I recently posted on facebook a statement from Paul the Apostle of faith…
Here is simple question for Bible believing people:
Ok then, How many people shall be made righteous?
all(the many) shall be made righteous one day.
smile. Rather than write my own revelation here I want to insert words from a wonderful sister in
the faith – Hannah Whitall Smith.
She is well known for her books “The Christian’s secret of a happy life” and also her
autobiography “The Unselfishness of God.” I searched for and found an early edition of her
autobiography a few months ago. I paid a lot for it but am so blessed to have read it.
complete volume. There are 32 chapters in the book I possess. Modern reprints only contain
28 chapters! I find it appalling that publishers have taken it upon themselves to make money
from her work, without publishing her crowning revelation – The Restitution of all things.(Acts
Here are three of the four omitted chapters.
principal teachers. But I began gradually to find some things in their teachings that I could not
accept; and this was especially the case with their extreme Calvanism.
There have always been, I believe, differences of opinion among them in regard to this view;
but those with whom I was thrown held very rigidly the belief that some people were
“elected” to salvation, and some were elected to “reprobation,” and that nothing the
individual could do could change these eternal decrees. We of course were among those
elected to salvation, and for this we were taught to be profoundly thankful. I tried hard to fall
in with this. It seemed difficult to believe that those who had taught me so much could
possibly be mistaken on such a vital point. But my soul revolted from it more and more. How
could I be content in knowing that I myself was sure of Heaven, when other poor souls
equally deserving, but who had not had my chances, were “elected,” for no fault of their own,
but in the eternal decrees of God, to “Reprobation?” Such a doctrine seemed to me utterly
inconsistent with the proclamation that had so entranced me. I could not find any limitations
in this proclamation, and I could not believe there were any secret limitations in the mind of
the God who had made it. Neither could I see how a Creator could be just, even if He were
not loving, in consigning some of the creatures He Himself, and no other, had created, to the
eternal torment of hell, let them be as great sinners as they might be. I felt that if this
doctrine were true, I should be woefully disappointed in the God -whom I had, with so much
circumstance-that what we were, and what we did, was more or less the result of our
temperaments, of our inherited characteristics, of our social surroundings and of our
education; and that, as these were all providentially arranged for us, with often no power onour part to alter them, it would not be just in the God who had placed us in their midst, to let
them determine our eternal destiny.
annihilation for the wicked, and for a little while tried to comfort myself with the belief that
this life ended all for them. But the more I thought of it, the more it seemed to me that it
would be a confession of serious failure on the part of the Creator, if He could find no way out
of the problem of His creation, but to annihilate the creatures whom He had created.
Unconsciously, one of my children gave me an illustration of this. She waked me up one
morning to tell me that she had been lying in bed having great fun in pretending that she had
made a man. She described the color of his hair and his eyes, his figure, his height, his power,
his wisdom and all the grand things he was going to do, and was very enthusiastic in her
evident delight in the joy of creation. When she had finished enumerating all the magnificent
qualities of her man, I said to her, “But, darling, suppose he should turn out badly; suppose
he should do mischief and hurt people, and make things go wrong, what would thee do
then?” “Oh,” she said, “I would not have any trouble; I’d just make him lie down and chop his
brought to my mind Mrs. Shelley’s weird story of the artist Frankenstein, who made the
monstrous image of a man; which, when it was finished, suddenly to his horror, became alive
and went out into the world working havoc wherever it went. The horrified maker felt obliged
to follow his handiwork everywhere, in order to try to undo a little of the mischief that had
been done, and to remedy as far as possible the evils it had caused. The awful sense of the
responsibility that rested upon him, because of the things done by the creature he had
created, opened my eyes to see the responsibility God must necessarily feel, if the creatures
He had created were to turn out badly. I could not believe He would torment them forever;
and neither could I rest in the thought of annihilation as His best remedy for sin. I felt
hopeless of reconciling the love and the justice of the Creator with the fate of His creatures,
and I knew not which way to turn. But deliverance was at hand, and the third epoch in my
Christian experience was about to dawn.
