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therefore, we must reject the Messiah of the Christians, as an impostor ; inasmuch as he pretends to aBolish those stat ates, which God hath called everlasting, and to set himself up as a Priest, contrary to the express promise of the LORD, who cannot lie, nor repent that Aaron and his sons should have an everlasting priesthood; and, therefore, if this is the true Messiab, God meant to deceive us, when he promised us these everlasting blessings, and privileges, which, we must suppose were only for a time, if Christianity be true ; therefore, we reject it, as being inconsistent with the promises of God.
It is evident, from this view of the matter, that the Jews reject Christ and his religion, upon as good ground, as you reject the Universal Restoration, and perhaps better; for you have nothing to plead against the Restoration, but some threatenings of punishments, which are called everlasing, or eternal, in our translation' but they plead express promises of the everlasting continuance of their church state and worship, in opposition to Christianity. But if it be true that both the Hebrew and Greek words, which our translators have rendered by the English word everlasting, do not intend endless duration but a hidden period, or periods ; then the ground is changed at once, and the Jews have no right to object against Christian ity, because God promised a continuance of their temple worship, for a certain age, or hidden period ; nor the Christians to reject the universal Restoration, because God hath threatened the rebellious with such dreadful punishments, which shall endure through periods, expressed in the same terms. It is indeed confessed by some of the most learned Jews, that they have no word in their language, which absolutely signifies endless duration ; and therefore they can only argue the endless continuance of any thing from its nature, and not merely from the words rendered for ever, or everlasting. And if tbis is the truth of the case (as who can deny it?) then, neither did JCHOVAH *peak to deceive the Children of Israel, when he pro
mised them blessings of such long continuance, which have ended long ago, and which are never to be restored by virtue of that covenant which he made with their fathers, when he brought them out of Egypt ; but by the new covenant which he will make with them when he shall return them to their own land ; nor did the Son of God speak to deceive, when he threatened the wicked with those punishments, which shall not end till they have answered the purposes for which it seems reasonable to believe they shall be inficted, viz. to bring them down and humble their proud and stubborn hearts; which shall be done, during the periods of his kingdom, before he shall have delivered it up to the Father, that God may be ALL
Friend. But if I should grant that the word aionion doth not even in the New Testament always signifiy endless duration, yet what would you gain by it, since it is plain that Chrisl hath set the happiness of the righteous, and the misery of the wicked, one against the other ; and hath expressed the continuance of both, by the same word, aionion, in St. Matth. XXV. 46 : Here, the punishment of the wicked, and the life of the righteous, are both declared to be aionion, or eternal, without distinction : Now can you show me any passage of scripture, where the same word is applied to two different things, whose existence is not the same, or the time of their continuance not alike?
Minister. Fairly stated! And, if it be not as fairly answered, it shall be looked upon as an insuperable difficulty. But, happily, there is a passage in Hab. iii. O, where the same word is used for very different things ; “He stood and measured the earth; He be. held, and drove asunder the nations ; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the purpetual hills did how: His ways are everlasting." In our translation, the mountains, and the ways of God, are called ever. lusting, and the hills perpetual ; but in the original, the word gnad is applied to the mountains, and the word gnolain to the hills, and the ways of God. But
whether we argue from the original, or from the translation, it makes no difference : The question is, Are the mountains, or the hills, eternal in the same sense in which the ways of God are? If so, the earth must have existed coeval with the ways of JEHOVAH, and the bills, and mountains, must never be removed, while his ways endure ; and, as his ways can never be destroyed, the absolute eternity not of the earth only, but of its present form, its mountains and hills, must be inferred ; contrary to Isaiah xl. 4. xliv. !0--Ezek. Xxxviii. 20.--Pet. iii. 7,10,11, 12.--Rev. xvi. 20. xx. 11.–Nay, even in this very text, the ways of God åre spoken of as being of a different nature from the mountains, which were scattered, and the hills, which did bow. Thus, no solid argument can be drawn from the
application of the same word to different things, to prove that they shall be equal in their continuance, unless their nature be the same.
