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as in irreligious. Boasters; bragging of their religious and benevolent societies. Proud; comparing themselves with others, and determining in their own favour. Blasphemers ; coalescing with the papal man of sin, Socinians, and Infidels. Disobedient to parents; increase of juvenile offences. Unthankful; want of rejoicing spirit towards God. Unholy; paying little regard to the ordinances appointed of God for preserving a holy church or state. Without natural affection ; parents neglecting the education of their own children, and delegating it to others. Truce or covenant-breakers ; breaking all the covenants_between the nation and God, and discipline of the church. False accusers; slandering all persons in high office. Incontinent; unskilled and unrestrained in their judgments and actions by any thing but law. Fierce, untamed ; want of meekness and spirit of quiet meditation on the purposes of God. Despisers of the good ; lovers of expediency, rather than of principle. Traitors; masters defrauding their workmen, and workmen combining against their masters. Heady, high-minded ; pronouncing opinions upon sermons and subjects without examination. Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; worshipping benevolence, intellect, &c. rather than God. Having a form of godliness ; being the religious world.
The distinguishing terms of the proposition are these : 1. That in the last days a certain set of bad characters shall be manifested : 2. That the time of their manifestation shall be perilous : 3. That these bad characters shall not be open infidels, and public, avowed atheists; but, on the contrary, shall be among those who have the form of godliness of the day in which they appear: 4. That they shall seek to make converts rather by teaching in private houses than in public : 5. That they shall withstand those who preach the truth, as the magicians withstood Moses : 6. That they shall elect to themselves teachers, instead of submitting to authority: and, 7, As he contrasts himself with them, and gives us as his hope the day of the Lord, when he shall give a crown of righteousness to those who love his appearing, he inculcates that the persons of whom he has been prophesying will not love the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, nor even to hear of it. It may
have occurred to many of our readers to ask, “ Why take up so much time to prove that the last days' come after the • latter days;' a point which no person with one grain of plain common sense ever dreamed of doubting ?” To this question we have only to reply, that we have not to do with people of plain common sense, but with those who will mystify all the simplest words of Scripture, till, under the term spiritualizing, they leave no sentence with
definite idea contained in it. The Eclectic Review, which says of itself that it is established
on purpose to reconcile those long divorced parties, religion and literature-of which divorce, however, we ourselves never heardand moreover, that it is the only critical journal embracing...... literature, which is conducted.... upon Evangelical principles, is very angry with Mr. Irving for saying that this age is “boastful:” and in a very long, very personal, and very abusive article, labours to shew that the term “ last days” means, either
-not last days, but-all days, including first days, middle days, and latter days, as well as last days; or else, that those circumstances which the Apostle characterizes as belonging to the last days belong no more to the last than to any other days; and therefore, that the passage in his letter to Timothy contains a mere common-place truism, applicable to all times alike. We do not mean at present to enter into a discussion of the merits of this journal, either in respect to the literary 'or theological attainments of its conductors, further than the present article is concerned; but in this we shall feel it incumbent to shew that it is deficient in knowledge of Grammar, of Greek, of Logic, and of Doctrines of Divinity. It commences with an attack upon the motto which Mr. Irving has prefixed to his work, from Isaiah xxxii. 5, “ The vile person shall no more be called liberal;" which the Editor of the Eclectic says “has no bearing whatever upon the subject of the orator's philippic against modern liberalism." This is the bald unsupported assertion of the editor of the Eclectic Review : in opposition to which we make another counter-assertion, and which, as he has not stopped to justify, neither shall we, but we are ready to do so on another occasion-namely, that the expression itself, and the passage from which it is taken, are strictly applicable to all persons who, calling themselves religious, shall foster that spirit of liberalism which is the very opposite to all religion. But, lest we should be supposed to mistake the only Christian and Literary journal in England upon the subject of the period indicated by the term “ last days," the passage is transcribed :
“ Under the expression the last days, he evidently comprehended the Christian dispensation, which had then commenced; and the perilous times are as evidently spoken of, not as a future and specific epoch, but as incident to that whole period.
“ Shall come,” says the Apostle : “not future," says the Eclectic. “ Shall be lovers,” says the Apostle : “ not future,” says the Eclectic.
The first lesson, therefore, which we mean to give the only Christian and Literary journal in the land is, that shall is an invariable sign of the future tense.
Our next lesson is in Greek. The Editor of the Eclectic Re
view quotes Heb. i. 1, " in these last days," as the same expression as “ in the last days " which occurs in Timothy. They are, however, perfectly different in the original ; not only in the words themselves, but also in their grammatical construction, and also in their meaning. In the first passage it is ent EryaTV των ημερων ΤΟΥΤΩΝ: in the last it is εν εσχαταις ημέραις. The translation of the one is, “ at the last of these days: "the translation of the second is general, “ in the last days.
