Mercy And Judgment by Canon F.W. Farrar

MERCY AND JUDGMENT

A Few Last Words On Christian Eschatology With Reference to Dr. Pusey's, "What Is Of Faith?"

By F. W. Farrar, D.D., F.R.S.
Late Dean of Canterbury

katakagcatai eleoc kricew c
"Mercy boasteth over Judgment", Ja. ii. 13

London
Macmillan and Co., Limited
New York :  The Macmillan Company
1904
All rights reserved

Richard Clay and Sons, Limited,
Bread Street Hill, E.C., and Bungay, Suffolk

First Edition, 1881.  Reprinted, with corrections, 1881.  Re-issued, 1892.  Reprinted, 1894, 1904.

Put into electronic form by Tentmaker Ministries and Publications, Inc. Copyright 200 May not be reproduced without permission.

TO ALFRED TENNYSON, ESQ., POET LAUREATE, &C., &C., WHO, AMONG HIS MANY HIGH SERVICES TO ALL THAT IS PURE IN CONDUCT AND GREAT IN THOUGHT, WILL ALSO BE REMEMBERED BY POSTERITY AS THE POET OF "THE LARGER HOPE," THESE PAGES ARE, BY HIS OWN KIND PERMISSION, MOST GRATEFULLY AND RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED.

"I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever." (Olam vaed, "for ever and beyond.")  Ps. 1ii. 8.

"His mercy is everlasting."  Psalms passim.

"Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?  He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy.  He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."  Micah vii. 18, 19.

"Mercy is dear to God, and intercedes for the sinner, and breaks his chains, and dissipates the darkness, and quenches the fire of hell, and destroys the worm, and rescues from the gnashing of teeth.  To her the gates of heaven are opened.  She is the queen of virtues, and makes man like to God, for it is written, 'Be ye merciful, as your Father which is in heaven is merciful.'  She has silver wings, like the dove, and feathers of gold, and soars aloft, and is clothed with the divine glory, and stands by the throne of God; when we are in danger of being condemned she rises up and pleads for us, and covers us with her defence, and folds us in her wings.  God loves mercy more than sacrifice."  St. Chrysostom.

"Judicium cum misericordia copulatum est, at veritas judicii miseratione Dei temperetur."   S. Ambrose, Beati Immaculati, xx. 4.

"Justitia Dei et misericordia non sunt duae res, sed una res. . . Misericordia est erga miseros, bonitas erga quoslibet."  Petr. Lombard, Sentent. iv.; Dist. xlv. C. D.

TABULAR ANALYSIS.

CHAPTER I.

PREFATORY AND PERSONAL, pp. 1-15.

PAGE

"Eternal" Punishment not denied

1

The Sermons on "Eternal Hope"

2

Treatment of disputed questions in the pulpit

3

Alleged vehemence of tone

5

"Above what is written"

5

Modifications of popular opinion

7

Supposed "inconsistencies"

7-9

Explanation of terms which have been misunderstood

10-12

"Antinomies" of Scripture

12

Concluding remarks

13-15

CHAPTER II.

THE OPINIONS OF MANY FATHERS, SAINTS, AND DIVINES IN ALL AGES, HAVE BEEN MORE HOPEFUL THAN THOSE OF THE CURRENT TEACHING, pp. 16-57.

PAGE

Four unauthorised accretions to Catholic eschatology

16, 17

The Author's agreement with Dr. Pusey

18-20

The Author's agreement with many who in all ages have embraced "the larger hope"

21

St. Clemens of Alexandria

21

Eusebius of Gaul, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine , St. Paulinus

22

St. Methodius, Theodoret, Sibylline Books, St. Isidore, Johannes Scotus Erigena, Theophylact

23

St. Anselm, St. Thomas Aquinas, Luther, Curio

24

Weigel, Suarez, Episcopius, Petavius

25

Jeremy Taylor, Henry More

26

Cudworth, Bishop Ruse

27

Bishop Burnet, Spencer, Dr. White, Sir Issac Newton

28

Bishop Butler, Bishop de Pressy

29

Archbishop Wake, Dr. Issac Watts, Emery, Dr. Johnson, Macknight, Schleiermacher

30

Dr. Chalmers, Perrone, F. W. Robertson, Dean Alford

31

Canon Kingsley, Rev. Dr. Guthrie, Dean Milman

32

Opinions of living and recent Divines

33-39

Many Divines have gone farther still

39-41

Opinions tending to Universalism

41-50

Similar opinions among Nonconformist and other Divines

50-53

Opinions concerning Conditional Immortality

53-57

CHAPTER III.

ON PURGATORY; THE DESCENT OF CHRIST INTO HELL; PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD; MITIGATIONS; AND THE MILDER ASPECT OF FUTURE RETRIBUTION, pp. 58-90.

PAGE

Varying views of different schools

58-60

"The Romish doctrine concerning Purgatory"

61-71

The Twenty-second Article

62

"Doctrina Scholasticorum"

63

St. Gregory the Great

64

Mediaeval visions and Dante's Inferno

65

The Scholastic doctrine of Purgatory

65

Rejection of "Purgatory" by the Reformers

66

Negative teaching of the Reformers

66

Hooker, &c., on the "Romish doctrine of Purgatory"

67

The Intermediate State

68

The Probatory Fire

69

Late formulation of the doctrine of Purgatory

70

Opinion of Cardinal Wiseman on Purgatory

71

ON PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD

72-75

Belief that the dead benefit by the prayers of living

72

Prayers for "the lost"

73

Early legends

74

The Burial Service

74

ON THE DESCENT INTO HELL

75-81

Opinions of the Fathers

76-79

Growth of opinion

79

The Articles

80

ON THE DOCTRINE OF MITIGATIONS

81-89

Refrigeria

81

Emergy Sur la Mitigation des Peines des Damnes

82

Views of St. Augustine

82

Views of St. Chrysostom

83

Prudentius, Bishop Lurpus, John of Damascus , Suarez, Estius

84

St. Thomas Aquinas, Theophylact, Pope Innocent III., the Third Council of Florence

85

Bishop Mark of Ephesus , Gotteschalk, Hugo Etherianus

86

The Schoolmen, St. Francis de Sales, Leibnitz

87

Bishop de Pressy, Legend of St. Brendan

88

ON A DIFFERENT VIEW OF HELL

89-90

CHAPTER IV.

