Plain Guide To Universalism
by Thomas Whittmore, 1840

This work has been prepared for the benefit of inquirers after truth; for those that ask, Who are Universalists? What are the points of their faith? What proofs can be found in the Scriptures of their distinguishing sentiments? How do they explain the passages which others adduce to disprove Universalism? How do they meet the common objections? We propose in this work to answer these questions, and thus, to lead candid inquirers to the belief of the doctrine maintained by Universalism.

This work is also designed for the benefit of those who have already, in theory, embraced Universalism. We propose to show what are the duties of Universalists; that Universalists are divided into two classes, negative and positive, or those who merely profess Universalism, and those who believe it with a living faith, and make it the ground of their conduct: the moral excellence of that system of faith will be clearly pointed out: and thus we hope to lead believers of Universalism to the practice of it.

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The scriptural proofs of Universalism contained in Chapter 3, are as full as the space would allow, which I allotted for that purpose. Let it be observed, that these are SCRIPTURAL proofs merely. Many of the arguments which Universalists employ, are unavoidably ommitted. The basis of the arguments in Chapter 3, is the original "One Hundred Arguments for Universalism", published by me several years ago. While I have retained the substance of that little work, the arguments are so much enlarged, that its visage will hardly be recognized. I have put down under each sacred author, what he has said on the great salvation, but in some cases, where the testimony had been included under some other head, it is omitted under the author's name.


Contents

  1. Who Are Universalists?
  2. What Do Universalists Believe?
  3. Scriptural Evidence of Universalism
  4. Celebration of the Lord's Supper

1. Who Are Universalists?

I. Universalists are those who believe in eventual holiness and happiness of all the human race, as revealed to the world in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

They are supposed by some to be of a very recent origin, but, it is well known, that there have been Universalists in almost every age since the word of God was revealed to the children of men.

II. Even in the Old Testament we find the promises of God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the prophecies of David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and several other of the prophets, distinctly foretell the approach of the time, when sin shall be finished, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

"Jesus Christ not only revealed God in the specific character of a Father, and declared the love of God to the world, even to the evil and to the unthankful, as the cause of His own mission, and laid down other distinguishing principles of Universalism; but He also professed, explicitly, to be the Savior of the world, -- not a part merely; asserted, that He would actually draw all men unto Him; and maintained, that all who shall be raised from the dead will be equal unto the angels, and be the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

St. Paul taught a gathering of all things in Christ, in the dispensation of the fullness of times, -- a universal reconciliation to God, through the blood of the cross; that God had included all in unbelief, in order to have mercy upon all; that of Him and through Him, and to Him, are all things; that Christ must reign until all things are subdued unto Him; till all be made alive in Him, so that, when He shall deliver up the kingdom to the Father, God shall be ALL IN ALL." -- (Universalist Expositor, Vol. IV. pp. 185, 186.)

III. We find distinct traces of Universalism in the Christian church immediately after the age of the apostles, especially among the different sects of the Gnostics; and it is worthy of remark, that a belief in the final salvation of all men was not made a subject either of objection or reproach, for two or three hundred years after the death of the Savior. There are very few works belonging to this period, that are extant.

We find a distinct trace of Universalism in the Sybylline Oracles, that appeared about A.D. 140 or 150.

Clement, of Alexandria, the president of the renowned Catechetical School in that city, held the doctrine of Universalism. He was the most learned and illustrious of all the Christian fathers before Origen.

Origen, as is well known, was a decided Universalist, and taught and defended this doctrine in almost all his works. He was born A.D. 185. It does not seem, that during his life, any objections were made to him by his contemporaries on account of his believing in the salvation of all mankind. Immediately after Origen's day, we perceive, that many of the fathers maintained the doctrine of Universalism.

Marcellus, Bishop of Ancyra, appears to have been a Universalist, and also Titus, Bishop of Bostra, who maintained (A.D. 364), that the torments of hell are remedial, and salutary in their effects upon transgressors.

Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, was a decided Universalist (A.D. 380). He believed, that all punishment would be remedial, and that, in the end, all mankind, and even the Devil himself, will be subdued and purified. One of his favorite proofs of Universalism was, 1 Cor. 15th chapter.

