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let them pray that “the eyes of their they are able to perceive the truth.

understanding being enlightened, Thus Balaam was gifted with a very they may know the hope of Christ's copious and remarkable revelation of ' calling, and the riches of the glory things future. Thus Caiaphas was

of his inheritance in the saints ; permitted to prophesy, that it was and they may indulge the assurance expedient for Jesus to die as an atonethat if in anything they be other- ment for sin :s the disciples being wise minded, God shall reveal even unable to perceive this truth!t And this unto them."'r

the thirteenth chapter of Corinthians On the other hand, some hastily plainly teaches, that we may have conclude, because a few students of the gift of prophecy, and understand prophecy may have betrayed too all mysteries, and all knowledge, much of conceit, arrogance, and acri- and yet be destitute of divine love. mony in debate, that their views of Whatever therefore is put forth by this portion of Scripture cannot be a man professing serious religion correct; on the ground that God is deserves at least to be weighed and not likely to have first revealed the proved; or we may fatally miss of truth to men, who are deficient in that good to which we are exhorted christian graces. We stay not to to hold fast. u examine the truth of the charge But to return to the objection against these students ; neither to made against discussion, on the insist that there are many other stu- ground of these contentions : the ofdents of prophecy, who have adorned fences complained of are not the nethe doctrine byan exhibition of great cessary consequences or adjuncts of meekness, patience, and humility, discussion ; but adventitious accomconsidering their great provocations. paniments or excrescences, arising We rather deprecate the conclusion from the weakness of human nature. in itself : which to us appears highly We do not find that holy men of old pernicious. For, first, it makes the were deterred by these circumstances criterion of divine truth to be the from pressing and maintaining their sincere piety or christian attainments point, when that point appeared to of the individual who propounds it; them to involve the integrity of instead of simply referring it to the divine truth, or the interests of real oracles of God. Secondly, it must religion. We need but point to ope necessarily betray christians into evil chapter of Scripture, (Acts xv,) surmisings, or set them on

in which we have two distinct and suring themselves by themselves, remarkable instances. The beginwhich is not wise.” And thirdly, it ning of the chapter informs us, “ that is also contradicted by scripture his

Paul and Barnabas had no small tory: for though the most holy men, dissension and disputation" with as Daniel and John, have undoubt those of the circumcision who be. edly enjoyed the most of revelation; lieved ; and afterwards they had yet it would appear, that God has much disputingin the council of frequently inspired men, and used the apostles and elders on the same them as prophets, whose characters subject. The latterend of the chapter in some instances we cannot but exhibits the same Paul and Barnabas stand in doubt of: perhaps to prevent having

« between themselves a conothers from presuming themselves 'tention so sharp, that they departed special favourites of heaven, because asunder one from the other.” w I Ephes. i, 15–18; Phil. iii, 15. s John xi, 50.

u 1 Thess. V,

t Mark ix, 30--32. 20, 21.

v Acts IV, 2, 7. w Ibid. v. 39.

nea

Now we conceive the question at pre- but we hold it to be quite contrary sent at issue between the students to the principle and practice of the of prophecy and their opponents, of Gospel to surrender any truth given sufficient importance to justify their to the saints, merely because it may pressing the discussion. To retire be abused; or because it appears in from the contest would at least be the first instance to bring a sword virtually to admit, that the page of instead of peace. At the same time prophecy is after all of so little com- we do believe, that much of the parative importance, that it may be mis-apprehension which at present closed whenever its investigation ap- exists among brethren, in regard to pears to endanger mutual charity; each others views, may, by candid diswhereby a copious portion of God's cussion, be removed ; and that they Word would be comparatively neg. may be brought, under the blessing of lected, and rendered useless to the God, to a more perfect agreement in great majority of the Church. It Christ Jesus. is true St. Paul prefers charity before 3. We shall notice only one other faith and hope ;* but St. Paul never objection; viz. that too much promeant us to follow after charity to minency is given by discussion to the exclusion of either of the others; the subject of prophecy, and to the and hope is a principle so entirely doctrines necessarily involved in it. connected with futurity, that the in. This objection divides itself into two stant the page of prophetic promise particular considerations : for some is removed, it ceases to have an ob- persons consider, thatprophecy ought ject on which it can be legitimately never to be made so important, as exercised. Faith is, in a measure, de- to become the theme of pulpit exprived of its food : yet faith, though position ; however suitable it may engaged entirely on unseen things, be for the press or for private disregards the past as well as the fu- cussion : and others conceive, that ture ; for it is

through faith we in regard to discussion, even in these understand, that the worlds were latter modes, a very disproportionate framed by the word of God :" but attention has been given to the subHope never can be called into action ject;—to which circumstance they except by things future ; and there would attribute the evils which have fore, we must repeat, it ceases to be arisen. an active principle, so soon as futu- We will first reply to that part of rity is witlıdrawn from its contem- the objection which respects the pulplation.

