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EARLY CHURCH

Ambrose
Ambrose, Pseudo
Andreas
Arethas
Aphrahat
Athanasius
Augustine
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BarSerapion
Baruch, Pseudo
Bede
Chrysostom
Chrysostom, Pseudo
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Clement, Rome
Clement, Pseudo
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Ephraem
Epiphanes
Eusebius
Gregory
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Justin Martyr
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Matthew
Melito
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Apostle Peter
Maurus Rabanus
Remigius
"Solomon"
Severus
St. Symeon
Tertullian
Theophylact
Victorinus

HISTORICAL PRETERISM
(Minor Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 or Revelation in Past)

Joseph Addison
Oswald T. Allis
Thomas Aquinas
Karl Auberlen
Augustine
Albert Barnes
Karl Barth
G.K. Beale
Beasley-Murray
John Bengel
Wilhelm Bousset
John A. Broadus

David Brown
"Haddington Brown"
F.F. Bruce

Augustin Calmut
John Calvin
B.H. Carroll
Johannes Cocceius
Vern Crisler
Thomas Dekker
Wilhelm De Wette
Philip Doddridge
Isaak Dorner
Dutch Annotators
Alfred Edersheim
Jonathan Edwards

E.B. Elliott
Heinrich Ewald
Patrick Fairbairn
Js. Farquharson
A.R. Fausset
Robert Fleming
Hermann Gebhardt
Geneva Bible
Charles Homer Giblin
John Gill
William Gilpin
W.B. Godbey
Ezra Gould
Hank Hanegraaff
Hengstenberg
Matthew Henry
G.A. Henty
George Holford
Johann von Hug
William Hurte
J, F, and Brown
B.W. Johnson
John Jortin
Benjamin Keach
K.F. Keil
Henry Kett
Richard Knatchbull
Johann Lange

Cornelius Lapide
Nathaniel Lardner
Jean Le Clerc
Peter Leithart
Jack P. Lewis
Abiel Livermore
John Locke
Martin Luther

James MacDonald
James MacKnight
Dave MacPherson
Keith Mathison
Philip Mauro
Thomas Manton
Heinrich Meyer
J.D. Michaelis
Johann Neander
Sir Isaac Newton
Thomas Newton
Stafford North
Dr. John Owen
 Blaise Pascal
William W. Patton
Arthur Pink

Thomas Pyle
Maurus Rabanus
St. Remigius

Anne Rice
Kim Riddlebarger
J.C. Robertson
Edward Robinson
Andrew Sandlin
Johann Schabalie
Philip Schaff
Thomas Scott
C.J. Seraiah
Daniel Smith
Dr. John Smith
C.H. Spurgeon

Rudolph E. Stier
A.H. Strong
St. Symeon
Theophylact
Friedrich Tholuck
George Townsend
James Ussher
Wm. Warburton
Benjamin Warfield

Noah Webster
John Wesley
B.F. Westcott
William Whiston
Herman Witsius
N.T. Wright

John Wycliffe
Richard Wynne
C.F.J. Zullig

MODERN PRETERISTS
(Major Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 or Revelation in Past)

Firmin Abauzit
Jay Adams
Luis Alcazar
Greg Bahnsen
Beausobre, L'Enfant
Jacques Bousset
John L. Bray
David Brewster
Dr. John Brown
Thomas Brown
Newcombe Cappe
David Chilton
Adam Clarke

Henry Cowles
Ephraim Currier
R.W. Dale
Gary DeMar
P.S. Desprez
Johann Eichhorn
Heneage Elsley
F.W. Farrar
Samuel Frost
Kenneth Gentry
Steve Gregg
Hugo Grotius
Francis X. Gumerlock
Henry Hammond
Hampden-Cook
Friedrich Hartwig
Adolph Hausrath
Thomas Hayne
J.G. Herder
Timothy Kenrick
J. Marcellus Kik
Samuel Lee
Peter Leithart
John Lightfoot
Benjamin Marshall
F.D. Maurice
Marion Morris
Ovid Need, Jr
Wm. Newcombe
N.A. Nisbett
Gary North
Randall Otto
Zachary Pearce
Andrew Perriman
Beilby Porteus
Ernst Renan
Gregory Sharpe
Fr. Spadafora
R.C. Sproul
Moses Stuart
Milton S. Terry
Herbert Thorndike
C. Vanderwaal
Foy Wallace
Israel P. Warren
Chas Wellbeloved
J.J. Wetstein
Richard Weymouth
Daniel Whitby
George Wilkins
E.P. Woodward
 