WAS THERE NOT A CAUSE?  pp. 91-136.

PAGE

Exaggerations in popular teaching

91, 92

A duty to repudiate them

93

The danger involved in them

93

Their prevalence

94

What is true

95

What is false

96

Sin of dogmatising about things unrevealed and falsely inferred

96

Specimens of unwarranted teaching

97-108

St. Cyprian, Minucius Felix, St. Augustine , St. Caesarius

97

Venerable Bede, Vision of Tundale, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventura, Fray Luis de Granada

98

Sir Thomas More, Calvin

99

St. Iguatius Loyola, Jeremy Taylor, Nieremberg, Catechisms Romanus, St. Francis de Sales

100

Barrow, John Bunyan, Baxter, South

101

Thomas Boston, Dr. Young, Jonathan Edwards

102

Alban Butler , Whitaker, Wesley, Dean of Gloucester

103

Bishop Oxenden, Dr. Gardiner Spring, Mr. Spurgeon, Bonhour, Wesleyan Catechism

104

Keble, John Foster. — Dante's Inferno

105

Rusca, Drexelins, Pinamonti

106

Father Furniss, Wesley

107

Opinions of Wesley

108

Evil of such unauthorized descriptions

109

1. They discredit religious truth

109

2. They make good men despair

110

3. They harden men's souls

110

Exultation of the blessed in the torments of the lost

111

St. Thomas Aquinas, Peter Lombard, the German
Dogmatists, Jonathan Edwards, Samuel Hopkins

112

"To love mercy"

113

4. They sadden all life

114

5. They make men turn from God

115

6. They cause religious intolerance and cruelty

116

7. They are the chief source of infidelity

117-118

They do not arouse the wicked

119

They endanger all religion

120

They are unsanctioned by the ancient creeds, and
not revealed in Scripture

121

"Mawkish sentimentality"

122

Sense of pity in man's heart

123-125

Mental and physical sufferings

125

Terrible pictures of mental agony in Dr. Pusey, Cardinal Newman

126

Bishop Wilberforce

127

Mr. Moody

128

Teaching of the Holy Spirit

129

Perversions of Scripture

130

Growth of a sense of pity

131

Change of sentiment

132

Legends of St. Christina and St. Carpas

133

Moral teaching of the poets

134-135

Remarks on the preceding pages

136

CHAPTER V.

THE SECOND ACCRETION TO CATHOLIC DOCTRINE — THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF MANKIND ARE DOOMED TO ENDLESS TORMENTS, pp. 137-155.

PAGE

The second accretion

137

No "matter of faith"

138

Theologians and Church newspapers

139

The damnation of the majority commonly taught

140

Damnation of unbaptised infants

141

Calvinistic opinions

142

Cardinal Sfondrati, Articles of 1536

142

Opinions on the damnation of the heathen, St. Francis Xavier, Calvin, Westminster Assembly, &c.

144

The Eighteenth Article, Dr. Emmons

145

The best heathens condemned

146

Appeals from Missionaries

147

Are there few that be saved?

148

"Patrum mir conseusio"

149

Cornelius a Lapide, the Elucidarium, Curio, De Amplitudine

150

Du Moulin, Recupito

151

Arguments of Recupito

152-154

Massillon , Dr. Pusey

155

CHAPTER VI.

IS THERE NO SUCH THING AS A TERMINABLE PUNISHMENT BEYOND THE GRAVE? Pp. 156-175

PAGE

The third accretion

156

"A state of sin"

157

"A state of grace"

158

Experiences of deathbeds

159-161

Deaths of young soldiers

161

Deaths of schoolboys

162

Dying "in a state of sin"

163-166

Dr. Pusey and Dr. Newman

167

Dr. Pusey on the efficacy of deathbed repentance

167, 168

"Per una lagrimetta"

169

What repentance is

170

The destiny of intermediate souls

171

Various opinions

172

The popular opinion and the true opinion

173

The answer reticent, but not vague

174, 175

CHAPTER VII.

IS FUTURE RETRIBUTION NECESSARILY AND INVARIABLY ENDLESS?  pp. 176-179.

PAGE

The fourth accretion - "Hell necessarily endless for all"

176

Explanation of terms

177

Dr. Pusey's views accord with my own

178

Universalism

179

CHAPTER VIII.

JEWISH ESCHATOLOGY AT THE DAWN OF THE CHRISTIAN ERA, pp. 180-221.

