The influence of this bold theory and reactions to it.
The somewhat peculiar and eccentric theory of Birks and the lack of references to him, especially in the present century, might encourage us to imagine that his views had little or no impact upon his day, and that further attention to him is not required. However, his ideas did not die with him; and, although he makes no acknowledgement of Birks' original thinking on this matter, Henri Blocher, an ascendant star in current evangelicalism, has proposed a basically similar theory. (This is for later and fuller appraisal.) Furthermore, in his own day, Birks' doctrinal novelty became something of a cause celebre, which gained him some painful notoriety in evangelical circles, particularly in that of the Evangelical Alliance.
In order to investigate this controversy, I was obliged to visit the London headquarters of the Evangelical Alliance, where I was given access to the relevant original documents. Searching through the hand-written records of the minutes of the Executive Council [of the E.A.] and through the back copies of Evangelical Christendom proved as fascinating as it was rewarding.
T. R. Birks became the Honorary Secretary of the newly-formed Evangelical Alliance in November, 1850, replacing his father-in-law, the late Edward Bickersteth. In this post he enjoyed great esteem and appreciation for over nineteen years: that is, until an objection to his book, The Victory of Divine Goodness, was made in the meeting of the Executive Council, 10th May, 1869. At that meeting, a letter of Mr. R.C.L. Bevan, the Treasurer, who was unable to attend (because of Birks ?), was read out, in which he complained about Birks' book, pointing out that it was incompatible with the 8th Article of the Evangelical Alliance's basis of belief, and "that he could not conscientiously continue in the Alliance with Mr. Birks". [This article prescribed everlasting punishment, its full form being, The Immortality of the Soul, the Resurrection of the Body, the judgement of the World by our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Eternal Blessedness of the Righteous, and the Eternal Punishment of the Wicked.] After some discussion, a resolution was passed indicating respect for Mr. Bevan's concern, but pointing out that the Council did not feel able to question Birks on this matter because he continued to avow his adhesion to the 8th Article. They hoped, therefore, that Mr. Bevan would leave the matter there. (The seriousness of the Council is reflected by the fact that they arranged for a deputation to be sent to Bevan to convey their feelings.)
Unfortunately for Birks, the matter did not stop there. At the Derby Conference of 25th November, 1869, the controversy started to gain momentum. Another letter of Bevan (dated Nov. 22, 1869) was read out, in which he threatened to refuse to stand for re-election and that he and his son would leave the Alliance, if no action were to be taken against Birks or if his views were to be considered reconcilable with the 8th Article. Straight after, Birks read out a copy of his letter that had been already been put before the Council (on October 1, 1869) about his intended retirement from office (the letter, we later discover to have been written the previous July.) Birks then proceeded to read out another letter, announcing his resignation of his post, which he had held for the past nineteen years. He expressed his gratitude to the Council for its esteem for and confidence in him, and for their acceptance of his claim that his allegiance to the Basic Principles of the Alliance had not changed. His resignation, he said, was necessitated by the fact that his office had become an occasion of strife. Clearly, he was concerned to maintain a spirit of unity, even though he was not able to modify his views. However, he was not going to take this lying down, so to speak, and his declaration of resignation was followed by a passionate six-point tirade against his detractors, in which he accused them of wielding undue influence because of their wealth and of being in danger of turning the Alliance into an illegal and tyrannical body and of imperilling its usefulness and even its very existence. As he continued, he warned of the possibility of the Alliance being turned into an Inquisition, undermining the second article on the right and duty of private judgement. The summary of doctrine was being turned into an oppressive creed; and the fundamental law that members must not be made to compromise their views on secondary issues was being forgotten. A resolution was passed expressing regret that anything should have happened to disturb the long and intimate relationship between Mr. Bevan and the Council, indicating that feelings were hardening towards Birks. It was resolved also to refer the matter to the newly-appointed Council that they might be specially summoned to meet in London to take into their consideration the whole question.
The Special Meeting was held on Wednesday, January 12, 1870. It was something of a formidable gathering with thirty four Council members present, notably (for future reference) Messrs. Robert Baxter, R. C. L. Bevan, H. M. Matheson and Dr. Blackwood. We might invest the proceedings with even greater awe, if we noted that three Generals were also present! Dr. Candlish, who also played a significant part in the controversy later, was not there. After the customary formalities, letters received on this subject were read, notably one from E. H. Bickersteth, a Council member, but who was not present [a significant and deliberate absence ?]. The subject for the day was introduced by Robert Baxter, who, first read further relevant correspondence from Council members, and then proposed his resolution. This was direct and urged the Council that, in view of the basis of membership of the Alliance and of the requirement to accept Article 8 (i.e. what are actually understood to be evangelical views with regard to the eternal punishment of the wicked) , it could not recognise as consistent with this any teaching that there will be mercy in some form or other extended to the souls under the solemn sentence of eternal judgment: the view of the Rev. T. R. Birks, who not only holds this but accuses those who hold the traditional view of representing God as absolutely merciless and of infinite malice and of speaking of creation as an act of cruelty and of asserting the absolute & entire mercilessness of God's dealings with the greater part of all past generations of mankind, etc.  ( The severity of these words of Birks were to be sharply rebuked a few months later in Evangelical Christendom. ) Because of this, Baxter went on to claim that Birks' views did not comply with Article 8, and that he cannot any longer be deemed a member (i.e. of the Alliance). This uncompromising contribution of Baxter was to prove pivotal in the progress of the controversy. After various amendments, discussion, etc. it was resolved to adjourn the meeting to 16th February.
Before the adjourned meeting another ordinary meeting of the Council took place on January 26, 1870, at which an amendment of the previous meeting was inserted. It was proposed by C. D. Marston and expressed satisfaction at the resignation of Birks, considering the great pain caused by him and considering the then current attacks being made on the Scriptures as God's revelation. It also reaffirmed the solemn obligation of members to hold fast to the articles as these rested on God's word. Also of significance was the reading of a letter of Dr. J. S. Blackwood (dated Jan. 17, 1870), in which he rejected the offer of Birks' vacant post. His reasons were that he could not follow the course being pursued by certain brethren in the matter, who did not seem to be acting in love; that he regretted the way the Executive Council was becoming a tribunal; and that, without endorsing his views, he was prepared to accept Birks' assurances that he did adhere to the principles of the Alliance. We shall note below his steadfast loyalty to the right of Birks to differ on secondary aspects of doctrine, albeit he did become concerned as to where such ideas might lead.
The Adjourned Special Meeting actually took place on February 25th, 1870 (not 16th as earlier planned). There was a good attendance of Council members, among whom again were Bevan, Blackwood, Baxter and Matheson; and this time E. H. Bickersteth was not missing. After the customary formalities, the meeting began to take a course quite different to that of the original Special Meeting. A resolution was passed to remove Marston's amendment, included at the previous meeting. Dr. Blackwood read a letter from Birks (dated Feb. 22) and one from Dr. Candlish. No details were given of these letters, but a full account of Birks' letter to Blackwood is found in Evangelical Christendom, March 1, 1870. Some knowledge of its contents may well help us to appreciate the mood of the Council at this meeting. Birks wrote that had he known (before publishing the book) the pain it would have caused, he would have resigned his office but not his membership. Further, he defended himself by claiming that the strife did not arise through forcing his views on others but by replying frankly to one who enquired after his views and who had not read his book. (The reference here is to Mr. Bevan; and we shall deal with it more fully, when we consider the origin of the dispute in greater detail). He also lamented the reaction of the Council to him and the fact that the matter had been left pending for almost a year. He claimed that, like others, his desire was to follow the truth in love; and affirmed his high regard for the endurance of the Alliance, albeit Christian liberty meant more to him. Certainly, his conscience was clear in this matter. Next, Mr. Baxter explained that his resolution at the Jan. 12 meeting (Special Meeting) had been withdrawn.
