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nected with Gehenna, or hell. No; though we oftenhear preachers, in our day, speak of an eternal hell, such language never was used by any inspired writer. The phrase "everlasting fire," occurs in the Bible, and this has been shown, before, to be the same. as "everlasting punishment," and the "fire that shall never be quenched." But we have seen that none of these expressions refer to a place in a future state, called Gehenna, or hell; or that the punishment referred to is endless in its duration. But an eternal hell is often heard of, from the pulpit, and perhaps many believe it to be a Scripture expression. This, with many other terrific expressions, which are the chief ornaments of many modern sermons, and often uttered without much feeling by the preacher, are not found in the Bible. They are bugbears of his own crea-ting, which no man who regards the Scriptures, and has considered this subject, will be frightened at. Children, and ignorant, weak, nervous people, may, and indeed often are, powerfully wrought upon, by the terrific descriptions which are given of hell. And, after this is effected to a great extent, it is called a reformation. But is this the work of the Spirit of God among these people? If it be, I demand that some part of the New Testament be produced, showing that similar reformations were effected by terrific descriptions of hell under the ministry of Christ or his apostles. Did they paint, in glowing colours, the horrors of the damned in hell to make men Christians? No man will say so. Not a word was said by them about hell, or an eternal hell to the people. All such language is coined at the mint of modern divinity, and may be a very good plan for increasing a sect, but this is a very different thing from making men Christians. When many of these people get over their fright, they return like the dog to his vom
it, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
I am fully aware that to this it will be objected-is not everlasting life and everlasting punishment contrasted in Matth. xxv. 46. and some other places? Yes, it is freely admitted, but we think we can show that this contrast is not between heaven as a place of eternal blessedness, and Gehenna as a place of endless punishment, as is generally believed. The digression would be too long from our present subject to show this here, and therefore I have reserved this, and all the other texts where everlasting is applied to punishment, to a separate Inquiry.
11th, In the common language of most Christians, you find heaven as the place of blessedness for the righteous, spoken of in contrast with Gehenna or hell, the place of endless misery for the wicked.. Whatever they say about the former they have a counterpart in speaking of the latter. But when we look into the Bible, we do not find such a counterpart. I shall illustrate what I mean by an example or two. In the Bible we find persons expressing their hopes of going to heaven; but do we ever read of one expressing his fears of going to Gehenna or hell? We indeed find persons speaking familiarly of Sheol and Hades, and expressing both their fears and feelings in regard to this place; but do we ever read of one who expresses his fears or feelings about going to Gehenna? No: not an instance of this is found in Scripture. Again: we read of an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven; but do we ever read of endless punishment reserved for any one in hell or Gehenna? Nothing like this is mentioned by the sacred writers. Again: Paul, we are told, was caught up to the third heaven, into. paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter but do we ever find any one that was
sent to hell or Gehenna and there heard or saw any thing? No: but why is it not as natural to expect, that some one should be sent to hear the unutterable misery of the one place, as the unutterable blessedness of the other? The one would only be a proper counterpart to the other. But again; we have some instances of persons mentioned in Scripture, who were taken up from this earth unto God and into heavSuch were Enoch and Elijah. These persons, eminent for goodness, were distinguished from the rest of mankind, by this signal manifestation of the divine favour. But do you ever find one individual,. abandoned for wickedness, on whom God displayed his signal vengeance, by sending him bodily to hell or Gehenna? We indeed read of Korah and hiscompany who went down quick into the pit; but we have shown previously, that this pit was not Gehenna or hell, but only the grave or state of the dead. But further: we read Rev. vii. 14-17. of some before the throne of God, who serve him day and night in his temple, and from whose eyes all tears are wiped away. But do we ever read of any in hell or Gehenna, tormented by the devil, and from whose eyes tears shall never be wiped away; but who must dwell there forever in unutterable anguish? No: these and other things of a similar kind which might be named, are never mentioned in Scripture. We have heard and read enough of this in sermons, but sermons are not the Bible. Again: Moses and Elias made their appearance on the mount at our Lord's transfiguration; but do we find any of the wicked characters mentioned in Scripture ever making their appearance from hell? We have heard idle stories of wicked persons coming from hell to warn others and describing the awful misery of that place. But is any thing like this stated in the Scriptures? All know that such ridiculous fables are not found there.
12th, It is common with orthodox preachers to represent Hades or hell as the place of future torment for the wicked. They often avail themselves of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, in preaching on this subject. But observe that they also often speak of persons being there tormented by the devil and his angels. Indeed it is common to speak of devils and wicked men as being in the same place of punishment. But how they came by their information I know not. It is a fact that is indisputable, that whatever the Scriptures mean by the devil and his angels, they are not once represented as in Hades, or tormenting any persons there. Even Dr. Campbell, though he considers Hades as an intermediate place of punishment, 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." See the whole of this paragraph quoted p. 92. If the devil and his angels are in this place, which Dr. Campbell says was prepared for them, they are not then in Hades, the intermediate place of punishment for the wicked. We ask then how it can be said with truth, that the devil and his angels are the tormentors of the wicked in Hades? But we believe some have thought that though Gehenna is the place prepared for the devil and his angels, they are not yet sent there, nor will they be until the day of judgment, when they and all the wicked are to go there together, to suffer its punishment forever. If this be true, that the devil and his an. gels are not in Gehenna and are never said to be in Hades, it seems they, for the present, are not in either place of punishment, whilst wicked men are all sent to Hades to be punished from death until the resurrection. Besides, it is certain that such preachers who represent the devil and his angels as the tormentors of wicked men in Hades, greatly misrepresent them, a thing which ought not to be done to real
devils. But how often has it been heard from the pulpit and published to the world, that wicked men at death go to hell to be the companions of devils and damned spirits forever? And has not books been put into the hands of children describing in words and representing to their eyes in cuts, the devil tossing about. the wicked there with pitchforks? The truth is, whether my views of Gehenna be right or wrong, it is evident the common opinions entertained on the subject cannot all be true.
The evidence which has already been stated, proving that Gehenna does not signify a place of endless misery for the wicked, we deem sufficient. But there are yet some things, which ought not to be passed over, of a circumstantial nature, which very much confirm this evidence.
1st, Why did not John in his gospel mention Gehenna, and why did he omit all the discourses recorded by the other evangelists, in which our Lord spoke of Gehenna? It has been noticed already, that John wrote his gospel for the use of the Gentiles. This is generally admitted. This being the case, it may be thought there was no occasion to say any thing about Gehenna to the Gentiles. If our Lord as I have stated, meant by Gehenna the temporal punishment coming on the Jews, this is readily admitted; but if the damnation of hell was an eternal punishment for all the wicked, whether Jews or Gentiles, how could John omit all mention of it? How can it ever be rationally accounted for, that he believed the damnation of hell was an eternal punishment, yet say nothing about it to them? Was it a matter of more importance to them, to be told, that Messias being interpreted, signifies the Christ, or, that there was at Jerusalem a pool in the Hebrew language called Bethesda having five porches? Or that the water pots, chap. ii. contained two or three firkins apiece? Can any man