The World's Redemption


Chapter 17 - Hell--What Is It and Where Is It?

Having shown that the wicked are finally to be all destroyed, the question will arise in the reader's mind, What about the hell we hear so much of in popular churches? If the destiny of all the wicked is utter destruction, what use can there be for such a place as the hell we have been taught to believe in, for it is said to be as necessary for the receptacle of the wicked as the heaven of popular theology is for that of the righteous? If the wicked are to be destroyed in the sense of blotted out of existence, and if there is such a place as hell, it will be, when the destruction is complete, left entirely empty. Is it that it, too, is to cease to be as well as those who were intended to be its endless inhabitants, or is it that no such a place exists? Whatever place the wicked may for a time be allowed to occupy, it is evident that the time is to come when they shall occupy it no more; for the Psalmist says, "For yet a little while and the wicked shall not be; yea thou shalt diligently consider his place and it shall not be" (Psa. 37: 10). This, however, does not mean that God has a particular place allotted for the wicked into which they are all to be collected to be kept in torture and that that place is to cease to be; It simply means that when the wicked cease to be they shall not be found in any place, for there will be no room allowed for any to exist but those who are fit to enjoy eternal blessings. Hence Job says, when for the moment losing sight of the hope of salvation; "The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more, thine eyes are upon me and I am not: as a cloud is consumed and vanisheth away, so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more" (chap. 7: 8-10). The "place" of the wicked, therefore, is that which he occupies in this life and when he is "consumed as a cloud and vanisheth away," no place will be desecrated by his presence in all the universe of God.

The popular theory is that God created this earth for man to inherit in this life only; and that since His intention was to separate the good from the bad when their supposed immortal souls would, by death, forsake their bodies, two places must necessarily be provided. The place for the eternal abode of the good is supposed to be heaven, and that for the wicked is what has been called hell. Now we have an account of the creation of the heaven and the earth, but not a word is said about the creation of that place people popularly call hell. Heaven is evidently the place where God dwells; and the earth was created as a place for man to dwell in. It is said, "For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens: God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited" (Isa. 45: 18). If God did create a hell to be "inhabited" by a much larger human population than was ever at one time on this earth, and than will ever inhabit heaven, why is it that such an important place was not spoken of when the account of the creation of the heaven and the earth was given in the beginning and referred to throughout the Scriptures? It would be the first place that would come into use after the earth; for it is claimed that the sentence Adam brought upon himself and his posterity was one which consigned all to its everlasting torments, and that salvation is rescue from going there and transportation to heaven. Then, too, it would soon come into demand as a place in which to put wicked Cain and those like him. So that its importance, from the popular point of view, was such as to call for its mention along with that of the creation of the heaven and the earth; and the fact that no mention is ever made of its creation is a proof, among many others, that such a place never was created, except in the imaginative brains of heathen philosophers and used by them to frighten the unruly masses into subjection to their superiors. "With the masses it was equally true, with the philosophers equally false, and with the magistrate equally necessary;" and it was considered wrong not to deceive the masses with falsehoods, claiming that the end justified the means. While such a procedure may be excusable in heathen "philosophers" facts are seen to be more absurd than fiction when we behold civilized and educated people still clinging to such a pagan relic of savage superstition.

When God created the heaven and the earth we may safely conclude He did not create the popular hell; for it is not mentioned. When He placed our first parents in Paradise and pronounced everything "very good" there could not have been such an evil place. The Adamic race was, in the wisdom and goodness of the Creator, given a good start, both as regards Adam and Eve and the heaven above them and the earth beneath them. All they stood related to was "very good," a fact which leaves no room for a hell of torment, nor an immortal personal devil whose business it was to deceive and torment and nothing else. If the creation of "hell" was an afterthought, arising from man's sin, we surely would have had some hint of its beginning in that Book which is designed to teach man his origin and destiny. The very time one might reasonably expect to find mention of it would be when the sentence was pronounced upon our first parents; but not a hint do we find there of the existence of such a place, or that they or any of their descendants were liable to the pains and penalty of such a horrible place. The end of the sentence is, "Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return," a sentence which, as we have shown in a previous chapter, was upon the only person that sinned; and if there was another person, in the form of an "immortal soul," who was more guilty than the one sentenced and who is supposed to be the one for whom "hell" was made, that person, the chief sinner in the case, escaped being sentenced to its place, for not a word is said about it or its supposed place. So we start with the Bible in our hands without a "hell," and without a devil, and even after man's fall no "hell" is revealed to us, and if there was one, we have only the assertion of prejudiced minds deluded by a hoary superstition in support of it.

