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dence to support it. The sense I have given to Gehenna, is not assumed, but it is settled by divine authority. Can any man produce such facts and evidence in support of Gehenna's being a place of endless misery for the wicked? If this cannot be done, must it not be allowed, that either error has more evidence to support it than truth, or that my view of Gehenna is the true one? At any rate, with such weight of evidence pressing on my mind, how could I do otherwise than honestly avow the convictions which this evidence has produced, without violating my conscience and forfeiting all claim to an honest minded man? If indeed I am mistaken in my views of those passages, no man can more sincerely wish to see where the mistake lies, than I do. If this mistake can be pointed out, and if it can be proved that Gehenna, or hell, is a place of endless misery for all the wicked, we doubt not but this will be done. It is not to be expected, that a doctrine so popular, which has been so long believed, and supported by the learning and talents of so many good men, will be given up without a struggle. If it be true, we earnestly wish to see it established by an examination of all the passages where Gehenna occurs; and a rational and Scriptural account given of the facts which we have. adduced, and have yet to produce on the subject.
The last place in the New Testament in which Gebenna is used, is James iii. 6. "And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell." This is one of the two places, in which Dr. Campbell thinks the word Gehenna is used figuratively. He observes, that it is "the intention of the writer to draw an illustration of the subject from that state of perfect wretchedness." It is rather surprising that Dr. Campbell should not have noticed, that
before any illustration could be drawn from Gehenna as a place of endless misery, by a Jew, or any one else, it must first be known as such to be a place of perfect wretchedness. Let me ask from what source could a Jew learn this? Not from the Old Testament; for Dr. Campbell himself assures us, that Gehenna is not found in the Old Testament in this sense. It is not found in the Septuagint, nor even in the Grecian classics. If James therefore knew all this to be true, how could he ever draw such an illustration? This was impossible, unless we suppose that James learned this doctrine from the Targums, or from our Lord's instructions. To suppose the first, is to say that James learned this doctrine from a source which is not very creditable to it, nor honourable to him. To suppose the last, is to make James use Gehenna in a sense it never was used by our Lord. This has been shown from an examination of all the places in which he did use this word. It should be recollected that James was a Jew, and that he wrote to believing Jews. No place, to a Jew, could afford such a view of perfect wretchedness as the valley of Hinnom or Gehenna. It is certainly then more rational to think that James drew an illustration of his subject from this place, well known, than from a place of endless misery, which was not known. If we understand this text literally, it is at least as difficult to understand how the tongue could be set on fire from a place of future endless misery, as how it could be set on fire from the valley of Hinnom. It is evident that James is speaking of the evils arising from an improper use of the tongue. What could be more natural, in speaking of the filthiness and abominations which proceed from it, than to draw an illustration from Gehenna or the valley of Hinnom, the most abominable place known to Jews? But if Gehenna here is understood figuratively, as Dr. Campbell thinks it ought to be, it
requires no further remark from me; for surely no one will attempt to prove the doctrine of endless misery from the mere figurative use of the term Gehenna.
Such are all the texts in which the word Gehenna is used by the New Testament writers, and such are the remarks which have occurred to me in my examination of them. According to every just rule of Scripture interpretation I am acquainted with, I do not see how I could have interpreted them differently. Indeed, to me it is surprising how the doctrine of eternal misery was ever founded on any of the texts which speak of Gehenna or hell. If I am correct, it also affords a striking example how far we may be misled, in a proper understanding of the Scriptures, by attaching to a single word a sense different from that given it by the inspired writers. How far I am correct, my readers must judge for themselves. I hope they will, on the one hand, guard against receiving my error, if it be one, and on the other, beware of rejecting my view, if true, from prejudices of education. Under the influences of these prejudices, I began to examine this subject, and have been obliged to relinquish my former views of Gehenna, from the force of the evidence I have already stated, and which I have yet to adduce on this subject. If my views of Gehenna are, upon examination, found correct, it is also a striking proof how far we may be misled, in a proper understanding of the New Testament, from our inattention to the Old. If the word Gehenna in the New, is used in a similar sense as in the Old Testament, all the false views we have had of the texts in which it occurs in the former, have arisen from our inattention to its usage in the latter. Whether I am right or wrong in my views of Gehenna in the New Testament, no man, we think, will deny, that there is a degree of plausibility in what I have stated between the Old and New Testa
ment usage of this word. It would be foolish in me to think that I have brought forward all that can be urged for or against this view of Gehenna. The subject is brought forward for deliberate and serious consideration. If I am wrong in my views, I shall have an opportunity of being better informed. If right, I have only performed a duty which I owed to mankind.
Before closing this section, it is proper to notice any objections which have occurred against the sense given to Gehenna or hell in the passages we have been considering. 1st, One of the most popular objections likely to be urged, is, that the sense I have given to Gehenna is very contrary to the long established ecclesiastical use of this word. This is frankly and fully admitted; but certainly this is no certain evidence that my views are incorrect. In the present case, I have done no more than what is done by Presbyterians, Hopkinsians, Congregationalists, Baptists, Methodists, yea, by all sects in religion. They all, in their own way, take the liberty of thinking that Scripture usage of words is, sometimes at least, different from long established ecclesiastical usage of words. That the ecclesiastical use of some words is very different from the Scripture usage of them, few will deny. That they are different, and also how little we ought to regard the ecclesiastical use of words when contrary to Scripture usage of them, we here quote the authority of Dr. Campbell. He says, p. 416. of his dissertations,-"ecclesiastical use is no security that the word, though it be understood, conveys to us the same idea which the original term did to those to whom the gospels were first promulgated. In a former dissertation, the fullest evidence has been given, that in regard to several words, the meaning which has been long established by ecclesiastic use, is very
different from that which they have in the writings of the New Testament."
It is easily seen from this quotation, and more fully from the other dissertation to which he refers, that he did not scruple to disclaim the ecclesiastical use of words, if that use did not agree with New Testament usage. We have examined the Scripture usage of the words Sheol, Hades, Tartarus and Gehenna, and if ecclesiastical usage considers any of these words to mean a place of endless misery, we must say that it is not supported by the Bible. But of this our readers must judge. If it can be proved that we have erred in the sense we have given to Gehenna or those other words, we shall be glad to see the error exposed.
2d, Another objection closely connected with the former, is, that my views of Gehenna are contrary to the opinions of almost all the learned in the present day, and in the ages past of the Christian Church; yea, contrary to the authors of the Targums and the Apocrypha. This may be true, yet my view of Gehenna be the correct and Scriptural one notwithstanding. I am again supported in this by Dr. Campbell. He says, p. 91. of his dissertations," the opinion of Grotius and some learned Rabbis, unsupported by either argument or example, nay, in manifest contradiction to both, is here of no weight. Scriptural usage alone must decide the question. These commentators (with all deference to their erudition and abilities be it spoken) being comparatively modern, cannot be considered as ultimate judges in a question depending entirely on an ancient use, whercof all the evidences that were remaining in their time, remain still, and are as open to our examination, as they were to theirs. In other points where there may happen to be in Scripture an allusion to customs or ceremonies retained by the Jews, but unknown to us, the case: