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Saviour is:'able and ready to save obtaising the grace and favour of
(To be continued.)
This is To the Editor of the Christian Obserstet, the way in which we are to turn I FEEL grateful for the very able unto God, and become partakers Review which you gave of my Disof his grace and mercy; and if we sertation on the Seals and Trumpets bave by the grace of God entered of the Apocalypse, in your Number on this blessed way, let us take for March Jast. Of ihe merits of care that we do not then think we my work, you have spoken in terms have already attained to a state of which very far exceeded my expec. perfection. There are some who tation when I gave it to the public; think that they need not be under and I cannot but acknowledge my. any fariber concern for their eter self greatly obliged to you for the nal welfare, because they have once handsome and yet delicate manner found their minds awakened, and in which you have expressed your have sbewed some sorrow for their general approbation of it. sins; but this is a fatal thought To some parts, however, of my which will ruin our souls: let us canon of interpretation, you coộ. therefore take care to maintain al- ceive there are very formidable obways a sense of our sinfulness and
jections: and, in particular, you aplost condirion, and endeavour to prehend that my exposition of the grow in grace and in the knowledge seals may open a door “ 10 a latiof our Lord Jesus Christ, by our fre- lude of interpretation to which no quent addresses to him, and daily limits can be assigned.”—In your surrender of ourselves into his hands; 177th page, you jo vite me to discuss let us strive by the grace of the this subject anew, and to convince blessed Spirit to follow his holy you by arguments a priori, that my example, and adhere unto him in canon of interpretation does not lead prosperity and adversity; Jet us to the dangerous consequences which daily hear the word of God, and lay you apprehend. it up in our hearts as the food of our
Io taking up my pen to address souls and watch and pray that its you on this subject, I feel that I saving effects may not be frustrated, could willingly leave the fate of my but that it may bring forth the fruits theory of the Seals, to be decided by Al a holy life. This is the way of time and the gradual increase of
propbetical - light and knowledge. tion, always supposing that the oriBut as it is by the “running to and tic limits his 'requisitions by those fro of many,' * in conjunction with principles which distinguish moral the progress of events, that this evidence from mathematical denionlight and knowledge are destined to stration. Having made these prelibe increased, it seems to be my minary observations, I shall proceed dury to lend my humble aid to the to vindicate my exposition of the attainment of that desirable end, by Seals, or more properly;" that of noi declining the discussion which Archdeacon Woodhouse,' which I you invite.
have adopted. I remark, in the first place, that Let us suppose a case priori, no objection is made to the internal that it may have pleased God to probability of my interpretation of give unto his Church, for her instructhe first six seals: on the contrary, tion and consolation, a vision con you explicitly admit that, “ stand- tained in a book consisting of vario ing by itself, its internal probabili- ous sections or chapters, comprising, ties are very great. You acknow- first, an epitome of her future forjedge further, that if it be esta- tunes unto the end of time; and blished hy argument, “ it will be by secondly, a more minute description far the most editying of any inter of the various events and agents af pretation hitherto given,” as well fectiog ber fortunes. I think it as “ more strictly in unison with must be admitted,' that there is now the priuciple of homogeneity." thing previously impossible or even You likewise are forward to confess, improbable in the case 'here sup: that the application of the seventh posed. Now, sir, if such a book chapter of the Apocalypse to the does exist, it must include in it the mere temporal peace of the church, principle of carrying back ebe nar. in the reign of Constantine, has rative in one or more places ; bealways been most unsatisfactory cause without doing so, it is imposa to your mind. But to all these sible first to give an epitome of the powerful reasons in favour of my things revealed, and then a more scheme of interpretation, you oppose complete account of them. If the the apparently formidable objec- book be composed in the language tion of a rigid criticism, that by as- of enigma and hieroglyphic, it may suming a liberty of introducing the be expected that considerable diffi principle of retrogression, or, in culty will occur in fixing the parti. plainer words, of carrying back the cular places where the warrative prophetical vision in an arbitrary turns back, and it will be necessary manner, I bring disorder and uncer- to watch with a jealous eye the tainty into the whole of the apo. attempts of expositors to ascertain calyptic chronology t.
these places, lest they should iaIn giving to your objection the troduce confusion into the texture appellation of a rigid criticism, I beg of the prophecy. But it may, peryou, sir, lo believe that I am in no haps, be anticipated, that certain degree appalled by it, and likewise, internal marks will be inserted in that cordially acquiesce in the pró- the book itself, to assist us in decidpriety and necessity of criticism ing when and where we are to re. the most rigid; and scrutiny the trograde. most jealous, being applied to every Now, sir, according to the united system of apocalyptical interpreta- testimony of commentators, the Dan. xii. 4.