THE WORD HELL AS USED IN THE BIBLE

The best way to ascertain the meaning of a Bible word is to examine its use in the Bible. Employing this method we shall escape the theological bias to which all compilers of dictionaries are subject. Nearly all the Old Testament was written in the Hebrew language, and the New Testament in the Greek. Fortunately, we have a translation of the Old Testament into the Greek language, called the Septuagint, a translation which was made about B. C. 250. This enables us to compare Hebrew and Greek words in the Old Testament, and helps us to understand their meaning throughout the entire Scriptures. In the Hebrew the word standing for "hell" in our English translation is sheol; and in the Greek when applied to the same thing as sheol it is hades. There is another word in the Greek New Testament which has been wrongly translated "hell," and that is Gehenna; but this we will consider further on. It happens that the translators have not always given the word "hell" for the word sheol, and this helps us to see how they struggled with this word upon finding that it did not coincide with the theory their theology had perverted their minds with.

Now let us examine some of the passages where the word sheol occurs and see if we can make them fit the popular theory of "hell," and if not, let us allow our minds to reach the conclusion the passages will of themselves lead to.

SHEOL--GRAVE OR STATE OF THE DEAD

Gen. 37: 35--He (Jacob) refused to be comforted: and he said, For I will go down into the grave (sheol) unto my son mourning.

Gen. 42: 38--If mischief befall him in the way by which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave (sheol).

I. Sam. 2: 6--The Lord killeth and maketh alive; he bringeth down to the grave (sheol) and bringeth up.

I. Kings 2: 6--Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoary head go down to the grave (sheol) in peace.

Job 14: 13--O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave (sheol), that thou wouldest keep me secret until thy wrath be past.

Job 17: 13--If I wait the grave (sheol) is mine house; I have made my bed in the darkness.

Psa. 30: 3--O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave (sheol); thou has kept me alive that I should not go down to the pit.

Psa. 49: 14--Like sheep they are laid in the grave (sheol); death shall feed on them.

Hos. 13: 14--I will ransom them from the power of the grave (sheol); O grave I will be thy destruction. (Compare with I. Cor. 15: 55).

Eccles. 9: 10--There is no work nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave (sheol), whither thou goest.

Psa. 31: 17--Let them be silent in the grave (sheol).

Ezek. 32: 27--And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised which are gone down to hell (sheol) with their weapons of war; and they have laid their swords under their heads.

Psa. 16: 10--For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (sheol), neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption, (Peter uses this to prove that Christ was raised from the dead).--Acts 2: 27, 30-32.

From these testimonies it is clear that the inspired writers had no idea of a place of eternal torment being represented by the word sheol. If we substitute "the place of eternal torment" for the word sheol in these texts we shall see how absurd is the theory of modern theology. It would make Jacob say, "I refuse to be comforted; and I will go down to the place of eternal torment to my son mourning." It would make David say, "Let not his hoary head go down to the place of eternal torment in peace," as though it were possible to go to such a place in peace. It would make Job say, "O that thou wouldst hide me in the place of eternal torment until thy wrath be past," which would be praying to be taken from bad to worse. It would make David and Peter say that Christ went to the place of torment but was not left there. Now if we keep in view that the final end of the wicked is to be punished with eternal death--to be cast into the darkness of death and the grave--then we shall easily understand the use of the word sheol when the translators have rendered it "hell;" such, for instance, as "The wicked shall be turned into hell (sheol), and all nations that forget God" (Psa. 9: 17).

