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them during the residue of their lives: this was to be a free do nation, and irrespective of their merits or demerits. Well, James went to work upon his portion of the estate, determined to advance it to the highest degree of improvement. William, on the contrary, was indolent, neglectful of his' affairs, and his portion of the property got into disorder and dilapidation. On the father's return, at the end of ten years, he found James to be already in wealthy circumstances in consequence of his industry and sobriety; whilst William, poor fellow! was in rags, and in debt, presenting a picture of squalid poverty. This posture of things, however, did not prevent the fulfilling of his original intentions, and he accordingly presented each of his sons the sum of twenty thousand dollars. James remonstrated, urging that as he was the more deserving by his good conduct, he was entitled to a larger sum than William, who, indeed, was not deserving of any, having been so improvident for himself, and so prodigal of what he had already received. " But remember, iny son,” replied the father, “that the money I am now bestowing is not given on the ground of reward, but of grace exclusively. Shall I prove evil to William, poor fellow ! because he has been evil to himself ? Have not his indolence and prodigality already sufficiently punished him during the past ten years ? He has suffered from want-from the embarrassments of debt from innumerable mortifications and humiliations—whilst, on the other hand, have you not enjoyed plenty, and ease, and honor, and self-approval ? And even now, although I give to him an equal sum as to yourself, yet see you not that you are fully as much in advance of him in your circumstances as before ? for you have your portion of the estate I gave you on leaving, highly improved, and capable of itself of yielding you a handsome maintenance; whereas, William's portion is not in a condition to yield him anything !"

In this comparison, the soul, or moral nature of man, is considered as an estate left to his cultivation and care by his heavenly Father, who is supposed to be absent. On man's management of this estate entirely depends his present moral enjoymeut; if nego lected, it will soon be overrun with the weeds of error and sin, and instead of bearing the fruits of peace, joy, hope, love, etc., it will produce the thorns and briars of remorse, misery, and despair. But in his infinite goodness, God has promised immortal life, and

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a subduing and reconciling view of his glory, to the whole human race, so that all shall bow to him be blessed in Christmand become the willing subjects of his government. These blessings are not promised as an equivalent for works performed on our part, nor for qualities attained, but as a free gift. Still, this does not imply that all are to be blessed in an equal degree, or (to carry out the figure) that their several estates are to be brought to a like degree of advancement; but on the contrary, it is supposed, that those in which the christian graces have been longer and more assiduously cultivated, will be in a condition to yield them in greater abundance and perfection.

Those who take this view, hold it not as a mere speculation, but (as they suppose) on scriptural warrant; for Paul (say they) clearly recognises a diversity of orders among the subjects of the resurrection. I believe that this view obtains very generally amongst the unitarians of this country, and the author will confess, it is that to which his own judgment the most strongly inclines. The only objection (so far as I know) to which it is liable, is, that it represents Jehovah as partial in making some of his creatures to be eternally superior to others. But, then, it is admitted that some are actually made superior to others in timesuperior in person, intellect, fortune, and moral qualities. It is also admitted that there are angelic beings who were made superior to man. Why do not these facts as well form a ground of impeachment against the impartiality of God, as the other ? Truth is, that grades in the order of being is one of the most beautiful arrangements in the economy of creation, and especially when we consider that these several orders are not doomed to remain eternally stationary, but are destined to progress toward the infinite centre of perfection forever.

This view, it seems to me, if it is not directly asserted, is at least countenanced by the sacred writers: what else means Paul when he speaks of some who were tortured for the truth's sake, “not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection ?(Heb. xi. 35.) And what means he also in the following passage ? " There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial : but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.” (1 Cor. xv. 40, 41.) The christian course, moreover, is compared to a race, a wrestle, and other exercises usual in the Olympic games, in which a prize was held out to stimulate exertion. And Paul speaks of himself as pressing toward the mark of his high calling in Christ Jesus. At the close of his treatise on the resurrection, moreover, he exhorts his Corinthian brethren, in view of that event, to be “ steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord;" and this, too, from a knowledge on their part (grounded on the consoling facts he had adduced in his letter) that their labor was “not in vain in the Lord.”

