Babylon and Infidelity Foredoomed

said to repose. Revelation is of God: a Discourse on the Pro- hereby represented as unfit to phecies of Daniel and the Apo

produce its own effect, and the calypse, which relate to these faith of its believer is not left to latter times, and until the Second ground itself upon the wisdom of Advent. By the Rev. Edward God, but passes over to a living, Irving, &c. 2 Vols. 12mo. 108. 6d. human authority, distinct from Whittaker

the word of God, which asserts the The universal liberty to examine right to arbitrate opinion, to fix both the evidences and matter of the mind of inspiration, and to Revelation, claimed by all Pro- sustain the faith of the Christian; testants, whether lay or clerical, but which, in so doing, most deis one of the most illustrious ad monstrably nullifies Revelation, vantages they enjoy over that degrades the holy oracle of God, church from which they have dis- exalts itself above it, and utterly sented. The inconveniences, how: annihilates that faith which should ever, attendant upon the practical stand, not in the wisdom of man, exercise of that liberty, are some but in the power of God. times painfully apparent in the Our intention, in these obserdisagreement and disunion upon vations, is not simply to express some minor points which it inevita- our love of free and fair discusbly produces. Yet it should be sion, upon the common ground ever borne in mind, that all these of a common Revelation, and our discrepancies are but the natural utter abhorrence of that church varieties of human opinion and which imposes an exclusive sense interpretation; and that they all upon the words of inspiration, and leave the grand oracle of revela- withdraws the text for the sake tion perfect, undivided, and un- of securing the more complete sullied; and while commentaries establishment of the interpretatim, are written, and controversies upon but for the purpose of expressing the import of revelation are con- our disapprobation of the spirit ducted, as they ever ought to be of popery wherever it appears among Protestants, no serious ob- among Protestants. Any attempt stacle can be thrown in the way of at a dogmatical interpretation and Christianity, and no discredit can exposition of smaller or larger fall upon the authority and the portions of the sacred volume, inspiration of the system, which is not only an evil in itself, as all equally admire and believe it is an approximation to the spirit But, on the other hand, the inter- of popery; but it is an infraction position of an infallible interpre- of the genuine and vital principle ter, specious as it may appear of Protestantism, and must ultito a timid and an acquiescing mately defeat itself, and prove intellect, becomes a source of prejudicial to the integrity and direct injury to the body of Reve- authority of revelation. In whatlation itself, and, in the end, effects ever way men, who can make no a real abolition of all genuine faith reasonable pretence to infallibiin God's oracle, by a transference lity or inspiration, may choose to of it to the infallible interpreter, explain the words of the Holy in whom alone the faith of a dis- Oracle of God, let it be done, . ciple of that school can truly be indeed, with the carnestness; and

the convincing reasons, of those ment, and clearly erroneous as who firmly believe what they are many of his interpretations teach; but, at the same time, let of prophecy, and of his master it be done with the humility and before him, we are pained to find self-diffidence which become short- him employing a style of lar. sighted mortals, and with some- guage so ill befitting one whose thing like a predominant feeling novitiate in this difficult 'study of the momentous distinction be- cannot yet be expired. But this tween the infallible text, and the assumption of infallible interprefallible commentator.

tation we should have left to rest Disposed, as we are confident in the dedication, as rather an exour readers are, to receive with uberance of style, or a morsel christian dandour, and weigh with of flattery, exhaled by the warmth a just and scriptural discrimina- of a glowing friendship, if the tion, all that so worthy an indi- whole scope of the volumes had vidual as Mr. Irving may publish, not savoured too much of the we are sure it will be painful to same spirit. It were endless to them, as it has been to ourselves, quote instances, or to single out to observe, in the very outset of passages; we object to the entire the present publication, an ap- tone of decision which Mr. Irving parent violation of that spirit of has assumed throughout; and are decorum, moderation, and humi- constrained to lift our voice against lity, which always best befits' a that style of writing upon the prohuman authority, and which best phecies which looks more like secures the dignity, and promotes imposing his own sense upon them, the success of the divine. In the than diligently and modestly dedication to Mr. Hatley Frere, searching into their import, and after a general statement of the proposing probable explanations circumstances which led the author of what may be thought to to the study of the prophecies of be fulfilled, and cautious conDaniel and the Apocalypse, and jectures of what is yet obviously of the short, very short time, upon future. We cannot but think, his own confession, during which therefore, that if Mr. Irving's his attention has been drawn to explanations of prophecy were the subject, he says: .

