Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:40 pm

Hello everyone -

Apologies for being tardy with bringing this thread to a close – a bit of a cliff hanger eh? Well I've had a lot on recently of a taxing personal nature and I thought I needed a rest from writing too much about religious persecution (getting a bit bogged down I reckon). So I'll just leave this one in the air for a little longer (although I think you can guess where it’s heading – and its almost cooked).

Note that I'm actually doing something very relevant to this discussion on another thread at the moment - namely the new thread on the Quakers which is in the 'Church' section. I've mostly held my peace about the Quakers until now, although I have seen a couple of threads in which questions about them were asked. However, I feel my knowledge - for what it’s worth - is needed to clear up a few of the myths and misperceptions that I've seen written about the Quakers on this site, all good errors made in good faith and without partisan malice I might add. I think we have much to learn from historic Quakerism – and so when invited I had to pile in.

Also the thread is helping me clear my mind of other issues that I was going to put on a supplementary thread here -which would have meant that they would probably would not have been looked at by many - namely the dialectic between Christian Radical Universalism and Establishment universalism in the History of the English and America Churches (and yes that is a bit of a pompous mouthful that I’ve just given voice to; sorry Friends!). This topic has already come up here regarding 'The Family of Love'. It would come up again on the Athanasian Creed thread – but I think it’s best for me to deal with it separately given the current interest (and this will make the Athanasian thread a lot simpler and more focussed. The topics I hope to look at on the Quaker thread of relevance to the Ecclesiology thread will emerge -

When I look at of the history of the later radical English Universalist sects - the Levellers, the Diggers, and the Quakers, and of the slightly barmy Philadelphians,

When I look at the lone passionate voice of the heterodox - but still well worth listening to - English visionary William Blake who is part of the radical Universalist tradition.

When I look at the influence of the Wesleyan Holiness movement on later English Universalism. This is rooted in Wesley’s theology of ‘sanctification in which he drew upon the Universalist Greek fathers – Clement Origen and Gregory Nyssa – for inspiration. In America the Wesleyan Holiness movement gave birth to Pentecostalism and a revisit of Wesley’s Holiness theology may be of interest to Charismatic’s who are also universalists (I’m thinking of Sherman here if he reads this – and I’ve already written the post if you want a sneak preview) IN Britain when allied with some of the English Evangelical Quakers who still revered some of the older Quaker traditions (and they were only a minority at the time) the Wesleyan Holiness movement inspired the pre-Keswick Broadlands Universalist conferences which included George MacDonald, Andrew Jukes and Hannah Whitall Smith as participants.

When I look at the High Tory Anglican Universalist William Law – a High Tory Non-Juror not normally associated with Universalism - whose influence was immense across boundaries; his Universalist writings were treasured by the eighteenth century Quakers, by William Bake, and by the Broadlands Conference. The Tentmakers site makes much of his influence on the Wesley brothers and on Henry Venn of the Clapham sect. However this is only a partial truth (which wrongly implies that Universalism inspired all three). William Law wrote a book early in his career entitled 'A Serious Call to the Devout Life' – that certainly did inspire the fathers of the Evangelical Revival. However, this is not a Universalist text and was written before Law read Jacob Boehme and was persuaded, like others before him had been, to take Boehme’s thinking in a Universalist direction (although Boehme himself was not a Universalist). The Serious Call is beautifully written –as is everything that Law wrote because he was a great English stylist. It also has some memorable and witty caricatures like that of ‘Mr Mundanus’ the worldly fuss body. But it is a bleak book that focuses on rejecting all worldliness and all fun and merriment, applying oneself solely to the seriousness of duty. Indeed reading it seems to have increased poor Dr Johnsons’ melancholy tenfold. However, of course it appealed to the Wesley brothers and to Henry Venn. And for a time William Law acted as a sort of soul friend to the young and anxious Wesley brothers. However, in the end young John Wesley broke off with old William acrimoniously for he thought him to be not sound on justification through faith alone. In later life Wesley as a mellowed old man who had begun to believe in a wider hope – set very wide actually – if not in universalism per se, expressed the view that even though William Law was not 'sound' on justification doctine as a formula he was none the less justified through Christ. But the books that influenced the universalists were actually Law's later Boehme inspired writings ‘The Spirit of Prayer’, ‘The Spirit of Love’, and the ‘Address to the Anglican Clergy’ written when he was close to death and was no longer afraid of coming out explicitly as a Universalist.

Thanks for your patience and do catch up with me on the Quaker thread if you have time and inclination.

All the best


Dick
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby revdrew61 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:15 am

Thanks Dick. I had not spotted the influence of Gregory and Origen on Wesleyan Holiness thinking, but now you mention it :) I will also be looking up some of William Law's books when I get time. Thanks again for all your informative and enjoyable posts.
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:26 am

OK Drew old chum - I'm in for a penny and in or a pound so I'll plonk the post on the holiness Movement down here first (I wrote it originally for Sherman's attention)

I quote from the very fascinating book, ‘One with God: Salvation as Deification (Theosis) and Justification’ by the Lutheran Ecumenist Veli-Matti Karkkainen (pages 74-77)

‘Wesley drew from the well of Eastern spirituality in his readings of the Eastern father’s spiritual texts; in fact he preferred the Eastern teachers over the Westerners. These included Athanasius [and not the bloke or committee of blokes who wrote the Creed], Basil, Jon Chrysostom, Clement of Alexandria, Clement of Rome, Dionysus the Areopagite, Gregory of Nazianzus, Ephraem Syrus [that is ‘the Syrian’], Origen, and others...

...[But] like any Western revivalist of [his] time [Wesley] was very critical of several features of the Eastern Church and abhorred, for example, its rigid liturgy, as he saw it.

However, Wesley learned s many spiritual lessons from the Eastern fathers, for example from Clement of Alexandria that there are three kinds of persons; the unconverted, the converted but immature, and the mature or perfect Christian...In John and Charles Wesley’s Hymns and Sacred Poems (1739), a poem is titled ‘On Clement of Alexandrians’ description of a Perfect Christian’...

...This kind of taxonomy, of course, sets his theology in tension with the standard Protestant view of justification. Wesley, of course, knew the category of ‘justification’ and... gave due attention to it. Even though his own spiritual journey was not marked by anything desperate like that of Luther’s – for Wesley the agony was over the ‘deeper life’ rather than guilt as such – [his] emphasis on entire sanctification and perfection led him to highlight the importance of pardoning and being justified too. But, together with his experiential emphasis, Wesley preferred to centre the Christian life around sanctification rather than justification. IN this insistence on the need for a real transformation of the believer’s life, Wesley not only approaches the ethos of the Eastern Orthodoxy tradition but also the part of Western spirituality that has marked by Roman Catholic theology...

...It is interesting to note how Wesley as the leading champion of modern Protestant revivalist traditions ended up cherishing the kind of spiritual exercises that have always been treasured dearly in both Eastern and Western mystical and spiritualistic traditions...’Like the ancient Greek Christian ascetics, Wesley believed that the soul’s therapy could be facilitated through ascetic cures...

...Jurgen Moltmann correctly notes that for Wesley sin is a sickness that requires healing rather than a breach of the law requiring atonement. Therefore, Wesley is less interested than Reformation theology in the permanent justification of the sinner and more interested in the process of moral renewal. Ted Campbell has argued that Wesley regarded the Gospel as a ‘medicine’, a cure. The result was that Wesley ‘developed something like a scientific taxonomy of spiritual problems with which his ministers could diagnose and cure.

...By participating in the life of grace, a life given by the Holy Spirit, the Christian is enabled to love God, other people, and the whole of creation with perfect love. It is noteworthy that for Wesley this vision of the transformation of life not only encompassed individual life but also the whole creation – another indication of similar orientations between the East and Wesley. In fact, for Wesley the category of ‘new creation’ combined in a critical way both individual and cosmic aspects of salvation. His was a vision of the very real transformation in the creature and the world that salvation brings about. The note of hope and expected transformation virtually sings its way through any f the sermons produced by Wesley in the final years of his long life. The following passage from his 1783 sermon ‘The General Spread of the Gospel’ echoes this hope in a most beautiful way:

‘God is already renewing the face of the earth: And we have strong reason to hope that the work he hath begun, he will carry on unto the day of the Lord Jesus; that he will never intermit this blessed work of his Spirit, until he has fulfilled all his promises; until he hath put a period too sin, and misery, and infirmity, and death; and re-established universal holiness ad happiness, and caused all the inhabitants of the earth to sing together, ‘’Hallelujah, the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!’’

As is clear in this passage, the new creation is cosmic in its overall dimensions and implications, but is focussed for Wesley in the renewal of persons. “Ye know that the great end of religion is to renew our heart in the image of God,” he proclaimed. The renewing of the face of the earth begins, therefore, with the renewing of its inhabitants. This is the pattern followed by the Eastern fathers, linking cosmic redemption to human salvation’

Now I quote from me: ‘Wesley was not a Universalist – but certainly his hell fire and damnation stage belonged to his youth; and as he matured he believed in the wider hope, a fully inclusive vision of who God might save. He had a truly Ecumenical vision and a heart filled with truly ecumenical charity. After he died the Methodist movement split in Britain into factions nobly the establishment and socially conservative Wesleyan Methodists and the more radical and working class Primitive Methodists (which later gave birth to the Salvation Army). Certainly the worldwide Methodist traditions today – particularly those that stress Wesley’s teachings on holiness/sanctification/theosis (and this would include parts of the Charismatic movement) – have rich resources to draw on in Wesley for a faith that can include Universalism and, indeed, concern for the environment. Indeed the pre-Keswick Broadlands conferences of Christian Universalists owed much to Wesley as well as to William Law and to Quaker spirituality’.
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Ricky_13 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:53 am

Wonderful Thread Rev.Drew. As someone with an Anglican Background I really appreciate this. By the way, can you send me the PP presentation you did sometime ago about UR? I would like to ask if you may allow me to translate it into Spanish and share it with some people. Thannks
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby revdrew61 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:37 pm

Hi Ricky,
Thanks! I'm glad you found the thread interesting. I think our in-house historian Dick (Sobornost) still has a bit more evidence to bring to the table, so it may yet come to life again. 8-)
I'm attaching the powerpoint and handout I used at the ICS Conference earlier this year and you are welcome to translate it into Spanish and use it however you wish. Only one condition - can you please let me have a copy of your spanish version? I may have opportunities to use it here in Barcelona or elsewhere in Spain.
God bless you,
Drew
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:16 am

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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Ricky_13 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:01 am

Claro que si, Rev. Drew!!! Pronto voy a traducir tu trabajo!!!

