« 上一頁繼續 »
pass,”—he states, as against the Historical, three main objections. These are they are old objections, which, as having been long since fully answered, ought really now to be exploded), 1st, the many differences between historical expositors; 2ndly, the questionableness of the year-day system, and historically demonstrated failures of sundry prognostications made on the basis of it; 3rdly, the incongruity of certain prominent historical applications of the prophecies; especially of the awful imagery of the 6th Seal, with its elemental convulsions, to Constantine's conversion to Christianity, and of the Apoca, lyptic Beast to the Papacy. Objections these that are founded mainly on more or less of ignorance or misconception. The Beast's characteristics, combined with those of the Pauline and Johannic Antichrists, I have shown, even in my mere skeleton sketch just previously given, to be a very photograph of the Roman Popes and Popedom ;* while, as to the 6th Seal, its symbols (resembling closely those of the overthrow of Babylon and her gods) † are applied by me, not to Constantine's conversion, but to the overthrow of the powers of heathenism in the Roman empire, begun through Constantine, completed by Theodosius. In my elaborate chapter on the year-day, I have, I believe, fully answered every objection; and, as to nonfulfilments on its basis, through mistake of the terminus a quo, has Mr. Bullock considered the many marked and extraordinary fulfilments? | Once more, as to differences of expositors
, surely in all progressive sciences thö differences and failures of some constitute no sound argument against tho demonstrations (if such they be) of another :---especially in a case where progressing history could scarce but shed additional light on it; so as indeed predicted apparently by God himself respecting the latter days.
Finally, Mr. B. inclines to take refuge in Dr. Arnold's theory of Prophetic Interpretation; a theory which (as intimated in my notice of Professor Lightfoot) explains the prophecies to have a primary and lesser present falfilment, but foreshadowing one greater. In reference to my own critical examination, in the Horæ Apocalypticæ, of this theory, he says modestly, “ Perhaps Mr. Elliott has in this not succeeded.” To
Popedom meaning the Papal en- century, to the French Revolution. And pire of the ten kingdoms, and figured in certainly the signs of the times, as conthe Beast's body.
strued by almost every thinking man, + Is. xiii. 9, 10, 13; Jer. iv. 23, &c. seem now to betoken a crisis at hand I Including those of Daniel's 70 heb. likely to answer to the completer fultil. domads, (about which, however, if dated ment of that great prophetic period. from Cyrus's decree, there must have After which we might probably expect been mistakes at the time of the ap- the 75 additional days of Daniel xii., for proaching Christian era,) the two Wit- the winding up of the great drama. messes' 34 days of death, the Turkish § Dan. xii. 4 : “Knowledge shall be hour, day, month, and year, the 1260 increased." days in its primary and iucipient mea- applicable to everything but Divine pro. surement from the commencing rise of phecy? the ten-kingdomed Popedom, in the sixth
Is this to be construed as
which of course the reply is, “ But perhaps he has.” And, to see which of the perhaps's is correct, Mr. B. need only himself try to apply the theory to prophecies like the Apocalyptic and Daniel's, to which I affirm its inapplicability :-prophecies continuous; and, in each particular figuration, with a multiplicity of details.
And now, let me ask in conclusion, is it not lamentable that, in a Dictionary of the Bible likely, from its generally high literary character, to have weight with those who consult it, and in articles from the pens of clergymen of standing in our Church, there should appear notices on the great prophecies of postApostolic things and times in the Holy Scripture, not only mutually contradictory to each other,* but so expressed, and so reasoned, as apparently to imply doubt in the writers' own minds, and certainly to suggest it to that of an intelligent reader, whether, after all, the modern infidel dogma be not correct, that there is in the Bible no real prognostication of the distant future? I pray the very respectable writers of these articles to consider whether the presumptions with which I began my own investigations into the Apocalyptic prophecy of " the things which were to be thereafter," (one embracing, of course, the Paulino and Johannic prophecies of the great Antichrist,) were not more accordant with what God Himself predicates of His own character and dealings with men, as « declaring the end from the beginning,”+ than theirs :—the presumptions, namely, that, if indeed the Apocalypse were a divinely indited prophecy of the future, such as it professed to be, then, Ist, the eras chosen for prefiguration would be the most important and eventful evolved in the subsequent history of Christendom ; 2ndly, the prefigurative picturings themselves would be so characteristic (especially when with multiplicity of detail) as to be applicable in the same measure to no other event era or subject, but that for which it was meant, whatsoever. And if, as the result of my investigations, (inves
Says Mr. B. ;-“The Apocalyptic figured Woman and her male Child date is A.D. 96.” Says Mr. L. ;-"Not designate Christ's own birth into the so, but under Nero, about A D. 64.” world.” Says Mír. M.;-"No; but the
Says Mr. M.;—"The Man of Sin must Church bringing forth children to needs, from his designation, be a single Christ.” individual person.” Says Mr. L. ;—“No And so on.-Did Dr. Smith, in assuch thing; but just as well a body, or signing the articles on such cognate power."
