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The present work is committed to the Press with the professed design of opposing the progress of a doctrine, the most insidious, delusive, and fatal, of all the heretical doctrines, with which the Christian church has ever been infected.- Opinions of a heterodoxical character, may be broached and disseminated, and, in some instances, from their comparatively harmless tendency, may be allowed to pass without public objurgation ; and no especial or important evils follow from such silence. But to allow a doctrine, which strikes a blow at the root of Christianity, and is subversive of the very fundamental truths of Divine Revelation, to pass unnoticed, without some public expression of condemnation, is an act of aggravated criminality in those who are the guardians of morals and Religion, and are " set for the defence” of the truth.
Such a doctrine is Universalism, both in its Modern and Ancient form; and to the present attempt to arrest it in its course, and caution the unwary, the Writer has been impelled by a sense of imperative obligation. Most conscientiously believing Universalism to be at once, the most plausible, and ruinous to the souls of men, of all the schemes invented by the agency of the Infernal Spirit to deceive the nations, and people the regions of everlasting woe,—and painfully conscious of the actually sad workings of this diabolical system in the utter ruin of the hopes and happiness of many of his fellow-men,-he looks upon it as a duty he owes to his God, to the Christian church, and the public generally, to expose the fallacy of the boasted doctrine of Universal salvation or Universal Restoration, by exhibiting its absolute irreconcileabity with the entire system of Revealed Truth, -Others, before him, have toiled in the same honorable employment; but as their publications are not in general circulation in these Provinces, something of a popular character to meet the exigencies of the community is still deemed necessary, -to supply which the present work has been prepared,
In the course of his enquiries, it will be seen, he has availed himself of the helps, which other Writers on Universalism, and commentators, generally, afford;—the assistance thus derived is duly acknowledged. Their remarks are quoted, sometimes to confirm the writer's own opinion, and at other times, to place subjects of doctrine and criticism in new, varied and impressive
points of view, so that in the mouths of numeous witnesses the truth may be established.
In a few instances he has yielded to a little playfulness of fancy ; with no intention, however, of exciting a spirit of levity on so solemn a subject as that which involves the eternal destiny of men, but solely, to expose the extreme folly of the lofty pretensions of the Universalist system.
To convince of his error a thorough Universalist, so as to cause him to abandon it, is almost a (hopeless task. In not a few instances, it is to be
feared, persons of this faith, are given over to "strong delusion that th y should believe a lie.” By such, Truth, tho' supported by the whole weight of scripture-testimony, is despised : on their wilfully perverted understandings and obdurated hearts it makes no deep, no permanent impression:-the consequences of such perversity and obduration, fearful and dismaying as they are, must be borne by themselves under circumstances of hopeless remedy.-Sufficient, however, it is thought, is contained in the following pages, to satisfy the enquiries of every sincere seeker after truth and to assure him of the falsity of Universalism. To all such, and the community generally, the present publication is now committed, with an earnest desire, that it may be rendered instrumental, under the Divine blessing, of reclaiming, if possible, such as bave wandered
in the labyrinths of this destructive error---Settling the doubts of those who are about to overstep the Rubicon of scepticism-and confirming others in the all-important verities of the Gospel, which they have already embraced.
As a considerable portion of this work was written under circumstances of bodily indisposition, and the remainder amid the incessant calls of ministerial duties, the writer appeals to the candour of the reader, and requests him in forming his opinion of the merits of the performance, to bear in mind the great disadvantages under which it was composed. WINDSOR, N. S.
Feb. 9tli, 1837.