Now in Dual Language:

Sure thing, rev. Drew! I will translate your work pretty soon!!!

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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby revdrew61 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:10 am

muchas gracias Ricky!
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:03 pm

Somewhere here I was hoping to make a joke about Elizabeth’s; insistence that Calvinist Preachers should wear Anglican vestments rather than the black Geneva gown – but I’ve been beaten to it!!!!!! Theo Hobson – in his recent book on Milton – has compared this to making rugby players dress up in pink tutus and sashay around. So thanks Theo for stealing my best joke :( :lol:
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby revdrew61 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:19 pm

:lol: :lol: !!!
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:58 pm

Hi Drew –

Shall we get this one up and running again?
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby revdrew61 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:57 am

Yes please!
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby JasonPratt » Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:48 am

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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:07 pm

Wow - there is an awful lot of stuff on this thread. I'm taking some time out to read through it all and to summarise the main points (and any modifications that have occured to me with the benefit of reflection). I'll give my summary soon of the story so far. Then I'll come up with a plan of how to finish off.

In the meantime - ban me from all other threads until I've finished this one. Be ruthless! :lol:
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby JasonPratt » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:16 am

Thread bumping to remind you it has OVER SEVEN THOUUUUUSANNNNNNND reader views for good reasons. :)
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:35 pm

OK Jason – yes that’s not bad viewing for an obscure thread without spice factor I guess :lol: . I am just doing some reading to get myself back into the swing of things. Interpret a temporary silence as a good sign that I’m getting on with this and will pursue the theme.

All the best

Dick
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:44 pm

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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby JasonPratt » Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:01 pm

Glad to see these are back again! :D

If I had more money sitting around, I'd sponsor publishing a monograph of this material (assuming you kept your citations for footnotes).
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:05 am

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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:06 pm

I’ve found out some interesting things about Archbishop Parker and the revision of the articles. Before the Edwardine Articles were submitted for revision to convocation he prepared his own revisions in a manuscript of the 42 articles in red lead pencil. This manuscript is still extant with crossings out and annotations signed by Parker. The bulk of his editing has to do with giving the Edwardine Articles a more Lutheran, less Genevan slant, while clarifying differences between Anglican and Catholic dogma.

Parker’s revisions were discussed in convocation by the lower and upper houses of clergy. The ‘Acts of Convocation’ (printed in Synodalia pp. 495 – 527 a document of record) states that the Articles were discussed at the fourth and fifth sessions of Convocation – as well as in private discussions that are noted without specifying what was discussed- and probably at the next three sessions being signed by Parker and sixteen other Bishops at the ninth session.

The three articles against Soul sleep, Chiliasm and Universalism were actually retained by Parker in his notebook it seems. So this means they were omitted after discussion at Convocation. This suggests that the initiative was not Parker’s then. Neither was it Queen Elizabeth’s – her hand is only seem in changes to articles 20 and 29 which were revised again after she had seen them when convocation had submitted their revisions to her.

The only Article concerning eschatology of which evidence of heated debate is recorded is Article 3 (Of Christ’s descent into Hell). Parker retained the phrase that Christ ‘preached to the spirits in prison’ in his notebook. However, on the advice of Bishop Alley of Exeter this phrase was dropped because there was much argument about it in Convocation.

It strikes me that there are no smoking guns here. It seems we’ll never know exactly why the 42nd article was dropped or who was behind it. It seems that Strype – the seventeenth century biographer of Parker – must have been the first to assert that the Articles originally aimed at Anabaptist extremism were dropped because the threat no longer seemed real. (I will have to check this – it may also come from the Matteus a short biography of Parker written by one of his pupils and included in Strypes biography. It is interesting that Farrar in Eternal Hope speculates that Parker himself may have been responsible for the abrogation because all of this evidence seems to contradict his claim.

I’m glad we covered the ground we did in the original discussion – because it has opened up interesting pathways of enquiry. I think however, the best way forward with the discussion it to take the focus off personalities – even the fascinating personality of Elizabeth – and instead look at the factors, which include the abrogation of the 42nd Article, that allowed ‘Wide Hope’ Anglicanism to prosper and develop even when the Church was predominantly controlled by Calvinists (and there was a petition from a group of Puritans in the 1579s that complained that the Prayer Book smacked of Origenism). And how Wide Hope Anglicanism led eventually to the possibility of Anglican universalism.


The influence of Erasmus –

Erasmus was such a profound influence on the Early Reformation in England that even when Calvinism gained ground it was not possible to eradicate him; his writings and influence were too widespread – his Textus Receptus and Annotations on the New Testament were used in the Universities, his Praise of Folly had canonical status as a founding spur to the Reformation, his Paraphrases on the New Testament were owned by every parish in England by Royal command, and his Enchiridon (Handbook of the Christian Soldier) was much printed. So Erasmus always played counterpoint to Calvinism in the Elizabethan Church creating a climate for the decline of hell through:

His (provocative and dangerous) love of Origen – even though Erasmus did not advocate UR as such – made Origen more respectable in academic circles

His emphasis that living a good Christ like life as the goal of religion and not fretting about the mysteries of salvation or of exact doctrine (including heaven and hell)

His emphasis that salvation is open to all and that the relationship between predestination and freewill is a dark mystery that should never be the cause of dissension

His belief that it is impossible to separate the elect and the reprobate at least in this life

His belief that hell is not a material fire but rather the torments of conscience

His stance against the burning of heretics – the outward and visible sign of hard belief in ECT


The influence of Bucer and Parker –

This is all about toleration, moderation, and a reluctance to specify dogma too nicely so as to exclude people from the Church and from salvation. This tolerant moderation was in part the legacy of Erasmus (see above).

The influence of the Queen –

Elizabeth’s Humanist background also seems to have schooled her in a moderate, ‘conservative’ form of Erasmian Protestantism.

Elizabeth’s identification with her ‘people’ also had an inclusivist flavor favorable to emergent universalsim. She obviously felt – not only for political reasons but because of her almost mystical identification of her with her people – that all should feel included in the economy of salvation.

It was she who asked for the comfortable words to be included in the prayer book to safeguard her people against ‘damnable despair’. The service for the burial of the dead reflects the need for comfort and Elizabeth obviously objected strongly to the doctrines of radical Calvinism concerning double predestination.
The influence of Richard Hooker

In Richard Hooker – who in retrospect had massive influence on the development of Anglicanism even though he was writing at a time when Calvinist Anglicanism seemed triumphant. Hooker draws together the threads of wide hope charity delineated above in his Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.


The Abrogation of the 42nd Article – whatever the original reason for it – had influence in this wider context it seems to me.

All the best


Dick
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:25 pm

I should add – that if anyone is looking at the history of Universalism in the Anglican Church, the case of the fourteenth century English Universalists is of interest – because Anglicanism stresses some continuity with the ancient church (something that Matthew Parker is in part responsible for) and, indeed, Julian of Norwich is a Saint in the Anglican Communion. We know that Julian was a hopeful Universalist – although how UR was to be accomplished was a mystery to her and she was obviously at first disturbed because her ‘showings’ seemed to go against the teachings of Holy Church. Her near contemporary, William Langland also intimates UR in his vision of judgment in Piers Plowman (‘I were an unkind King if I helped not my kin’). However, other passages in the poem are more pessimistic – as if Langland could not quite articulate the hope that he clearly felt without feelings of conflict. Margery Kempe – another of Julian’s contemporaries – also asks Jesus to save all of mankind in one of her visions but is assailed by nightmarish visions and doesn’t reach the peace and security of Julian (from whom she once sought advice). I also note that both Langland and Kempe are mush exercised by the issue of the salvation of virtuous Jews and Saracens. It seems extraordinary that there should have been an upsurge of universalist speculations in fourteenth century England but I don’t think that the writings of these mystics had influence in Elizabethan England. Julian’s writings only circulated in small circles of English nuns based living in France at the time. Langland was published during Elizabeth’s time, but by a Calvinist named Crowley who edited and annotated his poem to make Piers seem like a Puritan anti-clerical hero.
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby JasonPratt » Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:30 pm

You go Sobor! :) 8-)
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:49 pm

c. 1337-8

William of Ockham (1287 – 1347), the English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher makes a radical statement about salvation for those unbaptised and outside the Church in his Tractus XXII where he says that Pope John XXII taught in error that God could not save any man without the sacrament of baptism. Ockham argues that many have died for the faith and many have been saved through penance without baptism by water. In antiquity, men were saved without baptism by water, fire or blood, just as children are saved now, which indicates that God’s hand and His power cannot be limited. Ockham and his scholastic followers known as the ‘Moderni’ seem to have given intellectual scope for a flourishing debate on inclusivism and even universalism among some Christians in late fourteenth and early fifteenth century England (see Janet Coleman, 'Piers Plowman and the Moderni', p. 123)

1368

Louis Ellies du Pin, or Dupin (1657 –1719) the French ecclesiastical historian often quoted by nineteenth century historians of universalism apparently speaks of a council convened by
Langham, Archbishop of Canterbury, .A.D. 1368, in which judgment was given against thirty propositions that were taught in his province; one of which was that "all the damned, even the demons, may be restored and become happy." I have good reason t believe that Dupin is not always a reliable source –but this is worth checking sometime against ecclesiastical records.

c. 1367–70

This is the conjectured date for the writing of the first text – Text A – of the Christian Dream Vision allegory ‘Piers Plowman’ (the author revised the original twice and these revisions are known as Text B and Text C). The B Text and C Text versions contain clear statements of hopeful universalism. The conjectured author of this poem is William Langland (ca. 1332 – ca. 1386). We know very little about him, but the sophisticated level of religious knowledge in the poem indicates that he had some connection to the clergy, and was possibly an itinerant hermit. The tradition that Langland was a Lollard, promoted by Robert Crowley's 1550 edition of Piers and by early Lollard appropriation of the Plowman-figure, is false. Langland and Wycliffe shared many concerns: both question the value of indulgences and pilgrimage, promote the use of the vernacular in preaching, and attack clerical corruption. But these topics were widely discussed throughout the late fourteenth century, and Langland certainly does not echo Wycliffe’s teachings about the sacraments.