Apocalypse, from the oth chapter In stating the objection, I have, per- downwards, is such a book as I have haps, used stronger words than the Reviewer; supposed. © All v expositors agree, but as it is un objection against mysolt, i that AS A WHOLE, it consists, not of have tbooght it best to put it in the strougest one consecutive series of predictions way.
but that the consecutive order is
broken or interrupted ; and the par- difference is there in principle, salive turns back oftener than once, between the violation of the consefor the purpose of giving a more cutive order in the codicil and a like foll and perfect description of cer- violation of it in the original book tain events and objects.
with seven seals? Or, if it be adThe only difference between my mitted in the one, what solid reason canon of interpretation and that of can be given a priori for denying most other writers, consists in this, its possible existence in the other? that I suppose the whole series of Surely, in this case, the onus provisions to be comprised in the seven bandi rests upon those who maintain rolls or sections of the original book, that the consecutive order may be which was delivered into the hands violated in the codicil, but is to be of our Lord to be opened * : and I held sacred and inviolable in the consequently introduce the principle original book. of retrocession or repetition into ihe I shall now shew, however, that original rolls or sections; whereas the neither Mede nor those interpreters writers alluded to imagine, that be. who follow his system of synchrosides the original book of seven nism, have limited the principle of seals, there is a supplementary carrying back the narrative to the book or codicil, in which, for the little book. Mede places the vision sake of greater perspicuity, the par- of the palm-bearing multitude, chap. rative turns back almost to the be- vii. 9 (as I do) in the seventh trum. ginning of the original book, for the pet. He rightly argues, that the purpose of a more full description palm-bearing saints are the inhabi. of the most important incidents of tants of the New Jerusalem *. For the prophecy.
this profound writer, though he unIt is unnecessary for me to inform questionably was mistaken in some you, sir, that I deny the very exist- of bis synchronisms, and his esposi. ence of the codicil; but it may not tion of the seals, and likewise in dis. be superfluous to draw your atten• joining the whole of the seventh tion to the contradictory opinions of chapter from the sixth seal to those who believe that it exists as a which it belongs, had yet too accu. separate portion of the prophecy rate a knowledge of the language Mede maintains, that the whole of of symbols to be guilty of the the Apocalypse, from the tenth error of some later writers who chapler 'inclusive to the end, be- suppose that the vision now under longs tơ the codicil, thereby make consideration belongs to the church ing the supposed supplementary in the time of Constantine. Mede, prophecy larger than the original would probably have rejected with one. Bishop Newton, on the other indignation such an interprelation hand, holds that the codicil is all (if proposed to him), as calculated comprised in the first fourteen zo secularize and debase one of the verses of the eleventh chapter. Mr. most sublime and spiritual deserip Faber steers a middle course be- tions of the glory of the church tween Mede and the Bishop, main- which the Sacred Volume affords taining that the codicil compre us for our consolation and encouhends the eleventh, twelfth, ihira ragement in this valley of tears. teenth, and fourteenth chapters, Having then applied this vibeing about one fourth of the whole sion of the palm-bearers to the Milprophecy.
lennium, Mede, at the beginning But I would ask, supposing the of chapter eighth, when the seventh existence of the codicil to be admit- seal is opened, at once turns back ted for the sake of argument, and to the period of the heathen persethat there were an entire agreement culions in the third century; and respecting its contents; still, what he supposes that the prayers of all Rev, v. 7.
* Clavis Apocalyptica Synchron. VII.
saints offered up by the angel on the to the battle of Armageddon, is menaltar of incense, denote the cries of tioned twice in the Apocalypse, and the martyrs slain under the fifth not in that part of it which they seal, to avenge which, under the suppose included in the little book. trumpets, wrath descends on the The two places are, chap. xvi. 17, and Roman empire. He places the six. 19. These two passages are theresounding of the first trumpet in the fore strictly synchronical. Now the
intervening narrative between these When I wrote my exposition of two texts (which chiefly relates 10 the last part of the sixth seal, and the pouring out of the seventh vial) the opening of the seventh, I had must be either prior in time, or not examined that part of Mede's posterior to the gathering together commentary which treats of the at Armageddon; let the advocates same passages of the Apocalypse, for the uninterrupted continuity of and, in fact, I did not refer to it till the apocalyptic visions take their I sat down to write the present choice, and say to which the priremarks upon your critique. It ority in time belongs. If the efhas, therefore, proved very agree- fusion of the seventh vial and its able to me to find myself sup- principal events are (as I have ported by tbat great writer, in the endeavoured to prove in my Disserprecise violation of the principle of tation) prior to the gathering togesuccession, against which you, sir, ther at Armageddon, then the narmost loudly protest. I am also rative turns back at chap. xvi. 17, happy to add, the respectable names and the continuity of the vision is of Dr. Henry More and Brightman, there broken, and not resunied until as concurring in the millennial ap- chap. xix. 19. If, on the other hand, plication of the vision of the palm- the objector shall assert that the bearing multitude, and the conse whole contents of the seventh vial quent retrogression of the seventh are posterior in time to the gatherseal.
