The purpose of this chapter will be to examine the development of the doctrine of final judgement mainly in the Victorian age, broadly noting the trend towards a kinder view of hell. This will also have the advantage of setting the scene for a more detailed appraisal of the somewhat novel and controversial approach of T. R. Birks. To achieve this, it will be necessary to review the doctrines of Conditional Immortality (or Annihilationism) and Universalism (or Restorationism), theories conflicting with each other and with the orthodox doctrine of eternal punishment. Bearing in mind that one of our principal concerns is the reaction of conventional or evangelical Christians to developments of this nature, the chapter will close with a brief look at W. G. T. Shedd's, The Doctrine of Endless Punishment, which has become an evangelical classic on this subject.
Geoffrey Rowell is not exaggerating, so it would seem, when he claims that :
. . . there were few issues which figured more prominently in the nineteenth-century theological debate than those of the everlasting punishment of the wicked and the immortality of the soul . . . There can be no doubt that the doctrine of everlasting punishment was a major concern for Christians for the greater part of the nineteenth century.
Again, after noting the assertion that the preaching of eternal punishment was behind the success of the eighteenth century Evangelical Revival, A. G. Secrett proceeds :
A second proposition, also based on emotional rather than scientific grounds, is that a doctrine held by the Wesleys and Whitefield and Toplady, and later by Spurgeon and many other honoured preachers, is sacrosanct, and outside the scope of discussion. This proposition is difficult to sustain in the presence of the fact that in the nineteenth century, when a lively interest was re-awakened in eschatological study, a number of equally eminent, learned and faithful Evangelical leaders and accredited teachers, among them Archbishop Whateley, Canon Henry Constable, Canon Hay Aitken, Rev. Edward White, Dr. R.W. Dale, Dr. J.W. Thirtle and Dr. R. F. Weymouth, bravely challenged and repudiated this same doctrine as unscriptural.
Secrett's statement is an indication - if one is needed - that the re-examination of this doctrine in the last century was not the work of an insignificant minority of irresponsible thinkers splashing about, so to speak, in the sea of heterodoxy; but rather the serious enterprise of men of learning and orthodoxy, many of whom were of recognised evangelical standing.
That such a preoccupation was intense and widespread is clearly reflected in the vast abundance of works on this doctrine in this period. Edward Fudge, for instance, notes that when Ezra Abbot published The Literature of the Doctrine of a Future Life in 1880, which was an annotated bibliography on eternal punishment and immortality, he listed no less than 4977 titles!
Causes of this wind of change
A doctrinal literary phenomenon of this magnitude indicates that something was stirring in this area of Christian teaching and conviction in an unprecedented way - and reasons are not hard to find. Leroy Edwin Froom, in his monumental and encyclopaedic work on the history of conditionalism, contends that the French Revolution's attack on the Roman Catholic church had encouraged a bold re-examination of its dogmas, including those of purgatory and eternal punishment. This was accompanied, he continues, by a renewed interest in the related issue of the Millennium, producing more than a hundred books on eschatology in the first four decades of the century and consolidating interest in the final destiny of man, as the focus concentrated on the end-times.
Rowell considers the Secularist attack on the brutalizing affect of the traditional doctrine of hell as another significant factor, along with the challenge being posed by the promotion of evolution; the latter, for example, undermining the assumption of a soul and its immortality. Another source of such doubt he suggests is the fact that there were more clergy working then in unsalubrious urban situations; and that the over-familiarity with death because of poverty, overcrowding and disease played an obvious part in the increasing objection to the traditional horrific picture of damnation. Such frequent confrontation with bereavement, we may note in anticipation of later remarks on Farrar, was a chief reason for revulsion against the hell of the popular imagination:
In the ordinary course of parochial work I had stood by the death-beds of men and women which had left on my mind an indelible impression. I had become aware that the minds of many of the living were hopelessly harassed and - I can use no other word - devastated by the horror with which they brooded over the fate of the dead. The happiness of their lives was shattered, the peace of their souls destroyed, not by the sense of earthly bereavement, but by the terrible belief that brother, or son, or wife, or husband had passed away with physical anguish and physical torment, endless and beyond all utterance excruciating.
Similarly, the recent Doctrine Commission of the Church of England, noting the decline in the western world over the past two hundred years of a belief in eternal torment, states that amongst the many reasons for this has been :
. . . the moral protest from both within and without the Christian faith against a religion of fear, and a growing sense that the picture of a God who consigns millions to eternal torment was far removed from the revelation of God's love in Christ.
In an age of such suffering with the ravages of cholera epidemics, etc., decimating the populace, often found in squalor and irreligion, belief in further, indeed eternal, post-mortem torment must have been intolerable for the sensitive Christian mind seeking to know a God of love. It would be a mistake, however, to conclude that those who retained the orthodox view of hell were harsh and lacking in compassion. Hugh McLeod points out that the resurgence of the power of the doctrine of hell in the first half of the nineteenth century was not accompanied by a lack of interest in human welfare. On the contrary, those involved in the revival of evangelical religion (which promoted a firm doctrine of hell) were also in the vanguard of social reform. A sustained example of this throughout the Victorian period is the Christian humanitarianism of George Muller, of the Muller's Homes, Bristol, fame. A pioneer of the Plymouth Brethren movement, which held strictly to the orthodox position on hell, he dedicated himself to the relief of orphans, many of whom were in that plight because of the cholera epidemic.
One of the characteristics of the progress of civilisation is growth in a sense of justice and fair play, something no doubt accelerated at this time by the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. In this context we note another explanation of Rowell for the attack upon hell in the Victorian era:
Quite apart from the difficulties of reconciling an impersonal, retributive hell with the personal God of love of the Christian Gospel, many became uneasy about a doctrine which was so clearly retributive in an age whose understanding of punishment was increasingly influenced by the theories of Bentham and the Utilitarians, with their emphasis on deterrence and reformation.
Indeed, the leading conditionalist of the time, Edward White, acknowledged the success of Benthamite penology as the reason for the challenge upon orthodox eschatology.
Again, there was the reaction to the eschatology of debased Calvinism, which limited hope to the few. The missionary movement played a significant part in relaxing such exclusivism and in widening the scope of the Gospel. Yet, for Rowell it was the more personal understanding of Christianity which perhaps proved to be the most significant factor in nineteenth century shifts in eschatology. Significantly it :
. . . represented the recovery of an emphasis on the existential elements of religion, and sharpened the protest against an eschatology which was conceived as the end-term of a mechanical process.
The relevance of this assertion we note particularly in connection with F. D. Maurice, whose view of salvation and eternity will engage our attention later as we seek to prepare the ground for an evaluation of T. R. Birks.
Whatever the relative merits of the various causes put forward to explain the ferment of debate characterising the nineteenth century obsession with the final judgement, one thing is certain, that as time wore on the earlier dogmatism gave way to a decreased emphasis on punishment and hell in many circles. However, this was not always acceptable even to those who had come to accept a kinder or more rational understanding of the matter. Rowell notes the alarm of [the conditionalist] Gladstone over the neglect of the doctrine of the final judgement; and, surprisingly, Maurice lamented the half-hearted way in which it was being preached in his day !
Regarding historical features of the controversy, Rowell considers the period 1830-1880 to be critical. Likewise, for McLeod, while the earlier part of the century saw a strengthening of the traditional doctrine, the second half saw the decline of hell. Also, he sees the 1870s as significant, in that hell was attacked more openly by those such as F. W. Farrar, to whom ‘respectable' people would listen;just as Rowell affirms that it was not until that decade that conditionalism made a major impact on theological debate in England.
Conditional Immortality : growth and consolidation
Froom does not see the conflicting views about the last judgement and its sequel so much as a dilemma as a theological trilemma. Affirming conditionalism to be the correct biblical teaching, he sees the doctrine of the soul's immortality with the concomitant of eternal conscious punishment as a later intrusion into Christian thought. Influenced by Platonism, this trend emerged with the second century apologist Athenagoras and was later sharpened by Tertullian and finally consolidated by Augustine; so that by A.D. 600 this dogma had become the teaching of the church. Origen, the younger contemporary of Tertullian, added the third dimension - i.e universalism - in the third century. Such a position is the theological setting also of the ninetenth century with the traditional Augustinian view still in the ascendancy and with conditionalism and universalism seen as resurgent heresies trying the soundness and patience of the church.
In a similar way, Edward White seeks to demonstrate that the original gospel message, which, he claims, includes the doctrine of life or immortality alone in Christ, was soon corrupted in the sub-apostolic and ante-Nicene periods of the early Church. Acknowledging the excellent work (in this area of historical theology) of, contemporary fellow conditionalists particularly Constable, Denniston and especially Professor Hudson of Cambridge, America, he reviews the teaching in this context of the early fathers. Compared with Froom, Constable and the others, White's examination of this period is concise. Ignatius and Justin Martyr are cited as advocates of life only in Christ; and then Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, is quoted at length and with confidence, because of his link with the apostolic era through Polycarp, one of the so-called Apostolic fathers. Irenaeus is held up as a consistent exponent of this doctrine; and his famous work, Against Heresies, is extensively quoted from the Second Book. Worth noting here is the manner in which Irenaeus limits spiritual life to the believer :
The prophetic Spirit speaks of Him as the Father of all, granting perseverance of being to all eternity unto those who are saved. For life is not from ourselves, or from our nature, but it is given or bestowed according to the grace of God; and therefore he who preserves this gift of life and returns thanks to him who bestows it, he shall receive "length of days" for ever and ever. But he who rejects it, and proves unthankful to his Maker for creating him, and will not know Him who bestows it, he deprives himself of the gift of duration to all eternity.
After briefly citing Theophilus of Antioch, he quotes Arnobius, the fourth century African author at length. Surprisingly, in view of the witnesses cited above, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, considers Arnobius to have been virtually the only representative of conditional immortality in the early church !  White closes his citation of supporters of conditionalism with a lengthy quotation from Athanasius; although he feels obliged to point out that he was inconsistent in affirming that God would immortalise his enemies for "an ‘eternal death' of conscious suffering", in which inconsistency he is compared to the famous Isaac Watts.
Fudge, noting the extent of the revival of conditionalism in White's day, claims that it swept across national, linguistic and denominational lines. Froom, with his characteristic excitement for the story of conditionalism notes :
As we step over the threshold into the nineteenth century we find the spread of Conditionalist proponents increasing . . . the Conditionalist movement began to assume the semblance of a definitely rising tide . . . A remarkable revival of Early Church Conditionalism was undeniably under way. And scholarship was much in evidence.
The considerable and useful research represented by this two-volume work, by this Seventh Day Adventist scholar of no mean erudition, on conditionalism has been acknowledged and applied by evangelical scholars, albeit David Powys is aware of Froom's tendency to claim support for conditionalism too readily.At this point we ought to note, in view of our indebtedness to him, that Froom confesses to be a conservative, evangelical Protestant. Also, because of the inclination, already noted, to use the label rather gratuitously, his definition of conditionalism should be freely quoted :
Conditionalism is the Christian doctrine that immortality, or everlasting life, is offered to man only upon God's terms and conditions. Immortal-Soulism, on the other hand, holds that man was created with a soul, which has a separate existence from the body, and that it is indefeasibly immortal. Conditionalists believe that the man who does not accept God's conditions for life will be ultimately deprived of life, totally destroyed. . . that at the death that meets all mankind, good and bad alike, man rests in the grave until the resurrection, when all men will be raised, some to life everlasting and some to receive their punishment. During the interim they believe man is unconscious of the passing of time and knows nothing of events occurring on earth. Immortal-Soulists believe that at death man goes to some place of conscious existence.