PAGE

Service rendered By Dr. Pusey

180

My "palmary argument":  "Gehenna" did not mean a place of torment necessarily endless

181

Our Lord normally used Jewish words in Jewish senses

181

Outline of Dr. Pusey's arguments

182

What I did, and what I did not, assert

183

"Gehenna" in many respects the reverse of "Hell"

184

It ought to be transliterated, not translated

184

Souls might escape from Gehenna

185

I.  THE APOCRYPHAL BOOKS

185-192

The Book of Enock

186-189

Its date and want of authority

186

Dr. Pusey's quotations irrelevant to disprove that Gehenna could mean a normally terminable punishment

187, 188

Jewish belief in annihilation

189

The Fourth Book of Esdras

189-190

Its character and teaching

190

The Apocalypse of Baruch

191

The Psalms of Solomon

191

The Fourth Book of Maccabees

192

Silence of Second Book of Maccabees

192

II.  THE TESTIMONY OF JOSEPHUS

192-197

His account of Jewish eschatology

193

An untrustworthy witness

194

Opinions of Abarbanel, Dr. Jost, Rabbi Adler, Hamburger

194

Opinions of Dr. Pocock, Archbishop Usher, Mosheim, Chasles, Dr. Traill, concerning Josephus

195

His Graecising and unscriptural phrases

196

III.  THE TARGUMS

197-199

Dr. Pusey's quotations do not prove his point or refute mine

198

Two decisive quotations to show that the Targumists regarded Gehenna as terminable

199

Summary of the Jewish argument, so far

200

OPINIONS OF THE TALMUDISTS

201-211

Rosh Hashanah and the Tosafoth

201

Baba Metzia

202

Many Talmudic pasages

203, 204

Maimonides, Albo, Abarbanel, Rabbinic legends

205

Modern Jewish authorities

206, 206

Summary of Jewish opinions

208

Mildness of even the few severer Rabbis

209

The recognised Jewish creed

210

Demonstrated conclusions

211

Dr. Pusey on Rabbi Akiba

211

What Akiba may have added to the common view

212

Impossibility of Dr. Pusey's opinion about Akiba

213

My statements on the subject unshaken in a single particular

214

"Gehenna" not to be rendered by "Hell"

215

Asserted views of "the majority" of Christians

216, 217

The majority are constantly mistaken in their views

218

Our Lord's words repeatedly misunderstood during His life

219

And fatally and repeatedly misunderstood by the majority during long ages in many instances

220

"Obvious" meanings

221

CHAPTER IX.

THE OPINIONS OF THE FATHERS, pp. 222-295.   

PAGE

Dr. Pusey's Catena

222

Authority of the Fathers in exegesis

223

The opinions of many of the Fathers identical with my own

224

Sense in which they used Scriptural phrases, &c

225

Greatness of those who leaned to the more merciful view

226

The Fathers indecisive on the subject

227

Brief summary of Dr. Pusey's Catena

228-230

Its real significance much exaggerated

230

Opinions of Tertullian, &c., of little value

231, 232

The Apostolical Fathers

233

They differ from the popular view

234

Hermas

234

St. Justin Martyr

235-238

Two principles of interpretation ignored by Dr. Pusey

238, 239

Views of St. Irenaeus

239-242

Views of St. Clemens of Alexandria :  they often lean to Universalism

243-247

Arnobius believed in annihilation

248

St. Athanasius

248

St. Gregory of Nazianzus:  he often leans to Universalism

249-252

Deep significance of this fact

253

Greatness and orthodoxy of St. Gregory of Nazianzus

254

His saintliness and authority

255

St. Gregory of Nyssa:  he was an indisputable Universalist

255-259

His "oeconomy"

256

His Catechetical Oration

257

His Book on the Soul

258

His Oration on the Dead

259

His absolute orthodoxy

260

Immense weight of this evidence

261

Opinion of "the Church"

262

Diodorus of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia

263

Their eminent greatness

264

Their acknowledged services

265

Theodore of Mopsuestia

266

His high authority

267

These great Fathers unfairly misrepresented and condemned

267

Didymus of Alexandria

268

His admiration for Origen

269

Admiration of St. Athanasius for Origen

270

St. Chrysostom

271

His real leanings

272

His prayers for those who died in sin

273

His "Accomodation"

274

Comparison of St. Chrysostom with Jeremy Taylor

275

Current phrases and deliberate opinions

275

Dr. Young, Dr. Watts

276

St. Peter Chrysologus

277

Opinions of the Latin Fathers

277-295

St. Ambrose

279

His views on death

280

Bent of his mind

281

St. Jerome

281

On refrigeria, &c.

282

His remarks on Pelagius

283

Believed that all Christians would be saved

284

The Synod of Diospolis

285

His current phrases and his express opinions

286

He often leans to hopeful views about man's future

287

St. Augustine

287-295

Believed in a remedial fire

288

Mildness of his tone in arguing on eschatology

288

His perplexities and uncertainties

289

His incessant hesitations

290

His chief objection was to the salvability of devils

291

His assertions

292

His imperfect knowledge of Greek

293

Extreme feebleness of his "arguments" on the subject

294

Milder and less dogmatic passages

294-295

Exaggerated estimate of his authority

295

NOTE ON "ACCOMMODATION"

296, 297

CHAPTER X.

ORIGEN, pp. 298-329.

PAGE

Greatness of Origen

298

Compared with Augustine

299

His early years

300

His saintliness, and the noble error of his youth

301

Bitter jealousy of Demetrius

302

Gross calumnies against him

303

"A victim of Episcopal envy"

304

His Hexapla

305

His vast services

306

His unequalled greatness

307

His "martyrdom"

308

Deplorable tone in which he is spoken of

309

Tragedy of his lot in life and after life

310

Eulogy on, by St. Vincent of Lerins

310

Pathetic story ofhim

312

His enemies, - Demetrius, Marcellus, Epiphanius

313

Theophilus of Alexandria , Methodius, Eustathius, Apollinaris

315

Methods employed to discredit him

315

His eulogist and friends, St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, Pamphilus

316

St. Athanasius, St. Dionysius of Alexandria , St. Basil

317

St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Didymus, Pierius, St. Hilary of Poictiers

318

John of Jerusalemn, St. Gregory of Nyssa, Eusebius of Gaul, Eusebius of Caesarea, Titus of Bostia, St. Firmilian, St. Victorinus

319

St. Ambrose, Rufinus, St. Jerome

320

St. Augustine , Palladius, Isidore, Sedulius, Evagrius

321

Theotimus of Tom i, Bishop Haymo, Socrates, Sozomen

322

Erasmus, Bishop Huet, Cave, Baronius, Tillemont, &c.

