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Campbell says is always and indisputably its sense in the New Testament, how is it accounted for that they take no notice of it? If this was its sense when the Greek translation was made, had not they as good a right to give it this sense as our English translators, when they made our present English version? If the original and Scriptural meaning of the word was to be laid aside in translating, and an assumed sense of it on man's authority adopted by the latter, why not also by the former? Should it be said, "the Greek version is only of the Old Testament, and it is in the New that Gehenna always and indisputably means a place of endless misery for the wicked;" we reply to this by asking how the New Testament sense of Gehenna comes to be so different from that of the Old? And we ask, further, why Whitby and Parkhurst, quoted before, refer us to the Targums and not to the Old Testament for this new sense given to Gehenna? We ask still further, how this new sense given to this word is ever to be reconciled with the facts we have stated, or can be made to agree with the contexts of the passages in which it occurs? Besides, had men never heard of the Targums and only consulted their Bibles to learn what was the Scripture usage of this word, would they ever give it such a meaning? But what ought to set this matter at rest is, that neither the writers of the Apocrypha nor the authors of the Greek version used Gehenna in this new sense, and even the very writers of the Targums, we are referred to in proof of this sense, are allowed to have given us fables and false glosses of their own. Yea, in the very passages in the Old Testament, where these glosses about Gehenna are given, no rational man would say that any thing in the passages warranted them.
3d, To whatever source then, this change in the sense of Gehenna is referred, which Dr. Campbell
says was gradual, it cannot be ascribed in any degree to the authors of the Greek version. Seeing then that they, as well as the authors of the Apocrypha, cannot be quoted as authorities for it, to what other source are we to be referred for this new sense of Gehenna? We do not see that it can be traced to any other source but the Targums. Should it then be found that it is used there in this sense frequently and explicitly, what would be the conclusion which any rational man would draw from this? Would he conclude that Gehenna is a place of endless misery? No; he would conclude that this is something which the writers of the Targums have added as a gloss of their own to the text of the Old Testament, for the authors of the Greek version found no such thing in the Old Testament when their version was made, nor did they think themselves warranted in adding any such glosses of their own. Either, then, the authors of the Greek version did wrong in not finding this sense of Gehenna in the Old Testament, when they made their version, or the Targums are not to be regarded in having made this addition to the oracles of God. If we are to receive this addition of theirs, why not all their other additions, until the word of God is made by us as it was by the Jews, of none effect through our traditions?
THERE is not a truth revealed in the Bible, against which, one opposed to it, may not start objections. It would, however, be a mere waste of time, and a very trifling employment, to answer every silly objec tion which might be made. All will allow, that objections which are rational, and which affect the subject against which they are brought, demand an answer. Every objection which has occurred to myself, or has been suggested by others, of any weight against the views which have been advanced, I shall now attempt to consider. These objections divide themselves into two classes; plausible, popular objections, but which do not bear against the argument which has been adduced, and such as are supposed to have some weight against the evidence in support of that argument. I shall begin with the first of these.
1st, One of the most popular objections which I think can be stated, is, that my sentiments are of a licentious tendency. It is remarked, if you do away Gehenna or hell as a place of endless punishment for the wicked, what is left to deter men from the commission of every crime? Indeed, say some, if I believed there was no hell, I would indulge myself in all kinds of iniquity! Look, say they, at the loose principles, and still more loose morals, of the Universalists; and add, by way of triumph, who ever heard of a revival of religion among them? It will be allowed, that I have stated
AN INQUIRY INTO THE WORD GEHENNA.
this objection fully and fairly. It shall now be my business, as fully and fairly to meet it.
1st, It is said, "if hell, a place of endless punishment is done away, what is left to deter men from the commission of crime?" In reply to this, I remark➡ 1st, Under the Old Testament dispensation, it is allowed, that the doctrine of hell torments was not known. Suffer me to ask, what was left then to deter men from crime before this doctrine bad existence? When these persons have told us, what was left in those days to deter men from crime without it, we are prepared to inform them what can deter men in these days without it. And if this doctrine was not preached under the Old Testament to make men holy, how came any then to be holy without it? Did Adam preach the doctrine of hell torments to Cain to make him holy? Did Noah preach this doctrine to make the antediluvians holy? Did Lot preach this doctrine to make the Sodomites holy? Did Abraham even allude to this doctrine in his intercession with God, as an argument that they might be spared? Yea, was the belief of this doctrine the cause of the holiness of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, &c. &c.? Did the belief of bell torments make them holy in distinction from those who were unholy? If this was the cause of their being holy themselves, why did they not preach this doctrine to make their friends, neighbours, and indeed all mankind, holy? If this doctrine was believed in those days, and was so well fitted as is supposed, to prevent wickedness, why was it not preached? Surely Noah ought to have preached it to the people of the old world, when all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. He was a preacher of righteousness, but I do not find a single hint given in his history, that he was a preacher of hell torments, to deter men from their licentious courses. Besides; why did not Lot preach it to the Sodomites to make
them holy? They were sinners before the Lord exceedingly, but I do not find that he believed this doctrine to keep himself holy, or preached it to others to deter them from licentiousness. Not a word is said, which would lead one to conclude that the antediluvians and Sodomites were all believers in the doctrine of universal salvation, and that this was the cause of their wickedness; nor is a word dropped that Noah, Lot and others, believed in the doctrine of hell torments and that this led them to holiness.
2d, If the doctrine of hell torments, is so well calculated to prevent sin, and promote holiness, why did not our Lord teach it to the Jews, who are allowed to have been a race of very wicked men? Can any man believe, that by the damnation of hell, our Lord meant a place of eternal misery, and that he thought it, like the objector, so well fitted to prevent licentiousness, yet only mentioned it once to the unbelieving Jews? Did he think there was nothing left to prevent men from committing all manner of iniquity, and yet but once, and that in a discourse relating to the destruction of Jerusalem, say to them-" how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" It is not the easiest thing in the world for us to believe this.
3d, It is an indisputable fact, that the apostles of our Lord, never said a word about hell to the Gentiles. We ask then, what they had left to deter men from the commission of every crime? If they knew that hell was a place of endless misery for the wicked, and thought it such an excellent antidote against licentiousness, why did they never make use of it? They must have either been ignorant of such a doctrine, or very culpable in not preaching it, to deter men from crime; or they did not consider it so efficacious as the objector imagines. The Gentile-nations in the apostles' days, were very licentious. And it appears from chap. i. sect. 3. that they were also