Froom's definition, however, becomes too broad as the book progresses. Later he cites Luther and Tyndale as conditionalists; yet, while they taught soul-sleep, chiefly as a protest and against the doctrine of purgatory, they held to the traditional doctrine of eternal punishment. On the contrary, avowed conditionalists of the nineteenth century, while agreeing on the ultimate extinction of the wicked, differed when it came to the survival of the soul after death. Rowell notes the considerable differences between conditionalists, when it came to the intermediate state. Consequently, as used in this exercise, conditionalism will be used to describe conditional immortality (annihilationism), the view of the after-life uniting those who deny everlasting torment, regardless of their convictions about the soul (whatever we conceive that to be) immediately after death.
Like Froom, Rowell sees the growth of conditionalism in the nineteenth century as a significant movement; and his treatment of it is thorough. Likewise, David Powys' contribution at the Fourth Edinburgh Conference in Christian Dogmatics, 1991, in which he majors on the nineteenth century, acknowledges the importance of conditionalism as part of the debate. Yet, surprisingly, in view of the subject of his book, The Church in an Age of Revolution, Vidler, covering the same period, ignores it. The reference to R. Whately, one of the earliest advocates of conditionalism, makes no mention of that fact. However, our later attention to the Birks controversy will reveal how seriously mainstream evangelicals regarded the growing ‘menace' of conditionalism; and if only for this consideration, we ought to have some understanding of its growth and impact in this period.
Significant exponents of conditionalism in the nineteenth century
We might start chronologically, in our review of nineteenth century conditionalism, with Richard Whately, whose book, A View of the Scripture Revelations Concerning a Future State (1829), clearly identified him as a conditionalist; but without in any way jeopardising his future - he was later appointed as Anglican archbishop of Dublin. His views were clearly conditionalist, affirming post-mortem unconsciousness pending the resurrection in addition to the conviction that immortality is received only in Christ. Yet, Rowell finds it curious that Whately should be claimed by the conditionalists as a precursor to the movement; and puts it down to his stress on soul-sleep and the resurrection of the body. Froom, on the other hand, has no hesitation in ascribing full-blown views to him: final extinction of the wicked in addition to the points mentioned. Fudge, also, describes him as a thoroughgoing conditionalist.
The enthusiasm shown by the likes of twentieth century evangelicals such as Froom and Fudge for the phenomenal growth of nineteenth century conditionalism was not shared by the mainstream evangelicals of the time. Indeed, Evangelical Christendom lamented the fact that conditionalism was not just growing in support, but that it was being espoused by men of evangelical convictions, some of whom had left the Evangelical Alliance as a result of their new beliefs. To this party of the Church belonged Edward White, considered to be the leading exponent of conditionalism of his day. Denominationally, he was a Congregationalist, something that Rowell finds significant, arguing that it was among the Congregationalists that this doctrine took its firmest hold, because of its loose organization and its tolerance of doctrinal differences as well as its general Calvinist theology.
Edward White (1819-98) is regarded by Froom as the pre-eminent champion of conditionalism and the one chiefly responsible for giving conditionalism a respected place and for taking it out of the realm of heresy. This was not achieved at once nor without opposition. His great and historic accomplishment was the publication of the book, Life In Christ, in 1846. It was the substance of lectures delivered the previous year in Hereford, where he was a pastor. The sub-title sums up his thesis :
Immortality Is The Peculiar Privilege Of The Regenerate.
Fundamentally, his convictions were those of Whately, although unlike him he did not teach soul-sleep; for him, survival of the soul was linked with the new dispensation and the immortality given through Christ. In his quest for the truth, he was helped to accept conditionalism through reading James Fontaine's Eternal Punishment Proved to be not Suffering but Privation, and Immortality dependent on Spiritual Regeneration, which had been published in 1817. This helped him to resolve his deep anxieties caused by the profoundly disturbing Calvinistic doctrine of eternal punishment, which he had been brought up to believe, and to appreciate the difference between the Hebraic unitary view of man and the Greek dual conception of body-soul. Another figure who helped him in his search was John Foster, a writer and former Baptist minister. In the early 1840s they corresponded on the doctrine of final punishment : a correspondence noted chiefly for Foster's widely publicised letter of September 24, 1841, Letter . . . to a Young Minister [White] on the Duration of Future Punishment. Froom claims Foster as a conditionalist; but Rowell seems to be more discerning when he describes him as having a tendency towards universalism at the same time as being sympathetic to White's position, without endorsing it.
Although his teaching was deemed to be heretical, White was not forced to leave his church or ministry, and he remained in Hereford until 1851; and according to Rowell he did not leave because of any difficulties caused by his conditionalism but because he had come to accept believer's baptism. However, his removal to London, where he established a new ministry for himself in Hawley Road, Kentish Town, in 1852, seems to have helped him to consolidate his position and to widen his influence. This was also accompanied by an impressive increasing circle of friends and sympathisers, among whom were R. W. Dale, R. F. Weymouth, Emmanuel Petavel of Switzerland, Harriet Beecher Stowe, W. E. Gladstone, the politician, all fellow conditionalists and others.
By the 1870s, a decade which Rowell notes was generally marked by severe questioning of established orthodox doctrine, White's Life In Christ teaching was enjoying the triumph of tolerance. Two revised editions of his book appeared in 1875 and 1878 respectively, indicating his return to the public discussion of the issue. He had prepared the way earlier in 1870 with his contribution in the Christian World to the discussion with Dr. Angus and Andrew Jukes; an event which Rowell considers to have been the start of ‘The Life in Christ' controversy; and in this championing of conditionalism, he was careful to point out his aversion to the use of the term annihilation, which confused the issue because of its unfortunate connotations in the philosophical context of the impossibility of the abolition of substance.
Consistent with the cardinal tenets of conditional immortality he stressed the final physical resurrection of mankind, which he saw to be parallel to that of Christ, himself; and to necessitate the wicked in actual physical punishment pending their final end. Again, in this post-Darwin period he was able to make use of the evolutionary hypothesis mainly by demonstrating that the affinity between man and the ‘mortal' animal kingdom helped to discount the traditional view of the natural immortality of the soul. And borrowing the idea of the survival of the fittest, he stressed that the Bible shows it is not the strongest but those who are fit by laying hold of Christ who will ultimately survive. Far from being a materialistic view of man and salvation this was the truly biblical way to encourage faith in Christ, without any need to resort to metaphysical disputes about the nature of man and without relying on the terrors of eternal punishment. Regarding this latter point, White had earlier addressed the problem of the heathen, attacking the apparent brutality of popular missionary theology and proposing conditionalism as a more God-honouring alternative[R1] . This did not assume a weaker understanding of divine justice and anger. Against the Benthamite stress on the preventive and reformative aspects of punishment, White taught the propriety of retribution, albeit it was not the apparently disproportionate version of the traditionalist.
Further evidence of the ‘rehabilitation' of White and of the respectability of his beliefs is found in the confidence and esteem of his fellow Congregationalists : in 1886 he was again elected chairman of the London Congregational Union and in the following year chairman of the Congregational Union of England and Wales; and many other honours are catalogued by Froom. Of course, he did not succeed in annulling the conventional approach to hell; but he did help to establish conditional immortality as a proper biblical alternative acceptable to men and women of undoubted sincerity of faith and scholarship - evangelical and otherwise.
The more positive response of the 1870s, however, was not the result of White's efforts alone, despite his pre-eminence in the stand for conditionalism. The confluence of other earlier expositions of the doctrine with his own had helped to demonstrate that this was no passing fad or eccentricity. One such fellow advocate was Henry Dobney (1809-84), a Baptist pastor at Maidstone. Like White he had suffered much mental agony over final punishment before settling for conditionalism. He is noted for his On The Scripture Doctrine of Future Punishment (1846) and for his letter to the archbishop of Canterbury (1864), protesting against his pastoral letter affirming everlasting punishment. His book, maintaining human mortality, soul-sleep and the eventual destruction of the wicked, ran through several British and American editions. However, the significance of his contribution to the debate is somewhat called into question by Rowell's note that in later life he seems to have become a universalist. F. W. Grant, on the other hand, referring to the same development notes that Dobney followed Henry Dunn's "school of opinion . . . which unites the ideas of annihilation and restoration."
According to Froom, Henry Dunn (1801-1878) was one of the first to come to the defence of White and Dobney in their attempts to promote conditionalism. A lay theologian, he was for some time the secretary of the British and Foreign School Society and editor of the Interpreter. Froom emphasises Dunn's conditionalism and claims he "was not a Universalist", although he leaves one wondering when he goes on to say Dunn "believed in the provision of restoration for the race, but only in the salvation of the reclaimed individual." F. W. Grant is clearer and more explicit in his description of Dunn's views as a uniting of annihilation and restoration [universalism]; and he calls him the "founder" of this position. Grant evidently considers Dunn's views of sufficient importance or danger to devote a significant section to the exposition and refutation of them. Grant agrees with Dunn when he advocates "the pre-millennial coming of the Lord". Yet, he rejects his idea of a "general resurrection" after Christ's return [as opposed to the two-stage resurrection of the redeemed and lost respectively], when Christ will be preached again to the "wicked", those remaining finally obstinate being consigned to "the lake of fire and annihilation". Later he comments:
Mr Dunn's theory is a compound of two apparently dissimilar things, annihilationism and restorationism. It diminishes the former to the least possible degree, reserving it for some obstinate transgressors only.
Grant argues that Dunn's view rests on incorrect exposition of biblical passages dealing with ideas of future restoration. The hope of a second chance or probation has never drawn many evangelical supporters because of its speculative optimism and its apparent inherent danger of weakening missionary zeal.
C. F. Hudson (1821-1867), according to Froom the most important and scholarly of the Americans involved in this development, was dismissed from his pastorate for preaching conditionalism. This gave him more time for further research and in 1857 he published, Debt and Grace, as related to the Doctrine of a Future Life. The book is a masterly evaluation of the support for conditionalism from the Apostolic Fathers right up to nineteenth century exponents such as Whately, Dobney, White, etc. His monumental Critical Greek Concordance, according to Froom, was endorsed by Westcott, Lightfoot and others and was an invaluable help to the propagation of conditionalism. Rowell also considers his contribution to be extremely significant in terms of its influence on English conditionalists, its theodicy and the fact that, appearing before Origin of Species, it did not use evolutionary principles to commend conditionalism. Concerning theodicy, he explained convincingly that the traditional doctrine had created the problem of eternal evil; and that attempts to justify eternal hell, because the lost continue to sin there, supported dualism. Because man is finite, God's demands upon him in terms of righteousness and punishment must also be finite in order to be just; a requirement which conditionalism satisfied. Of course, everyone who seeks to take matters of faith seriously and thoughtfully is a theodicean, whatever stance is taken in this ‘theological trilemma'. Yet, it would seem that the conditionalists have the edge in that for them the second death is the end of all sin and evil; whereas, the traditionalists have to accept the eternity of sin in hell, and the universalists have to rely on the hope that finally everyone will turn away from evil to God. But this is to anticipate our later remarks on Birks and Blocher.
Hudson was but one of a growing number of Americans proposing conditionalist views with a fervour equal to that of their British allies, albeit according to Grant, he accepted (before his death) Dunn's combination of annihilation and restoration (cf. Dobney). The opposition was also strong - understandable in the light of the continuing influence of traditionalist exponents such as Jonathan Edwards, renowned in this context for his terrifying sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", preached at Enfield on July 8th, 1741. One of the most aggressive attacks came in the form of, The Future Life (Defence of the Orthodox View by Eminent American Scholars) [anon.], in which eternal punishment is strongly maintained, with essays against Farrar and Henry Ward Beecher. The latter espoused conditionalist beliefs in later years; and like Hudson he was a Congregationalist, albeit he did not experience Hudson's rejection. To quote Beecher :
I doubt whether in the days of the Old Testament, or in the Jewish mind at the time of our Saviour, the sharp, metaphysically accurate idea of time and duration existed. I believe that what they meant by eternal was a vague and nebulous period of time, and that it was not used in a sharp, scientific sense, but in a poetic, or rather in a generalizing sense; just as we say a hundred when we only mean many, or as we say forever when we simply mean long periods of time.
