Imagens das páginas

this way the Athenians evidently understood the apostle, for “when they heard of the resurrection of the dead some mocked.”

In this judgment the apostle John prophetically “saw the dead small and great, stand before God: and the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (hades) delivered up the dead which were in them : and they were judged every man according to their works," Rev. xx. 13. All who are under the power of death are to be restored to life; and all who are in hell, hades, the state of departed spirits, are to be brought forth to judg. ment; and after this resurrection there is to be no more natural death, nor any one subsisting in a disembodied state in the world of spirits. In this sense death and hell are to be destroyed; and therefore it is added in figurative language, “and death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.” That this hell hades, which is to be destroyed, does not mean the future state of punishment, I allow. It is granted also, that this word hades, rendered hell, primarily denotes the state of departed spirits, whether they are blessed or miserable, and not necessarily any place or state of punishment, in that state of departed or disembodied souls; for Christ descended into hell (hades in Greek, scheol in Hebrew,) and God did not leave his soul in hell, that is, in the state of disembodied spirits, but raised him out of it, and reunited his soul to his body, without suffering his body to see corruption.

Although, however, scheol and hades, rendered hell, do not always imply the misery of those who are in the state of departed spirits, yet frequently it is manifested that there is a gehenna, a hell of fire, a state of punishment in hades. There is a paradise, and there is a hell of fire in the state of departed souls of men.

When it is said, Psalm ix. 17, “ the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God," the word hell, scheol, of itself would not prove that a state of punishment is intended; for Jacob said, “I will go down into the grave, [scheol, hell,) unto my son mourning," Gen. Xxxvii. 35; but since the wicked and the nations that for

get God are contrasted with others, and it is evidently the intention of the Psalmist to denounce some evil upon them, we must think that by turning the wicked into hell he means something more than the dying of the righteous and the wicked. If punishment in scheol, hell, or the state of the dead, is not intended, the wicked might answer, “ Well, what then? If we are to be turned into hell so are the righteous, and they and we shall come to the same glorious end. The nations that forget God shall fare as well as those that remember him."

That scheol, hades, hell, frequently denotes a state of punishment in a world of spirits is evident from many passages of Scripture. In Deut. xxxii. 22, Jehovah says of the idolatrous Israelites, “a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell.” In the Septuagint it reads, Ews ådov karo, to the lowest hades. The highly favoured Israelites, who, without excuse, “have moved me to jealousy by that which is not God," I will punish, saith Jehovah, by reducing them to the lowest state of misery in the world of departed spirits. In connexion with this burning of his wrath against them in hades, and as a prelude to it, he denounces those temporal judgments which were to bring them down to hell. “Mine anger," saith he, “shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. I will heap mischiefs upon them: I will spend mine arrows upon them. They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction. To me belongeth vengeance and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time. See now that I, even I am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal; neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand; for I lift up my hand to heaven and say, I live for ever. If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me." Do these things denote no worse evil than natural death, which shall come alike on the righteous and the wicked? If temporal judgments alone were intended, why should

he remind us that he lives for ever, as if the vengeance taken by him were to be experienced for ever, in the lowest hell?

The dying thief upon the cross was assured by Christ that on the day of his death he should be in paradise with his Lord. Christ died, and entered hades, the world of spirits; and so did the penitent thief. But while in hades Christ was in paradise, and so was the pardoned malefactor. That paradise in hades means a state of pure and perfect happiness, you do not deny. That in hades there is a state of suffering and punishment you deny; but in 2 Peter ii. 4, we read, that “God spared not the angels which sinned, but having cast them down to bell in chains of darkness, hath delivered them to be reserved un to judgment.” Here the expression rendered having cast them down to hell, is tartarosas, having cast them down, or turned them into tartarus. The term refers not to the grave or natural death merely, but to a state of punishment in the invisible world, which, in the days of Peter, the Greeks and Romans called tartarus. The heathens doubtless entertained erroneous notions about the locality of this tartarus, and have written many unscriptural things about it, but still it was the name of a state of punishment, a prison of despair in the world of spirits; and the spirit of inspiration by using it has clearly taught, that there is a state of punishment to which the angels which sinned have been confined, that may properly bear that ancient and classic name. For our present purpose it is a matter of no importance to decide whether these angels were spiritual beings never incarnate, or the souls of some who once were messengers on earth : some angels are in tartarus; and there in a state of confinement are reserved to a future judgment. PARKHURST says, “ The ancient Greeks appear to have received by tradition, an account of the punishment of the fallen angels, and of bad men after death; and their poets did, in conformity, I presume, with that account, make tartarus the place where the giants who rebelled against Jupiter, and the souls of the wicked, were confined. Here, saith Hesiod, the