ing together at Armageddon, which Bishop Newton, by the forced and opinion it might easily be shown is unnatural application of the vision replete with improbabilities; it fol. of the palm-bearers to the age of lows still, from this view, supposing Constantine, avoids the alternative it true, that the continuity of the of carrying back the seventh seal, vision is broken, and the narra, Yet, in another part of what be tive carried back at chap. xix, 19. 10 deems to be the original book of the same place in time, as chap. xvi. seven seals (and not the codicil), 17. Thus, in either case, the hypoq viz. on the sounding of the se thesis is destroyed, that the Apocaventh trumpet, he is under the ne- lypse is one continued vision; and it cessity of retrograding to the first follows, that the principle of retroage of the church : but as you cession must be admitted in ex. have referred your readers to the pounding it. Eishop's remarks, and have obsery. But you still require that some ed, that they are much in favour of canon may be found capable of demy views, it is unnecessary for me fining with sufficient clearness, how to enlarge on his testimony. far this, principle of interpretation
There are some, however, who may be carried, and where it is 10 resist altogether the introduction of stop. I answer, that the canon the principle of retrogression, in the which you desire is to be found exposition of the Apocalypse, exs in the five rules contained in the cepting in what they term the little Preface to my Dissertation, and par. book. To those who hold this sen- ticularly, the fifth, being the role timent, I would offer the following adopted from Mr. Frazer. I also dilemna.---The gathering together shall add, that the principle of reof the beast and Kings of the earth trogression is on no occasion to be
resorted to where necessity does not longs to the state of the Church in dictate it. If you demand, Who the time of Constantine is, in ober shall define and determine the exist- words, to affirm, that the sabbalispa ence and limits of this necessity? of the Church did then begin. I reply, The prophet himself, or ra In confirmation of what is here ther the Holy Spirit, has done so by advanced, I request you to turn to those internal marks described in the account of the New Jerusalem the rule of Mr. Frazer. I say fur. - state in Rev. xxi. It is there said ther, that all sallies of imagination emphatically, as descriptive of this in the commentator are to be check- condition of the Church, ver. 3. Beed by the exercise of a jealous and hold the labernacle of God is with severe criticism upon your part. In men, and He shall tabernacle with short, the same means are to be used them;!-and again ver. 4;."God shall to prevent the abuse of the principle : wipe away all tears from their eyes." of retrogression as are employed to Now, sir, having read this passage, repress the exercise of an undue turn back to cb. vij, ver, 15. You will license in the interpretation of the there find it written, as descriptive symbols. For myself, Mr. Editor, of the felicity of the palm-bearers; i profess not only to be willing but “ Therefore are they before the anxious to undergo the ordeal of throne, and serve Him day, and such criticism in respect of my sy. night in bis temple, and Hebat stem of apocalyptic synchronisms. sitteth on the throne shall tabernaMy object is the progress of truth; cle among them.” (The same words and I am willing that any one or as in chap. xxi.). And at the end more of the chapters of my Disser- of ver. 17, the whole description is tation shall, if erroneous, be em. closed with the words." God shall ployed to kindle the fire of the wipe all tears from their eyes." Now burat-offering on the altar of Truth. this exact correspondence of ideas
Having, as I hope, completely jus- and almost identity of language certified the introduction of the princi- tainly mark the complete synchrople of carrying back the vision, it is nism of the two passages, which, as necessary for me further to vindicate I have already said, is admitted by the use I have made of that principle Mede, More, Brightman, and, I may in my exposition of the seals. This add, Vitringa, I do as follows:- The palm-bearing But, sir, the Divine Author of the multitude are seen by the Apostle Apocalypse has not left us to ascerat tbe close of the sixth seal, wore tain even by the strongest reasoning shipping in the holy of holies, the the point I am now, illustrating, visa inmost recess of the temple, wbere that the vision of the palm-bearing the throne of God is placed. (See multitude belongs to the Millenchap. vii. 15.). Now, sir, I main. nium. He has added an express tain from tbis circumstance only testimony to that effect, wbicb. I (were there no olber argument in shall prove as follows:-Jo ebap. xi. support of the conclusion), that it is 19, and xv. 5, the opening of the absolutely certain this vision can holy of holies, which had previously only belong to the period of the been shut, is exhibited to us 23 sabbatism of the Church. We know taking place immediately after the from the Scriptures that the holy sounding of the seventh trumpet, and of holies was a symbol of heaven*, before the effusion of the vials. The and by consequence of that glorious "synchronism of these two passages is state of the Church, when heaven now admitted by all interpreters as shall be brought down : unto tbe "being proved by this circumstance earth by the descent of the New of the opening of the lemple, and Jerusalem. To say, therefore, that they thereupon found their argument s the vision of the palm-bearers be for maintaining that the vials all be
Heb. vi. 20. viii. 5. ix. 24.. long to the seventh trumpet. But,