FUTURISTS
(Virtually No Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 & Revelation in 1st C. - Types Only ; Also Included are "Higher Critics" Not Associated With Any Particular Eschatology)

Henry Alford
G.C. Berkower
Alan Patrick Boyd
John Bradford
Wm. Burkitt
George Caird
Conybeare/ Howson
John Crossan
John N. Darby
C.H. Dodd
E.B. Elliott
G.S. Faber
Jerry Falwell
Charles G. Finney
J.P. Green Sr.
Murray Harris
Thomas Ice

Benjamin Jowett
John N.D. Kelly

Hal Lindsey
John MacArthur
William Miller
Robert Mounce

Eduard Reuss

J.A.T. Robinson
George Rosenmuller
D.S. Russell
George Sandison
C.I. Scofield
Dr. John Smith

Norman Snaith
"Televangelists"
Thomas Torrance
Jack/Rex VanImpe
John Walvoord

Quakers : George Fox | Margaret Fell (Fox) | Isaac Penington


PRETERIST UNIVERSALISM | MODERN PRETERISM | PRETERIST IDEALISM


 

Charles Wellbeloved
(1769-1858)

A biographical memoir of the Rev. Charles Wellbeloved (1860) "Modern criticism would probably pronounce that Hammond, and Nisbett, and Cappe were right, in maintaining that the whole passage in Matthew was spoken with reference to the destruction of Jerusalem, whatever difficulty there may be in discovering in the historical event a complete correspondence with all the descriptive circumstances of the prediction. Criticism, however, cannot admit the principle that there must be such a correspondence, and that the interpretation which establishes it must be true."

Unitarian Minister and Educator | Co-Pastor with Newcombe Cappe

Biography pp. 105-110

"It is mentioned in his biography that, when a student at Northampton, he had entertained doubts of the truths of Christianity, and had subjected its evidences to a most rigid scrutiny. Whether, even then, he had shadowed out to himself the mode of interpretation which he afterwards elaborated into a system, we are not told; but it was his firm conviction, in which Mr. Wellbeloved shared, that only by such means could the Gospel be defended against the  objections of unbelievers. The most marked peculiarity of this system was the interpretation given to that passage in the Gospel of St. Matthew (xxv. v. 31-46), in which the second coming of our Lord appears to be connected, on the one hand with the destruction of Jerusalem, on the other hand with a general judgment and  retribution. The passage had been a serious difficulty to enlightened expositors, and a handle to the enemies of Revelation. If a second coming of Christ in the clouds of Heaven, to judge the world to bring the present system of things to an end, and make an eternal separation between the righteous and the wicked, had been really predicted, as an event to be witnessed by the generation in which our Saviour lived (Matt. xvi. 28), it would be difficult to escape the edge of Mr. Gibbon's sarcasm, who, in assigning the secondary causes of the rapid diffusion of the Gospel says, " In the primitive church the influence of truth was very powerfully strengthened by an opinion, which, however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity, has not been found agreeable to experience. It was," he says, " universally believed, that the end of the world and the kingdom of Heaven were at hand. The near approach of this wonderful event had been predicted by the Apostles; the tradition of it was preserved by their earliest disciples, and those who  understood, in their literal sense, the discourses of Christ himself were obliged to expect the second and glorious coming of the Son of Man in the clouds before that generation was totally extinguished which had beheld his humble condition upon earth. The revolution of seventeen centuries, however, has taught us not to press too closely the mysterious language of prophecy and revelation." 

The majority of interpreters admitted, what could not indeed be well denied, that the predictions in Mark and Luke referred to the destruction of Jerusalem, but thought that in Matthew predictions of the end of the world and the general judgment were mixed together: the nearer event being, in our Lord's mind, a type of the more remote. In opposition to these views, Dr. Hammond, in his Commentary, had suggested that the whole of the prophecy had reference solely to the destruction of Jerusalem; and the same view had been maintained even more broadly by Mr. Nisbett, a Kentish clergyman, in his " Attempt to illustrate Various Passages in the New Testament," published in 1787.

In his view, the end of the world was only the end of the age, the Jewish dispensation, brought to a close by the destruction of Jerusalem ; the coming of the Son of Man in the clouds of Heaven was only this signal manifestation of divine power, confirming the truth of his predictions ; the darkening of the sun, the shaking of the powers of the heavens, were a symbolical description of great political revolutions; the angels who gather the elect, are the preachers of the Gospel, who gathered believers into the church ; the salvation promised to faith was the safety enjoyed by those who, believing the predictions of Christ, separated from Judaism and escaped the destruction which fell on its obstinate adherents ; the goats and the sheep were respectively the unbelievers and the believers; the everlasting punishment of the one, the everlasting life of the other, were the respective states of suffering or happiness which resulted from unbelief or belief, in the aion, the age or dispensation of Christianity, which succeeded to the abolished system of Judaism. The Apostles did not misunderstand their Master's meaning; but when they speak of his coming, always refer to the destruction of Jerusalem, and its effects on these two classes of persons.

