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the jury in its true colours, and with all its merits and demerits.

If the ignorance, the errors, the sophistry, and the perverseness of men, render these precautions necessary in secular matters, how much more are they necessary in those matters which involve our everlasting interests. If it would be unwise to judge precipitately, and from ex-parte statements, in the one case, it must be the extreme of folly in the other. If we ever act with caution, ought it not to be in receiving a system of religion which contradicts and subverts every system of religion the world has ever received? Before we embrace it, ought we not to know well what it is, and what may be said against it, as well as in its favour?

Let it not be said, I have all my life long heard the doctrines of hell and damnation preached and defended: I have heard all that can be said in their favour; and I wish therefore now to hear what can be said against them. Thus some talk; but they are certainly mistaken. These doctrines having been universally believed, ministers, almost always, speak of them as received truths, without undertaking to explain, to defend, or to answer objections to them. When, therefore, the truth of these doctrines is called in question, arguments and answers are required, that probably were never heard from the pulpit. The embassadors of Christ cannot, in conscience, turn their pulpits into an arena for controversy with all the hydra heresies that from year to year are bursting into life. And when fidelity to God and man leads them to notice them in their public discourses, there are a thousand minute and metaphysical points, sophistries, and objections, which, for obvious reasons, cannot be fully discussed. No one therefore, who values religious truth as its importance demands, and who knows how necessary it is to be circumspect and impartial, can possibly persuade himself that he is fully competent to form an enlightened opinion, until the merits of the question have been amply stated and examined on both sides -until every argument has been contrasted with its appropriate answer-and until every objection has received its specific reply. This indeed is not necessary for all Chris

tians; but it is necessary before any one can be justified in embracing a new doctrine, directly contrary to all that has ever before been taught or believed in the Christian world.

Regarding this as both reasonable and just, we shall now present a summary view of that new system of religion, which has of late years been taught in England and in this country under the name of Universal Salvation, or Universal Restoration. This indeed can be done in very, few words: for this new sect of Universalists was founded about fifty years ago, by a Mr. Relly, in England; and while they differ materially from each other on various other points, they all agree in this one-that there is no punishment for the wicked after death. Relly and his followers say, that Christ bore all the punishment due to sin and sinners both in this world and in the next that sinners therefore are not punished for sin, even in this world-and that every individual of the whole human race will be saved hereafter, through the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. Of this doctrine a certain Universalist writer in this country observes" Let any one preach "this system fully, and he would either be pitied as a ma"niac, or prosecuted as a disturber of the public peace." The system embraced by other late Universalists differs, however, very little from this. They deny that there is any punishment after death. They maintain, of course, that there neither is nor will be any such place as hell. They say, all the punishment which God threatens, and which the wicked suffer, is in this world; and consists in bodily sufferings, in remorse of conscience, and in the punishments inflicted by the civil authority: and they believe that God will hereafter, out of his infinite goodness, take the vilest sinners and the greatest saints into the same heaven; and bestow everlasting life and happiness upon every individual of the human race.

These are their peculiar doctrines, by which they stand prominently distinguished from the rest of the world. In other respects, the system of Universalism lately preached here generally, harmonizes with the views of the Unitarians : though it seems more fearless and adventurous in its reasonings and its criticisms. The subordinate features of the sys

tem it may be well to state, by way of information; that the reader may take a comprehensive view of the whole scheme.

Be it then known, that the Universalist scheme rejects, what the Christian Church has always received and revered as the peculiar, distinguishing, and most essential doctrines of the Gospel. This scheme denies the doctrine of the Trinity. It denies the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ; and degrades him to the rank of a mere prophet like Moses, and a mere man like ourselves. It denies the doctrine of the atonement; and declares, that it fears the justice no more than it does the mercy of God. As far as we have been able to learn, it denies the doctrines of the fall, the depravity of our nature, and the necessity of the influences of the Holy Spirit to enable us to serve God-as well as the doctrine of justification by faith in Jesus Christ, and final salvation through his merits and mediation. In fine, it receives some, and rejects other books of the New Testament-it denies the full inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, and gives part of it, at least, no more authority than it does to the uninspired writings of uninspired men-and it adopts that rationalizing principle of interpretation, which, when it meets with passages that contain something mysterious, explains away the meaning of them, until they signify no more than every body's reason can understand and approve.

