#150 – POEM BY HOSEA BALLOU (1771-1852)
“In God’s eternity
There shall a day arise,
When all the race of man shall be
With Jesus in the skies.
As night before the rays
Of morning flees away,
Sin shall retire before the blaze
Of God’s eternal day.
As music fills the grove
When stormy clouds are past,
Sweet anthems of redeeming love
Shall all employ at last.
Redeemed from death and sin
Shall Adam’s numerous race,
A ceaseless song of praise begin,
And shout redeeming grace.”
#151 – In A CLOUD OF WITNESSES, John Wesley Hanson quotes Thomas Belsham (1750-1829).
“I affirm that there is not in the whole voluminous code of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, from the beginning of Genesis, to the end of Revelation, one single passage, one solitary text, in which the doctrine of the eternity of hell-torments is taught.
We see the triumph of God’s benevolence in restoring the dead transgressor to life; in visiting him with suffering in exact proportion to the greatness of his offences; and finally, in his ultimate purification from moral stain, and his restoration to virtue, to happiness, and to God. This clears up at once all the difficulties of divine dispensations, and the belief of it fills the pious and contemplative mind with unspeakable satisfaction and delight.”
#152 – In A CLOUD OF WITNESSES, John Wesley Hanson records the following words of John Prior Estlin (1747-1817).
“To a belief in the doctrine of the eternity of hell torments, I impute more absurdity, more misery, and more un-Christian conduct, than to all other false opinions put together. The effects of this doctrine, when a person applies it to himself, are gloom and despair, often terminating in mental derangement; when he applies it to others, pride, cruelty, hatred, and all the worst passions of human nature.
It certainly argues a greater degree of benevolence in the Governor of the world, after the punishment of His creatures, to restore them to His favor, than either to preserve them in misery, or to blot them out of existence.
The firm belief in the doctrine of final universal restoration, has afforded much consolation to myself during a large portion of my life; has rendered advanced years placid and serene, and enables me to contemplate death itself, notwithstanding its gloomy appearance, as one of the most essential blessings of the whole plan of Providence.
I would as a friend, advise everyone to take this subject into his most serious consideration. I would wish him to experience during the remainder of his life, all the happiness which results from the full persuasion of this delightful doctrine. I pray to God that others may experience that perpetual sunshine of the mind, that joy in the divine administration, that serenity through life, and that cheering prospect in the hour of death, which the belief in the doctrine of final universal restoration does so manifestly inspire.”
#153 - In A CLOUD OF WITNESSES, John Wesley Hanson records the following words of Jung Stilling (1740-1817).
“Not a single soul will be lost. They will all – all be saved at last. The Holy Scriptures do not in one instance say the contrary. All the passages wherewith some are essaying to prove the infinity of hell torments, prove nothing further then that they shall continue an undefined time. The Hebrew word olam, and the Greek word aionios signify nowhere an infinite, but an indefinite length of time.”
#154 – FOOL OF QUALITY – Henry Brooke
“And thus, on the grand and final consummation, when every will shall be subdued to the will of good to all, our Jesus will take in hand the resigned chordage of our hearts. He will tune them as so many instruments, and will touch them with the finger of His own divine feelings. Then shall the wisdom, the might, the goodness of our God, become the wisdom, might and goodness of all His intelligent creatures. The happiness of each shall multiply and overflow in the wishes and participation of the happiness of all. The universe shall begin to sound with the song of congratulation, and all voices shall break forth in an eternal hallelujah of praise transcending praise, and glory transcending glory to God and the Lamb.”
#155 – OBSERVATIONS ON MAN – Dr. David Hartley
“I thank God that He has at last brought me to a lively sense of His infinite goodness and mercy to all, and that I now see it in all His works, and in every page of His Word. It has taught me to love every man and to rejoice in the happiness which our Heavenly Father intends for all; and has dispersed all the gloomy and melancholy thoughts which arise from the apprehension of eternal misery for myself or friends.
How long, or how much God will punish wicked men, He has nowhere said, and therefore I cannot tell. But this I am sure of, that in judgment He will remember mercy; that He chastens only because He loves, and His tender mercies are over all His works. God will conduct the wicked through all the afflictions which He thinks fit to lay upon them for their good, with infinite tenderness and compassion.”
#156 - In A CLOUD OF WITNESSES, John Wesley Hanson records the following words of Olympiodorus (A.D. 550)
“Do not suppose that the soul is punished for endless eons. The soul is not punished to gratify the revenge of the divinity, but for the sake of healing. The soul is punished for an eonian period (aionios) calling its life and its allotted period of punishment its eon.”
#157 – FUTURE LIFE - William Rounseville Alger
“Even the loathsome realm of darkness and torment shall be burnished and made part of the all-inclusive Paradise. All darkness, falsehood, and suffering, shall flee utterly away, and the whole universe be filled by the illumination of good spirits, blessed with fruitions of eternal delight.”