Gregory Nazianzen, or Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzus, was probably a Universalist. He was promoted (A.D. 378) to the Archbishopric of Constantinople.Next come the Origenists, a sect who were distinguished by that appellation. They were the warm admirers or Origen, and doubtless believed in the final happiness of all men; but their early opponents, who pursued them with much zeal, did not object to their faith in this particular, although they sought every means to make them odious. It was not until many years afterwards, that Universalism was considered a matter of objection and reproach.

The famous Jerome, in the early part of his life, was a Universalist; but, at a later period, he was led by a theological and personal quarrel, to take sides against this doctrine.

Evagrius, a native of Pontus, but a scholar of Basil the Great, and of Gregory Nazianzen, is said by the ancients to have taught, with Didymus, the doctrine of Universal salvation.

Diodorus, Bishop of Tarsus, in Cilcia, was a Universalist (A.D. 378). "The wicked," he says, "are to suffer, not eternal torment, (for that would render their immortality of no avail,) but a punishment proportioned in length to the amount of their guilt; after which they are to enjoy happiness without end."Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia (A.D. 392), renowned as one of the ablest theologians and critics of his time, was a Universalist, as is asserted by the ancients.

About the same time flourished Fabius Manus Victorinus, who was converted to Christianity about A.D. 350. He was also a Universalist. He maintained that "Christ will regenerate all things; through Him all things will be purged, and return into eternal life. And when the Son shall deliver up the kingdom to the Father, all things will be God; that is," he adds, "all things will still exist, but God will exist in them, and they will be full of Him." Universalism spread wide in the church about this period.

Among the Gnostics it was extensively received, and the Manichaeans, a very powerful sect, held that sentiment.

Until the year 390, or rather 394, the doctrine of Universalism was never impeached in the Christian world, either by orthodox or heretic.

Among the heretics (that is, such as were so regarded for other reasons) we find broad traces of it from the beginning.

Of the orthodox Fathers, notwithstanding some of them seem to leave the matter in doubt, yet from the year 140 or 150 onward, they show us many evidences, that the sentiment prevailed.

That doctrine prevailed most in the eastern church, and in those places near the Holy Land, where the influence of the teachings of Christ and his apostles may be supposed to have been the most strongly felt.

In the western or Latin church, there were indeed instances of persons who defended it; but the influence of the pagan philosophy was here more powerfully felt.

In the year 394 a quarrel broke out in the East, between the Origenists, and their opponents, in which some of the latter attacked, for the first time, the particular tenet of the ultimate salvation of the Devil, but did not at first object to the final salvation of all men.

In 399, some of the councils, that were convened against the Origenists, condemned expressly the doctrine of the salvation of the Devil and his angels, though they passed by the kindred belief of the salvation of all mankind, without a censure.

Soon, however, the doctrine of the final salvation of all men was condemned, but still it continued to prevail; and it finally became necessary, in the Fifth General Council, which was opened at Constantinople, May 4th, 553, to pass a formal condemnation and anathemas. At the close of this anathema the council decreed, -- "Whoever says or thinks that the torments of the demons and of impious men are temporal, so that they will, at length, come to an end, or whoever holds a restoration either of the demons, or of the impious, let him be anathemas."

Thus we see, that for at least four hundred years after the beginning of the Christian era, the doctrine of Universalism was scarcely objected to in the church.

For further information on this subject, I refer the reader to that very valuable work, now rarely to be found in the market, "The Ancient History of Universalism," by Rev. Hosea Ballou 2d, and also to his abridged history in the "Universalist Expositor," (Vol. IV. pp. 184-209,) to which I confess myself much indebted.

IV. The doctrine of Universalism being thus condemned and put down by the highest ecclesiastical authority, continued to meet with less and less favor. The church, too, was fast sinking into ignorance and vice, and soon almost every feature of primitive Christianity was obliterated and lost. Of course, but slight traces of it can be seen until the light of the glorious Reformation broke upon the world.

No sooner did men begin again to think for themselves, and to throw off the shackles of ecclesiastical despotism, than we discover anew indications of the doctrine of Universalism.

It was embraced by the Anabaptists of Germany, who were cruelly persecuted on account of their faith, and who were condemned, in the famous Augustine Confession, among other things, for believing in the eventual restoration of all men to holiness and happiness.

When the Reformation took its rise in England, Universalism came up with it, and it was defended with great zeal by the Anabaptists in that kingdom, so much so, that it was judged necessary, in forming the XLII Articles of the English Church, to introduce a special condemnation of Universalism, which may be found in the 42nd Article. These articles afterwards were reduced to XXXIX, and the condemnation of Universalism was omitted.

