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and fall of Protestantism, are pointed out; but they are unable to dove-tail the facts with the prophecies; whereas, as applied to themselves, the facts and the prophecies tally as minutely as a check and its counterfoil. Mr. Walmsley, under the feigned name of Signor Pastorini, excited much agitation in Ireland by applying the Apocalypse to Protestantism, which he affected to prove was to be destroyed in the year 1825; the very time when it began to assume new vigour in Ireland itself, where it had too long been inert. The college at Maynooth republished Walmsley's work, with buoyant expectations that the prediction would work its own fulfilment; but never were sanguine hopes more signally disappointed; for the revival of piety and zeal in the Protestant Church of Ireland is among the most remarkable features of modern annals.
We will not run through the long and melancholy catalogue of expositors who have not only darkened counsel with words without knowledge, but have exposed Holy Writ to the scoffs of the wicked by their vain imaginings. The agitated era of the days of Charles the First and the Commonwealth gave rise to shoals of such expositors; whose temerity has, if possible, been exceeded by many of those who have written since the period of the (first) French Revolution. One truth only have they clearly illustrated; -that prophecy was not intended to make men prophets. Even such a man as Baron Napier,cautious mathematician, whose felicitous invention of logarithms has assisted the science of astronomy, and the arts of practical geometry and navigation, beyond almost any discovery of ancient or modern times, could publish those thirtysix propositions relating to the seals, trumpets, vials, and thunders,
which ended with the declaration that the last trumpet and vial would conclude in the year 1786; but with the strange addition, "Not that I mean that that age (namely, 245 years, commencing from the year 1541, when the last vial began) shall continue so long; because it is said that for the elects' sake the time shall be shortened; but I mean that if the world were to endure, that seventh age should continue until the of year Christ, 1786." Napier's scheme was 245 years to each trumpet or vial; the first beginning A.D. 71; the second 316; the third 561; the fourth 806; the fifth 1051; the sixth 1296; the seventh 1541. In an argument from the 1335 days mentioned by the Prophet Daniel, and the thundering angels in the Apocalypse, he says that the former would give the day of Judgment in the year 1700, and the latter in 1688; whence he confidently concludes, that allowing for some error in calculation, it would arrive between these two dates. He wrote in the days of James the First, to whom he dedicates his book.
Now if we are constrained by truth to call the Lord of Merchiston's scheme hypothetical; and if Time, and the course of Divine Providence, have proved the hypothesis to be unfounded; we ought not to be accused of want of respect to any learned and holy man, to whose opinions we are in duty called to apply qualifying epithets. But we have seen the fallacy of so many predictive calculations, that in regard to questions of unfulfilled prophecy, when brought to bear upon the exciting occurrences of our own days, we dare not attempt to point out the times and the seasons which the Father has kept in his own power. Passing events are too near to us to be seen in their full aspect; their results also
are in the womb of futurity, and may be very different to what we imagine; they are among the secret things which belong to God; and only the types and shadows of them are revealed to us and to our children; the utmost therefore that we dare venture to assert upon any scheme of interpretation of unfulfilled prophecy, is that it is plausibly supported by various facts and arguments; but whether truly so, must be left for futurity to decide. In so saying, we do not disparage this large and important portion of Holy Writ, upon the diligent study of which a blessing is pronounced; we only demur to putting prophecy out of its due place. The ancient church had a succession of prophets; we have not this privilege, because we have a higher one in the completion of the canon of Sacred Writ, the whole being in our hands. But we have what is tantamount to it, and as an evidence of the Divine inspiration of Holy Writ above it: namely, not a succession of prophets or prophecies; but a succession of fulfilments of a chain of prophecies recorded once for all, and successively developed. With these preliminaries, though we do not see our way to all our reverend friend's conclusions in regard to unfulfilled events, we feel not the less the importance of his facts and exhortations. We know, indeed, the reply usual in such cases, that to dissever the practical part from the hypothesis is to destroy its effect; for that it is the special view contended for which excites hopes, calls to watchfulness, and animates to duty. But then, be it remembered, when these things are grounded, not on the general principle, but upon the particular hypothesis, if the last fail, the former are subverted. An interpreter who fully believes in his own exposition, considers that it cannot fail, and therefore sees
