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the expression, eternal hell, does not appear in the Bible is a fact and for a good reason: for gehenna was a name for a punishment known to be eternal, and the addition of that word was superfluous. Besides, the eternity of the punishment in gehenna is sufficiently asserted in other connections, and the fact that that word is not used in that connection proves nothing.
Obj. 11. “In the common language of most christians, you find heaven as the place of blessedness for the righteous, spoken of in contrast with gehenna or hell as the place of endless misery for the wicked.” Ans. Now if most christians use im-, proper language in this particular, I see not but they must reform their vocabulary. But what does this prove as to the question of the meaning of gehenna in the bible ?
Obj. 12. “It is common with orthodox preachers to represent hell as a place of endless torments for the wicked, and speak of persons being tormented there by the devil and his angels.” Indeed! it is common to speak of devils and wicked men as being in the same place'of punishment! O tempora ! O mores!! Orthodox preachers have become so wicked as to copy the very language of Jesus Christ-Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
I have thus quoted seriatim two strings of Mr. B.'s objections, amounting to 16 in all, not because there was one of them which I would not be willing to have stand unanswered, but that my readers who have never read his learned works, may have some idea of the kind of argumentation, by which he makes out his résults. I shall make no reliance on the arguments drawn from the Targums, to prove that in the days of Christ the Jews used gehenna in the sense of hell, though I deem it of itself conclusive. Because I conceive that that point has been already made out by examination of passages from the New Testament. And because a full and satisfactory statement of that argument, would occupy more space than the relative importance of the question would justify: His section devoted to answering objections I shall not notice, because I choose to have the framing of my own objections to his system, in preference to those which he has constructed, for the ease of answering. I leave the question now whether gehenna does not mean a place of punishment in the future world to the reader's decision.
The idea of a place of punishment in the future world is inculcated in the New Testament in passages where neither of the words above considered, is used. Rev. 19: 20. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him—these both were cast into a lake of fire, burning with brimstone. Rev.20: 10. And the devil that deceived them was cast into a lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be torinented day and night forever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it from whose face the earth and the heayens fled away. And I saw the dead, small and great stand before God, and the books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into a lake of fire. Rev. 21: 8. But the fearful and unbelieving and the abominable and murderers and whoremongers and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars shall have their part in a lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. To these may be added those passages which speak of casting into a furnace of fire, where shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth—into outer darkness where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. These passages need no comment. Let the reader take them in their connection and judge for himself, whether they relate to scenes before or after death.
THE EXISTENCE AND AGENCY OF EVIL SPIRITS.
The bearings of this question upon the subject of the punishment of the wicked have been considered by Mr. B. of sufficient importance to justify the labor of 200 pages to disprove the existence of the devil. The relative importance of the subject would not sustain me in going fully into the proof of the reality and agency of evil spirits. Nor need I do it. It has been done by abler hands. Those who wish to read a popular yet sufficiently learned argument on that subject, are referred to “ Letters to Dr. Channing, by Canonicus.” My labor in this chapter, will be chiefly employed in exposing the fallacy of the argument of Mr. Balfour.
I need not trouble the reader with a particular notice of the first section, in which he draws a caricature of the common opinions on the subject of satan, with a design to set them forth in an odious light. In his second section he employs ten pages to prove that it was not a fallen angel that tempted Eve. He makes the serpent a personification of lust in Eve. He asks, What was it which deceived Eve and which Moses here represents by the subtilty of the serpent, and answers, it was lust or desire in Eve, The error of this interpretation has been happily exposed by an anonymous writer in the Christian Magazine, whose language in this and in a number of other cases in this chapter, I shall take the liberty to borrow, though in some cases in an abbreviated form. The writer above named carries out Mr. B.'s interpretation as follows—"Now lust was more subtle than any beast of the field, which the Lord God had made. And he (lust) said unto the woman, yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the lust or desire, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the lust or desire said unto the woman-Ye shall not surely die, For God doth know, that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired, or lusted for, or serpented, to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat.-Verse 13. And the Lord said unto the woman, what is this that thou hast done: And the woman said lust or desire beguiled me, and I did eat. And the Lord said unto lust or desire, because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field, and up thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. And I will put enmity between thee (lust or desire) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed, and it shall bruise thy (lust or desire) head, and thou (lust or desire) shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, and thy conception; in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thy lust, desire, or serpent, shalt be towards thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."
In his next section, Mr. Balfour undertakes to examine all the passages where the word satan, or adversary occurs, in order to prove that it means only adversary. Most of this of course is a work of supererogation, for none ever pretended that the word adversary was always used in the sense of an evil spirit. You might as well construct a chapter, to prove that the word Messiah never means Christ, because in this and that instance it means simply the anointed, and is applied to priests or kings. The next passage in which the term satan occurs as a proper name is I. Chron. 11: 1. And satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel. On this passage, Mr. B. comes to the conclusion, p. 34, that the term Satan may mean somc'evil desire or passion in the mind of David, or some human adversary. Nor, says he, would it be very strange, that the anger of Jehovah was in this passage the satan referred to. Though Mr. B. appears at loss to determine who or what is meant by satan in this passage, yet after his labored criticism we may doubtless venture to read it thus.-And some evil desire or passion in his own mind or some human adversary, or the anger of Jehovah, stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
The next remarkable passage, where satan is introduced as representing a real person, or being, occurs in the first and second chapters of the book of Job. Here Mr. B. gives his own repeated assertions, to refute the heathenish notion of an evil being called Ahruman, and which he is pleased to call " the christians devil.” He is under the necessity however, of supposing that the term satan here, must allude to something, and chooses therefore that the Sabean and Chaldean freebooters, should receive this appellation. In order to obtain the true sense of the passage then, we may read it in the following manner: “Now there was a day, when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Sabean and Chaldean free-booters came also among them. And the Lord said unto the Sabean and Chaldean free-booters, whence comest thou? Then the Sabean and Chaldean free-booters answered the Lord and said, from walking to and fro in the earth, and up and down in it. And the Lord said unto the Sabean and Chaldean free-booters, Hast thou considered my servant Job ? That there is none like him in all the earth, a perfect and upright man, and one that feareth God and escheweth evil ? Then the Sabean and Chaldean free-booters answered the Lord and said,-Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now and touch all that he hath and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto the Sabean and Chaldean free-booters, Behold all that he hath is in thy power, only upon himself put not forth thy hand. So the Sabean and Chaldean free-booters went forth from the presence of the Lord, Again