Passus 18 of the B text (and 20 of the C text) concludes with Will waking to the ringing of Easter Bells after witnessing in dream vision the events of Holy Week culminating in a debate between the four daughters of God – Mercy, Justice, Truth and Peace. Justice and truth argue for everlasting punishment of sin, while Mercy and Peace argue for forgiveness and restoration. Christ intervenes to harrow hell saying –

Then I shall come as a king, crowned with angels
And have all men’s souls out of hell
Demons great and small shall stand before me
And be at my bidding where I will
My kinship demands that I have mercy
On man , for we are all brethren
In blood, if not in baptism

My righteousness and right shall rule
In hell, and mercy over all mankind before me
In heaven. I were an unkind king
If I did not help my kin.
(Piers Plowman, Passus 18.399)

Through the incarnation, all mankind is kin of Christ the King, and this verse emphasizes that Christ is bound by the bonds of kinship to save all of his kin – all of mankind - from the flames of hell. Langland here is drawing on the old Anglo-Saxon views on kinship and its bonds(found for instance in the pagan poem ‘Beowulf’) which held on quite long among the English. However, Langland extends kinship to all mankind, something the older, tribal-based Anglo-Saxons wouldn't have done, and he does this through his inclusive doctrine of Incarnation. Langland’s egalitarian notions of kingship are very different from the hierarchical Norman French notions found in Anselm’s eleventh century ‘Cur Deus Homo’ – where God’s kingly honour, because God is infinite, is infinitely offended by our sin.

It has to be said that this passage conflicts with more pessimistic passages elsewhere in the poem including one – Truth’s pardon – that echoes the Athanasian Creed’s ;those who do evil will go into the everlasting fire’ (A Passus 8.96, B Passus 7 110B, C Passus 9. 287).. However, in the Harrowing of Hell scene it is important that the words of ultimate hope are placed on the lips of Christ – although it seems that Langland was still troubled by this hope as if the Daughters of God within him were still at loggerheads.

Piers Plowman was widely circulated in the fourteenth century (fifty two known manuscripts are extant). With Crowley’s printed edition of 1550 it reached a wide readership (although I will have to check and see how Crowley glosses the Universalist passages someday). If there is an inspirational link between the first flourishing of hopeful universalism in fourteenth century and the radical Universalists of the sixteenth century, ‘Piers Plowman’ is it.


1373

The Shewings of Julian of Norwich tells of an intense experience that took place within a few days and nights of May, 1373, in Norwich a young woman named Julian has a series of viions which she writes down soon afterwards in what has come to be known as the Short Text of the ‘Shewings of Divine Love and include the revelation of hopeful universalism that ‘All shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well’. The vision came, she tells us, when she was thirty and a half years old, after seven days and nights of illness. At the very point of death - her curate holds a crucifix before her eyes to comfort her, and she is aware that her mother, thinking her dead, has moved to close her eyes - she received fifteen "shewings," to be confirmed the next day in a sixteenth. With health restored after her near death experience she lived a long life


c.1390

Uhtred of Bolden (c.1316-1396), English Benedictine monk and theologian who argued in his Contra querelas fratrum that when a person dies they experience a ‘clear’ pre-mortem vision of God response to which determines salvation – this is the case for all people including Muslims, Jews, Pagan and children who die in the womb. Uthred was censured by the ecclesiastical hierarchy for his ‘avant garde ’inclusive hope. However, it is uncertain whether the conversation went beyond the ears of the ecclesiastical elite. Uthred’s thesis in Latin is as follows:
'Quilibet viator tam adultus, quam non adultus, Sarazenus, Judaeus, at Paganus, etiam in utero materno defunctus, habebit claram visionem Dei ante mortem suam; qua vision manente, habebit electionem liberam convertendi se ad Deum, vel divertendi se ad eo: et si tunc elegerit converti ad Deum, salvabitur; sin aum damnabitur' (Andrew E. Larsen, The School of Heretics: Academic Condemnation at the University of Oxford , p.111-112).

c. 1393

Julian writes the ‘Long Text version of her ‘Shewings’ – six times longer than the Short Text. In this she tells us that she has been recollecting and pondering her visions "For twenty yeres after the tyme of the shewing, save three monethis [months], I had techyng inwardly" (lines 1865-66). Unlike the Short text which reads as if it were immediately, spontaneously, recounted, the Long Text is marked by a more authoritative style and elaborate theology.

c. 1400

The Travels of Sir John Mandeville are translated into English at least as early as 1400 and probably earlier. The original was written in Norman French (still the language of the English Court, at least for a few years– the first King of England to actually speak English was Henry V). The author was probably Flemish. English translations from the early fifteenth century exist in both Southern, Midlands and Northern dialects – testifying to its popularity among the literate. The Travels may be fantastical and full of tall stories. However, they do show an empathic interest in people outside of Christendom – at least in imagination – and a concern that these non Christians as fellow human beings should be loved by God. When speaking of his imaginary contacts with the Brahmins of India the author writes,

'And although it is true that they have not the articles of our faith, nevertheless I trust God loves them well for their good intentions and that he finds their service agreeable as if they were Job who was a pagan who he knew as his true servant. I trust that God loves well all these that love him and serve him meekly and truly and who despise vainglory of the world as these men do and as Job did' (Mandeville’s Travels, Egerton Manuscript 146. 8-13)

1413

The first scribal manuscript version of Julian’s Short Text is finished 1413, (this is noted in the introduction to the 15th-century Amherst Manuscript which names Julian and refers to her as still alive). All three of the early manuscripts of the Shewings – two Short Text, one Long Text - have connections to the Brigittine Nunnery, Syon Abbey on the banks of the Thames – destroyed during the Reformation. In the 17th century, the Julian manuscripts were written out and preserved in the Cambrai and Paris houses of the English Benedictines. It was not until 1670 that the first English printed edition appeared edited by Cressy, the English Benedictine.

The Julian manuscripts secret and exclusive circulation can be attributed to a number of factors –

Her radical and inclusive images of Jesus as mother, while not new, go beyond anything written before, and her hopeful universalism as asserted by a loyal daughter of the church is also very ‘avant-garde’.

In a patriarchal age, when schoolmen seriously debated whether or not women have rational souls, the writings of female visionaries were always suspect. Given the right circumstances visions could confer great authority on a woman – as they did to Abbess Hildegard von Bingen in the thirteenth century. However, the history of Joan of Arc and the near escapes of Margery Kempe reveal that another outcome was always a danger. Also – however self effacing Julian is in her writings – she is the first English woman of letters (a dangerous innovator).

Julian translates some passages from the Latin and Hebrew texts of the Bible into English in the Shewings. At this date you could be burnt at the stake for owing a copy of Wycliffe’s ‘Lollard’ translation of the Bible into English. Julain makes her own translations – but her efforts could arouse suspicion.

Julia Bolton Holloway, a leading Julian scholar, has argued that Julian shows extensive knowledge of the Hebrew Bible when translating the Old Testament, the evidence being that she had access to the Hebrew of the Scriptures, likely gained through Cardinal Adam Easton of Norwich who had taught the Hebrew Scriptures at Oxford and who had translated them into Latin, correcting Jerome’s errors. Holloway argues that Julian understands that the Hebrew shalom meaning ‘peace, well-being, in all things’, is wrongly translated by Jerome with the Latin ’recte’, (rightness, correctness) and is better translated as ‘And all manner of thing shall be well’. Holloway even speculates that Julian was of Jewish ancestry. Whether or not this is so, Julian’s knowledge of Hebrew again makes her suspect.
(see http://bltnotjustasandwich.com/2013/02/ ... f-norwich/)

In the final passage of the ‘Shewings’ in the Long Text, Julian refers to her readers as ‘even Christians’ – that is Christians who she is ‘on a level with’, and bound to in reciprocal bonds of love rather than by hierarchy. There is nothing to suggest that Julian was a Lollard – far from it – but the phrase ‘even Christians’ was also used by the Lollards.


c. 1413

Margery Kempe (c. 1373 – after 1438) visits Mother Julian at Julian’s anchoress cell in Norwich. Margery’s dictated spiritual autobiography was unknown until discovered during the twentieth century. It paints a vivid picture of a woman both insufferable and heroic, who falls into very public swoons and cries when thinking of the Passion – and annoys many people with her displays – who seems to have very easy access to Jesus in direct conversation, but who presses ahead fearlessly when arraigned as a heretic and through the many dangers of pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

Margery sought out Julian at a time of spiritual crisis and Julian was supportive to her -

(Margery writes)And then she was commanded by our Lord to go to an anchoress in the same city [Norwich] who was called Dame Julian…

(Julian tells her)‘’Holy writ says that the soul of a righteous man is the seat of God and so I trust, sister, that you are. I pray God grant you perseverance. Set all your trust in God and do not fear the talk of the world…

(Margery writes)’’Great was the holy conversation that the anchoress and this creature had through talking of the love of our Lord Jesus Christ for the many days they were together’’. (The Book of Margery Kempe, Chapter 18, translated by B.A. Windeatt, Penguin Books, p. 77-79)

c. 1419

Margery Kempe asks the same question of Jesus that Julian does – longing to be a hopeful universalist. But she gets a very different answer and the subsequent onslaught by ‘Satan’ is of a distressing and sexual nature (after bearing fourteen children and suffering from post natal psychosis with her first child, Margery had a particular aversion for all things carnal)

(Margery writes)’’This was a great punishment and a sharp chastisement to her. To know of those who would be saved, she was very glad and joyful, because she longed as much as she dared for all men to be saved; and when our Lord revealed to her any who would be damned, she had great pain. She would not hear it, and put it out of her mind as much as she could. Our Lord blamed her for this…And so the devil deluded her, dallying with her with accursed thoughts’’. (The Book of Margery Kempe, Chapter 59, translated by B.A. Windeatt, Penguin Books, p. 183)


1553

The first English translation of the Enchiridon - ‘A booke called in latyn Enchiridion militis christiani, and in englysshe the manuell of the christen knyght replenysshed with moste holsome preceptes, made by the famous clerke Erasmus of Roterdame’ – is published by ‘Wynkyn de worde’ in London’ (it may be the work of William Tyndale). This appeal for Christians to act in accordance with the Christian faith rather than merely performing the necessary rites becomes something of a classic in sixteenth century England – being reprinted several times. This work praises Origen and his moral precepts; and while it neither teaches nor mentions apocatastasis, in Erasmus exegesis of the parable of Dives and Lazarus it states that –

