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unto the churches," _The 4th chapter is read in the public service of the Church of England :-But we shall not need authority to prove its edifying tendency, if we consider what it is to be taught to join in heavenly adoration:-" Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come!” And again ;-". Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created !”. In the 5th chapter the symbolical representation of the scaled book is so intimately connected with the worship of the Lamb, that it cannot be an improper lesson for any of his disciples :" Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation !". Can the difficulties of the sixth chapter dry up its consolations, or disarm its terrors? If a poor man be unable to interpret all the emblems of the 7th, he may yet discern the special providential care with which “ the servants of God” are preserved in the midst of all his judgments; and the happy end of those, who “ came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” The 8th and 9th chapters are a continuation of judgments, of which I grant that illiterate readers have no key ;-but they are not therefore set adrift without a compass on the trackless ocean *. If they look to Jesus, their progress will be still direct and safe; and, though they be unable to comprehend the nature or the times of the events described, they will soon arrive at the important instruction which is conveyed in this explicit discovery, that “ the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues, yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood : which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.” The light thus thrown upon the causes which have brought down plagues from heaven, cannot fail to illustrate the general import of the following visions, even to those who cannot give the exact interpretation of a single passage. It will be seen that idolatry,
and its attendant crimes, are the objects of God's righter pus indignation ; and, that, however they may be permitted to flourish for a season, supported by some earthly potentates, and exciting persecution against the witnesses of truth ;-yet they shall not finally prevail, the days of retribution will come,-“ He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity,”-“. They have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy:" Babylon must fall-the beast and the false prophet perish, and “the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ.” These prospects are calculated to dispel the doubt and despondency, which the aspect of the world might often produce, and to strengthen patience, faith, and hope. How much more when they are seen expanding into millennian blessedness !- the final overthrow of God's enemies, the opening of the books of judgment, the creation of s new heavens' and a new earth, wherein 'dwelleth righteousness," and where “ God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall "there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away." • But I fear, that the very naming of such a period as the Millennium will be connected, in some minds, with the idea of enthusiasm, and excite in their imaginations visions of terror, instead of peace. For the quieting of such apprehensions I know of no better remedy than the circulation of the Scriptures. The introduction of the Millennium is exhibited in the Apocalypse under the image of an angel flying “in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.”—Can any thing be conceived more likely to fulfil this prophecy, than the great and rapid operations of the Bible Societies ?- They who look to these for success, as the instruments of the Almighty, will not be the most ready to resort to fire and sword.-Crusades and persecutions are the works of darkness; and, in proportion as the light shineth brighter and brighter unto the perfect day, every approximation to such measures will be repressed and extinguished. Let the man who is disposed to pursue them read the predictions of that happy season, when “ the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountafns, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke 'many people: and they shali beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks : nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah ii. 2-4. , See also Isaiah xi. Micah iv. &c.) To these let him add the epistles of St. Paul-and what will he there be taught? That 6 the sword of the Spirit is the word of God;" that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong holds ;” nay, he will find, that the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth."-But, on the other hand, if you withhold from him the Bible, or any part of it, he will then indeed be exposed to the arts of bigotted or ambitious men :--the agents of Satan will say to him, It is written,' and he will be unable to detect the fallacy.
The same principles, as to the manner of extending the Redeemer's kingdom and carrying on the conquests of his gospel, appear to be symbolized in the Apocalypse by the sword of the great conqueror 6 proceeding vut of his mouth.”—The symbol, it is true, is accompanied with scenes of terror :- But, if we believe that they are the righteous judgments” of “ the Lord God omnipotent," the prophetic warning is calculated to impress the mind with awe,--to order the unruly will and calm the passions. Let us not then' hesitate to apply the commendation of St. Peter to the readers of this book, as well as of the prophetic parts of the Old Testament.
