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nal wrath. Surely the force of the text cannot be evaded, by the sing-song of Jerusalem's destruction. For it respects not the Jews only but also the Gentiles.
Rev. 14: 13. And I heard a voice from heaven, sayingWrite-Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth, yea saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them. Here we are told of a blessing on them who die in the Lord, attending them after death—from henceforth, implying their conscious existence, and happiness immediately after death. But the Universalist will tell you this blessedness consists only in the remembrance and influence of their good works which live after them. But how this remembrance affects them as a blessing after they are dead and annihilated, does not appear. And then thousands, we trust, have died in the Lord, and gained a title to this blessedness, who have made no splendid achievements in this world to draw after them such a posthumous fame; thousands whose names and works are soon forgotten on earth—who moved in humble and contracted spheres; and who died no more missed by the world than if they never had lived, we trust now stand high in honor before the eternal throne. But if those who died in the Lord are blessed from henceforth; there must be retributions after death.
But I will not further multiply quotations. On every branch of the proofs given in this chapter, I have felt, that the field before me was exhaustless. And my greatest difficulty has. been in determining what proofs to omit. It is worthy of remark, that most universalist arguments are employed in sus.. taining negative positions. The task of their writers is to show that this and that is not proof of future punishment. They find little in the Bible which has the appearance of positive proof of universal salvation. This one would think should stumble them. For if the gospel be a proclamation of universal salvation, it is strange that a doctrine of such transcendant importance, was not made the running title of every page. It is strange that so many expressions, which in the literal and obvious sense assert the contrary, and which appa
rently obscure the truth, if that be truth, and blind the eye of the reader, were permitted to stand on the inspired page,-especially if it be true that universal salvation be so glorious to God, the main object of the gospel, this of all doctrines ought to have been indisputably revealed, and not a hint given to the contrary.
Now let the reader go back with me and notice the main positions which I have endeavored to support, against the efforts of these writers. These must be seen in their connection as a system, if we would apprehend fully how difficult a matter it is to make out the proof of universal salvation. The man who undertakes the proof, is under the necessity of proving that man has no immortal soul, that exists in a state of consciousness after death and before the resurrection. And he must do away all scripture testimony to this point. He must prove that there is no judgment after death, and silence all the evidence from scripture, and every voice of Providence that hints of a judgment to come. He must satisfy us that the scores of passages, which speak of eternal life, mean no such thing. That everlasting punishment, and the words eternal and forever, &c. when applied to punishment, mean something very far from what they seem to mean. He must prove that there is no place of future punishment spoken of in the bible, and that all the passages which refer to that place under different names translated hell, refer to something experienced in this world. And finally, he must make it appear that there are no fallen angels now suffering eternal punishment, and dispose of more than an hundred texts which speak of such fallen angels. Now the task of the Universalist is not done till all these positions are made good. Should he prove all the rest and yet leave us to understand that there is a judgment to come; or should he prove all the rest, and leave us to believe that the bible speaks of a hell as a place of future punishment, and so of the rest, he would have lost his labor. For, give us one of these positions and the doctrine of universal salvation is overthrown. We see then what is the united force of the whole argument against the doctrine. The different
branches of the argument above alluded to, stand mutually related in some sense as the separate stones which form an arch -each giving strength to the whole, and what goes to sustain one goes to sustain the whole. All the texts which prove one of these positions, are so many proofs of the ultimate doctrine. He who will believe in universal salvation, must face the separate and united testimony of all the passages of holy writ, which go to prove either of these points. And no man fairly deals with his conscience, who admits such a belief without clearing the ground of the whole amount of this testimony. But where is the man who has explored the whole subject, and weighed the evidence impartially, and found the way on all these points open and clear of obstructions to the belief, that God has no judgments for his incorrigible enemies beyond the grave ? Few will even pretend to have done it. And those who do thus pretend are in great danger, to say the least, of finding a judgment day, and in it a day of disappointment and terror unutterable.
SOURCES OF UNIVERSALISM.
It is very common to find those inclined to the belief of Universalism, who have a method of disposing of the arguments brought against them, not unlike to the Jesuitical doctrine of "probable opinions.” Present before them a serious argument, which goes to cut up their whole system by the roots; and they have at hand, a short, and as it respects themselves an unanswerable argument. They will tell you, “You make your own side of the question very fair, but it signifies nothing; I am not obliged to be convinced, so long as I know that a very plausible story can be told on the other side." The man shields his conscience from the truth behind the imagined probabilities, that a cunning writer can make out in favor of a contrary belief, when he knows these probabilities come far short of a certainty. When a mind balances itself on such principles, to offer it reasons is to beat the air. I know of no way better calculated to show to such minds the folly of their treatment of the subject, than to give them an opportunity to see themselves in the doctrine of the Jesuits, as exposed by Pascal. This I shall do by a few quotations.—“ An opinion is called probable, when it is founded upon reasons of some importance. And hence it happens that only one grave doctor, can render an opinion probable; for a man who is particularly devoted to study, would not adopt an opinion, unless he were induced by a good and sufficient reason-For if the testimony of such a man possess sufficient weight to convince us, that any occurrence took place at Rome for example, why should it not be equally satisfactory in deciding a doubtful point of morality ?” “Their views (i. e. of these grave doctors) are indeed frequently different; but this is nothing to the purpose į
every one may render his own, probable and certain. We are well aware their opinions are not all coincident: so much the better; in fact, they scarcely ever agree; for a very few questions can arise in which you will not find one say yes and an
But each of these contrary opinions is probable. Pontius and Sanchez, are of an opposite opinion; but inasmuch as they are both learned men, each one makes his own sentiment probable.” “Such is the use of these contrary opinions on all subjects. One is always for you, and the other is never against you. If you do not find your account in one way, you are sure to do so in another. And so you are always safe.” Though the doctrine herein stated is not sanctioned by the creed of the Universalists, it is sanctioned by the conduct of many, whose minds without satisfactory evidence, are inclined to take up that belief. Though the plain common-sense-reading of the Bible is against them, they yet feel justified in taking up the opinion which they prefer, because more than one “grave doctor” has asserted it.
“ And it is not to be supposed that he would, unless he were induced to it by good and sufficient reasons. A man so “particularly devoted to study," as Mr. Whittemore, and a man who can write Greek and Hebrew words, with as much ease as Mr. Balfour, is not to be supposed to assert the doctrine, without good and sufficient reasons, even though the whole scope of the Bible is against him. Here is the method, in which they operate on the minds of thousands, who through mental indolence, or fear of being convinced against their wishes, refuse to give the subject a full and impartial examination, and yet in spite of all proofs persist in the flesh-pleasing delusion.
This, however, is a disease of mind, which no reasonings can cure. All that can be attempted with any rational hope of success is, so to expose the common sources of Universalism, that it shall clearly appear, that this and that man's belief of the doctrine, affords no ground for presuming the doctrine true, We come then directly at the question,-What are the causes, that incline the minds of men to the belief of the doctrine in question. That interpretations of the word of God which