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variance with the uniform usage of both these words throughout the Bible.
We have seen in a quotation from Whitby on the last passage, that the idea of Hades being a place of punishment after death, was derived from the heathNow I admit, that to this heathen notion our Lord might allude in the parable before us. The Jews had, in our Lord's day, imbibed many heathen notions, and this one among the rest. But it is one thing for a sacred writer to allude to, or even speak according to the language of the popular opinions of the day, and quite another to recognise these opinions as truth. To illustrate what I mean by an example or two: Our Lord says, "ye cannot serve God and mammon." But who would infer from this, that he meant to recognise the God mammon? Again; Paul says, "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you." But was any man to conclude from this that Paul believed in the doctrine of witchcraft, he would certainly draw a very wrong inference from his words. I might illustrate this by many more examples. But, instead of referring to other examples in Scripture, I shall take one or two from our own every-day language. A person says, such a one has St. Anthony's fire, and another has St. Vitus' dance. But does any one think that this person meant that these saints had any influence in producing these disorders? I presume not. Supposing such statements to be printed in some medical work, and this book to be read eighteen hundred years hence were they to infer that medical men in these days believed such saints were the agents who produced such diseases-can any man believe, that they understood the language of this book correctly, or formed a just idea of the science or the common sense of medical men among us? No; I venture to say, that neither a quack nor a clown is to be found so ignorant, who would not smile at such gross mis
apprehension. If we would then understand the Scriptures correctly, we must ascertain by all the means in our power, what is there delivered as truths and facts to be believed on God's authority, and what are mere allusions to popular opinions. The man who has not yet learned the importance of this distinction in studying his Bible, has overlooked one very essential rule of Scripture interpretation.-In further proof that the Jews in our Lord's day had imbibed many heathen notions, and among the rest, that Hades was a place of rewards and punishments, I might here quote Dr. Campbell on this very parable. But the quotation will be more appropriately introduced when we come to consider the word Tartarus, also rendered hell in the common version. See the next section.
8th, We have seen that the Old Testament represents persons as speaking out of Sheol or hell, and that conversations were held there. But we presume no one ever thought this a reality, but a poetical license, or a mere figurative description. But in this parable a dialogue takes place between the rich man and Abraham. The rich man is in torment, and this is believed to be a fact, yet the very dialogue, part of which is about this torment, is believed to be a fiction. Such as believe so, are bound to assign reasons why they take such liberties in their interpretations of the divine oracles. We have insisted that the parable ought to be either interpreted literally throughout, or this literal interpretation of a part abandoned. It must be allowed, we think, that this is a rational and fair way of interpreting the Bible. Supposing that the rich man's being in torment, is no more to be interpreted literally, than the dialogue said to have taken place between him and Abraham. Yea, let us understand Hades here to signify the grave or state of the dead. All that is said in the parable, is in
agreement with this; for the rich man seems to have a body there; and it is also in perfect agreement with the representations given about Sheol in the Old Testament, except that Hades is a place of torment. Nothing in the parable but this, would strike any person with surprise, as materially different from what is said of Sheol by the ancient prophets. A very important question then arises, how is this exception to be accounted for, and how are we to be satisfied that our Lord did not, in this parable, teach that Hades is a place in which persons are tormented after death? Keeping in view the remarks already made, we offer the following reply, which to our own mind is satisfactory.
1st, What is said about Hades being a place of torment, is but once mentioned in the New Testament, and it occurs in this parable. It is remarkable enough that it should only be mentioned once, but still more so, that this should be in a parable. Had it occurred in a plain narrative, and when our Lord was plainly speaking on the subject of a future state, it might be thought that he did teach such a doctrine. But even in this case, its only being mentioned once, would lead us carefully to examine if this one instance was not susceptible of a different interpretation. The importance of the subject naturally leads us to think that it would be mentioned more than once, and that it is possible we might mistake the sense our Lord meant to convey in this one passage. We think we may fairly leave it to any candid man to say, if Hades be a place of torment after death, whether our Lord would only mention this once, and only in a parable. If the resurrection of the dead, or any other important doctrine, was only mentioned once, in a parable, would a very solid foundation be laid for our faith in them? Should we not rather have cause to suspect, that no such doctrines were revealed, but that it was only a part of the imagery of the parable?
2d, But whether our Lord meant in this parable to teach that Hades was a place of torment, ought to be decided by the manner in which his apostles understood this parable. Let us suppose, that they understood it as most religious people do in our day. If they did, it is an indisputable fact, that they never spoke of it as such in their preaching and writings to mankind. Not an instance is to be found, where the apostles ever spoke of Hades as a place of torment for any being in the universe of God. They neither speak of it as a place of temporary, nor of eternal misery, as is notorious from all the places where they say any thing about Hades in their writings. Let it be remembered that what they heard in the ear from our Lord in parables, they were to proclaim upon the house tops. They heard the parable under consideration; but I ask where, or when, or how, did they proclaim in any manner, that Hades was a place of torment? The apostles make mentien of Hades in their writings, but never speak of it as a place of punishment. Our Lord's mode of teaching was, in a great measure, and for certain reasons, by parables. But what he taught in this way, the apostles were to teach plainly, and without any parable. But where did they ever do this, showing, either plainly, or even obscurely, that Hades was a place of torment? The case here ought to be reversed. It was our Lord who taught this doctrine plainly, in a parable, and the apostles taught it by being altogether silent on the subject; which if any one chooses, he may call a parable, but one more difficult to find this doctrine in, and one not less difficult to explain. The apostles were inspired teachers, and as capable of forming a correct idea of our Lord's meaning, as any preacher in our day. Can any man suffer himself to think that the apostles understood this parable as most preachers do now, yet never say that Hades or hell was a place of torment for the wicked?
Did they indeed believe, that at death every wicked man lifted up his eyes in hell, and was tormented in its flame, yet never taught it to their hearers? This parable is in the mouth of every preacher of hell torments in our day. It is the citadel of the doctrine of endless misery, from which he thinks it impossible he can ever be dislodged. Does any man now that he understands this parable better than the apostles did? Every man who teaches the doctrine of torment, or punishment in Hades, virtually says that he has a more correct understanding of it. He alludes to it, quotes it, and considers this parable as an explicit and certain proof of the doctrine. The apostles never alluded to it, nor quoted it, nor in any way inform us, that Hades or hell is a place of torment. There is only one text which can be thought an exception to this, and which forms the subject of the next section: but we shall see that it confirms the views I am advancing.
We think then, that this one fact, that the apostles never taught that Hades was a place of torment, ought to satisfy every candid mind that this parable was never designed by our Lord to teach such a doctrine. If men consider themselves authorized from it to teach it in our day, the apostles who heard our Lord utter the parable, were very differently minded. If we say that they did consider themselves from this parable authorized to teach it, yet never did it, what are we to think of their fidelity and zeal, compared with that of modern preachers? Why do not all preachers now imitate the apostles in this?
3d, If our Lord meant by this parable to teach a state of torment in Hades or hell, it was a new revelation to the world; for God had not revealed it under the Old Testament dispensation to the Jews. Whatever notions the Jews and heathens had about Hades being a place of torment, it is certain that these could not be learned from the Scriptures. The