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ion of Pluto. They suppose it abounds with all kinds of pleasures and delights, and is called the Elyfium, because the fouls of the good resort there, after they are 'loofed from the chains of the body, and have been purged from the light offences which they have committed in this world. The people believe that this place abounds with all the delights that the most pleasant plains afford, hav. ing verdant fields, shady groves, and the most tempes rate air.
In the pagans' hell there is a river called Lethe, be. cause it causes fogetfulness. Of this water they drink to forget trouble or comfort which is past. This is a Thort description of what the idolatrous nations call hell. Every thinking person must be convinced that such an hell as this is imagination ; there is no such thing. See Took's Pantheon, p. 219.
2. I am to describe the hell, Mahomet has told of ir.. his Alcoran.
The Alcoran speaks of the last judgment, where the righteous and wicked will be judged according to their works, “The trial being over, and the assembly dissolv. ed, those who are to be admitted into paradise, will take the right hand way; and those who are destined to hell-fire, the left; but both of them must pass the bridge, called in Arabic, Al Sirat, which is laid over the middle" of hell, and is described to be finer than a hair, and sharp. er than the edge of a sword. The wicked will miss their footing, and fall headlong into hell.
In the Koran, it is said that hell has seven gates; the first, for the Muffulmen; the second, for Christians; the third, for the Jews ; the fourth, for the Sabians; the fifth, for the Magicians; the fixth, for Pagans; the fev: enth, and worst of all, for the hypocrites of all religions. The inhabitants of hell will suffer a variety of torments which will be of eternal duration, except with : .. those, who have embraced the true religion, who will be delivered thence, after they have expiated their crimes by their sufferings." See Adams' view of Religions, p.
3. The Roman Catholics’-hell.
* Their idea of hell is- this ; a place of eternal misery in fire ; where the wicked who die out of the church will forever remain. They hold to a place of purgation by fire called purgatory ; this was taken from the Pagans, and is the same thing with another name. Mosheim says, vol. II. p. 38. « The famous Pagan doctrine, concerning the purification of departed fouls, by means of a certain kind of fire, was more amply explained and confirmed now than it had formerly been." In the tenth century, the people dreaded the fire of purgatory, more than they did the fire of hell ; for they supposed that by being enriched with the prayers of the clergy when they were dying, they should certainly escape hell ; but they were taught, that if they went to purgatory it was a matter of doubt whether they would ever be delivered from that dreadful place.
4. I am to describe the hell which those called Chriftians believe in.
The Pagans, Mahometans, and Papilts hold to a hell which has a place to purify those who go into it, so that they may come out and be happy. There is but one denomination who call themselves Christians who 'hold to this part of paganism that I know of. Those are one fect of the Universalists. This they are indebted to they Heathens for. The different denominations called Chrif: tians, such as Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptifts, Methodists, Freewillers, &c. all hold to a hell difor ferent from those which have been mentioned. They i believe that there is a place of misery, that the souls of: all who die in their lins will go there, until the day of judgment ; that at the day of judgment, the bodies of: the wicked will be raised immortal, and soul and body.' being united, will be cast into a fire which will burn them without consuming, and that without the least de 5 gree of ease or prospect of relief, they will exist eternally . in this mifery ; that God will uphold them in existence, ? giving them a continued existence, to give them concinual misery. Some of them say they will exist in this eter. nal misery, because they were not predifinated to life.” That God made them to display his vindictive justice *
in their eternal misery, and that he is a sovereign, and has a right to treat them in this manner. Some hold that the wicked will be placed in this awful situation, for not improving the abilities God gave them and some because they lived and died in unbelief. This is but a fhort description of the hells different people believe in..
5. I am to describe the hell mentioned in the scriptures.
Whenever there are a variety of opinions concerning any matter, there is always some truth at the bottom. All these different notions concerning hell, is an evidence that there is something true about it: that truth is in the fcriptures.
It appears from the scriptures, that by hell is meant a place of confinement and torment before the day of judga ment, and after that, a place in which the soul and body will be destroyed.
1. It is described as a place of confinement, and tors ment. 2 Pet. ii. 4, “ For if God.spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved anto judg. ment.” In this place, hell is considered a place of confinement to the angels that finned, where they are reser ved unto the judgment of the great day. Peter conveys. the same idea concerning the old world that sinned, as it respects their spirits. Peter iii. 19,:“ By which also he went and preached to the spirits in prison.” Thefe fpirits were not in prison when Christ by his fpirit preached to them. They were preached to in the days of Noah. Ver. 20, “ Which fometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah," This agrees with what is said in chap. iv, 6, “ For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the Aesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” The gospel was preached to them that are dead. When they were alive, the gospel was preached to them by Noah.
2. Hell is described as a place of torment before the last day. Luke xvi. 22, 23, “ The rich man also died, and was buried; and in Hill he lifted up his eyes, being
in torments.” This plainly Inews that hell means a place of confinement and torment. It appears to me that what is meant by hell in the bible, is the earth and air : Satan is called the prince of the power of the air. This means wicked spirits in the air ; and though it is said the angels are reserved in chains, yet it is certain that Satan walked to and fro upon the earth, that the devil came to Jesus and tempted him: the devils were cast out of many, and he now worketh in the children of difobedience. These things are all plain in the scriptures.
3. Hell is described as a place where the souls and bodies of the wicked will be destroyed, and where the angels which finned will be destroyed with them. Matt. x. 28, “ And fear not them which kill the body ; but cannot kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both foul and body in Hell."!. Luke xii. 5, “ But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: fear him, which, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, fear him."
These places fpeak plainly of the foul and body being destroyed in hell. Allowing that hell means the earth and air, we may see the propriety of what Peter said. 2 Pet. -iii. 7, “ But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the fame word are kept in Atore, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungod. ly men." Perdition here means destruction; the same as deftroying both foul and body in hell. It is evident that at the last day, this earth will be dissolved or melted; this will make this whole globe a lake of fire. Here men and devils will be destroyed. This fire is prepared for the devil and his angels, and for ungodly men. Matt. XXV. 41, “ Then shall he say to them on his left hand, depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” In this verse, the devil and his angels, and the wicked of all nations are sentenced together, to depart into everlasting fire, which will make and end of them. This agrees with what is said in Rev. XX. 14, 15, “ And death and hell were cast into the (Jake of fire. This is the sECOND DEATH. And whoso. ever was not found written in the book of life, was cat into the lake of fire.” What is called hell in one place, is called a lake of fire in another. In one place it is faid the earth is reserved unto fire against the day of judg. ment and perdition of ungodly men. Another place tells of being cast into the lake of fire. Another place tells of being cast into hell-fire. Another, of the soul and body beingdestroyed in hell. These must all mean one thing, or else there are contradictions in the scrip. tures. This is the hell mentioned in the scriptures. This being the meaning of hell, we may see the meaning of many places in the scriptures, such as these. Matt. v. 22, “ But whosoever fhall say thou fool, shall be in dan. ger of h:ll-fire." Chap. xi. 23, " And thou, Caperna. um, which art exalted to heaven, shall be brought down to hell.” Deut. xxxii. 22, “ For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and shall set on fire the foundations of the mountains." Psal. xix. 17, “ The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." These places all agree to prove the final destruction of all the wicked in hell. .
How different is this description of hell, from the other four which have been mentioned. The heathens' hell is wholly a fiction. The Mahometans' is taken from their's, and coloured with fcripture ; but is evidently of the same nature. The Roman Catholics' hell, is the Pa. gans', revised and named from the scriptures. All these mention a place of purgation by fire. This, some of the Universalilts hold to, proving it from the scriptures as the Papists do ; from places which say nothing about it. The fourth hell described which people in general believe in, is contrary to all the word of God. It is the same in nature with the other three, as to the punishment being eternal existence.
And it is taken from the Pagan mythology, not from the word of God.
If the wicked exist forever in misery, they must have both life and immoriality ; for they cannot exist without this in heaven, much more in hell. Life and immortalia ty are blessings brought to light in the gospel, which