The following is from the "Universalist's Book of Reference", written by Rev. E. E. Guild in 1853.


The Articles of Faith, Plan of Church Government, .... of the Denomination of Universalists in the United States and British Provinces.


        The following article on this subject, written by Rev. A. B. Grosh, is full, clear and comprehensive, and much better than anything which we could substitute in its stead.
        "The Universalists, as a body, have no Creed or Confession of Faith which members must subscribe, or profess faith in, before they can be admitted into fellowship or membership. The Bible is the creed of the Universalist. But as we have been, at various periods, much misrepresented by our opposers, a Profession of Belief, embracing those important points of doctrine in which all Universalists are agreed, became necessary.*
        * "As the Universalists of the New England States agreed with Congregationalists, in regard to church government, they could not be legally distinguished from them, so as to avoid paying taxes to support the then ‘standing order,’ until they became a separate denomination, and made a formal Profession of Faith. In New Hampshire they were so taxed, and the Supreme Court decided in favor of the Congregationalists, as late, we think, as 1803. To obviate this difficulty, which had been anticipated, a ‘Profession of Faith’ was presented by the committee, previously appointed for that purpose, and adopted by the General Convention, holden at Winchester, N.H. The members of the committee were Zebulon Streeter, Geo. Richards, Hosea Ballou, Zephaniah Laithe, and Walter Ferris; the Profession was composed by the last on the commettee. There were some believers in the trinity and in future punishment on the committee, and yet all could cordially agree to the Articles presented." See an article on this subject in the Magazine and Advocate, vol. 14, No. 40, taken from the Universalist Watchman.
        The General Convention of Universalists for the New England States and others, at that time the highest official body in our order, in 1803, adopted and published the following, not as binding on the faith of its members but as declarative of our sentiments. No alterations have been necessary, neither have any been made in it, since that period. It is, therefore, submitted to the reader as an official and correct declaration of the faith of our denomination at large, wherever it is known to exist, whether under the name of Salvationist, Restorationist, Christian Friends, or the more common and more appropriate one for all believers in impartial and universal grace, UNIVERSALISTS."
        "1. We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments contain a revelation of the character of God, and of the duty, interest and final destination, of mankind.
        "2. We believe there is one God, whose nature is love; revealed in one Lord Jesus Christ, by one Holy Spirit of Grace, who will finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness.
        "3. We believe that holiness and true happiness are inseparably connected; and that believers ought to maintain order, and practise good works, for these things are good and profitable unto men."
        "This general declaration of the general belief of our whole order, it will be seen, allows great latitude of opinion on minor points, while it especially states our sentiments on all points most important and useful to all Christians."
        Lest it should be thought that the above Profession of Faith is too brief, and not sufficiently expressive of our views on all points connected with the Christian religion we here insert a form of faith which was drawn up by Rev. D. Skinner, and which has been published and extensively circulated in the United States; promising, however, that we do not consider this creed as binding on the consciences of our fellow-men, but as "a mere general declaration not of the things which must be believed, but of the things that are believed among us." To obtain the fellowship of our denomination it is only necessary that the individual should believe in one God; in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Saviour of the world; in the authority of the Bible; and that he should possess a good moral character.


        Article I. Concerning God.We believe in one, only living and true God; that he is a pure spirit, self-existent, immutable, eternal, infinite in wisdom, power and goodness, and possesses every natural and moral perfection which can render his character amiable, lovely, reverend and adorable; that he is the Creator, Upholder, Benefactor and moral Governor, of the universe; that he stands in the relation of Father to all mankind; that, as he hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the face of the earth, we are his offspring, all have one Father, one God hath created us; that though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth (as there be gods many, and lords ), yet to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; that God is love, good unto all, and his tender mercies are over all his works; that he loveth all the things that are, and abhorreth nothing that his hands have made, for he never would have created anything to have hated it; that he is a just God and a Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth; that he worketh all things after the counsel of his own will; that all his attributes harmonize; that in him mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have embraced each other. 1 Cor. 8:4-6; Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29; John 4:24; Mal. 2:10, and 3:6; Gen. 17:1; Ps. 147:5; 45:9, and 85:10; Wisdom 11:24; Isa. 45:21; Acts 17:24-28; 1 Tim 2:4, 5; Eph. 1:11; 1 John 4:8-16.
