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deeply injured, the spirituality of the visible Church. The Reformation was the æra of new modes of Church government, as well as of the overthrow of the corruptions of that apostacy; and the Universal Church has been disgraced, and the world continued in evil, by the shameful and bloody divisions among Christians. These divisions still continue; but they would not have existed, if the institutions of the great Lawgiver had been observed; neither will they cease, till the great majority of Christians shall revive among them the primitive laws of order and union.
I have not studied to discover new modes of interpretation. At the risk of being considered a compiler, I have freely taken from various works on Scripture, whatever appeared to be suited to my purpose. Though in danger of being esteemed erroneous; I have not hesitated to express a decided opinion on the controverted points I may have found it expedient to discuss. No fear, lest I should be considered illiberal, or uncandid, has prevented me from condemning any opinion which is contrary to truth. No hope of pleasing has induced me for one moment to study the popular opinion; to vary my phrases, to soften my expressions, or in any way to flatter the people. While I have not studied novelty, I have not hesitated to express any new view of a subject that appeared to me desirable. I may use the expressive language of the great author of the Demonstration of the Messias, "I do not desire to live longer in this world, than whilst I am disposed both to find out the truth, and follow it (ee)."
I must apologise for the period of the publication of this book. Though some delay, arising from unavoidable circumstances, has caused me much regret, in other instances it has been willingly indulged. In contemplating the plant of the government of the world, as it is revealed to us in the Scriptures, I seemed to be surveying a more magnificent temple, erected to the glory of God; than the round unclouded sky, with the sun walking in its brightness. On
every side I heard the song of angels, and of the spirits of the just made perfect. Like Adam in Paradise, I listened to the voice of a manifested God. I conversed with the Evangelists and the Apostles. I walked with them through the avenues of the majestic edifice; and even now, though their address is ended, "so charming is their voice, that "I can think them still speaking, still stand fixed to hear." Their words are the words of eternal life: and the intercourse with these priests of the temple, and with their holy Master, the God of their homage, appeared but the anticipation of that intellectual and spiritual happiness, which shall constitute so much of our felicity in a future state. I submit to the reader the completion of the labour of many years, with deference, yet with satisfaction and pleasure: and I rejoice that it has pleased God, to grant me the desire and the patience, to accomplish a work which should be useful to the Church, and to the World.
(a) Marsh's Michalis, vol. iii. pt. 2. p. 44. (b) Bibliotheca Theolog. vol. iv. p. 863-900. Jena, 1765. (c) Marsh's Michaelis, vol. iii. pt. 1. p. 31–36. and pt. 2. p. 29-49. (d) Pilkington's Evangelical Harmony, Preface, p. 18-20. (e) Horne's Critical Introduction, vol. ii. p. 503. (ƒ) Chemnitii Prologomena, (g) Cave's Historia Literaria, articles Tatianus, Ammonius, &c. (h) Clemens Stromat, lib. i. ap Chemnitii Prologomena. (i) Ap. Chemn. Euseb. lib. iii. cap. 24. (k) See Pilkington's Preface. (1) Tatian's Harmony, collected from Bibliotheca Patrum, tom. vii. p. 41. Paris, 1589.
1-13 5 17-27
152, 223. 153-156. 76, 77.
169 2-92 Pilkington's Notes, p.30. (m) Jerome mentions Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, as the first Harmonist. The treatise on the Gospels, ascribed to him, allegorises, instead of harmonizes, the sacred volume. Preface, p. x. (n) See the notes to the passages in which these expressions occur. (0) See the first volume of Mr.
