Page images
[ocr errors]

what we would, there would be those contentious ones, who would“ separate themselves." Dissent will always, under some pretext or another, exist: no excellence of church institutions will prevent that, if the word of God be true. In the Church of England, as to the particular application of the principle, every man, before he is ordained over any congregation, must have his proposals read in the hearing of the people; and if they have any just cause of rejection against him, he must not be ordained. As to the principle itself, the consent of the

. whole people is manifest: for the church, as the Church of England, will endure only so long as the people of England love it and choose it. Mr. Vaughan and the Dissenters call it a Parliamentary church; and in its being so lies the proof of our assertion. For what is the Parliament? Is it not that organ of the Constitution by which the people exercise their office in the government ? Is it not the voice of the people which makes the Parliament? We think that it still is so, notwithstanding the cant about rotten boroughs.

* To pass within the pale of the Church of England, or to ob'tain the humblest advantages connected with either of our na* tional seminaries, we are required to testify our approval of a scheme of doctrine, of polity, and worship, which a secular

parliament has been allowed to impose on the Christian church.' (p. 82). Of course this must be the case. No constitution of society can admit dissenters from that society to be parts of itself. But what nonsense ?– first to call yourself a dissenter, and boast of your dissent upon principle, and then complain because you cannot also enjoy what you renounce! Beside, we would ask, is there any admission to the Highbury or Homerton establishments, but upon professed conformity with the rules and principles that obtain there?

What does Mr. Vaughan mean by his allusion to a secular Parliament? The Parliament is an assembly of baptized men, whom a baptized nation fix upon to be their representatives. What they resolve upon, they so resolve in the name of the people. What applies to taxation equally applies to all that Parliament resolves upon. The people of England are said to tar themselves, because no taxes can be imposed without their consent : to say, therefore, that the Church of England is a parliamentary church, is only to say that it is the free choice of the people of England. We know that our Dissenting brethren repudiate the doctrine that such a body as our national representatives should have any thing to do with church affairs; because, calling themselves, and such a party as they will please to select," the church,” they, with the most complacent bigotry, choose to call all the other baptized people of the country, " the world :" and, having determined that so it shall be, they are ever lending

[ocr errors]

a hand to help

that body to get rid of all church obligationssuch as the Test and Corporation Acts, Popish disabilities, the duty of taking the sacrament, &c. &c. But the question is, whether their uncharitable and self-imposed distinction between themselves and the rest of their baptized countrymen is a trueone? That must be settled first; and we will not allow their exclusive spirit to assume that, and argue upon it. The party they will name may or may not be the better and more consistent members of the church, but we will not allow them to put all the rest out of covenant with God; and array with the characteristics of that world which must be hated, those more erring, but not less baptized and covenant-distinguished, brethren, whom they should love.

• Whence those formularies which speak of baptism as regeneration, of confirmation as bestowing the Holy Ghost, and of the priest as delegated to remit the

sins of the dying ?' We answer, From the holy Scriptures, Mr. Vaughan. No formularies of our Church speak of baptism as regeneration so plainly as the Scriptures do. And if your Dissenting churches renounce those three articles, you unchurch yourselves ; you thereby confess that your church has not those powers which, it is evident from Scripture, God gave to the true church, whereever that church may be.

We conclude our review of Mr. Vaughan with one final quotation.

Were the things imposed pure as holy writ, this manner of • imposing them would still be a ground of complaint and of protest' (p. 82).

We know it. But this is speaking out. The manner of imposing is this: That the lawful rulers of this nation of baptized men and women have called upon their brethren to agree in one of the most excellent, Scriptural, and beautiful constitutions of a Christian church which ever existed ; and the tide of insubordination to human authority runs so high, that, notwithstanding the Scripture says “Submit to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake,” the truth of the thing imposed-nay, the truth of God himself-shall meet with no acceptance, because our lawful rulers impose it; because those who are bound by their christian oaths to command their people in the way of God's commandments presume to execute their duty.

We now take our leave of Mr. Vaughan. We have endeavoured to express ourselves without any exercise of a contemptuous or captious spirit; and if we have, through self-deception, in any instance so erred, we ask his pardon. But we have been thus strenuous in opposing Dissent, because we know the evil of it. We know that the principles which the Dissenters are ever advocating, are such, that, when fully carried out, no church, as a visible subordinated society, could exist. They are principles upon which every thing may be attacked and pulled down, but upon which nothing can be built up. They are principles inconsistent with any authority in the church, any order and Christian obligation in the state; and, finally, they are principles by which Satan has succeeded in detaching a great body, to work for his ends in the ranks of the Democrat, the Unitarian, and the Infidel, who in other respects appear like children of God.,


To the Editor of the Morning Watch. SIR,-In commencing the following remarks on a passage in the Rev. G. S. Faber's recently published work, entitled "The Sacred Calendar of Prophecy,” it is scarcely necessary to observe, that that learned writer has therein avowed himself an opponent of the doctrine of Christ's personal advent previous to, and personal reign on earth during, the Millennium. Nevertheless, he admits that an advent of Christ is predicted to occur at that precise epoch ; and accordingly arranges, in pre-millennial synchronism, many express prophecies of that event. • This manifestation of Christ, says Mr. Faber, 'to destroy

the apostate Roman Empire' (which it is universally admitted must be accomplished before the commencement of the Millennium), 'on the principle of synchronization already laid

down, is clearly the same as the coming of the Lord with fire to • plead with all fesh, celebrated by Isaiah (chap. Ixvi. 15–18);

as the judicial interference of the Lord out of Zion, mentioned by *Joel (chap. iii. 16); as the going forth of the Lord to fight

against his congregated enemies, mentioned by Zechariah (chap. ' xiv. 3, 4); as the standing up of Michael on behalf of Judah, • at the time of the destruction of the wilful Roman king, men* tioned by Daniel (chap. xii. 1); as the coming of the Son of * man in the clouds of heaven, to overthrow the Roman beast and • his little horn, also mentioned by Daniel (chap. vii, 11-14); as • the parallel coming of the Son of man, in the clouds of heaven, • at the epoch of the restoration of Judah, and of the completion

of the times of the Gentiles, announced by Christ (Luke xxi. * 24-27); and as the brightness of the coming of the Lord to

destroy the man of sin, foretold by St. Paul (2 Thess. ï. 8).'Sacred Calendar of Prophecy, vol. iii. p. 421.