323

Doucin, Bishop Butler, Canon Westcott, &c.

324

Genius of Origen

325

His many-sidedness

326

Errors respecting him

327

His depth

328

End of the Age of the Greek Fathers

328

Causes of the dislike of Origen

329

CHAPTER XI.

ORIGEN AND CHURCH COUNCILS, pp. 330-348.

PAGE

Origen's "Universalism" the fragment of a great scheme

330

His current phrases and his real teaching

331

His real orthodoxy

332

The Church has never condemned simple Universalism

333

The four first Councils

333

Significance of their silence

334

Position of even Universalists not challenged

334

General Councils

335

The term "Origenism" does not necessarily or usually refer to eschatology

336

Silence of Doucin in his Histoire de l' Origenisme

337

What it was which "the Church" is supposed to have condemned

337

Universalism as regards mankind never separately discussed

338

The "wretched synod" of Diospolis

339

The condemnation of "Origen"

340

Egyptian Synods

341

Even Epiphanius never charged Origen with false eschatology

341

Prevalence of Restorationism even in the fifth century

342

Disgraceful career of Theophilus of Alexandria

343

At first he was an avowed Origenist

344

Acknowledged baseness of his motives

345

His intrigues against St. Chrysostom

346

His conduct at Constantinople

347

His disgraceful book, and his open inconsistency

348

He did not challenge Origen's eschatology

348

CHAPTER XII.

THE FIFTH OECUMENICAL COUNCIL, pp. 349-360.   

PAGE

Asserted condemnation of "Origenism"

349

Intrigues of Theodora

350

Letter of Justinian to Mennas

351

What the "Home Synod" condemned

351

Their own definition of what they meant by "that monstrous Restitution"

353

It was not even Universalism

354

The Three Chapters

355

The Fifth Oecumenical Council never discussed "Origenism"

356

Reasons for doubting whether it ever mentioned the name of Origen

357, 358

Silence of the Acts, &c.

358

And of contemporaries

358

But even if his name was mentioned the Council did not condemn his eschatology

358

Low authority of the Fifth Council

359

Its decision has no bearing on the question

360

CHAPTER XIII.

PRINCIPLES OF SCRIPTURE EXEGESIS, pp. 361-409.   

PAGE

Passages worth notice

361, 362

Preliminary remarks

362

A mis-quoted text

363

True axioms of interpretation

364

Scripture not to be confounded with fallible inferences

364

False meanings attached to words

364

Misuse of "texts"

365

Misinterpreted parables

365

False inferences from "texts" and words

366

Gross errors deduced from Scripture

367

"Rabble-charming phrases"

368

Influence of the word "damnation"

369

It does not exist in the Bible

370

Influence of the word "Hell"

371

What it connotes

371

Used for "Sheol" — the under-world

372

For "Hades"

372

Used for "Tartarus"

373

Used for "Gehenna"

373

"Gehenna" in the Old and New Testaments

374

True meaning of the word

375

Confusion introduced by the word "Hell"

376

Its misleading character

377

The word aionios

378

Its true meaning

379

By itself it never means "endless"

379

Use of the word in Josephus, the Greek Fathers, &c.

380

Use by Justinian and Caesarius

381

Dr. Theodore Clapp

382

"Endlessness" might have been taught by many phrases, of which not one is used of Gehenna

383

False assertions on the subject

384

Phrases for "endlessness" are not used in this application

385

Contrast between current, and Scriptural, expressions

386

Many phrases by which "endlessness" might have been described

387, 388

Aionios in the Greek Fathers

389

In Augustine and Jerome

390

In the New Testament

391-394

Its true sense

395

In St. John and St. Paul

396-398

In other writers

399

Authorities quoted

400-403

In the Lexicographers

403, 404

"Unquenched" (asbestos)

405-407

"Punishment" (kolasis)

407-409

CHAPTER XIV.

THE GENERAL TEACHING OF SCRIPTURE RESPECTING FUTURE RETRIBUTION, pp. 410-443.

PAGE

The nature of God

410-412

As revealed in Christ

413, 414

God's Infinitude of merciful forgiveness

415-418

Unworthy arguments against "the larger hope"

419

The Atonement

420

The Saviour of all

421

"Will ye speak wickedly for God?"

422

"Universalism" and "Conditional Immortality"

423-427

General glance at the eschatology of the New Testament

428-431

Sophisms refuted

431-434

Reticence of the Old Testament

435-437

Eccles. xi. 3, "The fallen tree"

437-439

Is. xxxiii. 14, "Perpetual conflagrations"

440

Is. 1xvi. 24, "Corpses, worms, and flame"

440-442

Conclusion

443

CHAPTER XV.

TEACHING OF THE NEW TESTAMENT ON FUTURE RETRIBUTION, pp. 444-480.

PAGE

How texts are to be interpreted

444, 445

"Fire"

446

Parables of Judgment

447, 448

Matt. V. 22, "The Gehenna of fire"

448-450

Matt. V. 29, 30, "Cast into Gehenna"

450

Mark ix. 41-50, "Gehenna, worm, and flame"

451-454

Mark ix. 41-50, "Salt and fire"

454-456

Matt. Xxv. 41-46, The sheep and the kids

456-458

Mark xiv. 21, Judas

458-463

Mark iii. 29, The danger of "aeonian sin"

463-465

Eschatology of St. Paul

465-468

Eschatology of the Apocalypse

468-474

Bishop Horbery's "Upwards of a hundred texts"

474

Terrible abuses of Scriptural misinterpretation

475-477

Passages of the New Testament

477-480

CONCLUSION

PAGE

Statement of Author's eschatological belief

481-485

==========================================================

MERCY AND JUDGMENT.

CHAPTER 1.

PREFATORY AND PERSONAL.

