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long line of worthy successors throughout many generations. It cannot be doubted, however, that the distinctive era of the old evangelism is passing away. It is no longer, as a few years ago, the dominant religious principle of the age. The evangelical life which it awakened is fast passing into other channels, or becoming modified more or less by other influences. A strong current has set in in behalf of views of truth which had been cast somewhat into the shade during the previous age, and threatens for the time to give them a too exclusive and hurtful prominence. The person of Christ as the head of a new humanity, and the one spring of spiritual life to all his members--the direct communion of the soul with him, through the intuitions of the spiritual reason, and the affections of the heart (theologia pectoris)—these, to the disparagement often of every thing in the shape of definite doctrine, are the master principles of a theology which, since the days of Schleiermacher and of Coleridge, has been steadily on the advance amongst us. In short, the mystic element, which has ever been more or less present in every living form of Christian piety, has risen to the ascendant, and struggles to absorb every other principle into itself. What then? Shall it indeed absorb every thing? and shall the whole heritage of precious truth won for us by so many struggles, and handed down with ever-increasing clearness of definition and fulness of spiritual discernment from age to age, pass away and give place to a vague, unsubstantial, dreamy pietism-without an authoritative Bible, without a positive creed, or with the naked article of Christus in corde as its all in all? We cling to a better hope. We cherish the confidence that this now ascendant element will be itself absorbed by a mightier power; that what is good and true in it will be assimilated by the general body of living evangelical thought, and thus blend as a not unuseful element in that great stream which has already received so many tributaries, and which will roll on in an ever-swelling tide through all ages and to the utmost ends of the earth.

Art. VIII.-Sir William Hamilton's Attack on the Apocalypse

. In our article on BENGEL, in last Number, we had occasion to advert to a characteristic attack on the Apocalypse by Sir William Hamilton. But as we could not tax the patience of our readers, at the close of an already extended paper, with a detailed exposure of the paragraph' in question, we had to

content ourselves with expressing our astonishment at so discreditable a statement from the pen of one who, assuming a complete mastery of the literature of theology, had stepped forward to enlighten the ignorance of a cleric, and our indignation at so reckless a style of writing on sacred things. We now proceed to furnish what we were then obliged to withhold; trusting that the following pages, besides justifying the rebuke which we presumed to administer to the distinguished baronet, may do some small negative service to that majestic book, which has had the rare misfortune to suffer equally from the assaults of its enemies and the embraces of its friends, but whose acknowledged obscurities are more than counterbalanced by the surpassing richness of those large portions of it which speak to every heart, and the unmatched splendour which invests even its most mysterious scenes.

The following is the statement of Sir William Hamilton to which we refer :-“How could Mr Pearson make any opinion touching the Apocalypse matter of crimination against Semler and Eichhorn? Is he unaware that the most learned and intelligent of Protestant [of Calvinist] divines have almost all doubted or denied the canonicity of the Revelation? The following rise first to our recollection. Erasmus, who may in part be claimed by the Reformation, doubted its authenticity. Calvin and Beza denounced the book as unintelligible, and prohibited the pastors of Geneva from all attempt at interpretation; for which they were applauded by Joseph Scaliger, Isaac Casaubon, [and our countryman Morus, to say nothing of Bodinus, &c.] Joseph Scaliger [of the learned the most learned), rejecting also the Epistle of James, did not believe the Apocalypse to be the writing of St John, and allowed only two chapters to be comprehensible; while Dr South [a great Anglican authority) scrupled not to pronounce it a book (we quote from memory) that either found a man mad or left him 50."-(Discussions in Philosophy, &c., p. 506.) *

This assault upon the Apocalypse was altogether gratuitous. Sir William had a sufficiently good case against his opponent" the Rev. George Pearson, Christian Advocate in the University of Cambridge”—who, to show “the danger of abrogating the religious tests and subscriptions which are at present required from persons proceeding to degrees in the universities,” had launched out in his pamphlet into a crude enough statement of the errors which have been broached by German professors regarding the books of the Bible; the whole being wound up with the following sentence on the Apocalypse :“ Eichhorn pronounces the Revelations to be a drama, representing the fall of Judaism and Paganism; while Semler condemned it entirely as the work of a fanatic.” If this statement deserved any notice at all, as bearing on the test question, which we hardly think it did, it might have been enough to say, that the man who thus expresses what Semler has said on the Apocalypse must have taken his information at second hand; that to mix up Semler, as adverse to the canonical authority of the Apocalypse, with Eichhorn, who both held its canonical authority and published an exposition of it, was more like a special pleader than an impartial writer; and that, even admitting the case to be as stated, it was not sufficient to support the conclusions founded upon it. This would have sufficed for our author's argument, and thus far we could have gone heartily along with him. But so favourable an opportunity of showing his Apocalyptic lore, of having a thrust at the book itself, and relieving himself of his superfluous Ishmaelism, was not to be lost. Hence this strange paragraph on the Apocalypse, which we are now to take up in detail.

* The words enclosed in brackets have been added, in 1852, to the original statement as it appeared in the Edinburgh Review; showing that, though the paragraph has been carefully revised, it has in no respect been corrected, and that Sir William Hamilton, after the lapse of nearly twenty years, is in theological matters as careless of his reputation for accuracy as ever he was.

1. “How,” asks Sir William, C could Mr Pearson make any opinion touching the Apocalypse matter of crimination against Semler and Eichhorn? Is he unaware that the most learned and intelligent of Protestant, of Calvinist divines, hace almost all doubted or denied the canonicity of the Revelation?

