“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”



Third Edition.




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by  


In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.



Stereotyped by


New England Type and Stereotype Foundery,






REV. HOSEA BALLOU, Senior Pastor of the Second Universalist Society in Boston, will enter his eighty-first year in April next. His father was Rev. Maturin Ballou. The latter was born in Rhode Island, where a large part of his life was spent. He officiated there, for some years, as a Baptist clergyman; and, about 1767 or 1768, he removed to Richmond, N. H., then a new settlement, where the sub­ject of this sketch was born, on the 30th of April, 1771.


He spent the chief part of his minority with his father. The doc­trine of Universalism had been embraced by a few individuals in that vicinity, but was regarded by the people generally, especially church members, with great abhorrence. Young Ballou, in his nineteenth year, joined the Baptist church, of which his father had been pastor. It was, however, but a short time afterward that he became doubtful of the truth of the doctrine of endless misery; and these doubts increased, until he was fully convinced of its falsity, and of the truth of the great and glorious doctrine of the final holiness and hap­piness of all men. He was excommunicated for this belief, although his character, in the view of the church, was blameless. He soon began to proclaim his new opinions, and preached his first sermon in the town in which he was born, in the fall of 1791, from 1 Cor. i. 30. Immediately after, he commenced to travel in different parts of the country, preaching and teaching school; and we may name the County of Worcester, in Massachusetts, and the States of Rhode Island and Connecticut, as the principal scenes of his labors.


The place in which he was first settled, as a preacher, was Dana, Mass. In 1796, he was married to Miss Ruth Washburn, of Wil­liamsburg, Mass.; a lady who is still living, and who has done all to make his life a happy one that it is in the power of woman to do. While Mr. B. resided in Dana, he preached principally in that town, and in Oxford and Charlton. In 1799 he attended the General Con­vention of Universalists in Woodstock, Vermont, which was the first-occasion of his going into the interior of that State. This visit made him acquainted with several of the prominent Universalists of that region; and, in consequence of this acquaintance, he removed, in 1803, to Barnard, and took charge of the societies in Barnard, Wood­stock, Hartland, Bethel, and Bridgewater. He resided in the first named of these towns. Soon after his settlement, he wrote his “Notes on the Parables,” the first edition of which was published in 1804, in pamphlet form. It was greatly enlarged in the second edition, which was published in Portsmouth, N. H., in 1812. Soon after the “Notes” were published, Mr. Ballou proceeded to write his “Treatise on Atonement,” in which he took the ground that God was never unreconciled to man; that man was the party who needed reconciliation, for God is love, from eternity to eternity; and that God’s love to sinners was the cause of Christ being sent, by the Father, to redeem them. He held that Christ was not God himself, but the Son of God,—a distinct being from the Father,—a created being ; — a doctrine which he had believed and preached for ten years before this time [1805.] He must, therefore, be regarded as the earliest American defender of Unitarianism the country has produced.


In 1809, Mr. Ballou removed to Portsmouth, N. H., where he was installed November 8th, the sermon on the occasion being preached by Rev. Edward Turner, then of Salem. While residing here, he had several controversies with the clergymen of the place, among whom may be named Rev. Messrs. Walton and Buckminster. Mr. Ballou remained in Portsmouth until June, 1815, when he accepted the invitation of the Universalist Society in Salem, Mass., to become their pastor.


His connection with the Society in Salem was not of long continu­ance, for he removed to Boston, and became the pastor of the Second Universalist Society in that town, in December, 1817. This Society had just finished their house, the present venerable structure, on School Street. They never for a moment had a thought of seeking any other pastor than the Rev. Hosea Ballou, if it were possible to obtain his services; and, accordingly, two months before the house was ready for dedication, a letter of inquiry was despatched to him, to draw out his sentiments in regard to a removal to Boston. In the mean time the house was hurried on to completion. Rev. Messrs. Jones, of Gloucester, Turner, of Charlestown, Ballou, of Salem, and Dean, of Boston, were invited to join in the dedicatory services; Mr. Jones to preach the sermon, and the others to arrange the remaining  at their discretion. The dedication took place on Wednes­day, October 16th; and; on the following Tuesday, a meeting of the proprietors was holden, and Mr. Ballou was invited to take the pas­toral charge by a unanimous vote. The salary was fixed, at first, at thirteen hundred dollars per annum, to which donations of fuel were occasionally made. Mr. Ballou was installed on December 25, 1817. Rev. Paul Dean preached, on the occasion, from Acts xx. 24. He also gave the fellowship of the churches. Rev. E. Turner, of Charlestown, made the installing prayer, and gave the charge. Rev. Joshua Flagg, who had succeeded Mr. Ballou at Salem, offered the con­cluding prayer.


