Therefore of mercy I shall say little in these pages: it is enough to appeal, when speaking of moral considerations, to that sense of right and wrong which is God’s voice speaking within us
Strong as these words are, they are not strong enough, for the horrors and the contradictions of the popular 1stamericanloan.com/payday-loans-ct/ creed alike defy description. And these horrors are taught, these contradictions are believed in the face of the plainest teaching of God’s two revelations, His primary revelation to our moral sense, His written revelation in Holy Scripture. Of the former and its teachings, it is needless to speak here; of the latter I have spoken at some length, and have tried to show that from its first page to its last the Bible is the story of one who is our Father – one whose ‘wrath,’ and ‘fire,’ and ‘judgment,’ are at once most real, and yet one and all are the expressions of that essential LOVE which HE is – One who being Almighty is sending His Son to assured victory, to reconcile to HIMSELF all things, ‘whatsoever and wheresoever they be.’ I know how eagerly men strive to save the popular creed by various modifications, by diminishing the number of the lost, by softening their torments, by asserting their annihilation, etc. What are all these but so many tacit confessions that men everywhere feel it impossible to maintain the creed still generally professed? What are they but in fact so many vain attempts to disguise the awful fact of Con’s defeat, to hide if it may be the victory of the Evil One? For so long as sin lingers in a single heart, so long as a single child of the Great Parent perishes eternally, whether annihilated, or sent to Hell, so long is the Cross a failure, and the Devil practically victor.
CHAPTER I *** THE QUESTION STATED
THE following pages are written under the pressure of a deep conviction that the views generally held, as to the future punishment of the ungodly, wholly fail to satisfy the plain statements of Holy Scripture. All forms of partial salvation are but so many different ways of saying, that evil is in the long run too strong for God. The popular creed has maintained itself on a Scriptural basis solely, I believe, by hardening into dogma mere figures of oriental imagery; by mistranslations and misconceptions of the sense of the original (to which our authorized Version largely contributes); and finally, by completely ignoring a vast body of evidence in favor of the salvation of all men, furnished, as will be shown, by very numerous passages of the New Testament, no less than by the great principles that pervade the teaching of all Revelation. Again, I write, because persuaded, that however loudly asserted and widely held, the popular belief is at best a tradition – is not an Article of Faith in the catholic Church – is accepted by no general Council, nay, is distinctly opposed to the views of not a few of the holiest and wisest Fathers of the Church in primitive times; who, in so teaching, expressed the belief of very many, if not the majority, of Christians in their days.
Further, I write, because deeply and painfully convinced of the very serious mischief which has been, and is being, produced by the views generally held. They in fact tend, as nothing else ever has, to cause, I had almost said, to justify, the skepticism now so widely spread; they effect this because they so utterly conflict with any conception we can form of common justice and equity.
Indeed, among the many misconceptions with which all higher views of the Gospel are assailed, few are more unfounded than that, which asserts that thus God’s justice is forgotten in the prominence assigned to His mercy. For these views do in fact appeal to, and by this appeal recognize, first of all, the justice of God. It is precisely the sense of natural equity which God has planted within us, that the popular belief in endless evil and pain most deeply wounds.