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keep bis ideas distinct, he is unfit to study God's works of revelation, which are as complex, intricate and ingenious as his works of creation. Now my intercalary link, wbich is as important to the chronology as the solution of the name of the Beast is to the historical application of the prophecies, eternally fixes the hitherto fluctuating state of the dates, having the date of the crucifixion of our Lord for its sheet-anchor.
I must also add something with regard to the Nature of the Proof of the verification of the Chronological Prophecies. The method of treating Chronological Prophecy is this : 1st, to obtain a precise knowledge of the language, whether it be literal or metaphorical, or symbolical, or whether it be composed of two of these forms of expression or all ; 2ndly, if it be symbolical, to get an accurate knowledge of the precise import of each symbol either from data furnished by prophecy, or from the general usage of the language in which prophecy is written, or from the conventional import of language in all tongues, independently of any historic or particular application ; 3rdly, to discover the structure of the prophecies, whether they be written in one uninterrupted chronological series, or whether they are made up of many fasciculi relating to the same period or periods, i.e. are broken up into different symbolical views of the same period or periods, and this must be done from the internal evidence; 4thly, to ascertain the subject, to which particular class of events the prophecies relate, whether to civil or ecclesiastical events, to doctrine or to discipline in church or state, whether to portions of these particulars, or the whole of them ; 5thly, to search out the design; whether they relate to the reformation or propagation of particular things, principles or opinions, whether to one or to both of these things; 6thly, to investigate the use of them, whether they are written for the confirmation of the truth of Christianity, for doctrine, reproof, correction, encouragement, consolation, incitement, warning, as a guide or as an amusing instructor, whether for one, or a portion, or all of these things. When all these things are satisfactorily settled, then the proof of the historic applicacation will depend entirely upon its accordance with them. Those who interpret the language according to their own views, the symbols according to their own fancy, the structure according to the lawlessness of their own exuberant learning and desire of striking out a new path, the subject
according to their own faction, the design according to their own wishes, and the use according to their own feelings, may as well shut up the book at once, and think no more about it. But the proof of the historic application is one thing, and the proof for the language, symbols, structure, subject, design and use, got from the internal evidence is another. The latter, I may say, is all obtained by inference, and strictly speaking, can never amount to the nature of a direct proof. As therefore the ground-work cannot be proved, the historic application cannot. It can only be inferred. And this inferential sort of evidence was never designed for dishonest minds, for men who do not wish to see the truth, and therefore can work conviction only in a particular class. It is a part of our Lord's trial of the heart to give it room for rebellion, to give it umbrage for non-conviction. “ You cannot prove it,” has been said by others than infidels ; it has been said by professors of religion, by established churchmen, with regard to some things which they do not wish to see and which form a part of the subject and the design of prophecy. This taunt may serve their purpose now; but true is the statement of Scripture with regard to the conviction derived from inference : none of the wicked, the dishonest, shall understand, but the wise, those who are desirous of knowing what the will of the Lord is, shall understand: so that conviction in the case of prophecy, and indeed of scripture in general, was never designed to be a mathematical one, but to be a probationary one, such as where the mind could not assent without the heart. Dan. xii. 10. But I agree with Lord Bacon that “ The HARMONY of a science, supporting each part the other, is, and ought to be, the true and brief confutation and suppression of all the smaller sorts of objections.”
Since writing the above I have discovered that a Hulsean Prize Essayist for 1829, under the sanction of the Master of Trinity College, Dr. Wordsworth, bas been taking me to task, for entertaining “ the strange notion,” as he calls it, that “ before Christ came the souls of men perished with their bodies ;'' and he wishes to insinuate that I have misunderstood an otherwise “ important
passage," Psalm cxlvi. 4, by which I have attempted to support that strange notion. But I think that the misunderstanding is all on his side. He says, “ David is contrasting the safety of him who trusts in man with that of hini who trusts in God. The power and faithfulness of God are so great, that he “ execuleth julgment for the oppressed ;” but in princes and in the son of man there is no help! " his breath goeth forth, he returnetb to his eartb ; in that day his thoughts perish,” (ver. 4.) that is, bis plan and counsels, by which any who trusted in him might be benefitted are brought to nothing by death." Here the Hulsean is quite out. The Psalmist is not contrasting the safety of bim who trusts in man with that of him who trusts in God;” but he is contrasting the sense of him who ascribes the carrying on of the connected plans of Providence to the proper cause with the ignorance of bim who ascribes all things to princes and the son of man, the mere agents of Jehovah, who are incapable of following up any long continued plan, as their thoughts do not survive their bodies to superintend any, hut their “breath goeth forth, they return to their earth, in that very day their thoughts perish;" while Jehovab, who created the heavens and the earih, and whose truth endures for ever, whose purposes are necessarily imperishable, is alone worthy of having confidence reposed in him, and of having "salvation" ascribed to him. The Hulsean, I suppose, imagines that when Jehovah “executes judgment," he always does so by a miraculous intervention and not by man; and I suppose he imagines that death always breaks off the plans and counsels of princes and other men, " by which they who trusted in them might be benefitted." But here the Hulsean was caught by the surface. He did not go deep enough. The Psalmist never meant to talk such nonsense as the Halsean would have him Instead of meaning that the plans of princes were broken off by death, he meant to say that they were not broken off, but were continued and brought to a conclusion afterwards, though not hy the princes with whom they were begun, because their thoughts perished with them, their souls, their consciousness died with their bodies; but by Jehovah wlo ever lived to overrule the thoughts of their successors to carry the plans on. The Hulsean imagines that David wrote the Psalm; but the fact is, that it is ascribed by the Alexandrians to Zechariah and Haggai, and very properly. For they are here celebrating the truth of Jehovah, who, through the princes Cyrus and Darius, after some interruption from the intervening monarchs Cambyses and Smerdis, at length fulfilled bis gracious promises with regard to the building of the second temple, ascribing the whole conduct of the plan to Him, and not to those princes who were no gods, hut mere mortal beings, and underwent a complete dissolution of all their parts, “ body, soul, and spirit,” i.e. body, life, and mind, at their death. But this is not the only specimen of the Hulsean's superficial reading, and his “reverend and learned" doctor's want ot discernment. After settling me, as he thinks, he undertakes to quash a head of the colleges of the sister-university.” And this it might be thought he would easily bave done ; after he had so easily cajoled the Heads of his own University to induce them to risk their characters in such hands as his. But here is again the betrayal of the same flimsy reasoning as marks other parts of the
