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highly wrought hyperbole or unnatural metaphor. They make the word “depart” mean to remain, and be destroyed in Jerusalem, while christians depart by flight-and the phrase "come ye blessed,” mean to flee to the mountains for your lives,the word “everlasting” to mean only for a time, and the word "fire" to mean the reproach endured by the posterity of those accursed in Jerusalem's destruction—“the devil and his angels" to mean only the Jews and their imagined emissaries. Is it conceivable that the Judge of the world has wrapt his most solemn sentence in such hieroglyphic dress ? Suppose a judge of one of our courts were to pronounce sentence of imprisonment for the limited time of ten years; and instead of giving the exact time, should say, everlasting imprisonment, because ten
years is a very long period to endure imprisonment, what would you say of the justice, nay of the sanity of such a judge ? You sce at once what would be the effect of using such a figure, in such a sentence. Though the word, everlasting, may in some kinds of composition be used in a metaphorical sense-it cannot be, and it never is so used in a solemn sentence of the law.
But I cannot longer dwell on this topic. When a mind has become so sophisticated as to find satisfaction in such evasions of plain truth, there is little encouragement to offer reasons. But with every candid reader the appeal is lodged whether there is not incontrovertible proof that this chapter treats of the final judgment—whether the proof in the case can be evaded without a resort to methods of interpretation which go to unsettle all laws of language and all principles of reasoning. Who would be willing on such a shiftless plank to embark his eternal all and launch upon the shoreless ocean!
THE PLACE OF FUTURE PUNISHMENT, OR THE MEANING OF THE
WORDS TRANSLATED HELL.
THE MEANING OF SHEOL.
If it were impossible to show that the scriptures speak of a place, in which future punishment will be inflicted, the fact would not invalidate the proof exhibited in the previous chapters. The fact that the laws of the State do not designate the place where murderers shall be hung, does not make it less certain that they are to be hung in some place. But if we show that the bible does speak of a place where execution is done upon the wicked in the future world, that involves the proof of future punishment. This I trust will be satisfactorily shown. The words translated hell, are Sheol and Gehenna, from the Hebrew,and Hades and Tartarus, or rather the verb of which Tartarus is the root from the Greek. My first inquiry will be as to the meaning of the word Sheol. This word though often used in the Old Testament is seldom translated hell, and more seldom has that meaning. Its primary and most common signification, is that of grave, place of the dead, place of departed spirits. Nor is it strange that a word having such a primary meaning, should come to be used occasionally in such a different sense. For it is no more than what has befallen every other word, that is used as a name for spiritual and eternal things. Human language is originally formed by giving names to ideas, gained by the senses, and by the mind's own consciousness while using and combining these ideas. But the senses have no cognizance of the objects of the spiritual and eternal world. And, therefore, language in its original formation has no names for these objects. The makers of language never saw the objects, and have given them no names. When therefore a de
scription of eternal things is undertaken, it is necessarily done by the use of borrowed language, i. e. words formed to desigpate ideas which arise from the intercourse of the senses with the objects of this world, are transferred to set forth spiritual ideas that are imagined to have some resemblance to the first. The mind seizes on some supposed analogy, between an object of sense and an object of revelation, and gives the name of the first to the latter. So all the names of the place of future punishment originated; so the names of the place of future happiness were made. Heaven originally meant the visible expanse, or firmament above. And for the want of a better nane, came to be used for the unseen abode of the blessed. Nor can we speak about the perfections of God without using words in a like secondary sense. We ascribe to him bodily organs and modes of thought like to those of men, not because he really has them, but because such is the poverty of human language, and the contracted sphere of human ideas, that we cannot conduct our reasonings without the help of such supposed analogy. This is a settled principle of language which no one disputes in its general form. And the fact that hell as a place of punishment is nut the primary meaning of sheol, no more weakens the proof that in some instances it has that meaning, than the fact that the place of future happiness was not primarily meant by heaven, proves that that word is never used in
Yet Mr. B. ignorantly or willingly overlooking this principle, says, [Inquiry p. 17.] “It follows of course (from the admission of orthodox writers that sheol and hades did not originally signify a place of misery) that, wherever these words are used in Scripture, though translated by the word hell
, we ought not to understand a place of misery to be meant by the inspired writers." This indeed is a mighty conclusion to draw from such premises. So you might say, because the word translated heaven, did not originally signify a place of happiness, wherever the word is used we ought not to understand that a place of happiness is meant. Such are the philological principles of the man who astonishes the natives by
lavish exhibitions of the profundity of his Greek and Hebrew learning.