In 1648, parliament passed a statute, denouncing the punishment of death upon those who denied the doctrine of a future judgment, or, if they held to the final salvation of all men, they should be seized and imprisoned until they gave sufficient sureties, that they would teach said doctrine no more. Still there were not wanting those who defended this doctrine, even under so great peril, among whom we may name Gerard Winstanley, William Everard, William Earbury, Richard Coppin, and others.

About this time, the work entitled "Eternal Hell Torments Overthrown," was written and published by Samuel Richardson.

Soon after this, Jeremy White who had been a chaplain to Cromwell, published a book in defence of Universalism, entitled, "The Restoration of all Things."

Shortly after, and not far from 1700, several eminent men came out against the doctrine of eternal torments, among whom we may name Dr. Henry More, Archbishop Tillotson, Dr. Thomas Burnet, and William Whiston.

Dr. Burnet wrote decidedly in favor of Universalism in a work entitled "De Statu Mortuorum." Sir Isaac Newton inclined to the same doctrine.

Dr. George Cheyne and the Chevalier Ramsay, both distinguished men, came out in favor of that sentiment.

Paul Siegvolk, a learned German, published a work in defence of the same point, as did also John William Petersen.

Many others, very learned men, in Germany, embraced this doctrine. It spread also in Holland, Switzerland, Ireland, and Scotland. In the latter country, Neil Douglass and James Purves distinguished themselves as the defenders and preachers of the doctrine.

To return to England, we may name, as eminent Universalists, Dr. David Hartley, who wrote the "Observations on Man," Bishop Thomas Newton, Sir George Stonehouse, John Henderson, James Brown, D.D., Rev. R. Barbauld, and his accomplished lady, Mrs. Anna Letitia Barbauld, the authoress, and Rev. John Brown.

Among the English Unitarians we may mention Rev. Theophilus Lindsey, Rev. Joseph Priestly, L.L.D., Rev. John Simpson, and Rev. Messrs. Kenrick, Wright, Estlin, Belsham, Carpenter, Aspland, Grundy, Scott, Fox Harris, and many others.

James Relly began to preach Universalism in the city of London about 1750, and gathered a congregation of believers there.

The celebrated John Murray was converted under Mr. Relly's labors, having formerly been a Methodist. In 1770, Mr. Murray came to America, and was soon called on to preach the doctrine of a world's salvation. He labored abundantly in the good cause, as did also Elhanan Winchester, a convert from the Baptists.The Universalists of the United States are under great obligations to these two men and should always respect and venerate their memories. There are now in the United States nearly five hundred preachers of Universalism and the number of believers, and societies, and churches is continually increasing.

V. It will be seen, from what has been said, that the views of those persons, who suppose that Universalism was not know until quite recently, are erroneous. It was no new doctrine. It had its advocates in the earliest ages of the church, and, with the exception of the dark ages, it has had them ever since. Universalism can claim great antiquity. It has also been embraced and defended by some of the most learned and pious men the world hath ever seen.

It is also worthy of remark, that the Christian Fathers defended Universalism as the doctrine of the Sacred Scriptures. Clement of Alexandria, the renowned Origen, Gregory, of Nyssa, and others, quoted much the same texts to prove that sentiment, that are now quoted They used the words eternal and everlasting, not to signify endless duration when applied to punishment, but they used them in a limited sense.

It was not until nearly four hundred years after the death of Christ that Universalism was regarded as worthy of condemnation, and it was not formally condemned by andy general council until the meeting of the Fifth General Council in 553. The four previous General Councils had not condemned it, although it had been believed and eloquently defended by some of the most eminent fathers in the church.

How much more time would have elapsed before the condemnation had it not been for the quarrel that broke out in the church in regard to the Origenists, we know not. They were objected to, at first, in respect to other points, and not for may years, on the ground of their being Universalist, although some of their most eminent men, like the distinguished Father from whom they took their name, had held that sentiment and defended it with much zeal.

Let it be observed, also, that Universalism was not put down, by reason, by argument, by appeals to the Word of God, but it was crushed by the arm of power. It was the arm of usurped power that crucified the Son of God. It was the arm of Usurped power that persecuted the infant church, and, it was the arm of usurped power that condemned and crushed Universalism in 553.

