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it on its own account and for their own souls, and then in pure benevolence desiring to impart it to others. In process of time each of these movements became corrupted by the admixture of baser ingredients, which is only another motive with all who love truth, and desire that justice should be done to the first founders, for desiring to keep their reputation unsullied by the baser alloy which inferior characters occupying their places have now for the most part associated with their names. The man who thus separates the precious from the vile renders an acceptable service, not only to history, but also to Christianity and Godliness,

Art. IX.-Lectures on the Apocalypse, Critical, Expository,

and Practical : delivered before the University of Cambridge ; being the Hulsean Lectures for the Year 1848. By Chr. WORDSWORTH, D.D., Canon of Westminster, &c, Second Edition. London,

ONE of the most remarkable proofs that the present age of theology is with all its faults an improving one, may, we think, be found in the increased attention which has been given of late years to the study of the Apocalypse. “ Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy," are part of a prophecy now apparently listened to with more attention than at any period since the Reformation. It may, perhaps, seem a strange fact that a Church which must have felt itself strongly supported in its infant struggles with Popery by this divine book, and owed to it something of the maturer zeal against Babylon which animated its early martyrs and defenders, should have apparently slighted this obligation afterwards by making so little use of it in her services. Six only out of its twenty-two chapters are used at all; and only one of them--that for Trinity Sunday-is properly adopted as part of a Lord's-day service, In the daily service of the Church, the Apocalypse is entirely excluded from taking its turn as all the other books of the Bible do, and is read only on four Saints'-days, and the Sunday to which we have alluded, throughout the year in this respect, not receiving the same honour as the greater part of the Apocrypha. This apparently disrespectful treatment of the “ Re. velation of John the Divine

may, we feel confident, be accounted for, without supposing any ingratitude on the part of our reformers, or any forgetfulness of the high claims of this sacred book to the attention of the Church in all times. The fact, we believe, is an incontrovertible one, that the compilers of the liturgy of the Church of England, in every particular connected with the order of her services, carefully avoided anything which might irritate the feelings of the Romanists, and thus render the gulph of separation wider or more impassable. The few chapters from the Apocalypse which are found in the Roman missal were the only ones thus incorporated in our Prayer Book. To have added many more-especially some of those which were held by Protestants as most significant in their favour--or to have ordered the reading of this book in the daily service in its turn, would have been deemed an innovation purposely intended to aim at Rome. Whether at this eventful period we are not reaping some of the fruits of this expediency, as a nation, may be a question which we shall not discuss; but, no doubt we think can exist on the reasonableness of restoring, as soon as may be, to the same rank in our daily service as the other books of the New and Old Testament possess, the Book of Revelation.

Looking forward to such an event as one which may not be entirely hopeless, as well as to other improvements which must sooner or later be made in our services, we cannot but think that it will tend greatly to promote the general welfare of the Protestant Church in these realms if those who bear office therein can by any means be brought to a more substantial agreement on the interpretation of a book admitted to be a part of our canonical Scriptures. To entertain, indeed, the idea that unanimous agreement may be the result of an increasing spirit of enquiry, directed to this part of the divine code of prophecy, would be, we fear, but a visionary hope ; but, surely, it is not too much to expect that the Protestant clergy of our land should concur at least in some of the general principles to be adopted in interpreting this book and not differ to any great extent as to the main subjects of which it treats : otherwise, we apprehend, it must still remain in the eyes of the majority of Christians but a mere terra incognita-or "dream-land," as some of our writers have irreverently termed it. We trust the day is already arrived when the students of the Apocalypse and its expositors will no longer be open to such unlicensed profanity as that which South indulged in by observing that “this book either finds a man mad, or makes him so." So many writers of exalted genius and piety have already agreed as to the great truths lere unfolded that it seems to us a reproach to the common sense and the common cause of Protestantism that there should be any divines yet left among us who regard it as a prophecy whose seals have all long since been opened-whose trumpets have all

during the past ages sounded their full blasts of woe-and whose vials have already exhausted their plagues upon guilty nations. Happily, for the honour of our Church and for the honour of the divine book itself, the number of such interpreters is but few; and we feel confident that, wherever this notion now exists, it will be found confined to certain eccentric spirits too much in love with the gratification of being singular, or too much biassed in favour of antiquity and of the pretensions of Papal Rome to be considered as sound interpreters or sound Protestants.

The great luminaries of the Church within the last two centuries have done enough by their writings to set us right on this point at least; and the names of Sir Isaac Newton, Mede, Vitringa, Bishop Newton, and a host of others, are sufficient authorities to give us an assurance that the Apocalypse is something better than an old almanac. In full accordance with what we might reasonably expect in the last prophecy of the Bible, they have also agreed that this book is in general a symbolical history of the Church to the end of time; and that one of the chief purposes for which it was written must have been to describe that great corruption of true religion which has embodied itself in the Papacy. More particularly they have determined, concerning the details of this wonderful Revelation, that the purport of it is to this effect generally:

“ That the true faith should either be directly persecuted or remain in a narrow and depressed state during the whole human government of the earth; that it should, notwithstanding, be sustained ; that its oppressors should be punished from time to time, until their final extinction, by a consunimate act of the divine power and justice; and that the Churclı, the body of the faithful of all nations, should thenceforth enjoy a splendid and miraculous prosperity for a long yet limited period, closing with the general resurrection"-(Dr. Croly : Preface to the Apocalypse").