Pitman's valuable edition of Lightfoot's Works. Mr. Davison, in his work ou Primitive Sacrifice, has objected to some opinions of Lightfoot; but his learning was undeniable, and his authority as a Harmonist very great. (p) Introduction to the Arrangement of the Old Testament. (q) I cannot stop here to discuss Bishop Warburton's theory, that our first parents were created out of Eden, and then removed into the garden, to be tempted and fall. It is amply refuted by Mr. Faber, in his connected view of the three dispensations. (r) See Davison on Primitive Sacrifice, and Archbishop Magee on the Atonement. Mr. Davison's arguments have not shaken my conviction of the divine origin of sacrifice. But this is not the place to discuss this matter. I must not however omit here to observe that another most eminent of our modern theologians has embraced also, an opposite opinion, on this point. See Mr. Benson's remarks on the Sacrifice of Abel, in his Sermons on the difficulties of Scripture. (s) I, even I, do bring a flood of waters on the earth. See the note in loc. Arrangement of the Old Testament. (1) In his invaluable work on Prophecy. () Preface to the Miscellanea Sacra, p. xxxiv. (*) I subjoin an extract from Semler's Prolego mena, to the Galatians, that the reader who has not had an opportunity of perusing the works of this celebrated theologian, may perceive how entirely he destroys all the foundations of those peculiar doctrines, which are the essential characteristics of Christianity, and which alike constitute its life, power, and majesty, and all its solemn and eternal importance. He represents Christianity, merely as a better law, than that of Moses.-Repetam hio breves et paucas sententias, quas jam alibi aliquoties prodidi, et in hac paraphrasi denuo expressi. Lex Mosis fait tantum populo illi lata, cui Moses præfuit, et cum eo et post eum, sacerdotes gentiles et magistratus; non vero pertinet ad omnes homines; multo adhuc minus adeives Christianæ religionis. Nec Christus satisfecit huic legi Mosis, vulgató omni; quasi omnes homines præstare illam legem non possent; eam potiùs ut hominibus minus frugiferam, et a spiritu alienam, omnino sustulit. Christiana religio omnino caret, plane non utitur, hac lege Mosis, quod attinet ad ipsum fundamentam et argumentum religionis; sed nititur his doctrinis, quas Christus ipse el legi prætulit ; quæ nomine πvɛvμɑ solent significari, quibus hominis animus intimus sic movetur, ut cognitionem rerum moralium perfectiorem unice iam optet, et eam sequi lubentissime studeat. Hæc cognitio præcipue ad Deum dirigitur, eiusque summam perfectionem et xapı; harum rerum spiritualem cognitionem omnem, et amorem verum, debemus doctrine Christi et Apostolorum; itaque hæc religio potest etiam esse omnium hominum, quia tempore et loco non definetur. Sed religio quam lex Mosis describit, fuit tantum particularis; pertinuit tantum ad externa exercita; non vero ad religionem internam, et catholicam, quam cognoverunt et coluerunt multi alii, Abrahami iam exemplo; tum alii, in quibus fuit Spiritus Christi; auctores Psalmorum tam frugiferorum, ut nos adhuc iisdem rebus et verbis utamur. Hanc religionem internam Paulus luculentissime opponit religioni mofaicæ, quæ tantum fuit externa; nec Paulus umquam dixit, legi Mosaicæ Infuisse christianam doctrinam, aut vevμa. Deus potius Christum iussit religionem iudaicam, novis modis et superstitionibus corruptam, per doctrinam optimam, deprimere, et meliorem publice opponere ; tantum abest, ut Christus doceat, se repetere tantum religionem Mosaicam. Hæc Christi doctrina immanes superstitiones feliciter prostrauit, et earum in locum dignissimas ideas substituit, quibus hominum animus totus ultro inhæret; sic omnes fiunt, vario gradu πvevμATIKOI,
et vita christiana maxime et fortissime commendat veritatem hujus religionis; a qua qui sunt alieni, Judæis et Gentilibus multis sunt priores et improbiores.-Prolegom. ad Galat. page VI. Bishop Marsh holds the memory of Semler, whom he styles "the immortal Semler," in the highest veneration. He gives the following character of him :-" The original genius of this great critic and divine, permitted him in no case to be a blind follower of the opinions of others: he ascended constantly to the source itself; examined with his own eyes, and made more discoveries in sacred criticism and ecclesiastical history, than the envy of his cotemporaries has been willing to admit,"-Vol. ii. p. 641. But the same independent spirit (says Archbishop Laurence) which rendered that sensible writer sceptical, with regard to the opinion of others, may render others sceptical with regard to his, particularly where the point at issue can only be determined by the most probable conjecture See sermon on philological criticism, preached at Oxford. (y) The System of Interpretation of the Apocalypse, by the Rev. George Croly, A.M. &c.-The Apocalypse is not a consecutive prophecy, but a fasciculus of pro-' phecies, seen probably at intervals, during St. John's dwelling in Patmos, all predicting nearly the same events, under different emblems and modes of axpression, and thus checking and illustrating each other. After the first three chapters, addressed to the Asiatic Churches, the predictions are strictly confined to Europe! They take no notice of the Eastern Church, nor of Mahometanism. They are limited to Popery, of which they give a history, regular, close, and circumstantial, in a remarkable degree. Analysis of the Apocalypse.-Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7 (the chapters of the Seals) are a general view, or index, of the events detailed in the subsequent predictions. These chapters comprehend the course of Providence, from the birth of Christianity to the Millennium. Chapters 8, 9, 10, 11 (the chapters of the trumpets) are identical with chapters 15 and 16 (the chapters of the seals.) They both predict the series of events between the Reformation in the 12th century, and the great universal war in which Popery is to perish. But the chapters of the trumpets mark the events with much more detail. Thus, chapter 8, gives a view of the general, physical, and moral sufferings of man, in consequence of the divine displeasure at the corruptions of Christianity by the Popedom. Chapter 9 is a most remarkable and characteristic prediction of the French Revolation. This prediction has been hitherto presumed, by the majority of commentators, to apply to Mahometanism. This is the chapter which Pastorinis' Walm❤ sley's prophecies apply to Luther, and the Reformation in Germany, and on which the Irish Romanists found their expectation of a massacre of the Protestants in this year. It will be shewn that it applies only to our æra-that its date is past-and that it is the history of the French Jacobin empire. Chapter 10 is the sudden diffusion of the Holy Scriptures, and synonymous of the French Revolution. Chapter 11 is a history of the suppression of the Holy Scriptures by Popery, of their public extinction by Atheist and Revolutionary France, and of their sudden recovery from this degradation, by being spread to the boundaries of the globe. Chapters 12, 13, and 14, with 17, 18, and 19, are the peculiar narrative of the Church of Rome, in its rise, progress, and final punishment. Thus, Chapter 12 gives a detail of the persecutions of Christianity by Paganism, as embodied with the government of ancient Rome-with the transmission of the spirit of Paganism into the government of modern Rome, displayed in similar persecutions of Christianity. Chap. 13 is a striking prediction of the rise of the combined temporal and spiritual power of
Rome. The Reformation under the Waldenses-the fierce vindictiveness of Rome against those early Christians--and the formation of the Inquisition, for the double purpose of crushing the Reformers, and of raising Popery to universal dominion. Chapter 14 is a prediction of the downfall and extinction of Popery, by means which are yet hidden, but which are palpably connected with some great, brief havoc of man, and ruin of the government of nations. The intervening chapters, 15 and 16, are the chapters of the seals, and have been already mentioned as synonymous with, and explanatory of, the chapters of the trumpets. The 17th, 18th, and 19th chapters, are various details of the mode, in which the punishment and extinction of popery will be accomplished. Of these chapters, of course, it would be presumptuous to attempt any detailed interpretation. They are future, and their satisfactory interpretation must wait for the event. But they all distinctly imply some visitation of the divine wrath rapidly approaching, involving the world in war, of an extent, fierceness, and power of civil and physical ruin, beyond all example, and threatening all but the extinction of the human race; a deluge of war. From the 29th chapter to the end of the Apocalypse, are predictions of the period which is to follow the destruction of popery, as the great criminal and corruptor of the Christian world. The Millenium, closing in a second brief apostacy, to be distinguished by a sudden display of the power of God, followed by the day of judgment, and the consummation of that system of Providence in this world. In this view of the Apocalypse, no prediction lower down than the French Revolution, is looked upon as a subject for exact interpretation. This Revolution, however, furnishes the key to the Apocalypse, fixing the dates of the numbers 1260 and 666. The proofs of these points must, of course, be required. Mr. Croley's volume will be soon sent to press, and then only can his plan of interpretation be completely understood, or fally appreciated, as deserving to take its stand among the evidences of Christianity. (2) Postquam ab adolescentia mea persuasum habuissem, Græcos Scriptores mini diligenter perlegendos esse, eum quidem in finem, ut inde mihi plurima quæ ad N. T. illustrationem facere possent, adferrem; attamen illis bene multis perlectis, ipsa rerum expeentia didicissem, non tantos eorum fructus, quantos animo præceperam ; quia probatissimi quique Scriptores Græci tanto seculorum intervallo a N. T. auctoribus distabant, ut vocabula tantum non autem integræ sententiæ compositio, et ipsus linguæ antiquæ genius convenirent, adeo ut N. T. stylus ab ipsis Vet. Græcis, vix intelligeretur; de aliis medii circumspicere cæpi. Missis ergo ad tempus Græcis, ad Hebraica accessi, et majori quidem fructu, quam putaveram, &c. &c. &c. Surenhusius ap Schoetgen. Hora Heb. Pref. sect. iv. (aa) Attende Lector, says Schoetgen, et observa reliquias veritatis apud veteres Judæoa. Prius illud efatum Servatore nostro longe fuit antiquius, adeoque iis verbis poterat Judæos convincere, jam adesse tempora Messiæ, dum dictum illud ad tempus præsens adplicat: idque eâ præcipue de causâ, quia omnia Messiæ criteria, de quibus antecedentia consulantur isto tempore aderant. Schoetgen. Hora Hebraicæ, vol. i. p. 113.-See on this subject the whole of Schoetgen's Preface to the first volume. (bb) I entreat the attention of the theological student to the Preface to Schoetgen's Hora Hebraicæ, which is now before me; and to Lightfoot's Works, of which a new edition is just completed, as well as to Wetstein's New Testament. The honour of opening to the world the fountains of talmudical learning, I rejoice to say, belongs to one of our own countrymen. To use the quaint expression of