Another impressive advocate of conditionalism was Henry Constable (1816-1891), who was ordained in 1850 by Richard Whately. In this connection, he flourished at a time of great conditionalist activity in the 1860's. He published in 1868 his, Duration and Nature of Future Punishment, which became another authority on the subject. He was able to make use of evolutionary ideas, using the analogy that as lower forms pass away (proved by fossils) so higher forms will become extinct because of sin. However, we need to remember that the roots of conditionalism were theological rather than scientific. Like White he disclaimed the term annihilation, claiming that it was not used by conditionalists, being attributed to them by their opponents; destruction being the proper biblical term. However, he did not share White's view of the intermediate state; and he upset other conditionalists by an article in the conditionalist journal, Rainbow, which taught that the dead know nothing until the resurrection. This is one of the difficult areas for conditionalists. The view, that the soul ‘sleeps' - the psychopannychia rejected by Calvin - adopted by Whately, Constable and others would appear to be thoroughly consistent with the basic conditionalist tenet of the soul's mortality. (Yet, this understanding of intermediate post-mortem existence was hard to reconcile with biblical passages which seem to teach the conscious survival of the soul.) Baldwin Brown, whose criticism of conditionalism we shall note presently, attacked the teaching of those other conditionalists, who claimed that the soul survived death without being immortal, as less credible than the immortality of the soul.
A significant development took place in 1878 with the formation of the Conditional Immortality Association, a prestigious society provided with speakers such as Constable, Weymouth, etc. Holding an annual conference (spread geographically over twenty-six English cities, during the first fifty years) it encouraged the promotion and consolidation of its teachings, an object helped also by its periodicals, which were successively, the Bible Standard (1878-1889), The Faith (1889-1892), The Life and Advent Journal (1892-1893), and Words of Life (from 1897). For the record, the Conditional Immortality Association is now the Resurrection Fellowship and the Words of Life is now the Resurrection Magazine.
Two other luminaries of the conditionalist cause of this period were the well-loved Congregationalist preacher, theologian and educational reformer Robert W. Dale and the politician W. E. Gladstone. Dale (1829-95) stood for progressive, but in fundamentals orthodox, Evangelicalism and he is probably best known for his book, The Atonement published in1875, the year after the announcement of his conversion to conditionalism. He was a strong champion of conditional immortality; and Rowell classifies him as belonging to the theological and systematic form of conditionalism, along with White, Petavel, Joseph Parker and many others. Although Rowell, at the beginning and conclusion of his study on hell and the Victorians, cites Gladstone, he does not refer to his conditionalist convictions, despite his inclusion of three M.P.s he lists amongst the supporters of conditionalism. This is somewhat surprising since he quotes Gladstone's, Studies subsidiary to the works of Bishop Butler, in which these views are expressed.
Once again, we are in debt to Froom for a thorough examination of Gladstone's views on this subject, as expressed in the above book. When Gladstone, a first-class classical scholar as well as a distinguished politician, first adopted conditionalism is not clear. However, in his book published in 1896 there is no doubt of his thoroughgoing and systematic convictions about the soul, future judgement, etc. He blames Origen for introducing the error of the natural immortality of the soul into Christian thought and considers the classical doctrine of eternal punishment, which prevailed from Augustine onwards, to be ‘an horrible decretum.' As for his ‘connections' it is significant to note that the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology claims him as a member of the evangelical wing of the Anglican party, along with Lord Shaftesbury; yet, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church is a little more reserved, recognising his evangelical upbringing but indicating that he combined the tenets of his evangelical background with High Church doctrines; and it also acknowledges his conditionalist beliefs. Also of some interest or curiosity here is the fact that he was held in great esteem by the great evangelical Baptist pastor, C. H. Spurgeon, who was renowned for his fierce and uncompromising preaching on eternal punishment.
The volume of literature, individuals and movements involved in the story of nineteenth century conditionalism is vast; and one is inclined, at this point, to echo the writer of the New Testament letter to the Hebrews, when he wrote, "And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of [and add] David Thom, J.F.B. Tinling, etc., . . ." However, sufficient representatives, hopefully, have been dealt with to demonstrate the prestigious and eloquent challenge it gave to the traditional view.
Opposition to conditionalism
Attractive, logical and biblical it may have seemed to many seeking an alternative to orthodox eternal misery, it left others unpersuaded and scornful. For example, the protagonist of traditionalism, F. W. Grant, considered annihilationism suspect partly because its supporters were so mixed, ranging from "Trinitarianism down to the lowest depths of Socinian and materialistic infidelity"; and he noted that the Christadelphians and the followers of C. T. Russell (now Jehovah's Witnesses) also subscribed to what he saw as error. This argument is still used to discredit conditionalism; but the fact that new religious movements or so-called cults hold to the final extinction of the lost should not be used as an argument, as far as the traditionalist evangelical Protestant is concerned, any more than the necessity to reject eternal conscious punishment because it is a fundamental tenet of Roman Catholicism and Islam.
Similarly, another critic, the Congregationalist Baldwin Brown, author of The First Principles of Ecclesiastical Truth (1871) and The Doctrine of Annihilation in the light of the Gospel of Love (1875), considered its associations with evolutionary thinking something of a disqualification of conditionalism in that its contention that man was like the animals in his mortality helped the cause of atheism. Further, while he shared the conditionalist aversion to the doctrine of eternal torment he objected to the exclusivism of conditionalism. Its insistence that immortality was conditional, the hope only of the saved he understood to be Calvinism in another dress; and he was averse to the narrowness of Calvinism as he was to the traditional idea of hell. Like F. D. Maurice (and Rowell describes him as "the leading exponent of Mauricean theology"), Brown espoused a wider view of God's love than that associated with traditional Augustinianism or Calvinism. He saw the weakening of Calvinism in the nineteenth century as the result of the emergence of a universalistic conception of God's plans and of the influence of utilitarianism, which emphasised the greatest good of the greatest number.
Rowell is insistent on seeing conditionalism as essentially in the Calvinistic tradition. Froom, on the other hand, portrays Calvin as its greatest enemy. His first theological work, was Psychopannychia (1534), a sustained attack upon the notion of soul sleep; and the unfortunate Michael Servetus, in whose execution Calvin was involved, included conditional immortality amongst his heresies. It is that feature of Calvinism, which limits salvation to those who believe and undergo a change of nature, which Rowell emphasises here. Yet, it may be argued, if I am not oversimplifying Rowell, that this aspect of regeneration and salvation is common to the Methodists and Salvationists, in that while they oppose the tenets of Calvinism, they would concur in limiting eternal life and salvation to those who respond to the gospel and are changed. Nevertheless, Rowell makes a most significant observation in connection with the provenance of conditionalism :
The adherents of systematic conditionalism were almost entirely to be found within the Augustinian-Calvinist tradition, and placed a high value on the verbal inspiration of the Bible . . . there seem to have been no High Anglican conditionalists. The reason for this is probably to be found in the fact that they already had their own ways of modifying the rigours of eternal punishment, through the advocacy of purgatory. Likewise, Broad Churchmen moved towards universalism, rather than towards the elaborate theories of conditionalism, though they were capable of adopting evolutionary language in much the same way as conditionalists.
One further advocate of conditionalism could be mentioned before leaving this topic and in anticipation of the next section. William H. M. Hay Aitken (1841-1927), listed by Secrett among the evangelical ‘celebrities' supporting the doctrine, is reminiscent of F. D. Maurice in his emphasis on the need to positively accept the love of God in preference to the more negative idea of averting his wrath, and in his definition of salvation in terms of freedom from sin primarily and only in a secondary sense as escape from its consequences. His views were first circulated privately in 1883 for the consideration of his Council of the Church Parochial Mission Society, which had become concerned about his views; and then more openly in the same year in the columns of Word and Work, a leading evangelical journal, where he defended a worker dismissed by the Church Missionary Society for holding conditionalist views. Aitken was to suffer opposition for his ‘coming out', so to speak; yet, it did not prevent his appointment as canon of Norwich Cathedral in 1908.
Universalism : latent and explicit.
Baldwin Brown's Mauricean theology is a reminder that there was another branch of the movement against the severity of the traditional teaching on hell, tentatively proposed or hinted at by great thinkers like F. D. Maurice and F. W. Farrar and explicitly declared by S. Cox's Salvator Mundi, for example. Brown saw himself as a universalist, but in the sense of having the hope that all would eventually come to accept God; he was against the idea of a divine decree imposing salvation. Like Maurice, his optimism lay in the expectation of human freedom responding authentically to divine love. Here we would contrast the more certain universalism of the present-century J. A. T. Robinson, in his In the End God, in which he understands God to condition us to ultimately yield to him.
Turning to F. D. Maurice and his Theological Essays, in his own right and in anticipation of our detailed examination of the eschatology of T. R. Birks, his successor at Cambridge, we need to be aware of both the depths and the obscurities of his theological thought, which are notoriously difficult to understand. Alec Vidler warns that his contemporaries found him difficult to understand and that, in consequence, contradictory things were said about his teaching - a theology hard to understand because it could not be classified easily. Likewise, Don Cupitt, in his excellent study in Maurice's eschatology, quips that "expounding Maurice is like getting lost in a maze" and quotes O. Pfleiderer's remark that the theology of Maurice is "more complicated than that of any other theologian." Edward Carpenter in his introduction to Maurice's Theological Essays has to admit the obscurity of parts of the Essays and explains it as the lack of the literary skill one finds in John Henry Newman; something which Maurice tried to remedy in the second edition. Carpenter is talking about Maurice's style. Yet, it is more than clarity of expression that is needed to plumb the depths of his ideas! We will not get far in trying to understand Maurice if we try to quantify, neatly package or systematize his thinking. Indeed, Carpenter goes on to note :
. . . Maurice uniformly endeavours to keep close to, indeed to build upon, common human experience. He had a horror of systems - the systematizer, he thought was ‘of the devil' - and his starting point is always the response which men must necessarily make to the world in which they live.
Cupitt also refers to Maurice's aversion to systematic thought, but points out that the "coherence of his writings is the consistency of the man himself." Clearly then, we will search in vain if, adopting the logical and orderly approach of the systematic theologian, we look for a handy digest or ready-reckoner of Maurice's theology. Particularly is this the case when we attempt to understand his eschatology. It could be claimed that to ask - in a crudely simplistic manner - whether Maurice believed in heaven and hell is like a fundamentalist Protestant asking if the Pope is a Christian (a question once put to me as a teacher).
Doubtless, the enigmatic and paradoxical character of Maurice's thought and his difficult style may well have been largely responsible for his dismissal from King's College. W. E. Gladstone, who had known him well in his Oxford days,acknowledged as much in his account of the proceedings that led to the historic sacking of Maurice. In a letter to Lord Lyttelton, October 29, 1853, Gladstone, who was a member of the council of K. C. at the time, regretted what had taken place. He did not support the dismissal and had argued that Maurice be given more time to explain his ideas. He admitted that there were things in the notorious last essay, which neither he nor the council could ‘reconcile' [understand] and that alone should have at least deferred judgement. In a later letter, which referred back to this sad episode, he confessed that he was one "ill able to master books of an abstract character." Without labouring the point, it ought to be said that the harsh treatment received by Maurice at the hands of the University council, may have betrayed not only a lack of understanding but a fear or anger which often accompanies ignorance of the unknown. In this connection, it may be significant that the majority of those who condemned Maurice (on the College Council) were laymen- perhaps they lacked the appreciation that in the creative world of the university great minds are bound to be speculative and innovative, and that the professional hazard of the the Christian minister and teacher is that he is bound to think; and, consequently, may go too far in his wrestling with the problems associated with something as troublesome as theodicy.
