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ners.* I will stand aside, and St Paul shall exhibit the ignorance of the Scriptures which prompted such a declaration.--" Bu! God who is rich in mercy, for his GREAT LOVE wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in SINS, hath quickened us together with Christ.”—(Eph. ii. 4, 5.)
I think I cannot do better than to occupy the remainder of my time in this speech, in an explanation of the words, aion, aionion, etc. In the course of this discussion my opponent will quote several passages in which such phrases occur as Everlasting, Eternal, Forever, and forever and ever. These words, as most of my hearers are aware, are translated from the Greek word aion and its derivatives. It is a singular fact, that the whole philological argument drawn from the Bible, in support of the doctrine of Endless Punishment, depends almost entirely on the meaning of the words aion, aionios, etc. Let these words be set aside, and there are few men who would ever attempt to sustain that sentiment by the mere force of Scripture phraseology. Yet there are few words in the Bible, the meaning of which are so variable and uncertain as these. Professor Stuart considers them, as used in the Scriptures, with something like ien different meanings. Is it not most remarkable that the strongest words depended upon to support the doctrine of endless punishment, are so acknowledgedly indefinite in their signification? As much stress is laid on these words, I design to devote a short period to their exclusive consideration.
1. A10N.-I have before me the opinions of some thirteen difier. ent Lexicographers, and all agree mainly, as to the definition of this word. Donnegan defines it as follows" AION-Time-a space of timelife time and life-the ordinary period of man's life-the age of man-man's estate--a long period of time-eternity—the spinal marrow.” This agrees with most Lexicons.
It will be seen by these definitions, that aion is a word of very indefinite meaning-signifying sometimes a long, and sometimes a short period of time-sometimes an age, a life time, an era, and in some cases, Eternity. But in no passage in the Bible, where aion signifies strictly eternal, is it ever applied to punishment. I challenge my friend to cite such an instance.
2. Scriptural usage of oion. The manner in which the Scripture writers use this word, shows conclusively, they designed io teach no such doctrine by it as Endless Punishment." Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world (aioni,) but also in that which is to come.”—(Eph. i. 21.) Here aioni signifies this world. “ Teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly (kosmikas) lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world”_-(aioni)--(Titus ii. 12.) Here again, aioni signifies this world. Of course in these instances, (and many more might
be given,) aioni signifies not time without end, but a limited period.
3. AJONION-AIOnios. -Great stress is laid on these words, to prove that the punishment which God will inflict on his creatures, will be endless. But it will be seen, I trust, in this investigation, that they contain, not even presumptive evidence of the truth of such a doctrine. It is self-evident that a derivative can mean no more than the word from which it it is derived. "Goodness" espresses no more of that which can be approbated, than “ good." Righteousness” means no more than “right.” On the same principle I maintain that aionion and aionios, can signify no more ihan aion, from which they are derived. Now aion, although it sometimes means endless, yet in vastly the majority of cases, it signifies a limited period of time, as we have seen-an age-a lifetime--any period of time, whether long or short. Hence aionion and aionios have the same varieties of signification. We find this to be the case in consulting Lexicons. Schrevelius gives the following definition—“ Ainoios-of long, duration-lasting-sometimes everlasting-sometimes lasting through life, as aeternus in Latin." I might quote other Lexicons, but it is unnecessary. They all substantially agree with Schrevelius. Here we learn that aionios and aionion, generally translated everlasting and forever, so far from always having the meaning of endless, have only occasionally that signification, while they very often mean life-time, or a long but not endless period of time.
4 Scripture usage of Aionion and Anonios.— The Scripture usage of these words will show that so far from signifying endless time, they are most generally used to designate a limited duration.
- What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world"-aionos-(Matt. xxiv. 3.) Here the END of aionos is men. tioned. If that word means literally and necessarily time without end, then the passage should read - What shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of forever-or the end of eternity ? Dr. Adain Clarke says that the word aionos, in this passage, sig. nities “ age.” He insists the inquiry of the disciples was, as to the end of the Jewish Economy. Let it be remembered, this is the sirongest word the advocates of endless misery can find in the whole Bible, to prove it to be a Scripture doctrine. * Perhaps he (Onesimus,) therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldst receive him forever” (aionion), that is a life-time.-(Phil. 15 ) «He that received seed among the thorns, is he that heareth the word ; and the care of this world, (aionos—this life,) and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word.” —(Maii. xiii. 22.) In these passages, aionos means only this life.
