Imágenes de páginas

of Paul, mérely affirms that · He departed out of the world, and went to a holy place.'

The author of the Physical Theory observes : “ We are taught to think of the state of souls, as a state, not of unconsciousness indeed, but of compara• tive inaction, or suspended energy :-it is, so far as we may gather its con

ditions from the scattered intimations of Scripture, a transition state, during the continuance of which the passive faculties of our nature, rather than the active, are awake; and throughout which, probably, those emotions of the moral nature that have been overborne, or held in abeyance, by the urgent impulses of animal life, shall take their free course, and reach their height, as fixed habits of the mind.”

No. XVI.- Page 265.


“ It is very plain from the testiinony of Justyn, that in the primitive church they held those not to be Christians, who maintained that souls are received up into heaven immediately after death. Irenæus ranks them, in his work against heresies, (lib. 5,) as among the heretical; and the testimony of the church is uniform on this point, (if we except some questionable passages in Cyprian,) down into Popish times : and indeed it was the general opinion of the Greek and Latin churches, down to the council of Florence, held under Pope Eugenius IV., in 1439. A passage from Bishop Taylor's Liberty of Prophesying (sect. viii.) will set this matter in a clear light. When showing how doctrines of antiquity were sometimes contradicted in subsequent ages by councils, or by some ecclesiastic of power or popularity, he says, “That is a plain recession from antiquity, which was determined by the council of Florence,—Piorum animas purgatas, mox in cælum recipi, et intueri clare ipsum Deum trinum et unum sicuti est: (that the souls of the pious being purified, are immediately at death received into heaven, and behold clearly the triune God just as

is :) for those who please to try may see it dogmatically resolved to the contrary by Justyn Martyr, Irenæus, Origen, Chrysostome, Theodoret, Arethas, Cæsariensis, Euthymius, who may answer for the Greek church. And it is plain that it was the opinion of the Greek church, by that great difficulty the Romans had of bringing the Greeks to subscribe to the Florentine council, where the Latins acted their master-piece of wit and stratagem,—the greatest that has been, till the famous and super-politic council of Trent. And for the Latin church, Tertullian, Ambrose, Austin, Hilary, Prudentius, Lactantius, Victorinus, and Bernard, are known to be of opinion, that the souls of the saints are in abditis receptaculis et exterioribus atriis, where they expect the resurrection of their bodies and the glorification of their souls; and though they all believe them to be happy, yet that they enjoy not the beatific vision before the resurrection.'

“ The stratagem employed by the Romanists to which bishop Taylor alludes, is, I suppose, the fact recorded in the history of this council by Creighton, who wrote in 1660, and in Geddes' Introductory Discourse to Varga's Letters; who state, that the Pope first inveigled the patriarch of Constantinople, and some of his clergy, to meet him at a council at Ferrara, which he then adroitly adjourned to Florence; and when the Greek ecclesiastics pleaded inability to bear the charges, he actually defrayed all their expenses himself. The patriarch died at Florence, and the Greek church (according to Gaspar Pencerus) not only disowned the acts of the clergy present, but excommunicated them, and denied them Christian barial.”

-“The early Reformers maintained the primitive faith on this point, plainly perceiving that the object of the Papists was to help forward the doctrine of purgatory and invocation of saints. Thus Tyndal, disputing with the Papists, says, 'If the souls be in heaven, tell me why they be not in as good case as the angels be ? and then what cause is there of the resurrection ?' (p. 324, Works by Fox.) And afterwards in reply to More, who objects against Luther, that his doctrine on this point encouraged the sinner to continue in sin, seeing it so long postponed the ultimate judgment, Tyndal says : 'Christ and his Apostles taught no other, but warned to look for Christ's coming again every hour; which coming again, because ye believe it will never be, therefore have ye feigned that other merchandise.'

“Calvin also, in his Psychopannychia, replies thus, to another objection against this doctrine: “I answer that Christ is our head, whose kingdom and glory have not yet appeared. If the members were to go before the head, the order of things would be inverted and preposterous. But we shall follow our Prince then, when he shall come in the glory of his Father, and sit upon the throne of his majesty.” (p. 55.)