Thus was Mr. Ballou duly installed as pastor. The congregations that attended on his ministry were exceedingly large. He soon be­came widely known for his eloquence and boldness, and the novel nature of the subjects discussed by him. His preaching was of a controversial and doctrinal character. He explained, in his discourses, those texts which had been supposed to teach the doctrine of a judg­ment in the future state, and endless torment. He was repeatedly called on, by letter, from inquirers after truth, to preach from partic­ular texts of this character; and, as he gave public notice of the times when he would consider such passages, his audiences were im­mensely large. It was usual to see the meeting-house filled, in the forenoon, so that it was difficult to obtain a seat; in the afternoon, many would be obliged to stand, especially in the galleries, and around the heads of the stairs; and in the evening the aisles would be crowded, above and below. Immediately after his settlement, Mr. Ballou preached a sermon from 2 Thess. i. 7—9 “And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” He attacked, with great force, the common doctrine of a general judg­ment, in the future state, for the actions of this life ; and showed that his text gave no support to it. This sermon was published by Henry Bowen, and roused the indignation of Rev. Timothy Merritt, one of the Methodist clergymen of the town, who came out with an octavo pamphlet, entitled, “Strictures on Mr. Ballou’s Sermon,” &c. Mr. Ballou followed with a “Brief Reply” to the “Strictures;” and then came Mr. Merritt again, with “A Vindication of the Common Opinion relative to the Last Judgment and the End of the World, in Answer to Mr. Ballou’s Reply.” But the controversy did not end here. Mr. Ballou appeared with another pamphlet, entitled, “A Brief Reply to a Pamphlet entitled, ‘A Vindication of the Common Opinion relative to the Last Judgment and the End of the World, in Answer to Mr. Ballou’s Reply.’ ” Here the matter ended; and, whatever Mr. Mer­ritt and his friends may have thought, the effect of the controversy was decidedly favorable to the rising popularity of Universalism.


For the last six or eight years preceding the rise of the Second Universalist Society, Universalism had produced little or no excite­ment in Boston. The First Society remained stationary. Mr. Dean, its pastor, preached little on those subjects on which he differed from other sects. In the vicinity of Boston there was no movement in favor of Universalism. There were scarcely ten Universalist pastors in Massachusetts. The cause was evidently languid. The rise of the Second Universalist Society in Boston, and the removal of Mr. Ballou thither, produced a new state of things. There arose a commotion among the elements; but the effect was to purify the atmosphere, and give men a clearer and more extended vision. New Societies, holding Mr. Ballou’s sentiments, soon began to arise around Boston; among which may be named the Societies in Roxbury and Cambridgeport. There was evidently a movement over the eastern part of the State, and adjacent States. The Society in Milford, Mass., erected an ele­gant house of worship, which was dedicated in January, 1821. A Society was formed in Providence, R.I., which built a splendid tem­ple; and a meeting-house was also erected in Portland, Me. The people from Cape Cod frequently were in Boston on Sabbath days, and many of them attended on Mr. Ballou’s preaching. They carried

the seeds of truth into that Section of the State, and societies sprung up in Barnstable, Brewster, Plymouth, &c., &c. In 1821, the fact was announced, (and it was very remarkable for that day,) that there were twenty-three Universalist societies in Massachusetts. We scarcely know where that number could have been found at that time. To the best of our recollection, there were two societies in Boston, two in Gloucester, and one each in the towns of Charlestown, Salem, Roxbury, Cainbridgeport, Scituate, Shirley, Attleboro’, Canton and Stoughton, (one society for both,) Marlborough, Milford, Oxford, Brookfield, Hardwick, and Dana. Some of these were small. We do not attribute to Mr. Ballou the rise of all the societies named ; but it cannot be denied that his labors gave a new impulse to Universalism in Massachusetts.


Mr. Ballou preached many other sermons that were published, and especially a series entitled “Lecture Sermons,” consisting of twenty-six, delivered on alternate Sabbath evenings, in the course of the year, between the months of July, 1818, and July, 1819. There were also other sermons published, preached by him, which were subse­quently collected into a volume, under the title of  “Select Sermons.” In these two volumes Mr. B.’s opinions are plainly stated, and logi­cally defended. He shows, with great clearness, that the passages of Scripture generally used to sustain the doctrine of a judgment in the future state have no rightful reference to such a subject, but are applicable only to the things of time.


Mr. Ballou remained the sole pastor of this society for about twenty-five years, when it became the mutual wish of him and the people that he should be released somewhat from the cares that had laid upon him. A colleague was obtained; and, since that event, he has been at liberty to travel, as his inclination permitted. He has visited sev­eral of the States, attended many meetings of associations and con­ventions, and preached the gospel in a great number of places. He is now almost as able to preach as he ever was; and he is listened to, not for what he was, but for what he is. Seldom, very seldom, do we see a clergyman, so nearly fourscore years of age, who has the strength of body and vigor of mind that Father Ballou possesses. We cannot look into the future ; but, if we may judge from his present health and strength, we should not be astonished if he should live, and continue his public labors, for ten years to come.



THERE are many considerations which seemed to call on the author of the following discourse to attempt to compose it, and also to present it to the public, and especially to the numerous fraternity of believers in the blessed doctrine of the divine pater­nity, and the universal brotherhood and final salvation of all men through the mediation of Christ Jesus, as taught in the Scriptures of divine truth.


It having pleased our Heavenly Father so long to continue the life and ministry of such an unprofitable servant, and to bestow on him so many and great, as well as unmerited, blessings, notwith­standing his numerous imperfections, he is not entirely ungrateful; but feels it not only a duty, but a blessed privilege, in this way to leave a testimonial of his gratitude to the Giver of all mercies.


The favorable regard, and even respect, shown by the whole circle of our ministerial fraternity to one who not only knows, but feels, his unworthiness, lays him under great obligation to express

sense of their kindness and to pay most devoutly that Heaven may bestow on them a rich and ample recompense. They will not only regard the wish of their brother, to have the things in remem­brance of what he has written, after his decease, but will impute whatever of error they may discover in them to no want of sincer­ity. There is no one thing which the author of the following dis­course more desires of his brethren, than that they may continue satisfied that the Holy Scriptures contain a revelation concerning gospel doctrine, and man’s duty and final destination, sufficient to make us wise unto salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus. Spec­ulations concerning man’s future state, and opinions founded on his free agency, not taught in the Scriptures, must endanger the brotherhood to divisions as pernicious as formerly arose in the ancient councils of the church. If all would duly consider that we have as much reason to be thankful to God for the right use of all the faculties of the soul, as for those faculties themselves, it would, doubtless, keep us in that humble condition of mind which would preserve us from all vain-glory, out of which grow strife and contention.


