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such tombs as these the demoniacs dwelt". And such as these would exemplify our Saviour's comparison in St. Matthew, "Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which appear indeed beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones and of all uncleanness. Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchre of the righteous," but persecute and kill the righteous themselves. We observe traces of similar erections very early. In Genesis in the following passage: "Rachel died, and was buried in the way of Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave, that is the pillar of Rachel's grave, unto this day"."

Thirdly, There were sepulchres cut into the sides of rocks; such as that one is described to have been, in which our Saviour was laid. Isaiah seems to refer to them, when he says, "Whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here, as he that heweth out a sepulchre on high, and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock c." These sepulchres were often in gardens. Manasseh, for

Luke viii. 27.

b Gen. xxxv. 19, 20.

a Matt. xxiii. 27. 29.

• Isaiah xxii. 16.

instance, slept with his fathers, "and was buried in the garden of his own house." "Amon also was buried in his sepulchre in the garden of Uzzah d."

Q. What useful lesson does our Saviour's burial teach us?

A. It teaches us, that as "we are buried with him by baptism unto death;" so likewise "as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of his Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life "."

"Unto him that hath washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen f.".

2 Kings xvi. 18. 26.

• Rom. vi. 4.

Rev. i. 5, 6.

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Q. WHAT is meant by the words at the head of this section? Are we to understand that Christ really descended into the abode of accursed spirits?

A. Such at first sight, we must confess, appears to be the interpretation of the words; or rather, such is the popular language. Had the Articles of king Edward the Sixth (A. D. 1552) continued now in force, we should have gone further, and expressed a conviction that our Church really did hold the doctrine. For in these Articles it was asserted, that "the body of Christ lay in the grave until his resurrection; but his spirit, which he gave up, was with the spirits which were detained in prison, or in hell; and preached to them, as the place in St. Peter


testifieth, 1 Peter iii. 19. But in queen Elizabeth's time, (A. D. 1562) a synod was held in London, by whose decisions we have since abided, which declined speaking thus positively, and did no more than declare, that, "as Christ died for us and was buried, so also it is to be believed that he went down into hell "." This then is all we are bound to believe, as members of the reformed Protestant Church.


Q. Why are we in the first instance, disposed to take the meaning of this section to be, that Christ descended into the place of torment?

A. From our infancy we have been accustomed to hear hell described as the abode of Satan and the accursed spirits; as a place where "their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." The word "hell," therefore, instantly suggests to our terrified imaginations,


Corpus usque ad resurrectionem in sepulchro jacuit; spiritus ab illo emissus cum Spiritibus qui in carcere, sive in inferno detinebantur, fuit, illisque prædicavit, ut testatur Petri Locus. Articuli, A, D. 1552.

b Herein, says Lord Chancellor King, the moderation of the Church of England cannot be sufficiently praised, and is a most worthy pattern unto all others in the like cases, that they impose not their particular and private expositions of a perplexed and obscure doctrine, as articles of faith and terms of communion. Exposit. of the Ap. Creed, cap. iv, p. 182.

• Mark ix. 44.

the place of ceaseless fire, and punishment, and tortured.


Q. What was the opinion of the early Christians in the ages immediately succeeding the apostolic, on this point?t

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A. It is difficult to say; as the subject is seldom, if ever, mentioned by them.


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Referring to Preliminary Observations," we perceive that the descent into hell does not form part of the Creeds of Irenæus, Tertullian, Origen, Gres gory, or Lucian. We do not find it in the Nicene Creed. Many of the ancient fathers make no allusion whatever to it: and Ruffinus states, that it was not in his time to be found in the Roman, or any of the oriental Creeds. The Creed of the Church of Aquileia, which he expounds, is the first in which we find it mentioned but it is not known to have been there. ned: but it before the end of the fourth century. It is in-. deed to be found in the Athanasian Creed; but, on the whole, the stream of ancient testimony appears certainly not in its favour.

Q. What do the Evangelists say on the sub


d Answering to the Gehenna of the later Jews. Vid. Schleusn. Lex. Voc. Tɛɛvva.

• Ruffinus in Symbol. Apostol. Ruffinus flourished at the end of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth century. Lardner, V. 75.

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