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differ widely from Walton's; but on this point his readers may differ. We may remark, by the way, that Cartwright's "flat perjury," as it was designated by his adversary Whitgift, is worse than not disproved. We are sure Mr. Hanbury would never have approached the conduct which, to say the least, he has not reprobated.
We thus take leave of Mr. Hanbury's production; certainly the most extraordinary attack on the Church which the present extraordinary age has seen. Let the friends of the Church weigh these signs of the times, and act upon them. Her adversaries are ready for her destruction, at all hazards, and by all methods. No aim, with them, is too extravagant, -no instrument too base.
Let us not imitate them in their mode of warfare ; but, like the unjust steward, let us regard them as a partial example. In their generation they are, alas ! wiser than the children of light. Their serpentine wisdom is allowed us by the highest authority ; let this spirit direct our counsels under the innocence of the dove.
Art. III.-- Dialogues on Prophecy. Vol. III. London: Nisbet. 1829.
It seems that the basis of this volume, as well as of the two which have preceded it, is laid in some “ Conversations" which were held at the house of a rural friend, remote from the noise of the metropolis, by a self-elected synod, to whose deliberations"
as many as had published on, or as were known to have had their minds particularly directed to, the prophetic Scriptures,” had the honour of an invitation. Who were the members of this council we neither know, nor are solicitous to be informed: the fruit of their sapient discussions is the point alone worthy of our regard; and the topics to which they were pleased to direct their united wisdom, the only matter upon which we shall venture to make observation. We hope to discharge our critical function with Christian forbearance and exemplary meekness of spirit, though the wholesale and acrimonious abuse which the editor of these Dialogues has emptied from the vials of his wrath upon all our reviewing fraternity, as profligate venders of money-purchased praise, might excuse some warmth of manner in our sentence upon the book before us. Conscious of our integrity, we laugh at these idle calumnies; and the transactions of this prophetic society shall have as dispassionate a hearing, as if they had spoken of our tribe in terms of Christian courtesy and decent respect.
We have thought it right to make this avowal of our imperturbable patience, lest the sober verdict of righteousness and truth, which our love of justice compels us to deliver on the culprit volume now under review, should be attributed to a bitter feeling of retaliation for injuries contumeliously inflicted, and aspersions wantonly cast upon our professional honesty. It is hardly possible to characterize such a thing as these Dialogues on Prophecy with epithets of mildness, or to use any language in description of them but such as shall wear the appearance of coarse and offensive condemnation : yet the truth must be told, and the interests of sound religion demand the unhesitating castigation of error, whenever and wherever she may raise her hydra head. But,—to return to the pages on our table. The following are the points upon which our infallible conclave of seers came to a perfectly unanimous judgment, as stated by the editor in the Preface.
1. That the present Christian dispensation is not to pass insensibly into the millennial state by gradual increase of the preaching of the gospel ; but that it is to be terminated by judgments, ending in the destruction of this visible church and polity, in the same manner as the Jewish dispensation has been terminated.
2. That during the time that these judgments are falling upon Christendom, the Jews will be restored to their own land.
3. That the judgments will fall principally, if not exclusively, upon Christendom, and begin with that part of the church of God which has been most highly favoured, and is therefore most deeply responsible.
4. That the termination of these judgments is to be succeeded by that period of universal blessedness to all mankind, and even to the beasts, which is commonly called the Millennium.
5. That the second advent of Messiah precedes or takes place at the commencement of the Millennium. 6. That a great
eriod of 1260 years commenced in the reign of Justinian, and terminated at the French revolution; and that the vials of the Apocalypse began then to be poured out; and that our blessed Lord will shortly appear; and that, therefore, it is the duty of all, who so believe, to press these considerations on the attention of all men.
—Pp. ii. iii. It would be difficult, we are persuaded, to comprise a more numerous body of errors in so short a space as is here presented to our view. We deem every one of the doctrines, which has thus received the concurrent approbation of this “ school of the prophets,” to be utterly baseless as the fabric of a vision, and at variance with every sound principle of scriptural interpretation. In the name of common sense, we protest against the, ludicrous absurdity with which they have degraded the doctrine of types ;--and of their speculations touching the unaccomplished purposes of God, whether sought in the light of the revelations vouchsafed anterior to the law, or by the Mosaic dispensation, or by the historical events of the Jewish nation, or by the prophecies given or referred to in the Gospels and the Acts, or in the Epistles and these are the substance of the Dialogues of which we are now writing),-of these curious speculations touching the. unaccomplished purposes of God, we boldly assert that they form no legitimate part of the sound interpretation of prophecy, the only safe expositor of those mysterious legends being historical facts. sit futurum?” is an inquiry beyond our reach; and he who attempts
to unfold the prophetic roll, should take for his wisest motto the memorable saying of that illustrious expositor, who has reminded us that prophecy was given “not to gratify men's curiosities, by enabling them to foreknow things, but that, after they were fulfilled, they might be interpreted by the event, and God's providence, not the interpreter's, be then manifested thereby to the world."* Of the volume, therefore, which now challenges our attention (from the tedious perusal of which we have learnt nothing, but the rashness and the overweening pride of the editor), we can afford no better description, than by adopting the strong language of Bishop Newton, in reference to similar attempts, and calling it a farrago of " lawless and extravagant fancies." + “ If we would be content with sober and genuine interpretation, and not pretend to be prophets, nor presume to be wise above what is written, we should more consider those passages which have already been accomplished, than frame conjectures about those which remain yet to be fulfilled.” I
- Now I have told you before it come to pass, that WHEN IT IS COME TO PASS, ye might believe,” are the remarkable words of our blessed Redeemer; and they contain " the proper use and intent of all prophetic enunciations whatever." The unaccomplished purposes of Infinite Wisdom, seem to have little connexion, therefore, with the special end of prophecy, and mischievously obstruct its use; and the wild conjectures which enthusiastic interpreters have hazarded upon futurity, savour less of piety than of pride, which, overleaping the just boundaries of reason, and mistaking fancy for fact, forgets that deeree of the allwise Disposer of events, by which he has put the times and the seasons of his fore-ordained purposes
s in his own power.” Acts i. 7.
