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such pretenders, that their fancies to be a trne Christian who does not are various and discordant : they renounce his own reason to follow maintain tenets contradictory to theirs. If such persons would each other, and instead of " speak- allow themselves to discriminate ing the same thing," which they between these two propositions ; would do if they were informed by these are the words of a Divine rethe same Spirit, they agree in no- velation; and this is the purport thing but in requiring their hearers and meaning of the Holy Spirit in to discard the use of their reason; the terms employed to convey that à demand, which evinces their own revelation; ihey would cease to sagacity, while it exhibits the weak- idolize the creatures of their own ness of their followers. '
fancy : they would learn that con There is another class of persons, fidence and self-complacency, arwho are not behind the Catholics rogance and intolerance, are no less in boldness of affirmation, but who at variance with the spirit of Chris refuse to have their dogmas exa- tianity, than repugnant to the momined by reason, because they pre- desty and diffidence of true wis. tend to urge the holy Scriptures, dom. as a controlling authority for all Nothing would, however, be they assert. These men, under the more inconsiderate and inequitable, colour of biblical authority, claim than to confound what is asserted a right of imposing their own inter- of faith, as the assent of the mind, pretations: but your reason must with that Christian faith which is not judge whether their commen: of the nature of a habit infused tary be right or wrong-for if you into the soul by the Spirit of God, examine their exposition, you call and which is the grand principle in reason as an umpire in matters and spring of gracious tempers of faith. This assumption of au- and holy actions. In this sense, thority over the sense and under the term faith implies not merely standing of mankind is not to be an act, but a habit, or constitution endured : it resembles the conduct of the mind, produced by a superof a partial magistrate, who, inter- natural and Divine agency. To preting the laws of his country ac- maintain that there subsists no ne cording to his own fancy, identifies cessary connexion between faith himself with the legislator, and and holiness, is as wise and learned becomes the maker of the law, as to discourse of a thinking sub rather than its expounder. The stance which may never exercise & authority of the legislator is indeed single act of intelligence. If by binding in every law; and if the the assumption, “ that whatever 15 sovereign authority should com- an object of faith cannot be an ob: mand us, where the letter of the ject of reason," Stephen Pascal law is not clear and explicit, to only meant to declare, that natural acquiese in the interpretation of a reason could not have discovered judge, we are equally obliged to the mysteries of the Gospel; that obedience.' But where no such it is incapable of explaining what specific commission is given, a man the Divine Wisdom has not fully is no more bound by the commen- revealed ; nor competent to pene. tary of the judge in matters of law, trate into the motives and grounds than in matters of philosophy : his of the conduct of God in the go* own reason, assisted by due infor- vernment of the world, and of his mation, must determine him to acó church, the sentiment is less to be quiesce in the decision, or to reject complained of than the obscure it. According to the pretensions brevity with which it is announced. of these expositors, do man must It may be confidently asserted, mis presume to be wiser than them no man can give a satisfactory ac selves; vor will they allow any one count, by bis own upaided nature
powers, of the origin and constitu- Gospel sball contain nothing, but tion of his own nature; of his state what is commensurate with the and condition in this world, and of operations of human understandthe various phænomena connected ing. Indeed, what can be more with human existence. And if all visionary and absurd than to conthe efforts of natural reason cannot ceive our dark and scanty reason surmount the difficulties which are to be the rule and measure whereby involved in the mysteries of crea- we are to judge of what God ought tion and providence, it can afford to reveal to us, and so to neglect, Do objection against the mysteries fritter away, and reject, that which of revelation, that they are pro does not accord with our notions posed to our faith as things to be of the nature of things; as if the believed, and not to our capacity nature of things, as cognizable by of investigation as matters to be us, furnished us with competent comprehended. Why should it be notions of the manner in which supposed, that objections founded God knows them: nay, to presume on the difficulties of comprehend, that it would be even arbitrary and ing the state of man as a fallen unreasonable if he should require creature, and the interposition of any thing of us which our reason the Messiah between God and sincannot shew to be proper and neners, are of great weight, sufficient cessary! The purpose and intent of indeed to justify a rejection of the the sacred volume, however, are of doctrines; since our ignorance of a much higher order, than to prothe real nature and manner of these vide matter for curious inquiry and things does not at all diminish our subtile disquisition. Its contents knowledge of the truth and certain, bear principally upon moral and ty of them, any more than the in. practical uses; and far froin allur. comprehensibility of the Divine iug us into impertinent, presumpnature lessens our certainty of its tuous, or unprofitable speculations, real existence? The proposing of it invites us to be partakers of a mysteries to our faith is not with a divine nature- to live in the exercise design of gratifying our curiosity, of loving.kindness and charity or exercising our faculties of ratio. to the attainment of peace, serenity, cination, and enabling us fully to and solid satisfaction, and to the conceive all that is contained in the final possession of heavenly glory nature and the manner of the my- and blessedness. It belongs not to stery; but rather to convey such a true philosophy, nor is it a part of measure of knowledge as shall ex. practical wisdom, to incite their cite religious affections, and fur disciples to