The tide continued to turn in Birks' favour with the rejection of the resolution put forward by Mr. H. M. Matheson. In it he argued for a firm adhesion to Article 8, claiming that it was originally framed to counter the unscriptural teachings of annihilation and universal restoration then current and that, although Birks' novel opinions were not being considered at that time, they were just as incompatible with it. Again, like Baxter's earlier resolution this was to prove pivotal in the developing crisis. However, a more moderate resolution put by R. A. Macfie, M.P., was accepted. This simply claimed that the Council need not reaffirm Article 8, albeit they could if necessary; and that declining or omitting action in the painful business did not imply agreement with or unconcern for the opinions under consideration. They should also remember the rule of the Alliance that members are declared free from complicity in such cases: i.e. the solidarity of the Alliance did not mean that everyone had to, by virtue of association, share in the error of any member.
The next significant stage in the ‘political' or conciliar history of this controversy is the dramatic meeting of March 30, 1870, when a letter of Mr. R. C. L. Bevan announcing the resignation of himself and sixteen others was read out. They were disturbed by the rejection of H. M. Matheson's resolution, with whose sentiments they were in agreement; and they maintained that a great opportunity has been lost for vindicating the Scriptural character of the Basis of the Alliance. Their withdrawal would remain until the General Body shall think fit to overrule the decision of the Council and adhere to the Doctrinal Basis. Among the names of the seceders, significant for our purposes, were Messrs. R.C.L. Bevan, Robert Baxter, Hugh M. Matheson and Dr. Robert Candlish. After the moving and seconding of the letter, the Council resolved that the Document (letter) be referred to a Committee of six persons to advise the Council on the next step. Two of the members of this committee were the Rev. E. H. Bickersteth and Dr. Blackwood.
The committee prepared a ‘minute' (for submission to the Council), in which it pointed out that of the sixteen members who resigned two of the signatories were not members of the Council when they signed the letter of resignation, nor were they such when they voted at the meeting on February 25 (Adjourned Special Meeting). One of these was Bevan's son. Of the remaining fourteen eight had never attended any of the meetings when the matter under dispute had been under discussion. The minute goes on to affirm that the Doctrinal Basis was sufficient as it stood, when adopted conscientiously. As for Birks, it accepted his honour and truthfulness and his declaration that he rejected the errors of annihilation and universal restoration, which Article 8 was framed to meet. It stressed also that the Council would not assume legal powers not assigned to it. At a meeting of the Council, May 11th, 1870, the submission of the committee was discussed fully and entered into the minutes. A letter was sent by the Council to the seceders on May 25, taking a conciliatory line and expressing the hope that this secession would be of short duration.
As a sad footnote to this cruel blow dealt to the Alliance by the dissension, Kessler adds that no annual conferences were held in 1870 or 1872; and that for the years 1871-1874 the annual reports were either not produced or appeared in a very reduced form. He reckons that the root of the organisational or procedural aspect of the dispute was the inflexibility of the doctrinal basis, which ought to be completely reformulated from time to time to meet important changes in the intellectual context.
It is worth noting, in passing, that the Birks episode in the history of the Evangelical Alliance came shortly after the withdrawal from it of the celebrated prince of preachers, C. H. Spurgeon. After the publication of his great or infamous sermon against baptismal regeneration, preached June 5, 1864, he was obliged to leave the Alliance the following year. He was given the option of retracting his harsh language or resigning his membership. However, he rejoined not long afterwards and remained a member of the Council until his death in 1892, speaking on many occasions at meetings arranged in connection with the E.A., notably to do with the ‘Downgrade Controversy'. Significantly, he adopted, with certain alterations and additions, the E.A. basis of belief, encouraged in this by the example of other churches.  As already noted above (in the 19c. background), Spurgeon was a fierce champion of the traditional doctrine of eternal punishment.
The Role of E. H. Bickersteth
Before leaving the treatment of Birks by the Executive Council and looking at the dispute in a wider context, it needs to be said that the part played by E. H. Bickersteth is somewhat curious. Edward Henry Bickersteth (1825-1906), a gifted individual and later to become bishop of Exeter, is best known these days perhaps for his hymns. He was the son of Edward Bickersteth, one of the founders of the Evangelical Alliance to be succeeded by Birks, his son-in-law, as Honorary Secretary. Edward Henry Bickersteth was, then, the brother-in-law of T. R. Birks. While we have noted above his involvement in the controversy as a member of the Executive Council, we have been unable to detect any overt endorsement of Birks' views by him either in the Council minutes or in the monthly journal, Evangelical Christendom. This apparent silence is difficult to reconcile with what is known of Bickersteth's views on this subject from other sources. Such views were identical to those of Birks.
F. W. Grant, whose critique follows below, reckoned that the views of Birks had found an expositor and popular poet in Bickersteth, just as the Restorationists had found one in the poet laureate of the day. Grant was referring to Bickersteth's Yesterday, To-Day and For Ever (A poem in Twelve Books), the first edition coming out in 1866 the year before Birks' The Victory of Divine Goodness. As a religious epic, it is reminiscent of Milton's Paradise Lost and Dante's The Divine Comedy. Rowell numbers it among the poems on the future life, which influenced the thought of the nineteenth century; others being Tennyson's In Memoriam (1850), Newman's Dream of Gerontius (1865), Pollok's The Course of Time (1827), etc. Yet, I feel he is unfair to call it a "rambling work"; and I would challenge his claim that it hints at annihilation as a way of overcoming the problem of hell. Also, referring to him as simply Edward Bickersteth instead of Edward Henry Bickersteth creates some confusion, especially as he clearly distinguishes between them in the index ! E. H. Plumptre also noted this link between the views of Birks and Bickersteth. Significantly, in the ‘Note to the Third Edition', January 1869 (at the height of the controversy), which was included in the eleventh edition (the only edition I have to hand), Bickersteth expressed his gratitude for the way his book had been received in England and America. Despite the priority in the appearance of his book, he was considered by Grant to be the exponent of Birks; and this seems to be supported by the fact that in, the subsequent controversy, it was not Bickersteth but Birks who was harangued.
Birks' theory is paralleled identically in Yesterday . . . particularly in Book XI. Bickersteth, too, writes of the suppression of sin and evil in the finally lost :
The outbreaks of the rebel will were quell'd,/ The quick activities of sin were crush'd./ No word of wrathful blasphemy was heard,/ No violence was wrought; but order rose/ From that profound confusion unconfused,/ Order and forced submission . . ./ Now were the works of Satan brought to nought;/ His vast conspiracy destroy'd for ever; / Pride, the first fatal lure, abased for ever; /Hell's transient eminence destroy'd for ever . . .
