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Septuagint, being only a translation, need not surprise us, for Dr. Campbell, in the sentence preceding zbe one just quoted, says concerning Gehenna as a place of future punishment"In the Old Testament we do not find this place in the same manner mentioned.” Keeping these facts and statements in our view, permit me to make a very few remarks on them, relative to the subject of the present inquiry.
1st, Whoever were the authors of the Greek version, or at whatever period it was made, it is a certain case, that in translating the Old Testament, they did not find that it contained any thing about Gehenna being a place of endless misery for the wicked. Had they perceived any thing like this, we should have found some intimation of it in this translation. Had the Hebrew of the Old Testament warranted such a thing, no doubt but it would have been transfused into this version. We have then the testimony of all the translators of the Greek version, that they did not find that the spirit of God had ever used the term Gehenna in the sense it is commonly used by Christians in the present day. This we think a fact which will not for a moment be disputed. If they did not find it in the Old Testament, how came it to pass that the writers of the Targums could find it? We have never understood that the Targums are worthy of more regard than the Greek version.
2d, If Gehenna, at the time this version was made, had begun to be used in the sense of a place of future misery, it is evident that this sense received no countenance from them as translators. It was not by them begun nor does their translation in any way tend to transmit such an opinion to posterity. We cannot even learn from it that such a sense was then given to the word Gehenna by any persons, far less that it was founded on divine authority. If Gehenna then had begun to assume this new sense, which Dr.
Campbell says is always and indisputably its sense in the New Testament, how is it accounted for that they take no notice of it? If this was its sense when the
Greek translation was made, had not they as good à right to give it this sense as our English translators, when they made our present English version ? If the original and Scriptural meaning of the word was to be laid aside in translating, and an assumed sense of it on man's authority adopted by the latter, why not also by the former? Should it be said, "the Greek version is only of the Old Testament, and it is in the New that Gehenna always and indisputably means a place of endless misery for the wicked;" we reply to this by asking how the New Testament sense of Gehenna comes to be so different from that of the Old ! And we ask, further, why Whitby and Parkhurst, quoted before, refer us to the Targums and not to the Old Testament for this new sense given to Gehenna? We ask still further, how this new sense given to this word is ever to be reconciled with the facts we have stated, or can be made to agree with the contexts of the passages in which it occurs ? Besides, had men never heard of the Targums and only consulted their Bibles to learn what was the Scripture usage of this word, would they ever give it such a meaning? But what ought to set this matter at rest is, that neither the writers of the Apocrypha nor the authors of the Greek version used 'Gehenna in this new sense, and even the very writers of the Targums, we are reserred to in proof of this sense, are allowed to have given us fables and false glosses of their own. Yea, in the very passages in the Old Testament, where these glosses about Gehenna are given, no rational man would say that any thing in the passages warranted them.
3d, To whatever source then, this change in the sense of Gehenna is referred, which Dr. Campbell
says was gradual, it cannot be ascribed in any degree to the authors of the Greek version. Seeing then that they, as well as the authors of the Apocrypha, cannot be quoted as authorities for it, to what other source are we to be referred for this new sense of Gehenna? We do not see that it can be traced to any other source but the Targums. Should it then be found that it is used there in this sense frequently and explicitly, what would be the conclusion which any rational man would draw from this ? Would he conclude that Gehenna is a place of endless misery? No; he would conclude that this is something which the writers of the Targums have added as a gloss of their own to the text of the Old Testament, for the authors of the Greek version found no such thing in the Old Testament when their version was made, nor did they think themselves warranted in adding any such glosses of their own. Either, then, the authors of the Greek version did wrong in not finding this sense of Gehenna in the Old Testament, when they made their version, or the Targums are not to be regarded in having made this addition to the oracles of God. If we are to receive this addition of theirs, why not all their other additions, until the word of God is made by us as it was by the Jews, of none effect through our traditions ?
THERE is not a truth revealed in the Bible, against which, one opposed to it, may not start objections. It would, however, be a mere waste of time, and a very trifling employment, to answer every silly objection which might be made. All will allow, that objections which are rational, and which affect the subject against which they are brought, demand an answer. Every objection which has occurred to myself, or has been suggested by others, of any weight against the views which have been advanced, I shall now attempt to consider. These objections divide themselves into two classes; plausible, popular objections, but which do not bear against the argument which has been adduced, and such as are supposed to have some weight against the evidence in support of that argument. I shall begin with the first of these.
1st, One of the most popular objections which I think can be stated, is, that my sentiments are of a licentious tendency. It is remarked, if you do away Gehenna or bell as a plaee of endless punishment for the wicked, what is left to deter men from the commission of every crime ? Indeed, say some, if I believed there was no hell, I would indulge myself in all kinds of iniquity! Look, say they, at the loose principles, and still more loose morals, of the Universalists; and add, by way. of triumph, who ever heard of a revival of religion among them? It will be allowed, that I have stated
AN INQUIRY INTO THE WORD GEHENNA.
ibis objection fully and fairly. It shall now be my business, as fully and fairly io meet it.
Ist, It is said, “ if hell, a place of endless punishment is done away, what is left to deter men from the commission of crime?" In reply to this, 1 remark 1st, Under the Old Testament dispensation, it is al. lowed, that the doctrine of hell torn:ents was not known. Suffer me to ask, what was left then to de. ter men from crime before this doctrine bad existence? When these persons have told us, what was left in those days to deter men from crime without it, we are prepared to inform them what can deter men in these days without it. And if this doctrine was not preached under the Old Testament to make men holy, how came any then to be holy without it? Did Adam preach the doctrine of hell torments to Cain to make bim holy? Did Noah preach this doctrine to make the antediluvians holy? Did Lot preach ibis doctrine to make the Sodomites holy?' Did Abraham even allude to this doctrine in bis intercession with God, as an argument that they might be spared? Yea, was the belief of this doctrine the cause of the holiness of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, &c. &c.! Did the belief of bell torments make them holy in distinction from those who were unholy ? If this was the cause of their being holy themselves, why did they not preach this doctrine to make their friends, neighbours, and indeed all mankind, holy? If this doctrine was bélievcd in those days, and was so well fitted as is supposed, to prevent wickedness, wby was it not preached? Surely Noah ought to have preached it to the people of the old world, when all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. He was a preacher of righteousness, but I do not find a single hint given in his history, that he was a preacher of hell iorments, 10 deter men from their licentious courses. Besides; why did not Lot preach it to the Sodomites to make