In particular, and in a special manner, is this valedictory dis­course presented to the author’s Christian friends composing the church and congregation in this city with whom he has enjoyed pastoral connection for thirty-three years. Although the society has met with some painful trials, no difficulty has ever, for a day, disturbed the union which subsisted between the minister and his people. And, notwithstanding the minister felt deeply the afflic­tions through which the society had to struggle, he enjoyed a firm confidence that an all-wise Providence would overrule all for good; and it yields him unspeakable comfort and repose to see what he is permitted to see, —the church, the congregation, and the Sabbath school, all flourishing, like a well-watered garden, under the care and supervision of a pastor according to God’s own heart, who is able to feed the sheep and lambs of his flock with knowledge and understanding.


For all the favors the writer has ever received of his friends in Boston, and the ample support granted him and his family, by the society, he wishes to leave this testimony of sincere gratitude.

For all the writer knows, this valedictory might have been longer delayed; for he has no special presentiment of mind that his decease is to be immediately. Yet, one in the eightieth year of his age ought to be ready for an event which must effectually prevent further opportunities here on earth. Add to this the con­sideration that strength of mind has already sufficiently declined, to suggest that it may very soon be gone. ADIEU.




2d PETER 1: 15. “Moreover, I will endeavor that ye maybe able,

after my decease, to have these things always in remembrance.”



FULLY to appreciate the important subject to which our text calls our attention, we must duly consider, who was its author; the ministry to which he was appointed; his important and eventful labors in that ministry; and the interest which he must have felt in the benefits which should in future re­sult from them. Peter was the first disciple whom Jesus called; and it may not be improper to allow him, what he has sometimes been called, “the chief of the apostles.” At the time of his writing the epistle in which our text is found, he was sensible that his labors in the service of his Divine Master were near their end, according to what he says im­mediately preceding the words we have chosen “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this taber­nacle, to stir you up, by putting you in remem­brance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me.” It is believed that it was in the same year that this epistle was written that the author was crucified by the order of Nero.


The ministry to which Peter, as well as the rest of the apostles, was appointed, involved the testi­mony of all which Jesus did, taught, and suffered, and the teaching of the same to all nations; to which we may add, all those labors which were re­quired to infuse into the minds and hearts of all who received the Gospel the spirit of Christ, and all the virtues inculcated by the precepts of Jesus.


The important station occupied by this apostle in the church of Christ, his signal services, and his faithful labors, we may learn from what we read of him in the Acts of the Apostles, and by his Epistles. This disciple, having been constantly with the Divine Master during his ministry on earth, had an ample opportunity of knowing the wonderful works which God did by him — of learning the spiritual nature of the religion taught in all his discourses, and what was indispensably required of all his disciples. He also learned his own imperfections and dependence.


After the ascension of the Lord Jesus, we find Peter taking the lead in appointing one as a substitute in the place of Judas. It was he who answered those who, on the day of Pentecost, said the apostles were  new wine, and delivered that admirable discourse, in defence of Christ, which pierced the hard and stony hearts of the people, and caused them to cry out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”  It was Peter who said to the impotent man, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Naza­reth, rise up and walk.”


But it is not consistent with the design of this discourse to dwell extensively on the acts and writings of this apostle. We all have the New Testament, and can, at our convenience, make ourselves ­acquainted with them, and avail ourselves of the profitable instructions they afford.


The author of this discourse has, for some time, been very deeply impressed with the important and solemn fact that his labors in the ministry, in which he has for many years been engaged, must, accord­ing to the course of nature, soon be brought to a close. These contemplations have often led to a general review of the somewhat peculiar character of the services which Divine Wisdom saw fit to allot him. In reference to this subject, it was natural for him to meditate much, not only on what he has endeavored to do, but also on what may, in future, when his frail body shall have returned to its mother earth,—his pen and lips shall have ceased to utter his thoughts, —result from what he has done. It was natural for such meditations to lead the mind to seek for something resembling the sub­ject in which it was so deeply interested. The words of Peter, which head this discourse, and the burden of his subject, seemed appropriate. The apostle, by Divine assistance, had done much to establish the kingdom of his Divine Master in the world; and he had labored much and long to water the many gardens which he had sowed with the word of truth; and, as he was sensible that his labors were near their close, he felt no little concern that those gardens might flourish after he should walk and labor in them no more. Therefore he said, as in our text, “I will endeavor that ye may be able, after my decease, to have these things always in remembrance.”


The readers of this discourse are reminded that its author would by no means compare himself with the apostle whose words he has chosen, or arrogate to himself either the sanctity or authority which belong to him; and yet we may allow, without  vanity, that there may be many particulars, in the and labors of all the faithful ministers of the Gospel of Christ, which have a resemblance to those of an apostolic character.