Take, for instance, the words of Ezekiel 32: 27--"And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to hell (sheol) with their weapons of war; and they have laid their swords under their heads. "Hell" is here shown to be a place where the "mighty lie with their swords under their heads," alluding to the custom of placing the swords of the warriors under their heads in their graves or sepulchers. But how absurd to suppose soldiers going to the popular "hell" to "lie" there and have their swords under their heads. The use of the word sheol, therefore, in this and the other passages given shows that the word had no such meaning in the minds of the inspired writers as is given to the word "hell" in our times. There is not a single passage where it has any such an absurd meaning as "hell" and the fact that the testimonies given show it to mean the grave, a meaning which the mind of the most ardent believer in the popular theory cannot resist, is enough of itself to preclude its application to the popular "hell;" for how could the same word be employed for two places so widely different as the grave, where all is darkness and insensibility, and one lit up with lurid flames, where are experienced the keenest sensibility of endless torture?

Coming to the New Testament we find the same conclusion irresistible. Here, of course, we have the Greek word hades, instead of the Hebrew sheol. That they mean the same will be seen where the New Testament quotes from the Old. In Psa. 16 David says prophetically of Christ: "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (sheol), neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." This is quoted in Acts 2: 27, 31--"Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (hades) neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." They are both speaking of Christ's resurrection from where he was during death, a place where ordinarily men "see corruption;" but where God did not suffer Christ to remain but made an exception in his case, and did not leave him in sheol or hades, but raised him from the dead. Hence Paul says, he had declared to the Corinthians that "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day" (I. Cor. 15: 3, 4). When Christ died he "poured out his soul into death" (Isa. 53: 12). So that when he was dead he was not alive, and wherever he was put when dead there he was till raised. They put him in the sepulcher; but he was not "left" there; and in stating the fact Peter says "His soul was not left in hell," and the Psalmist in prophesying this of himself and Christ said, "God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave (sheol): for he will receive me" (Psa. 49: 15).

Now this shows that sheol with the Psalmist was the same as hades with Peter; and what was "hell" with the translators in one place was "grave" in the other in the passages which speak of the same event--the resurrection of Christ. We can now examine the use of the word hades in the other places where it occurs in the New Testament.

HADES--GRAVE OR STATE OF THE DEAD

Matt. 11: 23--And thou Capernaum which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell (hades).

This prediction of our Lord's was literally fulfilled: for with the wars with the Romans and the Jews these cities were totally destroyed, so that no traces are now found of Bethsaida, Choraizin or Capernaum.--Clark, Commentary.

To be brought down to hell, the grave, was therefore to be destroyed.

Matt. 16: 18--And I say unto thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church; and the gates of hell (hades, the grave) shall not prevail against it.

"The gates of hades," says Parkhurst, "may always be allusive to the form of Jewish sepulchres."

The gates of the grave will not prevail, because the church will be delivered, and exclaim: "O grave (hades), where is thy victory?" (I. Cor. 15: 55).

Luke 10: 15--Same as already referred to in Matt. 11: 23.

Luke 16: 23--And in hell (hades) he lifted up his eyes.

Acts 2: 27-31--Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (hades), neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

I. Cor. 15: 55--O death, where is thy sting? O grave (hades) where is thy victory?

Rev. 1: 18--I am he that liveth and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, amen; and have the keys of hell (hades) and of death.

Rev. 6: 8--And I looked and behold, a pale horse; and his name that sat upon him was Death, and Hell (hades) followed after him.

Rev. 20: 13, 14--And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (hades) delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to his works. And death and hell (hades) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

