Universalism The Prevailing Doctrine

It is an important consideration not always realized, when studying the opinions that prevailed in the primitive church, that the earliest copies of the Gospels were not in existence until A.D. 60; that the first Epistle written by Paul--1st Thessalonians--was not written till A.D. 52; that the New Testament canon was not completed until A.D. 170; that for a long time the only Christian Bible was the Old Testament; that the account of the judgment in Matt. xxv is never referred to in the writings of the apostolic fathers, who probably never saw or heard of it till towards the end of the Second Century; and, therefore, when considering the opinions of the fathers for at least a century and a half, we must in all cases interpret them by the Old Testament, which scholars of all churches concede does not reveal the doctrine of endless woe. Probably not a single Christian writer heretofore quoted ever saw a copy of the Gospels.

Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod - Christian Cyclopedia

Christian Existence Today: Essays on Church, World, and Living in Between by Stanley Hauerwas

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Augustine, however, held the penalties of sin in a much milder form than do his degenerate theological descendants in modern times. He teaches that the lost still retain goodness,--too valuable to be destroyed, and on that account the worst are not in absolute evil, but only in a lower degree of good. "Grief for lost good in a state of punishment is a witness of a good nature. For he who grieves for the lost peace for his nature, grieves for it by means of some remains of peace, by which it is caused that nature should be friendly to itself." He taught that while unbaptized children must be damned in a Gehenna of fire, their torments would be light () compared with the torment of other sinners, and that their condition would be far preferable to non-existence, and so on the whole a blessing. In a they would only receive a . He also taught that death did not necessary end probation, as is quite fully shown under "Christ's Descent into Hades." Augustine's idea was reduced to rhyme in the sixteenth century by the Rev. Michael Wigglesworth, of Malden, Mass., who was the Puritan pastor of the church in that place. A curious fact in the history of the parish is this,--that the church in which these ridiculous sentiments were uttered became, in 1828, by vote of the parish, Universalist, and is now the Universalist church in Malden. The poem represents God as saying to non-elect infants:

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When a young teacher his zeal and firmness vindicated his name Adamantius, man of steel or adamant. Says De Pressense: "The example of Origen was of much force in sustaining the courage of his disciples. He might be seen constantly in the prison of the pious captives carrying to them the consolation they needed. He stood by them till the last moment of triumph came, and gave them the parting kiss of peace on the very threshold of the arena or at the foot of the stake." One day he was carried to the temple of Serapis, and palms were placed in his hands to lay on the altar of the Egyptian god. Brandishing the boughs, he exclaimed, "Here are the triumphal palms, not of the idol, but of Christ." In a work of Origen's now only existing in a Latin translation is the characteristic thought: "The fields of the angels are our hearts; each one of them therefore out of the field which he cultivates, offers first fruits to God. If I should be able to produce today some choice interpretation, worthy to be presented to the Supreme High Priest, so that out of all those thinks which we speak and teach, there should be somewhat considerable which may please the great High Priest, it might possibly happen that the angel who presides over the church, out of all our words, might choose something, and offer it as a kind of first fruits to the Lord, out of the small field of my heart. But I know I do not deserve it; nor am I conscious to myself that any interpretation is discovered by me which the angel who cultivates us should judge worthy to offer to the Lord, as first fruits, or first born."8

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