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tion. The two words were joined for the same reason that we join ever to forever; not because each singly does not fully express the thing intended, but because the union of both gives a stronger impression of it
Suppose I had a dispute with some man concerning the english adjective highest, and that I denied it to be of the superlative degree. And to vindicate my position quote the phrase, "O thou Most Highest," from Ps. ix. 2, in the Episcopal Protestant Prayer Book. Such precisely, is your conduct in quoting the bad Greek of the Septuagint. A scholar should be ashamed of such conduct.
No real good can be derived from quotations taken from the uninspired, and often erroneous tranlation of the seventy; the rubbish of the fathers; or, the heterogeneous works of other enthusiasts and fanatics that may have used the word aion and aionios. We have the New Testament written in the Greek language by inspired men; and to it alone we must appeal; and by it the point must be settled.
I will lay down a few rules whereby the menaing of the words ever and everlasting may be known. These rules will apply to aion and aionios, in both the Old and New Testament.
Rule. 1. Where the word ever or everlasting is applied to an object or thing, which, in itself is not endless, as mountains, or hills; it is then to be understood in a figurative sense descriptive of a period equivalent with the duration of the object. But the word exerlasting is applied to the misery of punishment of the wicked, the wicked arc immortal in their con
stitution; therefore, the word here has an endless signification.
Rule. 2. When the word ever, or everlasting is applied to an object or thing, as the servitude of a slave; which is, in other parts of scripture, declared to have an end, the word must be taken in a metaphorical or limited sense; but no such declaration is made in scripture, concerning the punishment of the wicked; therefore, the word must be taken in an endless sense.
Rule. 3. The word ever or everlasting when applied to objects and things, always conveys an idea parallel with the duration of the object and thing which it is applied, unless they may be otherwise expressed in the text. It is applied to future punishment without any restriction whatever; therefore, it must be taken in its unlimited signification.
I shall close these observations by stating, that I call on you before the public, to show, by proper arguments that aion in the New Testament, when governed by the preposition eis, does not signify endless duration, or else give up the doctrine of Universalism, at once, as indefensible. JOSEPH M'KEE.
LETTER NO. V.
To Rev. Joseph McKee:
agree with you in saying, that the only question, which claims our attention in this controversy, is, wheth punishment is temporary or endless; but I must consider, the charge with which your letter commences as unjust, and your questions as uncandid in the
extreme. Did you not commence the discussion, by sa ing, our difference of faith proves that our whole system is wrong? And in my reply, did I not show that there were only shades of difference among us, while among our op. posers, there are those of the greatest magnitude; and that if your argument was sound, it overthrew all religion? In doing this, I alluded to the doctrine of reprobation, infinite sin, infinite damnation, and the case of the heathen. But how do you meet this reply? Why by a most singular process-not by an argument either from reason, nature or scripture, but by the cry of wandering from the subject.An easy method this; if it should only prove satisfactory. The candid reader is not to be duped in this way, and though he may pity your dilemma, he will still call for proof. In passing, I will ask, if heathens and infants are not concerned in the question at issue, who are?
I expected, that my exposure of your partial quotations from Lexicographers would produce great uneasiness and piteous attempts at justi fication. But realy, I did not expect you would say in plain terms, it is right to quote all or a part of an author's definition, as might suit your purpose. But why not quote the whole?-By your rule, I could prove, that according to Lexicographers aion never means endless; for all say it signifies age. I unhesitatingly declare, therefore, that you perverted the views of your authorities. I objected to your second hand quotations from Aristotle and Philo, because according to it, they differ from all other Lexicographers and from the testimony of Goodwin respecting them.--This you meet by
accusing me of being alike guilty, a singular method of justifying a wrong. Please name
an instance where I have done this.
Finding nothing objectionable in the spirit of my letter, you have recourse to invention, and falsely accuse me with calling Clarke a ‘bigot!' Now why is this? Do you imagine that all you may say will be implicitly received; and that such unfairness will aid your cause? You are welcome to all the benefit of such means.
Thus much for your irrelevant and uncandid introduction to letter five.
Your attempt to prove, that according to its etymology, aion signifies endless, in an entire failure, as a few remarks will show. Let us consider first what you say of on. You bring two cases, where it expresses the existence of 'God, and two the existence of Christ. But do these prove that it expressed endless duration? Jones says, on signifies a real existence, in opposition, to what exists only in appearance or profession. Thus the blind man said, being (on) blind, I now see John ix: 25, So in John viii: 47. He that is (on) of God, heareth God's words. So also John xviii. 37. Every one that is (on) of the truth, heareth my words. These cases show, that on signifies what actually is, and not what appears to be: when the Revelator, therefore, applied the word to God and Christ, his design was to express in the strongest manner their real existence. On therefore expresses reality, but not eternity. Of this there is no doubt.
2 Eimi. Your remarks on this, as on on, are a literary curiosity. Contrary to the definition of Parkhurst, who in the nine senses in
which it occurs, does not say, that even once it signifies endless, you alude to eight cases where it is applied to Christ, and vainly imagine that these prove it endless. But why did you not refer to the fact, that it signifies a limited existence? See for instance Matt. xviii. 20. "Where two or three are gathared together in my name, there am (eimi) I in the midst of them;" John vii. 33. Yet a little while am Am (eimi) I (eimi) I with you; 1 Cor. ix 1. not an apostle? Am (eimi) I not free? 1 Cor. xv. 9. For I am (eimi) the least of the apostles; Phil. iv. 11. I have learned in whatsoever state I am (eimi) therewith to be content. Now from these cases, it is certain that eimi expresses nothing with regard to duration Jones says it means reality, something lake on. We might as well say, the Greek word for has or is means endless, because applied to God, as eimi.
2. Aei. You deny two out of five of the texts produced to prove this limited.
But do you pretend to affirm that Paul, Acts vii. 25, taught that the Jews never would yield to the Holy Ghost? You know that he referred to their continual opposition to God, and that he said nothing of what would be. Had he declared they would always resist, the case would be different. Your position then, contradicts the apostle. The same is true of 2 Cor. vi. 10, 'as sorrowful yet always rejoiceing.' Because I said always did not mean endless, you pretend to great astonishment; and cry away with such absurdity and falsehood! Flourishes and notes of surprise, will never supply the place of argument. That Paul had no reference to the future