pit; and which to our apprehension We waive in this place any ob- does not indicate a correct view of servations as to the profitableness or ministerial responsibility. On what practical utility of prophetic Scrip- scripture ground can any suppose, ture, forasmuch as that subject is that ministers are privileged to study touched upon in the essays which and obtain a knowledge of prophecy follow next to this article. We themselves, and that they may keep conclude this point therefore by it shut up within their own bosoms? reminding our readers, that it We would not have men, before they needs must offences will come;" have arrived at some conviction in and doubtless he who is guilty of regard to prophetic truth, utter their yielding to an uncharitable spirit, rash crudities before the Church; but even though truth be on his side, the Lord commands, will have to bear his own rebuke : scribe instructed unto the kingdom of

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" that every

x 1 Cor. xiii, 13.

C

heaven should bring forth out of statements, and to the unbelief prehis treasure things new and old.”y vailing in regard to them ; which What ministers have been told in always have had the effect of magdarkness, they are to speak in light: nifying a truth for a time beyond its and what they hear in the ear, they just or relative proportions. The are to preach upon the house tops.Z doctrines of grace cannot be too exIf it be needful for them to seek clusively preached by the church as knowledge of any scripture truth, it a body, when it is considered how is that they may minister and com- large a number of its members do municate it to others, “nor shun yet resist them and preach or speak to declare all the counsel of God.” contrary: nor can public attention We cannot conceive that any class be disproportionately drawn to proof human beings are—by the mere phecy, whilst there may exist a circumstances of birth, rank, wealth, number of its ministering servants, office, or education--privileged to who remain neglectful, indifferent, monopolize a portion of the Word of or uninformed concerning it. God, as if it were private,a and only In regard to both features of this written for themselves. That book, objection we would observe, that which is confessedly the most mys- they are formed upon the assumption, tical and figurative of all the prophe- that the doctrines involved in the cies—the Revelation of St. John- prophetical controversy are not imopens nevertheless with a blessing portant : which constitutes indeed promised on him that readeth, and another argument in favour of dison THEM that hear.b And why are cussion; viz. that thereby the relative the poor to be deprived of a share importance of these doctrines may in this promised blessing ? and how if possible be ascertained. For there are they to be enabled to hear, if are some, and those men of sober it be not brought before them by piety and fervent devotion, who conhim who is presumed to read ? To sider that the doctrines of the Reus it seems a fearful circumstance, deemer's Advent and Kingdom are that, when this same book closes not made so prominent by preachers, with a

curse upon any man that as they ought to be. They view shall take away from the words of these truths as the centre of a system, this prophecy, some should be found round which all other truths revolve : who deem themselves called upon, as so that the atonement even, lying as far as regards their ministry, virtu- it does at the foundation, is neverally to suppress the whole

theless, according to them, subAs to the disproportionate attention servient to “the salvation ready to given to the subject, we admit, that be revealed in the last time;" and individuals may have been improperly the Son of God, they insist, when he excited by it, and too much absorbed stooped down to suffering, had his in it; just as we are forced to allow, eye fixed upon “the joy set before that other individuals have, in their him," and on“ the glory that should general preaching, brought forward follow" his travail. Is it not evident particular doctrines of grace dis- that both these opinions cannot be proportionately : but in neither in

Is it not the duty of perstance is this the fault of the church, sons on the one side to weigh the as a body. And as it concerns mem- objections, which may be brought bers, it has most commonly arisen against their theory; and thus be from the opposition given to their led, in the only satisfactory manner, to attach less importance to their regard to it must be progressive ; for opinions ?

correct?

y Matt. xiii, 52. z Matt. x, 27. a 2 Pet. i, 20. b Rev. i, 3. c Rev. xxii, 19,

Is it not a duty on the in nothing is that Scripture more true, other side seriously to consider the than when applied to the church and arguments, by which this theory prophecy,--" The path of the just is claims to be received ;-arguments, as the shining light, which shineth which, if true, must materially af- more and more unto the perfect day.” fect the practical preaching of the Whilst pursuing our way across this day; and, by conforming it more to ocean, we may derive advantage both the apostolical mode of exhortation, from the errors and discoveries of render it, under God, more abun- formers navigators. Their errors we dently fruitful than it now is.