Such is, briefly, what is taught and held by the new Universalists of the present day. On many of these points, however, there may be a diversity of opinion: and as the system is still unfledged and in its infancy, it may undergo many important alterations before it is completely licked into shape, and formally embodied in a creed or a confession of faith. One feature excepted, it approaches so near to Deism, that it is not to be wondered at that some Deists should have mistaken it for their own religion in disguise. Indeed, some of its advocates declare, that Deism approaches nearer to revealed truth than orthodox Christianity does. But be this as it may, we shall not enter into an examination of these minor points; but confine ourselves to the distinguishing doctrine of

the sect-that "not a single individual of the human race "will be punished after death."


Before we enter upon this point, let it be distinctly remembered, that nothing we say or have said, is to be understood as having a personal reference to any individual. We impeach not, we call not in question the motives of any Universalist, or of any one who is favourably inclined towards that scheme. For all we know, they may be just as sincere, as faithful, and as "fully persuaded," as we are. Like Paul the persecutor, they may think and act as they do, "ignorantly in unbelief." God forbid that we, who know not the heart, should undertake to judge them. They will stand or fall before their own Master, the heart-searching God, who alone can estimate motives; and who alone knows what allowance to make for invincible or unavoidable ignorance, error, and prejudice. For those of them with whom we are acquainted, we have a very sincere personal regard; nor could we say with propriety of any, that they are already established Universalists. Some appear inclined to that doctrine, who will probably, after mature deliberation, abandon it as untenable. But whatever their opinions, we speak plainly and strongly-not because we love them less, but because we love truth more. We respect their motives and persons; for error we have no respect. Our concern is not with their motives, but with their doctrines-and of these doctrines we shall not hesitate to speak, as "becometh the Gospel." If we may be permitted to use the translated language of the Apostle, these " damnable heresies" we shall pursue, until (if God enable us so to do) we have hunted them over the precipice, into the abyss from which they have emerged. And as this cause is thine, blessed Lord! do thou teach my hands to war, and my fingers to fight. Let thy Holy Spirit inspire, direct, and overrule my thoughts and my language. Carry thine own truth to the heart of every reader, with a conviction that cannot be withstood and let not our sins be any further visited, nor the fair face of thy Zion be any further defiled, with a heresy that would disgrace the very religion of the heathens.

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Lastly, let it be observed, that, in arguing with the Universalist, we consider him as a believer in divine revelation, and in the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures-because all who have heretofore written in favour of this scheme, have professed themselves believers-because, if they do not believe these things, they are infidels, and with them we do not here enter into controversy-and because the great danger of Universalism lies in its wearing the garb of Christianity, and pleading in its favour the sanctions of our holy religion. Strip it of these assumed and imposing advantages, and it loses the only passport it has to notice, and would soon sink into merited contempt. Now, many ignorant unstable souls swallow this gilded pill, to their own undoing.

Having made these introductory remarks, we proceed now to our proposed subject. The new Universalist scheme teaches, that there is no punishment for the wicked after death; but that the vilest sinners take their seats in the same heaven, and are admitted to the same everlasting blessedness, with the holiest saints. Fornicators, adulterers, thieves, liars, drunkards, and murderers-the vilest of the vile, and the most abominable of miscreants-of all whom the Apostle expressly declares, that "they have no inheritance in the king"dom of God"-all these, according to the Universalist, are to sit down together with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of our heavenly Father-and heaven is to be equally the receptacle for the pious and the impious, for the lovers of God and the haters of God-heaven is to be equally the receptacle for Judas that betrayed Christ, and for John that loved him to the death; for Abel who died in faith, and for Cain his murderer. In that same holy place, where Apostles and martyrs reap the reward of their holiness, debauchees, and cut-throats, and the enemies of God, are likewise to have their blessed portion: and Servin, who died in a brothel, with a bottle in his hand, cursing his Maker, is to dwell in the same pure and holy mansions, and be engaged in the same pure and holy employment, with Noah, Daniel and Job, Peter, James and John.

a 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10; Gal. v. 19, 20, 21; and Eph. v. 5.

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