The complete suppression and control over evil is finally accomplished; and the downfall of Satan is seen in his pathetic awareness that he is finally vanquished, and rightly so, and that he must submit to God and acknowledge his goodness, justice and love :
For ever lost : this is the second death : / Meet end for me who whisper'd in the ear / Of fragile man, Ye shall not die. /. . .The Lord is righteous; I have sinn'd and die. / Lost, lost : nor could I crave it otherwise. /. . . Goodness has hung these chains around my limbs. / O God, I bow for ever at Thy feet, / The only Potentate, the only Lord. / . . .Only thus fetter'd can we safely gaze / On that the final victory of love, / Virtue and goodness triumphing, and grace . . ./ Thus only to the prisoners of despair / Can Mercy, which is infinite, vouchsafe / Far glimpses of the beauty' of holiness, / Albeit a beauty which can never clothe / Ourselves, the heirs of everlasting wrath. / . . . Lost, lost : our doom is irreversible: / Power, justice, mercy, love have seal'd us here. / Glory to God who sitteth on the throne, / And to the Lamb for ever and for ever. / The voice was hush'd a moment : then a deep / Low murmur, like a hoarse resounding surge, / Rose from the universal lake of fire; / No tongue was mute, no damned spirit but swell'd / That multitudinous tide of awful praise, / "Glory to God who sitteth on the throne, / And to the Lamb for ever and for ever."
Another line of novel thought shared by Bickersteth and Birks is that of the need for the continuing vigilance of those in heaven. Book XII, The Many Mansions, considers the bliss of the redeemed in glory. However, this is no life of complacent ease and carelessness. To keep them from a dangerous contentment, which quickly forgets the past, God frequently reminds them of the result of rebellion :
Nor seldom He, who strengthen'd human sight, / As with angelic telescope, to read / The wonders of the highest firmament, / Would bid them gaze into the awful Deep / Couching beneath; and there they saw the lost / For ever bound under His dreadful Eye / Who is eternal and consuming fire, / There in the outer darkness. And the view / So wrought in them, that perfect self-distrust / With pity not unmix'd and tender tears, / Lean'd ever on their God for perfect strength.
One of the finest appraisals of Bickersteth's views has been given in E. E. Holmes', Immortality. Like Bickersteth, Holmes is convinced that :
Eternal Punishment must be consistent with a God of love . . .
and in support of his teaching, which he holds to be scriptural, that we should be able to acknowledge God's mercy even to the lost, he refers extensively to Bickersteth, late Bishop of Exeter. For example, he quotes :
. . . there is room . . . for the display towards these crushed and humbled ones, ruined and lost as they are, of that everlasting mercy . . .[ and rejecting the common idea of eternal punishment] Such is often the baseless assumption of those who think that they honour God's word by depicting Hell as a place where sinners grow worse and worse, corrupting and being corrupted, alike the victims and the sport of devils.
In line with both Bickersteth and Birks, he understands hell in terms of the searing presence of divine holiness :
And surely S. John's vision tells the same story. He sees the condemned ‘tormented in the presence of the Lamb,' not by his absence. Such absence would be no torment at all to those who had lived without Him all their lives. The presence of the Lamb is the punishment of the lost . . .But this ‘presence' is not for them the sight of the Beatific Vision . . .Though not outside the government of the city, they are, to continue the metaphor, outside the Celestial City itself . . .
Again, echoing the theodicy of Bickersteth :
. . . we can see no Scriptural warrant whatever for the view of those who depict Hell as a scene of eternal rebellion and defiant blasphemy.
Concerning the intermediate state, we have already noted Birks' hesitation. However, in contrast, Bickersteth gives a full and graphic account of it in Book II, The Paradise of the Blessed Dead, and in Book III, The Prison of the Lost. In hades the blessed await in Paradise the final consummation of their salvation, while the lost suffer their transitional torment in anticipation of the final judgement. The most hellish nether regions, that profound abyss, being the reserve of the rebellious spirits.
The Coverage of the Controversy in "Evangelical Christendom"
This resource is indispensable for getting a clear and detailed picture of both the intrigue and the doctrinal niceties bound up in what it describes as "this painful, yet interesting controversy." It first refers to the issue in its February edition of 1870 (not January 1868 as Kessler notes - see above). Here it broaches the subject cautiously and constructively by pointing out that the theological basis of the E.A. is not to be understood as a creed and that the article on everlasting punishment was not even in the original basis worked out in Liverpool in 1845; and that it was added in the following year only at the instigation of American and German brethren concerned about the errors of annihilation and final restoration (of all). However, it goes on to regret the tampering with the doctrine which has been going on since 1846, especially by ministers of the evangelical fraternity; one member of the Alliance withdrawing because of his acceptance of annihilation. Birks is referred to as a distinguished member of the Alliance; and it stresses his insistence on his allegiance to the Alliance and to its basis despite the attack upon him of Mr. R. Baxter, who has argued that his (Birks') belief in eternal punishment is nullified by his hypothesis and speculations.
A personal and authentic account of the origin of the controversy is given (in the April 1870 edition) in the letter of Birks to his friend on the Council, Dr. Blackwood. In this long and detailed letter, written March 16, 1870, Birks breaks his self-imposed silence, which he claims to have kept for a whole year pending some sort of final decision by the Council. Having received a copy of the resolution passed at the meeting of February 25, he is emboldened to speak up and explain himself. He starts by tracing the dispute back not to the actual publication of his book but to a request two years later, when Mr. Bevan, who had not seen the book, wrote to him (Dec. '68) for an assurance that he had not modified his views on eternal punishment. To save Bevan the trouble of reading the book , he sent him two letters setting out his position. Bevan, however, abused this trust and proceeded, on the basis of these letters to try and get him expelled from the Alliance. The following month saw the involvement of his other opponent, Mr. Baxter, who wrote to him showing him copies of extracts of these letters and accusing him of Satanic delusions. By July (1869) he could see that the hostility had spread; and it was then that he wrote his original letter withdrawing his name from re-election. He goes on to deplore the unjust and unChristian way Baxter and company dealt with him, lamenting the harm therein both to evangelicalism and to the Alliance. Concerning the constitutional issues, he affirms that the course of action adopted by the Council has been wrong: instead, and in keeping with the rule of Christ, he ought to have been approached privately. With reference to his allegiance to Article 8 he writes :
My view of the Basis, from the hour I took part in its adoption, and voted in a division for the Article on which I am now accused, is that every member is pledged to the affirmation of the doctrines named so far as they are named, and no further. . . .My assertion of the eighth article, from the hour when I voted for its introduction to the present day, has never varied, but been plain, clear, and full.
The rest of the letter need not detain us apart from his clarification of the point that the Council is simply the Annual Executive (the grandchild) of the Annual Conference (the child), the Conference is that of the British Organisation alone which has received the Basis from the Alliance (the parent), to which it is subordinate - and that he is a member of the founding Constituent Body of the Alliance (consisting of nine hundred members). The attempts of Baxter and Matheson, who are not members of that original body, to censure or expel him, who is one, do not make sense ! 
