Page images

is incomparably greater; malignity itself cannot assert that they were given for the purpose of enhancing the authority of these editions. They lie so much out of all regular information respecting Stephanus's editions, that it is in my opinion clear that neither Mill, nor Curcellæus before him, nor father Morin himself, had the slightest suspicion of either of these testimonies; nor, indeed, do they appear to have been sufficiently acquainted with the history of the Stephani to be aware of Robert having sent his son into Italy to obtain materials for his folio. It is nothing more than justice to mention this distinctly, as it tends so much to extenuate the fault of the earlier critics in the erroneous statements which they have given respecting Stephanus's editions. But what is to be said of those, who can persevere in inculcating the inconsistent slanders of these men, when the facts which so decidedly confute them have been brought to light. But so it is. Robert, in the most solemn manner, declares respecting his first edition, that “ he had not suffered a letter to be printed but what the greater part of the better MSS. from the royal library unanimously approved.' The Docti et Prudentes agree that this shall be utterly false;" they give Robert's words—“e codicibus quorum copiam bibliotheca regia suppeditaverit" —and say, “ vanissima hæc omnia sunt et falsissima :" and thus they have not merely the honour of keeping up the absurdity of their predecessors, in applying a set of documents selected four years afterwards, for a totally opposite purpose, half of which consists either of private MSS. or of print-to an edition professing to be formed from royal MSS.,—but they do this knowing that there were seven more royal MSS. than the eight which they have applied to that edition. Again, with respect to the folio, Robert holds so firmly to his first pledge of giving his text from MS. only, that he declares, under the most trying circumstances, “ no consideration could ever induce him to change anything contrary to the faith of all the MSS., and thus be found a falsifier.' Yet we are to be told that he shews a “partiality" for printed editions—“vicious complaisance"_" cæcus impetus" --that," in the exercise of the δευτεραι φροντιδες, he was led to think less highly of some of his readings, and to adopt others, whether from MSS. or from printed copics, to which he attributed the authority of MSS." And in this the Docti et Prudentes do not merely adopt the palpable absurdity of ascribing the text of two editions, that vary so much from each other, to the self-same materials; they do not merely adhere to this, when they see the folio itself declaring, inore than a hundred times, that the text in those passages was formed out of MSS., different from every one of those which they assign to it. They not only assume, with their predecessors of olden time, that such a man as Robert Estienne could be four years in preparing for his folio, without adding a single MS. to his original stock, but they can do this with their own actual knowledge of the fact that the man had kept his son almost the whole time searching the Italian libraries for MSS.; and that his son was thus enabled to say he had seen above thirty MSS. in those libraries and that of the King of France, with the same summaries (kepala.a); so that no doubt could exist what collations Henry was

sent to make; nor could there be any doubt for whom they were made, when he speaks of extracts “quæ pater meus ex illis exemplaribus describenda curaverat.” Henry's edition of 1587, in which this decisive testimony appears, was reprinted in the same year in London, by Vautrollier, which, we are told, was the first time the Greek text issued from an English press. But the reader may satisfy himself without procuring either edition. The preface is given in the 6th vol. of the Critici Sacri, p. 2063, and the kepalala follow, which, I suspect, would alone decide whether Robert has been found a falsifier.” I have not been informed that any one of the marked MISS. of the margin has these old metrical kepulaua.

Here our discussion might terminate. This is my case. Thus does it stand between Stephanus and his accusers; both those of the old school and those of the new. Nothing, however, ought to be omitted to give full assurance of understanding on a point of such vital importance to every one that nameth the name of Christ, and does not abandon himself to what others may choose to propound. Dr. Cardwell, in his masterly exposure of misrepresentations respecting our printed Bibles (Brit. Mag., March, 1833, p. 329), justly holds that “there is nothing more deserving of respect and protection, than the confidence with which an unlettered peasant looks upon his English Bible, as expressing to him the genuine word of God.” What then ought to be our feelings respecting those editions of the Greek Testament, upon which not only our English Bibles but those of every Protestant church are founded ? I may be pardoned, then, for still requesting the reader's attention to the testimony of Stephanus's accusers against themselves. I may be allowed to hammer a plate or two for the covering of the altar, out of the censers of these critics, which are hallowed, against their own souls.


