Sivut kuvina

a life in danger of being killed after the body is dead. But if it be granted that a man has a soul, capable of being destroyed after the body is dead, it will follow that gehenna is the place, where destruction is inflicted on the soul after the death of the body.

Matt. 18: 9. If thine eye offend thee pluck it out, and cast it from thee; it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. Mr. B.'s first reason why gehenna here may not mean hell, is, that Christ was speaking to his own disciples. Well, what if he was? Did not they need to be urged to self-denials, by a consideration of the danger of hell? And did not the urging after all prove of none effect upon one of their number? He next asserts that in no instance where Christ speaks of gehenna was the future state a subject of discourse. But this is asserting the very point in dispute. But he spends his chief labor in an attempt to explain away the fact, that everlasting fire, and the fire of gehenna, are here used as meaning the same thing. Having considered at sufficient length the use of the word everlasting, when applied to punishment, I have no occasion to follow him through his attempt to prove that everlasting fire does not mean hell. I take it as proved, in a previous chapter, that everlasting fire is no other than the fire of hell, and I discover nothing here to invalidate that proof. In one verse, Christ says, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire, and in the other, rather than having two hands, to be cast into everlasting fire. Mr. B. here admits that if the fire of gehenna means the national judgments, so does everlasting fire; and he finds a use for the term everlasting in the protracted calamities which have fallen upon the Jews. But how could that kind of everlasting fire, affect individuals then living? What if these calamities have been continued through so many generations, they are therefore no more severe on that account, to the individuals who fell with Jerusalem. Their hands and their eyes have suffered no more from the fire being in that sense everlasting. But this point comes up again under another text.

The contrast between entering into life, and going into ge

hennå, proves that gehenna is that which stands as the opposite of heaven-It is better to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell. Do you say, entering into life, means only coming in possession of that spiritual life which believers have in this world ? The answer is, the disciples were supposed already to have entered into that life ; and they could not be properly exhorted to the means of entering into it. Then there was no entering into life reserved for them, but entering into heaven. And then it is not only called everlasting fire, and put in contrast with entering into heaven ; but as if to cut off all possibility of understanding it of anything short of hell, the expression is added, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched; which is equivalent to saying that the soul will always live, to endure the punishment, and the fire will not be quenched, during the life of the soul. To the phrase unquenchable fire used in another place, the Universalists object that it means only that which burns as long as the fuel lasts. But to cut off that pretence, here is an assurance that it will last forever.

Matt. 13: 15. Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; for ye compass sea and land to make one prosolyte and when he is made, ye make him two fold more the child of hell than yourselves. Mr. B. says nothing on this passage but what is absolutely too frivolous to notice. On the supposition that gehenna means the phrase, child of gehenna, is clear and natural. As with the Hebrews, child of death, signified one worthy of death, or children of wrath signified those exposed to wrath, so child of hell, signified one exposed to hell, or deserving of it. But the child of Jerusalem's destruction seems to be rather an awkward and unnatural product. And by what rule of language would he be understood by his hearers so to mean, they having no anticipations. of such a destruction. If that destruction were universally expected, and in every one's mouth, under the name of gehenna, the case would be different. But the event could not pass by that name, nor any other name specially appropriated to it, because none had been expecting it. The Old Testament prophets' predictions of it seem not to nave been understood: he himself had predicted it only in the hearing of a few, and never in plain and direct terms, till after this discourse was held. It is preposterous then to suppose, that his hearers would recognize that event, by that name introduced with such brevity of allusion. If gehenna had become such a current name for Jerusalem's expected destruction, it is strange that there are no instances in the discourses of Christ, where he plainly and indisputably uses it in that sense. If that were the fact, it might be expected that where the word is used so often, and reported in different forms by different Evangelists, there would be at least one instance, where it would be so confined in its meaning, to the destruction of Jerusalem, that every eye must so apprehend it. We have instances where it refers to a place of the destruction of the soul, when it is called an everlasting fire, but not an intimation that it is a name for Jerusalem about to be destroyed.