In its coverage of the dispute during the period February-July 1870, Evangelical Christendom addresses the dispute wisely and with moderation, and while it never endorses Birks' novel opinions about everlasting judgement it concedes that he holds to the basic doctrine; and even generously assumes that, if he had received fair and calm criticism, he would have modified or corrected his views in line with the norm.  Lamenting the way the Council appears to be arrogating to itself dictatorial powers, it reminds its readers :
We cannot, however, but observe with sadness, and deprecate the course of action attempted in this instance. No great success has ever attended the condemnation of books by any corporation - whether Popes, Councils, Convocations, or committees; and of all conceivable bodies the Executive Council of the Alliance is, perhaps, the worst qualified and the least authorised to act as a Church Court, or to imitate the Holy Inquisition.
(If ecclesiology, particularly church discipline, was the main subject of our study, the role and behaviour of the Council, would have made an interesting further development.) Again in keeping with its reasonable assessment of the whole affair it takes a scathing view of the part played by another evangelical Christian periodical, the Weekly Review, accusing it of misunderstanding and misrepresenting Birks by charging him with teaching the ultimate restoration of the wicked, and even of the Satanic spirits of darkness. Such bad journalism, which caused so much mischief, is later severely criticised in its next edition by one of its readers, Dr. David Brown, but only mildly admonished by Mr. Hugh M. Matheson (its proprietor, apparently). Significantly, it was the rejection of Matheson's resolution at the Adjourned Special Meeting three weeks earlier which precipitated the later secession from the Council. Assessing Matheson's long letter in his journal, Evangelical Christendom takes a poor view of his lack of discretion in referring so openly to Council business. As for Matheson's analysis of Birks' thesis, it considers his condemnation to greatly exceed that of Drs. Candlish and Blackwood. Blackwood, we ought to mention here, was critical of the apparent trend of Birks' theory, although he championed his cause in general terms:
To some of us it appears, and we hope without being heretical, that your notion of what we deem two contradictory activities of the Divine Being must issue in universal restoration, and looks rather like that doctrine inchoate.
It is well you should know this distinctly for your guidance and ours; as also, that we suspect a principle lurking here which affects the Redemption scheme in several points of great and fundamental importance. I could not close my present letter without intimating so much, lest the position I have taken in the Alliance Council should be misinterpreted.
Unlike other contenders in the dispute, Blackwood adopted the Christian approach that Birks later advocated, i.e. of personal and private questioning or criticism.
However, it is not until its June edition that Evangelical Christendom comprehensively addresses Birks' theory and it does so with considerable thoroughness and perception of the implications. The precise context of the article, appropriately headed The Atonement And The Judgment, is Dr. Candlish's critique, in a lecture to the students of Free Church New College Edinburgh, of Birks' ideas in The Victory of Divine Goodness and Birks' reply to it. Candlish's lecture later appeared in the British and Foreign Evangelical Review and was subsequently printed as a pamphlet, Tendencies in Connexion with the Doctrine of Future Punishment. This definitive critique (in terms of Evangelical Christendom's coverage of the dispute) begins by noting Candlish's complaint that the logic of Birks' theory must lead to the doctrine of universal restoration; and that it cannot hold with a true understanding of the atonement and justifying faith. This objection, it claims, reflects the old charge that the doctrine of general redemption encourages that of universal restoration.  Birks' reply is then noted, in which he claims that the controversy is really between the position of the Church of Scotland and that of the Church of England, with the former resting on the Westminster Confession and the latter on its articles. Generally, the position of Anglicans, he continues, is to maintain the balance between the doctrine of election (Article 17) and general redemption. Again, it points out, we have here the old conflict between those who claim that Christ died sufficiently for all but efficiently only for believers, and those (such as Birks) who maintain that sufficiency and efficiency cannot be separated in this context. (Clearly, as we have already noted in reviewing Birks' book, he is emphatic that Christ died for all; and on this is based his theory of the lost being saved from the first death and its awful consequences.) In his reply to Candlish's criticism, Birks is portraying himself as a champion of good traditional Anglican doctrine; and claims that attacks on his teaching by universalists and annihilationists on the one hand or critics of universal atonement on the other are not aimed at him alone but at the sound and scriptural teaching of his church.
It is with Birks' reply (to Candlish's accusation) :
You think that my views of judgment to come involve a moral paradox of contradictory feelings existing in the same men for ever.
that the article leads us to an examination of [what it considers to be] the essential error in Birks' thesis, and the one which so upset certain members of the Council, viz. that the finally lost could experience the mercy of God. This it sees as fundamentally psychological rather than theological; and in this connection it rebukes him for substituting Candlish's original word novel by his word moral, which obscures the real issue.  Birks' contention that the lost can experience the dual emotions of unending misery and happiness is challenged as psychologically untenable. Again, this problem is not eased by his insistence that this so-called happiness is federal. Evangelical Christendom here seeks to demonstrate the psychological truth that the emotion of happiness must be in essence personal. Even if one is happy for others or by contemplating their joys, one's experience of that happiness is personal. Going on to describe this aspect of Birks' theory as the key-note and corner-stone it admits its scepticism about this idea of such contradictory emotions co-existing in the same person; and it sums up his belief as:
the co-existence in their souls of utter irreversible anguish, shame, sorrow, and humiliation, with, nevertheless, some consolation derived from the compulsory contemplation of infinite wisdom and love.
Candlish's objection that such a state of mind could be the result only of superhuman virtue or of the regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit is met by Birks' reminder that this is the result of divine compulsion alone. Plumptre had the same difficulty with Birks' optimism, arguing that such a response of the lost would amount to repentance, and would imply that there is more virtue in those rejoicing in the blessedness of others, with whom they cannot share, than in those who contemplate the torments of the lost with an undisturbed complacency. Evangelical Christendom finds Birks' belief that the Holy Spirit will work on the lost but short of renewing them psychologically untenable and a gratuitous assumption.  It concedes that Birks was seeking to bring divine benevolence to bear on the judgment of the lost; but unable to join with those who see such goodness in annihilation or restoration, he resorted to his own novel idea. Nevertheless, it claims that language would have to change its basic meaning before intelligent people could agree with such thinking, albeit it acknowledges his insistence that he has not come to Scripture for support for his preconceived ideas.
The closing pages of this thorough assessment of the theory and the man boldly finds the root of the whole problem in Birks' struggle to reconcile in his mind such apparently contradictory truths as divine love and everlasting punishment. Indeed, Birks himself admitted that the inner conflict caused by this would have killed him but for the intervention of further light on the subject, which came not by bringing his own ideas to Scripture for confirmation but by the study of prophecy. Relief had to be obtained for his deeply troubled mind; but, we are told, this he could not find in unscriptural annihilation or restoration nor in scepticism, not even in childlike faith. Basically, then, the ultimate cause of the problem, according to Evangelical Christendom, has been Birks' lack of humble acceptance of the engrafted word; either, because he did not really accept the truth of Scripture at this point, or because he preferred his own ‘idolatrous' thinking :
Did, then, the truth of eternal punishment of the wicked work agony, and tend thus to death, must it not have had that effect either because it was not truly believed, or because being believed it smote some idol of the mind? Was that idol a fanciful and unscriptural conception of the divine being?
