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threatening, the serpent preached the truth; it come to pass as he said. Adam did not die. Say with Universalists, that God threatened a spiritual death, and the difficulty is at once removed; for such a death Adam did experience, in the very day he sinned.
Your remarks on Paul's declaration, that "the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God," are uncandid and unjust; and they betray a sense of the weakness of your Do you not believe, that the unrighteous can be regenerated? And do not Universalists believe that all the unrighteous will be regenerated? Then why throw at us, the false charge, of teaching, that people are to be saved in sin?
There are several other errors, in what you are pleased to dignify, as historical remarks, that serve to show your ignorance of our order, and that should admonish you to be cautious in giving the history of another's creed. The most prominent of these, is the statement, that among what you sneeringly call the oracles of Universalism, no two agree on any point, save one. This is too absurd to require contradicton. But suppose such were the fact: Did I not show, in letter No. 1, greater, far greater differences of faith among partialists than Universalists? When you have answered that, it will be time to refer again, to the shades of difference in our works.
In the Letter before me, you repeatedly denounce Universalism as heresy. Besides all this, you quote from the Christian Spectator, to prove that it is a heresy, a system of falsehood, including nearly all the general principles of
enmity and opposition to the kingdom of Christ-and thus it is you treat the subject. I call for argument, and you give a confused and false history of Universalism; 1 call for scripture proof, and I am met with the cry of heresy, backed up by the Christian Spectator. And what, pray tell me, has all this to do with the question?
Having thus considered your historical remarks, I will proceed to an examination of your arguments on Gehenna. Although you have said, that I have advanced nothing plausible, and that your arguments of letter No. iv. still remain in their full force, it will be perceived, that you have passed in silence a great portion of my letter, and have not attempted to refute the proofs, by which I havshown that Gehenna has no reference to future woe: and yet you say, I have proved nothing. This sir, is quite a summary way of settling points, and it serves to fill up a letter, when argument is wanting.
1. The Targums.-On the authority of Jahn I stated, that these were written at the close of the third century. To his testimony I will now add that of Eichhorn, Bertholdt and Bauer; who have come to this conclusion, from their style, fables, perversions of prophecies concerning Christ, and from the silence of the early Jews and christian fathers respecting them. Consequently they do not shew how Gehenna was understood in the times of our Saviour.
2. On the authority of a Boston work, in which I have full confidence, I stated that the piece entitled, discourse concerning Hades in
Whiston's edition of Josephus, was universally considered the work of some christian writer at the close of the second or beginning of the third century. If you deny this, I will obtain the proof. How admitting the passage an interpolation, it would answer your purpose much better, I am unable to conceive; for how does the opinion of a christian in the third century, prove the prevailing opinion in the days of Christ? As well might you say, the wild reveries of the Epistle of Barnabas were dictated by Christ and his apostles, as to say, that the sentiments of christians in the third century were.
3. Your array of names to sustain your definition of Gehenna, may influence the superficial reader, but they certainly do not meet the question. Suppose I should bring twelve writers equal in learning and talents to those you have quoted, who are agreed in teaching the doctrine of reprobation and the final perseverance of the saints, would you consider this satisfactory proof of these doctrines? The writers to which you refer, though men of learning, are but men, and their opinions are to be received no further than they accord with revelation. To the law and to the testimony, our appeal must be made. From these, Í will produce twelve facts, that must weigh as much in the scales of truth, as the opinions of twelve partialists.
1. Gehenna is never used in the Old Testament to signify future woe. 2. Jeremiah, (VII. 29-34; XIX. 4-15,) uses it figuratively to represent the destruction of Jerusalem; and his representation had a literal fulfilment at
the time Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, when human bodies were meat for fowls and beasts, parents ate their children, and they buried in Tophet or Gehenna, till there was no place. 3. The early disciples were Jews, and must have understood Gehenna in the sense of the prophets. 4. No explanation was ever given by our Lord, to show, that he used it differently from the prcphets; and if he did he must have misled his hearers. 4. The Jews, when threatened with the damnation of Gehenna, are told, in the same discourse, that it shall come on that generation. 6. What the Saviour, Matth. x. 28, represents by Gehenna, he expresses in verse 39, by the phrase losing the life. 7. In the same chapter he declares, that the time (verse 23) should be before the disciples had gone over the cities of Israel, or when the Son of man should come, thus showing, that he referred to the destruction of Jerusalem.8. In every case where the disciples are warned of Gehenna, they are told that their whole bodies should be destroyed. Now why was this, if a spiritual punishment were intended? 9. The word Gehenna is found only twelve times in the New Testament, once addressed to Jews, twice in a sense which none consider to teach endless woe, and the rest of the times, it is addressed to the disciples. It was not however nine times addressed to them: probably not more than five times, for the Evan gelists all recorded the same discourse. Therefore, either Christ preached too little about hell, or Ministers now preach too much The Jewish sects of our Lord's day, did not
represent future punishment by the emblem of fire; and as this is the sense in which Gehenna is always used in the Targums and christian writers, it could not have been used by our Lord to represent future woe. 11. John, who wrote his gospel for the Gentiles, never mentions Gehenna. 12. Paul, Peter and Luke, are also silent respecting it. Why was this, if it represented future torment?
Here sir, are twelve facts which have never yet been answered. Most of them are contained in my fourth letter; but you have found it convenient to give them no reply.Doubtless such will be the case in this instance; but as they are an array, quite as formidable as your twelve commentators, I must hold them up for consideration.
You say when our Lord threatened the wicked with the punishment of Gehenna, he added as an equivalent expression to deepen the impression on the mind, "into the fire that never shall be quenched, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." In reply to this, I will observe,
1. Christ never addressed this language to the wicked, but to his disciples. He only once threatened sinners with the punishment of Gehenna; and in that case, he added nothing respecting the fire and worm. will you reconcile this with the idea, that an endless hell was intended? And how different s this from the present popular method of preaching hell-fire! Now, it is preached altogether to sinners; but then whatever was intended by it, was addressed to the disciples. 2. The adding of the phrases, "where their