Not everyone who calls himself by that name.
There are many people who call themselves by that name, who are utterly unacquainted with the theory of Universalism, and who never show the doctrine in their practice. A Universalist is one who believes with all his heart, that God sent his son Jesus to be the Savior of the world, and that Jesus will accomplish the work he came to do, and save all mankind -- that God is the Father of all men -- that all, ofcourse, are brethren, equally beloved by him, and having an equal inheritance in immortality and incorruption. Such is the theory.
It makes no difference what are the individual's views concerning punishment, if he holds the doctrine above described. There are some Universalists who hold to punishment after death, nevertheless, we are glad to hail them as Universalists. They agree with us in our views of the great consummation -- all punishment, in their view, is disciplinary, and they denounce punishment, whether in this world or the next, having sny other object, as cruel and unjust. Certain persons, particularly some of the Unitarian clergy, have endeavored to give a very narrow signification to the word Universalist, as signifying only those who do not hold to punishment beyond the grave, but they have repeatedly been told, by Universalists of both classes, that such a restricted sense of the word could not be admitted.
"Trumpet and Universalist Magazine"
July 10, 1841
"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." -- Mark 16:15-16Br. Drew gives a few thoughts on this interesting passage. We love to copy from his pen. His opinion had been requested by a friend.
With regard to Mark 16:16, we need not say much. Our friend will notice that Christ had just given his disciples a new commission, whereby they were no longer to continue their labors to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel," but were henceforth to "go our into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Notice, they were to preach the gospel -- just that -- to "every creature" in "all the world." As a consequence of their preaching this messaage, he told them what effects should follow in them that believed it, and in them that did not believe it. Now what is the gospel which those that believed were saved in believing? What was the gospel, for disbelieving which others were to be damned? The gospel is "good news." There is no bad news in it, and least of all such bad news as the endless misery of any soul that God has made. It is "glad tidings of great joy that shall be to all people." the fact then that great joy is to be to all people, is the gospel which Christ sent his disciples out to preach, publish, or procalim to every creature in all the world. The preaching of it thus universally is due to every creature, because every soul in all the world is interested in the message, it being true for all and each: viz. it is true, that great joy shall be to all people, or in other words, to "every creature in all the world." There is a propriety, then, in preaching such a doctrine to all men, because it is true for all, and all should believe it and enter into rest. Those that believe this doctrine do enter into rest. They are saved, in the present tense. "God is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe;" that is, those that believe God is the Savior of all men, in truth and verity, are specially saved by faith in this truth. But "he that doubteth is damned." He is "condemned already" -- in the present tense: and this condemnation or damnation (for the words signify the same,) will last as long as the unbelief lasts, and no longer; because soon as they believe they will be saved. Finally all are to believe, because as David testifies in the Psalms -- "all the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto the Lord and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him." The time will come when "every tongue shall confess Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." Then unbelief and its condemnation or damnation will be done away -- then all will believe and be saved.
If the damnation mentioned in the above text meant endless misery in the future world, we should verily tremble for the fate of our limitarian brethren. Do they believe the gospel? That is, do they believe in nothing but good news? Do they believe the glad tidings that "great joy shall be to all people?" No -- they disbelieve and deny this doctrine. Then they are the ones to be damned, for they are unbelievers. The Lord save them from their unbelief and from their errors.
"Trumpet and Universalist Magazine"
July 10, 1841
Salvation, as we understand it, does not mean to be saved from the penalty of an infracted law, because, if there is any truth emphasized in the Bible, it is, that God will by no means clear the guilty. That he that doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: -- that God will render to every man according to his deeds. Clearly then, salvation cannot mean immunity from deserved punishment. And yet, the common theory, is, that Adam, by transgression, subjected himself and all his posterity, to "all the ills of this life, death itself, and the pains of hell forever." And that God, under the name of the Son, (more merciful than God the Father) willingly suffered the doom hanging over Adam and his posterity, in his own person on the cross.
Now to say nothing of the outrage which this monstrous theory wages upon justice, how, we ask, has Christ by his suffering on the cross, averted such a penalty? He surely saves no one from the ills of this life, because good and bad alike, are subject to them. And if endless torment was the doom which Adam brought upon himself and his posterity, and Jesus suffered in room of the guilty, how, we ask, could he suffer endless torment in the three hours he hung upon the cross?
We once asked this question of an intelligent Baptist minister, and he candidly said, "I have often thought of that, and I confess to you, I do not know how to answer it." But, why should a man hold to a theory which he cannot harmonize with justice, or common sense, and which carries a palpable absurdity upon its face? Jesus suffered for us, in behalf of us, but not in our stead. No innocent being can be punished. He can be tortured, but not punished, for punishment implies that a wrong has been done, and Christ, we are persuaded did no wrong.
Salvation, therefore, is not to be screened from just punishment, but it is deliverance from the reigning power of sin, having all the mainsprings of our nature brought into harmony with duty, truth, righteousness, love! Until one is thus influenced, he is in an unsaved state, whether here, or hereafter.
