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foundation of which we shall claim, as some have done, * that because Edom, Moab, Babylon, the Assyrian, are unquestionably used as metaphorical descriptions or types of wicked nations, not yet arisen, nor known by name in the world in the days of the prophets, therefore such words are to be generalized or spiritualized in their import, as denoting comprehensively and only, wicked men in general.
In this, we conceive, consists one of the fundamental mistakes of Mr. Miller, and of those who, with him, confidently assert the coming of Christ in the year 1843. Although he and his school differ greatly in their result from the great body of the spiritualists in this country, yet do they practically hold the same principles of spiritual interpretation in common, with this leading exception, that Mr. Miller affirms the visible coming of Christ to be before the Millenium. In this respect he agrees with the millenarians or literalists, but this is almost the only one. In all other particulars he is with the spiritualists, and his whole system is but the legitimate application and carrying out of their principles of interpretation to the prophecies.t He has infinitely more in common with
* Jones' Spiritual Interpretation.
† By spiritualists here, we mean those in general who make the kingdom of Christ altogether an allegorical thing, denying his visible appearance and personal administration in it, and maintaining, that it and the Millenium consist, mainly, in the dominion of abstract truth or evangelic doctrine, swaying the minds of men, and thus the nations of the earth. Some who hold these views have advanced and reasoned conclusively and happily, in reference to the true principles of interpretation, opposing successfully the allegorical system of Origen ; and the occult or double sense of prophecy. But they have very often practically departed from their own principles, and by their exegesis in particular cases, violated their own rules.-See some excellent remarks in Professor Stuart's Hints on the Int. of Proph. p. 11-47.
them than the literalists; though he is by far more injuriously and slanderously treated, and frequently styled a fanatic and madman, by certain spiritualists with whom he holds so much in common, than by the literalists, who can agree with him in so very little.
The other thing that obviously results from the prophets' use of types and typical language, is the literality of the results predicted in both cases, as fully and as certainly in those most remote, as in those near at hand, which were their types and pledge. The brazen serpent, for example, was a literal carnal ordinance, but the type of Christ upon the cross as the means of healing, just as literally and truly lifted up from the earth. The locusts were literally an army of devastation, but the type of the Assyrian army, which, too, was as literal a verity as the locusts themselves. So, too, the ancient Assyrian and his destruction, Moab, Edom, and the ancient Babylon and their destruction, were literal types of Rome and of its veritable destruction, as the last political power and empire that should arise in the world, and be destroyed by the coming of Christ; and therefore, on the principles of literal interpretation, we look for something more than the meliorating influence of Christianity, the reformation of popery, and the evangelization and civilisation or conversion of the world, even the violent and terrible destruction of the city of Rome, of the whole ecclesiastico-political system of popery, and of all the anti-Christian nations and powers
which form the constituent parts of the last universal Roman empire.
The importance, in the study of the prophecies, of having correct principles of interpretation, has induced us to pursue the subject more extensively than we had at first designed. Having affirmed them to be the same substantially with those we apply to all ordinary works, written in the same characters of style ; having at some length unfolded the varieties of prophetical style, comprising, in general, the Alphabetical, the Tropical, the Symbolical, and the Typical ; having, as we think, proved the literal system of interpretation in contradistinction from the spiritual or allegorical to be the true ;—and having endeavored to guard against the more common mistakes and misapprehensions growing out of ignorance, as to what the literal system is, we deem it proper, before applying these principles of interpretation, to the predictions concerning THE COMING AND KINGDOM OF JESUS CHRIST, to lay before the reader a general outline of the two systems as applied to these subjects, and brought out in their general results, and after having done so, to 'TRACE THEIR HISTORY, so far as traditionary records may throw any light upon them
We do not, it is true, hold to tradition as decisive authority ; nor do we admit it, for one moment, to be either a source of original information, of equal
value with the written Scriptures, or the only infallible interpreter: but we nevertheless affirm that as history, it is of great use in determining how primitive Christians, either in the apostolic days, or immediately after, understood the language of the inspired writers. We value the writings of the fathers, and of
. the ancient Jewish Rabbis, as exponents of the views entertained in the church, both before, and immediately after the coming of Christ. When those views coincide with the written Scriptures, as grammatically interpreted, we feel bound to treat them with respect.
Retracing the stream of traditionary history on this subject, we admit that much will be found deserving of no respect whatever, being the opinions, the speculations, and the additions of different individuals and ages. Because certain heretics, as Cerinthus and others, who, according to Eusebius' account of this heresiarch, adopted some of the leading features of the millenarian views, and gave them altogether a sensual dress,* until they were incorporated into the belief of the eastern nations, who adopted the religion of Mahomet, and indulged the expectation of a sensual Heaven, is no more reason why the whole of their views, and the system of literal interpretation, should be rejected, than the anti-millenarian, or spiritualist, would feel it to be a good and valid reason for rejecting his views, and the spiritual system of interpretation, because some of his notions about the coming of Christ, and the nature of the kingdom of Heaven, together with his system of spiritual interpretation, have led to the despotism and splendid extravagance of Papal and other hierarchies ;-to the reveries and mysticism, and unintelligible allegories of the Hon. Emanuel Sweden
* Eusebii Pamphili Ecclesiasticæ Historiæ, lib. iii. cap. 28.
borg and his followers, or to the generalization and philosophical expositions of the Neologists of Germany, and of the Unitarians of Great Britain and the United States, who boldly, but falsely, and as we think, blasphemously speak, of “the contradictions of the old Testament, its legends, so beautiful as fictions, so appalling as facts, its predictions that have never been fulfilled, its puerile conceptions of God, and the cruel denunciations that disfigure both Psalm and prophecy."*
Our object is; not to give the history of either system in its details ; nor to contrast them minutely; but merely to present the general outlines of both, as they take their form from the leading and essential ideas on which they are respectively founded.
Both admit the fact of the second coming of Jesus Christ, suddenly, visibly, and gloriously, for the purpose of raising the dead bodies of his saints, quickening the living, judging the world, and establishing for ever the glorious dominion or kingdom of Heaven. They, therefore, both believe and teach these five great general facts, viz. the visible appearance of Jesus Christ-the resurrection of the bodies of the dead -a day of universal judgment-a Millenium, and a kingdom of glory inconceivable and eternal. They differ greatly, however, as to the import of these facts, and the time, order, and manner of their occurrence.
The spiritualist objects to any attention being given to chronological prophecy, affirming that it is designedly kept secret, and therefore almost impious to attempt to determine when Jesus Christ shall come again to this world, partly, because he says it is not revealed, and partly, because he takes it for granted,
• Th. Parker's Discourse, p. 31.