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Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [1]

Those who suppose that, as Christ died for all, so, before he shall have delivered up his mediatorial kingdom to the Father, all shall be brought to a participation of the benefits of his death, in their restoration to holiness and happiness. They teach, that the wicked will receive a punishment apportioned to their crimes; that punishment itself is a mediatorial work, and founded upon mercy; that it is a mean of humbling, subduing, and finally reconciling the sinner to God. They suppose that the words eternal, everlasting, &c. as they sometimes apply to the things which have ended, so they cannot apply to endless misery. They say, this doctrine is the most consonant to the perfections of the Deity, most worthy of the character of Christ, and that the Scriptures cannot be reconciled upon any other plan. They teach their followers ardent love to God; and peace, meekness, candour, and universal love to men, they observe, are the natural result of these views. The sentiments of the Universalists were embraced by Origen in the 3d century, and in more modern times by Chevalier Ramsay, Dr. Chryne, Mr. Hartley, and others. But one of the greatest advocates for this doctrine was Dr. Chauncy. His arguments are these:

1. Christ died not for a select number of men only, but for mankind universally, and without exception or limitation, for the sacred Scriptures are singularly emphatical in expressing this truth,  1 Thessalonians 5:10 .  1 Corinthians 15:3 .  Romans 5:6 .  1 Peter 3:18 .  John 1:29 .  John 3:16-17 .  1 John 2:2 .  Hebrews 2:9 .

2. It is the purpose of God according to his good pleasure that mankind universally, in consequence of the death of his Son Jesus Christ, shall certainly and finally be saved,  Romans 5:12 . &c.  Romans 8:19;  Romans 8:24 .  Colossians 1:19-20 .  Ephesians 4:10 .  Ephesians 1:9-10 .  2 Timothy 1:4 .

3. As a mean, in order to men's being made meet for salvation, God will sooner or later, in this state or another, reduce them all under a willing and obedient subjection to his moral government,  1 John 3:8 .  John 1:1-51 .  Matthew 1:21 .  Psalms 8:5-6 .  Hebrews 2:6;  Hebrews 2:9 .  Philippians 2:9;  Philippians 2:11 .  1 Corinthians 15:24;  1 Corinthians 15:29 .

4. The Scripture language concerning the reduced or restored, in consequence of the mediatory interposition of Jesus Christ, is such as leads us into the thought, that it is comprehensive of mankind universally,  Revelation 5:13 . The opponents, however, of Dr. Chauncy, and this doctrine, observe, on the contrary side, that the sacred Scriptures expressly declare that the punishment of the finally impenitent shall be eternal,  Matthew 17:8 .  Matthew 25:41;  Matthew 25:46 .  Mark 9:43 .  Revelation 14:11 .  2 Thessalonians 1:9 .  Ephesians 2:17 .  Judges 1:13 .  Revelation 9:3 .  Revelation 20:10 .  Matthew 12:31-32 .  Luke 12:10 .  Mark 3:29 .  1 John 5:16 .  Hebrews 1:4;  Hebrews 1:6 .  Hebrews 10:26-27 .  Matthew 26:1-75 .

See articles Destructionists, Hell

The title of Universalists distinguishes those who embrace the sentiments of Mr. Relly.

See Rellyanists Dr. Joseph Huntingdon was a great advocate also for universal salvation, as may be seen from a posthumous work of his, entitled, "Calvinism improved; or the Gospel illustrated in a System of real Grace issuing in the Salvation of all Men." This work was answered by Mr. Nathan Strong, minister of Hartford, in Connecticut, in which he endeavours to reconcile the doctrine of eternal misery with the infinite benevolence of God. This doctrine of universal salvation, or restoration, besides being generally acknowledged by the Socinians, has been defended in England by Mr. Winchester, and after him by Mr. Vidler and others. The latter has been opposed by Mr. A. Fuller and Mr. C. Jerram. Dr. Chauncy's Salvation of all Men; White's Restoration of all Things; Hartly on Man; Universalists' Miscellany; Fuller's Letters to Vidler; and Letters to an Universalist, containing a Review of that Controversy, by Scrutator; Mr. Spaulding's Treatise on Universalism, published in America.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [2]

