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of Christian unity is “a prevalent ination of a spiritual despotism, and popish zeal for uniformity, as if submitted to in sluggishness or cow. that were unity. . . . The popery ardice, or in the spirit of formalism, that may be found diffused like is as far from being a manifestation leaven in various Protestant com. or resemblance of Christian unity, munities—even among us—is more
as artificial leaves and buds fas. to be dreaded, and does more mis. tened upon wire with threads and chief, in respect to the develop- paste, are from being a manifestament of Christian unity, than all tion or resemblance of that unseen the popery there is at Rome. ... vital power which, in the living Recite the Apostles' creed, the creed plant, working by processes of its of Athanasius, and the creed of the own, puts forth the green
grow. Council of Trent—repeat certain ing stem, spreads out from within time-hallowed forms of worship the delicately folded leaf, and opens in the identical words and tones the bud into the flower to show its of a dead language in which they beauty in the light and to shed its have been transmitted from dead incense on the air.” (pp. 18, 19.) ages-above all, be reverently sub From this view of the nature of ject to the one constituted hierar. Christian unity, Dr. Bacon infers chy with its one human head—and that “the advancement of this unity this is what Rome means by uniiy. among Christians, both as respects How many are the Protestant com- its spiritual essence, and as regards munities in which some similar ideas its spontaneous manifestations, is of unity are working, with no other mainly dependent on the progresefficacy than to divide and weaken sive emancipation of Christians from the household of faith.” (p. 29.) error and selfishness and the do. But while we neither expect nor
minion of the world, and on their desire to see the complete outward growth in grace and in the knowl. uniformity of evangelical believers, edge of Christ.” In reply to the we do rejoice in their actual unity, question whether there is in fact and pray for its more complete man- such a unity among evangelical beifestation. By confounding unity lievers, he says, “there is such a with uniformity, we often overlook unity, and the church feels it, and the legitimate and natural manifes- the world sees it, and the powers of tations of unity. The unity of the darkness fear it. . . . Do you ask, followers of Christ, does not consist where is their union? I answer, in conformity to an external law; Their union is in the testimony it is essentially “a living and spirit. which God has given concerning ual unity, a unity of principles and his Son, in the affections and hopes affections, a unity of relations to which it inspires, and in the experi. wards Christ and God." It is thus ence of its offered grace. They that all true believers constitute but are united in looking to Christ alone " one holy universal church, of as their Mediator with God, and in which Christ is the head.” The trusting for pardon to the simple manifestations of this Christian uni- efficacy of his blood. They are ty, according to our author, “must united in that Christ is formed in be, in the nature of the case, spon. them—in that the law of the spirit taneous and vital, not coerced and of life in Jesus Christ lives in them formal. . . ... Uniformity is not as the law of liberty—in that by one unity; nor is it of course evidence spirit of adoption they have access of unity. Uniformity imposed by through Christ to the Father. They the coercion of the state, or by the are united in bearing witness to the power of sectarian arrangements truth, that except a man be born and corporations, or by the dom- again he can not see the kingdom of VOL. IV.
God; and in testifying to each oth- tered into by conventions of some er and the world that Christianity is scores or hundreds of individuals not a name, nor a form, but a living claiming to represent the whole experience of the grace and power Christian world, but by a more free of a reigning Savior.”
and fraternal intercourse among The existence of such a union ministers and private Christians of among evangelical believers, is then the various evangelical denomina. illustrated from the facts of history, tions. Let Christians every where especially those of the periods of recognize each other as brethren ; the Reformation and of the great let them pray for and rejoice in revival of a century ago, and also each other's prosperity ; let them from the events of the last thirty acquaint themselves with each othyears. Two hindrances to the ad. er's religious sentiments and experivancement of this union are speci- ence, and modes of doing good ; fied, in addition to that already let them come together as occasion named, viz. “the extent to which the offers, at the prayer-meeting and at church in many countries is subject the table of the Lord ; let ministers to the civil power ;” and “ low and of various denominations acknowl. confused ideas of the nature of edge one another by the right hand Christianity.”
of fellowship ; let them preach in The discourse concludes with a each other's pulpits, or occasionally specification of some of the duties unite in conducting the services of of American Christians in relation the sanctuary ; let them meet to. to the manifestation and progress gether for prayer and conference; of a true and spiritual unity among let them read the literary and theoall Christ's followers. These are
logical organs of those who differ (1.) “ To enter fully and heartily, from them, not to gather materials earnestly and practically, into the for controversy, but to see how grandeur and freedom of the Gos- much of truth and intelligence they pel as designed for the world;" embody ; let them mingle freely (2.) To “cultivate, as extensively with each other in social life, and as may be, an acquaintance and study the things that make for active correspondence with evan. peace ; let all enter heartily into gelical Christians throughout the the grand undertaking of the world's world;" and (3.) “ To aid in the evangelization ; let them dwell uprevival of true and pure religion on what is dearest to their common every where."
