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true state of the case, is the principal object of the following pages. It will be discovered that these pious and learned divines, although they believed in the endless misery of the wicked, have yet given interpretations of the Scriptures similar to those now given by Universalists. Hence it follows that the charge, alleged against Universalists, of thus interpreting Scripture, merely to support a favorite theory, is unfounded and unjust; for orthodox commentators have given the same interpretations, in spite of their own theory.
Of course, it is not pretended that any one orthodox commentator explains every disputed text in accordance with the views entertained by Universalists. But among them all, some have furnished us authority on every text of this description, with a very few exceptions; some furnishing authority on one text, some on another.
It is proper to observe, in this place, that I would not be understood to adopt, as correct, all the expositions contained in the body of this work. The quotations are introduced, on each text, with reference to a single point; to wit, does this text teach or imply a state of misery in the future life, or does it not ? When any commentator allows that it does not, I consider him to be proper authority to quote, in confirmation of the exposition given by Universalists, even though they do not agree with him in regard to what the text does
I will illustrate my meaning, by a single example. By referring to the notes on Rev. vi. 12
-17, it will be seen that Hammond and Lightfoot interpret the passage as descriptive of the destruction of Jerusalem and the whole Jewish state;' the authors of the Assembly's Annotations think it relates to the troubles that were to befall the Roman empire;' while Clarke says that all these things may literally apply to the final destruction of Jerusalem, and to the revolution which took place in the Roman empire under Constantine the Great.' Clarke adds, 'some apply them to the day of judgment; but they do not seem to have that awful event in view. These writers differ among themselves concerning the precise meaning of the passage; but they agree that it is descriptive of events which should be accomplished on the earth, and that it does not refer to the future life. Without deciding which is correct, in regard to the point in which they differ, and even without necessarily adopting either opinion as correct, I quote their authority in relation only to the point before mentioned, — does this passage teach or imply a state of misery in the future life, or does it not? They all agree that it does not, and declare that it has especial reference to temporal concerns, not having what is called the day of general judgment in view. So much may suffice to show the propriety of agreeing with these commentators in relation to what a text does not mean, even though we may disagree in relation to what it does mean. I only add, that, in a large majority of cases, the interpretations quoted in this work are precise
ly the same which are now given by Universalists; and which, when so given, are by some of our opposers, stigmatized as fout heresy.
I have not given a full illustration of the passages quoted, according to the views which generally obtain among Universalists.* I have omitted doing this, for two reasons: (1) such a course would have very considerably increased the size, and, consequently, the expense of the book; (2) my object was, not so much to prove the correctness of our views, as to show that they are not novel ; that they are not the effect of an overweening desire to support a theory, even at the expense of reason and common sense; but that our opposers themselves have given the same or similar interpretations, when their own theory was not allowed to influence their judgment. I know the opinions quoted are only the opinions of men; that they do not furnish positive proof that we are correct in our expositions of scripture: but a very strong, even a violent, presumptive evidence is furnished, when men, who firmly believe in the endless misery of the wicked, interpret a given passage to relate, not to such misery, but to some temporal judgment or calamity, notwithstanding their creed and their prejudices, so far as they operate, would induce a different interpretation.
I have taken the liberty to omit the Greek
* The Universalist's Guide,' by Rev. Thomas Whittemore, recently published, occupies this ground. It is a very valuable work, and should be in the hands of every. Universalist.
phrases and words, in the notes, as far as was practicable; and where I could not conveniently do this, have inserted them in the English character, believing such a course would be acceptable to a majority of my readers. With this exception, I have endeavored to copy every author fairly and faithfully; and have often quoted more than I desired, rather than have the appearance of mutilating or misrepresenting the passage. The only alteration I have ventured to make is in the orthography. Some very antiquated phrases will be found, and some words of which the meaning may appear obscure.
But I chose to let them remain, rather than attempt to alter the phraseology. A few of the words alluded to may serve as a specimen: however frequently occurs, in the more ancient writers, in the sense of at all events ; expect is used for await; importance, for import; notation, for signification; consequents, for conse
c Before closing this introduction, it should be observed that a work of similar character was commenced, a few years since, by Rev. H. Ballou, 2d, but for want of sufficient leisure was abandoned. The results of his examination were published in the second volume of the Trumpet. Of course, some of the authorities I have quoted are the same which were adduced by him: I have omitted some, and have added others. I may observe, however, that, with a very few exceptions, my quotations from orthodox writers have been made directly
from the works quoted, and not through the medium of other writers.
Of the authors quoted in this work, it may be sufficient to say, that they are all supposed to have believed the doctrine of endless misery, except Wakefield, Kenrick, and Cappe. But these three believed in a state of torment for the wicked, in the future life, and may therefore be quoted, when the only question is, whether any text relate to misery after death, or not. For a more particular description, see Index of Authors, appended to this volume.
In the Preface to the first edition, I expressed a hope, 'that, by the collection and publication of these testimonies from authors, the works of many of whom have not been extensively circulated in America, I might render an acceptable service to the community generally, and especially to the denomination of Christians with whom I am happy to be in fellowship. That hope has
ot been disappointed. Encouraged by the favorable opinion expressed by those who are fully entitled to my confidence, I now offer to the public a second edition, embracing several additional testimonies, selected from works which I have more recently had an opportunity to examine.
LUCIUS R. PAIGE.