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laugh, exclaims Tertullian, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold so many monarchs groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness ; so many magistrates liquefying in fiercer fires than ever they kindled for christians ; so many sage philosophers blushing in red hot flames!"

Topher, like Gehenna, is somewhat of dubious signification. In certain passages of scripture it clearly implies the name of a place; and from what is said of it, Is. 30: 33, many have supposed it to mean hell, or the abode of the damned. Indeed, Dr. Campbell thought that in the latter age of Jewish history, the word Tophet, was exclusively used to denote the hell of the moderns. Of this opinion I was also, during the early part of my ministry.—But how great was my surprise when I first read Jer. 19: 14. “ Then came Jeremiah from Tophet, whither the Lord had sent him to prophesy !" What, said I, Jeremiah in hell ! and sent there to prophesy! But on further inquiry, I found Tophet to be the name of a place in the valley of Hinnon, near the city of Jerusalem, 2 Kings 23: 10, Jer. 7: 31. The children of Judah built Tophet in the valley of Hinnon, for the express purpose of burning their infants to Moloch or Baal, when the good feelings of their nature had become extinct, by the baneful influence of superstition ; but the Jehovah of the Jews declares, the wicked thought never entered his heart to build a place for the burning of his offspring, see Jer. 7:31, and 32: 35. Tophet was a great image erected to Moloch, hollow within, and prepared for the reception of those innocent victims, which were committed to the flames, as expiatory sacrifices to appease the wrath of this senseless god of consuming fire! O ye worshippers of gods, whose very bowels emit columns of liquid flames, and whose breath is a stream of brimstone, think of horrid Moloch. Consider also, if the worshippers of the apocalyptic beast, be not tormented as the Jews were, by the slavish dread of a terrific monster!

Jewish writers in general are of opinion, that Tophet received its name from Toph, a drum, because that instrument was used to drown the cries of those infants, who were sacrificed to Moloch ; but Le Clerc objects to this etymology, because it does not appear that large drums were known to the ancients; and the, sound of the less, called taber, used in dances, was not sufficiently loud ; and for the large we are indebted to the Arabians, who first brought them into Spain. Though this objection does not seem very forcible, yet it is more reasonable to believe that Tophet signifies a fire-stove, and that the large hollow image of Moloch was so called ; and probably that part of the valley of Hinnon, where the image stood, bore the same appellation. There is little pleasure in describing scenes of horror, but it may be useful to show us the evils of a false religion, and inspire us with grateful emotions for the enjoyment of the true. Be it known then, to the disgrace of the Jews, that although in possession of the knowledge of the one only true God, like modern Christians, they were too much inclined to the worship of idols; and having consecrated the solar fire as a deity, they erected Tophet as an altar to one of those agents, which God employs for the benefit of the world. An idol of brass, having the head of an ox, but the body of a man, was made to represent the fiery god ; and the idol seated on a throne of brass, a crown was placed on its head, and its hands extended to receive their gifts. But what gifts were deemed most acceptable ? Ab ! had the fruits of the field or herds of the stall sufficed, it would have been well, but cruel Moloch cried for blood'; and nothing less than the tender pledges of conjugal love, could glut the rapacity of this wrathful deity! The hollow idol was heated to rednessthe parent, by a refinement of cruelty, in order to acquire the summit of sanctity, must become the priest

----himself must place his darling in its arms! No bewitching smiles or mournful cries must drive him from his purpose. His heart must be steeled against every tender impression, and a most complete conquest obtained over the strongest feelings of humanity. Fortunately, the shocking scene was of short duration. The sacred drums, impiously so called, drowned the cries ; and whilst the bodies of the innocent children became the victims of a merciless superstition, their souls reorganized, were received to the embraces of a kind and merciful God !

