ePub 版

“And when the two witnesses shall sulted; yet they were again quickened have finished their testimony, the and exalted to honor. They have beast that ascended out of the bottom- been ascending for more than forty less pit [the unfathomable ocean] years, yet have not reached their shall make war against them, and proper heaven. There is in the 20th shall overcome and kill them ; and chapter of the Apocalypse no bolder their dead bodies shall lie in the street imagery than in the 11th. The bindof the great city, which is (mystically] ing of Satan, his being cast down to spiritually called Sodom and Egypt; the unfathomable abyss, the first resuralso, the city where our Lord was rection, the rest of the dead, Gog and crucified, [Jerusalem ;] and they of Magog, are not more figurative than the people, and kindreds, and tongues, the passage now before us. Indeed shall see their dead bodies three days there is a similarity. We have a and a half, and shall not suffer their death, revival, ascension, a Sodom, dead bodies to be put in graves. And Egypt, and Jerusalem in the first, and after three days and a half the spirit in the second, a burial, resurrection, of life from God entered into them, and reign with Christ, a spiritual Gog and they stood upon their feet; and and Magog, with times and circumgreat fear fell upon their enemies who stances specified of striking analogy. beheld them : and they heard a great

There is, moreover, one point of voice from heaven saying to them, much value in this passage, as exCome up hither; and they ascended planatory of the most perplexing item up to heaven in a cloud, and their to all literalists in reference to the two enemies beheld them.”

resurrections. The two witnesses, This passage, independent of its say they, are not two persons ; for intrinsic light and value, is of much no two persons could prophecy 1260 relative importance in furnishing au- years. The revival of the witnesses thority : for here we have a mystical is not, therefore, of necessity the rekilling, dead bodies, graves, reanima- vival of the same persons, but of the tion, resurrection, ascension. And same class of characters. So the first in the midst of the lock we have a resurrection, or the revival of the key-a mystical Sodom, Egypt, and souls of them that were beheaded for Jerusalem.* This, no doubt, was the testimony of Jesus, is not the intended to expound the imagery of return to earth, nor the proper resurthis picturesque scene. The witnesses rection of those who had lived on were neither literally killed nor re

earth before ; but a return, or a reanimated; they were neither literally covery of such characters, a race of lying in the streets unburied, nor kindred souls, valiant for the same raised from the dead ; they had not truth, and of the same danger and descended into the earth, nor ascended terror-defying spirit. This is farther into heaven. Still, spiritually all this evident from another point which was true. They were as good as dead, seems to have escaped the optics of and their corpses were publicly in these interpreters. The literalists

generally, if not universally, make * Mystical and spiritual are used by us in only a portion of the just participants terchangeably. The mystical or spiritual differs of the first resurrection such as were from the literal by transcending it. The literal martyrs or sufferers for the cause of meaning of serpent is a venomous reptile; but mystically it denotes the devil. Babylon

Christ. They are, indeed, obliged by literally indicated the capital of Chaldea; their own principles so to limit the mystically it represents Papal Rome or the honors of this resurrection to such ; present apostacy.

The mystical meaning is for “I saw,” says John, " the souls always obscure, and requires a knowledge of of them that were beheaded for the natural emblems or symbols duly to appreciate it.

witness of Jesus, and for the word of

God," &c." and they lived and rebuilding of the tabernacle of David, reigned with Christ athousand years.” and with other picturesque representaNow all the other pious dead con- tions which may fall in our path as tinued in their graves, according to we advance farther into the subject. this view of the matter, during the

A. C. thousand years.

And what, then, came of them ? They must be lost for ever: for such are not participants

OBSERVATIONS IN CONNECTION of the second resurrection ! The WITH THE COMING OF THE LORD. rest of the dead” cannot possibly in- Dear Sir-I observe what you say clude them : because it is written, in reply to my observation regarding “Blessed and holy is he that has part the HOPE of the gospel, the coming in the first resurrection : on such the of the Lord ; for this, you are aware, second death shall have no power,” &c. was the ancient hope. Would you Now is it not fairly implied that the allow me a few remarks regarding second death shall have power upon three points in your reply, which are “ the rest of the dead” not partici- not intelligible to me. First, Ezekiel pants of this resurrection : otherwise (xxxvii

. chap.) is told that in the viwhere would be the bliss of the first sion the bones were the bones of the resurrection with regard to the second house of Israel, (verse 11) and then death? Is it not, then, undeniably their divided state is set forth in the evident that if “ the rest of the dead” | fact of its requiring two sticks to repincluded the pious, not martyrs nor resent them; and then their junction confessors, not participants of the is figured in the two sticks becoming first resurrection, they shall become one : but how this could be fulfilled subjects of the second death?

