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absolute was sympathetic and respectful, by theo logians like St. Irenæus, St. Athanasius, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, even St. Augustine himself; in modern times, among many others, it has been held by great and most orthodox theologians like Bengel and Tholuck, and by saints of God like Erskine of Linlathen and Bishop Ewing of Argyll. And further, whatever may have been the motives which influenced them, the Reformers struck out of the Prayer-book the Forty-second Article, which declared that "All men shall not be saved." On

1 For an examination of this statement, see Brief Sketch of Eschatological Opinions, p. 155, seqq.

2 The excluded Forty-second Article (of 1552) ran as foìlows:"All men shall not bee saved at the length.

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"Thei also are worthie of condemnation who indeavour at this time to restore the dangerouse opinion that al menne, be thei never so ungodlie, shall at length bee saved, when they have suffered pain for their sinnes a certaine time appointed by God's justice."

It was omitted in 1562, and almost certainly through the influence of Archbishop Parker.

Now on this Article I observe that if the omission of the original Forty-first Article left the belief in the millennium open (as most “Evangelicals" admit), the omission of this Article leaves "Universalism" an open question. But as far as I am




such a question as this I care but little for individual authority, but this much at least is proved by the many differing theories of wise and holy men-that God has given us no clear and decisive revelation on the final condition of those who have died in sin. It is revealed to us that "God is love;" and that "Him to know is life eternal; and that it is not His will that any should perish ;3 and that " as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive; "4 but how long, even after death, man may continue to resist His will;— how long he may continue in that spiritual death which is alienation from God;--that is one of the secret things which God hath not revealed. But this much, at any rate-that the fate of man is not finally and irreversibly sealed at death, you yourselves-unwittingly perhaps, but none the less

concerned the Article would not have touched my view at all, for I am not a Universalist.

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certainly admit, and declare, and confess, every time you repeat, in the Apostles' Creed, that Christ descended into hell. For the sole passage which proves that article of the Creed is the passage in St. Peter, which tells us that " He went and preached to the Spirits in prison,1 which sometime were disobedient." St. Peter in my text tells you in so many words that "the Gospel was preached to them that were dead," and if, as the Church in every age has held, the fate of those dead sinners was not irrevocably fixed by death, then it must be clear and obvious to the meanest understanding that neither of necessity is ours.2

There then is the sole answer which I can give to your question, "What about the lost?" My belief is fixed upon "that living God" who we

1 That the prisoners there may be "prisoners of hope," appears from Matt. v. 26, where the same word, puλaкn), is used. Even if the payment of the debt be not possible to man it is possible to God (Matt. xix. 26).

2 See Dr. Plumptre's sermon at St. Paul's, "The Spirits in Prison," of which Bishop Thirlwall spoke in terms of the very warmest approval.

are told is "the Saviour of all men." My answer is with Thomas Erskine of Linlathen, that "we are lost here as much as there, and that Christ came to seek and save the lost;" and my hope is that the vast majority, at any rate, of the lost, may at length be found. If any hardened sinner, shamefully loving his sin, and despising the longsuffering of his Saviour, trifle with that doctrine, it is at his own just and awful peril. But if, on the other hand, there be some among you—as are there not?-souls sinful indeed, yet not hard in sin; souls that fail indeed, yet even, amid their failing, long, and pray, and love, and agonise, and strive to creep ever nearer to the light;-then I say, Have faith in God. There is hope for you;-hope for you, even if death overtake you before the final victory is won;-hope for the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven;-hope for the mourners, for they shall be comforted,-though you too may have to be purified in that Gehenna of æonian fire beyond the grave. Yes, my brethren,


"Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him; for the reward of his hands shall be given him: but say also, as Christ's own Apostles said, that there shall be "a restitution of all things,"2—that God willeth not that any should perish ;—that Christ both died, and rose, and revived that He might be Lord both of the dead and the living;— that as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive 5-and that the day shall come when "all things shall be subdued unto Him, that God may be all in all"-Távта év Tâσiv-omnia in omnibus-all things in all men.

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