From the foregoing citation it will at once be perceived, that the only question between Mr. Faber and bis opponents respects

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


the nature of the advent; and this Mr. F. concludes to be not literal, but figurative.

Though it is not my intention to enter into this part of Mr. Faber's argument, I cannot refrain from expressing surprise that he should have been able to bring himself to such a conclusion upon all the passages which he has thus synchronized ; some of which, particularly that in Luke xxi., appear so clearly to refer to a visible corporeal manifestation of the Son of man, as not, without violence, to admit any other interpretation.

But as this part of Mr. Faber's argument has been already ably replied to by Mr. Cuninghame, in his “ Critical Examination,” &c., I shall not attempt to trench upon ground so well occupied, but address my remaining observations to a criticism by which Mr. Faber endeavours to sustain his fore-cited opinion, and which, though passed by Mr. Cuninghame, without special animadversion, appears to me of high importance, and great relevancy to the present discussion.

Among the passages included by Mr. Faber, in his synchronism, already quoted, is, as may be seen, St. Paul's prophecy concerning the man of sin, contained in the second chapter of his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, wherein he predicts that Antichrist shall be consumed by the Spirit of the Lord's mouth, and destroyed by the brightness of his coming. This coming, Mr. Faber, in conformity with his general system, of course pronounces to be figurative : and, moreover, he assumes that its presumed identicality with the confessedly literal advent of our Lord to judge the quick and the dead, constitutes the sole basis of the Millennarian scheme: and further supposes, that by refuting this identification, he has demolished its only fundament. But herein, as Mr. Cupinghame has remarked, he is certainly in error ; for, even should he succeed in adducing valid reasons for rejecting this evidence, we have abundance of other to offer: meanwhile we cannot recognise as available the grounds upon which he proposes to reject it. But, that I may have the full benefit of Mr. Faber's argument, and not risk its misrepresentation, I beg to state it in his own words.

• Doubtless the conclusion' (that the predicted advent of Christ to judge the Roman empire is identical with his confessedly literal second advent to judge the quick and the dead)" will be most logically valid, when once the alleged fact of iden ticality shall have been established. But precisely here it is that the argument halts. The fact of identicality is gra'tuitously assumed, not evidentially demonstrated. But though ‘no demonstration of this vital point has been attempted, so 'far as I know, either by Mr. Mede or by any of his modern

followers, yet, that the question may be argued with perfect fairness, I shall myself first adduce, and then consider, the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



sole apparent evidence which, after long thought on the sub*ject, I have been able to discover.

First, the sole apparent evidence to the alleged fact of iden'ticality, I state in manner following.

St. Paul, in his First Epistle, foretells and describes an advent of Christ from heaven (1 Thess. ii. 13—18), which, as all must allow, is indisputably his literal second advent to judge the quick and the dead. Now to this already mentioned advent he avowedly refers in his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians ; and there he connects it with the destruction of the man of sin, who is confessedly the same as the little born of Daniel, and as the false wonder-working prophet of the Apocalypse. But ' the man of sin, or the little horn, or the false prophet, is destroyed at the advent which occurs at the close of the latter three times and a half, and immediately before the commence'ment of the Millennium ; and he is likewise destroyed at the • advent to which St. Paul refers, as already mentioned in bis • First Epistle to the Thessalonians, and which assuredly is the • literal second advent of the Lord :

* Therefore, since the man of sin is alike destroyed at each of these predicted advents, the advents themselves must be identical." Whence of plain necessity it will follow, that the • literal second advent of Christ will take place after the close of ' the latter three times and a half, and immediately before the commencement of the Millennium.'

. Secondly. As I have now,' continues Mr. Faber, 'very fairly given the sole apparent evidence to the alleged fact of identicality, which I have been able to discover, I shall next proceed ' to consider its sufficiency. Now, in the general context of

neither of the Epistles to the Thessalonians is there any thing 'which can warrant the opinion that St. Paul, in his Second

Epistle, is referring to the advent which he had mentioned in 'the First Epistle; and thence, that the advent which destroys 'the man of sin is identical with the literal second advent of • Christ. The Thessalonians, it appears, subsequent to their reception of St. Paul's First Epistle, were led to imagine that the day of Christ, whatever precise day may be meant by the expression, was at hand. But to this notion they could not have been conducted by any thing which is said in the First

Epistle; for, so far as I can find, not a hint of such a nature 'does the First Epistle contain. What, then, it will be asked, 'could have induced them to take up such an opinion? I

answer, some forged letter, which they had received, as pur'porting to come from St. Paul, but which St. Paul, in his Second and genuine Epistle, takes occasion to disavow. This spurious letter, written, like the First and genuine Epistle, not in 'the Apostle's own chirography, but in that of an apparent

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


« EelmineJätka »