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of Universalism, was 1 Cor. 15th chapter. Gregory Nazianzen, or Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzus, was probably a Universalist. He was promoted (A. D. 378) to the Archbishopric of Constantinople. Next come the Origenists, a sect who were distinguished by that appellation. They were the warm admirers of Origen, and doubtless believed in the final happiness of all men ; but their early opponents, who pursued them with much zeal, did not object to their faith in this particular, although they sought every means to make them odious. It was not until many years afterwards, that Universalism was considered a matter of objection and reproach. The famous Jerome, in the early part of his life, was a Universalist ; but, at a later period, he was led by a theological and personal quarrel, to take sides. against this doctrine. Evagrius, à native of Pontus, but a scholar of Basil the Great, and of Gregory Nazianzen, is said by the ancients to have taught, with Didymus, the doctrine of Universal salvation. Diodorus, Bishop of Tarsus, in Cilicia, was a Universalist (A. D. 378). 66 The wicked,” he says,
are to suffer, not eternal torment, (for that would render their immortality of no avail,) but a punishment proportioned in length to the amount of their guilt ; after which they are to enjoy a happiness without end." Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia (A. D. 392), renowned as one of the ablest theologians and critics of his time, was a Universalist, as is asserted by the ancients. About the same time flourished Fabius Manus Victorinus, who was converted to Christianity about A. D. 350; he also was a Universalist. He maintained, that “ Christ will regenerate all things ; through him all things will be purged, and return into eternal life. And when the Son shall deliver up the kingdom to the Father, all things will be God ; that is,” he adds, “ all things will still exist, but God will exist in them, and they will be full of him.” Universalism spread wide in the church about this period.
Among the Gnostics it was extensively received, and
the Manichæans, a very powerful sect, held that sentiment. Till the year 390, or rather 394, the doctrine of Universalism was never impeached in the Christian world, either by orthodox or heretic. Among the heretics (that is, such as were so regarded for other reasons) we find broad traces of it from the beginning. Of the orthodox Fathers, notwithstanding some of them seem to leave the matter in doubt, yet from the year 140 or 150 onward, they show us many evidences, that the sentiment prevailej. That doctrine prevailed most in the eastern church, and in those places near the Holy Land, where the influence of the teachings of Christ and his apostles may be supposed to have been the most strongly felt. In the western or Latin church, there were indeed instances of persons who defended it ; but the influence of the pagan philosophy was here more powerfully felt.
In the year 394 a quarrel broke out in the East, between the Origenists, and their opponents, in which some of the latter attacked, for the first time, the particular tenet of the ultimate salvation of the Devil, but did not at first object to the final salvation of all men ; and, in 399, some of the councils, that were convened against the Origenists, condemned expressly the doctrine of the salvation of the Devil and his angels, though they passed by the kindred belief of the salvation of all mankind, without a censure. Soon, however, the doctrine of the final salvation of all men was condemned, but still it continued to prevail ; and it finally became necessary, in the Fifth General Council, which was opened at Constantinople, May 4th, 553, to pass a formal condemnation and anathema. At the close of this anathema the council decreed, or thinks that the torments of the demons and of impious men are temporal, so that they will, at length, come to an end, or whoever holds a restoration either of the demons, or of the impious, let him be anathema." Thus we see, that for at least four hundred years after the beginning of the Christian era, the doctrine of Universalism was scarcely objected to in the church.
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For further information on this subject, I refer the reader to that very valuable work, now rarely to be found in the market, “The Ancient History of Universalism,” by Rev. Hosea Ballou 2d, and also to his abridged history in the “ Universalist Expositor,” (Vol. IV. pp. 184 – 209,) to which I confess myself much indebted.
IV. The doctrine of Universalism being thus condemned and put down by the highest ecclesiastical authority, it continued to meet with less and less favor. The church, too, was fast sinking into ignorance and vice ; and soon almost every feature of primitive Christianity was obliterated and lost. Of course, but slight traces of it can be seen, until the light of the glorious REFORMATION broke upon the world.
