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confess it. And it is also a fact, that many of the liberal Christians have found out that their Calvinistic brethren are in the right, and acknowledge that they do not believe in the unmerciful doctrine of endless punishment."

And there Mr. Ballou quoted the paragraph of Rev. Mr. Walker, which we have given above.

No man was ever more thoroughly convinced that Universalism exercised a good influence than Mr. Ballou. He believed it with all his heart; and he knew the effect of it was good on himself. He had seen the effect of it in his own family, where every one, even from childhood, had been taught to believe it. He lived in the very atmosphere of the doctrine, and he knew the consequence was salutary. He therefore replied to the editor of the Christian Register, who charged Universalism with evil consequences, in the following strain:

"But the editor of the Christian Register seems anxiously concerned about the evil consequences, to the morals of society, which he so clearly sees will result from a belief that we are not to be punished in another world for the wrongs we do in this. He is confident that such a belief naturally tends to vice; but he does not condescend to show wherein it can thus tend to vitiate our morals. He is charitable enough to suppose that we who maintain this dangerous doctrine are, ourselves, ignorant of its moral consequences. I must, therefore, be permitted to ask him, how it should happen that he, who does not believe this doctrine, should be any better acquainted with its moral effects than I am, who came into this happy belief in youth.

"I was told in my youth of the immoral tendency of my doctrine; I was told that, if children were brought up without the fear of hell in a future world, they would become the most abandoned characters. Thanks be to God, I have out-lived the decep

tion. God has blessed me with a numerous family; and I am confident that I never intimated to one of my children that punishment awaited them in the future world for the wrongs they should commit in this; nor do I believe that any of them can say that they have shunned the evil practices in which too many youths have indulged because the thought of future torment repelled them.

If he

"I have another question to ask this editor, namely: If he supposes that I am ignorant of the moral tendency of my doctrine, why has he neglected to point it out? He only tells me what thousand ignorant, superstitious people have told me long ago. Why does he not point out particulars? In a word, why does he not show what connection there is between the genuine love of virtue and the fear of torment in a future world? has a wife, and family of children, I request him to show to them that he loves them, provides for their wants, and refrains from murdering them, because he fears the torments of hell hereafter. I demand of him, and I have a right to, to show me, not merely assert it, how it is that the fear of hell in the future world now makes him and keeps him an honest man, a lover of God, and a good Christian.”

So much for the relative position of Mr. Ballou and the Unitarians in 1823.


But, while the American Unitarians were thus shy of their Universalist brethren, the latter had the happiness to learn (which they did about this time) that all the leading English Unitarians were, and had been for several years, believers in the great doctrine of the final holiness and happiness of all men. All their leading writers have espoused it: Dr. Priestly, in several of his works; Mr. Lindsey, in his Conversations on the Divine Government,

showing that everything is from God, and for good to all; Dr. Estlin, Mr. Grundy, Mr. Yates, Mr. Belsham, and Mr. Richard Wright, in their numerous works. Also, Dr. Smith, once minister of the Unitarian church in Edinburgh, then of Yeovil, England, in his admirable work, entitled "Illustrations of the Divine Government;" tending to show that everything is under the direction of infinite wisdom and goodness, and will terminate in the production of universal purity and happiness. This excellent work, first printed in Glasgow, in 1816, had passed through two London editions, and had received the decided approbation of the Unitarians as a body.


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In addition to the subjects named, there were others that dwelt much on the mind of Mr. Ballou at this time. He treated often on sin as a source of great disquiet and torment to mankind; but it could not harm God. In the words of Job, "If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him? If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thy hand? Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man." Job 35, 6—8. Sin cannot deserve an infinite punishment, said Mr. B. It may injure man on earth, but it cannot injure God. He knows that the sins of men can never do Him any harm. Why, then, should he inflict infinite torments on men? When it was said it is impious to ask such questions, he replied, it was not so; but it was really impious to


charge on God the cruelty of making his creatures endlessly miserable. God will not justify man in becoming his neighbor's enemy, even when injured by him; will he therefore become our enemy, when our sins cannot injure him at all?

In his view, the doctrines of men were full of inconsistencies. They represented God to be good, but he would torture his creatures forever; the authors of these doctrines taught that God had "preördained whatsoever comes to pass," and yet he had become the enemy of his creatures on account of what they had done; God's vengeance burned against sinners to that degree that they were in danger of endless ruin, and yet he so loved the world that he sent his Son to save it; that he has an elect number who will be saved, and the rest must be lost, and yet missionaries are sent to the heathen to save their souls from immortal woe; that God has prepared a pit of fire and brimstone in which to torment sinners in the future world, and yet he has sent his Son on purpose to prevent their going there; that God designed all mankind for happiness, when he positively knew that millions of them would be lost forever; that Jesus Christ will eventually execute divine vengeance on millions of the human race, and yet he graciously gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, &c. &c.

Mr. B. addressed himself to the Methodists, in a fine article, to endeavor to convince them that the doctrine of the Trinity, which they had incorporated into their Articles of Faith, was inconsistent with the Bible and with itself, and ought not to be regarded as any portion of the Christian faith. He labored much to give men

true views of the nature of salvation; to show them that Jesus did not die to save men from misery in the eternal world, or from any wrath in God, or from any corruption of their own natures, except such as is caused by the practice of sin; but to save them, in fact, from sin itself, and "deliver them from the present evil world," Galatians 1: 4. Such were some of the opinions to which Mr. B. gave prominence during this year, in the course of his labors in the pulpit, and by the press.


But let us not forget how ardently he sought to inculcate faith in the revelation which God hath made to man. In writing to an unbeliever, in September of this year, he said:

"The words of sacred truth, The Lord is risen indeed,' are, to me, a source of confidence and joy, in the same degree as I am enabled to exercise faith in them. The Lord is risen indeed.' Give me assurance of this, and I care no more about all the theological speculations of the schools for ages, than I do about a wind which passes over a desert of sand. Just as firmly as I believe that Jesus arose from the dead, I believe that all mankind will eventually be so made alive, and enjoy an eternity of immortal holiness. And I am satisfied, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this was the sentiment which St. Paul meant to express in 1 Cor. 15: 22, &c., 'For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 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.' In that spiritual glorious constitution, divine revelation gives us no intimations of any physical or moral evil; and where neither of these is, there can be no infelicity."

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