#152 – In A CLOUD OF WITNESSES, John Wesley Hanson records the following words of John Prior Estlin (1747-1817).
“To a belief in the doctrine of the eternity of hell torments, I impute more absurdity, more misery, and more un-Christian conduct, than to all other false opinions put together. The effects of this doctrine, when a person applies it to himself, are gloom and despair, often terminating in mental derangement; when he applies it to others, pride, cruelty, hatred, and all the worst passions of human nature.
It certainly argues a greater degree of benevolence in the Governor of the world, after the punishment of His creatures, to restore them to His favor, than either to preserve them in misery, or to blot them out of existence.
The firm belief in the doctrine of final universal restoration, has afforded much consolation to myself during a large portion of my life; has rendered advanced years placid and serene, and enables me to contemplate death itself, notwithstanding its gloomy appearance, as one of the most essential blessings of the whole plan of Providence.
I would as a friend, advise everyone to take this subject into his most serious consideration. I would wish him to experience during the remainder of his life, all the happiness which results from the full persuasion of this delightful doctrine. I pray to God that others may experience that perpetual sunshine of the mind, that joy in the divine administration, that serenity through life, and that cheering prospect in the hour of death, which the belief in the doctrine of final universal restoration does so manifestly inspire.”