'The flame in which the rich feaster in the Gospel is tortured and the torments of hell, about which the poets have written much, are nothing other but the perpetual anxiety of mind which accompanies habitual sin'[/b].(‘Enchiridion’ Chapter vii)

[b]1556


This one concerns the Kentish Freewillers, a small group of religious radicals active in the South East of England from the 1540s to the 1560s led by Henry Harte. They resisted the growing trend in Protestant thought towards predestination, proclaiming the importance of freewill and advocating religious toleration (but there is no clear connection between them and the later Arminians). They were also anxious to dissociate themselves from the Anabaptists and the Family of love. In 1556, Augustine Bernhere who supported the underground Protestant community in London wrote at least two tracts in support of predestination. The second drew a reply from tow Essex Freewillers, John Barry and John Lawrence who worked as go between for their fellow Freewillers who were in prison. Bernhere ‘obviously accused them of holding to the belief that ‘God hath chosen all men to salvation’ Accordingly none would ultimately perish, since all were included in election by God. Barry and Lawrence, however, were most offended by this accusation…It is true that they accepted the universal choosing of all men in Christ prior to creation, but this was dramatically altered by the sin of Adam, whereby all men fall to ‘damnation and condemnation’. Since that point, only those that be sanctified by the spirit and believe the truth’ are to be reckoned among the elect of God’ (D.A. Penny, ‘Freewill or Predestination: The Battle Over Saving Grace in Mid Tudor England’ pp.160-161; sources Bodl. Ms. 52, fol. 138a and 139b)


1568

John Jewel publishes his Defence of his earlier ‘Apology or Answer in Defence of the Church of England’. In this he harshly criticizes Origen in his discussion of Purgatory.

John Jewel (1522 –1571) was Elizabeth’s Bishop of Salisbury and one of the intellectual architects of the Elizabethan settlement. He gave the Church of England legitimacy by appealing not only to scripture, but also to the Fathers of the first six centuries, including Origen. Jewel’s ‘Apology’ sets out to prove, in answer to Roman Catholicism, that a general Reformation was necessary in England and that, in accordance with the practice of the Early Church, local churches, such as the Church of England, have the right to legislate through their own synods.

The Apology was first published in 1562. After publication Thomas Harding (1516 - 1572) entered into fierce controversy with Jewel (Harding was an English Roman Catholic priest living in exile in Leuven - formerly Treasurer Prebendary of Salisbury Cathedral under Mary I, he had been ejected from his post by Jewel). Harding issued an ‘Answer’ in 1564; Jewell a ‘Reply’ in 1565; Harding his ‘Confutation’ in the same year, and further ‘Rejoinders’ in 1566 and 1567. Jewell did not reply separately to the ‘Confutation’ and ‘Rejoinders’, but gathered up his answers in the ‘Defence of the Apology’ in 1568. Harding retaliated with his ‘Detection of sundry foul errors, lies, slanders, scorpions , and other false dealings…’in the same year. Things were getting personal; but Jewell had the last word with his enlarged version of the ‘Defence’ in 1570.

Jewel’s attack on Origen in the Defence of 1568, comes from a diatribe against ‘the phantasy of purgatory…sprung from the heathens’, appropriated by what Jewel terms ‘the mass mongers’ of Catholicism. He argues:

''There have been errors, and great errors, from the beginning: St Augustine saith: ’’The ancient learned Father Origen believed that the devil and his angels, after great and long punishment suffered for their wickedness, shall be delivered from their torment , and shall be placed (in heaven) ‘’with the holy angels of God’’ - Augustine. ‘De Civitate De’i, li21. Cap. 17. [vii. 637] (Jewel Complete Works vol. 5, p.200)

And therefore Origen, a great fautor [favourer/abettor] of this error, saith this: ‘As I suppose, all must needs come into that fire, yea although it be Paul or Peter.’’ - Origen in Psal. Xxxvi. Hom. 3. [li. 664.] Jewel, (Complete Works vol.5, p. 203)

''But all these be vain phantasies: I mean, as well as these of M. Harding, as also the other of Origen. St. John saith: ‘’The blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God purgeth us, and maketh us clean from all our sins.’’ (1 John 1:7)…Therefore St Cyprian saith: ‘’Thy blood, O Lord, seeketh not revenge; thy blood washeth our sins, and pardoneth our trespasses.’’ [b] - Cyprian [Arnold] de Passione Christi [app. Cxxxi.] (Complete Works vol.5, p. 204)

[b]‘’And St, Hierom (Jerome), expounding these words of Christ, ‘Thou shalt not go forth thence, until thou hast paid the last farthing.’’ Saith thus: ‘’Christ’s meaning is, that he shall never come out; for he must evermore pay the last farthing, while he suffereth everlasting punishment for his sins commited in the world'
Hieron. in Lamentationes Hieremiae, lib. 1. [v.807.] (Jewel, Complete Works vol.5, p. 203)

''One of your [Catholic] doctors saith: ‘’Until this day, of the Grecians, or the Church of the East, purgatory was never believed.’’ Therefore ye cannot say, that your phantasay herein was evermore accounted universal or catholic''. –
Alphonsus de Haeresibus, lib. 8. De Indulgentili.
[p.578] (Jewel, Complete Works vol.5, p. 205)

The historical testimony of these extracts is rich. Jewel (a distinguished Oxford scholar) is obviously well acquainted with the writings of Origen – which he uses in a positive sense elsewhere to justify, for example, the Protestant view of the Eucharist, and the translation of the Bible into the vernacular.

In balancing the testimony of the Fathers, he singles out Origen here for severe criticism in order to attack the doctrine of purgatory. The redeemed do not need to suffer further to be purified – Christ has done the suffering for them. However, the impenitent go to everlasting punishment.

He knows that the Church of The East does not hold to the doctrine of Purgatory (indeed it was an issue in the Great Schism with Roman Catholicism). However, he evidently knows nothing of the details – the Church of the East rejects the idea of Purgatory as a separate place in the world to come, but allows for purgation – perhaps by a temporary stay in hell for example – and for prayers for the dead (something Jewel also castigate in this polemic). So Origen’s ideas of immaterial purgatorial fires are not necessarily at variance with the Church of the East (from which he came).

I think we can safely say that Jewell rejects apocatastasis as an error – even if it is in a roundabout way. I note that Jewel was one of only three Bishops at the Convocation of Canterbury of 1563 who had spent time in Switzerland as an exile; and although he did not return as an extreme Calvinist stance, he was still more influenced by stark reformed theology than, say, Matthew Parker. Jewell was a powerful voice in the Convocation of Canterbury – and, as F.D. Maurice suggested, it make it all the more remarkable that the 42nd article was abrogated.

The standard edition of the ‘Complete works of John Jewel, D.D., Bishop of Salisbury ‘was edited by Richard William Jelf, the key mover in F.D. Maurice’s ejection from his Professorship.


1584

A letter of Puritan grievance to Parliament complains that the Book of Common Prayer tends to ‘favour the error of Origen that all men shall be saved’ [source contained in A. Peel (ed.) ‘The Second Part of a Register’ –Volume 1 p.197]. Note – will look at this when I am able to.

1621

This is the publication date of the first edition of ‘The Anatomy of Melancholy’ by Robert Burton (1577 – 1640) who was a fellow of Christ Church College in Oxford and the vicar of St Thomas parish there. ‘The Anatomy’ is a classic study of the causes and remedies of depression –which Burton himself suffered from; and in the third part of the book , which deals with religious and love maladies, Burton criticizes overzealous Puritan ministers not only for false theology (in his view), but also for destroying happiness and causing mental agony. He uses Erasmus as a source of authority for this attack:

'‘The greatest harm of all proceeds from those thundering Ministers, a most frequent cause they are of this malady; and do more harm in Church’, says Erasmus, ‘than they that flatter; great danger on both sides, the one lulls them asleep in carnal security, the other drives them to Desperation'' (Anatomy p. 775)

‘’While in their ordinary sermons they still aggravate sin, thunder out God’s judgments without respect, rail at and pronounce them damned for giving so much to sports and recreations, making every small fault and a thing indifferent an irremissible offence they so wound men’s consciences, that they are almost at their wits ends. ‘Those bitter potions’, says Erasmus, ‘ are still in their mouth nothing but gall and horror, and with a mad noise they make all their listeners desperate' – many are wounded by this means, and they commonly that are most devout and precise, that follow sermons, that have the least cause, they are most apt to mistake, and fall into these miseries’’ (Anatomy p.776)

In 'The World Turned Upside Down' – chiefly p.p. 172-3 - Christopher Hill marshals compelling evidence of an epidemic of religious despair in sixteenth and early seventeenth century England, and of the roots of this being in the cruder forms of Calvinist Theology. For example, he cites Thomas Hobbes (1588 – 1679) the English political philosopher, as saying that Presbyterian ministers:

''[They] brought every young man into despair and to think themselves damned because they could not (which no man can and is contrary to the constitution of nature) behold a beautiful object without delight'' (Hill, 'The World Turned Upside Down' p.p. 172-3)

Keith Thomas in his classic ‘Religion and the Decline of Magic’ argues that grinding poverty plus an education in religious despair may have been the combined to turn some of the poor to witchcraft during this period. For example, in the accounts of Matthew Hopkins (1620 – 1647), the self appointed witch finder general during the Civil War, we learn that (allegedly):

''He [the Devil] appeared to Mary Becket and told her that her sins were so great ‘there was no such thing as Heaven for her’. He overheard Susan Marchant singing a psalm while milking a cow and asked why she sung Psalms, for she was a damned creature; and from that time she received her imps.'' (Thomas, ‘Religion and the Decline of Magic’ p.622)

1646

This year sees the first instance of the phrase ‘Everlasting Gospel’ (from Revelation 14:6-7) being applied to Universalism. This phrase was given a particular meaning by the Italian Abbot and mystic, Joachim of Fiore in the twelfth century. Joachim divided history into three ages; the Age of the Father in the dispensation of the Law; the age of the Son in the dispensation of the Gospel; and the age of the Holy spirit when the spirit would dwell in the heart of human begins and free them from existing forms of religion – including the rites and hierarchies of the Church and the literal understating of scripture. The term was used by the Family of Love, and the followers of Jacob Boehme, by many of the sects of the English Revolution, including the Quakers, and later by the poet William Blake.

