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but the earth abideth eis ton aiona, forever, not surely to eternity.
'The same is true of the New Testament.— John viii. 35. The servant abideth not in the . house eis ton aiona, forever; the son abideth eis ton aiona, forever. As the slave served only six years, he is said not to abide forever. See John xiv. 16.
In the light of these facts, what am I to think of your position respecting eis? Shall I say, it is one, which, every scholar would despise? Or shall I say, you took it, to deceive the unlearned? To your question, "what an unprejudiced man must conclude respecting eis," I answer, that your statement concerning it, was entirely false. Your appeal to Greek scholars, will avail nothing, unless they can read with your glasses.
I will close by asking, if aion means endless, why were eti and epekeina added in the following places? Exod. xv. 18. "The Lord shall reign," ton aiona, kai ep' aiona, kai eti from aeon to aeon, AND FURTHER. Dan. xii. 3. "And they, that turn many to righteousness, as the stars," eis tous aionas, kai eti, through the cons, AND FURTHER. Mich. iv. 5. "And we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God," eis ton aiona, kai epekeina, through the con
AND BEYOND IT.
To denounce me as an ignorant impostor will not be a satisfactory answer.
As I have shown that aion is no proof of endless punishment, you must rest the argument of your six texts on some other point, or give them up. I am, dear sir, yours,
In the bonds of Christ,
OTIS A. SKINNER.
LETTER NO. III.
BATIMORE, Nov. 5, 1834.
To Rev. Otis A. Skinner:
Dear Sir-Agreeably to my promise I hasten to send you some remarks on the adjective aionios, commonly translated eternal. This word according to Parkhurst, is derived from the noun aion and signifies eternal, or time without end. There is no word, perhaps, in all the sacred writings, more unfavorable to the doctrine of Universalists than the word aionios; though we are frequently told, it is applied to temporal things, and, consequently cannot prove the punishment of the wicked to be eternal, or endless. Now, in order to show the reader that the word is not applied to temporal things, in any instance, in all the inspired writings, I shall refer to all the places where it occurs. I am not able to find, so much as one place in the New Testament, where this word has a limited signification, and does not mean endless duration. It occurs seventy-one times in the New Testament; and is forty-one times translated "eternal," twenty-six times "everlasting," twice "before the world began," once "since the world began," and once "for ever." It is the common adjective employed by the writers of the New Testament to teach us what is absolutely eternal. This will be manifest to any one that will pay strict attention to the use that is made of it, in all the places where it occurs. It is forty-four times employed to express
the endless duration of the life of the redeemed. I suppose no Universalist will deny that the life of the righteous is eternal, or will say the word has not an endless signification in this application of it. The following are the places where aionios is thus used:-Matt. xix. 16, 29; xxv. 46; Mark x. 17, 30; Luke x. 25; xviii. 18, 30; John iii. 15, 16, 36; iv. 14, 36; v. 39; vi; 27, 40, 47, 54, 68; x. 28; xii. 25, 50; xvii. 2, 3; Acts xiii. 46, 48; Rom. ii. 7; v. 21; vi. 22, 23. Gal. vi. 8; 1 Tim. i. 16; vi. 12, 19; Tit. i. 2; iii. 7; 1 John i. 2; ii. 25; iii. 15; v. 11, 13, 20. Jud. 21. The word aionios is three times applied to the purpose of God, as I understand it, and, of course, must mean endless duration; as I suppose no Universalist will say the divine purpose is changeable, or fluctuating in its nature; 2 Tim. i. 9; Tit. i. 2; Rom. xvi. 25. The word is three times employed to express the endless duration of the glory of the saints. There can be no dispute concerning the meaning of the word here, as all christians admit the glory of heaven to be eternal; 2 Cor. iv. 17; 2 Tim. ii. 10; 1 Pet. v. 10. Thus we see the word in fifty instances must, unquestionably, be understood as having an unlimited signification; as no one denies the endless duration of God's purpose, or the saints glory and happi
But let us see how aionios is applied in the remaining twenty-one places. The best way to ascertain this point is, to quote the phrases where the word is used. Thus we read:"The everlasting (aioniou) God." Rom. xvi. 26. "The eternal (aioniou) Spirit." Heb. ix. 14. "To whom be honour and power everlast
ing" (aionion.) 1 Tim. vi. 16. "The blood of the everlasting (aioniou) covenant." Heb. xiii. 20. "Eternal (aionion) redemption." Heb. ix. 12. "Eternal (aioniou) salvation." Heb. v. 9. "Everlasting (aronion) Gospel." Rev. xiv. 6. "The everlasting (aionion) kingdom of our Lord." 2 Pet. i. 11. "The promise of eternal (aioniou) inheritance." Heb. ix. 15. "A house not made with hands, eternal (aionion) in the heavens." 2 Cor. v. 1. "They may receive you into everlasting (aionious) habitations." Luke xvi. 9. "Hath given us everlasting (aionion) consolation." 2 Thes. ii. The word aionios is used in Phil. 15 to express the duration of that brotherly affection which ought to exist among all true Christians. And it is once used in 2 Cor. iv. 18, to designate the endless duration of all invisible objects. In these fourteen cases, it cannot be denied that, the word has an unlimited signification. For I presume, no christian will say the existence of God, his Spirit, his Glory, his Honor, his Power, or his Kingdom will ever come to an end. Nor will any Universalist take it upon him to affirm that, "The covenant of grace," "The consolation of the righteous," "The inheritence of saints," "The house in the heavens," or "The habitation of glorified spirits," will, at any future period come to an end; so as to have no existence. Hence we have fourteen cases to add to the fifty, which makes sixty-four, leaving only seven, of all the places in the New Testament.
Now, the Greek adjective aionios occurs seventy-one times only in the inspired writings. It is sixty-four times applied to cbjects which
are eternol in their nature, and, consequently, unquestionably have an unlimited signification. It is seven times employed to point out the interminable duration of future punishment. I shall cite all the phrases where the word is thus applied, that the reader may examine the matter for himself, and form his own conclusions.— They are as follow:-"Everlasting (aionion) fire." Matt. xviii. 8. "Everlasting (aionion) fire." Matt. xxv. 41. "Everlasting (aionion) punishment." Matt. xxv. 46. "Eternal (aioniou) damnation." Mark iii. 29. "Everlasting (aionion) destruction." 2 Thes. i. 9. "Eternal (aioniou) judgment." Heb. vi. 2. "Eternal (aioniou) fire." Jude 7. I believe the generality of well informed Universalists admit that, the future punishment of the wicked is intended in all these places; however, we may make a remark or two on each of them, in order to set the subject in a more luminous point of view.
With regard to the text in Matt. xviii. 8, may be observed that, if our Lord's admonitions in the eighth and preceding verse, be properly considered, it must be manifest that, he intended future punishment by the expressions under consideration. And, as Dr. Chauncy, an eminent Universalist, late of Boston, admits that aionios in this place relates to the future punishment of the wicked, it is unnecessary to say any thing more on the subject.
In order to set Matt. xxv. 41, in a proper point of light, it is necessary to remark that the paragraph, from the commencement of the 31 verse to the end of the chapter, is not a parable, as the Universalists generally hold, but a pro