unquestionably clear and judio For I am not willing that any one

cious, which, however, is by no

cious, whicn, no should account of me, as if I were worthy means their character, he has to have had revealed to me the important himself created obstacles to their truths contained in this discourse, which

reception, by the unsuitable style may all be found written in your Treatise on the Prophecies of Daniel: only the

which his exposition assumes, Lord accounted me worthy to receive the and by the preposterous reprefaith of those things, which he had first sentation he has given of the immade known to you, his more worthy

portance of being able to decyservant.”-pp. vii. viii.

pher the prophetic hieroglyphics. The assumption, that either to What will the public think of Mr. Hatley Frere or to Mr. Ir. the following extraordinary senving, the Lord has made known timents ? these things, puts on the appearance of an infallible interpreta

- The servant of the Lord, who shrinks tion, and sounds very much like

from this part of his ministry, because it is

difficult, and exacts much careful study, • a fanaticism, with which we should is guilty of self-indulgence and slothfulbe sorry to suppose Mr. Irving ness in the house of God; or if he infected. Human, as we believe think he can fulfil or magnify his ministry, he is, and fallible, as we have had

without coming to resolution in regard to

the interpretation of prophecy, let him occasion to pronounce his judg- know, that he cannot demonstrate the



first proposition of his ministry, That so well ascertained as to warrant

any man to place his interpretasuch a resolution; nor interpret the seventy weeks of Daniel, which determine the tion on the same footing as his time of his coming ; nor handle the word public statements, and enforcements of life contained in the book of Isaiah, or of the christian doctrines and the other prophets; nor sing the Psalms duties in the one case be mus of David with the understanding ; nor interpret church history as it ought to be

preach the Gospel as of God, in interpreted; nor be redeemed in his own the other he can only preach his soul from political forecast, and worldly interpretations of prophecy as his wisdom, or deliver the church from the

own translation of the prophetic same enthralments; no, nor say the Lord's prayer as it should be said, nor

language; and when he can even pronounce the creed as it should be pro

shew the most forcible reasons for nounced :-in short he is unfurnished, his conclusion, he dares not enwholly unfurnished, for the interpretation force the interpretation as a matter of Scripturemis blind, and cannot see afar off--is full of doubt, and full of error in

either of faith, of infallible history, all his statements respecting the future or of practice. It is no way conwell-being of the church. And he is, and · nected with the salvation of any can be, no churchman; he may be a states. man's soul, nor with the conman, a politician, but a churchman he cannot be; that is, he cannot cast his poli

sistency and purity of any betical being into the vessel of the church,

liever's practice; he may hold the concerning whose future prospects he is prophecy to be of God, so far altogether in the dark, and desireth not to faith in the evidences of inspiration be enlightened.”-pp. 33, 34.

compels him to go,-but beyond We have heard of many of the that, beyond the explanation which best men, and ablest ministers of Scripture has given of its own Jesus Christ, who have freely, prophecies, he is neither bound and even publicly, confessed, that to believe nor understand. He of these unfulfilled portions of may reject Mr. Irving's, and every prophecy, they understood ab- other interpreter's opinions, and solutely nothing, and that they, remain as firm a believer, and as therefore, conscientiously abstain- good a Christian. So that there ed from attempting their public is just as little importance as corexposition. Moreover, there is tainty attaching to the reception no agreement yet among the most of any known application of the pious and enlightened men, upon prophetic visions. . the meaning of the hieroglyphics, But as to the assertion above, or the method of computing the that such a person as Mr. Irving dates. The best of men are at supposes cannot demonstrate the direct variance to this day, as they first preposition of his ministry, ever have been, upon these points. unless he can apply the whole But it appears, upon Mr. Irving's scheme of prophecy; we beg leave statement, that all such are very: to observe, that the proof of the unworthy servants of God, and Messiahship of Jesus rests upon that those who, like them, shrink inspired applications of prophecy; from the attempt, are not fit to we have the authority of Christ hold the sacred office. Now, himself, and of all his inspired though we would not wish to servants, for applying certain proproscribe, nor even to discourage phecies to him; and the ability to the attempt to decypher and ap- prove him the true Messiah deply the prophecies, yet we do pends simply upon a knowledge maintain, that of those prophecies of that accordance between his which have been fulfilling, since history and the prophecy, which inspired authority ceased to give the infallible finger of God has forth its own interpretations and pointed out, and not upon the application, the import is not yet questionable deductions of human