Its first specific use as denoting universalism (rather than its more general sense of ‘spiritual religion’) occurs in Gangraena - a large catalogue of sectarian Protestant views, which is a ferocious and alarmist polemic written by the adversarial Puritan Thomas Edwards (1599–1647).

As number 32 of his catalogues of Errors and Heresies Edwards includes –

‘That by Christ’s death all the sins of all the men in the world –Turk, Pagans, and Christians – committed against the moral law and the first covenant, are actually pardoned and forgiven, and this is the Everlasting Gospel’ (Gangaraena 1, p.22)

Whether or not Edwards is being accurate about the beliefs of the Universalists he accuses is an open question. However, we can say that after this the phrase recurs in the history of universalism: first in Jane Lead’s visionary tract of the same name declaring Universal Salvation, and second in the more biblically based book, again of the same name, by George Klein Nikolai ( whose pseudonym was Paul Siegvolk). The latter book of c. 1715 greatly influenced the early American Universalist – notably Elhanan Winchester. Nikolai/Siegvolk was a member of the Petersen’s circle – the continental Philadelphians who were much inspired by Jane Lead’s visions, but rooted the hope of these visions in firm scriptural exegesis.

(see Christopher Hill ‘World Turned Upside Down’, p.p. 147-8, Walker, ‘Decline of Hell’ p.239 and
http://www.archive.org/stream/gangraena ... 1/mode/2up)


1655

‘Richard Coppin was arrested by Major-general Kelsey after a series of sermons in Rochester cathedral in which he made clear the democratic consequences of his doctrine: ‘No man can be assured of his salvation, except he see the same salvation in the same Savior for all men as well as for himself’. By such arguments Coppin [in the view of his detractors] wound himself ‘’into the bosoms of (a many headed monster) the rude multitude’. He was accused of relying on ’a party of soldiers and others that would have tumulted and mutinied for him’. He and his supporters were ‘Church and State Levellers’. He got six months in jail and Major –general Kelsey recommended that the troops should be removed from contact with the tainted townsmen (see Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down’ p.222).

Coppin remained impenitent and wrote an account of his disputations in Rochester Cathedral while in Maidstone prison (‘A Blow at the Serpent; or a Gentle Answer from Maidstone Prison to appease wrath…Together with the work of four days Disputes, in the Cathedral of Rochester…between Richard Coppin, Preacher there’- London 1656, reprinted 1764)

Coppin was a minister in the C of E until 1648, after which he became a wandering preacher of universal salvation. In ‘Divine Teachings’ (London 1649) he argued that God’s judgments are ‘not cast upon us, but upon sin in us, to its destruction and our salvation’. In ‘ Truths Testimony’ (London 1655), he argued that although the clergy ‘live by telling people of their sins…in the kingdom of Christ, which is a free kingdom, there is…no sin unpardoned’ and that the torments of hell are purgatorial.

The libertine Ranter sect used Coppin’s ‘Divine Teachings’ as a pretext, but he denied any connection with them, and D.P. Walker says of him: ‘He was an interesting thinker, whose views have some similarities with those of Sterry and White’(see Walker, ‘Decline of Hell, p.105)


1658

This is the publication date of the first defence of the doctrine of purification in an intermediate state after death by an Anglican clergyman since the condemnation of the ‘Romish’ doctrine of Purgatory, without further specification, by the 22nd Article of the 39. In the second part of his ‘Considerationes Modestate’, Bishop W. Forbes rejected the doctrine of ‘purgatory’, but strongly affirmed the existence of an intermediate state in which purification takes place through the soul’s fervent longing for God, and the value of prayer for the dead (deploring it’s absence at that time from official Anglican liturgies). In this he was followed by the nineteenth century Tractarians and their successors. (see Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church p.627)

William Forbes was the first bishop of Edinburgh (but died two months after his appointment by Charles I in 1634). He published nothing in his lifetime, but in 1658 the ‘Considerationes’ (full title, Considerationes Modestae et Pacificae Controversiarum de Justificatione, Purgatorio, Invocatione Sanctorum Christo Mediatore, et Eucharistia) was published from his manuscripts by Thomas Sydeserf, bishop of Galloway – (in Latin, and thus only for specialists). An English translation by Dr. William Forbes, was published 1856 as part of the Anglo Catholic Library (a collection of the writings by the High churchmen of the seventeenth century on whom the nineteenth century Oxford Movement drew inspiration).


1661

‘A Letter of Resolution concerning Origen and the Chief of his opinions’ is printed in London. It is written in English – rather than in elite Latin – and is published anonymously under the guise that it is ‘Written to the learned and most ingenious C.L. Esq’ and by him published’. The book is the first unreserved English defence of Origen ideas -chiefly concerning the pre-existence of souls and apocatastasis. It contains the following –

But if out of filial respect to the authority of our dear mother the Church of England, you are yet something backward to give assent to the probability of Origen's doctrine I would have you first to consider, that all those that write and preach in this nation, are not her sons, no more than they of Geneva, Scotland, or New England are. Secondly, I would fain know why she, who in her xxxix articles does so punctually follow the articles agreed upon in King Edward's days, or with little variation, should wholly omit that article which condemns the restorers of this opinion, if she had thought it ought to have been condemned
(Letter of Resolution p.133)

Key: ‘something backward’ means ‘wary’, ‘suspicious’,’ cautious’, ‘hesitant’; ‘they of Geneva Scotland or New England’ is a reference to Calvinists; ‘All those that write and preach in this nation’ (giving the reader cause to be ‘something backward to give assent to the probability of Origen’s doctrine’) must refer to English clergy who are influenced by Calvinism (on depravity, probation etc.); and, finally, from ‘Secondly…’ – the author makes a fair point but shows that the huge Calvinist presence and influence in the Elizabethan Church is coming to be forgotten in Anglican history at this date.

To my knowledge this is the earliest explicit instance of the argument that the Abrogation of the 42nd Article permits universalism as an opinion in the C of E. The author is thought to be Rev. George Rust – former pupil of Henry More of and friend of Lady Anne Conway of the Cambridge Platonist circle. IN 1661 Rust went to Ireland to be Dean of Connor at Jeremy Taylor’s request – he later became Bishop of Dromore (so he was well ensconced in the C of E hierarchy). The attribution to him of ‘Letter of Resolution’ was first made in Rev. Richard Roach’s preface to Jeremiah White’s ‘Restoration’ in 1712. D.P. Walker casts reasonable doubts on Roach’s attribution in ‘Decline of Hell p.p. 125-6, but in the end decides that the book was very probably written by Rust.

1664

James Windett physician, man of letters and friend of Sir Thomas Browne, published ‘De vita functorum statu,’ a long Latin letter, with numerous passages in Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic, addressed to Dr. Samuel Hall, in reply to a letter from him. It begins with a general discussion of the word ‘Tartarus’ and of the Greek and Hebrew words and phrases used in describing the state of man after death, and goes on to consider the Greek and Hebrew views on the state and place of the good, on a middle state, and on the place of the wicked with related subjects. Windet was a friend of Sir Thomas Browne. His letter shows erudite knowledge of the Talmud’s presentation of Gehenna as an intermediate, purgatorial state, and even shows knowledge of the traditional Muslim idea of Gehenna being similar to that of the Talmud. It was later used in the nineteenth century in polemics for and against universalism.

1670

The first printed version of Julian of Norwich's ‘Revelations of Divine Love’ became available to the public in this year, taken from a seventeenth century manuscript of the so called ‘Long Text’. It was edited by the English Benedictine Serenus Cressy. But the book did not become well known in this edition – even when it was reprinted in 1843, 1864 and again in 1902.

1678

Ann Bathurst, of London – later a member of the Philadelphians - described how, on June 23rd 1678,’ a year of Jubilee was proclaimed, and prophesied to me by an Angel or Spirit in a Dream or vision when another Spirit [was] given me that was accompanied with new understanding’’. Bathurst’s account of the prophetic visions which followed is resonant of the meditations of Julian of Norwich and or Mechthild of Magdeburg. She describes how ‘Christ was One with me, and I one in Him, the blessed Union, which I had long desired’.

Then she is visited by her dead children, who came to her ‘like two Bright Sparks, one after another, and entered into this great Light and became one with it’. The memory provokes a poignant physical reaction, which she interprets as a spiritual sign:

‘O how my Breasts do warm me with the hot milk: where are thy Children Good Lord? and what is this for? I am even in tears, lest the Child should want it, whilst I am as over full with it. O what! Even what is this for?

Bathurst’s ecstasy appears to have unleashed a massive emotional catharsis, and the maternal grief and fear surrounding the loss of two infants wells up to the surface in her union with love itself. Crucially, the visions led Bathurst to a ‘new understanding’ of God’s nature. Part of the release which she experienced in being reunited with Christ (and, in Christ, with her children) had to do with her own inner religious crisis. In the course of her dramatic epiphany she became ‘undeceived’ of ‘the doctrine of Election’ and persuaded of God’s gift of universal grace.

Her anxiety about her own salvation had tormented her since childhood, causing her ‘such great horror and anguish, as even to despair of mercy’.

She had finally concluded that she was indeed condemned to hell, until her adult visions convinced her of ‘the overflowing of His nature of Mercy and Love’, or God’s ‘Merciful-Nature-Love’ which took precedence over all other attributes.

Perhaps this revelation had also to do with her concerns for the eternal welfare of her lost children

(from ‘Mysticism and Feminism in Seventeenth Century England’ by Dr Sarah Apetrei, published in The Way - journal of British Jesuits, October 2007, pp. 48-69. Quotations from Anne Barthust are taken from her spiritual diary ‘Rhapsodical Meditations and Visions’ - 17 March 1679 to 29 June, 1693)

Note: Dr Sarah Apetrei, who is a leading scholar in the field of the significance of the writings of female mystics in the early modern world and author of 'Women, Feminism and Religion in Early Enlightenment’ She is important voice in the reassessment of the universalist visionary, Jane Lead (once portrayed by male historians as an hysteric, now considered by Apertei and others as an influential writer and as someone who said important and intelligent things in a visionary idiolect.

Women visionaries are often prominent in the history of Christian universalism (in all of its varieties); St Macrina the Younger, Mother Julian of Norwich, Jane Lead, Hannah Whitall Smith, Therese of Liseux, (St Faustina?) and others spring to mind. And their universalistic teaching are often couched in terms of the motherly qualities of God and Jesus. Also male universalists have sometimes been devotees of Divine Sophia – for example Richard Roach, and the Russians Solovyov and Bulgakov. Perhaps – even though it is different to see into the guarded soul of Elizabeth I – at least at the level of propaganda she models a sort of motherly universalism in her ‘comfortable words. I flag this up as possible important theme.