The above are all the modifications of the universalist faith with which I am acquainted ; they display a diversity as to the mode merely, not as to the main principle of that doctrine: there are few universalists who care greatly as to the particular form in which others hold their doctrine-their chief coneern is about the essential fact, the ultimate bringing in of all the human race, and this in God's own way, they care not how-and in God's own time, they care not when; their entire confidence in the unbounded wisdom and goodness of the Creator, inspires them with a disposition most cheerfully to acquiesce beforehand in his disposition of the matter, without doubting that he will do all things for the best end, and in the best manner.

But supposing the diversity of forms in which the universalis: faith is held, to be much greater than it is—what then? Is the fundamental fact the less to be believed, because there are differences of opinion as to the mode of it? And would the advocates of endless misery have us believe that there is less diversity concerning that tenet ? It would seem so, certainly, from the way in which they are wont to taunt us on this ground. But let us see how the fact stands. Some believe in endless damnation on the ground of the divine decrees—some on the ground of an abuse of our free powers-some say that our sins here are of infinite turpitude, and justify God in damning us to eternity-some say that we are not to be eternally damned for the sins of this life, but that sin has a self-perpetuating power, and our punishment will be endless because our sin will be so. Some say that our damnation will consist of a literal burning in hell-some, that it will be con

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stituted of remorse, and an absence of the divine goodness—some affirm that we shall be damned if found out of the faith and communion of the true church--some, that in whatever faith or church we are found, or whether in none at all, if we improve aright such opportunities as have been afforded us, it will go well with us, but if otherwise we shall be damned for the nonimprovementsome maintain that the neglecting to secure the new birth will be the ground of our damnation; and some, that we must be baptized or be damned, whatever else we may do or leave undone, etc., etc.

Universalists, however, do not contend against each other on account of their diversity of views; and this is much more than can be said of the believers in endless torments: the former, indeed, have no motives for contention-the latter have very weighty ones; for if the interests of the immortal state are in any degree dependant upon a correct faith in this world, we should doubtless strive with all our might to save men from their heresies, at whatever expense to their earthly peace or interests ; hence this doctrine fully justifies persecution for opinion's sake, but universalism does not; for it does not represent God in the character of a holy inquisitor, tormenting his short-sighted creatures in everlasting flames, because of their misfortune in failing to find and believe the truth. True it is, that universalists deem the acquisition of truth to be of great importance to men for their present benefit, and nence they endeavor to gain them over to embrace and enjoy it; but as this motive for zeal in the propagation of their faith is based upon a desire to extend the bounds of human happiness, it would ill comport with that motive to quarrel with men because they were not of their opinion in religion.

INDEX

TO COMPARISONS AND ILLUSTRATIONS USED IN THIS WORK.

Page.
The folly of intolerance in regard to differences in religious opin-
ions,...

30, 31
The way to reconcile apparent discrepances in a work of which
the author is known,.

41
The injustice of holding a person to the consequences of a com-
pact, m wnich he was not a voluntary party,.....

58
The faithfulness of God, in his promises, is not dependant on the
faith of man,. ......

66
Another illustration of the same point,..

67
The law of God cannot be satisfied with what it does not require, 72
The divine law does not comprise penalties which are adapted to
defeat its own ends,...

74
The Creator would not have brought man into being, with the
foresight that he should be endlessly miserable,...

76
And provided he had so created him, he would have been justly
chargeable with the consequences,..

77
God's relation to men, as Creator, a ground for his pity toward
them,......

78
Our unfilial conduct toward God does not change his relation to
us, as our Father,...

86
The endurance of God's paternal love,....
He will not abandon his offspring to infinite ruin,..

88, 89
The character of a ruler inferrible from the condition of his sub-
jects,

90,91
A ruler is answerable for the avoidable evils which he wilfully
admits into his dominions,...

91,92
The folly of deferring the business of retribution,..

94
How a report concerning hell, by an eye witness, would affect the
reputation of the sovereign of the universe,...

96, 97
God is less excusable than earthly rulers, (on the supposition that

he inflicts endless suffering) for the miseries endured by the vic-
tims of his vengeance,.

97,98
The perseverance of the good shepherd in saving lost man,. 113
All sentient existence must centre toward God, as its source, 117
A firm belief in endless misery is incompatible with a sincere love
to mankind,..

184
And with the early experience of every christian,.

125
Our eternal interests out of the range of our control,

133
2 G2

349

87

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