        Article II. Concerning Christ.We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ; that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah, the one Mediator between God and men, the son of God and the Saviour of the world, the brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express image of his person; that to him the Divine Spirit was given without measure, and hence, God hath made him both Lord and Christ -- given all things into his hand, even power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as the Father hath given him; that all that the Father giveth him shall so come to him as not to be cast out; that he was sent to reveal the true character of God to the world, and save mankind from sin, misery, darkness and death; that, to this end, he gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time; is a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world; that, having been crucified on the cross, he arose from the dead on the third day, ascended up on high, leading captivity captive, and giving gifts unto men; and having brought life and immortality to light by the Gospel, he shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; shall reconcile all things unto God, by the blood of his cross; that as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive; that he shall reign in his mediatorial kingdom till all things shall be subdued unto him; till death, the last enemy, shall be destroyed; till every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess him Lord, to the glory of God the Father; and that he will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father, that God may be all in all. 1 Cor. 8:6, and 15:3, 4, 22, 24-28; 1 Tim. 2:5, 6; 1 John 2:2, and 4:14; John 1:45; 3:34, 35; 6:37, and 17:2, 3; Matt. 1:21; Heb. 1:3; Rom. 14:9; Eph. 4:8; 2 Tim. 1:10; Isa. 53:11; Col. 1:20; Phil 2:10, 11.
        Article III. Concerning the Scriptures.We believe in the Divine authenticity of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, that they contain a true and faithful record of the revelation of God to men, and are a perfect and infallible rule of faith and practice; that the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit; and that all Scripture, given by inspiration of God, is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness, that the servants of God may be thoroughly furnished unto all good works, and become wise unto salvation. 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:15-17.
        Article IV. Concerning the Motive to Obedience.We believe that, as God hath commended his love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, it is our duty to love him because he first loved us; that if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another; that the goodness of God leadeth to repentance; that the grace of God, which bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world; and that those who believe in God, ought to be careful to maintain good works; for these things are good and profitable unto men; that Christ should be our pattern, and his love should constrain us to walk in his footsteps. Rom. 2:4, and 5:8; 2 Cor. 5:14, 15; Tit. 2:11, 12, and 3:8; 1 John 4:11, 19.
        Aritcle V. Concerning the Reward of Obedience.We believe that great peace have they who love God’s law, and nothing shall offend them; they are like trees planted by the rivers of water, that bring forth their fruit in season; their leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever they do shall prosper; that Wisdom’s ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace; that she is a tree of life to them that lay hold of her, and happy is every one that retaineth her; that the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace; that Christ’s yoke is easy and his burden light, and all who come to him will find rest to their souls; that we who have believed do enter into rest; that, though God is the Saviour of all men, he is especially so of the believer, and that whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the word this man shall be blessed in his deed. Ps. 1:3, and 119:165; Prov. 3:17, 18; Matt. 11:28-30; Heb. 4:3; 1 Tim. 4:10; James 1:25, and 3:18.
        Article VI. Concerning the Punishment of Disobedience.We believe that God, as the righteous and moral Governor of the universe, will render to every man according to his deeds: tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first and also of the Gentile; that he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done, and there is no respect of persons; that the way of transgressors is hard; that the wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt; for there is no peace, saith our God, to the wicked. Rom. 2:6, 9; Col. 3:25; Prov. 13:15; Matt. 16:27; Isa. 57:20, 21.
        Article VII. Concerning the remedial Design and Limitation of Punishment.We believe the Lord will not cast off forever; but though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies; that he will not contend forever, nor be always wroth, lest the spirit should fail before him, and the souls he has made; that although he may apparently forsake his children for a small moment, but with everlasting kindness will he have mercy on them, and heal them, and lead them also, and restore comforts unto them; that whom he loveth he chasteneth (and he loveth and chasteneth all) for their profit, that they may be partakers of his holiness, and be enabled afterwards to say, "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept thy word." Lam. 3:31, 32; Isa. 54:7, 8, and 57:16-18; Heb. 12:7-11; Ps. 89:30-35, and 119:67.
