Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

lasting in Daniel 12: 2, to mean a proper eternity. But the falsehood ends not here. He tells us Mr. S. begs his readers to grant that future punishment may be taught in five texts, when Mr. Stuart has referred his readers to fifteen texts in which the doctrine is probably implied. The readers of Balfour who have never seen Stuart's Essays, must have strange impressions of that book.

I will now notice Mr. B.'s general concluding remarks upon the chapter upon sheol. His first remark is that—“In no passage is sheol represented as a place of fire or torment. Nothing of this kind stands connected with it in the Old Testament.” This is false. For in Deutronomy we read—A fire is kindled in my anger, and it shall burn to the lowest sheol.

His second remark is—“That olim rendered everlasting, forever, &c., is never connected with sheol in any shape whatever.” This is true, and what is more-this world olim is no where connected with the word translated heaven, meaning the place of future blessedness.

Remark 3d. “No persons are said to be alive in sheol, to be punished in any way by any means whatever.” This is false in two particulars. In Isaiah 14. it is said, sheol from beneath is moved for thee, to meet thee—all they shall speak and say unto thee, &c. This you say is figurative. Very well. But the use of such a figure presupposes life and consciousness in sheol. In regard to the assertion that none are said to be punished there, its falsity appears in the Psalmist's assertion that death shall feed on them there. But suppose we grant all that is here asserted, and what follows? Cannot a place of punishment be named without being accompanied with descriptions of the several inflictions of punishment there?

Remark 4th. “ The Old Testament writers and modern christians speak very differently about shcol and hell if both designate the same thing." Here is palpable unfairness. Mr. B. knows that none pretends that sheol is in all cases synonymous with hell, so that hell could properly be used for it where it means the grave. It would be strange if the Old Testament writers should not use a word which most generally meant the place of the dead, differently from our use of the word hell. And it is neither their fault nor ours, that the English word hell, has not the same extent of meaning with the Hebrew word sheol. Our author has some strange notions about the nature and origin of language. And p. 47, he arraigns before him all the users of the English language for 200 years back, to answer for the crime of perverting the meaning of the word hell in the following terms: “Who has been so kind as to make the world of future misery the exclusive sense of hell, since the common translation was made ?” And then he goes on to give his charge a wider range and a longer reach. “I ask why should hell have the sense of future misery at all." Sure enough Mr. Balfour-why should there be a word to express such an idea. But men always will be so wicked as to have words to express their ideas. And when you shall succeed to blot from the minds of men every trace of the idea of future misery, you will be able to redeem that word hell from perversion. Mr. B. says, “ If their belief was the same as in our day, why do we never find them express that belief, about eternal punishment, as is now done in books and sermons and conference meetings and in common conversation.” This question might be retorted. If the Old and New Testament writers believed there would in the future world be no difference between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not, why do we never hear them express that belief, as it is now expressed in books and sermons and conference meetings ? Perhaps if we had as much knowledge of the books and sermons and conference meetings and common conversation of David and Solomon and Isaiah and Ezra, as we have of those of the present day, this question would not have been asked. It is an unheard of requisition, that the only book that has survived of a nation that flourished 3,000 years ago shall give us all the detail, of what passed in books and sermons and conference ineetings and common conversation.

Mr. B.'s answer to objections in the close of the chapter, I am little concerned to notice. For as the objections are chiefly the offspring of his own brain, I am little interested to defend them. He surely has the best right to determine whether they shall live or die,

CHAPTER VIII.

MEANING OF HADES. MEANING OF TARTARUS.

Hades is the word which the Septuagint translators of the Hebrew of the Old Testament into Greek, have usually employed to translate sheol. And it has essentially the corresponding meaning of sheol. It is used in the New Testament in the same sense which sheol has in the Old. The heathen Greeks connected with their hades, some of the creations of their superstitions. But through all the descriptions which appear in their poets, the leading facts of the Hebrew sheol can be discovered. The Greek poets have more particularly developed their notions of hades. They make it to be the region of the dead, the under world, the world of the dead, and this subdivided into upper and lower, the upper part being an Elysium, the abode of the good, and the other a Tartarus or place of punishment for the wicked. The word hades to which those who spoke the Greek language had given this meaning was employed as the word to express the Hebrew idea of sheol. As sheol, though not originally expressive of that, was capable in a secondary sense of expressing the place of future punishment, so hades was capable of denoting the place of punishment. And as hades by the Greeks implied both a place of happiness, and a place of misery, as separate divisions of the same mansion of the dead, it even more naturally answers the purpose of expressing a place of punishment. That the word is always used for a place of punishment in the New Testament, is not pretended. That it has this meaning in some instances, I shall proceed to show.

Matt. 11: 23. And thou Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell. So Luke 10: 15. the

same. All that Mr. B. attempts to prove in relation to this I admit. I admit that it is figurative; that the city had never been literally exalted to heaven, nor would as a city be literally cast down to hell. But as the use of the word heaven is in the sense of the abode of the blessed; so the use of the word hell is in the sense of the opposite. As the existence of heaven is implied in such a use of the word, though it is not meant that the city had been literally exalted to it; so the existence of hell is implied, though it is not meant that the city as such would be cast down to it.

Matt. 16: 18. On this rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. As courts were held and all public business transacted at the gates of cities, the gates became a name for the powers and polices of a city. So when it is said the gates of hades shall not prevail against the church, it is meant all the powers, polices and machinations of hell, shall not prevail. Hades here is set forth as the empire and head-quarters of wickedness, and opposition to the church-as the central origin of all the wicked counsels, and enterprizes undertaken against the church. But if it be the fountain head of wicked influence and of hostility to the church, what can it be other than that abode of everlasting punishment, occupied by the devil and his angels? The only plausible evasion of this which I can conceive of is, that hades may here be simply a name for the empire of death, and the text in that view represents death as the great enemy of the church. But that interpretation would greatly diminish the force of the passage. For death is far from being the only, or the greatest and most effectual enemy of the church. And does Christ intend to say less than that no enemy shall prevail ?

Luke 16:22, 23. The rich man also died, and was buried, and in hell he lifted up his eyes being in torment. This parable of the rich man and Lazarus, has occasioned much labor for both Mr. B. and Mr. W. But whether they have created a decent apology for doubting whether hell be here intended, you will judge. Mr. B. opens his attack upon this passage, by filling out eight pages in proving, that tartarus in the heathen

« EdellinenJatka »