Interestingly, on this question of idolatrous misconceptions and the doctrine of eternal punishment, we might cite, in support of Birks, Farrar's later lament :
The teaching of Jonathan Edwards, of Father Furniss, of Mr. Spurgeon, seemed to me to represent God as a Moloch for all except an infinitesimal fraction of the human race.
In conclusion, then, he is taken to task by this fair and penetrating analysis of his views for a rather opinionated position, in which he goes as far as accusing his detractors in his own church of being suicidal, in that they were depriving themselves of the only real way of defending their doctrine !
But that clergymen and laymen and religious journalists of my own church should be found to take part in such suicidal attacks upon me for unfolding reverently a view of things to come, which alone in the presence of subtle, infidel opponents and theological extremes makes their own subscriptions consistent and logically tenable, does awaken in me feelings of wonder and sorrow. 
At this point we detect some understandable exasperation in Evangelical Christendom, which hitherto has tended to support his sincerity and freedom, without approving his subtler convictions. The answer, it urges, is for Birks to extricate himself by humble admission of his error. This is essential, for his views are no encouragement to the good; and the encouragement they offer the wicked is by attenuating the wrath of God.
Good men object that it can afford no ground of virtuous motive to the good, while it may abate the terrors of the Lord to the wicked, contrary to the author's own intention and views. Meanwhile, he has travelled into a labyrinth of difficulties, out of which we fear the road must for him lie through the Valley of Humiliation. Would to God that he could find an exodus through the Valley of Humility.
Considering his contribution to this area of difficult doctrine as a sensitive soul motivated by compassion and Christian theodicy, such a verdict seems a little harsh, particularly from our present advantage of seeing the reappearance of this thinking, notably in Henri Blocher.
Birks and F. D. Maurice
E. H. Plumptre, who noted the close affinity between the views of Birks and Bickersteth, also asserted that there is considerable verbal identity between The Victory of Divine Goodness and Maurice's Theological Essays, almost hinting at plagiarism. Certainly, both men were deeply disturbed by the traditional expression of eternal punishment; and both suffered persecution for their views on it, Maurice losing his professorship at King's College, London, soon after publishing them in 1853. Again, it was Birks who succeeded Maurice in the chair of moral philosophy at Cambridge not long after the controversy in the Evangelical Alliance over his views. Both were men of compassion, that of Maurice famously finding expression in the formation of the Christian Socialist Movement, with Charles Kingsley and J. M. F. Ludlow. However, Plumptre seems to go too far in perceiving such depth of verbal similarity between these two, which, if we correctly understand him, would impugn Birks' originality of thought. Maurice's work in question is, of course, his book, Theological Essays and particularly its chapter, "Eternal Life and Eternal Death", already examined in the previous chapter. It is not my purpose to provide a comparative textual criticism of the two books in question, although it must be said that I have been unable to establish the level of affinity suggested by Plumptre. One of the few links noticed, though, is Maurice's use of expressions such as the abyss and bottomless pit; as in the following extract :
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.
Yet, even here, while the general sentiment about the depth of God's love is in keeping with the thinking of Birks, the use of the term abyss is not. This is clearer from an earlier reference where he alludes to the abyss of death, that second death, which we must fear; whereas, for Birks such an abyss belongs to the first death, from which all have been redeemed. However, pursuit of such verbal links will not be as illuminating as a general comparison of their respective eschatologies. Here we will see quite clearly the divergence of thought. Birks' theory rests on a strictly orthodox understanding of the word eternal and of its future dimension. In no way does he attempt to mitigate the pains of hell by redefining our concept of eternity. For Maurice, on the other hand, interpreting aionios in terms of time and duration is to miss its essential meaning, as we have already seen.
Some further insight into Maurice's thinking, incidentally, may be obtained from a comparison with the way aionios is translated by his younger contemporary, R. F. Weymouth. In his New Testament translation he usually renders the word, of the ages; albeit, he translates "eternal punishment" / krimatos aioniou in Hebrews 6:2 as the last judgment, but with the telling footnote that this may be present or future. Birks stood by the traditional doctrine of eternal punishment and constantly affirmed his confession of it. Maurice, on the other hand, regretted the oppressive insistence on it by the Evangelical Alliance, and disagreed with the argument that it was necessary to ward off universalism and the associated relaxation of moral standards.
Such considerations and the fact, noted above, that throughout the dispute with the leaders of the Alliance, Birks, and he alone, was charged with the innovation of his controversial ideas consolidate our conviction that, despite the priority of Yesterday, To-Day and For Ever and Theological Essays, he was a truly original thinker. We are not being too presumptuous we hope, therefore, in dismissing or at least challenging Plumptre's hint or insinuation.
F. W. Grant's Critique of Birks
F. W. Grant's Facts And Theories As To A Future State, would appear to be unique in the detailed attention given to Birks' ideas. This book, the telling sub-title of which is, ‘The Scripture Doctrine Considered with reference to Current Denials of Eternal Punishment', contains a substantial section on Birks' theory. It gives some help in understanding his thought and why it proved so unacceptable to many Christians of the time, despite some laboured and obscure passages.
He accepts, despite his sub-title, that Birks does not deny eternal punishment, but he accuses him of reducing it to a minimum; and as we noted earlier, he saw Bickersteth as his poetic expositor. Grant acknowledges The Victory of Divine Goodness, but indicates that his examination is based on its republication in a revised form in the second edition of Difficulties of Belief (although there are no substantial changes, as indicated earlier). He agrees completely with his stand against the doctrines of annihilation and universal restoration, and with his assertion that the second death is not the reign of Satan and that his power to trouble God's people will come to an end. However, he cannot accept Birks' marked contrast between the first and second deaths; as far as he is concerned, God has appointed both so that there is no justification for giving the first death the character of moral evil. Indeed, he protests, the parable of the rich man in hades portrays the first death in terms of the second. Neither is he persuaded of any real character change in either Satan or the lost, although he agrees that the second death will not perpetuate active rebellion against God. Perceptively, he argues that to claim any such change on the part of the damned will lead to restoration :
Were it so, it would naturally seem that universalism must be the true view; for if the hearts of all were subject, eternal punishment would be a monstrosity; for it is not based upon the infinite guilt already contracted, but on the persistency of moral character. "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still, and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still." [Rev. xxii. 11.]
Thus we are brought to the central problem with Birks' theory. It leaves unresolved the fundamental tension between real repentance and some form of character change and it begs the question that if God can bring about any change in a person, why can he not reform or regenerate him? However, he is quite happy with Birks' proposition that the doom of the lost will be the object of acquiescence of the angels and the redeemed in heaven. Yet, as for the claim that God will accord some measure of respect or honour even to the lost, as his creatures, Grant thinks that this goes beyond what we can reasonably say. A similar uncertainty is evident in his consideration of Birks' contention that there is mercy shown to the lost even in their eternal judgment in the lake of fire, where God's mercy can be seen in their judgement as a divine medicine for the diseases of the soul and in their being spared the abyss, bottomless pit of the first death. And with theodicy in mind, Grant notes that :
be it mercy to the lost or not, it is assuredly mercy to the unfallen and redeemed, that evil should be repressed.