        Article VIII. Concerning Baptism.As there is differnce of opinion among the sincere followers of Christ, in regard to this ordinance, and this difference ought not to separate true disciples one from another, we believe it is the duty of every one to follow the dictates of his or her conscience, leaving each to judge both of the subject and mode of Baptism, as shall seem most consistent with Scripture and reason. Matt. 28:19; John 4:2; Acts 2:41; Rom. 6:3-5, and 14:1-6; 1 Cor. 1:14-17; 1 Pet. 3:21.
        Article IX. Concerning Repentance, Faith and Love.We believe, according to the divine doctrine and preaching of Christ and his apostles, that repentance toward God for sin, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and love to God and our fellow-creatures, are means of grace appointed by God, and essential to our salvation and glory. Matt. 4:16, and 22:37-40; Mark 1:15; Acts 3:19, 5:31, and 20:21; Heb. 11:;16; 1 John 3:23, 24.
        Article X. Concerning the Extent of Salvation.We believe that God, who is rich in mercy, who turneth the hearts of the children of men as the rivers of water are turned, who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, whose people shall be willing in the day of his power, will, in the dispensation of the fulness of times, gather together in one all things, in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in him; and that every (intelligent) creature in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, shall at last unite in the song of Moses and the Lamb, saying Blessing and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever. Eph. 1:9-11, and 2:4; Prov. 21:1; Ps. 110:3; Rev. 5:13.


        The following article, taken from the Universalist Register and Almanac for 1836, and written by A. B. Grosh, is as clear and correct on this subject as can possibly be desired.
        "The government and discipline of the Universalist denomination, so far as it has yet been established on general principles, is republican and fraternal -- in accordance with the mild, equalizing and affectionate principles of Christianity.
        "The smallest associations are those called churches and societies. These are formed by any number of believers in a vicinity, according to the laws of the State or Territory, or to the customs of the community where there are no legal regulations on the subject. Brother is the common and equal title of all the male members, as sister is that of the females. Where discipline is instituted among societies only, it is, as it should be, a church discipline, and conducted according to the rules laid down in the New Testament -- particularly as recommended in Matt. 5:23, 24; 7:12; 18:15-23; and the parallel passages. It is to be hoped that, ere long, every society will establish such a discipline among its members.
        "The societies are sovereign and independent -- competent to govern themselves, select and discharge their own officers and preachers. But for social purposes, and to promote unity and harmony among and with each other, in certain districts they unite themselves into "ASSOCIATIONS. -- These are governed by a council, composed, in general, of two or more delegates from each society, and of the ministering brethren residing within the bounds of the Association. The delegates are elected annually, by their respective churches or societies. Ministering brethren from other Associations are either constitutionally admitted as members of the council, or are invited to unite in its deliberations. The discipline instituted over preachers and societies, by the Associations, is similar to that of churches or societies, except where gross offences are committed by preachers, when immediate suspension or expulsion is pronounced; and in no case is any further authority assumed than the withdrawal of fellowship.
        "The power to grant letters of fellowship or ordination, or both, in general belongs to every regularly associated body of believers in the order; but of late years is only exercised by the Associations and Conventions, or by ordaining councils, or committees on fellowship and ordination appointed by them, or acting at the wishes of a society in presumed accordance with the wishes of those bodies.
        "In all other matters the associations merely advise or recommend, leaving to societies and individuals the privilege of acting or not, as circumstances or their own judgments may dictate and require. When Associations become numerous in any one or more States, they generally unite, to extend their social intercourse and influence in
        "CONVENTIONS. -- These are State or sectional, as one or more States are embraced within their boundaries. Their councils are generally constituted of a certain number of lay, and a certain number of ministerial delegates sent by each association in their fellowship. Generally, the lay delegates are most numerous -- but in some Conventions an equal number of each are required. The powers of these Conventions, except in granting fellowship from them, are merely recommendatory and advisory.
        "When State Conventions become numerous, they sometimes unite in a general Convention embracing several States. Thus, formerly, the New England States had a General Convention (even before any State Conventions were formed), and the Southern and Western have formed similar Conventions. But the largest organized body of Universalists in America is
        "THE UNITED STATES CONVENTION. Its council is composed of delegates chosen annually by each Convention in its fellowship, each State being allowed four ministerial and six lay delegates. It meets annually, in each State alternately, and continues its session until its business is transacted. Its powers are merely recommendatory and advisory. If its organization be reckoned from the formation of the ‘General Convention of the New England States and others,’ which it superseded, then the session in September, 1853, was its sixty-eighth Anniversary."