Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

attack upon my system. This is perfe&ly right, and what I of all things wish for. If my work be such, that the painful reader can collect from it nought but disappointment, discouragement, " and at length despair”, as Mr. Whitaker assures him, the sooner it is confuted the better.

He opens the attack with complimenting my candour at the expence of my intellect: and then observes that my system rests principally on the four following assumptions*: “1. That St. John « has restricted the character of the Anticbrist to a

power who denies the Fatber and the Son; “ 2. That the king, mentioned in Dan. xi. as doing “ according to his own will, was not revealed until

lately; 3. That the ten-borned beast in the • Revelation is the Carlovingian monarchy; " 4. And that on the sounding of the seventb trumpet the French revolution broke out-If “ these positions be overthrown”, says Mr. Whitaker," the whole fabric will fall"

As I have followed my respectable antagonist step by step through his defence of himself, so will I now follow him with equal pleasure through his attack upon me kingdoms of the north and the south; just so long the prophecy continues in judea and the adjoining countries. 'When Daniel's people are dispersed from Judèas the prophecy leaves Judèa, and follows them (as it were) into the countries of their dispersion. When Daniel's people begin to be restored at the time of the end or at the close of the 1260 years; the prophecy returns with them, and describes the expedition of the infidel king to Palestine and predi&ts the contemporary restoration of the Jews. But let us trace the steps of the prophecy, as it gradually extends itself after the setting up of the desolating abomination and after the dispersion of Daniel's people-The first circumstance mentioned is, the attempt of the Roman government to corrupt the primitive Christians by flatteries, and the long and dreadful persecutions which they underwent in consequence of knowing their God and being strong in the faith*. Will Mr. Whitaker limit these persecutions to Judea? Did they not extend through the whole Roman empiret? It is next said, that in the midst of their falling by diverse kinds of deaths they should be holpen with a little help, but that many should cleave to them with flatteries I. This plainly relates to the days of Constantine, when the great help which the Church received in temporals proved unhappily a very little help in spirituals; insomuch, as Bp. Newton observes, " many became christians * for the sake of the loaves and the fishes". Here again, what has the prophecy to do in particular with the land of Fudea? -The third circumstance predicted is, that, while the Church is in this corrupt and secularized state, some of them of understanding, that is to say men of a like spirit with the first mentioned men of understanding or the primitive Christians, should perish like their predecessors in attempting to work a reformation in the now degenerate Church, and that they should continue in a persecuted condition even to the time of tbe end*. The first period brought us down from the promulgation of Christianity to the days of Constantine: and the second brought us down from the days of Constantine to the commencement of the ministry of the second set of men of understanding. "The third period begins, I apprehend, with this ministry, which is the same as the apocalyptic prophesying of the two witnesses; and extends, as the prophet carefully teaches us, to the time of the end, or the close of the 1260 years. But there is one remarkable part of this last period, which I suppose to be peculiarly intended: namely a time when

* From Mr. Whitaker's use of the word assumptions, a person, who had not read my work, would suppose that I take all the four points for granted, whereas much labour is bestowed in attempting to prove them; that is to say, to prove them in the manner in which I state them, fur, with regard to Mr. Whitaker, he has thought proper to state the last two of them quite different from what I had stated them myself. I thought it right to notice this little ruse de guerre, I mean the use of the word assumption; though, in point of argument, it is of no very violent consequence.

I Letter, p. 36, 37.

1. With regard to the first of my positions, I shall pass it over here as Mr. Whitaker has done, inasmuch as we have both already discussed the point very fully. He says indeed, that my restricting the character of the Antichrist or tbe liar to a power tbat denies the Fatber and tbe Son is “ a mere assumption”, and that he has shewn it to be such. I do not think myself, that he has shewn any thing of the kind : however our respedive arguments are before the reader*.

2. My second position is, that Daniel's wilful king was not revealed till lately, and that he is infidel France under whatever form of governmentt.

To this Mr Whitaker first objects, that no power can be intended whose dominion bas not extended over Judea; since from the words of the angel (in Dan. X. 14 ) “ Now I am come to make thee 16 understand what shall befall thy people in the " latter days”, it is evident the prophecy is local. I might satisfy myself with answering, that, even allowing his assumption to be just, the dominion of France has extended over Judéa in the time of the crusades and in the days of Godfrey de Bouillon and his brother Count Baldwin; whence the kings of France styled themselves kings of Jerusalem, as our kings till very lately styled themselves kings of France: and that, unless I be very greatly mistaken in my whole exposition of the prophecy, its dominion will again extend over judéa at the close of the 1260 years, and at the era of the restoration of

* Letter, p. 37. + Letter, p. 38.

Judab,

answers:

Yudab. But I rest not my cause upon any such

I flatly deny the assumption itself. Nothing that the angel says warrants Mr Whitaker's gloss, that “the prophecy is local; which indeed runs directly counter to a considerable part of the prophecy itself. The angel does not say, that he will tell Daniel what shall befall Judea in the latter days, which would doubtless have made the prophecy local; but what shall befall his people. And with this declaration Mr. Whitaker ought to have known that the prediction exactly accords. The scene of the first part of it*, while Daniel's people continued in Judèa, is laid in that country and in the contiguous kingdoms of Syria and Egypt: but, when the mighty arms of the iron republic had planted the abomination of desolation in the temple of Jerusalem, and had scattered Daniel's people over the face of the earth, the scene immediately extends, and the second part of the prophecy has little or nothing to do with Judèa till quite the end of it. And why? So long as Daniel's people continued in Judèa, and were connected with the

* The division obviously takes place at the 31st verse; where accordingly Bp. Newton, with his usual sound judgment divides the chapter. His Lordship remarks on the very passage, upon which Mr. Whitaker has founded his

graiy

iuitous assumption, that “this prophecy contains the fate and “ fortune of the people of God (not of the land of Judea) for many years”. If then it relate to the fortune of the Jews, who are scattered over the whole world, and will at length be gathered back into their own country, what can we think of Mr. Whitaker's assertion, that “it is evident that the prophecy is local?"

It is local indeed; but its stage is, I will not say Judea, I will not say the Roman empire, but perhaps nearly the whole world,

[blocks in formation]

* Dan,. xi. 32, 33.

# Not to mention countries without the limits of the Roman Empire, as Persia,

# Dan, xi. 34,

persons of primitive piety should be placed in a situation exactly resembling that of the primitive Christians. Now from history I had learnt, that no time answers this description with so much exactness as the age of the Reformation: hence I concluded, that the Reformation is peculiarly intended, though

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »