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WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID
The Christian advocate and Scotch Baptist repository vol ii, 1850
THIS pamphlet was sent to us some three months ago, we took a hasty glance at its contents at the time, and then threw it aside. Having our attention pretty well occupied with other matters, we took no further notice of it until we thought it was high time to give it a passing notice in the pages of our Journal.
The writer's views of the fulfillment of prophecy, though not absolutely original, are, nevertheless rather singular. That the pamphlet will convince many of the truth of the writer's views, we have not much expectation, for they almost carry with them their own refutation.
We must, however, give our readers some insight into the writer's views of prophecy. After pointing out the discrepancies existing among writers on prophecy, and the bad consequences resulting therefrom, he proceeds to give us his own views on prophetic interpretation; and these may be summed up in the following particulars.
1st.—That in interpreting the prophecies of Scripture, we are to take those which are already confessedly fulfilled, as illustrations of others which maybe supposed to be unfulfilled. To illustrate this position the writer selects Isa xiii and xiv. In reference to these chapters, he says,—"The events predicted related to Babylon's destruction, and to no other people or nation."
2nd.—The figurative expressions used in these chapters, such as the sun, moon, and stars, he applies to the supreme head of the nation of Israel, viz. the king, who was no other than Jehovah. The moon representing the high-priesthood ; and the stars, the lesser powers.
3rd.— Having settled this, (to his own satisfaction at least,) he applies the principle to the interpretation of Matt. XXIV. and its parallels; from which he draws the conclusion,—that all the predictions contained in those chapters have long since been fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem and its concomitant events, which includes even the second coming of Christ.
In reference to this the writer says,—
The corollary which the writer draws from the views which he has educed from his sytem of prophetic interpretation, will prove not a little startling to many of our readers, and perhaps lead them to the same conclusion which we ourselves have come to, viz., that the writer's system of interpreting the prophecies is rotten from top to bottom ; in a word, that it is mere moonshine. His inductions shall be given in his own words:—
Although the writer has in this paragraph (to use a common expression) "come out of his shell," yet he has not brought out all that honesty demands, and which certainly flow as naturally from his views as a stream flows from the fountain. The natural and inevitable result of the statements made in the above paragraph, is,—that аs the whole order of the house of God came to an end with the apostolic age ; and the second coming of Christ, which, according to оur author, took place at that time, put an end to all things which the apostles had established in the churches, there ought to be now no observance of the Lord's day,—the Lord's supper,—no one to minister in holy things,—that Christians are no longer to watch over one another, nor to reprove or rebuke, for no one has any authority to do so. In a word, that the visible profession of Christianity, and all associations of Christians, should at once cease. Should the writer, (whoever he may be) attempt to deny the legitimacy of these conclusions, we should only laugh at his folly, and look upon him as completely out of the pale of argumentation.
We expect that tome of our more simple-minded readers will feel completely puzzled and astounded with the "divers and strange doctrines" contained in the preceding extracts ; and while ready to exclaim,— "thou bringest certain strange things to our ears, we would know therefore what these things mean,"—will feel themselves incompetent to express an opinion as to the truth or falsehood of the system taught in this pamphlet.
Happily, there is a very plain and simple rule laid down in the Scriptures for the trial of doctrines as well as of men. It is expressed in these words,—"Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles ? Even in every good tree bringeth forth good fruit ; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.— Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them."
Our readers have only to ask themselves,—can a system which produces such results as those openly acknowledged in the last extract, leaving aside those which we have stated, be in accordance with truth ; or, in other words, are they good or evil, and they can settle the question without any difficulty.
We thought once to shew the fallacy of the author's system, by giving in a rough outline what we conceive to be the true sense of Matt. xxiv. and xxv. &c. But, upon reflection, we thought it best to give our readers a view of the author's system and its results, und then let every one draw their own conclusions.
We know nothing of the writer ; but the idea has crossed our mind more than once, that if this pamphlet, and the one on "The Sabbath Question," noticed in our last number, have not proceeded from the same pen, the writers have evidently been taught in the same school, for the same leading ideas run through both.
About seventy-five years ago, a pamphlet was published in Scotland, entitled, "Christ the true Rest ; or, the Jewish Sabbath a type of Christ;" in which sentiments pretty much resembling those contained in the pamphlet before us, were taught. Some of the leading points in that production were,—that Christians were not now to observe the first day of the week as a Sabbath,—and in connexion with that, there ought to be no public teaching, &c.
This pamphlet drew forth a satirical and ironical reply, under the following curious title,—" A Letter from Beelzebub, addressed to a Christian Church in Edinburgh."
The writer of this reply was one who was in every respect qualified to expose the wickedness of the dogmas referred to; and, in our opinion, a new impression of this small tract would be found exceedingly useful to the present generation. For scarcely one of the vile blasphemies which are now so industriously circulated through the length and breadth of the land, by means of pamphlets and tracts, have any originality in them ; they are only the old schemes and delusions of Satan in a new dress." (The Christian advocate and Scotch Baptist repository vol ii)
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