Salvation is not something that is thrust upon us, nor does it come by the glitter and glare of exoteric surroundings, but from a cleansed fountain within. It would be well for us all, if we could more fully realize this vital truth. It would be a call to action, persistent action. Universal Salvation does not mean that people are to be saved in sin, nor does it mean that they are to be saved without effort on their part. Holiness is not a thing that is to be poured into a man like filling a vessel with water, but it is the quickening of the dormant energies of our nature, and educating them in the divine life. No sane man could expect to become an educated man, without any effort on his part, nor should we expect Salvation in any such way.
The well instructed Universalist, will realize, that to be saved, here, or any where, we must repent of sin, overcome the love and practice of it, by earnest effort permeated by aspiration and prayer. Universal Salvation, therefore, is a call to universal repentance -- to universal conversion, which is evidenced by obedience to the divine law. Therefore, let no one entertain the idea for a moment, that Universalism ignores the necessity of Christian character. It is not so. Christian character is Salvation. Let us all strive for it.
November 1, 1890
By Prof. J. L. Griffin
"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." -- John 3:3What is it to be born again, or from above?
-- Answer: It is to be risen with Christ, in newness of life. Having died to sin, the believer rises as from the dead, to the liberty and enjoyment of Gospel salvation. Receiving the "exceeding great and precious promises" of the Gospel, the Christian disciple by these becomes a partaker of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. --(2 Peter 1)
He is thus dead unto sin, and alive unto righteousness, having ceased to do evil through an utter abomination of sin, and learned to do well, out of love for goodness. Such an one is "born again."
This is true conversion, namely, the turning -- the radical and thorough turning of soul, body, and spirit -- the whole man -- from the love and practice of sin to the love and practice of virtue -- of holiness. Such a happy convert to the peace and truth of the Gospel, progresses in the divine lite, giving all diligence, he adds to his faith virtue [courage], and to virtue (or courage), knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, to temperance, patience, to patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, charity. Such grace, existing and abounding in the Christian disciple, (in the language of Peter), "make [him] that [he] shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
As it was necessary, in the days of our Lord, for a Jew, before he could enter upon and enjoy the privileges and immunities of the Christian faith, to reject those prejudices and doctrines which militated against the genius and spirit oc Christianity, so, in these days, he who would enter upon a life of Gospel truth and peace, must renounce all sin, and (as far as possible) all error, everthing indeed, that opposes itself to the lovely spirit of grace and salvation, breathing in all the blessed Gospel of God.
As proof conclusive to my mind, that Universalism is a convertible term for Christianity, it may with justice be declared that no man can be "born again" -- another -- "from above," no man can realize the joys and blessings of the Gospel, without imbibing Universalism in its practical influence. -- The overpowering convictin of the infinite loveliness of the author of all mercies, and the justice end truth, must so constrain his mind, as to enlist the full and earnest affections of his whole heart in the delightful service of God. The affectionate disciple is not made such by merits, but altogether by the transporting thought that God, who is love, hath first loved him. This is practical Universalism.
There are nominal partialists, who, without recognizing, or perhaps without being cognizant of the existence of the true Universalist spirit, in the necessary, fundamental princoples of their experience -- as of all Christian experience -- greatly err in giving credit, where credit does not belong, to Partialism. This may be relied on -- for candid and intelligent investigation will establish the fact -- that all the graces and genuine principles of goodness, which may co-exist with a Partialist "confession of faith," belong to Universalism! No man can be truly born from above, without imbibing the spirit of the Doctrine of Love, which comes from above.
While holiness and happiness in all worlds are inseparably associates, in like manner are sin and misery indisolubly joined. If, then, it can be shown to me that sin exists in the immortal world, I must believe that misery exists there also. If sin can be proved to reign triumphant over Grace in the eternal world, it must be at once conceded that unceasing misery exists in that state of being ! This can never be maintained, however, until Paul's affirmation is refuted, viz., that "where sin abounded, Grace did much more abound !" -- Rom. 5:20.
No man can be a consistent disciple of Christ, -- no man can enjoy Gospel Peace, no man can be rationally happy, who is not "born again" --BORN FROM ABOVE.
J. L. C. G.
Magnolia, N. C.
March 21, 1861
In all circumstances of sorrow, the believer may find abundant consolation in the glorious gospel of the Blessed God. No hope is half so sweet as the gospel hope. It binds up the broken heart, cheers the drooping spirit, and sheds a heavenly calm o'er the troubled sea of life.
"In every scene of sorrow,
In every gloomy hour,
From Christian hope we borrow,
A balm of holy power."
Then hail, blessed Christian hope ! Happy is he who, by the exercise of a holy faith, can look forward to a reunion, in a world of perfect and unfading bliss, with fond hearts, with cherished friendships, and who, in prospective, can behold a renewal of all the holy kindlings of the most ardent affection. All Universalists can say, "That blessed hope is ours, and let us bless our affectionate Father in heaven, for the bliss which it imparts, and let us ever conform our hearts and live to His most holy will."
J. L. C. G.
Magnolia, N. C.
March 21, 1861