These passages will all be clear to the reader as applying to the grave except, perhaps, one--that in which the rich man is said to lift up his eyes in hell (hades). We purpose explaining this parable further along, but will say here, that the parable of the rich man and Lazarus was addressed to the Pharisees (Luke 16: 14), who, having received traditions which made the Word of God of none effect, had become believers in the heathen dogma of the conscious existence of disembodied souls. To find a receptacle for these after death they invented a place where good and bad souls were reserved awaiting the judgment day; and to that place they gave the name of hades. In this parable our Lord used their theory to represent the national calamity shortly to come upon them in the destruction of Jerusalem and their torment at the hands of the Romans and other nations among whom they would suffer. The fact that the Saviour used their theory in parable no more commits him to that theory than the use of the word Beelzebub (Matt. 12: 27) committed him to the pagan fiction of the god of the fly. It must be remembered that our Lord made no attempt to instruct the Pharisees and show them the fallacy of the heathen dogmas they had espoused. He knew they were self-righteous, and ironically said to them "I am not come to call the righteous" (Matt. 9: 13). It is said that, "without a parable spake he not unto them" (Matt. 13: 34); and the reason he gave for this was, "because it is given to you (the disciples) to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not" (Matt. 13: 11).

While the Scriptures cannot be strengthened by anything authors may say, many feel more confident if they find popular authors supporting any position they may take. Sometimes commentators honestly give a true exposition, even when the scriptures commented on condemn their cherished theories; and on the subject in hand this is exemplified as the following quotations will show.

POPULAR AUTHORS ON THE WORD HELL

The Hebrew word sheol is translated HELL properly as a general thing, if intended to mean the same as the old Saxon word hell, the covered receptacle of all the dead, where the good and bad repose together in a state of UNCONSCIOUSNESS; but very improperly and very SHAMEFULLY IF intended to be a symbol of the "orthodox" and traditionary hell as a place of conscious torment for the wicked only. But we, without the slightest reservation, condemn the translators; for they have evidently endeavored to observe the true sense of the word sheol, and to uphold the traditionary meaning of hell at the expense of truth and uniformity. Had sheol been uniformly translated pit or grave or the state of the dead, or even the mansions of the dead, no such absurd idea as that of a place of conscious torment could ever have been associated with it.--Bible versus Tradition, p. 188.

Hades means literally that which is darkness. A careful examination will lead to the conclusion that no sanction to the intermediate state is afforded by these passages where hades occurs; but they denote the grave, both of the righteous and wicked--Dr. Kitto, Cyclopedia.

The original word hades, from a, not, and idien, to see--the invisible receptacle or mansion of the dead, answering to sheol in Hebrew. The word hell, used in the common translation, conveys now an improper meaning of the original word, because hell is only used to signify the place of the damned. But as the word hell comes from the Anglo-Saxon helan, to cover or hide, hence the tiling or slating of a house in some parts of England (particularly Cornwall) is heling to this day, and the covers of books (in Lancashire), by the same name, so the literal import of the original word hades was formerly well expressed by it.--Dr. Adam Clarke, Commentary.

The gates of hades may always be allusive to the form of the Jewish sepulchres, which were large caves with a narrow mouth or entrance, many of which are found in Judea."--Parkhurst, Lexicon.

These authors make the matter clear in harmony with the scriptures; and it will be seen that if we have the true meaning of the word "hell" in mind when reading passages wherein it is translated from hades, the word is a correct translation, meaning invisibility, the unseen. What can be termed invisibility and unseen more fittingly than the death state, in the dust, or in the grave, "helled" over or covered. In some parts of Wales today the people speak of "helling" their potatoes when they cover them over; and when they cover over a corpse in the grave the same word is employed and is in common use in this sense throughout the peninsula of Gower, where the old Saxon words are largely in use. The writer can speak from personal knowledge, having been bred in that part of the world.

But, to return to the Scriptures:

A glance at the passages given will show them to be in perfect harmony with the Old Testament use of the word sheol for grave. To bring Capernaum down to hell was to destroy it. To say that the gates of hell should not prevail against the church was an assurance of the resurrection to life, triumph and glory of all the faithful constituents of the bride who is to be made the Lamb's wife at His coming. For Christ to have the keys of hell is for him to be "the resurrection and the life" of all his faithful ones and to forever consign to death and the grave the unfaithful. For death and hell to give up the dead which are in them is for the dead to be given life and the buried to be raised from the grave. For death and hell to be symbolically cast into the abyss is for their power over all the redeemed to be destroyed, when there shall be no more death, and consequently no more victims to be swallowed up in the grave. When Christ has "reigned till he has destroyed the last enemy--death"--every one that will prove to be worthy of endless life in glory will be able to triumphantly exclaim, "O death where is thy sting, O grave (hades) where is thy victory?" The time will then have arrived when "the wicked shall not be: yea thou shalt diligently consider his place and it shall not be," and "God will be all in all," universally.

