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to impart to us the scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament.
But to return from this digression :
Should the context of the passage on which we are remarking be examined, it will be seen that it affords no evidence, showing that Gehenna means a place of endless misery for the wicked. We think, if it were neces. sary, we could glean a few remarks from it in confirma-tion of what we have advanced. But this we shall pass over, and especially as the difficult nature of the two last verses of the chapter, would require an extension of remark, aside from our present investigation.
There is one objection, which may have occurred to the minds of some from what has been stated in this passage, taken in connexion with what is said in others, of which I shall take some notice here. The objection is this._“You have made the damnation of hell to mean the temporal punishment which came on the Jews in the destruction of their city and temple and yet in this passage you extend this punishment to that which the Jews are yet suffering.” In reply to this, a remark or two will be sufficient. It is true that the valley of Hinnom, or rather tophet, a particular part of that valley, was made an emblem of the temporal vengeance which came on the Jews at the destruction of their city and temple. The prophet Jeremiah as we have seen, said that the Lord would make the city of Jerusalem as tophet, &c.
But observe further, that this punishment was not to end when their city and temple were destroyed. They were then led away captive into all nations, and as we have also seen, God was to make them an everlasting re. proach and a perpetual shame. Though the damnation of hell therefore came on the generation of the Jews to whom our Lord addressed himself, yet it is evident from
the scriptures, and also from the fact that the descendants of that generation were to suffer a punishment, which in Old Testament language is called everlasting or perpetual. We are far from thinking that the present punishment of the Jews includes no more in it than banishment from their land, and the cruelties they have been called to suffer among the Gentile nations. Their spiritual miseries in being cast out from the presence of the Lord, are the worst part of their punishment. This could be easily shown. We think also we could show that though the Gentiles are never threatened with the damnation of hell, or that punishment which came on the Jews, in the destruction of their city and temple, yet many of the Gentile nations are partakers of the same punishment of a spiritual nature, which the Jews at present are enduring. But this is not the place for entering into details about these things.
I shall close my remarks on this passage with the folhowing observations.
1st, As the prophets spoke of the temporal punishment • of the Jews as an everlasting fire, or a fire that shall
never be quenched, is it surprising that our Lord should use the same or similar language about it, in the passage we have been considering? We should rather wonder if he had not; and especially as we see that he quoted what the prophet Isaiah had said respecting it. I ask how in this case he could avoid using the same or similar language ?
2d, if the temporal punishment of the Jews is in the Old Testament called perpetual and everlasting, and yet is to end, why ought the same language, borrowed by the New Testament writers from the Old, and used in speaking of the same people and the same punishment, be interpreted of endless duration? The Jews could not have understood such language or forms of speech in this way. I ask why should we do it? We have been accustomed to attach the idea of endless duration the word everlasting, and that without consulting what sense the Old Testament writers attached to it. But if we would understand the scriptures aright, we must throw ourselves back to the time in which they were written, and as far as possible enter into the views, and feelings, and habits, of the people to whom they were written, and get acquainted with their modes of speaking, and the meaning and extent of the language they used.
3d, The language of the Old Testament was familiar to the New Testament writers. The meaning and extent of various words and forms of speech they perfectly understood. Without a similar acquaintance with the Old Testament, it is impossible for us ever correctly to understand the New. The reason is obvious. The New Testament writers are constantly using phraseology borrowed from the Old. This is often done when no fornial quotation is made. The New Testament writers spoke in the words which the Holy Spirit taught in the Old. They clothe their ideas in its language. To the Old we must then have constant recourse for the true meaning of it. In short, the Old Testament is the dictionary of the language of the New. Some proof has been given of this already, and more will be afforded in the course of our present investigation.
Matth. x. 28. is the next passage which comes to be considered. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul : but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell,” (Gehenna.) I shall here quote the parallel text in Luke xii. 4, 5. and consider them together. “And I say unto you, my friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body,
and after that have no more that they can do: But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: fear him, which after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell, (Gehenna ;) yea, I say unto you, fear him.” It is easily seen that these two texts relate the same discourse, and the re-, . marks to be made apply to both. What is said here was addressed by our Lord to his disciples. Jesus calls them his friends, and the contexts clearly show that what our Lord here spoke, had a particular reference to the circumstances in which his disciples were soon to be placed. These two passages are supposed, however, to present a difficulty to my views of Gehenna, which demands consideration. The difficulty stands thus:-“If Gehenna does not mean a place of future misery for the wicked, why is it said that the power of man extends only to killing the body, and after that he hath no more that he can do; but that after God hath killed the body, he hath power to cast into hell or Gehenna ?” Before we proceed to make any remarks on these two passages, directly to meet this difficulty, let us compare them.
Notice, then, that in both, the disciples are dissuaded from the fear of man; and the fear of God is strongly inculcated upon them. This was done in anticipation of the trials they were to endure for Jesus' namesake. “I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear.” Notice further, that the
of man, whom they were not to fear, extended only to killing the body. Matthew expresses it thus : "fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul.” Luke thus expresses it : “be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do." Observe again, that what Matthew calls, in the first part of the verse, to kill the body," and to “ kill the soul,” in the last part he expresses thus: “to destroy both soul and body.”—Man can
kill the body, but he is not able to kill or destroy the soul, but God is able to destroy both soul and body in hell; or, as Luke expresses it," after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell or Gehenna." Notice again, that Matthew makes a distinction between soul and body, whereas Luke does not. He only mentions the body. It seems that all that Matthew meant by soul and body, Luke considered as sufficiently expressed by simply mentioning the body. Had the word soul in Matthew been used to express the immortal part of man, there is certainly a great deficiency in Luke's language, in relating this discourse of our Lord's. But if he by merely mentioning the body, correctly and fully stated what our Lord meant, we ought not to consider the word soul, used by Matthew, as meaning the immortal spirit. We shall presently attempt to show that the word nephish, of the Hebrew, and the corresponding word, psuhe, of the Greek, here translated soul, are both often used to express mere natural or animal life. They are used to express the life of beasts, as well as of men. Nephish, in the Old Testament, as any one may see by consulting an English concordance on the words life and soul, occurs in innumerable instances where it can mean nothing else but natural life. These two words are the common rendering of nephish. The same remark applies to psuhe, also rendered life and soul in the New Testament. That the word nephish, translated life and soul in the Old Testament, as psuhe is also in the New, was sometimes used expletively by the sacred writers, is obvious from the following quotation from Pilkington's remarks, p. 94:-“For the same reason was should not always be translated soul, though the word soul, by the use of it in the translation of the Bible, hath acquired nearly the same latitude with you in the Hebrew; which is sometimes used expletively, sometimes