" It is greatly to be lamented that the Protestant church of a later period should have fallen into the errors of the Papists on this subject, (abating the distinct acknowledgment of purgatory :) and that the Scottish church more particularly, should, in its Catechism, avow distinctly a belief, that the souls of believers' pass immediately into glory ;'-a belief which cannot be supported by holy writ,—which is contrary to the general voice of the primitive church,

—which echoes, to a great extent, the popish heresy on this subject, and which has done more than any other thing, perhaps, towards withdrawing from the church the lively expectation of Christ's advent.”

“I am indebted for what concerns the council of Florence in the above statement, (excepting the extract from Bishop Taylor,) to an anonymous work, entitled — An historical view of the Controversy concerning an Intermediate State, &c., between Death and the Resurrection,' a work written with no great honesty in behalf of the extreme opinion that the soul is in a state of unconsciousness and perishes at death : for the view which the fathers maintained on this particular point is carefully kept back. The reader who desires to see more of the testimony of the fathers may consult the learned work of Dr. Burnett, De statu Mortuorum et Resurgentium."

No. XVII.—Page 280.


“Dr. Mosheim observes : “ After the encomiums we have given to Origen, &c., it is not without deep concern we are obliged to add, that he also, by an unhappy method, opened a secure retreat for all sorts of errors, which a wild and irregular imagination could bring forth.' And after noticing that he abandoned the literal sense, and divided the hidden sense into moral and mystical, or spiritual, he adds: 'A prodigious number of icterpreters, both in this and the succeeding ages, followed the method of Origen, though with some variations ; nor could the few who explained the sacred writings with judgment and a true spirit of criticism, oppose, with any success, the torrent of allegory that was overflowing the church.'” (Ch. Hist., cent. III., part 2., sect. 5, 6.) “ Milner, in his Church History, says somewhat similar;— No man not altogether unsound and hypocritical, ever injured the church of Christ more than Origen did. From the fanciful mode of allegory, introduced by him, and uncontrolled by scriptural rule and order, there arose a vitiated method of commenting on the sacred pages; which has been succeeded by the contrary, extreme, viz., a contempt of types and figures altogether. And in a similar way his fanciful ideas of letter and spirit tended to remove from men's minds all just conceptions of genuine spirituality. A thick mist for ages pervaded the Christian world, supported and strengthened by his allegorical manner of interpretation. The learned alone were considered as guides implicitly to he followed; and the vulgar, when the literal sense was hissed off the stage, had nothing to do but to follow their authority, wherever it might lead them.' (Vol. 1., p. 469.)”

“Of those fathers from Origen to Jerome who decidedly took the Millenniarian view, the most eminent was Lactantius, who flourished in the time of Constantine the Great, about A.D. 310. He was considered the most learned of the Latin fathers, and his works abound with testimonies to the matter in hand.”

“Methodius, bishop of Olympus, who suffered martyrdom under Decius about A. D. 312, says, in his book on the Resurrection, written against Origen. • It is to be expected that at the conflagration, the creation shall suffer a vehement commotion, as if it were about to die, whereby it shall be renovated and not perish; to the end that we, then also renovated, may dwell in the renewed world, free from sorrow. Thus it is said in Ps. civ: Thou wiit send forth thy Spirit, and they shall be created, and thou wilt renew the face of the earth, &c. For seeing that after this world there shall be an earth, of necessity there must be inhabitants.

“The most important testimony in regard to the prevalence of the Millennial doctrine during the fourth century is, the countenance given to it by the council of Nice, called by Constantine the Great, A.D. 325. This council, besides their definition of faith and canons ecclesiastical, set forth certain dLATUT WOELS, or forms of ecclesiastical doctrines. Some of these are recorded

by Gelasius Cyzicenus, (Hist. Act. Con. Nic.) among which is the following, on the last clause of the Nicene creed, 'I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.'— The world was made inferior (uekpótepoc) through fore-knowledge: for God saw that man would sin; therefore we expect new heavens and a new earth, according to the holy Scriptures, at the appearing of the great God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

“ Later in the period now under consideration, there is evidence that Millennarian opinions were held by Gregory, of Nyssa, and by Paulinus, Bishop of Antioch. And Jerome informs us, that they were likewise held by Victorinus Bishop of Pettaw, by Apollinaris, Bishop of Laodicea, and by Sulpitius Severus, Bishop of Bituria. There is not the shadow of an evidence that any orthodox ecclesiastics in the first two centuries” thought otherwise.

