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less misery a very bad doctrine, and entertain no doubts of the final happiness of the whole world. This is the amount of their religion. Now there is a wide difference between these, and those we are pleased to call positive Universalists. The latter embrace the doctrine with a living faith. They not only believe it, but they feel it; they love it; it is the meat and drink of their souls; they have a constant and ever-active desire that others may be brought to the knowledge of the truth; they profess the truth openly; they do all in their power to establish it in the world; they love God's house; they love the stated ministry of the word; they love the ordinances of the Gospel; they love seasons of prayer and praise; they love the communion of the brotherhood; they know no other religion worth possessing; to them there is no other name given among men, whereby we can be saved, save Jesus of Nazareth. Such are positive Universalists. There are many of them in the world, but we wish their number was quadrupled. We wish there was a society of such Universalists in every town and village in the United States. They have a realizing sense of the love of God; it softens their souls; they live a holy, religious, cheerful life; and, viewing moral excellence to be an approximation to God, they desire to be "perfect, as their Father in heaven is perfect."
We once knew a Universalist of this character, — he was truly so. Unfortunately for him, he married a proud, giddy, worldly-minded wife, at whose persuasion he removed to another town, quit his religious society and friends, and followed her to a popular house of worship, where vain hearts, nodding plumes, and gaudy dresses congregated. He felt himself, like the prodigal, though surrounded by magnificence; but he was in want. "O," said he, "in my Father's house, there is bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger." He persisted on returning to his wonted rest; and he came with tears of contrition to beg of God and man forgiveness for having slighted a Saviour's love, and
forsaken the fold of the faithful. The poet well ex presses his feelings.
"O, for a closer walk with God,
"Where is that blessedness I knew,
"What peaceful hours I then enjoyed,
"Return, O holy dove, return,
"The dearest idol I have known,
Help me to tear it from the throne,
The negative Universalist feels very little of such emotion as this. He thinks it does not make a great difference as to what meeting for public worship he may attend. He chooses the nearest, or at any rate the most fashionable. He comforts himself, that he will not probably hear any thing said against his faith, or, if he should, he will not be obliged to believe it. "How dwelleth the love of God in that man?" Religion to him is not a principle of the heart, it is a speculation,
the doctrine of Christ has never reached his soul. If it had, it would renovate his spirit, and make him a disciple of the Redeemer in deed and in truth.
III. Am I really a Universalist? Do I believe, without doubt, in the existence of a supreme, selfexistent, uncreated God? Do I believe in the holy Scriptures as the Word of God? Do I believe in Jesus as the Son of God, the Messiah? Do I believe in his resurrection? Do I believe in the resurrection of all men to a state of holiness and happiness? — Do
I believe in the paternal character of God? that he is my Father, and the Father of all mankind? Do I believe all these things?
Men are apt to be deceived in regard to what they believe. We will therefore put the reader upon a plan, by which he may determine with some considerable degree of certainty, whether he is really a Universalist. Do you reverence God? If you do not, you have not a full faith in his existence, and, therefore, you are not a Universalist. Do you read the Bible? do you take comfort in this exercise? are its teachings to you like. cold water to a thirsty soul? If not, you do not believe this book to be a revelation from God, and, of course, are not a Universalist. Do you love the Saviour? are you always desirous to follow his example and practice his precepts? If not, you do not believe that he is the Son of God, and, of course, are not a Universalist. Have you a strong hope of immortality? Does this hope support you and comfort you in the view of death? Does it enable you to say, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" If not, you must have a lurking unbelief about you, and you are at best but a doubting Universalist. Have you a filial confidence in God? Do you love him with all the heart, the mind, the might, the strength? If not, you do not believe he is your FATHER, and, of course, you are not a Universalist. If you believe he is your Father, you will love him with your whole soul. Do you treat your fellow-creatures as your brethren? If not, you do not believe that God is the Father of all men. It is well for us to try ourselves frequently by these rules.
IV. The conclusion, I am a Universalist. Yes, a Universalist, a believer in God as the Creator, Preserver, Benefactor, Judge, and Saviour of all men ; in Jesus, as "the Mediator between God and men," unto whom, at last, "every knee shall bow, and whom every tongue shall confess to be Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Such is my faith. There has been
no change in it for many years, except that it has
Shall I ever renounce this doctrine? Never. It is no more probable, than that I shall renounce the Bible, and all my trust in the being of God. This is impossible, utterly impossible.
V. What are the peculiar duties of Universalists ? It is but seldom, that we now hear the objection urged against Universalism, which was formerly urged with frequency and confidence, that it had a licentious influence on those who believed it. We are inclined to attribute the disrespect into which this charge against Universalism has fallen, to reflection in the opponent, who is convinced, that Universalists are not what he has often represented them to be; and, moreover, that a doctrine of love and mercy must have a benign and salutary tendency.
The Universalist now maintains, as he has always maintained, that the doctrine in which he believes, so far from exerting an injurious influence, is, in fact, of all doctrines advocated by Christians, the most pure and holy, exciting the sweetest and most generous sentiments in the human heart; and he goes further, and declares, that, so far as any doctrine is really opposed to the doctrine of Universalism, it must exert a paralyzing influence on the benevolent affections of the human soul. There is nothing in any creed under heaven, which is calculated to make men love God and one another, but what is found in the sublime and heavenly
doctrine of universal grace. This fact has not received the attention, which its importance merits. It is the grace and love of God which excite gratitude, in what creed soever they may be found, and it is gratitude which excites love and obedience; and no person would be so unwise as to say, that there is less love and grace manifested in the doctrine of Universalism than in other doctrines. It is a fact, and we assert it without fear of being contradicted by any person who will stop and reason before he decides, that, if generous sentiments are excited in the human heart by the consideration of favor and mercy bestowed upon us, there is no doctrine known among men so favorable to the growth of such sentiments as that of impartial love in the Divine Being.
The Universalist is perfectly willing to confess, that he is subject to all the passions and temptations common to mankind, and that he is, like the rest of the world, too often found in the paths of disobedience and sin. But, in no instance, can the Universalist trace his offences to the influence of his religious opinions; indeed, he knows there is nothing which causes him to put a greater restraint upon himself, and that makes him more ashamed of his iniquities than the reflection, that the Being, whose laws he has broken, is his kind and faithful friend; and that the persons whom he has injured are his brethren, and common participators with him in the love of God. The morals of the Universalist would, and must, in the very nature of things, be purer than the morals of those operated upon by different opinions, were it not that he makes his religion too much a thing of theory, and too little a thing of practice. This is the fault of many Universalists. With the best doctrine ever embraced by man, a doctrine which angels delighted to proclaim, their morals should assume a pure, mild, and benevolent character, love should breathe in their devotions, shine in their actions, and drop from their lips.
We believe we are neither visionary nor enthusiastic ;