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tinue to be a priest, even to end!ess ages. 3. He was made a priest after the power of an endless life (akatalutou.) Heb. vii. 16, If his priesthood is endless, which is undeniable from this text, I cannot see how it shall come to an end: perhaps you can inform me. I am aware that the Universalists tell the world, in their publications that the term endless is applied to the happiness of the righteous. But there is no such thing in all the word of God. The term endless occurs only in the above cited text, and it is applied to the priesthood of Christ, which you say will come to an end! 4. His priesthood is endless as to its effects. In fact, all things connected with his priestly office are endless in their nature. His life is endless; his office is not transferable, no one shall succeed him in office; and the blessed effects of his priestly office shall be endless.
As I have shown that aion means endless duration in every instance of the fifteen cases where you supposed it to be limited, I take it for granted that the question is settled by the preposition eis at last.
Your remark on John viii. 35, is a singularity of such a nature as I have never met with before. You admit the sense to be of an endless nature; but, because you suppose the same word in the Old Testament has a limited signification it must be limited here where the sense necessarily requires an endless signification. Even in Exod. xxi. 6, the word has an endless negative signification; for, the slave refusing his freedom was to be a slave for life; that is, he was never to be free. When aion is used to express the utmost limits of time
that the object of its application will admit of, it may, with the utmost propriety, be called endless; as the thing spoken of shall never return to its original condition.
You insinuate that I have undergone a change of mind since writing my second letter, that I then intended to settle the question by the preposition eis, but that failing, I had to make rules whereby it must be settled. This is all perversion. I underwent no change on the subject whatever. I then intended the preposition eis to settle the question concerning aion in the New Testament, and I am very much mistaken if I have not settled it by this tule in this letter: I intended the rules to embrace both the old and New Testament, also, eternal, everlasting and forever, and I intend so still; and I find you cannot refute any one of the rules in question; for, if you could, you would have done so. To say you "reject it with contempt" is no argument for or against any principle. If this sort of stuff were argument, we could soon settle the question. I say I "reject with contempt" the whole system of Universalism. Would you take this for a satisfactory refutation of Universalism? I suppose not.Well. If you have refuted the rules in question, I have refuted the whole system of Universalism. Either your assertion is good for nothing, or it is good for something. If it is good for nothing, the rules I have laid down stand in full force. If it is good for something Universalism is refuted. I leave you in this dilemma to consider what side you prefer.
I am, &c.
LETTER No. IX.
Baltimore, Jan. 25, 1835.
To Rev. Joseph McKee:
Dear Sir-In charging you with perverting authorities on aion, I acted from a sense of duty to the cause I advocate. The exposure of such an act, was no pleasant task; but as great reliance is placed upon Lexicons, and as when fairly quoted, they sustain my views of aion, it was necessary that your perversion should be noticed. You now add to the aggravation of this, by calling for, one instance, to sustain my charge, I have before given Phavorinus, Grove, and Parkhurst, who say it means man's life, as well as eternity, men which you represented as saying, it meant only eternity. Now suppose an inquirer should ask me the meaning of aion, and I should say Phavorinus, Grove, Parkhurst, Jones, Donnegan, Hincks, Valpey, Hedericus, Schrevilius, Pickering, &c. all say it means man's life, without hinting that they say it signifies eternity, would you not call this a perversion of authorities? If so, you perverted, grossly perverted those which I have instanced. And this you now admit; for you affirm, that all the authorities which you have consulted, say, that aion signifies eternity, among ‘other significations.' Thus do you admit my charge. This perversion will appear still greater, when it is considered, that you quoted
from these men to prove, that the etymological sense of aion is endless; and to give this position the slightest plausibility, you were compelled to exclude their other definitions; for a word could not be strictly endless in its meaning, and have the great variety of significations, which Lexicographers admit aion has. I repeat, therefore, that you grossly perverted your authorities.
While on this subject, I will expose another perversion of authority equally as glaring as the foregoing. In your quotation from Maclaine's note in Mosheim, you have given only a part; whereas, had you given the whole it would have refuted your views of aion. The part which you have excluded, reads thus:
"The word aion or aeon is commonly used among Greek writers, but in different senses: Its signification in the Gnostic system is not very evident, and several learned men have despaired of finding out its true meaning. Aion or aeon among the ancients was used to signify the age of man, or the duration of human life. In after times, it was employed by philosophers, to express the duration of spiritual and invisible beings."
This is the part of the note which you have seen fit to exclude from your letter, and it fully destroys the position for which you have been contending, because if the ancients used aion to signify the age of man, or the duration of human life, its primary signification cannot be endless. Thus are you obliged to pervert authorities and to give garbled quotations to make out your case. But even then you fail, for Mr. Maclaine's note refers to the use of aion among the oriental philosophers, and proves nothing positive concerning.
its use in the New Testament. Further, according to the fantastic mythology of these philosophers, the word among them, could not have been used invariably in an endless sense, for some of the beings which by a metonymy they called acons, were supposed to have only a limited existence.
I cannot refrain from noticing here, your departure from your own rules. In a previous letter, you complained of me, for referring to the Septuagint and to the early Christian fathers, to learn the sense of aion. The former, you denounced as bad Greek, and the latter as enthusiasts and fanatics; but now you think the opinions of oriental philosophers throw great light on this subject!! Now why all this twisting and turning? Why not meet the question fairly and without any garbled quotations? Does a good cause require such aid?
You say all Lexicographers give eternity as the first and primary meaning of dion. Such is not the fact. Donnegan, Hincks, Hedericus and Schrevilius give age or life as its first and primary meaning.
Your offer to produce twelve Lexicographers who say aion means endless, for every one which I will produce, who says it does not, is a pompous parade, at the expense of your cause and foreign from the question; because 1. I admit that eternity is one of its significations. 2. Every Lexicographer with which I have met has given age as one of its significations. What then if every Lexicographer in existence gave eternity as one of the senses of aion? It would be no ar gument against my views, since they all admit