GEHENNA--WHAT AND WHERE IS IT?

A brief examination of the other Greek word translated "hell" in the New Testament is all that is necessary now to rid our minds of the slavish superstition of eternal torment.

Gehenna has an entirely different meaning from hades, and never ought to have been translated by the word hell. The following from the Emphatic Diaglott is a good explanation:

Gehenna, the Greek word translated hell in the common version, occurs 12 times. It is the Grecian mode of spelling the Hebrew words which are translated "The Valley of Hinnom." This valley was also called Tophet, a detestation, an abomination. Into this place were cast all kinds of filth, with the carcasses of beasts and the unburied bodies of criminals who had been executed. Continual fires were kept to consume these. Sennacherib's army of 185,000 men were slain here in one night. Here children were burnt to death in sacrifice to Moloch. Gehenna, then, as occurring in the New Testament, symbolizes death and utter destruction, but in no place symbolizes a place of eternal torment.

The Jews having come to look upon Gehenna as a place of horror, it was associated by our Lord with the destiny which awaited those who shall be the victims of the wrath of God in the day of just retribution. The testimonies in which the word is used indicate that, not only was Gehenna a place of judicial punishment in the past, but in that same place will the righteous judgments of God be poured upon the transgressors. The worms that preyed upon the carcasses in the past have long since devoured them; the unquenchable fire that burned has devoured its victims. So when the worms shall again prey upon the bodies of the wicked and the fire burn, destruction will be the inevitable result. You will see, dear reader, that the meaning of the words, "The worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched," is not that the bodies upon which the worms prey are preserved alive--not that they will burn and yet never burn. The fact that worms are represented as preying is proof that their victims have been put to death and that to be totally devoured is the end; and the fact that the fire is not quenched is proof, not that its victims will be preserved, but that they will be devoured.

The following are the passages where the word hell in the common version is from Gehenna:

Matt. 5: 22--But I say, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell (Gehenna) fire.

Matt. 5: 29--And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell (Gehenna).

Matt. 10: 28--And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell (Gehenna).

Matt. 18: 9--And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell (Gehenna) fire.

Matt. 23: 15--Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell (Gehenna) than yourselves.

Matt. 23: 33--Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell (Gehenna).

Mark 9: 43, 45, 47; Luke 12: 5--These are the same as given from Matthew.

Jas. 3: 6--And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell (Gehenna).

Does it not seem strange that a theory of endless preservation of the wicked in torment should strive to find support in a word which is the name of a place where destruction by fire and absolute devouring by worms were the certain results of being cast therein? The quenchlessness of the fire instead of meaning the preservation of its victims could mean nothing else but their destruction, which is emphasized by the words, "He shall burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." The word "unquenchable" applied in ordinary language is well understood to mean the hopelessness of keeping in existence that which is on fire; and this is the Scriptural meaning, as will be seen by the words of the prophet Jeremiah--"Then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched" (chap. 17: 27). This fire was kindled by the Romans in A. D. 70 and it "devoured;" but he who would claim it is still burning because it was not to be quenched would be as foolish as those who claim that the fires of Gehenna will always be burning and never go out because it is called "unquenchable."