The Third Epoch In My Religious Life
As I stated in the last chapter, after a few years of exuberant enjoyment in the good news of
salvation through Christ for myself and for those who thought as I did, my heart began to
reach out after those who thought differently, and especially after those who, by reason of the
providential circumstances of their birth and their surroundings, had had no fair chance in life.
I could not but see that ignorance of God and as a result, lives of sin, seemed the almost inevitable fate of a vast number of my fellow human beings, and I could not reconcile it with
the justice of God that these unfortunate mortals should be doomed to eternal torment
because of those providential circumstances, for which they were not responsible, and from
which, in a charge majority of cases, they could not escape. The fact that I, who no more
deserved it than they, should have been brought to the knowledge of the truth, while they
were left out in the cold, became so burdensome to me, that I often felt as if I would gladly
give up my own salvation, if by this means I could bestow it upon those who had been placed
in less fortunate circumstances than myself.
a very selfish salvation, and, as such, unworthy of the Creator who had declared
so emphatically that His “tender mercies are over all His works,” and above all unworthy of the
Lord Jesus Christ, who came into the world for the sole and single purpose of saving the world.
I could not believe that His life and death for us could be meant to fall so far short of
remedying the evil that He came on purpose to remedy, and I felt that it must be impossible
that there could be any short-coming in the salvation He had provided. I began to be
convinced that my difficulties had simply arisen from a misunderstanding of the plans of God,
and I set myself to discover the mistakes.
seemed unworthy of a wise and good Creator, and a very sad confession of failure on His part;
and I could not reconcile it with either His omnipotence or His omniscience. I began to be
afraid I was going to be disappointed in God. But one day a revelation came to me that
vindicated Him, and that settled the whole question forever.
helping forward whit we called “gospel work.” Among the rest there came one who was very
full of the idea that it was the privilege and duty of the Christian to share, in a very especial
manner, the sufferings of Christ, as well as in His joys. He seemed to think our doing so would
in some way help those who knew nothing of the salvation of Christ; and he had adopted the
plan of making strong appeals on the subject in his meetings, and of asking Christians who
were willing for the sake of others, to take a share of these sufferings upon themselves, to
“come forward” to a front bench in the meeting to pray that it might be granted them.
help my less fortunate fellow human beings, that although I did not go “forward” for prayer at
any of his meetings, I did begin to pray privately in a blind sort of way that I might come into
the experience, whatever it was. The result was very different from what I had expected, but
it was far from tremendous.
He bore for our sakes, but instead I seemed to have a revelation, not of His sufferings
because of sin, but of ours. I seemed to get a sight of the misery and anguish caused to
humanity by the entrance of sin into the world, and of Christ’s sorrow, not for His own
sufferings because of it, but for the sufferings of the poor human beings who had been cursed by it. I seemed to understand something of what must necessarily be His anguish at the sight
of the awful fate which had been permitted to befall the human race, and of His joy that He
could do something to alleviate it. I saw that ours was the suffering, and that His was the joy
of sacrificing Himself to save us. I felt that if I had been a Divine Creator, and had allowed
such an awful fate to befall the creatures I had made, I would have been filled with anguish,
and would have realized that simple justice, even if not love, required that I should find some
remedy for it. And I knew I could not be more just than God. I echoed in my heart over and
over again the lines found by one of George Macdonald’s characters engraved on a
“Oh Thou, who didst the serpent make,
Our pardon give and pardon take.”
