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the saints,—which, by the way, was a difference in three very essential points of their belief. We have no hesitation in saying that the Doctor's treatment of the testimony of the Fathers is uncandid, exceedingly partial, and would not have been attempted by him, but to support his New Hypothesis. His arguments and explanations of Scripture, in favor of his hypothesis, are based on assumptions which have not been proved ; and his attempts to show the falsity of millenarian expositions are founded on the assumption of his own hypothesis.
Archdeacon Woodhouse, although he adopted the notion of an allegorical Millenium, or the universal prevalence of Christianity in the earth, nevertheless very justly observes, “It is remarkable that Dr. Whitby, who had declined to comment on the Apocalypse, assigning as his motive, that he felt himself unqualified for such a work, has ventured to explain this particular prediction of the Millenium ; which being, as all agree, a prophecy yet unfulfilled, is, of all others, the most difficult."*
It is sufficient to condemn the whole treatise that his main reliance is on Eusebius, who assigns the origin of millenarian views to Papias, not so much as a matter of historical verity, as his opinion that Papias misconceived tradition because he did not adopt the mystical or allegorical interpretation ;t and who has, without reason, questioned the genuineness of the Book of Revelation. Dr. Nolont has revived the old reproach against millenarian views, and reiterated the
* Woodhouse on the Apocalypse, p. 470.
t'Α και ήγουμαι τας αποστολκας παρεκδεξαμενον διηγησεις υπολαβειν, τα εν υποδειγμασι προς αυτων μυστικως ειρημενα μη συνεωρακοτα.-Euseb. Ecc. Hist., lib. iii. ch. 39.
See - The Time and Nature of the Millenium investigated," by Rev. Dr. Nolon. London. 1831.
fallacies of Dr. Whitby. He has remarked as historical fact, “that the opinion of the primitive church, respecting the nature of the Millenium, received more than a tinge of error from the peculiar notions of Papias.” On such opinions, and hypotheses, and reasonings, we place but little reliance, when we have such decisive testimony as the following, from one* who has carefully examined and collated, not a few prejudiced and doubtful writers, but the fathers generally. “ All primitive orthodox Christians expected, according to the words of the apostles, and the promises of the prophets, a new heaven and a new earth, at the second coming of the Messiah to restore the happiness which flourished before the fall of Adam," &c.
The early divines of New England, the Cottons and Mathers, and their cotemporaries, knew nothing of such a Millenium as that invented and advocated by Dr. Whitby. The first who gave it their sanction in this country, appear to have been President Edwards, in the middle of the last century, and Dr. Bellamy. But the former looked for terrific judgments and overwhelming sorrows coming on the world before the Millenium, and destined to prepare the way by cutting off the wicked, and purifying the holy people before the latter day glory. The lattert
See Grabe's Spicilegium Patrum, lib. ii. p. 230.—“Omnes primævi Christiani orthodoxi, secundum dicta apostolorum et promissa prophetarum, novum cælum et novam terram exspectarunt in secundo Messiæ adventu, isti restituendum felicitati quæ ante lapsum Adami florebat. Atque hanc felicitatem plurimi non in spiritualibus bonis, sed 'et temporalibus posuerunt, persuasi tunc solum terræ a maledictione ob peccatum Adami, et ei inflicta liberum fore, ac abundantiam omnis boni sine humano labore prolaturum,
Quæ et priscorum Judæorum fuit sententia, ut ex Rabbinorum dictis a Raymundo Martini in Pugione fidei—Adductis liquet.”
† See Bellamy's Works, vol. i. pp. 495-516.
has carried out the views of Dr. Whitby in a plain and interesting description of the Millenium, assumed to be allegorical-a season of universal religious prosperity, induced and sustained by the instrumentality and influences now employed, but then more efficiently, for the sanctification of men. The general concert of prayer which President Edwards recommended in his works, originated with a memorial from certain ministers of Şcotland in 1746, the object of which was distinctly stated, that Christ in his glory would himself appear and favor Zion. A recent letter from the churches in Scotland, addressed to the General Association of the Presbyterian church of the United States, expresses the hope of Christ's speedy personal coming in glory. The missionaries generally in the East are said to look for his coming. The midnight cry, “Behold, He cometh,” has begun to be sounded, and it is only in this country, where the churches generally seem to be asleep on this subject, and fatal and dangerous sentiments, and the false, unreasonable, and unphilosophical hope extensively obtain, that the advance of civilisation, the progress of liberty, the improvement of the arts, the extension of commerce, the rapidly increasing facilities of intercourse among the nations, the multiplication of missionaries and missionary stations and schools, the increase of revivals, the spread of the gospel, the machinery of Bible, and Missionary, and Tract societies, and other benevolent operations, are going to meliorate the condition of the world, and peacefully and gradually introduce the Millenial Day. Alas! the condition of the world presents no reasonable prospect of such a consummation. Our hope of the world's redemption rests on a more solid basiseven the promise, oath, and covenant of our God, who stands pledged to Abraham to make him heir of the
world, and to exalt his Son, our blessed Saviour, King of kings and Lord of lords. We rejoice in the cause, success, spread, and multiplication of Missions, and feel that the church is deeply guilty in not causing the gospel to be “preached in all nations for a witness, “that God may take out of the Gentiles a people for the glory of his name," and "the end may come;" but we look not for the visions of philanthropists to be realized, nor for the conversion of the world, but for “the blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." We rejoice in all the good that is done by Christian effort and missionary labors, and pray that it may be much greater ; but, impenitent reader, we cannot flatter ourselves into the belief, that a day is coming when it will be any easier for you to repent and become reconciled to God than it is now. There is a day of wrath coming on the world. The nations will be “ broken with a rod of iron, and dashed in pieces as a potter's vessel.” Now the gospel is preached to you ; it is “the good news of the coming kingdom.” If you do not repent, you can have no part in the first resurrection-you must perish in the overthrow of the ungodly. How soon the heavens shall gather blackness, and the storm of wrath burst upon this guilty world, and the nations be dashed against each other, we know not; but that Lord Jesus Christ, who will shortly come to execute vengeance on his enemies, has declared, “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame."*
Watch, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”+
• Rev, 16. 15.
† Luke, 21. 36.
THE PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION APPLIED, AND THE
SECOND COMING OF CHRIST SILOWN TO BE PRE-MIL
“ He shall send Jesus Christ which before was preached unto you: whom the Heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”* These words suggest the theme of this chapter. We quote them here because they state the subject in the plainest and most explicit terms, and because they furnish an invaluable guide for our researehes into the predictions concerning the SECOND COMING OF our LORD AND SAVIOUR Jesus Christ.
The subject is one of infinite moment. It addresses itself alike to our personal hopes and interests, and to those of the entire world. It involves the destiny of each individual, and that of all the nations of the earth. It has formed the object of hope and ardent expectation to the pious in all ages. It is the grand epoch for the consummation of the blessedness and glory of all the saints, both of those now with Christ, and of those still alive upon the earth. It is the hour of Heaven's triumph and of hell's discomfiture-of the emancipation of the righteous and of the destruction of the wicked, -of the rescue of this globe from the thraldom of the devil, and of the renovation of all things.
It is to be the commencement of an eternal era, during the first epochs of which the promises of God,
• Acts 3. 20.