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curses to be literally fulfilled on the in a literal sense; and those which Jews, and the blessings to be speak of their future felicity in a spiritually fulfilled on the Christians spiritual and mystical sense ? surely is very properly exposed by a And it is not a little pleasant, sensible Jewish writer. And here to observe the great kindness of (says he) I must once for all christians towards us in this respect : observe, that all the prophecies for they are extremely ready and which speak of the coming of the willing to grant us the entire and Messiah, and the restoration and undisturbed possession of all the redemption of the nation, are to evils foretold us ; (which indeed we be understood in the most plain, have fully experienced for upwards obvious, and literal sense; and not of seventeen hundred years ;) whilst in a spiritual and mystical sense, as they, with equal generosity, apply the generality of christians attempt to themselves all the glorious proto explain them. For can any
For can any mises, which with equal certainty thing be more absurd, than to ex- predict our future happiness in the plain the prophecies, which foretel latter days.” * the calamity which is to befal them,
# David Levi's Diss, on the Prophecies, Vol. I, pp. 118, 119.
MILLENNARIAN DOCTRINE AT THE REFORMATION.
REPLY OF ABDIEL TO P. R.
It was my intention not to have sentiments, and of eliciting in some replied for the present to those
the opinions of dispasseveral Correspondents of the In- sionate opponents. vestigator, who have honoured my There are two principal points in papers with their notice, until I had the letter of P. R. on which I shall concluded the whole series; and offer some remarks: viz. first his then to have brought all the objec- attack on my general statements; tions into one focus : but I must and secondly the view which he deviate from this resolution in regard apparently takes of the prophetical to P. R. in as much as his com- controversy, the consideration of munication relates not merely to my which will further elucidate those interpretation or use of a Scripture statements. text, but impugns the accuracy of I. In the first place, I think P. R. my matter of fact. I beg to assure has misapprehended what I have him in the onset, that I am thankful said respecting the opinions of the for his temperate strictures; which Reformers. He observes, “I am thus afford me an opportunity of ' at a loss to conceive, how (Abdiel] removing some obscurity from my · could think of representing the
chief persons in the Church, as • king in the last year of his reign." holding and generally teaching
Now I am so satisfied, that a * [millennarian*] views at the time reference to the writings of the ' of the Reformation.” He has not Reformers will prove such a requoted the words on which he presentation as P. R. makes for me grounds this objection, and I must to be erroneous, that in the above consequently first bring forward the two paragraphs I took as much whole
passage, to which I presume pains, as was consistent with brevity, he refers.
to avoid saying that which he imThus the doctrine was thrown putes to me.
I have written, that into the back-ground until the time the doctrine was revived at the of the Reformation,t when it was Reformation; which to any person again revived; but owing to the acquainted with the distorted notions fanatical turbulence of the anabap- of the Anabaptists alone, and also 'tists on the continent, and the fifth- of the fifth monarchy men, must monarchy men in this country, it be obvious ; but that owing to their again fell so much into disrepute, fanatical turbulence it “ fell so much that many timidly kept it out of into disrepute, that many timidly 'view, until succeeding generations kept it out of view, until succeeding
lost sight of it. In the meanwhile generations lost sight of it.” I have · however the doctrine was by no further stated, that the doctrine means generally denied : many emi- was in the meanwhile
by no ' nent men were raised up from time means generally denied," putting the to time who advocated these truths word " denied” in italics, in order in the established church; and the to intimate the great difference · dissenters still continued to hold it between the silence of theologians,
so generally, that at last to broach and their avowed opposition. And ' these opinions exposed a man to to this I would now add, that most *the imputation of being a dissenter of those, who do not explicitly avow
And to shew that these opinions it, fall into the mode of spiritualizing were entertained by chief persons in all that is said of “the kingdom :" a the church, and generally taught at circumstance which was inevitable, 'the time of the Reformation, I shall unless they would also be silent
finally bring forward two extracts upon those numerous passages of * from the CATECHISM drawn up Scripture, in which the mention of by the prelates in the time of the kingdom occurs. I hardly know Edward VI, and authorized by that of any writer, until we come so low
* I use the term Millennarian in this article merely to avoid a tedious circumlocution. Before any man can venture to appropriate it to himself or to others, it needs to be defined, just as much as Calvinist, Evangelical, and other similar terms of distinction. I am not ashamed of the name any more than of the other two, if it be only agreed what is to be understood by it; but I cannot suffer to have imputed to myself or others all that has been attributed to Chiliasts or Millennarii, whether ancient or modern. For similar reasons, as a matter of caution I often deprecate the terms Calvinist and Evangelical ; being sensible, that there is frequently great extravagance of sentiment, and great inconsistency of conduct, to be found among men who have been classed under these denominations. Were I to define the distinguishing tenet of modern millennarianism, I would say, it is the premillennial advent of Christ. From this I do not shrink ; though I certainly do from some things which modern Millennarians hold.
