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ing about the resurrection of the wicked, or how those left on the earth are to be disposed of, after all the others have left it to meet the Lord in the air. If he did not see meet to consign them over to hell forever, nor inform us how they are to be disposed of otherwise, the objector ought to prove, that hell is to be their everlasting abode. If I am mistaken in my views of Gehenna or hell, I wish to see my error pointed out. If it is to be their abode, I am in a great mistake.
But if this passage is allowed to speak only of believers, yet there are others, which do not accord with what the objector seems to draw from it. According to this objection, none but such as died believers in Christ are to be finally happy in heaven. This at once excludes all the heathen world, and a great part of what is called the Christian world. But how does all this agree with the promises of God, that in Christ all the families of the earth are to be blessed. That the heathen are given him for his inheritance, and the uttermost ends of the earth for his possession. That God hath reconciled all things to himself by Jesus Christ. That he is Lord of all, Lord both of the dead and of the living. That every knee shall bow to him and every tongue confess. see among others the following passages which we think it will be difficult to reconcile with the objection urged - from this passage. 1 Cor. xv. 24–29. Rom. v. 12—21. Rev. v. 13. Philip. ii. 9—12.
In short, how could it with any propriety be said, that the devil, the works of the devil, and death, the last enemy are all destroyed, if this objection is founded in truth?
But the whole force of this objection seems to rest on the expression that is here used concerning the persons who are to be raised, that they sleep in Jesus. The term
sleep is used for death, and we think it can be proved that it is so used concerning good and bad. It is then the words in Jesus, on which the whole depends. Now we would ask, if even those who died in ignorance and unbelief concerning him, are such persons for whom he died; for whose sins he was a propitiation, and is not to give up the kingdom until all things are subdued; yea, such persons are to be raised by him; may it not be said that they sleep in him?
But there is one thing in this passage which I would notice, and with it conclude my remarks on this objection. In verse 13. the apostle, addressing the Thessalonians, says—“I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them who are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others who have no hope." Who were asleep, let me ask, and concerning whom the apostle wished them, "not to sorrow as those who have no hope?" According to the view taken in the objection they were only believers; or believing relatives who had died. But why should they sorrow so much for them and be told not to sorrow like the heathen, whose grief at the death of their relations was excessive? If we confine those who are represented as asleep, to believers only, it should seem that the Thessalonians had even little hope as to them, and went to excess in grief and needed to be cautioned against it. But if we consider the apostle as exhorting them against excessive grief at the death of their relations, who even died heathens, it not only obviates this difficulty, but their minds are consoled by the apostle in the passage concerning them. To understand it otherwise would represent the Thessalonians as being grieved only at the death of their believing relations, and no way concerned for the future condition of such of them as died heathens.
Such are all the objections, of any importance, which we have heard urged against the views which we have advanced concerning hell or Gehenna. Some of them, we frankly admit, are too trifling to have been noticed. After a consideration of them we must say, that not one of them, nor all of them taken together, have even led us to suspect, that what we have said concerning hell, is contrary to scripture. But let our readers consider them, and judge for themselves.
IF the sentiments advanced in the preceding pages have been attended to by the reader, he no doubt perceives, that the conclusion which results from them is, that-there is no place of endless misery taught in scripture for all the wicked, as is commonly believed by most Christians. This we admit to be the fair inference, which results from what has been stated, unless it can be proved, that such a place of endless misery is revealed in scripture under some other name than Sheol, Hades, Tartarus, or Gehenna. It is our deliberate and candid opinion, that these words are never used in scripture to express such a place of misery. We have laid the evidence on which this opinion has been formed, before our readers, and they are left to judge for themselves as to its truth or falsehood.
Some, no doubt, will condemn and reject what we have said, without giving the evidence produced a patient hearing. The popular, but senseless cry of heresy, is sure to be rung in people's ears, to deter them from paying any attention to the subject. From such persons we expect nothing but noise and abuse, for they have no desire that their faith should stand in the wisdom of God. But there are others, whose good sense, judgment and piety we respect, who, no doubt, will conclude, that my inquiry
has ended in leading me into a great and fatal error. To all such I would offer a few remarks, in vindication of myself, against this sentence of condemnation.
1st, Let those who thus condemn me, duly consider, if they do not take for granted, the grand question which has been under discussion. Do they not first determine in their own minds that hell is a place of endless misery, and because my investigation of this subject has not brought me to this conclusion also, therefore I must be in a great error? But why ought not such persons to admit, that they may possibly be in an error on this subject; and instead of condemning me, bring the subject to the Bible for examination? This I have attempted to do, and have stated the result of this examination for candid consideration. It is not our work to make a Bible, to alter it, nor bend it to support any sentiment, however popular in the religious world. It is a duty incumbent on every man, to study that precious book with serious care and attention, and by every just rule of interpretation, to ascertain, what is its true meaning. This I have attempted to do, and unless I shut my eyes against evidence, and am determined to be an implicit believer in the doctrine of endless misery in hell, to what other result could I come on this subject? With the facts and other evidence which have been stated, before my eyes, what, as an honest man, could I do but come to this conclusion, which is deemed so great an error? If after all the care and attention I have been able to give this subject, it can be proved that I am in an error, let this be done, and I pledge myself to renounce it. I have the testimony of my own conscience, that I have sought after the truth, and that without any regard either to the favor or the frowns of my fellow creatures. Their frown I have not