no need to make provision for such a result. But large experience in treatises on unfulfilled prophetical interpretation, leads to the conclusion that the last novel exposition may prove as unstable as former ones; and hence there is much wisdom in the advice of Richard Baxter in his "Christian Directory," (Part iii. c. 7, Direction 15), "Take not obscure prophecies for precepts. The obscurity is enough to make you cautelous how you venture yourself in the practice of that which you understand not. But even if there were no obscurity, yet prophecies are no warrant to you to fulfil them; no, though they be for the Church's good. Predictions tell you but de eventu, what will come to pass; but warrant not to bring it to pass. God's prophecies are oft-times fulfilled by the wickedest men and the wickedest means. Yet many selfconceited persons think that they can fetch that out of the Revelations or the Gospel of Daniel that will justify very horrid crimes, while they used wicked means to fulfil God's prophecies." This is an extreme and an irrelevant case; but Baxter's general direction, "Take not obscure prophecies for precepts," we believe to be wise and scriptural; and hence we refuse to place the question of Christian missions, or our duty towards Jews or Romanists, or the practical points of the Christian life, upon this or that exposition of such very "obscure prophecies' as those respecting the Apocalyptic vials; and in reading such discourses as that before us, we mentally dissociate the facts and exhortations from the hypothesis, in order that we may obtain the practical benefit free from the speculation; believing with Baxter, that "prophecies are no warrant for you to fulfil them; no, though they be for the Church's good."
We quoted the above passage from Baxter's "Christian Directory," rather than stronger words from his controversial publications upon unfulfilled prophecy, in reply to Beverley; though the latter were written with the solemnity of the tomb and of eternity before him : for they were penned in the last year of his eventful life, and when his experience had ripened, and his
controversial ardour had cooled to the heavenly atmosphere breathed in his memorable "Dying Thoughts." The Rev. Thomas Beverley was the pastor of a Dissenting congregation, which met in Cutler's Hall; he was a man of piety, zeal, and Scriptural learning, but rash in his interpretations of unfulfilled prophecy, and whose writings Baxter considered to be pregnant with mischief. In a work published by him in 1688, and dedicated to the Prince of Orange, he undertook to shew that the Papacy could not last nine years, and that the Millennium would commence in 1697. followed up this book with many others on the same subject; but living to see his calculations falsified, he sank into melancholy, resigned his pastoral charge, and retiring into the country, died in obscurity. Mr. Orme, in his life of Baxter, relates the following particulars of this controversy:
"Beverley having published his Catechism of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ in the thousand years; shewing by Scripture that the great articles of the Redemption, the Resurrection, the mystery of the Saints not dying but changed, the Judgment, the delivering up of the kingdom to God, all in all, cannot be explained at full dimensions without it;' sent it to Baxter, with an earnest request to be favoured with his opinion of it. The substance of Be-, verley's doctrine appears to be, that Christ's kingdom begins only at the Millennium; that the commencement of the Millennium and the resurrection of the saints are parallel events; that the Millennium is the day of judgment spoken of in Scripture; that during it the Saints shall increase and multiply upon
the earth; that the wicked shall also be upon the earth, and that a grand conflict shall take place at the battle of Armageddon, when the wicked shall be destroyed. With all this, are mixed up some strange speculations about the person of Christ. On receiving the 'Millenary Catechism,' Baxter addressed a long and kind letter to the author, proposing a series of questions to him."
"These questions shew how amply Baxter, even at this advanced period of his life, entered into the subject; and that no portion of his natural acuteness had yet failed him. It does not seem to have produced much effect on Beverley; and therefore, in the course of the year 1691, appeared a quarto tract, entitled The glorious Kingdom of Christ, described, and clearly vindicated, &c.; by Richard Baxter, whose comfort is the only hope of that Kingdom.' In this work he enters the lists with the Millenarians in general; with those who boldly asserted the future restoration and reign of the Jews, and the one thousand years' rest before the conflagration; with those also who expected a reign of one thousand years after the conflagration; and with Beverley in particular, in answer to his challenges and censures, of which he appears to have been very liberal. Baxter endeavours to explain the promise of the new heavens and the new earth; and contends for the evelasting duration of Christ's Kingdom. He undertakes to prove that the doctrines of Beverley, and the Millenarians, are chimerical, and without foundation in Scripture; that the views commonly entertained on these subjects are in accordance with all correct interpretation of the prophecies of the Bible; that Christ's kingdom is spiritual in its nature, properly commenced at his resurrection, and will continue till the final conflagration, when it will be perfected for ever in heaven. From this work, it appears that Baxter did not believe that the Ten Tribes were ever so entirely lost as many suppose, and that part of them existed in the time of Christ and the Apostles: consequently, that the recovery of such a body, according the expectations of many, is not to be looked for? Nor does he appear to have believed in any national conversion of the Jewish people; in their restoration to their own country; in their instrumentality for the conversion of the world; or in their future superiority over the nations.