reason. Indeed, we cannot refrain the beast, which was to last from expressing our utter astonish- 1260 years, and that the power ment at the whole of the passage invested in it, and the names above extracted. If the force ascribed to it by the Emperor Jusof it were to be turned against tinian, prove the identity of the Mr. Irving himself, we have little fact and the prophecy. doubt of being able to prove, that " The first of these edicts by which

since his whole theory of prophecy authority was given to the bishop of · is questionable, and perhaps false, Rome, to settle all controversies in the certainly not demonstrated with Church, by which he was declared head of

the Church, and infallible in all matters of any thing like clearness, that he

faith, and permitted to use the power of himself “ is blind, and cannot see the empire against whomsoever he deemed afar off” is unfurnished, wholly heretical ; this most important edict bears unfurnished for the internretation the date of March, in the year five hun

dred and thirty-three. But this important of Scripture.” We thank God

matter doth not rest upon one edict, but that we are just as well qua upon a great number, all passed in that lified to demonstrate the Messiah year, or the next. Or, I should rather say ship of Jesus, without any insight

it rests upon a complete system of policy

and creed of imperial authority, issued to into unfulfilled prophecy, as we

the empire, and written in the laws of the should be after the most entire empire, whereby the papacy was estainitiation into the scheme of Mr. blished the imperial religion, as beretofore, Irving, or Mr. Frere, or Mr. Fa

by Constantine, Christianity had been esta

blished; not merely granting the power, ber, or Mr. Lowman.

but severally constituting the chief feaBut we come now to the merit tures in the character of the papacy, so that of Mr. Irving's work, as an expo its very image is delineated and fixed in sition of the prophetic periods of

the beginning of Justinian's code, then

given, as if to signify that it was the rubric Daniel and St. John, and here, as

of that most famous work. The celibacy any lengthened remarks upon the of the clergy, the intercession of the Virgin theory would be out of place, we Mary, the religious use, and veneration of shall confine ourselves to an exami

"holy crosses, the setting of decrees of

councils on a level with the Holy Scripnation of the basis upon which the

tures, the founding of the supremacy of whole rests ;—if this is shaken, the

the Holy See upon our Lord's injunction mighty fabric must totter to the to Peter, « Feed my sheep,' these and ground, and need no further over other capital constitutions of the papacy, throw.

are all within a year of the same date, .

enacted and embodied in the standing law The great question now to be

of the empire. And not only so, but in resolved is—when does the date of the emperor's letters to the bishop of the 1260 years, during which the Rome, he uses these expressions, · Your empire of the beast was to last,

Lost Highness,' Your Beatitude,'" The Head

sug of all the Holy Churches,' " The Head of begin? Mr. Irving's attempt, after all the Holy Priests of God.' Which his great exemplar, Mr. Hatley blasphemous titles he recognizes not only Frere, is to fix this to the age of in a letter sent to the Pope himself, but in Justinian, and to the year 533, by

ho one addressed to the rival Bishop of Con

stantinople, continually referring to Rome

: which means they imagine they as the apostolic seat.'"-pp. 82, 83. have obtained a key to the whole His second argument seems to be of prophecy. It will be necessary, the agreement of some of the events therefore, to give our readers an idea of Justinian's tim

idea of Justinian's time, such as the of the chief arguments by which

employment of his imperial arms

emn Mr. Irving supports his theory. in defence of orthodoxy and extirHis first argument, as far as

pation of heresy, with the account we can sift it out from a mass

given of the woman, and earth of perplexing materials, is, that

helping the wornan. the publication of Justinian's pan- " Then the earth helped her, by the dects in the year 533, marks the Emperor Justiuian, who, in his distinrise of that new power--called guished zeal for orthodoxy, took measures

against the Arian nations, and brought of the Romans, long life and perpetual . them to such utter ruin, that Arianism victory !!"-pp. 110-112. never lifted its head again as a persecuting power, and not for many centuries even