in the breaking down the middle wall “The rest of the dead” we conclude of partition between Jew and Genare all wicked, and the second death tile, I cannot see. This was a totally shall triumph over them. The theorists different matter. The house of Israel of the literal school lose all the righ- is still, as Hozea said, (iii. 4)" they teous except martyrs and confessors; would be without a king,” &c. ; but else they must have three resurrec- as the scattering and gathering were tions--one for the martyrs and con- literal, how can the unity and gatherfessors ; one a thousand years after ing be of another kind. Second, you for the rest of the saints ; and one say the throne on which Jesus is to some time after that for the rest of sit, in his glory, is to be formed of the dead.

Now, “the rest of the dead” in- how can they both form the throne dicates that class of wicked spirits and sit on it? There is surely some who shed the blood of the saints ; incongruity here. Third, you say if those who withstood the martyrs, or all the disciples were to act as Jesus those who would not receive the mark acted, there would be no need of goin their hands nor in their foreheads rernments of any kind. The world -persecutors, spiritually called Gog will need then to be different from and Magog. A class of the same what it was eighteen hundred years type and spirit shall revive at the end ago, for Jesus then said, “ My kingof the thousand years—not the old dom is not of this world.” If you anclass raised to life again, but a similar ticipate a new world, then so do I; brood. Thus the two resurrections and the spiritual kingdom which now are homogeneous, and of the same exists will have given place to the category ; and thus this passage real kingdom of the Lord himself, stands in good keeping with the his- which, he says, is not of this world. tory of the two witnessess—with the Yours in hope of this glorious period,

those who now


To us

* * *

and with love to all, believe me, as saints will form a part of the Saever, yours affectionately,

viour's glorious throne, when, at the

same time, they are to sit with him Edinburgh, Jan. 9, 1849.

on his throne ; and you put the in

terrogation,“ how can they form his REPLY BY THE EDITOR.

throne, and at the same time sit upon Dear Brother- In my remarks, it ?” This may, at the first glance, which appear on page 40, no reference seem to be incongruous, yet it is not whatever is made to the 37th chapter more so than that Christ himself of Ezekiel ; and therefore, a reply to should be both the victim and the your first point is altogether unneces- priest of his people—or David's Lord sary.

I may, however, observe, that and David's Son — or, that the creon again reading that chapter, it ap- ated angelic voices should come out pears to me, as it does also to your- of the throne of God and the Lamb, self, very doubtful whether reference saying “Praise our God,” &c. The be made at all to the breaking down term throne is applied variously of the middle wall of partition which in the Word of God, as you may, by separated Jew from Gentile. Indeed, examination, satisfy yourself. In the walls of separation and division Isaiah it is said that a man should be which existed among the various sects for a thronem" And it shall come to of Jews at that time, and prior to the pass in that day, that I will call my coming of the Lord, were sufficiently servant Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, numerous and important, to render a and he shall be for a glorious throne prediction of that kind well adapted to his father's house,” Isaiah xxii. to " both houses of Israel,” without in 20-5. We read that heaven (and we any way referring to the Gentile infer all that is in it) is God's throne, world.

and the earth (and all that is upon it) With reference to your quotation is his footstool. So we may readily from the Prophet Hosea, iii. 3-4, conceive that the new creation--more where it is said that the Jews would grand and sublime than the old—will be many days without a king and a be the throne of Messiah and of his prince of their own, &c. permit me to associates for ever. He appears in ask if this does not refer to the many the universe as a mighty conquerordays in which they were in this state his people also are conquerors : He, previously to the coming of the Lord ? by His own inherent love—they, by Or, if it do not, are we to conclude his precious blood, and the power

of that those myriads of Jews who em- His soul-attracting love. They shall braced the gospel, and who, on the day live and reign with Him, while He of Pentecost, and for years subse- shall reign over them, as a part of quently, became one harmonious the throne of His glory for ever. body, were without a prophet, priest, You understand me as saying, in and king? Surely not! If all, or your third point, that if the disciples any part of the Jews. now on the would now act as Jesus and the first earth, were to embrace Christianity, churches acted, the world would need would they still be without a king ? no government, &c. Now this is a Such a supposition would be tan- mistake. It is the world or rather tamount to saying, that the Lord the lawlessness and disobedience of Jesus is king only of the converted the men of the world to Christ—that Gentiles, and not also of the converted render governmental institutions, moJews.

narchical or republican, absolutely In

your second point, you conclude necessary to enforce the observance that there is some incongruity in my of good order, personally and collecsupposing that the resurrected host of tively; and at this period of the