shall mark down in our chart, as In conclusion,-whether we con- shoals and rocks to be avoided ; and sider the propriety of investigating those rays of truth, which shine forth or discussing prophecy in the ab- in their works, will serve us as beastract, or look around us at the signs cons by which to direct our course. of the times,—we must confess that We may indeed expect so great an our minds are deeply convinced of increase of light on some of the prothe great importance of the subject; phecies, and that immediately before and that it is our bounden duty, their fulfilment, d that it may require feeling as we do, to pursue the a periodical work to keep pace with course we have thus adopted. The the rapid but gradual approximation times are such as men of all parties to a clearer vision. and all opinions allow to be awa With these views of the duty and fully portentous, and to bespeak importance of our work we commit some crisis to be impending; and all it to the church, earnestly desiring the christians will confess, that prophecy guidance of the Spirit, and beseechalone is the only source from which ing for it the prayers of our Readers. we are likely to obtain light as to the We trust we shall always be found result. It is not to the purpose se- candid and impartial in regard to the riously to refute the objection, that conflicting opinions of others; teachmany talented and pious men have able as repects our own views; been mistaken in their endeavours to willing to retract what appears to be elucidate the signs of the times from wrong; and even to submit to rebuke prophecy : for this again is an argu- when it appears deserved. Let ment in favour of such an investiga- the righteous smite us; it shall be tion of the subject, as shall lead us to

a kindness: and let him reprove a more correct method of interpreta- us; it shall be an excellent oil, tion. From the very nature of the

which shall not break our head.e" subject, much of our knowledge in

d Daniel xii, 4 and 9.

e Psalm cxli, 5.

12

ON THE ADVENT AND KINGDOM OF CHRIST,

AND THE EVENTS CONNECTED THEREWITH.

No. I.

I enter upon the discussion to come to be considered ; but these, I which I am called with mingled repeat, affect the whole subject; and feelings. Looking at my subject, I are of that character, that, if the have a pleasing confidence, that my mind be under their influence, it will heart is inditing a good matter; since be predisposed against the clearest I am about to write of the things and most scriptural statement, and which are made touching THE KING : thus prevented from properly weighbut when I consider, on the other ing that which may be advanced. hand, (what it were disingenuous to The impropriety of studying and conceal,) that there are excellent and of discussing prophecy, especially learned men, followers of the Lord unfulfilled prophecy, is one of those Jesus, who are decidedly opposed to objections, which must be met in the views which I have adopted, I the outset; but as this objection cannot but be diffident in myself; is encountered in the introductory and am led, with increased convic- article of the Investigator, I theretion of its need, to seek the teaching fore abstain from it. And I do so the of the Holy Spirit. Not however more readily, because the duty of that I would for a moment give place studying and investigating the subto the notion, entertained by some, ject is now becoming so generally that because there are eminent min- acknowledged, as almost to superisters of the Gospel, who have not sede the necessity of insisting upon cordially embraced these views, it. It is indeed encouraging to obtherefore they cannot be important, serve what progress these doctrines nor even true : the case of Peter and have made, since they were first reBarnabas in respect to the circum- vived : how many objections are now cision of the Gentiles,a in which was altogether abandoned, which in the involved the vital doctrine of justifi- beginning of the controversy were cation by faith, plainly shews, that pressed with vehemence;-how many men of the highest attainments in are now induced to study prophecy, piety, who have been pillars in the who were before regardless of it; church, and ordinarily under the in- how much light has been thrown fluence of inspiration, have never- upon the subject by various instrutheless been slow of heart and va- ments, whom God hath raised up ;cillating in regard to truths of infinite how many christians have embraced

these views; how many are almost These circumstances however in- persuaded ; and how many, at the duce me to commence the series of least, have ceased to contradict. essays, which I purpose to bring I. Passing by this objection thereforward in the Investigator, with the fore, the first which I shall notice is, notice of two or three serious objec- that the doctrines of modern millentions, directed against the subject nariansarea novelty ;—that they were in general. Other objections, which not entertained by the early christians, affect particular points only, I shall nor inserted by the orthodox church endeavour to meet as those points in any creed or confession of faith.

a Gal. ii, 10--16.

moment.

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