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Testament. Besides, it ought to be shown how those uninspired authors came to give it such a sense on their own authority, and it ought to be proved that it was afterwards sanctioned by divine authority.
3d, But Dr. Campbell attempts to account for such a change in the meaning of Gehenna, in the New Testament, from that of the Old, in the following manner. “As this place was, in process of time, considered as an emblem of hell, or the place of torment reserved for the punishment of the wicked in a future state, the name tophet came gradually to be used in this sense, and at length to be confined to it.” Iam greatly surprised at this statement, and especially from such a writer as Dr. Campbell. Let it be noticed, that he does not so much as hint that the New Testament writers explained Gehenna to their hearers in this new sense. Nor does he say, that any sacred writer either of the Old or New Testament, made tophet an emblem of this place of torment. How then, I ask, could tophet become an emblem of hell, the place of torment, until this place was first known by the persons who made it an emblem ? We surely cannot make one place the emblem of another until that place is known, of which it is to be the emblem. But here is one place made the emblem of another, and yet it is confessed that no revelation was given about this place, of which the other place is made the emblem. Yea, it is even declar. ed, that for this very place, the Hebrew, Greek, nor English languages have any name. Is it asked how I make this appear, I answer, let it be remembered, that Dr. Campbell has told us, that neither Sheol, Hades, nor Taptarus, mean this place of torment. In the very quotation on which we are remarking, he declares that Gehenna does not occur in this sense in the Old Testament, that it is not a Greek word, and is not found in the Gre.
cian classics, nor in the Septuagint. He has also told us, that our English, or rather Saxon word hell, did not orig. inally signify the place of eternal punishment for the wicked, but expressed the same place as Sheol and Hades. Here, then, we have got a place, a place even of eternal punishment for the wicked, but for which the Bible, in the original languages, has no name; a place, for which even the copious Grecian classics afford no name; a place, for which our Lord and his apostles could find no name, but were obliged to borrow a word from the Old Testament, affix this new sense to it, and did this without any explanation, or even intimation, to their hearers. They did this too, in addressing those who had the Old Testament in their hands, persons who were opposed to the doctrines they taught, and who were jealous of innovation. Moreover, this change of sense put on this word taken from their scriptures, is for the purpose of threatening them with endless torment in a future state. And to add no more, such persons receive all this without a single complaint, or murmuring word at this alteration, or the dreadful punishment with which they are threatened. All this may possibly be true, but we must say, it is not very probable, nor ought it to be received until very conclusive evidence is produced.
But it may surely be asked, from what source did Dr. Campbell learn, “that tophet or Gehenna came gradually to be used as an emblem of hell, and at length came to be confined to it ?" From what he has said, it is very evident that it was not from the Old Testament. If it was indeed used as an emblem of hell, and confined to it in the days of our Lord, it is evident that it must have come gradually to assume this new sense, between the completion of the Old Testament writings, and the commencement of the gospel dispensation. If it began to assume this new sense before the Old Testament was completed, it was a sense which had no authority from it; for Dr. Campbell himself declares, that Gehenna does not occur in this manner in the Old Testament. If this be true, and we think it is indisputable, it is evident, that this new sense affixed to the word Gehenna, is not of divine, but of human origin : it rests on the authority of man, and not on the authority of God. I think this cannot be denied, unless it is proved that our Lord did use Gehenna to express the place of future torment for the wicked, and informed those to whom he spake, that this was the sense in which it was now to be understood. But is any thing like this to be found in all the New Testament, and is not this taking for granted the very thing which ought to be proved?
But further; we think it must be allowed, that the way Dr. Campbell says Gehenna came to assume this new sense, is extremely suspicious. Had this new sense affixed to the word Gehenna, been of divine authority, it would not have come gradually to assume it. No; the sense would have been settled at once. But it seems from Dr. Campbell, that this new sense affixed to the word Gehenna, was of slow process. It came, he says, “gradually to be used as an emblem of hell, and at last to be confined to it.” At what time it began to be used in this sense, who had the honour of first using it in this way, how long before it came to be confined to it, and who completed it, we are not informed. The thing is barely asserted by Dr. Campbell. If any evidence of this is to be found, we must find it, if we can, ourselves. We have been at some pains to find evidence of this, but our labours have been entirely fruitless. We have, to be sure, found it asserted that the Targums and the Apocrypha use the term Gehenna for a place of endless misery. But we are Iest in the dark, as to when, or by whom, or on what auihority such a meaning was first given to Gehenna. If the writers of the Targums and the Apocrypha used Gehenna in this sense on their own authority, as we think they must, is this a sufficient foundation for our faith in such a doctrine ? But it may be said, is it not evidence sufficient, that our Lord used Gehenna always, and indisputably in this new sense? It is certain, it is indisputable, that Dr. Campbell has asserted this, without so much as attempting to prove it. But surely this ought not to be received on the assertions of any man. Only let it be proved that our Lord used Gehenna in this new sense, and I am forever silent on the subject.
But Dr. Campbell has said, that, s in the Old Testament we do not find this place in the same manner mentioned." May I then be allowed to ask, if this place of torment for the wicked, is not mentioned in this manner in the Old Testament, in what other manner do we find it mentioned ? If it is not mentioned under the name Gehenna, by what other name is it called ? He denies that it is called by the names Sheol, Hades, or Tartarus. Yea, he denies that the Hebrew, Greek, or English languages, afford a name for this place of torment. In his dissertation, already quoted, he thus writes in regard to the state of the dead. “ It is plain, that in the Old Testament the most profound silence is observed in regard to the state of the deceased, their joys or sorrows, happiness or misery. It is represented to us rather by negative qualities than by positive; by its silence, its darkness, its being inaccessible, unless by preternatural means, to the living, and their ignorance about it. Thus much in general seems always to have been presumed concerning it; that it is not a state of activity adapted for exertion, or indeed for the accomplishment of any important purpose, good or bad. In
most respects, however, there was a resemblance in their notions on this subject, to those of the most ancient heathen." It is obvious from this, that he did not believe, that either the idea of a place of torment, or the name for it, were known under the Old Testament dispensation. Besides, we have seen in a quotation of his, chap. i. sect. 3. that the Jews, from their intercourse with the heathen, learned the notion of punishment in a future state. He therefore not only denies that the Jews had any knowledge of this from the Old Testament, but he informs us of the source from whence they derived their information. Either he must be greatly mistaken in his statements, or endless punishment in hell is a heathen notion, and ought to be rejected by all Christians.
But I have to ask further, did our Lord speak to the Jews about Gehenna, in a sense it had not in all their sacred books, but in that given it by mere human authority ?
Did he indeed use a scripture word in a sense which man's wisdom teacheth, laying aside the sense which the Holy Spirit teache:h? Are we to believe, that he who said to the Jews,"full well ye reject the commandment of the Lord, that ye may keep your own traditions,” thus give them countenance by his example ?
Admitting for argument's sake, that Gehenna was made an emblem of future torment, I ask, by what name was it called before this new sense was affixed to the word Gehenna ? Dr. Campbell says, that Gehenna came gradually to mean the place of future punishment, and at last came to be confined to it. He also says, that in this manner it is not used in the Old Testament. Before this term was then used to express a place of endless misery for the wicked, was such a place known, and what word or phrase did men use to designate it; or, was it a nameless