Obrazy na stronie

Prophetic and Ptolemaic accounts refer the revolt of Cyrus and taking of Babylon to the end of the same Olympiad, в. c. 556555; and the latter, small as the difference is, proves itself to be the true Persian epoch. No earlier Persian epoch is to be found in history, sacred or profane; and no earlier date can be fixed for the standing up of the ram. The prophet, moreover, saw the vision of the ram and he-goat, either in the year of the taking of Babylon, or at most one year earlier. Compare Dan. viii. 1-3 with the Ptolemaic Canon, Ancient Frag. (p. 84).

Thus it is evident, that Mr. Faber's chronological root of the 2300 years must, on his own principles of appropriation, be lowered 224 or 225 years, or, for the fictitious date B.c. 784, to the true one B. c. 556-555; and, descending 2300 years from the latter, the termination likewise becomes lowered down 224-225 years, or from A. D. 1517, to A.D. 1745-1746. In the former of these years, 1745, the last attempt to restore a Popish prince and re-establish Popery in England took place; and in the latter, 1746, it was quelled, and the house of Brunswick finally and firmly established on the throne. We mention this as the true result of Mr. Faber's principles of prophetic appropriation, rather than as our own view of the cleansing of the sanctuary. It, however, seems to merit consideration.

Viewing accurate chronological data, as already mentioned, to be among the chiefest desiderata in the present state of prophetic inquiry, and the work here analysed as a strikingly palpable example of this, we have limited ourselves on the present occasion to that department of criticism, purposing to advert to some other peculiarities in Mr. Faber's system at a future opportunity *.

• As regards the other prophetic periods, our author's new arrangement of the 1290 years of the taking away of the daily sacrifice, and of the blessed period of 1335 years (Dan. xii. 11, 12), is peculiar: the first he computes from the destruction of Jerusalem, A. D. 70, to the preaching of Wickliffe, A. D. 1360 ("the precise year" in which " Wickliffe, who has well been called the Morning Star of the Reformation, began effectually to preach and protest against the mendicant friars and the corruptions of Popery." Vol. i. p. 318). The second he identifies with the Millennial period, so far as concerns the first 1000 years; assigning the remaining 335 years to the loosing of Satan, the war of Gog and Magog, &c., at the conclusion of the Millenium. (Vol. i. pp. 319-325). These two periods, which have been usually deemed synchronous, and both of them synchronous with the latter three times and half (such was formerly the opinion of Mr. Faber, vol. i. p. 314), are separated by a wide interval; a period of 505 years interposing between the termination of the one, a. D. 1360, and the commencement of the other, where the seven times and the latter three times and half are made to terminate, A.D. 1864-5. These peculiarities, forming however questions of interpretation rather than of chronology, do not come within the scope of our present analysis.


THE author of an excellent pamphlet entitled "A Word for Inquiry previous to Decision on the present Manifestations of.... Spiritual Gifts," has pointed out the licentiousness of the periodicals on this subject; and we propose to offer some considerations in support of his position, and especially with reference to the Record newspaper. Six months ago we thought it right to praise some of the political articles in the Record; protesting at the same time against its misrepresentations of doctrine and its ignorance of theology, and suggesting that Christian politics, and not theology, was the proper province of a newspaper. Our protest has been disregarded, and our suggestion rejected with disdain, by the Record, and it has gone on publishing misrepresentations of fact and of doctrine even more glaring than those formerly exposed in our pages; and we therefore hold ourselves bound to redeem our pledge, by pointing out a few of its recent theological blunders and perversions.

