The Doctrine of Universal Salvation


Unphilosophical, Unscriptural and False.







Grand Rapids

Republished by Alethea In Heart


1350 Parkway Dr. NE 303, MI 49525


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At the close of labors in the ministry of Christ, extending through a period of nearly half a century, the author of the following treatise would leave, for those who may see fit to use them, the weapons with which he has defended the cause of truth against one form of error. It was his lot, in the early part of his professional life, to labor in a field over which was not very sparingly scattered those who professed to believe in the doctrine of universal salvation. Consequently, he was called to the investigation of that subject, at a time when, in attempting to defend his own views, defeat would have been most disastrous to himself, as well as to the cause he was to plead, and most happy to that which, all through life, he deemed a most pernicious error.

His utmost energies, therefore, were, from the first, employed to furnish a satisfactory and unanswerable refutation of the various arguments (as they are called) by which that form of error is defended.

The work, which is now in the hands of the read, will show, not only the extent to which success crowned his labors, but the arguments or weapons with which he has fought his way through.

The author of the following work was called to his crown and his song, while that work was in press, hence this preface is by hand of another.







There was never a time when correct views on this subject were needed more than at the present. This we shall perceive to be the fact, if we look at the variety of opinions which, in some places, seem to prevail, and the indifference that is seen in others. The indifference of too many in relation to this whole subject, is not more inconsistent than it is mysterious. It is difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile it with that steady and deep concern which every man exhibits for his own interests. The subject, in every view that can be taken of it, if it be examined with care, must appear to be one of the first importance. If we believe that all men are to be eventually saved, we shall feel that the danger of neglecting our duty to our Creator, and to our own interests, is comparatively nothing to what it would appear if we believed that the punishment of the incorrigible would be eternal. What reason, then, can be given for this indifference, and why should we not examine and decide upon the whole subject, without delay? It will appear still more surprising, that men can remain undecided, when we remember that the present life, short and uncertain as it is, we shall find to be most certainly the only opportunity to examine it, that we shall ever enjoy. It is a fact to which multitudes can attest, from their own experience, that being undecided upon this subject, leads to carelessness and neglect of religious duties. Many give the clearest evidence that by hearing plausible arguments in support of the doctrine of universal salvation, impressions have been left sustaining a hope of its truth on their minds of so much strength, that although they do not profess to believe it, they feel justified in neglecting to examine it, and in neglecting to attend to the important duties of religion. No man can honestly believe that such as embrace that doctrine, are as ready to feel the point of truth, and wake up to the importance of repentance and a preparation for the future world, as those who honestly believe the opposite doctrine. We are not, however, to infer from that fact that all the efforts of such as repent and believe, are the effects of fear. Such is the stupidity of the mind under the influence of the world, that in most cases no other motives but those of fear, such as present the real danger to which the sinner is exposed, will lead him to pause and look at his condition. If they are led by the Spirit while they look at their condition, they will be most certainly induced to examine the law that they have broken. They see its equity and the extent of its claims, and in this way they are led to have some correct discovery of their guilt. In this way, they are led to repent and embrace the Gospel. These remarks very clearly show us, that remaining in doubt concerning the truth of the doctrine of universal salvation, may lead to the most painful consequences. The author spent much of his active life where this doctrine had exerted an extensive influence, and he could not but feel a deep and earnest desire to use every means in his power to lead such as were inclined to believe it, to examine it with honesty and candor, and feeling also that he had ground to hope, from what he had witnessed, that many, by a careful examination, would be led to see that the doctrine was nothing better than a snare for the soul. The author has found himself under the necessity of holding some five or six debates, more or less public, with preachers of that doctrine. One of the most popular and able preachers of that doctrine said, ingenuously to him, "I admit that a firm belief of my doctrine would be very likely to prevent a man devoted to the world, from making what you esteem an essential preparation for heaven." One of the first steps in that process that leads to conversion in most, if not all, cases, is conviction, and when it is genuine in most cases, it includes a sense of danger as well as of guilt. But essential as a state of conviction must be, in order that the work may he genuine, a belief of that doctrine, it is obvious, will not allow a man to feel it. A deep conviction that such as depend on that doctrine as a preparation for the day of final retribution will meet a fearful disappointment, has been one of the most prominent and most effective motives with the author in giving the following thoughts to the public. The only method that will be observed, will be, in the first place, a brief examination of the most common and most popular arguments against the doctrine of endless retribution, including the most common arguments in support of the doctrine of universal salvation. Secondly, some of the most clear and most conclusive arguments will be presented, showing that the doctrine of endless punishment is a true doctrine, and a doctrine of the Bible.

One of the most common arguments to disprove the doctrine of endless punishment is generally presented in terms like these: "No candid view of the conduct of men, considering their weakness and their ignorance, can make them sufficiently guilty to observe it." That such a punishment exceeds altogether the demerit of a finite creature, is the foundation of almost every objection that we hear to this doctrine.



There is one fact in relation to this point, to which I would call the attention of the reader for a few moments, before I proceed. It is the belief of all who rely on the truth of the Bible, that the Savior gave his life to redeem men from the curse of the law. By meeting the demands of the law with the sacrifice of his own blood, they expect that he will save all that are saved by him. Now ought we not to expect, as a matter of course, that such as rely on him for salvation, should have some definite idea what the penalty of the law is? If a man has a debt which threatens to distress him, and a friend steps forward and pays it, and on certain easy conditions affects his entire relief; is it possible for that man to ascertain the amount of his friend's kindness, unless he knows the amount of that debt? It is true, that so far as it is proper to call it a debt, it is beyond human calculation. Still there are definite rules by which we may ascertain whether it bears any proportion to the importance of the law, and what are the evils with which it will visit the unpardoned and incorrigible. Now the fact to which we look, as not a little surprising, is, that great numbers are hoping that Christ has answered the demands of the law against them, or paid the debt for them, who have never directly endeavored to ascertain its amount. Among those who cherish the belief that Christ has answered the demands of the law for all mankind in such a sense as to secure their eternal salvation, there has never, to my knowledge, been put forth a single book, or page even, in which it has been attempted to show what the penalty of the law is, or what are its demands. Is not this an indication that they are more anxious to secure their salvation than to ascertain the truth?

But let us return to our subject.

The argument that we have named, which is supposed by many to disprove the doctrine of endless punishment, is one with which many candid and honest minds have been not a little troubled. They do not see how a short-sighted, finite being can be sufficiently guilty to deserve an infinite punishment.—And yet they know that such a punishment is literally and repeatedly threatened in the Bible. This argument is often stated in such a manner as to exhibit a shade of sophistry. It is said that it is absurd to suppose that a finite being can commit an infinite sin. The word infinite, when used in this way, throws a shade of deception upon many minds. There is a sense in which the soul of man is infinite. It is infinite in duration. In this sense he is certainly able to commit a sin or sins that will produce an infinite evil. He can render himself forever unhappy by his sin against God. The passages in which endless punishment is threatened are many, and the reasoning of multitudes on the subject, is like the following: "If a man [?..] in his power, if he were to destroy the lives of as many of his fellow men as he had opportunity or power, it would require nothing more than the sacrifice of his life on the gallows to meet the demands of justice in the view of men."—But this, it must be remembered, is law and justice, according to the arrangements of men; but it is very far from being in accordance with the arrangements of God, who is the Judge of the world. Such are the principles of men, that in most cases they deem themselves guilty only for the evil that they accomplish, and of course they look upon the representations of future punishment in the Bible with surprise. "What are the evidences," many are ready to ask, "that men are so exceedingly guilty, that unless they repent and receive pardon, they cannot escape everlasting punishment? What have they done, or what are they doing, that they should justly deserve it?" Now to answer these questions, and meet the objection before us, we need only look at the various relations that we sustain. From our inevitable dependence on each other, arises the law of obligation, binding every individual in the community, and from which no one can be exempted or excused, no more than he can be exempted from the law of gravitation.—The requirements of that law are at least to this amount, that if one person shall injure another, be is bound to repair the injury.—Let us. now look a moment at a plain and simple view of our social relations. Suppose that a ship, laden with an hundred families, is cast upon an unknown island, and being unable to obtain any assistance or means of escape, they are compelled to establish a government among themselves, and proceed to make the necessary arrangements. They divide their territory into portions according to the size of each family. Now it will be seen that every man's own personal welfare requires him to regard the welfare of the whole. If one may be exempted, every one has the same right, and if every one were to be exempted, the interests of no one will be protected. Every thing would be in a state of lawless, unprotected anarchy. And if it is the duty of every one to seek the good of the whole, it is the duty of the whole to seek and protect the interests of each individual. To see the truth of these conclusions, suppose that in that government there is one man that will not be bound to regard the interests of the rest. He does not know (he says) anything about rights. He is determined to get what he can. He will take the last cow standing at the door of his poor neighbor, because he likes its appearance, and if he reduces the family to beggary, he has no feeling of pity or remorse. He would be glad if there were no power to prevent him from doing his entire pleasure. Now is it not the duty, very clearly, of that government to compel that man to restore what he has taken, or to do what he can to repair the damage? Ought not every one in that government to approve of that course, and if it be necessary, to yield his assistance? Unless such an obligation existed,—if any or all might imitate this selfish and unfeeling individual, there would not be the least safety in that government.



Another important point that is settled by this illustration is, that the penalty of every law is to be determined by the interests which the law is designed to protect. The penalty in every case is certainly as great, and in most cases it is greater than the interests protected by the law. If one man take from another, without any right, the sum of fifty dollars, he is certainly indebted to that individual to that amount, and as that individual was a member of society, that society received not only an injury through that member, but the power and influence of law are weakened and the property of the whole society is endangered by that example. To show that the penalty of a law must be determined by the importance or value of the law in the nature of things; suppose the Legislature of this State should pass a law that if a man should steal a single dollar he should be imprisoned for ten years; we could not but see at once, that such a law could not be just. On the other hand, if they were to pass a law, that if a man should steal an hundred dollars he must pay a fine of ten; that penalty we can see with equal readiness, would not support the law or prevent stealing; it would be unjust to the community.

We may now see the obligations that are resting upon every individual who is an intelligent moral agent, and how far they have their foundation in our social relations. The whole human race, with Him that made them, are in one society of being, and our obligations grow out of the relations that we sustain to each other. In that government that we have supposed, the smallest families are as deeply interested in having the laws that are for the good of the whole strictly maintained, as the largest. Now let us, for a moment, look at the law under which we are all placed. Men often feel that they cannot tell why we should be placed under so pure and so holy a law, but from our subject we see that the law grows out of the nature of things, and that we may see the reason of its purity, its holiness, and extent, in the importance and extent of our own interests, which it is designed to protect. The law is as clearly designed to protect our best interests as the interests of the Law-giver. It is no more friendly to his interests than to ours. Here we may see how much depends on obedience to the law, and what would be the consequences if it were perfectly obeyed.—Here we may see how guilty a man may be while he commits only what he supposes to be but small sins, when he does nothing more than to neglect to love and serve his Creator. He sets an example that would ruin every individual that should continue to imitate it. He justifies that course by his own conduct. He says by his example that God ought not to be loved, nor his law obeyed.

Now what punishment does that man deserve? He has done what he could, just as far as his influence extends, to destroy the law of God. Now can anything less than an endless punishment be equal to his sin? It must be seen from these remarks that this view of the subject meets the objection on which we have been remarking, in its length and breadth. It tells us what every sinner has done and what he is doing, by which he deserves everlasting punishment, and by which, unless he repents, he will be doomed to receive it. It tells us how he steadily and directly lends his example, as far as his influence extends, to prevent the law from being obeyed, which must be seen in its legitimate tendency to be nothing less than an infinite evil.

Thus far our arguments have been designed to show that for the sin which men commit in this life, they deserve endless punishment; and we trust they have appeared to every candid reader conclusive.

But there is another method of arriving at the same result, which is equally clear and legitimate. There could be no injustice in suffering the sinner to go on in sin, and to punish him continually and without end as he sins. It will be, doubtless, granted by all, that it was no injustice in God to leave our first parents to fall into sin, because that was a fact. If he may without injustice permit a creature to fall into sin for a day, and punish him for his sin, he may for any number of days, and if it be just to leave a sinner to endless sinning, it will be just to follow him with endless punishment. Still further, if it be not consistent with justice to leave a sinner in a state of endless impenitence, then it is an act of justice and not of mercy to bring him to repentance.

But on what ground is it that justice may demand that the sinner should be brought to repentance? Does continual sinning bring the justice of God in debt? It must be seen that nothing can be more absurd. If a sinner, by his sufferings, should fully satisfy divine justice for his past sins, God would be no more under obligation to lead him to repentance, or to preserve him from sinning in future, than he was to preserve him when he first fell into sin; and if, by being left to himself, he should never repent, he might be justly punished without end.

Here we may remark, that it is perfectly evident that if the present life were not a time of trial or probation, and mankind possessed the same devotion to selfishness and sin that they now evince by nature, and the Holy Spirit should not persuade any to repent, men would be in just such a state as that we have now supposed, constantly sinning, without the least desire to repent. And when we remember that death produces no change in the moral character, that it only separates the soul from the body, and in accordance with the divine arrangement, puts an end to all trial and probation, we see that impenitent men will be left in precisely such a state.

The Holy Spirit will leave them, and their inclinations to sin, as a matter of course, will be continually gaining strength, and they will be more and more unwilling to repent. This, we shall see at once, perfectly corresponds with what the Savior has told us concerning the state of impenitent men in the spirit world. When he was presented with that definite question, "Lord, are there few that be saved?" he answered, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able." He then proceeded to show at what time many would seek to enter in, and should not be able. "When once the master of the house hath risen up and shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without and to knock, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us, and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are; then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets; but he shall say, I tell you, I know ye not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth," &c. From the expression, "he shall rise up and shut to the door," it is plain that he refers to a period after death, as it is then that the door of trial or probation is closed.

From the Savior's representations of the reply that was made by those who were not able to enter, and still more especially from what he calls them, "workers of iniquity," they still retained their former characters.—From the representation which he gives of their misery, it seems clearly to indicate that they were filled with madness and despair. "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

The same view is clearly seen in the description which the Savior has given of the judgment day. There can be no doubt but that he designed his representation which is found in the last part of the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, to be a description of that day that will introduce the scenes of eternal and unutterable retribution. The characters that men will sustain then, they will sustain forever. In giving the character of the wicked at that time, he tells them that he was an hungered and they gave him no meat; "I was thirsty and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger and ye took me not in; naked and ye clothed me not; sick and in prison, and ye visited me not." But this statement they denied. They accused him of stating that which was false. How could they give clearer evidence that they retained the same characters as those with which they left this world.

