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ed with. This interpretation of the punishment in the latter clause of the verse, has a particular advantage attending it, as it prevents the reader from imagining that only the sin of calling his brother a fool, will be punished with hell-fire.' Harm. Evan. Sect. 26.
Thus Macknight allows that gehenna, as well as judgment and council, is here used in its literal sense, indicating the punishment of being burnt alive in the valley of Hin
And then by a metaphorical use of these terms, he conveys the punishment, indicated by them all, into the future life. Let the reader once more be cautioned to distinguish between what is stated, by any Commentator, as matter of fact, and what is stated as matter of opinion.
6. HEYLIN. • The tribunal of the judges, and that of the Sanhedrim, were different courts of judicature, whereof the latter took cognizance of the greater crimes.
For hell-fire the original has Gehenna of fire. Gehenna was a valley near Jerusalem, which was used for a lay-stall, and where a continual fire was kept, to consume such impurities, as might otherwise infect the air. These three, the tribunal of the judges, of the Sanhedrim, and gehenna of fire, intimate different penalties, which offenders, in each case, would respectively be liable to; and the last imports a very heavy one. Lect. in loc.
Heylin gives no intimation here, (nor elsewhere, so far as I have examined,) that, in this passage, Jesus speaks of punishments in another life.
7. ROSENMULLER. Gehenna is a Hebrew word denoting a place near Jerusalem, in which the Israelites, giving themselves up to idolatry, sacrificed children to a heated image of Moloch, which represented the form of
This place, the valley of Hinnom, the Jews afterwards so detested, that they were accustomed to cast into it the unburied carcasses of those whom they desired to punish with unusual severity. It is called a gehenna of fire because Josiah, in order to render the valley of Hinnom more odious, commanded that filth and dead
carcasses should be cast into it; for the burning of which there was kept a perpetual fire. 2d Kings xxiii. 10, et seq. It therefore denotes the highest degree of punishment, exceeding that of the sword, and stoning. The Jews, indeed, called hell by this name. But such does not appear to be its signification in this place ; because, if it were, the punishment of hell would be contradistinguished from the divine judgment, of which, it is rather a part, or one species. Their opinion, therefore, seems more correct, who choose to interpret the passage thus; he shall be worthy, (or he shall deserve to be burnt alive in the valley of Hinnom. For although it may not be proved, by sufficiently authentic evidence, that burning alive was practiced by the Jews, yet it is certain that in that place dead bodies were burned, as a mark of ignominy.' Scholia in loc.
Before dismissing this text, I ought to mention that orthodox writers, of the present day, have allowed themselves, either ignorantly or wickedly, to misrepresent the views of Universalists relative to Gehenna. They have represented them as believing that this word is invariably used, by the sacred writers, in its literal sense, to signify the valley of Hinnom ; and that the punishment of Gehenna is a literal burning in that valley. So far as my knowledge extends, no Universalist has expressed such an opinion. The charge is unfounded, and utterly gratuitous. Universalists believe this word is used to denote figuratively a state of severe torment; but they do not believe it is ever used, in the Scriptures, to denote endless torment in the future life. This is the "head and front of their offending.'
This method of misrepresentation was adopted by Professor Stuart, in his Exegetical Essays. Since the publication of that work; the same method has been pursued by another antagonist of Universalism. In relation to the writer here alluded to, I simply remark, if he has as much knowledge of the doctrine and arguments of Universalists as he would have us believe, he can have no reasonable excuse for his gross misrepresenta
tions of both ; but if his misrepresentations are to be attributed to his ignorance, less boasting' and 'more modesty' would become him.
I might name other writers, who have been guilty of the same fault, in a greater or less degree; but it is unnecessary. In relation to all such, it is sufficient to quote the well merited rebuke given by Rev. W. Balfour, to Professor Stuart :
• It was an unpardonable mistake, or oversight, in you, to represent, as you have done, that Universalists attach no other sense to the term gehenna, but the literal valley of Hinnom. All the plausibility you give to your views of gehenna in the New Testament, is founded on this misrepresentation. It does no honor to your head, your heart, or general character.'
