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ed, then the first trumpet was sounded at the resurrection of Jesus Christ; the resurrection of his faithful disciples , at his glorious coming will be the sounding of the second; and the final general resurrection the sounding of the last trumpet. This interpretation, however, cannot be ad. mitted, because what in this case would be the second, the apostle expressly denominates the last trumpet, You, Sir, who read Paul's epistles in the original, know too that the trumpet shall sound, is not the meaning of the greek word so translated, and that it ought to have been rendered, he shall sound the trumpet. But no sounder of the trumpet being mentioned in that passage of Paul, por any' where else but in the Revelation, the apostle, to be understood at all, must be understood to refer to that seveuth angel mentioned Apoc. x. 7. “ in whose time, when he shall sound the trumpet,” (the compound fæture of the very same verb used by Paul) “the mystery of God, respecting the · Messiah, will be finished." Until you therefore, or some other learned critic are pleased to favour us with a different interpretation of the passage in question, I must regard it as a decisive, convincing proof, that the Apocalypse was well known to Paul before he was commissioned to preach the Gospel in Macedonia and Greece; and that he had instructed his Grecian converts in those parts, at least, of that proa phetic book, which it was of importance to thein to una derstand; and a proof also how little the testimony of the fathers, and the decision of councils of the church, established by Constantine, are to be depended upon, for either the authenticity or the true date of any seripture of the generally received canon.
You next observe, that my interpretation of the seven vials cannot, be right, because preceding interpreters of them have not agreed in their opinions; and because I differ from Bishop Newton in my opinion about them. These, Sir, are such reasons, as in the present age, I could not have expected from a man of your liberal and well informed mind. Wherever I have differed from the interpretation of former expositors of any note, I have stated the reasons by which I have been induced to do so; and have endeavoured to shew froin the express words of the predictions theinselves, that the worthy prelate must have been in an error in his opinion, both: about the vials and the two witnesses. And since at ibis time of day, no writer of any kind ought to give the
public his bare assertions, instead of satisfactory argưs mnent, you should certainly have shewn the futility or fallacy of my reasoning upon thuse subjects, before you ventured to represent it as false. I perfectly agree with you, “ that when a prophecy is fulfilled, its completion must be so plain, as to be evident to every attentive comparer.” And my having found it so, was a principal inducement to me to attempt to excite others to make the comparison. But it is absolutely necessary, that the comparer should be unprejudiced and disinterested, as well as studiously attentive. And where shall we find many, or even a few comparers so qualified ?
From your accusing me of want of candour for attributing to the established church, the doctrines of the guilt of original sin, derived to all men from their progenitor Adam; of predestination and election, I perceive, Sir, that you are one of that sect. of her clergy, of which Archbishop Laud was the head, who, ever since his time, have thought fit to endeavour to force the obviously calvinistie doctrines of her articles and liturgy, against the clearest meaning of the words used in both, to bear an Arminian interpretation, and to insist upon it, that such is the true sense, in wbich they were originally composed. But I think it a very satisfactory confutation of that assertion, merely 10 state from history, 1st, that except in the article of church government, all the English reformers were disciples of Calvin, particularly those who selected the 39 articles and liturgy of Elizabeth, who during the persecuting reign of Mary, were compelled to take refuge in Holland, and at Geneva ; and after her death returned full fraught with the tenets of those Calvinistic churches; adly, that the doctrines of Arminius were never heard or thought of 'till many years after Elizabeth and her convocation had established both the liturgy and articles ; 3dly, that as soon as his tenets were noticed in this country, the supreme head of the English church, James the 1. entered the polemic lists with Arminius, in defence of Calvin's opinions; and lastly, that Laud's adoption of the Arminian doctrine, gave such general offence, that it contributed not a little to inflame that unhappy rebellion, which occasioned both his own and his sovereign's death. To take no notice of the plain words of article 17, when you officiate at a funeral, and pray to God to accomplish the number of his elect, and to hasten his kingdom, &c. what
can be the meaning of the words you utter, but that God has predestined a certain number of chosen people, who having the true faith, are to enjoy perfect felicity in his kingdom of eternal and everlasting glory, which is not to take place till that happy favoured number is completed : and if any man after reading the ninth and first part of the 31st. articles, will assert that the doctrine of original sin deduced from Adam by all his offspring, is not recognized by the Church of England, I can only reply, that he might with equal truth and justice tell us, that black is white; and that the meridian light of the Sun is midnight darkness.