The same sentiment is presented in the Savior's sermon on the mount. (Matt. 7: 22.) But the passage that teaches most explicitly that the incorrigibly wicked will retain the same voluntary rebellious characters after death that they possessed in the present life, is found in the last chapter of the Bible.—As the inspired writer was about to bring the revelations that were made to him to a close, be observed, "The time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; he that is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still." How definitely this passage indicates the difference between probation and retribution! In a state of probation, every man, whatever his crimes may be, is called upon by the law and by the Gospel to repent and reform.—But in retribution, the characters of men are unchangeable. "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still." So it is with all the different shades of character.

This passage clearly evinces the two following important facts, first, that all men will exhibit the same characters in the future world with which they leave the present; and secondly, all trial or change will be forever past. It is by the change produced by these two particulars, that the characters and condition of the impenitent in the future world, will be rendered so inexpressibly frightful. As there will never, to everlasting ages, be any change or encouragement to repent, and as they will be just as far from having any desire as opportunity to repent, the only alteration in their condition will be an increase of dissatisfaction and bitterness, of opposition to everything that is just and kind, and that increases the happiness and glory of heaven to interminable ages. When a spirit that is filled with nothing but hatred to the truth, and to every perfection in the character of God, is compelled (not having a ray of hope) to awake or suffer its desires to turn upon itself, it is apparent that its anguish must be unutterable. It is no wonder that the Savior should choose a literal fire as the best figure to represent it, "where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." We have seen some operations in this world, which were introduced rather as an experiment, that may do something toward illustrating the terrible unhappiness of such a state. The prisoners, in one of our State Prisons, were, for some reasons, deprived of all employment or labor, and confined entirely to their cells. The consequence was, that they had nothing in the universe to excite their hopes, and their minds, in many cases, turned in upon themselves, and their anguish became such that they would gnaw their flesh on their bones, and literally howl like dogs. How much worse must their condition be, where the hopelessness must be viewed as eternal, and the only thing to afford animation is a bitter and perfectly vain opposition! How many times has the Savior, in alluding to the condition of such as are finally lost, said, "there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth," indicating the most hope-killing disappointment and inexpressible madness!

It is believed that enough has been said to convince every candid and conscientious reader of the Bible, that if we judge of the criminality of men according to the standard that the Judge of the world has established, there cannot be a remaining doubt that the incorrigible will deserve everlasting punishment, the award with which they are threatened.



Another objection with which we often meet to the doctrine of endless punishment in the case of the finally impenitent, is commonly stated in words something like the following: There is not that difference between those who are called the righteous and the wicked in this life, in their moral characters, that can lay a foundation for such an infinite difference in their final destiny.

To this objection, which bears a very near relation to the one we have just answered, there are two replies, either of which will be seen to be a conclusive answer.

First. However small the appearance may appear between these characters, it is such, in reality, as to make it plain that the salvation of the impenitent is impossible, but not so with the righteous. The impenitent give the clearest evidence that they have no love to holiness or to the character of God, and that their hearts are supremely attached to themselves or to the world. We have seen that there is no change produced upon their moral characters by the event of death.—Death is often compared to sleep, and it will no more effect a change in the moral character, than the sleep of a single night. What, then, must be their condition for enjoyment in the future world? There will be no opportunity for them to pursue those objects that gave them all the pleasure they enjoyed while in this world. They cannot distinguish themselves by their skill or ingenuity in the accumulation of wealth. There is nothing in the character of God, in the contemplation of which they will find the least pleasure or satisfaction. The more clearly and correctly they see it, the more it will wake up, in their minds, an impression of dread and dissatisfaction. They are taken away from everything that gave them enjoyment in this world, and they are compelled to reflect upon those things which, though seen but imperfectly while here, often filled them with the most fearful and unpleasant apprehensions. They must, from the nature of things, be the subjects of continued and increasing wretchedness. This view of the subject shows us why the Savior so repeatedly and so seriously represented repentance as essential to everlasting life. Repentance shows that the heart is pleased with the law and with holiness. The change by which repentance or holiness is wrought in the heart, is effected only in this world. If this change is effected in this world, then the effect of death will be to take us away from every object with which we are most annoyed, and place us where we shall be surrounded with those, a feeble and imperfect view of which gave us all the enjoyment that we had while on earth. This view of the subject shows us that the salvation of the impenitent, while they remain such, is clearly impossible; but that the penitent, however small the beginning of holiness in their hearts may be while in this world, will be rendered unspeakably more happy by the effect of death.

But there is another answer, perfectly agreeing with this, to which we will turn our attention for a few minutes, and then pass to some other objections. The objection depends, for all its seeming weight, on two important mistakes. In the first place, it is supposed that the piety of men, in all cases, is just in accordance with their external appearance; whereas, the most saintly appearance is often like a whited painting, concealing nothing but corruption and death. It is an important fact, that some persons whose external characters exhibit some rather consequential defects, at the same time furnish very pleasant evidence that the work of the Spirit has been commenced upon their hearts, and when it is finished, it will prove to be the beginning of eternal life. Secondly, this objection sets aside, entirely, the work of the Redeemer. If the ground work of salvation is their own piety in the case of the righteous, to them Christ is dead in vain. Nothing but their own piety is to be seen in this life; their faith in Christ, and the benefit they derive from him, may not be seen in the eternal character. They expect to be saved wholly on the Savior's account. They expect to be treated infinitely better than they deserve, but on his account. Is there any doubt that the character of Christ is infinitely superior to that of the moral sinner? In accordance with the arrangements in the economy of divine grace, by repentance and faith, they become united to Christ, and by grace entitled to an interest in the merits of his blood.


But this objection is sometimes carried still further. It is asserted that it would be unjust to allow some to suffer an everlasting punishment, when others are saved from it by a performance as trifling as that of repentance or faith. But trifling as these terms are as performances, it is by them that God is seen to be just in extending pardon, and by them that the spirit is prepared for a residence in heaven. Faith is an exercise which, by its exhibition of trust or confidence in God, does great honor to his character.—Besides, it will be seen at once, that the more trifling the terms or requirements as a performance are, the more unreasonable, and the greater the guilt, if they are neglected. It betrays a heart more regardless of the authority and excellence of the character of God, than if some mighty or fearful effort were required, and that were neglected.

Another objection that we often hear, is, that the doctrine of endless punishment gives to the Creator and Judge of the world, an odious character. The fact that the future punishment of the wicked is, in many places, presented by the use of figures that are most frightful, such as the operation of fire on the human system, contributes not a little to produce the feeling indicated by this objection. We have seen, while answering the first objection, that the passages that speak in a manner the most literal on that subject, would lead us to believe that with the impenitent there will be a continuance of voluntary and bitter rebellion against God.—The state of their minds will differ from what it is in this life by the impression that it is hopeless and eternal. There is no doubt, however, that their unwillingness will be as permanent as their inability. Some pretend to think that it cannot be just for God to place men, since they are such feeble and sinful creatures, under a law that is so pure and holy; and one, the consequences of disobedience to which, must be so fearful.—All that is improper in placing men under a law that is so holy and important, must be charged to the fact that the interests which are to be protected by the law, are so extensive and important. The penalty of every law, from the nature of things, must be equal to the interests to be protected. If a man takes the life of his neighbor, he violates a law that is made for the protection of life, and, of course, the penalty must be severe, in order to protect that important interest; but has the murderer any right to complain that he is exposed to so severe a punishment? Men sometimes pretend to feel that the law is unnecessarily strict and holy, but if anything less than that which is perfect, were required, men might yield obedience without being fit for heaven. There is no one point in this whole subject, concerning which, men are more painfully deceived, than on that which is now before us. In the reasoning of men upon it, we see the truth of the declaration of the Judge of the world by the Psalmist: "Ye thought that I was altogether such an one as yourselves, but I will reprove you and set your sins in order before you." It is said that God is infinitely the most kind of fathers, and then the question is asked, in a tone of confidence and triumph, "What earthly parent would ever inflict upon his own children, let their waywardness and rebellion be what it might, everlasting punishment? Would not a parent that would inflict such punishment in any conceivable circumstances, exhibit a heart more unfeeling and more savage than this world was ever known to produce?"

Now, in order to show that nothing can be more absurd than these questions, let us apply them to a few facts. What earthly parent, unless he had the heart of a savage, if he had a world of human beings under his care, if they were guilty of the most impious rebellion, would bring a flood upon them and drown them all?

What earthly parent would rain upon his disobedient children a storm of fire and brimstone, till he had destroyed them? We have all of us seen children comparatively innocent, enduring the extremest sufferings for days and weeks, from diseases with which they were seized, and from which no human care or skill could release them. Immense numbers are continually enduring these sufferings. Now, what earthly parent would have a heart to inflict such tortures, or suffer them to be inflicted upon such feeble and comparatively innocent creatures? What wisdom can there be in making such comparisons between the Creator and feeble, finite and erring creatures? What knowledge can they have of the equity or importance of the law, when compared with Him? The guilt, and of course the punishment, of men, as we have seen, are not measured out by the decision of the Judge, but they result irresistibly from the nature and importance of the law, and of the interests it is designed to protect.



There is another objection, in which some attempt to show that such was the work which was accomplished by the Savior in its influence on the government of the universe, that benevolence cannot allow any of the human race to suffer everlasting punishment. It is said that the purpose which the Savior came to accomplish, in order to open the way for the salvation of men, was by the sacrifice of himself, to honor and sustain the law, and until that was done, divine justice could not suffer one sinner to receive pardon. Then it is said that nothing can be gained to the government of God but to honor and sustain the law, from the endless punishment of any number, and that the ill desert of sin is seen in the death of Christ more than it could be seen if the whole human race were to suffer the penalty of the law.

From the statements, which are generally admitted to be true, the question is presented in a tone of triumph, Where can be the necessity in the great scheme of benevolence, that one sinner should be left to suffer the penalty? It must be derogatory to the Divine character, to suppose that he would be willing to have even one sinner suffer an endless punishment, when infinite benevolence did not require it.1

In answer to this, I would say, first, that we are taking rather unsafe as well as improper ground, if we undertake to tell what would have been most benevolent in the great economy of redemption. That whole plan was formed by Him who has given us the greatest evidence that he possesses infinite wisdom, as well as infinite benevolence. It would be much more consistent and safe to rely, with implicit confidence, on what he has stated on the subject. Secondly: sin, as it exists in this world, sustains, in some respects, two characters. In some respects they are one, but in others they are different. The phrases by which sin, in these different forms is expressed, are, sin against the law, and sin against the Gospel. The apostle Paul very clearly presents these different kinds of sin in one passage, "He that despised Moses' law, died without mercy." This is sin under one form. "Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing." This is a description of sin under the other form. To sin against the law, is to sin against the command or authority of God. But to sin against the Gospel, is to sin both against the authority and against the mercy or compassion of God.

Sin against the mercy or compassion of God, is that which is committed against all that the Savior has done in his sufferings and death to sustain the law, so that the offer of pardon could be made to such as would repent.

Here, if we are not mistaken, we are led to see the nature and importance of the two prominent and essential conditions of life; and also the reason of their difference in some important respects. If we look with care, we shall see that both repentance and faith are made essential conditions of life, and in many cases, each is made such by itself. Still, faith is never required as a condition to forgiveness, but for other and important favors. If we examine with care, we shall see that repentance is an emotion of the soul, in view of the rectitude and purity of the law, and under a conviction that in what we have done that does not accord with it, we are guilty, and we sincerely regret it. This, we see, is looking at sin under one character. Faith is the exercise of trust or reliance on the Savior for pardon and salvation, in view of what he has done or suffered, and if it is not exercised where evidence demands it, fearful guilt is committed. Where the mind, under the influence of an upright heart, sees the beauties and perfections of the Savior's character and work, and admires them and relies upon them, it is a very great honor to the character of God. But if the mind, under the influence of a depraved heart, rejects the testimony in favor of the Savior, and will not believe that he came on an errand of mercy, or that he sustained the law by his death, we can easily see that this want of trust or reliance must reflect the most unpardonable disgrace upon the Savior's character. This is sin under the other form. This shows us why the sin of unbelief is represented, in many places, as being so inexpressibly guilty. Now, when we speak of what the Savior has done to show the guilt of sin, by his sufferings and death, we must mean sin under the first from, or sin as committed against the law.

The sufferings and death of Christ laid the foundation against which the second form of sin is committed, and that exhibition could not be sinned against, before in the order of nature it existed. He could not show by his sufferings, the terrible guilt of that sin that consists in despising those sufferings. Now, if it be requisite in the economy of Divine grace, that the guilt of sin, as committed against the authority of God, should be seen, it must be still more important that the far greater sin should be seen that is committed against both the authority and the mercy of God. But where will that ever be seen, unless some who are guilty who despise the mercy and compassion of God, and deserve that sorer punishment, should be left to their own course, till they reap the bitter consequences in everlasting punishment? There is another objection nearly allied to this, to which we will turn our attention for a few moments. It is objected that mankind by nature, are under the influence of a moral disease, that will inevitably prove fatal, unless they obtain a remedy, and that the Savior's errand into the world, and his work, was to furnish that remedy. Then it is said, that if none but such as are believed to be Christians, and are thought to be cured in this life, will ever be benefitted by it, then it will be clear, that either his benevolence or his ability must be very limited and defective. Although his invitation is sent out to all the world, and it is affirmed that the hearts of all men are in his hand, but a small part of the human race derive any benefit from the remedy.

This objection is brought not only by the advocates of the doctrine of universal salvation, but by those who disbelieve the whole system of religion; and it may be easily seen that it may serve the purpose of one of these classes, equally as well as the other. Sometimes when we are met with a plausible objection, the best method to answer it, is to look directly at the object at which the objection evidently aims. Most of the objections which are made to the system of religion, and to its most important doctrines, are seen to bear a suspicious mark. If the objector pretends to cherish a belief in the Bible, his aim will be to view the system of truth it contains in such a light that without complying with its self-denying duties, or without paying any attention to its admonitions or threatenings, he may enjoy the support of its promises. Multitudes appear to be willing to believe in the system of religion, if they can have such a view of it as will allow them to pursue their own course in the management of all their earthly interests, and be sure of its supports when the world shall fail them. But every conscientious man knows that the gospel was never provided and arranged for the purpose of accommodating so well the feelings of the depraved heart. It cannot be that the Judge of the world has provided, at an infinite expense, a gospel that will accommodate and justify every species of wickedness throughout the present life, and reward it at last with everlasting salvation. We may as easily believe that the Judge of quick and dead was endeavoring to make amends to the prince of darkness, for having confined him in the bottomless pit. In viewing the objection before us, let us enquire what is obtained or expected to be obtained, by proving that but a small part of the human race will ever be benefitted by the gospel? That will be proof to one class of men, that such an effort would be wholly unworthy of God, and of course that the whole record is false. To another class it would prove that the common and what are termed evangelical views, can not be a correct explanation of the Bible on the subject, and as the Savior came to die for the world, they think that in his own time and way the world will be saved.