investigations which are nish motives for purity, devotion, too arduous for the limited powers love and gratitude, to God and our of man, or which from their nature Saviour. In human sciences, there are too high and inaccessible. No are certain elementary principles time is more unprofitably employ. offered to our assent, which we are ed, than that which is sacrificed to required to receive without proof the study of such things as we or examination; and if some of þave no real interest in considering, these are self-evident to a correct and which we are endowed with no mind, yet many of great importance faculties to comprehend. An une and utility are mere assumptions governed curiosity implies a state Theology, therefore, is not the of mind as dissonant from the spirit only science which demands a sub, of the Gospel, as unbridled appe: mission of the understanding to tites and clamorous passions; and what can neither be irrefragably until we learn to retain ourselves demonstrated nor adequately con, within the bounds of modesty and ceived. Hence it is neither just respect; until we thankfully reuori reasonable lo require, that the ceive the light imparted to us, and acquiesce in the absence of that Although M. Pascal strongly in further information, which God sisted upon due submission to the has not thought it proper to give, revealed will of God, yet he did not we have made little proficiency in consider polemical studies as being the science of self-knowledge, and inconsistent with his principles. perhaps still less in the Gospel of He surveyed the controversies that God our Saviour. Divine revela- have agitated the Christian churches tion presents to us truths to be for many ages, and clearly saw, believed, and duties to be practis. what every wise man must see, that ed. Many of the duties enforced most of them originated, either by the Moral Law are very contrary from indeterminate ideas, verbal to the corrupt inclinations of man; inaccuracies, an excessive fondness yet this opposition of a depraved for refinement and speculation, or heart cannot impair the obligations from the secret agency of some imto obedience. The same sacred moral principle. . authority likewise requires a sub- About this period, there was a mission of the understanding, to person at Rouen, who, in teaching propositions obscurely revealed, the principles of philosophy, advanand only admitting of an imperfect ced many positions that were concomprehension of them; and why trary to the decisions of the Romish should it be esteemed less compa- Church. Among other things, he tible with Eternal Wisdom, to com- endeavoured to prove, that the mand human reason to believe in body of Jesus was not formed of mysteries which surpass its powers the blood of the Virgin Mary, but either to discover or to explain, of a species of matter purposely tban to forbid the gratification of created for that end. M. Pascal, criminal desires and sinful propen- in the warmth of youthful zeal, sities. A lofty unbending under- controverted this opinion, and adstanding may be as offensive in the monished him to retract the sentieye of God, as an indulgence in ment, or be should think it his duty sordid, gross, and infamous plea- to lay an information against him. sures; and it may be as necessary The philosopher was too haughty for the enjoyment of heaven, that to concede to the young man, and the former should be inade humble treated his admonition with conand simple, as that the more gross tempt. An information was accorsinrer should be reclaimed and dingly given to M. du Bellay, who purified. The duty of believing a at that time exercised the episcopal revealed truth is founded as clearly function at Rouen, by a commission on moral obligation, as the duty of froin the Archbishop. M. du Belobeying any precept of what is lay sent for the philosopher, and called “natural religion," although examined him ; but by means of the mode by which we prove these an equivocal confession, signed obligations may be different; and with his own hand, he eluded & if it should be argued, that the late retraction of his opinions. M. ter admits of a scientific demon- Pascal was too acute a reasoner to stration, yet we would contend, be easily imposed upon : he therethat faith bas more intrinsic excel- fore waited upon the Archbishop lence than science; since, as an of Rouen at Gaillon, to whom he author of transcendent talents has explained the whole affair. The expressed himself, “ in knowing, Primate, after strict inquiry, conthe mind is acted upon by matter, ceived the heresy to be so extreines but in believing by spirit; so that ly pernicions, that he issued an in the former, we credit the testi express order to M. du Bellay, to mony of the senses, in the latter, oblige the philosopher to retract we give honour to the word of every particular heretical opinion God."
receive no papers from him, but minate at distinctly marked apocasuch as had passed through the lyptic periods; and that my syhands of his accuser. He was con- stem has not the merit of similar desequently obliged to renounce all fiuiteness and perspicuity of arthose erroneous sentiments: and rangement. He conceives that the his recantation bore strong marks 1260 years commence at the soundof sincerity; since he never mani. ing of the fifth trumpet, and end at fested any rancour against the the effusion of the seventh vial; author of his disgrace.
which he believes to be an apocaAmong the many injurious effects lyptic period, distinct from the of Popery on the simple verities of sounding of the seventh trumpet. Christianity, that of encouraging I answer, first, that it is no where metaphysical speculations and fan- said in the Apocalypse itself, that ciful disquisitions on almost every the 1260 years commence at the subject connected with the Gospel sounding of the fifth trumpet. Mr. of Jesus Christ, has been equally Faber's position, that they do then inimical to truth and charity. The begin, is therefore gratuitous.-But, perplexing subtilties of their school- secondly, granting to Mr. Faber his inen and casuists have incumbered premises, it does not follow that he their theology with a multiplicity is right in placing the sounding of of futile discussions and frivolous the fifth trumpet in the year 606; distinctions, which tend rather to I believe he is wrong in so fixing bewilder and confound the under. it. standing, than to direct and satisfy Mr. Faber, in the fifth edition of the inquirer.
