Page images

The word Sheol, and its correspondent, Hades, as hath already been fully shewn, certainly means the receptacle of departed souls in general, without distinguishing the particular allotment of the righteous or the wicked. The Saxon word correspondent thereto, is Hell, which comes from hacclun, to cover or hide, and strictly means the hidden place ; thus the vid Saxon version of the bible renders Genesis, xxxvi. 35, thus, " I shall go down to my son, mourning into Hell, i. e. Sheol or Hades, the common receptacle of souls. Ainsworth also translates the passage exactly the same. Now by Sheol, certainly Jacob never could mean the Grave, (as rendered in our present version) because he believed, at the moment he made his lamentation, that his beloved Joseph had been “ devoured by a wild beast.”

That the ancient Jews understood Sheol to mean the state of departed souls, appears even from Josephus, who says, that the soul of Samuef came up εξ αδου Or out of Hades," which could neither be Heaven nor the place of torment. And here it deserves observation, that every where, the soul, at death, is said to descend, not that it goes

down into a place of punishment, but to the house appointed for all living," as it is beautifully expressed in the book of Job, there to wait till the accomplishing of the elect at the last day. Thus then all alike go down into Hades, but not all to the same part of that great receptacle, for even the penitent and believing are distributed in * different mansions,” in this house, according to their respective degrees in virtue and holiness. These “ living” are in Paradise, and are those meant by our: Saviour in that remarkable passage, for “ God is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for all live unto Him:” i. e. before him, under his care, and looking towards, and in joyful hope of being at last happy in his immediate presence. The left hand of Hades, or Hell, if you please, according to the original acceptation of the word, is appropriated to those who are " waiting in fearful expectation of judgment.” It does not however, appear to me, that this place is ever called Gehenna in Scripture, as that is the final place of execution, whereas this is only the preparatory prison; and we read that Hades itself generally shall, when the righteous are admitted into “ the kingdom prepared for them from before the foundation of the world,” be cast down with “ death into Gehenna, prepared for the devil and his angels.”

As to the Archdeacon, I have something more to say, for the Church of England, owes him no obligations at all; and I should be extremely sorry to see his name adduced as an authority in your orthodor miscellany. His Confessional, though now read by none hut narrow-minded sectaries, will never be forgotten, on account of the disturbance which it occasioned to the Church's peace, and the dangerous blow which it levelled at her discipline and doctrine. Some have endeavoured to vindicate the Archdeacon, and to represent him as sound in the faith, and as a dutiful son of the Church. If he were so, it must be owned that he had a strange way of showing it by publishing an odious libel upon the Ecclesias. tical Establishment and by associating not only with dissenters of various descriptions, but actually corresponding in the most familiar terms with Lindsey, Priestley, and others of the like stamp. If any doubt this, I will rçfer them to a letter of his, addressed to Mr. Turner (a Unitarian teacher at Wakefield) inserted in the Monthly Mag. vol. ii. p 888. In that letter he says “ the company of such worthies as Mr. TURNER and Dr. PRIESTLEY, is one of my luxuries :" he afterwards adds, that by meeting with some old books, in a lumber room, he became acquainted with the manners and principles of many excellent old PURITANS, and then laid the foundation of whatever approaches towards mediocrity in his own,” Lower down, he has this impudent assertion, “ I have not the remotest prospect of any thing which deserves the name of reformation in our very unedifying establishment.". Now this man was a dignitary of the Church, and kept his preferments to his death, and we are told (proh pudor!) that his works are about to appear from the Cambridge press!! If so, that university will confer upon ilçelf endless disgrace; but I trust it is not true.

fearful ascended

Yet between the left and right hand of Hades there is an impassable gulph or barrier fixed, so as to render it impossible that the miserable expectants of judgment can ever escape to disturb the harmony and rest of " those who have departed hence in the Lord.

That this is the doctrine of the New Testament, is too plain to need many quotations or remarks. The very striking, parable of the rich man and Lazarus, is a sufficient proof, wherein we read that “ the poor man was carried by angels,” not into Heaven, but “ into Paradise or Abraham's bosom;" which was a common expression among the Jews. The rich man, at his death, was hurried (as it should seem by deinons) “ into Hades, where he lift up his eyes in torments, and beheld the happy state of Lazaru but then it was afar off.Had the soul of Lazarus been in the imme. diate presence of God, and the rich man in Gehenna, they would have been totally hidden from each other.