I had been used to hearing a great deal about the awfulness of our sins against God, but now
I asked myself, what about the awfulness of our fate in having been made sinners? Would I
not infinitely rather that a sin should be committed against myself, than that I should commit
a sin against any one else? Was it not a far more dreadful thing to be made a sinner than to be
merely sinned against? And I began to see that, since God had permitted sin to enter into the
world, it must necessarily be that He would be compelled, in common fairness, to provide a
remedy that would be equal to the disease. I remembered some mothers I had known with
children suffering from inherited diseases, who were only too thankful to lay down their lives
in self-sacrifice for their children, if so be they might, in any way, be able to undo the harm
they had done in bringing them into the world under such disastrous conditions; and I asked
myself, Could God do less? I saw that, when weighed in a balance of wrong done, we, who
had been created sinners, had infinitely more to forgive than any one against whom we might
imagine it, or suppose it. I saw it. It was a revelation of the real nature of things–not according
to the surface conventional ideas, but according to the actual bottom facts–and it could not be
and anguish caused by the entrance of sin into the world. I knew that God must see this with
far clearer eyes than mine, and therefore I felt sure that the sufferings of this sight to Him
must be infinitely beyond what it was to me, almost unbearable as that seemed. And I began
to understand how it was that the least He could do would be to embrace with untold
gladness anything that would help to deliver the being He had created for such awful misery.
It was a never-to-be-forgotten insight into the world’s anguish because of sin. How long it
lasted I cannot remember, but, while it lasted, it almost crushed me. And as it always came
afresh at the sight of a strange face, I found myself obliged to wear a thick veil whenever I
went into the streets, in order that I might spare myself the awful realization.
come in and seat themselves opposite to me. I saw them dimly through in veil, but
congratulated myself that it was only dimly, as I was thus spared the wave of anguish that
had so often swept over me at the full sight of a strange face. The conductor came for his fare,
and I was obliged to raise my veil in order to count it out. As I raised it I got a sight of the
faces of those two men, and with an overwhelming flood of anguish, I seemed to catch a
fresh and clearer revelation of the depth of the misery that had been caused to human beings
by sin. It was more than I could bear. I clenched my hands and cried out in my soul,
“O, God, how canst thou bear it? Thou mightest have prevented it, but didst not. Thou mightest even
now change it, but Thou dost not. I do not see how Thou canst go on living, and endure it.”
I upbraided God. And I felt I was justified in doing so. Then suddenly God seemed to answer
me. An inward voice said, in tones of infinite love and tenderness, “He shall see of the travail
of His soul and be satisfied.” “Satisfied!” I cried in my heart, “Christ is to be satisfied! He will be
able to look at the world’s misery, and then at the travail through which He has passed
because of it, and will be satisfied with the result; If I were Christ, nothing could satisfy me
but that every human being should in the end be saved, and therefore I am sure that nothing
less will satisfy Him.” And with this a veil seemed to be withdrawn from before the plans of the
universe, and I saw that it was true, as the Bible says, that “as in Adam all die-even so in
Christ should all be made alive.” As was the first, even so was the second. The “all” in one
case could not in fairness mean less than the “all” in the other. I saw therefore that the
remedy must necessarily be equal to the disease, the salvation must be as universal as the
hoped it, or even believed it–but knew it. It was a Divine fact. And from that moment I have
never had one questioning thought as to the final destiny of the human race. God is the
Creator of every human being, therefore He is the Father of each one, and they are all His
children; and Christ died for every one, and is declared to be “the propitiation not for our sins
only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). However great the ignorance
therefore, or however grievous the sin, the promise of salvation is positive and without
limitations. If it is true that “by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to
condemnation,” it is equally true that “by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all
men unto justification of life.” To limit the last “all men” is also to limit the first. The salvation
is absolutely equal to the fall. There is to be a final “restitution of all things,” when “at the
name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things
under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God
the Father.” Every knee, every tongue-words could not be more embracing. The how and the
when I could not see; but the one essential fact was all I needed-somewhere and somehow
God was going to make every thing right for all the creatures He had created. My heart was at
rest about it forever.
possibly have been all this time in the Bible, and I had not have seen it; and the moment I
entered the house, I did not wait to take off my bonnet, but rushed at once to the table where I always kept my Bible and Concordance ready for use, and began my search. Immediately
the whole Book seemed to be illuminated.