Matt. 23: 33. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell! Mr. Balfour first undertakes to explain away the force of the word damnation. What he says on this subject, will find a sufficient refutation in chap. II. He then asks us to go back to three sources of evidence as to the meaning of the word gehenna. First, the original meaning of the term. This he asserts, and we grant, was not that of a place of punishment in a future state. Neither was it that of the destruction of Jerusalem. So the original meaning of the word favors not one interpretation more than the other. He invites us, secondly, to look at the Old Testament usage of the word, and assures us that it is never used there in the sense of a place of future punishment. Very true; and neither is it used as a name of Jerusalem's destruction. He thirdly invites us to look at the context—which we will do. The evidence from the context brought to prove that this passage refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, is the assertion in verse 36. All these things shall come upon this generation. It is pretended that these things include the damnation of gehenna above spoken of. This then is the question to be settled. We will give the whole passage. After pronouncing various woes upon the

Scribes and Pharisees, and bidding them fill up the measure of the fathers, he adds, Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell ? And then beginning a new paragraph, he says—Wherefore, behold I send unto you prophets and wise men, and scribes, and some of them ye shall kill, and crucify, and, some of them ye shall scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to eity; that upon you may come all the righteous blood that has been shed upon the earth, from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation. The reader will perceive that there is an intermediate topic introduced between the damnation of gehenna, and the phrase "these things," a topic connected with the foregoing by a “wherefore," and introduced as a distinct consequence from that. The course of the remarks is this, Because ye are a generation of vipers, so deserving of the damnation of hell, and determined to fill up the measure of your fathers, I will give you further opportunity to act out your infernal dispositions, towards the prophets, and to fill up the measure of your iniquity, and so prepare the way to bring upon you, as a nation, all the blood of all the prophets, shed upon the earth. The phrase these things, plainly has its antecedent in the things specified in the preceding verse, to wit: the righteous blood that has been shed, the blood of Abe!, &c. The word "things" is supplied by the translators. It may as well read all these (ta uta referring to ai ma repeated in the verse preceding) shall come upon this generation. That this verse is only a summing up of the particulars mentioned in the preceding, is too clear to need proof. In one verse it is said, that upon you may come this that and the other, and here it is said all these shall come upon this generation. The merest school-boy in Greek, would not risk his credit, in placing the antecedent to these, back three verses, and in another paragraph. Even Mr. B. would not have done it, had he not been overcome by a strong temptation to violate the laws of grammar.

But should we admit that these things" referred to the dam

nation of hell, and nothing else, Mr. B.'s conclusion would not follow. The word generation (genea) does not necessarily nor primarily nor conmonly, mean the men of a certain age. Nor is it clear that it has this meaning in the passage before us. Its first meaning given in the lexicons is, “ family, a race,

lineage.” And this is the more common meaning when used by Christ. Our translators have used the word generation, in twenty-eight instances, and in only three of these does the context require it to be understood of the men of the age, and in a great majority the sense is better sustained, if we understand it of lineage or nation, as any one may see who will take the trouble to examine. That it is to be so understood in this passage, is apparent from the fact that the sin which Christ charges upon that generation was the sin of a previous age, as well as of that, that he makes the charge of prophet-killing to sweep through all ages, and charges on the men whom he was addressing, the killing of a prophet who was killed centuries before they were born-from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zacharias, whom ye slew ; yet who had been slain at least four hundred and fifty years before. Now how could Christ say to those whom he was addressing-whom ye slew, if he were not addressing them as of the same family with those who slew him. If the charge was built on such an idea, and he was holding them up as the murderers of Zacharias, because of the same race with them, how can the word, generation, be understood otherwise, than in the sense of a

This mode of speaking is continued through the chapter. O Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee, &c. Behold your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you ye shall not see me henceforth till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Here he tells them as a nation that they are to be left desolate, until they as a nation should welcome him as the Messiah. So as in the previous verse he addressed through them, many ages back, here he speaks of what is to be done centuries hence, as done by them then living. There is to my mind strong reason for believing that generation is


« EdellinenJatka »