The power of the daily press is very great in England: but its power to do good is small, in comparison with its power for evil. It can rouse and madden bad passions, but it cannot lead or calm them. It is exactly what Mr. O'Connell said of the power of the priests in Ireland,-it could excite to rebellion, but it could neither stop nor direct it. This power is chiefly derived from its anonymous character; and would be nearly at an end if the persons who write the leading articles were compelled to affix their names to their productions. If it were known to all the world, as it is notorious to many, that a retired linen-draper is the principal writer in one; that a lawyer and an unbeneficed Scotch minister are hired at a fixed salary to write for another, and on any subject take just whatever side the proprietors order them to take, as most conducive to the sale of the paper; that a clerk in a public office writes a third, &c. &c.; the power of misleading the public would be much diminished. Still, however, the mere reiteration, day after day, of the same line of sentiments, does produce considerable effect, even over those who are most on their guard against it. Meretricious and tricky politicians have constantly been tempted to avail themselves of this arm for the furtherence of their views, and as constantly have such means been avoided and condemned by true statesmen. It was one of the greatest blots in the character of Mr. Canning, that, having been seduced in his youth, by his wit and talent for poetry, to become a principal contributor to the Anti-jacobin newspaper, be could not divest himself of the same propensity when he became a minister of the Crown: it is a stain on the public reputation of Lord Brougham to be suspected of a similar device. If such

proceedings be discreditable to worldly men who aim at any distinction amongst their equals, it is needless to say that similar conduct is wholly inconsistent with genuine religion, however consonant it may be with the emptiness, the tinkling brass, of modern profession.

Now, whenever a newspaper chooses to run down a private individual, its power of defamation is for a short time irresistible. It is only last year that the Times chose to run down Mr. Bingham Baring. Every charge adduced was known, to all who were conversant with the transaction, to be false: every averment rebutted in the most complete and satisfactory manner: still, having been joined by Cobbett, there is just apprehension for his personal safety. There never was a time in the history of the world, until these days, when similar practices could be pursued with similar results under the mask of religion. We have now a company of men calling themselves religious, and following exactly the same practices in religion which the Times and other papers do in politics. Mr. O'Connell understood the nature of newspapers perfectly well, when, at a meeting of the Anti-Slavery Society, in answer to some one who complained that the daily press was against them, said, "But, gentlemen, all newspapers are a commercial speculation: the same means which induce them to take one side can always induce them to take the other." At times of popular excitement, however, they must always take the side which the mob take, or be silent: a paper would quickly be ruined which ventured to resist the torrent. The New Monthly Magazine, which understands them well, betrays, in its laboured panegyric, the absolute necessity of all newspapers falling in with the delirium of the time, in whatever it may happen to consist. "The press," it says, "have no interest counter to the interest of the people......WITH the people has been their interest....with the people has been their battle," &c. &c.—that is, they sell their papers by always agreeing with whatever whim takes the mob. There is equal madness in religion as in politics. Truth and sense are necessarily confined to a few. Burke once said to John Wilks, "Sir, I have the sense of the House with me."-"Yes," replied Wilks; "and I have the nonsense of the House with me, and therefore I shall out-vote you."

As Mr. Irving is the ablest theologian of the present day, the most powerful preacher and most profound writer, of course he must have few to appreciate him; and, moreover, as he has shewn a readiness to sacrifice all systems, partialities, and inventions of men, in order to follow what he sincerely deems to be the teaching of the Lord, men who either love those systems better than the truth, or conceive that all needful truth is embodied in them, hate him, as they did his Master before him, in whose


footsteps he walks. All the newspapers, indeed, have attacked him; and, as if to furnish superabundance of proof of their incompetence to examine dispassionately the question of the permanence of miraculous power in the church of Christ, they have all assailed the facts of the present manifestations, as if they were one and the same with the abstract doctrine itself.