→ It may be necessary to observe, that I mean by in the time of the Reformation" the whole period from the reign of Henry VIII to the Revolution which brought in William III.
as Prideaux, Whitby, Hammond, ment of the saints, than the one and Pareus, (a century after Ed already enjoyed. Thus Mede says, ward's time,) who may be said to that Papists and Episcopal men contend against the genuine Mil
are loath that we should expect a lennarians; and these seem to take better time than that under them.' their view chiefly from Grotius. I Be this as it may, we know that the need not inform the Reader what a English Baptists (not the Anabaptists host afterwards sprung up, as pro
with whom they are often
often conpugnators of this doctrine ; (besides founded) held these sentiments; as those who had previously provoked may be seen by a very unequivocal the opposition of the writers above confession of their faith in Crosby's mentioned ;) among whom I may History.*
It is likewise known name the Lord Napier, whose work that many of the Independents was immediately translated by the (often confounded also with the Huguenots of France, and by them Brownists) inclined to similar senwidely disseminated; and after him timents; and that the fifth Mede, Twiss, Hakewell, Burton, narchy men
of Cromwell's time Burroughs, Cressener, Huet, Archer, were chiefly of that denomination. Maton, Caryll, Sterry, &c. These Many of the most eminent were I say were most of them previous to doubtless at this period disgusted at the opponents before enumerated ; the abuses which they witnessed ; if we except Grotius and Hammond, whence arose the desire to be called from whom the others copy.
Congregationalists, instead of InI have further observed, that dependents; in order that they might the Dissenters continued to hold not be identified with the anarchical these views so generally, that to and turbulent proceedings of those broach them exposed a man at last times. In regard to the Puritans to the imputation of being a dis- generally, many of the names which senter." The existence of these I have already instanced were among doctrines among
the dissenters that body it and it may be sufficient rather than others has been at
to quote a passage from Prideaux tributed to the circumstance, that to shew, that these sentiments were the Papists in the first
instance, and then imputed indiscriminately (wheafter them the ultra Episcopalians, ther right or wrong) to the disdiscouraged all expectation of any senting body. Endeavouring to future church state which could be prove, that the thousand years comsuperior, as to the righteous govern
menced with Constantine he says :
* Those who have not ready access to Crosby will find that part of their Confession of Faith, which relates to this subject, in the Dialogues on Prophecy, Vol. II, p. 269. Bishop Burnet speaking of the Anabaptists says : “Some of them set up a fantastical, • unintelligible way of talking of religion, which they turned all into allegories : these being joined in the common name of Anabaptists with the other, (the Baptists,) brought them also under an ill character.” Vol. ii, Bk. i. This extract further shows, how opposite those persons were to the true millennarians, in all things but the personal reign : for one distinguishing principle of genuine millennarianism is, to seek first the plain and literal meaning of Scripture : and it is well known, that they were the persons who most decidedly contended against the allegorizing method introduced by Origen.
+ Burroughs, Caryll, and Sterry are in the list of the assembly of divines, who met. at Westminster in 1643 ; before whom Dr. Twiss was appointed to preach. See Neale's History of the Puritans.
The Dissenters here object that views of the latter may be seen in there was not wanting, &c.” And his Exposition of the New Testament again insisting, that the resurrection on Rev. xx. mentioned in Rev. XX is to be 2. I return now to the Millenunderstood spiritually, he says : narian sentiments of the Reformers “ Neither do those things move us
in the time of Edward VI. Not' which are urged of the Dissenters; withstanding the opposition which viz, that souls are here taken on the first glance may appear
synechdochically for souls and between the article cited by P. R. • bodies united.”