Those who believe that Christ so died for all, that, before he shall have delivered up his mediatorial kingdom, all fallen creatures shall be brought to a participation of the benefits of his death, in their restoration to holiness and happiness. They are called also Universal Restorationists, and their doctrine, the doctrine of universal restoration. Some of its friends have maintained it, also, under the name of universal salvation; but perhaps the former name is that by which it should be distinguished; for the Universalists do not hold any universal exemption from future punishment, but merely the recovery of all those that shall have been exposed to it. [This may be true in respect to the Universalists in Europe; but in America there are those who deny any future punishment whatever. In this country also they have formed themselves into separate and distinct societies, AM. ED.] They have likewise a just claim to this title on other grounds; for their doctrine, which includes the restoration, or "restitution of all the intelligent offspring of God," or of all "lapsed intelligences," seems to embrace even the fallen angels. They admit the reality and equity of future punishment; but they contend that it will be corrective in its nature, and limited in its duration. They teach the doctrine of election, but not in the exclusive Calvinistic sense of it. They suppose that God has chosen some for the good of all; and that his final purpose toward all is intimated by his calling his elect the first-born and the first- fruits of his creatures, which, say they, implies other branches of his family, and a future ingathering of the harvest of mankind. They teach, also, that the righteous shall have part in the first resurrection, shall be blessed and happy, and be made priests and kings to God and to Christ in the millennial kingdom, and that over them the second death shall have no power; that the wicked will receive a punishment apportioned to their crimes; that punishment itself is a mediatorial work, and founded upon mercy, and, consequently, that it is a means of humbling, subduing, and finally reconciling the sinner to God. They add, that the words rendered "eternal," "everlasting," "for ever," and "for ever and ever," in the Scriptures, are frequently used to express the duration of things that have ended or must end; and if it is contended that these words are sometimes used to express proper eternity, they answer, that then the subject with which the words are connected must determine the sense of them; and as there is nothing in the nature of future punishment which can be offered as a reason why it should be endless, they infer that the above words ought always to be taken in a limited sense when connected with the infliction of misery.

Those who deny the eternity of future punishments have not formed themselves into any separate body or distinct society; but are to be found in most Christian countries, and among several denominations. Their doctrines form part of the creed of some Arians, as of Mr. Whiston; of many Deists, as of Mr. Hobbes, Mr. Tindal, &c; and of most Socinians. Nor need we be surprised that libertines and atheists hold it, and that they strive to bring others over to their opinion. "The tyranny of priests," said Dupont the atheist, in the national convention, December, 1792, "extends their opinion to another life, of which they have no other idea than that of eternal punishment; a doctrine which some men have hitherto had the good nature to believe. But these prejudices must now fall; we must destroy them, or they will destroy us." The Mennonites in Holland have long held the doctrine of the Universalists; the people called Dunkers, or Tunkers, in America, descended from the German Baptists, hold it; and also the Shakers. Excellent refutations of this specious system have been published by the Rev. S. Jerram, and the Rev. Daniel Isaac. The Arminians are sometimes called "Universalists," on account of their holding the tenet of general redemption; in opposition to the Calvinists, who, from their specifically restricting the saving grace of God to certain fore ordained individuals, receive the denomination of "Particularists." By the epithet "Hypothetical Universalists," are designated on the continent those who have adopted the theological system of Amyraut and Cameron, but who are better known in this country as "Baxterians." See AMYRAUT , See Baxterianism , and See CAMERON .

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [3]

A body of Christians who profess to believe in the final restoration of all the fallen, angels as well as men; a body chiefly of American growth, having an ecclesiastical organisation, and embracing a membership of 40,000; there are many of them Unitarians, and all are more or less Pelagian in their views of sin.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [4]

a Christian sect believing in the final destruction of sin and the reconciliation of all souls to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. They claim that there is proof of the existence of their doctrine,