But there are several things that are to be considered before we concede to the conclusion of either of these classes. And, first it is unsafe to conclude from the state of the Church at the present, or at any time, what the Savior has accomplished by coming into the world. It may be the design of God for the first six thousand years of the world's age to let sin bring out the infinite number and variety of its own phases, in order that the infinitely glorious work of recovering men from under its influence, may be seen by the universe. There are many statements in the Bible that seem to favor such a conclusion. There are many prophecies in which it is undeniably a fact, that in the reckoning of time a day stands for a year, and if such should be the fact in the prophecy of a thousand millennial years, we can readily see that it would make the number immeasurably greater of those who are finally saved. It would make the number of the saved to exceed that which will be lost, by many thousands to one. There can scarcely be any comparison between the numbers.

Second: Such are the provisions of the gospel. Such as slight them and die in their sins, their destruction will be a sweet savor unto God. The apostle tells us that the preaching of the gospel is a sweet savor unto God in them that perish, as well as in them that are saved. The gospel is an exhibition of such wisdom and benevolence, there is such a fullness in it for every human being, there is so much condescension in placing it within the reach of all, that if men in their folly and madness, will turn away from its merciful invitations and lose their souls, God will not lose his glory.

And further: the objection does not seem to take into view the fact, that an important part of the work of securing and applying these provisions to themselves, belongs to men. Since men are depraved in heart, it is in an important sense the work of God to lead them to see their necessity and embrace the Savior. But it is not in such a sense the work of God to do this for men, that if they, fail of receiving it, the blame will rest on him. It is a work that he often does in mercy, because the sinner is unwilling, but never does he do it in justice, because the sinner is unable. For aught that we can see, if sinners neglect to secure the provisions that are made for the soul, their future punishment is as much by way of natural consequences, as evils result in this life from improper or unreasonable conduct. Many seem to think that such a sentiment as this, takes the work of administering justice out of the hands of God. But a moment's reflection will show us that such a method of punishment is as much the effect of his arrangement, as if it were apparently without any means. The Scriptures in many places represent evils, that appear to flow as natural causes or consequences, as being the work of God. The world is full of diseases, and God in great kindness has provided remedies; but many of them have not been discovered for centuries, and many of them are understood but by few at the present time. But this does not prove that they are not remedies, or that God is not kind in providing them. On the whole, the more we examine the subject, the more evident it appears that the gospel is a system which, in every respect, is worthy of the benevolence and wisdom of God, that it is a measure of such kindness and compassion to men, and one of the immortal benefits of which are so easy to be obtained, that all such as find themselves without them when it is too late to obtain them, can blame none but themselves. Nothing is more evident than that such a degree of effort, and such a degree of anxiety as evinces a sense of its importance and of our need, is essential to render our efforts successful. Gospel mercies are not conferred as clothing is thrown upon a statue. "Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then" is not every sinner healed of his deadly wound?


But there is another argument that has been brought forward recently, and thought by many to be very powerful and convincing, which differs but little from one to which we have already attended. It is claimed that it is conclusively supported by analogy. This, however, we shall find to be very far from a correct statement. There are very few cases in which arguments that are strictly analogical, can be relied on with safety. The argument to which I refer is stated something in this form: The provisions which God has made for the salvation of men are abundant for the salvation of the whole human race. Then an argument is raised, as it is thought by analogy, from the perfection of God, to show the very great improbability that God would employ his infinite powers, either to create beings that would accomplish no purpose of any value but to merely compass their own ruin, or to create provisions which will only assist such beings in their work of death. It will be seen at once that we must have a perfect knowledge of all the ends that God has in view, to have this argument appear conclusive. How do we know what the design of the Creator is in those numberless cases in which, so far as we can perceive, there is a immeasurable waste? How many kinds of fruit trees there are that by their blossoms give us the promise of many times the quantity of fruit that they finally produce! It is so with many kinds of fish. What shall we say of the analogical conclusion in eases like these? What shall we say of these numberless blossoms that never result in the production of fruit? Can we suppose that the Creator has no design to accomplish by them? Is he disappointed, that all these promises are not equally productive of fruit? Why is it that one-half of our race are suffered to die in their infancy? Is it possible for any one to inform us?

But let us look at this argument more directly in relation to the subject of retribution. The principle of retribution exists in every government on earth. It exists by Divine direction in every government that claims to follow the direction of the Creator. Members that render themselves unworthy of the privilege of social life, and become a scourge and a pest to their fellow men, by Divine direction are to be punished. They are to be punished in accordance with the extent of their demerit. In every case they are to be punished, not for their own benefit, but for the benefit of others who have not rendered themselves so ill-deserving and so injurious to those around them. Now what is the language of analogy in this case? It is clearly seen in the doom that is pronounced on the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. These inhabitants, with those of the cities about them "are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." If we take into view the whole subject of retribution, as seen in this world, analogy will furnish with a tremendous and unanswerable argument in support of the doctrine of the endless punishment of the finally incorrigible. It certainly cannot be denied that by many the means of enjoyment for this world are so ungratefully abused as to deprive them of all power or capacity to afford enjoyment, and to make them become an unmingled and bitter poison. Analogy, with the Bible to support it, tells us that the same may be true in relation to that endless state to which we are rapidly passing.




The next subject to which we should turn our attention, will be the examination of the most prominent passages in the Bible, that are supposed to support the doctrine of universal salvation. As the burden of our labors on the next proposition will consist in examining the Bible, we shall be very brief in our remarks on the passages that we shall here notice.

It is a fact deserving our serious attention, that many of the passages which are thought to speak in favor of that doctrine, are detached portions, wrested from their natural connection, and made to speak a language very different from their real meaning. There is scarcely a passage that is quoted to support that doctrine more frequently than that which is found in the first epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, 14th chapter and 22d verse: "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive." By a careful reading of the connection, any honest mind may see that a use of the passage is an entire perversion. The passage has no reference to salvation from sin, but refers entirely to the resurrection of the body. The verse previous reads thus: "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive." That is, in the resurrection, as is very certain from the next words. "But every man in his own order, Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." Was Christ the first fruits of salvation from sin in any sense in which it is possible for us to form any conception? Must not every intelligent mind see that the passage refers wholly to the resurrection of the body?

There is a passage also in the first epistle of Peter, that is often brought forward to prove that there will be a day of grace or trial in the future world. [1 Peter 3: 19.] "By which, also, he went and preached to the spirits in prison." A correct reading of this passage will show us very clearly that it affords not the least evidence of any such doctrine. To what does the word "which," in this passage, refer, when it is said, "by which" he went and preached unto spirits in prison? The answer must unquestionably be his "his spirit." The verse previous reads thus: "Being put to death in the flesh and quickened by the Spirit, by which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison." He preached, then, by his "spirit." This same apostle observed in the first chapter of his epistle. "Of which salvation the prophets have enquired, searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them, did signify when it testified before-hand the sufferings of Christ," &c. This same apostle tells us that Noah was a preacher of righteousness. The Savior, then, by his Spirit, went and preached in the person of Noah for several years, while the ark was building, to the very persons which, at the time when the apostle wrote, were in hell. If we observe with care, we shall see that the apostles while speaking of the Savior's preaching by his Spirit, uses the past tense. He went and preached. But when he speaks of the spirits and their prison, he uses the present, "in prison;" as though he had said, He went by his Spirit and preached to those persons, in the days of Noah, which, in his days, were dead and in hell.

"God is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering to us, and not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." This passage is thought, by many, to contain very clear and very strong proof, that all will eventually be saved. But let us look at it a few moments. It expresses only the desire of God in accordance with what we have already stated, as that which, in itself, is desirable. The same sentiment may be seen in a multitude of other passages. "How oft would I have gathered thee as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not. How can I give thee up." He is unwilling that all men should not come to repentance now. But this does not bring them to repentance now, nor make it certain that they will ever come.

"Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." From this passage it is plain that God does as certainly will that all men should come to the knowledge of the truth, as that all men should be saved. This we see is not accomplished. In regard to the will of God, there is an important distinction to be observed. In one sense, whatever he wills, is certain to be accomplished. In this sense it is the same as his decree. The word is used with this meaning in the following passages: Who hath resisted his will? Who doth according to his will in the armies of heaven? But the same word is used in other passages with a very different meaning. It is used to express that which is in itself desirable, it is in this sense that he wills that all should repent and that all should be holy. In this sense he wills that all should be saved. It is in this sense that the word is used when it refers to the duty of men, "He that doeth the will of my Father," &c. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

In passages like these, it is very evident that the word will does not express the purpose or design of God, but merely that in which he delights, in itself considered.

Passages that refer to the final subjection of all things to the government of God, are supposed by many to teach the salvation of all men. "Unto me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear." "He shall reign till he hath put all his enemies under his feet." In this passage it is plain there is reference to the case of Joshua, when he put his foot upon the necks of the five kings of Canaan. These kings were not at heart the friends of Joshua. If all men are finally saved they will be converted, and if they are converted they will become the friends of the Redeemer, and it must be a strange supposition that will place his friends under his feet.

There is a passage, also, in the prophecy of Ezekiel which by some is supposed to contain a promise that the inhabitants of the bottomless pit will eventually be released from their prison, and made the heirs of salvation. (Ezek. 16: 53.) A few moments' attention to the passage, however, will show us that instead of its being a promise, it is one of the most fearful threatenings in the whole Bible. The writer in this passage makes a comparison between the sin of Jerusalem and that of Sodom and Samaria; the result of which is, that the sin of Jerusalem is the most aggravated and ill-deserving. This is a singular reason to be made the basis of an important promise. The undoubted meaning of the passage is this. You look upon the doom of Sodom and Samaria as being proverbially hopeless and wretched, but gloomy as their doom is, they will be restored to their former state as soon as you will be restored to yours. Every person must see that the prophet meant to state that their restoration was an event that never could take place.

As a further proof that this is to be so understood, we may look at the change in the phraseology when we arrive at the 60th verse. "Nevertheless, I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth; then thou shalt remember thy ways and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger." This is undoubtedly a promise, and shows with equal certainty that what was written before must have been a threatening. The meaning of the passage is plainly this: Nevertheless, though I visit you in your present generations with these fearful judgments, I will not forget the covenant that I made with your fathers, to bring in the nation of the Jews in the latter day with the fullness of the Gentiles, into the land of promise. In the conversion of the Gentiles, and their being brought or grafted into the good olive tree, is what we are to understand by the reception of their sisters.

Another passage, very much of the same character, we find in the third chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, at the twenty-first verse. "Whom the heavens must receive until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." The prophets in every age have foretold that every thing shall be brought into subjection to the government of God; and in this way the regularity and the harmony of the primeval state will be restored. This is what we are to understand by "restitution."—When God shall have put all his enemies under his feet, there will be nothing that will be allowed to disturb or annoy in all his holy mountain. This passage speaks of no other restitution than that which had been spoken of by all the prophets.

There is another passage in Revelation (5: 13) that is thought by some to present very clear and decisive proof that all men will be saved. "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, forever and ever." The plain meaning of this passage is, that the apostle was aided by the Spirit of inspiration to look forward and see a period when the worship and service of God would prevail in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and in the sea, but he gives no intimation that it would prevail in hell. No candid believer in the doctrine of future punishment pretends to affix any locality to the world of misery, much less to affix it in any of those places mentioned by the apostle. Since the apostle was so particular in mentioning places where the worship of God would prevail, and be universal, and has said nothing concerning the world of despair; it is a conclusive argument that he intended to be understood by passing over it, that it was an exception.

We have gone through with most of the passages on which the advocates of the doctrine of universal salvation rely for its support, or at least we have taken up the most prominent of them, and have endeavored, in the spirit of candor, to give their true meaning. We have attended also to the most important arguments on which the friends of that doctrine rely for its support, and we have endeavored in candor to show wherein they are defective, and wherein it must hazard their immortal interests to depend on them. We would entreat our readers in the spirit of kindness to examine, not only what we have written, but what we have to say under our next proposition, constantly bearing in mind the endless and frightful consequences that may result from an erroneous decision. A moment's reflection must show that we gain nothing, but peril everything, if we suffer ourselves, by a careless and too common manner of treating the subject, to slide into an erroneous view of it, and then, as we see death before us, wake up and call in every power that we possess to sustain the decision into which we have fallen. If the difference between the two opinions on this subject, when we look at their different influence or at the different consequences to which they may lead, is not sufficient as a motive to wake up our minds and lead us to put forth the utmost of our vigor and activity, in order to ascertain the truth on the subject, we can scarcely lay claim to the character of rational beings.

We are now prepared to enter upon our second proposition, and proceed to exhibit direct proof that a part of our race will suffer endless punishment.



Our first position under this proposition is, that all men are morally depraved, and without a radical change cannot be the subject of salvation.

This is one of those points which are prominently and frequently written in the Bible, and so fully supported by the conduct of men, that no honest and intelligent believer doubts it. It is the basis of the Gospel system. It is stated in the Bible in a manner the most directly calculated to produce conviction of its truth. We are told by what means our race imbibed a spirit of rebellion at first, and the manner in which that character is continued, is seen to be in perfect accordance with the arrangements of Providence in the preservation of all the other races. Soon as men had become numerous, and their characters were settled, we have a clear and unequivocal description of the whole race. "And God saw that the wickedness of men was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." It would be impossible for any phraseology to describe more clearly and more correctly the doctrine of total moral apostasy, than that which is employed in this verse. There was no defect in their natural powers or capacities, but every movement of the heart was only evil continually. From that period of the world to the present, the history of the human race shows that this description of their moral character is perfectly correct. This depraved heart is seen in a decided disapprobation of every moral perfection in the character of God. When left to their own course, men universally violate his commands and live in entire devotion to their own interests. If anything can show it, this certainly shows that by nature men are wholly unfit for heaven. It is impossible, therefore, with any safety, that because an infinitely kind and benevolent being has made men, to take it for granted that, notwithstanding they have rejected his mercy, he compel them to accept of salvation. It is impossible, while men are unwilling, for them to be subjects of his mercy.