However, radical error he finds in Birks' teaching that even in the resurrection of the lost to their shame and everlasting contempt there is a work of redemption and the effect of Christ's atonement. Grant objects strongly and asserts that while the resurrection to judgement is indeed a work of Christ it cannot be claimed as a work of redemption or result of the atonement. He rejects, therefore, the suggestion of contrasted elements in the resurrection of judgement. And in his conclusion of his analysis of Birks' theory up to this point, while he concurs in the view of the final enforced subjection of the wicked to God without any further active rebellion on their part; in the need for this from the point of view of righteousness and mercy; and in the possibility of mercy being shown to the lost, he is completely unconvinced that such punishment is in any sense a redemptive or restorative process.
Grant then considers Birks' claim that, when we look beneath the surface of the New Testament and combine its direct and indirect teaching, we can get further light on this subject. In this connection, Birks has maintained that Scripture directly teaches that it is upon our personal conduct in this life that we will be judged; yet, he has felt justified claiming that Scripture allows us also to understand a federal aspect to that judgement. Because of solidarity with Christ even the lost share in his redemption. Grant charges him with what we might call eisegesis. Salvation and judgement are opposites; and Birks has no right to make up for scriptural deficiencies by offering some saving hope to the lost. As for the teaching that guilty pride will be abolished out of the moral universe in the fire of the second death, by the ever-enduring strokes of divine judgment, Grant is somewhat confused by an abolition which needs constant ‘striking' to be maintained.
Once again Grant turns to the matter of the resurrection of the dead and considers more deeply the assertion that both the lost as much as the saved have a proper share in the final resurrection, the only difference being the opposite destinations after it. He is far from happy with the insufficient distinction being made by Birks between the resurrection of judgement and the resurrection of life. Further, he criticises his use of I Corinthians 15, the key biblical text on the Christian hope of the ultimate resurrection of mankind. He accuses Birks of applying what Paul promises to believers to all of mankind and relating the finally lost to Christ in an improper way:
It is impossible to make Christ in any sense the "first-fruits" of the lost.
Arguing that the relevant part of the chapter (vv. 20f) is to do with the hope of the saints only, he quotes another contemporary, Henry Constable, the conditionalist in support of his claim that the reference to being made alive in Christ applies to believers only. Other biblical texts are cited. Perhaps, it needs to be pointed out in passing, that while Paul here does indeed seem to be speaking exclusively of the hope for the saved, elsewhere he affirms clearly the resurrection of the just and the unjust (Acts 24:15), and it could be easy to read that into this present passage. Be that as it may, Grant is clear about the correct terms here :
Thus although the wicked will surely rise, the apostle will not call that "quickening" or "life-giving," which is not the resurrection of life. And we are doubly told that "all in Christ" are not all men universally. [Is the wrong word italicised here?]
The lost are neither raised in life nor in victory:
They are brought forth by His power to judgment. Judgment, and not grace, claims their resurrection. It may display His victory over death, but is in nowise theirs. It is not a life-resurrection but a judgment-resurrection.
Grant next considers the teaching about the dissolution of the body following physical death and its typifying of the deeper curse resting on the soul separated from God; and the claim that following the resurrection, death and what it typifies will be gone. Unfortunately, the argument and style of this part of the critique (pages 443-447) appears laboured and unnecessarily too involved. If we find the argument difficult to follow completely, it may be because Grant himself may not have fully understood Birks at this point! At least he says, albeit rhetorically perhaps :
I should be happy could I conceive the possibility of having mistaken his meaning.
He asks then about the significance of the biblical figure where their worm dieth not, the very figure of death and corruption. Birks applies it to the intermediate state only; but Grant protests that it applies to Gehenna expressly. He goes on to challenge the idea that the soul of the lost is further from the presence of God in the first death than in the second (hell). He cites the rich man in hades; quotes Psalm 139 (If I make my bed in ‘sheol', behold , Thou art there), and the Preacher (The spirit shall return to God who gave it), to disprove Birks. For Grant, actual distance from God is something moral and not local :
Is distance from God simple locality, or moral condition rather ? If the latter be at least the essential part, will resurrection bring the lost soul in any measure back to God, as it should if type and antitype are to correspond synchronically ?
Grant is scathing of the assertion that eternal punishment as such will be lighter [than what would have been the punishment of the post-mortem, intermediate experience, had Christ not died for all]. To clarify this point he has to probe further Birks' doctrine of the atonement and his view of the death, due to the curse of the law, to which we are all subject. He objects to the way Birks speaks of the death of the soul as well as the body; and argues that it is better to speak of the soul being in a death state, which is the state of separation. It is this first death that seems to be the main sticking point, so to speak, in Grant's understanding and acceptance of Birks at this stage. The problem is compounded by the way Birks understands the abyss, applying it to the first death rather than to the second, as Grant understands its use in Revelation. He rejects Birks' understanding and application of the term abyss; and cannot accept its relation to the first death. Again, he claims its use in connection with Christ's post-mortem experience to be quite inappropriate.
Without clouding a rather involved feature of the problem with Birks' thanatology, we need to recall that in Birks' system the horrors of the abyss are temporary; and that his views on the intermediate state are not clear and straightforward and could even imply some kind of soul-sleep or unconsciousness for the lost - or for some of them at least For him the intermediate state is relatively unimportant, the accent being put on our hope of the resurrection of the body. (Perhaps here we should avoid seeking that kind of ‘systematic' neatness or harmony, anathema to such as Maurice and Farrar, and unhelpful in this kind of doctrinal enquiry. Possibly, Grant was guilty of this.) Before we leave Grant we need to evaluate his approach to the question of evil in the context of everlasting punishment.
In his theodicy there is no inconsistency in maintaining the continuation of evil despite the essential nature of God and his saving purposes. This is because God is not the author of evil :
For the continuance of evil God cannot be held responsible, save by an argument which throws on Him equally the responsibility of its present existence. It is easy to assume that God could will it out of existence at any moment if He pleased, but then we must needs assume that he willed it into existence. Mr. Birks has well shown how much of the darkness which involves the subject proceeds from crude thoughts of omnipotence in this way.
At this point he is agreeing with Birks that it abuses the idea of divine omnipotence to see it exercised in annihilating the wicked as a away of solving the problem of evil. Other divine attributes are involved, too, in his management of his creation. Evidently, he does not feel that the idea of the continuance of sin detracts from or compromises the power or goodness of God. Again he notes :
The eternity of sin is the real basis of the eternity of punishment. If in this life God has with any spent all available resources in vain for their deliverance, so that He should Himself have to say "it is impossible to renew them," what less than "eternal fire" can be the award of those of whom He has had to say, "he that is unjust let him be unjust still; and he that is filthy , let him be filthy still".
Accepting innate immortality and ultimate impenitence on the part of the wicked, he has to see eternal punishment as a logical necessity. However, he does not see hell as a place of unbridled and growing wickedness.
But while sin in act will be thus restrained by punishment, he that is unjust will not be less unjust, nor he that is filthy less filthy. Restraint is not reformation. The eternal state is one fixed absolutely and bounded on all sides, as Mr. Birks suggests with probable truth a "lake of fire" may intimate.