When the author of this discourse entered on the duties and labors of the ministry, to which he believes God appointed him, the pure doctrine of the Gospel of Christ, in regard to its great and funda­mental principles, was not clearly understood by even the able and faithful professors of universal salvation, who labored much and successfully in its defence. They had been brought up and educated in the doctrines of the church, which, though Prot­estant, was but little improved in its creeds from  of the Catholic schools. Their understandings were so far enlightened that they saw one bright and glorious star of truth in the dark firmament of theology. They believed in the final end of sin and of human suffering. And such was the effect of this discovery on their minds and hearts, as to in­spire them with sufficient courage to proclaim it to the world; while the unspeakable joy the truth afforded them, more than compensated for all they had to suffer from its enemies. These servants of God had not discovered the errors of the church, in regard to the entire depravity of man’s nature; the infinite demerit of human transgression; the justice of endless punishment; the vicarious sufferings of Christ; the doctrine of three persons in the God­head; the existence of a personal devil, who was once a holy angel in heaven, who sinned and fell into eternal perdition, and who was the tempter of Eve, and the procuring cause of all the moral and physical evil in our world. Moreover, it does not appear that they had clear views of the moral gov­ernment of God, and the necessary connection between sin and its due retribution, and that of well-doing with its rewards, as taught in the Scrip­tures, and experienced by all moral beings. Nor does it appear that they had any doubts respecting the existence of what the doctors of the church mean by the word HELL.


To many of our ministers, who have been recently called to labor in the dispensation of the gospel of universal salvation, it may seem very questionable how those fathers, who had not discovered the impropriety of those crude and unscriptural as well as unreasonable tenets above noticed, could, with any success, maintain the doctrine of Universalism against the host of learned doctors who opposed it. But, when we consider that these fathers were much read in the Scriptures than were their oppos­ers, they could overwhelm them by quoting passages of Scripture which so clearly express the truth of universal, impartial, and efficient grace, as to confound th­e opposer. Moreover, they could take the vicarious sufferings of Jesus, just as their antagonists held it, and, proving by plain Scripture testi­mony that Christ gave himself a ransom for all men, and, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man, gain a complete triumph.


To the arduous work of disproving those erroneous opinions ­above noticed, and of showing, by the Oracles of God, that they were both unscriptural and unreasonable, the author of this discourse was early called, and to this work have his labors, in a great measure, been directed. In prosecuting these labors, he has ever kept in view the clear mani­festation of Divine truth, by the removal of those errors which had so long held the minds of men in darkness and bondage. It is not necessary here to recapitulate those arguments. which have often been set forth in many assemblies, from many pulpits, and published in various works, designed to prove that the natural state of man is not that of entire depravity; that the infinite demerit of sin and the justice of endless punishment are not taught in the Holy Scriptures; that the opinion that there are three persons in the Godhead, and that Jesus Christ is the very God, is both unreasonable and repugnant to Scripture testimony; that the sufferings of Jesus were penal, and, in place of the just punishment of sinners, is contrary to justice, and as unscriptural as unreasonable; that the awful and God-dishonoring notion that the benign Father of the spirits of all flesh has contrived, ordained, and established what the doctors of the church mean by the word HELL, is not supported by any portion of the Word of God; that the Creator has, made a being, and continues him in existence, who is wholly evil, and is the tempter who is the cause of all moral and physical evil, is both unreasonable and unsupported by Divine authority. All these, together with their kindred errors, which were legion, were believed by the Christian clergy in general, and lay quietly in the minds of the early preachers of universal salvation. The labors to which the author of this discourse was called had to encounter this numerous host, which was firmly intrenched in the blind superstition which held the public mind in chains of darkness. When he now looks back on the conflict, and, with unspeakable deligh­t, beholds the result, he realizes the truth of these words of St. Paul,—” God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise,  and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh  shall glory in his presence.”


A few suggestions respecting those exploded errors, of which notice has been taken, may not be place in this discourse. When we realize that they are yet believed and taught by many in our times, it seems necessary often to present their refutation to the public. As to the belief in the depravity of our nature, involving the idea tbat there is nothing good in man, we see plainly its refutation in the fact that the Scriptures teach us that man is the object of the Divine love. Jesus said, — “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” St. Paul says, — “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sin­ners, Christ died for us.” And again he says, — “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.” It is most unreasonable to suppose that God should thus love that in which he could see no goodness.


The opinion that sin is infinite, and deserves end­less punishment, most evidently conflicts with the inspired declaration that, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” And again, — “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Again, — “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” And yet again, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Many other passages might be quoted, which most evidently disprove the opinion that sin is infinite, and deserves endless punishment. And we may further add, that there can nowhere in the Scriptures be found any declaration in support of this refuted opinion.


The doctrine of the Trinity, which makes Christ Jesus, the one Mediator between God and men, equal in power and glory to the eternal Father, and asserts that he is the very God, is by no means free from contradiction; for how is it possible that there be more than one infinite, almighty God? If the person of the Father be infinite, and the  of the Son be also infinite, are there not two infinities?  And can we still add another person, the Holy Ghost, which is infinite, and yet have but one Infinite Being? As proof of the unity of God we adduce the following: Moses, who was commissioned by Heaven to teach the house of Israel the true worship, uniformly taught the people as ex­pressed thus, — “Hear, 0 Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord.” Now, it appears reasonable that, if true worship required a belief in a trinity of persons ­in the Godhead, Moses would have this fact in place of what we have just cited. If it be said that the doctrine of the Trinity is more specially taught in the Christian Scriptures and dis­pensation, we may notice the teachings of Jesus on this subject. He was asked, “ Which is the first Commandment of all ?“ and replied, “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, 0 Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord.” If Jesus had intended to teach the doctrine of three persons in the Godhead, as an improvement on the unity of God as taught by Moses, how can we account for his using the very words of Moses, which evidently disallow such doctrine? St. Paul was particular in giving in­struction to Timothy on our subject, when he says, “There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” But Trinitarian doctors insist that this man  Christ Jesus is essen­tially God, being what they term the second person in the Godhead. And yet, this man told the people that he “could do nothing of himself; and that his Father was greater than he.”