$ 12. And shall I now proceed to argue for the free use of the other parts of the New Testament ?-I confess, that with re pect to the Gospels and the Acts at least, I feel a considerable difficulty:--I feel as if required to demonstrate a self-evident proposition. Yet it does not appear, that in endeavouring to answer our present adversary, I am voluntarily excused from the undertaking; for, in his second section, he includes the whole of the New Testament in one general censure of obscurity, surpassing that of the old! “ Most of these sources of obscurity” (says he) “ are common to the Old and New Testament, while the latter has some peculiar to itself. Its extreme conciseness, its elliptical phraseology frequently darken the meaning, which is still further obscured by Hebrew idioms, with which the Greek of the New Testament every where abounds.” An exception indeed occurs, in the 5th section, in favour of those parts of both Testaments which are purely historical.” But does not even this exception serve more strongly to evince the falseness of the medium, through which the Author has viewed the holy Scriptures? In fact, he has made it manifest, by his own confession, that the true reason why he concludes that the Bible must be unintelligible to the illiterate, is because he has not understood it himself. For after justly preferring a judgment from experience to our own inferences from pre-conceived notions, he thus plainly avows the result of his examination :“ The writer of these sheets can affirm, that on putting the Bible to this test by a careful perusal, he found it, collectively taken, one of the most difficult books he ever read; and that this character was applicable, though in different degrees, to every part of it not purely historical.” Now I do not say that he admits he did not understand the Scriptures:-But upon what other supposition can we account for the universal impeachment of extraordinary difficulty, beyond all other books he ever read ?-a character which he asserts, to be applicable to every part of the Bible not purely historical, though in different degrees. What
tream the mentor then are we to think of the sermon on the mount? Of our Lord's parables and his own expositions of the sermons of the apostles? and all similar passages ? Does Mr. O'C. include these in his idea of parts “ purely historical ?” If he does, then the matter in question, so far as respects the four Gospels and the Acts, is fully conceded : --if he does not, then what are we to think of his perception of the doctrines and precepts of Christ and his apostles ? I would wish to ask him with solemnity, and an unfeigned concern for his welfare,—Does he see that “ life and immortality are brought to light by the Gospel ?” Does he admit that Christ is come “ a light into
the world, that whosoever believeth in him should not abide in darkness ?" Does he remember how Christ exposed the absurdity of making a secret of his doctrine, by the comparison of hiding a candle under a bushel ? How he commanded his disciples, that what he spoke to them in the ear in closets, that they should proclaim upon the house-tops? Does such a charge look like the withholding of the Scriptures? Why do we find no admonition against putting them into vulgar hands? or against translating them into yulgar tongues? Because it would have been inconsistent with the great commission of preaching the gospel to " every creature ;” in the discharge of which the apostles shunned not to declare the whole counsel of God, both by word and by writing. In short, if the manner in which the evangelists have recorded the personal ministry of Christ, and the propagation of the gospel after his ascension into heaven, be denied to be perspicuous and simple, at the same time that it delineates a religion of such sublimity and purity as could not have entered into the heart of man to conceive,
the defect must be in the mental vision of the objector, and he ought to confess candidly, that his dislike to the circulation of the Scriptures is by no means limited to the lower orders of the community, but that he presumes to question their wisdom, as a direct original vehicle of religious knowledge, in all cases whatsoever. Indeed our author has incidentally disclosed this with a remarkable degree of explicitness in the following sentence of his 13th section,—66 An educated man” (says be) “ unacquainted 'with revelation, may obtain a clearer view of the whole christian scheme, from a small duodecimo volume, read in a few hours, than he can from the Bible in as many months." What is this but saying boldly, that the wisdom of God has not put his own revelation in the best form of which it is capable ? Let Mr. O'C. give to the public such a small duodecimo as he speaks of, and then perhaps we may be enabled to discover the causes of that profound obscurity, through which he views the Scriptures *: but, in the mean time, I trust that the things which are “ hid from the wise and prudent” will continue to be " revealed unto babes.” Probably this may
' * I wish, however, to see from him a luminous and impressive sketch of revealed truth; and I am persuaded it would be accompanied with a recantation of his former • Thonghts.”