His fourth proof of the veracity as an opinion. This he accomplished by of the date is, that, it being as his General, Belisarius, whom he sept sumed, we arrive at 1792, which over, in the beginning of the year 533, who brought the war to a conclusion in

he thinks marks the close of the Africa, the chief scene of these cruelties,

period of 1260 years, by the rise before the expiration of that year. In the of the infidel power at the French beginning of the year 533, therefore, the earth Revolution, helped the woman against the nations whom Satan had cast forth as a flood against the secure

" Here, then, is a most particular, vaabiding place of her faith."-p. 99.

rious, and unexampled event, which must

be found to bave been exactly fulfilled in The third section of proof, is

the year 1792-3, when the Papal period, founded upon the coincidence of came to its close; otherwise the account time between the efforts of the we have given of the period is incomplete, Popes to extend their ecclesiastical

and therefore invalid. For such is the

severe and strict law of the fulfilment of power, and this period of 533,

God's words, that heaven and earth may which he thinks marks the date of pass away, but one jot or tittle shall not the beast. It is thus stated.

pass from the law till all be fulfilled. Now, " Whereupon, he travelled onward in

it was during the greater part of the last his deceptions, mounting more and more

century, that an insidious, yet systematic highly towards the throne of heaven, and

opposition to the Holy Scriptures, was increasing his blasphemies as he arose. In

carried on, by all the, wits and men of twenty years from that date, he ordered

genius, not only of. France, but of all heretics to be burned by the temporal

Europe, under the fostering care of Fredepowers--the first indication of that mix

rick, King of Prussia, in whose coteries ture and combination of powers, civil and

they were wont to calculate, within what ecclesiastical, which is the proper charac..

space of time the Philosophers would be teristic of the whole period. Then also

able to exterminate the faith of the Galimass was introduced. In sixty years, he

lean and his fishermen, But the antihad made such great strides towards abso

christian spirit, which was thus brooding, lute supremacy, that in the reign of Gre

took not the form of undisguised and

open warfare, until the Convention of gory the Great, who resisted the Bishop of Coustantinople's supremacy, were intro

France, which met on the 20th of Sept. duced purgatory, invocation of saints,

1792, and, having first decreed the eternal expiations by masses, lustrations of the

abolition of monarchy, and substituted the blessed virgin; and the celibacy of the

word republic, in the oaths, and other clergy was attempted. In seventy years,

public acts, instead of the word nation, it. he obtained from the Emperor the sole

was proposed, on the seventh day of its title of Universal. In little more than a

continuance, by M. Manuel, that, as century, the service was performed in

royalty was abolished, the order of priests, Latin, and the ignorance of the people

and all religious establishments, should be sealed. In two centuries, the Pope had

abolished along with it.' This being preobtained the pride and power to oppose

mature, for the 1260 days wanted half a and excommunicate the Emperor of the

day to be fully accomplished, his proEast, for prohibiting image-worship, and

posal was heard with murmurs, and rebegan to pay bis court to the rising star of

jected with disdain.' But the success of France ; by the grand-mayor of which

the Jacobin conspirators, on the thirtykingdom, Charles Martel, he was deli

first of May of the next year, completed vered out of the hands of the Lombards;

the destruction of the civil establishment and therefore encouraged the Franks to

of religion in France. Constitutional and

unconstitutional worship, were at once place his son Pepin upon the throne, hy

confounded in the same proscription; the whom he was again sustained against the

void made by the abolition of the Roman Lombards, and endowed with temporal possessions ; of which he would have been

Catholic religion was attempted to be soon stripped by his stout enemies the

filled by what these new fanatics called Lombards, had not Charlemagne, the son

• the worship of Reason:' and Atheism of Pepin, interposed, and crushed them.

received the public homage and bonours due In return for which, and other services,

to the Supreme Being.'"-pp. 132--134. the Pope did solemnly crown him Empe To this assumed application we . ror of the West, and acknowledged him shall now state a few obiections, his sovereign, when the people shouted, "To Charles Augustus, crowned of God. which, if they do not point to a the most mighty and most pious Emperor better theory, at least, we think

« 前へ次へ »