On every page the truth concerning the “times of restitution of all things” of which the Apostle Peter says “God Hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began,” shone forth, and no room was left for questioning.
I turned greedily from page to page of my Bible, fairly laughing aloud for joy at the blaze of
light that illuminated it all. It became a new book. Another skin seemed to have been peeled
off every text, and my Bible fairly shone with a new meaning. I do not say with a different
meaning, for in no sense did the new meaning contradict the old, but a deeper meaning, the
true meaning, hidden behind the outward form of words.
The words did not need to be changed, they only needed to be understood; and now at last I began to understand them.
I remember just about this time, in the course of my daily reading in the Bible, coming to the
Psalms, and I was amazed at the new light thrown upon their apparently most severe and
blood-thirsty denunciations. I saw that, when rightly interpreted, not by the letter, but by the
spirit, they were full of the assured and final triumph of good over evil, and were a
magnificent vindication of the goodness and justice of God, who will not, and ought not, and
cannot, rest until all His enemies and ours are put under His feet. I saw that the kingdom
must be interior before it can be exterior, that it is a kingdom of ideas, and not one of brute
force; that His rule is over hearts, not over places; that His victories must be inward before
they can be outward; that He seeks to control spirits rather than bodies; that no triumph
could satisfy Him but a triumph that gains the heart; that in short, where God really reigns,
the surrender must be the interior surrender of the convicted free men, and not merely the
outward surrender of the conquered slave. Milton says, “Who overcomes by force hath
overcome but half his foe,” and I saw that this was true.
had before caused me to thrill with horror. “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let
them also that hate Him flee before Him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as
wax melted before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.” God’s wrath is
against the sin–not against the sinner, and when His enemies are scattered, ours are also. His
sword is the righteousness that puts to death sin in order to save the sinner. The fire of His
anger is the “refiner’s fire”, and He sits, not as the destroyer of the human soul, but as its
purifier, to purge it as gold and silver are purged.
Foes may be bought or teased
From their malign intent;
determination to make us good enough to live in Heaven with Himself forever.
beauty on every page of the Bible, but these will suffice. I began at last to understand what
the Apostle Paul meant when he said that he had been made the minister of the new
testament, not of the letter but of the spirit ,for “the letter killeth but the spirit giveth life.”
Things I had read in the letter, and had shuddered at, now read in the spirit and filled me with
The Unselfishness of God
I have always felt that this time my real discovery of the unselfishness of God began. Up to
then, while I had rejoiced in the salvation for myself that I had discovered, I had been secretly
beset from time to time with a torturing feeling that, after all, it was rather a selfish salvation,
both for Him and for me. How could a good God enjoy Himself in Heaven, knowing all the
while that a large proportion of the beings He had Himself created were doomed to eternal
misery, unless He were a selfish God? I had known that the Bible said that He was a God of
love, and I had supposed that it must be true, but always there had been at the bottom of my
mind this secret feeling that His love could not stand the test of comparison with the ideal of
love in my own heart. I knew that, poor and imperfect as my love must be, I could never have
enjoyed myself in Heaven while one of my children, no matter how naughty, was shut out;
and that He could and did enjoy Himself, while countless thousands of His children were shut
out, seemed to me a failure in the most essential element of love. So that, grateful as I had
felt for the blessings of forgiveness and of a sure and certain hope of Heaven for myself, I still
had often felt as if after all the God I worshiped was a selfish God, who cared more for His
own comfort and His own glory than He did for the poor suffering beings He had made. But
now I began to see that the wideness of God’s love was far beyond any wideness that I could
even conceive of; and that if I took all the unselfish love of every mother’s heart the whole
world over, and piled it all together, and multiplied it by millions, I would still only get a faint
idea of the unselfishness of God.