Our severest censure and our deepest regret have been excited by the perusal of the volume before us; for we are persuaded that these fond lucubrations and intemperate essays of men, who, doubtless, mean to advance the interests of the faith once delivered to the saints, are calculated to unsettle the minds of the careless and the wavering, and to induce them to reject with ridicule the pretensions of a revelation which is so weakly advocated, and so absurdly applied to purposes foreign and forbidden. The lamp of prophecy must cast a reflected light upon the past : that which is to come can with difficulty be only guessed at; and to embark on the shoreless ocean of futurity, is to pervert the design of prophecy to an end, of which the enemies of the cross sure to take mischievous advantage.
* Sir Isaac Newton's Observations upon the Apocalypse.
“ Secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed, unto us and unto our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." Deut. xxix. 29.
We know that our remarks will be deemed " silly,” “ irreverent," and " impious," (p. 406); and we are prepared to see 1 Pet. i. 10,11,12, again urged, with miserable ignorance or wicked perversion of the Apostle's meaning, as a justification of the study which we thus venture to condemn; but we peremptorily deny that the angels are stated to employ themselves in any such fond inquiries, for the "things” which they desired to look into" are not the unaccomplished purposes of God, but the mystery of the gospel dispensation; or, in the words of Holy Writ, “ the things which are now reported by them that have preached the gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven." 1 Pet. i. 12.
The first dogma, that " the present Christian dispensation is not to pass insensibly into the millennial state, by gradual increase of the preaching of the gospel,” &c. &c. &c. (see above), is at variance with the express declarations of Scripture, though much special pleading, if we may use such a phrase, has been adopted to destroy their force. The parable of the grain of mustard-seed, the parable of the leaven hid in the three measures of meal; Dan. ij. 34, 35; Ezek. xvii. 22, 23; xlvii. 1, 2, 3, 4, &c. &c. ; Isaiah xxxv. 6,7; and ten thousand other passages descriptive of the gradual advancement of the kingdom of Christ on earth, which we have no room to quote, will annihilate their position; and as to the destruction of our church and polity, which is to synchronize with the restoration of the Jews, and to be immediately succeeded by the millennium, and the personal reign of Christ for a thousand years, we protest most sincerely that we not only discover no ground in the word of God whereon to erect such an hypothesis, but invincible and positive evidence of the erroneousness of such insane vagaries. Look to Matt. xiii. and the parables there spoken by our Lord. They describe the mixed state of the visible church, wherein the tares and the wheat should grow together till the final harvest; and that wide net, which should gather from the
“ of every kind,” till a division between the good and the bad take place, " at the end of the world," when the righteous dispensation of the Great Judge shall be finally consummated by his rewarding every man according to his works; for “ the Son of Man shall” then “ send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
The second coming of Christ to reign here in person for a thousand years is an idle tale ; and never could be listened to with patience, did men consult their reason and curb their imaginations, and remember
that the glowing language, and poetical diction of inspiration, reject a literal translation, as being utterly at variance with all sound principles of interpretation, and at the same time the fruitful source of heresy and nonsense. The second advent of the blessed Saviour of the world is, indeed, insisted upon, and solemnly appealed to, by the inspired penmen; but they no where mention his sojourning on this earth again in the sense of the millenarians; and their allusions constantly refer to his coming to judgment, according to his own recorded assurance, in Matt. xvi. 27, and John xiv. 3. They tell us to "wait for the Son of God from heaven” (1 Thess. i. 10), but they also tell us the object of his advent, when they speak of him as then to “ change our vile body" (Philip. iii. 20, 21), by the energy of his divine power. If " the heavens are to receive Christ until the times of the restitution of all things," i. e. until he shall come to judge the quick and the dead (see 2 Thess. i. 7-10), how can he literally reign on this earth in person? It is an hypothesis visionary, absurd, and impossible : the glorified humanity of Christ no man can steadily behold ;-it was a spectacle which inflicted blindness upon St. Paul, and fainting almost to death upon St. John ; and the insane rhapsodist who expects, in what he calls the millennium, to “know Jesus after the flesh," or to have Satan literally bound for that period,-or to see a literal resurrection of the martyrs at the commencement of that era, -has neither reason nor Scripture to authorize his vagaries, and is ignorant of the first principles of biblical criticism, which, by homogeneity and analogy, are directly at variance with his untenable notions; and he seems to forget the important distinctions between the tropical and the literal meaning of words. He consults his imagination when he ought to consult his reason ; and, rioting in the orgies of a distempered mysticism, converts the words of soberness and truth into the most pestilent errors and contemptible absurdities.
All that is written touching the history of God's purposes to the end of time, as completely manifested in the days of creation, (p. 28, &c.) is mere fancy: and the notion that the brutes shall partake of millennial felicity and peace (p. 44), is equally preposterous with the absurdity of the proof by which it is sought to be established from the figurative language of Isaiah, chap. xi. 6-9.
We would embrace this opportunity of stating, that the doctrine of types has been sadly perverted in the pages before us. Take, for example, the following passage:
The deep sleep into which Adam fell, aptly represented the deep humiliation of the second Adam; taking out his rib, of which to form his spouse, typifies the taking out of the church which is actually going on at the present moment; while the bringing her, when perfect, and presenting her to Adam, represents the church's presentation at the marriage of the Lamb. — P. 52.