During the dark ages, when the Pope held undisturbed dominion, and the whole Christian world trembled at his nod, -- when the light of science almost expired, and wickedness of every description stalked abroad at noonday, then little was known of Universalism, while the contrary doctrine of endless misery flourished abundantly, and furnished ground for the contending ecclesiastics to anathematize, first each other and then the world, and proclaim the sentence of eternal banishment from immortal blessedness.

But we have shown, that no sooner was the arm of usurped power broken than Universalism once more appeared. It rose gently but irresistibly, winning admirers among the greatest and best of men, and pouring peace, consolation, and joy into every heart.

Not so with the doctrine of endless misery. From 553, the nearer we approach to the days of the Savior, the less we find of that doctrine, and it was not fully established until the Fifth General Council.

During the dark ages, very few persons, if any, doubted the truth of that sentiment. It was one of the strong pillars that upheld priestcraft, papal corruption, and ecclesiastical oppression.

But, no sooner did the light of the Reformation shine, than this doctrine was disputed. It was soon declared to be unscriptural, dishonorable to God, injurious to man, and from that time to the present, it has been losing more and more its power over the human mind.

We refer those, who wish to see a fuller account of Universalism from the time of the Reformation to the year 1830, to the "Modern History of Universalism," by the author of this work.


2. What Do Universalists Believe?

I. The sentiment by which Universalists are distinguished, is this : that at last every individual of the human race shall become holy and happy. This does not comprise the whole of their faith, but, merely that feature of it which is peculiar to them and by which they are distinguished from the rest of the world.

II. Universalists are not infidels. It is sometimes very indiscreetly said, that Universalism is but a species of infidelity, that Universalists are not Christians and cannot be so considered. We shall have no lengthened argument on this point, but, we desire one question settled touching this matter. If the doctrine of Jesus concerning the resurrection of the dead is not true, how is the doctrine of Universalism to be established? It evidently cannot be.

If the doctrine of Jesus concerning a future life fails, what becomes of Universalism? It is gone like a dream. Why, then, should Universalism be called infidelity?

If it cannot rest unless it rest on Christianity, is it not a very singular kind of infidelity?

It is just such infidelity as Jesus taught when He said the dead shall become as the angels of God in heaven, neither shall they die any more, but shall be the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

It is such infidelity a Paul cherished when he said, "God will have all men to be saved," -- "the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." "God shall be all in all;" such is the infidelity of Universalism.

It is the infidelity the angels were infected with when they came down and sung, "Glory to God in the highest; peace on earth, and good will to men."

It is just such infidelity as distinguished the patriarch Abraham when he trusted in God's promise that all the nations of the earth should be blessed in his seed, Christ.

Finally, it is the same infidelity that made the apostles so obnoxious wherever they preached and caused the people to say, "those who have turned the world upside down, are come hither also."

III. An attempt has been recently made to distinguish Universalists only by a disbelief in future punishment. Such an attempt is unjustifiable. They agree in the great doctrine of the final holiness and happiness of all men and they leave every man to form his own opinion in regard to the times and seasons when this great event shall transpire.

There has been some discussion, within a few years past, on the appellation Universalist. The question seems to have been, whether this word ought to be applied to all who believe in the eventual restoration of all mankind, or only to a particular class of them.

On this subject we have never had but one opinion, and that opinion we have frequently expressed, viz. that all persons, who truly believe in the eventual salvation of all mankind by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, are Universalists. This is the rule laid down in the "Modern History of Universalism."

For instance, Richard Coppin and Jeremy White, who both flourished in the time of Cromwell, are put down in that work as Universalists, although they differed much in opinion on minor points, the latter being a Trinitarian and a believer in future punishment, the former discarding that doctrine. So also Archbishop Tillotson and Dr. T. Burnet are put down as Universalists, who were both believers in future punishment. The same may be said of the Chevalier Ramsay and many others.

The rule which we prescribed to ourselves in the compilation of that work, we still adhere to, and always shall. All persons are Universalists who truly believe in the salvation of all mankind through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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, either in this world or the next, having any other object, as cruel and unjust.

Certain persons 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.

We wish it distinctly understood, that Universalists admit of no distinction in the denomination, on account of difference of opinion on the subject of punishment. They are al one, -- they all go for one thing, and may God to all eternity preserve them one. Amen.