"We know our place and our portion: to give a witness and to be condemned; to be ill-used and to succeed. Such is the law which God annexed to the promulgation of the truth: its preachers suffer, but its cause prevails." — Dr. Newman, Tracts for Times, iv., p. ix.

Again and again it has been asserted or implied — even by those whose character and position should have made them more careful in their statements — that I deny the eternity of punishment.

Once more, and once for all, I desire to render such false witness inexcusable by saying on the very first page of this book that I have never denied, and do not now deny, the eternity of punishment. And, to avoid any possible mistake, I repeat once more, that though I understand the word eternity in a sense far higher than can be degraded into the vulgar meaning of endlessness, I have never even denied, and do not now deny, even the possible endlessness of punishment. In proof of which, I need only refer to the pages of my own book — Eternal Hope — standing as they do unaltered from the very first.

In the month of November, 1877, during my ordinary course of residence as a canon, I preached a sermon in Westminster Abbey on I Peter iv. 6, "For this cause was the Gospel preached also to them that are dead." At that time there had been some discussions both on the nature of Eternal Happiness, and on the question, "Is life worth living?" Accordingly on October 14, I had preached on "What Heaven is"; and on November 4 upon the value and preciousness of human life. But since I desire always and above all things to be truthful and honest, it was impossible for me to attempt the refutation of that cynical pessimism which treats human life as a curse and as a mistake, without entering into the awful question of future retribution. While in common with all Christians I believed that there would be a future punishment of unrepented sin, and even that it might continue without any revealed termination so long as impenitence continued, it appeared to me that, on that subject, many of the conceptions constantly kept alive by current teaching were derived only from mistaken interpretations of isolated texts, and were alien from the general tenor of divine revelation. I knew it to be the popular belief, sanctioned by ordinary sermons, that the vast majority of living men would pass from the sorrows, miseries, and failures of our mortal life into inconceivable, hopeless, and everlasting agonies. I gave some specimens of that teaching, and in order not to prejudge it, those specimens were chosen, not from the writings of the vulgar and the ignorant, but from the pages of great men whom I love and reverence — from Dante and Milton, and Jeremy Taylor and Henry Smith. I endeavoured to show, as far as could be shown in the narrow limits of a sermon addressed to a mixed multitude, that much which had been said on this subject was unscriptural and untenable. In that sermon, and in one delivered on November 18 upon the question, "Are there few that be saved?" it was my object to prove that the current belief went far beyond what was written, and tended to force upon men's minds a view of God's dealings with the human race which it was almost, if not utterly, impossible to reconcile with all that is revealed to us of His mercy and of His justice, and with the whole meaning of the Gospel of Salvation.

I venture to think that such subjects should not frequently be treated in the pulpit, because the field of undisputed and essential truth is so large as to supply the amplest materials for moral and spiritual edification, without forcing us to dwell upon controverted questions. I have always acted upon this conviction. During twenty-five years I have scarcely ever done more than refer to the speculative question as to the nature and duration of future punishment. In six volumes *(1), of school, university, parochial, and cathedral sermons, the reader will scarcely find any allusion to the controversy. I have held it sufficient to dwell on the certain and awful truth that, both in this world and the next, God punishes sin; that without repentance sin cannot be forgiven; that without holiness no man shall see the Lord; that by the death of Christ and the gift of the Spirit the love of our Father in Heaven has provided us with the means of redemption and given us the grace which leads to sanctification. But there would be no chance of religious sincerity or of spiritual progress, if we were never to enter a protest against the tyranny of human error when it encroaches upon the domain of faith and teaches for doctrine the mistakes and traditions of men. The pulpit of a metropolitan cathedral has always been considered a legitimate place for the treatment of questions which are not so well suited for ordinary parochial teaching; nor do I see any reason why Westminster Abbey, with its large and mingled con greg ations, should not occasionally be used for purposes analogous to those which made the pulpit of St. Paul's Cross so powerful in the days of the Reformation. Those who during the last four years have heard my sermons in the Abbey know full well that, there as well as at St. Margaret's, in ninety-nine instances out of a hundred, my aim is entirely practical, and my subjects chosen from the wide realm of those truths respecting which all Christians are agreed. But I am not at all ashamed, nor do I in the least regret, that, when I was naturally led to deal with a question in which the popular theology goes far beyond the Catholic faith, I did not hesitate to express my strong conviction that the opinions traditionally accepted by the majority of those who have never seriously thought of them, are unwarranted and are dangerously wrong. To believe with awful reverence in Eternal Judgment is a very different thing from believing in the utter distortion and perversion of the language and metaphors of Scripture which ignorance and tradition, working hand in hand for centuries, have degraded into what a deeply religious modern poet has characterized as "obscene threats of a bodily hell."

*(1) The Fall of Man, and other Sermons; 4 th Thou and. The Witness of History to Christ. Hulsean Lectures for 1870; 7 th Thousand. The Silence and Voices of God. University and other Sermons; 6 th Thousand. In the Days of Thy Youth. Practical Sermons at Marlborough College , 1871-1876; 7 th Thousand. Saintly Workers. Lent Addresses at St. Andrew's Holborn, 1879; 4 th Thousand. Ephphatha; or The Amelioration of the World. Westminster Abbey Sermons, 1880; 3 rd Thousand.