ON THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN. SIR,—This globe of earth has been perinitted by the Lord of heaven and earth to become the stage of warfare between a powerful evil spirit and the Son of God. The reason why this is so has not been revealed; but the sure word of prophecy discloses to us, that the great periods of this eventful history, like the acts of a drama, have been all methodically arranged and carefully provided for by the Almighty disposer of events. And, though the contest may appear in itself both long and perilous, yet certain victory is held up in the distance to the view of the believer : the eye of faith sees, as in a glass, the Son of God going forth conquering and to conquer.

The different preparatory steps to this victory are clearly marked out by definite eras in the prophetic history, and in each of them there is gained a visible advantage over the power of Satan. Each of these ages closes in a time of general disturbance, when the principles of the evil one are set in open array against the principles of holiness. But the result is always the same: worldly-mindedness is punished, and these different periods of tribulation serve only to the discomfiture of the great enemy; for they invariably usher in a more spiritual era, and are particular illustrations of the general position of the apostle, that

through great tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God.” The end, foreseen and appointed of the Almighty, is, that Christ shall subdue Satan, and openly come with power and great glory to receive the righteous into his heavenly kingdom. But the Almighty hath put the times and seasons in his own hand; and, in the meanwhile, these preparatory steps are meant to confirm the faith of the believer, and to afford a clear type of the final consummation. According to the usual style of prophecy, these types have drawn to themselves the name of the event itself; hence these troublous dawnings into more spiritual eras are called in prophecy, “ the coming of the Son of Man,” and “ the coming of the kingdom of heaven.” Christ so came at the destruction of Jerusalem, to introduce the Christian dispensation at the end of the Jewish age. He will so come at the end of “ the times of the Gentiles,” to render Christianity the religion of the whole world, when “ the stone that smote the image shall become a great mountain and fill the whole earth."

By considering the nature of Christ's coming at the end of the Jewish age, we shall be better enabled to judge of the nature of his coming when the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled. It was AFTER Christ's avowed manifestation in the flesh that such continual notice was given to the disciples, that the Son of Man should come in his kingdom during that generation. “ Ye shall not have gone through the cities of Israel till the Son of Man be come.” We find the expression, “ Son of Man coming in his kingdom," used synonymously with “ the kingdom of God coming with power." John the Baptist came preaching and saying, “ Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. O! generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come ? He that cometh after me is mightier than I. His fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner ; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." This exhortation certainly refers, in the first instance, to the punishment of Jewish corruptions and the vindication of gospel principles at the destruction of Jerusalem. If, then,“ the coming of the Lord, and of the kingdom of heaven," are figurative expressions which intimate the introduction of Christianity at the end of the Jewish polity, the advent, which is to make Christianity the universal religion at the end of the times of the Gentiles, may be figurative also. St. Peter says, “ And the Lord shall send Jesus Christ, whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began,” (Acts iii. 20.) Now, not only has St. John, in Revelations, but Ezekiel also has prophesied of Gog and Magog being gathered together to battle against the saints; and yet this contest will not take place till after the thousand years of Christ's reign. Neither can the restitution of all things be

said to have taken place till Christ's warfare with the dragon shall have ended in victory-till the seed of the woman shall have bruised the serpent's head-till the devil that deceived man be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone—till sin and death be lost, in the forgiveDess of sins, and the resurrection of the body to everlasting life. If, then, the heaven must receive Jesus Christ until the restitution of all things, it seems a natural inference, that there will be no personal advent until Christ come to receive the righteous into the kingdom which has been prepared for them from the foundation of the world.

