The Evangelical Universalist Forum



#180 – SERMONS by George Walker (eighteenth century)

“Some have thought that they could not clothe the future punishment of sin with sufficient terrors, and have given therefore, such exaggerated descriptions of them, both as to degree and duration, as in the opinion of many, can no way be reconciled with just sentiments of God.

The future punishment of the wicked does, in God’s nature, suppose a capacity to be relieved of it, of gradually acquiring that better state of mind, and returning inclination towards virtue, which is the first and most desirable end of all punishment.”


#181 – From a letter by John Henderson to Dr. Joseph Priestly (eighteenth century)

“God hath declared that His will is that all should be saved; therefore, the doctrine which forges a contrary will,
falsifies supreme unchangeable truth.

Unceasing torments can answer no possible good to anyone in the universe. I conclude them to be neither the will or work of God. Could I suppose them, I must believe them to be inflicted by a wantonness or cruelty which words cannot express, nor heart conceive.
But let this be the comfort of every humble soul, that it hath pleased God to reconcile all things to Himself.”


#182 – LITERARY HOURS – Dr. Nathan Drake

“That sin and torture should be eternal can neither accord with the justice nor the goodness of Deity, and would appear to many devout Christians to convert the God they should adore and love, into a perfect demon.
Fortunately, however, an opinion so repulsive is neither accordant with reason, nor the Scriptures.”



“In my childhood I found it impossible to fix my belief in the common notion of endless torments. I discovered there are plain arguments from reason and Scripture against that presumptuous doctrine of endless punishment, and I am now cheered with the rational, Scriptural, and as I think, glorious doctrine of the punishment of Divine justice being eventually subservient to a universal purification and fitness for heavenly habitations.”



“But the Scripture which crowns all, and the last which I shall bring into proof, is Revelation 5:13. Here all creation is at Christ’s feet, and that not with tears in their eyes, or petitions in their hands, not with crying or supplications or weeping because things were hidden and kept secret; but with joy in their hearts, and praises in their mouths; with melody on their lips, and hallelujahs on their tongues; with looks and countenances full of satisfaction and delight; and their faces, instead of gathering blackness, turning into paleness, or being covered with shame and confusion (as once was the case with some of them) they all now shine as the sun, replete with light, life and love, full of ecstasy and rapture. And that because the book written within and on the backside, and sealed with seven seals, is now opened and unsealed, and all things revealed and explained: their own cases particularly unfolded to their view, with all the ways and means their loving Saviour took to bring them to the situation they are now in, with other miracles of grace and love.

Where then there is universal praise and thanksgiving, universal harmony and love, and both heaven and earth sounding and resounding acclamations of joy and peace, there must be universal salvation.”


#185 – Anna Letitia Barbuald, widow of Rev. Rochemont Barbuald wrote
“Rochemont’s favorite doctrine was the final salvation of all the human race. He preached many sermons on this doctrine, which he defended both in the pulpit and in conversation with zeal and enthusiasm, which his congregation and his friends cannot but well remember.”

Anna further commented, “I think it would be desirable to separate from religion that idea of gloom, which in this country (England) has but too generally accompanied it.
No one who embraces the common idea of future endless torments, that sins committed against an infinite Being do therefore deserve infinite punishment, no one, I will venture to assert, can believe such tenants, and have them often in his thoughts, and yet be cheerful.

Surely this age (the eighteenth century) which has demolished dungeons, rejected torture, and given so fair a prospect of abolishing the iniquity of the slave trade, cannot long retain among its articles of belief, the gloomy perplexities of Calvinism, and the heart-withering perspective of cruel and never-ending punishments.”



In UNIVERSALIST MISCELLANY, commenting on that work, William Vidler wrote,
“He considers the genuine import of the words and phrases which are thought to prove the endless duration of punishment, which he contends do not necessarily bear that sense, and he touches upon the usual topics of argument by which universalism has been defended.”



“The doctrine of eternal torments is a millstone that Christians hang around the neck of the Gospel. The words translated ‘eternal,’ ‘everlasting,’ ‘forever,’ and the like, generally signify limited periods of duration.

Everything is from God, and for the good of all. All things, good as well as what we call evil, are appointed by Infinite Wisdom and Benevolence, for the wisest and most gracious purposes for everyone.”


#188 – About Dr. Joseph Priestly, Thomas Whittimore writes in THE MODERN HISTORY OF UNIVERSALISM

“He believed that God’s punishment will not be administered with the slightest tincture of revenge, but as a necessary means of qualifying the sinner for a better state of existence, which his present propensities disqualify him from enjoying. It is not the effect of anger in an irritated and avenging tyrant as the abominable tenets of orthodoxy would induce us to think of the Deity, but it is the medicine administered for our good by the Physician of our souls. Nor have we any reason to believe that it is greater in degree, or longer in duration than is necessary to produce the beneficial effect for which it is inflicted.

It was a constant source of great consolation to him that all things exist and move on harmoniously to produce universal good by Divine appointment and direction.”


#189 – In an introduction to his translation of the New Testament, Nathaniel Scarlett wrote

“It has been a means of propagating the doctrine of endless damnation, which states that God will kindle a fire, and so constantly supply it with combustible matter, brimstone, by His all creating power, as to endure as long as He Himself shall exist; and that the subjects of future punishment, being raised incorruptible and indissoluble, shall for the same period endure burning in the lake of fire, God having no end in view but the endless misery of His creatures.

The editor hopes the translation he has given will help to remove so degrading an idea of God, Who is love; and although He will afflict the wicked in the lake of fire and brimstone; yet He has a great and grand design in so doing – punishment being a means to accomplish an end, and not the end itself.”

