Imágenes de páginas

sist, that they go through with a literal interpretation. the cause of it. This we believe some are consistent

enough to maintain. They must also admit, that his n this account, is not considered a narratirea's body was tormented in Ifades, and, that he believed

It must be granted, that while tormented in the flames of Hades, he could see, and hear, and hold conversa

tion with Abraham, &c. But in these, and other things, aat Hades is an intermediate place of punished the literal sense is abandoned, and the part only

which speaks of bis torment, fs literally interpreted. ing to their own account, this place is to be! But we have a right to ask why this is done? Who yed. Supposing then that I should grant ail

from this parable, and consider it a literal fact, and here close my remarks on this parable, as it has body of the parable? Let us be informed, upon ring on the subject of our investigation. But scriptural and rational principles, why this man was

not tormented in his body in Hades, and why all that is said is not to be as literally understood as this one

submit for candid consideration the followings 2d, That whatever place Hades is, in which the tions:

rich man is here represented as in torment, it is very Let it be noticed, that the rich man is not to evident that Abraham and Lazarus were also in ted as in Gehenna, but in Hades. It is conte: Hades. Though spoken of as at some distance from y Dr. Campbell and others, that Gehenne, so each other, yet they were within sight and hearing, , is the place of endless misery for the wicks and could converse together. The one is not reprehat the punishment of Gehenna does not take sented as in heaven and the other in hell. No; they till after the resurrection of the dead: yea: are represented as in the same place and on a level tended, that Hades, the place in which the si with each other. Every one knows, how very differs here said to be, is to be destroyed. It is very ent this representation is from the common ideas enat then, that whoever contends for this perse tertained about the place of punishment

, and the actually in a place of torment

, must allow ts place of happiness in our day. Do you ever hear ot to be of endless duration. But, I ask thox Christians speak as if both righteous and wicked advocate the torment to be a reality, first to protiv were in the same place after death? The very rerson tormented in Hades to be not a parabolic prea

verse of this is the case. But, efore they draw the conclusion that the torme" 30, 2f people will interpret a part of this parable a parabolic torment. The first must be prores literally

, to suit their own religious opinions, we inthe last can be admitted; for a person des before he can be tormented in any place. If

mentioned is a real being and the torment de place of torment, they must allow, that literal fire was ains of a reality, and not å fictitious or parabu entation, we have a right to demand why every and not a parable !

drop of water would give some ease to his torment. letting such persons have this parable all their ay, on their own principles, it does not prore

misery. All that they can possibly draw free -n death and the resurrection; and that the

porn any man the privilege to call out a circumstance esire, they must allow, that this parable dees y a word about a place of endless misery.! miew all the other parts as mere fiction, to fill


, d to observe,



from the Old Testament, where a prophet of the Lord, was ever sent to any people to warn them against eternal misery in a place called hell? Yea, I go lurther, and ask, if any man can produce a single instance where a false prophet ever endeavoured to make gain to himself, by the doctrine of eternal misery? I do not find that either true or false prophets did so under that dispensation, or that this doctrine was known and believed by a single individual. As men were not threatened with such a punishment, so none were ever congratulated as being saved from it. As it was never held up to deter men from sin while ignorant of God, so it was never urged on believers to stimulate them to gratitude and obedience. Is it possible then, that this doctrine could be believed, yet all remain silent on the subject? If no revelation was given about it, how could men avoid such a punishment? If a revelation was given, how is it accounted for, that it is not mentioned by one of the Old Testament writers! If it is mentioned by any of them under any other name than Sheol, I am ig. norant of it; nor is this even pretended by those who believe the doctrine. I am fully aware, that there are two or three passages commonly quoted. For example, Dan. xii. 2. is perhaps the most plausible that can be adduced:-"and many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. All I shall say of this text here, is, that were 1 fully convinced that the doctrine of eternal misery was true, I never could quote this passage in support of it. To assign my reasons here, would be aside from the present investigation.

