The nineteenth-century Universalist minister Hosea Ballou used a simple illustration to explain universal salvation and the unconditional love of God.
“Your child has fallen into the mire,” he said, “And its body and its garments are defiled. You cleanse it and array it in clean robes. The query is, Do you love your child because you have washed it? Or, did you wash it because you loved it?”
Here is Janeen Grohsmeyer’s expansion of this story from the book, A Lamp in Every Corner.