Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

express the Hebrew SHEOL. This they came to conceive as including different sorts of habitations for ghosts of different characters. And though they did not receive the terms Elysium or Elysian fields, as suitable appellations for the regions peopled by good spirits, they took instead of them, as better adapted to their own theology, the garden of Eden, or Paradise, a name originally Persian, by which the word answering to garden, especially when applied to Eden, had commonly been rendered by the Seventy. To denote the same state, they sometimes used the phrase Abraham's bosom, a metaphor borrowed from the manner in which they reclined at meals. But, on the other hand, to express the unhappy situation of the wicked in that intermediale state, they do not seem to have declined the use of the word Tartarus. The apostle Peter, 2 Ep. ii. 4. says of evil angels, that God cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.' So it stands in the common version, though neither geevva nor adns are in the original, where the expression is σειραις ζόφου ταρταρωσας παρέδωκεν εις κρισιν τετηρημενους. The word is not γεεννα; for that comes after judgment; but Taptapos, which is, as it were, the prison of Hades, wherein criminals are kept till the general judgment. And as, in the ordinary use of the Greek word, it was comprehended under Hades, as a part, it ought, unless we had some positive reason to the contrary, by the ordinary rules of interpretation, to be understood so here. There is then no inconsistency in maintaining that the rich man, though in torments, was not in Gehenna, but in that part of Hades called Tartarus, where we have seen already that spirits reserved for judgment are detained in darkness."

This quotation from Dr. Campbell, affords matter for many remarks, a few of which I shall briefly notice.

Ist, He declares, that the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, is the only place in Holy Writ, which seems to give countenance to the opinion, that Hades sometimes means the same thing as Gehenna. We have seen already, that he denies that Hades is the place of eternal punishment; and that he contends for Gehenna being this place we shall see in the next chapter.

2d, He declares that,—“ it is plain that in the Old Testament, the most profound silence is observed in regard to the state of the deceased, their joys or sorrows, happiness or misery.” Jf the Old Testament maintains a profound silence on this subject, it ought to be inquired,

3d, How did the Jews in our Lord's day, come to consider Hades as a place of punishment for the wicked? That a change in their opinions on this subject, had taken place from what is contained in the Old Testament is evident; for he says," on this subject of a future state, we find a considerable difference in the popular opinions of the Jews in our Saviour's time, from those which prevailed in the days of the ancient prophets.” Well, how did this change in their opinions take place ? Was it by some new revelation which God made to them on this subject ? No such thing is stated by Dr. Campbell, but the reverse. He thus accounts for the change of their opinions. But the opinions neither of Hebrews nor of heathen, remained invariably the same. And from the time of the captivity, more especially from the time of the subjection of the Jews, first to the Macedonian empire, and afterwards to the Roman; as they had a closer intercourse with Pagans, they insensibly imbibed many of their sentiments, particularly on those subjects whereon their law was silent, and wherein, by consequence, they considered themselves as at greater freedom. As both Greeks and Romans had

adopted the notion, that the ghosts of the deceased were susceptible both of enjoyment and of suffering, they were led to suppose a sort of retribution in that state, for their merit or demerit in the present. The Jews did not indeed adopt the Pagan fables on this subject, nor did they express themselves entirely in the same manuer; but their general train of thinking in both came pretty much to coincide.”—This statement is surely too plain to be misunderstood. How much plainer could he have told us, that a punishment in Hades was a mere heathen notion, which the Jews learned from their intercourse with them? Could this have been more obvious had he said so in as many words? We presume no man will deny this. He not only declares that neither Sheol nor Hades is used in Scripture to express a place of punishment, but he shows, that the Pagan fables teach it, and the Jews learned it from them. What are we then to think, when this is the account of the origin of the doctrine of hell torments by one of its professed friends ? Had this statement been given by a professed Universalist, the cry would be raised that it was a mere fabrication of his