In the application of Scriptural language, commonly understood to refer to a future life and general judgment, to the destruction of Jerusalem, and its effects as regarded unbelievers and Christians, Mr. Cappe, however, went far beyond Hammond and Nisbett. Thus, John v. 28, " Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming in the which all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man, and shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of condemnation," is paraphrased by him, " The time is at no great distance, when all who are now in their graves, who at present sit in darkness and the shadow of death, shall hear the voice of the Son of God summoning them to judgment, and shall come forth out of their present state of darkness
and ignorance, to a new state of mind, to a resurrection which, to those who have been obedient to the calls of Providence, shall issue in the preservation of their lives, amidst the calamities which will overwhelm their country; to those who have refused to hearken to them, shall issue in their condemnation," Diss. vol. i. p. 325. In John vi. 40, " And this is the will of Him that sent me, that every one who seeth the Son and believeth on him may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day," the concluding words are rendered, " and that I should exalt him hereafter."

In St. Paul's address to the Thessalonians (1. iv. 13), "I would not have you be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope;" those who are asleep are explained by Mr. Cappe to be those who are not yet awakened to receive Jesus and his
Gospel; and the declaration that "we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent those who are asleep " is said to mean, that " we who are already Christians, waiting for His coming, shall not, in respect of any pleasures or benefits to be derived from His actual presence, or any personal communication with Him, be beforehand with those who are yet unawakened, if in the end they be brought to the acknowledgment of the truth," vol. i. p. 263. There are other points in which Mr. Cappe differed widely from commentators in general, as in referring the petitions of the Lord's Prayer and the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount, exclusively to the Apostles, and considering the Kingdom of Heaven or Kingdom of Christ to be his dispensation of miraculous powers to his disciples, beginning with the day of Pentecost and ending with the destruction of Jerusalem. The repentance which the Baptist preached was, according to Mr. Cappe, only a change of mind from worldly to spiritual conceptions of the Kingdom of Heaven. Mr. Cappe, and Mr Wellbeloved after him, rejecting the common interpretation of the passages supposed to refer to a general resurrection and day of judgment, believed that the state of reward and punishment began to each individual at his death —a belief which involves that of an immaterial principle in man. A hearer of Mr. Wellbeloved could hardly fail to observe, that he carefully avoided the usual phraseology, and instead of it employed that of a "future retributory scene."
He regarded the Resurrection not as an example of the future life which awaits all mankind (in which view the analogy must be acknowledged to be very imperfect), but as a miracle, confirming the truth of our Saviour's teaching, which everywhere assumes the doctrine of a future life of retribution, though it does not teach it in most of the passages which have been supposed to bear this meaning. His conception of Revelation generally was, that it did not so much bring new truths to light, as confirm them by miracles; or, as he sometimes expressed it, " Christianity is a republication of the law of nature with miraculous sanctions." It is not my purpose to examine the soundness of these interpretations; but the circumstance of their being adopted, as I believe they were in all leading points by Mr. Wellbeloved, is too important to be passed over in his biography."

Charles Wellbeloved (1769-1858), a dissenting liberal minister and educator, greatly influenced British Unitarians. Noted for his wide scholarship and for his well-known defenses of liberal Christianity, he trained many celebrated Unitarian ministers at Manchester College, York.

Born in London, Charles was the only child of John and Elizabeth Plaw Wellbeloved. Owing to "domestic unhappiness," he went to live at age four with his grandfather, Charles Wellbeloved (1713-1782), and never saw his parents again. He was baptized in the Church of England but was attracted, along with his grandfather, to Methodism. John Wesley was often a guest at their house.

Charles was apprenticed to a firm of drapers. He said he learned only there "how to tie up a parcel." He studied at Homerton Academy under harsh conditions imposed by his teacher, the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Davies, a strict Calvinist. The students warmed themselves in their small rooms by burying their feet in a basket of hay. Wellbeloved's early life and Calvinist training gave him gloomy views of God and man. Always deeply religious and sensitive, he never lost a tinge of melancholy.

Liberal-minded fellow students introduced Charles to the writings of Joseph Priestley and Theophilus Lindsey. In 1787 he went to Hackney Academy in London, where Priestley and Thomas Belsham were tutors, to train for the dissenting ministry. Wellbeloved also was influenced by Richard Price, whose services he attended at Newington Green and Hackney.