Lord, and in itself so vast and noble Then follows an earnest and elo as to elevate and liberalize the mind quent commendation of the For. that engages in it; let them thus eign Evangelical Society, as at once feel and labor and pray, and though an illustration of Christian unity they may retain their existing forms and a medium through which to and names, they will exhibit to a advance it.
wondering world that Unity for We have dwelt thus much upon which Christ prayed as the lesting this subject because of its intrinsic and indisputable proof of his divine and growing importance. The pro- commission. vidence of God, as we have said, The moral aspects of the times is leading his people everywhere to indicate, that there is to be a mighty greater unity of feeling and of ac conflict between spirituality and fortion, by arousing them to a sense of malism, between freedom and destheir common duties and dangers. potism, between the unity of mutu. This union is to be cultivated, not al confidence and love, and the unity through ecclesiastical organizations, of outward organization. Where not through compacts formally en there is the most of spirituality,
there is also the most of Christian piety which should lead to such liberty and of Christian unity. results, would be as the brightness Where on the other hand unity is of the Savior's coming to consume made to consist in mere uniformity,
" that wicked one.” there is formalism and often spirit The proposed endowment of the ual despotism. Yet men are con Romish College at Maynooth by the tinually deceived by this false British Parliament, has aroused the name and show of unity. The Ro. Protestant spirit of the empire, and mish church has carried the unity has drawn evangelical Christians of of organization to perfection. Her every name into a union for their system is a masterpiece of consoli. own defense. The noble object dation for a single purpose. As aimed at by the Christian Alliance, such it must be met, not by a coun. of diffusing religious liberty through. ter-organization, not by opposing out the world, and distributing the form to form, symbol to symbol, word of God in Rome itself, will rite to rite; not by counter claims do more than any thing yet atfor precedence and hierarchical dig. tempted, to unite all those who love nity ; but by the power of God's our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. spirit in the hearts and lives of his The diversities of Protestants are but true children; by the cultivation of the diversities of light, as refracted a higher tone of spirituality ; by the by a prism. The Christian Alliance spread of the great principles of will serve as a lens to gather these religious liberty ; by the diffusion of various rays into a focus, whose the knowledge of the simple Gos- brilliancy shall dispel even the unpel. A revival of the true spirit of broken darkness of Rome itself,
We have here two volumes of five have never been well understood, hundred pages each, upon a book few books in the Bible have been which has ever been a source of per more useful in promoting the spirplexity to interpreters. Except where itual improvement of the churches. one has been the follower and imi. And this will continue to be the tator of another, the greatest disa gratifying fact, however fruitless may greement has prevailed as to its be the labors of future commentators meaning. Many have gathered from to unravel ils mysteries. it the most absurd and fanciful ideas. No book is better calculated to The confusion of Babel alone can give us exalted views of God's marepresent to us the absurd interpre- jesty and glory, or of the happiness tations, the vain conceits, we had and security of his people. No one almost said the blasphemies, which can fail to learn important lessons have at times been ascribed to this from it, to whatever events he may book. Yet notwithstanding its true refer particular prophecies. Whether character and method, and the sense Nero or Napoleon, Mohammed or and applications of its various parts Luther, the Pope or the Grand Sul
tan, the French Revolution or the * A Commentary on the Apocalypse. early persecutions of the church are By Moses Stuart, Professor of Sacred Literature in the Theological Seminary to these important practical instruc
referred to, makes no difference as a: Andover, Mass. Two vols. Andover, Allen, Morrill & Wardwell; New York, tions. Still, we must not overlook M. H. Newman. 1845.
the value of a correct interpretation
as a preventive of fanaticism which equally significant and sacred numarises from misapprehending the true bers, three and four.” We consider sense, and as the means of fully de- him at fault in both of these posi. veloping the mind of the Spirit in tions. The sacred character and this part of divine revelation. symbolical uses of seven come most
This labored attempt of Professor indisputably from the division of Stuart, to exhibit the plan and par- time, and not from the union of three ticular exegesis of the work, is there- and four; nor are these latter numfore to be thankfully received by the bers“ equally significant and sacred" Christian public. It is the fruit of with the number seven. a life of study, much of which has The following considerations illusbeen devoted to the department of trate the origin and nature of the prophecy. It manifests throughout ex- symbolical use of the number seven, tensive and patient research; hence, The division of time into weeks, and if the results to which it brings us the institution of the Sabbath, arose are far from the truth, it can not fail out of the fact that God created the as a stepping-stone to subsequent world in six days and rested on the investigations, to contribute largely seventh day. Hence the number to the right understanding of the seven acquired a sort of sacredness. book.
