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THE CERTAINTY OF FUTURE PUNISHMENT FROM
THE USE OF HADES.
And in hell, he lifted up his eyes, being in torments.
The Greek poets divide Hades into two apartments, one of which they call Tartarus, where the wicked dwell in great degradation and misery, the other Elysium, the delightful residence of the righteous. The latter Jews, many of whom were better acquainted with the Greek than with the Hebrew language, adopted the same meaning, with only slight modifications. They supposed hades to be a vast subterranean receptacle, in which the souls of men exist in a separate state, until the resurrection of their bodies. According to them, the region of the blessed, called paradise in allusion to their own scriptures, is in the upper part of this receptacle; while be
neath is the abyss, in which the souls of the wicked are subjected to punishment. Thus it appears, they sometimes used it in a more extensive sense than they attached to gehenna, which denotes only the place of torment, or that part of hades where the wicked are confined. That these are the views, which the contemporaries of Christ, both Jews and Gentiles, entertained, no one disputes. In the New Testament, the same signification prevails. But hades does not always include both apartments or divisions of the receptacle. It most frequently denotes, either the place of torment or paradise, and not ordinarily both at once. The reason of this, is, that persons, who are mentioned, as dwelling or destined to dwell there, are decidedly fitted for the region of the blessed, or for the abyss of woe, and cannot be spoken of as inhabiting both. When the wicked are said to descend to hades, that part of it is intended, which is called by the Greeks tartarus, and by the Hebrews gehenna; but when the righteous descend thither, it is to elysium or paradise. Thus, on one occasion, it is said in reference to Christ, that his soul was not left in hades; and on another, that the rich man also died, and in
harles he lifted up his eyes, being in torments. Both declarations are true. Christ and the rich man descended to hades, but not to the same apartment; one went to paradise with the penitent thief, the other went to be tormented in gehenna. Lazarus was carried by angels to Abraham's bosom, another name of the region of bliss, while the angels, who kept not their first estate, were cast down to tartarus, that part of hades in which the wicked are tormented.
It seems, on the authority of these facts, that an invincible argument, in favor of future punishment, may be drawn from the use of hades. But it is objected, that it most commonly means the grave, and that, when it will not bear this signification, it is not demonstrably a place of torment. Such assertions are easily made, and greedily credited by multitudes, which renders it necessary to notice all the passages, in which the word occurs.
We first meet with it, in the eleventh chapter of Matthew.
“* And thou Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell." This is repeated in Luke;—" And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.” In these places,
hades is probably used for that part, where lost men are tormented. On this supposition, the declaration of Christ to the inhabitants of Capernaum, is this ;— Your privileges have been great. I have given you, every suitable evidence of my divine mission, but you have rejected me. Your trial is now completed. You must be thrust down to hell. But this is not certainly his meaning. In speaking of their privileges and prosperity, he compares them in their exaltation to heaven; in'speaking, therefore, of their impending calamities and ruin as a city, he might aptly compare the extent of their fall with the world of departed spirits, which, according to Jewish notions, is the lowest imaginable place. But on this supposition, the strength and liveliness of the figure, depends upon the primary and proper meaning of hades. Our Lord tells them, you are exalted very high, even to heaven, but you shall be thrust down very low, even to hades. The grave cannot be intended. In the sixteenth chapter of Matthew, the word again occurs. “I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter;
this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.” Here, it is used for Satan and his subor
dinate demons, the inhabitants of tartarug. Christ promises, that the powers of evil shall not destroy his church. Were bades the grave, the figure would have neither force nor beauty. It is obvious, without a declaration, that the grave cannot undermine christianity. It is quite absurd, to charge it with such an intention. But the world of wicked spirits, used, by a common figure, for its inhabitants, is a most malignant and powerful adversary to the cause of truth. The next passage, which we notice, is in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians. “Oh death where is thy sting? Oh grave (oh hades) where is thy victory ?" The apostle is speaking of the resurrection. He mentions Christ, as the author. What, then, is implied in the resurrection, or over what powers does Christ triumph in accomplishing that event? He resuscitates the body, which is held in the chains of death, and recalls the soul from the receptacle of the dead, to re-unite it to the body. These are the powers, alluded to in the text;—“Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh hades, where is thy victory ?” The passage, therefore, is incumbered with no difficulty, on assigning to hades, the meaning which it bore