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could stand round him without dismay when he preached the Law in all its spiritual extent; but at this period the voice uttered was so physically dreadful—so full of the awful majesty of God—that the people withdrew to a distance, and entreated that they might hear it no more. The circumstance of Moses not being interposed when the Law was announced, constituted rather one of the intentional severities of the dispensation. The Decalogue was published by a voice immediately from heaven, not like the rest of the laws which were given, in a more tolerable manner, by Moses as internuncius. Now, the Decalogue being the very heaviest part of the revelation, there was the most need (had comfort been intended under the economy) that it should have been announced in a mild and gentle manner.

The Law of ten commandments was revealed from Sinai, not alone, but in connection with the Ceremonial Law, which figuratively exhibited the grace of Christ and of the Spirit. Upon examination we shall arrive here at the same mixed result. Being conjoined with this figurative exhibition of grace, we cannot suppose it to have sustained the same character as it did in the covenant of works. But the comparative unsatisfactoriness remains. Not to mention the rigid preceptive form in which the ceremonies were delivered-being themselves a law of commandments, and of very burdensome commandments—let us take a view of the Decalogue and the Ceremonial Law as they stood relatively to each other. The very priority of announcement gave an uncomfortable prominence to the Decalogue. The New Testament order of statement was reversed. Our privileges are fully set before us, and then our duties are enjoined. Here the commandment was first thundered forth with a voice of awful authority, and then the graceexhibited. We are aware that the Decalogue was given from Sinai, not only as a rule of life, but for conviction of sin; and it may be objected that, viewed under this character, it was exhibited in the same order which must be observed still in the christian church. But this suggests another point in which the dispensation was imperfect. The figurative exhibition of the grace, in the Ceremonial Law, was not sufficiently counterbalancing to the strong and unequivocal discovery of sin by the Decalogue. Christ did not look out so broadly from among the figures as to comfort the worshippers fully under the formidable display of rectoral justice. They could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is now olished-this end being Christ; and no wonder that they felt unsatisfied with an economy in which the Law had such a powerful comparative prominency. The apostle tells us—The Law entered that sin might abound;' he speaks of the Law of Moses generally, but so as to include the Moral Law, which was so exhibited under that dispensation as powerfully to promote this design of God, that 'sin might abound. Of course, the sense of sin is meant, but not exactly such a sense of sin as is desirable with us; we are to understand a sense of sin which led them to look forward with desire for another economy, and which sprung therefore from causes connected with the economy then existing, especially the undue pressure which the Decalogue exerted upon the system.

Various external phenomena accompanied the publication of the Lawthe fire which burned to the midst of heaven, the blackness, darkness, tempest, &c. We would not say that the direct end of these was to inspire terror or slavish fear. Moses said to the people, in reference to them, 'Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your eyes, that ye sin not.' If reverential fear was to be produced, it consisted with the genius of the dispensation that it should be inspired by outward sensible signs, significant of the majesty of Jehovah; and in reference to this the apostle enjoins us to worship with reverence, 'for our God is a consuming fire.' But, taken in connection with other circumstances, these phenomena certainly tended to make the announcement of the Law more formidable; the effect which they actually produced upon the people confirms this, as well as the language of the apostle in the contrast which he draws between their situation and curs in the twelfth chapter of his epistle to the Hebrews: 'Ye are not come unto the mount,' &c. But upon this point, and the manner in which the curse of the Law was brought under the notice of the people, we shall not enlarge, conscious that the facts which have been already brought forward are sufficient to form the basis of a sound conclusion regarding the nature of the manifestation of the Law from Sinai.

