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is too gross
hell torments to all the wicked, that the world at present affords. I shall not suppose that a child of his of a span long dies and goes there to be eternally tormented : no, this we shall suppose,
for even himself to believe. But I will suppose that one of his full grown sons, who is a very child of the devil, an enemy of all righteousness, and abandoned to all wickedness, dies. He dies in the very act of one of the vilest crimes he ever committed. One of this preacher's hearers comes to visit him on the painful occasion, and he thus addresses him-Sir, your son now is lifting up his eyes in the torments of hell; the place you have so often and so faithfully told us about. As you have also told us that the blessedness of heaven will be sweetened and enhanced by looking down on the torments of our children and relations, suffer me to use the freedom to direct your mind to this most precious source of consolation, under the loss of your son. He is beyond all dispute, according to the many faithful sermons which you have preached, now in hell: and if you are to have your heavenly happiness increased by view. ing his misery forever, let your heaven begin on earth, by turning your eyes to him now, as a source of consolation under your present sorrow of heart. What will afford you the most exquisite pleasure in heaven, must, if you improve it aright, be a solid source of enjoyment here! Would this be a very consoling exhortation ? In what light would he view such a comforter? Would this very zealous preacher of the doctrine acknowledge that his son had gone to hell ? No: he would think it daring pre- • sumption in any man to pass such a sentence about him. It is, then, a very evident case, that such a preach. er, after all the noise he makes about endless punishment in hell, does not believe his own doctrine of eternal torment, where he or any of his, are to be concerned in it.
No: like the ancient Jews, he sends others to hell, but exempts himself, and even his son, when perhaps it would be difficult to find a fitter subject for such a punishment. We do not blame this preacher for hesitating to acknowledge that his son had gone to hell; for if this doctrine is founded on the Targums and Apocrypha, he ought indeed to hesitate, yea, discard it altogether. But we do blame him for shrinking at carrying his own doctrine into effect, because he or his favorites are to be involved; yet deal damnation round the land, on those whom he may think worthy of such a punishment. But to return from this digression.
2d, If the writers of the Targums did use the term Gehenna to express the place of endless misery, and as the Jews considered the Gentiles fit fuel for hell fire, it ought to be considered how they came by such opinions. This we shall attempt to inquire into, and, if possible, ascertain the source whence they were derived.
There are several points fixed about this, which will enable us, at least, to come to some general conclusions on the subject.
1st, The word Gehenna does not occur in the Old Testament in the sense of a place of future punishment for the wicked. This is not only declared by Dr. Campbell, as we have before shown, but is evident from all the passages where this word occurs. It is apparent, then, that these opinions held by the Jews, could not have been de rived from the Old Testament scriptures. Here is one point settled, about which there can be no dispute.
2d, That the word Gehenna was used to express a place of endless misery in the days of our Lord, is not only affirmed by Dr. Campbell, but at this period it had come to be confined to this sense. He says that this
is always and indisputably its sense in the New Testament. Admitting this to be true, let me observe
3d, That Dr. Campbell also declares, that the term Gehenna came gradually to be used in this new sense, which it had not in the Old Testament. Who first began to give it this new sense, or how long a time elapsed before it came to be confined to it, he gives us no information. At this distance of time, it is perhaps impossible to settle these questions. One thing, however, is certajd, that this new sense affixed to the word Gehenna, was not of divine authority, but came gradually to have this sense given it by the Jews. This leads us to inquire
4th, About what period of time the Jews began to give it this new sense.
This appears to have been after their captivity in Babylon. It was long after this period that the Targums were written, as is seen in the foregoing account of them. Where then could the Jews learn their opinion of a place of eternal punishment but among the heathen? That they did learn this from the heathen, we think, has been shown in a quotation from Dr. Campbell. See chap. i. sect. 3. But observe, that though they learned among the heathen that Hades was a place of eternal misery, they did not learn from them to call it by the name Gehenna. This was a Hebrew word, and its application to the place of future punishment was most likely to be done by the Jews. It is not denied but that the Jews did so apply it, and it is not said to be so applied by the heathen.
If the question is asked, how did the Jews come to give to this place of future punishment such a name as Gehenna? we think the answer to this question is both easy and natural. Having learned this opinion among the heathen at some period, could there be any thing more natural than to call it by the name of the most horrid and
,גי בן הנם or גי הגום .the valley south of Jerusalem
abominable place known to Jews, which was Gehenna, or the valley of Hinnom. That it was such a place has been shown above. I also add here the following from Jahn’s Archæology, p. 527. He says,—“ In the later periods of the Jewish kingdom, this idol was erected in
. 2, in the valley of Hinnom, and in the part of said valley called tophet, nen, so named from the drums, jn, d'on, which were beaten to prevent the groans and cries of children sacrificed, from being heard, Jer. vii. 31, 32. ; xix. 6– 14. Isai. xxx. 33. 2 Kings xxiii. 10. The place was so abhorrent to the minds of the more recent Jews, that they applied the name Ge Hinnom or Gehenna to the place of torments in a future life. The word Gehenna is used in this way, (viz. for the place of punishment beyond the grave,) very frequently in oriental writers, as far as India. Compare Wetstein's New Tesament, at Matth. v. 5."
We have seen that Dr. Campbell has said that, after the captivity, the Jews began to speak of heaven, or the place of happiness for the good, by the name of paradise, and Abraham's bosom, the happiest or most pleasant places they had any idea of. And is it not as natural to think, that they should speak of a place of endless punishment by the name of Gehenna, the most miserable and abominable place they had any idea of? They, in this case, did nothing more than men do every day, in expressing some new thing, by the name of some other thing, which they think most resembles it. Thus we hear it said of a very bad man, that he is a devil, because the ideas we have imbibed of this being, and the character of this man, we conceive resemble each other.
5th, How came the Jews, then, to exempt themselves from the punishment of Gehenna, and declare, all the Gentiles fuel for hell fire? This ought to be carefully examined. With a view to ascertain how this took place, let the following things be carefully considered. • We have shown, chap. ii. sect. 1. that Gehenna in the Old Testament, was made by the prophet Jeremiah an emblem of future temporal punishment to the Jewish nation, and which came upon it as described by our Lord, Matth. xxiv. This we think is beyond all dispute. The Jews could not help seeing such a punishment predicted by their own prophets. From their intercourse with the heathen they had learned the heathen notion that Hades was a place of eternal punishment for the wicked. Nothing was more natural than for them to call it by the name of Gehenna, the most horrible and abominable place known to Jews. Observe, also, that a strong prejudice existed in the minds of the Jews against the Gentiles. They counted them dogs and excluded them from all participation of the blessings of Messiah’s reign. Every one may see from Acts, chaps. X. xi. how strong this prejudice was, even in the minds of the disciples. They refused to eat and drink with them. Yea, even the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans; and whilst they admitted that they ought to love their neighbors, they thought that they ought to hate their enemies. The whole New Testament shows to what extent self-love, self-righteousness, and national pride and vanity had taken possession of their minds. This we have seen strongly confirmed from the previous quotation from Whitby on Rom. ii. Taking all these circumstances into view, we think the following at least a rational conjecture about this. The Jews hated the Gentiles and to testify this hatred, they declared them to be fit fuel for hell fire. Further than this they could not carry their hatred of them. As they had learned the notion of eternal punishment in Hades from the heathen,