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of the law, a specimen of what might be said on the principles of the Jewish synagogue, concerning the more inward and spiritual religion that had been concealed from common observation under the veil of Moses; and that the author might design to develop the more secret wis. dom of God in his government of the world, and of his church; with the more notable events relative to the introduction and establishment of the kingdom of the Mes. siah, in order to facilitate the reception of the gospel and its mysteries.
“ It is probable that the author's intention was to promote the success of Christianity; and Calmet has conjectured, that he lived during the time of some persecution of the Christians, whom he appears desirous of exciting to faith and fortitude. But however pious the design of the author, it will not apologize for the guilt of endeavoring to impose a spurious for an inspired work on the world; and for the presumption of speaking in the name and with the authority of God.”
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. In the preceding part of this investigation we took it for a truth, that the apocryphal writers did use Gehenna to signify a place of endless misery. We were led into this mistake, from presuming that the authors who quoted them, certainly had examined this subject. It is since the preceding part of this investigation has been printed we have seen the Apocrypha in the original, and discovered their mistake. All therefore which we have granted about this, is not
only null and void, but shows that the authors of the Apocrypha confirm our views, and did not consider Gehenna a place of endless misery. They have used the term Hades in this sense but never the term Gehenna. 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. We demand then, how these apocryphal writers came to give to Hades such a different meaning from that of the sacred writers, both in the Old and New Testament. From what divine source of information did they learn that Hades was the place of future eternal punishment ? If it is not found in this sense in the inspired writings, ought it to be found in theirs ? and are we obliged to receive it in this sense implicitly on their authority? Besides; why have these authors in proving that Gehenna is used to signify a place of endless misery quoted the Apocrypha, when this word is not once used there? These very authors declare, that Hades is not a place of endless punishment, and yet quote texts where this word occurs in the Apocrypha to prove that it is. The fact is, they took it for granted that where hell is used by the Apocryphal writers, that the original word was Gehenna. This was a very great oversight. If they knew' to the contrary, it was certainly very wrong to confound two places, which are so plainly distinguished in scripture, and which they themselves have so expressly distinguished.
2d, It has been shown in Chap. i. sect. 3. that the Jews learned the notion of future eternal punishment in Hades from the heathen. Is it any wonder then, that in
the books of the Apocrypha, we should find this word used in this sense; books known to contain so much fiction, and fancy, and so many other heathen notions? It would rather be surprising, if we did not. If any one will affirm that these writers did not learn their notions of a punishment in Hades from the heathen, it is his duty to show from what other source their information was derived. It was not obtained from the Old Testament, for it contains no such information. If the apocryphal books were all written before the New Testament, it is plain the writers did not derive their information about Hades as a place of punishment from it. Supposing some of them, yea, admit all of them to have been written after the New Testament, this information was not derived from it, for it contained no such information. If their notions then concerning Hades be not of heathen origin, let it be shown that they are divine.
3d, But it should be remembered that the original word which is used for hell, by these writers, is not Gehenna but Hades. Now it hath been shown beyond a doubt, that Hades is not the place of eternal punishment for the wicked, but is in fact to be destroyed, or be no
This Dr. Campbell not only shows, but, as we have seen, contends that Gehenna is the place of endless punishment prepared for the wicked. All then which the most zealous contenders for future punishment could make out from the usage of the word hell, in the Apocrypha, would only be, that it is an intermediate place of punishment between death and the resurrection. It proves nothing on the subject of endless misery in Gehenna or hell, the word which is supposed by Dr. Campbell and others, properly to express this place of punishment.
But there is one thing which ought not to be overlooked. Dr. Campbell, we have seen, says that Gehenna is
not used in the Old Testament to express a place of endless misery for the wicked, but that in process of time, it came gradually to assume this sense and at last came to be confined to it. This gradual change must have taken place between the completion of the Old Testament scriptures and the commencement of the gospel dispensation ; for he says that in this sense, it is always used in the New Testament. It is believed that some, if not all, the apocryphal books, were written during this period. We were not a little surprised then, in finding that not one of the apocryphal writers ever used the term Gehenna in this sense, or in any other, throughout their writings. It is then put beyond all possibility of controversy, that this gradual change of the meaning of Gehenna was not brought about by these writers. Whoever did this, it cannot be imputed to them. We suspect however, from the word hell's being used in the English version of the Apocrypha, that they are accused of this. But this is a great mistake, for the word Gehenna is not once used by them. Who then brought about this gradual change in the meaning of the term Gehenna? I cannot find that Dr. Campbell, or any other writer, gives any information on this subject. The Targums also are appealed to for this new sense of Gehenna, as we shall presently see, but we have not found that the writers of them are accused of inventing it.
I may just add, that it would be much more like the truth to have said, " that the word Hades or Sheol does not occur in the Old Testament as meaning a place of endless misery. But in process of time, it came gradually to be used in this sense and at last was confined to it." Here the Apocrypha could be appealed to for this new sense of the word Hades. But after all, the question would still remain unanswered. On whose authority was this new sense given to the word Hades?
4th, The many silly, and ridiculous things, contained in the Apocrypha, forbid us receiving the doctrine, that hell is a place of endless misery, on its authority. At what point are we to stop in believing what it says, if once we admit its authority on the subject before us? It is the learned, not the unlearned, who appeal to this kind of authority. Never in the whole course of my past life, have I heard a private Christian, or any preacher quote the Apocrypha to prove, that hell was a place of endless misery. Were it done, no regard would be paid to it; and if any Universalist quoted it in proof of his views, it would be proof enough that his views could not be supported from the Bible.
But what degree of dependance is to be placed on any of the books in the Apocrypha, in determining the truth of any particular doctrine, and especially such an important one as this in question, may be seen from the following quotation. Gray, in his preface to the Apocry. phal books page 511-515. thus writes : “ The books which are admitted into our Bibles under the description of Apocryphal Books, are so denominated from a Greek word, which is expressive of the uncertainty and concealed nature of their original. They have no title to be considered as inspired writings; and though in respect of their antiquity and valuable contents they are annexed to the canonical books, it is in a separate division: and by no means upon an idea that they are of equal author. ity, in point of doctrine, with them; or that they are to be received as oracles of faith ; to sanctify opinions, or to determine religious controversies.
“ It is universally allowed, that these books were not in the canon of the Jews, to whom alone were committed