IV. Although Universalists do not believe in the authority of man-made creeds, it became necessary, in the year 1803, for them to make a public declaration of their sentiments.

The Supreme Court of New Hampshire had decreed, that Congregationalists and Universalists, in law, were one and the same denomination, and that, Universalists were therefore liable to be taxed to the support of Congregational parishes.

To meet this extraordinary state of things, the General Convention of Universalists, in the session at Strafford, VT., to show that Universalists differed widely from Congregationalists in their religious views. This committee, consisting of Z. Streeter, G. Richards, H. Ballou, W. Ferriss, And, Z. Lathe, reported at the session in Winchester, NH., the following year. On this committee were persons who believed in future punishment, and those who did not, but a majority, we think, of the former. They endeavored to frame their articles of faith in such a way, as that both classes of Universalists might cordially unite in them. The articles were drawn by the venerated Ferriss, himself a believer in future punishment, and were in the following words:


4. Profession of Belief

We believe, that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments contain a revelation of the character of God, and of the duty, interest, and final destination of mankind.

We believe there is one God, whose nature is love; revealed in one Lord Jesus Christ, by one Holy Spirit of grace, who will finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness.

We believe, that holiness and true happiness are inseparably connected; and that believers ought to maintain order, and practice good works, for these things are good and profitable unto men

Such then, in brief, are the sentiments of Universalists. But, lest some of our readers should object to the brevity of the above Profession, we shall introduce in this place a form of faith, designed to express the general sentiments of Universalists, drawn up several years since, by Rev. Dolphus Skinner, of Utica, NY., and first published in connection with his "Letters to Aikin & Lansing," Utica, NY., 1833.

 


5. Bible Creed

  1. Concerning God and Christ. We believe that the Lord our God is ONE Lord, -- that we all have ONE FATHER; ONE GOD hath created us, -- and hath made of one blood all nations of men, to dwell on all the face of the earth; -- that though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there are gods many and lords many,) yet to us there is but ONE GOD, THE FATHER, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST, by whom are all things, and we by Him, (for God hath made him both Lord and Christ,) for there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29; Mal. 2:10; Acts 2:36 and 17:26; 1 Cor. 8:5,6; 1 Tim 2:5,6.
  2. Concerning the character of God. We believe the Lord our God is Almighty, and of great power, -- that His understanding (or wisdom) is infinite, -- that He is love itself, -- good unto all, and His tender mercies over all His works, -- that He loves all the things that are, and abhors nothing that His hands have made, for He never would have created any thing to have hated it, -- that He is a just God and a Savoir, -- Who will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, and Who works all things after the counsel of His own will, -- that in Him mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have embraced each other. Gen. 17:1; Ps. 147:5; Ps. 85:10; Ps. 145:9; Isa. 45:21; 1 Tim. 2:4; Eph. 1:11; 1 John 4:8,16.
  3. Concerning the mission and mediation of Christ. We believe God sent His Son to be the Savior of the World, -- that to this end, (as He loved both His Son and the World,) He gave all things into His hand, even power over all flesh, that He might give eternal life to as many as the Father hath given Him, and that all that the Father gave Him shall so come to Him as not to be cast out, -- that, as He tasted death for every man, and is a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, He shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied, -- that as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive, -- that, having brought life and immortality to light by the Gospel, He shall continue to reign until death, the last enemy, is destroyed, and all things are subdued unto Him; till every knee shall bow and every tongue confess Him Lord, to the glory of God the Father, -- and, that then He will deliver up the reconciled kingdom to the Father, that God may be all in all. 1 John 2:2; 4:14; John 3:35; 6:37; 17:2; Heb. 2:9; Isa. 53:11; 1 Cor. 15:22,24-28; 2 Tim. 1:10; Phil. 2:10,11.
  4. Concerning the Motive to Obedience &c. We believe it is our duty to love God, because He first loved us, -- that, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another, -- that the goodness of God leads to repentance, -- that the grace of God, that bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared, teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, and that those who believe in God ought to be careful to maintain good works; for these things are good and profitable unto men. 1 John 4:11,19; Rom. 2:4; Titus 2:11,12; 3:8.
  5. Concerning the reward of obedience. We believe, that great peace have they who love God's law, and nothing shall offend them, -- they are like trees planted by the rivers of water, that bring forth their fruit in season; their leaf, also, shall not wither; and, whatsoever they do shall prosper, -- that wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace, -- that she is a tree of life to them that lay hold of her, and happy is every one that retains her, -- that Christ's yoke is easy and His burden is light, and all who come to Him find rest to their souls, -- that, thought God is the Savior of all men, He is especially so of the believer, -- and, that whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, and is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. Ps. 1:3, and 119:166; Prov.3:17, 18; Matt 11:28-30; Heb. 3:3; 1 Tim. 4:10; James 1:25.
  6. Concerning punishment for disobedience. We believe the way of the transgressor is hard, -- that the wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt, for there is no peace, says our God, to the wicked, -- that he that doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done, and there is no respect of persons, -- that God will render to every man according to his deeds, -- tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile. Prov. 13:15; Isa. 57:20,21; Matt. 14:27; Rom. 2:6,9; Col 3:25.
  7. Concerning the limitation and remedial design of punishment. We believe the Lord will not cast off forever; but, though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies, -- that he will not contend forever, not be always wroth, lest the spirit should fail before him, and the souls he has made, -- that, although he may apparently forsake his children for a small moment, yet with great mercies will he gather them, -- in a little wrath, he may hide his dace from them for a small moment, but with everlasting kindness will he have mercy on them, and heal them, -- that whom he loveth he chasteneth, (and he loveth and chasteneth all,) for their profit, that they may be partakers of his holiness, and be enabled afterwards to say, "before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept thy word." Lam. 3:31-32; Isa. 54:7-8, and 57:16-18; Heb. 12:7-11; Psa. 89:30-35, and 119:67.
  8. Concerning the Scriptrues, the doctrines they teach, and the duties they enjoin. We believe, that all Scripture, given by inspiration of God, is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and instruction in righteousness, -- that the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, -- that God hath spoken of the restitution of all things by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began, -- that the word, gone out of His mouth in righteousness, shall not return void, but shall accomplish that which He pleases, insomuch, that every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear, saying, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength. From the Scriptures, (which we take as the rule and guide of our faith and practice,) we are taught, that the whole duty of man is, to fear God and keep His commandments; to deal justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God; to do good to all men as we have opportunity; and that pure religion and undefiled before God and The Father, is this; to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and keep ourselves uncorrupted from the world. 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21; Acts 3:21; Isa. 14:23,24; 55:11; Micah 6:8; Eccl. 12:13; Gal. 6:10; James 1:27.