We read of the BEGINNING of the aionion-" As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets which have been since the world (aionos) began.”—Luke i. 70.) "The Restitution of all things,
which God hath spoken hy the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world (aionos) began.”—(Acts iii. 21.) How would it do to read these passages, ** since forever began ?" Such would be their meaning if aionion signifies necessarily and literally forever.
We read of the END of the aionos—The harvest is the end of the world."-(aionos)-(Matt. xiii. 39.) “ So shall it be in the end of this world”—(aionos)—(Matt. xii. 40.) “But now once in the end of the world, (aionion) hath he (Christ, ] appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”—(Heb. ix. 26.) They are writien for our admonition, upon whom, the ends of the world are come.”—(1 Cor. x. 11.) The aionion came to an end 1800 years ago. If aionion means literally forever in these passages, how would they read ?—" the harvest is the end of forever.” “ So shall it be in the end of forever.” “They are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of everlasting are come.” Substitute
age," or "dispensation,” as the signification of aionion, and how plain and simple is their meaning. From these examples nothing is more evident, than that those words are very frequently used in the New Testament in a limited sense-indicating a time that comes to an end! And yet, let me remind you again, these are the strongest words the advocates of Endless Punishment can find in the Bible to sustain that doctrine.
When we turn to the Old Testament we find “aionion,” and " aionios,” used in the same limited sense, as the following exam. ples will show. “ For all the land which thou seest, [addressed to Abraham,) to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever.”—[Hebrew, olim-Greek septuagint, Aloxos-English, FOREVER. )-(Gen. xiii. 15.) In this case, aionos could not mean strictly endless, for Canaan has long since passed out of the possession of Abraham and his descendents. “ You shall keep it, (the passover,) a feast by ordinance forever,” (aionion.)–(Ex. xii. 14.) “They (Jewish slaves,) shall be your bondmen forever,” [aionion-life.time.] -(Ley. xxv. 46.) " The earth with her bars was about me for. ever,” (aionion-three days.]-(Jonah ii. 6.) “I will give thee the land of Canaan for an everlasting (aiorion, possession.”—(Gen. xvii. 8.)
“ For their annointing shall surely be an everlasting Caionion,) priesthood throughout their generations."—(Ex. xl. 15.) Many more passages might be quoted in which these words are used in the same manner,
Thus when we examine the Old Testament, we find these words translated forever and everlasting, frequently used to signify a limited period of time-one that comes to an end! Indeed it is evident that the translators of our Bible in the use of the English word forever, did not mean by it, in all instances, time without end. In more than seventy cases in the Bible, they mean by forever, a time of limited duration. Professor Stuait says, “It is indeed true, that these words, everlasting, forever, etc., may be
employed to designate a period which is in its own nature temporary.
5. Classical usage of Lion.-Let us look at the sense attacbed to aion by the early Greek writers. I am aided in this investigation by the labors of Mr. Goodwin, an accurate and ripe scholar, who made a thorough research into the meaning of aion and its derivatives, and published the result of his investigations in the “Christian Examiner," in 1831. He asserts on his reputation as a Greek scholar, that in the Ancient Classical Greek - aion" contains no sense of Eternity, whatever. “In the Iliad” and “ Odyssey, aion occurs thirteen times only as a noun,-i. e. simply existence. I notice in “Hesiod,” only two instances of “aion.” “This is certain," asserts Mr. Goodwin, “mean what it may, aion in Homer and Hesiod, never means Eternity." These are the oldest Greek writings in existence. “In Æschylus,” continues Mr. Goodwin, " I notice nineteen instances of aion. I believe no one will sus. pect that Æschylus ever imagined a sense of Eternity to belong to aion.” He lived and wrote about 500 years before Christ. Mr. Goodwin found aion thirteen times in “ Pindars' Odes," written 495 years before Christ. In “ Sophocles," he found aion nine times. in those works of “ Aristotle,” which he examined, he found it twelve times. In “ Euripides,” he found it in thirty-two instances.
