תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

God concerning the people of Israel, that if “they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity,” he will remember his covenant with Jacob, in their favour. Mr. A. informs us of something which he deems quite strange and awful, that he “ once heard a preacher who solemnly told the people from the pulpit, that this punishment meant temporal punishment. God preserve me from such comments on his word!” p. 29. W pray, may it please the Lord to give Mr. A. understanding. What but temporal punishment could the people of Israel, considered as a body politic, accept? Nations have no national, political existence beyond the grave. What but a temporal punishment could they accept, and afterwards enjoy in the land, in consequence of that reception, the blessing pron:ised in the expression, “I will remember the land?" To accept of the punishment of their iniquity, in this place evidenily means, voluntarily to account their sufferings to be chastisements of their covenant God, and submit to them with humility, so as to be reformed. I will send judgments upon the people of Israel, saith the Lord, for walking contrary to my statutes: I will destroy their cattle and children by wild beasts, will bring a sword upon them, will send the pestilence among them, will break the staff of bread, will make their cities waste, and bring their sanctuaries unto desolation, so that the survivors shall be few in number. If they will accept of these evils as coming from my hand, they shall, as a people, subsequently be prospered: but if not, I will add to their afflic. tions, they shali pine away in their iniquity in their enemies' lands; still pursuing their wicked courses, their nation shall continue to dwindle; and yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will nat destroy them utterly. Can Mr. A. make this punishment of the nation, which the people were required to accept, any thing but temporal? They shall pine away in their iniqui. ty, he says, with emphasis, and adds, "the endless ages of eternity alone would measure their misery.” But you have forgotten to quote, Sir, a very important clause,

they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity IN YOUR ENEMIES' LANDS. It was not in hell that he now threatened them with pining away; for had they accepted {of the punishment of damnation in hell, we are incapable of conceiving how the Lord could have remem. bered in relation to them, his covenant with Abraham.

In this Letter, the author asks, “Can you distinguish between the exercise of approving of Christ as he is ex. hibited in the gospel, and accepting him as a Saviour?” We answer that we can; although Mr. A. thinks it impossible for any one to do it. Approving of Christ is an act of the conscience, and is a powerful motive for accepting him; which implies a belief that he is offered, and a volition to receive and enjoy him, as the unspeakable gift of God, for our prophet, priest, and king. He who approves of Christ, and believes that he is a gift offered, will accept of him; but approving and accepting are as distinguishable as any other two mental operations. We may approve of something not offered to us; but we can accept only of something that is offered.

As for the Fourth Letter before us, it will be time enough to consider it when God has furnished us with a faculty and a scale, for ascertaining and measuring equal and unequal portions of the capacity of souls; and when he requires one man to put his eternal salvation in competition with the salvation of another, or of ten thousand.

If these Letters can furnish any data, for a judgment on the subject, we must think, that the cause of Calvinism in Tennessee has nothing to fear from the metaphysical accuracy, the native talents, or the literary acquirements

, of the Rev. Isaac Anderson. Let the Rev. John W. Doak, M. D. or any divine of half his mental energy, but take up his pen, and the people

and the people of that State will learn, that Mr. Anderson's reputation for metaphysical knowledge, must have arisen from the confidence with which he asserts absurd and unintelligible propositions

; and from the disposition of many to call any thing which they cannot understand, profound metaphysics.

ARTICLE V.--The Prophetic History of the Christian Reli

gion explained; or a Brief Exposition of the Revelation of St. John; according to a new discovery of prophetical time, by which the whole chain of prophecies is arranged, and their certain completion proved from history down to the present period, with summary views of those not yet accomplished. By the Rev. 7. George Schmucker, Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, York-Town, Penn. Vol. I. Baltimore, 1817. pp. 265. 8vo.

It is with difficulty any American book gets into being; for men of science here are generally poor, and rarely find a liberal patron. Indeed, very few of our booksellers would take as a gift, on condition they should publish it, the best American work that could be written; so that a poor author if he will appear in print, must either collect subscribers among those who hate to see a subscription. book sent into their houses; or bargain with the printer himself; and then agree to pay commissions on the sales. Each mode is bad enough; for the first is odious; and if the second is pursued, a work will be stowed away in the garret, or under the counter of some bookstore, until called for by the proprietor. An English book can easily get through our press, for our booksellers, with a few ex. ceptions, having neither taste nor science, sufficient to distinguish a very good book from a very bad one, very wisely calculate that some one of the fraternity in England thought best to publish it, and therefore it must be saleable. Besides, the copy-right costs nothing. It is immediately struck off, advertised in large letters in all the newspapers, exposed on every counter, and sold, -because every vender is the proprietor of the copies on hand.

