Page images
PDF
EPUB

sense.

on Isai. vii. 9. above, where Sheol is used in a similar

This text has often been quoted to prove, that all, who have abused spiritual privileges, shall be brought down to hell, or endless misery.

Math. xvi. 18. “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell, (Hades), shall not prevail against it.” Dr. Campbell says—it is by death, and by it only, the spirit enters into Hades. The gates of Hades is therefore a very natural periphrasis for death." But this is not altogether in unison, with what the Dr. has said elsewhere concerning Hades: and, we shall see in the sequel from Dr. Whitby, that Hades is not a resceptacle of souls, or spirits. This was not believed by the ancient Hebrews, but was a mere heathen notion. Certainly, no text in the Bible says, “it is by, death the spirit enters into Hades,” or speaks of souls, or spirits being there.

Luke x. 15. “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to Hell, (Hades). See on Math. xi. 23. above. This is only the parallel text to it, and has there been considered.

Luke xvi. 23. “And in hell, (Hades), he lifted up his eyes being in torment.” As this is the only text in which Hades occurs, where it is alledged, it signifies hell the world of woe, we shall give it a full consideration. The following, are all the remarks which Mr. Stuart makes on this passage.

6. That in the heathen Hades was a Tartarus, a place of punishment and suffering, is too well known to need illustration and proof on the present occasion. More will be said on this point, when I come to treat of Tartarus. That in Hades, Sheol, according to the views of the Hebrews, and of Jesus himself, there was a place of torment, is put out of all question by the passage now before us.” All this is mere assertion, but as it comes from Mr. Stuart, we shall examine it. Let us inquire

Ist, was the Tartarus in the heathen Hades real, or

was it fictitious ? This question ought to be fully examined, for if it was fictitious, the mere fancy of the poets, Mr. Stuart's hell is built on the sand. But he is so confident, it was a reality, he says, "that in the heathen Hades was a Tartarus, a place of punishment and suffering, is too well known to need illustration and proof on the present occasion. We are surprised that he should take this bold ground, for we shall show from his own statements, the heathen Tartarus was a mere fiction. Sorry are we to think, he should allege, our Lord in this passage sanctioned a heathen fable for truth. That Tartarus was a mere heathen fable, and had its origen in heathenism, we shall now show.

Cicero, one of the wisest men among the heathen, in his seventh oration says—“For it was on this account that the ancients invented their infernal punishments of the dead, to keep the wicked under some awe in this life, who without them would have no dread of death itself.” Intelligent heathens, had no more faith in infernal punishments, than people now have in the Salem witchcraft. See my letters to Mr. Hudson, pp. 266, 267, where I have quoted Mosheim, who says, such punishments were invented for state and military purposes.

See also the next section. But as Mr. Stuart will not dispute his own testimony, let us see what he has said elsewhere about Tartarus. After describing Cimmeria as an imaginary place, and Erebus as no better, though contiguous to Hades, he thus describes it. < Last and lowest of all, was Hades, which is subdivided into the upper and lower. In the upper part are the Elysian fields, the abode of the good; and beneath these, i. e. in the deepest dụngeon, in the bowels of the earth, is Tartarus the place of punishment for the wicked, answering in some respects, to the Gehenna of the Hebrews. Hades, then, in the view of the Greeks and Romans was the under-world, the world of the dead, a place deep in the earth, dark,

cheerless; where every thing was unsubstantial and shadowy. The Manes were neither body nor spirit; but something intermediate, not palpable to any of the senses, except to the sight and hearing; pursuing the mere shadows of their occupations on earth, and incapable of any plans, enjoyments, or satisfaction which were substantial.” Exeget. Essays, pp. 124–128. Such is the heathen Hades, and its Tartarus, as described by Mr. Stuart himself. This Tartarus he avers, Jesus sanctions as real in the passage in question. But, did Jesus convert a heathen fable into truth ? Did the heathens invent a hell for him? But let us look at this Hades or hell? If we ask where is Hades? It is answered in the above quotation—" it is a place deep in the earth.And if it is asked what is the use of this Hades ? It is answered, it is" the abode of departed souls."