We do not accept then the teaching that the punishment of hell is inflicted for the sins of hell.
It is clear that his view is close to that of Birks. Yet, as already noted, he cannot share that optimism which sees the lost so constrained and acquiescing in the judgement of God, that evil is virtually non existent. Once again we are at the tantalising brink of Birks' theory, where the suppression of evil is so great as to make its total destruction so logical that restoration or annihilation seem to be demanded.
"Lux Mundi" and R. L. Ottley
Rowell notes that there is little to do with eschatology in Lux Mundi, the celebrated attempt to address intellectual and moral problems in a modern light; and what there is we find in R. L. Ottley's discussion of Christian ethics. Pursuit of this reference has led to the discovery that Ottley's view of eternal judgement is remarkably in line with that of Birks, although there is no acknowledgement of any dependence. He has a more distinct view of the intermediate state, purgatorial in character :
We find warrant for the belief in an intermediate state in which imperfect character may be developed, ignorance enlightened, sin chastened, desire purified.
Holding to a traditional understanding of it he does not see its issue in universalism, and has to accept that there will be those beyond ultimate salvation:
And yet we are assured that the consequences of action and choice abide, and are eternal in their issue; and we know that impenitence must finally, and under awful conditions, separate the soul from God. But we have not enough for a coherent system. All that we can affirm is that the victory of Good seems to demand the preservation of all that has not wilfully set itself in antagonism to Divine Love. . . Man's power of choice implies the possibility of a sinful state admitting neither of repentance nor remedy . . .
There may be a hint here of Birks, albeit unwittingly. Any such echo, however, becomes stronger in Ottley's confidence that even in the state of final separation from God, there will not be that disorder or rebellion traditionally associated with hell :
So again, Scripture does not expressly teach that the lost will for ever be in a state of defiance and rebellion. Even in the awful state of final severance from the Divine presence there is room for assent, order, acceptance of penalty; and so far, evil, in the sense of the will antagonistic to God's righteous Law- may have ceased to exist. Truth will have prevailed; and all orders of intelligent creatures will render it homage. The final issue will be seen, and the justice confessed, of all those ‘ways' of God which are ‘unsearchable and past finding out'. In a word, there will be a complete manifestation of supreme Holiness and Love . . .
The influence of Birks seems inescapable here. One advance on Birks' theory, however, is the belief that those who were too ignorant or disadvantaged in this life to accept God, will receive help or ministry in the next life from his people :
We cannot think that helpless ignorance, or inevitable poverty of character will finally sever a human soul from God. Analogy suggests that there will be scope in a future dispensation for the healing ministries, and inventive service of love.
Whether Ottley owed anything to Birks or Bickersteth or whether he came to such views independently, he was certainly one with them in spirit; seeking to mitigate what were being seen more increasingly at the time as the harshness and pointlessness of traditional eternal punishment. Like them, too, his concern was not simply to promote a kinder picture of hell, but to avoid any diminishing of the sovereignty and unrivalled power of God, which seem threatened by the eternal persistence of evil.
The strength of Birks' action was his boldness and ability to question and modify traditional doctrine without destroying it: after all he wrote and said, he still maintained the basic biblical teaching of eternal punishment. Despite the protestations of his critics, he was not mischievously tampering with sacred writ but approaching it with imagination and compassion to make it more acceptable in an increasingly hostile environment. His weakness, if we may venture to pronounce a verdict, was to leave unresolved the paradox of a change of attitude in the lost without its leading to repentance. His detractors and friends were quick to point out that the logical extension of this must be universalism, an alternative to traditional doctrine he strenuously resisted, along with conditional immortality or annihilationism. However, in the context of the on-going debate amongst evangelicals and in retrospect, Birks might well have been advised to adopt conditional immortality as the only acceptable way forward out of this dilemma. It is significant that the most respected and distinguished honorary vice-president of the Evangelical Alliance today, the Rev. Dr. John Stott, is all but convinced that the eventual annihilation of the wicked is the proper understanding of this troublesome aspect of Christian teaching. In this conviction he is not alone, and is even surpassed by various other evangelicals, including other members of the Evangelical Alliance. Fittingly; and of no small interest, its committee on doctrine, ACUTE, has just completed its study of the doctrine of hell.
However, before leaving the nineteenth century and its treatment of Birks, let Salmond remind us of the essence of Birks' unique contribution to theological thought :
Some who regard the triumph of the Divine love as necessary, but to whom the ingathering of all erring souls seems too great a hope, take refuge in the idea that the final position of the condemned will be one of acquiescence in their own condemnation.
 H. Blocher, ‘Everlasting Punishment and the Problem of Evil', in N. Cameron, Universalism and the Doctrine of Hell, op. cit. pp. 304-312.
 Evangelical Alliance Executive Council Minutes, Vol. I, pp. 203-205. These original hand-written documents may be consulted in the E.A. archives in its London offices.
 Ibid.,Vol. II, pp. 5-7.
 Evangelical Christendom (monthly chronicle of the EA), Vol. XXIV, 1870 (published by William John Johnson, London and kept at EA offices, London), p. 104. In Birks' letter to Dr. Blackwood, he refers to this letter as motivated by the desire to keep the peace; and that while he was withdrawing his name for re-election as Hon. Sec., he was reserving his rights as a member of the original Alliance and the British Organisation.
 EA Ex, Coun. Mins., Vol. II, pp. 34-38; the six points of Birks' denunciation of his opponents being recorded on pp. 36-37.
 Ibid., p.37f.
 Ibid., p. 50.
 Ibid., p. 51.
 Ibid., p. 51f.
 E.C., Vol. XXIV, p. 167, where such words are considered abhorrent and where he is described as "no Lilliputian sinner himself in polemics".
 E.A. Ex. Coun. Mins. P.52.
 Ibid., p. 52f.
 Ibid.,pp. 53-55, where a full printed copy of Blackwood's letter is included on p. 54f.
 See Evangelical Christendom Vol. XXIV, 1870, pp. 69-70 for a full copy of this important letter.
 E.A. Exec. Coun. Mins. Vol. II, pp. 58-59.
 Ibid., p. 59f.
 Ibid., pp. 66-67.
 Ibid., p. 68. Se also Evangelical Christendom Vol. XXIV, 1870, p.198 for a full copy of Bevan's letter and for an explanatory note by Dr. Candlish giving his reasons for secession. While he could not support expelling a member or agree to a vote of censure, etc., he could not see how as a Christian and a man of honour he could remain in the Alliance, if he held Mr. Birks' opinions. If he had been present at the meeting of the 25 Feb., he would have voted for the rejected motion, which he considered "temperate, wise and faithful".
 Evangelical Christendom Vol. XXIV, 1870, p.199.
 J.B.A. Kessler, A Study of the Evangelical Alliance in Great Britain, Oosterbaan & Le Cointre N.V. - Goes, Netherlands, 1968, p. 69.
 Ibid., p. 68f.
 C.H. Spurgeon Autobiography, Vol. II, Edinburgh, Banner of Truth, 1983, pp. 55-58; and E.H. Broadbent, The Pilgrim Church, London, Pickering & Inglis, 1935, p. 391f.
