Irenus

Irensus(78) says, "the unjust shall be sent into inextinguishable and eternal fire," and yet he taught that the wicked are to be annihilated:(79) "When it is necessary that the soul should no longer exist, the vital spirit leaves it, and the soul is no more, but returns thither whence it was taken." Dr. Beecher pertinently observes:(80) "What then are the facts as to Iren&us? Since he has been canonized as a saint, and since he stood in such close connection with Polycarp and with John the apostle, there has been a very great reluctance to admit the real facts of the case. Massuetus has employed much sophistry in endeavoring to hide them. Nevertheless, as we shall clearly show hereafter, they are incontrovertibly these: that he taught a final restitution of all things to unity and order by the annihilation of all the finally impenitent. Express statements of his in this creed, and in a fragment referred to by Prof. Schaff, on universal restoration,(81) and in other parts of his great work against the Gnostics, prove this beyond all possibility of refutation. The inference from this is plain. He did not understand aionios in the sense of eternal; but in the sense claimed by Prof. Lewis, that is, pertaining to the world to come." These are his words: "Christ will do away with all evil, and make an end of all impurities." He further says(82) that certain persons "shall not receive from him (the Creator) length of days forever and ever." Thus the word denoted limited duration in his time, A. D. 170, 200.

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