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of the land do me reverence? What honors then are due to thee?
Rue 3 is admitted, but the groundless assertion isrejected with contempt. That a man professing to argue a religious question, and from the scriptures too, should deal thus in assertions, is almost iucredible. Why is this, Sir? Have pou exhausted your stock of arguments? The whole of letter five consists of charges, assumptions and assertions.
Your public call respecting ers is quite pompous. With one breath, you lay down three rules to decide the question at issue,and with the next you declare that a preposition settles the matter eis ton aiona. But before you made this call, it would have been well to prove, that aion means endless, in the fifty-five cases where it is govcrned by eis; and as that matter rests on assumption, it must receive attention, or your public call will be answered by one loud and long from the public.
I have paid no attention to your remark, that future punishment is vindictive, thinking it best to leave this, till furnished with your reasons for converting God into a being of rage and revenge; and for arming him with infinite vengeance
One word on your remark that "no good can arise from allusions to the heterogenous words of enthusiasts and fanatics, who have used aion and aionios," and I will close. This was doubtless made with reference to my closing remarks in letter No. 3, where I alluded to the manner in which these words were used by the Greek fathers: Knowing that this would be an unanswerable argument against you; the fathers are
denounced as enthusiasts and fanatics. This is in keeping with letter No. 1, where you denounce these fathers as artful and cunning, and accuse them of the mean artifice of torturing and perventing the Bible to deceive the illiterate. Not content with heaping contempt on some of the most learned and pious christian fathers, you even denounce the Septuagint. But this you are compelled to do, in order to sustain your unfounded notions. Why may not as much aid be derived from the Greek fathers, as from the Targums?
"There is one fact worthy of notice respecting these fathers. Several of those who wrote in the Greek language during the second, third and fourth centuries, maintained the doctrine of Universal Salvation; yet they freely and habitually applied the terms in question to the subject of punishment, without any explanation, such as our modern prepossessions whould have made nccessary in order to prevent mistake This shows that the ancient Greek fathers never suspected that those terms would, of themselves, convey the notion of endless duration, when applied to punishment. And this conclusion is confirmed by another fact, viz. that those Greek fathers who on the contrary did not believe in Universal Salvation, and who began at length zealously to oppose that doctrine, never quoted the terms now in question, against their opponents, but resorted to other arguments. I speak of the most ancient Greek christians; those who lived before the fifth century. I am, &c.
OTIS A. SKINNER.
LETTER NO. VI.
BALTIMORE, Nov, 25, 1834.
To Rev. Otis A Skinner:
Dear Sir. I was more surprised on reading your third letter, than I was by all your former communications. It appears to me that you wish to confine almost every subject in the scriptures, to the state of mortality, in the present world. One would think, by your manner of treating the subject, that you intended to set every thing at loose ends, and consider nothing as absolutely certain. It would appear that you endeavoured, not only, to destroy the evidence of endless misery, but the evidence of endless happiness; and, even render doubtful, the im mortality of the soul. I never expected to find a Universalist, that would so much as insinuate the smallest doubt, concerning the unlimited duration of the spiritual life of the saints.-But such is the state of affairs. Now, it appears to me that, the endless happiness of the saints, must be proved by the adjective oionios, or not at all, for, I know of no other word by which it can be done, if this one be insufficient to do it. Therefore, the misery of the wicked and the happiness of the saints must stand, or fall together; if aionios cannot prove the endless duration of misery, it cannot prove the endless duration of happiness; and if it can prove the interminable duration of happiness; it has undoubtedly the same force in its application to misery; it is the adjective which is commonly used in the scriptures to express both.
Regarding the word (zoe) life, it may be remarked, that there are several sorts of life.
As,--1 Vegetable life. This is found in all vegetables, plants, flowers and trees. 2. Animal life. This abounds in the fishes of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, and in tho mortal body of man. 3. Rational life This faculty exists in man; that is, in the unregenerated of mankind, and this gives man the preeminence over all other things, in this lower creation. 4. Spiritual life. This priuciple is communicated to the heart of the believer by the Spirit of God, 2 Cor. iii. 6, and is to be found in none but those who believe in Christ, with a hearl unto righteousness. It is called the life of God, Eph. iv. 18, because it is a principle which came from God, producing holiness of heart and uprightness of deportment, in those who possess it, and shall ultimately return to God. This is sometimes called "a treasure in an earthen vessel." 2. Cor. iv. 7. It is nothing short of the Redeemer himself, dwelling in the human heart by faith. This is manifest, from the phraseology of scripture, where it is said, "Christ in you the hope of glory," Col. i. 24, and where he is called "our life," &c. Col. iii. 4. Those metaphors, generally, which exhibit the union of Christ with his people, convey, very clearly, the idea of life. If you give him the appellation of Prince, Acts iii. 15, you must allow, he is the Prince of life. If Bread, John vi. 48, he is the bread of life. If Water, Rev. xxii. 17, he is the water of life. If a Stone, 1 Pet. ii. 4, he is a living stone. If you liken him to a Tree, Rev. ii. 7, he is the tree of life. The life of the redeemed seems to be both connected with the life of Christ, and to be depending on it, and of equal
duration with it. This is evident from the words of our blessed Saviour himself, "because I live ye shall live also." John xiv, 19. Furthermore, the apostle John declares that, "he who hath the Son hath life, and he who hath not the Son hath not life. 1 John v. 12. Now this spiritual life, in the redeemed, is, in forty four places called (zoen aionion) eternal life. It is strange to me, that any Universalist would cast the slightest shade over the doctrine of endless happiness. A man may have a treasure in his possession, and afterwards lose it; but, this is no argument to prove, that, the treasure is not still of the same value and excellence. A diamond is a diamond, as well when it is in the bottom of the sea, as when it is in a lady's breast.Christ is the same yesterday, to-day and forevThis spiritual life was intended to exist to interminable ages, by Him, who is able to sustain it against all opposition. Either, the saints have endless life, or they have not. Take which side of the question you please. If you say they have not, this controversy is at an end; for then they must be annihilated, or go into an endless hell. If you say they have endless life, you cannot deny but the phrase zoen aionion means eternal life, or endless life, as you will have some considerable difficulty in proving their happiness to be endless by any other word. I leave it with the reader to judge whether the attempt to deny that endless life was intended in those forty-four cases, was a mere quibble, in order to get quit of the word when employed to express the duration of future misery.
That the everlasting life, and everlasting