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one of these interpretations expresses the common import of the word in Holy Writ, and the other assigns it a meaning which it plainly has not in any other passage of Scripture, the rules of criticism manifestly require that we recur to the common acceptation of the term." This is just what I have done with the term Gehenna in the passage before us. I have given it a meaning "suitable to the scope of the place." The sense I have given it, also " expresses the common import of the word in Holy Writ," where it is used as an emblem of punishment in the Old Testament. We shall see that it agrees also with all the places where it occurs in the New. The interpretation commonly given to Gehenna "assigns it a meaning which it plainly has not in any other passage of Scripture."
The rules of criticism manifestly require" then, the interpretation which I have given this passage. The commonly received sense of this word, is therefore contrary to the rules of criticism, as declared by Dr. Campbell himself.
I am aware that I have dwelt longer on this passage than was absolutely necessary. This I have done for several reasons. It is one of the principal texts, supposed to teach the doctrine of hell torments.-It is also the only text, where a punishment of Gehenna or hell, is threatened wicked men in the New Testament, whether Jew or Gentile. It is also a text, the context of which decides clearly, what our Lord meant by the punishment of Gehenna. It serves as a key to unlock the meaning of other places, where the circumstances in the context may not so clearly determine the sense of Gehenna. If our Lord did not, in this passage, mean by Gehenna a place of endless misery, there is no probability that in any other this was his meaning; for here he spoke to men, whom Josephus says, were the wickedest race of men that ever lived on the face of the earth. Since by the
damnation of hell he did not threaten them with eternal punishment, it is not to be supposed that in any of the other texts he did this; for what is said in them. is addressed to his disciples. It is not likely he used Gehenna to express both a place of temporal and eternal punishment; and it is less likely that he should threaten the unbelieving Jews with the former, and his own disciples with the latter.
I shall now proceed to consider all the other texts in which Gehenna is used in the New Testament. A consideration of them will likely either confirm the views I have advanced, or detect the fallacy of my opinions. The first then I introduce, is Matth. v. 22. "But I say unto you, 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." In this passage there are three crimes and three punishments mentioned; the judgment, the council, and hell fire. It will be allowed that the two first of these punishments are of a tem poral nature, and are confined to the present life. Why the third should be extended to a future state, and considered of endless duration, is not so easily perceived, unless we take it for granted that hell means the place of endless misery in a future state. But this ought not to be taken for granted, for this is again. taking for granted the very question in debate. A question very naturally arises on this text.-Is the guilt of being angry with, and calling a brother raca, deserving only of temporal punishment; and must calling him a fool, subject the offender to hell or eternal misery? This is far from being probable, if punishment is to be regulated by the nature and degree of the offence. But on this text let us hear Mr. Park
hurst, who was as far from being a Universalist, as the east is distant from the west. He says, on the word Gehenna,-"a Gehenna of fire, Matth. v. 22. does, I apprehend, in its outward and primary sense, relate to that dreadful doom of being burnt alive in the valley of Hinnom." It is here allowed by Parkhurst, that Gehenna, in its outward and primary sense, relates to temporal punishment in the valley of Hinnom. Well, and let me ask, what is its inward and secondary sense? And to what in this sense does it relate? Are persons who turn words and texts of Scripture aside from their outward and primary sense, under no obligation to inform us why they do so, and on whose authority it is done? If we take the liberty to turn words aside from their outward and primary sense, to suit ourselves in support of our religious system, what is it that may not be proved from the Bible? But if Gehenna, in this passage, is to have some other sense than its outward and primary one, two thirds of our work yet remains to be done. We have also to find out some other sense, than the outward and pri mary sense, to the words judgment and council. If we take such liberty with the word Gehenna, why not also with those other words? We must go through with the text, or show solid reasons why we do so only with the word Gehenna. Until this is done, let Gehenna be understood in the sense it has in the Old Testament, and also in the sense it had when our Lord addressed the unbelieving Jews, as we have seen in the preceding passage. There is certainly nothing, either in this text or its context, which shows that our Lord used the word Gehenna in a new and different sense from what it had in the Old Testament; nothing which indicates that he meant by this word a place of endless misery. There is just as much reason to believe that he used the words judgment and council in a new sense, yea, for a place of eter
nal misery, as that he so used Gehenna. There is nothing but the popular idea which is affixed to this word, in favour of the one more than the other. This idea is attached to the word hell, and wherever we see it, or hear it, the idea of a place of endless misery is always suggested by it. The same would have been the case, had the idea been affixed to either the word judgment or council. Why the word hell should be thought to mean a place of eternal misery in this text, rather than those other words, I can assign no other reason except the one just given.
This is the first place in which the word Gehenna occurs, and what is said was addressed by our Lord to his disciples. It is evident then, that our Lord began to speak of Gehenna to his disciples long before he said a word about it to the unbelieving Jews. One should think this rather strange, if by this word he meant to teach them the doctrine of eternal misery. Here he told them, that by calling their brother a fool, they were in danger of hell fire. What, then, it may be asked, did he mean by this hell fire, in thus addressing his disciples? To this I answer, that we have seen Gehenna in the Old Testament made an emblem of the temporal miseries coming on the Jewish nation. We have also seen from the preceding passage, that our Lord spoke of these miseries in the same way. If any of his disciples did not continue in obedience to him, but apostatized, they should be involved in the same temporal calamities with the rest of the Jews. Their safety from the damnation of hell was inseparably connected with constant faith and obedience. This damnation or punishment of hell was to come on that generation. It was to come on them as a thief, and to constant watchfulness the disciples were exhorted, that they might escape it. Accordingly, let any one read Matth. xxiv. and see at what pains our Lord was to point out the signs which
should precede the destruction of Jerusalem, and to give his disciples suitable directions how to conduct themselves in regard to it, so that they might be saved from all the dreadful calamities in which the Jewish nation was to be involved.
Before I conclude my remarks on this text, it may just be noticed, that neither in this passage, nor in any other where our Lord addressed his disciples, does he speak about Gehenna to them as he did to the unbelieving Jews. Here he says, by calling their brother a fool, they would be in danger of hell fire; but when he addressed the unbelieving Jews, he said, "how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" In this last passage, let it be noticed, that the word damnation is connected with the word Gehenna or hell. In the passage before us, the word fire is connected with it. We have shown above that the word damnation simply means judgment or punishment. In remarking on one of the passages yet to be considered, I shall show that the word fire is used figuratively to express temporal punishment. Inattention to this apparently trifling circumstance, has led to some very mistaken views of many parts of Scripture.
Perhaps the following objection may be urged against my view of this passage." Allowing Gehenna to refer to the temporal punishment coming on the Jewish nation, why did calling a brother a fool, subject to this punishment, rather than the other crimes here mentioned?" In answer to this, let it be observed, that as hell fire, or God's temporal judgments on the Jewish nation, is the severest punishment mentioned in the passage, we may expect that the crime of which it is the punishment, would also be the greatest. Accordingly, the word moreh, in the common version rendered "fool," Dr. Campbell renders "miscreant." In his preface to Matthew's gospel, sect. xxv.. he says, "the word morch, here used by the evan