"Beverley published a short answer to Baxter, as full of confidence as ever. In consequence of which, Baxter brought out, quickly after, another
pamphlet, in Reply to Mr. Thomas Beverley's Answer to my Reasons against his Doctrine of the Thousand Years' Middle Kingdom, and of the Conversion of the Jews.' Feb. 20, 1691, 4to. This tract consists of only twentyone pages, and must have been among the last things of a controversial nature which Baxter wrote, as appears from the date on the title-page, where he also speaks of himself, as passing to that world where we shall see face to face.' Beverley had the last word in the One Thousand Years' Kingdom of Christ in its full Scripture State: answering Mr. Baxter's new Treatise in opposition to it.' 1691, 4to. Thus ended Baxter's de
bate with Beverley on the subject of the Millennium."
We return from this digression to Mr. Bickersteth's able discourse, from which we shall quote some interesting passages, without entering into any controversy respecting peculiarities of opinion upon questions of unaccomplished prophecy. The spiritual restoration of the Jews; the spiritual reign of Christ upon earth; the destruction of paganism, Mohammedanism, infidelity, and popery; the second advent of the Redeemer to judge the quick and the dead, and to receive his people to himself, as these and kindred disclosures of Sacred Writ were wont to be explicated by holy men, are points abundantly clear, apart from special hypotheses which have divided the opinions of pious and learned divines.
Mr. Bickersteth proposes to consider, from Revelation xvi. 12: The marks of the present application of the sixth vial: The explanation which it gives of the revival of Romish principles: The troubles that God has foretold us will ensue : and The final deliverance of God's people.
Under the first of these heads the Reverend author collects many facts, which deserve serious consideration, irrespectively of the particular object for which they are cited.
"The historical correspondence of the four first vials with the leading events CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 61.
of Europe from the rise of the French Revolution to the fall of Buonaparte, may be distinctly discerned in any full history of that most eventful era. A valuable historian of that period thus divides that remarkable time :- The history of Europe during the French Revolution naturally divides itself into four periods: the spread of infidelity and lawlessness-the reign of terror-the destructive wars of Napoleon-his despotism and overthrow. These events occupied a quarter of a century, full of the most important events that ever affected the Western empire.' The fifth vial was the time of retributive justice on France, the chief inflicter of the former judgments, and which during that time was the seat or throne of the beast, or
the centre of the secular empire.
kingdom was full of darkness.' As there was a darkness over the land of Egypt that might be felt, so was there in France an entire disappointment of all Infidel France was occupied by allied armies. counsels and plans. For three years From 1813 to 1822, more or less, this vial was filling France with its sores and pains, while Infidels were venting fresh blasphemies against God."
judgments on the Western Roman em"The sixth vial is a pause in the pire, and a season of grace for its inhabitants; the long-suffering of God waiting for their salvation. The prophecy leads us therefore, in this respect, to look for that which we have seen in the last twenty years of European history. This vial is THE EXHAUSTION OF THE TURKISH EMPIRE. From the time of Mede the prediction has been applied to that when
Turkey was at the height of its dominion and glory, Tillinghast thus stated views in which our leading commentators since have mainly concurred. By the river Euphrates,' he says, 'we are to understand the Ottoman or Turkish empire. It is called the great river, because of the multitude of people and nations therein. The people who at this present time are of all others accounted the greatest are the Turks, who therefore, and no other, are here to be understood; especially as the river Euphrates, in the ninth chapter, under the sounding of the sixth trumpet, by general consent of expower. By the Kings of the East, we positors, has reference to the Turkish are to understand the Jews, who upon the pouring forth of this vial shall return to their own land and be converted to Christ; the pouring out of this vial preparing a way for both. They are called Kings of the East from the honour and dignity which God will put upon his
people. Micah iv. 8; Isa. lxi. 9; Zech. viii. 23. God, in his wonderful providence, will so order, that at the appointed time of the Jews' return, the power and the multitude of the Grand Seignior, who is now the greatest monarch in the world, and holds their land in possession, shall be much wasted and consumed.'
