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might be added, but we forbear, as we presume universalists will not dispute this proposition.
3. We maintain that when the term aionios, in English, forever, everlasting, and eternal, is applied to the punishment of the wicked, there is nothing in the connection or nature of the subject which requires it to be understood in a restricted sense, and that therefore it is to be understood in its
proper sense, which is, endless. To this universalists object, but before their objections can be heard, they must prove that the connection or the nature of the subject requires that the terms in question be understood in a restricted sense, when applied to the punishment of the wicked.
The burden of proof must fall upon them, for as we have shown the proper meaning of these words to be, endless, they are, as a matter of course, to be understood in this sense, until it be shown that the nature of the subject or the connection requires a different construction. They often attempt this, by affirming that the doctrine of endless punishment is false; that other portions of the scriptures teach the final happiness of all men: but this is a mere begging of the question, by taking for granted the main point in dispute. Though we are not required to prove a negative in this place, by showing that the subject or connection does not require a restricted sense, yet we will offer some remarks to this effect.
1. This is the most common sense in which it occurs in the scriptures. “Fion," says Dr. Edwards, “reckoning the repuplications of it, as oi aiones ton aionon, to be but single instances of its use, occurs in the New Testament in one hundred and four instances ; in thirty two of which it means a temporary duration. In seven, it may be taken in either the temporary or endless sense. In sixty-five, including six instances in which it is applied to future punishment, it plainly signifies an endless duration."
“ The adjective aionios is found in seventy-one places in the whole New Testament; sixty-six, besides the five in which Dr. C*. allows it is applied to future punishment. In every one of the sixty-six instances except two it may, to say the least, be understood in the endless sense.” If then, the word is applied to punishment five times, and to God, to his kingdom, to the Holy Ghost, to the happiness of the
* Dr. Chauncy, a universalist author,
saints, and to other subjects sixty-six times, in sixty-four of which it may be understood in the endless sense, it is rational to understand it in this sense in the five instances in which it is applied to punishment, unless very strong reasons can be urged to the contrary.
2. The terms in question are used to express the duration of punishment, and the duration of the happiness of the saints, in the same connection, and sometimes in the same verse. Matt. xxv. 46. “These shall go away into kolasin aionion, everlasting punishment, but the righteous into zoen aionion, life eternal. The word aionion is here rendered everlasting in the first clause of the text, and eternal in the last clause, from which it must be seen that the same word describes the duration both of the punishment and the life spoken of in the text. The question is, does this text speak of endless life? This cannot be doubted if the text refer at all to a future state, and that it does, we think, has been abundantly shown already: See Chap. V. Argument xv. If then aionion in this text, is to be understood in the endless sense in one case, it should undoubtedly be so understood in both cases. It would he absurd to suppose that the Saviour, in the same discourse, the same sentence, and with the same breath, used a word in two different senses, as far from each other, as finite is from infinite, without giviig any intimation of the same. This in connection with the fact that the word aionios is frequently applied to the happiness of the saints, which ever stands opposed to the punishment of the wicked, furnishes, in our opinion, strong ground for understanding it in its proper and endless sense, when it describes the duration of punishment.
3. The peculiar connection in which aionios is used, when applied to punishment, requires that it be understood in its proper meaning in order to maintain the sense of the sacred text.
34, 41. “ Then shall the king say to them on his right hand, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Then shall he
unto them on his left hand, depart from me into pur aionion, everlasting fire.” The wicked are here represented as being cast into aionion, fire, at the same time that the righteous are welcomed to the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world; and being cast into the fire, and being received into the kingdom,
stand opposed to each other. Now, as the one must be considered final and unalterable, so should the other; and if the righteous are always to possess the kingdom, then will the aionion, fire, be endless with the wicked. Mark iii. 29. “ But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness but is in danger of aionion kriseos, eternal damnation.” Here the word aionion, rendered eternal, is shown to be used in its most unlimited and endless sense, by the connection in which it stands. In the text, forgiveness and damnation are opposed to each other; hence, as he who blasphemes against the Holy Ghost is not forgiven, he must be damned, and as he hath never forgiveness," he must be damned forever ; be is therefore in danger of eternal damnation, aionion kriseos. We will now close this argument, which stands thus :
1. The proper and grammatical meaning of the original words rendered forever, everlasting and eternal, is endless, or always being or existing. 2. Words are always to be understood in their proper
and grammatical sense unless the connection or nature of the subject require a different construction.
