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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 $0, 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 ?
Id, 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 iorment? 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, show. ing, 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 docirine in, and one not less difficult to explain. The apostles were inspired teachers, and as capable of forming a correct idea of onr 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 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 think 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 ex. plicit and certain proof of the doctrine. The aposiles 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 salisfy 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
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 TestaInent 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 seni 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 para. ble, 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 froin 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