The doctrine which holds that the sufferings of Jesus were strictly penal, — that he suffered in room and stead of sinners, — seems both unjust and contrary to Scripture. How can it be right and just to condemn one who is innocent, or guiltless, in­stead of the guilty? Jesus said to his enemies, “But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.” With these words before our eyes, how can we believe that a God of holi­ness, who is love, could not only require a sacrifice in room of the guilty sinner, but appoint the inno­cent and guiltless Son of his love that sacrifice?  But let us ask what this sacrifice was for. The answer is, it being instead of the guilty, it was for the purpose of clearing the guilty. But God says that he will "by no means clear the guilty.” And do not the Scriptures uniformly maintain that God will render to every man according to his works?  How unaccountable it seems, that divines, who contend for the vicarious sufferings of Jesus, making for the sinner in his penal suffering, should be so blind as often to quote the words of Jesus, where he says, “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels, and then he shall reward every man to his works.” If Jesus has suffered the full penalty of the sinner’s guilt, and suffered it instead of the sinner, is he going to punish the according to his works, after all? Moreover, these divines as often quote the words of St. Paul, where he says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” May we ask why sinners could not as well suffer the full retribution of their wrong-doing without this vicari­ous substitute as with it?


Are we asked how we understand the saying of Peter, where he says of Christ, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree?” We an­swer by Scripture authority. See Peter’s declaration with its connection : “But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called; be­cause Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed him­self to him that judgeth righteously: who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteous­ness; by whose stripes ye were healed.”  Here we see that the sufferings of Christ are our example, which, if we imitate, takes away our sins. We are further instructed on this subject, by comparing the following passages: “When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils; and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” The words in the prophet vary thus “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” Surely no one can suppose that Jesus be­came sick instead of those whose sickness he cured, or that he became possessed in room and stead of those out of whom he cast foul or unclean spirits. Jesus bore our sins, not the penalty  of our sins.


Little need be said in regard to the hell  which has been so long and so much in use, not only by the professed ministers of the gospel, to frighten people to become religious, but by the profane and vulgar, to indicate and express their vile passions, and to show their pride in being indecent. We may not attempt to express our horror at the descriptions which learned ministers have long been in the habit of presenting to the people of what they call hell. Surely, we know of nothing which could be described, more dishonorable to our adorable Father in heaven, than to ascribe the authorship of such a place to him. To do this, and, at the same time, to pretend that it is our duty to love the author of such a place, is, of all the inconsistencies imaginable, the most revolting! But, they say, we read of hell in the Bible. What if we do? Does the Bible anywhere give hell the description which they do ? No such thing. Dr. A. Clark is candid enough to say, — “The word hell, used in the common translation, conveys now  an improper meaning of the original word; because hell is only used to signify the place of the damned. But as the word hell  comes from the Anglo-Saxon helan, to cover or hide, hence the tiling or slating of a house is called, in some parts of England, (particularly Cornwall,) heling, to this day; and the covers of books (in Lancashire) by the same name: so the literal import of the original word hades  was formerly well expressed by it.” Is it asked what hades means? It means the grave; and is the place to which the patriarch Jacob said he would go to his son Joseph mourning. It is the place in which Job prayed that God would hide him, and keep him until his wrath was past. What would an assembly of worshippers think, should they now hear their minister pray that God would hide him and his hearers in hell, until his wrath should be past? These hints and suggestions are here presented, in order to show to what perverseness tradition and abomidable superstition have carried the use of this word. If there be, in all the Scriptures, any word or words which warrant or support the belief of such a place in the invisible world as the Christian clergy have represented by their use of the word hell, the fact has escaped the diligent inquiries of the writer of this discourse.


It is, even now, very fresh in memory, how hard it was, many years ago, to reason with venerable and beloved fathers in the ministry of universal salvation against the traditional belief of a personal devil. Notwithstanding his youth, more than half a century ago, the writer of this discourse had to contend with age, experience, and learning, against the existence of such a being. But success was given to the labors of what may almost be termed weakness itself! That old serpent was compelled to yield his personality, and content himself with being nothing more or less than the father of lies. At this day, not an individual preacher of our faith is known to believe in the existence of that imaginary being, who has for ages held such a controlling power over the public mind; filled the hearts of millions, old and young, with an awful dread; and been one of the principal subjects of pulpit declama­tion. A volume might be written on the absurdities which have been believed respecting this superstition, without exposing but a small part of the immense mass. Sometimes he has been represented as wonderfully knowing. Then he would be employed in the work of tempting and deceiving poor mortals. Sometimes he would be so ignorant as not to know so much as did those preachers who were sure he never could succeed in getting final possession of any of the human family who were, from all eter­nity, elected to salvation. Sometimes he would be represented as being confined in hell, from which he could not possibly escape. Then, again, he would be represented, even by the same person, as being everywhere, tempting people in all parts of the earth at the same moment! But it is needless now to dwell on this subject, as the phantom has vanished. It has been here noticed, merely because it was one of the errors, the refutation of which was, in Divine Providence, allotted to the labors to which the writer of this discourse was appointed.