The editor of the Record pronounced at first, that the persons who are alleged to be speaking by the power of the Spirit of God must be deceived, because it was prohibited, in 1 Cor. xiv., for women to teach in the church. Finding, however, afterwards, that there were other texts in Scripture besides that-as, for example, 1 Cor. ix. 4-he recanted this opinion in a subsequent number, and in evincing his candour shewed so far nothing worse than ignorance. The point is so clear and decided that there is no doubt or question upon the matter, amongst those who know any thing of the proceedings of the primitive church. It is not, therefore, one that could admit of a moment's deliberation, in any one who was even superficially acquainted with the subject. It is very right for a person to meditate and reflect upon every thing which he hears for the first time, and not decide upon it until he has done so; but the fact of his saying that he is deliberating, is proof that the subject is new to him; and the first decision of the editor of the Record being contrary to, and in the teeth of, the opinion of all well-instructed persons in ecclesiastical history, shews also the unsoundness of the view which prima facie suggested itself to his mind, and the leaning of his inclination to condemn first, and then to seek for a justification of his sentence of condemnation. But, nothing abashed at being detected to have dogmatized upon a subject upon which his own recantation proved that he could have bestowed only the most superficial attention, he comes out on the 21st of November with the following paragraph in a long leading article:

'We can do little more at present than express our deliberate 'conviction that the appearances which have had their centre and home in Mr. Irving's church in Regent Square, are delu⚫sive and visionary. Breaking out in Scotland in support of the


evil figment of universal pardon, they now exert themselves in Regent-square church as an adornment of that far deeper he'resy which has issued from that sanctuary, which declares the


sinfulness of the flesh of Christ. We may thus in the first place form a clear and most decided judgment of the preten'sions, by the character of the doctrines which they are intended ' to support.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

That such is the editor's conviction there is no reason to doubt; but we may well question the assertion, that he deliberated upon the matter, since it has been shewn that he was obliged to revoke a former deliberate conviction pronounced with equal positiveness

a very few days before. Some ingenuity was required to put so many mistatements upon so many subjects into so few lines: it is not true that the appearances which broke out in Scotland were to support the evil figment of universal pardon: it is not true that Mr. Campbell, or any other minister in Scotland, has preached universal pardon: it is not true that the appearances in London had at their breaking out any connection with Mr. Irving's church: it is not true that they have ever been adduced, by any human being, in support of any doctrines whatever it is not true that Mr. Irving has preached the sinfuluess of the flesh of Christ. The first person who ever spoke in an unknown tongue and prophesied by the Holy Spirit, was Mr. James Macdonald: he was not a member of Mr. Campbell's church, nor did he live in the same county with him: Mr. Macdonald lives in Port-Glasgow, and Mr. Campbell's parish of Row is six miles distant, and on the opposite side of the Frith of Clyde. Mr. Macdonald was a member of, and in full communion with, the church of Dr. Barr, under whose ministry he continued for many months to sit, rather than incur the charge of schism, although Dr. Barr, during that whole time, made use of the sanctity and protection of his pulpit to attack Mr. Macdonald in the grossest and most personal manner, so as to direct the eyes of the whole congregation Sunday after Sunday towards him. The first time that Mr. Macdonald ever considered the subject of the permanence of the miraculous power of the Holy Ghost being to be manifested in the church, was after that doctrine had been opened up by Mr. A. Scott, then a missionary from Mr. Irving's church in London, in a sermon which he preached upon the passage, "In whom (Christ) also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession," &c.-With respect to the term universal pardon, as imputed to Mr. Campbell, we know not how to avoid the conclusion that its use is a dishonourable subterfuge to avoid stating the real question at issue between the Antinomian Calvinists, who think lying and every other sin are covered by believing certain abstract propositions about justification by faith and final perseverance, and between those Christians whom God has enlightened to see that their scheme is an invention of Satan. The editor of the Record knows, or ought to have known, that the real question at issue is," Did Christ die for all the world, or for only a few?" He must know that the clergy of the Church of England are bound to hold the former-are bound to teach each child to profess "I believe in God the Son, who hath redeemed me and all mankind;" though he himself, and all the Scotchmen in London who vilify Mr. Campbell, hold the latter.-The next mistatement is that wherein he declares that Mr. Irving teaches the

« PoprzedniaDalej »