If there be any such thing as salvation,—if there be any such thing as a residence in heaven,—if there be anything in reserve for the servants of God in the future world, such as remain in enmity toward him during their period of trial, must inevitably fail of receiving it. We need but little acquaintance with the Bible to know that the Savior came into the world to save such and such only as are lost. By the term lost, as much is meant at least, as that the happiness of the soul is gone. It is a loss of every feeling and every trait of character that could give happiness to the soul in heaven. There is not an object in all those heavenly mansions, nor in all that brilliant and glorious throng, there is not an employment among the spirits of the just made perfect, nor among the angels, nor anywhere in the service of Him whose praise echoes and reverberates through all the heavenly world, that could awaken anything better in their bosoms, than a cold disaffection and dread. Without a change of heart, it must be seen to be impossible for sinners to be saved, and it is certainly impossible to find evidence that all men in this life experience it. There is a multitude of passages in the Bible that give such a representation of the danger of a sinful or impenitent life, that it would be impious to suspect that any thing less could be meant by them than an imminent exposure to everlasting perdition. They are such as the following: "How can ye escape if ye neglect so great salvation?" "Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for I say unto you many shall seek to enter in and shall not be able." "Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men." "These shall go away into everlasting punishment," &c. These passages perfectly correspond with those in which the condition of unrenewed sinners appears to excite such strong emotions of pity in the bosom of infinite benevolence, "As though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead be ye reconciled to God." "Turn ye, turn ye for why will ye die?" "Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters." "Now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation." "To-day if ye hear his voice, harden not your hearts."

It must be impossible for any candid mind to believe that these expressions can mean anything less than that the soul is in danger of being lost. It may be easily seen that the atonement has made provision for the pardon or salvation of none but such as repent or experience a change of heart. The atonement, we must see at once, cannot be applied to any but such as become the friends of God. God cannot make an atonement to justify enmity to him. "By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." "He became the author of eternal salvation to them that obey him." The atonement is applied to the benefit of sinners in providing the Holy Spirit, and the various means by which they are brought to repent,—in suspending the stroke of justice and giving them a space to repent; but it is impossible that it should be applied to their pardon or justification, while they retain their enmity towards God. It would plant an ineffaceable stain of disgrace on the character of God. It would show that he was willing to fellowship or approve of the violation of his own law. It would be impossible to tell wherein the sufferings and death of Christ have contributed to the honor of God or benefit of men, if by that means the impenitent may receive pardon. How do the sufferings and death of Christ make impenitence or unbelief or any kind of sin more acceptable in the sight of God? The thought that any man can indulge the impious carelessness to entertain such a suspicion, is sufficient to chill the candid and serious mind with horror.

It must then be sufficiently plain that the salvation of men without a change of character, is impossible. The only evasion to this argument on which any seem inclined to lean, is the opinion that sinners, after they have been sent to the prison of despair, may by suffering be brought to repentance, and by that means be eventually brought to the fellowship and joys of the redeemed.

Before we proceed to show by direct arguments the absurdity of this evasion, we will spend a few moments in showing the position in which it will place the inhabitants of heaven. It is admitted by all, as it is a point on which the Bible speaks with great plainness, that some persons are admitted immediately at their death to a perfectly holy and justified state. Now if such as die in impenitence are sentenced to be punished for time, and then be admitted to the same state of happiness, the feeling of obligation with both of these classes cannot be alike. Some will feel that they have met personally at least a share of their ill desert, while others will be prepared to join with Paul and ascribe their salvation wholly to sovereign grace. Is heaven to be the residence of beings who shall impute their salvation to causes and influences so different? Will it not be obviously impossible for them to unite in one song to the honor of Divine grace? With a view to avoid this apparent absurdity, many have adopted a notion that dispenses with every idea of punishment. They suppose that the arrangements of the Divine government are such, that the great and principal aim of the judge is to bring men to repentance. It is surprising to what an extent of absurdity men will allow themselves to proceed, in order to obtain a theory that will admit them to believe that when it is carried into execution, it will take all men to heaven. They will not only fill heaven with impressions of obligation the most varient and unlike, but they will take from the character of God one of the most important of his attributes, and one without which, heaven would lose all its glory. If the ultimate aim of God in all his dealings with men is to bring them to repentance, then his justice is entirely set aside. This is one of the most insidious of all errors. It pretends to give the highest honor and praise to God, by representing him as being so filled with kindness, that he looks upon justice as that which is comparatively unimportant, when in fact if he were destitute of justice his character would not be amiable. The importance of justice in the government of God may be seen by looking at its importance in the governments of men. Suppose you should see a man brought by the Sheriff before the Supreme Court for his trial. As soon as the way is prepared, the Judge inquires what the charges are that are brought against him. The prosecuting Attorney replies, "We expect to show that he is guilty of several of the most horrible murders that were ever committed by man." The Judge continues, "Mr. Sheriff, have you had any conversation with the prisoner while he has been in your custody?" The Sheriff replies, "I have, sir, and my conversation with him has put me in possession of testimony against him of the clearest kind." "Well, Mr. Sheriff, did you perceive in your conversation with him any indications of penitence? Did he show any symptoms of sorrow or regret?" Sheriff, "He certainly did, he could not avoid it, for he could not be governed by madness, as he had not the slightest charge against the men that he murdered. It was only their money that he wanted. When he saw that he was detected, and that he could not be allowed to live to enjoy his ill-gotten wealth, be could not but indicate severe regret." "If you are sure, Mr. Sheriff, that he manifested sorrow or regret, our point is gained. We shall exhibit a more noble sentiment if we show that we seek only to bring him to repentance, than if we aim to satisfy rigid justice." What should we think of a decision like that? What must be the effects of such a decision on the community? How could a man feel that his property or his life was safe in such a community? Such a sentiment, it is readily perceived, makes repentance the penalty of the law. It is that which the law seeks, and is always satisfied when it obtains it. Further, if justice has not an unquestionable claim against sin in any cases, then there is no case in which sin does a real injury to any person or persons. But if it inflicts innumerable and real injuries, it is using terms without meaning or without use, to say that justice requires no other satisfaction than repentance. It is strongly to be suspected that persons who use such language are not aware what it means. They represent this high aim in the Judge of the world to bring men to repentance, as the climax of every thing pure, elevated and celestial, and seem to feel that they have a right to take it for granted that others must place upon it the same estimate. By this estimate, they are led to place mercy in the comparative scale, in every respect, as very far above justice.

Now any language by which these two attributes are placed in opposition to each other, or by which it is intimated that mercy can exist without justice, we have the strongest evidence is not understood. How can it be mercy to pardon a man against whom justice has no charge? It is obviously impossible. A man that has never done an unjust thing, cannot be a subject of guilt, and if he cannot be a subject of guilt, how can he be a subject of mercy? There is another view, however, to be taken of this subject, and in the opinion of many, the arguments in support of the main position are thought to be much more plausible and conclusive. But we have not room in this chapter to pursue the subject any further; further remarks we shall reserve for another chapter.



This subject is presented frequently in nearly the following terms, Does justice require that sinners should be punished beyond what is necessary to lead them to repentance? The negative of this question is maintained by many of the most popular and able writers in support of the doctrine of universal salvation. The negative is a proposition of which many are very tenacious. They appear to feel that it presents the character of God, as we have already observed, in an exceedingly attractive light. But if we examine it with care, we shall see that it presents little else than the extremes of absurdity. It would seem to be impossible for any clear or candid mind to think that the demands of Divine justice in any one case, can be precisely commensurate with the stubbornness of the sinner's heart, especially as the crime or the ill-desert is committed before the punishment is applied. If the sinner should be wise and repent at once, justice would require no punishment in his case. The following things seem to result as natural consequences from this opinion: First, that justice requires that, in no case, but what is for the benefit of the individual that sins. This must be seen to be a strange definition of justice. If it requires only that punishment that will bring the sinner to repentance, it is absurd to call it punishment, for it is the greatest mercy that God himself can bestow upon him. The sinner, then, who is guilty of murder, and in every other way of trampling the pure and holy law of God under his feet, is deserving, according to justice the greatest mercy that a God of infinite wisdom and mercy can bestow upon him. Secondly, if men deserve only that punishment that will bring them to repentance, then it is plain, as we have already said, that repentance is the curse of the law. The penalty in all cases is that, and that only, which justice demands for the violation of the law, and if justice demands repentance, and will be satisfied with that and with nothing else, then repentance is the penalty. Thirdly, according to this notion, such as are brought to repentance are not saved by grace, for they have suffered all that justice requires. They can demand their release from the prison of hell on the ground of law. Not only so, but salvation implies deliverance from punishment, and there is no salvation without it. "Christ hath delivered us from the curse the law, being made a curse for us." If we have salvation by him, we are delivered from punishment by him. But how is it mercy or kindness in Jesus Christ to deliver the sinner from punishment, when it is that, and that only, that will bring him to repentance?

Again, it is said that "Christ is exalted to be a Prince and a Savior to give repentance and remission of sins." But how does he give repentance or remission either, if it is the effect of suffering the pains of hell?—Why does not this prove that the Savior made an important mistake in giving himself to suffering and death, for the pains of hell are a greater favor to the sinner than all that was effected by him? Is not this clearly true in the case of such as die in impenitence? While in the present life they enjoyed all the means of grace, with the most favorable opportunities to improve them, and although they lived under the meridian sun of the gospel, they only lived to treasure up hardness of heart and blindness of mind; but when they are sent to take up their abode in hell, their stubborn and relentless hearts are brought to yield, and with penitent hearts they are received to the mansions of light. Is it not plainly an undeniable consequence, if such as die in impenitence are brought to repentance by the pains of hell, then the pains and miseries of hell are the greatest mercies that God ever bestowed upon them? The debt of gratitude that they owe the Lord Jesus Christ for all that he has done, is not to be compared with that which is due to the pains and miseries of hell. We must admit this to be true, unless we take the ground that the Lord Jesus suffered, to give them the privilege of going down to suffer the torments of hell, or to give those torments a powerfully convicting influence.

But there is another consideration to be taken into view before we have done with this subject, and one by which it is deeply affected, although by great numbers it appears to be taken for granted. What evidence have we that the state of the lost in the world of perdition, is such that they will be led by its pains and miseries to repentance? The true answer to this question we shall find to be such as to show clearly that the affirmative has been believed not from evidence, but merely to make out a theory. There are several passages in the Bible that appear to be designed to give us some knowledge of the state of the incorrigible in the future world, but there is not a hint among them all, that they are led in that world to repent. The impression is very common that when sinners enter that world, such is their hopeless despair from their disappointment, and their gloomy expectation, that their obstinacy and opposition are overcome at once, and they sit down in a hopeless despondency to spend their eternity, in a state of utter despair that cannot be described. This, however, is not in accordance with what the Bible teaches on the subject. The teachings of the Savior on account of their definite expressiveness are not a little remarkable. In not less than six or seven passages, while describing the condition of the ungodly in the future world, he uses the expression, "There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." What terms could more vividly describe a state of hopeless, inveterate madness? Such as the prophet has given in these words, "and they shall curse their king and their God, and look upward." Such, also, as we find under the pouring out of the fifth viol of wrath. "And the kingdom of the beast was full of darkness, and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains, and repented not of their deeds." The apostle Peter tells us that some to whom the Savior, by his Spirit, preached in the days of Noah, were in his days in the prison of hell, and although nineteen hundred years had intervened, he does not give the least intimation that they had repented, or that their characters had improved in any respect. What an indication is suggested by such a declaration as that by the same apostle? Concerning a vile and ungodly class, he remarked "and they shall utterly perish in their own corruption." That is, they should retain and practice the same impure and ungodly abominations by which they treasured up wickedness and prepared for their fearful doom. As they are destitute of hope, there is nothing to hold them in check, or prevent their entering in to many of their pernicious sins, with a greater and more greedy gusto than ever; "In their own corruption."

We have no suggestion in any part of the Bible that the Holy Spirit ever operates on such as are in the prison of despair. If they would not be persuaded to repent by all the means that they enjoy in this life, what can be more vain than to expect that in that world, where they will never be visited by the Spirit, and never have another invitation from the Savior, that they will be induced to repent?

But there is one consideration more that I will suggest that is connected with this subject. We are told in many passages of the Bible, that at the day of judgment we shall be called to give an account for the deeds done in the body. We have not only conclusive evidence from these that our only period of probation is in this world, but there are other passages that furnish the same testimony. Passages like the following are very decided and unequivocal in testifying to the same point: "The field is the world—the harvest is the end of the world; the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire," &c. The metaphor that is here employed, furnishes conclusive evidence that our life, while here in the body, is the only time of trial that we shall ever enjoy. Neither repentance nor faith, nor any other work, will avail us any thing, unless it is done before our time of trial is at an end. This opinion that men may be brought to repent by the miseries of hell, is one that perils the immortal interests of the soul, and is entirely destitute of any foundation in the Bible.

We have seen, it is believed to the full conviction of every candid reader, that our whole race, by nature, are in such a state of apostacy, as to be entirely unfit for heaven.

It is unnecessary to show that a change, such as is essential to salvation, is not wrought upon every one of mankind while in the present state. It is doubtful whether there is an intelligent individual who cherishes a belief in the Bible, who professes even to believe that every one of our race experiences, in the present life, that important change. It is not impossible but that some who make it their aim to be candid, believing it to be necessary to make out a theory that will please them, adopt the opinion that death is the operation by which all are changed and fitted for the kingdom of heaven. We will therefore spend a few moments in the examination of that point.



1. It is evident that all mankind do not experience that change that is essential to salvation by the operation of death, because it is experienced by many before they die. The apostle Peter addressed his brethren as "being born again, not of corruptible but of in corruptible seed, by the word of God." The apostle Paul, in his letter to Titus, uses the following language, "Who hath saved us by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost." It is plain that these apostles meant to be understood that all christians are born again. Regeneration, therefore, cannot in any of these cases be the effect of death.

2. The Holy Spirit is universally asserted in the Bible to be the agent by which this change is produced. "Except a man be born of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Passages in proof of this are too numerous to be quoted here. Can any person believe that the Holy Spirit has any more agency in effecting death than the Savior or the Father?

3. The instrument by which the new birth is effected is the truth. "Of his own will begat he us with the word of his truth." "I have begotten you (says the apostle) through the gospel." Is the truth the instrument by which the lives of men are taken? Some men, it is true, lose their lives because the truth is told about them by others, but no one, it is presumed, ever had a suspicion that the truth, aside from their conduct, was unfriendly to life.

4. Men are commanded to make to them selves new hearts. In one passage there is an explicit command to that effect, and in multitude of others, the same substantially is required. "Cast away from you all your transgressions, and make you a new heart and a new spirit, for why will ye die." Every command for sinners to repent is a command for them to make to themselves a new heart. But if death changes the heart, there is no other way for men to make to themselves new hearts, than to take their own lives!

