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But how is it now!—Let the numerous divisions, and subdivisions, animosities, jarrings, contentions, controversies, schisms, &c. give the reply. To approach as nearly as times and circumstances would permit, the Primitive Faith and practice of the Apostolic Church, was, and is a primary object with the Associates in this City; as may be seen in their Fifteenth Article. And they were aware that their attempt, would be attended with many difficulties, that they would have to contend against misrepresentations and deep rooted prejudices, to encounter many, and adverse opinions, that have been long and fondly cherished; not alone among the advocates of other doctrines, but even among those who are also Universalists; though not as we are Universalists; and whose sentiments of the World's Redeemer, differs most widely from our sentiments; and lastly, that we should have to confront and soften the deadly animosities, that have so unworthily obtained against us, as the advocates for the Universal Faith, as embracing all, and rejecting no one of the doctrines of the Holy ScriptureS. That the public may be enabled to judge of our faith and doctrines, an honest and fearless avowal of them, has been deemed indispensable, in order henceforth to check the unqualified slanders and abuses that have been published and circulated against Universalists indiscriminately; and by those of whom we had hoped better things. We had also charitably hoped, that in the present enlightened age, writers, critics and censors, must, or ought to have known, that there are various classes of Universalists: some who differ from other Christian believers, in no one point, except as it regards the nature and duration of future punishments; but who as tenaciously cling to all the essential doctrines of the Scriptures, as any other denomination of Christians; that there are Universalists who agree with the former, in no one point, but that which regards the limited and disciplinary nature of future punishment; that there are some who have adopted the drian, others the Socinian errors; and again, some who deny any future punishment at all; while others deny that there will be any resurrection, and are hence modern Sadducees. The necessity of appearing before the public in this defence, is therefore obvious; and it will at the same time be seen, that one other object of the Association, in the publication of their Manual, is not to urge this doctrine as one that is essential to salvation; but to justify themselves to the world, for its adoption, by proving from the Scriptures themselves, that it is not only a Scripture doctrine; but is also one of the mostglorious features of the entire gospel plan; as attributing the highest possible honor to God, and magnifying the character and offices of CHRIST, not beyond, but to the utmost extent of the limited capacity of rational beings. Relying therefore, upon the accredited testimony of the Prophets of the Old, and the Apostles of the New Testament, we proceed to prove, that, there will be a “time of restitution of all things,” and hence an end of sin and of death—consequently a final reconciliation of all things to God; an end to misery, and an eternity of happiness, “which Godhath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” It will be hence seen, that we shall not rely solely on the writings and opinions of men, or sects of men, subsequent to the Apostolic age; but on the sacred records; and if to these, we can add the testimony of many of the early Fathers of the Church, in
candid reader will acknowledge at least, that we are entitled to rank as members by faith of the Primitive, Apostolic and Universal CHURCH of CHRIST. The following will be the order of the introductory sections: I. Scripture Testimonies in support of this Doctrine. II. Testimony of the flpostolic and early Fathers, III. Testimony of the Ecclesiastical and other Writers. IV. The Doctrines and Tenets of the Church eaplained. V. A Theory and Defence of the Holy Trinity, with copious remarks and illustrations,
INTRoductory skETCHEs. SECTION I. Scripture Testimonies in support of the Universal Doctrine.
As we accept the saying of one of the eminent Apostles of CHR1st, that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Tim. iii. 16.) and of another, that “no prophecy of the Scriptures is of any private interpretation: For the prophecy came not in old time, by the will of man; but Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter, i. 20, 21.) as also in obedience of our Lord and JMaster, “search the Scriptures”—we shall in this section, introduce those prophecies and other passages of Scripture, which do most clearly and unequivocally testify of this doctrine as a Scripture doctrine; particularly if we reject the “private interpretation,” of certain of those passages, in the creeds of certain sectarian Christians, we will therefore take the plain passages of the Prophets and Apostles, as recorded in our English version of the Bible, objecting only to such parts, as are admitted by the highest and most approved Christian authorities, to be either interpolations, or false, or dubious renderings; and for this liberty, we are sensible, we shall be applauded by every sincere reader.
I. Moses. “So God created man in his own image: in the image of God created, he, him, male and female created he them. And God blessed them.” (Genesis i. 27, 28.) “And the Lord God said unto the serpent: because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly
shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed, and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis ii. 14. 15. ..) And the Angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of Heaven the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son; that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying, I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the Heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gates of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Gen. xxii. 15, 18.) We find the same glorious promise renewed unto Isaac.—“I will perform. the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; and will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of Heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. (Gen. xxvi. 3, 4.) These promises of God became the theme of Scrip
ture prophecy, from David to Malachi; and as Moses and all the patriarchs believed in the eternal and immutable promises of God; for we read, that Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, &c. “all died in faith, not having received the promises but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them and embraced them.”—and well they might, since “God willing more abundantly to show umto the heirs of promise, the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us, which hope we have as ananchor sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail, whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus made an High Priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec. (Heb. vi. 17, 20.) And these faithful witnesses, believing in the unalterable promises of God, and de