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and twenty-three times in a reduplicate form. In sixty-one places of the seventy two, it is governed by the proposition eis, in which construction it never means limited duration, in the New Testament; leaving eleven places in which it must be understood in the endless sense though not governed by this preposition.
1. The eleven places in question are as follow:-It is used six times in the singular number, in three of which it signifies the eternal world. Mark x: 30. Luke xviii: 30; xx: 35; in one place all past time, John ix: 32; in one from eternity. Acts xv: 18: in one it expresses the duration of Christ's glory. 2 Pet. iii. 18. Four times in the plural, (viz.) one time to express the duration of the glory of the ever blessed God. 1 Tim. i. 17; twice to signify that period of time which the mystery of the Gospel lay concealed. Eph. iii. 9; Col. i. 26, and one time to signify the duration of God's purpose. Eph. iii. 11; one time in a reduplicate form, translated, "throughout all ages, world without end," employed to express the duration of the glory of God. Eph. iii. 21. That the word in these eleven cases ought to be understood in the endless sense, I have no hesitation to assert in the most positive manner; however, I wish the sincere enquirer after truth to examine all the places and decide for himself.
The noun, when governed by eis, is always to be taken in the endless sense. It is used in this construction thirty-one times in the singular number, as follow: twice concerning the fruit of the cursed fig tree. Matth. xxi. 19; Mark xi. 14; once respecting the future world.
Heb. vi. 5; once concerning God's promise to the seed of Israel. Luke i. 55; once to describe the duration of the effects of drinking the water of life. John iv. 14; twice to point out the duration of the effects of eating the bread of life. John vi. 51, 58; twice in relation to the sinner and the son of God dwelling in the house of God, John viii. 35; six times to express the duration of the effects of keeping the sayings of Christ and doing the will of God, John viii. 51, 52; x. 28; xi. 26; 1 John ii. 17; 2 John 2; once to express the duration of the existence of Christ, John xii. 34; once in relation to the washing of Peter's feet, John xiii. 8; once to signify the duration of the spirit's continuance with the children of God, John xiv. 16; once t to express the duration of the period that Paul would abstain from flesh to save his weak brother, 1 Cor. viii. 13; and once to point out the duration of the righteousness of the good man, 2 Cor. ix. 9. The word is used six times to point out the endless duration of the priesthood of Christ, Heb v. 6; vi. 20; vii. 17, 21, 24, 38; twice to signify the endless duration of God's word, 1 Pet. i. 23. 25; once to signify the duration of Christ's glory, 2 Pet. iii. 18; and the word is employed three times to express the duration of future punishment! Mark iii. 29, 2 Pet. ii. 17; Jude 13.
This word in this construction, is used eight times in the plural form, as follow:-three times to express the power and glory of the ever blessed God, Matt. vi. 13; Rom. xi. 36; xvi. 27; once, to point out the duration of the reign of Christ, Luke i. 33; three times to express the
duration of the blessedness of the Almighty God, Rom. i. 25; ix. 5; 2 Cor. xi. 31; and one time to express the eternity of Christ, Heb.
This word, in this construction, is used twenty-two times in a reduplicate form, as, eis tous aionos ton aionon, translated 'forever and ever.' This phrase does not occur in the Septuagint version of the scriptures; consequently we need not appeal to that version for any information respecting its signification. We are to look to the several places in the New Testament where it occurs; and, by this means ascertain its true meaning. Now it is obvious to every attentive student of the New Testament that this phrase was never used by any of the inspired writerswith reference to temporal things, in any in. stance; but always in relation to eternal things, and to express their endless nature; so that in every instance it must be understood in the unlimited sense. To make this evident, I shal refer to all the places where it occurs, and ascertain the objects to which it is applied, They are as follow:-It is eight times employed to express the duration of the glory of the ever blessed God, Gal. i. 5; Phil. iv. 20; 1 Tim. i. 17; 2 Tim. iv. 18; Heb. xiii. 21; 1 Pet. v. 11; Rev. i. 6; vii. 12; once, to express the duration of the praise and dominion of God, 1 Pet. iv. 11, five times to express the duration of the existence of the Deity, Rev. iv. 9, 10; v. 14; x. 6; XV, 7; once to point out the endless duration of God's throne, Heb. i. 8; once to express the eternity of Christ, Rev. i. 18; once to express the duration of Christ's reign Rev. xi. 15; once
to express the duration of the honour, power and glory of Christ, Rev. v. 13, and once to express the duration of the saint's reign in the eternal world, Rev. xxii. 5; and this phrase is three times employed to express the endless duration of future punishment!!! Rev. xiv. 11; xix. 3; xx.
From the foregoing citations and remarks, it is manifest that the inspired writers of the New Testament used the word aion both in the singular and the plural form to express the utmost bounds of unlimited duration; and that much more frequently than to express limited duration. The word is three times used in the singular form governed by the preposition eis, to designatethe duration of future misery, in which construction it is never used in a limited sense. This, to say the least, is very alarming; and, certainly should create strong doubts in the breast of every considerate Universalist respecting the truth of his doctrine. But,
The reduplicate form of this word, I consider to be an incontestible evidence in proof of the doctrine of endless misery. The same phrase which is employed to express the eternity of God, Christ, God's throne, his glory, and power, and the glory of the saints in heaven, is employed by the same writer, under the same circumstances precisely, to express the duration of the punishment of the wicked!! The man that can fritter this away by sophistry and critical torture, can as readily explain away the existence, throne, power and glory of God and the future happiness of the saints; as we have no Atronger language in all the holy scriptures to
express the one than we have to express other. This argument never was answered by any Universalist, and never can be answered. The circumstance of this phrase being coupled with the phrase "day and night" when applied to the misery of the wicked, is nothing against the present application of it; as we find the phrase "day and night" coupled with the celestial exercises of the redeemed before the throne of God, Rev. iv. 18; vii. 15; therefore, this phrase is so far from limiting the duration, either of the misery of the wicked or the happiness of the righteous, that it signifies the perpetuity of the things to which it is applied. It is used in this sense in Josephus's discourse on Hades. But in order to get rid of this difficulty you were driven into the absurdity of representing the celestial glory and God's throne as being on the earth, contrary to our Lord's declaration (Matt. v. 34, 45,) where he affirms the divine throne to be in heaven, as distinct from the earth. Besides all this, in your second letter, you gravely tell me that in all the three places of punishment the phrase is coupled with the phrase "day and night;" whereas, if you examine Rev. xix. 3, you will find one of the three so far from being connected with it, that it does not occur in the same chapter at all. I suppose you made this blunder by taking the matter at second hand; for I cannot think you ever examined the texts yourself, as I dont believe you capable of asserting a palpable falsehood.
Your question "if aion in the singular means endless, how could it be used in the plural?" I consider altogether irrelevant. The question,