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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.
THE ARGUMENT, ARISING FROM THE APOCRYPHA AND TARGUMS, IN FAVOUR OF ENDLESS MISERY IN GEHENNA HELL, CONSIdered.
Ir Gehenna or hell in the New Testament, means, as is generally believed, a place of endless misery, the evidence of this, we might expect, to be plain, and conclusive. But we have examined it, and have not only found it defective, but have, in fact, found the evidence strongest on the opposite side of the question. We have considered all the texts in which this word occurs, and have found, the temporal punishment of the Jews is referred to by the damnation of hell. Besides: we have stated a number of facts, which we think never can be reconciled with the current opinion on this subject. I might, therefore, here stop, until it is known, how such facts are disposed of, and it is shown, that I have misinterpreted the passages in which the word Gehenna occurs. But as the Targums and the Apocrypha are appealed to in proof of this doctrine, it might be deemed wrong in me altogether to overlook the argument, which such persons attempt to draw from them. They may think, that I ought to account for it, why these writers came to use the term Gehenna as meaning a place of endless misery, if my views of Gehenna be correct.
We think this ought to be accounted for; but I deny, that I am under any obligations to account for it.
AN INQUIRY INTO THE WORD GEHENNA.
Let such as value their authority account for it, how Gehenna, as Dr. Campbell affirms, came gradually to be used to express a place of future punishment for the wicked, and at length came to be confined to it. Must I do their work and my own too? It is their business to show, that the gradual change in the meaning of the term Gehenna did not originate from the gradual invention of men, but from the authority of God. We think, if Gehenna could be proved satisfactorily, to mean a place of endless misery from the Bible, there was no occasion to call in the authority of the Targums and Apocrypha to prove this doctrine. Only give us God's authority for it, and we ask no other.-But, however unreasonable the demand is on me, I shall now pay some attention to this.
Let us begin with the Apocrypha. These writings all have access to, and can read them at their leisure. I shall simply give all the places in which the term hell is used in the Apocrypha. It occurs in the following places, 2 Esdras ii. 29.; iv. 8.; viii. 53. Tobit xiii. 2. Wisd. xvii. 14. Eccles. xxi. 10.; li. 5, 6. Song of the three children, verse 66. It would serve no valuable purpose for me to transcribe these passages, as they can be easily referred to and read. On the whole of them I shall submit the following remarks. Though the word hell is used in all these places, yet a very important inquiry is,-did the writers of the Apocrypha use the word Hades or Gebenna in the original? From reading the passages in the English version, we began to suspect, from the phraseology connected with the word hell, that Hades and not Gehenna was the word used in the original. We have been at some pains to examine this, and shall give the result of our inquiries about it. We have found, then, in the original Greck of the Apocrypha that it is the term Hades, not Gehenna, that is used, with the exception of the passages mentioned in the
second book of Esdras, which book we have not been able to find. But from the phraseology which is connected with the word hell, in the English version, we are persuaded that the three places in Esdras, when examined, will form no exception to the use of the word Hades in all the other places. If Gray, in his key to the Old Testament, is to be believed, this book is not to be found in the original. He says, p. 531. "The second book of Esdras is not to be found in any Hebrew or Greek manuscripts. It is supposed to have been originally written in the Greek language; but is extant only in a few Latin copies, and in an Arabic version." He adds, p. 534. The book was never admitted into the Hebrew canon; and there is no sufficient authority to prove that it was ever extant in the Hebrew language. Its pretended prophecies are not produced in evidence by Christian writers, striking as such testimony must have been, if genuine; and the book was never publicly or generally acknowledged either in the Greek or Latin church; nor was it ever inserted in the sacred catalogue, by either councils or fathers; but is expressly represented as apocryphal by St. Jerom, who describes it as rejected by the church."
Leaving, then, the three places where the term hell is used in the second book of Esdras, out of the present question, let us see what all the others amount to, in proving that hell means a place of endless misery for the wicked.
1st, In all the other places, where the word hell is used, the original word is Hades. Are we then to receive it as a truth, on the authority of these uninspired writers, that Hades is a place of endless punishment for the wicked? We think it has been shown that this is not the sense in which the New Testament writers use this word. Nor is Sheol, its corresponding word in the Old, used in this sense. See chap. 1.