3. In the application of the terms in question to the punishment of the wicked, as they are thus applied in the scriptures, there is nothing in the nature of the subject or connection which requires that they should be understood in an accommodated sense, they must therefore be understood in their proper sense, which is endless; and hence, it follows that the scriptures teach the doctrine of endless punishment.
II. The scriptures describe the punishment of the wicked, and the salvation of the righteous in contrast, in a manner which shows that they are opposed to each other, so that those who are punished all their sins deserve cannot be saved. This point has been proved in Chapter IV. the whole of which goes to show that salvation implies a deliverance from the punishment which sin deserves. Now, if we have sustained the argument in the fourth chapter to which the reader is referred, which we think we have beyond all doubt, it must appear that there is an impassable gulf lying between the salvation of the righteous and the punishment of the wicked, and the point is settled, that such as are punished to the
extent of the divine penalty, can never be saved; we shall not therefore repeat the arguments in this place, but simply introduce a few plain scriptural proofs to show that salvation and punishment are described in contrast. Matt. xxv. 46. “ These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” That this text relates to a future state of being the reader will find ample proof in Argument xv. of the preceding chapter, and that the punishment of the wicked is here opposed to the salvation of the righteous, needs no proof, more than is apparent on the very face of the text. Do those who are said to go into everlasting punishment, go also into life eternal ? Just as consistently might it be argued that those who go into life eternal will also go into everlasting punishment. If then those who go away into everlasting punishment, do not go into everlasting life, the contrast between the respective dooms of the righteous and wicked is marked as wide as the space between heaven and hell, and the punishment of the one will be as lasting as the eternal life of the other.
John iïi. 15. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Here, perishing stands opposed to everlasting life, in a manner which clearly proves that those who perish do not have everlasting life, and that those who have everlasting life do not perish. Now, as perishing can mean nothing more nor less than the just punishment of sin, it follows that salvation and punishment are opposed to each other, so that if a man is punished for his sins all he deserves he cannot be saved. Rom. ii. 6, 7, 8. “Who will render to every man according to his deeds; to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life. But unto them that are contentious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath.” This text is decisive, as a few remarks must show to every unprejudiced mind.
1. A contrast is clearly drawn between the respective rewards of the saint and sinner: God “ will render to every man according to his deeds ;” and this reward will be to the righteous, “ eternal life," and to the wicked, “indignation and wrath.” Now it cannot with any degree of propriety
be maintained that those who are rewarded with indignation and wrath will also be rewarded with eternal life-this would be a contradiction of the Apostle's declaration ; for he asserts that God will render to every man according to his deeds. He then states what reward will be in accordance with the deeds of both saint and sinner; that eternal life is in accordance with the deeds of the righteous, and that indignation and wrath are in accordance with the deeds of them that obey not the truth. To suppose that those who are worthy of indignation, will also receive eternal life, assigns to them a portion which is denied them by the apostle, and must be just as absurd as to suppose that those, who are worthy of eternal life, will also receive indignation and wrath. When the Apostle asserts that eternal life is according to the deeds of the righteous, and that indignation and wrath are according to the deeds of the wicked, he, in effect says, that indignation and wrath are not according to the deeds of the righteous, and that eternal life is not according to the deeds of the wicked. Now, God will render to every man according to his deeds, he will therefore never render eternal life to them that obey not the truth.
2. That this whole subject relates to the future destinies of men appears, not only from the fact that we have already proved that sin will be punished in the future world, but also from the phraseology of the text itself. To whom will God render eternal life? “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and HONOUR and IMMORTALITY.” Now, it cannot be supposed that any enlightened christian seeks for immortality as a portion attainable in this world, and as they seek for glory and honor and immortality in the world to come, and as God will render to them according to their deeds, it follows that God will render to them eternal life in the future world, and that this eternal life involves the entire object of their pursuit, glory, and honour, and immortality. As the righteous will have rendered to them glory and honour, in a state of immortality in the future world, and as we have shown above that the wicked, who will receive indignation and wrath, in distinction from reward, cannot also be made to partake thereof, it follows that such as are punished for their sins, the disobedient who