He was love, love embodied and ingrained. I saw that He was, as it were, made out of love, so
that in the very nature of things He could not do anything contrary to love. Not that He would
not do it, but actually could not, because love was the very essence of His being. I saw that
the law of love, like he law of gravitation, is inevitable in its working, and that God is, if I may
say so, under this law, and cannot help obeying it. I saw that, because He is love, He simply,
in the very nature of things, must be loving. It is not a matter of choice with Him, but a matter of necessity. And I saw that, once this fact was known, to trust in this God of love would be as
natural as to breathe.
illimitable delight in the thought of having been created by such an unselfish God. I saw that
as a matter of course the fact of His being our creator was an absolute guarantee that He
would care for us, and would make all things work together for our good. The duties of
ownership blazed with tremendous illumination. Not its rights, of which I had hitherto chiefly
thought, but its duties, the things ownership necessarily demands of its owner. I saw that just
as in a civilized community people are compelled by public opinion, or if necessary by the law,
to take proper care of things that belong to them, so our Creator, by the laws of common
morality, is compelled to take proper care of the creatures He has created, and must be held
responsible for their well being.
such an unselfish God; that many a time, when a fresh insight into His goodness would come
over me, I would be obliged to get my Bible and open it at the texts that declared we really
were His property, and put my fingers on them, and read them aloud, just to reassure myself
that they did actually say, without any limitations, that He was my owner.
always thought of it as a kind of threat held over us into good behaviour; but now it seemed
full of the most delightful warrant and assurance that all was well for the creatures this
unselfish Creator had created. I saw that God was good, not religiously good only, but really
and actually good in the truest sense of the word, and that a good Creator was of course
bound to make every thing go right with the creatures He had created. And the fact that
nothing was hid from His eyes, which had once been so alarming, now began to seem the
most delightful fact in the whole universe, because it made it certain that He knew all about
us, and would therefore be able to do His best for us.
God, now came into perfect harmony.
one sometimes in the possession and companionship of a child. To me there have been
moments, when my arms have been around my children, that have seemed more like what
the bliss of Heaven must be than any other thing I can conceive of; and I think this feeling has
taught me more of what are God’s feelings towards His children than anything else in the
universe. If I, a human being with limited capacity, can find such joy in my children, what
must God, with His infinite heart of love, feel towards His; In fact most of my ideas of the love
and goodness of God have come from my own experience as a mother, because I could not
conceive that God would create me with a greater capacity for unselfishness and self-sacrifice
than He possessed Himself; and since this discovery of the mother heart of God I have always
been able to answer every doubt that may have arisen in my mind, as to the extent and
quality of the love of God, by simply looking at my own feelings as a mother. I cannot
understand the possibility of any selfishness on the mother’s part coming into her relation to her children. It seems to me a mother, who can be selfish and think of her own comfort and
her own welfare before that of her children, is an abnormal mother, who fails in the very
highest duty of motherhood.
supreme duty of self-sacrifice on the part of the mother.
offspring. She will starve that they may have food. Could our God do less? I speak of
self-sacrifice, but I cannot truthfully call it sacrifice. Any true mother, who knows the reality of
motherhood, would scorn the idea that the care of her children involved a sacrifice, in the
ordinary sense of sacrifice, on her part. It may involve trouble or weariness but not what I
could call sacrifice. The sacrifice would be if she were not allowed to care for them, not if she
were. I know no more fallacious line of argument than that which is founded upon the idea
that children ought to be grateful for the self-sacrifice on the mother’s part. Her claim to love
and consideration on the part of her children depends altogether to my mind upon how true a
mother she has been in the sense I describe; and I believe that thousands of disappointed
mothers, who have not received the gratitude and consideration they would like, have only
themselves to thank, because they have demanded it, instead of having won it. All this has
taught me to understand God’s feelings towards us that what we call self-sacrifice on the part
of Christ was simply the absolutely necessary expression of His love for us; and that the
amazing thing would have been, not that He did it, but if He had not done it.