1690

In a sermon preached before Queen Mary on 7th March at Whitehall, John Tillotson, several months before he became Archbishop of Canterbury, suggested that although God was obliged to fulfil his promises of rewards, he was under no obligation to carry out threats:

‘He that threatens keeps the right of punishing in his own hands, and is not oblig’d to execute what he hath threatened any further that the reasons and ends of Government require’ (Tillotson ‘Of the Eternity of Hell Torments p.8)

While this is not an explicit endorsement of universal hope Tillotson's critics through it was and saw him as giving comfort to Queen Mary for usurping the throne of her father James II with her husband William III.

1697

This was the year of public testimony for Jane Lead’s English Philadelphians to the approaching millennium and he revelation of the Everlasting Gospel; of universal restoration. On August 23rd, Rev Richard Roach - Rector of St Augustine’s in Hackney, London from 1690 until his death in 1730 (q.v. Walker p 220) – presented the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Tennison, a presentation of the aims of the Philadelphian Society. Walker tells us – the Archbishop remained unconvinced, but assured Roach that he would not allow the Society to be persecuted.(Tennison's words as reported by Roach are: ‘I perceive you are rooted in your Opinions; however, I will not be a persecutor, nor give you or your friends any disturbance’ (see Walker pp.245-6). Roach remained Rector of St Augustine’s in Hackney, London from 1690 until his death in 1730, and continued to preach and teach UR Philadelphian style without interference from the C of E hierarchy (q.v. Walker p 220)

1868

Alexander Forbes (1817 – 1875), the Scottish Episcopalian Bishop of Brechiln, publishes his, ‘An Explanation of the Thirty-nine Articles’ in which he articulates a common pastoral sentiment about the doctrine of everlasting punishment:

"The deep instincts of humanity, combined of pity and of justice, demand a belief in some punishment, but deprecate eternal punishment in the case of many who go out of this world; there such teaching as has been cited from the Early Church comes in to our aid. Nay, not such as these poor outcasts only, whom men have most in their eyes and their minds, because their sins are more tangible and coarse, but — and even yet more than these — rich and educated men and women who have more light than they, yet who, to outward appearance, live mere natural lives, immersed in worldliness, yet not altogether, it is hoped, separated from God, are, as they are, seemingly ripe neither for heaven nor for hell." — (On the Articles, ii. 343).

"The true doctrine of which the opinion condemned in Article 42. is an exaggeration and excess, is founded on the tenderest and deepest sympathies of our common human nature. Mankind will not endure the thought that, at the moment of death, all concern for those loved ones who are riven from us by death comes to an end. Nay, we go so far as to say that….though death puts an end to each man's probation, so far as he is concerned yet the Infinite Love pursues the soul beyond the grave, and there has dealings with it." — (On the Articles, ii. 311).


1877

A very important year: in November and December, Fredric Farrar – then archdeacon of Westminster- preached a series of sermons in Westminster Abbey on eternal punishment, exciting considerable interest and controversy. These were the first proclamation of hopeful universalism by an Anglican to reach a wide audience for which M.A. Screech state ‘He deserves a place in the liturgical Kalendar as a Merciful Doctor of the Church (Screech, Laughter at the Foot of the Cross, p. 313)Farrar’s scholarly but accessible ‘The Life of Chirst’ (1874) had proved enormously popular with the Victorian middle classes – so he already had an audience. His Westminster sermons took as their central theme ‘that the expressions which have been interpreted to man physical and mental agonies by worm and flame are metaphors for a state of remorse and alienation from God, and it is never too late to repent, since God’s mercy extends to the soul even after death. And although Farrar eschews the label – Universalist – because he remains agnostic that all will be saved – the arc of his sermons tends towards hopeful universalism. The sermons were published in 19978 and reached a wide audience – it sold through the first edition in three weeks and the eighteenth edition appeared in 1901. Farrar’s son believed these sermons probably cost Farrar promotion in the Church, but consoled himself that by taking hopeful universalism to the people Farrar had released many thousands from the gloom and terrors of fetish worship’. (see Boyd Hilton ‘The Age of Atonement’, p.p. 275-6)

Farrar mentions the Abrogation of the 42nds article several times in the printed version of 'Eternal Hope':

The excluded Forty-Second article...was omitted in 1562, and almost certainly through the influence of Archbishop Parker. Now of this article I observe the if the omission of the original Forty –first Article left eh belief in the millennium open ( as most ‘Evangelicals’ admit), the omission of this article leaves even ‘universalism’ an open question. But as far as I am concerned the Article wood not have touched my view at all, for I am not a Universalist[b] (Eternal Hope, footnote 2, pp. 85-6)

[b]And if they (the authors of the Augsburg Confession) intended to condemn the views of Origen, neither they nor the 42nd Article stated those views with any approach to accuracy
(Eternal Hope p.171)


For ten years indeed (1552 -1561) a Forty Second Article condemned Universalism; but for Universalism I have not pleaded, and, more-over, even that Article was struck out with the consent of the Bishops and Clergy of both Houses and Provinces. To say that it was struck out because the Anabaptists were no longer prominent is simply an unsupported conjecture. The conjecture may be true, but even if so I look on the elimination of the Article as distinctly overruled by a watchful Providence; since it is the province of the Church to decide only in matters of faith, and no church has a right to legislate in those matters of opinion on which wise and holy men have, in all ages, been content to differ, seeing that we have no indisputable voice of Revelation to guide our conclusions respecting them. (pp. 182-3)

I note the following in supplement to Farrar’s footnote 2, pp. 85-6 - it concerns the Abrogation of the Fortieth Article against Soul Sleep with the other two: ‘This article was omitted from the Thirty Nine Articles in 1562, much to the joy of many mortalists, who were subsequently able to argue that consequently the Church of England was not opposed to mortlaism’ (P.C. Almond. Heaven and Hell in Enlightenment England, p170, note 9).

1901

Julian of Norwich’s ‘Revelations of Divine Love’ are published in Grace Warrack's edition. Warrack’s sympathetic and informed introduction make Julian accessible to a wider reading public. Julian's name spreads rapidly and her reputation increases as she became a popular subject for lectures, books, and research, and is included in popular anthologies of spiritual writers.
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby JasonPratt » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:35 am

Yep, I agree a chronology would be a fine idea. Also, it would make for a good appendix. Or for a good introductory overview chapter with footnotes linking each entry to its proper subsequent chapter for more detail. 8-)

On the forum, you could add links for each chronology to specific posts where you discuss the topic in more detail of course.
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:00 pm

OK Jason -

For the moment I'll just gradually plonk everything down I've found out about Universalism in England in chronological order (even if some of the stuff seems trivial at first). Once this is done it will be far easier to make informed patterns and connections. I don't know how long this will take (a couple of months I should think); but it will be worth it - and a good resource for others too. :) I'll do each new entry I a new post from now on before placing it on the chronology proper.
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:07 pm

This is a small detail of an example - but shows how and why some were accused of Universalism wrongly by the hotter sort of Protestants during the early Reformation in England. (Oh and apologies to Maritn Bucer for implying that he expelled Hans Denck from Strasbourg for his alleged Universalism - I believe that suspicions about Denck's Trinitarian orthodoxy may have been the real reason of this expulsion on this occasion. Denk was actually accused of Universalism before this time at St Gall - and the rumour of this accusation resurfaces when he was in Augsburg, so Denck got out to avoid trouble. His first experience of expulsion from Nuremberg was due to his alleged views on paedo-baptism and the sacraments).
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby corpselight » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:48 am

Hi Dick, nice to see you continuing this. shame about the lack of smoking gun, but it still seems that some subtle influence prevented the CofE from totally anathemising the concept of Universal Reconciliation, despite the railings of the critics.
interesting about the Everlasting Gospel, as well, the notion that current religious rules and literalism will be done away with. i still think often of the analogy of the child growing up...when young, the child needs firm, black and white rules...when older, the rules change to embrace new responsibility and understanding (though the foundations remain), and then as one grows up, one finds the appropriate times to obey some rules, or relax others (speaking here of the best possible example, which is what God is growing us up towards).
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Fri May 03, 2013 1:28 am

1853

Here’s something I need to do a proper entry about (but don’t have the time today). The first round in the C of E Victorian conflict about eternal damnation occurred when F.D, Maurice, clergyman and Professor of Divinity at King’s College London. His wide hope opinions stated in his Theological Essays of 1853 were viewed as being heterodox by R.W. Jeff the College Principal who, after some tedious correspondence by letter, had Maurice evicted from his Professorship in the same year. But below is an interesting excerpt from one of Maurice’s replies to Jeff – set out by me to make it an easier read:

Maurice's opening remarks

‘’You have alluded (in your last letter) to the absence of a dogmatic statement on the meaning of the word Eternal in our Articles, and to the evidence which the existence of such an Article among the original 42 affords that the omission was deliberate. I hope that the reasons you assign for the course which our Reformers pursued are satisfactory to your own mind. I am most anxious that they should be carefully weighed by the Council of King's College and by the whole Church, as being the very best which, after a long consideration, a learned apologist was able to produce’’.

Point 1: Jeff’s argument (as summarized by Maurice)

‘’… the doctrine on the subject of punishment…was an Anabaptist doctrine, and therefore needed not to be condemned after the first vehemence of the Anabaptist fever had subsided’’

Maurice’s reply

‘’To the first reason you have replied yourself in other parts of the letter; for you have stated that Origen in the third century, and not any Anabaptist in the sixteenth, was the author of the tenet which you disapprove’’.

Point 2: Jeff’s argument (as summarized by Maurice)


‘’… the question had already been settled by the adoption of the Athanasian Creed in the 8th Article’’

Maurice’s reply

‘‘…the sense of the words ‘Eternal Life’ and ‘Eternal Death’ which identifies them respectively with the knowledge of God and the absence of that knowledge, is the one which is directly suggested by the Athanasian Creed… the chief objections to it have arisen from the refusal to give the words that force; that unless we did tacitly acknowledge it, the expression "He who does not thus think concerning the Trinity" would become intolerable to the conscience of every minister and every hearer.’’

