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cipation of it. O ye! what shall I who profess to be Christians, and declare that if ye knew, or believed, that the love of God in Christ was so great as to save all men from all sin, you would run into all manner of sin, and gratify yourselves in every evil and lustful desire? Nay, you would run out of sin, and away from it, as from a serpent; for it is a well known truth, and which no Christian can deny, that the more a man knows of the love of God, the more he will refrain from sin. And did you know that the love of God was universal and unlimited, and extended to every soul alike, you would endeavour to be like your God, and rejoice in the salvation and happiness of every soul, and be ready to cry with the Psalmist, "Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord, for his mercy endureth forever." And your heart would flow with love and gratitude, in the contemplation of his unbounded goodness in creating millions of creatures on purpose to make them happy.*This is a work, the most sublime, grand, great, and worthy of a God; and it is the most exalted idea we can form of infinite wisdom and goodness; not creating millions of creatures, and many of them to be eternally miserable.Look at it, reader, and contemplate the difference, and then you will become a believer in the true God, and that his love and goodness is unlimited, eternal, and immutable.
*I will here add, that he who does all he can to make his fellow-creatures happy, imitates his God, and one of the best beings on eath. And he who is cruel, and does all he can to make his fellow-creatures unhappy, imitates the devil, and is one of the worst of men. Or just so far as he does one or the other, he imitates God or the devil.
There is nothing that can be mentioned, more contrary to the love and goodness of God, and of his tender mercies being over all his works, than to believe that he is wrathful, and created creatures to be miserable, or knowing that any of them would be so.
I write as I feel, and I feel that love which will gather all souls; and no one that ever experienced this love, ever felt any wrath in it, but love towards all souls, and that the love and goodness of God, as mankind become sensible of it, will lead all to repentance, and that same love which leads them to repentance, will be their salvation.
If people did but know, or experience more of the love of God, they then would be more ready to believe in the final salvation of all souls: they would then feel that God has no intentions towards any creature, but love. And only in hearing of creatures being in hell and torment, and punished forever, would be grating and disagreeable to their feelings. [Similar to what tender people feel when they see a creature in misery.*]
*One writer against universal salvation, says, "I have observed that most of those Universalists with whom I have been acquainted, are naturally of a humane, tender disposition; and as punishment, and any thing that has the appearance of cruelty, contrary and disagreeable to the feelings of such people, they the more readily embrace Universalism." This is to the credit of Universalists; and I believe that it is an observation that is pretty correct, and it is reasonable that it should be so; for how can a humane, tender-hearted person bear the thought of any fellow-creature being eternally tormented?
According to the observation of this writer, it appears that in order for people to receive or believe in universal salvation, they must become hunane, and of a tender disposition. And then, of course, in order to believe in eternal misery, they must be inhuman and eruel!
If by being of a humane and tender disposition, people are more ready to embrace Universalism, it is a pity the whole world of mankind were not ready to embrace it. And it must be the wish of all men, good men at least, that they were so.
They would feel in their own souls a testimony against it.
All, of whom I have ever read, while influenced by the love of God, were then, in heart, Universalists; for they felt it flow towards all their fellow-creatures-they loved the whole world of mankind, and felt as if they could take all with them to heaven, and that it was of a forgiving nature, and cleansed from all sin. And what was this but a drop from the ocean; and if that drop caused them to feel such love towards all their fellow-creatures, what must be the infinite, inexhaustible ocean? Reader, if you ever felt this love, think of what I have said, and not let your prejudices run away with your best feelings.
Say all we can of the love and goodness of God to man, and we shall fall infinitely short: eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive the universality and extent of it: but a little hath been revealed, and it was what St. John felt, no doubt, when he said God is love.
It was the love and goodness of God, as before observed from the pious William Law, that was the cause and beginning of creation; not that any creature should be miserable. O no, far from it, but that the whole human family might be happy, and praise and glorify the author of their existence forever. In short, the love of God will redeem all the world, it seeks for every sinner upon earth, it is of unwearied compassion and unceasing mercy, it embraces all mankind, it overcometh all evil with good, it forgiveth all iniquity, it blotteth out all transgression, it gives eyes to the blind, ears to the deaf, it cleanses
the lepers, and casts out devils, and puts man in paradise before he dies; it taketh from death its sting, from the devil his power, from the serpent his poison, and is the destruction of misery, sin, darkness, death, the devil, and hell; and from the beginning to the end of time, and forever, the one blessed work of God, is the one work of love. To which all the people must unite (see p. 84) to say Amen.
Of the Origin and Progress of the Doctrine of
In the prosecution of this subject, we will first carefully examine throughout the sacred volume. to ascertain what proof there is therein of the final happiness of all men; and to examine by whom it has been believed and preached previous to the present day.
Though I think I have clearly proved the truth of the doctrine, in the preceding discourse, and that without reference to the scriptures, or aid therefrom for proof, or but very little. Yet it will be much more satisfactory to most, if not all readers, if it can be clearly proved by the scriptures; and if so, it must be a cause of joy to all men who wish for their own happiness, and that of their fellow-creatures.
I shall begin where I find the first intimations given of the doctrine, and trace it from thence down to the present day. I shall follow it just as, and where I find it, and impartially and candidly state whatever I may meet with relating to it.
If the doctrine of the salvation and final happiness of all men, be a truth, and what our Creator intended should be accomplished, we might reasonably expect to find a knowledge of it communicated throughout the sacred writings; and