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joy of saints is evident from his saying, 'as sorrowful yet always rejoicing. Will saints have sorrow in heaven? See the whole verse, which represents the Christians as poor and having nothing. But is such language applicable to glory.
Thus have we proved that on, eimi and aie have no such meaning as endless, and as aion is fromed from them, its grammatical sense must be a continued existence. Of nothing am I more fully convinced. I did suppose that something more plausible might be said in favor of the popular opinion; but I am frank to say, I can see nothing in your present letter which deserves the name of criticism or argument; and I would not said what I have, had I not desired to go more fully into the derivation of aion.
My questions respecting the beginning and end of uion, its being used in the plural and in a reduplicate form, are met with your stereotyped and all conquering arguinent-quibbles, unwortyy a profound scholar, miserable subterfuges, bubbles at which a drowning man grasps, and what every man of sense would despise!
I pity the man who has no better means of defence than such wretched slang. But I will not render railing for railing.
Your hint that the translation of ton aionon eis tous aionas is wrong, is entirely foreign from the question. I asked not concerning this but concerning the beginning and end of aion; how it could be used in the plural; and why the inspired writers should say, aionos ton aionon, if aion means endless; and had you been able to answer these, you would not have resorted to
abuse and denunciation.
You say, as the phrase, day an night is connected with the celestial exercises of the heavenly throng, it must be understood as a metaphorical expression to signify perpetuity. But first prove, that the texts to which you allude,
relate to the final state of saints
That they refer to this world, there is no doubt. The figures, the representations, the allusions to burning lamps, thunder and lightning, seas of glass, land and water, all show this. I might quote Clarke here; for his sword has two edges, and it has demolished some of the strong holds of endless wo. But why should I offer proof against your assumptions?
You accuse me of inadvertency of something worse in my reply to your proposition respecting eis; but I now say, even in its modified form, it is groundless. 1. It is not "admitted on all hands that aion in 65cases means endless." This you now admit; for you say 10 of these cases are thought by some to be limited. 2. Aion governed by eis is limited in the following texts, where you consider it endless: Matt. xxi. 19; Mark xi. 14; Luke i. 55; John iv. 14; vi, 51, 58; ix. 32; x, 28; xiii. 8; xiv. 16; 1. Cor. viii. 13; Hab. v. 6; vi. 5, 20, vii. 17, 21. To these I might add many more; but they are sufficient. 3. If in 10 cases aion is eudless when not governed by eis, this preposition can be no rule by which to determine its meaning.-4. Aion in one of your 33 cases of limited duration, signifies the eternal world. See Luke xx. 35.
One remark here respecting dogmatical assertions. You discover à peculiar love for denun
ciation, and for certain sterotyped charges, such as quibbles, dogmatism, &c. Now what did you more than to assert, that aion in the 55 instances governed by eis means endless? But though you simply asserted this. I pointed out 8 cases where eis did not govern it, which you said were endless, showed that in the Greek of the lxx. it was often limited when governed by eis, and that such was the ease in the New Testament. This you call dogmatism!
Your remarks on John viii. 35, I consider unfounded, because Christ alluded to a custom among the Hebrews, recorded in Exod. xxi respecting slavery. The servant or slave served only six years, and hence the expression, he abideth not forever. But the son remained during life. That I am right is certain from Exod. xx. 6, where we learn, that after a slave had refused freedom, he was to serve forever (eis ton aiona) or during life. Spiritualise this as you please, such were the facts respecting slaves and sons, and such is the language used respecting the time of their remaining in the house.That Jesus used the slave and son as figures I admit, but this alters not the use of aion. Here then is another argument against your view of eis, and another proof that aion is limited.
Your positions respecting eti and epekeina, are tautological and unfounded. The 1st and 4th are the same. It matters not whether the lxx made good Greek or not. Their use of these words, (and they give the true sense of the Hebrew) shows, that aion was not understood by them to mean endless. You say, eti and epekeina were not used to define the exact signification of aion. True, but their use,
shows that it was limited, otherwise no word expressing addition, would have been added.The fact that these particles do not occur in the New Testament can prove nothing with respect to their use by the lxx.
Yonr vindication of the double form of aion is far-fetched and falacious. The Hebrew is olama va ad. The Septuagint is ton aiona, kai ep' aiona, kai eti: in other places it is eis ton aiona, kai eis ton aiona. tou aionos. In the New Testament, it is eis tous dionas ton aiNow all these expressions are the same in meaning. They are grammatical, because olam and aion, depend on their use for their signification; but did they strictly mean endless, no rule of language could justify their use in this manner. If olam means a long time, olam va ad would be a still longer time; hut if olam means eternity then olam va ad means eternity and beyond it. So with the Greek, both of the 1xx and the New Testament. In the light of these facts, what shall we think of your classical allusion to Most Highest? You object to my allusion to the Septuagint, then you must object to the Hebrew and to the Greek of the New Testament, for the same form of expression occurs in both.
You differ widely from Dr. Clarke, respecting the Septuagint. While you are saying it is bad Greek and can be of no service, he declares, that it is of the greatest service. Besides, why not refer to this, as well as to the Targums?
With regard to the phrase of forever and ever, they have grown out of the Hebrew and Greek, and are used in the same sense. Thus we say forever, and mean the period of life, forever and
mean eternity, forever and ever, and mean the same. The words as their originals in Hebrew and Greek, depend on their use for the sense. The translators in numerous instances recognize this rule.
Before considering your three rules, it may be well to observe the change you have experienced since writing letter No. 2. Then the question must turn on the grammatical meaning of aion; now other rules must be adopted. But had you proved that uion of itself means endless, it would be no argument against us, because as it is variously used, we must learn its sense from its connexion. This all critics allow.
Rule 1 is admitted, but the inference is rejected, it having not the most distant connexion with the rule. The immortality of the mind is no proof of the immortality of sin. Sin is corruption; it is of earthly origin; it is not of God and must come to nought. The misery of the mind depends not on its immortality, but on its impurity. Hence before Rule I would justify you in saying that aionios, in connexion with misery means endless, you must prove that sin, the cause of misery is endless in its nature.The nature of the mind proves nothing with respect to the nature or duration of sin.
Rule 2 is admitted, but the assumption denied. When you say, the Bible nowhere teaches that punishment will end, you assume the whole ground in debate. Suppose I should say, the Bible declares that the misery of the wicked will end; therefore, aionios when connected with misery, must be limited-would you not call me an oracle; and would not the wise mon