rebellious Titans were bound in penal chains. But as the Greeks imagined the earth to be of a boundless depth, so it must not be dissembled that their poets speak of tartarus as a vast pit or gulf in the bowels of it.” HESIOD calls it

"Black tartarus within earth's spacious womb." In Homer's Iliad viii, Jupiter threatens any one of the gods who should assist the Trojans, saying, "I will throw him into darksome tartarus," and declares that he will bind him in chains under darkness. In another part of the same Iliad, Pope translates the father of the Grecian poetry thus :

“No sun e'er gilds the gloomy horrors there,
No cheerful gales refresh the lazy air,
But murky tartarus extends around.”

Indeed had Peter been a learned man, independently of inspiration, we should have thought he was quoting Homer as literally as Paul did some of the Athenians and Cretans, (Acts xvii. 28, and Titus i. 12, but as he was not, we come to the conclusion that the Holy Ghost introduced this tartarosas into the sacred oracles on purpose to refute the false doctrine that hell means nothing but the grave or the state of the dead.

“On the whole, then," says PARKHURST, “taprapouv in St. Peter is the same as pitTELV ES Taprapov, to throw into tariarus, in Homer, only rectifying the poet's mistake of tartarus being in the bowels of the earth, and recurring to the true original sense of that word above explained, which, when applied to spirits, must be interpreted spiritually; and thus tartarosas will import that God cast the apostate angels out of his presence into that ζόφος του σκότους, blackness of darkness (2 Peter ii. 17; Jude ver. 13,) where they will be for ever banished from the light of his countenance."

This tartarus, or state of future punishment of which Peter speaks, is called by Christ ihe hell, or gehenna of fire; and both expressions refer to the same thing. Christ

derived the name which he employed to denote the state of future endless misery from scenes familiar to the Jews; and Peter from the conceptions of the Greeks and Romans. The gehenna or hell of fire is the very opposite to the paradise of God, to which the soul of the repentant thief went with the Redeemer on the day of the crucifixion.

In Matt. v. 29, 30, Christ twice employs the word gehenna, when he warns men to pluck out a right eye, and cut off a right hand, lest the “whole body should be cast into hell.Had he employed the word hades it might have denoted the grave, or merely the world of future existence; but to be cast into gehenna was to be cast into a state of which the valley of Hinnom was a fit emblem. It is in this gehenna in the state of the dead, in which Christ says God is able to destroy both soul and body, Matt. X. 28. It is the damnation or the judgment of gehenna, hell, and not of hades, merely, which is spoken of by our Saviour, when he asks hypocrites, extortioners, persecutors, murderers, and unclean persons, “How can ye escape the damnation of hell ?” Matt. xxiii. 33. By the damnation of gehenna, and by destroying soul and body in gehenna, after men had killed the body, our Saviour certainly meant some dreadful evil. Gehenna we allow was a compound word from two Hebrew words which signify Vale of Hinnom. So spirit literally signifies air, breath, and wind ; and heaven the sky or azure vault over our earth. Man also literally means red earth. Shall we therefore assert that gehenna, spirit, heaven, and man, mean now in common language nothing more than the natural objects whence the names were derived ?

" This valley of Hinnom," says PARKHURST, “lay near Jerusalem, and had been the place of those abominable sacrifices in which the idolatrous Jews burned their children alive to Molech, Baal or the Sun. A particular place in this valley was called Tophet, and the valley itself the valley of Tophet, from the fire-stove, Hebrew Topheth, in which they burned their children to Molech From this valley having been the scene of these infer

« AnteriorContinuar »