In the 20th chapter of St. Luke's gospel, 35th, we have incontestible proofs, not only of the intermediate state, but that it is a state of consciousness and of positive felicity. “ But they (says our Lord) which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that World (i. e. the Heavenly Kingdom) and the Resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; neither can they die any more, for they are equal unto the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the Resurrection.” The persons here spoken of are not the inhabitants of the present world, for they both “ marry and are given in marriage,” according to God's own appointment; neither are they yet possessed of the Heavenly World;" for that they will not be till The resurrection, of which they are the children, i. e. the assured expectants, consequently they must have, till that time, a separate state of existence, which is Paradise, Abraham's bosom, and that house, mentioned by our Lord, John xiv. 2, wherein are many man. sions, some of which he went to prepare for his disciples when he descended into Hades; but of this subject, more hereafter. When our blessed Saviour said to the penitent thief, “

ief, “ verily I say anto thee, this day shalt thou be with me in Paradise,” he could not mean Heaven in the higher acceptation of the term, for he did not ascend thither himself, until a considerable time after his resurrection.

There is a very remarkable pássage in John iii. 13, “ No man hath ascended up to Heaven, but he that came down from Heaven, even the Son of Man who is in Heaven.” Now we read of the assumpțion both of Enoch and Elijah. Whither then were those holy men carried, and from whence did the latter come, when he appeared with Moses upon Mount Tabor, at the transfiguration of our Lord? Not Heaven, certainly, for it is here said, that " no one hath ever ascended thither, but he that descended from thence," even Jesus Christ. Enoch and Elijah, therefore, when they made so remarkable a departure from this world must, consistently with this declaration, have gone into Hades, or that part of it called Parudise.

Agreeably to this passage, we read in the Acts, chap. ii. 34, that “ David is not yet ascended into the heavens," ou yep sabid uresin SIS TOUS ovparous. If, therefore, the patriarchs and David are not now in that state of bliss, it follows, that neither are the apostles, nor will the soul of any one until “ the times of refreshing shall come, from the presence of the Lord,” i. e. when the Lord of Life shall come again, “with power and great glory, and cause his elect to be gathered together from the four winds," (Mark xiii. 27.) and when a final judgment shall be passed upon all “ men according to their works.”

To multiply proofs would be unnecessary, and indeed the considesation of the « last judgment” is of itself" so complete a demonstration of the point, that no other need be adduced, for why should the righteous be brought to the judgment seat of Christ ? and why should he reward them by an admission into Heaven," if they have been already in possession of it?

The judgment, as to them, would be absurd, if, at their departure from hence, they have received an entrance into the immediate presence of God, or the peculiar seat of the Divine Majesty: and as to the wicked, there can be no occasion to try them, and sentence them to Hell, or rather Gehenna, if they go thither immediately when they die.

From the whole tenour of Scripture, both of the Old and New Tesa tament, it appears evident that no human being whatever, will enter into Heaven or Hell, according to the commonly received meanings of those words, till the second coming of our Lord and. Saviour, Jesus Christ, when he shall receive the righteous unto himself, that " where he is, they also may be," and when he shall cause both Hades and Death, with the devil and his angels, and all finally impenitent, unpurified sinners, to be cast down into Gehenna, Hell, or the Lake of Fire.

To urge human authorities for this important truth, may seem very superfluous; yet, as the opinions of the more early fathers will always be regarded, by every orthodox christian, as offering a interpretation of scripture, we may prohtably enquire what sentiments they held upon this subject, St. Clemens of Rome, who was contemporary with the apostles, shall be our first authority: He says. Αι γενεαι πασαι εως τησδε ημερας παρηλθον, αλλ' οι εν αγαπη τελειωθέντες, κεια της του χρισου χαριν εχουσιν χωραν ευσεβων" οι φανερωθησονlαι και τη επισκοπη της βασιλείας του χρισου γεγραπται γαρ εισελθε εις, τα ταμεια μικρον οσον όσον εως και παρελθη η οργη και θυμος μου, και μνεθησομαι ημερας αγαθης, Xa1 avesnow ypas ex Twy Onywa upws. [All the ages of the world, from Adam, even unto this day, are passed away but they who have been made perfect in love, have by the grace of God obtained a place among the righteous ; and shall be made manifest in the visitation of the king. dom of Christ. For it is written : Enter into thy chambers for a little space, till my anger and indignation shall pass away: and I will remember




gate of

the good day, and will raise you up out of your graves. 1 Ep. ad Corinth.]

Justin Martyr, who suffered about A. D. 163, says to Tryphon, the Jew, Τας μεν των ευσεβών, εν κρειτλον ποι χωρω μενειν, τας δε αδικους και πονερας εν χειρονα, τον της κρισεως εκδεχομενας χρονον τοτε. Dial. cum Trypho, p. 223, ed. Colon. 1686.

“ The pious, indeed, remain in a better place, but the unrighteous and wicked in a worse, both waiting for the day of judgment.”

