This little work is written for the purpose of furnishing a sketch of the argument by which it is shown that the doctrine of Endless Punishment is not of divine origin, but traceable directly to a heathen source.
It is not intended as an elaborately philosophical or critical discussion of the subject, as the size of the volume will show; but only as a popular presentation of the method of proof, and of the leading facts and authorities on which the argument rests.
Those having time and sources of information at command, will enter into a more thorough investigation for themselves. For such this work is not designed; but for those who, not having the opportunity, nor the books, necessary to a complete and critical examination of the question, wish a brief statement of the facts and arguments on which is grounded the assertion that the doctrine of endless torments is of heathen origin. This will account for the absence of many things which the reader might justly expect to find here, and which rightfully claim place in a work bearing the title of this.
The subject treated is one of very great importance, and equally concerns the purity of Christian doctrine, and the happiness and virtue of those believing. It is every day commanding more and more attention from serious and thoughtful minds. And on all sides, and in the churches of all sects, there is increased inquiry into the foundations of the doctrine, and rapidly growing doubts of its divine origin and authority. It is possible the following pages may help to answer some of the questions growing out of this state of mind, and to show how a doctrine, thoroughly heathen in origin and character, came to be adopted by the Christian church.
The sale of the first edition of nearly two thousand copies in the space of three or four months, without being advertised in any form, has encouraged me to believe that the work meets an actual want, and will be serviceable to the cause of Truth.
In the preparation of the present edition, therefore, I have made considerable additions; and, I trust, improvements also, in the hope of making it more worthy and more useful. Two chapters and two sections entire have been added, and chapters three, four and six, have been greatly enlarged, and the argument illustrated and fortified by new facts and authorities.