5. In many passages men are told that unless they are born again, they cannot be saved. But how can they avoid being born again, if it is effected by death? Would the Judge of the world solemnly assure men that except they die, they cannot be saved, when they can no more avoid death if they would, than they can control the movements of the sun? Are men compelled to go through an operation, whether they are willing or unwilling, in which they have no agency of their own, in order that they may be prepared for heaven?

6. Love to brethren is an evidence that we have been born again. "By this we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." But it is needless to spend our time in exposing a notion as absurd as this.

On the whole, it must be matter of no doubt whatever, that multitudes of our race leave this state of our existence, which is our only period of trial, in a state of impenitence or of enmity to God. There are many cases recorded in the Bible from which we may gather clear and definite views of that change of which we have been speaking. It is a change of the affections, in their feelings toward all moral objects. The heart that had no love for holiness, by this change is brought to love and admire the pure and holy law of God. By this change the heart is brought to yield to the influence of the Holy Spirit, and this the apostle calls the earnest of that future glory that awaits the children of God in the future world. There is in every heart that is changed by the Holy Spirit, the beginning of that future blessedness while in this life. There is the beginning of that love to God, and that admiration of all his perfections, that enjoyment of the beauties and glories of the Divine government, that needs only to be increased to make a heaven, with all its fulness, and richness, and glory in this world. Now it will be readily seen that this change lays a foundation for the soul when it has passed through the ordeal of death, to enter that state of spiritual and elevated purity and holiness, which is to be its eternal residence.

But what can be more certain than that multitudes of our race never, while in the present world, experience this change, but enter upon that eternal and unchangeable life, in a state of bitter enmity towards God and everything holy. As this presents the prospects of multitudes in relation to their future hopes under a dark and gloomy cloud, we will add a few remarks on the encouragements or inducements that they have to embrace that doctrine and continue to maintain it.

It is certainly our wisdom and our duty to see to it, that we take our stand upon the safe side of every question that affects our future interests. And if we adopt this principle, it is scarcely possible to see what motive can be presented before us that will lead us to take our stand on the belief of that doctrine. There is one consideration which it would seem must forever prevent anyone from choosing that doctrine as a foundation on which to rest his hopes for eternity, while it is his aim to stand on the ground of the greatest safety.

There is no man on earth that can look at all the direct and unequivocal declarations in the Scriptures of truth against that doctrine, and then bring his mind to feel an unquestionable certainty of its truth. It must be impossible for an intelligent mind to feel that there can be no doubt but that the aim of the Savior and his apostles was to present that doctrine so plain in the New Testament that its readers would embrace that, sooner than any other. There are some that seem desirous to have others believe that they are very certain, but in every case they are not men that weigh evidence with candor, but their certainty appears too evident to be a kind of bravado, excited and sustained by pride. Such a case, it is presumed, was never known that a man of candor and intelligence, who went to the examination of the subject in a spirit of seriousness and honesty, that became certain in proportion as he continued his examination. Such, it is all known, is the result with men who embrace the opposite opinion and believe that God has threatened nothing but what is just in revealing to us the wages of sin. They grow more and more firm and unshaken in their opinions the longer and the more seriously they examine the subject. If our object is to establish ourselves upon the rock of safety, what possible motive can we have to take our stand upon the doctrine of universal salvation? If it is true there can be no possible danger in rejecting it; but if it be false, we have every thing to fear from embracing it. If we disbelieve it, it can do us no possible harm, but to embrace it may be our eternal ruin. If we ask a Universalist who preaches that doctrine, what will become of us if we reject his doctrine, he is compelled to say that we shall be saved as certainly as if we believed it. If safety, then, is our object, what possible inducement can we have to embrace that doctrine?



The way is now prepared to enter upon the direct proof of our main proposition, that everlasting punishment is just. We have already brought forward one argument directly to this point, while answering the very common objection that the criminality of men in no circumstances whatever, can deserve that punishment. To this argument we shall again refer in the discussion of this proposition. We have shown also that the hearts of all men, by nature, are morally depraved, and entirely unfit for heaven. This, it will be seen, is clear and undeniable proof that they cannot be saved unless their hearts are changed, aside from the question concerning their desert. Nothing is more certain than that the selfishness of the human heart by nature, and its entire aversion to holiness is such, that it could not, without a change, be happy in heaven. We have shown also that the character of their hearts is not changed by the operation of death, and that every hope that men will be brought to repentance by the pains of hell, will prove to be baseless as a shadow. We have seen, also, that instead of ceasing to commit sin when they leave the world, and suffering eternally for the sins which they commit in this world, they continue to sin after they enter the future life, with increasing bitterness and hate. It is certainly not difficult to see how, according to this principle, they may receive as they go along a just punishment for all their sins. But whether that opinion shall be found to be correct or not, we shall endeavor to show that the often repeated threatening of everlasting punishment, has nothing in it that is unjust or severe. The reason, undoubtedly, why these threatenings appear unjust in most cases is, men have no standard that is definite, or measure by which to determine the extent of their guilt. There are multitudes that consider men guilty, only for what injury or mischief they accomplish. There are others that make men guilty in proportion to their knowledge or intelligence, whenever they are the means of evil doing. There are others that believe that the knowledge of men does not affect their criminality so much as the character of the law which they violate in doing evil. There are very few cases in common life in which it does not depend almost wholly on the character of the law that has been violated to determine the extent of the criminality when evil has been accomplished. Laws, we ought never to forget, grow out of the relations that we sustain to each other, and such as are given by governmental authority are not in all cases the correct expression of the obligation that the relations indicate. In order to have some clear views of these relations, we have already stated, and we cannot do better than to repeat the illustration here, that all mankind, with Him that made them, are in one community; and from our social connection, obligations arise from which we can exempt ourselves, no more than we can free ourselves from the influence of gravitation. In our illustration of this point we compared society of being to a colony cast upon an island, which they could not leave, and on which they could receive no assistance, and which they were compelled to divide themselves according to the size of each family. (See chapter II.)

It will now be seen that every man is required, by his own interests, to regard the interests of the whole. And if it is the duty of every one to seek the good of the whole, it is certainly the duty of the whole to seek and protect the interests of each individual. To see that obligation is thus resting upon every individual, we supposed that in that colony there is one man that will not be bound to regard the interests of the rest.—He means to get what he could without any regard to right. He will take the last cow from his poor neighbor, if he likes its appearance, and if he beggars the family.

Now, is it not the duty of all the families in that colony to make that man restore what he has taken without the least right from that poor man; or to do what he can to repair the damage? Every man in that government is under obligation to yield assistance, if it be necessary, to see that justice is done.

Does not the common sense of every man tell him that even as loosely as society is now arranged, the above statement in relation to our obligation, must be true? If a man is guilty of injuring the interests of another, justice requires that he should make full reparation. But one of the most important points established by this illustration is the fact, that the penalty of any law grows out of the relations that we sustain, and cannot, in the nature of things, be less than the value of the interest which the law is designed to protect. In the nature of things it must be greater than that interest. If one man shall take from another, without license, the sum of an hundred dollars, he is certainly indebted to that amount to that individual. And as that individual is a member of society, and as that society is endangered and injured by that theft, the thief is in justice bound, not only to pay the hundred dollars to him from whom it was stolen, but to do all that is within his power to repair the damage done to the society.

Now, in order to make the application of this illustration, we must ascertain the value of the law that every sinner is constantly violating. Mankind have universally moved along in an atmosphere of perfect selfishness so long that they are blind to the criminality of any conduct, unless it is some injury done to their own interests, or those of their friends. The law under which they are placed requires them, and with perfect justice, to love their neighbor as themselves, and their Creator more than all other beings. This is only a requirement that they should value every being according to its worth. But how do they treat this law? They do not appear to feel that they are under the least obligation to regard its requirements. It enters not into their plans or arrangements to live in subjection to its claims.

Now let us for a moment endeavor to ascertain the value of the law, or the value of that interest that is protected by it when it is obeyed. Is it not perfectly evident that if it were fully obeyed, it would remove from the world all that wretchedness or misery that is the result of sin? Has not the violation of the law filled the world with every conceivable kind and degree of wretchedness? This only shows us what would be the result if the violation of the law should prevail through the mansions of purity and holiness. It would unquestionably produce the same effects there, that we witness in this world. This shows us the value and importance of the law, and measures off with accuracy the guilt of every sinner. Every one, without exception, has lived in the continued violation of this law. Every one has said by his constant example, that the law does not deserve to be regarded by mankind. Every individual, without an exception, must be considered as justifying the course that he pursues, and if his example were imitated throughout the universe, the result would be the production of evil that could be nothing less than infinite. This we perceive results from the importance of the law irresistibly in the nature of things. As we are endowed with the capacities or powers requisite to obey the law, and as we have the knowledge requisite to appreciate its importance, with perfect justice we are held responsible for our violation, and its consequences. If we incline to doubt this, we may call to mind the fact that our capacity to obey this law, is made the measure of our obligation to do it. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, &c., with all thy soul, might, mind and strength." Here we perceive that our obligation to obey does not extend beyond our capacity. Here then we may see the reason why the Scriptures represent sin as being exceedingly ill-deserving. Its penalty is universally said to be "everlasting punishment," or that which in every respect conveys the same meaning. It corresponds also with the language that was used when sin first appeared in the world. "In dying thou shalt die." In the act of sinning you will effect your death,—the tendency will be to continue to sin. There is not the least intimation of any limits to the punishment.

"In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." There was no intimation that disobedience would be punished for a time. The intimation appeared to be clear, that disobedience would be received as a final decision. It is very nearly certain, that it was so understood. If they listened to the prince of darkness, it was viewed as taking sides with him, and everlasting death would have commenced at that moment, if Divine mercy had not at that point interfered. The Son of God saw that by the disobedience of our parents, our whole race were exposed to the final and fatal stroke, and he said to justice, "Stay thine hand and give them a space to repent, and I will suffer what they deserve, if they can have another opportunity to seek thy favor. If they embrace that, let them receive pardon. But if after a full and thorough trial they still retain their rebellious spirit, then cut them down. Something like what the Savior presented in the parable, where the idea of probation is brought to view undoubtedly occurred at that point of time.2

From that point mankind seem to have been treated as though they were on trial, and not as though they had given a final and fatal decision to their only opportunity to obtain life. It will be seen also that the guilt of sin after men were placed anew in a state of trial, must be far more aggravated than when they first disobeyed the Divine command.—Sin then became not only a resistance of Divine authority, but an abuse of Divine mercy. This has been the character of sin throughout the world ever since. Every man that sins, not only tramples upon the authority of God, but he despises his mercy and compassion. This shows us with perfect clearness and certainty that the just demerit of sin from the nature of things, must be such that not a ray of hope could ever have dawned upon the world, had not an infinite atonement in infinite kindness been promised by the Savior. Here we may look very directly at the just demerit of every sinner. Every sinner sets aside and disregards the infinitely wise and benevolent authority of God, and the infinitely kind and glorious display of his mercy, and if that does not deserve the endless disapprobation of God, it is impossible to conceive of any course of conduct that would. It would certainly produce in the individual sinner, if allowed to continue, infinite evil, and if it were not punished or justly rewarded, it would produce infinite dishonor to the character and government of God. There is a scale on which men proceed to judge of praise or blame-worthiness in the conduct of men, that for purity or equity or far reaching influence, is infinitely below the law of God. According to this scale, a man may atone for his guilt, however great or aggravated it may be, by the sacrifice of his life on the gallows, or by perpetual confinement. According to this scale, a man may be, while he treats the law of God without the least regard, a reputable member of society, while the principles of his life, according to the law of God and according to fact, if they were to prevail, would effect the ruin of the universe. While men are constantly deciding the character of each other in accordance with this scale, everlasting punishment appears to them frightfully unjust. But let a man see the purity and importance of the law, and he will never be heard to complain of its final sentence. If the violation of the Divine law like that of every other without exception, is in fact an evil equal to the value or importance of the law, then we see why nothing short of the sufferings and death of the Son of God, or an infinite atonement, could lay a foundation for the hope of pardon. Then we may see, also, that the pardon of sin is infinite mercy, and will excite in the bosom of the redeemed an offering of gratitude while everlasting ages are rolling away.



We will next turn our attention to the declarations of the Savior concerning the punishment of the wicked, which he delivered to a few of his disciples, in view of the buildings of the temple. The weight of argument contained in this passage, depends on two things, either of which presents it in a form that is perfectly unanswerable. One is the meaning of the terms employed in the statement of the fact; and the other is, that the Savior has placed the duration of the punishment in the case of the wicked, directly against that of the happiness of the righteous, making them thereby, beyond all possible contradiction, perfectly equal.

Before we commence the examination of the terms to decide upon their meaning, we will look a few moments at the connection in which they are found, and the occasion on which they were spoken. While the Savior, with some of his disciples, was viewing the buildings of the temple, he assured them that the time would come when those buildings should be so entirely demolished, that one should not be left on another. This led the apostles to request him to tell them when that time should come. Their request was in these words: "Tell us, when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" In the discourse that followed, expositors are not all agreed how much of it refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, and how much of it to the judgment of the great day. But it is entirely unnecessary for us to agitate that question. The meaning of the words that we are to explain, would be the same, from any exposition. Through the first of his address, it is perfectly certain that he refers to the destruction of Jerusalem. He refers to things earthly, to the hills and mountains lying round about Jerusalem. But in the latter part, it is equally certain that he refers to things entirely beyond the bounds of time.—When we come to the 31st verse of the 25th chapter, he introduces the scenes of his coming, and of the judgment; be appears to be in an entirely different state. There is not the least indication of anything earthly in his representations. But the point for us to look at, in order to ascertain the meaning of the words in this last verse, is the fact that the sentence is presented in language that is entirely free from figure or comparison. In most cases, punishment is presented in the Bible by the use of figures, and such figure are used as present causes that have powerful effects upon our bodies; such as fire, and the scourgings of the rod. But in this verse, nothing of this kind is to be seen. The terms are everlasting punishment and eternal life, "These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous. into life eternal." Here let me remark that the words everlasting and eternal, beyond all possible question, mean the same thing. They are both translated from the same word, in the original language, or that in which the Now Testament was written. They are both adjectives, and translated from the Greek word aionius.—The reason why, in one case, it was translated everlasting, and in the other eternal, was merely that it might sound the better. It is a known fact, that every good writer, when he has occasion to use the word of the same meaning twice in one sentence, if he knows of another word of the same meaning, in one case he will change and take the other. If the translators had used the terms thus, these shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life, the translation would have been as faithful, and the meaning perfectly the same.