That the place of the dead should according to the principle above stated, afford a name for the place of punishment, will seem still more natural, when it is taken into the account, that by the same kind of transfer of language, the words life and death are abundantly used in Scripture for the rewards of the righteous, and the punishment of the wicked. The place of the dead is made the place of punishment, in the same way that death is made the name for punishment itself; as in the following instances quoted by Stuart in his Exegetical Essays, to which the reader is referred for a more full illustration of this topic.—Ezek. 18: 4. The soul that sinneth it shall die: which is repeated in 18:20. So also in Ezek. 18: 17. He shall not die. Verse 18. He shall die. V.21. He shall not die. V.23. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die ? V. 24. In his trespass that he hath trespassed ..... shall he die. V. 28. He that turneth away from his transgression .... shall not die. V. 32. I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth. Prov. 15: 10. He that hateth reproof shall die. Ezek. 33: 8. The wicked shall die in his iniquity. 33: 11. Why will ye die ? Prov. 33: 13. If thou beatest him with the rod he shall not die. Gen. 2:17. In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. 3: 3. Neither shall ye touch it lest ye die. John 6: 50. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die. Rom. 8:31. If ye live after the flesh ye shall die. So the noun death is used in the
Deut. 30: 15. See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil. Jer. 21: 8. I have set before you
way of life, and the way of death. Prov. 5: 5. Her feet go down to death. John 8: 51. If any man keep my sayings, he shall never see death.. Rom. 6: 23. The wages of sin is death. James 1: 15. Sin when it is finished bringeth forth death. Rev. 2: 11. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. Here I take it for granted the words die and death are used in a figurative sense, to imply punishment
or suffering, endured as the consequence of sin. No matter whether that punishment be in the future world or not-let every one judge of that-it is punishment expressed by death used in a secondary sense. These and other like instances, which might be multiplied indefinitely, are all examples of that kind of usage of language, by which the place of the dead became the place of the punishment of the dead. Whether when it is said, the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, eternal death be meant, I do not affirm or deny in this place; the reader may judge for himself. But all must admit that death is figuratively used, as a name for punishment of sin, as sheol the place of the dead is figuratively used for the place of punishment for sin. Even should we grant, what Mr. B. contends for in his book miscalled a reply to Stuart's Essays, that the word death in these cases does not mean suffering for sin in the fuiure world, still it means suffering for sin, and you may locate it where you will, and yet it will be as much in point to illustrate the usage of the language in question.
Having admitted that the primary, and most general use of the word sheol, was as a name for the place of the dead, I shall have no need to notice a great part of Mr. B.'s Inquiry on this subject, which consists of comments upon more than half a hundred
passages in which the word occurs, to prove what no one was ever silly enough to dispute, that the word in those instances does not mean hell. I shall make a short story of a long one, by confining my attention to those passages, where I conceive the word is used for a place of punishment.
Psalm 49: 15. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave. In the context the righteous are exhorted not to be disturbed by the pride and oppression of the wicked, on the ground that the prosperity of the wicked could not continue-that they would all die like sheep, and death should feed upon them, while God would deliver the soul of the righteous from the power of sheol, and receive him to himself. The subject of the Psalm is the prosperity of the wicked on this side of the grave, and its melancholy end, and the reverse which takes place in favor of the righteous at death. How can it be true,