5th, Another fact deserving our notice, is, that the living in speaking of their dead friends, never speak as if they were to be separated from them after death, but always as associated with them. This appears

[ocr errors]

to have been the case, whether the persons were good or bad. An instance to the contrary, cannot be produced, where a person ever expressed himself, as if he expected after death to be separated, and separated from his friends forever. But it is well known, that persons in our day, not only expect to be separated from many of their friends forever, but even say, that they shall give their hearty amen to their everlasting condemnation. Yea, it is even said, that the happiness of those in heaven is to be greatly enhanced, by their looking down on those in eternal torments, in seeing the smoke of it ascend forever and ever. This was once the current popular divinity, and though not yet altogether out of use, yet I am bappy to say, the more thinking and sober-minded. reject it.

But, it may be asked, is it true, that persons under the Old Testament expected to be associated with their deceased friends after death? I do not recollect. a single instance to the contrary, and shall here, in proof of the assertion, refer to Jabn's Biblical Archæology, p. 234.

To this it may probably be objected, that'associa.. tion with their friends after death, only referred to their bodies mingling in the dust together, and had no reference to their spirits after death. Admitting this to be true, permit me to ask, can any proof be adduced, that their spirits were separated from each other after death? As I am unable to adduce any proof, I request those who say that they were so separated, to produce evidence of this from the Old Testament. I shall give it all due consideration. At any rate, if the Old Testament is silent on the subject it ill becomes us to assert that such was the case. Its very silence is to me an indication that no such idea was entertained in those days. If it was, it is somewbat surprising that no person ventured to express ita

And if it is not expressed by any of the Old Testament writers, how is it known that such an idea was entertained by them.

One thing we think must be admitted by all who have read the Old Testament with attention. It is this: good people in those days, do not appear to have had the fears and anxieties of mind which haunt men's minds now, about their children, their relations, their neighbours, and a great part of mankind, as all going to a place of endless misery. You may read the Old Testament, until your eyes grow dim with age, before you find any ihing like this there. How is this silence to be accounted for, if the doctrine of endless misery was known and believed? If by Sheol they understood the same as men do now by the word hell, is it possible, that good people in those days could feel so easy on such a subject i Whatever the ideas they attached to this word we think it is certain, they did not mean by it a place of endless misery:

The question is likely then to be asked, seeing that he Sheol.or bell does not mean a place of eternal mis. ery,--what does it mean? What is the idea the Old Testament writers affixed to this word? From the remarks already made; we think something has been gaid in answer to this question.-By Sheol, seems evidently to be meant, what Job calls, chap. XXX. 33,The house appointed for all the living." And it is the same to which Solomon alludes, when he says, Eccles, . nii. 20.--"all go to one place.” The question still returns, What place is this? What place it is, may

be learned further from the following passages. In 2 Sam. xii. 23. where David is speaking of his dead child, he says, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” This, it may be said, only provokes the question--, where was his child? In heaven, most people would answer, and some have quoted this text to prove the salvation of all infants. Nothing more,


[ocr errors]

conceive, is meant, nor could be rationally inferred from this text than this, that his child was in the state of the dead or in Sheol, and David, impressed with a sense of his own mortality intimates, that he would soon follow him to the same place. So Jacob speaks of himself in a similar way in reference to his son Joseph. But further, we find in 1 Sam. xxviii. 19. Samuel ihus speaks to Saul, “tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me.” Where was this? It may be asked,When Saul desired the woman to bring up Samuel, was it from heaven he expected him to come? Surely not ; for in this case Samuel would have been brought down, not up. Was it then from bell, the place of eternal misery, he expected him to come? This cannot be admitted, for neither Saul, nor any one else, ever thought that Samuel was there. From what place then did Saul wish the woman to bring Samuel? I answer, from Sheol, the same place to which Jacob said he would go down mourning to Joseph. The same place in which the Saviour's soul was not left. If Saul and his sons went to hell, a place of endless misery, it is certain Samuel was ibere before him. And it is equally certain, that if Samuel was in heaven, Saul and his sons were there soon after with him. But what appears simply to be meant is this,-Samuel was in Sheol, or the state of the dead, and the issue of the battle proved, that Saul and his sons were with Samuel, and with all the dead who had gone before them. As to the woman's have ing power to bring Samuel from Sheol, we do not believe any such thing. We believe that she was an impostor, but this is not the place for assigning our reasons, or entering further into this part of the history of Saul. We have merely referred to it as show.

ing what were the popular opinions in those days on 1 the subject before us.

« AnteriorContinuar »