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explain them in this new sense to the disciples, nor
gave the slighest bint that he made any alteration in - the meaning of the prophet's words by quoting them. : Until it is therefore proved, that by these words
Isaiah meant a place of future endless misery, I might excuse myself from any further remarks on them. But as they very strongly confirm the views I have given of Gehenna or hell, in the preceding passages, proceed.
On this passage in the prophet, let it be remarked, that the chapter in which it stands, evidently relates to.
events which were to take place under the gospel disspensation. The new heavens and new earth, men
Lioned verse 22. refer to this period, and the extension of the gospel to the Gentiles, is repeatedly spoken of in the course of the chapter. But let us attend to the passage, and go over what is said in it, and if possible ascertain the meaning of the prophet. It is said," and they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me." Let us ask here, who are the men referred to, and who are said to have transgressed against the Lord? I think the context shows them to be the unbelieving, disobedient Jews. Evidence of this will appear as we proceed. Again ; let us ask, who shall go forth and look upsn the carcases of the Jews who bad thus transgressed against the Lord ? The preceding verses show that they are the persons who worship and obey the Lord. But again ; let us ask, to what place they shall go forth and look upon the carcases of the men who have transgressed against the Lord ! Not surely to a place of endless misery? The connexion of this with the next part of the passage shows that they shall go forth to the place where their Worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” If it is said, by way of objection," is not this the place of endless misery, and is not this sufficiently obvious
from the words, their worm dieth not, and the fire is noi quenched ?" I must answer it is not. We think this can be proved from a variety of evidence, which few, if any, will undertake to dispute. This we shall show presently is not the Scripture meaning of these filed at expressions, but that they refer to temporal punish-stopech ment and to the punishment of the Jews as a nation. Let Here I would only ask-do any persons go forth either de from this world or from heaven to a place of endless misery, to look upon the carcases of men who have transgressed against the Lord? Besides, is it not a As very strange mode of speaking, to speak of the carcases of persons in a place of endless misery? But if we understand this place to be tophet, or the valley of Hinnom, all this may be literally and affectingly true. We have seen from the predictions of Jeremiah, that the Lord was to make the city of Jerusalem elice as tophet, and the carcases of the Jews were to be meat for the beasts of the earth, and that they should bury in tophet until there should be no place to bury. Besides, we have seen from Josephus, the Jewish historian, that six hundred thousand of the carcases of the Jews were carried out of the city and left unbu. ried. It is evident then, if those who worshipped and obeyed the Lord, did not go forth and look upon the carcases of the men who had transgressed against the Lord, it was not for want of opportunity. Suffer me, then, to ask, might not the worshippers of the Lord, or our Lord's disciples, literally go forth and look upon the carcases of the men who had transgressed against the Lord? Yea, could they avoid seeing them, and looking on them, when they left the city and were saved from the dreadful vengeance of God which came on the unbelieving part of the nation? But it is added, “and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh." This all will allow to be said to the same persons, who, in the former part of the passage,
are said to have transgressed against the Lord. It will be allowed that the Jews had transgressed against the Lord in a very great degree. They had crucified the Lord of glory, persecuted the apostles, they pleased not God, and were contrary to all men. In This respect we see that the passage fully applies to them. Let us see how the last part also applies to them. “And they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.” The phrase “all flesh,” it could be easily shown, is used in Scripture to designate the Gentile nations. As one instance, among others which I might adduce to prove this, it is said, "all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Now it is literally true that the Jews then were, and still are, in their descendants, an abhorring unto all the Gentile nations. They bave been, and still are, a by-word, and a reproach, and an afflicted people, among all the nations of the earth. How long this is still to continue, God only knows. Sure we are, that the Lord is yet to have mercy upon Israel; they are still beloved for the father's sake. The deliverer is to come out of Zion, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob.
But let it be noticed, that it is three times said in the passage in Mark, where this passage from the prophet is quoted, - where their worm dieth not, and ihe fire is not quenched.” Let the question be asked, “Whose worm shall not die ?" We think the answer to this must be looked for in the prophet whose words our Lord quotes. The answer is, the men who have transgressed against the Lord; their worm shall not die, and their fire is not quenched. Should we recur to the context of the passage in Mark for an answer to this question, the only antecedent to the word their, is the persons who should offend Christ's little ones, verse 42. This agrees to the answer taken from the prophet; for the Jews were the greatest opposers and persecutors of Christ's disciples.
this is their practice. But allowing the disciples ac- the bar
1 have now given a summary view of what I think the prophet meant by these words. If just, it must te be allowed that the passage has no reference to a place of punishment in a future state, but to the temporal media miseries of the Jews. It is easily seen, then, that as a sban face answereth to face in a glass, so does this passage danes to all the others we have considered. Yea, may I den not with some confidence affirm, that it strongly con la firms the views I have advanced about Genenna? Is it then dealing fairly by our Saviour's words in this passage to say, that when he quoted them from the prophet
, he changed the meaning of them from tem-se in poral punishment to that of eternal misery? I ask, is this at all probable, or is this the usual mode of our Lord and his apostles, to put such a different sense on the passages which they quote from the Old Testament? No honest minded man, who has ever read the New Testament with attention, will assert that
quainted with the words of the prophet, as no doubt they were, and supposing them to understand them as I have done, it is obvious that nothing could be said more suitable to the disciples. It was indeed profitable for them to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched; or, in plain language, to perish with the rest of the Jews, in the destruction that was to come on them in that generation.
But it is likely to be said, by way of objectionHow, with any consistency, can it be said that this punishment of the Jews was to be a fire that shall never be quenched, and in the preceding text is expressly called " everlasting fire ?" To this I shall now pay altention. As this mode of speaking, or raiher as these modes of speaking, may be considered as unfavourable to my views, I shall give them all due attention
here, is to show that when the word everlasting, or perpetual is applied to the word fire, or punishment; or thus,_from generation to generation it shall lie
I approach this part of the passage with great satisfaction, because what is considered the most weighty objection against my views, will, upon examination, be found the strongest confirmation of them. If I cannot show that this very temporal punishment of the Jews, to which I have referred hell or Gehenna, is called everlasting fire, or punishment; or a fire that shall never be quenched, then let all í bave said fall to the ground. When it is said, however, to be everlasting, or a fire that shall never be quenched, I mean that these expressions be understood by us in the sense in which they are used in the Old Testament, and understood by the Jews. All I ask is, that the Scriptures be admitted as the interpreter of the meaning and extent of this language. This no reasonable man: will certainly be disposed to deny me, This preliminary then being mutually understood and agreed on, I proceed.
It has been shown above, that the word fire, is a figurative mode of expressing punishment. This we think has been proved by an appeal to the Scriptures, which
will not be gainsayed. "AH I have then to do when a fire that shall never be quenched, is spoken of, in reference to the Jews, endless duration is not meant. Let us then attend to the Scriptures respecting this. In Isai.,i. 31. we read of a fire that “none shall quench" in the same book, chap. xxxiv. 8–11. we read of a fire that shall not be quenched, night por day, the smoke thereof shall go up forever.” We hardly think any sensible person who ever read these
Passages, ever supposed that the fire mentioned was to be of endless duration. In the last, the forever mentioned, is explained by the prophet waste." But what we are chiefly concerned with, is