“as certainly as human life is not eternal, so certainly, aion did not contain the meaning of Eternity.” And as the result of his investigations in regard to this word, Mr. Goodwin says
-" The instances produced show plainly that aion, in these wri. ters, never expresses positive eternity. In some few cases it may signify a term of duration ; but more commonly, it expresses, either simply existence, or the person existing. And in many cases, the vital principal, or life, or the living spirit itself." Mr. Goodwin farther declares that the word aionios-(aionion) is not found in any instance, in the Ancient Greek writings. When they desired to express endless duration, they used some other words than those our translators have rendered forever and eternal in the English version of the Bible. Hence the only word on which Partialist theologians build their philological argument in defence of endless punishment, was never used by the Ancient Greek writers to express endless duration.
Usage of Aionion-Aionios“In the days of Christ. That these words could not not have been considered in the days of Christ, as always expressing endless time, is evident from the fact that the end of the time they represent, is expressly mentioned. The disciples inquired of the Savior" What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world ?”—aionos-(Matt. xxiv. 3.) " They are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world (aionion) are come.”—(1 Cor. x. 11.) It is frequently said, however, that some of the sects among the Jews-the Pharisees and Essenes, were believers in Endless Punishment: that when
Jesus and his Apostles spoke of aionion punishment, an 1 aionion fire, they must hive known they would have been understool by the Jews, as using these terms to express a state of misery that would be endless; and that under such circumstances, if Christ did not design to teach that doctrine, he would have expressly disa. vowel it. This wo:ill appear plausible at first sight, but an understanding of the facts of the case, will show the position has no strength. If any of the Jews in the days of the Savior, believed in endless woe, they expressed it by words entirely different from any that Christ ever applied to punishment. Philo, an Egyptian Jew, of the time of Christ, was said to be a believer in Endless Punishment. But in expressing that doctrine he used the words, aidios, athanutos, ateleutelos, and not aionios, which Christ applied to punishment. Josepheus, the Jewish historian, who lived in the days of the Apostles, in describing the doctrine of the Pharisees, says they believel “the souls of the bad are allotted to an eternal prison, (aidros ergmos,) and punished with eternal retribution, (aidios limoria.) In describing the doctrines of the “ Esse.jes," Josephens says that the souls of the bad are sent to a dark and tempestuous cavern, full of incessent punishment, (adialeiptos timòria.) From these quotations it will be seen that the Savior and the Apostles did not use the same phraseology, when they described the punishment of the wicked, as the Jews did. When Jesus spoke of punishment, he called it aionion kolusin, aionion pur or puoros, aionoin kriseos. But when the Jews alluded to the punishment of the wicked, they called it, • aidios timoria, adialeíptos timoria.” Hence it is very certain Jesus did not adopt doctrines in regard to punishment, which prevailed among the Jews in his day ; nor could they have understood him as approbating or favoring their ide is on that subject. If they taught the doctrine of Endless Misery, an:1 Jesus desired them to understand him as inculcating the same, why did he not use the same words? The fact that he chose different phraseology, shows that he wished them to know he taught a diferent doctrine.
We have seen that when Jesus spoke of the time that punishment should endure, he used the words aionios. That this word was generaily understood ainong the Jews as signifying limited duration, is evident from the manner in which Josepheus uses it. He usually applies it to the affairs of the present life. Thus he speaks of the aionios name which the Patriarchs left behind them -of the aionios glory of the Jewish nation and heroes--of the aionios reputation of Herod—of the aionios memorial which he erected-of the aionios worship in the Temple of Jerusalem--of the aionios imprisonment to which John the Tyrant, was condemned by the Romans, etc. In all these cases aionios is used by I sephus, in a limited or indefinite sense--showing that such its usual signification in the days of the Savior. Hence the fact that Christ applied aionion to punishment, was no evide