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THREE COLLATERAL ARGUMENTS,
THE DESTINY OF MANKIND,-a theme supremely vast, immensely important, and universally interesting-is the subject upon which this humble messenger would fain pretend to impart an additional measure of instruction, hope, and consolation, to those who aspire to the blessed realms of immortality. Yet it claims to be no unerring guide, or oracle of truth, concerning so lofty a theme. Its message is but second-hand, and therefore may often fail to speak the words of wisdom. It hath itself been taught by another, but that,—a teacher from whom it is impossible that any learner shall go away unenriched,—even the Sacred Book of God. If thou would'st therefore know still more, dear reader, and yet more surely, concerning this propitious subject, go to, thyself, with the assurance that this source of knowledge is not so easily exhausted of its treasures, and study of that which is able to teach the wisest of the wise.
This is another of those books which have originated in the necessities of private convenience; in the compilation of which, before half completed, the subject grew more and more fertile, attendant with a corresponding augmentation of pleasure and profit, until the usefulness which it afforded to its progenitor, induced the desire and purpose of placing its conceived advantages in the possession of others.
The Scriptural Argument for Universal Salvation,—that
sentiment which is engaging the affections, the zeal, and becoming the fondest theme, of so many philanthropic souls,
-is confessedly, the most important and the most formi. dable department of our defence. And it is by this, chiefly, and most effectually, that we must expect to conquer. Be. lievers in the opposite doctrines, who have been carefully taught from earliest infancy, to love and reverence the Holy Scriptures, cannot have their prejudices and misgivings against the truth of an Impartial God of Salvation, entirely dissipated, until they are shown how thoroughly that doctrine is sustained in the Bible, and how utterly insufficient is the evidence which is drawn from the Bible to establish so contrary a gospel as Endless Misery. With such believe ers, the most eloquent and logical appeals to the mind and conscience, are of no avail in comparison with a pointed and palpable testimony drawn from that Book, which is highest in their affections, and the standard of their reason. A book or other writing in favor of Universal Salvation, is greatly more apt to receive a hearing from the candid of our opposers, if it be plentifully fortified with Scripture.
This consideration was one inducement to the preparation of a work like the present, which is designed to exhibit in a peculiar and especial manner, a connected series of the ReASONS FOR OUR HOPE, that may be perspicuously drawn from the Scriptures. Many other incomparable treatises on the distinguishing doctrine of our Faith, have been published, which are built up, body and soul, upon the Bible. Yet we have a confidence, that a succinct, separate, and full presentation of the purely Scriptural grounds of our doctrine, is an essential work; that the arrangement of this book will
not be found to cover entirely pre-occupied ground; and that some such classification as is herein adopted, is calculated to bring together a greater phalanx of solid proof, and in a more complete and forcible manner, than the promiscuous way in which the Scriptural Evidences of Universalism are most generally exhibited.
With regard to the opinions on points of doctrine minor to the main question, which this work avɔws, we cannot affirm that the whole Denomination, or even the majority, is always represented. Universalists, like other Protestant persuasions, have well defined the principles upon which they must agree, in contradistinction to those upon which they may differ. FREE-Agency is the chief of variable questions, in all systems of divinity; and with reşpect to this, we have had much occasion in the course of our book, to declare convictions of the Calvinistic order, which probably agrees with the largest half of our' denominational mind, on this perplexing subject; for it is well known that there are Calvinistic and Arminian Universalists, as well as Calvinistic and Arminian Endless Miserians,—though that nominal distinction is not usually recognized. The former have always the strongest mass of Scripture at their command; the latter are most distinguished for their superior skill in the department of philosophical reasonings and metaphysics. If the former are the most lucid, definite, matter-of-fact, Scriptural, and vehement advocates of Universalism, and entertain the most practical views of religion,—the latter are perhaps the most learned, profound, speculative, and spiritual. With the latter body of Universalists, the Unitarian Denomination, as far as the dogma of Eternal Evil is discarded, is identical. And