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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 devilconfounded, 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... 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
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. But 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 iji. 29. My jnference respecting aionion was founded on the agreement between Mark and Matthew (xii. 16.) The former says, hath not forgiveness unto the age, (azon) but is in danger of everlasting (aionion) damnation. The latter says, neither in this age, (aion) neither in the age (aion) to come.
This argument proves positively, that aion is limited, for how could another aion come unless this ended? Now as aionion was formed from aion, was not my inference just? I will here add, what Mark expresses by, is in danger of aionion damnation, Matthew express by, hath not forgiveness in the age to come.
Thus we see, according to Matthew and Mark, the adjective (aionios) signifies no more than the noun (aion.) My inference therefore, is indisputable. What a pity that Matthew and Mark had not lived in this age. Than they might have saved themselves the shame of making our Lord teach the absured doctrine of an agelasting judgment upon those who refused his instructions. And how strange that such a a shameful absurditv should happen to be true. A sad judgment indeed befel the enemies of our Lord.
By the rule which you prove five comings of Chirst, I can prove fifty. Texts which I have proved, relate to the destruction of Jerusalem, you apply to three different events, without a single proof for so doing! Now is this fair? And is this the way to settle the question at issue? If you have proof, why deal thus in assumptions? All the main texts which speak of a coming to punish men, I have proved, refer to the destruction of Jerusalem. Among these are Matt. xxv. 46, 2, Thess. 1, 9, and unless you answer my arguments on these, I shall consider them rescued from your hands.
Your reply to my 2d proposition on 2, Thess. 1, 9, does not meet the question. Those who troubled the christians were to be recompensed; and at the time of this, the christians were
to be redeemed from trouble. The time then, could not be at a future judgment. You say this judgment must be in the future world, because this is not a world of rewards and punishments. Then there is not a God who judgeth in the earth, and the righteous and wicked are not here recompensed. Peter says, “The time is come, that judgment must begin at the house of God, or with us, the christians.”
Your reply to my 3d proposition is an entire failure. The question was, respecting the uncertainty of the day (that day shall not come except there come a falling away first,) and not respecting the uncertainty of their knowledge, when it would come.
The other two you have not attempted to an
Your six questions, I consider, entirely irrelevant; but to save words, I will answer briefly: To the 1st, I reply, I pretend not to be wise above what is written. Tothe 2d, by showing that there is no proof of endless misery. (By reviewing our discussion, you might have easily answered this. To the 3d, the same it has in this. To the 4th and 5th, I reject the common doctrine of a devil and of course his salvation. To 6th-I believe Christ is the Son of God. I am &c.
OTIS A. SKINNER.