On this assertion we make the following remarks :-First, It is not true. We challenge Sir William Hamilton or any man to prove it. Second, Though all the authorities adduced had questioned or denied “the canonicity of the Revelation,” they are no proper representatives of “almost all the most learned and intelligent Protestant and Calvinist divines." Sir William's list of authorities is an absurd one for his point; for, with the exception of Calvin and Beza (of Erasmus we shall speak presently), not one of those named would naturally be thought of as an authority in a question of this nature, a question which lay out of the region of their special studies. Calvin and Beza, if correctly reported, are entitled to great weight; but even they do not quite stand for all the “ learning and intelligence of Protestant and Calvinist” theology on this question. But, Third, Even Sir William's witnesses must, on his own showing, be put out of court, with the single exception of Erasmus. For, whereas the thing “doubted or denied by almost all the most learned and intelligent of Protestant, of Calvinist divines," is, according to our author, the canonicity of the Revelation, he brings in his witnesses to speak to quite another point, namely, whether people are able to understand this con

fessedly mysterious book. On that point, some strong, and, as we think, rash things have been said by many who yet never questioned the canonicity of the book. When Sir William, therefore, introduces them to us, to inform us that they could make nothing of the Apocalypse, we just walk them out again, as useless for his purpose. One indeed—Joseph Scaliger—is made to speak to the authorship of the book, which comes nearer to Sir William's point. But even this does not settle the question of its canonicity; for though, if the beloved disciple was the writer, its canonicity is of course established, every one knows that some eminent critics have ascribed this book to another John, who nevertheless maintain its canonicity. Thus Sir William's own witnesses are made by himself to disappear from the stage, with the single exception of Erasmus, of whom he can only say, that he “may in part be claimed by the Reformation,” having been neither a “ Calvinist nor a Protestant divine."

2. What Sir William says of Erasmus is correct enough, that he “doubted the authenticity” of the Apocalypse. But the value of this doubt remains to be investigated. Here we shall simply translate from Beza's Prolegomena to the Apo. calypse:-“ As some have long since doubted the authority of this book, I shall first briefly demolish the arguments usually employed on that side, and then state my own views. I will give the arguments as they have been studiously and industriously collected by Erasmus, whose own judgment, however, on this as on many other points, seems to me so wavering, that one cannot discover what he really thought, except that he seemed inclined at length to believe that some kind of authority belonged to this book, though not what attaches to the books which have been received without controversy.” With this we leave Sir William’s reference to be taken for what it is worth. On a question of mere criticism, the opinion of Erasmus is entitled to the greatest weight. But those who read his arguments, as stated by himself, and as reported by Beza, will see at once that other considerations, quite as much or rather more than critical, influenced Erasmus in his doubts about this book ; and we do him no wrong when we say, that on these other considerations Erasmus is entitled to no more weight than any other student of the New Testament.

3. “Calvin and Beza denounced the book as unintelligible, and prohibited the pastors of Geneva from all attempt at interpretation." This we have no hesitation in pronouncing a scandalous statement. It is notorious that both Calvin and Beza held the Apocalypse to be a canonical book. If Sir William did not know that, he should have let the subject alone till he was better informed; but if he did, it was. most improper and offensive to say, that “ Calvin and Beza denounced the Apocalypse. Even though neither of them had thought it could be explained, we may be quite certain, from their known reverence for all that they held to be the Word of God, that they would never “denounce" it, in any legitimate sense of that term ; and, therefore, we charge Sir William with selecting obnoxious phraseology, on purpose to create a prejudice against the Apocalypse through the aid of two of the greatest names in the Reformed Church. But, farther, we challenge Sir William Hamilton to produce, from the writings of either Calvin or Beza, a particle of evidence in support of his assertion. We do not refer here to the absurd statement about the prohibition issued by them to the Genevese pastors. That, we suppose, will be fairly given up as a flourish of trumpets. But we mean their denouncing, or even pronouncing it unintelligible, As to Beza, not to speak of his running explanatory notes upon which are nearly as many and as long as on any other book of the New Testament, the following words from his Prolegomena may suffice to put Sir William Hamilton to shame. After repelling the objections to its canonical authority and apostolic authorship, he says :-“ As to the book itself, although I confess myself one to whom these mysteries are very obscure, yet, when I observe the name of the prophetic Spirit everywhere conspicuous, and perceive not the traces merely, but the sentiments, and even the very words, of the ancient prophets in this book ; when I behold throughout clear and most magnificent acknowledgments both of the divinity of Christ and of our redemption ; when, in fine, of the predictions which it contains, some have been mani, festly fulfilled, as, for example, those relating to the destruction of the Asiatic churches, and to the kingdom of that harlot that sitteth ироп the seven hills, I come to this conclusion, that it was the design of the Holy Ghost to collect into this MOST PRECIOUS Book such of the predictions of the ancient prophets as remained to be fulfilled after the coming of Christ, and to add to these such others as he deemed to be of importance to us. Very great obscurity, I acknowledge, there is in them ; but this is nothing new in the writings of the prophets, and especially Ezekiel. Farther, it is a shame that, engrossed with our own private affairs, we do not study these matters more attentively, and watch those daily evolutions of the providence of God in the administration of his church. In a word, the Lord, in his infinite wisdom, has tempered the light of the prophecies to what he foresaw it would be for the good of the church to know. It remains, therefore, that men should search these mysteries of a holy God, 80 far as it is permitted and profitable, with godly fear; but, at



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