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To the Editor of the Investigator. Sir,

I feel persuaded, that your correspondent Abdiel would not wish to mislead any of your readers by erroneous statements, respecting the views of our Reformers, upon what he has termed the doctrines of modern millennarians. At the same time I am at a loss to conceive, how he could think of representing the chief persons in the Church as holding and generally teaching these views at the time of the Reformation.

A reference to the writings of the Reformers will I think at once prove this representation to be altogether erroneous. In fact the very catechism which Abdiel quotes, as having been drawn up by the prelates in the time of Edward the 6th-but which was confessedly written by Dean Nowell-contains such expressions as evidently shew, that the author and approvers of it could not entertain the sentiments attributed to them. I know not from what edition Abdiel quotes-the language the language differing materially from the original form in which it was approved by King Edward 6th-but if he will trouble himself to refer to an authorized copy he will find the following sentences.


Although he is already gone up into heaven, nevertheless, by his nature of Godhead and by his Spirit, he shall always be present in his Church, even to the end of the world," &c. &c.

<< The sun always keeps the heavens; yet do we say, that it is present also in the world. So Christ is lifted up above all heavens, that

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The chief cause thereof was to pluck out of us that false opinion, which sometimes deceived the Apostles themselves; that Christ should in earth visibly reign, as kings and ruffling princes of this world. This ERROR he minded to have utterly suppressed in us, and that we should think his kingdom to consist in higher things," &c.


And forasmuch as he is not king of some one country alone, but of heaven and earth, of quick and dead, it was most convenient that his kingdom should be otherwise governed, than OUR SENSES may attain unto. For else he should have been constrained, sometimes to have been carried up to heaven, sometimes to be driven down to the earth; to remove sometimes into one country, sometimes into another; and, like an earthly prince to be carried hither and thither by divers changes of affairs. For he could not be presently with all at once, unless his body were so turned into Godhead, that he might be in all, or in many places together;" &c.

"It is for men to rule their commonwealths by a certain civil policy of men; but for Christ and God, by a heavenly godlike order," &c.

In Edward 6th's articles is the following declaration. They that


go about to renew the fable of the Heretics called Millennarii be repugnant to Holy Scripture and cast themselves headlong into a Jewish dotage."

I do not pretend to decide upon the correctness of the views taken by the Reformers upon this subject; nor do I consider, that any important advantage would be gained by either party succeeding in shewing, that these great and good men thought with them respecting the second advent and kingdom of Christ: but I do think it of great importance that the pages of the Investigator should be free from statements, which are contradicted by facts.

Now it would not be difficult to bring forward abundant evidence that the principal Reformers differed widely in opinion from modern Millennarians indeed I am persuaded, that no one, acquainted with their writings, would have made the assertion contained in your first Number.

inspection some extracts from Bale's Image of both Churches, which will clearly prove what were his sentiments; and it must be borne in mind that Bale was highly esteemed by the Reformers for his learning as well as for his piety. Upon Rev. xx, he observes:


I will simply refer Abdiel to a few passages which will I trust convince him of his error. Bishop Hooper's Declaration of Christ-in the chapter on Christ as a King." Abp. Cranmer's Catechism-on the clause in the Lord's Prayer," Thy kingdom come." Thos. Becon's News out of Heaven. Fox, in the beginning of his 5th book of Acts and Monuments. Bishop Latimer's 3d Sermon on the Lord's Prayer, (a most excellent practical discourse,) in which he plainly asserts "these words (thy kingdom come) are not to be understood of Christ's inferior, of his earthly kingdom-no, we pray not for his inferior kingdom to come, for it is come already. The kingdom that he speaketh of is a spiritual kingdom, which kingdom doth consist in righteousness and justice," &c.

Lastly I will copy out for Abdiel's

"Like a most valiant captain fell he upon that strong armed housewatcher and overcame him, depriving him both of weapon and spoil. For a thousand years was this restraint. Mark, besides the mystery, the time from the ascension of Christ unto the days of Silvester, the second Bishop of Rome of that name," &c. "Consider for the time that he was thus bound the constant faith of the christians, and the invincible hearts of the martyrs, and ye shall find them far different from them which hath been since.”

