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of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, —that God hath spoken of the restitution of all things by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began, — that the word, gone out of his mouth in righteousness, shall not return void, but shall accomplish that which he pleases, insomuch, that every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear, saying, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength. From the Scriptures, (which we take as the rule and guide of our faith and practice,) we are taught, that the whole duty of man is, to fear God and keep his commandments ; to deal justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God; to do good to all men as we have opportunity; and that pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father, is this; to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and keep ourselves uncorrupted from the world. 2 Tim. iii. 16; 2 Peter i. 21; Acts iii. 21 ; Isa. xlv. 23, 24 ; ly. 11; Micah vi. 8 ; Eccl. xii. 13; Gal. vi. 10 ; James i. 27.
We presume, that Universalists, in general, will agree to the doctrines here specified. They are all evidently drawn from the oracles of God; and the references, made at the end of each article, fully sustain the positions advanced in each.
But still, we desire that it should be remembered, that the distinguishing feature of their faith, is THE EVENTUAL HOLINESS AND HAPPINESS OF ALL MEN. God hath willed the salvation of all men ; and hath sent his Son to accomplish the transcendently great and glorious work. He hath made a full revelation of himself, and of the mission of his Son, and of his purpose to save all mankind, in his divine word, the true sense of which Universalists implicitly follow. The glory of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, as manifested in the final holiness and happiness of all men, is the central sun of Universalism. This, with them, is the all-absorbing topic; the crowning excellence of revealed religion ; the richest glory of God; the highest honor of Christ ; the fullest joy of the saints ; the sweetest answer to prayer ; the strongest motive to praise ; the most potent charm of Christian faith ; a fountain of consolation in life ; a holy triumph in death ; the joy of angels, and of the spirits of just men made perfect. Such is the doctrine of the ULTIMATE SALVATION OF ALL THE HUMAN RACE.
WHAT EVIDENCES DO UNIVERSALISTS ADDUCE FROM THE SCRIPTURES IN SUPPORT OF THEIR BELIEF IN THE EVENTUAL HOLINESS AND HAPPINESS OF ALL MEN ?
We arrange the Scriptural evidences of Universalism, under the following heads :
GOD THE CREATOR OF MEN. 1. God is the Creator of all men. 6. He hath made of one blood, all nations of men, to dwell on all the face of the earth.” Acts xvii. 26. He would not have created intelligent beings, had he known they were to be forever miserable. To suppose that God would bring beings into existence who he knew would be infinite losers by that existence, is to charge him with the utmost malignity. The existence itself would not be a blessing, but a curse ; the greatness of which cannot be described. A poor soul, sentenced to endless damnation, might well cry, in the touching language of Young;
Father of Mercies, why from silent earth,
And animate a clod with misery? As God is infinite in knowledge, and as he sees the end from the beginning, he must have known before the creation, the result of the existence he was about to confer, and whether, upon the whole, it would be a blessing ; and, as he was not under any necessity to create man, being also infinitely benevolent, he could not have conferred an existence that he knew would end in the worst possible consequences to his creatures.
GOD THE FATHER OF MEN. 2. God is the Father of all men. - Have we not all one Father ? Hath not one God created us ? » Mal. ï. 10. A kind Father will not punish his children but for their good. God is evidently called the Father of all men in the Scriptures, and this is not an unmeaning name; he has the disposition and principles of a Father. He loves with a Father's love ; he watches with a Father's care ; he reproves with a Father's tenderness; he punishes with a Father's design. God is the Father of all men ; and, therefore, he cannot make mankind endlessly miserable.
GOD THE LORD, OR OWNER OF MEN. 3. All men, of right, belong to God. “Behold, all souls are mine,” saith the Lord 66 As the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine." Ezek. xviii. 4. God will not give up what belongeth to him, to the dominion of sin and Satan forever. All men are God's by creation ; he made them all. They are his by preservation ; he sustains them all. They were his at first, and they always have remained in his care. “The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” That God, who says to men, “ If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel,” can never abandon his own creatures. He will ever exercise a gracious care over them, as will be more fully seen in the following reasons.
ALL MEN COMMITTED TO Christ's CARE. 4. God hath given all things to Christ, as the moral Ruler of the world. - Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Psalms ii. 8. 16 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand." John iii. 35. " All things,” here, means all intelligent beings. So say the best commentators.
5. God gave all beings to Christ that he might save them. - Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." John xvii. 2. This plainly evinces, that it was God's design, in giving Christ dominion over all flesh, that they should all enjoy eternal life.
6. It is certain that Christ will save all that the Father hath given him. “ All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in nowise cast out." John vi. 37. These three propositions are irrefragable evidence of the final happiness of all men. 1st. God hath given all things to Christ. 2d. All that God hath given him shall come to him ; and, 3d. him that cometh he will in nowise cast out. All are given ; all shall come; and none shall be cast out. What is the unavoidable conclusion ?
THE WILL OF GOD. 7. It is THE WILL of God that all men shall be saved. 66 Who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Tim. ii. 4. By “all men,” in this passage, is undoubtedly to be understood all the human race. Salvation through the belief of the truth. God wills that all men should come to the knowledge of the truth, and be saved thereby
8. God inspires the hearts of the good to pray for the salvation of all men, and say, as Jesus said, “ Thy will be done." Matt. vi. 10. Adam Clarke says, " Because he wills the salvation of all men, therefore he wills that all men should be prayed for ;” as in
1 Tim. ii. 1. “I exhort, therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.” Would God inspire the hearts of his saints to pray for the salvation of all mankind, if he knew they would not all be saved ?
9. Jesus came to do the will of God. “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. John iv. 34. "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God." Heb. x. 9. The will of God is, that all men shall be saved. This is his will, by way of distinction and preëminence. Jesus came to do this will. He came as the Saviour, as the Saviour of all men. He came as the good Shepherd, to seek and save that which was lost. He came to save all men, not only those who lived on the earth while he was here, but all who lived before, and all who have since lived, and all who shall live. Jesus gave himself a ransom for all ; he tasted death for every man; and unto him, at last, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess him Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Such is the way in which Jesus does the will of God.
10. The will of God cannot be resisted. doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth ; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou ? " Dan. jv. 35. Who can resist a being of Almighty power ? What God wills to take place, must take place. He wills the salvation of all men because it is right. A God of purity cannot desire endless sin and rebellion. If he wills the salvation of all men, he wills all the means by which it shall be accomplished ; it must therefore take place.
11. God has no other will besides the will to save all men.
6. He is in one mind, and who can turn him.” Job. xxiii. 13.
THE NATURE OF God.
"God is love."
1 John iv. 8. 66 Love worketh no ill." Rom.