The foregoing subjects form a class by themselves, somewhat distinct from a number of others to which the labors of the writer have been devoted. The former class consists of subjects which elicited much controversy with the fathers of our denomination, some of whom, probably, remained unconvinced until the close of their lives; though the most of them, it is believed, were enabled to see the truth, and to embrace it joyfully. The latter class consists of many subjects which were new to the believing fraternity generally, but were at once received, and with joy believed. One subject of this class is that of the nature of that salvation of which the Scrip­tures speak, and which we obtain through the mis­sion of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. It is an undoubted fact that the Christian church and the Christian clergy have, for ages, utterly misunder­stood the nature of this salvation. The salvation held up by the clergy may be understood by a single article of their creed. In that, the question, “What estate did the fall bring mankind into?“ is answered as follows “All mankind, by the fall, lost com­munion with God; fell under his wrath and curse; and were made liable to all the miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.” From the everlasting pains of hell, our Christian doctors have believed, and taught the people to be­lieve, that Jesus came to save mankind. These everlasting pains of hell constituted the wrath and curse of God, and the just punishment of man’s transgression; so that salvation is to he saved from the Divine wrath, from the everlasting pains of hell, and from the punishment of our sins. We may put this subject in another form, and say, To be saved from the Divine wrath is gospel salvation; and to be saved from the everlasting pains of hell is gospel salvation; and to be saved from the just punish­ment of our sins is also gospel salvation. Such is the salvation the Christian clergy have preached for ages, and such is the salvation in which the millions of Christian professors have believed. To obtain this salvation, prayers ascend from thousands of altars; repentance of sin is required as a condi­tion of obtaining this salvation; preachers describe to their hearers, in the most terrific manner possible, the awful terrors of hell torments, in order to induce them to become pious, and love God, that they may thereby avert his wrath, escape the punishment of their sins, and avoid the pains of hell forever. This is the Christianity which the church has believed in, from generation to generation, for ages, and now prevails in all churches, both Catholic and Protest­ant, except a few Universalists, who are just opening their eyes to the true light of gospel salvation.


Much of the labor of the writer, within a few years, has been devoted to show that no such salvation as has been believed and preached for ages past, has the least possible support from either Scripture or reason. In prosecuting these labors, the first necessary work is directed to show the in­consistency of the error, as expressed in its various forms. The supposition, that Christ Jesus was sent by the Father to save sinners from his own wrath, involves a most palpable absurdity. We should suppose a man to be insane, should he tell us he so loved his children that he was going to a large ex­pense to save them from his own wrath! Yet, surely, there would he no more an indication of insanity in this, than there is in the supposition that “God so loved the world, that he sent his only begotten Son to save the world” from his own wrath.


If we look at the opinion that Christ saves us from the everlasting pains of hell in the future world, it suggests the question, Who made this hell, and for what was it made ? The answer is, God made it, to punish sinners in forever. If this all be true, is it not absurd in the extreme to suppose that God has provided means for saving sinners from going to the very place he made to punish them in?


As for the opinion that Christ saves sinners from the just punishment of their sins, both the Bible and human experience fully refute it. And it seems almost unaccountable, that preachers,who have no other salvation to hold up to their hearers than a salvation from the just punishment of their sins, should, with great vehemence, be constantly quoting the passages of Scripture which say that God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or evil; that God will by no means clear the guilty; that whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap; that Christ, the righteous Judge, will render to every man according to his works. What seems most mysterious is, that multitudes who preach in this manner are men of deep learning, sober in their lives and conversation, of age and experience, and also of sane minds and sound judgment in all matters except the great and paramount subject of their profession! And yet an­other mystery here presents itself, that the people who are in the habit of listening to such preaching, and are possessed of a good share of common sense, and have good judgment in all the common concerns of life, should hear such inconsistencies and contra­dictions, from Sabbath to Sabbath, and not detect them. Moreover, that they should not understand that all human experience demonstrates the fact that wrong-doing brings with it all the moral and most of the physical evils of our world, is passing strange and unaccountable.


That, in which the salvation taught in the Scriptures consists, is so clearly set forth, and so intelligibly represented by various modes, none of which are in the least obscure, that it seems even marvel­lous that any, learned or unlearned, should misun­derstand the subject. The angel who spoke to Jo­seph concerning the child which should be born of Mary, said unto him, "Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins;" not from the just punishment of the sins they had committed. Of Jesus, John the Baptist said, “Be­hold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.” He did not say, Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the punishment of the sin of the world, by suffering it himself in the room and stead of those who had committed it. Jesus said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Gospel salvation saves sinners from the condition they are already in. Nothing is said, in the Scriptures, of saving men from punishment, either in this world or the next. Jesus said he came to "seek and to save that which was lost ;"  but says nothing about saving any from being lost in the future world. To represent the process of saving sinners, Jesus used the parable of the lost sheep, sought, and found, and returned to the fold by its owner. Also, he used the parable of a lost piece of silver, being sought and found by its owner; and, also, the prodigal son, who, after spending his estate in riotous living, repented of his madness and folly, and returned a penitent to his father, who received him gladly.


The prophet Malachi represents the Saviour by a refiner’s fire, and by a fuller’s soap, and says, “He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”


The prophet Isaiah represents this salvation thus: “I, the Lord, have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.”


The process of washing is used to represent our subject. To the Ephesians St. Paul says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish.” Here the apostle presents us with the whole church of Christ in a state of uncleanness. In this unclean state, the church was the object of the Saviour’s love. Moved by this love, he gave himself for it. But for what purpose? Answer, that he might sanctify and cleanse it. By what means? Not by becoming unclean in its room and stead, but by the washing of water by the Word. Of how many did this church consist?  Answer, of all for whom Christ gave himself.  This same apostle says that the one Mediator between God and men gave himself a ransom for all men: and again he says, “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man.” Here, then, we see that all men constitute the church which Christ loved; that this church is an unclean church; and that, from its uncleanness,  Christ is to wash it, sanctify it, cleanse it by the washing of water by the Word. And in the book of Revelation we read the ascription, “Unto him who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” The apostle John says, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


Again, salvation consists in being reconciled unto God. St. Paul says, “All things are of God, who hath reconciled us unto himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” We need not, here, longer dwell on the question respecting what the Scriptures mean by salvation. The subject is too clear to be mistaken by any.