Young Wellbeloved took an interest in politics. He spoke firmly against the many laws restricting dissenters' civil liberties. He wrote to the Morning Chronicle denouncing the 1791 Birmingham rioters who set fire to Priestley's home and church. Like many other Unitarians, Wellbeloved supported the French Revolution for its espousal of liberty. At his invitation Thomas Paine spoke at Hackney Academy.

In 1792, his studies completed, Wellbeloved accepted a call to serve as assistant to Newcome Cappe at St. Saviourgate Chapel in York. Upon Cappe's death in 1800, he became pastor. Wellbeloved served the church as minister for 66 years, until his death.

In 1793 Wellbeloved married Ann Kinder. When she died in 1832, they had seven living children. Two sons, John and Robert Scott, studied for the ministry. In 1819 John, still a student, died of typhus during a trip to Germany. Robert briefly assisted his father at St. Saviourgate, but was more successful as a lawyer. Daughter Emma married Sir James Carter, a student at Manchester College and later Chief Justice of New Brunswick. Daughter Anne kept house for her father until her death from tuberculosis in 1846.

In need of money to support his family, Wellbeloved early began to supplement his income by running a school and boarding the students in his home. In 1803 Manchester Academy, founded in 1786 to train dissenting ministers, needed a new Principal. Because Wellbeloved would not move to Manchester, the college moved to York to have him as head. At first he taught all subjects. He hired additional tutors after a year. He always worked hard and several times his health broke. In 1840, when age forced him to retire, the college moved back to Manchester.

Wellbeloved did not allow the school to be called Unitarian because he wanted students to have an open mind and to discover the truth for themselves. In 1809 he wrote to George Wood, "I do not and will not teach Unitarianism or any ism but Christianism. I will endeavour to teach the students how to study the Scripture—nice if they find Unitarianism there—well if animism—well if Trinitarianism—well, only let them find something for themselves."

Under Wellbeloved's Principalship 235 students were educated at the college. Divinity students numbered 121 and laymen 114. Of the divinity students 30 did not enter the ministry and 5 entered the Anglican priesthood. Among the lay students were scholars, public servants, notable people in the arts and businessmen. The majority was Unitarian. Among the distinguished Unitarian students were James Martineau (later Principal), William Gaskell, Philip Pearsall Carpenter, John James Tayler (later Principal), Joseph Hunter, Joseph Hutton, William Raynor Wood, Daniel Jones, William Turner, Jr., James Yates, Robert Wallace (later Principal), Mark Philips (prominent Member of Parliament), and Edward Worthington.

Wellbeloved was fluent in French and Italian. His printed sermons were footnoted with Greek, Latin, and Hebrew references, and he read Arabic, Syriac, Chaldee, and German. In 1814 he began a translation of the Old Testament from original sources, intended for family worship and including copious scholarly and homiletic notes. The translation occupied much of his spare time the rest of his life. He completed the Pentateuch in 1825 and Psalms in 1838, but never finished the project. In 1801 he published Devotional Exercises for young people. He edited theological and metaphysical sections of the Annual Review, 1802-07, published by Longman & Rees.

An antiquarian and archaeologist, Wellbeloved wrote Eburacum; or, York under the Romans, 1842. He formed the Antiquarian Society, helped organize the Yorkshire Philosophical Society, served as Curator of Antiquities at the York Museum, and wrote a history of St. Mary's Abbey, a Benedictine monastery. In 1827 he undertook to save the Roman wall around the city of York and raised money for its restoration.

Many of Wellbeloved's contributions to his city went beyond scholarship and education for ministry. The York Lunatic Asylum was inhumanely and poorly managed until Wellbeloved became the chairman of the committee of governors, 1831-50. Taking an active role in the administration and replacing severity with kindness, he won the inmates' trust. He assisted at the Wilberforce School for the Blind. He was a founder of the York Mechanics Institute, whose purpose was to provide education for ordinary people. The Institute had a library and reading room and sponsored public lectures on science, history and literature. Wellbeloved himself gave many evening lectures. He served as director of the York Dispensary, the Savings Bank, the School of Design, and the Art Gallery. After the famous York Minster burned in 1829, Wellbeloved successfully campaigned and raised money for its restoration to its original condition. The Archbishop of York wrote to thank him for his diligence. Wellbeloved's student William Gaskell later commented, "There is scarcely an institution designed for [the benefit of the citizens of York] with which he was not in some way connected, or which he did not help to originate."

