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to believe against evidence the doctrine of Universalism. And there are some, who not only lay claim to the privilege of believing against evidence, but of being considered sincere in their belief. But not so with the generality of men. The generality of mankind call for truth. The human intellect calls for everlasting truth, supported by substantial evidence. And no system can prevail for any length of time, which does not contain, from the foundation to the top-stone, eternal truth. This is the reason why men generally reject that system which whispers peace to them-it does not contain eternal truth supported by substantial evidence.
If the doctrine of Universal Salvation is true, then God has unnecessarily alarmed and terrified his creatures. What mean all his threatenings of coming wrath against the wicked, if there is no wrath? Why those bold delineations of the judgment day, and of the banishment of the wicked from his presence, and from the glory of his power -if all are to be saved? Why represent this world as a state of trial, and the next world as a state of retribution, if retribution is measured out to the wicked in this world, and if there is no punishment awaiting them in that which is to come? Why all those fearful passages in the Sermon on the Mount, and in the preaching of the apostles
if there is no future punishment? If all are to be saved, has not God, by revealing such fearful things, unnecessarily alarmed our fears?
What Universalist minister did you ever hear preach in the following strain—“ Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell ? He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. He hath never forgiveness; but is in danger of eternal damnation. There is a sin unto death, I do not say ye shall pray for it. How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation.” But this is the language of Christ and his apostles. It is true, you will sometimes hear Universalist ministers preach from these texts, but not for the purpose of urging home their auful meaning upon the conscience, but rather by sophistry to fritter away that meaning, and leave them without a motive to thunder upon the guilty ear. If you should go into a Universalist church, and hear one of their ministers using such language, without qualification, or without an attempt to soften down the meaning-you would say at once- Why, I came to hear a sermon on Universal Salvation, but I have mistaken the church, I have come to the wrong place—the man who is preaching surely believes in the doctrine of future punishment!” The Universalist minister will preach nothing inconsistent with his doctrine, if he can help it. Not a text will he bring forward, till he
has shaved, and squared, and fitted it in to his system. Universalists are thus, notwithstanding all their whining cant about religious creeds, the greatest creed-makers in the world.
But God has revealed all these texts, and left them on the pages of the sacred volume, to throw their mighty appeals upon the sinner's ear at every step. What needless alarm, if there is no future punishment! What an agitating, appalling influence, God has connected with this doctrine, if it be true! The Bible rolls the thunders of damnation along the sinner's path, and yet there is “no future punishment !” The pit is opened, and its wails, and quenchless flames, and undying worm, are brought to view, and yet " no future punishment!” We consider this a needless alarm of our fears--if Universal Salvation is true and we ask any man to reconcile it with such a doctrine.
Universalism does not awaken the fears of men, as the preaching of Christ and his apostles did, and therefore cannot be true.
When Christ preached his gospel, men sat uneasy. When he poured out everlasting truth upon his congregations, some murmured, others gnashed on him with their teeth, and accused him of sedition and blasphemy. But how can we account for this, if Christ preached the soothing doctrine of Universal Salvation! If Christ, instead of saying, “ Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell ?” had said, “My dear friends, do not be alarmed, I have just come from the invisible world, and I do assure you, that there is no future punishment for the wicked"then his hearers would not have been alarmed.
When the apostles preached the gospel of Christ, on the day of Pentecost, sinners were pricked in their hearts, and, with deep anxiety, asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do to be saved ?” Would they have asked such a question, think ye, if the apostles had told them that all would be saved? Would they have been pricked in their hearts, if they had listened only to the soothing strains of Universalism? Who ever heard of a Universalist congregation now, while listening to a Universalist minister, being “pricked in their hearts,” and asking, “Men and brethren, what shall we do to be saved ?"
Three thousand, on the day of Pentecost, were terribly alarmed in view of the apostles' preaching. Not that we ascribe their conviction and alarm to the direct preaching of endless punishment, as the Rev. R. O. Williams, a Universalist preacher, of Hartford, represents us as doing. It was that awful sentence in Peter's sermon, “ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain the Lord and Christ,” which pricked them to the heart. This, from the short record we have of that memorable sermon, seems to have been his master-stroke at their consciences and hearts, though we are not
informed, that he did not preach immediately upon the doctrine of endless misery. It is recorded, “and with many other words did he testify, saying." Now, is the Rev. R. O. Williams prepared to say, that among these “many other words” of Peter's sermon, there was not contained an immediate reference to endless misery? If he is not, then his assertion, that the alarm of Peter's congregation was not produced to any extent by this doctrine, is like many other assertions which he and his four learned and moral co-editors of the “ Universalist Union,” are in the habit of making. A candid inquirer after truth, would suppose, that accusing men of the crucifixion of the Son of God, would nearly as soon remind them of the wrath of God, as the direct presentation of endless punishment ! If a man has a proper sense of his obligations, and of his relations to the eternal world, and the government of a holy God, it is not necessary to preach immediately of coming wrath, in order to alarm him. Preach to him God's law, and his violation of it, and he will tremble. Preach to him the doctrine of regeneration, and he will tremble. Indeed, only let God speak, through the pestilence, or thunder, or earthquake, and see how pale the sinner turns, and how he cries for mercy! But why is this? Here is no direct publication of the doctrine of future punishment. But oh, the sinner is made to feel his accountability to God. The mutterings of the earthquake, and the lurid flash of heaven's lightning around him, shows him that there is but a step between his guilty soul and