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cused him of any such thing. If he ever had done it, would they have failed to bring this forward against him? None of the Jews had any idea of going to hell. Would they, then, have endured to be told so, without a murmur or complaint against him? Would this have formed no ground of accusation? No man can believe this, who has read the four gospels, and、 has noticed the unwearied opposition of the Jews against the Saviour.
2d, Let us see what accusations were brought against his disciples, and apostles. They also were accused of being enemies to Cæsar. But passing over other accusations, we shall fix on what Stephen was accused of, as a fair specimen of what they were all charged with." This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: for we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us." Enemies as the Jews were to the disciples of our Lord, did they even so much as insinuate the charge against them, that they ever threatened them with endless torments in hell? They say, that Stephen said-" Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place," but did they ever say, that either Jesus, or Stephen said, that he would destroy them with everlasting misery in Gehenna or hell? No: let me advocate for once the cause of the Jews, they never brought such a charge against Christ or any of his followers. On this occasion, let it be remembered, that the accusers of Stephen were false witnesses, procured for the very purpose of finding him guilty. Now, does any man think, or can he suppose, that these false witnesses after saying Stephen said, "This Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place," would have forgotten to add, such an important charge "And he also said, that he would destroy us and all the wicked in hell to endless dura
tion ?" The man, who can believe this to be a mere oversight in these witnesses, in not mentioning such a material charge against Stephen, is prepared to believe any thing. But they could not bring such an accusation against him or any of the first preachers, for as we have seen, none of them ever used the word Gehenna or hell in preaching either to Jews or Gentiles. All who had ever heard them preach, could have been called as witnesses to prove, that it was a false accusation. Such a false charge, would have been in face of public opinion to the contrary.
But let us see what were the accusations which the Gentiles brought against the followers of Christ. They accused them of turning the world upside down; of turning away much people, saying that "they were no gods which were made with hands." In consequence of this they were accounted Atheists, enemies to the gods, and deserving to be abhorred of men. Now, give me leave to ask, was the charge ever brought against them in any shape, by any person, that they ever threatened men with endless punishment in hell or Gehenna? No: all the jesuitical ingenuity in the world, cannot find a word said, which has such an appearance. Had the apostles then ever threatened the Gentiles with endless punishment in hell would they have failed to bring this as an accusation against them? Should it be objected here
have you not yourself shown in chap. i. sect. 3. that the heathen nations all believed in the doctrine of future punishment, and that the Jews learned this doctrine from their intercourse with them; how then could the heathen be offended with the apostles for teaching one of the tenets of their religion?" To this I answer, that the heathen believed in a future punishment in Hades, but observe that the apostles neither taught such a punishment in Hades, nor in Gehenna. This is a fact we think beyond all fair discus
sion. Not a word did any of the apostles say to the heathen about punishment in either of these places. If they had preached future punishment in Gehenna to them, they might have said, we have heard of future punishment in Hades, but why preach this new doctrine, a punishment in Gehenna ? Their not preaching a punishment in Hades, shows that they did not believe this heathen notion; and the Gentiles never accusing the apostles of threatening them with endless punishment in Gehenna, is a confirmation that no such doctrine was taught to the heathen world.
Another circumstance corroborative of the views I have advanced concerning Gehenna, is the following. On my views of Gehenna the conduct of our Lord and his apostles is just what might be expected, but if by Gehenna is understood a place of endless misery, it is strange and unaccountable. What I refer to will be best seen by,
1st, Considering our Lord's conduct. We have seen, from a consideration of all the passages in which he speaks of Gehenna, that nine times out of twelve, all he says concerning it, was addressed to his disciples. In only one instance did he ever say to the unbelieving Jews-"how can ye escape the damnation of bell?" Matth. xxiii. 33. Now, notice, that at verses 38, 39. he adds, "behold your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, ye shall not see me henceforth till ye shall say, blessed is he that -cometh in the name of the Lord." After this he never said a word to them about the damnation of hell. Now let it be supposed, that by this expression our Lord meant endless misery in a future state,
I ask, is it possible our Lord should only mention this once? I ask again, can it be believed, that he who said on the cross,-"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do," should have ceased, but with his dying breath,, to warn these men,, that
such a place of endless misery awaited them? lask once more, is it possible, that he, who, when he beheld the city, "wept over it," on account of temporal calamities in which it was soon to be involved, should shed no tears, in anticipating the endless misery of its wicked inhabitants? On the supposition that Gehenna is such a place, it must, I think, be allowed that our Lord's conduct is strange and unaccountable. But on my views of the damnation or punishment of hell our Lord's conduct excites no surprise; all is rational and what the circumstances of the case warrants us to expect. They had rejected their promised Messiah, the measure of their iniquity they were soon to fill up, and they could not escape the damnation of hell. But let it be satisfactorily accounted for, why our Lord never afterwards said any thing to them of the damnation of hell, if thereby he meant endless misery in the world to come.
2d, The conduct of his apostles. It is easily seen that their conduct is in perfect agreement with that of their master before them. He never said a word about hell or Gehenna to the Gentiles. Neither do they. He never said a word more concerning Gehenna to the unbelieving Jews after saying-"how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" Neither do they. If it should be objected here,-"why did not the apostles continue to speak to the unbelieving Jews about the damnation of hell, allowing it to mean the temporal miseries coming on that generation? why should they not have continued to warn them of this, as their Lord had done before them?"The answer to this is easy. In Luke xix. 42. our Lord told the Jews that the things which belonged to their peace were now hid from their eyes. Their doom was fixed, their punishment was unavoidable. Accordingly our Lord said," how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" Soon the wrath of God was to
come on them to the uttermost. This it did in the destruction of their city and temple, when such calamities came upon them as never had been before, nor ever should be again, and unless the Lord had shortened the days, no flesh could have been saved.
In many places of the epistles, written to believers, allusions are made to the judgments of God coming on the Jewish nation, though not mentioned under the name Gehenna. The event is not only alluded to, but spoken of as near; and Christians are exhorted to patience, and holiness, in view of it. But these very parts of the epistles, are by many, like the texts which speak of Gehenna, all applied to punishment in a future state of existence. See for example, L Thess. v. 1-10. 1 Peter iv. 17—19.