By Edward Beecher, D.D.

New York:

Put into Electronic Format by:
Naomi Durkin, 2000
and Mercy Aiken, 2004

On behalf of
Tentmaker Publications


Click here for downloadable version!



1. Retribution: (The Great Discussion at Hand; Temporal Retribution; The Mosaic Law; Causes Leading the Jews to a Belief of Eternal Retribution; It's Full Development in the Age of Maccabees)

2. Opinions in the Age of the Maccabees: (Influence on the Jews of Egyptian, Persian, and Greek Systems; Persecution by Antiochus Epiphanes; The Age fo War, Martyrdom and Glorious Heroism; Full Belief in Eternal Retributions by the Biases and their Teachers)

3. The Age of the Maccabees: (Three Systems as to the Destiny of the Wicked; Character of the Age in the Gentile World; Celebrated Jews; Historical Documents)

4. Origin of Jewish Views of Future Retribution not from Egypt, or Persia, or Greece, but from their own Scriptures, Historical Facts, and Religious Experience:(Persian Theology and Prayers for the Dead; Their Doctrine of the Final Purification of the Wicked and Annihilation of the Ahriman and his Angels)

5. Eight Historical Proofs of the Jewish Origin of their Doctrine of Retribution: (Influence of the Translation of Enoch and Elijah on the Maccabees; Sublime Death Scene; The Book of Enoch; Its Great Power)

6. Views of the Patriarchs and of Moses as to Future Retributions: (Statements of the Epistle to the Hebrews; Egyptian Immortality and Retribution transcended by Moses and Patriarchs; Belief in the Resurrection; Its Origin)

7. David, the Psalms, and the Prophets (Development in them of the Hope of Future Rewards; Retribution Threatened to the Wicked, yet not Defined as to Duration; The Resurrection--Ground of Belief in Immortality; Comparison of the Psalms and the Zend Avesta)

8. From the Maccabees to the Christian Ages (A Full Belief in Immortality and Future Retributions not first Produced by Christianity; It Existed in all its Forms in the Age of the Maccabees and Powerfully Affected the Christain Ages; Philo and Annihilation)

9. Development of Universal Restoraton. (The Sibylline Oracles; Their Great Influence on the Church; Recognition of them in the Celebrated Judgement Hymn; The Judgement; The Doom of the Wicked; Their Punishment in Rivers of Fire; Their Misery; The Compassion and Intercession of the Saints move God to Purify and Save the Lost; Great Influence on Augustine of this Idea; He States it without Reply)

10. Endless Punishment Developed in one Form in the Book of Enoch. (Not Based on the Fall fo Adam but of the Angels; His System developed; The Judgement; Endless Doom of the Wicked a Punishment of Fire; Great Influence of the Book in the First and Second Centuries)

11. Eternal Punishment in Another Form. (Based on the Fall of Adam; Mode of Presentation; A Dialogue between God and Ezra; Ezra Assails the Doctrine; God is Represented As Replying; Ezra is Silence and Submits; The Resurrection and the Judgement Described)

12. Contemporaries of Christ. (Three Great Jewish Centres; The Evangelists; The Pharisees)

13. Christian Ages. (Apostolic Fathers--conflict as to their Testimony; Four Theories; Deficiency of Evidence)

14. The Words of Christ in the Judgment. (The Need of Witnesses to Prove the Understanding of that Age; Aristotle Summoned by the Defenders of Eternal Punishment; Point to be Proved by Him; His Testimony Considered; He has been Falsely Translated; He Refutes those who have Summoned Him)

15. Appeal to the Ancient Greeks by Aristotle. (Their Testimony is Considered; It Refutes Those who have Summoned Aristotle as their Witness; Its Import Given)

16. Testimony of the Later Greeks (Transitions of Meaning in Aion, Philosophical Nomenclature; Ultimate Result)

17. The Septuagint.(Its Origin, It Testifies Against Eternity as the Original and Primary Sense of Aion, and Illustrates the Formation of Aionios and its True Sense)