#158 – THE DOCTRINE OF THE UNIVERSALISTS - Ulriucus Zuinglius
“I cannot believe that the Lord will cast away from Him nations whose only crime it is never to have heard of the gospel. No, let us abjure the rashness of setting bounds to the divine mercy.”
#159 – THE MYSTERY OF GOD – Gerard Winstanley
“Christ Jesus will deliver all mankind out of bondage. This I see to be a truth by testimony of Scripture, as God is pleased to teach me. But this mystery of God is not to be done all at once, but in several dispensations, some whereof are past, some are in being, and some are yet to come. The whole creation of mankind, which is God’s work, shall be delivered from corruption, bondage, death, and pain. Mankind shall be by Christ reconciled to his Maker and be made one in spirit with Him; i.e. the curse shall be removed, and the power of it killed and consumed.
Truly this is according to the current of the whole Scriptures, that everyone shall be made of one heart and one spirit, i.e. that all shall be brought to obey the Father, walk humbly before Him, and live in peace and love in Him. This is the doctrine of Christ and the gospel. This is glad tidings to hear of. When you are made to enjoy this doctrine as yours, then you shall know what it is to know the Son, and what it is to be set free by the Son.”
#160 – GOD’S LIGHT DECLARED IN MYSTERIES – Richard Coppin
“What is hell? Tis the separation from the enjoyment that the soul is capable of.
They shall not come forth till they have paid the utmost farthing, then shall they receive mercy. For know that God is good, and He will not punish a finite being infinitely.”
Richard Coppin also wrote a work with the following long title ---
“OF THE TORMENTS OF HELL; THE FOUNDATION AND PILLARS THEREOF DISCOVERED, SEARCHED, SHAKEN AND REMOVED, WITH INFALLABLE PROOF THAT THERE IS NOT TO BE A PUNISHMENT AFTER THIS LIFE THAT SHALL NEVER END FOR ANYONE TO ENDURE”
#161 – Thomas Whittemore wrote, “Entirely upon the ground of the Scriptures, according to the views he entertained of them, Jeremy White wrote a work in defense of the doctrine of universal salvation called
THE RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS, OR A VINDICATION OF THE GOODNESS AND GRACE OF GOD, TO BE MANIFESTED AT LAST IN THE RECOVERY OF HIS WHOLE CREATION OUT OF THEIR FALL.”
Thomas Whittemore continues, “Jeremy White believed that all are to be restored, and that we have the assurance of this truth in the character of God Who is love, to which His very anger is subservient, and that the Scriptures assure us of His complete abounding grace over all sin and all death.”
#162 – REASON AND PHILOSOPHY NO ENEMIES TO FAITH – William Whiston (translator of Josephus)
“The words used about the duration of torments in the New Testament, and all over the Septuagint, whence the language of the New Testament was taken, no where mean eternity. My reasons for that opinion I have long embraced, and intimated to the world against the eternity of hell torments.”
#163 – Sir Isaac Newton, commenting on Scriptures in the book of Revelation wrote
“The degree and duration of the torments of degenerate and anti-Christian people should be no other than would be approved of by those angels who had ever labored for their salvation, and the Lamb Who has redeemed them with His most precious blood.”
#164 – THE PHILOSPHICAL PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL AND REVEALED RELIGION – Andrew Michael Ramsay
“Eternal Providence desires, wills and employs continually all the means necessary to lead intelligent creatures to ultimate and supreme happiness. Almighty Power, wisdom and love cannot be eternally frustrated in His absolute and ultimate designs: therefore, God will at last pardon and re-establish in happiness all lapsed beings.”
#165 – From a letter to Dr. Phillip Doddridge from Henry J. Barker:
“It is so. We read it in the book of God, that word and truth and gospel of our salvation, that as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. Yes Doddridge, it is so. The fruit of our Redeemer’s sufferings and victory is the entire and eternal destruction of sin and death for everyone. And is it not a glorious destruction? A most blessed ruin? No enemy so formidable, no tyranny so bitter, no fetters so heavy and galling, no prison so dark and dismal, but they are vanquished and disarmed; the unerring dart is blunted and broken, the prison pulled down and razed. Our Lord is risen as the first fruits of them that slept.”
#166 – THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL – Paul Siegvolk
“As the centre of the whole Bible, whereat all its contents aim, is this, that by God in the beginning every thing was created very good; and that by Christ, the heavenly Wisdom, through Whom all things were created, all whatsoever is corrupted through sin, must at last be made good again. So may anyone whose eyes are opened to see clearly into this point, find a great many testimonies of this eternal truth, both in the books of the Old and New Testament.”
#167 – THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF HAPPINESS - Gotthelf Samuel Steinbart
“God can never punish any, more than is necessary for his reformation. He cannot mistake in the choice of His means, and must always reach His end. He would appear less lovely if one creature should be forever miserable.”