Now, every honest mind must see, that if the sentence is to be understood literally, or without any figure, it is impossible to evade the conclusion that it means endless. Everlasting punishment cannot but mean lasting ever. A very careful examination of this subject by one of the most intelligent divines of the age, furnishes the most perfect assurance that the following statement may be relied on. The word aiön, from which the words everlasting and eternal are rendered, when governed by the preposition eis, is used in the New Testament sixty-one times. In six of these instances, it refers to future punishment, and in the other fifty-five, it must, from the nature of the subjects about which it is employed, mean a duration which is endless. Is it possible for any man, endowed with reason, to believe that the word should be used sixty-one times in all, and in six instances it should refer to future punishment, and in the other fifty-five it means endless, beyond all question, and that in these six, it means a limited period? Is it possible for any mind that is sane, to believe such a statement? On the whole, the evidence in this passage is so direct and unequivocal, it would seem that the design of the Savior was to present it in such a manner, it would be utterly impossible, with honesty and truth, to evade it. The following conversation, between the author and a popular preacher of that doctrine, will exhibit one of the most ingenious of those theories invented to evade the Savior's argument. The Universalist enquired of the author what he thought the penalty of the law to be. Answer: "I think it is everlasting death." Universalist: "Where do you find evidence of that?" Answer: "I think it is clearly proved in that declaration of the Savior, "These shall go away into everlasting punishment." I remarked that "I thought it was impious to intimate that the plain and literal meaning of the Savior's threatening was not a true one." Universalist: "I find that the words everlasting, forever and ever, &c., are used in the Bible to denote a limited period, and in one case, I find that the term forever, is used to include only three days and three nights, and therefore I think that the passage that you have mentioned does not prove that the penalty of the law is endless death." I replied. "I know that these words are sometimes used to mean a limited time, but in every such case, I see that they are used in a figurative sense, and signify only a long time, as everlasting mountains, mountains that will last for a long time; and so in the case of Jonah that you mentioned; three days and three nights was a long time for him to be down in the bottom of the sea. Just as we use the word when we say that a slow man is forever doing but little. When words are used in that way, it is not expected they will be understood in a strictly literal or correct sense. But in the passage before us, it is plain that there is no figure; it is a plain and direct declaration of the sentence that will be passed upon the wicked at the great day of accounts. Besides, the word I is the same, we must bear in mind, that expresses the duration of happiness or life in the case of the righteous, in the language from which the translation is made. Shall we say that in the case of the righteous, the word does not mean an endless duration?—Universalist: "I will show you, sir, how I understand it: I think that happiness and punishment have very different effects on the human system. I believe, sir, that in those passages in which these words are used, we are to understand them in accordance with the following principle: The word, of course, is an adjective, and when we find it connected with a noun that is imperishable in its nature, then we must understand it to mean endless. As when we find it connected with the name of God, 'everlasting God,' then it is undoubtedly to be understood in the endless sense. But when it is connected with at noun that is perishable, as everlasting mountains, then it is to be understood in a limited sense, and it means an extent of duration as long as the nature of the noun with which it is connected will endure." I observed, in reply, "Your principle of exposition is entirely new; let me understand it. The word everlasting, you are, doubtless, willing to admit, has no other meaning but that of duration, and yet you say that we cannot tell the extent of duration which, in any case, it means, till we look at some other word, the noun with which it is connected. I cannot see but that you make the word entirely nugatory, a mere expletive. Is it not so?"—Universalist: "Your criticism, sir, is new; let me look at it a moment." I resumed: "It appears to me, sir, that you destroy the meaning of the word, wholly. Suppose, sir, when we go out in the morning, we see a mushroom that has sprung up in the damp of the night, and we know that when the sun comes up, and shines upon it, it wont endure two hours. Now, on your principle of exposition, I do not see but that, with perfect propriety, we may call it an everlasting mushroom, or an eternal mushroom."

He admitted that this inference was just, and this led me to express some doubts whether he was sincere or serious. This le to an assertion on his part, very deliberate, and apparently conscientious, that he was conscientious and serious in every sentiment that he had advanced. That although his opponent had made that principle of exposition appear seemingly very absurd, still he did conscientiously believe it. It could seem to be a point which it would be impossible, in fairness, to doubt, that the declaration of the Saviour, in the passage before us, did mean endless punishment, if any words in the Greek language could certainly mean it.

But we must not forget that the passage affords another argument aside from that which the literal meaning of the words conveys, that is equally conclusive. It is one that has been already incidentally suggested. It is the fact that the same word is used to express the happiness of the righteous, that expresses the duration of punishment in the case of the wicked. I am aware that some think to evade the apparently irresistible conclusion that the duration is the same in both cases, by saying that misery will wear out and destroy the soul, while happiness will sustain and continue it. To show that this evasion is entirely vain, we need only remember that this text does not say misery, but punishment, and it is impious to suppose that he who made the soul, and from whom this sentence proceeded, cannot find a punishment that will not destroy the substance or existence of the soul. It is a well known fact, that great pains and labor have been bestowed upon this passage, to show that it may be reconciled with the doctrine of universal salvation, or rather, that it may be so viewed as not certainly to sustain the doctrine of endless punishment in the case of the finally impenitent. But if we look carefully at the passage, we shall see that such a supposition is an absolute impossibility. No candid mind but what must feel compelled to admit that the passage does state that the righteous will be received to a state of endless life, beyond all possible question, if it can be so stated in words. Then it will be seen that the Savior, with equal certainty, meant it should be understood that the incorrigibly wicked would be confined to a state of punishment equally interminable. If it be not so understood, it is impossible to see that the Savior did not mean to leave the sentence in such a way as to make a false impression on the mind of the honest reader. Not only so, but the error which it leaves upon the mind, is one of infinite consequence. If the term everlasting be understood to mean a limited time, it differs as widely from its meaning, when understood in the unlimited sense, as the word really implies, as finite from infinite.

Many affect to think that it is very absurd to say that a finite creature can commit a sin that deserves or will receive an infinite punishment. There is a deception in this statement, that is very thinly concealed. —There is a sense in which men are infinite—their souls are of infinite duration, and they may certainly do that which may affect their happiness during their existence. That will be seen to be, in the same sense, an infinite evil; it will be an evil of infinite duration. It is now left for the reader to decide whether it is not clearly impossible for an honest and intelligent mind to understand, in this declaration of the Savior, anything less than endless punishment. And whether any mind, of common intelligence and mental powers, can come to any other or any different conclusion, unless it be by such an abuse of his reasoning powers, and his powers of apprehension, as must render it exceedingly offensive in the sight of God.



There are numerous passages of the Scriptures which, by a candid and honst interpretation, can never be reconciled to the doctrine of universal salvation, and as we have not time to take up each by itself, we will insert a sufficient number, to show, beyond all question, what the curret language of the Bible, on the subject before us is; submitting a remark or two where plainness may seem to require it. "Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat."3 "Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming in which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation."4 "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord."5 Here are three passages, either of which, to a candid and honest mind, must appear perfectly conclusive. That men may follow the path to destruction, or come forth to that resurrection of damnation that is set in opposition to the resurrection of life, and still be the subjects of salvation, no man, in the exercise of his reason, can believe.

"Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."6 This passage, though presented in the language of figure, is repeated no less than three times within the extent of a few verses, and can no more be shown to agree with the doctrine of universal salvation, than light with darkness. "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever."7 "But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgeiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation."8 "But whoso speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him in this world, neither in the world to come."9 These passages exhibit the threating of God against one sin, and if we are not satisfied with regard to the nature of that sin, it does not affect the argument which the passage contains on the subject before us. We certainly cannot believe that the Savior would represent the danger or guilt of committing a sin, to be so aggravated that it can never be forgiven, neither in this world nor in that which is to come, and which, after all, no individual could possibly commit, and which no one could be in any danger of committing. "They shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."10 The argument against the doctrine before us, from this passage, rests on two phrases, either of which is perfectly clear and unequivocal. To be destroyed, and to be destroyed without remedy, is a doubt attestation of endless punishment. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life."11 The extent of the death mentioned in this passage, it will be seen at once, is to be measured by the life expressed in the last sentence. "We are saved from wrath to come through Jesus."12 It is difficult to form any conception of a phrase that looks more like endless duration that that which is employed in this passage. It looks out through endless ages, and still its language is, wrath to come. "They hypocrite's hope shall perish."13 The hope of the unjust man perisheth."14 "Their hope shall be like the giving up of the Ghost."15 We can scarcely conceive of language more definite and unequivocal than that which is employed in the last four quotations. It is very certain that it was the aim of the writer, to use words that should leave the impression on the mind, of utter and endless despair. "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost."16 "None is lost but the son of perdition."17 "The preaching of the cross is, to them that perish, foolishness."18 "For we are unto God a sweet savor in Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish."19 "In all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish."20 "But the way of the ungodly shall perish."21

In several of these passages last cited, it will be seen that the argument depends on the meaning of one word, and that is a word which is one of the most conclusive in the whole Bible. The word to which I refer, is perish. I have never seen more than one attempt to give the word an explanation, that would appear plausible, and not sustain its obvious meaning.—It is said, by some, that the meaning of the word perish, is the same as to be destroyed, and it means nothing more than to have the body of sin destroyed. This, it will be readily seen, makes the word to convey an important blessing, wheras, the word is invariably used to indicate one of the most fearful threatenings in the whole Bible. It is certainly just and fair to take the explanation and put it in the place of the word of phrase to be explained, and by reading the passage, we may ascertain whether the meaning is more in accordance with the connection, than before the explanation was inserted. "The preaching of the cross is, to them that perish foolishness." Now, if we insert this explanation, it will read, "the preaching of the cross is to them that have the body of sin destroyed, foolishness. This explanation renders the passage an obvious falsehood. It will be so in every case, if we insert this explanation where the word perish is used.

"When the wicked spring as the grass, and when the workers of iniquity do flourish, it is that they shall be destroyed forever."22 The Psalmist prayed that God would deliver him from men of the world, "who have their portion in this life."23 "Set forth as examples, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."24 "I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord."25 "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?"26 "To whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever and ever."27 "Wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever and ever."28 "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever."29 "And shall be tormented day and night, forever and ever."30 "And it shall be impossible to renew them again to repentance."31 "we are not of them that draw back unto perdition."32 "He that soweth to his flesh, shall of his flesh reap corruption."33 "Good were it for that man if had never been born."34 "He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."35 "Whose end is to be burned."36 "I say unto you, that none of those men that were bidden shall taste of my supper."37 "Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer."38 "The wicked is driven away in his wickedness; but the righteous hath hop in his death."39 "What is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh way his soul?"40 "Whose end is destruction."41 "Ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?"42 "The redemption of their soul is precious, but it ceaseth forever."43 "And he saith unto me, seal not the sayings of the prophecy, for the time is at hand; he that is unjust, let him be unjust still, and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still, and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still, and he that is holy, let him be holy still."44 This passage, it will be recollected, is in the last chapter of the Bible, and the inspired writer undoubtedly meant to show that, as the time of our probation is drawing to a close, when that period should arrive, there would be no further any change of character forever. Every character would remain unchangeably the same, while the ages of eternity should be rolling away.

We have here cited nearly fifty passages, containing that number of different arguments against the doctrine that all men will finally be saved, not one of which, if examined with candor and honesty, will admit of an answer. These passages are but a part of what the Bible contains, that are equally decisive and unanswerable. They are not the passages that are most usually quoted and relied on as furnishing the clearest and most decisive proof. Those passages will be presented, and their bearing shown in their proper place. Is it not a matter of serious surprise, that beings, claiming to be rational, intelligent, candid and honest, can believe that a book, containing so many and various statements, directly and obviously irreconcilable with that doctrine, was yet given to men, to lead them to embrace it? Does it not but too clearly evince a love of error, so habitual, and so firmly cherished, that the voice of reason and judgment, and all the noble powers of the should, are overpowered, and its influence lost?



The infinite love and compassion of God, does not make it certain that the impenitent will all be saved. Universalists often show that they lean upon that single fact, that God is infinitely good, more than upon any other. If they can be convinced that he is infinite in goodness, they can sit down with perfect contentment. The passage, however, named at the head of this chapter, while it teaches the infinite kindness and compassion of God, shows, with great clearness, that there is not the slightest ground for a hope of salvation, without faith in Jesus Christ. "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, O Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboim?" There is an idea presented in these questions, that many think it impossible to reconcile with the general character of God. It is this, that God should represent himself as unable to do that which he ardently desires to have done. "How can I give thee up, Ephraim?" In other passages he is represented as beseeching sinners to become reconciled to him. How often it is said that if God is anxious that sinners should submit to him, why does he not, if the hearts of all men are in his hand, give them a yielding spirit? If he wishes them to repent, why does he not give them repentance? Has he not power to do it? There is no doubt but that he has the power, in the sense here intended, to subdue all the malignant spirits of the pit. Yet there is a sense in which he is unable to do more to subdue the impenitent than he does. There are bounds beyond which, a regard to his law and government will not suffer him to go, either in his entreaties, or in using power to overcome the stubbornness of the sinner's mind. We can easily see that so much might be done in efforts, on the part of God, to persuade men, as would lead them to feel that, whether they repent or not, he would not suffer justice to be executed upon them. The Savior was unable to do many mighty works, in some, places, on account of their unbelief. Unbelief did not affect his power to work miracles; it only made it inconsistent for him to display his power in circumstances where it would injure his own character and cause. The inability that appears to be implied in the passage before us, differs, to some extent, from this. "How can I give thee up, Ephraim?" Here it would seem, that God meant, using language, undoubtedly, after the manner of men, to intimate that the conduct of Israel had been so perverse and unholy, that he feared that he should be compelled, in order to do justice to his government, to give them up and make them as he had made Admah and Zeboim, cities that were destroved with Sodom and Gomorrah, and his feelings revolted, and he enquired, How can I do it? How can I visit them with a punishment, although they deserve it, that will do justice to my kingdom?

A government may feel itself impelled, in order to support its authority, to inflict upon certain offenders, a punishment that is revolting to the feelings of human nature, and may honestly express the question in this passage, "How can I give thee up." This, it will be readily seen, must be the meaning of the question, and nothing can be more foolish, than it is to enquire why it is that the Judge of the world should suffer men to be placed where their sins will deserve such a punishment as that with which they are threatened. We might, with the same consistency, enquire why it was necessary that he should have so good a law? or why he should have interests of so much value to be protected? The law, it must be seen, is equal to the interests it protects, and that, in the nature of things, a violation of it is a sin equal to its value. In accordance with this, it will be seen that it could be only by the creation and government of beings who are capable of violating an infinite law, that infinite mercy or salvation would be seen.

But if God is a being as merciful as the Bible represents him to be, the questions in this passage are indisputable proof of two important facts, that the sins of the children of Israel were infinitely ill-deserving, and that the love and compassion of God is equally above all human conception. Let us now look, for a few moments, at some things that are strictly implied in these questions, that exhibit the infinite compassion of God. It is scarcely necessary to remark here, that the questions before us are as applicable to all other sinners as they were to the children of Israel.

