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verba ipsissima, of inspiration, I feel to have greater force than what I was formerly disposed to allow them.

I have thus briefly illustrated some general principles of Theology, which it is necessary to entertain in order to an appreciation of the correctness of our interpretations. I find it however to be still further requisite, before entering on the argument, that I make a few observations, on the Source, the Nature, and the Degree of such evidence as it is proposed to adduce as sufficient for establishing the truth of our system.

I. In the First Place, respecting the Source of this evidence, I observe, that it is to a great extent, though by no means exclusively, derived from the writings of the Old Testament. It indicates great ignorance, to suppose that all our system is built on a chapter or two of the Revelation of the Apostle John. There have been persons who, having made a most infidel attempt to disprove the canonical authority of that book, imagine they have done enough to silence us for ever. No, foolish men, the task you have prescribed yourselves is not so soon finished, if the denial of the inspiration and authenticity of the evidence we bring forward be the forlorn hope of your opposition. Having commenced with the Apocalypse you must cancel largely in the Gospels, the Acts and the Epistles. But particularly, having turned to the Old Testament, there are but few chapters of its Prophecy which you will leave undisfigured by your erasures. Now when they find that it is not the Apocalypse alone, as they at first ignorantly imagined, on which we rest our belief, but that we make an extensive use of the writings of the Old Testament, «What,' they ask in surprise, “have Christians to do with that antiquated volume? It has been entirely superseded by the New. It may be studied at a leisure hour in a way of amusement or antiquarian curiosity, but for valuable instruction it is useless, except it be in arguing with the infidel, to prove that Jesus of Nazareth was predicted of Old. But at his Ascension its prophecy was exhausted; or, at furthest, at Pentecost; or say, the conversion of Cornelius, or perhaps the destruction of Jerusalem; or at some other time which we are sure must have already elapsed; for who can endure the thought of any of the prophecies of the Old Testament remaining to be fulfilled in our own day? Could prophets ever foresee to such a distance? And could an age so philosophic as ours permit a visitation of miracles.' -In opposition to all such derogatory views of the Old Testament, we maintain, that it continues the great Standard Revelation of God's Will to the world; and that the principal light in which the New should be studied is, that it falls into the bosom of the Old to illustrate but a part of it; while the Original Revelation extends and stretches away beyond it, with its more ample testimony concerning the approaching re-erection, and glory of the tabernacle of David.* Let not our opponents say that we run into the extreme of error opposite to theirs, by derogating from the importance of the New Testament. Though we account it a part only of revelation, yet is it the dearest and most interesting to our hearts;-that part of the Old which it especially developes, being the sinner's ransom, the humiliation of his Lord, and the method of justification by faith in His obedience unto death.

II. In the Second Place, respecting the nature of the evidence, I observe, that it consists of the Scriptures interpreted literally, except where a necessity, or clear propriety, is shewn, for departing from this natural course. In the first instance, we deal with the Bible as with any other book of sound instruction. We do not substitute a recondite meaning for one that is obvious. When it appears to declare one thing, we do not receive it as signifying another. For instance, when it mentions Israel and Judah, the Thronef of David, and the Coming of the Son of Man, we receive it as signifying these very things. A stranger to the ways of scholastic theologians would say, all this is surely most rational. But no, say our opponents, such plain dealing with the Word of God is pregnant with mischief. And misapplying and misquoting the Scripture, “the letter killeth,” they affirm, “the Spirit alone giveth life.” They therefore tax their ingenuity in the invention of secret meanings, which, after all, are sometimes far from being spiritual. The Coming of the Son of Man, they allege, does not mean the Coming of the Son of Man by any means, but the Coming of the Romans, or the Coming of Death, or the Coming of any thing which the fancy most conceits, save and except, of the Son of Man himself;—the mention of his name is enough to exclude the thought of Him, when all other things not being mentioned, it is lawful to examine their claims. The Throne of David too, according to this system of interpreting the Scripture by contraries, does not mean David's throne at all; but the human heart, or the throne in Heaven of the Eternal Father. Neither does Jeru

* l have qualified this sentence by using the word principal. In the course of our argument I shall shew that the New Testament coniains many precious intimations of millennial glory. But the greater part of them serve chiefly as notes in the chronology, directing us when to resume the Old Testament, after having laid it down awhile for studying in the New, the intervening scene of humiliation, whether of the Saviour himself, or his church conformed to him in affliction. † A litera non recedendum sine necessitate. Axiomata Critica.

To anticipate an objection, I here remark, that the term Throne, has, in all languages, passed into a literal one, for directly expressing royal dominion.

salem signify Jerusalem, but what in many cases is thousands of miles distant from it, for it signifies the Church.

And as for that carnal notion of Israel and Judah signifying Israel and Judah, we are told we must believe the very opposite, for they principally signify Gentiles.

In different circumstances such a system might require no other exposure, than what is contained in the statement of its perversions. Through long establishment, however, the feeling of its absurdity having been worn away, to such an extent, in fact, as to make figurative interpretation the general rule, and such as is literal, the exception to be proved,* a few strictures on it appear absolutely necessary.

