Universalist Book of Reference

By E. E. Guild, 1853

Doctrine of Salvation and Damnation  (partial)

 pages 293-296


Mark 16:16, “He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”


The questions to be considered are:

1. What is it that we are required to believe, the belief of which is necessary to salvation?

2. What is the nature of the salvation promised to the believer and where is it to be experienced?

3. What is the nature of the damnation threatened to the unbeliever, and where is it to be experienced, and how long?


      1. What must we believe? Ask the Calvinist, the Arminian and the Universalist, what we must believe, and they will all tell you, and tell you very truly, too, and in the language of Scripture, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Ask them if our simply believing that there was such a person as Jesus Christ will be sufficient, and they will all tell you no. And they will assign as a reason for this, that a man may believe that there was such a person, and at the same time believe him to have been an imposter. So far, then, these three classes of Christians, embracing all who profess the Christian name, are perfectly agreed. And if you ask, What then must we believe about Jesus Christ? they will tell you that every man is required to believe that Jesus Christ is his Savior. But if you push your inquiries a little further, and ask, as an individual, Is Jesus Christ my Savior? you have now arrived to a point on which the Calvinist will differ from the Arminian, the Arminian from the Calvinist, and the Universalist from both.

     If you put the question to the Calvinist, Is Jesus my Savior? if he answers in consistency with his creed, he must tell you Yes, if you are one of the elect. Before you can believe that Jesus is your Savior, then, you must believer something anterior to this, and that is, that you are one of the elect. But what evidence can be presented to the mind of the sinner which will enable him to believe that he is one of the elect? No man but a Pharisee can possibly believe this. That man’s organ of self-esteem must reach nigh unto heaven, who can believe that he is selected, out of the great mass of mankind, as one of God’s chosen favorites. Hence, upon the principles of Calvinism, there are no grounds of belief. All belief which is worthy of the name, is regulated by evidence. But, in this ease, no evidence can possibly be presented to the mind of any rational man, which will enable him to believe. Besides, if the individual is one of the elect, he will be saved whether he believes Christ is his Savior or not; and if he is not one of the elect, if he believes he is his Savior, he believes a lie. Of course. in this case, his faith cannot save him. If he was reprobated to damnation before the foundation of the world, of course he will not be damned for not believing that Jesus is his Savior.

      If you ask the Arminian, Is Jesus Christ my Savior? he must tell you No, not unless you believe that he is. Hence, he requires you to make truth as you go along. Jesus, he tells you, is not your Savior now, but, by believing that he is, you can convert him into your Savior. But if Jesus is not your Savior, why should you be required to believe that he is ? If he is not your Savior, why should you be damned for believing that he is not? If he is not your Savior, how can your believing that he is make him so? If he is your Savior, and you believe he is pot, you believe a lie. It‘ he is not your Savior, and you believe he is not, you believe the truth. According to this theory, then, we are required to believe that which is false, in order to be saved; and, by believing that falsehood, we convert it into truth. Again, according to this theory. God saves us for believing a lie, and damns us for believing the truth.

      If you ask the Universalist what you must believe in order to be saved, he will tell you to believe the Gospel. In the verse immediately preceding the text, our Lord says to his disciples, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Then follows the text, “He that believeth,” &c. He that believeth what? Evidently the Gospel, which the disciples were commissioned to preach to every creature. But he that truly believes in Jesus will of course believe his Gospel. Hence, the Universalist will tell you to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the propitiation “for the sins of the whole world;” who “tasted death for every man;” and “who gave himself a ransom for all.” He will tell you to believe in Jesus, who is the Savior of the world; and to believe in God, “who is the Savior of all men, especially of those that believe.” He will tell you to believe that Jesus Christ is your Savior; and to believe it, because it is true.

      2. What is the nature of the salvation promised to the believer? We have already shown that it is a salvation from ignorance, darkness, unbelief and sin. Well, where is it to be experienced? Answer, in the place where, and at' the time when, faith is exercised. This is abundantly proved in our remarks on salvation, and requires no further proof here.

      3. What is the nature of the damnation threatened to the unbeliever? It is a sense of conscious condemnation, to be involved in ignorance of God’s character; to be in the gall of bitterness, and in the bonds of iniquity ; to be involved in moral death, to be dead in trespasses and sins, and to be without hope and without God in the world. Well, where is this damnation to be experienced? Like the salvation of the believer, the damnation of the unbeliever must be experienced in the place where, and at the time when, mankind are unbelievers. Again, how long must this damnation be experienced? Answer, just as long as the unbelief continues, and no longer. Perhaps one-half or more of the believers in Christ now were once unbelievers. Paul himself was once a noted unbeliever, and while he was so he was damned. This is sufficiently evident from the feelings and disposition which he manifested. No man can possess the Pharisaic, bigoted and murderous disposition of Saul of Tarsus, without being damned. That man is sufficiently damned who can harbor such feelings in his bosom. While Paul was an unbeliever, therefore, he was damned; but the moment he exercised faith in the Gospel, that moment his damnation ceased. Now, as we have shown that God’s will is that all men shall be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth; when that will is accomplished, there will be no unbelievers among men, for all shall know God from the least unto the greatest. Unbelief, which is the cause of damnation, will be removed; and damnation, which is the effect, will cease with the cause that produced it. Dr. Campbell says on this text, that the word damned “is not a just version of the Greek word. The term damned, with us (he says), relates solely to the doom which shall be pronounced upon the wicked at the last day. This cannot be affirmed, in truth, of the Greek katakrino, which corresponds exactly to the English word -condemn.” To the same import is the testimony of Horne, Cappe, and others.