Page images


1825 ;

and fall of Protestantism, are point which ended with the declaration ed out; but they are unable to that the last trumpet and vial dove-tail the facts with the prophe- would conclude in the year 1786 ; cies; whereas, as applied to them- but with the strange addition, “Not selves, the facts and the prophecies that I mean that that age (nametally as minutely as a check and ly, 245 years, commencing from its counterfoil. Mr. Walmsley, the year 1541, when the last vial beunder the feigned name of Signor gan) shall continue so long; bePastorini, excited much agitation cause it is said that for the elects' in Ireland by applying the Apoca- sake the time shall be shortened ; lypse to Protestantism, which he but I mean that if the world affected to prove was to be destroy

to endure, that seventh ed in the

year the very time age should continue until the when it began to assume new vi- of year Christ, 1786.” Napier's gour in Ireland itself, where it had scheme was 245 years to each too long been inert. The college trumpet or vial; the first beginning at Maynooth republished Walms- A.D. 71; the second 316; the ley's work, with buoyant expecta- third 561; the fourth 806; the tions that the prediction would fifth 1051; the sixth 1296; the work its own fulfilment; but never seventh 1541. In an argument were sanguine hopes more signally from the 1335 days mentioned disappointed; for the revival of by the Prophet Daniel

, and the piety and zeal in the Protestant thundering angels in the ApocaChurch of Ireland is among the lypse, he says that the former most remarkable features of mo- would give the day of Judgment in dern annals.

the year 1700, and the latter in We will not run through the 1688; whence he confidently conlong and melancholy catalogue of cludes, that allowing for some expositors who have not only error in calculation, it would ardarkened counsel with words with rive between these two dates. He out knowledge, but have exposed wrote in the days of James the Holy Writ to the scoffs of the First, to whom he dedicates his wicked by their vain imaginings. book. The agitated era of the days of Now if we are constrained by Charles the First and the Com- truth to call the Lord of Merchismonwealth gave rise to shoals of ton's scheme hypothetical ; and if such expositors; whose temerity Time, and the course of Divine has, if possible, been exceeded by Providence, have proved the hypomany of those who have written thesis to be unfounded; we ought since the period of the (first) not to be accused of want of respect French Revolution. One truth to any learned and holy man, to only have they clearly illustrated; whose opinions we are in duty - that prophecy was not intended called to apply qualifying epithets. to make men prophets. Even But we have seen the fallacy of so such a man as Baron Napier,-a many predictive calculations, that cautious mathematician, whose fe- in regard to questions of unfulfilled licitous invention of logarithms has prophecy, when brought to bear assisted the science of astronomy, upon the exciting occurrences of and the arts of practical geometry our own days, we dare not attempt and navigation, beyond almost any to point out the times and the seadiscovery of ancient or modern sons which the Father has kept in times, could publish those thirty- his own power. Passing events six propositions relating to the are too near to us to be seen in seals, trumpets, vials, and thunders, their full aspect; their results also

but war

are in the womb of futurity, and no need to make provision for such a may be very different to what we result. But large experience in treaimagine; they are among the tises on unfulfilled prophetical insecret things which belong to terpretation, leads to the conclusion God; and only the types and that the last novel exposition may shadows of them are revealed prove as unstable as former ones; to us and to our children; the and hence there is much wisdom utmost therefore that we dare ven- in the advice of Richard Baxter in ture to assert upon any scheme of his “Christian Directory," (Part interpretation of unfulfilled pro- iii. c. 7, Direction 15), "Take not phecy, is that it is plausibly sup- obscure prophecies for precepts. ported by various facts and argu- The obscurity is enough to make ments; but whether truly so, must you cautelous how you venture be left for futurity to decide. In yourself in the practice of that so saying, we do not disparage this which you understand not. But large and important portion of even if there were no obscurity, Holy Writ, upon the diligent study yet prophecies are no warrant to of which a blessing is pronounced; you to fulfil them; no, though we only demur to putting pro- they be for the Church's good. phecy out of its due place. The an- Predictions tell you but de eventu, cient church had a succession of what will come to pass ; prophets; we have not this privi- rant not to bring it to pass. God's lege, because we have a higher one prophecies are oft-times fulfilled in the completion of the canon of by the wickedest men and the Sacred Writ, the whole being in our wickedest means. Yet many selfhands. But we have what is tanta- conceited persons think that they mount to it, and as an evidence of can fetch that out of the Revelathe Divine inspiration of Holy Writ tions or the Gospel of Daniel that above it: namely, not a succes- will justify very horrid crimes, sion of prophets or prophecies; while they used wicked means to but a succession of fulfilments of fulfil God's prophecies.” This is a chain of prophecies recorded once an extreme and an irrelevant case; for all, and successively developed. but Baxter's general direction,