In reviewing my remarks upon the fall of Adam, .. you are pleased to say, that the supposed case, which I have stated to shew both the absurdity and the impiety of interpreting it literally, “is absolutely nothing to the purpose;" because (as I understand the obscure sentence in which you have expressed yourself) the trial of obedience in my supposed case is upon a child, and not upon a being endued with adult reason like our first parents in Paradise. But the difference between the immature reason of a child only nine or ten years old, and the most perfect human reason is far, very far less than that between the inexperienced reason of Eve, and the mental faculties of such a being as he whom you call the devil is supposed to be, viz. a being of the highest order of celestial creatures, though fallen from his first estate, so that your observation upon that circumstance tends 10 strengthen, instead of weakening the force of the argument, which I have deduced from it. You must therefore shew us, Sir, how the sentence passed upon the tempter under the form of a serpent, can be taken literally by any man in his right senses; before you can have á right to deterinine whether it is I who understand history allegorically, or you who understand allegory historically. That you should censure ine for understanding a particular prediction literally, seems to imply, that you are so little acquainted with the prophecies of Scripture, as not to know, that whilst some are highly figurative, others are evidently literal. Those for instance respecting our Lord's resurrection, were strictly literal, and those of John and Paul respecting the two subsequent orders of the resurrection of all the rest of the human race, who have died, are precisely of the same kind. It is one of these prophecies in which the miller· Vol. VII. Churchi. Mag, Dec. 1804. Kk k nium,
nium, or 1000 years, is said to intervene between the partial resurrection, which is to take place at the predicted coming of Christ, and the general resurrection of all the dead. And by what rule of interpretation ought I or any man to understaud one part of the same prophecy literally, and another figuratively?
The charge of Quixotic insanity, which you have thought proper to bring against me in your concluding observations, excited something more than a smile when I first read it, and I thought you must be laughing too. But perceiving that you were really serious, I beg leave to borrow the words of the Apostle under similar circumstances; and to reply, “ I am not mad, ingenuous P---n, but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.” But you have also accused me, Sir, of having adduced “no proofs or pretension to proofs,” in opposition to the doctrines, which I refer to as being intended by the term blasphemy predicted in the apocalyptic visions. Conscious, however, that in studying this most important, and most instructive part of all the christian scriptures, my sole motive was the investigation of truth; and that in publishing the satisfactory conviction of my own mind obtained from that investigation, I have been actuated by no other consideration besides a warm and ear- . nest wish to rouse all my fellow-creatures of every denomination, from the fatal security of that stupor of error or indifl'erence, which appears to render them insensible of the events, which are the objects of the prophecies of Daniel, John and Paul, and particularly to warn the sincerely devout and well meaning amongst then, of those impending dangers and calamities, which froin the term expressly fixed on these predictions for their completion in the glorious coming of Christ, cannot be more than 60, and it is highly probable, may not be so much as fifty years distant, I have advanced no one proposition knowingly, without adducing such an argument in proof of its indisputable truth, as, from the effect I felt from it in my own mind, I hoped would be convincing also to others. For instance, to prove the doctrine of the trinity and incarnation, to be inconsistent with and derogatory from the essential attributes of God, truth incorporeity, and immutability; I have argued, that both our reason and the repeated declaration of the Deity himself assure us, that he is devoid of all bodily form, and that he cannot undergo a change of any kind. Yet
dergoing and shewed 1 us, that inese orthodon
in contradiction to those positive assurances of the God of truth, as well as to the deductions of our own reason respecting the necessarily existing omnipresent, supreme, first cause of all other things, these orthodox Roman catholic doctrines teach us, that in the reign of Augustus Cæsar, God shewed that he was not immutable, by undergoing the greatest change in the mode of his existence that can be imagined, and degrading himself to the level of one of his own creatures. To me, who firmly believe that God is true, though all mankind should be found the contrary, this argument'affords conclusive proof of both the falsehood and impiety of that doctrine of the church of Constantine and Rome, against which it is urged. If it does not do the same to you, Sir, you would have done well to have exposed its fallacy or futility, if that apparent possibility be in your power. But, without even attempting to refute my argument, to say that I have alleged no proofs, or pretensions to proof, was surely not well done. Believe me, Sir, I speak it from experiments made upon the interpretation of several different expositors, nothing is easier than to detect the fallacy of erroneous explications of the apocalypse, and to demonstrate their inconsistency with the terms and tenor of the book itself, and nothing harder than to refute a just, well founded interpretation of it. I assure you also, that no book in the whole canonical volume contains so much or so imporó tant information; and that, without understanding it, it is impossible for you or any man to acquire a right and perfect knowledge of what the true Christian religion is. · I haye said thus much, with a view of recommending it to be the particular object of your immediate diligent study, knowing it will amply reward your pains. But whether you are induced to follow my advice or not, I shall continue to entertain a real esteem for the degree of liberality which you have shewn towards myself, and still more for the amiable character I have received of you from some friends who have the pleasure of being personally acquainted with you, and with very sincere wishes for both your temporal and eternal welfare,
I am, Sir,
Your faithful and obedient
: EDWARD EVANSON. - Colford Dec. 16, 1804.