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Again, there was not an assembling of all nations before the throne of Christ's glory in that event, nor anything which answers to it. It was not an event which very particularly affected all na ns. For this Mr. B. and Mr. W. have the same answer, i. e. that the phrase, all nations, is used twice before in this discourse, when all nations really are not meant. Ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.—And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations. That the apostles were hated of all nations, and that they preached the gospel to all nations, Mr. B. admits; but denies that this passage is to be understood of all individuals of all nations. But there is one consideration which he overlooks; the separation in the text is of individuals, as such, as the shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats. And then the preaching of the gospel is the making of sheep and goats, and not the sitting in judgment on them after they are made. And then how could the results of the preaching of the gospel, even if it were called the assembling of all nations, be represented as a part or appendage to the destruction of Jerusalem ? All nations to whom the gospel had been preached, according to our authors, are represented as collected to have a part in this scene, for the purpose of receiving their doom. And the one class adequately rewarded for all their piety, and the other for all their hatred of the gospel. But on what page of history stands the record of this ? Mr. W. thrice repeats his own assertion, that all nations were assembled at this time, and then leaves us staring in every direction in vain, to see them so assembled. Besides, the Roman army which we have just been taught were the all of the holy angels of God, are a part of these all nations, who hated Christians, and who were assembled to be judged for so doing. This Roman army then, were both the executioners of justice, and the felons who felt its weight. In still another point, the interpretation is lame. What judgments were here inflicted upon the pagan world, for their hatred of the gospel and their murder of its preachers ? History gives us no account of sufferings, sent upon them through the destruction of Jerusalem. Probably
Mr. Balfour's next edition of his Second Inquiry will inform us that it consisted in the immense wealth, which the pagan
world carried away from the plundered cities of Judea.
Equally ridiculous is his disposal of the passage, which speaks of the devil and his angels. He makes the devil to mean the Jews. But who were they on the left hand on whom the curse was thundered? They also were Jews. If Jews and the devil are synonymous here, we may read it, Depart, ye cursed Jews, into the fire prepared for the Jews and his angels, or, Depart, you cursed devil, into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels. And then according to this who were the devil's angels ? “The emissaries of the Jews,” says Mr. W. Very well. But who were the Jews' emissaries? The Jews were too much reduced in power and influence in the world, long before this, to have under them a class of men by this name, a class of men for whom a fire was prepared with them. selves.
But they have made their most shiftless evasion of the passage—These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal. They deny that eternal life has any reference to anything enjoyed in the future world, but they make it the joy in the Holy Ghost, experienced by Christians in this world. But if it be nothing more, how can it be represented as a reward for righteous conduct? It is no more than what the righteous already had before these formalities of the judgment. The Universalist interpretation of this passage amounts to this—These, that is the Jews, and all pagan enemies of the gospel, shall go into the punishment which was inflicted by the Roman army on Jerusalem, figuratively called everlasting punishment; and the righteous shall go away into that state of happiness, in which they always have been since their conversion, figuratively called eternal life. And then you will ask, what means that word everlasting ? The punishment is held up as terrible because eyerlasting? And you are told it means the everlasting reproach, that rests upon that nation till this day. But you will still inquire, how that reproach now existing, could be a terror to individuals then living, and
how the wicked men of the all nations gathered there, could have their punishment, their everlasting punishment, in the infamy which came upon the Jews ? But these questions will be asked in vain.
Once more. The language before us is that of a judicial sentence. The words--Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, are taken from the mouth of a judge uttering sentence at the close of a trial — which circumstance of itself excludes the figurative interpretation put upon it. Judges are not wont to give sentence in poetry or hyperbole. The nature of the case requires that the sentence of the law be expressed with the greatest possible exactness and precision. That every word be so measured as, to express the thing intended, and no more. And the general practice of courts corresponds with this rule. Whenever you read a solemn sentence of death pronounced by our courts you read language framed with the most studied precision, at the farthest remove from all metaphor or exaggeration. The judge is seen to speak as if from the consciousness that the condemnation which, as the organ of the law, he utters, has itself a weight which it is far from desirable to aggravate by the swell of turgid phraze. If there is any occasion when such rhetorical expedients are utterly inadmissible, not to say unnatural and ridiculous, it is that of a judicial sentence. A judge may use what style of language his feelings dictate, when laboring to produce an impression on the criminal, and on the spectators, by a statement of the grounds of the condemnation. But when he comes to the simple utterance of the last voice of the law, he of necessity falls into language the most naked and literal, that can be found. Statutes written in poetry, would not be a greater solecism, than hyperbole in a judicial bentence. But in the verse before us we have the judge of all nations, uttering sentence after trial, from his throne of glorya sentence touching the weal or woe of all nations—and surely if any conceivable occasion could require the language to be used according to its most obvious meaning, it must be this, And yet our authors will have us understand it all as the most
highly wrought hyperbole or unnatural metaphor. They make the word “depart” mean to remain, and be destroyed in Jerusalem, while christians depart by flight—and the phrase "come ye blessed,” mean to flee to the mountains for your lives, the word "everlasting” to mean only for a time, and the word "fire" to mean the reproach endured by the posterity of those accursed in Jerusalem's destruction—"the devil and his angels" to mean only the Jews and their imagined emissaries. Is it eonceivable that the Judge of the world has wrapt his most solemn sentence in such hieroglyphic dress ? Suppose a judge of one of our courts were to pronounce sentence of imprisonment for the limited time of ten years; and instead of giving the exact time, should say, everlasting imprisonment, because ten years is a very long period to endure imprisonment, what would you say of the justice, nay of the sanity of such a judge ? You see at once what would be the effect of using such a figure, in such a sentence. Though the word, everlasting, may in some kinds of composition be used in a metaphorical sense—it cannot be, and it never is so used in a solemn sentence of the law.
But I cannot longer dwell on this topic. When a mind has become so sophisticated as to find satisfaction in such evasions of plain truth, there is little encouragement to offer reasons. But with every candid reader the appeal is lodged whether there is not incontrovertible proof that this chapter treats of the final judgment—whether the proof in the case can be evaded without a resort to methods of interpretation which go to unsettle all laws of language and all principles of reasoning. Who would be willing on such a shiftless plank to embark his eteraal all and launch upon the shoreless ocean!
THE PLACE OF FUTURE PUNISHMENT, OR THE MEANING OF THE
WORDS TRANSLATED HELL.
THE MEANING OF SHEOL.
If it were impossible to show that the scriptures speak of a place, in which future punishment will be inflicted, the fact would not invalidate the proof exhibited in the previous chapters. The fact that the laws of the State do not designate the place where murderers shall be hung, does not make it less certain that they are to be hung in some place. But if we show that the bible does speak of a place where execution is done upon the wicked in the future world, that involves the proof of future punishment. This I trust will be satisfactorily shown. The words translated hell, are Sheol and Gehenna, from the Hebrew,and Hades and Tartarus, or rather the verb of which Tartarus is the root from the Greek. My first inquiry will be as to the meaning of the word Sheol. This word though often used in the Old Testament is seldom translated hell, and more seldom has that meaning. Its primary and most common signification, is that of grave, place of the dead, place of departed spirits. Nor is it strange that a word having such a primary meaning, should come to be used occasionally in such a different sense. For it is no more than what has befallen every other word, that is used as a name for spiritual and eternal things. Human language is originally formed by giving names to ideas, gained by the senses, and by the mind's own consciousness while using and combining these ideas. But the senses have no cognizance of the objects of the spiritual and eternal world. And, therefore, language in its original formation has no names for these objects. The makers of language never saw the objects, and have given them no names. When therefore a de