It must have been owing to this miserable state of things, that the Rev. Mr. Schmucker, when prepared to publish two volumes, including an exposition of the whole book of Revelation, has ventured to issue only one. We are afraid that Vol. I. which we purchased a year ago, like some of the paired souls of the Indian philoso. pher, that lost each other on their way down, and never met after they left the birth place of matches, will never find its corresponding Vol. II. If it does, we shall be well pleased, for what we have read is well calculated to excite high expectations concerning the portion of Prophetic History that is to follow. It was bad policy to isVOL.I.

3 Z

No. 4.

sue the present volume, like the half of a pair of scissors, without its partner; for were the set complete, many who purchase books to fill the shelves of their libraries, would have procured it, while they now wholly disregard it; and the few who will study it, would have been most likely to approve, from a comprehensive view of the whole.

If, however, no more of the work should ever appear, we earnestly commend the present volume to the attention of our brethren in the gospel ministry. It is a very ingenious, pious, and novel production; and whether his calculations be precisely accurate or not, the facts which he adduces from history illustrate the prophetic language, and correspond with his chronology of Revelation, in a very natural, and wonderful manner. The coincidence between the dates of the facts which he adduces, and his series of prophetic numbers, furnishes a strong presumption that he is substantially correct, in his mode of mea. suring time.

A brief analysis of his work will, we hope, both enter. tain and edify our readers.

Mr. S. considers the whole Apocalypse as "the Reve. lation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him.It should have retained this name, instead of being called " the Revelation of St. John." There was a time, when Christ said to those who questioned him concerning the end of the world, “ of that day and hour no one maketh known; no, not the angels which are in heaven, nor the Son, but my Father only.” But it pleased the Father to reveal the future history of his church and the end of the world, in the latter part of the life of the last apostle; and to make Christ as Mediator, the great organ of revelation. Hence we find, that Jehovah is represented in the Revelation, as sitting on the throne of the universe, and giving the book of his decrees, sealed with seven seals, to the Lamb, that he might open it, and reveal, as he did to his servant John, the things which were then future.

The Revelation, Mr. S. thinks contains two series of prophecies. In the first, God speaks to the seven churches which were then in Asia, and refers not only to them, but to “the lineage of his church on earth, and the succession of his gospel Ministry.” The three first chapters contain the general introduction to the book, and the first

series of prophecies, under the form of pastoral letters. The seven churches which are named were selected, not because they were the oldest, the largest, or the most important at that time in Asia, but because their names and circumstances rendered them suitable symbols of the church in different ages.

The address to the Church of Ephesus, he considers a description of the state of the whole church of Christ during the first prophetic period. By the angel of the church, he understands the regularly ordained ministry of the word, the official successors of the apostles.

Ephesus, signifies ardent desire or desirable, and ex. presses that ardent wish and zeal of the Church during the apostolic period, to extend and propagate the Christian religion, and her amiable and lovely character in the sight of heaven." p. 115. The church and ministry of this first period, however, at the time of our Saviour's giving the Revelation to John, A. D. 95, had lost their first love. John lived until A. D. 104. His exhortation seems to have been made effectual, for the gospel ministry before his death “returned again to their first love;" and hence the Angel of the Church at Smyrna is commended, “ without the least censure or blame.”

The Spirit of prophecy called the second prophetic portion of the Church Smyrna, that is, “myrrh or bitterness," on account of the bitter persecutions it was to experience.

The third prophetic portion of the Church he thinks was styled Pergamos, because she then became powerful and well fortified. Pergamos," signifies “an exalted tower or steeple.It “here indicates that firm and invin. cible stand, which the Church had taken from the time of Constantine the Great.” p. 115. In his days the Church took possession of the pagan temples, and so dwelt where Satan's seat is, in the midst of idolatry. The Church in this age had a few things highly censurable in her, for she attempted to compound idolatry with Christianity. Some of her teachers moreover, inculcated the principles of the Gnostics, or held the doctrines of the Nicolaitanes.

The fourth prophetic portion of the church, is called Thyatira, Mr. S. conceives, because her worship then

« הקודםהמשך »