To prevent the continuance of this horrid practice, Josiah defiled this valley, by making it a common depot for the filth of the city, and the bodies of those criminals which were refused the rites of burial. 2 Kings, 23 : 10. This valley was also made the place of execution for all who were condemned to be stoned or burnt to death by the supreme court at Jerusalem, called the Sanhedrim. According to the Jewish law there were nineteen offences, which subjected the criminal to suffer death by stoning; and ten, which were punished by burning to death, in the fire of Gehenna. Many of those who were stoned to death, were also hanged, and their bodies left to be meat to the fowls of heaven or the beasts of the field. Gen. 40: 19, 2 Sam. 21 ; 9. Jer. 7 : 33, and 19: 7. Burning was performed either by roasting in the fire, Jer. 29 : 22, or in a furnace, Dan. 3: 23, or by pouring melted lead down their throats. Lightfoot, from the Talmuds, informs us, that this last punishment was performed in the following manner.

66 The crim.' inal being made fast, a towel was put round his neck, and two men taking hold of the ends of the towel, one pulling one way, and the other the opposite, they forced him by strangling to open his mouth : then a third poured boiling lead down his throat and burnt his bow


Some have thought from the peculiar use of the valley, Gehenna became proverbial to express any great punisment, or afflictive dispensation ; and might therefore he used by our Lord, to designate the torments of Hell in another world. In favour of this supposition, they refer to the Targum on Gen. 3: 24, and 15 : 17. But the Targums were not composed till long after the Jews had mixed in captivity, with the Pagan nations, and learned of them their fabulous ideas concerning the state of the Ghosts in Hades.

Nothing can be more clear than what has been asserted by Le Clerc and Gibbon, that from the time the Jews received the Sinai dispensation of the Law, till the Babylonian captivity, the hopes as well as the fears of the Jewish nation, were confined within the narrow compass

of the present life. But after the Jews were restored by Cyrus, and became divided into sects, the Pharisees received under the name of traditions, the doctrine of future rewards and punishments, with several other speculative tenets from the Philosophy or religion of the eastern nations. Gibbon's Rome, vol. 1. ch. 15. Plato, in Tim. et de Rępub. uses such language as to manifest, that he and Socrates borrowed their ideas of future rewards and punishments from others ; and Suidas informs us they borrowed from the Egyptians. But notwithstanding all the influence of the Pythagorean and Platonic Philosophy, supported in this instance, by the combined interests of Priestcraft and King-craft, Cicero, a rnost consummate philosopher and statesman, who flourished about fifty years before Christ, declares, Tuscul. Quest. L. 1. S. 10. that the old fables of the Elysian fields and Pluto's kingdom, were grown ridiculous, and abandoned to the poets and painters! Moreover, it is extremely futile, to refer to Jewish Targums for support to a doctrine denounced by the Jewish scriptures. Had the Targums taught the doctrine alleged, though it were

only as a Jewish tradition, surely we would much more reasonably expect to find it in the Mishna, which was the grand repository of all their traditions. Yet so far from supporting the doctrine, the quotations of Dr. A. Clarke on Mat. 12:32, show that both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Gemara assert, unequivocally, that death wipes off all stains, even the sin of blasphemy!

We are perfectly in accordance with Dr. S. Clark, and Dr. Campbell, in saying that Gehenna is the only word, in the New Testament, that signifies a place of punishment, but we deny that place of torment to have any longer an existence in the vast universe. In order to exhibit the sandy foundation on which these learned advocates of an invisible Gehenna, have built their chimerical palace for Pluto, I shall examine all the passages where the word Gehenna occurs in the New Testament. In reading the Greek Testament we meet with the word Gehenna just twelve times; and the following are all the passages in which it is found. Mat. 5 : 22, 29, 30—10 : 28–18: 9–23: 15, 33. Mark 9 : 43, 45, 47. Luke 12: 5, and James 3: 6. In two of these Mat. 33: 15, and James 3:6, the Drs. accede that the word must be understood figuratively. The other ten are divisible into three classes.

The first class includes those passages where Christ cautions his disciples against the sin of apostacy, and refers to the mode of punishing such offenders among the Jews by burning them in Gehenna. This class includes Mat. 5: 29, 30—10: 23-18: 9. Mark 9 : 43, 45, 47. Luke 12, 5. The second class includes only one passage. Mat. 5: 22, where he describes the danger of him, who preferred a charge of apostacy against another; and the third or last contains only one, also, namely, Mat. 23 : 33, where our Lord demands of the scribes and Pharisees, how such serpents as they, could escape the punishment of Gehenna. Hence the illustration of one passage will suflice for the whole, with all intelligent and candid persons.

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