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presents to me, but mharacter and denotes the high
were carried by the angels" (apostles,) to Abraham's bosom—that is, they are converted to the faith of Abraham. The death of the rich man, Mr. Ballou informs us, “ represents the close of the dispensation of which the high priest was minister, and that his burial denotes “his being closed up in the earthly character and nature,” This is incomprehensible to me, but no matter. Listing up his eyes in hell, represents the high priest feeling conviction of the condemning power of the law; seeing Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom, indicates the fulfilment of those words of our Saviour, 'Ye shall then come from the east and from the west"; from the north and south,&c.” Lazarus being willing to go to this rich man, implies a missionary spirit among the converted Gentiles with regard to the Jews; and The Great Gulf an indisposition on the part of the Almighty to have this spirit gratified,—the father of the high priest was Moses ; his father's house the dispensation of the law ; his five brethren, that part of the house of Israel represented by the five foolish virgins. See Ballou on the Parables, pp. 252-256.
Now to this miserable tissue of nonsense and folly, I reply ;
1. This explanation is forced and unnatural; it is evidently invented to get rid of a difficulty, and sustain a dogma. It could not have suggested itself to those who heard the adorable Redeemer. Il it be then, the true interpretation Jesus must have designedly bewildered and deceived the minds of his hearers. .
2. The Universalist exposition of this parable violates acknowledged principles of sound biblical interpretation. It is an acknowledged rule of parabolic interpretation, that every parable is designed to inculcate and illustrate some one essential truth. For example. The parable of the good Samaritan was designed to illustrate the doctrine and duty of universal benevolence. The parable of the Prodigal Son was designed to illustrate the mercy of God toward penitent sinners. Well now; your interpretation violates This rule. If the Savior designed to teach and illustrate the giving of the gospel to the Gentiles, so far as his hearers were concerned, yea, moreover in relation to the many hundreds of thousands of his saints in subsequent ages, he evidently made a dreadful failure. It does not appear that a single individual of all our race from the days of Christ till 1818, ever imagined that Christ intended anysuch idea by this parable. If your doctrine is the truth of God, then in this instance at least, Jesus was so unfortunate as to darken counsel by words, and universally deceive his followers for eighteen hundred years.. .
Again. It is an acknowledged principle in the interpretation of parables, that the sentiment which the parable was designed to illustrate, is mainly to be learned from the circumstances in which it was spoken, the preceding or following context. By looking at almost any parable, you will see the propriety of this rule. Take the Parable of the Publican and Pharisee. Why was this parable uttered ? Because there were certain persons present, who trusted in themselves that they were righieous and despised others. Why did Christ deliver the Parable of the Good
Samaritan? Because the young ruler asked, Who is my neighbor ?' The parable was the answer to this question. Go through the New Testament and you will see that this rule is applicable to all the parables. Now your ex position of the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus, is a violation of this rule of sound criticism. Neither in the preceding or the following context, does Christ say one word about taking the gospel from the Jews and giving it to the Gentiles; nothing about the Jewish High Priests being rich in the " righteousness which is of the law,”-nothing about the spiritual poverty and moral infirmities of the Gentiles, which their philosophers labored in vain, as dogs, to heal. On the contrary, Christ was discoursing on the subject of the wickedness of those who served Mammon, the god of riches. He told the Jews present, that they could not serve God and Mammon. · The Pharisess also, who were covet- .. ous, heard all these things, and derided him.” Luke 16:14, 15. As Christ proceeded to rebuke the Pharisees for their
worldliness and self-righteousness, he perceived that they were deriding him, for his remark, that they could not serve God and Mammon; he stopped short and proceeded immediately to illustrate the subject by the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. How nalural. How easy. But your interpretation is stiff, unnatural, far-fetched, violates important rules of biblical interpretation, and is evidently invented to sustain a system: it should therefore be rejected.