Fourteen other literally (not interpretively) translated Bibles that reveal what God will do with the sinners in Matthew 25:46
Concordant Literal, Young’s literal, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott, Rotherham’s Emphasized, Nathaniel Scarlett’s, J.W. Hanson’s New Covenant, Twentieth Century, Ferrar Fenton, The Western New Testament, Weymouth’s (unedited), Clementson’s, The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Anointed, The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible, Bullinger’s Companion Bible margins, Jonathan Mitchell’s translation (2010).


#190 – In a letter to a friend, James Edmands (nineteenth century) wrote

“The death of Christ ensured the restoration of all as a result. Men are now in the hands of a Mediator, Who deals with them as rational and accountable beings, and afflicts, whether here or hereafter, only in order to bring them to a deep sense of their own folly, and then restores them to His favor. Those who love and believe in Him in this life, are the first fruits, and those who do not will be the harvest or ingathering.”


#191 – Clement of Alexandria (150-215 A.D.)

“God’s justice is, of itself, nothing but goodness; for it rewards the virtuous with blessings, and conduces to the improvement of the sinful. God’s punishment is, in its operation, like medicine: it dissolves the hard heart, purges away the filth of uncleanness, and reduces the swellings of pride and haughtiness; thus restoring its subject to a sound and healthful state.

The necessary chastisements of the Great Judge, Who regards all with benignity, will make mankind grieve for their sins and imperfections, and advance them through the various states of discipline to perfection. Even God’s wrath is full of benevolence towards the human race; for whose sake the Word of God was made man. The chastisements of God are always salutary and instructive, leading to amendment.”


Well said, Clement!!


:slight_smile: :exclamation:


#192 – Origen Adamantius (185-254 A.D.)

“The end and consummation of the world will take place when all the wicked shall be subjected to punishments. How long each one shall suffer God only knows. The great variety of characters and different orders of beings which now exist, will, through the goodness of God, their subjection to Jesus Christ, and the unity of the Holy Spirit, be finally restored. As the sick must be cured by harsh medicines, so God administers for the purpose of amendation.

Our God is a consuming fire. He shall come as a refiner’s fire, to purify rational nature from the alloy of wickedness. Rivers of fire are said to go forth before the face of God for the purpose of consuming whatever of evil is admixed with the soul. (Dan. 7:10).

We assert that the Word, Who is the Wisdom of God, shall bring together all intelligent creatures, and convert them to His own perfection. We deny that of all the vices of the soul, there is any which the supreme Word cannot cure. For the Word is more powerful than all the diseases of the soul; and He applies His remedies to each one, according to the pleasure of God. And the consummation of all things will be the extinction of sin.
This may not, indeed, take place with mankind in the present life, but be accomplished after they shall have been liberated from the body.”


#193 – AGAINST THE MANICHEANS - Titus of Bostra (written 364 A.D)

“The abyss of hell is indeed the place of torment; but it is not eternal. The punishments are holy, as they are remedial and salutary in their effect upon transgressors; for they are inflicted, not to preserve them in their wickedness, but to make them cease from their wickedness.”


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Sorry Alex. Too busy on other forums. Great looking project though! :exclamation:

#194 – Gregory of Nyssa (335-390)

What is the scope of St. Paul’s dissertations? That the nature of evil shall, at length, be wholly exterminated, and divine immortal goodness embrace within itself every rational creature; so that of all who were made by God, not one shall be excluded from His kingdom. All the viciousness that like a corrupt matter is mingled in things shall be dissolved and consumed in fire; and everything shall be restored to its pristine state of purity.

In 1Cor. 15:22-28, the apostle Paul declares the extinction of all sin, saying that God will be All in all. For God will be truly All in all only when no evil shall remain in the nature of things. All evil must at length, be entirely removed from everything, so that it shall no more exist. For such being the nature of sin, that it cannot exist without a corrupt motive, it must, of course, be perfectly dissolved and wholly destroyed, so that nothing can remain a receptacle of it, when all motive and influences shall spring from God alone.

As the devil assumed a fleshly shape in order to ruin human nature, so the Lord took flesh for the salvation of man; and thus He blesses not only him who was ruined, but him also who led him into perdition; so that He both delivers man from sin, and heals the author of sin himself.”


#195 – Didymus, the blind, of Alexandria (313-398 A.D.)
“As mankind, by being reclaimed from their sins, are to be subjected to Christ in the fullness of the dispensation instituted for the salvation of all, and the superior rational intelligences, the angels, will be restored to obedience by correction.

The blasphemy which shall not be forgiven in this age, nor in the age to come, may have been the blinded Jews; and their punishment, that which came upon them when they were delivered up to the Romans, and scattered over the whole earth. They will be pursued with vengeance from the Lord, not for a short period only, but for the whole future age, so that they shall be captives and fugitives, wandering among all nations, and possessing neither city nor country. Nevertheless, as God Who overthrew them is naturally kind and compassionate, He hath still reserved for them a space for repentance.”


#196 – COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT – Jerome (347-420 A.D.)

“In the end or consummation of things, all shall be restored to their original state, and be again united in one body. We cannot be ignorant that Christ’s blood benefited the angels and those who are in hell; though we know not the manner in which it produced such effects. The apostate angels shall become such as they were created; and man, who has been cast out of paradise, shall be restored thither again. And this shall be accomplished in such a way, that all shall be united together by mutual charity, so that the members will delight in each other, and rejoice in each other’s promotion.

The apostate angels, and the prince of this world, though now ungovernable, plunging themselves into the depths of sin, shall, in the end, embrace the happy dominion of Christ and His saints.”