Point 3: Jeff’s argument (as summarized by Maurice)

‘‘… some of the Reformers--Jewel, for instance--were very strong in condemning Origen’’

Maurice’s reply

‘’...if the Reformers did personally concur in your opinion and denounce the opposite, it is all the more remarkable that they were withheld (some might say by their good sense, I should say by a higher wisdom) from enforcing that opinion on the Church’’

Point 4: Jeff’s argument (as summarized by Maurice)

‘’…that there may be many theological propositions which ought thoroughly to be received and believed though they are not contained in the Formulary [that is, the 39 Articles]which we have subscribed’.

Maurice’s reply

‘’…the general notion which you encourage--that the King's College Council may demand of its professors an assent to a number of et caeteras not included in the Formularies [that is, the 39 Articles] to which, as churchmen and clergymen, they have set their hand--is one for which I own I was not prepared. It will alarm, I believe, many persons who differ very widely with me. I do not see how it can fail to alarm every man who attaches any sacredness to his oaths or his subscriptions’’

Lots of things are interesting here. I note that here is another instance of a clergyman of Universalist leanings using the pedigree of the abrogation as his defense against charges of heterodoxy. I note that Jeff obviously produced evidence in his letter that John Jewell, the powerful Bishop of Salisbury – one of the original signatories to the 39 articles – was strong in condemning Origen. I need to check this out by somehow getting hold of Jeff’s letter – but if true (which I do not doubt) it does make the Abrogation of the 42nd even more remarkable.

Will do a proper post on this when I can
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Wed May 08, 2013 10:16 am

1868

Alexander Forbes (1817 – 1875), the Scottish Episcopalian Bishop of Brechiln, publishes his, ‘An Explanation of the Thirty-nine Articles’ in which he articulates a common pastoral sentiment about the doctrine of everlasting punishment:

"The deep instincts of humanity, combined of pity and of justice, demand a belief in some punishment, but deprecate eternal punishment in the case of many who go out of this world; there such teaching as has been cited from the Early Church comes in to our aid. Nay, not such as these poor outcasts only, whom men have most in their eyes and their minds, because their sins are more tangible and coarse, but — and even yet more than these — rich and educated men and women who have more light than they, yet who, to outward appearance, live mere natural lives, immersed in worldliness, yet not altogether, it is hoped, separated from God, are, as they are, seemingly ripe neither for heaven nor for hell." — (On the Articles, ii. 343).

"The true doctrine of which the opinion condemned in Article 42. is an exaggeration and excess, is founded on the tenderest and deepest sympathies of our common human nature. Mankind will not endure the thought that, at the moment of death, all concern for those loved ones who are riven from us by death comes to an end. Nay, we go so far as to say that….though death puts an end to each man's probation, so far as he is concerned yet the Infinite Love pursues the soul beyond the grave, and there has dealings with it." — (On the Articles, ii. 311).
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby revdrew61 » Wed May 08, 2013 1:20 pm

Thanks Dick. Good to hear about Alexander Forbes and his reference to the 42nd Article. Nice work.
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Thu May 09, 2013 12:08 am

Thanks Drew :D
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby revdrew61 » Fri May 10, 2013 12:13 am

Thanks again Dick. It is great to know that the awareness of the harm that can be done by misguided ministers was around centuries ago. The tragedy is it still goes on today. Only yesterday I heard what another minister had said to a young victim of sexual abuse some years ago. His foolish condemnation of her has caused immense harm, multiplying the damage caused by the original abuse, and has made it very difficult for her to trust anybody connected with the church. It makes my blood boil.
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Fri May 10, 2013 4:05 am

Hi Drew old chum – yes that’s maddening; and I’ve known of similar cases. I think it is reassuring to know that our ancestors also came across similar issues and that there can be a dialogue between present and past regarding pastoral practice. So hey I’ll do one on Richard Hooker (a better version of a post I did on another thread some time ago)....

1579 (?)

From 1570 to the end of the century a bleak and uncompromising form of Calvinists determinism characterised the pastoral (and political) theology of the powerful Puritan wing of the Church of England (both the sectarians and the moderates – although the moderates like Archbishop Whitgift were capable of more nuanced understanding than sectarians like the formidable Thomas Cartwright). According to this theology, because God has decided who is going to hell beforehand it is useless praying for some people (indeed it is superstitious and ungodly). This emphasis very often went ‘with a rather wooden understanding of assurance, and the need for a constant sense of being in God’s favour, with the consequence that if you didn’t feel you were in God’s favour, you had to take this as a likely sign of God’s reprobation. (Rowan Williams, ‘Christian Imagination in Poetry and Polity’, p.p. 25-6)

The man who was to become the main intellectual opponent of extreme Puritanism was Richard Hooker 1554 –16000, the Anglican priest and theologian, given the epithet ‘Judicious’ by his biographers and little in stature by his cotemporary Calvinist detractors. Hooker’s major work is the encyclopaedic ‘Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity’ (several volumes written from the mid 1580s to the end of the century), but his challenge to extreme Calvinism is already evident in an early sermon he preached in the 1570s on the theme of ‘The Certainty and Perpetuity of Faith in the Elect’.

In ‘Faith in the Elect’, against damning teachings about assurance, Hooker maintains that fluctuations of human emotion, periods of darkness and doubt, are to be expected in life and are not indicators of reprobation; people should not be ‘deceived by too hard an opinion of themselves’. His wise pastoral reassurance in this is reminiscent of Staretz Silouan advice: ‘Keep you mind in hell, and despair not’:

''An aggrieved spirit is therefore no argument for a faithless mind....(An) occasion for men’s misjudging themselves, as if they were faithless when they are not, is, when they fasten their thoughts on the distrustful suggestions of the flesh, and finding great abundance of these in themselves, they gather thereby ‘Surely unbelief has taken full dominion, it has taken possession of me; if I were faithful it could not be thus (and) ....they lie buried and overwhelmed; when notwithstanding as the blessed apostle acknowledges (Romans. Viii. 26, 27) that ’the Spirit groaneth’, and that God hears us when we do not hear God ;so there is no doubt, but that our faith may have and does have her private operations secret to us, but known to God.....Tell this to a people who has been deceived by too hard an opinion of themselves, and it will only augment their grief...Well to favour (indulge) them a little in their weakness; let what they imagine be granted– that they are faithless and without belief. But are they not grieved for their unbelief. Do they not wish it might be otherwise and also strive for this. We know they do....The faith therefore of true believers, though it has many and grievous downfalls, yet does it still continue secretly invincible''. (‘The Works of That Learned and Judicious Divine, Mr. Richard Hooker’, Vol. iii. p. 474-6)

In 1581 Hooker came to prominence as preacher at St Paul’s’ Cross – the open air pulpit at old ST Paul’s Cathedral which was the stage for radical preaching and bookselling.- where he offended Puritans for diverging from the views on predestination and for suggesting that even the Pope might be saved. The following year, he was appointed Master (Rector) of the Temple Church in London by the Queen where he soon came into public conflict with his cousin Walter Travers, a leading Puritan and Reader (Lecturer) at the Temple – they had a sort of dual by sermons.

Hooker’s clearest statement of what could be called' hypothetical universalism' – edging towards a hopeful universalism but lacking the resources of a doctrine of purgatory - comes in Book v. of his 'Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity' where he states that :

‘[The]safest axioms of charity to rest itself upon are these ‘ he which steadfastly believes is (saved) and ‘he which believes not as yet may be the child of God’. It becomes not us during this lifetime altogether to condemn any man seeing that (for anything we know) there is hope of every man’s forgiveness, the possibility of whose repentance is not yet cut off by death. And therefore charity ‘which hopeth all things’ prayeth also for all men’'. (Hooker, Laws, Bk v, Ch.49. 1-2)

Christopher Insole comments on this passage:

''This charity which ‘hopes all things’ does not do so in vain theologically speaking. Hooker’s vision of the Church is one which expresses the desire for participation found at every level of creation, finding its ultimate consummation in the infinite desire for God. It cannot be in vain to hope for ‘every man’s forgiveness’ if one’s anthropology inclines one to view the deepest satisfaction of all the yearning creation, is to move towards the creative centre. Peter Lake gives a beautiful evocation of Hooker’s vision, showing how in ‘the face of the Puritans’ inherently subversive view of the community of Christians, permanently fractured by division between the godly and the ungodly/the elect and the reprobate, one has Hooker’s more restful vision of the visible church which included everyone within the slow moving cycle of its outward observances, while the slow trickle of sacramental grace performed its subtly ameliorative work and the mystical body of Christ grew with glacial slowness and a soothing lack of conflict’. (Christopher Insole, ‘The Politics of Human Frailty’ pages 56 -57)
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Sat May 25, 2013 1:25 pm

added to list
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Sun May 26, 2013 3:48 am

1413

The first scribal manuscript version of Julian’s Short Text is finished 1413, (this is noted in the introduction to the 15th-century Amherst Manuscript which names Julian and refers to her as still alive). All three of the early manuscripts of the Shewings – two Short Text, one Long Text - have connections to the Brigittine Nunnery, Syon Abbey on the banks of the Thames – destroyed during the Reformation. In the 17th century, the Julian manuscripts were written out and preserved in the Cambrai and Paris houses of the English Benedictines. It was not until 1670 that the first English printed edition appeared edited by Cressy, the English Benedictine.

The Julian manuscripts secret and exclusive circulation can be attributed to a number of factors –

Her radical and inclusive images of Jesus as mother, while not new, go beyond anything written before, and her hopeful universalism as asserted by a loyal daughter of the church is also very ‘avant-garde’.

In a patriarchal age, when schoolmen seriously debated whether or not women have rational souls, the writings of female visionaries were always suspect. Given the right circumstances visions could confer great authority on a woman – as they did to Abbess Hildegard von Bingen in the thirteenth century. However, the history of Joan of Arc and the near escapes of Margery Kempe reveal that another outcome was always a danger. Also – however self effacing Julian is in her writings – she is the first English woman of letters (a dangerous innovator).

Julian translates some passages from the Latin and Hebrew texts of the Bible into English in the Shewings. At this date you could be burnt at the stake for owing a copy of Wycliffe’s ‘Lollard’ translation of the Bible into English. Julain makes her own translations – but her efforts could arouse suspicion.