We presume, that Universalists, in general, will agree to the doctrines here specified. They are all evidently drawn from the oracles of God; and the references, made at the end of each article, fully sustain the positions advanced in each.

But still, we desire that it should be remembered, that the distinguishing feature of their faith, IS THE EVENTUAL HOLINESS AND HAPPINESS OF ALL MEN. God has willed the salvation of all men; and has sent His Son to accomplish the transcendently great and glorious work. He has made a full revelation of Himself, and of the mission of His Son, and of His purpose to save all mankind, in his divine word, the true sense of which Universalists implicitly follow. The glory of God, and of His Son Jesus Christ, as manifested in the final holiness and happiness of all men, is the central sun of Universalism. This, with them, is the all-absorbing topic; the crowning excellence of revealed religion; the richest glory of God; the highest honor of Christ; the fullest joy of the saints; the sweetest answer to prayer; the strongest motive to praise; the most potent charm of Christian faith; a fountain of consolation in life; a holy triumph in death; the joy of angels, and of the spirits of just men made perfect. Such is the doctrine of the ULTIMATE SALVATION OF ALL THE HUMAN RACE.


V. CELEBRATION OF THE SUPPER.

It is the usual custom of Christian churches in this country, to celebrate the Lord's Supper once in each month. There are no directions as to the frequency of the celebration in the New Testament. The early Christians placed more importance on the object and design of the service, than upon the exact time in which it should be performed. Paul says, " For as often as ye eat this bread, (not stating how often it should be done,) and drink this cup, ye.do show the Lord's death till he come." 1 Cor. xi. 26. We think it well to follow the general custom, and celebrate the communion monthly, though this rule may not prevent the celebration at other times, if special circumstances should render it necessary.

Proposed Form of Administering the Supper.