"This interpretation of the prophecy was published in the year 1655-nearly 200 years since. You witness in this day its accomplishment. From 1822, when Greece revolted, this vial has been pouring out on Turkey."
"The state of the Turkish empire is a distinct, visible, and open mark in the sight of all Europe and the whole world, of the application of this prophecy to the present times. Equally so is the diffu
sion of THE UNCLEAN SPIRITS."
"Let us notice the three unclean spirits like frogs, which are predicted here as the distinguishing features of the present day.
1st. THE UNCLEAN SPIRIT FROM THE MOUTH OF THE DRAGON. The Apostle tells us that the dragon is that old serpent, the devil, and Satan which deceiveth the whole world.' He once openly and visibly animated the whole Pagan Roman empire: there can be no mistake about the great enemy here intended. The spirit of infidelity and falsehood, with all its various delusions, marks the character of this unclean spirit: not exercising power, but diffusing itself in all the ways still open to it, by its apostles and its publications, its teaching and its journals. This has been its course under this vial. Infidelity has lost its seat of dominion; but its froglike, disgusting, noisy, filthy character is marked in its open casting off and reviling the truth, as we have seen in St. Simonianism, in Socialism, and in Mormonism; and in many German, French, and American associations for that which is evil. The same thing is manifest in philosophy, falsely so called, in Infidel poetry, and in Neology."
"THE UNCLEAN SPIRIT OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THE BEAST has next to be considered. The beast represents the secular empire of the ten European kingdoms. The unclean spirit out of his mouth is the spirit of lawlessness, self-will, and anarchy, the teachers of which promise liberty, while they themselves are the servants of corruption. The whole of our manufacturing districts have been disturbed by it. The Chief Justice Tindal, in his charge to the Grand Jury at Stafford (Oct. 3, 1842), after describing the destitution of the workmen in the manufactories and collieries, states, that certain strangers,
persons altogether unconnected with them in interests, appeared among them, and by addresses made to them against religion, the law, and the Government, excited them to a state of dissatisfaction with all the established institutions of the country.' We see it in political unions, in the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people, viewing the voice of the people as the voice of God. We see it in Chartism in our land; in Republican secret Societies in France and on the continent.
"THT UNCLEAN SPIRIT OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THE FALSE PROPHET must next be noticed. We have seen that Popery is first called the beast from the earth, and then in a later stage, as here, the false prophet. It is first a power, like a worldly empire, and then a system of false teaching. The Romish hierarchy in former times despatched its bulls of justice or of grace to dethrone or to establish the monarchs of Europe. Now it sends forth its allocutions to complain or to solicit the prayers of its adherents, as recently in the case of Spain and of Russia. It does not speak now as a dragon, but with all the insinuating subtilty of a false teacher. Yet that the false prophet is sending forth his pestilential breath over Christendom with renewed energy and activity, is notorious. Its journals, its newspapers, its institutes for the propagation of the faith, its tracts, its building of colleges, churches, and schools, its nunneries, its largelyimported Sisters of Charity everywhere, its zealous activity and revival, its diffusiveness over the British Isles, and through Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, and its meeting us in all our most distant missions, all these things proclaim in the ears of all men, that with renewed strength there has been a going forth of the unclean spirit from the mouth of the false prophet. In the year 1822, the Society for the Propagation of the Faith was formed to counteract Protestant missions. It has adopted our plans. It raised in 1841, £113,000, and has stated its expectation of carrying its income to £600,000 a-year.
"That the recent movement in our own Church is in the same direction, and partakes of the same character with the revival in the Romish communion, is confessed by its own admirers. They view them in common as a yearning after Catholic truth. We have, therefore, their own warrant for referring these events to a common source and spirit, and the passage before us supplies us with the true key to this movement in our own Church as well as in more avowed Romanism."