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says: "As sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom. v. 21. St. John says: "This is the record that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." 1 John v 11. From these quotations, we see. that zoen aionion often signifies the life, which exists in Christ, what was given in him, and what he will finally give all flesh. To give endless life to all, would be the highest glory of God, and cause grace to reign as universally, unto eternal life, as sin had reigned unto death. Those who deny this, make God a liar, for this is the record which God has given of his Son. If all had not endless life in him, disbelieving the record would not make God a liar for the record would be false. Hence St. John says, these things have I written, that ye may know ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. This life exists independently of faith, and is the end, the glory and vital element of the gospel. It was a gift, not an offer; a free gift, not granted as a reward. It is synonymous with the inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, which is reserved for us in heaven. It must therefore be endless.
Let us consider also, that Christ was made a minister of infinite blessings and unsearchable riches. In him all fulness dwelt; he was the life of the world, the new and living way, the salvation of God to the ends of the earth. Add to all this, those words, strictly endless, which are used to express the result of his missionwords never applied to sin or misery, and the eternity of life is placed beyond dispute. Thus,
Christ is said to be made a high priest, after the power of an endless (akatalutou) life. He is the resurrection and the life, and as all died in Adam, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. In the resurrection state, we shall be incorruptible and immortal, for the dead, (1 Cor. xv. 52) not a part, but the dead shall be raised thus. All men then, will be raised incorruptible and immortal. Hence Christ says, in the resurrection state, they are equal unto the angels! How are angels? holy and happy. So then will mankind be. They will die no more, being the children of the resurrection. When the resurrection, therefore, takes place, all will be subjected to Christ, he will deliver up his kingdom to the Father, God will be all in all, death will be destroyed, this corruptible will put on incorruption and this mortal immortality. Then will be brought to pass th saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory. To understand the full import of this saying, turn to Isai. xxv. where this is written. There God declares, that he has prepared a feast for all people, that he will destroy the covering cast over all, that he will swallow up death in victory, wipe away tears from all faces, and take away the rebuke of his people from all the earth.At the resurrection then, ignorance, death, tears and rebuke will be unknown and all will be brought to a participation of grace. Then too will be heard the song, O death where is thy sting? O grave (hell) where is thy victory?— Now as the sting of death is sin, we could not shout the victory over death, while suffering under its sting. Sin therefore, can have no existence in the resurrection state. What is here
proved of one man, is proved of the WHOLE
Such, dear sir, is the proof that the life which Christ will give to the world is endless; and the man, I was about to say, who, in view of this could doubt the endless happiness of all, could doubt his own existence. We may say therefore, in the language of Clarke, "The salvation from sin, is as extensive and complete as the guilt and contamination of sin, death is conquered, hell disappointed, the devil confounded, and sin totally destroyed. Hallelujah! The Lord God omnipotent reigneth! Amen and Amen!"
I will now briefly allude to your remarks respecting my third letter. On Dan. xii. 2, you say, a man, who can so torture this text as to refer it to a temporal judgment, may use every text in the Bible, as a nose of wax. Powerful reasoning! The strong pillars of Universalism must now fall. The Saviour erred when he applied this language to the destruction of Jerusalem. Speaking of this, he says in the language of Daniel, "then," that is, when those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake-"then shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation."
I cannot admit, that ordained to life, means disposed to life, because, ordained (tetagmenoi) is from a Hebrew word, which signifies to place, to set, to appoint. 2. According to the best authorities, this is the sense of tasso from which tetagmenoi is formed. Other texts speak of foreordination to life. See Eph.i. 4, 5, 11; ii. 10; Rom. viii. 29, 30.
On the remark offered respecting Christ's giv
ing his sheep eternal lite, I will only say, had the people understood this phrase as you do, no expression to render it impressive could have been wanting; for what could be stronger, than I will give them endless life?
Your remarks on Rom. xvi. 25; 2 Tim. i. 9; Tit. i. 2; are entirely unsatisfactory. By adopting my views of these texts, no difficulty occurs; but if you prefer to convert the language of inspiration into absurdity and contradiction, rather than admit that aionios is sometimes limited, I have nothing to say. Argument in such a case is useless. Every reader will see your error. The texts speak of a purpose formed before the aionion times; of a mystery kept hid since the beginning of the world; and of eternal life provided before the world began. Now if you say, aionios in these cases, means eternity, you must charge the inspired writers with speaking of eternities, of a time before eternities, and of their beginning.
As the phrase everlasting gospel has but little bearing on the question at issue, I will only remark on what you have said, the effects of the gospel are no more endless than of the law, so that we might as well say, everlasting law, as everlasting gospel.
By the end of Christ's kingdom I meant his giving it up to the Father. Then cometh the end when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God. Which will you follow, Paul, or your own fancy? The texts which you have brought to prove that Christ's kingdom will not end, are evidently misapplied. One says, of the increase of his government there shall be no end. how can it continue to increase when the world
has ceased to exist and Christ is no longer King? Another says, he shall reign over the house Jacob forever. But shall we explain this to contradict Paul, where he says, he shall reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet? This certainly implies that his reign would end. Your inference, that if Christ's kingdom ends Universalim cannot be true, is far fetched and absurd; for Paul says, Christ delivers up his kingdom to the Father, and God is all in all.
On Matt. xviii. 8, you speak with apparent hesitancy, but having explained this in my 3d letter, I will add nothing further.
On Matt. xxv: 46, you say, it appears to me, that this refers to a future judgment. Thus it is you treat the main text against Universalism-you rest your application of it entirely on popular prejudice. And this you back up, by continually repeating Clarke's assertion, that sound criticism and learning 'should be ashamed of what Universalists have said on the text. Please give one argument, that the text appeared to inspired men, as it appears to you.
My expositions of Mark iii. 29; Heb. vi. 2, Jude 7, are passed in silence. The reader will draw his own conclusions. It is true, you have denounced them as evasions, quibbles, &c. It is also true, that you have ridiculed what I said on Mark iii. 29. My inference respecting aionion was founded on the agreement between Mark and Matthew (xii. 16.) The former says, hath not forgiveness unto the age, (aron) but is in danger of everlasting (aionion) damnation. The latter says, neither in this age, (aion) neither in the age (aion) to come.