It has been laid to my charge almost as if it were a grave fault that in those sermons I adopted a vehement tone. Is it a sin to feel strongly and to speak strongly? Are the Prophets and the Psalmists never vehement? Is St. Paul never vehement? Are St. Peter and St. James and St. John never vehement? As for "adopting a vehement tone," my reply is that I never "adopt" any tone at all, but speak as it is given me to speak, and only use such language as most spontaneously and naturally expresses the thoughts and feelings with which I write. "Every one," says Dr. Newman *(1), "preaches according to his frame of mind at the time of preaching"; and it is quite true that at the time when I preached those sermons my feelings had been stirred to their inmost depths. I am not in the least ashamed of the "excitement" at which party newspapers and review have sneered. I do not blush for the moral indignation which most of what has since been written on this subject shows to have been intensely needful. In the ordinary course of parochial work I had stood by deathbeds 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 into physical anguish and physical torment, endless, and beyond all utterance excruciating. Such thoughts did not trouble the careless or the brutal, who might be supposed to need them. They troubled only the tender-hearted and the sincere. They were the direct result of the religious teaching which they had received from their earliest years. To the irreligious poor the common presentment of "endless torment" was a mere stumbling-block: to the best of the religious it was a permanent misery. The irreligious are driven to disbelieve in any punishment, because they have heard the punishment with which they are threatened described in such a way as to be utterly unbelievable; the religious accept these coarse pictures, and are either hardened by them into lovelessness or crushed into despair. Pharisaism and Infidelity are the twin children of every form of theology which obscures the tenderness of revelation, and belies the love of God.

*(1) Apologia, appendix, p. 15

Now to me it seemed that the Gospel of the grace of God ought to have in it at least some message of consolation for more than that mere handful of the bereaved who can feel sure that those whom they love are saved; and not for these only, but for all whose imagination is strong enough to realize what words mean, whose candour is sufficient to make them face the real significance of what they profess to maintain. For, if the common language of preachers on these subjects be true, there seems to be no escape from the logical conclusion that those who are saved are few indeed. Popular teachers still continue to argue, with no semblance of anguish or of horror, that the majority of the millions of mankind whom we daily see are perishing; that they are not walking in those paths which alone lead to heaven; that to all human appearance, they die as they lived; and that, if those who have lived sinful lives, and brought forth no fruits of amendment, and not even given any visible indication of repentance, cannot enter into heaven, then all but a fraction of mankind are doomed to hell. Now to the mass of ignorant Christians the words "to be doomed to hell" have no other meaning than to be doomed to agonies in which sinners will burn to endless ages in torments to which all the racks and wheels and flames of the Inquisition — as religious writers again and again have told us — are as nothing; doomed to torments which exceed beyond all conception the deadliest agony which the mortal body can endure on earth.

I have been sometimes gravely warned not to attempt to be wise "above what is written." It was precisely because I feel the wisdom of such advice that I wished to sweep away the cruel dogmas and ghastly fancies which, pretending to represent "what is written," horribly distort it, - add to it and take away from it, and entomb its pure words in inverted pyramids of fallible inference, - and by so doing furnish sad instances of being unwise above what is written. I obeyed the precept by pointing to the errors of that self-styled orthodoxy by which it has been so habitually and so grievously transgressed.

Already I observe among the better sort of those from whose previous writings no other conclusion than the popular one could logically have been drawn, an anxiety to back out of these conclusions; a tendency to explain them away; an effort to repudiate them. They are now trying to soften down all those parts of their dogma against which the heart and conscience of man cannot but indignantly revolt, because we should otherwise be driven to admit that the life which has come to men, without their seeking, is and must be to all but the chosen few, no blessing, but an awful, intolerable, and inextinguishable curse. In the following pages I shall prove, as I have proved before, that the errors which I repudiate have, to their fullest extent, been the teachings of a majority of preachers, and even of theologians. It was my express object to show that they were not the teachings of Scripture when rightly interpreted, and not the teachings of the Church as decided by the decrees of her four great Councils, and by the authentic creeds and formularies of her faith.

Before proceeding I should like to say one word on a very common charge which has been made against the opinions expressed in my Eternal Hope. It is that they were "inconsistent"; "that it was difficult to make out what I did exactly believe"; "that I adopted Universalist arguments while I repudiated Universalist conclusions." I reply that it was not my immediate aim to be constructive or positive; I desired to get rid of what I believed to be false, not to lay down fresh dogmas as to what I believed to be true. It is painful to me to have to repeat once more that the publication of my book was forced on me by short-hand reporters who published my sermons against my will; and that the sermons, though they expressed beliefs which I had held for years, were every-day sermons written in a few hours, not elaborate theological treatises prepared during long leisure. But further, I believe that in all arguments upon the details of this solemn subject it is very desirable that no systematic dogmas should be laid down. The Church herself has carefully abstained from laying down such dogmas; she has only sketched a few great limits. "Quos ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum." I accept sincerely all that the Church of England has required us to believe concerning hell. What I repudiate is that which she has never required. And the reason why neither the Catholic Church, nor the English branch of it, has ever defined the precise beliefs which have been taught by hundreds of individual preachers, is because Scriptural teaching on this subject has left room for very wide diversities of opinion. If I gave their due weight to what are called "Universalist" arguments, it is because they ought to have their due weight side by side with the arguments which prevent most Christians from entirely adopting them. And we ought to distinguish between that which is permissible as a hope and that which is tenable as a doctrine. Is there any human being to whom it would not be an infamy to confess that he did not wish that it were true that all men might be ultimately saved, as it is God's will (I Tim. ii. 4) that they should be saved? We are taught to pray: - "That it may please Thee to have mercy upon all men." We pray for this. Would it not cause us the deepest joy if we could be fully persuaded in our own minds that our prayer be granted? Do we wish that any soul should suffer endless torments? If not, we are surely permitted to pay respectful attention to the arguments of those who think themselves entitled by Scripture to believe that which we too desire, but scarcely even dare to hope. Those arguments may offer some relief to us even when we cannot affirm their absolute validity. They may cast some gleam upon a horror of great darkness, even if they do not enable us to enjoy the boundless day. God has given us natures disposed to love. He has bidden us to forgive and love our enemies. He has told us that His name is Love. "I must believe," said a devout and learned writer nearly 200 years ago, "that Thy grace will sooner or later super-abound where sin hath most abounded, till I can think a little Drop of Being, and but one remove from Nothing, can excel in goodness that Ocean of Goodness which hath neither shore, bottom, nor surface. Thou art Goodness itself in the abstract, in its first spring, in its supreme and universal form and spirit. We must believe Thee to be infinitely good; to be good without any measure or bound; to be good beyond all expression and conception of all creatures, or we must give over thinking of Thee at all. All the goodness which is anywhere to be found scattered among the creatures is sent forth from Thee, the fountain, the sea of all goodness. Into this sea of all goodness I deliver myself and all my fellow creatures. Thou art Love, and canst no more cease to be so than to be Thyself: take Thy own methods with us, and submit us to them. Well may we do so, in the assurance that the beginning, the way, and the end of all is love." *(1) Is there anything wrong in such sentiments? Is it not well for the world that all which can be said in their favour should be fairly and kindly considered, even if they point to conclusions too bright and too vague to be formulated into Articles of Faith?