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

world's history, these institutions, individual, and even professedly supported by which are ordained of God, have be- decrease in the course of ages, till it is entirely

miracles, the credibility of it must gradually come essential to the protection of the dissipated and destroyed.” Again - When disciples of Jesus Christ from perse- the carth relates its own history, and that with cution and death. What may be ac

it and the aid of the sciences, we require nocomplished by the diffusion of good, thing else to instruct us in religion and the and the further restraining of evil prin- even made a supernatural revelation to man

existence of a Deity.” And again—“If God ciples, no one can with any certainty kind, is it likely that he would make it through predicț. Affectionately yours, such an imperfect medium as human language

must necessarily be? It is a medium subject J. W.

to a great diversity of interpretations. It is full of ambiguities. The Christian religion

had its first exposition in a language that was LITERARY NOTICE. soon to become obsolete."

The foregoing extracts from Dr. Fellow's' ReTHE RELIGION OF THE UNIVERSE, ligion of the Universe, are not calculated to BY ROBERT FELLOWS, LLD.-It not unfre- prepare us for the sentiments that follow, and quently happens that the theorist and promul- what I shall next introduce from this work :gator of a new system, in his earnestness to Christianity itself," he says,

as it is proimpress novel opinions on the public mind, fessed in this country, has degenerated into a overshoots his mark--a want of unity and con- totally different system, from what it was in sistency of parts is often discernible in his rea- its original form. Avarice and ambition have soning, which defeat their object. When such made it sudservient to their purposes, till its occur, the labour of refutation is easy, it being primary brightness is extinguished, and its naonly requisite to select from your author's tive loveliness is destroyed.” We certainly work those passages where such discrepancy is were not prepared for such an admission from apparent. Robert Fellows, LL.D. may be the Doctor, and so unequivocally expressed. classed among the authors I have alluded to, Still we find him rejecting the written records whose own writings are sufficient to confute of the faith and practice of the early professors, him. In his Religion of the Universe, he tells because, forsooth, the corruption inherent in

“ That he has made religious truth the human nature has, in these days, dimmed the primary object of his pursuit ; that he has tra- native lustre of Christianity. He thus expresses velled far and wide from the confines of what himself with regard to the New Testamentis commonly called orthodoxy, at which he set “If, therefore, we suppose the New Testament out, till, after a long period of doubt and per- to contain a divine revelation, we must allow plexity, his mind has at length found the se- it to be conveyed to mankind through a very renity of conviction, and his heart the solace of dark medium; and so far apt to perplex and hope, in a pure and unsophisticated Theism.” mislead even men of learning and research, as He adds, If the religion of the universe to be totally unfit for a guide to the generality which he inculcates should ever be generally of mankind.” Yet notwithstanding his rejeccherished by the people, and encouraged by the tion of the Scriptures, in another part of his government, the clergy would become public work, our author, when he attempts to prove teachers of a higher order ; for, instead of in- the existence of a future state from natural culcating irrational mysteries and mischievous causes, does not disdain to use Scripture landogmas, they would lay all the works of nature guage to enforce his arguments, to wit:under perpetual contribution, in order to fur- “ Hence this must be a reward for the rightnish instruction to their auditors.” “Science,” eous, else the ungodly would never have fou

" is the only form to which the reli. rished like a green bay tree.” The Doctor asgious sentiment can attach itself with any bene- serts, the more we cultivate the mind, the fit to mankind. Religion has been made to more God will reveal himself to us”-meaning, consist principally of dogmatical assertions, in- we presume, by science and learning. But capable of proof in themselves, and of which what doth the Scriptures say on this subject no proof was supposed to be necessary. Autho- those writings which Dr. Fellows quotes, rity was supposed to be sufficient, and that while in other respects he reprobates them ? authority was either some text of a book which “God has hid these things from the wise and adınitted of different interpretations, or the prudent, and has revealed them unto babes." positive declaration of some arrogant council, See how he carries out his consistency in his or somo weak-minded visionary. But if reli- own boast, that human wisdom and learning gion consist in knowing God, and if the know- are sufficient to teach us the knowledge of God, ledge of God comprise every species of know. when he says, “ For how can the finite hope ledge, then religion requires the perpetual ex- to comprehend the infinite, the material the ercise of the understanding." Dr. Fellows spiritual, the temporal the eternal ?” In this continues--"When a revelation is made by an sentiment of the Doctor's every Christian ought


