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1800 years past, had been agreed in this fundamental and blessed doctrine of the universality and impartiality of the love of God-that the whole human race are his children, and that he regards and loves all equally alike, and all are equally the objects of his mercy, would it not have had a natural tendency to unite mankind as brethren of one family?
Is it not much more probable that this doctrine would have had this salutary effect, than believing as they have done, that a great part of the human family are the children of the devil, (as we often hear preached,) and objects of God's hatred? There is no man of common understanding, but must answer in the affirmative.Could they have been so cruel in persecuting one another? Certainly not.
I have mentioned Calvin as one instance out of thousands. It is most certain he would not have burned Servetus, if he had believed in the unlimited, universal love of God, and that Servetus was an object of God's love as much as himself, or any other man; but no, he believed that God hated him, and would never have mercy on him, but burn him forever. Therefore, as Calvin believed God would do, so he did, according to his ability.
same still, if the earth had not opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood cast out by the Dragon.
The Roman Catholics, since the rise of persecution in the 7th and 8th centuries, have butchered altogether, in their blind and infuriate zeal for the Church, no less than 50 millions of Protestants, of different descriptions.Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce, and their wrath, for it was cruel. They butchered 12 millions of the poor, unoffending inhabitants of South America, besides many millions who were destroyed in the West-India Islands. And this is not all yet. Arise, O God, and plead the cause of thy poor creatures, and let them learn and know thy true character, that thou art a Being of love.
It is perfectly correct what the learned archbishop Tillotson said on this subject, that, " According as men's notions of God are, such will be their religion. If they have gross and false conceptions, their religion will be absurd and superstitious. If men think God to be an illnatured being, armed with infinite power, and that he takes delight in the misery and ruin of his creatures, and is ready to take advantage against them, they may fear him, but they will not love him; and they will be ready to be such towards one another, as they believe God to be towards them; for all religion doth naturally incline man to imitate him whom they worship."
Allowing the doctrine I advocate was universally the faith of all parties, discord must cease, and Christians would embrace each other as the children of the same father. It would lead all sects to treat each other very differently from what they have done. And believing God to be the same loving and kind father of all, we might expect that soon there would be but one name, and one communion among all; and a millennium never can become universal, short of universal faith in this doctrine.
It was truly observed by a calvinistic preacher, to a universalist, "you have got," said he, "where you cannot wrangle with any one; for if you believe that all are the children of God, and all will be saved, you must be peaceable with all, and if you believe that God loves all, and will finally bring all to love him, you should love all. And if your doctrine was universally embraced and practiced, all mankind would live in love and harmony together." The said preacher never
spoke any thing more true in his life. But is it not strange, and very inconsistent, for a man to oppose a doctrine, that "if it was universally embraced and practiced, all men would live in love and harmony." This is just what we need in the world, and then all could die in peace, without any fears of a hell, but have a hope of a happy immortality. No man of common sense can deny, but that which would unite mankind in friendship and harmony, and promote their happiness in this world, should be esteemed and encouraged, and every one should lend a helping hand in so good a work.
How ignorant are they of the doctrine of universal salvation, or to the unlimited and unchangeable love of God, who assert that this leads to licentiousness and immorality, and that "it is a good doctrine to live by, but not to die by." How is it possible that a man of the least sense can make such a foolish expression? Can the doctrine of an eternal hell be good to die by? We have had abundance of proof to the contrary. The great Saurin, before quoted, has told you how good it is to live by and die by-" if only the thought of it is a mortal poison." Many a poor soul has died in horror and extreme misery; and, as I have said, almost all believers in it have their fears. But a man who believes in universal salvation, that God is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works, and that he will forgive all their trespasses, how can he be afraid to die? Nay, he can die in the utmost serenity and peace. What do we want to die by, but to believe that a good and merciful God will have mercy on us, and that we shall meet our friends
in heaven, and all the living that we leave behind will follow ns. Must not all people believe this, to die in peace and comfort? No; the good doctrine to die by, is to have little or no confidence in the goodness, love and mercy of God, and to feel afraid I shall go to hell, and to feel afraid or believe that some of my children and friends, and many of my fellow-creatures, have gone there, and others will go there after I am gone; and if it so happens that I go to heaven, then "I shall rejoice over their misery-their misery will add to my joy in heaven!" This is the good orthodox doctrine to die by! This must be very comfortable in a dying hour! I'll say no more; such stupid objections to Universalism does not deserve a serious reply.
And more stupid, and indeed wicked, are those who say, "If I believe that all men would be saved, I would gratify myself in all manner of sin and wickedness." Then don't this show, and indeed is it not the same as saying that you love sin and wickedness? For surely no one would. wish to gratify himself in that which he hated. And I always have understood, that all Christians, or all good men hated sin; which is a truth. But those who say that they would gratify themselves in sin, and some have gone so far as to say that they would steal, cheat and murder, if they believed that all would be saved at last. You, who say this, if your hearts are as wicked as your tongues, you are wicked creatures indeed; and whatever your religious profession may be, you are in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity: and you only refrain from sin for fear of being punished. Let me tell you, that the good man,
the real Christian, fears, loves, and serves God. from a principle of love. And if he knew to a certainty, that no man would ever be punished at all, for any evil, it would make no difference with him; he would love and serve God with equal ardour.
Civil law is made for the disobedient-for the wicked-for such wicked men as say they would sin and live as they please, if they knew they would not be punished. It is very common now a-days for opposers of God's universal, unlimited goodness, to make such assertions. It is the same as saying, I would murder a man for his money, if I knew I should not be discovered and punished. They might be ashamed of themselves, thus to expose their wicked hearts.Those who are wicked enough to think so, one might suppose, would have more sense than to tell how wicked their hearts are. But any thing, any poor, lame, weak, wicked assertion, even representing themselves to be so very wicked at heart, much worse than we believe some are, for we have more charity for them than to believe what they say of themselves; but they will belie themselves, and any thing, any way, to oppose the holy, blessed doctrine of God's universal, unchangeable love, from which proceeds unlimited, universal salvation, at which angels rejoice, and songs of praise resound from all in heaven, and on earth! And glory to God in the highest, peace and good will to all God's intelligent creation. And, as says Dr. Watts, "Such a glorious release of all men from misery, must fill heaven and earth with hallelujahs and joy." And what od man is there, but would rejoice in the anti