*(1) The Restoration of All Things, Jer. White, Chaplain to Oliver Cromwell, A.D. 1712.   

There were, however, in my little volume some expressions which, to my great surprise, caused ambiguity in the minds of readers. When those terms are explained in the sense in which alone I used them, it will become even more clear than it has already become to the minds of all candid theologians, that my views are in the strictest accordance with all that is required by the Catholic Church. I assert fearlessly that they were, and are, in far deeper accordance with "what is of faith," than the current errors which they were intended to repudiate, or the bitter assertions which have been urged in their supposed refutation.

I. The first of these expressions was the word "eternal." By "eternal" I never meant "endless"; by "eternity" I never meant "endlessness." I do not exclude the connotation of endlessness from certain uses of the word, but those uses are the accidents of its meaning, not in its essence. I use, and always shall use, the word "eternal" in the sense of the word aionios, and especially in St. John's sense of that word. By "Eternal Hope" — a title not of my own choosing — I meant "hope as regards the world to come" (just as in our form of the Nicene Creed "eternal life" is "the life of the world to come"). I used this word in what I conceive to be its true and not its vulgar sense, which I thought that I could do safely, because much of my book was devoted to establishing that true meaning. But I have evidently underrated the fatal force and fascination of words long used in inaccurate senses, "which, as a Tartar's bow, do shoot back upon the understanding of the wisest, and mightily entangle and pervert the judgment." In the following pages I ask the reader to observe that though the writers whom I quote often use the word "eternal" when they mean endless, the word never has that meaning with me. *(I) This clause is not in the genuine Creed of Nicaea, in which "I believe in the Holy Ghost," is followed by an anathema. In the "Constantinopolitan" Creed, or Revised Creed of Jerusalem, first occurs kai zwhn tov mellontod aiwnod : but in the Creed of Cappadocia now used by the Armenian Church, in the Revised Creed of Antioch, in the Creed of Mesopotamia now used by the Nestorian Churches, and in the Creed of Philadelphia as recited by Charisius at Ephesus , we have eid zwhn aiwnion . Nothing then can be more clear than that "aeonian life," in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, was regarded as the equivalent of "the life of the age to come." Now this latter phrase is very far indeed from a necessary implication of endlessness, for d mellwn aiwn is the "olam habba of the Jews, and this future Age is in Scripture expressly regarded as only one step towards a final consummation (1 Cor. XV. 24). "Aeon" says Theodoret (Haer. V 6), is "an interval indicative of time." On the light thrown upon the meaning of the phrase by the fact that St. Gregory of Nyssa was not unconcerned in its admission into the Creed (Nicephorus H. E. xii. 13) I shall touch later on (p. 261). See Dr. Hort's Two Dissertations, p. 106, 138-147.

I. On the other hand, I generally used the word "hell" in its popular, and not in its theological sense. In current religious phraseology nothing is more common than the phrase "to die and to go to hell." Strictly speaking, such language is in every case inaccurate, for "hell," in the sense of "endless torments," as apart from the retribution of the intermediate state, is a condition which, in its final stage, does not begin till the Resurrection and the Judgment Day. When, therefore, I spoke of "hell" not being endless for all who incur it, I meant to indicate the doctrine which has now once more been brought into far greater prominence by English Churchmen than it had been for many previous years, viz., that a soul may pass hence into a retribution and punishment, which is yet not an endless hell, but is that Intermediate State of purification which may be metaphorically included in the term "aeonian fire."

 

I. Lastly, by dying "in a state of sin" I meant dying without any visible repentance and amendment; in such a state of sin as — so far as human judgment is concerned — would render the soul unfit for heaven. Such being the case, I find, with deep thankfulness, that between Dr. Pusey's views and my own there is not a single point of difference as regards any matters of faith; - that there was no material difference between my views and those of many of our most learned living bishops and theologians I had already been assured.

 

I. Further than this, the reason for some apparent contradictions was explained in many passages of the book itself. It was due to what, for want of a better word, I must call the "antinomies" of Scripture. By antinomies I do not mean absolute contradictions, but — partly adopting the sense in which Kant used the word — I mean that semblance of contradiction which results from the law of reason, when, passing the limits of experience, we seek to know the absolute; - I mean, in fact, truths which (so far as Scripture is concerned) may be maintained by opposing arguments of almost equal validity. There are some passages of Scripture which, if understood in their literal meaning, seem to teach a final restitution of all things, a final triumph of absolute blessedness, a final immanence of God in all things.*(1) There are others which, taken in their literal meaning, seem to point to the final annihilation of the wicked.*(2) There are again others which hold out no definite hope of alleviation to the doom of the finally impenitent.*(3) There are others again, which seem to point to some temporary punishment, some purifying discipline through which men must pass, but from which they may be saved.*(4) It is in some form of the last aspect of the subject that I see the most probable solution to our difficulties and perplexities. In the doctrine of the Intermediate State, and of such changes in the condition of the dead as are implied in the ancient practice of prayers for the dead; in that "probatory fire" of the day of judgment, which the Fathers almost unanimously deduced from I Cor. Iii. 13; in the doctrine of Christ's descent into hell; in the doctrine of the "pain of loss" as containing the essence of future retribution; and in all these doctrines taken in connexion with those conclusions which we cannot but form from the infinitude of God's mercy and the universal efficacy of Christ's Atonement, I see the dawn of a "hope for the world to come," and the emancipation of the human heart from the terrible pressure of teachings which not a few of God's saints have found it all but impossible to reconcile with His name of Love.