No sooner did men begin again to think for thenselves, and to throw off the shackles of ecclesiastical despotism, than we discover anew indications of the doctrine of Universalism. It was embraced by the Anabaptists of Germany, who were cruelly persecuted on account of their faith ; and who were condemned, in the famous Augustin Confession, ainong other things, for believing in the eventual restoration of all men to holiness and happiness. When the Reformation took its rise in England, Universalism came up with it, and it was defended with great zeal by the Anabaptists in that kingdom ; so much so, that it was judged necessary, in forming the XLII Articles of the English Church, to introduce a special condemnation of Universalism, which
be found in the 42d Article. These articles afterwards were reduced to XXXIX, and the condemnation of Universalism was omitted. In 1648 par. liament passed a statute, denouncing the punishment of death upon those who denied the doctrine of a future judgment ; or if they held to the final salvation of all men, they should be seized and imprisoned until they gave sufficient sureties, that they would teach said doctrine no more. Still there were not wanting those who defended this doctrine, even under so great peril, among whom we may name Gerard Winstanley, William Everard, William Earbury, Richard Coppin, and others. About this time, the work entitled, “Eternal Hell Torments Overthrown," was written and published by Samuel Richardson. Soon after this, Jeremy White, who had been a chaplain to Cromwell, published a book in defence of Universalism, entitled, “ The Restoration of all Things.” Shortly after, and not far from 1700, several eminent men came out against the doctrine of eternal torments, among whom we may name Dr. Henry More, Archbishop Tillotson, Dr. Thomas Burnet, and William Whiston. Dr. Burnet wrote decidedly in favor of Universalism, in a work entitled, “ De Statu Mortuorum.” Sir Isaac Newton inclined to the same doctrine. Dr. George Cheyne and the Chevalier Ramsay, both distinguished men, came out in favor of that sentiment. Paul Siegvolk, a learned German, published a work in defence of the same point, as did also John William Petersen. Many others, very learned men, in Germany, embraced this doctrine. It spread also in Holland, Switzerland, Ireland, and Scotland. In the latter country, Neil Douglass and James Purves distinguished themselves as the defenders and preachers of the doctrine. To return to England, we may name, as eminent Universalists, Dr. David Hartley, who wrote the “Observations on Man,” Bishop Thomas Newton, Sir George Stonehouse, John Henderson, James Brown, D.D., Rev. R. Barbauld, and his accomplished lady, Mrs. Anna Letitia Barbauld, the authoress, and Rev. John Brown. Among the English Unitarians we may mention Rev. Theophilus Lindsey, Rev. Joseph Priestley, L. L. D., Rev. John Simpson, and Rev. Messrs. Kenrick, Wright, Estlin, Belsham, Carpenter, Aspland, Grundy, Scott, Fox, Harris, and
James Relly began to preach Universalism in the city of London about 1750, and gathered a congregation of believers there. The celebrated John MURRAY was converted under Mr. Relly's labors, having formerly been a Methodist. In 1770, Mr. Murray came to America, and was soon called on to preach the doctrine of a world's salvation. He labored abundantly in the good cause, as did also Elhanan Winchester, a convert from the Baptists. The Universalists of the United States are under great obligations to these two men ; and should always respect and venerate their memories. There are now in the United States nearly five hundred preachers of Universalism, and the number of believers, and societies, and churches, is continually increasing.
V. It will be seen, from what has been said, that the views of those persons, who suppose that Universalism. was not known until quite recently, are erroneous. It is no new doctrine. It had its advocates in the earliest ages of the church, and, with the exception of the dark ages, it has had them ever since.
Üniversalism can claim great antiquity. It has also been embraced and defended by some of the most learned and pious men the world hath ever seen.
It is also worthy of remark, that the Christian Fathers defended Universalism as the doctrine of the sacred Scriptures. Clemens of Alexandria, the renowned Origen, Gregory, of Nyssa, and others, quoted much the same texts to prove that sentiment, that are now quoted for that purpose by Universalists of the present age. They used the words eternal and everlasting, not to signify endless duration when applied to punishment, but they used them in a limited sense. It was not until nearly four hundred years after the death of Christ, that Universalism was regarded as worthy of condemnation, and it was not formally condemned by any general council, until the meeting of the Fifth General Council, in 553. The four previous General Councils had not condemned it, although it had been believed, and eloquently defended, by some of the most eminent fathers in the church. How much more time would have elapsed before the condemnation, had it not been for the quarrel that broke out in the church in regard to