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doctrine then was new, so far as God had made any communication of it to the world. If our Lord then used Hades in this parable to express such a place, it is contrary to the uniform usage of Sheol in the Old Testament writings. If this be true, and we do not think it can be proved false, there is one thing in the parable which seems to be at variance with it. The object of the rich man in sending one from the dead to his five brethren, was, that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment." To this Abraham is represented as replying, "they have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." If the question is asked from this," let them hear Moses and the prophets" about what? The answer is,-"let them hear Moses and the prophets testify unto them, lest they should come into this place of torment." But how could this man's five brethren hear Moses and the prophets testify this; for neither Moses nor the prophets had ever testified that Hades or Sheol was a place of torment. From what part of their writings could they learn that Hades or Sheol was a place of torment immediately after death, or any time else, either for saint, or for sinner, for soul, or for body? All the places where Sheol occurs in the Old Testament, have been noticed in the preceding section. The critics and commentators we have there quoted, positively deny that Sheol of the Old Testament was a place of misery, or was even the receptacle of souls after death. If this be true, how could Abraham say," they have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them" testify that Hades or Sheol is a place of torment, when in fact they had testified no such thing. Every one may see, from the preceding section, that Moses and the prophets had testified that all the dead were in Sheol, and that there was no knowledge, nor device, nor wisdom, in this place. If Moses and the prophets bad testified of such a place
of torment, there was no necessity for one being scat from the dead to do this; but if they had not, it was very necessary that such a messenger should be sent; for no divine revelation had been given about it. Either, then, it must be proved that Moses and the prophets had taught Hades or Sheol to be a place of torment after death, or the common interpretation of this parable must be abandoned.
Again: If this was indeed a new doctrine our Lord meant to teach mankind, is there the least degree of probability that he would only mention it once in the course of his ministry, and that too in a parable? We think this to be very improbable. The very circumstance of its being new, required it to be frequently taught, delivered in plain language, and its truth well attested. But it ought to be particularly noticed, that though only mentioned once, and that in a parable, yet it is not introduced as a novel doctrine, but something which was in accordance with current opinion. This, to be sure, was in perfect agreement with popular opinion; but this popular opinion was not derived from the Scriptures, but from the heathens. The opinion was current, but it wanted the stamp of divine authority.-Further: if this was a new doctrine our Lord meant to teach mankind, is there not the greatest reason to conclude that this new doctrine would be often taught and enforced by his apostles, in their preaching to the world? But is this done by them? No; it is not said by any one of them, that Hades is a place of torment. The uniform usage of the word Hades in the New Testament, like the usage of Sheol in the Old, forbids the common interpretation. The use of this word in the parable before us, is the only exception. The truth of this assertion is seen from all the passages about Hades already considered; and we shall see that it is not contradicted by any of them yet to be introduced. Supposing it
then a fact, that in this parable our Lord teaches for the first time, that Hades is a place of torment, and that his apostles so understood it, what is the course we ought to expect them, as preachers, to pursue? I answer, just the very same course which preachers in our day take, who believe this parable to teach the doctrine of future misery; that they should often preach the doctrine, and recur to this parable of our Lord about it. But the apostles never did this. We must either conclude then that modern preachers misunderstand this parable, or that our Lord's apostles were not faithful to the souls of men.
4th, But how is this representation of Hades being a place of torment, to be accounted for, in opposition to the uniform usage of this word in the New Testament, and also of Sheol in the Old? To this I answer, that Hades is a Greek word; and as the ancient Greeks looked on Hades as a place in which men would be punished or rewarded, there is nothing very strange that our Lord should introduce this notion of theirs when speaking of the dead in Hades. But for what we have to advance about this, we refer to the next section; and also for some additional remarks there made in regard to this parable.
5th, If our Lord alluded to the heathen notion, that Hades was a place of torment, as we think he did, yet it is evident that he did not recognise it as a fact, or teach it as a doctrine to be believed by his followers. This we think is evident, from a variety of considerations, one or two of which we shall merely mention. It is very improbable that he should transplant this doctrine from the Pagan religion, and make it a part of his. Was Jesus indebted to the heathens for inventing a part of the doctrines which he taught? As this will not be asserted, we notice further, that both Christ, and other sacred writers, allude to, and even speak according to the popular opinions of the day,
without sanctioning those opinions. This has been shown above. But what we think conclusive about this, is, that had the apostles understood our Lord as recognising this heathen notion, and adopting it as a part of his religion, they would have taught it in their writings to the world. But this they have not done. If they had then, as many preachers do now, considered this parable as a strong proof of hell torments, how are we to account for their silence about it? I think I may be allowed also to ask, how are we to account for the difference between their preaching and that of modern preaching about hell torments, and that too from this very parable? I confess my inability to account for these things, if this parable teaches the doctrine. I can account for both if this is not true.
Though most readers of the Bible build their faith on this parable, as to the place, and the nature of future punishment, yet the learned know, and as we have seen, confess, that Hades is to be destroyed. This we have seen from Hosea xiii. 14. 1 Cor. xv. 55. and also from quotations made from Dr. Campbell and others, above. Dr. Whitby denies that Hades is a receptacle of souls. Gehenna is contended for by Dr. Campbell and others, as the place of eternal punishment. That Gehenna and Hades are not the same place, I shall show, afterwards, I think, to the satisfaction of every candid man. All then which any person can draw from this parable, is, that Hades is a place of punishment in an intermediate state, but not of endless duration. This was sufficiently evident from our first remarks. Whether the additional observations made, prove the incorrectness of this common opinion, it is not for me to decide. How the fallacy of my observations is to be shown, and the common opinion established by rational evidence, my present degree of knowledge does not enable me to perceive. Besides, how the statements, and the evi
dence produced by the above critics, can ever be reconciled with the doctrine commonly drawn from this parable, must be left for others to determine. It is far above my powers to attempt such a reconciliation.*
Matth. xvi. 18. is the next passage in which Hades occurs." Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." All that need be said on this passage, Dr. Campbell furnishes us with. He says," it is by death, and by it only, the spirit enters into Hades. The gates of Hades is therefore a very natural periphrasis for death. To. say then that the gates of Hades shall not prevail against the church, is in other words to say, it shall never die, it shall never be extinct." See Ďissert. vi.. sect. 17.-There is only one remark I would make, in passing, on this quotation from the Dr. He says, -"it is by death, and by it only, the spirit enters into Hades." We do not recollect a single text where it is said the spirit enters into Hades. It is said the Saviour's soul was not left in Hades. But we shall attempt to show afterwards that the Scriptures make a distinction between soul and spirit, and though the soul is represented as in Hades, yet the spirit is never so represented. Indeed we have seen from Whitby's quotation on Acts ii. 27, that he denies Hades to have been considered a receptacle of souls by the Old Testament writers. If it was, it is evident from the Scripture usage of the word Sheol, that it was not a receptacle of souls, where any of them were tormented. Luke x. 15. comes next to be considered. "And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shall be thrust down to hell." See the parallel text, Matth. xi. 23. which I need not transcribe. Here again, Dr..
• See additional proof that this is a parable, and that it does not teach a state of future misery, in my Reply to Mr. Sabine's discourses, soon to be published.