The starting point, then, for any consideration of F. D. Maurice's teaching on the ‘last things' must be his Theological Essays. Published in 1853, the book caused something of a storm, mainly because of his views on eschatology, in particular his definition of eternal life and eternal death. In this connection, the key Essay is the concluding essay, On Eternal Life and Eternal Death; but the one On the Resurrection of the Son of God, from Death, the Grave, and Hell and the book's postscript on the Athanasian Creed are also relevant to our enquiry. The sad sequel to the book's circulation, his dismissal from King's College, London, where he had been made Professor of English Literature in 1840 and the first Professor of Theology in 1846, is perhaps an indication of the pedestrianism of thought of his detractors, who failed to understand his ideas or at least failed to appreciate that he was not so much an innovator but as one seeking the true biblical teaching on these issues. Certainly, his teaching on eternal life and death is really no more - if sympathetically approached - than the realized eschatology, which we can find in the Johannine writings. As in John so in Maurice eternal life is essentially a living relationship with God, whom one can know in Christ. To be ignorant of such a God of love is be in a state of death and loss. Heaven is to be with God; hell is to be without him, and this is eternal punishment. So far, this is a valid exposition of New Testament teaching. However, Maurice becomes controversial in his strict and uncompromising definition of eternal. For him the true biblical sense of the word must be governed by our understanding of God, himself. To explain eternal without reference to God is to miss its real meaning. Understood in this way, the word has nothing to do with time as such and must not be defined in negatives such as endlessness, etc. Eternal life is a quality of life, the life of one in fellowship with God. To think of it in terms of duration or quantity is to debase it. Cupitt's penetrating analysis sheds much light on Maurice's originality here :
Maurice's position . . . seems to be this: the term "eternal" has nothing to do with duration. It is an attribute of God. Eternal life is God's mode of life, which he communicates to those whom he brings into fellowship with himself. Maurice deprecates any attempt to define eternal life; it should be felt, lived, and preached. But if a definition were to be attempted, it should contain no reference to the future, or indeed any other tense, except the biblical Now. Such a reference would be thoroughly misleading. An adequate phenomenological description of the state of eternal life enjoyed by believers, however, would include a reference to their hope of the future consummation of this state in another world.
Of course, there need be no contradiction with a future enjoyment of that which in itself is existential rather than temporal. If this seems too subtle or ambiguous, there is clarification in the later note on the Athanasian Creed :
I say that I have been forced into the belief of an Eternal world or kingdom, which is about us, in which we are living, which has nothing to do with time, by prayers. These common prayers which I offer up with peasants, and women, and children, have taught me that there is an Eternal Life which is emphatically a present life (not according to a doctrine which I have listened to lately with astonishment, alike for its logic and theology - a future life begun in the present); and that this Eternal Life consists in the knowledge of God; and that the loss of the knowledge of God is the loss of it.
Although he does not deny an ‘after-life', as we might call it, his eschatology is essentially realized. His earlier Essay On The Resurrection of the Son of God, from death, the Grave, and Hell makes it clear that not only eternal life, but the resurrection of believers, the last trump, etc. are seen as present realities rather than things to be expected at some far distant time or ‘eschaton'. His reluctance to anchor hope in the future as opposed to the present is well motivated by his distaste for any soteriology which is inspired by the expectation of rewards and punishments. God is to be known and loved for his own sake not for any selfish interest. In a sense, then, the future aspect of life with God is ‘accidental' or ‘incidental' to the eternal life which is divorced from time. In this context, Cupitt contrasts him with Paley, for whom the Christian experience starts with our focus on the final judgement, and compares him more favourably with Richard Whately the conditionalist, for whom one starts with the Gospel and then moves on to the hope of immortality. Again, Cupitt makes much of Maurice's antagonism to what Cupitt describes as "Old Bailey Theology", which seeks to frighten people to righteousness more by the prospect of punishment than by the loss of God's loving fellowship. Noting Whately's claim that the belief in immortality was not general to mankind he goes on:
Maurice, though, thought that the fear of death and what might lie beyond it were universal to men. The Old Bailey theology openly reinforced these primeval fears. It built on them. But Maurice goes along with Whately in putting the Gospel of God's love first, and then finds that it banishes fear. The fundamental axiom is the message that God is a holy and loving Father, who calls men into an eternal communion with himself. This exalts them to a region where death has lost its sting, and fears of what may lie beyond it can no longer make them afraid.
As for the question, then, does Maurice believe in hell, the answer can be positive if we can move away from what some might regard as crude literalism; if we remember that his theology is not systematic; if we are able to understand and accept that hell or eternal death is a state of separation from God as eternal life is fellowship with him; if we appreciate his agnosticism about the possibility of the impenitent permanently excluding themselves from God's love. With respect to this last point, while Maurice is not a universalist as such;he seems to nurse the hope that perhaps after all no one will slip beyond God's love :
I ask no one to pronounce, for I dare not pronounce myself, what are the possibilities of resistance in a human will to the loving will of God. There are times when they seem to me - thinking of myself more than of others - almost infinite. But I know that there is something which must be infinite. I am obliged to believe in an abyss of love which is deeper than the abyss of death: I dare not lose faith in that love. I sink into death, eternal death, if I do. I must feel that this love is compassing the universe. More about it I cannot know. But God knows. I leave myself and all to him.
Before closing his Essay, On Eternal Life and Eternal Death, he tilts at the then current intolerant insistence in some quarters [a reference no doubt to the introduction of the article on eternal punishment by the Evangelical Alliance in 1846] upon belief in endless punishment. Further, he earnestly reminds his brethren, especially the clergy, that when Jesus warned his hearers to escape the damnation of hell, he was speaking to the religious men, the religious leaders; and that, in contrast, his message to the publicans and sinners was about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. He warns, therefore, against spiritual pride, which is devilish and belongs in the deepest hell; and condemns the corruption of Christ's preaching method to the common folk by replacing it with hellish threats. Before we get confused by the elasticity of Maurice's mind, we ought to remind ourselves that :
. . . for Maurice, the primary use of the language of eschatology is not descriptive, but hortatory.
Still on the question of language, Maurice's understanding of the word eternal may be accurate and useful theologically, but what about its roots? While Cupitt is confident that Maurice's doctrines have much support in the ‘historic Christian tradition', he is not so convinced about his use of the word ‘eternal'; and he has to state that etymology here is not on Maurice's side. Going on to explain that the basic sense in Greek (aionios) and Latin (aeternus) is of an everlasting existence, Cupitt suggests we use the word sempiternal with reference to that which endures for ever in this sense, perhaps to avoid confusion with Maurice's understanding of eternal as timeless. Further, he stresses the need to understand that, in his use of this and other terms, Maurice is talking in moral rather than philosophical terms; a factor which made dialogue between Maurice and philosophers like Mansel difficult. Because of his unconcern for the philosophical or metaphysical implications of his use of eternal, Maurice could happily conceive of people living in time and in the divine eternity simultaneously. Of course, in the debate about the nature and extent of eternal punishment, which has called upon etymology as much as theology, there have been many attempts from both sides to settle the matter with the definitive use of key Greek and Hebrew terms, notably eternal.
Again, Cupitt is not happy with the way Maurice has insisted on giving the word ‘eternal' the same value, whether applied to life or death. It appears that in his concern for ‘symmetry' or consistency and in his aversion to the traditional doctrine of hell, Maurice has forgotten that :
Eternal death is not a mode of God's being in which men may participate, in the way that eternal life is.
As already indicated, it is not easy to categorise the elusive brilliance and innovativeness of Maurice's thinking; and it would be naïve to attempt to do so, particularly in conventional terms. With Froom's trilemma in mind, we can at least conclude that Maurice was certainly not a traditionalist and, on the surface at least, appeared to reject conditionalism and universalism! However, for convenience - if not because of confusion - we might cautiously describe him as inclining in the direction of the larger hope of universalism, not in any dogmatic sense, but as an expression of the ultimate victory of divine goodness, albeit in a radically different way to that of T. R. Birks. Indeed, Tennyson, a champion of this larger hope, encouraged Maurice after his dismissal from King's College by dedicating a poem to him. Another significant dedication to Maurice at this time was the Village Sermons (1853), by bishop Colenso of Natal, who also published, Ten weeks in Natal (1855) and Commentary on Romans (1861), which also dealt with his views on this topic. Colenso's experience as a missionary had forced him, too, to adopt a less orthodox view of final punishment. He wondered how Christians could be so comfortable if they really believed that millions of the ignorant heathen were destined for eternal hell; and he considered the traditional doctrine to be a hindrance to successful preaching of the Gospel.
This hope concerning the possibility of the eventual salvation of all was something Maurice shared with S. T. Coleridge,who is considered one of the great influences upon him. Coleridge had an effect also on more than one of the contributors of the notorious Essays and Reviews, published in 1860. According to Alec Vidler, this book, which he sees as an attempt to commend critical and historical study of the Bible to the Church of England (issues which had already engaged German minds for 50 years), caused the greatest of the many religious crises of the nineteenth century. The book was conceived and edited by Henry Bristow Wilson, a former Oxford tutor, who was joined by six other contributors in assembling seven essays of explosive potential. Among them were celebrated names such as Baden Powell; and Frederick Temple (father of William Temple), Head Master of Rugby School, who later withdrew his essay from future editions, when he was made bishop of Exeter, because of the extremities of some of the other contributors. This attempt of the ‘broad' Church to liberalise attitudes to Scripture, soon met with the combined hostility of the Evangelicals and the Tractarians, representing the opposite ends of the conservative spectrum. Although the book generally fell into disfavour, it was the essays of Wilson, on The National Church, and Rowland Williams of Lampeter, on Bunsen's Biblical Researches, which earned the most opprobrium; the former being seen as an attack on the doctrine of eternal punishment (and by implication on Scripture itself) and the latter on the inspiration of the Bible. The outraged clergy were obliged to take action; and as convocation was unable (on procedural grounds) to condemn the book as such, they settled for the prosecution of Wilson and Williams. In 1862 they were tried and condemned for heresy by the Court of Arches; but in 1864 were acquitted by the Privy Council. Referring to this reversal, someone remarked with the now famous words that the Lord Chancellor "dismissed Hell with costs, and took away from orthodox members of the Church of England their last hope of everlasting damnation." Froom comments that since the deletion of the Article on "the mysterious question of the eternity of final punishment" (in 1553) from the original Forty-two Articles of the Anglican Church, the question of eternal punishment had not come up for test, officially, until this case in 1862-64.
As in the case of Maurice, it would appear unfair to charge Wilson with dogmatic heresy as such. At least, by today's standards, we seem to be dealing not so much with a doctrinal iconoclast, to coin a phrase, but with a mind seeking to challenge the traditional view, in the interests of a more acceptable and compassionate understanding of God in his dealings with mankind. He was troubled by the narrowness of the Calvinistic view of salvation, and sought to widen the embrace of God's love with respect to the heathen and unbaptized children. We note his hope in such all-embracing compassion:
Moreover, to our great comfort, there have been preserved to us the words of the Lord Jesus himself, declaring that the conditions of men in another world will be determined by their moral characters in this, and not by their hereditary or traditional creeds; and both many words and the practice of the great Apostle Paul, within the range which was given him, tend to the same result. He has been thought even to make an allusion to the Buddhist Dharmma, or law, when he said, ‘When the gentiles which have not the law do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law are a law unto themselves, which show the work of the law written in their hearts,'&c. (Rom. i 14, 15.).
