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fubverted, was prepared for the faithful and righteous, through the immediate promife of THE MES
The σUTÉλa T8 alvos, therefore, (i. e. the full final end of the perfecting and compleating of the aion, mentioned Matthew, ch. xxiv. ver. 3, and ch. xiii. ver. 49.) may very well be understood to be the conclufion of the very ftate of things that was promifed and pointed out, and, of God's mercy, ordained fill to take place on earth before its final diffolution; ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμε, even inmediately after the firft derangement of the form and fashion of things in this world. Directly after which fad event the promife of redemption was made to our first parents.
And I cannot omit adding, before I finish this Note, that there is one very remarkable verse in the Pfalms, which plainly fhews, according to the ideas of the LXX, what the true force and meaning of the word AION is: and that, when ufed in the fingular number, it does not mean eternity, but only a certain vaft determinate period in the order of fucceffion of ideas; of which periods we may conceive the duration of this earth, from the creation to its final deftruction, (or change from this prefent ftate,) to be one.
The verfe is Pfalm cxlv. ver. 13. and is thus rendered in our version:
Thy kingdom is an everlafting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
But in the Septuagint (both in the Alexandrian and Vatican copy) it is
Ἡ βασιλεία σε βασιλεία πάντων τῶν αἰώνων·
Thy kingdom is a kingdom of all the aions: and thy dominion [endureth] in every race and gene
From hence, therefore, we may plainly perceive, that the LXX thought the word alwvos not fufficient to convey the real and just idea of eternity, (knowing it might convey the idea of only one of the great æras in the order of fucceffion ;) and on that account, when they intended really to exprefs eternal duration, they were forced to have recourfe to the expreffion πάντων τῶν αἰώνων, of all the aions ; which fignifies the fame as τὲς αἰώνας, used by our Lord Himself at the end of His Divine Prayer; and as eis te's alwvas Tev aiwvwv, ufed 361. by the Holy Prophet and Apoftle John, in the Revelations, ch. xi. ver. 15.
The utmost extent of the meaning of the word alivios feems to be-a duration that may be of one or more aions; and that may even poffibly extend throughout all fucceeding aions: but the latter fenfe is not neceffarily implied, without the addition of εἰς τὰς αἰώνας τῶν αἰώνων, or of πάντων τῶν αἰώνων.
And the full idea of the extent and duration of our prefent aion, as far as we may gather from the intimations of Divine Prophecy throughout the Holy Scriptures, feems to be;-that, after what has already come to pafs on earth, there will ftill be, at fome certain period, a ftate of great trouble and disorder univerfally prevailing in the world *; which will be fucceeded by the Second Coming of our Lord, the beginning of the Refurrection, and the univerfal prevalence of true Christianity, and of peace and happiness on the face of the earth,
*It is, perhaps, at present needful to add, that this Note was written in the year 1787.
for a very long and undetermined space of time; (during which the ftate of things fpoken of by our Lord to Nathanael will take place, and there fhall be a free intercourse between the inhabitants of heaven and of earth ;)-but that, at laft, there shall be a fecond falling away, of fome of thofe generations which shall be dwelling upon earth, and of fome of such spirits as are not perfected :-in confequence of which will come the end of the Day of Judgement; the final feparation of the juft and of the unjuft; the deftruction of the prefent configuration of this globe by fire (as foretold by St. Peter) ;-the second death;-and the total end of this aion, by the removal of all the fervants of God to another orb, and habitation, (probably the Sun ;) where of course the whole fcene and appearance of the universe around muft be changed from what it appeared as feen from this earth; and the whole must seem to the new inhabitants of that orb literally new heavens, and a new earth,
This fecond state appears to be what is properly called aionian life, or the life of the aion to come ;which all the juft fhall partake of ;-whilft poffibly our earth, in remotely enfuing periods of time, may undergo another renovation, for the use of another yev, another race of beings.