 E.G. Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin . . ., the sixth verse of which is significant in this context : Peace, perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours? / Jesus has vanquished death and all its powers.
 F.W. Grant, Facts and Theories as to a Future State, London, Alfred Holness, 1889 2nd ed. (1st ed. 1879), p.17. The poet laureate was Tennyson and the allusion must be to his ‘larger hope' in his epic "In Memoriam A.H.H.", LV.
 Rowell, Hell, p. 6.
 E.H. Plumptre, The Spirits In Prison and other studies on the Life After Death, London, 1885, p. 232.
 E.H. Bickersteth, Yesterday, To-day and For Ever, London, Rivingtons, 1878.
 Ibid., p. 357f.
 Ibid., pp. 359-361.
 Ibid., p. 381; cf. The Victory, p. 184.
 E.E. Holmes, Immortality,London, Longmans, 1908, p.285.
 Ibid., p. 286, where he cites Bickersteth's, Primary Visitation Charge, p.286f (Date, etc. ?)
 Ibid., p. 287.
 Ibid., p. 289.
 Yesterday, To-Day and For Ever, p. 104f.
 Founded in 1847, Dr. Steane was the editor. See Kessler p 52 for an appreciation of this periodical.
 Evangelical Christendom, (A Monthly Chronicle of the E.A.), Vol. XXIV, 1870, London, William John Johnson, p. 34.
 Ibid., p. 34.
 Ibid., pp. 33-34.
 Ibid., pp. 104-107.
 Indeed, at the conference at Derby, Nov. 25, 1869, Bevan wrongly referred to it as The Triumph [sic.] of Divine Goodness. See Ex. Coun. Mins. Vol. II, p. 34.
 Evangelical Christendom, p. 104.
 Ibid., pp. 104-105.
 Ibid., p. 105f. The quotation given at this point, "If thy brother offend against thee, tell him his fault between him and thee alone." is of course the well known fundamental of church discipline in Matthew 18:15.
 Ibid., p. 106.
 Ibid., p. 106.
 Ibid., p. 99.
 Ibid., p. 35.
 Ibid., p. 100, where the ref. is to the Weekly Review edn. of March 5.
 Ibid., p.101.
 Ibid., p. 101f.
 Ibid., p. 71, the ref. being to Blackwood's letter, Feb. 23, 1870.
 Ibid., p. 105f.
 The Atonement and the Judgment: A Reply to Dr. Candlish's Inaugural Lecture; with a Brief Statement of Facts in Connexion with the Evangelical Alliance, T. R. Birks, London, Rivingtons, no date.
 Evangelical Christendom., p. 161. No dates given of the lecture or subsequent publications of it.
 Ibid., p. 161..
 Ibid., p. 162.
 Ibid., p. 162f.
 Ibid., p. 164.
 Ibid., p. 164.
 Ibid., p. 164.
 Ibid., p. 165.
 Ibid., p. 165.
 E. H. Plumptre, The Spirits in Prison and other Studies on the Life After Death, London, 1885, p. 233f. However, as noted above in The Victory p. 184, such contemplation is not with complacency but with thankful awe and self-distrust.
 EC p. 165.
 Ibid., p. 166.
 Ibid., p. 167. Compare the mental anguish of Dobney and White.
 Ibid., p. 167.
 Ibid., p. 167.
 Quoted by L.E. Froom, The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. II, op. cit.p. 406.
 EC p. 168.
 Ibid., p. 168.
 E.H. Plumptre, The Spirits In Prison, op. cit. For a full account of his reference to Birks see pp. 229-234.
 Plumptre, chaplain at the college, protested when Maurice was forced to resign. See Froom, Conditionalist Faith, II, p. 396.
 F.D. Maurice, Theological Essays, 1957 ed., op. cit.p. 323.
 Ibid., p. 322; cf. The Victory, e.g. p. 157.
 R.F. Weymouth, New Testament in Modern Speech, London, James Clarke, Edn. 3, 1909, p. 609, where he adds, "Lit. the judgment of the Ages. Judgment may be pronounced, and carried into effect, in the present life (Matt. vii. 2; Luke xxiii. 40); or both the pronouncement and the carrying out may be deferred.
 Ibid., pages 304, 321 and 324.
 Our refs. Are to the Second Edition [which is generally fuller than the first edition of 1879, albeit the treatment of Birks is the same] London, Alfred Holness, 1889, in the preface of which he alludes with great concern to Spurgeon's secession from the Baptist Union because of the "decline of orthodoxy upon the subject of eternal punishment along with other fundamental truths" and to the conditionalist Dr. Joseph Parker (of City Temple London) claiming in Boston that "not one leading Congregational minister in England, as far as he knew, preached now the eternal retribution of sin in the world to come, but rather a Gospel of hope."
 Ibid., p. 17.
 Ibid., p. 431. (Difficulties of Belief, 2nd Ed., Cambridge, Macmillan, 1876.)
 Ibid., p. 431.
 Ibid., pp. 432-3.
 Ibid., p. 434.
 Ibid., p. 434.
 Ibid., p. 434f.
 Ibid., p. 435f.
 Ibid., p. 436-437. N.B. The second half of p. 437 contains a useful summary of Grant's critique so far.
 Ibid. p. 438.
 Ibid., pp. 438-9.
 Ibid., p. 439.
 Ibid., p. 441.
 Ibid., p. 441. See also Froom, Conditionalist Faith, Vol. II, p. 343 where he refers to Constable's view (in Duration and Nature of Future Punishment, 1868) that the resurrection of the wicked does not involve an immortalizing change; they are raised in a sinful state in order to be punished. The Pauline "we shall all be changed" does not include the lost.
 Ibid., p. 441.
 Ibid., p. 442.
 Ibid., p. 447.
 Ibid., p. 443.
 Ibid., p. 443.
 Ibid., p. 444.
 Ibid., p. 447.
 Ibid., p. 447f.
 The Victory, pp. 54-57.
 An example of this tendency may be Powys' charts in Cameron's Universalism, pp. 137/8.
 Facts and Theories, p. 469.
 Ibid., p. 471.
 Ibid., p. 472.
 G. Rowell, Hell And The Victorians, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1974, p. 114.
 Lux Mundi, Ed. Charles Gore, 1889. The refs. here are to 2nd edn., London, John Murray, 1889.
 Ibid., p. 515.
 Ibid., p. 515 & 516.
 Ibid., p. 515.
 Ibid., p. 515. Rowell sees this as a social view of heaven, p. 114 of his work.
 David L. Edwards & John Stott, Essentials, London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1988, pp. 320f.
 S.D.F. Salmond, The Christian Doctrine of Immortality, Edinburgh, T.&T. Clark, 1895, p. 665. A footnote identifies Birks. In the same year, incidentally, appeared Francis J. Hall's, The Doctrine of the Church and of Last Things, London, Mowbray, 1915, edn., in which we discern a sentiment similar to that of Birks, when we read on p. 117: "His mercy is over all His works, and without reducing our belief in the penal aspects of hell, we can think that there will always be enough good in every creature's life to make it worth living. We may be sure that hell is at least the best place possible for those who are sent there. The heaven of the faithful could only be an unendurable hell for those unprepared for it."