1. It is implied, in these questions, that there is no necessity that sinners should be given up. These questions appear like the language of a parent concerning a child that he feared would be ruined, not by any necessary or unavoidable evil, but by some unnecessary and ruinous habit. If a parent saw that his child was strongly inclined to intemperance, and had already reached within sight of the gulf of ruin, when he remembered that nothing prevented his being reclaimed but the stubbornness of his own voluntary habits, he would be very liable to fall into the language of these questions, "How can I give him up?" It is so with the sinner in every respect. Nothing is required of him but what he has power to accomplish. An atonement is provided sufficient for the world, and sinners are kindly and urgently invited to accept of it and live.

2. These questions imply that great pains have been taken with them, and many means have been used with them, to prevent their being given up. However firmly the affections of a parent may be attached to a child, he will never be heard to use such language as that contained in these questions, until he has made repeated trials to reclaim him. But when he had used every means that he could have the least reason to hope would be effectual, and the chilling thought would begin at times to roll over his mind, that he never would be reclaimed, but that he would soon sink into a drunkard's grave, under the influence of a drunkard's death, then it would be perfectly natural for him to exclaim, "How can I give him up?" It is similar in the case of the sinner. Divine Revelation has given a tongue to every appearance in nature, and every change in the seasons. There is not an hour in which the sinner may not hear a loud note of warning and admonition, from the providence of God. Every attack of disease, and every pang that our feeble bodies are made to feel, are evidences, trumpet-tongued, that we must soon leave this important state of our being, and if the great business for which we live, is not accomplished soon, it never can be.

3. The questions in this passage imply that sinners have long persisted in their ruinous course. No parent, however ruinous the habit to which his child appeared to be inclined, would use such language upon his first transgression. Not until he has repeatedly stepped aside; and has as often rejected the most timely and tender warnings. It is so in the case of impenitent sinners. They are not threatened with being given up or left of God, till they have often and long resisted the Spirit of God, and the invitations of Divine mercy. This remark is undoubtedly more appropriate to such as are in the meridian, and such as are in the afternoon of life, than to the youth. Still, if we look at the perilous condition of every sinner, and at, the expense and value of the offer of pardon, to reject such an offer, for a single hour, would be a long time. But what is an hour, compared with the time that every sinner, old and young, has spent in rejecting the mercy and compassion of the Gospel?

4. The questions before us imply that there is great danger that sinners will be given up. An affectionate parent would never use such language as that contained in these questions, unless he felt that the danger was great that his child would be given up. It is so with the sinner. The language is such as to convince us, if we believe that the Judge of the world is sincere, that the danger that they will be given up is fearful.

This condition is greatly supported by looking at the tendency of their habits. What encouragement have we to believe, when sinners have rejected divine mercy through all their young and tender years, and their habits have become dominant, and their prejudices unyielding, that they will ever listen to his entreaty, and be reclaimed? Angels, for one offence, although they sinned not, as the sinner does, against the mercy and compassion of heaven, were cast down to hell; is there not, then, reason to fear that such as not only trampled the law under their feet, but all their days have despised the richest exhibition of mercy that God can make, is there no reason to fear that such will be given up? If he spared not the old world, but brought the flood upon the ungodly—if he spared not Sodom and Gomorrah, but turned their cities to ashes, with a frightful overthrow, have not such as despise his mercy and compassion, reason to fear and tremble?

5. These questions very clearly imply that it is a fearful thing to be given up. They intimate not only that there is great danger that the event will take place, but that it will be a fearful and awful event. Would a parent ever adopt such language concerning his child, unless he believed that there was great danger that his child would be involved in irrevocable ruin? It becomes, then, a serious inquiry, what is it to be given up of God? When a person is given up of God, every ray of hope that he ever may be brought to repentance or reclaimed, is extinguished for ever. We cannot conceive of anything more hopeless than the condition of one that is given up of God. The Bible uses such language as the following: "Reprobate silver shall men call them, for the Lord hath forsaken them." "Woe unto them, when I forsake them." Such as are forsaken of him cannot be moved by any of the means of grace. Truth is the great instrument in the conversion of men, but when God has forsaken them, it falls upon their minds like rain upon a rock. It is not because there is any want of power or capacity on the part of the sinner, or any lack in the extent of the atonement, but such is the depravity of their hearts, that if they are left to their own course, they will as certainly be lost, as if they were already locked up in the prison of despair. When the Spirit of the Lord forsakes a man, and the means of grace only harden his mind, he becomes past feeling and lives only to treasure up wrath against the day of wrath. This perfectly accords with every syllable that the Bible contains on this awful subject. With such as are given up of God, "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversary." But the questions in the passage before us are still more explicit in showing the hopelessness of such as are given up. Here let me remark, we are favored with assistance, in the explanation of this passage, that we do not always enjoy.

It is always perfectly safe to let the Bible expound itself. Then there is no danger that we shall be led into error. Other passages may tell us what he means by the phrase on which so much depends in this. "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboim?" The question now comes with a directness that cannot be evaded, How did he make Ephraim, and Admah? These were cities of the plain, and lay contiguous to Sodom and Gomorrah, and were destroyed at the same time, and in the same manner. Now, if we let the Bible explain itself, we are not at loss what it was to be made like those cities. "He turned their cities to ashes with a frightful overthrow." This was what they experienced in this world. And then it is said, "he condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample to those that after should live ungodly." The same statement is made by another of the apostles. "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." It is no wonder that the condition of such persons should excite, so deeply, the sympathy and compassion of God. If the effect of sin upon his government is such that infinite benevolence requires that it should be rewarded with eternal death, it is no wonder that he exclaims, when he sees the sinner stubborn and unwilling to listen to the kindest entreaties, that such language should be forced from the heart of the judge to himself—"How can I give him up? How can I make him as Admah?" &c. What a difference we perceive between the reasoning of men and the decision of the Judge of the world on this subject! Men think it impossible that beings who lived as far back toward the beginning of the world, and were as ignorant as the inhabitants of Sodom and Gamorrah, to have much guilt attached to their sins. But the Judge of the world assures us that they experienced a frightful overthrow in this world, and are set forth for an example to those who afterward should live ungodly, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. This notion that men must be in the possession of extensive knowledge, in order to be guilty of great sin, is an entire mistake. A man needs but little knowledge, comparatively, to be able, perseveringly and bitterly to hate the character and government of God, an example that needs only to be imitated to a sufficient extent, to make the universe itself, in its length and breadth, a perfect pandemonium.



It is doubtful whether there is a Passage in the whole Bible that, in the discussion of the subject now before us, has a more serious claim upon our attention, than this that is here named. The whole point in debate is more nearly settled in this passage, than in any other. The whole paragraph is a reply that is direct and definite as words can make it, beyond all question on the subject, that we are now endeavoring to discuss. "Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved?" It would seem to be impossible to have the whole question presented in fewer words, or to have their meaning more plain, or more unequivocal. The inquiry most evidently refers to the number that will be the subjects of salvation in the future world. This is already ascertained, not only from the form and terms of the question, but from the reply of the Savior, "Strive to enter in." That is, exert yourself to the extent of your powers to enter in. The word that is here translated, "Strive," is that which is usually rendered agonize, and the meaning is, that if we would secure our salvation, so many and so formidable are the opposing influences, we must bring to the effort the extent of our powers or faculties. But why should such an effort be necessary or wise, if it were not true that some would eventually fail to enter in, and that all would be exposed to the same end? The word that the Savior here uses in urging us to enter in at the strait gate, is different from that by which he describes the efforts of such as prove eventually unable. "For I say unto you, that many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." He then proceeds to show the time when they shall seek and shall not succeed. On this point, the opinions that have prevailed, have been erroneous. It has been believed that the Savior referred to the heartless and insincere manner in which too many seek for that eternal inheritance while in this world. It is not a little surprising that so many should make such a mistake as this, when the Savior proceeds, so immediately and definitely to mark the time and the place when this unsuccessful seeking should be seen. "When once the master of the house hath risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door; saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are; then shall ye begin to say, we have eaten and drunken in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets." Then, to show, most conclusively, that the scene will be in the future world, he assures us that we shall meet Abraham and Isaac, and all the patriarchs. This exposition of the passage, shows us that many will retain their deception, with regard to their condition, till they are brought to face the Savior in the spirit world.

Let us now return to the answer of the Savior. The question is this: "Are there few that be saved?" Now, what answer to this question, does the assur- ance that many would find, when it was too late, that they had not sought him as they were required, and that they were shut out forever, what answer does this assurance afford to this question? Could he more unequivocally decide that some, at least, would fail of Salvation? Is it possible, in the nature of things, that he could mean, or that they could understand him to mean, that all men will eventually be saved? Some men are able, by mere art or ingenuity in the process of a few sentences, to change the apparent import of the plainest sentences. But is it possible to conceive how that, by mere art, such a sentence as this, "Some will seek to enter in and shall not be able," can be made to read that all will seek to enter in, and eventually all be able? If the doctrine of universal salvation is true, how is it possible to clear the Savior, in this answer, from an intention to deceive? His answer would certainly lead every honest minded man to believe that some would finally fail of salvation. Is not this answer as clear and as full a decision that the doctrine of universal salvation is not true, as could be conveyed if so few words? Suppose the question and answer in these words had stood thus: "Lord, is the number that will finally be saved, large or small?" "Do you embrace every opportunity and make every effort in your power to secure an entrance into that kingdom, for some that seek to obtain an entrance will not be able." Would any man, that meant to be honest, after reading this answer, be willing to say that he thought that it could be reconciled with the doctrine of universal salvation? If there is a shadow of doubt about it, it must rest on this point, whether to fail of entering the kingdom of heaven, is the same as to fail of salvation? If it be not the same, then it will be seen that the Savior did not answer the question. And if he did not answer the question, his hearers were deceived. From every circumstance, it is plain that he meant that they should understand him to answer the question.

On the whole, if this passage does not prove that some men will finally fail of salvation, and of course, that Universalism is not true, of what value is the Bible? What dependence can we place upon it, in deciding what we ought, and what we ought not, to believe?

Nevertheless, I have one question further to consider: If the doctrine of universal salvation be true, Jesus Christ preached that doctrine, for he was a preacher of the truth. This will not be denied. Now, who ever heard of such a question as this being put to a Universalist? Who ever heard a man, rising up in a congregation, that had been listening to a Universalist, inquiring, with earnestness and candor, of the speaker, in the following language: "Sir, did I understand you to say, that there would be but a few saved?" And, on the supposition that Jesus had been preaching the doctrine that all would be saved, what answer would he have given to such a question? "Few saved? Why, I have been laboring a full hour to show you that all will be saved. And now you stand up and ask if there will be only a few saved. You cannot have paid very good attention; my whole discourse was to show that all would be; and now you ask, are there few saved?"

I must certainly be permited to pursue this question a little further. Suppose, as we have already admitted, that the doctrine of universal salvation is true, and Jesus Christ had been preaching it—the young man, after receiving, for answer, that which the Lord Jesus Christ must have given him, to wit, that all would be saved, this anxious inquirer had expressed some serious doubts. Suppose, for the sake of the argument, he had said to Jesus of Nazareth, "True, you have been endeavoring to prove to us that all will be saved; but I confess, I have my doubts. Now, what will become of me? I cannot believe that all will be saved; now, where will this unbelief lead me?" What answer must the Lord Jesus have given him? He must have replied, "Well, you will be saved, of course, as all are saved;" to which, we may naturally suppose, the young man would have added, in surprise, "What, saved in unbelief? Am I as sure of salvation, in unbelief and sin, as I am by repenting and believing? Can that be truth, which I may as safely reject as receive? How shall I reconcile this with the close of thy sermon, the other day?—'He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved, and he that believeth not, shall be damned?' Are the unbeliving just as sure of final and eternal salvation, as they that believe? 'What interests have I, then, to secure, by following and obeying thee, or to lose by withdrawing from thee?"

The prominent elements in the human character are the same in every age of the world. "As face answers to face in water, so the heart of man to man." We need no uncommon knowledge of futurity, or of the character of mankind, to predict, with safety, that they will continue to retain a dominant and controlling selfishness in their affections. In this, more than anything else, they evince their entire apostasy. It was this, undoubtedly, that led Adam to tremble with fear, and hide himself, when he heard the voice of the Lord God, walking in the garden, in the cool of the day. So long as the natural and moral faculties of the human mind remain such as they are at present, and such as they have been since the transgression of Adam, so long truths of the same character will continue to produce the same effects. Wherever the doctrine of future punishment has been presented, and presented by such evidence as to produce belief, as a matter of course the effect has been, to leave an impression of fear on the mind. The Savior gave his hearers to understand that it was expected that truth would produce such an effect on the mind.—"I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear. Fear him which, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, fear him."

It would be impious to suspect even that the Savior was willing to excite ungrounded alarm in the minds of men. If he had known that there is real and certain danger that such as die in a state of enmity towards God, would be cast into hell, could he have said it in a manner more direct and more difficult to be explained away, than the manner in which it is said here?

In the preaching of Peter, on the day of Pentecost, we see an exhibition of the fact that I have named. "Now, when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, men and brethren, what shall we do?" As soon as they became convinced that what he had said was the truth, they saw that they were in danger, and were alarmed. This is evident from the answer of Peter. "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins."

It was so, also in the case of the jailor.—When Paul and Silas were cast into prison, they sang praises at midnight, to God, and the foundations of the prison were shaken, and the doors were opened, and the jailor, awaking out of sleep, supposing that the prisoners had fled, was about to put an end to his life. On seeing this, the apostle called out, in earnest, for him to do himself no harm, assuring him that the prisoners were all there. These miracles convinced the jailor, beyond all possible question, that the doctrines that the apostles taught were the unchangeable truth of God. He saw, at once, that, being an impenitent sinner, he was, every moment, exposed to death and everlasting perdition. He called for a light, and sprang into the prisoners' room, exclaiming, "Sirs, what shall I do to be saved?"

Now, every person will say, at once, that this effect was perfectly natural. If he saw that he was in danger, it was natural for him to express his fears. It was perfectly natural for him to begin to examine the question in reference to the cause of his danger. This is the reason why such as honestly believe the Bible, and become convinced that they are not converted, are the subjects of agitation and fear. Very frequently their fears are such, that they are thrown almost into despair.