"While the Dragon was thus tied up and thrown into the bottomless pit for a thousand years space, a certain continuance of being the elect number had, whose peaceable estate and condition for that time the text here following declareth, by manner of recapitulation." "This is that first resurrection unto life, to rise from sin to repentance, from ignorance to godly knowledge, and from darkness to faith.". 'And thus shall they reign with Christ, their merciful Saviour and Redeemer for the space of the thousand years afore-named."

In Chap. 21 he says:—


I beheld now last of all (saith Saint John) that heaven was clean altered from that it was before, and became all new, and so was the earth also, and became the same. Not only became they now spiritual, by a true belief in the Gospel, that afore were carnal; but also in the end of the world shall the whole bodies of heaven and earth as gold is (in) the furnace, be purged from filthiness,

by fire going before the judge, which both are now defiled with the wickedness of the creature. After both sorts shall they be delivered from the corruption, here of sin and there of death and damnation, and so be restored into the glorious liberty of God's children.' It followeth here in this voice, that he hath determined of favourable love and mercy to dwell with them, assisting them here in this life by his Spirit, and in the life to come shall he satisfy them by his eternal presence." &c.




"Behold I will make all things fresh and new .Never more shall they be as they were afore when they were yet old. Never shall be more eating nor drinking, wining nor banqueting, traveling nor sleeping, nor other things pertaining to the corruptive life. Much to and fro hath been among the school doctors, and is yet to this day, whether the saved multitude shall reign here upon earth with Christ, or above in heaven after the judgement day which is easy to be perceived if the Scriptures be diligently conferred; therefore search diligently the Scriptures for they bear witness of all truth. Christ hath in Matthew that


they shall be then as the angels are now in heaven, whose office it is to be both here and there. And so much the rather, that they shall be then all one. So shall the earth be new as the heavens. And needs it

must be to some purpose. Never would Isaiah and Peter have said, that righteousness should dwell in them, if they should not occupy them both. It is said here also, that the new Jerusalem shall come down from heaven. But not so that it shall not go up again. For Christ's elect shall be where he is, when they shall be upon the earth; no let or impediment shall they have to be also in heaven, both they being one. Such agility and perfection shall be then in their bodies, as now is in the the glorious body of Christ, or in the spiritual nature of the angels.


I cordially approve of the objects of the Investigator, as expressed on your last page; and earnestly desire that the Divine blessing may rest upon your labors. Doubtless it will if you are enabled to adhere to your plan, and simply, in dependence upon the wisdom that cometh from above, to be the Investigator of scriptural truth.

Yours, &c.
P. R.



The Christian, who is only just entering on the investigation of prophecy, may perhaps be startled to meet with so many systems of interpretation of the BOOK OF REVELATION, all more or less differing from each other;-some varying from former and subsequent treatises in the whole construction of the Book; others only in some important features of it. He must not however


be discouraged at this difficulty; for it may in a great measure be accounted for.


It is the opinion of some, that the Apocalypse is so constructed, that it was designed to afford direction and consolation to the church at different periods; its principal features being susceptible of an interpretation, which might with equal propriety be applied to pagan Rome, to

papal Rome, and to infidel Rome; involving thus the three great eras of the church. We rather question the legitimacy of this view: not that these three several aspects of the persecuting power are to be found in the Book; but that they are so inwrapped, that what in the early history of the Church applies to one series of events, in more advanced periods of history may be applied with greater definiteness to others; just as naturalists inform us, that the form and rudiments of the last state of metamorphosis of some insects may be traced in their previous conditions of the larva and chrysalis.

There are however other circumstances, respecting the interpretation of the Apocalypse, which, if they be well considered, will further account for these discordant systems. First we notice, that as prophecy in general has been too much discountenanced, during the dark and subsequent ages of the Church; so that the Apocalypse has suffered from this circumstance to a greater extent, than any other portion of the Divine word. It is reremarkable, that, in the apportionment of Scripture, appointed to be read daily in the lessons at morning and evening service of the Church of England, the whole of the Old Testament comes to be read once in every year, excepting the Song of Solomon; and the whole of the New Testament is read through four times in the year, excepting the BOOK OF REVELATION, which is entirely omitentirely omitted!* Even the Apocrypha, against which, as adding to God's Word, a curse is declared, is appointed to take its turn; whilst the Apocalypse, on the reading and hearing of which

a special blessing is pronounced, is silently passed by! Acting upon the same principle we have known pious individuals, who, in their family services, will read every portion of the Scriptures, excepting this; at which when they arrive, they systematically turn back and begin afresh.

