« VorigeDoorgaan »
views of all who believe Gehenna to signify the place of eternal punishment, it is necessary to make some remarks on it in the outset. With all due the memory of Dr. Campbell, I solicit attention to the following remarks on the above quotatior..
1st, Let it be then observed how very differently he speaks in the first and last part of it. In the first he says," that Gehenna is employed in the New Testament to denote the place of future punishment, prepared for the devil and his angels, is indisputable." But in the last, instead of speaking with such confidence, he only says, “this is the sense, if I mistake not, in which Gehenpa, a synonymous term, is always to be understood in the New Testament.” Whether what he had written between the first and last of these sentences, led him to hesitate about the meaning of Gehenna, I cannot say; but sure I am, that he was too shrewd a man not to perceive, and 100 candid not to own, the insufficiency of the evidence adduced to convince his readers. It is not his usual mode merely to assert things. He generally states cvidence, and seldom fails to convince us. But here he affords us none. It was in attempting to make out the proof of what he asserts, for my own satisfaction, that I have been led to alter my opinion about the meaning of Gehenna. 2d, Though Dr. Campbell asserts in the above
quo. iation that this is always the sense of Gehenna in the New Testament, yet be denies that it has any support from the Old. He says, “In the Old Testament we do not find this place in the same manner mentioned. Accordingly the word Gehenna does not occur in the Septuagint. It is not a Greek word, and consequently not to be found in the Grecian classics.” Here it is positively declared, that Gehenna is not to be found in the Old Testament, as meaning a place of endless punishment. To me this is very strange; that the word Gehenna in the New Testament should indis
putably mean such a place of misery, that it should even be taken from the Old, and yet this never be its meaning there. Are we then to believe without evidence, that this word is taken from the Old Testament, and this new sense affixed to it by the New Testament writers, yel no intimation given of such a change, or in what way are to understand it under the gospel dispensation? This Pa dies we think ought to be indisputably proved, before it be be it! lieved by any man. We think it will be granted, that space it is not the usual practice of the New Testament tone writers to borrow words from the Old, and put such new senses upon them, without any intimation or ex-man planation. But we may ask, if they have indeed done alla this, how could their hearers understand them? They'in were Jews, and to Jews they addressed themselves the concerning Gehenna. Unless they explained the listen word in this new sense, it was impossible, in the very nature of the case, that their hearers could understand them. At any rate, it becomes those who say they did use it in this new sense, to prove it, and show :-) how they could be understood without any explanation. li is true, that the authors of the Targums use the term Gehenna to express a place of endless misery; but it remains to be proved, that the New Testament writers used it in this sense, and not in the sense it has in the Old Testament. Besides it ought to be shown bow those uninspired authors came to use it so, 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.” I am 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 topbet 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 10 be the emblem. But here is one place made the emblem of another, and yet
it fessed that no revelation was given ahout this place, of which the other place is made the emblem.
Yea, it is even declared, that for this very place, the Hebrew, Greek, nor English language has no name. Is it asked how I make this appear, I answer, let it be remembered, that Dr. Campbell has told us, that nei. ther Sheol, Hades, nor Tartarus, means this place of lorent. 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 Grecian classics, nor in the Septuagint. He has also told us, that our English, or rather Saxon word hell, did not originally signify the place of eternal punishment for the wicked, but expressed the same place as Sheol and Hades. Here ihen we have got a place, a place even of eternal punishment for the wicked, bui 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 ihis new sense lo it , and did this without any explanation, or even inti.
mation, 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, the change of sense put on this word taken from their Scriptures, is for the purpose of threatening them with torment in a future state. And to add no more, such persons receive all this without a 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 eniblem 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 used as an emblem of hell, and confined to it in the days of our Lord, it must have assumed 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 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 indisputable, this new sense affixed to the word Gchenna, 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 it 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, 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 left in the dark, as to when, or by whom, or on what authority such a meaning was first given to Gehenpa. If the writers of the Targums and the Apocrypha used Gehenna in this sense on their own authority, is this a sufficient foundation for our faith in such a doctrine ? But it may be said, is it not evident 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, “in the Old Tes. tament 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 ihis manner in the Old Testament, in what other man