bis work, on the 1200 years, has • Whether the philosopher was abandoned his former exposition of more to be blamed for his absurd the fallen star who opens the botspeculations, or M. Pascal for ren- tomless pit on the sounding of the dering them important by opposi- fifth trumpet, and has adopted my tion, is a question upon which interpretation of that symbol, viz. mankind will decide variously. It that it denotes the Apostate Bishop may, however, be observed, that of Rome. Now I believe the fall neither of them could derive much of the star from heaven to earth, or, encouragement from the Scriptures. in other words, the apostasy of the The sacred writings, with a dignity Bishop of Rome, and the opening of peculiar to themselves, remain si- the bottomless pit, and consequently lent upon all these subjects, where the sounding of the fifth trumpet, information would serve merely to to have all taken place at a much foster vanity, or to gratify a restless earlier time than the year 606. . and unprofitable curiosity.
I conceive also, that Mr. Faber (To be continued.)
is wrong, in supposing that the effusion of the seventh vial marks ai
apocalyptic period distinct from To the Editor of the Christian Observer that of the seventh trumpet. I As my opinion respecting the ter- have endeavoured to prove that the mination of the 1260 years, and the whole seyen vials are synchronical. consequent near approach of the -Mr. Faber asserts, in a pamphlet redemption of the Church, Luke which he has lately published, that xxi. 28, remains unchanged, I beg by this hypothesis i “ unfortunately leave to submit to you the following mar the arrangement" of the vials. remarks upon Mr. Faber's paper on But he has not attempted to subthis subject, in your Number for stantiate this charge, or to answer May.
my arguments for the interpretation Mr. Faber thinks that his scheme which he condemns. Before I close possesses the advantage of making this paper, I shall offer some reasons the 1260 years commence and ter. in defence of my theory of the wials. In the mean while, I proceed wire-press, Rev.xiv. 19. If, there 10 consider Mr. Faber's argument, fore, Mr. Faber's argument prove to shew that six of the vials must any thing, it will prove even the necessarily be comprehended with destruction of Babylon and the in the 1260 years, ,
day of Armageddon to be within · Now, sir, upon the most attentive the 1260 years, though Mr. Faber consideration of Mr. Faber's rea himself places the last event at the soping to prove this point, it ap- end of the 1290 years. By proving pears to me to be founded on a too much, this argument therefore petitio principii. It takes for grant- in fact proves nothing ed that the plagues of the first six. I might go on to shew, that the vials were among the identical plagues of the vials, are not among plagues which the two witnesses those inflicted during the period were to inflict. . Or it assumes of the testimony of the witnesses, what is equivalent to this, that the and are certainly posterior to that plagues inflicted by the witnesses period; but as i humbly conceive, were to be the only, or at least the that the arguments I formerly last, similar plagues with which the offered to the public on the subRoman waters and earth were to be ject of the 1260 years are convisited. If these points be denied, clusive, I deem it superfluous to as they are both denied, then Mr. add any thing more. Faber's argument falls to the ground. I shall now inake some remarks,
It is said, in Rev. xi. 6, that the in support of my synchronical arwitnesses “ have power over the rangement of the vials. I am waters to turn them into blood, and aware that this part of my system to smite the earth with all plagues is so far from being generally acas often as they will." But it is not ceptable, that I perhaps have not Fevealed that no similar plagues on succeeded in convincing a single The waters and the earth were to be person of its truth. Wbile, howinflicted after they had finished ever, I profess myself to be ready their testimony. As there is no to abandon my opinion as soon as such declaration, it is gratuitous to any arguments in support of it are affirm, that six of the vials which, either answered or confuted by the to distinguish them from all former event, I must until then continue plagues, are emphatically called to hold it, although I should stand the last plagues, were among those alone and unsupported. And if included in the commission of the any one should feel disposed to witnesses, or within the period of charge me with presumption or theirtestimony. Anargument found. pertinacity, I request him to sused on Rev. xi. 6, to prove that the pend his judgment, until he shall first trumpet whicb inflicted a plague have perused the following stateon the earth, and the second trumpet ment of the steps whereby I ar which turned the waters of the sea rived at this conclusion :into blood, were both within the Having, above fourteen years period of the testimony of the wit. ago, become convinced that the presses, would be equally conclusive vials were fulfilling in the events as Mr. Faber's reasoning to prove then passing on the great theatre the first six vials to be within that of Europe, I turned my attention period.- Again: the plagues on the to the study of the 16th chapter of mystical Babylon are unquestiona- the Apocalypse, which relates to bly a part of those inflicted on the the effusion of the vials, and it earth. The treading of the wine occupied my mind, at intervals, press at Armageddon is also among during a period of at least seven the plagues with which the earth years, before it seemed to myself was smitten; for it is the vine of that I understood its contents, the earth which is cast iäto the lo considering the subject, the