With these preliminaries, though “Take not obscure prophecies for we do not see our way to all our precepts,” we believe to be wise reverend friend's conclusions in and scriptural; and hence we reregard to unfulfilled events, we feel fuse to place the question of not the less the importance of his Christian missions, or our duty facts and exhortations. We know, towards Jews or Romanists, or the indeed, the reply usual in such practical points of the Christian cases, that to dissever the practi- life, upon this or that exposition cal part from the hypothesis is to of such very “obscure prophecies destroy its effect; for that it is as those respecting the Apocalypthe special view contended for tic vials; and in reading such diswhich excites hopes, calls to watch- courses as that before us, we menfulness, and animates to duty. But tally dissociate the facts and exthen, be it remembered, when hortations from the hypothesis, these things are grounded, not in order that we may obtain the on the general principle, but upon practical benefit free from the the particular hypothesis, if the last speculation ; believing with Baxfail, the former are subverted. An ter, that “prophecies are no warinterpreter who fully believes in rant for you to fulfil them; no, his own exposition, considers that though they be for the Church's it cannot fail, and therefore sees good.”

We quoted the above passage

the earth; that the wicked shall also be from Baxter's “ Christian Direc- upon the earth, and that a grand conflict

shall take place at the battle of Armatory,” rather than stronger words

geddon, when the wicked shall be defrom his controversial publications stroyed. With all this, are mixed up upon unfulfilled prophecy, in reply some strange speculations about the perto Beverley ; though the latter were son of Christ. On receiving the • Milwritten with the solemnity of the

lenary Catechism,' Baxter addressed a

long and kind letter to the author, protomb and of eternity before him :

posing a series of questions to him.” for they were penned in the last “ These questions shew how amply year of his eventful life, and when Baxter, even at this advanced period of his experience had ripened, and his

his life, entered into the subject; and

that no portion of his natural acuteness controversial ardour had cooled to

had yet failed him. It does not seem the heavenly atmosphere breathed in to have produced much effect on Beverhis memorable “Dying Thoughts." ley; and therefore, in the course of the The Rev. Thomas Beverley was the

year 1691, appeared a quarto tract, enpastor of a Dissenting congregation, described, and clearly vindicated, &c.

titled . The glorious Kingdom of Christ, which met in Cutler's Hall; he was

by Richard Baxter, whose comfort is a man of piety, zeal, and Scriptural the only hope of that Kingdom. In learning, but rash in his interpre

this work he enters the lists with the tations of unfulfilled prophecy, and

Millenarians in general ; with those

who boldly asserted the future restorawhose writings Baxter considered

tion and reign of the Jews, and the one to be pregnant with mischief. In

thousand years' rest before the confiaa work published by him in 1688, gration ; with those also who expected and dedicated to the Prince of a reign of one thousand years after the Orange, he undertook to shew that particular, in answer to his challenges

conflagration; and with Beverley in the Papacy could not last nine and censures, of which he appears to years, and that the Millennium

have been very liberal. Baxter endeawould commence in 1697. He vours to explain the promise of the followed this book with many

new heavens and the new earth ; and up others on the same subject ; but Christ's Kingdom. He undertakes to

contends for the evelasting duration of living to see his calculations falsi- prove that the doctrines of Beverley, and fied, he sank into melancholy, re- the Millenarians, are chimerical, and signed his pastoral charge, and re

without foundation in Scripture ; that

the views commonly entertained on tiring into the country, died in

these subjects are in accordance with all obscurity. Mr. Orme, in his life

correct interpretation of the prophecies of Baxter, relates the following of the Bible ; that Christ's kingdom is particulars of this controversy :

