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dists, that they have become loose in their principles, in not following up the system which he left them. And it is a notorious fact, that there is a falling off, in almost every sect, from the rigid systems which were originally given them by their respective founders. All sects of professed Christians have corrupted their way upon the earth, and are rather more loose in their principles than they once were. What can be a more loose principle than this, compared with ancient orthodoxy, that Jesus Christ made an atonement for the sins of the whole world. Yet this loose principle is now embraced pretty generally by not only Methodists, but Congregationalists, Baptists, yea, by almost all sects of Christians. This loose principle, which formerly would have been considered universal salvation in disguise, is now advocated by the sects of the day, and what more loose principles they may yet adopt, it is not for me to say, or even conjecture. Such has been the rapid march of Scripture inquiry and investigation, that orthodoxy now is a very dif ferent thing from orthodoxy twenty years ago. And what orthodoxy will be twenty years hence, time must develop. If Calvin was now alive, that which is the current orthodoxy, would be heterodoxy with him. He would disown it. .
Connected with this loose principle; another is now advocated that the number which shall be sent to hell at last, to be eternally miserable, will not be a greater proportion of the whole human race, than the persons executed in any country are to the whole community. The man who should have broached such a loose principle as this, in former years, would not only have been detested in the religious world, but would have been burned as an heretic. We ask, how much more loose must those persons become in their principles, to be as loose as I am in mine? They have not many steps to take to stand on my ground; indeed, they have
got one foot on it already. If Jesus Christ made an atonement for the sins of the whole world, we really think that such persons might let all the world be saved. Why deny him the glory of saving all for whom he died? Must he die in vain for a number, and must they suffer eternally for the very sins for which he made atonement or reconciliation? And if such persons have reduced the number which are to be eternally miserable to so few, why not let the Saviour's triumph over sin and death be complete, in saving the whole? If my principles are loose, the principles of such persons are far removed from old, rigid orthodoxy. The fact is, that nothing is easier than to call certain principles loose. The question with every man ought to be, are they true or false? This suggests another-what saith the Scriptures? To them I have appealed, and by their decision I am willing to abide; and shall feel grateful to the man who will show me my error, by an appeal to the same authority. The word of God correctly understood, is true orthodoxy, and no man's principles ought to be condemned as loose, until it is shown that the standard of truth does not warrant such principles. It will be allowed that men have gone beyond the Bible, in rigid principles. This, present orthodoxy warrants me to assert. It is the duty of orthodoxy to show that my principles are more loose than the Bible.
As to the second part of this charge, made with such an air of triumph,-"Who ever heard of a revival among the Universalists?" We shall now attempt a reply: As we do not wish to hurt the feelings of any who may differ from us about revivals of religion, we shall touch this point with as gentle a hand as possible.
1st, If preaching the doctrine of hell torments produces revivals of religion, it is not to be expected that any revivals of this kind could be produced among
Universalists, for they do not preach it. That the preaching of eternal torments in hell, is one of the principal causes which produce revivals of religion in the present day, we presume will not be denied. None of the subjects of such revivals would be deemed genuine converts, unless they not only subscribed to this doctrine, but confessed that they had seen themselves doomed to hell by God's word. Yea, some would even demand the confession of them, that they were willing to be damned, in order that they might be saved.
2d, There were no revivals, arising from this cause, produced by the prophets, by Christ, or his apostles; nor could they be produced, for they did not preach the doctrine of hell torments. We think no man will affirm that any revival of religion was produced, or so much as attempted by them, in preaching such a doctrine. They never used it as a means to alarm and frighten people into a profession of religion. They were never found running from house to house, terrifying men, women, and children by the most frightful descriptions of hell torments, until the whole community was in a religious ferment, and a reaction must take place from the mere want of being able to carry the excitement any further. Nor do we find in those days, what is too obvious in these, the different sects all on the alert, and exerting themselves in every possible way to secure the greatest number of converts to join their different churches. A man' must shut his eyes very close who does not see through all this religious manœuvreing.
3d, Deducting, then, all the religion produced by the preaching of endless misery in hell, which appears in religious excitements, how much would be left with the subjects of it? Such people's minds are lashed with the terrors of hell torments, into religion,. or something that passes for it, and the fear of this
punishment in a greater or less degree, operates upon them all the days of their lives. Should we hear of revivals among such persons any more than among Universalists, if this false doctrine, the chief cause of their production, was done away? We question this; for, as far as our observation has extended, the doctrine of hell torments has been a constant theme in public preaching, and in private meetings, to work on the minds of the people. This we believe has been done even with children and others of weak minds, in a way, and to an extent, which men of common sense and prudence ought to avoid. But, let us consider what the Scriptural idea of a revival of religion is, and by what means it is produced. The Scriptural idea of a revival of religion, may be viewed in a twofold light.
1st, When true religion is revived among those who are already professors of it; when they are stirred up to be more obedient to God, and lively in his service; in obeying his commandments, and observing the ordinances which he has appointed in his word. 2d, When persons, formerly irreligious, are convinced of their sins, believe the gospel of Christ, and turn to the Lord. I presume no person, yea, the most zealous contenders for revivals of religion, would object to this statement..
Let us then consider how Scriptural revivals of religion were produced. It will perhaps, be the best way here, to refer to some examples of revivals of religion mentioned in Scripture. The first I refer to is, that which took place in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, which may be seen at large in the two books in Scripture of those names. What then produced this reformation or revival of religion in those days? Was it by means of Ezra, Nehemiah, or any other person preaching the eternity of hell torments? Was it by working on the passions, and alarming the fears of
people, and by every effort which they could make, to overwhelm their understandings with terror? No man dare say this, who has ever read those two books. How then was this revival of religion brought about? It was by reading the Bible, and pointing out to the people, how far they had departed from what God had commanded in his word, and showing them that all their sufferings originated in this departure from God. This statement of the means by which this revival was produced we think no one will dispute. Nor will the man be found, who will venture to assert that preaching hell torments to the wicked had any share in effecting it. We should rejoice to see such a revival of religion among all professors of religion, in the present day, from studying the Scriptures, to see how far they have departed from the law of the Lord. We trust we should not be wanting in giving it all the aid in our power. I pass over attempts made by Jeremiah, and other servants of the Lord, to produce revivals of a similar nature among the Jews, but without success. I only observe in passing, that they used similar means to effect it, as did Ezra and Nehemiah. But when those means failed, they did not betake themselves to the means, so efficacious in our day, to work on the passions of men, by preaching the doctrine of hell torments, to effect their pur
A second instance of a revival of religion mentioned in Scripture, is that in the days of John the Baptist. Was it produced by preaching hell torments? John never used the word hell in all his preaching to the people. It was produced by preaching repentance, and pointing them to the Lamb of God, who was to take away the sin of the world. But the most extraordinary revival of religion, is that which took place at the day of Pentecost, and during the ministry of the apostles. Now let all read the Acts of the