he says,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

to concur, as it exhibits a proper sense of the immediate evil, or promoted some temporary imperfection of human wisdom. Again, he benefit ; but which, not strictly harmonizing says “ The contemplation of the celestial with the great and eternal views of the Creator, phenomena would carry an impression of the in the moral and intellectual advancement of divine agency even upon the minds of the pea- his rational creatures, are destitute of the only santry, much beyond what the perusal of any true principle of interminable duration, and chapter of the Bible would do." Yet he tells are consequently doomed to vanish in length

that conscience usually inflicts a pang of days." We shall now take our leave of the when we omit to do what we think right, or do Doctor's Religion of the Universe, which we what we think wrong." Where did the Doctor pronounce to be a glaring incougruity, and like learn this ? Did he read it in his Geological the Mahometan, made up of a mixture of difstudies, or did he discover it in his Astronomi- ferent and adverse systems. Christianity and cal observations ? Surely not! He could the Bible have withstood the learning of Poronly have obtained the correct belief of such an phry, and the power of Julian-they have reinward monitor being implanted in man from sisted the genius of Bolingbroke, and the wit of his Scripture readings. In page 72 of his Voltaire, as well as the sophistry of Mirabeau, work, in proof that religion and true wisdom and they will not now be brought into disrewere the same thing, he refers us to “ that pute by the absurdities of Robert Fellows, beautiful and indeed sublime representation of LL.D.

T. G. wisdom in Proverbs viïi. 22-35.” Again, he writes in page 137, “ Even the mild and gentle, CORRESPONDENCE. the humble and love-breathing religion of Him, the great Reformer of Nazareth, has been per

LAYING-ON OF HANDS AFTER verted to purposes as opposite to those which the benevolent Author designed, as the sword

BAPTISM, &c. is to the ploughshare, or darkness to light.” DEAR SIR--I have taken all the volumes of Then why try to overturn that religion, and your periodical from its commencement, while substitute in its stead an ignis fatuus of his it bore the name of CHRISTIAN MESSENGER, own invention ? In page 139 he even pro- and I find a great many things that I might fesses himself a believer in one of the prophe-approve of, and especially those from the pen cies of that book which he elsewhere contemns of A. Campbell

. There is always something - his words being. “ The time is yet to come, in his productions that throws light on the subbut come it will, when at least in the meta- juct in hand; but, as I before hinted, there is physical sense, the wolf will lie down with the an ordinance of the New Institution that seems lamb, and the tiger will play harmlessly with to be entirely overlooked by him, as well as the child; when everything noxious and veno- almost all the professing world of Christians, mous shall be removed from the face of the namely, that of laying on of hands. The conearth ; when peace and harmony shall pervade firmation of the Established Church is no more the globe.” In page 149 will be found the like the Scripture ordinance, than is their following : -" Even Christ, in his early day, christening like the one baptism.". It appears anticipated a period when the worship of the by the Acts of the Apostles that this ordinance Deity, in stated formularies and local sanctu- followed the baptism of the believer, and that in aries, would be abandoned ; and when better faith of the promise of the Holy Spirit. Witand purer motives of the Infinite Spirit would ness the case of the Samaritans, Acts viï. 17, so generally prevail, as to replace a gross and and the twelve, which, I suppose, constituted formal, by a more spiritual and intellectual all the disciples at Ephesus, Acts xix. 5-6. adoration.” The time is coming,” said Christ, These are but few instances, in comparison of “when neither in this mountain, nor at Jeru- the many accounts we have on record of the salem, shall ye worship the Father. God is a baptism of believers; but because it is not menSpirit, and they that worship, must worship tioned every time, forms no argument against Him in spirit and in truth.” And yet, notwith the universality of the practice, as it is no standing this testimony which Dr. Fellows has ground of excuse for a servant to neglect his been constrained to give in this place, of the master's business because he was only once or pure and spiritual worship inculcated by the twice ordered to do it, and not every time he religion of Jesus Christ, we find again, in page saw him. Besides, in the 6th chapter of the 162 of his book, the following remarks:– Of Hebrews we have this ordinance classed with the two revelations which have been assoeiated those of unquestionable perpetuity, such as rewith Judaism, and which have exercised such a pentance, faith, and baptism, Heb. vi. 1-2. I long and paramount influence over the religious am not dogmatical in this or any other view opinions of the European world, the light of that I take of spiritual things, but while the the first may be said to be extinct; and that of wisdom that is from above is easily to be perthe second is fast going out. They may be re-suaded, it is also requisite to hold fast the faithful corded among those productions of human word as we have been taught, and keep the ordiwisdom, which were wanting in the primary nances as they are delivered unto us in the Sacred exigences of society, which corrected some great 'Oracles of Divine Truth. I have been lately

[ocr errors]
« 上一頁繼續 »