporal interests of man; it is an enemy to his best good in this life. In a town in Maine, evangelical truth has been preached for twenty years in one part; and Universalism, for the same length of time, in the other. The town is divided by a small stream. On the one side is religion; upon the other Universalism. Twenty years ago the town was a moral waste. A minis ter was sent into one part as a missionary, and with the church there gathered he still resides. That moral waste has been redeemed. A large, liberal, and devoted church may there be found; an academy, in a flourishing con dition, with excellent schools, show that the pulpit and the school house will ever stand side by side. The whole aspect of this part of the town is that of thrift and pros perity. This may be seen in the neatness and finish of the houses; the order and culture of the farms; the industry, civility and temperance of the people. On the other side of the stream, Universalism has held uncontrolled sway for the same length of time. Nearly fifteen hundred souls are directly or indirectly under its influence, with the exception of about sixty or seventy persons,who for a few years have attended an orthodox meeting. A moral waste Universal ism found it. A moral waste it is still. The fruit of Universalism is read in the general desecration of the Sab bath, and neglect of public worship. A people able to sup port preaching, and to fill the largest house, hold meetings once or twice a year, and then few attend. The field is theirs. Whykeep up even theoutward respect for religion? You see the fruit of the system in the intemperance, the profaneness and rudeness of the people; in the general neglect of education; in the insubordination and the depravity of childhood; in the very appearance ofthe farms, the houses and the people. Thus in one town, side by side, stand truth and error, with the practical lessons of twenty years’ duration upon their brow: and while thegos pel, placed in circumstances the most adverse, has proved itself able to make the wilderness budand bring forth fruit, proving itself the wisdom of God and the power of God to salvation; Universalism in its practical workings is all that its enemies have charged it with being. It is worse. And a hundred places in New England can be selected as the seats of its deadly triumph, and trophies of its evil work ing; its power to blast the good of this life, and bring a curse upon the soul as enduring as eternity.
DUTY OF THE MINISTRY AND THE CHURCH IN RELATION TO THE SYSTEM AND ITS FRIENDS. It is impossible to write the history of Universalism without saying much to excite mirth. Much must remain unwritten; for to call all things by their right names, would be to use terms that make a book unsuited for mis cellaneous reading. Much cannotbe told. And when we realize the fact that such a system exists among us, is called Christianity, and claims the respect of intelligent minds, the fact is calculated to excite the most painful emo tions. When we know its expanding power; the endless ruin that attends its reception; the fact that among the mass of mind with which religion has to do, this pernicious error is to impede the reception of truth; when we look upon its blighting curses; its desolating path; its power over the young; its appeals to manliness, independence, and love of sinful pursuits, so captivating toa young mind; its altars reared in the midst of us, as offensive to God, as ruinous to man, as heathen altars; we may well weep as we enter our closets to pray, that we and ours may not be led into temptation.
Already may we see the deadly harvest cultivated by this ministry of death. It joins hands with evil men, and like the hordes ofbarbarians around an oriental city, it is ready to join any party that will sack the city and share the plunder. In the insubordination of the age you may detect the spirit of Universalism. In the more recent assaults upon the church and the ministry, you find the ministers of Universalism among the leaders in the assault. For sympathy with crime, and with evil men, they are distin guished. They are the authors and supporters of that sympathy with crime and with the criminal, which marks much of the mis-named philanthropy of this day. Such a sympathy violates the Word of God. It takes off restraint from the ungodly. It encourages crime; and prostrates the safeguards of society. It brings back the abominations of Sodom, and the crimes of the antediluvian world. It introduces those evils which must tell upon all the interests of society; and bears sadly, but equally, upon the possessions of the rich and the home of the poor. Such is thebenevolence of Universalism. It hovers over the cell of the infamous. It seeks the releas eof the abandoned and the vile. It attempts not to ameliorate the sufferings of the worthy, but to open the prison-doors to men who have forfeited liberty by their crimes. It seeks not to prevent the commission of crime, but to hinder the punishment due the criminal. It would fire a city to warm the robber; dig through the dikes of Holland to give him water to drink; and blow up a magazine to amuse his lonely hours. It would make it difficult to detect a villain; more difficult to convict him; and most difficult of all to cause him to feel the power of the law. Men guilty of base and high-handed crimes, crimes which shake the entire community, and make property and life insecure, become martyrs. The innocent, society, fortune, life, all are forgotten. All that argument, ridicule, energy, and authority can do to succoror clear the guilty, are used. When a man is arrested, with his hands red with his brother’s blood; with blood that has already pierced the skies with its cries to God; then the philanthropy of evil men lifts up its voiceÔÇöÔÇ£Spare the murderer. Save the life of the poor man. Save his life.ÔÇØ ÔÇ£No matter who is in danger, who has been or may be killed; no matter about widows and orphans; good men and useful cut down by the knife of the murderer, or the dagger of the assassin. No matter what, no matter who, is exposed, only save the valuable lifeof that man who has merely murdered his friend.