Again, pointing to our growing knowledge of the vast multitudes abroad, and the challenge to think positively of their destiny - even if outside of Christ - he asks :
In what relation does the Gospel stand to these millions? Is there any trace on the face of its records that it even contemplated their existence? We are told, that to know and believe in Jesus Christ is in some sense necessary to salvation. It has not been given to these. Are they - will they be, hereafter, the worse off for their ignorance? As to abstruse points of doctrine concerning the Divine Nature itself, those subjects may be thought to lie beyond the range of our faculties . . . As to the necessity of faith in a Saviour to these peoples, when they could never have had it, no one, upon reflection, can believe in any such thing - doubtless they will be equitably dealt with.
And, again :
If, indeed, we are at liberty to believe, that all shall be equitably dealt with according to their opportunities, whether they have heard or not of the name of Jesus, then we can acknowledge the case of the Christian and non-Christian populations to be one of difference of advantages.
Such extracts suffice to demonstrate the underlying motivation of theodicy and compassion; and to make us wonder how much real difference there is - on this point - between him and say, a modern evangelical exponent of the doctrine such as Michael Green.
Turning to F. W. Farrar and his controversial Eternal Hope (1878), we find ourselves once again listening in on a mind wrestling compassionately and humbly with the problem of eternal punishment but without presuming to reach dogmatic certainties. The book in question consists mainly of the famous five sermons he delivered at Westminster Abbey (where he had become canon in 1876) towards the end of 1877. It was the third sermon, " ‘Hell' - What It Is Not" (Nov. 11), which cased something of a stir almost immediately in Britain and America. Misrepresentations, such as he did not believe in judgement and retribution, obliged Farrar to go to press and clear the air. His opinions (or tentative views as we might think of them) on this doctrine are found in the sermon itself and in the long explanatory Preface. The sermon is a passionate and convincing attack on the popular view of hell and an appeal for a more humane and God-honouring alternative. In his eloquent rejection of the merciless and cruel common preaching on damnation he gives vivid examples of horrific and crude accounts of everlasting punishment.  The only consolation he can find in the face of such unbearable horror is the fact that :
. . . happily the thoughts and hearts of men are often far gentler and nobler than the formulae of their creeds; and custom and tradition prevent even the greatest from facing the full meaning and consequences of the words they use.
Part of the problem, he feels, is in the misuse of Scripture : ‘proof-texting' we might call it now. There is a tyranny, he argues, in the dogmatic use of texts to the neglect of the broader sense and context. In connection, with this has been the failure to appreciate that some words and phrases are metaphor, imagery and poetry, and are not to be made the foundation of doctrine. But if people must appeal to texts, he continues, then let it be a correct translation of words which underlies them. He goes as far as advocating that the words, damnation, everlasting and hell ought to be omitted from the English Bible as they do not represent the intended meaning of the originals. Such an incorrect rendering has reinforced the unacceptable presentation of judgement, which he so strongly deprecates. Confidently, then, he is able to affirm :
Thus then, finding nothing in Scripture or anywhere to prove that the fate of every man is, at death, irrevocably determined, I shake off the hideous incubus of atrocious conceptions - I mean those conceptions of unimaginable horror and physical excruciation endlessly prolonged - attached by popular ignorance and false theology to the doctrine of future retribution.
As for what hell might represent, Farrar disclaims the ‘spreading doctrine' of Conditional Immortality; he cannot accept the conventional idea of Purgatory; and he cannot preach the certainty of Universalism. With such a statement, it would seem almost impossible to classify Farrar's position ! However, despite his inability to affirm universalism dogmatically, he is clearly being drawn in that direction, which is in line with an element of Maurice's eschatology and which seems reminiscent of the position of James Baldwin Brown. Having confessed his inability to ‘preach the certainty of Universalism', he goes on to record the notable advocates of it in the early and modern church : Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Clement of Alexandria, Gregory of Nazianzus, Justin Martyr, Erskine of Linlathen, etc. He claims that even Irenaeus, Athanasius, Jerome, Ambrose and Augustine, himself, respected the doctrine even though they rejected it. He hints that in striking out the Forty-second Article, that ‘All men shall not be saved', the Reformers may have had sympathies in this direction. In the Preface after protesting that the statements being circulated that he "denied the existence of hell" or "denounced the doctrine of eternal punishment" are ‘perversions' of his teaching, he adds a footnote in which he shows his support for
Mr. Clemance, in whose little book I find much with which I can agree, argues that future punishment may end, but that the ending is unrevealed. While, therefore, he would not teach that it must end, neither can he teach that it will not. . . . I would go a little further than Mr. Clemance in expressing a distinct hope, and I do not think that he gives due weight to the doctrine of the restoration of all things.
Further in the Preface, he assents to the doctrine of hell insofar as it has to with holiness, retribution on impenitent sin, etc. However, there are four elements of the popular doctrine he cannot accept :
- Physical torments or material agonies of eternal punishment;
- The supposition of its necessarily endless duration;
- That it is for the mass of mankind;
- That it is an irreversible doom for all who die in sin.
- Clearly, his is not a hopeless view of the final judgement; and even in the ‘notorious' sermon itself he offers encouragement to those of his congregation, who might not get right with God before death ! This is certainly reminiscent of some kind of purgatory. And it needs to be pointed out, that while Farrar could not accept the Roman Catholic systematic or dogmatic teaching on purgatory, the idea behind it of a process of purification and preparation for heaven he could countenance. Most relevant here is R. J. Bauckham's comment on the essence of this larger hope for mankind (particularly in the light of evolutionary ideology) :
- Common to almost all versions of the ‘wider hope' was the belief that death was not the decisive break which traditional orthodoxy had taught. Repentance, conversion, moral progress are still possible after death. This widespread belief was certainly influenced by the common nineteenth-century faith in evolutionary progress. Hell - or a modified version of purgatory - could be understood in this context as the pain and suffering necessary to moral growth. [italics mine]
- On this issue, Farrar's views of post-mortem probation are in line with those of E. H. Plumptre, brother-in-law of F. D. Maurice and Dean of Wells, 1881-91, and author of The Spirits in Prison and other studies on the Life after Death, 1884. In 1871 he corresponded with John Henry Newman, the Tractarian who became a Roman Catholic in 1845. The occasion was a sermon Plumptre had preached in St. Paul's (on the 30 April that year) in which he argued that since the majority of people are neither wholly good or wholly evil, they are capable of change after death : i.e. that purgatory would provide a fresh opportunity for salvation. Newman rejected that hope arguing that it would be unacceptable to the Roman Catholic Church to see Purgatory as more than the purification of those who had died in faith 
- In conclusion, I think it fair to say, that in his view the absence of any definite revelation, Farrar would not presume to declare the certainty of universal restoration; but, that in his desire for a second probation and a larger hope for mankind, he had a strong hope that ultimately all would be well. If we had to label him, we could speak of him as a crypto-universalist or incipient universalist. Perhaps one could suggest that given time and a more liberal climate, no doubt Farrar would have declared himself more clearly. Indeed, E. B. Pusey the Tractarian, who wrote against, Farrar's views, accused him of teaching universalism, despite his [Farrar's] denial that he was a universalist. Incidentally, in this reply to Farrar, Pusey also seeks to clear up a couple of misunderstandings concerning his own beliefs : that concerning the number of the lost, he never intended to be dogmatic but to insist on our absolute ignorance of it; and while he believes in actual eternal fire, in contrast to Farrar's rejection of material agonies, he is tolerant of others who believe in hell but are unable to accept this literal aspect of it. In anticipation of the views of T. R. Birks, H. Blocher and others on the final end to evil, we note in Pusey's book the implication of the continuation of evil in hell, when he says :
- We can scarcely imagine an existence for a single hour with no one to love, no one to love us, with no love from God or man, nothing but hate.
- Another strong assault on Farrar's views came quickly from America in the form of The Future Life (Defence of the Orthodox View by Eminent American Scholars) in 1878. Fiercely championing the traditional stance, it contains a number of essays supporting the doctrine of endless punishment and others attacking Farrar and H. Ward Beecher. Also from America came F. W. Grant's criticism of Farrar. His detailed examination of Farrar's position understands that to be "the doctrine of ‘final restitution' (in the universalist sense, of course)".
- In his biography of Field-Marshal Bernard Montgomery, the maternal grandson of Farrar, Alun Chalfont provides further interest and illumination as he compares the boldness of Eternal Hope with the individualism of the famous soldier :
- But the overwhelming impact of his [Farrar's] teaching was unmistakable. It could be best summed up by the folklore slogan of the slums : ‘It's all right . . . . Farrar says there's no ‘ell.' From all over the Christian world, from Ceylon and Norway and America, poured in a tidal wave of correspondence amounting to a collective sigh of relief. The authorities did not like it, but they had the sense not to rebuke him publicly. The ensuing controversy was decorous. But Farrar cannot have made many friends in high places; and there is every reason to suppose he was right in believing that his unorthodoxy cost him a bishopric [and I have failed to find any interest of Gladstone in the matter!]. Certainly, he had, among other offences, committed the crime for which a later establishment would not forgive his grandson - that of stealing their thunder by stepping out of line and appealing directly to the masses.
- Stronger universalism
- A more definite and confident statement about the ultimate salvation of all is found in the champions of explicit universalism such as Andrew Jukes and Samuel Cox. Jukes had left the Anglican Church for the Plymouth Brethren, but was obliged to return when he started to advocate universalism. In his book, The Second Death and the Restitution of All Things, 1867, which has been ably assessed by Agar Beet, of the Wesleyan College Richmond and the Western Theological Institution, he faces up to the Scripture texts which seem to assert the final ruin of the lost as well as those which seem to offer them final hope. The key to unlocking the mystery of this tension is, according to Jukes, to be found in the very texts which seem to offer no hope. Destruction, then is the way of salvation; so that just as God saves men through the death of Christ, the second death of the lost, who are cast into the lake of fire will lead to their eventual salvation. This is coupled with the claim that the will of God is to use the first-born from the dead to save and bless the later-born (in a kind of priestly ministry beyond the grave) and that it is also his plan to work out through subsequent successive ages the salvation of those condemned on the last day. Rowell describes Jukes' theology as idiosyncratic and claims that it has ‘a somewhat Gnostic flavour'.
- The teaching of Dr. Samuel Cox is more straightforward and can be found in his book, Salvator Mundi (1877) and in his booklet, The Larger Hope (1883). His conviction is that all will be ultimately saved and that this rests on Scripture and on our instinctive moral sense; so that, if we draw a conclusion from Scripture which conflicts with our conscience, our interpretation of Scripture must be wrong. His appeal to Scripture does not include the Old Testament (because it belongs to an earlier covenant), Revelation and the parabolic language of the Gospels (because of the difficulty of interpreting figurative language doctrinally); and, to the regret of Beet, many of the key passages dealing with the destruction of the wicked are ignored. Central to Cox's view is the claim that final punishment is remedial as well as retributive; but Beet objects with the observation that reformation is not always present in human punishment and that we do not have the right to claim it is in the design of God's punishment of those, who have rejected Christ. One of the key elements of Cox's teaching is the eventual collapse of all human resistance to God's will; but Beet advocates what he believes to be a more realistic view of man's ability to effectively resist God. Like his contemporary, Farrar, Cox examines the words damnation, hell, eternal and claims that they do not have the meaning sometimes attached to them. Curiously and without good foundation it would appear, he understands the words eternal and everlasting in different senses, albeit both are renderings of aionios and [in an echo of Maurice] he understands eternal to be spiritual and divine. Another key conviction in his system concerns Christ's words concerning the impenitence of Chorazin and Bethsaida and the lack of opportunity (for active repentance) of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 11: 20-22). Beet argues that Cox's insistence, that a second post-mortem probation after death must be available to redress this earthly imbalance, fails to appreciate the fairness in God's justice plainly seen in Romans 2:12-16, where we read of God's justice according to the light received. Beet's words at this point are worth noting:
- . . . inequality of advantage affords no presumption of a future probation. The argument of Dr. Cox is valid only against those who teach that none will be received into the city of God except those who on earth have definitely and consciously accepted the salvation offered by Christ[R2].