To each individual, the coming of the Lord at the end of the age takes place at his own decease, and the Apostles' precepts on this head are therefore of universal acceptation ; but they were particularly applicable, in another sense, to the primitive Christians who lived at the end of the Jewish age, and near to the coming of the Lord in judgment on that nation. We, too, are living at the end of another age, and near to the coming of the Lord in judgment on another corrupt church ; “ and those things were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come.” St. Peter having warned the early converts, that “ the end of all things is at hand," and given them notice of “ the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ,” commends them for taking heed to the sure word of prophecy concerning that coming, and leads them in this remark to the real nature of the event they were expecting : “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scriptures is of any private interpretation," (2. i. 20.) Bishop Horsley, in his sermon on this text, explains the passage thus :-“ Not any prophecy of scripture is of self-interpretation, or is its own interpreter; because the scripture prophecies are not detached predictions of separate independent events, but are united in a regular and entire system, all terminating in one great object-the promulgation of the Gospel, and the complete establishment of Messiah's kingdom." This commentary gives the general meaning of the passage with sufficient accuracy; but I would state it more plainly in this manner : “ Not any prophecy of scripture (concerning the Lord's coming) is of individual fulfilment;" such prophecies refer equally to the different progressive periods in which the doctrines of the Gospel gain some signal triumph over the principles of this world, and prepare the way for Christ's personal coming to receive the righteous into the literal kingdom of heaven. “ Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man,” after the manner of the heathen oracles, to gratify present curiosity, or interest on any urgent occasion ; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” in order to support the faith of the believer generally, and to afford a convincing proof of a superintending providence. The value of every heathen oracle passed away with the immediate occasion of it, but not any prophecy of the seripture does so become a dead letter; it continues in force, and remains an efficient calendar of God's times and seasons, until that period when all “prophecies shall fail” through their complete fulfilment. The prophecy of our Lord concerning the destruction of Jerusalem presented a fiery ordeal to the men of that generation ; Vol. 1V.-August, 1833.

Z z

but it will prove a furnace seven times more heated to try the faith of another generation that is not far off. In the time of the first converts, the end of the Jewish age was at hand; with us, another age, the times of the Gentiles, is at its close. Hence the apostolic exhortations to prayer, watchfulness, and attention to the prophecies concerning the Lord's coming, are equally applicable to us. And this is felt to be the case; the increasing number of publications concerning Christ's speedy return shew that the subject is considered as peculiarly belonging to these days. But we shall best shew forth our wisdom by personal holiness, humility, and self-denial. In any time of religious excitement, let us turn a cautious ear to the cry of “ Lo! here,” or, “Lo! there;" and cultivate sobriety of religious feeling, “ knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” We can now look back with gratitude on the apostolic age, and discover an evident advancement of spiritual knowledge in the punishment of a corrupt church ; and whatever manifestations of God those are which are soon to take place, we have sufficient cause for thankfulness in expecting the promised subversion of an idolatrous church, and the removal of one more obstacle to the revelation of the Son of Man in his day.

But it is not without sufficient reason that the same prophecy is considered applicable to different events, distant indeed in time, but alike in their tendency. The similarity of the circumstances attending these two figurative advents of the Son of Man is so great, as nearly to justify the Platonic notion of successive éykuklúoels, or periodical revolutions of the same system of events.

Almost every particular that is mentioned in the prophecy of our Lord among the signs of his first coming, will be repeated in a new cycle during the coming of his great and terrible day: “ Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold; there shall arise false Christs and false prophets; even Jerusalem shall be compassed with arniies; the Gospel must first be published among all nations; and (let him that readeth, understand) as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Hence, because the first advent is so exact a type of the second, they are both referred to under the same expressions—“ the great and terrible day of the Lord;" “ the coming of the Son of Man with power and great glory,” &c. If, therefore, any one should wish to apply this prophecy, wholly or in part, to the approaching advent of the Son of Man, I should sincerely close with him in so doing ; but I have no hesitation in saying that it applies primarily to the introduction of Christianity at the subversion of the Jewish polity in church and state, and that the whole of it received a distinct accomplishment at the destruction of Jerusalem; for no greater difficulty attaches to the interpretation which discovers the introduction of “ the kingdom of heaven in the phrase, “ the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory,” than that which attaches to the inspired exposition of St. Peter, who applies to the same event the expression of Joel: “ the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and terrible day

« EelmineJätka »