Irenæus, who lived in the second century, if possible, is more explicit, speaking of the resurrection of true christians, he says, Animæ abibunt in invisibilem locum definitum eis a Deo, et ibi usque ad resurrectionem : post recipientes corpora et perfectè resurgentes hoc est, corporaliter --sic venient ad conspectum Dei.” Opera p. 356. i. e. their souls shall go into an invisible place appointed for them by God, where they shall abide till the resurrection; and after receiving their bodies, and rising perfectly, that is corporally, they shall come to the presence of God."

A vast number of other vouchers might be cited through the best ages of the church, but if these will not convince, farther evidences will prove of no effect.

It will, however, be proper in this place, to see what is the judgment of the Church of England upon this important subject. In the collect for Easter-even, we pray, " that through the and death, we may pass to our joyful resurrection;" a plain proof that the compilers, who had their eye upon the ancient liturgies, did not believe that the righteous will enter into Heaven till the resurrection, for if they had, it would have appeared in the collect for Easter sunday, or in the service for the burial of the dead. In the latter office, after giving hearty thanks to “ Almighty God, for delivering this our brother out of the miseries of this sinful world,” we add, “ beseeching thee that it may please thee of thy gracious goodness, shortly to accomplish the number of thine elect; and to hasten thy kingdom; that we, with all those that are departed in the true faith of thy Holy. Nunue, may have our perfect Consummation and Bliss, both in body and soul, in thy eternal and everlasting glory, through Jesus Christ.”

Although, therefore, the Church holds that the “ souls of the faithful that depart hence are with the Lord, yet as she afterwards declares that none of these are as yet in “ his kingdom," of course she means only, that they are in such a sense with him, as being in a state of rest and felicity, and enjoying his promises.

In the concluding collect the sense of the Church is determined in still plainer terms: we beseech thee O Father, to raise us from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness; that when we shall depart this life, we may rest in him (our Lord Jesus Christ) as our hope is, this our brother doth; and that at the general resurrection at the last day, we may be found acceptable in thy sight and receive, &c.”

1 shall now add a word or two on the soul-sleeping notion, and on the arguments, if such they may be termed, by which it has been attempted to be supported.

Your correspondent, the Soul-sleeper, has impeached the worthy London Curate's accuracy, taking it for granted that the “ inter


and upon

mediate state is a state of consciousness.On referring to the London Curate's letter, vol. iv. p. 290. I perceive that he justly argues for its consciousness, from the doctrine of its immortality, and secondly from those passages of holy writ, where the dead are said to know each other. The London Curate has rested his foot upon reason, upon scripture,

the of the Church: but the Soul-sleeper has taken up an opinion from modern writers who were fond of novelties, and whose creed will not bear the test of antiquity. To sleep," in scripture language, does not mean senselessness, but rest, security, and felicity. It is a term expressive of comfortable enjoyment, as opposed to that restless inquietude, that gnawing of conscience, that “ fearful expectation of judgment,” with which the wicked are perpetually haunted in their wretched allotment in Hades.

If the soul sleeps, that is, continues in a state of torpidity, it is not that immaterial, thinking being, which it is uniformly held to be by all who take the Scriptures for their guide.

The death of the soul, according to Bishop Law, meant annihilation, and this is a position taken for granted by him and your correspondent, though certainly not with “ sufficient accuracy." The Soul-sleeper calls the Bishop's statement of his notion, “ an argument which carries great weight with it,” whereas there is neither argument nor weight in all that he has quoted from him. In the day that Adam sinned, it is true, as an apostle hath declared, death passed upon him, i, e. obtained dominion over him and all his race, But by what straining of language this can be made to imply the annihilation of the soul, I am at a loss to conceive, If our first parents were convinced that the sentence denounced upon them amounted to this, they never could have communicated any hopes to their children; and was a righteous man who died for his religion. Now, says St. Paul,

by fuith Abel offered unto God:” but if he had no thought of another life after the present, what was his faith? In the next verse of this epistle we read of the faith and translation of Enoch, in these remarkable words, “ By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found because God had translated him.” How is this to be accounted for upon the hypothesis that the soul remains in an unconscious state till the day of doom?

That'" Christ only is our life” will cheerfully be granted, but how 'is he our life? not by re-creating us when annihilated, or by bringing us from a state of unconsciousness, but by purchasing for us, through his blood and mediation, an entrance into the kingdom of eternal lite.

Spiritual death does not mean absolute extinction, for then it would be no punishment, but it is a separation from God, and an endless banishment into the regions of misery.

Bishop Law unfortunately adduces the death of Moses as a proof of his notion ; for because the Lord said unto Moses, “ Behold thou shalt sleep with thy fathers," therefore this sleep must be a negation of all lite, thought or action, rest or home; silence, oblivion, destruction or corruption." If this be so, what are we to think of the transfiguration ? Were Moses l'ol. V. Churchm. Mag. Aug. 1803.



yet Abel

« PreviousContinue »