This summary-which we have given in the words of one of the most eloquent expositors of the Apocalypse as embodying the views substantially of many of our writers and commentators-embraces, however, a doctrine upon which much difference of opinion still subsists. Another of the metropolitan clergy whose name deservedly stands high as a scholar and a divine, and whose “ Lectures” on the Apocalypse must be in many hands, as his work in 1819 reached a second edition, undertakes to combat, with an unmeasured degree of hostility, this doctrine of a Millennium. Dr. Wordsworth has done much good service to the cause of truth by his clear demonstration that the Babylon of the Apocalypse is none other than the Church of Rome, and his work would be a valuable one were it only on this account, We could not but rejoice to see this part of his " Lectures published in the form of a separate essay, as it might thus fall into the hands of many persons who would never be likely to read the original work from which it is compiled. As the volume of “ Lectures” must, however, be read, though not so extensively perhaps as the essay, it is the more to be regretted that he should have weakened the force of his arguments in the latter part of his volume by the line of controversy through which he leads his readers at the commencement. This argument---(though we fully believe it well meant)---so far from strengthening the evidence in favour of the Apocalypse, by removing the great difficulty (as he imagines) which at first hindered its reception, is throughout an entire failure. It labours also under the disadvantage of being what the logicians call a Őotepov trpótepov. Surely, if the argument against a Millennium came in anywhere, it should come in at the end of this volume, not at the beginning, where it looks most sadly out of place. It is an unfortunate excrescence standing in a part of the book which, if it were cut away, would, we venture to affirm, improve the vitality, vigour, and beauty of the whole system of its interpretation, which is now grievously endangered by this unsightly appendage. The doctrine, as Dr. Wordsworth admits, if true, is an important one, and he assails it with an energy that betrays his apprehension of its having obtained a strong footing in the minds of many members of the Church. The interests of truth are too sacred to be overlooked for

any considerations connected with the position of an individual. We, therefore, consider it as of more importance to analyze the arguments of such a man on such a subject, feeling assured that, if he is in error, his errors are so much the more dangerous. We are also not unmindful that, while there is an awful penalty denounced against those who add to the words of this closing book of the divine oracles (Rev. xxii. 18-19), we

are also warned in equally strong language against “ taking away from the words of this prophecy."

Such considerations, which impose upon us the solemn duty of endeavouring to ascertain the truth' here for ourselves, and to assist others in doing it, have led us to devote our attention in this article to a close but eandid examination of the arguments adduced by Dr. Wordsworth against a Millennium, as well as to explain our own views of the position in which he has placed himself by his rejection of this doctrine.

Dr. Wordsworth's leading argument, that the Apocalypse began to decline in repute from the period when millenarian doctrines were first broached, cannot, we think, be sustained. The earliest father who alluded to this doctrine was Papias, " the companion of Polycarp and the scholar of St. John." This was at the beginning of the second century. In the third lived Dionysius of Alexandria, of the school of Origen, of whom we are told that “he (Origen) combated these doctrines which had spread themselves widely in Africa. He summoned the clergy of his diocese to a conference, and the principal champion of millenarianism among the rest ingenuously retracted his opinions, and acknowledged that they had no foundation in the word of God. The expositions of St. Augustine and St, Jerome, in the fourth century, clearly prove that these tenets were then extensively diffused in the Christian Church." We gather therefore that, thus far, there is no evidence of the fact that the doctrine in question had at all affected the respect in which the Apocalypse was held by a large body of Christians, It had, however, by this time become mixed up with so many fables, and altogether so grossly distorted, that it was rejected by the fathers alluded to on that account, as may be seen from St. Augustine's exposition of the subject in his - City of God.”

This is a sufficient reply to the assertion that the belief of this doctrine weakened the authority of the divine book in which it was supposed to be contained. Neither was the general consent of the more distinguished fathers in this and the following centuries of much weight on subjects of a speculative nature. It is well known that at this period their views were erroneous on many points connected with the doctrines of Scripture.

66 The mystery of iniquity” was already busily at work, and the growth of superstition was apparent in the rise of monasticism, and a number of other depraved notions which were equally absurd as the dreams of the Chiliasts. As to St. Jerome, it would be easy to show that his judgment is not always to be depended on as an interpreter of Scripture, “ His knowledge of theology (says Milner) was contracted and low, and he contributed more than any other person of antiquity to the growth of superstition.” As to St. Augustine, great as he undoubtedly was, his controversy with Pelagius, and his extravagant views on the doctrine of predestination-a subject which has done the world and the Church far more harm than millenarianism ever did-must lead us to withhold our consent from being too strongly biased by the sentence of this father against a doctrine which he first received and then rejected from a false view of its true meaning. Will D:. Wordsworth agree to follow the footsteps of these fathers whom he cites as his chief authority against a Millennium wherever they may lead him? Let him weigh well the opinions

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