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and ultimate sensation. The correspondencies thus established between the outer and the inner world are effecting perpetual changes in the condition of mind, thought, emotion. Nor these alone, but there are links of an invisible chain reaching outward and upward to a higher plane of existence which bind humanity to the ultimate Source of all causation. Man is therefore everywhere surrounded by an atmosphere of spirit, permeated by an aura of grace, which constitutes the basis of faith. Faith by its presence and its activity opens to the human mind the knowledge of its bonds and relations with the invisible Spirit. That Spirit apprehended in his glory is believed and trusted; that Spirit, conceived in the radiance of wisdom, power and goodness is adored and beloved. The very conception of wisdom, power and goodness works these changes in man as the ultimate result of its action. Is it not reasonable then, to infer that from the Infinite there proceeds a spirit, or an effluence carrying with it an influence. which procures the conviction of sin, calls for the act of repentance and when that act is secured in its completeness brings in at length the consciousness of guilt removed, of a burden taken away, and of aptitudes turned from their aberrant course towards the Source of that unseen effluence. By such processes, it may be presumed, is borne to us all we know, and all we can realize of the forgiveness of sin and "the washing of regeneration."
Forgiveness then, which beeomes a felt reality in the soul, seems profoundly intervolved and inwrapped with the idea of remission or effacement. It bears the consciousness not only of relief from a burden and release from an obligation, but of a changed condition of soul, wherein all thoughts, all hopes, and fears, and loves are directed to God and holiness. This consciousness may not indeed proceed form a special or direct act of the divine Will. It may, in fact, result from irreversible law, by which all things are bound together in an endless series of cause and effect-yet a law, it must be admitted, so modified by human purpose and human action as to bring the conviction of an ultimate divine force in forgiveness. The
act of repentance and the consciousness of forgiveness may be linked together as cause and effect, but so presented as to make forgiveness appear the direct instead of the remote act of a divine Will. In whatever way it may be effected, the consciousness of pardon, bearing relief and blessing is sooner or later brought home to every truly penitent soul.
In all this however, it should be borne in mind, not one jot or tittle of just punishment is remitted. Every wrong doer must inevitably suffer the penalty of his evil deeds, and "there is no respect of persons." The great error of most theologies lies in the assumption that the punishment of sin must be infinite in its forces and endless in duration, unless cancelled by a substitutional sacrifice. That error bears within its folds, the necessary implication that forgiveness must be a release from punishment. In no other way could sinners be relieved from this terrible engulfment. It is seldom seriously considered, however, that this whole theory is without foundation, resting on mere assumption. Not the least proof can be found in the holy Book, or in the grand legends of nature, that to a single sin is affixed the penalty of infinite and endless suffering. The voice of all creation speaks in better tones. Changing then the theory to accord with fact, the whole difficulty is removed. Let penalty be regarded as a positive infliction, and pardon a release from obligations incurred while sinning, with the "blotting out of the hand-writing of ordinances," or a changing of the soul's tendencies, and the aspect of the matter becomes entirely changed. Under such philosophy the holy Record bears a new beauty, and the divine administration presents a harmony unknown to the old theologies. This too gives a new significance to the apostolic assertion that Christ was set forth a propitiation to declare the righteousness of God, that he may "be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."
Universalism and the Heart.
THERE is no better test of a doctrine or principle than the test of the affections.
There are other ways of determining truth. We may compare a principle or doctrine with the well established truths of science. If we find it in harmony with the truths which God has written in rock and fossil, in sea and sky, we may confidently accept it, for all truths are harmonious. If it is in conflict with this earliest record of God's design, we must reject it, for what He has spoken will stand, come what may of the doctrines and devices of men.
We may subject a doctrine to the test of sound philosophy. If tracing it back to first principles, we find at the last analysis, and at every step of our progress, that it is supported by those eternal verities, on which all knowledge and all being rest, we cannot but believe, that it is a link in the golden chain of truth with which God has girded the universe. If in any essential particular, it is in conflict with those primal causes, we must abandon it as unworthy the credence of an immortal soul.
We may consult the intellect, and listen with great confidence to its decisions. If a proposition is reasonable, it may be regarded as essentially true. If it is absurd or unreasonable, it is not true. Reason is a scale, in which we weigh prin. ciples. It is a crucible, in which we detect the alloy, and reveal the gold. God gave us reason. He requires that we use it. "Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord." The Bible is given us as an aid to our reason. "It is a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path." But it does not supplant reason, nor contravene reason, any more than the lamp supplants the eye. We can neither read nor understand the Bible without reason. "Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me." When searching the Scriptures, we find a truth 28
clearly revealed, we may be sure that it rests on eternal foundations.
Principles may be tested by their influence on society. Apply them, see how they will work in practical life. Carry them into the the State-House, into the school-house, into the counting-room, into the home and social circle. If they serve to elevate, to harmonize, to bless humanity, they must be true. If they create alienation and distrust, if they divide the great brotherhood that should be at one forever, they are from beneath-not from above, they are of the evil one and not of God.
But there is still one other test, the crucial test of all. What is the essential verdict of the heart? What is the voice of the affections? There is no other faculty in man that / may be trusted like the heart. It lies at the source of his being. It guards the very citadel of his life. It allies him more closely with God even than does the reason. Keep thy heart with all diligence "-says King David-" for out of it are the issues of life." One who was greater than David, assures us that" The pure in heart see God." And the Apostle John, who lived in such close communion with his Master, tells us that "He that loveth is born of God and knoweth God, and he that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love." Not only do we know God through the affections, but we know the truths relating to God, and the soul, and the spirit world. A man without affection, will always err in matters of theology. He may have great clearness of intellect; but his intellect alone will be about as successful in finding out the things of the spirit, as the moon-beams of an Arctic winter are in finding out the secrets of vegetation. The severities of Calvinism were the natural outcome of the cold heart of Calvin. He was a man of majestic intellect, but without affection. His system is one of the finest specimens of logic in the world. But there is no blood in it. It starts from a wrong premise and reaches a wrong conclusion.
We may determine the merits of a system by bringing it to the test of our tenderer and holier affections. What does the
heart say? Does it approve and commend a proposition? In our highest and best moods can we pray that it may be true? If so, it is approved by the highest test. If not so, if we cannot pray for it, if our heart rebels against it, by the same highest test, the voice of love, the voice of God within us, it stands condemned.
Now what do the affections say, concerning the doctrines of the Universalist Church. Condensed into the briefest statement, those doctrines are that God is a Father; that all men are brethren; that there is an element of good in every human soul which is capable of unlimited expansion; that Christ came to bring God down to us, and lead us up to Him; that sin is our worst enemy; that punishment is remedial; that good is more powerful than evil and will conquer at last; and that a reconciled and obedient family, their wills entirely harmonized to the one infinite and controlling will, shall be gathered into the home of their Father, to share his peace, and enjoy his smile, and unite in his praise forever.
Once more we ask, what is the verdict of the heart concerning this great doctrine? Leaving all pre-conceived notions entirely out of the question, what do your affections say? Would you have it true or not? If the decision were in your hand, would you have God less than a Father? Would you alienate and divide his family? Would you perpetuate sin? Would you cause anguish and wailing and unavailing tears forever?
There can be but one answer to these questions. The whole enlightened world desires
"That good may fall, at last to all."
The united prayers of Christendom ascend to the throne of God, for the conquest of holiness, for the destruction of sin, for the redemption of souls; for the very blessings which Universalism tells us, will one day be conferred by a benignant Father.
Now this is a significant fact. The human heart desires the success of Christ's Kingdom, the conversion of the world. The more our affections are cultivated, the more Christ-like