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ed this doctrine from their intercourse with the heathen. This made such a belief common to both Jews and Gentiles, and not that it was common to both, from divine reyelation. 2d, But the point of this objection lies in the following things. It is asked, “why is it that neither Christ nor his apostles, ever took occasion to contradict this false notion that hell was a place of misery?" In answer to this we ask in our turn—“ If Christ and his apostles believed this doctrine common to both Jews and Gentiles, why did they not avail themselves of this universally received notion to inculcate and enforce this doctrine ?" To have taught it, could have given no offence to either of them; yet we find them silent on the subject, that Gehenna or even Hades is such a place. The only exception to this, is the parable of the rich man, which has been shown not even to teach an intermediate state of punishment. If this popular belief then, was true, and believed to be so by the Savior and his apostles, why did they not avail themselves of it, and enforce it on both Jews and Gentiles ? 3d, If we are to conclude, that because Christ and his apostles never expressly contradicted this false notion, common to both Jews and Gentiles, and that they by their silence sanctioned it as true, it follows, that all the false notions entertained by Jews and Gentiles not expressly contradicted by them are true. But we presume few would admit this, though it is a natural consequence from this objection. When any man will fairly make out, that their not contradicting expressly all the false, Jewish and heathen notions, is proof that those about which they are silent are true, we shall admit the one in question to be of the number. But another part of the point of this objection is, that-"on the contrary they expressed themselves, in appearance at least so much in favor of this opinion, that a great part of mankind from that time to this have supposed it fully taught in the New Testament.” In reply, we would ask in
what parts of the New Testament do we find this ? Not surely from those parts which speak either of Hades or Gehenna. The places where our Lord used those words, have been considered, and we think it has been shown, that in none of them did he teach such a doctrine. His apostles never once named Gehenna, nor even intimate that either Hades or Gehenna referred to a place of endless misery. If our Lord and his apostles, did in appearance, speak of such a place of misery, some other texts must be referred to than those in which the words Hades and Gehenna are found. But it is supposed that Jesus Christ and his apostles expressed themselves in appearance, at least, so much in favor of this opinion, " that a great part of mankind from that time to this have supposed it fully taught in the New Testament."
It will not be denied, that men from that time to this have supposed Christ and his apostles to teach doctrines, which they are now coming to be convinced are not taught in the Bible. That the one we have been considering is not of that number, ought not to be taken for granted. It is admitted by all, that a great many Jewish and heathen notions, were very early incorporated with the doctrine of Christ and his apostles. Past ages, have furnished but too much evidence, that the Scriptures have been used to countenance almost every opinion. Closer attention to the oracles of God has exploded many of them, and increased attention, may expose the falsehood of many more.
That hell, a place of endless misery for the wicked, is an opinion which originated with the heathen we have shown above; and have also attempted to show, that those texts on which this doctrine has been founded, have been greatly misunderstood. If we have erred in interpreting them, let this be pointed out. Until this is done, and it is shown that the doctrine of hell torments did not originate in the heathenism, but in the authority of God, our views stand unshaken by this objection,
We find it also objected—if there be no place of punishment in a future state, prepared for such as die in unbelief, how is this part of mankind to be disposed of after death, in what part of the universe is their abode to be assigned them? Not in heaven ; for God is represented in Scripture as bringing with him from thence at the resurrection of the dead, only those that “ sleep in Jesus” and of all the dead only the dead in Christ, are said to ascend thither with him to dwell forever with the Lord. Not in Gehenna or hell; for according to your views, there is no such place in the world to come. On this objection let it be remarked—1st, Whatever abode we assign such persons in a future state, we think we have shown, that God does not assign to them as their abode, Sheol, Hades, Tartarus, or even Gehenna. If God has not assigned to them such a place, it is rash in us to assert this without his authority. If he should leave them without any abode either as to happiness or misery, there we ought to leave them. Dr. Campbell as we have seen, declares, that Hades is at last to be destroyed, and accordingly he assigns them an everlasting abode in Gehenna, but we think without any warrant from Scripture. If then we have proved, that hell or Gehenna is not the everlasting abode which God has assigned them, and seeing the objector thinks that heaven is not to be their abode, we ask him in turn how they are to be disposed of? If he denies that heaven is to be their abode, we think it has been shown that hell is not said to be their abode. If it is said, because they are not to go to heaven they must go to hell; we may reply, because they are not to go to hell they must go to heaven. 2d, The objection states that their abode is not to be in heaven, and the reasons assigned are—" For God is represented in Scripture as bringing with him from thence at the resurrection of the dead, only those that 'sleep in Jesus ;' and of all the dead, only the dead in Christ' are said to ascend thither with
him to dwell forever with the Lord.” This refers to 1 Thess. iv. 13. &c. on the whole of which passage I shall make the following remarks.
