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Of which new creation Christ was himself the Author and the Beginning; “ having abolished the enmity in his flesh..that of the twain he might create in himself one new man, making peace..and reconcile Jew and Gentile both, in one body, to God, through the cross; having slain the enmity in himself... For through him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.. builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
As Christ was the source of regeneration by sending the Holy Spirit, so was he himself the pattern and example of the perfect regenerate man. In us, this work of regeneration is called a
, new creation, Eph. iv. 24 : “Created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Eph. ii. 10). Now in our regeneration there is no transmutation of the flesh; but by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit our sinful bodies become an holy temple in the Lord” (Eph. ii. 21). Such in kind, though far higher in degree, was the sanctification of the body of our Lord : “ For God gave not the Spirit by measure to him ;” but “in him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” that he might become “the Head over all things to the chureh, which is his body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.”
TO THE EDITOR OF THE MORNING WATCH.
Me. EDITOR,-As your periodical has been established for the avowed purpose of furthering the study and knowledge of the prophetic word, I trust that you will permit me to address, through its pages, a few remarks to those gentlemen who have devoted much of their time and thoughts to the arrangement and interpretation of the Apocalypse.
Of the many modes of arranging the Book of the Revelations which have been proposed of late years, there seems to me to be none so plain, and so well established, as that proposed by Mr. Frere, and adopted by Mr. Irving, and the generality of those who (in contempt) are called “ The Prophets may their numbers increase! Against the “ general structure" I have no objection to offer ; but it does seem to me, that in the particular arrangement and interpretation of parts some confusion still exists. For instance: Mr. Frere supposes that the sixth seal relates to events which occurred between the years 1789 and Sept. 21, 1792; and the sealing of the 144,000, mentioned in chap. vii., he refers to the British nation ; and supposes that by this sealing that nation was preserved from the dreadful scourges with which all the other ten kingdoms were visited during the late eventful war. This sealing of the 144,000 in their foreheads, as well as I recollect (for I have not Mr.
Frere's large work before me), took place, as is supposed, at or after the opening of the sixth seal-that is, not earlier than the year A. D. 1789. If it is attempted to give it an earlier date, and still apply it to the British nation, as the Protestant nationand which, as the Protestant nation, has been wonderfully protected by God (but now, Woe, woe to her, for her apostasy!)
the earliest date that can be given is A. D. 1534, when Henry VIII. abolished the Pope's supremacy. Now we find the sealed servants of God alluded to in the ixth chapter, at the sounding of the fifth trumpet; for the locusts out of the smoke of the bottomless pit are desired to hurt none but those who have not the seal OF GOD IN THEIR FOREHEADS. There were, therefore, at the time of the fifth trumpet, some who had received the seal of God in their forehead. Such
persons can be none others, in my mind, than those mentioned in the viith chapter ; and therefore, if the sealing of the viith chapter did not take place till 1534, allowing the earliest possible date, the sounding of the fifth trumpet, which found the servants of God already sealed, cannot have taken place till after that date; and cannot have commenced in A. D. 632 and ended in A. D. 782, as Mr. Frere supposes. If these remarks are valid, it follows that the arrangement and interpretation given of the fifth trumpet, by Mr. Frere, and in a little work entitled “The Apocalypse of Jesus Christ briefly yet minutely explained,” cannot hold good. This also opposes the present arrangement and interpretation of the sixth trumpet; which these authors suppose to extend from A. D. 1062 to May 29, 1453.
Another instance of confusion exists in the interpretation of the river Euphrates, in chap. ix. 14, and in chap. xvi. 12. In ix. 14, the four angels bound in the river Euphrates are interpreted as four sultanies established in the neighbourhood of Euphrates. Here the literal Euphrates is supposed to be referred to. But in xvi. 12, the drying-up of Euphrates is interpreted as the exhausting and ruin of the Turkish Empire. Here a mystic meaning is applied to Euphrates. This does not seem consistent. If Euphrates is one time literal, another time symbolical; if it at one place means the literal river, and in another place a nation whose seat of government is far distant from that river, but whose founders may have come from its neighbourhood ; there can be no certainty in interpreting the symbols of this Book.
But may it not be questioned whether either of these interpretations of the Euphrates is correct ? Both Babylon and Euphrates are symbolically used in this Book. What Babylon symbolizes, cannot be for a moment doubted : the Book itself points us to Rome. Now, let us bear in mind that literal Babylon and literal Euphrates were closely connected. The
river was the defence of the city; so that the inhabitants feared nothing so much as that defence deserting them. When it was turned from its course, when that part which defended the city was “ dried up,” then Babylon fell. Why should these names, so intimately connected in their literal character, be separated when used as symbols ? When Babylon is decided to mean Rome, why should not Euphrates be understood as symbolizing some of the defences, or the chief defence, of Rome? Moreover, to this interpretation do I conceive we are directed by the prophecy itself. The great whore, called “ BABYLON THE GREAT," is represented as “ sitting upon many waters”
” (xvii. 1); even as literal Babylon sat upon the literal Euphrates (Jer. li. 13). These waters are afterward interpreted as
peoples, multitudes, tongues, and nations” (ver. 15): from which I think we are authorised to interpret Euphrates symbolically, as “peoples and nations ;” still, however, confining it to those “ peoples and nations ” which bear the same relation to the mystic Babylon that the river Euphrates did to literal Babylon.
