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indefinite a meaning to it here. But, still, this authority will not answer the purpose of the editor of the Eclectic, in proving that these are not the days spoken of, because they are evil days and these days are good days, and that "the whole tenor of prophecy" describes the last days as good days: for Calvin holds directly the opposite, and says, that although the term does mean the whole Christian dispensation, "potius qualis futura sit regni Christi conditio, docet. Multi enim imaginabantur beatam nescio quam pacem, et immunem omni molestia. We maintain most unequivocally, that, search for the fulfilment of the prediction when and where you please, the interpretation is not the true one which does not find it, not amongst heretics, but amongst the religious of the day, be it when it may. In this opinion also Calvin agrees: "Notandum est de quibus loquatur; neque enim externos hostes, qui ex professo Christi nomen oppugnant, sed domesticos perstringit, qui censeri volunt inter Ecclesiæ membra. Nam eousque suam ecclesiam exercere vult Deus, ut intus tales pestes in sinu suo gerat, etiamsi eos fovere horreat." We conclude our extract with his caution, " nostrum est aperire oculos, ut cernamus qui digito monstrentur."
We need scarcely say, that we strongly recommend this volume of Mr. Irving's to the attentive perusal of all; not only on account of the merits of the work itself, but because we know of no other from whence the same information can be derived those, therefore, who want to know the true character of the best part of the world at the present time, or who desire an able commentary on a portion of prophecy to which the Holy Ghost has called our attention with very peculiar earnestness, we strongly advise to peruse this volume. We have not noticed any of the misrepresentations which the religious magazines have made of the doctrines it contains, because we did not wish to discuss subjects of such importance in an incomplete manner; but we must say upon this point, that there is a wilful perversion of Mr. Irving's direct and published sentiments, which it is impossible to reconcile with honesty or with veracity. We know not in what manner to treat persons capable of such conduct but this we know, that the men who can wilfully sit down, month after month, to write what cannot be mistakes, but are intentional falsehoods, respecting the creed of a minister of God's word, have no more right or title to be called or treated as Christians, than men living in open uncleanness, drunkenness, or any other abomination: and we hold it a distinctive feature of the present day, not that theologians are coarse in their language, but that men shall be esteemed Christians because they follow the fashion of the profane world in abstaining from sensual pleasures of the lowest kind, while they
continue in the indulgence of slander and malevolence: and this we assert to be the case of those magazines which hold up Mr. Irving to public execration as teaching a reprobation distinct from the punishment of human guilt; that God is, in a moral as well as in a physical sense, the author of evil; and that his theology has come upon him, not in the ordinary way of study and research, but by distinct revelation. Evan. Mag. p. 599.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE MORNING WATCH.
MR. EDITOR-I cannot refrain from addressing a few lines to you, to express the cordial satisfaction with which I hail the annunciation of a work like yours, devoted to the candid and impartial discussion of subjects connected with the Prophetical Scriptures. If ever there was a time when the Prophecies of Holy Writ ought to be humbly studied and deeply considered, it is assuredly the present; and if ever there was a time when such a work as yours was called for, it is now. It is the desideratum of the day in which we live. It is an undoubted and a most lamentable fact, that, amidst the numerous Reviews, Magazines, and other periodical works, which abound in this country, there is NOT ONE, with which I am acquainted*, that is disposed to set before its readers the subject of Prophetical interpretation in a fair and impartial manner. The Editors and Reviewers in these publications impose their own ipse dixit on their readers, instead of presenting them with a fair statement of the arguments used on each side of the important question at issue.
That, however, I may not seem to deal in general charges without proof, I will call your attention to the manner in which certain publications on Prophecy were treated in the "Christian Guardian" for the month of December last. At the head of the article stands the following list of books to be reviewed:
"The Rev. A. Keith's Evidence of the Truth of Religion derived from the literal Fulfilment of Prophecy."
"Mr. Faber's Sacred Calendar of Prophecy."
"Ben Ezra's Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty."
"Dialogues on Prophecy."
"Hon. and Rev. G. Noel's Inquiry into the Prospects of the Christian Church."
"Dr. Hamilton's Defence of the Scriptural Doctrine of the Second Advent of Christ, &c."
Papers read before the Society for the Investigation of Prophecy."
Now, in the above list there are two works which decidedly take one side of the question now at issue before the Church on the subject of the Millennium, and four which advocate and argue for the other. What, then, might a reader, anxious to gain information on the subject, have reasonably expected? Assuredly that a fair statement of the arguments used by the respective authors would be given, and fair extracts made from their works, that the reader might form some judgment of their several merits. But what is the actual fact? Copious extracts are given from the works of Mr. Faber and Dr. Hamilton, and stamped with the reviewer's approbation, while the old rule of audi alteram partem has been entirely forgotten. The writer merely observes, that he will briefly advert to the other publications; and then, enumerating all but Mr. Noel's, he adds, that the time spent in reading them has been very ill em
* The Jewish Expositor is by far the best in this respect.
ployed; and so shuts them up. To Mr. Noel's work a few separate remarks are devoted, for the purpose of offering some empty compliment on his amiable spirit, and of adverting to his interpretation of our Lord's words to the thief on the cross (which have nothing, in fact, to do with the main question); and so his book is dismissed, like the rest, without a single quotation. Now I ask, Is this fair, impartial, Christian? What are we to infer from this method of proceeding? Why, either that the Reviewer never read the works in question, which I shrewdly suspect (notwithstanding his whining over his lost time); or else, that, having read them, he was afraid to give an honest statement of their contents. But what is an anonymous reviewer, that the Christian Church is to pin its faith on his opinion on such a momentous subject as this?