spiritual in its nature, properly com

menced at his resurrection, and will con“Beverley having published his Ca- tinue till the final conflagration, when it techism of the Kingdom of our Lord will be perfected for ever in heaven. Jesus Christ in the thousand years ; From this work, it appears that Baxter shewing by Scripture that the great ar- did not believe that the Ten Tribes ticles of the Redemption, the Resurrec- were ever so entirely lost as many suption, the mystery of the Saints not dying pose, and that part of them existed in but changed, the Judgment, the deliver- the time of Christ and the Apostles : ing up of the kingdom to God, all consequently, that the recovery of such in all, cannot be explained at full dimen- a body, according the expectations of sions without it;' sent it to Baxter, with many, is not to be looked for? Nor an earnest request to be favoured with does he appear to have believed in any his opinion of it. The substance of Be., national conversion of the Jewish peoverley's doctrine appears to be,—that ple; in their restoration to their own Christ's kingdom begins only at the country; in their instrumentality for the Millennium ; that the commencement of conversion of the world; or in their the Millennium and the resurrection of future superiority over the nations. the saints are parallel events ; that the “ Beverley published a short answer Millennium is the day of judgment spo- to Baxter, as full of confidence as ever. ken of in Scripture; that during it the In consequence of which, Baxter Saints shall increase and multiply upon brought out, quickly after, another

pamphlet, in Reply to Mr. Thomas of Europe from the rise of the French Beverley's Answer to my Reasons Revolution to the fall of Buonaparte, against his Doctrine of the Thousand may be distinctly discerned in any full Years' Middle Kingdom, and of the history of that most eventful era. A Conversion of the Jews. Feb. 20, 1691, valuable historian of that period thus di4to. This tract consists of only twenty- vides that remarkable time :- The hisone pages, and must have been among tory of Europe during the French Rethe last things of a controversial nature volution naturally divides itself into four which Baxter wrote, as appears from periods : the spread of infidelity and the date on the title-page, where he also lawlessness—the reign of terror—the speaks of himself, as passing to that destructive wars of Napoleon_his desworld where we shall see face to face.' potism and overthrow. These events Beverley had the last word in the One occupied a quarter of a century, full of Thousand Years' Kingdom of Christ in the most important events that ever its full Scripture State: answering Mr. affected the Western empire.' The fifth Baxter's new Treatise in opposition to vial was the time of retributive justice on it.' 1691, 4to. Thus ended Baxter's de France, the chief inflicter of the former bate with Beverley on the subject of the judgments, and which during that time Millennium."

was the seat or throne of the beast, or We return from this digression kingdom was

the centre of the secular empire. His to Mr. Bickersteth's able discourse,

kingdom was full of darkness. As there

was a darkness over the land of Egypt from which we shall quote some that might be felt, so was there in France interesting passages, without enter- an entire disappointment of all Infidel ing into any controversy respecting counsels and plans. For three years peculiarities of opinion upon ques. From 1813 to 1822, more or less, this

France was occupied by allied armies. tions of unaccomplished prophecy. vial was filling France with its sores and The spiritual restoration of the pains, while Infidels were venting fresh the

blasphemies against God." upon earth; the destruction of pa

* The sixth vial is a pause in the

judgments on the Western Roman emganism, Mohammedanism, infide

pire, and a season of grace for its inhality, and popery ; the second advent bitants ; the long-suffering of God waitof the Redeemer to judge the quick

ing for their salvation. The prophecy and the dead, and to receive his peo

leads us therefore, in this respect, to look

for that which we have seen in the last ple to himself, as these and kindred

twenty years of European history. This disclosures of Sacred Writ were vial is THE EXHAUSTION OF THE TURKwont to be explicated by holy men,

From the time of Mede are points abundantly clear, apart

the prediction has been applied to that from special hypotheses which have Turkey

empire. Nearly 200 years ago, when

Turkey was at the height of its dominion divided the opinions of pious and and glory, Tillinghast thus stated views learned divines.

in which our leading commentators since Mr. Bickersteth proposes to con

have mainly concurred. By the river sider, from Revelation xvi. 12: The

Euphrates,' he says, we are to under

stand the Ottoman or Turkish empire. marks of the present application of

It is called the great river, because of the sixth vial: The explanation the multitude of people and nations which it gives of the revival of Ro- therein. The people who at this present

time are of all others accounted the mish principles : The troubles that God has foretold us will ensue : and

greatest are the Turks, who therefore,

and no other, are here to be understood; The final deliverance of God's peo- especially as the river Euphrates, in the ple.

ninth chapter, under the sounding of the Under the first of these heads sixth trumpet, by general consent of exthe Reverend author collects many

positors, has reference to the Turkish

power. By the Kings of the East, we facts, which deserve serious consi

are to understand the Jews, who upon deration, irrespectively of the par- the pouring forth of this vial shall return ticular object for which they are to their own land and be converted to

Christ; the pouring out of this vial precited.