#168 – APOLOGY FOR SOCRATES - Johann August Eberhard
“Punishment being an evil, cannot be employed by a good being, unless for ends whose goodness is greater than the evils suffered, and which could not be obtained without inflicting them. God punishes not for the common good only, but also for the reformation of the sufferer; which being accomplished, punishment has no further use. It was designed to influence the love and practice of virtue; and when these are produced, it must give place to the happy consequences of amendment. Punishment therefore, being a benefit even to the sufferer, when properly viewed by him, must produce emotions of love and gratitude.”
#169 – HISTORY OF THE CHURCH – John Le Clerc
“Christ’s judgment will be conducted so that its justice shall be seen by all. For the great diversity of crimes there will be a proportional variety of punishments, whatever they consist in. Aionios may be considered an indefinite duration to which God hath placed no limits known to us, the word sometimes signifying an AGE.”
#170 - INTRODUCTION OF JOHN’S GOSPEL – Samuel Crellius
“I am persuaded that all men will be finally saved by Jesus Christ, and delivered from the torments of hell.”
#171 – PHILOSOPHICAL AND CRITICAL INQUIRIES CONCERNIG CHRISTIANITY – Charles Bonnet
“It will be suitable to the spirit of the whole system of thought to set forth the pains of the wicked as aionion, or rather of an indefinite duration.
If in the Supreme Being, justice be goodness guided by wisdom; if Almighty Benevolence essentially requires the improvement of all intelligent beings; if punishments can be the means of leading to perfection; if there be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth; if there be much love where much has been forgiven: My heart leaps for joy – I am lost in admiration – what a wonderful chain of doctrines! The compassion of the Only Good is infinite – ‘He desireth not the death of a sinner; but that he should turn from his wickedness and live.’ God DESIRETH! – and shall He desire in vain?
The celestial heralds commissioned to celebrate by their hymns the glad tidings, were to instruct these shepherds in the object and the extent of the mission of Christ – on earth peace, good will towards men – GOOD WILL – not towards one single elected nation, but towards all the nations of the world. GOOD WILL – not to one single generation; but to every generation past and to come. The Benevolence of the Best and greatest of Beings includes all mankind, BECAUSE HE IS THE FATHER OF ALL.”
#172 – THE MODERN HISTORY OF UNIVERSALISM – Thomas Whittimore
“In his book THOUGHTS ON DIVINE GOODNESS, Ferdinand Oliver Petitpierre taught that men are sinners, and God punishes them with severity; but this severity is dictated by goodness, and all the punishments God inflicts are declared to be for the sinner’s good.
How opposed to this is the dreadful doctrine of eternal punishment, and error which grew up under a misconception of the meaning of the word rendered everlasting. God punishes always to reform, a fact which the author establishes with the most irresistible reasoning.
‘These shall go away into eonian punishment’ in which the word rendered punishment, he maintains, quoting the authority of Wittenbach, and Grotius, signifies a remedial, corrective discipline. The infinite authority of God is entirely founded on His goodness.
‘Eternal’ punishment is real evil, an infinite evil, in which everything conspires to exclude from God’s plan of the ages.”
#173 – ERSKINE’S SKETCHES OF CHURCH HISTORY records the words of John Gasper Christian Lavater.
“God is not gracious in time and cruel through eternity. Ascribe not to God, what in a human judge all would account a defect in wisdom and goodness, the punishing for the sake of punishing. It is enough my Creator, Thou art love. Love seeketh not her own; Thou seekest the happiness of all, and shouldst Thou not then find what Thou seekest? Shouldst Thou not be able to do what Thou willest?
My prayers are comprehensive. I embrace in my heart all men; present and future times, and nations, yea Satan himself. I present them all to God, with the warmest wishes that He will have mercy on them all.”
#174 - WHAT IS TRUTH? ABSOLUTE AND RELATIVE – Don Bast (published 2011)
“It has taken me a long time to unlearn the harmful instruction received over many years of indoctrination. It is God’s word alone that is the trustworthy source of truth. The good news of the glory of our happy God (1Tim. 1:11) will expose the error and set us free from the spiritual bondage of man’s creeds.
At the present time salvation is enjoyed only by those who believe; the balance of mankind will be saved at the consummation. A savior is one who actually saves. God is the savior of all mankind, not just the ‘potential’ savior. When the truth concerning the eons displaces the error about eternity, judgment and grace are seen to work harmoniously together till each reaches its predestined goal. All the threats of punishment to follow the judgment of the wicked can be accepted at their full, dreadful value without doing violence to our innate sense of justice, and without denying the predictions of a final victory of grace.
Someday the entire creation itself shall be freed from the slavery of corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God, and is groaning and travailing, even now, in anticipation. We ourselves also, who have the first fruit of the spirit, we also are groaning in ourselves, awaiting the sonship, the deliverance of our body. For to expectation were we saved (Rom. 8:21-24).
Whatever trials and troubles come our way we are assured that it is not a sign of God’s anger or even displeasure. The bond of love we share with God through His Son will never be broken. His desire to please us and be with us never changes. The love of God in our hearts is our steadfast anchor through all the storms of life.”
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