*(1) Luke ix. 56; John i. 29; iii. 17; xii. 32; Acts iii. 21; Rom. iv. 13; v. 15, 18, 19; xi. 26, 32; I Cor. xv. 22-28, 55; 2 Cor. v. 19; Eph. i. 10; Phil. ii. 9, 10; Col. i. 20; I Tim. ii. 4; iv. 10; Tit. ii. 11; Heb ii. 14; I John ii. 2; iii. 8; Mic. vii. 9; Is. xii. 1, &c.

*(2) Matt. iii. 12; v. 30; x. 28; Luke xiii. i-5; xx. 18, 35; Acts iii. 23; Rom. vi. 23; viii. 13; Heb. x 26-31; Rev. xx. 14; xxxi. 8, &c.

*(3) Matt. xiii. 49, 50; xvi. 27; xxv. 46; Mark iii. 29; ix. 44-50; Rev. xiv. 10; xx. 10; xxi. 8.

*(4) Matt. v. 26; Luke xii. 59; I Cor. iii. 13, 15.

But I have never pretended to have any readymade rigid scholastic dogma on the subject. My object was to repudiate what I regarded as unscriptural, not to attempt the impossible task of formulating a dogma more definite than any which the Church has laid down as to what is true. It is doubtless because of those very antinomies which I have mentioned, which are perhaps inseparable from the nature of the subject, that the Church has left such large latitude to individual opinion.

"This alone," says Perrone, "is a matter of faith, that there is a hell." *(1) The Church of England has not even condemned Universalism; she rejected the forty-second Article, which was aimed against it; and she has no utterance in any of her formularies so distinct "as to require us to condemn as penal the expression of hope by a clergyman that even the ultimate pardon of the wicked, who are condemned in the day of judgment, may be consonant with the will of God."*(2) Knowing, therefore, as I do, how many there are of the highest intellect — especially among the laity and among our most eminent literary and scientific men — who regard the popular teaching respecting "endless torments" as one of their most insuperable difficulties in the way of accepting the Christian faith, I still think it my duty to show that those torments have been described in a manner unauthorized by Scripture, and that their "endlessness" is not so distinctly revealed as not to admit of being regarded in an aspect less appalling to the heart and more reconcilable with all which our Lord has taught us of our Father in Heaven, than that in which it has been presented in popular teaching.

*(1) De Deo Creatore, iii. 6, 3 (in Dr. Pusey's What is of Faith, p.19).

*(2) Privy Council judgment, Wilson v. Fendall. As regards three or four expressions in the Prayer-book, such as "everlasting damnation" (an expression unknown to Scripture, in which no such word as "damnation" in its popular sense occurs), in the Litany, and "perish everlastingly" in the Athanasian hymn, and "eternal death" (an expression unknown to Scripture) in the Burial Service, I may observe that: - i. The possibility of that awful doom is denied by Universalists alone, and not by me; and ii. Those phrases can, in any case, only mean what is meant by their Scripture equivalents; and (iii.) they do not exclude the sense of "extinction of being," which is, at any rate, the very antithesis to endless torments. There is not a single word on the subject of endless torments in all the Thirty-nine Articles, and the forty-second Article, which forbade Universalism, was struck out in 1562.

But while, in form, this book is a replay to Dr. Pusey, in reality my conclusions are almost identical with his, except on minor points of history and criticism. And though I may be met again by refutations, triumphant only in refuting what I have never said, I am not discouraged. The book will at least find some serious, candid, and high-minded readers. On these this mass of evidence will not be without weight. That which is true makes its way in time even into the minds of those who persuade themselves that they have rejected it. What is said of an individual matters nothing; but truth and justice ultimately prevail. "He that judgeth me is the Lord." To Him, humbly, yet with glad and perfect confidence, I trust the cause which I maintain. If what I have written be condemned on earth, I say with Pascal that what I here repudiate is condemned in heaven. Ad tuum, Domine Jesu, tribunal appello.

*** END OF CHAPTER I ***

ch. 1 ch. 2 ch. 3 ch. 4 ch. 5 ch. 6 ch. 7 ch. 8 ch. 9 pt. 1 ch. pt. 2 ch. 10 ch. 11 ch. 12 ch. 13 ch. 14

ch. 15 ch. 16 Last Page of Mercy and Judgment


Tentmaker Resources Bookstore Is back online.

For Information About Tentmaker Ministries Please Click Here

What is Christian Universalism?



Home| Audio Messages | Bible Matters | Blog | Books & Booklet | Dew Magazine| E-Sword Modules | FAQ |Graphics and Cartoons
Holy Spirit | Inspirationals | Lists
MailableOrder Form | Message Board | NewBooks & Articles | Privacy Policy
Reviews:Books, Bibles, Software |
QuickFind | Scholar'sCorner | Subscribe to Newsletters
Termsof Use
| Testimonials | TopicalIndex | Tracts | SupportTentmaker | Online Video | WisdomQuotes

Other Tentmaker Sites: What the Hell Is Hell?  and LoveWins

Contact us!

Tentmaker
118 Walnut
Hermann,MO 65041

http://www.tentmaker.org

© 2013 Tentmaker Ministries . All rights reserved.