ÔÇØ Such are the appeals and efforts of those who sympathize with the guilty, and take part with criminals against law and justice. A systematic attempt has been made by this sect to remove from our statute books the penalty of death for the crime of murder. It is led on by the ministry of Univer salism. The paper published to secure this end is published and edited by a Universalist preacher, assisted by the sect. Universalist preachers have insulted the legislatures of some states by petitioning that clergymen may be appointed executioners, and referring probably to themselves in the request,-being ambitious of distinction,-thus showing their readiness to bring into contempt the laws of the land, and to do it in their official capacity. They demand the repeal of the statute in question, because it conflicts with the principles of their creed. Much domestic, social and national evil has already sprung from Universalism. The harvest is waving around us,from seed sown in other days. Bad men are shouting in view of the harvest home. And more is to come. We may not gather it in, but our chil dren will. No policy is more fatal than that which allows this error to settle in a community, and send out its deadly leaven, undisturbed. Some suppose that it will die out, if not op posed. As much so as the plague, and no more. It may disband its society; it may have no public altar; but most of those affected by it will have contracted a sickness unto death; and disbanding, it will carry the elements of death into many families. It must be met; met promptly; and though for a time you may enrage its advocates, you will save many that otherwise would be its victims. Equally unwise, I believe, save in very extraordinary circumstances, is the custom of open debate with the preach ers of Universalism. A minister of Christ has to do with an unscrupulous advocate of error, who will not be kept back from saying or doing what he may please, from any motion ofdelicacy or self-respect. He has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by scurrility. A debate gives such men an importance, and before the community, it is admitted that Universalism may be true. But the system should be understood and faithfully exposed; its evil ten dency pointed out; its sophistry and deception laid bare. The blessings of many ready to perish will fall upon such labors. Great and good results have already attended and will ever attend, such an expos├®. The young and inexpe rienced will be warned; those, in Christian congregations, not confirmed in the truth, will be saved from that way which leads to death. Books upon the subject should be circulated, and all means used to save some. Men maybe entitled to little respect; the system may be absurd and foolish; but souls are precious. ÔÇ£Let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death.ÔÇØ Nor should this work be delayed till the error is organ ized. I have already said, that nearly as much Univer salism may be found where it is not organized, as where it is. Strike this delusion, and you strike the common error of the human heart. Our fathers understood this subject. They regarded Universalism, then not so bold and impious as now, to be the ministry of death. As such they grappled with it at once. When Chauncy published his work on Universalism, it was refuted by Pres. Edwards. When Murray went through the length and breadth of the land, scattering the seeds of death, Prof. Stuart, then pastor of the First Church in New Haven, replied to him; so did many able men of that day. When Huntington’s work appeared, it was answered by Dr. Strong; and the bane and the antidote went out together. So completely, so thoroughly was the work done; so perfectly was the old system annihilated, that the friends of that system admitted the defeat to be entire by forsaking it at once and forever. Not one doctrine, one explanation, remains. And when Universalists of this day refer to these early advocates of Universalism, they speak ofthem as men who had not yet cast away the grave-clothes ofsuperstition. I know that Universalists challenge opposition and pro fess to be pleased with controversy upon this subject. But they dread an exposure of their system. Already it has been shaken in their strongest holds. Men are Universal ists for want ofinvestigation and reflection. In Baltimore, New Haven, Western New York, and in other places, the system has been nearly ruined by calling public attention to its false character, and its fearful results. Have nothing to do with the system by way of counte nance. Call it by its right name. Sit not in its assembly. Join not with its friends in the erection of houses of wor ship in which their faith is to be preached. ÔÇ£What fellowship hath Christ with Belial ” Say everywhere and at all times, that it is a deadly error, and that upon you shall never rest the guilt of spreading this delusion; that in no way will you be accessory to its work of evil. Such is Universalism; such the system; the ministry, and its influence upon men. I would have Christians keep a watchful eye upon Romanism, and Formalism, and all the kindred errors; but while I would have them think upon these great evils, I would also have them become bet ter acquainted with this fatal error which stands at their doors, leading captive souls, and boasting aloud of its tri umphs. I would have them know its deadly hate to all that is good; its paralyzing effect; the effort, like a death struggle, requisite to shake it off; its debasing tendency; its endeavors to extend itself; its power to deceive; the garb of light in which at times it can appear; its might in evil acts, blasting all that is good, and leaving the soul fit only to be burned. It has little in common with Protest antism. Publicly it asserts, that it would sooner elevate Romanist, than Orthodox Christians. It can have little sympathy with the Reformation, whose great doctrine, ÔÇ£Justification by faith,ÔÇØ has no place in its creed. Though it have thousands of advocates, they are not to be relied upon as allies in the great battle. Let the struggle come on between Romanism and truth,and the sectnow profess ing so much liberality may be the first to say, ÔÇ£What will ye give me, and I will betray him unto you?ÔÇØ Let Christians realize the existence and the stupendous and fatal character of this evil, in the way of the world’s con version; this ÔÇ£enemy of all righteousness, perverting the right way of the Lord,ÔÇØ and know that should it triumph it will turn New England, the moral garden of the world, into arid waste, and make it like Sodom, the land cursed and blighted by the Almighty. And as Christians gaze at the blazing meteor that flashes athwart the heavens, let them not be unmindful of the venomous reptile that coils at their feet, ready to fasten its deadly fangs upon them, and send the poisonous virus through the life-blood of the soul.