Julia Bolton Holloway, a leading Julian scholar, has argued that Julian shows extensive knowledge of the Hebrew Bible when translating the Old Testament, the evidence being that she had access to the Hebrew of the Scriptures, likely gained through Cardinal Adam Easton of Norwich who had taught the Hebrew Scriptures at Oxford and who had translated them into Latin, correcting Jerome’s errors. Holloway argues that Julian understands that the Hebrew shalom meaning ‘peace, well-being, in all things’, is wrongly translated by Jerome with the Latin ’recte’, (rightness, correctness) and is better translated as ‘And all manner of thing shall be well’. Holloway even speculates that Julian was of Jewish ancestry. Whether or not this is so, Julian’s knowledge of Hebrew again makes her suspect.
(see http://bltnotjustasandwich.com/2013/02/ ... f-norwich/)

In the final passage of the ‘Shewings’ Julian refers to her readers as ‘even Christians’ – that is Christians who she is ‘on a level with’, and bound to in reciprocal bonds of love rather than by hierarchy. There is nothing to suggest that Julian was a Lollard – far from it – but the phrase ‘even Christians’ was also used by the Lollards.
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby JasonPratt » Sun May 26, 2013 7:29 am

Briefly worth noting (perhaps later): Julian's "all will be well" would go so far as to be favorably quoted in the Great Catechism at the end of the 20th century, long after her univeralism was well known, on the topic of the scope and persistence of God's salvation! (I can give chapter and verse, so to speak, for this later when I get back to my office.) The fact that the Catechism still technically denies universalism makes this even more amazing; but the current pope and some future ones at the time were fairly strong supporters of hopeful and certain universalists among their fellow Roman Catholics.
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Sun May 26, 2013 11:27 am

That would be very interesting and extremely relevant Jason :) I'd also be interested to find out when she was given honorific stauts in the Catholic and Anglican calendars.

c. 1367–70
This is the conjectured date for the writing of the first text – Text A – of the Christian Dream Vision allegory ‘Piers Plowman’ (the author revised the original twice and these revisions are known as Text B and Text C). The text B and text C versions contain clear statements of hopeful universalism. The conjectured author of this poem is William Langland (ca. 1332 – ca. 1386). We know very little about him, but the sophisticated level of religious knowledge in the poem indicates that he had some connection to the clergy, and was possibly an itinerant hermit. The tradition that Langland was a Lollard, promoted by Robert Crowley's 1550 edition of Piers and by early Lollard appropriation of the Plowman-figure, is false. Langland and Wycliffe shared many concerns: both question the value of indulgences and pilgrimage, promote the use of the vernacular in preaching, and attack clerical corruption. But these topics were widely discussed throughout the late fourteenth century anyway, Langland certainly does not echo Wycliffe’s teachings about the sacraments.

Passus 18 of the B text (and 20 of the C text) concludes with Will waking to the ringing of Easter Bells after witnessing in dream vision the events of Holy Week culminating in a debate between the four daughters of God – Mercy, Justice, Truth and Peace. Justice and truth argue for everlasting punishment of sin, while Mercy and Peace argue for forgiveness and restoration. Christ intervenes to harrow hell saying –
Then I shall come as a king, crowned with angels
And have all men’s souls out of hell
Demons great and small shall stand before me
And be at my bidding where I will
My kinship demands that I have mercy
On man , for we are all brethren
In blood, if not in baptism

My righteousness and right shall rule
In hell, and mercy over all mankind before me
In heaven. I were an unkind king
If I did not help my kin.

(Piers Plowman, Passus 18.399)Through the incarnation, all mankind is kin of Christ the King, and this verse emphasizes that Christ is bound by the bonds of kinship to save all of his kin – all of mankind - from the flames of hell. Langland here is drawing on the old Anglo-Saxon views on kinship and its bonds(found for instance in the pagan poem ‘Beowulf’) which held on quite long among the English. However, Langland extends kinship to all mankind, something the older, tribal-based Anglo-Saxons wouldn't have done, and he does this through his inclusive doctrine of Incarnation. Langland’s egalitarian notions of kingship are very different from the hierarchical Norman French notions found in Anselm’s eleventh century ‘Cur Deus Homo’ – where God’s kingly honour, because God is infinite, is infinitely offended by our sin.

It has to be said that this passage conflicts with more pessimistic passages elsewhere in the poem including one – Truth’s pardon – that echoes the Athanasian Creed’s ;those who do evil will go into the everlasting fire’ (A Passus 8.96, B Passus 7 110B, C Passus 9. 287).. However, in the Harrowing of Hell scene it is important that the words of ultimate hope are placed on the lips of Christ – although it seems that Langland was still troubled by this hope as if the Daughters of God within him were still at loggerheads.

Piers Plowman was widely circulated in the fourteenth century (fifty two known manuscripts are extant). With Crowley’s printed edition of 1550 it reached a wide readership (although I will have to check and see how Crowley glosses the Universalist passages someday). If there is an inspirational link between the first flourishing of hopeful universalism in fourteenth century and the radical Universalists of the sixteenth century, ‘Piers Plowman’ is it.
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby JasonPratt » Sun May 26, 2013 8:32 pm

Langland and Wycliffe shared many concerns: both question the value of indulgences and pilgrimage, promote the use of the vernacular in preaching, and attack clerical corruption, and even advocate.


Even advocate what? (There seems to be at least one phrase missing.)
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Mon May 27, 2013 2:19 am

Hi Jason – yes that was just an error in the mapping notes, which I’ve now deleted. The most important difference between Langland and Wycliffe from a UR viewpoint is that Langland was a hopeful Universalist, while Wycliffe and the Lollard mainstream seem to have been soul sleepers and annihilationist (I’ve seen the claim made on Universalist websites that the Lollards were Universalists but have seen no evidence for this claim given anywhere).

Regarding my notes on the first flourishing of UR in England – well I’ve a little bit more to say about Julian (comparing here with Anselm regarding God’s motherhood seems well worth a note) – but the gist of things is down now. I think I’ll just put some brief contextual notes in about the big events that the early UR crowd shared and which shaped their beliefs –

The Black Death
The Peasants Revolt
The rise and fall of the Lollards
The Hundred Years War
The season of popes and anti-popes

Should have this finished by end of the week. Then I can get cracking on the sixteenth century big time and work forwards (I’ve done enough flitting from one thing to another now).
When the mappings is over it will be time to look back at the first UR set and see if any other perspectives crop up – but I will soon leave them alone for the moment.

Jason – thanks so much for reading this stuff. You are a pal
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Thu May 30, 2013 3:01 pm

1368

Louis Ellies du Pin, or Dupin (1657 –1719) the French ecclesiastical historian often quoted by nineteenth century historians of universalism apparently speaks of a council convened by
Langham, Archbishop of Canterbury, .A.D. 1368, in which judgment was given against thirty propositions that were taught in his province; one of which was that "all the damned, even the demons, may be restored and become happy." I have good reason t believe that Dupin is not always a reliable source –but this is worth checking sometime against ecclesiastical records.
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:59 am

Ann interesting fact (if you are interested in boring stuff) -
When I’ve been working with Pog no his list of 'hellism deniers' I scanned through a copy of ‘The Modern History of Universalism: Extending from the Epoch of the Reformation to the Present Time. Consisting of Accounts of Individuals and Sects’ , by Thomas Whittemore on Google Books. Whittemore actually covers the same ground that this thread does about the Abrogation of the 42nd, the connection with Anabaptist Universalism etc – he tells the sane story. I hadn’t known this until now.

What I will say is that there is a lot we know now – a lot of it detailed in this thread – that Whittemore had no idea about. But this is effectively a new telling of an old story.
:idea:
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby corpselight » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:22 am

that's interesting...i wonder if he'd be interested in this thread??
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:35 am

He's been dead a long time James :lol: He departed this life in 1861 - but I'm really glad I've done an intensive stint on Pog list because it's improved my knowledge about American Universalism hugely and enabled me to find this out. :D
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby corpselight » Thu Jun 06, 2013 4:32 am

does that mean he's not interested? what a bore :P
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby JasonPratt » Thu Jun 06, 2013 4:40 am

I wish I could download Whittemore's two books off Google (or somewhere) -- the various new print versions are expensive. But I've registered them in my Google library anyway. ;)
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby corpselight » Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:25 am

Dave Tomlinson, a great mention...and thanks to you lending me that book, i've been going to and LOVING his church :)
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:02 pm

I've seen some copies for about £10 on Amazon UK. I think I ought to get one for this research - I see it includes some stuff by an early Episcopalian universalist minister citing the abrogation of the 42nd article.

James - I'm really glad you are loving it at Dave's church - well he is a universalist after all :)
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:54 pm

A note to say that the Synod convened by Langham of Canterbury (mentioned above – and cited by a number of 19th century American historians of universalism) actually did take place and concerned the views of Uthred of Bolden that I’ve mentioned. Here is the ‘dirt’ on it -

In 1366, a quarrel broke out at Oxford when the Dominicans, led by William Jordan, launched an attack on the Benedictine Uthred of Bolden; the earliest evidence of this s a letter written by a monk of St. Mary’s, York, found in W.A. Pantin, General and Provincial Chapters of the English Back Monks, (London; Royal Historical Society, 1937), 3:308-9. This seems to have been the start of a long running quarrel.


Feb 18th 1368 Archbishop Langham of Canterbury ordered the Chancellor of Oxford to silence the two parties. On Nov 9th, Langham condemned a list of 30 propositions as erroneous; 22 of them deal with the issue of grace and salvation, and are clearly Uthred’s work. The remaining 8 deal broadly with the principle that things cannot change their basic nature, and appear to be the work of Jordan, although he was permitted to deny holding them. See Dom David Knowles, ‘’the Censured Opinions of Uthred of Bolden’ in ‘Proceedings of the British Academy, 1951, p.p. 306-42. There is no evidence that either man was required to formally recant or was punished in any fashion.

‘The School of Heretics: Academic Condemnation at the University of Oxford’ by Andrew E Larsen. P 297)

It is not clear to me yet that the Langham’s Synod actually did condemn universalism per se. I’ll need to do some more digging – and get hold of David Knowles’ article.
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby Sobornost » Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:50 pm

Doctrine in the Church of England 1938 (p. 219) states - ''there must be room in the Church for those who hold that the love of God will at last win all to penitence and answering love from every soul that is has created''
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Re: Church of England Articles allowed Universalism in 1563

Postby DaveB » Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:09 pm

I had never read that, Dick. Heartening.
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
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