The ends intended by it, in that economy, being complex, it would be unsafe to assert, either, on the one hand, that it amounted exclusively to a re-exhibition of the covenant of works, or, on the other, that it was made known simply as a rule of life. The church being, at this period, in its intermediate state, the Law, as we have hinted already, presented an unprecedented appearance, in its midway passage from the awful position which it had occupied in the violated covenant of works, to that position in which it presently stands. Unsatisfied with the mere ceremony, even of a divine atonement, it still lowered, with a threatening aspect, upon the worshippers. There was not strength in the economy to dislodge it from a certain uncomfortable prominency; and though its dominion, as to covenant claim, was essentially subverted, it was allowed to exercise a little brief authority until, upon Christ's advent, it should be divested of it for ever. The haughty tyrant, which once bad power to bind his victims over to everlasting condemnation, was glad to obtain, in this economy, the powers of a schoolmaster, and distress the infant church of God with a temporary bondage. Under our dispensation, the Law holds a very different place it is no longer a ministry of condemnation, but the royal Law of liberty. As a rule of life, it is enforced by more powerful sanctions than issued from the mount that might be touched ; and the obedience which could not be secured by the strong wind, the earthquake, and fire of Sinai, comes forth at the still small voice of the gospel, in which the Lord himself is present.


UNITED PRESBYTERIAN. United Presbyterian. I should like to have our conversation this evening directed to some other subject than theology. When too continuously directed to one subject, the mind becomes languid.

Original Seceder. The mind, in this respect, resembles her material partner. The body requires a variety of food to maintain it in a healthy state ; and experiment has proved, that when it is restricted to one kind of fare, even though that be in itself of the most nutritious kind, atrophy and emaciation, and even death, are the consequence.

United Pres. And variety, I suppose you mean to assert, is no less indispensable to the nourishment of the mind? Why, then, should we not vary our subject of discussion ? By confining ourselves so exclusively to that, we have lost the opportunity of speaking together on other subjects of not less interest and importance.

Orig. Sec. To what do you refer?

United Pres. I refer to the astonishing events that are taking place around us—to the critical state of our own country—to the catastrophe that has befallen continental despotism--to the knell of the Papacy resounding through the universe. The old world, to which we have been accustomed, seems to be waning like a moon in its last quarter, and about to vanish altogether from our view. Surely such events are not unworthy of notice ?

Orig. Sec. Far be it from me to think otherwise. The earthwhether viewed in relation to the word of prophecy, or more particularly in relation to the fortunes of the Papacy, and to the future prospects of the human race-is in a state which even angels may be conceived as contemplating with the most fixed attention, and with the liveliest feelings of expectation ; and surely it deserves our most diligent and reverential study.

United Pres. The minds of men are evidently very strongly turned in that direction at present, if we may judge from the amount that has been written on the subject of prophecy, and especially on the book of Revelation, since the commencement of the Revolution. Premillenialists, and Anti-Premillenialists, have been sending forth their productions in swarins; in large volumes, and small volumes; in double volumes, and penny tracts. Every new movement seems to bring along with it a prophet of its own to point out and vindicate its place in the apocalyptic calendar. The disruption of the Church of Scotland has been identified with the slaughter of the witnesses, with as perfect seriousness, and as much force of argument, we have no doubt, as those by which Reaves and Muggleton identified themselves with the same parties ; and the German Emperor, and the Red Republicans, with many others, have had ample justice done to their merits. We have not only our annual prophets: like them of old, we have our *monthly prognosticators,' who, if they do not prophesy for the coming month, can most confidently bring up the fulfilment of prophecy to the last day of the month that is past.

Orig. Sec. I should not wonder if, by the close of the current year, some one shall be found advertising a Prophetic Almanac, which is to give a full, true, and particular account, of the wonderful occurrences that are to take place, during the incoming year, of 1850.

United Pres. The enthusiasm of prophetical interpretation is a most infectious disease, and one that is very prejudical to the strength and soundness of the intellect. Under its influence strong minds have been frenzied; minds of an inferior grade have been dissolved, as water is by fire, into vapour, that dissipates itself in every variety of shadowy and fantastic form; minds of the fanciful order are rendered incapable of distinguishing between visions and realities; while persons of inventive genius, on a very short notice, can replenish the whole of futurity with the progeny of their own creation, and be as serious while doing so, as if they were reading from the pages of authentic history, or the account of the origin of the Red Indians, that is given in the book of Mormon.'

