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second book of Esdras, which book we have not been able to find. But from the phraseology which is connected with the word hell, in the English version, we are persuaded that the three places in Esdras, when examined, will form no exception to the use of the word Hades in all the other places. If Gray, in his key to the Old Testament, is to be believed, this book is not to be found in the original. He says, p. 531. “ The second book of Esdras is not to be found in any Hebrew or Greek manuscripts. It is supposed to have been originally written in the Greek language; but is extant only in a few Latin copies, and in an Arabic version." He adds, p. 534. The book was never admitted into the Hebrew canon; and there is no sufficient authority to prove that it was ever extant in the Hebrew language. Its pretended prophecies are not produced in evidence by Christian writers, striking as such testimony must have been, if genuine; and the book was never publicly or generally acknowledged either in the Greek or Latin church; nor was it ever inserted in the sacred catalogue, by either councils or fathers; but is expressly represented as apocryphal by St. Jerom, who describes it as rejected by the church.”
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. 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 the above authors in proving that Gehenna is used to signify a place of endless misery quoted the Apocrypha, when ihis word is not once used there? They 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 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
notion 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 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 punish
ment from it. Supposing some of them, yea, admit all of them to have been written after the New Testa. ment, 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 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 more. All, then, which the most zealous contenders for future punishment could make out from the usage of the word hell, in the Apocrypha, would 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 ihere 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. The gradual change must have taken place between the completion of ihe 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 sur. prised, 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 about by these writers. Whoever did
this, it cannot be imputed to them. We suspect however, from the word hell 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.
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, 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 par ticular doctrine, and especially such an important one as this in question, may be seen from the following quotation from Gray, in bis preface to the Apocryphal books, p. 511. " The books which are admit
ted into our Bibles under the description of Apocry. phal 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 authority, 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 would be a mere waste of time to pursue this argument further. Whether Gehenna is, or is not, a place of eternal punishment, no argument can be derived from the Apocrypha, to prove that it was considered a place of punishment by those writers; for they do not once use this word.
Let ois now attend to the Targums. For the information of some, we give the following abridged account of them from Prideaux's Connections, vol. ir. p. 560—585.
6 The Chaldee paraphrases are translations of the Scriptures of the Old Testament made directly from the Hebrew text into the language of the Chaldeans; which language was anciently used through all Assyria, Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine; and is still the language of the churches of the Nestorian and Maronite Christians in those eastern parts, in the same manner as the Latin is the language of the Popish churches here in the west. And therefore these paraphrases were called Targums, because they were versions or translations of the Hebrew text into this language ; for the word targum signifieth, in Chaldee, an interpretation or version of one language into another, and may properly be said of any such version or translation : but it is most commonly by