“ So convinced, indeed, were the bishops of Rome, even after the times of Constantine, that the Anti-Christ was yet to come, and that he was to appear in the Roman empire, that, in order to evade the awkward inference, that he would probably prove to be some apostate Emperor or bishop of Rome, they gradually fell into the conceit that the Millennium commenced with Constantine; and then maintained, to reconcile this figment with the non-appearance of the Anti-Christ, that he was not to be revealed until the thousand years were expired;-an opinion which was not only contrary to Scripture, and to all previous antiquity, but which has been one great means of darkening the counsel of God, so far as it is revealed in the page of prophecy. The Greek church, at the same time that they hold the coming of Anti-Christ to be future have not departed from the opinion that the thousand years follow his manifestation, The Romish church have universally adopted the error just noticed and do, to this day, consider the coming of Anti-Christ to be future ; though it was not until the Council of Florence, in 1439, that they avowedly and formally contradicted the expectation of his coming previous to the Millennium.”

Dr. Bogue observes : “Some have imagined that the duration of the Millennium may be extended to 365,000 years. Days are used to signify years ; weeks, weeks of years ; and months, months of years : but no passage in the whole of the sacred writings can be adduced, were a year certainly signifies 365 years, or each day for a year.

A thousand years are repeated, verse after verse, (Rev. xx.) in the seven verses into which the subject is compressed.” It has been suggested that “ the design of the Holy SPIRIT can be nothing less than to mark out to the church in every age, the precise period of time during which the Millennium will continue to bless mankind.

“ In the Scriptures it is not uncommon to use a definite term for an indefinite number ..... On the same principles, we” might, perhaps, “ interpret the thousand years of Millennial glory. We” may“ not be required to limit it to that precise period of time:" its duration for some years more or less would not falsify the prediction, under this supposition, “nor expose to the charge of mistake or error the intention of the writer, or the mind of the Spirit.”

[ocr errors][merged small]



Ezek. xliv. 22. “ Under the law the high priest only was thus restricted, but this includes all the priests, perhaps to show the superior holiness of the times to which the vision relates.”

Chap. xLv. 7, 8. “Tithes are not mentioned in any part of the vision, which shows that the ritual Mosaic law will not then be in force."

Ver. 17. Here the Prince must provide the oblations; “These variations may intimate a change in the external constitution of the church; and it is probable that they are to be understood emblematically."

Ver. 18. “This seems to enjoin not a mere dedication, but an annual purification of the sanctuary; of which there is nothing said in the Mosaic law."

Chap. XLVI. 13. “It is observable, that there is nothing said about the evening sacrifice, or the additional lamb, morning and evening, on the Sabbath, which makes an important difference between this and the old law.

Chap. xlii. 16, &c. “This court not only far exceeds the size of that belonging to Solomon's temple, or that after the captivity, which was only five hundred cubits, or a furlong on each side, (Talm. Middoth, per. 2; Josephus Ant., I. XV., c. 14,) and exactly half a mile in circuit; but is nearly equal to the whole extent of Jerusalem itself, which, when greatest, was but thirtythree furlongs in circumference, somewhat less than four miles and three quarters. (Josephus, Bel., 1. vi., c. 6.)”

Chap. xLv. 1. “ Canaan would not admit of so large a portion for the sanctuary, &c.; this was no doubt intended to intimate the large extent of the church in the glorious times predicted."

Chap. xLvIII. 30, 35. “It is certainly most obvious to interpret these measures, not of cubits, but of the measuring reed, which the prophet's conductor had in his hand ; according to which, the city would be about thirtysix miles in circumference, and nine miles on each side of the square; which was nearly nine times larger than the greatest extent to which Jerusalem ever attained. The large dimensions of the city and land were, perhaps, intended to intimate the extensive and glorious propagation of the Gospel in the times predicted ; and the land was not called Canaan, nor the city Jerusalem, probably because they were figurative of spiritual blessings to the church and to Israel, but the name of the city from that day shall be,' (Heb., Jehovah shammah,) · The Lord is there.'.

Ver. 4, &c. “In this division of the Holy Land, a portion is laid out for each of the twelve tribes, directly across the country, from east to west, and deducting the square of 25,000 reeds or nearly fifty miles, on each side, between Judah and Benjamin, for the priests, Levites, city, and temple, with the inheritance of the prince from east to west, from 280 miles, the length of

* The author takes this opportunity of acknowledging that throughout the progress of the work he has been much indebted to Mr. Bagster for many useful elucidations of Scripture.

« AnteriorContinuar »