It became the measure of other peFollowing the modern German riods in the institutions of the Jews, commentators, Mr. Stuart thinks the as the sabbatical or seventh month; Apocalypse was written before the the sabbatical or seventh year; the destruction of Jerusalem, and that year of jubilee, which occurred after the body of the work, including chap- seven hebdomads of years. The ters iv to xxii, 5, embraces three ca passover and the feast of tabernacles tastrophes, (1) the destruction of Je- lasted each seven days; marriage rusalem, (2) the destruction of the festivals, and mournings for the dead Roman power
, and (3) the destruc- lasted the same period. The feast tion of Gog and Magog. This con- of pentecost was celebrated after ception of the work, in opposition to seven weeks; circumcision was perthe very strong historical argument formed after seven days, and various to prove that the banishment of John purifications were for one or two to Patmos occurred as late as the weeks. Many of these usages arose year 95, and in opposition to the long before the time of Moses. God opinion of the Protestant world, we waits seven days before the deluge shall not presume either to adopt or commences. Noah often waits seven reject. The reader will see how days. The rite of circumcision was radically it must affect all the par- performed after seven days. Various ricular interpretations of the book. sacrifices were sprinkled seven times.
While we find much to approve Seven victims were taken for sacriand admire in this, as in the former fice by Abraham. Even the Hebrew commentaries of Prof. S., we must word to swear was derived from the express our dissent from some of his numeral seven; and in oaths a sevenconclusions; a service to the cause fold affirmation was common. What of truth, less pleasant, but more im- then is more manifest than that the portant than a particular designation sacred character and uses of this of what we regard as the sound parts word, in the Pentateuch, and of of his work.
course in other parts of the Bible, Our author rejects the idea, quite are to be ascribed to the creation of universal until of late, that the num the world in six days, and the sancber seven derives its symbolical sig- tification of the seventh day? Innificancy from the original division deed, nothing in the Professor's work of time into weeks, and considers it has surprised us more than the reas “the sum or result of uniting the nunciation of this easy mode of ex
planation, until of late undisputed, tences and the parts of a discourse. for one far-fetched and altogether The grouping of the members of a fanciful-an explanation which even sentence by threes has the advantage endangers the authenticity and au over that by any other number, and thority of the Pentateuch.
hence prevails over every other in all But on what ground does Prof. S. languages. The bi-membral groupbase the notion that the number three ing, according to the laws of intois equally with seven a symbolical nation, naturally puts the two clauses number, and that seven derives its in opposition or contrast. The tripeculiar use from the union of this membral grouping, by beginning and sacred number with four ? The fact ending with the same inflection, rethat three was employed by pagan stores the harmony of the whole. nations of antiquity in their represen- The tri-membral grouping has theretations of God, and that a few indis- fore in all nations been the favorite tinct hints in the Old Testament of one. This principle fully explains a divine Trinity are to be found, is the "trichotomy" of the Scriptures. insufficient to establish the point, and We would not deny, that a few passet aside the obvious origin of the sages may have taken their shape sacred character of the number seven. from some conception of the Trinity, But Mr. S. seriously tells us : as "holy, holy, holy, Lord God Al
“It is a fact astonishing at first view, mighty;" yet even these cases seem but not more astonishing than true, that to us more naturally referred to the nearly all the leading nations of antiquity, law of language just mentioned. The with whose theosophy we are acquainted, three parts into which the Apocahave represented bis (God's) develop. ment as threefold or tripartite. In other lypse is supposed to be divided, and words, the doctrine of a Trinity in some the reduction of these several parts form or other, seems to lie at the basis into three subdivisions, follow the of all the ancient and celebrated systems general law by which most compois represented as God in a threefold rela: sitions have an introduction, a main tion to his creatures." * * " In accord. body of discourse, and a peroration. ance with this, we find three most ex Much use is also made of the numtensively employed in the heathen world ber three from the natural fitness of as significant of whalever is divine, creative or productive." “ Enough, I triple affirmation, or triple action, trust, has now been said to show, why to express things strongly. We are three is deemed to be a sacred number; thus relieved from the necessity of in other words, why it is employed in seeking for the use of this number by designating symbolically the Godhead the sacred writers, among the specuitself, or whatever stands in immediate connection with it, in the way of wor
of wore lations of pagan mythology. ship, ceremonies, rites, holy seasons, &c. We think our author has also That this number should thus be deemed erred in several particular interprebighly significant, and therefore to be often transferred io other things when
tations—as an example of which we intensity or completeness was to be de- may refer to chapter xx, 4, where signated, ceases to be strange or unac
he represents the resurrection of the countable, with such facts as these be martyrs at the commercement of the fore us.” See Exc. II, pp. 413, 417, 419.
one thousand years of rest, to be That this is a fanciful explana- real. The attempt to prove that the tion of what Mr. S. calls the trichot- resurrection spoken of is of this naomy of the Scriptures, is the more ture, and takes place in the case of manifest from the obvious origin of the martyrs and most eminent saints this feature of the sacred writings- before that of the less eminent and a feature common to all books and the wicked, seems to us eminently languages. Much of what he at- unsuccessful. tributes to three as a sacred num We feel constrained also to put in ber, arises naturally out of the laws our objections to most of his efforts to which govern the structure of sen- establish congruity in the poetic rep