1st, The grand distinction in this passage, is between the dead and those found alive on the earth at the period referred to. The passage is alike silent how the wicked dead and those wicked found alive are to be disposed of; for not a word is said about the wicked. The persons said to be asleep or dead, verse 13. and those which sleep in Jesus, verse 14. and also as asleep, verse 15. and the dead in Christ who shall rise first, verse 16. all refer to the same persons. They refer to the dead, and we presume are exclusively confined by the objector to believers. On the other hand the we,, who are said to be alive and remain, mentioned verses 15–17. must also be confined exclusively to believers, then found alive on the earth. These shall not prevent, or go before them who are asleep. Before they shall ascend, the dead in Christ shall rise first, and both shall ascend together to meet the Lord in the air. These last, we must confine to all living believers found on the earth, for if we extend it to all living, indiscriminately, why not the first also to all the dead indiscriminately? But if we take into view the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians, and especially from verse 51-58. which seems to treat of the same subject, all the dead seems to be included. Compare also verses 20-22, 31, 35, 42—45. 2d. It is evident that the
makes no distinction between two classes of people to be raised at this period, righteous and wicked. Either, then, this passage does not teach us anything concerning the wicked, or they are included with the others here mentioned. If they are not, and their resurrection is no where else spoken of, the inference would be that they are not raised at all. But in some other places their resurrection is asserted. See Acts xxiv. 15. If Paul then in the passage, does not include all dead and alive, it is rather singular, that he should say nothing about the resurrection of the wicked, or how those left on the earth are to be disposed of, after all the others have left it to meet the Lord in the air. If he did not see meet to consign them over to hell forever, nor inform us how they are to be disposed of otherwise, the objector ought to prove, that hell is to be their everlasting abode. If I am mistaken in my views of Gehenna or hell, I wish to see my error pointed out. If it is to be their abode, I am in a great mistake. But if this passage is allowed to speak only of believers, yet there are others, which do not accord with what the objector seems to draw from it. According to this objection, none but such as died believers in Christ, are to be finally happy in heaven. This at once excludes all the heathen world, and a great part of what is called the Christian world. But how does all this agree with the promises of God, that in Christ all the families of the earth are to be blessed. That the heathen are given him for his inheritance, and the uttermost ends of the earth for his possession. That God hath reconciled all things to himself by Jesus Christ. That he is Lord of all, Lord both of the dead and of the living. That every knee shall bow to him and every tongue confess. But see among others the following passages which we think it will be difficult to reconcile with the objection urged from this passage.
1 Cor. xvi. 24–29. Rom. v. 12—21. Rev. v. 13. Philp. ii
. 9–12. In short, how could it with any propriety be said, that the devil, the works of the devil, and death, the last enemy are all destroyed, if this objection is founded in truth?
But the whole force of this objection, seems to rest on the expression that is here used concerning the persons who are to be raised, that they sleep in Jesus. The term sleep is used for death, and we think it can be proved that it is so used concerning good and bad. It