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Mr. B.'s answer to objections in the close of the chapter, I am little concerned to notice. For as the objections are chiefly the offspring of his own brain, I am little interested to defend them. He surely has the best right to determine whether they shall live or die.
MEANING OF HADES. MEANING OF TARTARUS.
HADES is the word which the Septuagint translators of the Hebrew of the Old Testament into Greek, have usually employed to translate sheol. And it has essentially the corresponding meaning of sheol. It is used in the New Testament in the same sense which sheol has in the Old. The heathen Greeks connected with their hades, some of the creations of their superstitions. But through all the descriptions which appear in their poets, the leading facts of the Hebrew sheol can be discovered. The Greek poets have more particularly developed their notions of hades. They make it to be the region of the dead, the under world, the world of the dead, and this subdivided into upper and lower, the upper part being an Elysium, the abode of the good, and the other a Tartarus or place of punishment for the wicked. The word hades to which those who spoke the Greek language had given this meaning was employed as the word to express the Hebrew idea of sheol. As sheol, though not originally expressive of that, was capable in a secondary sense of expressing the place of future punishment, so hades was capable of denoting the place of punishment. And as hades by the Greeks implied both a place of happiness, and a place of misery, as separate divisions of the same mansion of the dead, it even more naturally answers the purpose of expressing a place of punishment. That the word is always used for a place of punishment in the New Testament, is not pretended. That it has this meaning in some instances, I shall proceed to show.
Matt. 11:23. And thou Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell. So Luke 10: 15. the
same. All that Mr. B. attempts to prove in relation to this I admit. I admit that it is figurative; that the city had never been literally exalted to heaven, nor would as a city be literally cast down to hell. But as the use of the word heaven is in the sense of the abode of the blessed; so the use of the word hell is in the sense of the opposite. As the existence of heaven is implied in such a use of the word, though it is not meant that the city had been literally exalted to it; so the existence of hell is implied, though it is not meant that the city as such would be cast down to it.
Matt. 16: 18. On this rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. As courts were held and all public business transacted at the gates of cities, the gates became a name for the powers and polices of a city. So when it is said the gates of hades shall not prevail against the church, it is meant all the powers, polices and machinations of hell, shall not prevail. Hades here is set forth as the empire and head-quarters of wickedness, and opposition to the church-as the central origin of all the wicked counsels, and enterprizes undertaken against the church. But if it be the fountain head of wicked influence and of hostility to the church, what can it be other than that abode of everlasting punishment, occupied by the devil and his angels? The only plausible evasion of this which I can conceive of is, that hades may here be simply a name for the empire of death, and the text in that view represents death as the great enemy of the church. But that interpretation would greatly diminish the force of the passage. For death is far from being the only, or the greatest and most effectual enemy of the church. And does Christ intend to say less than that no enemy shall prevail?
Luke 16: 22, 23. The rich man also died, and was buried, and in hell he lifted up his eyes being in torment. This parable of the rich man and Lazarus, has occasioned much labor for both Mr. B. and Mr. W. But whether they have created a decent apology for doubting whether hell be here intended, you will judge. Mr. B. opens his attack upon this passage, by filling out eight pages in proving, that tartarus in the heathen
hades was fictitious or the mere fancy of the poets. His language here is very ambiguous; but it must mean either that the fancy of the poets was employed in giving the name of tartarus, and ascribing the attributes that were ascribed to the real place, or it must mean that the place which goes by that name, has no real existence. I of course suppose he means the latter. But, it so happens that all his proofs, so far as they prove anything, are confined to the former. He proves that the fancy of the heathen poets attached this and that fabulous idea to tartarus. But that there is in reality no place of punishment which hades or tartarus are fit words to describe, is a point which his arguments do not touch. There seems to be running through all the writings of Mr. B. an assumption of a principle, that if a doctrine or anything like it can be proved to have been held by heathen, that itself is proof of the falsity of that doctrine. And this assumption is the main principle of the argument now before us. Egypt believed so and so about hades, therefore there is no hell. Virgil pictured out the infernal regions so and so, therefore hell is the offspring of imagination. It is really humiliating to notice such frivolous pratings. And I would not do it, were it not that my silence would be taken as constructive evidence of inability to answer, what may appear to the more ignorant of Mr. B.'s readers as beyond all the rest wise and learned.
Mr. B. admits that at the time when this parable was uttered, the "opinion prevailed among the Jews that there was torment in hades," and he will have it that Christ here speaks in accordance with popular opinions. But I ask, did our Lord suffer himself to assert positive error-to say that a man went to hell when there was no hell, and thus lend his authority to confirm his hearers in a statement which it is worth a life of Mr. B.'s learned labors to refute. But Mr. B says repeatedly, that this was no sanction to error, no more than when he spoke of demons, satans, ghosts, &c. Thus he assumes that demons and satan were only imaginary beings, as though it were a given point, and then builds a weighty conclusion upon it. And to save appearances, he tucks on that word ghosts, as
though Christ had somewhere spoken of ghosts by the same principle of accommodation to popular opinions as of real beings. I hope in his Third Inquiry he will inform us where. But look at it. Mr. B. tells us that Christ's hearers believed that there was torment in hades, and yet that when Christ told them there was torment in hades, he was not liable to be understood as confirming the opinion that there was. Pray tell us how Christ's hearers could decide, on such principles, when he intended to speak the truth and when he did not.
When Mr. B. comes to the question, what did our Lord mean to teach by so representing hades as a place of torment, he says "This question may be answered by what did he mean to teach when he spoke of demons and of satan as real beings?" Well, what did he mean to teach? I see not that this answers the question. But it is all the answer which our author gives, and we must be content with it.
We will turn our attention now to Mr. Whittemore's attempt to explain away this passage. His first position is, that "allowing the passage to be a literal account and not a parable, it fails altogether of substantiating either the doctrine of the Calvinists concerning election and reprobation, or of the Arminian doctrine, concerning rewards and punishments in the future state, for the conduct of men in this life." Very good. If any Calvinist ever came to this passage for proof of the doctrine of election, he certainly failed of finding it there. And if any Arminian frames any peculiar notions of his upon this passage, let him answer it to Mr. Whittemore.
He next says, "allowing the parable to be a literal account and not a parable, it does not prove that men are to be punished in the next life for their conduct in this, and that because the rich man tormented in hades was in some respects a good man." Then he goes on to prove, that the rich man was very benevolent and holy, by alledging that he fed Lazarus from the crumbs of his table, and that Lazarus was so pinched with hunger, that he "delighted" to be fed even with crumbs. He informs us by the way, that the word means delighted instead of desired. So much for his benevolence. And then as to his