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scription of eternal things is undertaken, it is necessarily done by the use of borrowed language, i. e. words formed to designate ideas which arise from the intercourse of the senses with the objects of this world, are transferred to set forth spiritual ideas that are imagined to have some resemblance to the first. The mind seizes on some supposed' analogy, between an object of sense and an object of revelation, and gives the name of the first to the latter. So all the names of the place of future punishment originated; so the names of the place of future happiness were made. Heaven originally meant the visible expanse, or firmament above. And for the want of a better name, came to be used for the unseen abode of the blessed. Nor can we speak about the perfections of God without using words in a like secondary sense. We ascribe to him bodily organs and modes of thought like to those of men, not because he really has them, but because such is the poverty of human language, and the contracted sphere of human ideas, that we cannot conduct our reasonings without the help of such supposed analogy. This is a settled principle of language which no one disputes in its general form. And the fact that hell as a place of punishment is not the primary meaning of sheol, no more weakens the proof that in some instances it has that meaning, than the fact that the place of future happiness was not primarily meant by heaven, proves that that word is never used in that sense. Yet Mr. B. ignorantly or willingly overlooking this principle, says, [Inquiry p. 17.] “It follows of course (from the admission of orthodox writers that sheol and hades did not originally signify a place of misery) that, wherever these words are used in Scripture, though translated by the word hell, we ought not to understand a place of misery to be meant by the inspired writers." This indeed is a mighty conclusion to draw from such premises. So you might say, because the word translated heaven, did not originally signify a place of happiness, wherever the word is used we ought not to understand that a place of happiness is meant. Such are the philological principles of the man who astonishes the natives by lavish exhibitions of the profundity of his Greek and Hebrew learning.
That the place of the dead should according to the principle above stated, afford a name for the place of punishment, will seem still more natural, when it is taken into the account, that by the same kind of transfer of language, the words life and death are abundantly used in Scripture for the rewards of the righteous, and the punishment of the wicked. The place of the dead is made the place of punishment, in the same way that death is made the name for punishment itself; as in the following instances quoted by Stuart in his Exegetical Essays, to which the reader is referred for a more full illustration of this topic.—Ezek. 18: 4. The soul that sinneth it shall DIE: which is repeated in 18: 20. So also in Ezek. 18: 17. He shall not die. Verse 18. He shall die. V.21. He shall not die. V. 23. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die ? V. 24. In his trespass that he hath trespassed ..... shall he die. V. 28. He that turneth away from his transgression .... shall not die. V. 32. I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth. Prov. 15: 10. He that hateth reproof shall die. Ezek. 33: 8. The wicked shall die in his iniquity. 33: 11. Why will ye die ? Prov. 33: 13. If thou beatest him with the rod he shall not die. Gen. 2:17. In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. 3: 3. Neither shall ye touch it lest ye die. John 6: 50. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a' man may eat thereof and not die. Rom. 8: 31. If ye live after the flesh ye shall die. So the noun death is used in the
Deut. 30: 15. See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil. Jer. 21: 8. I have set before you the way of life, and the way of death. Prov. 5: 5. Her feet go down to death. John 8:51. If any man keep my sayings, he shall never see death. Rom. 6:23. The wages of sin is death. James 1: 15. Sin when it is finished bringeth forth death. Rev. 2: 11. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. Here I take it for granted the words die and death are used in a figurative sense, to imply punishment
or suffering, endured as the consequence of sin. No matter whether that punishment be in the future world or not—let every one judge of that—it is punishment expressed by death used in a secondary sense. These and other like instances, which might be multiplied indefinitely, are all examples of that kind of usage of language, by which the place of the dead became the place of the punishment of the dead. Whether when it is said, the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, eternal death be meant, I do not affirm or deny in this place; the reader may judge for himself. But all must admit that death is figuratively used, as a name for punishment of sin, as sheol the place of the dead is figuratively used for the place of punishment for sin. Even should we grant, what Mr. B. contends for in his book miscalled a reply to Stuart's Essays, that the word death in these cases does not mean suffering for sin in the future world, still it means suffering for sin, and you may locate it where you will, and yet it will be as much in point to illustrate the usage of the language in question.