Prominent Anglican churchmen attacked Unitarians. In 1799 Wellbeloved refuted Bishop Samuel Horsley's charge that Unitarians were atheists. He wrote, "We acknowledge one God, who in Scripture is called the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Maker of all worlds, and the Governor and Judge of all men. We consider Jesus as his prophet, commissioned to teach mankind."

In 1823 Wellbeloved defended Captain Thomas Thrush, a Unitarian naval officer who, after his conversion, publicized pacifist principles. The strategy of his opponent, Archdeacon Francis Wrangham, was to attack and destroy his adversaries' reputations. Wellbeloved made no counterattack on Wrangham, but answered the charges reasonably with learning and modesty. It was generally agreed that Wellbeloved had the better of the dispute. He wrote to Wrangham, "If, in vindicating the doctrines you have so bitterly opposed, and the characters you have so wrongly aspersed, there has been any thing in my manner needlessly harsh and offensive; if I have been betrayed into any thing unbecoming a scholar and a Christian, here avow my sincere regret, and tender a willing apology. And if I have, in any instance, misapprehended your words, and attributed to them a meaning which they will not bear, or which you did not design them to express; or if I have fallen into errors of any other kind, I require only to be convinced, in order publicly to acknowledge and correct them."

The public sided entirely with Wellbeloved. The Rev. Sydney Smith, a well-known Anglican vicar, remarked that if he had a cause to gain, he would fee Wellbeloved to plead for him and double-fee Wrangham to plead against him.

Lady Sarah Hewley, a 17th century Presbyterian dissenter and a builder of St. Saviourgate Chapel, had set up a trust in support of the non-conforming ministry, from which both Wellbeloved and Manchester College benefited. More orthodox dissenters of the 19th century initiated and won a suit against the Unitarian trustees of the funds in series of trials, 1833-39. The court interrogated Wellbeloved concerning his beliefs. In his testimony he called himself a Protestant Dissenter of Presbyterian polity, rather than a Unitarian. He offered only this statement of belief: "Whatever is taught in Christ's Holy Gospel, concerning the existence, perfections, and government of God, the person and the office of Christ, the terms of pardon and acceptance with God, the duties of life, and a future state of righteous retribution, the defendant gratefully and cordially receives and professes as divine truth."

The Chancellor, Lord Eldon, ruled against the Unitarians (and Wellbeloved), declaring Unitarianism "wicked and blasphemous," a criminal offense under the common law, and Unitarians not entitled to any protection or benefit of the law. Unitarians would have lost every trust, deed, and chapel they owned had not Parliament in 1844 granted them protection under the Dissenters' Chapels Bill.

Charles Wellbeloved was excessively modest. Several times when banquets were given to honor him, he became too sick to attend. Never recognized by the British Unitarian association, or even by the college until in 1998 a room was named for him, he greatly influenced Unitarians. Without his labors Manchester College, now a part of Oxford University, almost certainly would not have survived. The standards of scholarship, religious service and piety Wellbeloved established have informed the history of the College.

A collection of Wellbeloved's books, articles, pamphlets, and manuscripts are at Harris Manchester College, Oxford. Out of modesty he destroyed all his sermon manuscripts, an accumulation spanning seven decades. We know of them only because reporters took down his words and printed them in magazines and newspapers. Among his printed sermons are The Principles of Roman Catholics and Unitarians Contrasted (1800); The Religious and Moral Improvement of Mankind (1815); A Sermon . . . in Aid of a Subscription for the Erection of a Unitarian Chapel in Calcutta (1825); and "The Mystery of Godliness," in the Christian Reformer (1826). His controversy with Wrangham was published as Three Letters (1823) and Three Additional Letters (1824). He also wrote Memoir of T. Thrush (1845).

There are two biographies: A Biographical Memoir of the Late Rev. Charles Wellbeloved, by his son-in-law John Kenrick (1860), and A Fine Victorian Gentleman, The Life and Times of Charles Wellbeloved, by Frank Schulman (1999). An account of his Principalship is in V. D. Davis, A History of Manchester College (1932) and in David L. Wykes, "Dissenting Academy or Unitarian Seminary? Manchester College at York (1803-1840)," Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society (1988). An account of the conflict over the Lady Hewley Trust is in Frank Schulman, Blasphemous and Wicked, The Unitarian Struggle for Equality 1813-1844 (1997). There are numerous references to Wellbeloved in Truth, Liberty, Religion, ed. Barbara Smith (1986). The picture of Charles Wellbeloved is a detail from an oil painting by James Lonsdale. The original hangs in the Senior Common Room at Harris Manchester College, Oxford. A duplicate of the painting is at the York Museum. It is the only likeness ever made of him.

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