Benjamin Rush Believed In Universal Reconcilliation
Benjamin Rush — unlike the “key Founders” (Washington, J. Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin) — was identifiably an orthodox Trinitarian Christian. And he seemed to connect his political philosophy to that more traditional form of Christianity.
Yet, he believed in universal reconciliation; he made the “orthodox Trinitarian” case for that doctrine. (Thus, he would have dug “The Shack.”) The Christian-unitarian case for universalism is that all good men, modeling Jesus’ perfect moral example, are initially saved, the bad are temporarily punished in proportion to the wrong they do (this is what those 5 key Founders either explicitly or probably believed). The trinitarian case for universalism believes all will be saved thru Christ’s universal (as opposed to limited) atonement; the unsaved spend some serious time in Hell or purgatory through.
At Dr. Finley’s school, I was more fully instructed in those principles by means of the Westminster catechism. I retained them without any affection for them until about the year 1780. I then read for the first time Fletcher’s controversy with the Calvinists, in favor of the universality of the atonement. This prepared my mind to admit the doctrine of universal salvation, which was then preached in our city by the Rev. Mr. Winchester. It embraced and reconciled my ancient Calvinistical and my newly adopted Arminian principles. From that time I have never doubted upon the subject of the salvation of all men. My conviction of the truth of this doctrine was derived from reading the works of Stonehouse, Seigvolk, White, Chauncey and Winchester, and afterwards from an attentive perusal of the Scriptures. I always admitted with each of those authors future punishment, and of long duration.