subjects to writers of such different Says Mr. M. ;- —"The Pauline and opinions, overlook his acting out the Johannic Antichrists are evidently one part of Cadmus of old: seeing that, when aud the same; and, moreover, not yet sown in the pages of bis Dictionary, come.” Says Mr. L. ;-" They are quite they could scarcely but rise up before different; and, in fact, have long since the reader, like armed men, to tight and come; being respectively the opposing annihilate one another ; if not indeed Judaism, and opposing Roman Heathenpreviously annihilated, each by his own ism, of the times of the Apostles them- hand ? selves."
+ Is. xlvi. 10. Says Mr. B.;"In Apoc. xii. the
tigations very far more wide, searching, and accurate than any before,) these presumptions have been demonstrably realized, (and such indeed, I think, will be found the case,) then, is not that result a gain to the Christian evidences, of the highest importance, especially at a religious crisis like the present; and not to be lightly overlooked, or set aside, whether from willing ignorance, prejudice, or any other cause or motive ? And yet the more so, considering that, if indeed the case be made out, we must necessarily have in that wonderful Apocalyptic prophecy, not only predictions of the then coming future of Christendom, but God's own philosophy of the history also, all through accompanying.
I shall of course send a copy of this review to each of the three writers reviewed, as well as to the editor of the Dictionary, Dr. Smith; just as I did of my late review of Dr. Vaughan's book on the Revelation to Dr. V. himself, and to the bishop of Oxford, as there also referred to. And again I earnestly pray those writers to examine for themselves whether what I have said is not true. Of course they will examine my Book in its best and latest form of the 5th edition; not the 1st, or other intermediate ones, such as Mr. Meyrick seems here and thero to have dipped into. The more searching the examination, the better; if only it be fair, and comprehensive too, as in one of our admirable English judges' summings up, in a case of large and somewhat complicated evidence. The fittings of the prophecy and the history will be found, I am persuaded, when 80 examined (though not when looked at, as by some, with the simple object of fault-finding) to be like the fittings of a watch. And, if so, can such fittings be the result of chance ?
Many ought to be my apologies for the sadly too great length of this paper. It is only under a sense of the exceeding importance of the questions involved, especially at the present crisis, and my anxiety in consequence to bring those questions to a decision, that I have ventured on thus prolonging it. Yours, dear Mr. Editor, very truly,
E. B. ELLIOTT.
THE FIRST BOOK OF ESDRAS. Two or three days ago, a friend put into our hands a recent number of one of our most popular periodicals, containing the last in a short series of papers upon the state and prospects of the Church of England. We may say, without expressing anything like full accordance with the views of its author, that it is, upon the whole, drawn up with fairness and good sense, if we make one striking exception. We here place before the reader the very exceptionable passage to which we are alluding, and take the liberty of putting one clause into italics.
“The two churches of England and Rome, as all the world knows, are at one with respect to the canon of Scripture, and treat the Apocrypha so far with respect, that it is used by both in the course of their celebration of public worship.”*
The author of this blundering sentence may have been guilty of nothing more than haste and rashness; though the incorrect, not to say false, assertion might seem, at first sight, to be worthy of a Jesuit. We do not, indeed, go so far as to say that all the world are aware of the true state of the case; yet wo venture to assert, that all who are tolerably well informed, know that the Romish apostasy has exalted the apocryphal books to a level with the inspired writings of the old l'estament, and made them part and parcel of her Scriptural canon ; which is surely something very different from merely treating them with respect.