18. The Coincident View of Dr. Taylor Lewis as to Aionios. (Views Unfolded; His Witness the Peshito; Great Authority of that Version of the New Testament; Its Testimony Decisive)

19. Testimony of the Ancient Creeds. (They Sustain Dr. Lewis; Testimony of Emperor Justinian, Philosopher Olympiodorus; Conclusion)

20. Age of Free Thought and Inquiry (Great Facts; The Words of Christ not Understood to Teach Endless Punishment; Preceding Writers Advocated Different Views; Men Spoke Freely as to Punishment; Other Themes States)

21. Origen and his Age. (A Mountain Top of Vision; Origin a Leading Teacher at Alexandria; Founder of Scientific Theology Based on Preexistence and Results in Universal Restoration; His Elevated Character, Life and Labors; Contrast with Justinian)

22. Early Theological Schools. (Dr. Shedd's View, The Real facts; The Six Theological Schools; Character of the Restorationists; Theodore of Mopsuestia; The Schools Characterized)

23. Irenaeus and the School of John. (His General View; Evil Annhiliated and all Restored to Harmony; The Mode; Ultimate Annhiliation of Wicked; Vain Attempts to Neutralize His Testimony)

24. Justin Martyr and Arnobius Teach Annihilation (Their Lives and Character; Their Systems; Vain Attempts to Neutralize the Testimony of Justin)

25. The Systems of Origen and Theodore of Mopsuestia Compared. (Their Respective Spheres of influence; Theodore Anticipates Dr. Bushnell in some Points; His Views Stated; The Liturgy Composed for the Nestorians by him; It teaches Universal Restoration)

26. Relations of Theodore and the Nestorians to Asia. (Their Field of Labor; They and the Jacobites Outnumbered the Greek and Latin Churches United; The Intelligence, Enterprise, and Missionary Zeal of the Nestorians; Influence on the Arabs, and on the World through them)

27. Fate of Origen While Living and of his Character and Doctrine after his Death (Not Assailed during his Life for Universal Restoration, nor for Some Time after his Death; At last, in the Sixth Century, he and his Doctrine Anathematized by the Emperor Justinian)

28. The School of Africa and Aionios. (Characteristics of this School; Learned in Latin and Ignorant of Greek; Its Theology Animated by the Ideas of Roman Law; Augustine the Leading Mind; His Argument for Eternal Punishment; His Assertion as to Aionios refuted; The Latin Forms of Aion Considered)

29. Names of other Restorationists. (Clement of Alexandria, Didymus of Alexandria, Jerome , Eusebius Pamphilus, Theodoret, Ambrosiaster, Macrina, Pamphilus; Thirteen Others Eminent, but less Known)

30. Esoteric Believers in Universal Restoration Characterize (Views of Neander as to Chrysostom and Gregory of Nazianzum; Relations and Acts of Athanasius and Basil the Great; What they did and what they did not do, and its Significance)

31. The Period before Origen. (Historic Character; Deficiency of Materials; Apostolic Fathers- who?; Their Testimony; Apologists: their Testimony; Some say Nothing, Others do not Agree)

32. General Councils on Universal Restoration (Never Condemned by a General Council; Endless Punishment in no Ecumenical Creed; Fate of the Nestorians; John of Damascus)

33. Answers to Inquiries (My Position in Former Years; In Some Points a Change, in Others not)

34. Possible Results of the Facts stated as to Investigation, Piety, and Fellowship (Is the Question insoluble?)

35. Has the Church Decided the Question?

36. What should be done? (Make the Church Holy and Near to God, and Thoroughly Investigate the Meaning, Relations, and Reasons of the Doctrine of Eternal Punishment as now Held, in the Light of the Word of God)

37. A Lesson from these Facts as to Liberty, Spirit, and Methods.


1. Christ and the Testimony of Josephus.

2. Origen and Universal Restoration.

3. Dr. Tayler Lewis and the Critics.

4. Olympiodorus and aionios.

5. Theophilus and Restoration.

6. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Gregory of Nyssa.

7. Augustine and the Sibylline Verses.

8. Life of the World to Come.

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