• Dr. Allen was so candid as to say, of what I wrote on Matt. xxiii. 33.—' This is the only passage in Scripture, in which the word gehenna is used, where there is some little appearance of argument, that the punishment referred to, may be a temporal punishment. But instead of candor, you repeat your misrepresentation thus,• Does the Saviour mean here to ask, How can ye escape being burned alive in the valley of Hinnom? Were they in any danger of this ?' I answer,—The Jews were in no danger of this. But I ask in turn, were they in no danger of the fearful judgment of God, predicted by Jeremiah, under the emblem of the valley of Hinnom? I also ask you, sir,- Did Jeremiah, or any other prophet, predict under the emblem of the valley of Hinnom, that the Jews were in danger of your hell? If this is done, why betake yourself, for authority, to Talmudic and Rabbinic writers ? Balfour's Reply to Stuart, p. 220, and note, p. 221.
1. sincerely hope if another attack shall be made on Universalism, in which, as usual, so much reliance shall be placed on the word gehenna, the writer will apply himself to the task of showing that the views which Universalists do entertain are false; and not, like others, first set up a man of straw,' and then display his courage and dexterity in beating it down.
Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily, I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.-MATT. v. 25—26.
The parallel place is Luke xii. 58, 59. The scope of this passage is so very obvious, it seems strange that any should have misunderstood it. It manifestly has relation to the importance of living at peace with all men; and (since offences will come) of attempting to settle amicably all disputes which may arise, before they are pushed to extremity. But some are so fond of spiritualizing, that they have forced a spiritual meaning from this passage also. And, what is rather amusing, they differ very much in relation to the person indicated by the adversary; some believing this term to represent God, others, the devil. It would be astonishing, if Jesus intended to represent either, that he should use such language, that men could not determine to which it is most applicable. The true reason for this difficulty, however, exists, not in the language of Jesus, but in the false representations men have given of the character of God. Having obscured the brightness of his glory, they find it difficult to distinguish between his countenance, and that of the devil. The following quotations will exhibit the testimony of approved writers, that this passage is descriptive of temporal affairs, having relation to earthly, human adversaries, and actions :
1. DUTCH ANNOTATIONS. • Be quickly minded towards thine adversary; that is, bear with, or agree with him, that for debt or otherwise goes to law with thee.' Annot. in loc. 2. PEARCE. • Do thy endeavour to make it up
with him, as we express it. See Luke xii. 58. This (25th) and the next verse mean to show the temporal · hazard which men run, when they quarrel; though perhaps
with a further view to the case between God and every sinner.' Com. in loc.
The Bishop allows the obvious meaning of this text to be its true meaning, though, contrary to his usual custom, he is disposed to search for a hidden or concealed
3. Tomson's Beza. • To the jayler (officer); To him . that had to gather the amercements, which they were condemned unto, that bad wrongfully troubled men: moreover the magistrates' officers make them which are condemned pay that, that they owe, yea and oftentimes, if they be obstinate, they do not only take the costs and charges of them, but also imprison them. Note in Luke xii. 58, 59. 4. ROSENMULLER.
Jesus teaches that suits at law are to be avoided, or speedily settled; it is more safe for thee to pay thy creditor more than thou owest, than to have the case brought before a magistrate ; for it often happens, that he who has even a good cause, is defeated.' Scholia in loc.
5. CLARKE. *Adversary, properly a plaintiff in law; a perfect law-term. Our Lord enforces the exhortation given in the preceding verses from the consideration of what was deemed prudent in ordinary law-suits. In such cases, men should make up matters with the utmost speed, as running through the whole course of a law-suit, must not only be vexatious, but be attended with great expense; and in the end, though the loser may be ruined, yet the gainer has nothing.'
The remainder of this note is exceedingly curious. Dr. Clarke, like others, was disposed to allegorize; and he proceeded thus :
' A good use of this very prudential advice of our Lord, is this: Thou art a sinner. God hath a controversy with thee. There is but a step between thee and death. Now is the accepted time. Thou art invited to return to God by Christ Jesus. Come immediately at his call, and he will save thy soul. Delay not! Eternity is at hand;