Another important subject, to which the labors of the writer have been devoted, is that of the moral government of our heavenly Father, embracing what the Scriptures teach in regard to rewards and pun­ishments. As believed and taught by the doctors of the church, the Divine discipline takes cognizance of all the works of men, whether good or bad, and has appointed a day of judgment, which will take place when all mankind shall rise from the dead, at what they call the end of the world. At this judg­ment, good works are to be rewarded with immor­tality and eternal bliss; and works of unrighteousness are to be endlessly punished by consigning the doers of them to the pains of hell forever, according to the due demerit thereof. In proof of this doctrine regarding the moral government of our heavenly Father, and the Divine discipline, many passages of Scripture are by those doctors quoted, but none more relied on than a passage in Ecclesiastes, and one in 2d Corinthians. The former reads thus “God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” The second reads thus: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” Many other passages are quoted, and ap­plied in the same way, but it is as well to take these two as a sample, and, with all possible candor, look at the surprising inconsistency which presents itself in such a use of the Divine Word. Let us take a fair view of the thing, as a whole. God does not judge men in this world, nor does he here reward them according to their works. Here, it is argued, the righteous are not recompensed for their good conduct, but suffer more than the wicked; and here the wicked enjoy much more than the righteous, their punishment being reserved for the future eter­nal state. Having the subject thus before us, let us ask the pious divine whether he has ever done any good things in this life? He answers that he trusts he has, by the help of Divine grace. We will then suppose that he is to be hereafter rewarded, at the day of judgment, in which he believes, with immor­tality and eternal bliss. And now we ask him if he has not, some time in his life, done some wicked things? He at once answers that he has, and hum­bly confesses that his sins have been many. What follows? It follows, if his use of Scripture be cor­rect, he must be sentenced, at the day of judgment, to a state of endless suffering! Neither of the texts says that God will reward some men with endless happiness for a few good deeds which they did by God’s assistance, and let them go unpunished for the many evil works of which they have been guilty. Let us carefully consider that God will bring every  work into judgment, whether good or evil; and that every  one is to receive according to that he hath done, whether good or bad. It would be utterly inconsistent with the Divine testimony to punish some men to all eternity for their evil deeds, but allow them no reward for their good ones. See­ing, then, that this whole scheme is most grossly absurd, and, of course, untrue, we may consider the fact that there can be found, in all the Scriptures, not a single passage which indicates or speaks of a day of judgment in our future state of being, or of punishing any for their wicked conduct in this life, nor yet of rewarding any for their good deeds done here.


The question may now be considered, What do the Scriptures teach respecting the subject under consideration? And here we may inform the reader that the Scriptures teach us that God judges men, and rewards and punishes them, in this world, and that they give us no account of his doing this work in man’s future state. Moses says, “He is the rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are judg­ment; a God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is he.” David says, “He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.”  Where Moses describes how God would deal with his people, in Leviticus xxvi., he sets forth both the rewards which God would bestow for their obedience, and also the dire and awful punishments he would visit them with if they rebelled against him, and violated his precepts. And here let the reader duly consider that neither rewards nor punishments ex­tend into man’s future state of being. If we read all God’s dealings with men, as represented by the writings of Moses, we shall find that all rewards and punishments had reference to man’s state here.


Let us now consider how the Scriptures represent the Divine economy under the reign of the Messiah. God speaks by Isaiah thus, in regard to this subject:  “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles; he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail, nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth; and the isles shall wait for his law.” Jesus said, “The Father judgeth no man; but hath committed all judgment to the Son.” Again he says, “For judgment I am come into this world.” Again, “Now is the judgment of this world.” David says, “Verily, there is a reward for the righteous; verily, he is a God that judgeth in the earth.” Solomon says, “Behold, the right­eous shall be recompensed in the earth ; much more the wicked and the sinner.” Jesus said, “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily, I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” And here let it be understood that Jesus never spoke of his coming to judge men at a later period than in the generation then living.


As the Scripture doctrine of rewards and punish­ments is so entirely different from what the doctors of the church have believed and taught, they will naturally desire to know how this discipline is car­ried on. In order to understand this subject, it is necessary to understand our moral constitution, and that constitutional law, according to which we are recompensed exactly according to our doings. All the Divine requirements have our happiness as their ultimate object. Love to God and love to mankind comprehend the whole which God requires of us. Now, nothing can be more plain, or more easily understood, than the fact that our highest, our sweetest and most precious enjoyments and hap­piness, are the necessary consequences of our obe­dience, — of our loving God with all our hearts, and our fellow-creatures as we love ourselves. And so says the Divine Word: “In keeping of them there is great reward.” When is this reward, and where is it? It is when and where men love God and one another. Here, then, we understand when, and where, and how, good works are rewarded. Surely, it would be a waste of labor to say much to show when, and where, and how, disobedience brings its due retribution. It must be when and where disobedience is. How plainly is all this expressed in Scripture language : — “Great peace have they who love thy law, and nothing shall offend them. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.” “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” Just as pure as are our hearts, just so pure are our divine enjoyments; and, just as foul as are our affections and desires, just so bitter is our woe.