Orig. Sec. After the numbers of mighty men who, in past ages, have damaged their own reputation, and brought the study of the prophetic word into disrepute through the hastiness and over-confidence of their speculations, it is melancholy to think what multitudes, in all periods of excitement, are prepared to follow in the same reckless tract. Whenever you hear of any great tempest in the world, be certain your will soon afterwards hear of some new shipwrecks, on the dangerous coast of prophetical enthusiasm. Caution and circumspection, are so rare in this department of literature, that it is quite refreshing to fall in with an expositor of prophecy, who shows that he has the faith to hesitate, and the courage to express his doubts.

United Pres. What, then, do you conceive to be the greatest defects in the current modes of expounding prophecy ?

Orig. Sec. These are twofold, and of opposite kinds. The first, and the most offensive, is that domineering, dictatorial, and oracular manner, which is positive and obstinate, where it should be humble and candid, and resents, if not with the same weapons, at least in the same spirit as a man of the world would a personal insult, every attempt to impugn the conclusions at which they have arrived. There has been far too much of this among the interpreters of prophecy. But there is another very deficient mode which has come into vogue, chiefly during the last ten years: a light and volatile manner of exposition, that skips, and gambols, and frisks amid the difficulties of the prophetical volume, and after chattering a few plausibilities, hies away and leaves the difficulty altogether untouched. This prevails very much among the adherents of premillenialism, and its aberrant type, by which it is brought into very near contact with nonentity, may be found in those penny-worths and threehalfpenny-worths of prophecy, which so frequently make their appearance.

United Pres. There is evidently a great deal of literary ability in many of the works that have made their appearance, and Elliot's Horae Apocalypticae, is undoubtedly a very learned and masterly work.

Orig. Sec. The literature of several of the works which we have seen is certainly very creditable. The artistical skill, the fascinating

style, the elevated sentiments, the fine moral and religious spirit which breathes so eloquently in every page of “The Seventh Vial,' one of the recent works on the book of Revelation, which was put forth anonymously, invest it with such a charm, that if the expository power, displayed in it, had been in any good degree proportioned to its literary merit, it would certainly have been no

ordinary production. But its principal merits, in our estimation, are artistical. It has too much description, and too little exposition; too much of dramatic exhibition, and too little of that calm deduction, and searching analysis, by which alone the merits of works of this kind must be determined. We see the building to be beautiful at a distance, but on a closer inspection, the mortar, by which the stones are cemented, is found to be not always well-tempered, and the tastefulness of the structure is seen to be much greater than the strength of the foundations. In regard to Elliot, his merits, in our opinion, have been greatly over-estimated. His work is one of great research, rather than a learned work. It is ingenious rather than solid, acute rather than comprehensive, and displays much more diligence in the collection of materials than of justness of mind in their appreciation and use. It is the work of a special pleader, whose whole resources are exhausted in endeavouring to make his case appear good, rather than of a judge, whose only clients are truth and justice, and who calmly sifts the evidence to see where their interests lie. With all its ability, it is deficient in genuine, sound, wellprincipled exposition, and affords many specimens of perverted taste, the pernicious influence of which, in seducing others, will likely be proportioned to its ability and success.

United Pres. Many of his theories are exceedingly plausible.

Orig. Sec. Plausible they may be, and yet be of very little value. In the interpretation of scripture, as well as in experimental philosophy, the family of the Plausibles have somewhat of the same standing as their namesake, in the immortal allegory. Plausible never got through the Slough of Despond, and all his descendants will be found to come out at the same side of every difficulty, whether speculative or practical, as that by which they entered. The · Amber Witch' is so plausible a performance that it is said to have imposed upon some of the learned professors of Germany, who pronounced it to be an authentic history; and the account of Alladdin and his Lamp' is exceedingly plausible to those who think merely of the story, and allow themselves to be borne along by its current; and some of Elliot's fancies have as little foundation, and far less verisimilitude than these.

United Pres. This is surely too strong. An example of one such thing as that would have altogether damaged his reputation. Can you refer to a particular case illustrative of this statement ?

Orig. Sec. For example, his theory about the defiling and cleansing of the temple, of which we have an account in the eighth chapter of Daniel. The idea which has usually been entertained is, that the temple was defiled by Antiochus, in the year 165 before Christ. Now the temple was to continue in this state during 2300 prophetical days or years, and this period, if calculated from the days of Antiochus, would give 2135 as the

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