3. Many positions assumed in the Universalist interpretation, a- facts are not facts. It is not true that the Jewish high priests were rieh ; they were generally poor. It is not true that the Gentile world (your beggar) ever manifested any desire to be fed from the two tables of the law. They were prejudiced against the Jews and their religion, and continue so till this day. It is not true that the word rendered table in this parable and that rendered table in those passages which refer to stones containing the law, are the same. They are different words in the original, and have a different import. It is not true that the Jewish high priest, or that the Jewish nation as a people were ever unwilling to feed the Gentiles, (your beggar) with crumbs of instruction, from their moral or ceremonial law. On the contrary, they have always manifested a desire to have the Gentiles converted to the faith of Abraham. So warm was their zeal, in this matter, that our Savior testifies, that in his day, they compassed sea and land to make one proselyte. It is not true that the Gentiles (the beggar) have ever died to idolatry, and by the angels (apostles) been carried into Abraham's bosom, the Christian church. · No. The Gentile world now, as in the days of Christ and his
Apostles, lies in wickedness. Six hundred millions of Gentiles, & vast majority of the whole, are idolaters still. The beggar then, upon the whole, is not yet dead. In fact there is so much taken for granted, which is contrary to fact, in this explanation, and so much that is forced, farfetched, nonsensical and absurd, that I confess myself amazed, that any man of common honesty, and common sease, can be found, who will receive it.
4. I object to the attempt of Universalist expositors to explain away this parable, because if we should admit their position and grant them all that they have asked, still it would teach the doctrine of a future retribution. This I will endeavor to make plain. Bear in mind then this important rule in parabolic interpretation, and it is a rule without exception, viz: Parables are founded on facts and not on fiction. During our Savior's ministry he delivered between thirty and forty parables. These parables, every one of them as you may ascertain by examination, are found-ed on facts and not on fiction.. To illustrate :--The parable of the Sower, was designed to illustrate the reception which the gospel would receive in the world. Behold a sower went forth to sow ; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up,” &c. Now this parable is drawn from fact, not fiction. The facts upon which it is founded are (1) That there are persons who are sowers. (2) That there is an article which they use, called seed. (3) That there are different kinds of ground, such as good ground, stony ground, thorny ground. (4) That there are such creatures as fowls, that sometimes pick up seed. (5) That there is such a thing as a burning sun, which sometimes scorches the tender blade. These are facts upon which the parable is founded. If men never acted as sowers, if there were no seed to be cast into the earth-if there were no fowls -- no stony ground, no burning sun, the parable would be unmeaning; it would be lame throughout. — * Take the Parable of the Good Samaritan, as a further illustration. Now, this parable is founded upon reality
-facts-not fiction. If there were no such places as Jerusalem and Jerichono robbersano Samaritans-no priests -no Levites-no wine or oil-no beasts-no inn, then the story would cease 10 be a parable, and should be regarded as an unmeaning juinble of words. So with the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Now, if we should admit that the Savior intended to illustrate the giving of the gospel to the Gentiles, &c. What follows ? Why
that the parable, like all other parables of Jesus, is founded upon acknowledged facts and not fiction. The Savior here recognizes the following among other things as matters of fact ; whatever sentiment he might have intended to illustrate in the parables as its scope and design. 1. That there are such men as rich men. 2. That they sometimes fare sumptuously and wear gorgeous robes. 3. That there are such men as beggars. 4. That there are such animals as dogs. 5. That there is such a thing as death. 6. That there are such beings as angels. 7. That there is such a state or place as hades,-i. e. state of the dead. 8. That hades is a place or state where the souls of the departed may be miserable; “ He lifted up his eyes in hell in hades) being in torments.” 9. That there is such a state or place in the spiritual world as was called by the Jews in the days of Christ, Abraham's bosom, etc. These are all matters of fact, or the parable, unlike all other parables of Christ, is drawn from fiction. If there were no rich men—if there were no begyars, if there were no dogs if there is no such thing as death,-if there are no torments for the ungodly in hades; then Jesus founded one parable upon fiction, and not upon fact ; and as he gave nis hearers, no intimation of this, he must have wilfully de-ceived them. Can you get rid of these things ? I think not.
Your preachers and authors deceive their readers and hearers by their interpretation of the Greek word hades rendered hell in this passage, and some other parts of the New Testament. Taking advantage of their ignorance, they are made first to believe that evangelical christians depend upon this word, as denoting exclusively a place or state of punishment; and then proceed to quote passages where it is rendered pit or grave, and thus prove that it does not mean a place of punishment. Now, you cannot but know that no irtelligent theologian of any denomination depends upon the word hades, abstractly considered, to prove the doctrine of future punishment. The proper, . scriptural meaning of the word hades, is not hell, in our