The consequence of all this is, that the minds of christians are not even familiar with the symbols, and imagery, and connexion of the Apocalypse, as they are with the other Scriptures; which is a more serious disadvantage than at first appears. For though the meaning of the parables is not generally understood with clearness; yet the ready acquaintance, which most persons have with their particulars and phraseology, leads them to be upon the look out for the meaning of such portions of Scripture, and commonly enables them to detect, when an interpretation is not consistent. From the want therefore of this same acquaintance with the Apocalypse, any sort of exposition is liable either to bewilder or impose upon them. Every solution of a matter, which they do not understand, and of which they have no connected impression in the mind, will appear to many a correct one. An interpreter may not only inconsistently explain a series of symbols, but he may even omit important portions of the prophecy, or he may bring them forward out of their context and proper order, and yet be detected by very few.

Nor is this want of familiarity with the contents of the Apocalypse to be confined to readers and hearers only: it is even betrayed by some who frequently quote the Book in their writings; yea, who have even formally treated on portions of the

* We of course except two or three small portions of the Book, which occur in the services of particular days: viz. the Epistles for Trinity Sunday, The Innocents' Day, St. Michael and All Angels' Day, and All Saints' Day.


Revelation it contains. They seem to have run through the Book, just as some travellers hurry through foreign countries,-taking a cursory glance at the surrounding objects, stopping a day or two at certain towns, and walking through the public buildings; and then they conceive themselves competent to write a history.

Another circumstance, operating to the prejudice of this mysterious Book, is the want of acquaintance with ecclesiastical history, and specially with the history of Romish domination and corruption. How few protestants, compared with the total number, are qualified by a competent knowledge of their own church doctrines and history to detect even the most impudent statements of papists and infidels, and to vindicate their own professed principles. And when it is considered, that every interpretation of Daniel or of the Apocalypse, entitled to serious regard, is connected with the secular and ecclesiastical history of Rome; it is no wonder, that uninformed persons are misled by statements, of the consistency and general propriety of which they cannot judge. Superficial persons cannot be more tossed about by waves and winds of doctrine, than they are by the facts often adduced to support particular views of prophecy. They can rarely contradict them; they remain undisputed therefore, till a succeeding interpreter exposes their fallacy, and offers a more plausible hypothesis; the heterogeneous particles of which are again fated to crumble under the hand of some other expositor ;and so on.

We may add here, that, owing to the neglect into which prophecy had fallen until latterly, the very principles of interpretation have been lost sight of, and are now only beginning to be understood by interpre

ters themselves. Much that we have seen put forward, at the revival of prophetical investigation, has been forced, unnatural, fanciful, capricious, contradictory, and offending against some of the most obvious principles of Scripture analogy, and biblical criticism.

But now, though we thus write, it must not be supposed by such of our Readers as are uninformed on this subject, that nothing has been written to the purpose. This leads us to notice one other important circumstance, which has prevented a complete understanding of the interesting prophecy in question. In the judgement of men, who in our own estimation have written ably on the subject, the Apocalypse was not designed to be fully understood until the latter days. This was decidedly the opinion of the great Sir Isaac Newton; and he argued,


I that it made for the credit of this prophecy." He further says, "The time is not yet come for understanding the prophets perfectly, because the main revolution predicted in them is not yet come to pass." (P. 252.) If these observations be just, (and it appears difficult to controvert them,) the imperfection of many of those treatises to which we have alluded, is necessarily accounted for.

But have all these Treatises been without use? and are we still living in times previous to that "main revolution?" We feel no hesitation in replying to these questions. Newton has two other sentences in the page before quoted, which are worthy of observation. He says:But if the last age, the age of opening these things, be now approaching, (as by the great success of late interpreters it seems to be,) we have more encouragement than ever to look into these things." Again:Among the Interpreters of the last.


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