Thus in the Greek New Testament, in Rom. xvi. 25, we read of the mystery which hath been kept secret, from Chronois aioniois, and in the 20th verse, we find, that it is now made known by the commandment Tou aionion Theou. But must it be argued, that because dioniois is applied to times, and aionion to God; therefore times are as ancient as Jehovah, and must continue while he exists? The absurdity of this is too glaring. Our translators have rendered Chronois aioniois, "since the world began," instead of eter. nal times," and have thereby shewn their judgment io be, that words cannot change the subjects to which they are applied, but the meaning of the words must be determined by the nature of the subject.
In Jer. xxviii. 8, the word hegnolam is used in the Hebrev
EW; but the translators did not think themselves obliged to renderit from everlasting," or, from eternity ;” as it would have been highly absurd to have read, eternal prophets, or propbets which were from eternity ; and have therefore rendered it "of old,"
though it is a stronger word than gnad, which they have translated “eternity.” Isa. lvii. 15.
Many other instances of the like nature might be brought; but these are fully sufficient to convince any unprejudiced mind, that nothing can be concluded in favour of endless punishment, from the word aionion being used to set forth the duration of it, as well as the duration of thạt life which our Saviour promises to the righteous.
But upon the supposition that our Saviour intends no more by the life eternal," in the 46th yerse of the xxvth of St. Matthew's gospel, than he doth in the 31th verse, by " the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world,” (which it would be hard to prove) then an answer might be given without all this labor, in this manner, viz. that as the Father hath appointed Christ a kingdom, so he hath also appointed his saints a kingdom ; (see St. Luke xxii. 29, 30. Rev. ii. 26, 27. iii. 21.) but as the kingdom which the Father hath given to Christ, as Mediator, and as Judge, shall end, when he shall have subdued all things, and put down all rule, and authority, and power ; (See I Cor. xv. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28.) so, of consequence, that kingdom which is given to the saints or overcomers, to subdue the nations, shall also end, when they thall be all subdued, and brought to submit. But as the glory of Christ shall not be less sened but increased, when God shall be all in all ; so the happiness of the saints shall be so far from ending or being diininished, at that period, that it shall then arrive at the summit of perfection ; but shall never close nor decrease while JEHOVAH endures.
Some time ago, a woman came to hear me, and I happened to mention in my sermon, that Christ's mediatorial kingdom was called everlasting,or aionion; but that it must
an end, when the kingdom should be delivered up to the Father, when he should have put down all rule, and all authority
After sermon, she was asked how she liked ? She answered, “ Not at all : He says the
everlasting kingdom of Christ shall end ; and I never heard of such a thing before in all my life ; and I am sure it must be contrary to Scripture." who asked her, told her, that there was such a text some where, she could not tell exactly where to find it. But the woman persisted in it, that there was ņo such text; and went away full of prejudice. Now, had this passage of Scripture been in the book of the Revelations, it would not have been so much to be wondered at, that she had never heard of it ; but when we consider, that this is expressed in that part of the 15th chapter of St. Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, which is in the burial service--what shall we say ?
Thus, if Christ's kingdom shall end, much more Sa. tan's! If rewards, as such, shall cease, how much more punish:nents ! If the everlasting kingdom of the saints, which they shall possess forever and ever (See Dan vii. 18, 27.) shall end, or be swallowed up in that kingdom of boundless love, where God shall be
ALL ; how much more, shall all sin, pain, sorrow and death, cease, and have no more à name in God's creation !
Friend, But supposing the doctrine of endless misery to be a truth, how would you expect to find it ex. pressed in the Bible ?
Minister. I should have a right to expect, in the first place, that there would be no promises in the Scripture to the contrary; no such passages as these : “For I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return; that unto me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear;" Isaiah alv. 23.
Mind well EVERY TONGUE SHALL SWEAŘ. 'Swearing allegiance, as every civilian will tell you, implies pardon, reception and protection, on the part of the king ; and a bearty renouncing of rebellion, trae subjection, and willing obe. dience, on the part of the rebels. Kings of the earth pay be deceived, butGod cannot; he will never accept f any feigned subjection; and, therefore, all that