- A hesitant attempt to defend the traditional view
- As for Beet, himself, his contribution to the debate is well worth evaluating in its own right, as we conclude this chapter with attempts to maintain the orthodox view. In The Last Things (1897), he is able to look back on the various attempts to grapple with this doctrine. As we have already noted, he is unable to assent to the theory of universalism because of its lack of biblical evidence. However, he does appear more sympathetic to the other challenge to traditional orthodoxy, conditional immortality. In Lecture XVI, The Immortality of the Soul, he is clearly conditionalist insofar as he rejects the traditional doctrine of the [innate] immortality of the soul as a mistaken supposition. Again, in his assessment of S. D. F. Salmond's, The Christian Doctrine of Immortality (1895), he is impatient with what he sees as Salmond's inferior treatment of the conditionalist position. Although Salmond is not very explicit about his own position on this issue, it would appear to Beet that he holds the doctrine of the endless suffering of the lost, largely because of his examination and rejection of universalism and conditionalism. Yet, according to Beet, this appraisal is not too impartial; for Salmond appears to accord more status to universalism (e.g. describing universalism as a doctrine and conditional immortality as a dogma); and he has not shown that annihilation is contradicted in the Bible. However, he is happy to note that Salmond is in close agreement with his views on the question of the immortality of the soul. Of course, Beet's conditionalism is only definite as far as this view of the innate nature of the soul. Beyond that he is more negative or cautious. In his examination of the views of Petavel he writes :
- He asserts correctly that the Bible never teaches the essential permanence of the human soul, and that in the New Testament life beyond the grave is always reserved for the righteous. From this he incorrectly infers that the lost will ultimately sink into unconsciousness. He thus falls into the common fallacy of accepting lack of proof as proof to the contrary. In this volume I have endeavoured to show that the writers of the New Testament, while using language which asserts or implies that some will be finally shut out from the glory of heaven, do not define in unmistakable language what their fate will be. This alternative position, which is certainly worthy of consideration, Dr. Petavel ignores.
- The apparent contradiction here, in assenting to life only for the righteous after death while denying that the lost will ultimately sink into unconsciousness, is resolved by noting his earlier distinction :
- We have also seen that life is more than existence; and that therefore the absence of life does not necessarily imply non-existence.
- Beet's position then appears somewhat agnostic; a reservation he feels to be true to Scripture. Continuing the above quotation, he goes on :
- Thus fail all proofs that the Bible teaches the ultimate extinction of the wicked.
- On the other hand, this theory is not explicitly contradicted in the Bible. For, although its writers frequently assert and imply still more frequently, the actual suffering of the lost, and their final exclusion from heaven, they stop short of asserting in so many words that these sufferings will be endless.
- Perhaps it was this ambiguity that prompted Beet's censure by the Methodist Conference of 1902; and made Petavel feel sure that Beet was only a half-step from becoming a thorough conditionalist. Whether he was an incipient conditionalist, as Farrar and even Maurice were latent universalists, it is hard to say! What can be said with certainty is that there were many honest Christian thinkers with compassionate hearts in the nineteenth century who were condemned or criticised for propagating heresy, when in reality they were just tentatively searching (and in the Bible at that) for a kinder view of hell. No doubt for the traditionalist this is too kind a verdict.
- Classic evangelical defence of the traditional view
- In November 1885 W. G. T. Shedd published his response to the strenuous attack being made on the doctrine of Eternal Retribution. It came between the two editions [1879 & 1889] of F. W. Grant's Facts and Theories as to a Future State, which we have already discovered to be an uncompromising defence of the traditional approach. Again, it came ten years before S. D. F. Salmond's celebrated Christian Doctrine of Immortality, which defended orthodoxy albeit in a somewhat less decisive manner. Shedd's book, The Doctrine of Endless Punishment, is a much-expanded version of a contribution he made earlier in the year to the ‘North American Review'. Shedd has been described as the greatest systematic theologian (in the American Calvinistic tradition), after Charles Hodge, between the Civil War and the the First World War. He was greatly influenced by Plato, Kant and Coleridge; and in 1853 (interestingly, the year of the Theological Essays of F. D. Maurice - another who was in debt to Coleridge) he published an edition of the complete works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The work on eternal punishment, representing the ‘reformed' view of the doctrine, examines its history and discusses in fine detail the biblical and rational arguments for it.
- Shedd is not impressed by Farrar's book :
- In Scripture, there is no such thing as eternal hope. Hope is a characteristic of earth and time only. ... Canon Farrar's phrase "eternal hope" is derived from Pandora's box, not from the Bible.
- His argument is based on reason and Scripture, and with respect to the latter it "turns principally upon the meaning of Sheol and Hades, and of the adjective [aionios]". Shedd is quite firm in his contention that Sheol/Hades is equivalent to Gehennah, which he argues is the view of the Reformers, and rules out the whole idea of an intermediate state, Purgatory, etc. There is no second probation; neither is there any possibility of post-mortem change or penitence, the wicked continuing in their eternal rebellion against God. There is no final victory over evil [as we will discover in the teaching of T. R. Birks and others]. Indeed, this persistence in sin ad infinitum, which is aggravated by God's righteous punishment, necessitates that punishment to be unending. Further, eternal punishment follows from the fact that sin itself has an eternal quality because it is against God, Himself; and that it needed the stupendous self-sacrifice of the Eternal Trinity to provide a vicarious atonement for such eternal sin - such a sacrifice being unnecessary if sin relates to time only.
- On the question of eternal, Shedd has a useful section on the interpretation of aionios. Helpfully, he distinguishes two senses of aion (age), one denoting the present finite age and the other the future endless age. For example, Philemon is called an everlasting (aionios) servant in that his servitude was for this present age, just as the mountains are called everlasting - co-terminous with this world. This understood, it becomes easier to appreciate the word in its everlastingness in the appropriate context.
- Regarding the purpose and effect of such eternal punishment, for him there is neither the reformatory influence we noted in Samuel Cox nor any hint of the acquiescence in God's righteous judgement, which we are about to consider in T. R. Birks. In this connection his view is plain and harsh :
- But the Divine tribunal, in the last great day, is invariably just, because it is neither reformatory, nor protective. In eternity, the sinner is so hardened as to be incorrigible, and heaven is impregnable. Hell, therefore, is not a penitentiary. It is righteous retribution, pure and simple, unmodified by considerations either of utility to the criminal, or of safety to the universe.
- Shedd insists not only on the absolute necessity of eternal punishment but on the necessity to believe in it. Only those who believe in and fear hell will escape it; and to question the doctrine of endless punishment is to undermine the atonement, for the latter stands or falls logically with the former.
- However, there is a kinder facet of Shedd's doctrine. In his consideration of the final number of those who will be saved, B. B. Warfield is encouraged by Shedd's confidence, shared by Charles Hodge and Robert L. Dabney, that those ultimately saved will be a considerable number; albeit he is not as happy about Shedd's connection of this truth with "the erroneous opinion that men may be saved apart from the Gospel." Like Pusey, then, Shedd can afford a strong view of hell if, in mitigation, he believes its eventual occupants will be few.
 Hereafter to be referred to in lowercase.
 Geoffrey Rowell, Hell And The Victorians,, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1974, pp. 1 & 3. This chapter of the thesis will draw substantially upon this useful study. Rowell, now Bishop of Basingstoke and Emeritus Fellow of Keble College, Oxford, was a member of The Doctrine Commission of the Church of England, which published The Mystery of Salvation in 1995 (which inclines towards a view of the annihilation of those who ultimately reject God).
 A.G. Secrett, The Roman Catholic Doctrine of Hell in the Light of History and Holy Scripture, n.d., Acton, Words of Life, p. 7. The author of this small but significant booklet I presume to be the man of that name frequently referred to in the biography of Dr. D. M. Lloyd-Jones, and described as a deacon of Westminster Chapel London (having joined in 1941) and as a great friend of Dr. Lloyd-Jones. See Iain Murray, D.Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Edinburgh, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990, Vol. 2, p. 101, etc. In the course of this thesis we will have occasion more than once to note that, though a traditionalist as far as this doctrine is concerned, Dr. Lloyd-Jones was a great friend of certain individuals, who happened to be exponents of conditionalism.
 Edward Fudge, The Fire That Consumes, Houston, Providential Press, 1982, p. 396.( L.E. Froom, The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, Washington, D.C., Review and Herald, 1966, Vol. II, p. 488 referring to the same work, mentions 5,300 books and pamphlets. Is he wrong or did Fudge not include the pamphlets?)
 ibid p. 249.
 Ibid., p. 250f.
 Rowell, Hell, pp. 2 & 4.
 Ibid., p. 12.
 Alun Chalfont, Montgomery Of Alamein [Farrar's maternal grandfather], London, Weidenfield and Nicholson, 1976, p. 20f.
 The Mystery of Salvation, 1995, 2nd impression 1996, London, Church House Publishing, p. 199.
 Hugh McLeod, Class and Religion in the Late Victorian City, London, Croom Helm, 1974, p. 224.
 Autobiography of George Muller, Compiled by Fred Bergin, 3rd Ed., London, J. Nisbet, 1914, pp. 59 & 81.
 Rowell, Hell, p. 13.
 Ibid., p. 13, where he cites White's Life in Christ, London, Elliott Stock, 1878 ed., p. 501.
 Ibid., p. 16.
 Ibid., p.16.
 Ibid., p. 3.
 F.D. Maurice, Theological Essays, London, James Clarke, 1957 ed., p. 321; albeit he is advocating a more existential doctrine.
 Rowell, Hell, p. 17.
 McLeod, Class and Religion, p. 224.
 Ibid., p. 226.
 Rowell, Hell, p. 193.
 Alan Richardson comments, "We find Augustine devoting a distressing amount of space in The City of God to proving that the fire of hell is something physical or quasi-physical. The Scholastics distinguished two elements in the pains of hell, poena damni and poena sensus, which was some sort of external agent of torment." A Dictionary of Christian Theology, ed. Alan Richardson, London, SCM, 1969. P. 151. For a full account of Augustine's teaching see The City of God, ed. R.V.G. Tasker, London, Everyman Library, 1957 print. In Book XXI, ch. IX, p. 331, he discusses the interpretation of the fire and worm (Is. 66:24=Mk. 9:43-48), which he considers to relate to bodily and mental pain. In ch. XVII, p. 339, he dismisses the view of Origen and others that the pains of hell are not eternal and will give way eventually to the joys of heaven. The Enchiridion is another source of information on Augustine's view of eternal conscious torment, especially chs. CXI & CXII, in which he teaches that there will be two distinct kingdoms after the resurrection, one Christ's and the other the devil's. See The Works of Aurelius Augustine, ed. Marcus Dods, Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1873, p. 253f.
 Froom, Conditionalist Faith, Vol. I, pp. 523-528.
 E. White, Life in Christ, London, Elliot Stock, 1878 (3rd ed.), p. 417f.
 Ibid., p. 418f.
