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the only motive assigned in the parable, as inducing him to such solicitude.

5th, All know, or at least ought to know, that the. imagery, or the language of parables, was never intended to be interpreted literally. This every sensible commentator allows to be correct in interpreting other parables. Why then interpret the language of the one before us literally? A parable, like a fable, is designed to impress on the mind, in a pleasing manner, some important truth. What man in his senses ever supposed that the language of a fable was intended to be interpreted literally? It is the moral lesson to be taught, which is of any importance, and the fable is only a pleasing mode of inculcating the moral. Great care, we think, is necessary in interpreting parables; and the utmost caution should be observed, in reasoning from them, to establish any particular doctrine of Christianity. The occasion of them ought to be strictly attended to, and the object the writer had in view by them. Without this, para-bles may be made to teach any thing, and every thing, as fancy may dictate.

Perhaps it may be asked," what then is the important truth our Lord intended to teach by this parable?" This I think may be learned from verse 31st..

"If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither would they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." The parable was spoken to the unbelieving Jews, who enjoyed the writings of Moses and the prophets. They, as a people, owned such persons to be sent of God. If their writings did not persuade that wicked generation to believe, and turn from their evil ways, one sent from the dead would not effect these things in them. Such a person could come with no greater authority, nor give them any more assur-ance of the truth of God, than they had from Mosesand the prophets. Jesus, who spoke this parable, did

circumstance? The reason of this I think is obvious. This part of the parable so interpreted, does very well to support the popular idea, that the wicked go to hell at death, and are tormented in this place. But every candid man must allow that this is a very strange and arbitrary mode of interpreting parables; yea, any part of the Bible. Give me leave thus to interpret the Bible, and I pledge myself to prove almost any thing from it. Until rational and scriptural rules of interpretation are adopted, it is in vain we attempt correctly to understand it, or that ever people shall be agreed about what it reveals. If men only exercised the same rationality and common sense in interpreting the Bible, that they do in understanding human writings, the diversity of opinion in religion would decrease greatly.

4th, Interpreting this parable literally, we cannot blame the Roman Catholics to claim it as a proof of the doctrine of purgatory. It might be urged, that in this place the rich man was brought to repentance, felt sorry for his past sins, and was deeply concerned for the welfare of his brethren he had left in the world. This he showed by his requesting one to be sent from the dead, to warn them lest they should come into this place of torment. But we have always understood, that there is no compassion among the damned in hell, nor any desire that others should avoid the same misery. But here the rich man is represented as very solicitous that his five brethren should escape this place of torment. We are aware that it has been said that his solicitude arose, not from any desire he had for their good, but that his own misery might not be increased, by their persisting in the wicked courses, of which, he, while in this world, had set them the example. But this is a mere gratuitous assumption, for the parable affords no evidence of this. His brethren's personal good, is

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the only motive assigned in the parable, as inducing him to such solicitude.

5th, All know, or at least ought to know, that the. imagery, or the language of parables, was never intended to be interpreted literally. This every sensible commentator allows to be correct in interpreting other parables. Why then interpret the language of the one before us literally? A parable, like a fable, is designed to impress on the mind, in a pleasing manner, some important truth. What man in his. senses ever supposed that the language of a fable was intended to be interpreted literally? It is the moral lesson to be taught, which is of any importance, and the fable is only a pleasing mode of inculcating the moral. Great care, we think, is necessary in interpreting parables; and the utmost caution should be observed, in reasoning from them, to establish any particular doctrine of Christianity. The occasion of them ought to be strictly attended to, and the object the writer had in view by them. Without this, para-bles may be made to teach any thing, and every thing, as fancy may dictate.

Perhaps it may be asked," what then is the important truth our Lord intended to teach by this parable?" This I think may be learned from verse 31st.. -"If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither would they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." The parable was spoken to the unbelieving Jews, who enjoyed the writings of Moses and the prophets. They, as a people, owned such persons to be sent of God. If their writings did not persuade that wicked generation to believe, and turn from their evil ways, one sent from the dead would not effect these things in them. Such a person could come with no greater authority, nor give them any more assurance of the truth of God, than they had from Moses and the prophets. Jesus, who spoke this parable, did

rise from the dead, and abundant evidence of this was given them; but as a nation, the Jews still remained in unbelief, and were as little persuaded by this, as they were by Moses and the prophets. Is there any thing then surprising, that in this parable our Lord should introduce the popular idea, which the Jews had imbibed about punishment in Hades, when by it he was teaching them, that, if they did not believe Moses and the prophets, neither would they believe though one rose from the dead? It was only availing himself of their popular belief, to show them. the obstinacy of their unbelief. It was taking them on their own received principles, to give the more effect to the parable spoken to them. This mode of teaching and reasoning has been adopted in all ages, and was used by our Lord on various occasions.

6th, If the language of this parable must be interpreted literally, we urge that the following, among other texts which speak about Sheol, be also interpreted literally. See Ezek. xxxii. and xxxi. 15-18. Isai. xiv. 3-24. Sheol and Hades are only the Greek and Hebrew names for the same place. We ask then, why the parable before us must be literally interprcted, and not these passages also? Certainly they have as righteous a claim, as it, to a literal interpretation. The difficulties to be encountered here, are neither small nor few; but they must be surmounted, before we can admit, that this parable was designed to teach a state of torment in Hades. I shall simply hint at a few of those difficulties, stated in these texts.-Persons are mentioned as speaking out of the midst of Sheol or hell. The graves of persons are there represented as about them, and that they lie there uncircumcised, slain by the sword. They have gone down to hell with their weapons of war, and laid their swords under their heads. Hell from beneath, is also represented as moved to meet the king of Babylon

at his coming. All the dead are stirred up for him, and all the kings of the nations, are raised up from their thrones, in hell, at his arrival. They address him, saying, "art thou also become weak as we? Art thou become like unto us?" The worms there are said to cover him. When it can be proved that all these things take place in hell, we shall admit this parable to be a literal account of torment in Hades. Until this is done, such passages must prove an insurmountable difficulty in the way of establishing the doctrine of future misery from it. Certainly these passages have much more the appearance of a narrative of facts, than the parable we are now considering.

7th, We do not suppose that it will be doubted that this account of the rich man is a parable. If so, we beg leave to ask, why a parable, in which Hades is once mentioned, must be so very differently understood, from all other texts where the same place is mentioned? This is a solitary exception to all the other texts where Hades or Sheol occurs in the Old or New Testament. If Hades, the same as Sheol, be indeed a place of torment, how could it be said, "that there is no knowledge, nor device, nor wisdom" in this place? Was the rich man tormented in the flame of Hades, yet had no knowledge of it? We have seen from the last section, that Sheol is always. represented as a place of silence and insensibility, except in places where figurative descriptions are given of it. If this place had become a place of torment in the days of our Lord, it is very evident that it was not known as such in the days of Moses and the prophets. We ask then, at what period it became a place of torment? And did the wicked in those days suffer any punishment there? For all good and bad went to Sheol. To understand Hades then in this parable, to signify a place of actual torment, would be at

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