Having admitted that the primary, and most general use of the word sheol, was as a name for the place of the dead, I shall have no need to notice a great part of Mr. B.'s Inquiry on this subject, which consists of comments upon more than half a hundred passages in which the word occurs, to prove what no one was ever silly enough to dispute, that the word in those instances does not mean hell. I shall make a short story of a long one, by confining my attention to those passages, where I conceive the word is used for a place of punishment.
Psalm 49: 15. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave. In the context the righteous are exhorted not to be disturbed by the pride and oppression of the wicked, on the ground that the prosperity of the wicked could not continuethat they would all die like sheep, and death should feed upon them, while God would deliver the soul of the righteous from the power of sheol, and receive him to himself. The subject of the Psalm is the prosperity of the wicked on this side of the grave, and its melancholy end, and the reverse which takes place in favor of the righteous at death. How can it be true, that God will redeem his people from the power of sheol, if it be not from sufferings in sheol after death, while death is left to feed
the wicked ? How can it be that death shall feed upon the wicked in a sense in which it does not upon the righteous, if there be no distinction by happiness, and punishment beyond the grave ? In the 73d Psalm, we have also the same general ideas. The writer was envious at the foolish when he saw the prosperity of the wicked, and thought that he had cleansed his heart and washed his hands in vain, until he went into the sanctuary of God and understood their end. And his doubts are solved by contrasting their end with his own, by seeing them in the light of the sanctuary, not by any knowledge from earthly sources,) brought into desolation and consumed with terror, but himself guided by God's counsel, and afterwards received to glory-being assured that while his heart and his flesh faileth, God is the strength of his heart and his portion forever. That this reverse in favor of the righteous, and against the wicked is to take place in their "end" after death is evident, because it is far from being a fact, that the wicked are in all cases brought into desolation and consumed with terrors, and that the righteous are always exalted, on this side of the grave.
Psalm 9: 17. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. Do you say that sheol here means only the place of the dead, and make the sense of the passage--The wicked shall be turned into the grave ? I answer, shall not the righteous too be turned into the grave ? But Mr. Balfour tells us “it is one thing : die and another to be cut off by the judgment of God from the earth.” Yes, but death is death in both cases, And Mr, Balfour is desired to inform us what there was in the death of the heathen, which he says are here meant by all the nations that forget God, in which a marked and terrible distinction was made from the death of Israelites. When was, or ever will be the time, when all heathen nations will die a death, so marked by the finger of God. He raises a difficulty out of its being asserted that all the nations of heathen shall be turned into sheal,- assun
ing that it cannot be that all will go to hell. It is asserted that the wicked and those that forget God will be turned into hell. But if there be any Jews or Gentiles who are neither wicked nor guilty of forgetting God, they of course will be saved. But that forgetting God, is in God's esteem a grievous sin, you may see in Psalm 50: 22. Now consider this ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces and there be none to deliver.
Prov. 5: 5. Her feet go down to death, her steps take hold on hell. Prov. 9: 18. But he knoweth not that the dead are there, and that her guests are in the depths of hell. Sheol in both these instances is made the end of intercourse with lewd
And as neither a sudden nor violent death was the necessary result of that sin, there seems to be little propriety or force in the expressions, unless a punishment after death be intended. But Mr. B. tells us, allusion is here had to the disèase which attends such intercourse. And says that medical men aver that this disease had existence as early as when this was written. But what medical man has averred it, or is competent to do so, we wait to be informed. Suffice it to say, there is a total absence of proof that any such disease existed then. And yet the matter needs to be proved before it can be used to his purpose.
Deut. 32: 22. A fire is kindled in mine anger, and it shall burn to the lowest hell. Mr. B. here suggests that if we understand by the lowest hell, the place of endless misery, there must be three divisions of it. So I may say if we understand by it the place of the dead, there must be three divisions of it, and therefore it cannot be the place of the dead. And suppose the language did fairly support Mr. B.'s inference, would that prove it not to be a place of punishment. Is he able to show an absurdity in the idea of different degrees of misery in hell? The imagery of the text is that of a fire, kindling upon the surface of the earth, and burning down, to the place which the imaginations of men at that time peopled with the spirits of the dead, which place had become the name for hell. These are not all the instances in which I conceive the word