paring a way for both. They are called · The historical correspondence of the Kings of the East from the honour and four first vials with the leading events dignity which God will put upon his




people. Micah iv. 8 ; Isa. Ixi. 9; Zech. persons altogether unconnected with viii. 23. God, in his wonderful provi- them in interests, appeared among them, dence, will so order, that at the appoint and by addresses made to them against ed time of the Jews' return, the power religion, the law, and the Government, and the multitude of the Grand Seignior, excited them to a state of dissatisfaction who is now the greatest monarch in the with all the established institutions of the world, and holds their land in possession, country. We see it in political unions, shall be much wasted and consumed.' in the doctrine of the sovereignty of the

“This interpretation of the prophecy people, viewing the voice of the people was published in the year 1655-nearly as the voice of God. We see it in 200 years since. You witness in this Chartism in our land ; in Republican day its accomplishment. From 1822, secret Societies in France and on the when Greece revolted, this vial has been continent. pouring out on Turkey."

“ THT UNCLEAN SPIRIT OUT OF THE “ The state of the Turkish empire is MOUTH OF THE FALSE PROPHET must next a distinct, visible, and open mark in the be noticed. We have seen that Popery is sight of all Europe and the whole world, first called the beast from the earth, and of the application of this prophecy to the then in a later stage, as here, the false present times. Equally so is the diffu- prophet. It is first a power, like a sion of THE UNCLEAN SPIRITS."

worldly empire, and then a system of “Let us notice the three unclean spi- false teaching. The Romish hierarchy rits like frogs, which are predicted here in former times despatched its bulls of as the distinguishing features of the pre- justice or of grace to dethrone or to essent day.

tablish the monarchs of Europe. Now 1st. THE UNCLEAN SPIRIT FROM THE it sends forth its allocutions to complain MOUTH OF THE DRAGON. The Apostle or to solicit the prayers of its adherents, tells us that the dragon is that old ser- as recently in the case of Spain and of pent, the devil, and Satan which deceiv- Russia. It does not speak now as a eth the whole world.' He once openly dragon, but with all the insinuating and visibly animated the whole Pagan subtilty of a false teacher. Yet that the Roman empire: there can be no mistake false prophet is sending forth his pestiabout the great enemy here intended. lential breath over Christendom with reThe spirit of infidelity and falsehood, newed energy and activity, is notorious. with all its various delusions, marks the Its journals, its newspapers, its institutes character of this unclean spirit : not the propagation of the faith, its exercising power, but diffusing itself tracts, its building of colleges, churches, in all the ways still open to it, by its and schools, its nunneries, its largelyapostles and its publications, its teach- imported Sisters of Charity everywhere, ing and its journals. This has been its its zealous activity and revival, its difcourse under this vial. Infidelity has fusiveness over the British Isles, and lost its seat of dominion ; but its frog- through Europe, Asia, Africa, and like, disgusting, noisy, filthy character America, and its meeting us in all our is marked in its open casting off and re- most distant missions, all these things viling the truth, as we have seen in St. proclaim in the ears of all men, that Simonianism, in Socialism, and in Mor- with renewed strength there has been a monism; and in many German, French, going forth of the unclean spirit from and American associations for that the mouth of the false prophet. In the which is evil The same thing is mani- year 1822, the Society for the Propagafest in philosophy, falsely so called, in tion of the Faith was formed to counterInfidel poetry, and in Neology.'

act Protestant missions. It has adopted “ THE UNCLEAN SPIRIT OUT OF THE our plans. It raised in 1841, £113,000, MOUTH OF THE BEAST has next to be and has stated its expectation of carrying considered. The beast represents the its income to £600,000 a-year. secular empire of the ten European “ That the recent movement in our kingdoms. The unclean spirit out of own Church is in the same direction, and his mouth is the spirit of lawlessness, partakes of the same character with the self-will, and anarchy, the teachers of revival in the Romish communion, is which promise liberty, while they them- confessed by its own admirers. They selves are the servants of corruption. view them in common as a yearning The whole of our manufacturing dis- after Catholic truth. We have, theretricts have been disturbed by it. The fore, their own warrant for referring Chief Justice Tindal, in his charge to these events to a common source and the Grand Jury at Stafford (Oct. 3, spirit, and the passage before us supplies 1842), after describing the destitution of us with the true key to this movement the workmen in the manufactories and in our own Church as well as in more collieries, states, that certain strangers, avowed Romanism."

« PreviousContinue »