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come, (the aion to come) eternal life." "Who shall receive manifold more in the present time, and in the world to come, (that age which succeeds the judgment) life everlasting." The enemy that sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the world, (of the present aion) and the reapers are the angels." For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world," or the vain and transitory things of the aion which precedes the judgment day and the complete establishment of the Messiah's kingdom. "Now all these things happened unto them for examples, and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world, (of this aion or order of things) are come."
It is natural and important to inquire, how the Jews came to attach this signification to a word, which properly denotes unlimited duration. The answer is easy. By dividing duration into two periods, calling one the present age and the other the age to come, they do not necessarily restrict either to the limitations of measurable time. The former age comprehends the present with all past periods, the latter age extends through all which are to come. One extends from ever
lasting, the other to everlasting-each is a proper eternity. As, however, aion is the name of periods antecedent to the happy reign of the Messiah, it often assumes a more limited sense, being sometimes employed without reference to the successions of time for the things of this world, and sometimes for the period of human life. When this use of the word and its origin are considered, it appears that the exceptions to its literal import are very rare. In the instances cited above of its limited signification and in every other in which duration is expressed, it might be translated eternity. "Who shall not receive manifold more in the present time, and in the world to come (in the eternity to come) life everlasting." Here, then, I may again demand, if the common use of a word is to decide its meaning in its particular applications, whether eternal punishment is not taught in the following and similar passages. .. These are
wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest, to whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever." The evidence on which the question is to be decided, is this;-Aion is used two or three times for the universe and several times for the things of this world. In
these cases it does not express duration, either limited or eternal, and consequently does not assist us in determining its meaning when it relates to time. In several instances, it either denotes the periods which precede the establishment of the Messiah's kingdom or those which succeed, both of which extend through immeasurable or eternal duration. In all the remaining instances of its use, except six in which it is applied to future punishment, it relates to things which by the admission of all christians are endless. According to its common acceptation, therefore, it is to be translated forever and so understood when future punishment is the subject of affirmation. To this convincing view of the subject an additional consideration is to be added; for the case has not been stated in terms so favorable to the doctrine of eternal punishment as it should be. Whenever aion has reference to future punishment, it is put in the accusative case and governed by a preposition signifying "to." In such places, it is necessarily translated, to eternity or forever. Fifty-nine of these are undoubted instances of an endless sense, and the remaining six relate to future punishment, which, so far as common use is
concerned, is proof that they too denote eternal duration. Such is the state of the argument in favor of eternal punishment, from the general use of aion. An examination of the passages, in which it occurs, shall now be attempted, for the purpose of showing that there is no occasion for assigning it a meaning foreign to its original and common import. One of these passages has just been quoted and needs no comment. The second, you will find in the epistle of Jude.
Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame, wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever." This is said of false professors, men of very flagitious lives, who crept into the primitive church and became the authors of great abuses. It is undeniable from the nature of the imagery employed, that their utter and remediless ruin is predicted. The passages next to be cited are in the fourteenth, nineteenth and twentieth chapters of the Apocalypse of St. John. "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image and whosoever receiveth the mark of his
"And again they said, Alleluia !
And her smoke rose up forever and ever." "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever." In the first instance, the denunciation is directed against pagan Rome, and the fate of those idolaters is contrasted with the rewards of constancy, which the worshippers of the true God receive in heaven. They are represented as suffering forever in hell, or as destined to suffer through the eternal age which is to come. The second passage describes in the same terms the fate of the unbelieving Jews. In the last, it is said, that the devil shall be tormented forever and ever in the lake of fire and brimstone, where are the beast or the worshippers of idols, and the false prophet or all the friends and propagators of error. This is represented as taking place immediately before the final judgment, at the close of which transaction, whosoever is not found written in the book of life will be cast into the same place of torment. The lake of fire therefore denotes the punishment which is elsewhere denominated hell-fire, the furnace of fire, outer darkness and everlasting fire. And