 Ibid., p. 420.
 Ibid., pp. 422/3. That Arnobius was a thorough-going conditionalist is evident also from the following account of his doctrine of the soul : It cannot . . . be immortal (i.e. absolutely and per se); it outlives the body, but depends wholly on the gift of God for eternal duration. After death there awaits the evil[sic.] a second death, a Gehenna of unquenchable fire, in which gradually they are consumed and annihilated. Wace and Piercy, A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson, 1994, p. 50.
 F.L. Cross, London, OUP, first edn., 1963 (reprint), p. 325.
 Life in Christ, pp. 423-425.
 Fudge, The Fire, p. 401.
 Froom, Conditionalist Faith, Vol. II, p. 247f.
 Note particularly the use made by, Fudge, The Fire; John Wenham, The Goodness of God, London, IVP, 1974 (and new edition, The Enigma of Evil, Guildford, Eagle, 1994), his paper, The Case for Conditional Immortality, in N. Cameron, Universalism and the Doctrine of Hell, Carlisle, Paternoster, 1992, Facing Hell, Carlisle, Paternoster, 1998; D. J. Powys' paper, The Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Debates about Hell and Universalism, in Cameron's Universalism. Also, Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones acknowledged this work as a magnificent . . . volume and his earlier work, Prophetic Faith, as incomparably the best work on the subject: see inside flap of Conditionalist Faith, Vol. I.
 See his paper, The Nineteenth and Twentieth century Debates . . ., p. 105n.
 Froom, Conditionalist Faith, Vol. I, p. 18.
 Ibid., p. 19f.
 Ibid., Vol. II, pp. 64f & 88f.
 As a matter of interest, if not significance, Luther, came to recognise the affinity between his evangelical doctrine and that of John Huss (Jan Hus), and became known as the ‘Saxon Hus', albeit Hus continued to believe in the doctrine of purgatory. See, for example, W.A. Elwell ed., Hus, Jan, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Carlisle, Paternoster, 1995, p. 538.
 Rowell, Hell, p. 200.
 He devotes a full chapter, IX. Survival Of The Fittest, pp. 180-207, in Hell.
 See his paper in Cameron's Universalism, pp. 106-113.
 Alec R. Vidler, The Church in an Age of Revolution, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1961, p. 40. (References to R.W. Dale and Gladstone also make no mention of their conditionalist views.)
 Froom, Conditionalist Faith, Vol.II, pp. 261-265.
 Rowell, Hell, p. 182.
 Froom, Conditionalist Faith, Vol. II, p. 264, where he quotes Whateley's A View of the Scripture Revelations Concerning a Future State, 4th ed., Philadelphia, Lindsay & Blakiston, 1860, pp. 183, 184.
 Fudge, The Fire, p. 401.
 Evangelical Christendom (a monthly chronicle of the E.A.), Vol. XXIV, 1870, p. 33.
 Froom, Conditionalist Faith, Vol. II, p. 329 claims that White was intensely evangelical and that he assisted in the inquiry room during the Moody evangelistic campaign [1873?].
 Rowell, Hell, p. 182. Regarding this last point it is interesting to note Rowell's explanation that the Calvinist doctrine of divine decrees possibly made it easier to accept immortality as dependent on God's election.
 Froom, Conditionalist Faith, Vol. II, p. 322.
 London, Jackson and Walford.
 Rowell, Hell, p. 200.
 Ibid., pp. 185-7; Froom, Conditionalist Faith, Vol. II, p. 324.
 Ibid., p. 318f; Rowell, Hell, p.188.
 Rowell, Hell, p. 188.
 Froom, Conditionalist Faith, Vol. II, p. 328; John Morley, The Life Of William Ewart Gladstone, London, Macmillan, 1905, Vol. I, p. 768.
 Rowell, Hell, p. 196.
 Ibid., p. 196.( See also Froom, op. cit., p. 328.)
 Ibid., p. 198.
 Ibid., p. 199.
 Ibid., pp. 190-1.
 Ibid., p. 199.
 Froom, Conditionalist Faith, Vol. II, pp. 328-330.
 Other features of the thrust forward of conditionalism in the 1870s were the epochal 1876 London Breakfast Conference on conditional immortality, in the Cannon Street Hotel, at which two of the speakers were Constable and Leask; and the formation of the Conditional Immortality Association in 1878, which owed much to Leask's influence. Op. cit., Froom p. 383. See below for further reference.
 Rowell, Hell, p. 183.
 Froom, op. cit., p. 321.
 Rowell, op. cit., 185n.
 Grant Facts and Theories as to a Future State, op. cit., p. 16f.
 Froom, op. cit. p. 335f.
 Ibid. p. 336.
 F.W. Grant, Facts and Theories as to a Future State, op. cit. p. 16.
 Ibid. pp. 381-397.
 Ibid. p. 17.
 Ibid. p. 382.
 A useful orthodox discussion of ‘second probation' [and other issues relating to final punishment] can be found in Loraine Boettner's Immortality, Philadelphia, The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1962, pp. 104-108.
 Froom, op. cit., 479.
 Ibid., p. 481.
 Rowell, op. cit., p. 193.
 See Rowell, Hell, pp. 193-4, where he cites Debt and Grace, Boston, 1858, 2nd ed., pp. 60, 74.
 F. W. Grant op. cit. p. 17.
 For an exposition of Edwards' literal and uncompromisingly fierce doctrine see John Gerstner, Jonathan Edwards on Heaven and Hell, Grand Rapids, Baker Book House, 1980.
 This is a rare work, the ref. here being to the 2nd edn., 1878, London, Dickinson.
 Froom, op. cit., p. 508f.
 From an interview reported in the New York Herald, Jan. 20, 1878.
 Ibid., pp. 337-354.
 In 1863, the champion of Dobney and White, Henry Dunn, (the sec. of the British and Foreign Schools Society ) published his The Destiny of the Human Race, in which he advocated a millenarian version of conditionalism. W. Leask's journal, the Rainbow, appeared in 1864 and soon became a platform virtually of conditionalist views; and in 1866, J. B. Heard's scholarly study of biblical anthropology, The Tripartite Nature of Man. See Rowell p. 195.
 At this point it is important to note Rowell's remarks on p. 180 of Hell about the connection between evolution and conditionalism. He is careful to point out that the Darwinian theory with its emphasis on man's development from lower forms and the consequent challenge to the idea of an immortal soul should not make us assume that conditional immortality arose out of Darwinism, despite the fact that many scientists adopted conditionalism.
 Froom, op. cit., p 338. Froom notes on the next page that the editor, Dr. William Leask, soon adopted Constable's view.
 Classic passages are the calling up of Samuel by the medium of Endor, I Sam. 28:3-15; the appearance of Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration , Mark 9:2-13; Jesus' confounding of the Sadducees' rejection of an after-life, Mark 12:18-27; the promise to the dying thief, Luke 23:43; and Paul's assertions that freedom from the body takes us into the presence of Christ, II Cor. 5:1-8 & Phil. 1:21. Basil Atkinson, another advocate of soul-sleep, attempts to explain these in Life and Immortality, privately published n.d., pp. 33, 53, but not very convincingly in my opinion. Like Froom, Whately, Constable, etc. Atkinson sees post-mortem unconsciousness as a linchpin of conditionalism.
 Rowell, op. cit., p. 202.
 Froom op. cit., pp. 451-459
 Resurrection Magazine is published by the Pastor's Library Foundation (for the Resurrection Fellowship in America and the United Kingdom), P.O. Box, 353, Sterling, VA, 20167, USA. In the U.K. contact may be made through Dr. C. Tulloch, 18A Young Street, Peebles, Scotland, EH45 8JX.
 Rowell, Hell, op. cit., p. 204.
 Ibid.,, pp. 3 & 212.
 Froom, op. cit., 627-37, where he carefully analyses Gladstone's, Studies Subsidiary to the Works of Bishop Butler, Oxford, The Clarendon Press, 1896, pp. 630-636, etc.
 Ibid., p. 631.
 Ibid., p. 633.
 Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Ed. W.A. Elwell, Carlisle, Paternoster,1984 (11th print.), p. 380.
 Op. cit., p. 561f.
 John Morley, Life of Gladstone, London, Macmillan, 1922, Vol. I, p. 906, Vol. II, p. 139, albeit one is not clear as to the first emergence of these views in Gladstone. For a full account of Spurgeon's beliefs in this context see, Charles Spurgeon, When Christ Returns, New Kensington, USA, Whitaker House, 1997, pp. 7-40.
 See Froom, Conditionalist Faith, Vol. II, pp. 402, 538 & 742 for extensive lists of names. The NT ref. is Hebs. 11:32.
 F.W. Grant, Facts and Theories as to a Future State, op. cit., pp. 7f, 11; and 2nd edn. 1885, 578f. Grant, who had emigrated to America as a youth, was a passionate defender of the orthodox doctrine and was greatly disturbed by the "current denials of eternal punishment" on both sides of the Atlantic.
 Rowell, op. cit., p. 202.
 Ibid., p.201.
 Ibid., 201.
 This assumes, incidentally, that Calvin's first book, Commentary on Seneca's Treatise ‘De Clementia', (1532), was not theological as such. Psychopannychia was directed at the Anabaptists, whose break with the catholic tradition of the Church, put them as far as he was concerned outside the true church and without salvation. Luther (another enemy of anabaptism), on the other hand, accepted soul-sleep, as already noted.
 Froom, op. cit., 112-125.
 Rowell, op. cit., p. 205.
 Op. cit., A.G. Secrett, The Roman Catholic Doctrine.
 Op. cit., Froom, pp. 372-378.
 Ibid., p. 203.
 J.A.T. Robinson, In the End God, London, 1950, 119-123, as quoted by T. Hart, ‘Universalism :Two Distinct Types', in Cameron's, Universalism, op. cit., p. 21f.
 Alec R. Vidler, The Church in an Age of Revolution, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1961, p. 84.
 Don Cupitt, The Language of Eschatology : F.D. Maurice's Treatment of Heaven and Hell, in the Anglican Theological Review 54, no. 4, October, 1972, pp. 313 & 316.
 F.D. Maurice, Theological Essays, London, James Clarke, 1957 edn. (with introduction by E. F. Carpenter), p. 9.
 Ibid., p. 10.
 Op. cit., p. 305.
 John Morley, Life of Gladstone, London, Macmillan, Vol. I, 1905, p. 54.
 Ibid., p. 454f.
 Ibid., p. 168n. The occasion of the letter [see p166f] was Gladstone's ‘apology' to Dr. Hampden (now a bishop), who had been condemned for alleged heresy in 1836, while a professor at Oxford. Gladstone regrets that he was in accord with the majority against him, despite his actual absence. Clearly, as he grew older Gladstone became wiser - or at least more tolerant of the views of others!
 Ibid., p. 454.
 See e.g. John 17:3 & and I John 5:12.
 See Carpenter's edn. Op. cit. pp. 306-7.
 Ibid., p. 305f.
 Don Cupitt, The Language of Eschatology, op. cit. p. 309. Cupitt has just quoted Maurice's The World [sic.] "Eternal" and the Punishment of the Wicked (Fifth Thousand, Cambridge, 1854), p.36, where Maurice brings in a future dimension by saying, ". . . I never doubted that eternal life is the blessing which we are to desire in a future world; which we are to hope for there in its fulness."
 Theological Essays, Op. cit., p. 326.
 Ibid., pp. 133-5 and Cupitt Op. cit. p. 311.
 Ibid., pp. 127-133.
 Op. cit., p. 310f. Cupitt illustrates the point with the analogy of the misuse of university education when only the fear of final examinations encourage study.
