To these five principles I desire to direct your attention as, specifically, the reasons for my being what I am.
1. Universalism believes in the Universal Fatherhood of God. And so does the Christian Church very generally. There are some who leave off the “universal,” and occasionally one who questions the “fatherhood.” But in general this principle, which is a common reason for drawing all Christians to their several altars of worship.
The key-note of Jesus’ message ot the world is the Father hood of God, and to that note must every string be tuned before we can have divine and human harmony. The word of the Master sets Christianity supreme among religions; others have gods innumerable and even majestic; but Christians sit at the feet of their Heavenly Father not as subjects, but as children whose hearts beat with the blood of kinship. We are all Christians because we believe in the Fatherhood of God. We love Him and trust Him and serve Him because He is our Father. In the hours of human weakness, in the dangers of temptation, in the struggle with our sins, and bearing the burden of our sorrows, “our Father who art in Heaven” is our refuge. And, too, facing the mysteries of this life’s strange experience, facing the complexities of this world and the royal secrets of divine revelation, there is but one key to them all, — the Fatherhood of God. When Jesus utter that word the mists and shadows of error fled before the sunlight of eternal truth. This is the belief of our common Christianity. Universalism believes all this with you and something more. It places the emphasis on the Universal Fatherhood. We believe that this is God’s world and all men are His children. That when in the beginning He conceived of this life out of the fulness of His heart’s love, planned it of the fulness of His wisdom, He looked down through the ages and ages to follow, and seeing all the struggle and trials and pains of His children reaching up into His likeness, He said, “Behold, it is good.” And who shall question His judgment? It appealed to me that God is God, infinite and eternal; not only from the beginning, but the end; and that these lives which swing out from His loving heart on the infinite circle of their being, should in the completion of that circle swing back into the heart from which they came. It appealed to me that fatherhood to be fatherhood must be universal fatherhood; that God must love all His children with that love which nothing can defeat; which will pursue with tireless energy, with blessings and punishments and divine persuasions until every soul shall turn of its own free will, gladly, with sorrow that it had not long before left the husks and swine to seek the Father’s house.
I am a Universalist because I believe in the Universal Fatherhood of God; that He loves you, His child, and He will not let you go, but will pursue you through time and eternity until you leave your sin and come home with Him; because God, to be God, must succeed, I am a Universalist.