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is far from being probable, for burning alive in the valley of Hinnom, was not a Roman punishment; and in our Lord's day, the Jews had not the power to put any man legally to death, by any mode of punishment whatever. Burning alive in the valley of Hinnom was unknown among the Jews. To this horrid practice then, I think our Lord could not allude, when he threatened them with the damnation of Gehenna.

Schleusner observes, that among the Jews" any severe punishment, especially a shameful kind of death, was denominated Gehenna." If this remark is correct, it well agrees with the prediction of Jeremiah noticed above. He had used Gehenna, as a source of imagery, to describe the punishment to be inflicted on the Jewish nation; when on them came all the righteous blood shed on the earth. That this punishment was severe is certain. Our Lord declared, -" for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved,” Math. xxiv. 21, 22. Josephus said above, six hundred thousand dead bodies were carried out of Jerusalem and suffered to lie unburied. Their punishment then, was both severe and shameful, and might well be denominated Gehenna, for no place was more horrible to Jews, than the valley of Hinnom. It was a fit emblem to describe their punishment.

It cannot be consistently objected by believers in endless punishment, that the inspired writers made Gehenna an emblem of the temporal punishment which came on the Jewish nation, seeing they make it an emblem of endless punishment in a future state. To adopt the words of Mr. Stuart- “ what could be a more appropriate term than this, when we consider the horrid cruelties and diabolical rites which had been there performed,” to describe the horrible carnage of the Jews in the destruction of their city and temple. But, let us

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attend to the passages, and see how they agree to this view of the subject ?

Math. v. 22. “But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, thou fool, shall be in danger of hell, (Gehenna) fire.” This is the first time Gehenna is mentioned in the New Testament, and here, our Lord addressed his own disciples about it. If it means hell, the world of woe, I ask, were they in so much more danger of going to hell than the unbelieving Jews, that he first warned them about it? Yea, was their condition so perilous, that the chief thing, said about Gehenna, was addressed to them?

But the passage, or its context, affords no proof, that our Lord by Gehenna referred to a place of punishment in a future state. This sense of Gehenna is assumed, and in face of evidence to the contrary, as I shall now show.

1st, In the passage, there are three crimes, and three punishments mentioned. No one supposes, the two first refer to a future state. Why then should the third ? Is the crime of calling a brother a fool, so much worse than the other two, that it danger of hell, or, endless punishment ?

2d, The question then is, what did our Lord mean by Gehenna fire, or as Mr. Stuart renders it—" the fire of the valley of Hinnom ?” He says—“ it is employed as a source of imagery, to describe the punishment of a future world, which the judge of all hearts and intentions will inflict." But this is assuming the question in discussion ; and deserves no regard. Above, Schleusner told us—“any severe punishment, especially a shameful kind of death, was denominated Gehenna.' Jeremiah, we have seen, describes the punishment of the Jews as a nation under the emblem of Gehenna. This punishment was at hand, when our Lord addresse

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ed his disciples in this passage. What then did he mean by “Gehenna fire ?" I answer, nothing can be more obvious than this from the Bible, that fire is a common figure to express God's judgments on men for their sins. No man can doubt this, who consults the following among other passages, Deut. xxxii. 22, 25. Isai. Ixvi. 15, 16. v. 24, 25. xxx. 27–33. ix. 18, 19. x. 16—18. Ezek. xxii. 18—22, 41. See also the two first chapters of Amos. I shall only quote one or two examples in proof, respecting the Jews. Jeremiah, Lam. ii. 3, says—“God burned against Jacob like'a flaming fire, which devoureth round about.” And David says, Ps. Ixxxix. 46, “ shall thy wrath burn like fire?" It is contended by believers in endless misery, that what is expressed by the word punishment, Math. XXV. 46, is described figuratively by the word fire, verse 41. Thus according to the figurative use of the term fire, and according to Schleusner quoted above, “Gehenna fire” means any severe punishment, especially a shameful kind of death." And we can be at no loss in determining, to what punishment our Lord referred, as Jeremiah under the emblem of Gehenna, predicted a most severe punishment to the Jewish nation. Where could he have found a more appropriate emblem than Gehenna? It was certainly a more appropriate term, to describe God's temporal punishment of the Jews, than to describe an eternal punishment in a future state, of which we know nothing, for no description of it is given in the Bible.

3d, Let us inquire, what Gehenna fire our Lord's disciples were in danger of? That they were in danger of the punishment, God was about to inflict on their nation, no one will dispute. See how careful our Lord was, Math. 24. in pointing out to them how they might escape this punishment. He tells them verse 13

- he that shall endure unto the end the same shall be saved," Saved from what? The context clearly shows, they would be saved from this punishment coming on their nation. But the utmost watchfulness on their part was necessary,

for this day of vengeance would come upon the nation unawares, Math. xxiv. 42 --51. Comp. 1 Thess. v. 1-10. But, where does our Lord show like earnestness, in warning his disciples, that they might escape Gehenna fire, or endless inisery in a future state ? No where, as all must confess, and yet most said about Gehenna is to them.

The following objection may perhaps be urged against the above view of this passage. “ Allowing Gehenna to refer to the temporal punishment coming on the Jewish nation, why did calling a brother a fool, subject to this punishment, rather than the other crimes mentiontioned?” Answer.' As Gehenna fire, or God's temporal judgments on the Jews, is the greatest punishment mentioned in the passage, we may expect that the crime of which it is the punishment, was also the greatest. The word moreh rendered fool, Dr. Campbell renders miscreant; and in his preface to Mathew's Gospel, says, “ the word moreh here used by the evangelist, differs only in number from morim, the compellation with which Moses and Aaron addressed the people of Israel, when they said, Numb. xx. 10, with manifest and indecent passion, as rendered in the English Bible, Hear now ye rebels, and were, for their punishment, not permitted to enter the land of Canaan. The word, however, as it is oftener used to imply rebellion against God than against any earthly sovereign ; and as it includes disbelief of his word, as well as disobedience to his command, I think better rendered in this place miscreant, which is also, like the original term, expressive of the greatest abhorrence and detestation. In this way translated the gradation of crimes, as well as of punishments, is preserved, and the impropriety avoided of delivering a moral precept, of consequence to men of all denominations, in words intelligible only to the learned.”

Math. v. 28, 29. “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell, (Gehenna). And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee, that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell, (Gehenna).” Here again, our Lord was addressing his own disciples; and whatever was meant by Gehenna in verse 22, the same must be meant here as all will allow. Let us then enquire 1st, What our Lord meant by Gehenna? On this text Mr. Stuart says "Most certainly this cannot be understood' of a literal casting into Gehenna; for who was to execute such a punishment? Not the Jewish courts; for they had no cognizance of the offense which a man's right hand or right eye moved him to commit, i. e. they could not call in question and punish a member of the human body, because it tempted its owner to sin. It must then be a punishment which God would inflict. But was this a literal casting into the valley of Hinnom ? It may however be said, that the caution of the Savior runs thus :— Avoid all temptation to sin, lest you bring on yourself the terrible punishment of being burned in the valley of Hinnom, in case you give way to any temptation. This would be a possible interpretation,

' provided the crimes in question could be shown to be of such a nature as were punishable in this manner by the Jewish courts. But as this cannot be done, this exegesis seems to be fairly incapable of admission." On this quotation I remark.

1st, We perfectly agree with Mr. Stuart, that--this cannot be understood of “ the terrible punishment of being burned in the valley of Hinnom.” And we also agree with him, that—" it must then be a punishment which God would inflict.” But we ask, does God in

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