 Ibid., p. 311.
 Rowell Op. cit., p. 81. He says that Maurice looked anew at the doctrine of hell "refusing to endorse either a rigorist position, or an easy universalism."
 Theological Essays, p. 323.
 Ibid., p. 324. A similar warning or claim is made by David Pawson in his book The Road To Hell, London H. & S., 1996 ed., pp. 48-53, where he maintains that the message of hell-fire was preached by Jesus to his followers and the religious leaders rather than to the common folk.
 Cupitt, Op. cit., p. 307.
 Ibid., p. 314.
 Ibid., p. 315f.
 F.W. Farrar's Eternal Hope, Macmillan, London, 1892 ed., has an excursus on the word aionios, pp. 197-202, in which he writes significantly, and no doubt with Maurice in mind, "It is not worth while once more to discuss its meaning when it has been so ably proved by so many writers that there is no authority whatever for rendering it ‘everlasting,' and when even those who, like Dr. Pusey, are such earnest defenders of the doctrine of an endless hell, yet admit that the word only means ‘endless within the sphere of its own existence' . . ." Edward Fudge, in an excellent account of the various attempts historically to explain eternal/aionios, considers that non-traditionalist writers (such as Maurice and Farrar) who reject any temporal sense in the word have overreacted as much as traditionalist writers who deny any qualitative sense. See pp. 38 and 49, op. cit.
 Op. cit., p. 310, "On the other hand, Maurice very rashly insisted (because of his concern to deny the endlessness and futurity of Hell-punishments) that the word eternal bears the same meaning in the two phrases, ‘eternal life' and ‘eternal death'. Obviously it does not, any more than ‘perfectly' bears the same meaning in the two phrases ‘perfectly beautiful' and ‘perfectly hideous'.
 Ibid., p.310.
 Rowell, op. cit., p. 63.
 Ibid., 88f. Tennyson's view can be seen in In Memoriam LIV & LV, which can be found in In Memoriam Maud,Other Poems, Everyman, London,1996 reprint, p. 103f.
 Rowell, p. 117f.
 Rowell, p. 67.
 Ibid., p. 62; Vidler op. cit., p. 83f.
 Vidler, pp. 83 & 124.
 Ibid., pp. 123 & 125.
 This appointment was one of Gladstone's earlier preferments. While Gladstone was averse to some of the Essays he found nothing objectionable in Temple's : at least he ‘thought it of little value, but did not perceive that it was mischievous'. See Morley's Life of Gladstone,Vol. II, op. cit., p. 39f.
 Ibid., p. 128.
 Froom, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 394f.
 Essays and Reviews, London, John W. Parker, 2nd edn., 1860, p. 157.
 Ibid., pp. 153 & 154.
 In The Truth of God Incarnate, London, H. & S., 1977, Green advocates the same charitable view of God's dealings with those who are ignorant of the Gospel. See, e.g., p. 118f.
 The title-page announces them as having been preached in November and December 1877, yet the footnotes at the start of each sermon indicate that they were delivered in October and November.
 F.W. Farrar, Eternal Hope, London, Macmillan, 1892 rep., p. xixf.
 His views on this subject can also be found in , Mercy and Judgement : A few Last Words on Christian Eschatology with Reference to Dr. Pusey's "What Is of Faith?" London Macmillan, 1881; and "Present-Day Beliefs on Future Retribution" in That Unknown Country.
 Ibid., pp. 55-63. Cp. His refs. to Jonathan Edwards and Spurgeon, p. lixf.
 Ibid., p. 63.
 Ibid., pp. 73-77. Examples on p. 75 of the errors arising through the ‘ignorant tyranny of isolated texts' are : "Gin-drinking has been defended out of Timothy, and slavery has made a stronghold out of Philemon." !
 Ibid., pp. 77-81. We have already seen that he shares the Mauricean view of eternal/aionios; and as for damnation the substitution of ‘condemnation' would be more accurate. Hell is used for Tartarus, Hades and Gehenna; and he strongly maintains that these did not convey to the early Greeks and Jews the notion of everlasting hellish suffering of popular Christian preaching.
 Ibid., p. 82f.
 Although Froom admits that Farrar is not a conditionalist as such, he devotes a modest section to him, mainly because he had "turned completely away from the Eternal Torment postulate." Op. cit., pp. 404-412.
 Farrar, Eternal Hope, op. cit., p. 84.
 Ibid., p. 84f.
 Ibid., p. xxix.
 Ibid., xxxif.
 Ibid., p.xxvf.
 R.J. Bauckham, Universalism: a historical survey, Themelios, 4(2), 1979, p. 51. As quoted by Powys, Universalism and the Doctrine of Hell, op. cit., p. 126. How closely relevant this is to Farrar, I am not sure, but Bauckham goes on to make the significant point that evolutionary progress was the new context for nineteenth century universalism as the Platonic cycle of emanation and return was for universalists of earlier centuries. Earlier, we noted the evolutionary influence behind some of the later conditionalists; and later we shall consider how this influenced B.B. Warfield's optimism about those who will finally be saved.
 Farrar's Eternal Hope is dedicated to the Rev. E. H. Plumptre, D.D.
 Rowell, op. cit., p. 173f. Newman was committed to eternal punishment as an essential Christian doctrine. For a brief summary of his views on this see Rowell p. 162.
 E.B. Pusey, What Is of Faith as to Everlasting Punishment? Oxford, James Parker, 1880 - in the ‘advertisement' to the third edition. (Farrar replied to Pusey in his Mercy and Judgement, 1881 cited above).
 Ibid., pp. vi & ix. David Powys in Universalism and the Doctrine of Hell, op. cit., p. 127 says, "Pusey, it seems, was happy to defend a doctrine of everlasting punishment because he was confident that it would apply to very few."
 Ibid., p. 3f.
 Second Edition, London, Dickinson, 1878. See earlier citation. Was one of the contributors W. G. T. Shedd ? See closing section of this chapter.
 Facts and theories as to a Future State, 1879, p. 415f.
 Alun Chalfont, Montgomery of Alamein, London, 1976, p. 21f.
 See Roy Coad, A History of the Brethren Movement, Exeter, Paternoster Press, 1976, 2nd (paperback) ed., pp. 79-80 for a discussion of Jukes' involvement with the Brethren, where Coad tells us that the Anglican clergyman, ‘the mystical Andrew Jukes', formed a congregation, which was soon linked with the Brethren and was visited by J.N. Darby, the Brethren pioneer (p. 79); and referring to Jukes' book, The Second Death and the Restitution of All Things, Coad adds, ". . . he denied the doctrine of eternal punishment and finally alienated himself from the Brethren, who were fiercely orthodox on this point following the earlier debates within their churches." (p. 80) Interestingly if not significantly, the Paternoster Press associated formerly with Brethren publications now also publishes works which take a broader stance on this doctrine of eternal punishment : e.g. the reprint of Fudge's conditionalist treatise, The Fire That Consumes, op. cit., 1994, the original edition (1982) of which carried a Foreword by the distinguished Brethren scholar, F.F. Bruce, and N. Cameron's Universalism and the Doctrine of Hell, op. cit.
 Agar Beet, The Last Things, London, H. & S., 1897, pp. 282-285. Beet commends Jukes for rebuking the over-statements of popular theology, but does not think he has proved his point; and regrets that he has omitted reference to the passages which compare the doom of the lost to the destruction of vegetable matter by fire.
 Rowell, Hell, op. cit, pp. 129-131, where he gives an illuminating and succinct account of Jukes' strange views.
 He was the minister of Mansfield Road Baptist Church, Nottingham, where he gave the series of lectures later published as Salvator Mundi. His congregation was happy with his views; but The Expositor, which he edited for ten years demanded that he ‘toe the line'; but he refused and resigned. See Rowell op. cit., pp. 131-133 and Beet op. cit., p. 286.
 Beet, op. cit., p. 287f. Beet agrees with respecting the authority of conscience but warns against putting too much reliance on it, in this connection, because of the distorting influence of personal feelings.
 Ibid., pp. 287/9.
 Ibid., p. 288f.
 Ibid., p. 288.
 Ibid., p. 290. Cp. Jukes' aeonial transliteration, which emphasises the relation to age/ages (a temporal significance indicating a period of time with a unity of its own). Jukes also, like Maurice and Cox, gives it a higher sense : eternal life is that which has to do with a Saviour, part of a remedial plan. Similarly, the conditionalist Bible translator, R. F. Weymouth, renders the word ‘of the ages' and explains that the word aeonian signifies ‘belonging to the age(s)' rather than ‘during'. See his note on ch. 18:8 - New Testament in Modern Speech, James Clarke, London, 1916.
 Ibid., p, 291.
 Beet, op. cit., p. 200.
 Ibid., p. 281.
 Ibid., pp. 280-282.
 Ibid., p. 279.
 Ibid., p. 304f.
 Ibid., p. 216.
 Ibid., p. 216.
 Froom, Vol. 2, op. cit., 464f.
 Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1895.
 Froom, op. cit. p. 443, claims that Dr. Salmond maintained a neutral position on the question of annihilation, while Edward Fudge, The Fire That Consumes, 2nd edn. Cumbria, Paternoster Press, 1994, p. 23 says that Salmond "comes out in the end against the annihilation of the wicked".
 Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Ed. W.A. Elwell, Carlisle, Paternoster, 1995 reprint, p. 1010.
 W.G.T. Shedd, The Doctrine of Endless Punishment, Edinburgh, Banner of Truth edition, 1986, p. 143.
 Ibid., p. iv.
 Ibid., pp. iv, 19f. He also recognises a second aspect to the meaning of Sheol, i.e. the grave to which all go; however, it is only the body which goes there, where it awaits the final resurrection. Shedd claims that this view of the afterlife pending the final judgement is that of the Reformers (p. 20); yet, Herman Bavinck of the Dutch Reformed tradition distinguishes clearly between Sheol and Gehennah: see his The Last Things, Carlisle/Grand Rapids, Paternoster /Baker Books, 1996, pp. 36-37. Bavinck's somewhat curious view is that, although the saved and the lost are both in Hades, the saved "enjoy a provisional bliss with Christ in heaven", while the lost are in torment - but a torment which is "not yet identical with Gehennah" (p. 37).
 Ibid., p. 151f.
 p. 151.
 p. 152-3.
 Ibid., p. 84f. "If, therefore, the punishment of the wicked occurs in the present aeon, it is aeonian in the sense of temporal; but if it occurs in the future aeon, it is aeonian in the sense of endless. The adjective takes its meaning from its noun."
 Ibid., p. 135.
 Ibid., pp. vi & 153.
 The reference is to the well-quoted words of Hodge, which virtually close his great work: ". . . the number of the finally lost in comparison with the whole number of the saved will be very inconsiderable . . .". Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, James Clark, London, 1960 ed., Vol. III, p. 879f.
 Benjamin B. Warfield, Biblical and Theological Studies, Philadelphia, The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1952, p. 350 & n. The ref. (that many will be saved) is to Shedd's Dogmatic Theology, Vol. II, p. 712; and that to being saved apart from the preaching of the Gospel is to Vol. I, p. 437.
 A.H. Strong, a leading American Baptist theologian towards the end of the nineteenth century, wrote : "The North American Review engaged Dr. Shedd to write an article vindicating eternal punishment, and also engaged Henry Ward Beecher to answer it. The proof sheets of Dr. Shedd's article were sent to Mr. Beecher, whereupon he telegraphed from Denver to the Review : ‘Cancel engagement, Shedd is too much for me. I half believe in eternal punishment now myself. Get somebody else.' The article in reply was never written, and Dr. Shedd remained unanswered." A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, London, 1970, p. 1052f.