and the Catechism which I have It would be exceedingly difficult, quoted, it will not be found, when perhaps impracticable, to trace at properly understood, to clash with this time, whether the doctrine pre- it so much as it may seem to do. ponderated among the various non- The Catechism is explicit so far as conforming and dissenting divines; it goes : the meaning of the article not to say among episcopalians also: entirely depends upon the intermany evidently did not hold it; but pretation which those who framed it did as evidently pervade them it put upon the word Millennarii ; pretty generally. It afterwards de- and it is no impossible thing to find clined; but at the end of another individuals (as I shall shew under century (about 1750) we find an the next head) unconsciously holdattempt was still made by the Dis- ing millennarian sentiments, yet senters to keep up attention to pro- condemning the word ' millennarian' phecy, by an annual sermon mostly from an erroneous notion of the preached at Great Eastcheap. It principles connected with it. This was here that the eminent Dr. Gill, I have no doubt was the case about the middle of the last century, with the framer of the article in delivered his chief prophetical disc question. All historians agree in courses : from which we may per- stating, that it was just about the ceive that he decidedly expected a period when it was published, that visible personal reign of Christ; and some of the German Anabaptists that he takes occasion frequently to first made their appearance in this lament the decreasing attention of country : and a Millennarian was christians towards prophecy, and then either presumed to connect the the general decay of piety in dis- notion of carnal enjoyment with the senting congregations at that time. resurrection of the saints, whereby We find about the same period that it is presumed the heretic Cerinthus millennarian sentiments were held corrupted this doctrine; or to exby those eminent Methodists Fletcher pect the re-establishment of the and Wesley. The opinions of the Mosaic ritual and ceremonies, which former are contained in a well Jerome charges upon them ; known Letter of his to Wesley : the have sought to establish Christ's
# On Jeremiah xix, 10, Jerome hath these words :-" quanquam Judei auream atque gemmatam Hierusalem restituendam putent; rursumque victimas et sacrificia, et conjugia sanctorum, et regnum in terris Domini Salvatoris. Quæ licet non sequamur, tamen damnare non possumus ; quia multi ecclesiasticorum virorum et martyres ista • dixerunt."
many ecclesiastical men and martyrs” have asserted the reign on earth of the Lord is most true ; but certainly not “ the restoration of Jewish oblations and sacrifices, and marriages of saints.” Nor does Jerome instance any: on the contrary, Justin Martyr, the principal writer on this subject, says expressly in his Dialogue with Trypho, when treating of Christ's second advent : š xv TV mahiv trapovolą
kingdom by violence and rebellion.* that the opinions it contains were For the same reason there was an those of “chief persons in the Article, (No. 40,) “That the souls church, and generally taught &c.” ' of men deceased do not perish The very nature of a catechetical ' with their body nor sleep idly:" form, published by
ecclesiastical a doctrine which many of the Ger- authority, implies, that it was cirman Anabaptists maintained; but culated for general instruction in which I do not find that any of the parishes and schools. It is of early millennarian Fathers held. little importance, who was the inAnd whatever were the circum. dividual employed to draw it up stances, which led to the adoption it must have had the sanction of the of the Article against the Millenna prelates ; and it then becomes just as rians in 1553; only nine years after- much their act, as a report of the wards it was withdrawn, and the num- College of Physicians would be ber reduced from forty two to thirty with propriety called theirs, though nine, with scarcely any alteration in they would necessarily depute some the doctrinal matter of those which one of their number to compile it. remain. This renders more remark. This is evident from the King's able and decided the withdrawal of Letter prefixed to the Latin Edition the one in question : it must have of 1553; which is the edition from arisen either from the increase of which my extracts in No. I. are as millennarian principles at this time; literal a translation as I could make. or from the conviction, that they Cum brevis et explicata Catewere not to be confounded with the . chismi ratio, a pio quodam et extravagances of Cerinthus or Mun- ' crudito viro conscripta, nobis ad zer.t
cognoscendum offerretur, ejus perAs to the Catechism, I cannot but • tractationem et diligentem inthink I was justified in stating, 'quisitionem quibusdam EPISCOPIS
μη δοξητε λεγειν Ησαιαν η τους αλλους προφητας θυσιας αφ' αιματων η σπονδων
το θυσιαςηριον αναφερεσθαι, αλλα αληθινους και πνευματικους αινους, και ευχαρισιας. .
* That there was a special exception against Anabaptist principles, may be clearly inferred from the circumstance, that when in the beginning of Edward's reign a general pardon was published to all offenders, the Anabaptists alone were not allowed the benefit of it. Crosby I, 50.
of It does not appear that the arguments or discussion which took place in Convocation on these Articles, and which led to their being withdrawn, ever transpired. All we know is, that they were struck out with the red lead pencil used always by archbishop Parker. See Strype's Annals, c. 28, p. 288; and Bennett's History of the 39 Articles.
I I know not the authority of P. R. for saying, that this Catechism « was confessedly written by dean Nowell." Burnet says, that Cranmer owned it to be his : (Vol. iii, Bk. iv.) Neale on the other hand states, that it was written by Poynet, afterwards bishop of Winchester. Vol. i, p. 63. Nowell's Catechism was not written till the reign of Elizabeth ; and if P. R. will compare the two Catechisms, upon the single question, why we pray that God's kingdom may come, he will find ;-that Edward's Catechism makes the kingdom of Christ future, and considers it cannot come till Antichrist be slain, and the little stone cut out, &c. (important points of millennarian doctrine ;) whereas Nowell's considers the kingdom as then present ; and, without mention of Antichrist or the stone, looks only for its greater extension. Suppose even that Nowell drew up the Catechism which goes by his name, and likewise this which is called Edward's; yet these are discrepancies which it would be found very difficult consistently to reconcile.