The usual time for celebrating the Supper is at the close of the afternoon service, upon the Sabbath, once in each month. The table having been prepared by the deacons, between the forenoon and afternoon services, is covered with a cloth during public worship. At the close of that service, the minister leaves the pulpit, and takes his seat at the table, and waits until the members of the church have taken theirs. places as near the table as convenient, and until silence is restored in the house. He then removes the cloth with which the vessels and elements are covered, and says,

"Beloved Christian friends, we are now about to celebrate the Lord's Supper, in imitation of the example of our Blessed Redeemer and his apostles; and as we arc dependent on God for mercy and wisdom to guide us in all things, let us draw nigh the throne of grace in solemn supplication for the divine blessing. Let us pray.

[Here the clergyman will offer a suitable prayer.]

"Beloved Christian friends, the service of the Supper was instituted by our Lord himself, on the same night in which he was betrayed. Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, take, eat, this is my body, which is given for you.

[In the mean time the clergyman will be breaking the bread.]

During the breaking of the bread, he will occupy the time by offering such remarks as seem to him to be suited to the occasion. He will not fail to show the original design of the institution, viz. to keep the Lord Jesus in the remembrance of his followers. This do in remembrance of me." The broken bread is an emblem of his broken, crucified body; and is always so to be looked on in this service. The clergyman should not, therefore, fail to carry the minds of the communicants to the scene of the crucifixion. Direct them to view the Saviour's sufferings, the cross, the crown of thorns, the death scene, and especially to remember the dying prayer for his murderers, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." But it is not necessary that the clergyman should confine himself at all times, to the events of the crucifixion. Let him think of the Saviour's words, "This do in remembrance of me," and he will see, that any portion of the Saviour's life may furnish subject for reflection at the table. The feeling that will pervade his heart will be that of a solemn joy, -- a deep sense of affectionate gratitude; nor should any remarks be offered, inconsistent with such a feeling. O what an opportunity is there here for solemn reflection. With what force may the speaker impress on the communicants the necessity of humility, and of setting their affection on things above.

"When I survey the wondrous cross,
    On which the Prince of Glory died.
My richest gain I count but loss,
    And pour contempt on all my pride."

The remarks, however, should not be long; from three to five minutes is sufficient. Let the words be few and fitly chosen.

The bread being broken, he will pass it to the deacons, (serving himself as he passes the last plate,) saying, "Take, eat all ye of it, in the name of Him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."

He then sits, (his mind being intently fixed on the subject before him,) until the plates are returned to the table; or he may, should he judge it best, make some remarks, while the officers are serving the communicants. But all remarks should be made standing.

The bread having thus been served, he next proceeds to serve the wine. He takes the cups towards him, saying, Jesus took the cup and gave thanks. In imitation of his example, let us once more approach the throne of grace. Let us pray.

[Here he will offer a prayer suited to the occasion.]

While he is pouring the wine, (and he may have intervals between the filling of the cups, if he wishes to extend his remarks,) he will offer suitable thoughts to guide the minds of the communicants. And what thoughts are appropriate while serving the wine ? 1st. It is an emblem of the shed blood of the Redeemer. For whom was his blood shed ? For all. For what purpose did he die ? Will that purpose be accomplished ? Again. The Saviour made the cup also a figure of the New Covenant. " This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you." See Luke's account. The wine is not only an emblem of the shedding of the Saviour's blood upon the cross, but it is also a figure of his doctrine. And so it was employed by the prophets. "Come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price." Jesus says, we must drink his blood. He does not mean in the outward and literal sense. See John vi. 53-60. He explains his metaphor to mean his doctrine, verse 63. "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; THE WORDS that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." From all these subjects, he who administers the ordinance, cannot fail to draw profitable reflections.

He passes the wine to the deacons, as he had done the bread, and then sits until the communicants are served, and the cups returned.

This being done, an appropriate hymn is sung, which it is always best should be sung by the communicants; the minister, or one of the church, starting the tune.

After the hymn, the collection is generally taken, to defray the expenses of the church, and for charitable objects; after which the benediction is pronounced.

And now the author will not close this chapter, without a humble petition, that what he has written may be the means of inducing those who agree with him in faith on the great salvation, to pay a due respect to the holy, purifying service of the Lord's Supper.

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This page was last modified Monday 13 November 2006.  Copyright 19992006 Rev. Alicia McNary Forsey, Ph.D.
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