support tem. But no, this is the statement of the learned, and acute Dr. Campbell, late principal of Marischal college, Aberdeen, who lived and died, a celebrated theologian in the church of Scotland. It is notorious, that in this quotation he declares, that the Jews derived these opinions from their intercourse with the heathen. Where they got those opinions he does not inform us. Had they been from divine revelation, the heathen ought to have learned them from the Jews. But here the matter is reversed. The heathen it seems anticipated divine revelation, as to the doctrine of punishment in Hades. They revealed it to the Jews by means of their fables. The Jews it is said, "did not adopt their fables, nor did they express them

own, in

of his sys

decease

suffering

on in that al. The s on this

cireli

thinking nis stale Jo Hor

purissa Chich the 1 ? Could па; 2. his. Hi Hades is ishment

-ine di r in this text, he says the word is not Gehenna, for

selves entirely in the same manner, but their general train of thinking came pretty much to coincide.” That man must be very dull, who does not learn from this, that the doctrine of torment in Hades, had its origin in heathenism, and, that the Jews were ignorant of it, until they learned it from the heathen.- From all this, will it be easy for any one to resist the conviction, that to this popular opinion, which the Jews had imbibed from their intercourse with the heathen, our Lord alluded in his parable of the rich man and Lazarus ? Such were the popular notions of the Jews in our Lord's day; and to what else could he allude? The Old Testament, as we have seen, taught no such doctrine, and in the parable it is not introduced as a new revelation to the world. It is merely brought in as a part of its imagery, and that without asserting its truth, or exposing the erroneous notion which people had imbibed. He no more attempts to correct this Pagan notion, than the common opinion, that satan had bound a woman eighteen years with an infirmity,

4th, Dr. Campbell further declares, that though the Jews did not adopt the Pagan fables on this subject,

set their train of thinking pretty much coincided with This sy theirs. “The Greek Hades they found well adapted

to express the Hebrew Sheol. This they came to conceive as including different sorts of habitations for ghosts of different characters." They did not adopt the terms Elysium, or Elysian fields, to express the regions of good spirits, but he says," they do not seem to have declined the use of the word Tartarus” to express the unhappy situation of the wicked in an intermediate state. The text, and indeed the only text he could adduce as an example of this, is the passage under consideration. Concerning the word Tartarus that comes after judgment, but Tartarus, which is, as were, the prison of Hades, wherein criminals are

and the

then 101

of the rofessed professi.

til was

ed, and Tal col ved the torious,

ms de

ich the oes not

[ocr errors]

Jers

seems

Jers --did them

kept till the general judgment.” That a punishment in Hades is a Pagan notion, which the Jews derived from the heathen, we have the authority of Dr. Camp bell in the above quotation. That Tartarus was the prison of Hades, is derived from the same origin, for it is no where so represented in Scripture. If punishment in Hades be a Pagan notion, Tartarus, the prison of Hades, is only a part of the same Pagan notion. It is only the prison of Hades, says Dr. Campbell, in which criminals are kept till the general judgment; but after this, Gehenna is to be the place of eternal punishment for all the wicked. And why make Gehenna the place of their punishment after this period? Dr. Campbell, we have seen from the preceding sections, had shown that Hades, and no doubt its prison also, were to be destroyed, and be no more. What then is to be done with the criminals which had been confined in this prison? They are not then to be released, and made happy, therefore some other place of punishment must be provided for their reception. He provides for them an everlasting asylum in Gehenna, after the day of judgment. They must be sent somewhere after this period, and no place so suitable could be devised as Gehenna. But whether it be a very happy device, in establishing the doctrine of eternal misery, we hope will appear from the next chapter. All that we wish noticed here, is, that at the day of judgment we shall have done with Hades, and Tariarus, the prison of Hades, and all punishment in them, for they are to be no more. If this be true, and we think it will not be disputed, Gehenna is the only place of eternal punishment for the finally impenitent. This is not only the opinion of the authors we have quoted, but we believe is the general opinion of all the learned. But though many contend for Hades being a place of intermediate punishment, and in the above quotation Tartarus is made the prison of

« AnteriorContinuar »