slightest anxiety for any of His children; and by His children I do not mean only the good ones,
but I mean the bad ones just as much. Are we not, distinctly told that the Good Shepherd
leaves the ninety and nine good sheep in order to find the one naughty sheep that is lost, and
that He looks for it until He finds it? And, viewed in the light of motherhood, has not that word
“lost” a most comforting meaning, since nothing can be a lost thing that is not owned by
somebody, and to be lost means only, not yet found. The lost gold piece is still gold, with the
image of the King upon it; the lost sheep is a sheep still, not a wolf; the lost son has still the
blood of his father in his veins. And if a person is a lost sinner, it only means that he is owned
by the Good Shepherd, and that the Good Shepherd is bound, by the very duties of His
ownership, to go after that which is lost, and to go until He finds it. The word “lost” therefore,
to my mind, contains in itself the strongest proof of ownership that one could desire. Who can
imagine a mother with a lost child ever having a ray of comfort until the child is found, and
who can imagine a God being more indifferent than a mother? In fact I believe that all the
problems of the spiritual life, which are often so distressing to conscientious souls, would
vanish like mist before the rising sun, if the full blaze of the mother-heart of God should be
turned upon them.
bound to believe that the best in us, and not the worst was the reflection of that image,
and .that therefore things which to us in our best moments looked selfish, or unkind, or unjust,or self-seeking, must never, no matter what the “seeming”, be attributed to God. If He is
unselfish, He must be at least as unselfish as the highest human ideal; and of course we know
He must be infinitely more.
His goodness was not merely a patronizing benevolence, but was a genuine bona
fide goodness that included unselfishness and consideration, and above all justice, which last
has always seemed to me one of the very first elements of goodness. No unjust person could
ever, in my opinion, lay the slightest claim to being good, let their outward seemings of
goodness be as deceiving as they may. I had in short such an overwhelming revelation of the
intrinsic and inherent goodness and unselfishness of God that nothing since has been able to
shake it. A great many things in His dealings have been and still are mysteries to me; but I am
sure they could all be explained on the basis of love and justice, if only I could look deep
enough; and that some day I shall see, what now I firmly believe, that His loving kindness is
really and truly over all His works.
to say that when I had that revelation on the tram-car in Philadelphia that day, a light on the
character of God began to shine, that has never since waned in the slightest, and has only
grown brighter and brighter with every year of my life. It is enough for me to say “God is” and
I have the answer to every possible difficulty.
open Bible before me, to see this; and that all sorts of travesties on the character of God, and
of libels upon His goodness, can find apparently a welcome entrance into Christian hearts. To
me such things became at this time well-nigh intolerable. I could listen patiently, and even
with interest, to any sort of strange or heretical ideas that did not touch the character of God,
but the one thing I could not endure, and could not sit still to listen to, was anything that
contained, even under a show of great piety, the least hint of a libel on His love or His
from Boston , was visiting us. The conversation at the breakfast table turned on the subject of
God’s love, and this Preacher declared that you must not count on it too much, as there were
limits as to what His love could endure, just as there were limits to a mother’s love; and he
went on to declare that there were certain sins a daughter could commit which the mother
never could forgive, and which would forever close her heart and her home against her child,
and he asserted that it was just so with God, and that he considered it was a grandmotherly
religion that taught anything different.
talking on that subject; but he evidently wanted to convince me that God was not quite so
foolishly loving as I thought. It was more than I could endure to hear both mothers, and the
God who made mothers so maligned, and although the speaker was my guest, I broke forth into a perfect passion of indignation, and declaring that I would not sit at the table with any
one who held such libelous ideas of God, I burst into tears and left the room, and entirely
declined to see my guest again. I do not say this was right or courteous, or at all Christlike,
but it only illustrates how overwhelmingly I felt on the subject. The honor of God seemed to
me of more importance than any ordinary rules of politeness. But I see now that I might have
vindicated that honor in an equally effectual but more Christ like way.
character of God. Nothing else matters like this, for all our salvation depends wholly and
entirely upon what God is; and unless He can be proved to be absolutely good, and absolutely
unselfish, and absolutely just, our case is absolutely hopeless. God is our salvation, and, if He
fails us, in even the slightest degree, we have nowhere else to turn.