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sense;' while aionios is never used, in the New Testament, in a limited sense, except in two places (2 Tim. i. 9; Tit. i. 2.) which are violently disputed. 2. I did not say one syllable concerning olam, in my first letter, as any one may see, by a reference to that letter. Therefore, your saying, I denied any thing about olam, in my first letter, is a forgery, or false quotation. And if this is done with my own letters, before my face, what must I think of the quotations from unknown authors, where no reference to their works is given? It is a painful task for me to touch this subject. I do it unwillingly, I am compelled to notice it, and I perceive that I have not done with it. However, I shall not deal in naked assertions, but shall demonstrate facts. 3. Your inferences drawn from olam are erroneous in consequence of the premises being unsound.
You say that 'the meaning of aionios must be determined by the noun to which it is applied, and the circumstances under which it is used.' This, to say the least, is absurd and contrary to the construction and the rules of language. I was taught, in my youth, to believe that the adjective qualified the noun, and defined its meaning; and not that the noun prescribed or defined the signification of the adjective. But in order to get along with your system you are obliged to run into the absurdity of inverting the established order of language. This will be sufficiently evident to every discerning reader, and duly estimated.
Your various definitions of aionios are mere assumptions, without any authority from lexi
cographers, or from reason, invented, as I believe, to make the best of a bad cause, and render it somewhat plausible.
You say, 'zoen aionion' signifies the life of faith *** is synonymous with life, entering Christ's kingdom, having rest, peace, joy and love.' You say, the phrase everlasting life does not mean endless life, because the believer of to day may be the infidel of to-morrow.' I deny that the believer of to day may be the infidel of to morrow. Believers are component parts of Christ's kingdom, as you have admitted; and, as his kingdom, in the aggregate, is indestructible, it must be so in its parts; for, whatever can be affirmed of a whole, can be affirmed, with equal truth and certainty, of all the constituent parts. Besides all this, Paul said (Rom. viii. 38, 39.) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor heighth, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.' But you say, we may be separated from the love of God. I leave the reader to judge, whether I am to believe the doctrine of an inspired apostle, or the erroneous interpretation of scripture which adopted to support a false system.
You say eternal life is used to express the reward of the primitive christians, after the destruction of Jerusalem. This also is mere assumption. It is as much the reward of all other christians as it is that of the primitive christians, as the endless happiness of heaven is
frequently called a reward (Col. iii 24; Heb. xi. 26; Rev. xxii. 12.) by the inspired writers, though, in strict propriety no good thing can be a reward, but must be a free gift, as no man can merit any good thing at the hand of God.
You refer me to certain texts where, you say eternal life means endless life. By your method of treating this subject, one man may have at least three everlasting lives, i. e. 'the life of faith,' 'the reward of the primitive christians' and endless life,' I might, on this plan, prove that one man might have fifty everlasting lives. The absurdity of these sentiments is a sufficient antidote to their baneful effects.
Your quotation from Clarke is a perversion of his views. He intended to refute the doctrine of reprobation as held by the predestinarians, and not to defend Universalism by the words which you have cited.
You have, perhaps taken the easiest way of passing the unanswerable argument deducible from Dan. xii. 2. I deny that our Lord ever applied these words to the destruction of Jerusalem, or that he, or any writer of the New Testament, ever quoted them under any circumstance whatever.
I find you have turned predestinarian on my hand. You say, 'you cannot admit that or dained to life, means disposed to life, because, ordained (tetagmenoi) is from a Hebrew word, which signifies to place, to sit, to appoint.' I do not admit myself that the English word 'ordained' means 'disposed;' but I do say that the Greek word tetagmenoi does mean 'disposed, 'adapted' to eternal life, and not fore-ordained
or predestinated to life, and in this I am fully sustained by Parkhurst. You say 'other texts speak of fore-ordination to life. See Eph. i. 4, 5, 11; ii. 10; Rom. viii. 29, 30.' Now, if you believe in the doctrine of the fore-ordination of some to everlasting life, (for those texts speak only of a part) the rest must be reprobated to everlasting misery. How these sentiments can be reconciled with the doctrine of Universalism is for you to explain.
I perceive you have made another pitiful at tempt to explain away the endless signification of aionios in Mark. iii. 29. Now, I can prove by your own rule of interpretation that aionios, in this passage means endless. The account of the unpardonable sin, as it is called, is recorded by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In Matth. xii. 31, we are told in the most unequivocal manner that the sin against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven. This is spoken in contrast with the sin against the son of man, which shall be forgiven. This negative form of speech shews incontrovertibly, that there is no forgiveness for this sin, at any future period whatever; for, if it shall be forgiven at any period included in the unlimited bounds of eternity, it would not be true, to say it shall not be forgiven. Now, if aionios be explained agreeably to the sense of the passage, it must mean unlimited duration. The same argument may be drawn from Luke xii. 10, if it were necessary, where the two sins are contrasted with each other. It is said of the sin against the Son of man, that it shall be forgiven, and of the sin against the Holy Ghost, that it shall not be forgiven. To say
that both shall be forgiven, would be to overturn and destroy the use and propriety of language, and turn the whole scriptures into one mass of confusion. But such are the absurdities into which the Universalists are driven, in order to render plausible an erroneous system.
Your answers to my six questions, I consider to be nothing but mere evasions. To my ques tion concerning the duration of future misery, you answer, "that you pretend not to be wise above what is written.' What is written concerning its limitation? Its duration is expressed by the same word whereby the duration of the happiness of the righteous is expressed; and, not one word can be found in all the Holy Scriptures which goes to say, in clear terms, that either the one or the other shall ever come to an end! To the second question, how can you prove that misery is not endless, you answer 'by showing that there is no proof of endless misery.' I deny that this would afford any proof that misery is not endless, inasmuch as it would prove nothing on the subject. You can .. not prove that there are any inhabitants in the moon; but, this is not proof that she is uninhabited; for, the thing remains undetermined. So it is with respect to the proof of future misery, should I fail to demonstrate (which will be seen to be far otherwise) the eternity of hell's torments, the failure in evidence to support the doctrine would be no proof that the contrary doctrine is true; for it would only leave the thing undetermined. To my third question, what influence the atonement of Christ will have on the condition of the damned, you