Now, the United Church of England and Ireland, in the sixth of our Articles, expressly rejects the apocryphal writings from the canonical books of the Old Testament. How then can the Church of England and the Roinish Apostasy be said to be at one with respect to the canon of Holy Scripture? Will not a candid Roman Catholic admit, that the sentence we have quoted, however unconscious its author may have been of his grave fault, is utterly untrue?
We shall endeavour to show here the real character of one at least of the apocryphal books, the first of Esdras, with which the intrusive series commences; and how worse than rashly the heretical council of Trent acted, when it solemnly declared that such a writing possesses equal Divine authority with the canonical and inspired Scriptures of the Old Testament. We may briefly compare the events which the apocryphal Esdras † states to have happened to Zerubbabel at the court of Darius Hystaspes in the first year of his reign, with those which are recorded by Ezra and the prophet Haggai to have occurred at Jerusalem to this Jewish prince and des. cendant of David, in the second year of the same Persian sovereign.
On referring to the first book of Esdras, it will be found that Zerubbabel is there exhibited to the reader as residing at the court of Darius in the first year of that monarch's reign, in the confidential position of one of the king's bodyguard. We are told that, in consequence of the very satisfactory replies which he gave to certain questions publicly put to him by Darius on a particular occasion, he rose to an extraordinary height in the royal favour and esteem.
In the pre
* Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Aug. 1863, p. 233.
+ The Hellenized form of the Hebrew name Ezra.
1 Esdras docs not tell us how it was
that Zerublabel obtained this post. Josephus, with more bolduess than ilis cretion, supplies the omission in his eleventh book of Jewish Antiquities.
sence of all the princes, governors, and chief public officers of Persia and Media, the gratified monarch, in token of high approval and admiration, kissed the fortunate Jewish prince, and bade him ask at his sovereign's hand whatever favours he might feel most desirous of obtaining. In compliance with Zerubbabel's patriotic request, Darius, before his assembled nobles, freely, perhaps ostentatiously, promises all kingly encouragement and aid toward the restoration of the city and temple of Jerusalem. Peremptory royal missives to this effect are straightway dispatched to the governors and officials of Syria, Phænicia, Samaria, and Idumea, containing a clear and unmistakable expression of their sovereign's good pleasure that they should not fail to render all possible assistance to Zerubbabel and the Jews in the work of rebuilding their city and temple.
Among other measures, Darius ordains that cedar trees shall be sent from Libanus, and that there should yearly be given twenty talents to the building of the temple, until the time that it were built.” Shortly after this, Zerubbabel, under the royal patronage, sets out from Babylon on his way to Judæa, accompanied by not less than forty thousand Hebrews, and with them an escort of one thousand of the king's horsemen to protect them during their long journey to the land of their fathers.
This vast Hebrew caravan would of course travel slowly, as it would contain the aged and the young, mothers and their infants, and a great quantity and variety of baggage. Hence, the king's messengers with the royal missives would easily precede the liberated Jews, and the governors and officials of the various provinces and districts through which it was necessary for the caravan to pass, would have been well informed beforehand of the high favour borne by Darius to Zerubbabel and the Jews. Moreover, this fact would be confirmed to them beyond all doubt by the leaders of the thousand horsemen who escorted the returning Hebrews.
Thus, then, according to the apocryphal Esdras, we have, in the second year of Darius, Zerubbabel newly arrived at Jerusalem, with forty thousand liberated Hebrews-a religious and patriotic eagerness in the chief persons among the newcomers to rebuild the Temple without delay—and Zerubbabel Lringing with him, not only the permission, but the express command, of Darius to proceed immediately with the restoration of the Temple, and also a royal order to receive from the king's revenues the yearly sum of twenty talents, until the completion of the sacred edifice.
We may next proceed to compare these apocryphal statements with a brief outline of the historical facts recorded by Ezra and Haggai.
In the first year of the reign of Cyrus over Babylon, ZerubLabel conducted across the Euphrates into Judæa a caravan of