' The meaning is perfectly simple and clear: the Apostle is writing to his nation, and says to them, “God, who spoke formerly in many ways and at many times to our fathers by the Prophets, has now, in the last of these days, spoken to us by his Son" where it is perfectly obvious that the whole period which the Apostle has in eye is that in which his nation was the peculiar people of God, to whom alone God spake by the Prophets; the last of these days being, therefore, the last of the days of the Jewish dispensation. This passage
illustrates the remark which we made at the commencement of these observations, namely, that the date to which the words “ last days” applies must be gathered from the context. Thus, “ the last days” may, if opposed to the Jewish days, signify the Gentile days; or they may, if opposed to the former days of the Jewish dispensation, signify the end of that dispensation ; or they may, if opposed to the former days of the Gentile dispensation, signify the end of that dispensation. -As we are on a point of Greek criticism, we may as well get rid of another at the same time, and which would not be worth noticing if we were not dealing with “ the only journal that unites religion with literature ;' in which the Editor censures Mr. Irving for translating the word daßodoi, accusers, and for saying that the falsehood or truth of the accusation is not a necessary point of its diabolical character. The Editor says, " that falsehood does not enter into the composition of calumny is a new discovery: the word is daßolos, calumniator.”. Mr. Irving does not use the word calumny, but accusation : an accusation is not necessarily a calumny. We accuse the Editor of the Eclectic Review of ignorance of the meaning of the word daßolos, but we do not calumniate him. The literal and simple meaning of the word is detractor: in accusing the Editor of the Eclectic Review of ignorance, we detract from his claim to scholarship, but we do not calumniate him.
Our next lesson is in Logic; and here we instruct our pupil that the only way to understand a proposition is to take in all the terms of it: from not doing which he has fallen into an error similar to that which misled all those to whom he refers in ecclesiastical history at the time of the “ relaxation of morals which disgraced the rival churches of Rome and Byzantium,
and Alexandria and Carthage:” a similar error has also misled men at various other periods, as may be seen by consulting the history of the Reformation in Scotland, the Works of Archbishop Leighton, and others. And this brings us back to another remark with which we commenced-namely, that the signs of the times is the very last point which we should select with which to discuss prophetical subjects ; first, because they are signs, not to unbelievers, but to believers; and, secondly, because they have been repeatedly mistaken in former periods, from men not connecting them with scriptural chronology, and with other lines or series of prophetical events. We are liable, therefore, always to be met with the objection, “ Well, let all you say be granted; yet men as wise and as pious as yourselves have arisen in former times, and been equally positive that the end was coming in their day, and yet were deceived.” Now we think that Mr. Irving has fully proved that the characteristics enumerated by the Apostle are all in full force in these days : but if he had done no more than that, he would have advanced very little, if at all, towards his proof that these are the last days: but although the Eclectic Review has chosen to consider this work of Mr. Irving's as insulated-either from design, in order to make it more easy for him to misinterpret and traduce it; or else because he is ignorant of the necessity of collateral proofs-yet it is to be remembered that Mr. Irving has brought forward these collateral proofs in other works, and has given it as his opinion, whether correctly or otherwise is not now the question, both from chronology and from the discursive prophecies, that these are “ the last days” of this dispensation : and therefore the present work is to be regarded merely as a supplement to his former works, necessary indeed to complete a perfect view of the whole subject, but in itself immaterial, or at least deriving its greatest value from its relative position to them.
In former times this passage has been brought forward, and the men of those days charged with being guilty of all the characteristies therein specified : but in almost all those epocha they who alluded to them were politicians fighting for secular ends, and who searched the Scriptures for passages to justify their own acts, and to criminate their political opponents. However those charges may have been applicable to bad men in other times, there are peculiarities which are applicable only to the present state of society. It is to be borne in mind, that the Apostle marks these characteristics as to be found, not in those who are in ignorance or unbelief of Christ, but the contrary. These characteristics are to be looked for in that body which calls itself “The religious world,” and answers to having “ the form of godliness." It is on this account that these times are perilous to the true church : for it can never be perilous to Christians to see bad passions and hypocrisy in those who do not call themselves religious; but when hidden and glossed over amongst those who have the form of godliness, which form is all that is visible to man, it becomes exceedingly perilous : and it is a peril of so subtle a nature, that the children of God have need to make it a matter of very earnest prayer to have their eyes opened to discern it, or most assuredly they will be destroyed by it.-A further peculiarity is, that the religious world prophesied of by the Apostle shall withstand those who shall be acting the part of Moses. Now Moses was bringing the people out of bondage into the promised inheritance. Is the religious world in these days pointing the people to the promised land, or not? or are they not, like Jannes and Jambres, opposing to the uttermost those who would lead them there ?--Are they not heaping to themselves teachers ? The answer to this last shall be furnished out of the Eclectic itself, where, amongst the new blessings which the editor declares attends the present era, he says, " in the new
, churches and chapels as near an approach has been made towards recognising the principle of voluntary contribution and popular suffrage, as is compatible with the law of patronage. "
Our limits will not permit, even if there were occasion to do so, to add much to the more than sufficient proof which Mr. Irving has furnished that the characteristics given by the Apostle are those of that class of persons distingnishing themselves by the name of “ the religious world.” Whatever doubts we may have been inclined to entertain formerly upon this subject would be entirely removed now, by the great wrath which the religious reviews display, and the abominable language in which that wrath is expressed, against all who do not Hatter them : and we defy the Christian and Literary editor of the Eclectic to produce, except in the fulsome dedication of some parasite to a royal or noble patron, a piece of boasting and adulation equal to the panegyric upon the religious world, by whose favour and support he gains his bread, which is contained in pp. 20–32 of his journal for January 1829. The lines of Horace addressed to Augustus, and almost burlesqued by Pope inhis translation, are tame matter-of-fact prose in comparison :
Wonder of kings ! like whom to mortal eyes
None ere has risen, and none ere shall rise. One of the most extraordinary assertions brought forward by the Eclectic is as follows : “ To speak of the last days' as characteristically evil times, is in fact to contradict the whole tenor of prophecy, and that in the face of Apostolic interpretation.". Now our Lord says, that when he comes again,—and we presume he will come in “ the last days," and not in the first days -- the world will be exactly in the state in which