For to say "the worm dieth not" is to insure the devouring of its prey, surely not that its victim will be eternally preserved, always being devoured and yet not devoured. There is an attempt to escape the clear common-sense meaning of these and other passages wherein the word "destroy," "perish," etc., occur by assuming that these words are not to be taken to mean literal destruction of the being, that they only mean that the wicked are destroyed in the sense we speak of a man who has become a reprobate--his character is destroyed, he is ruined. It would seem that anything will do if only the cherished theory of eternal torture can be sustained, and why? Why are men so anxious to uphold a theory that is so revolting to reason and so dishonoring to God, when there is no man who really believes it when he silently reflects, but all sorts of apologies are offered for the horrible doctrine? It is true the words "destroy," "perish," etc., are sometimes used in the secondary sense claimed, but in the passages we have given the context shows clearly that they are employed in the most literal sense. It is that the wicked are destroyed, not that good men are destroyed in character by becoming wicked. They are already destroyed in the latter sense, that is, in the sense of being ruined, from the fact that they are wicked, and it is the destruction, devouring and perishing of these that the Scriptures are speaking of.

Then again, there is a play upon the words "destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3: 23), as if they did not mean absolute destruction, but banishment to another region. A comparison of scripture with scripture will show the fallacy of this. We have only to observe the use of the word "destroy" in the following texts to see that no such a theory as banishment to another region is meant: "And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man and cattle and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth" (Gen.7:23). If "destroyed from the earth" here as applied to man means banishment to "hell," then it must mean the same for all the creatures named, for the one phrase describes what happened to them all. Now here, in the punishment of the wicked antediluvians, was the very place to make mention of the "hell" of popular belief if such a place existed. All the advocates of the theory will try to believe that this place of torture became greatly in demand as a receptacle of all whom the Flood swept off the earth; yet not a word do we find in the scriptures about their transportation to such a region. On the contrary they were destroyed in the same sense that the cattle, creeping things and fowls of the air were. Therefore to be "destroyed from among the people," "from the earth," etc., is to be blotted out of existence in the case of wicked men as literally as in that of the creatures of earth and sky.

Many foolishly say that "if there is a heaven there must be a hell; and if there is a God there must be a devil." This shows how perverted the minds of the devotees of popular religion are that they seriously believe that the existence of heaven, God's holy habitation, depends upon a "hell" where millions moan and groan and writhe in torture eternally; and that the existence of an everlasting devil is essential to that of Him who is the source of all life. Some have even gone so far as to say that if the lurid flames of hell were ever to be quenched, heaven would be left in darkness; and many of the blind insane advocates of the horrible, God-dishonoring doctrine have exhausted the strongest words of our language in an effort to paint pen pictures of the "infernal regions" the most revolting and disgusting, and which would almost shock the sensibilities of the most savage of savages.

It is well that modern theologians are getting ashamed of seeing their theory painted in colors befitting it, but so long as they cling to the theory of the immortality of the soul they never can rid their creeds of their horrible "hell" of endless torture. They may spiritualize the old-fashioned tongues of flashing, fiery flame into an eternal "gnawing of conscience," and thus render the horrors of their "hell" a little more pallatable to the refined tastes of modern church society; but behind the pulpit there is still the old closet with the hideous skeleton, and until they totally abandon their creeds, all of which are based upon the immortality of the soul, destroy the books their predecessors have produced, books that are black with the darkness of the dark ages of Romish superstition, and red with the savage glare of pagan insatiable cruelty and crime, all the spiritualizing their refinement may invent will never quench the sulphurous fires their creeds have kindled, nor wipe from the records of history the stains they have cast upon the character of a God of justice and love.

Perhaps it would not be amiss to glance here at a few of the pictures they have painted of their "hell."

The "Rev." J. Furness writes as follows:

Listen to the tremendous, the horrible uproar of millions and millions of tormented creatures, mad with the fury of hell. Oh, the screams of fear, the groanings of horror, the yells of rage, the cries of pain, the shouts of agony, the shrieks of despair, from millions on millions. There you hear them roaring like lions, hissing like serpents, howling like dogs, and wailing like dragons. There you hear the gnashing of teeth, and the fearful blasphemies of the devils. Above all you hear the roarings of the thunders of God's anger, which shake hell to its foundations. But there is another sound. There is in hell a sound like that of many waters; it is as if all the rivers and oceans in the world were pouring themselves with a great splash down on the floor of hell. Is it then, really the sound of waters? It is. Are the rivers and oceans of earth pouring themselves into hell? No. What is it then? It is the sound of oceans of tears running down from countless millions of eyes. They cry for ever and ever. They cry because the sulphurous smoke torments their eyes. They cry because they are in darkness. They cry because they have lost the beautiful heaven. They cry because the sharp fire burns them."