I would earnestly entreat the readers of every Review or Magazine which thus partially and unfairly deals with writers on unfulfilled Prophecy, to free themselves from the miserable bondage, and to read the works alluded to for themselves, and weigh well the arguments they contain, together with the writings of those who take an opposite view; and then to search the Scriptures with humility, teachableness, and prayer, to see which authors speak most according to the word and to the testimony.
I am most thankful to you that in the work which you have announced we have the prospect of one in which this great question will be fairly treated. Truth can only be elicited by an open and candid discussion, conducted in a Christian spirit. Those who are really desirous of ascertaining the truth, and of adopting it when it is ascertained, will never be averse to such an investigation. May the God of truth guide and bless your proposed publication, and make it conducive to enlighten and edify His church!
This is the sincere prayer of one who hopes (if spared) to be
Some articles which we have not had room for, will appear in our next Number. We return thanks to the Rev. J. J. HOLMES, and Rev. A. ADDIS, and shall take early occasion of noticing their communications.
Miscalculations, incident to a new undertaking, have disturbed the proportion between the several departments of our first Number.
It is our intention to notice scarce old books on Prophetical subjects; and we shall be obliged by extracts from rare works, especially on the Apocalypse. We request our Correspondents to send their papers six weeks, at the least, before the day of publication, that we may have time to examine them; and we beg that they would give us permission to publish their names.
ON THE TEXT AND VERSIONS OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
N the prosecution of our periodical work occasions will continually arise for referring to the different versions of Holy Scripture, especially the early ones. As frequent will be our necessity for appealing to the fathers of the church, as witnesses to facts, as authorities in questions of doctrine, and as guides in matters of criticism. We therefore deem it good to give a general view of the principles which regulate our study of the Scriptures; first, by some remarks on the Hebrew and Greek originals; secondly, by a short history of those translations to which we shall most often refer, with our own estimate of their several merits; thirdly, by a hasty survey of the state of learning in the successive ages of the church. We shall thus see the integrity of the original texts; the sufficient means we possess for interpreting them; and ascertain what portion of learning the different fathers retained, and, consequently, know how far they are severally competent to decide in questions of criticism. Veracity constitutes a good witness to facts; judgment must be added to veracity, for deciding in doctrine; and, where both these are found in a man, if learning be deficient, he is entitled to no attention whatever in critical inquiries. We have often felt the necessity of these distinctions, when the authority of good men has been brought forward in support of disputable doctrine or of mistaken interpretation; and while we give its full value to piety in its own sphere, we deny that in criticism it has any claim to be listened to, beyond what it derives from the learning which accompanies it.
The Hebrew Scriptures are the fountain-head of revelation; like the waters of the rock Horeb, which came forth abundantly and followed the wandering of Israel (Exod. xvii. 6; 1 Cor. x. 4), retaining their freshness and purity to the end. A student of ancient literature, knowing the innumerable losses and corruptions which have befallen other writings, is struck with the remarkable
contrast which the Hebrew Scriptures present; these having been kept so entire and pure from the earliest antiquity. We at first piously and properly resolve their preservation into the providence of God; and this, to many minds, is a sufficient account of the phenomenon. But there are others who find both pleasure and profit in tracing out those secondary means which have been made subservient to a great purpose of God; and such discussions ought never to be undervalued, as they are intelligible to the natural man, and leave the unbeliever and the sceptic "without excuse.' The Hebrew language, like the Jewish people, is a standing miracle, witnessing to the truth of God. The four Gentile monarchies have successively swept over the land of Judea, appearing to carry destruction in their course. Assyria, Persia, Greece, and Rome, where are they? Their national distinctions are gone, their languages are dead; their memorial remains only in the pages of history. But the Jews, on whom all their rage was directed, whom they scattered to the winds of heaven, not only still subsist, but retain their identity unbroken-nationality, language, ordinances unaltered—waiting only the restoration to their own land to become in all respects the same people as when Zion stood in palmy state. Two thousand years of oppression, under their last and most cruel persecutors, have not broken them down as a people, nor amalgamated their language with other tongues. This unbending character of the Jews was directed to the preservation of the Scriptures, by men raised up and qualified by God for that purpose, the earlier Prophets, before the Babylonish captivity; Ezekiel and Daniel during its continuance; Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, afterwards. Till the coming of our Lord we are certain they had suffered no loss. "The Pharisees sit in Moses' seat; all, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, observe and do" (Matt. xxiii. 2). "One jot or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law" (Matt. v. 18). The Hebrew Scriptures thus continuing pure till the New-Testament Scriptures were completed, and being by them authenticated, we shall point out some of the means which the providence of God has appointed for guarding them against human error since the Apostolic times, and which justify us in concluding that no material corruption could take place. The extensive collations of Kennicott and De Rossi confirm this conclusion, and shew that no errors have crept in affecting faith or doctrine, and that the mistakes of transcribers affect not the general integrity of the text.
Among the secondary means by which the Hebrew text has been preserved from corruption, we give the first place to the size and distinctness of its characters. We maintain that the Old Testament was from the beginning written in the square Hebrew character of the present day; a character incomparably the most noble of