Essay. With regard to the Oxonian properly insisting that “life and immortality were brought to ligbt by the gospel,” according to the Scriptures, i Timn. i. 10, the Hulsean very triumpbantly cries out, as if he had found out something new; that Owricw does not so strictly signify" to bring to light,” as ' ro throw ligl.t upon.” Wonderful! As if it mattered to a thing wbich lies in darkness whether the thing was brought to the light or the light brought to it. But here he was caught by the peculiar turn of his own English pbrase, which exceeds the meaning of the original, at the same time that it flies farthest from the sense of it, and the authorized version is the best of the two. For when it is said that Christ“ abolished death and brought immortal life to light by the gospel,” he must have brought it not merely to light but into existence. And this is the true meaning ? For what matters it what the generality of the Jews believed before Christ's coming ? They knew nothing about the soul's in niortality; anıl what they believed was false. And that select few who did know any thing about it, who.“ suw the promises and were persuaded of them, and embraced them,” yet saw their accomplishment afar off;" for they received theni not;" they did not possess immortal site, but died both bor!y and soul together, “ibat they without us should not be made perfect.” Heb. xi. 13, 39, 40. But the Hulsean confounds belief and “ knowledge together, as if they were the same thing. And this is the true reason why the inspired writers of the Old Testament give such a replorable account of death, and “no mention of futurity is made when the deaths of the faithful are recorded.”. They saw the promises “afar off,” and therefore they were too much at a distance for them to say much about them. The Hulsean attempts to account for it, inconsistently enough, by saying, they were “shut up unto the faith to be revealed,” after be wished us to believe, that they all lived and died in a firin conviction that they should live alter death;” i. e. that their souls were immortal. But the Hulsean, and “bis reverend and learned doctor, I would advise attentively to consider what the Apostle meant when he said, “ Before faith came we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith, which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” If the “ reverend and learned” doctor wonld look at Gal. iii, and iv. he would find that St. Paul alluded to the law. established church of the Jews shut up by by its narrow and illiberal spirit, and well bolted and barred by the pains and penalties of the Mosaic civil birch ; not built upon the faith of its members and a willing spirit, but supported by tithes wrung from all sects, whether they had faith or not in it. The Jews were not justified by faith but by an outward compliance. The doctor will, no doubt, justify all those who pay tithes to his Jewish church, in the same manner.
The Hulsean is continually charging me with unfairness. I shall not charge him with unfairness but something worse, He tells us that Solomon is giving an account of the infidel opinions” that he once entertained during his apostacy, when he
“ that all things are alike to all: there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked: to the good and to the unclean : to
him that sacrificeth and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner : and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath. This is an evil among all things that are under the sun, that there is one event unto all.” Infidel opinions ! A new definition of infidelity, that a man should say that it was an evil that all men die, whether good or bad. Is it not true then ? A pretty specimen of an infidel opinion it is, for Solomon to say, that all things are in the hand of Goil, and no one knows what good or evil lays before him in any thing except one thing, which is an evil, that all must die! Eccl. ix. 1, 2, 3. But the Hulsean is shocked at the wiseman, that though he mentioned the certainty of death, he left out the certainty of the quarter-day, For says he, “When Solomon bad brought his conscience to such a pitch of disbelief in God's moral government, we are not surprised to find him indulging in the sentiment that “the dead knew not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten, (ver. 5, forgotten by the Most High, as well as upon earth.” Pretty fellow this Solomon then! Surely if he had lived in England a little wbile ago, he would have been clapt in gaol for seven years for giving vent to his infidel opinions. One of the German liberal school, no doubt. Perhaps a scion of Carlile’s. But the Hulsean knows nothing about the matter. Solomon did not deny a retribution ; but he living under the law, when retribution was administered in temporal rewards and punishments, and seeing that the other promises, the eternal, were “afar off," at a distance he knew not how great; be contines himself, as a wise magistrate, to the inculcation of those wbich his laws taught, viz. the present. And therefore he does not deny that men have a reward, but that they have no more a reward upon their death. And thus he says, « Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy night; for there is no work, nor device, nor koowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest ;" for “ God now accepteth thy works.” (viii. 10, 7.) And thus he advises man to“ remember bis Creator in the days of his youth while the evil days come not,” for “if a man live many years and rejoice in them all,” i. e. in the best part of them; “ him remember the days of darkness ; for they shall be many;" And thuis cautions he, Rejoice, ()'young man, in thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart and in the sight of thine eyes : but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment." Eccl. xii. l; xi, 8, 9. For Solomon, though the Hulsean cannot, can reconcile a judgment of the rigbteous and the wicked, with no“ more” retribution upon their death. For says he, in the same breath, “I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time THERE,” 1. e. under the sun, upon earth, “ for every purpose and for every work. I said in my heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that they might clear God and see that they themselves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts ; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath: so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go into one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man, as to its ascending upward, or the spirit of