Again; if we ask how is it divided? It is answered—“it is subdivided into the upper and lower. In the upper part are the Elysian fields, the abode of the good; and beneath these, i. e. in the deepest dungeon, in the bowels of the earth, is Tartarus, the place of punishment for the wicked, answering in some respects, to the Gehenna of the Hebrews.” But Mr. Stuart must have forgotten, that he told us above—“a deep region beneath peopled with ghosts, is what we do not believe in.” It is a great mistake, to say, Tartarus answers in some respects to the Gehenna of the Hebrews, if by Hebrews he means the ancient Jews, or the sacred writers. Not a trace of Tartarus is to be found in the Old Testament, nor, do the writers ever use Gehenna in the sense of Tartarus, as all must allow.

But the principal question to be decided here, iswas Tartarus real or imaginary? · Mr. Stuart, is confident it is a reality. The fact he considers so well known, as to save him all trouble, of giving proof or illustration of it. But here, he strangely forgot what he said, p. 126,-“ Virgil in his neid, book vi. has given

spect to Hades.

a vivid picture of Orcus or Hades. It is more adapted, however, to convey the fancies of his own poetic imagination, than it is to convey an exact idea of the more ancient and general opinions of the Greeks in re

He loses sight in some measure of the views of Homer, and is more intent on making out a stricking picture, than on giving an exact account of tradition."

But again, he says p. 128—“ Virgil describes the progress of Eneas in the region of Hades, in terms which show what a doleful place he thought it to be. However, when he brings his hero to Elysium, to the locus laetos et amoena vireta, sedesque, (vi. 637. seq). he seems to make something more substantial out of them, than can be found in any of the preceding heathen writers. But it is plainly the fancy of the poet which does this, and not the tradition of the Greek and Roman nations. On the

same page

he adds266 of the Elysium of Virgil, Homer knows little or nothing; and it is sufficently plain, that it is principally the offspring of his own imagination.” But if all this be the fancy of the poet, the offspring of his own imagination, why did Mr. Stuart say above—“ that in the heathen Hades was a Tartarus, a place of punishment and suffering, is too well known to need illustration and proof on

the

present occasion ?" He would have said the truth, and maintained consistency in his statements, had he said, " that in the heathen Hades was a Tartarus which was the fancy of the poet, the offspring of his own imagination. But, he assumes the heathen Tartarus to be a reality, and declares that Jesus taught it in the parable before us.

I shall now proceed to show, from other writings, approved by Mr. Stuart, that this Tartarus was of heathen origen, It is well known Mr. Isaac Stuart, his son, lately translated from the French, J. M. Greppo's Essay on the Hieroglyphic system of M. Champollion

junior. He and his father, have added notes and illustrations to this work, which furnishes the following information on this subject. See all they have said, in notes M. and N. a part of which I shall quote. In note M. p. 232, it is thus written.

“Osiris was the chief God of the Egyptian amenti, answering to the Pluto of the Greeks and Latins. It is sufficent for our purpose to know where his dominion was exercised. This was over the souls of men after their decease-a fact which is revealed by almost every legend and painting relating to the dead. The Amenti of the Egyptians, corresponding to the Hades of the Greeks and to the Tartarus of the Latins, was the place of the dead. It was governed by Osiris as chief, and by many subordinate divinities.” On this I remark

Íst, It is confessed?" the Amenti of the Egyptians, corresponded to the Hades of the Greeks, and to the Tartarus of the Latins." But why not also confess, it corresponds to the hell of Christians ? Mr. Stuart identifies his hell with the heathen Tartarus, and of course with the Egyptian Amenti.

2d, If “Osiris was the chief God of the Egyptian Amenti, answering to the Pluto of the Greeks and Latins," is not the Devil the chief God in the hell of Christians ? Let us ask-where was the dominion of Osiris and Pluto exercised ? It is answered in the above quotation—" this was over the souls of men after their decease.” And is not this the very dominion, which Christians assign to their Devil ? Is not his dominion over the souls of men after their decease? Is not he represented, as the chief God, or ruler in their hell ? And if it be, “a fact, which is revealed by almost every legend and painting relating to the dead," among the Egyptians, that this was the proper dominion of their Osiris, does not almost every tract and sermon among Christians, reveal, that hell is the proper dominion of the Devil ? In a word—who can well de

« PreviousContinue »