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man was to eat bread in the sweat of his face. Necessity was laid on him to labour, and the consequence was to follow-how long ? “ Until thou return to the ground for dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return.” Here was all the penalty threatened, comprised in two words-labour and shame.
But we may be told, and indeed we are told—that “all mankind by the fall, lost commonion with God;" let us ask, however, where is the proof? We read nothing like it here, for the fall of man'is not once mentioned in the Bible. Nor yet do we learn from that book, that man lost communion with his Maker. Indeed, the very reverse is proved in the history of the primitive offence, But we are also met by the declaration, that the first offence against the law subjects all men to the "wrath and curse of God," and that from the same authority. But is this worthy of more credit than the former ? Where is this related ? The orthodox catechism contains it, but the warrant is not found in the book of revelation. Nothing like it is stated as the consequence.
Perhaps the objector will grant that he cannot find all this in so many words, and may be willing to waive these declarations as untenable. But others of equal consequence may be started. He may presume we will grant, that in consequence of sin, we are all " made liable to all the miseries of this life, and to death itself.". No, we are not ready to allow this neither. Many of the miseries of this life, have no possible connexion with transgression. Our constitution renders us liable to many evils, in no way connected with the subject. Those nerves, and that fine sensibility of feeling, which were the inlets to the most exquisite pleasure, make us susceptible of the most excrutiating torture, aside from the evils of moral pollution. Nor is the latter position a whit more tenable. That man was made immortal, incorrupti
ble, and by moral degradation became the subject of dissolation, is a most palpable solecism. ruptibility proves the reverse. Endless life, in this state of being, was never promised as the consequence of obedience. The very expression, until thou return to the dust, is strong corroborative testimony, that the original plan was precisely that which the event displays. His mortality is a demonstration of the fact, that he was made liable to dissolution. We grant an apostle inform us, that death passed upon all men, as all have sinned; but the same writer informs us, that to be carnally minded is death. But besides this, the context shows, that he alluded to moral, and not to natural death.
But one objection still remains. We are told, that all men, in consequence of sin, are made liable to the pains of hell for ever.” Now we doubt this ; first, because we do not find it in the oracles of God; and, secondly, because David, on whom the pains of hell had taken hold, declares that God had delivered his soul from the lowest hell. But as the word sheol, hades, or hell, no where occurs in the history of the first transgression, those who wish to maintain the principle for which they contend from the use of the word, will be under the necessity of 'seeking for it elsewhere
Quotations from Dr. Camphell relative to Sheol and Hades, and Mr. Balfour's deductions from them. Further remarks by the Editor.
On a subject so long and so generally misunderstood, and of such immense importance, no person can rationably be blamed for giving line upon line, and precept upon precept. The most close, the most ample examination of the subject, even to prolixity, is evidently erring on the safe side. If truth should always be the object of research, the greater the subject, the more importunate should we be to find it. If the scriptures have been made to speak a language foreign from their true meaning—if they have been wrested from their original meaning, either through ignorance or design, the sooner, and the plainer, these errors are exploded, the better. We shall now quote a few extracts from Dr. Carpbell, who being in the orthodox ranks, and an accomplished scholar, would be careful not to state as facts, any thing to discredit his own system of faith, but on the most undoubted authority. Speaking of hades, he says
“ As to the word aons, which occurs in eleven places of the New Testament, and is rendered hell in all, except one, where it is translated grave, it is quite common in the classical authors, and frequently used by the Seventy, in the translation of the Old Testament. In my judgment it ought never in Scripture to be rendered HELL, at least in the sense wherein that word is now universally understood by Christians.
- In the Old Testament, the corresponding word is Sheol, which signifies the state of the dead in general, without regard to the goodness or badness of the persons, their happiness or misery. In translating that word, the Seventy have almost invariably used adns. This word is also used sometimes in rendering the
nearly synonymous words or phrases bor and abne bor, the pit, and stones of the pit, tsal moth, the shades of death, dumeh, silence.
The state is always represented under those figures which suggest something dreadful, dark and silent, about which the most prying eye, and listening ear, can acquire no information. The term adns Hades, is well adapted to express this idea. It was written anciently, as we learn from the poets (for what is called the poetic, is nothing but the ancient dialect) ab privativo et video, and signifies obscure, hidden, invisible. To this the word Hell, in its primitive signification, perfectly corresponded. For, at first, it denoted only what was secret or concealed. The word is found with little variation of form, and precisely in the same meaning, in all the Teutonic dialects,
On the above quotation, Mr. Balfour offers the following remarks :
I have made this long quotation from Dr. Campbell at the outset of my remarks for several reasons.
It shows that Sheol of the Old Testament, and Hades of the New, both translated by our English word hell, do not signify a place of endless misery for the wicked, but simply the state of the dead, without regard to the goodness or badness of the persons, their happiness or misery. It follows of course, that wherever those two words are used in Scripture, though translated by the word hell, we ought not to understand such a place of misery to be meant by the inspired writers. Inattention to this has led to a misunderstanding of many parts both of the Old and New Testaments.
It establishes also that our English word hell, in its primitive signification, perfectly corresponded to Hades and Sheol, and did not, as it now does, signify a place of endless misery. It denoted only what was secret or concealed, This we shall show more fully
afterwards. What we wish to be noticed here, is, that the people generally have connected the idea of endless misery with the word hell,, butint is evident that it is a very false association. It is beyond all controversy, that the word hell is changed from its original signification to express the idea.
It is also obvious from the above quotation, and from otherauthors which might be quoted, that Gehenna is the word which is supposed to express the idea of a place of endless misery. The correctness of this opinion we shall attempt to consider afterwards. At present it need only be observed, that if the opinion be correct, it is somewhat surprising that the English language had no word to express such a place of misery, but the word hell must assume a new sense to accommodate it with a name.
1 shall only add in regard to the statements, made in the above quotation, that they are not opinions, broached by a Universalist, which he found to be necessary, in support of his system. No: they are the statements of Dr. Campbell, who was not a Universalist. Nor are they his own individual singular opinions, but are now admitted as correct by learned orthodox critics and commentators.
If the doctrine of eternal misery was not revealed under the Old Testament dispensation, it follows, that it, as well as life and immortality, was brought to light by the G spel. If it be allowed that this doctrine was not revealed under the Mosaic dispensation, it is very evident that persons could not be moved with fear, to avoid a punishment, concerning which they had no information. If it be said, that it was revealed, we wish to be informed in what part of the Old Testament this information is to be found.
It seems then to be a conceded point, that neither Sheol of the Old Testament, nor Hades of the New, so often translated hell, "means, as is commonly be