The question now rises, and it is for every one to answer for himself, Is it possible to believe that such emotions of fear would result from the preaching of every kind of doctrine? Were such emotions ever witnessed from the preaching of the doctrine of universal salvation? Is it not an impossibility in the nature of things? We may as soon expect that excessive pain will produce raptures of joy and pleasure. Was such a thing ever known? Was a man ever heard to ask, in a serious manner, What can I do to be saved, by becoming convinced that Universalism is true? Were a man, who finnly believed that doctrine, to witness, while endeavoring to persuade others to believe it, that just as far he was successful, men became the subjects of great fear and anxiety, he would himself be filled with surprise, or he would inwardly smile at the inconsistency of the exhibition that he witnessed.



The next subject to which we shall turn our attention, for a few moments, as having a bearing on the question we are discussing, is the destruction of great multitudes of the wicked, under the former dispensation. Great numbers by which the world has become peopled, in consequence of their terrible wickedness, were swept from the earth by the flood. Such was the wickedness, also, of the inhabitants of Sodoin and Gomorrah, that their whole city was destroyed by fire from heaven. It was similar with the fate of Nineveh. In a great number of other cases, numerous armies were destroyed at once, by some sudden and fearful display of Divine vengeance. What shall we think was the final end of those who were removed from the world in this summary manner? It is a fact, that many were endeavoring to support the doctrine of universal salvation, have cited these case, supposing that they might take it for granted, that persons dying in circumstances of such ignorance and want of experience, could not be sufficiently guilty to deserve everlasting punishment. It is always safe, however, to look on both sides of a position, before we adopt it. Is it not far more difficult to believe that those guilty creatures, whose crimes would not suffer them to live in this world, should be taken directly from all the trials and evils of this world, to the mansions of peace and rest, while such men as Abraham, and Moses, and Joseph, are doomed to endure the disappointments and terrible trials of this apostate world, for scores of years, than that these unfeeling and irreclaimable wretches, who, as we have already seen, not only entirely disregarded the authority of Jehovah, but have despised his mercy in giving them time to repent should be removed from all the means of grace, to enter upon that unchangeably miserable state for which they were fitted, by their characters, and which they justly deserved? To avoid this conclusion, I am aware that many have endeavored to believe that those multitudes who were swept away in their guilt, were only removed to another state of trial. But we have already sufficiently shown, it is believed, the absurdity of that opinion. We have shown, also, that there is not a single sentence in the Bible, that, with any fairness, can he so construed as to show any countenance to that notion. There can be no doubt that the present is a state of trial or probation, and it is impossible to see why one state of that character will not answer every purpose that could be answered by any number. Not only so, but the fact so often mentioned in the Bible, that mankind, at the judgment day, will be compelled to "render an account for the deeds done in the body," shows, undeniably, that there can be no trial or probation after death.

Before we leave this point, it is proper and important to remark, that we are not left to the decisions of human reason to settle the question before us. On the question whether the doctrine of future and endless punishment be true or false, and especially in relation to such characters as those at which we have been looking, a plain and unequivocal declaration of the inspired word, as well as upon every other question, should put an end to all controversy. In this light, let us look at the declaration of the apostle Jude, "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."

Now, what can be greater folly than to imagine that the vengeance that is eternal may be suffered in a limited time? Is it not daring impiety to indulge a suspicion, when we are told what the Judge of the world has done, whether it is just? Here the declaration is plain and unequivocal, that the inhabitants of the plains were set forth as an example to such as should imitate them in wickedness, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Now, we must either say that the record is not faithful, or accuse the Judge of the world, of injustice. The event which the apostle here described, took place, at least nineteen hundred years before the time when the apostle wrote. Those men to whom Noah, by the Spirit of Christ, preached according to the declaration of Peter while he was building the ark, the apostle saw, in his day, in the pit of despair, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

The declaration of Peter is in perfect accordance with this of Jude. "And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly. Then, in the same connection, while speaking of the same characters, he observes, "But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of things that they understand not, and shall utterly perish in their own corruption." Of what avail will it be for us to set up our doubts or reasonings, in opposition to these plain and decisive declarations?—Can we indulge such pride as to imagine that we know the importance of God's law, as well as the Law-Giver himself? If we examine this last passage, and the connection in which it stands, we shall see that its testimony in support of the point we are endeavoring to prove, cannot be met or removed. The same writer, only a few verses distant from where this passage is found, tells us that "God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Universalists very frequently seem to feel that this passage is proof conclusive that none will be left to perish in opposition to the will of God. But they do not stop to look at the meaning of the word, as it is used here. Only a few verses distant from this declaration, the same writer tells us of some "who speak evil of things that they understand not, and shall utterly perish in their own corruption.

The fact, then, that in one sense God is not willing that any should perish, does not prevent their perishing. In one sense, he is unwilling that any should sin. His language is, "O do not that abominable thing that my soul hateth." His being unwilling, then, that any should sin, does not prevent all from sinning. By the word perish, the apostle most certainly meant, perishing forever. He means to convey the same meaning as the prophet, "O turn ye unto me, for why will ye die?" "As though God did beseech you by us, we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God."

There is, moreover, an argument against the doctrine that all men will be saved in every Gospel invitation. If we look with candor, we shall see that every invitation is based upon some condition that is indispensable. "And the Spirit and the Bride say, come, and let him that heareth, say, come, and let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely." The plain and very kind invitation contained in these words, is directed to every sinner, but it is connected with a very important condition. Is there nothing meant by the word "come," in this passage? Could, any one have a right to cherish a rational hope that he might drink of the water of life, unless he complied with what is meant by this word?

What is it, then, that by this term, sinners are invited to do? What do we understand by coming to Christ or the Gospel?—Do we not, beyond all question, understand by it, placing our entire dependence on him for salvation? Is it not the same as believing on him? As simple a definition as can be given, is, "to exercise repentance for our sins," and that "faith in Jesus Christ that works by love, and purifies the heart." Is it a point that requires a single argument to prove that all men do not come to Christ? Again it is said that Jesus preached, "Repeat ye, and believe the Gospel." The passages in which men are assured that if they will repent and believe the Gospel, they may receive pardon and salvation, are too numerous to be cited here. Whatever we may think is implied in repentance, two things are certain in regard to it; first, that it is indispensable? that is, it is impossible without it to be saved. Secondly, it is equally certain that all do not repent. The same fact may be seen in every invitation. "God bath sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that whosoever believeth on him may not perish, but have everlasting life." Is it not as certain, from this passage, that without faith, it is as impossible to be saved as it would be without a Savior? This necessity for faith, the Savior, in some passages, has explicitly presented. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned."

From this view of the promise, it is plain that the most conclusive arguments against that doctrine, in abundance, may be seen in almost every part of the Bible. When the Holy Spirit is operating upon the minds of men, and they are honest, they see and feel the weight of these arguments. There is nothing necessary but an honest mind in any sinner of intelligence to see these arguments and to see that they are undeniably conclusive. What but honesty is wanting to see such an argument as this, in such a declaration as the following: "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Every man whose conversion is genuine, does see it and believe it. Such is the selfishness of the human heart, and so strong is the hold of sin upon it, it would never yield till it firmly believed that argument as it is seen upon every promise. With what clearness the apostle leads us to understand that he saw it and believed it when he was converted. "I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died."—he saw himself without a single glimmering of hope, which he could not have done till he saw that he was exposed to everlasting death. This is substantially the view that every man has who has genuine conviction. This is what we understand by being slain by the law, and when it is thoroughly and effectually done, the suggestions of the Spirit are readily received and the soul is born again.


In coming to a conclusion, on this subject, let us, as far as it is possible, look back over the whole range of argument over which we have passed, and endeavor to derive such lessons and obtain such facts; as a view of the whole field will afford. As beings that expect to know very soon from our own experience what the truth is on this subject, let us bear steadily in mind that it is impossible to conceive of any reason that should lead Divine goodness to suggest a single intimation that any immortal beings will finally fail of salvation, if it be not an undeniable truth? But if our eternal salvation is suspended on the conditions of repentance and faith, as it unquestionably is, then if there is the least prospect of our success in our attempts to obey the Divine command and work out our own salvation, such information may proceed from infinite kindness. What then must we believe if we find, on reading the Bible, that instead of one clear and undisputed argument, there are more than an hundred declarations and arguments, possessing all the properties of perfect conclusiveness, going to show that numbers will be irrecoverably lost? Some fifty of these we have inserted in a single chapter, where we have presented the "Current Language of the Bible." The question is now distinctly before us, whether we can believe that a Bible, with all these direct and unequivocal testimonies against the doctrine that all will be saved, was written and given to men to lead them to believe that the doctrine is true? Is it possible for any being possessing a particle of reason or intelligence, to believe a statement like this? What greatly increases the impossibility in this case, and makes it, if possible, still more certain that the Bible never could have been written to teach that doctrine, there is not an argument or passage which its advocates can pretend even to be so decided as to admit of no candid doubts, whether the meaning they give to it is the true one.

This may be thought by some to be an uncharitable assertion, but let us examine it for a few moments. Is there an expression drawn from the whole Bible which it is claimed is more decided and unequivocal than the assertion, "Who will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth?" And yet it is an undeniable fact that this passage asserts that it is the will of God that all men should come to the knowledge of the truth, with the same decision and firmness, as that they should be saved. This certainly shows that the meaning which they affix to it, is not the true one. All men do not come to the truth. The meaning undoubtedly is, that God wills the salvation of all men just as he wills that all men should love and obey him. The meaning is the same as when the apostle asserts that the "servants of Christ do the will of God from the heart." And the same as when the Savior asserts that such as do the will of his father, have an inheritance in heaven.—When the term is used as referring to the duty of men, instead of its being a term conveying an argument free from all doubt in support of that doctrine, it does not contain an argument that affords that doctrine the least support whatever. When we are told that it is the will of God that all men should love him as he commands them, does any person consider that an unequivocal proof that all men will be saved? Thus it is plain that there is not a single passage in the whole Bible, in support of that doctrine, that is not liable to be explained away, and shown not to have any bearing in its support whatever. While, on the other hand, there is more than an hundred which testify in the most decided and unequivocal manner, that the doctrine is false. And yet, strange as it may seem, the advocates of that doctrine tell us that the Bible was written and given to men, to lead them to believe it. It would seem that to believe a doctrine, and to believe it as coming from the Bible, when the Bible in every place where it speaks decisively on the subject, testifies that it is entirely false, would be an abuse of reason and conscience, for which but little encouragement could be entertained of obtaining pardon. But it would be a still more fearfully aggravated crime, for the manner in which it perverts the word of God. In accordance with the reason and judgment with which God has endowed us, with infinite kindness and faithfulness, he has told us that if we take away from the things that he has revealed, he will take away our part out of the Book of Life, and if we add to them, he will add to us the plagues that are written in it. But it is a more, much more fearfully aggravated crime, to make it testify to that which is false. The word of God from every consideration is one of the richest and most important mercies that God has ever bestowed upon the world. Wells of refreshing, living waters are important mercies also, but a poisoned well is a fearful curse instead of a blessing. If the word of God is perverted, and made to speak falsehood instead of truth, it would prove to be one of the most direful curses ever sent upon mankind. But what is more common than the most evident perversions of God's word? When it is made to tell us that whatever our life may be, "we shall not surely die—that it is not true that one class of mankind will suffer a punishment that will endure as long as the happiness of the righteous," &c. But these perversions of Divine truth, so daringly contradicting the plain declaration of eternal truth, will appear very different when they are brought before us at the trials of the great day. We would therefore kindly and faithfully admonish every reader of these pages not to pervert the word of God, but if he means to secure an interest in the mercy of God, to make it his aim to live in compliance with its most solemn and oft-repeated dictates.


1 This whole subject, which is considered one of the most dark and difficult in the whole Bible, is most satisfactorily presented by an illustration from the pen of Saurin. "Suppose" (he observes) "that previous to the creation of man, God had communicated to certain holy intelligences, his intention of calling a world into being, and that, thereupon, several of them had begun to speculate upon what kind of a world it would be; what may we suppose would have been the views entertained by such beings on the subject, who knew God to be perfectly holy, wise and Almighty? Suppose that one of the number, during the deliberation, should have advanced as probable, the idea that the world which was to be created, should prove to be a universe of sin, disease, misery and death, how may we suppose that such a theory would have been regarded by the rest of them? Would It not at once have been pronounced as infinitely absurd and preposterous?" How little can we tell be. fore band, what would be proper for God to do? Still, we do not know but that he has suffered all this darkness, error and misery to exist, that he might show the universe what Infinite power and Infinite benevolence can accomplish.

2 This view that we have given of the interference of the Savior to stay the threatened curse, many seem to feel is an invention adopted to make out a theory. It is, however, very gratifying and well calculated to support the rational view that we have given, to see how perfectly the opinion or the Fathers, (many of whom had the best knowledge of the Hebrew language,) agreed with it, though rendered in different words. "In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Symmachus, who lived 200 years after the coming of Christ, renders it, "Thou shall be mortal—that is, liable to die." The Syriac, it is said, gives the same rendering; and so also do Jerome and Grotius, who are known to be among the most reliable of the Fathers. The Arabic renders it, "Thou shalt deserve to die." The Targum or paraphrase of Jonathan renders it, "Thou shalt be subject to death."—Isidore of Pelusium uses the same words. Fagius and other writers in Pool's Synopsis, say that the phrase, "Thou shalt surely die, does not signify the act of dying, but its necessity and desert." Vatablus renders it, "Thou shall be subject to death, both body and soul"

3 Matt. 7: 13.

4 John 5: 28, 29.

5 II Thess. 1: 9.

6 Mark 9: 44, 46, 48.

7 Rev. 14: 11.

8 Mark 3: 29.

9 Matt. 12: 32.

10 Prov. 29: 1.

11 Rom. 6: 23.

12 I. Thess. 1: 10.

13 Job 8: 13.

14 Proverbs 11: 7.

15 Job. 11: 20.

16 II Cor. 4: 3.

17 John 17: 12.

18 I Cor. 1: 18.

19 II Cor. 2: 15, 16.

20 II Thess. 2: 10.

21 Ps. 5: 16.

22 Ps. 92.

23 Ps. 17: 13, 14.

24 Jude 7.

25 Eze. 18: 32.

26 Heb. 2, 3.

27 II Pet. 2: 17.

28 Jude 13.

29 Rev. 14: 11.

30 Rev. 20: 10.

31 Heb. 6: 6.

32 Heb. 10: 39.

33 Gal. 6: 8.

34 Mark 14: 21.

35 Matt. 3: 12.

36 Heb. 6: 8.

37 Luke 24: 24.

38 Prov. 1: 28.

39 Prov. 14: 32.

40 Job 27: 8.

41 Phil. 3: 19.

42 Matt. 23: 33.

43 Ps. 49: 8.

44 Rev. 22: 10, 11.