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what other sense can here be attached to aion, translated forever, but endless duration? It does not mean the universe, it does not mean the things of this world, it does not mean the age anterior to the Messiah's reign; it must, therefore, mean that which is to come, or all future time, for this is its only remaining signification. The other passage, in which aion is used in reference to future punishment, is in the third chapter of St. Mark. "But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation." Aion here occurs in the phrase, hath never forgiveness." The word, translated eternal in the last clause of the verse, is aionios. They are evidently used as synonymous, the sentiment being repeated for the sake of intensity. But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, hath not forgiveness forever, but is deserving of eternal damnation. That an absolute eternity is meant, a parallel passage sufficiently demonstrates by asserting, that such blasphemers shall be forgiven neither in this world neither in the world to come. Nothing now remains, but to sum up the argument contained in the texts in favor of endless

punishment. If the passages themselves are examined, they lead to the belief that aion is used in the endless sense, and if its original and common import is to be regarded, the same conclusion is established. Hence it appears, that lost men will never be restored to virtue and happiness.

2. Aionios is found in the New Testament in seventy-one passages. In sixty of these it is applied, either to God, to heaven, to the happiness of the righteous, or to the gospel or kingdom of Christ, in such a manner as must be admitted to imply an endless duration. In six of the remaining passages, only eleven in all, it is used with reference to future punishment. The other five I shall now transcribe, that each may judge for himself, whether an eternal duration is not signified. "Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began," or from eternity. "In hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began," or from eternity. "Now to him that

2 Timothy, i. 9. Titus, i. 2.

is of power to establish you, according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began," or from eternity. "For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest 'receive him forever." Here the apostle has reference to the relation in which Philemon and Onesimus stood to each other in consequence of their common faith, a relation which shall never be broken. "Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment," a judgment the consequences of which are eternal. It may then safely be asserted, that aionios is never used in the New Testament except for unlimited duration either past or future. Unless some reason is assigned for attaching to it a signification found no where else, it is to be thus understood when applied to future punishment. It is natural in this place to express no small surprise, that it should so often be asserted both orally and from the press, that an absolute eternity is not denoted by aionios. It cannot be shown to have any

Romans, xvi. 25. Philemon, 15. Hebrews, vi. 2.

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other sense in the whole New Testament. This is its universal meaning, unless it is to be restricted when employed in reference to the single subject of future punishment. And is it credible, that Christ and his apostles use it on all other topics in the endless sense, and in this alone to express a limited time? This they must believe, who contend for the restoration of the wicked. If, when applied to future punishment, it denotes a temporary duration, the evidence is to be found in the context where it occurs, or in the nature of the subject itself. But the subject certainly admits as possible the doctrine of endless punishment. To an examination of aionios in this particular application, it is now proposed to attend; which will show conclusively, that no reason exists for limiting its signification in these cases. On the contrary, new considerations will be suggested for understanding it in its original and common import. These texts occur in the eighteenth and twenty-fifth chapters of Matthew, in the third chapter of St. Mark, in the first chapter of the second epistle to the Thessalonians, and in the epistle of Jude. That in Mark was noticed while examining the passages in which aion is applied to future

punishment. "But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation." In this case, there is not only no reason for supposing that it departs from its usual meaning, but much, on account of the corresponding assertion "hath never forgiveness," to conclude, that it is used in an endless sense. Its import is equally obvious in the following construction. "Wherefore, if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee; it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee; it is better for thee, to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell-fire.” The two remaining instances in which it occurs in St. Matthew, are still more decisive. "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." Here aionios may certainly bear the endless sense. No intimation is given why it should be limited. "And these shall

go away into everlasting punishment, but the

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