Professors of religion, generally speaking, expect a reward hereafter for duties done in this life. Now, if there be any propriety in this expectation, it fol­lows, of course, that obedience to the Divine com­mands does not fully reward its own labors. This being allowed, it follows that a real adequate reward for obedience is something better than obedience. What is it? What is better than love to God, and love to mankind? Again; if loving God and our fellow-creatures does not adequately recompense itself here, in this world, will it do this in our future state ? If not, something better must be provided, or those who love according to the Divine command must go forever without a full reward. The Scrip­tures give us a truer idea of obedience, by repre­senting it as something to eat and to drink, which is good, and sweet to the taste. “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money: come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money, and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread; and your labor for that which satis­fieth not?  Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. How excellent is thy loving kindness, 0 God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. The law of the Lord is perfect, convert­ing the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the jucig­ments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter, also, than honey, and the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is thy servant warned; and in keeping of them there is great reward.” In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” Such is the language of the Scriptures respecting the blessed enjoyments of obedience to God’s commands; and they evidently exclude the idea of any extraneous recompense.


What is called the doctrine of free agency, which maintains that man is capable of rendering all the means which our heavenly Father has appointed, for the purpose of his salvation, ineffectual, — so that, although God has declared, in his Word, that he wills the salvation of all men, it is not proof that all will be saved, — is a doctrine which the author of this discourse has found it necessary to contend against, in his ministry of universal salvation. The opposition to Universalism, exerted by this supposed free agency, is very easily overcome, by showing the entire fallacy of contending that the all-wise Crea­tor has been the author of something which may and does frustrate his own purpose. Whatever agency or capability man possesses, God, who created him, must have been its author. Whatever God creates, he must design for a definite purpose, which purpose is certainly as infallible as is his wis­dom. This short and simple argument, corroborated by the Divine declaration that God “works all things after the counsel of his own will,” is as effectual, in refuting the existence of the agency contended for, as a treatise could possibly be.


There are some Universalists, who are able de­fenders of our doctrine, some of our brightest talents and best scholars, — who hold that man possesses a moral freedom, or agency, to a limited extent; but do not allow that it can finally succeed in frustrating the Divine purpose of the universal holiness and happiness of our race. About such a freedom, or agency, debate would seem to be use­less, except merely for the sake of mental and intellectual exercise, as the subject is not allowed to involve any vital principle of Christianity. How this limited agency is strictly definable, the writer of this is unable to understand. If it has an exist­ence, it must have a duration of time in which it exists. Is it limited in regard to duration? If it be essential to man’s constitution, as a rational moral being, it would seem not to be limited as to duration, if man is always to exist. Is it limited as to what it is able to do, at any given time? If so, must it not be restricted to the doing of just that and no more than the Creator appointed it to do? If it be thus limited, the question comes up, is it capa­ble of not doing that for which it was created? If it can do nothing more nor less than the Creator designed, in what sense has it freedom? This met­aphysical disquisition may here close, with the fol­lowing question — “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it ?“


Of late, the writer of this has seen an inclination,  in some of the professed preachers of Universalism, to adopt some of the peculiar opinions of our Unita­rian fraternity. Among other things, is the opinion that men carry into the next world the imperfections of this; so that their moral condition, hereafter, will depend on the characters they form while here in the flesh; but that they may and will improve, and progress in virtue and holiness, in the spirit world. This opinion being rather newly adopted, and as it seems to ingratiate them into favor with Unitarians, it is quite natural for such preachers to devote not a small share of public labor to lead the minds of their hearers to the adoption of such views of the future state. Whenever the writer of this discourse comes in contact with these labors and opinions, he feels it to be his duty, in a friendly, brotherly, and candid manner, to endeavor to bring them to the test of some acknowledged standard. It is worthy of consideration, that the New Testa­ment gives us but little on the subject of man’s future state. There can be no doubt but Jesus was known to believe and preach a doctrine embracing the fact of the resurrection, and an immortal state for the human family. All this is clearly mani­fested by the question asked him, by the Sadducees, respecting the resurrection. In the answer which Jesus returned, we have all, which gives us any ac­count respecting the state of man hereafter, which was spoken by him. In this answer, we are told the following facts: — 1st. That, in the future world, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. 2d. That, in that state, men will be the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. 3d. That they will be equal unto the angels, and that they can die no more. 4th. That the doctrine of the resurrection was shown by Moses, and that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for all live unto him. St. Paul says more on the sub­ject of the resurrection, and of the future state, than did Jesus. He says, “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” He also distinguishes man’s state and condition in the future or resurrection state, from his condition here, as follows : “It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” Thus we are taught that our future state will differ from the present as incorruption differs from corruption; as glory differs from dishonor; as power differs from weakness; as a spiritual body differs from a natural body. Now, if we allow our­selves to carry our speculations, respecting our future state, not only beyond all the Scriptures say on the subject, but so as to adopt distinctions in that state which evidently conffict with the Divine Word, do we not say, by so doing, that Divine Revelation is not only incomplete, but also inaccurate?


Entertaining a hope that these things, of which notice has been taken, will be favorably remembered when the writer shall be no more seen among his beloved brethren on earth, — shall no longer enjoy their fellowship, and reciprocate their greetings, in conventional meetings, and elsewhere, — and shall no more labor to persuade people of all ranks that a life of obedience is sure to be a life of peace and happiness, and that tribulation and anguish are the present rewards of every one who doeth evil, — he will close this discourse by commending the whole fraternity of his friends to God, and to the Word of his grace, which is able to build them up, and to give them an inheritance among all who are sanctified.



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