I am aware that the interpretation of the fifth and sixth trumpets which is generally adopted, and which these remarks are calculated to set aside, finds much support from the agreement of the dates with the facts to which they are applied ; and of the descriptions with the persons whom they are supposed to represent. But I do not think that any apparent coincidence in dates or descriptions can authorize us to violate a synchronical mark, as is the case in the present interpretation of the fifth trumpet, when compared with chap. vii.3; or to give a vague and undecided interpretation (and one which does not agree with a closely connected and divinely taught interpretation of another symbol) to a symbol, as is the case in the present interpretation of chap. ix. 14, and chap. xvi. 12.
As your very valuable periodical cannot afford much room to mere note writers, I shall not go to any further length: but beg in conclusion to say, that these remarks have not been offered with the wish or intention of injuring the well-earned reputation of Mr. Frere, to whom all students of prophecy owe so much; but in the hope that a closer comparison of this Apocalypse with itself and the other Scriptures, and that the discussion of these matters, may, under the blessing and teaching of the Spirit, tend to open more fully the true arrangement and interpretation of that wonderful Book.
Dec. 14, 1829.
P.S.- I do not attempt to offer any arrangement or interpretation of the passages referred to, not feeling myself at all competent to such an undertaking. It may be a question worth the consideration of prophetic students, whether Mr. Croly's interpretations of the Trumpets and Euphrates are the correct ones.
S. M., jun.
Sir,-In reading over Bradford and the English Fathers, some passages appeared to me so suitable on an existing controversy that I have made a few extracts, which I now enclose.
Bradford (on Rom. viii.) says,-"You see that the Apostle, in this place to the Romans, speaketh of the deliverance of every creature from the bondage of corruption, and that to the beautifying of the glory of God's children. This is so manifest, that no man can well deny it. It is but a simple shift to say that the Apostle doth mean in this place by 'every creature,' man only; he is not wont to speak on that sort ; neither dare I say that the Apostle speaketh here hyperbolically or excessively, although some think so.”
* ** * “ This renovation of all things the prophets do seem to promise, when they promise new heavens and new earth. For a new earth seemeth to require no less renovation of earthly things, than new heavens do of heavenly things. But these things the Apostle doth plainly affirm, that Christ will restore even whatsoever be in heaven and in earth (Col. i.) Therefore methinks it is the duty of a godly mind, simply to acknowledge, and thereof to brag in the Lord, that in our resurrection all things shall be so repaired to eternity, as for our sin they were made subject to corruption.
• The ancient writers out of Peter have as it were agreed to this sentence (2 Pet. iii.) that the shape of this world shall pass away, through the burning of earthly fire, as it was drowned with the flowing of earthly waters. These be St. Augustine's words, whereto I will add these which he writeth,” &c.
“Therefore it is the part of a godly man, and of one that hangeth in all things upon the word of God, to learn out of this place, that whatsoever corruption, death, or grief he seeth in any thing, wheresoever it be, that (I say) he ascribe that wholly unto his sins, and thereby provoke himself to true repentance. Now as soon as that repentance compelleth him to go to Christ, let him think thus: But this my Saviour and my Head Jesus Christ died for my sins, and therewith, as he took away death, so hath he taken away all the corruption and labour of all things, and will restore them in his time, wheresoever they be, in heaven or in earth. Now every creature travaileth and groaneth with us, but, we being restored, they also shall be restored : there shall be new heavens, new earth, and all things new.
“Thus I wish that our minds might stay in this generality of the renovation of the world, and not curiously to search what parts of the world shall be restored, and what shall not, or how all
things shall be restored : much more then I would not have us curious nor inquisitive of their place where they shall be, of their action what they shall do, or of their properties, and such like *
* He that with true faith weigheth and considereth these things, will be (as it were) swallowed up in the admiration of so exceeding great benevolence and love of God, our Heavenly Father, that he can never admit to yield to this curiosity of searching what kind of things shall be renewed, and how they shall be renewed, or what state or condition they shall be in when they are renewed. These be the things of the life to come, whereof this foreknowledge is sufficient, that all these things shall be more perfect and happy than the reach of reason is able to look upon the glory of them; for the eye
hath not seen, nor the ear heard, nor it cannot ascend into man's heart, that God hath prepared for them that love him." p. 613.
Richmond's Fathers of the English Church, vol. vi.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE MORNING WATCH.
SIR.-I enclose an extract from a curious work published in 1656, and entitled [I give the modern orthography] “ Generation Work : the Second Part; wherein is shewed what the Designs of God abroad in the World may in all Likelihood be at this present Day, and in the Days approaching : being an Exposition of the Seven Vials (Rev. xvi.), and other Apocalyptical Mysteries: By John Tillinghast, the meanest and unworthiest of Christ's Labourers.” The extract commences at p. 142 of the tract, and contains the author's view of the seventh vial.
Your constant Reader,
1. The Angel pouring it out. Ver. 17: “And the seventh angel poured out his vial.”—The angel of this vial is doubtless Christ himself, whose coming we spake of but now, and who instantly upon his coming pours out this vial : called the “ Archangel," i Thess. iv. 16 : who is there said to come with a shout, or voice; “ The Lord himself shall descend,” &c. And accordingly, as an adjunct accompanying this vial, we have a great voice : “ The seventh angel poured, &c.," and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven :" which voice is no other but the voice of Christ himself, as I shall shew anon.
2. The subject of it—the Air. “Into the air.”—No subject can be more general than the air, which containeth all things, fills all places, is what all creatures breathe. The universality of the subject notes the pouring out of this vial to be universal. The foregoing vials have fallen upon
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