(1.) I remark then, in the first place, that, according to this mode of dealing with the Word of God, it is impossible either to prove any opinion true, or disprove it as erroneous. When, as an orthodox believer, you stand forward to support your doctrine on any point with the Scripture literally interpreted, The letter killeth, you know,' says the adversary, and since you are ever spiritualizing in opposition to millenarians, you cannot consistently refuse me similar liberties in opposing yourself.' For example; these expressions of the Apostle respecting our Lord, coby him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him," are frequently quoted against the Socinian, to prove the derogatory nature of his views of the person of the Son of God, when he inculcates the doctrine of his mere humanity. But give the heretic the use of the principle we oppose: with what force might he not reply to our opponents,-'you say that in prophecy which has not been literally fulfilled, Jerusalem must be spiritualized as signifying the Church; and Israel and Judah as signifying different classes of the members of that Church; and is not my authority equally good for spiritualizing the "all things" said to have been created by Jesus of Nazareth, as signifying the Christian dispensation of which he is the original prophet; and the "thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, as sig. nifying the various office-bearers of the Church, such as the preachers, elders, deacons, &c. whom, in his prophetical wisdom, he has appointed for its administration?'—Or, again, when these words of the Saviour, “I came down from heaven," are urged as proof of his pre-incarnate glory, how could our opponents resist the force of the rejoinder?--'it is not nearly so fantastical for me to explain this by a reference to the miraculous mission of the inspired prophet, as it is for

* Whereas to all candid critics the true state of the matter will on reflection appear to be, that it is our opponents on whom the burden of proof lies, to shew the necessity for departing from the literal meaning; and not on us, to shew the necessity for abiding by it; though in the greater number of instances we are not unwilling gratuitously to undertake the task.


to say, that "the Coming of the Son of Man in the clouds of Heaven," is figurative phraseology for expressing the Coming of the Romans?' Besides, when all parties might be agreed that the oracle is to be spiritualized, or interpreted figuratively, By what standard is the proper interpretation to be determined? The Socinian spiritualizes one way; the Calvinist, another; the Quaker, a third; the Swedenborgian, a fourth; and many others, a fifth, and a sixth, &c. Who, or what, is to be made the arbiter? It cannot be some other declaration of Scripture parallel to the particular one under discussion; for that other is subject to be spiritualized also, according to each one's fancy and caprice. You may turn any thing into a Bible on this principle. You may spiritualize Goldsmith's History of England, and make it the text book of a System of Theology.

(2.) I therefore remark, in the second place, that, in every other controversy with professed Christians of deficient or erroneous creed, -with Socinians, with Universalists, &c.the appeal is made to the Scripture interpreted literally. Recondite meanings are disowned and disallowed, and the stand is taken on the grammatical signification of the terms. And why, we remonstrate, do so many make a change of principle whenever they approach the millennial question? Wherefore is every regular canon of interpretation for a time suspended, that they may secure the demolition of our hopes? What is there in these hopes so wicked, that all this misrepresentation, and perverted scholarship, is legalised in the attempt to refute them? Whence this shew of favour for the Mohammedan usurper, as if he were some ancient ally of the Christian; and this abhorrence of the thought, that the wandering and homeless Jew should regain the land of his fathers, as if Abraham were held at enmity? Is the royalty of the Church to be deprecated as a despotism? Is the speedy Resurrection of the Saints to be deprecated as an evil? . Is it a matter of holy propriety that the disciple should deprecate the speedy Advent of his Lord?-Ah! I cannot help suspecting that there is something dangerously wrong with the heart, wherever these expectations are opposed with sneers, or with attenuated, artificial, fallacious, reasoning. Were the Church as a Bride faithful in her love, she would rather treat with indulgence the report of the speedy return of her Betrothed; than bend her whole strength to the proof, that it is a long journey on which the Bridegroom has departed.* (3.) I remark, in the third place, that, when it is to the

* See Prov. vii. 19. which admits of being searchingly spiritualized.

literal acceptation our opponents refer in disputing with the heretic, more strictly, if possible, is this their method in dealing with the infidel, and especially on this very field. No department of the external evidence of the divine inspiration of the Scriptures affords so much of cogent argument as that of prophecy fulfilled. Well, is it a figurative fulfilment with the exhibition of which we would persuade the infidel, and if he will not be persuaded, the testimony of which we leave with him for his curse? He would scorn us if it were. If the prediction declared that Jerusalem should be destroyed; we point him to the literal ruins of the literal Jerusalem. If it declared that Israel should be dispersed, yet not consumed; we point him to the literal dispersion of the literal Israel, when, as a people of unmingled blood, they mingle in the merchandise of the markets of the Gentiles. * When in the same oracle, then, it may be predicted, that Jerusalem shall be rebuilt, and Israel restored, let the roughest or nicest consistency judge of that interpretation in which it is maintained, that the rebuilding and restoration are to be spiritualized, and appropriated for the Church.t How preposterous is the principle, that all prophecy hitherto fulfilled is to be interpreted literally, but that all awaiting fulfilment is to be interpreted figuratively! Have we not reason for suspecting that there is a spirit of unbelief at the bottom of all this?" as if they doubted, were a literal interpretation insisted on, that the fulfilment would ever be made, and they be exposed for their credulity to the laugh of the scorner. Whereas out of any thing, at any time, they can shape a spiritual fulfilment; although it should be a revival of religion in America, which they construct into the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem; or the conversion of a few Hottentots and New Zealanders, in which they discover the restoration of the tribes of Judah and Ephraim.

Having made these explanations, it may now be asked, Do we entirely reject all figurative interpretation, except where the necessity of the case demands it? So far from this is our conduct removed, that there is no class of expounders given so largely to typifying and spiritualizing. It is not because the opposite party do so much in this way that we find fault with them; but because they do so little in the other way. We conjoin the two. We have the advantage of all their spiritual interpretation, and of a literal in addition. We begin with the

* Where the study of Bishop Newton's Dissertations may be considered a task too laborious, the work of the Rev. A. Keith will afford a supply of interesting proof, of the literal manner in which prophecy has hitherto been fulfilled. See also Mr. Begg's admirable Tract on the subject.

+ Besides, what are we to understand by the rebuilding of the Spiritual Church? Was it ever demolished? Mat. xvi. 18.

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