The third dungeon, the lowest depth of hell, is described as follows:

The roof is red-hot; the walls are red; the floor is like a thick sheet of red-hot iron. See! On the middle of that floor stands a girl--she looks about sixteen years old. Her feet are bare; she has neither shoes nor stockings on her feet; her bare feet stand on the red-hot burning floor. The door of this room has never been opened since she first set her foot on the red-hot floor. Now she sees that the door is opening. She rushes forward. She has gone down on her knees on the red-hot floor. Listen! She speaks. She says: "I have been standing with my bare feet on this red-hot floor for years. Day and night my only standing place has been this red-hot floor, Sleep never came on for a moment, that I might forget this horrible burning floor. Look," she says, "at my burnt and bleeding feet. Let me go off this burning floor for one moment. Only one single, short moment. Oh! that in this endless eternity of years I might forget the pain only for one single moment." The Devil answers her question, "Do you ask for one moment to forget your pain? No! not for one single moment during the never ending eternity of years shall you ever leave this red-hot floor."

The following is from "Cheever's Powers of the World to Come:"

The shock of furious armies, the crash of falling avalanches, mountains overwhelming cities, volcanoes in action, herds of wild beasts confined and roaring in the dungeon of the Coliseum, making the whole structure quake with their bellowings, then all at once let loose, and with a fierce conflict of hunger and rage grappling with one another; the elements in wild affright and uproar; earthquakes, conflagrations, floods, pestilences, wars; all these are dire images of terror, ruin, desolation, destruction. But all these, and even the stars dropping from heaven, as when a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs, and the whole universe beaten together in chaos, or shrivelling as a parched scroll, all these come short of any representation of eternal death; they all fail; they are merely transitory syllables. The moral death is unapproachable by any such representation.

These are only a sample of the many shocking pictures which popular preachers have drawn of the unending torture of those who fail in life's hard struggle.

The educated and refined, even of popular churches, will stand aghast before such pictures as these; but get rid of them they never can, till they come out from among churches based upon the doctrine which is responsible for such horrors. Those of the vulgar ranks will make no apology; but exclaim, "What shall we do with wicked people without a hell?" To these the "strong delusion that they should believe a lie" seems indispensible to whip and frighten men into the churches. That may be true so far as "conversion" to popular churches is concerned; and the horrible doctrine seems to be permitted scope to hold in reasonable subjection the passions of the lustful and brutish. Still even in this it falls short; for most of the criminals in the penitentiaries and those swung from the gallows are believers in the popular "hell." But whatever this permitted libel upon God may be for, it is a slander upon His name and an enemy of His Word. Men are not allowed to slander each other with impunity, and there is some care between man and man; but many seem to think they can represent God in any inconsistent, unjust, revengeful manner their theological whims may suggest. The man who would falsely circulate a story of his fellow-man subjecting a dog, be it the most wicked, savage creature, to daily torture for one week, would be declared a slanderer to be shunned by all decent people, but men who report from pulpits that God preserves billions of helpless, moaning, groaning, withering, maddened creatures in an eternal mad-house theologically called "hell," are lauded and applauded as the most respectable and refined members of society. Man's character must by common consent be vindicated in measure, but God may be held up before the world as a monster of injustice, and insatiable vindictiveness. Dear reader, let us stand up boldly and fearlessly against this theological outrage, and let us vindicate the character of God and the truth of His Word; heralding to a perishing world that a God of justice and love holds out a hand of help and hope to rescue men from perishing and passing into the pit of oblivion; and to give them health and life and joy eternal, with, ultimately, a redeemed world, cursed not by sin, sorrow and death, but one in which shall dwell only the grateful, righteous and glorified children of a beneficent Being, who will be the fruits of the "travail of the soul" of a faithful loving Saviour. Then God will be "all in all," His name magnified, honored and adored, and all the surviving creatures of His handiwork forever blessed.