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The result of my examination of the chronology of the world is the full and fixed conviction that it is lost forever, unless revealed from heaven. But when I say los!, I do not mean to say that it is lost by thousands or by many hundreds of years. The chasm chiefly, indeed, lies beyond the period of prophecy, before the flood, and before the birth of Abraham. By the Hebrew text those epochu are quite ascertainable, but I do not think that we have full and satisfactory evidence that the Hebrew is always right when it differs from the Greek from Adam to Moses. Since the days of Moses, and especially since the Jewish Prophets, the errors, if any, cannot be very material. Still even here there are difficulties that will forever restrain a man possessing a well balanced and well informed mind, from ever presuming to fix the era of Christ's coming from any thing found in the Old or New Testament. The precise and the trae age of the world is certainly lost. Still so much difficulty concerning short periods of the prophetic intervals remains, that no person, not enthusiastically confident, will speak with assurance.
On Mr Miller's date of the commencement of the 2300 days I must offer a remark or two before I pass on to brother M-Corkle. Although so early as my debate with the infidel Owen, I inclined to the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus as the date of the 2300 days, and have not yet seen valid reason to repudiate it, still it is but probable evidence, and probable evidence not of the superla:ive degree. That the 2300 days denote so many years, and that the sanctuary, (Jewish or Christian, not the earth,) was to be eleansed at the expiration of those days, or was then to begin to be cleansed, is full as far as I then found myself authorized to go. But the greatest difficulty lies in the demonstration that the 2300 days are to be counted from the year before Christ 457, or from the 7th year of Artaxerxes. Mr. Miller's confidence in this point does more to discredit his judgment in other matters than any other frailly in his whole performance, so far as I now remember. This is, however, the vital point, as concerns the events of 1843.
We shall, then, for a moment, look into the dates of Daniel's visions;
His first vision, chap. vi., we are told occurred in the first year of
2083 430 480
To which add 1846, the proper year of Christ,
Belshazzar king of Babylon, before Christ 655. His second vision took place in the third year of the same prince, before Christ 553. This last vision was to be for 2300 days, but no date is here fixed from which to calculate it. Fifteen years after this time, in the first year of Darius the Mede, Daniel had other explanations, if not a new vision, specially concerning the work and times of the Messiah. Mr. Miller says it is a part of the former vision explained, and not a new one; and on the elear demonstration of that rests his hypothesis. The demonstration given by him amounts, so far as I can see, to a clause found in verse 23d of the 9th chapter, touching an event then occurring and fifteen years distant from the vision touching the 2300 d tys.
Mr. Miller says the word "vision" here alludes to that related in the 8th chapter, occurring fifteen years before; while some affirm that it relates to the views given immcdiately after concerning the events of the “seventy weeks,” which are dated from the aforesaid deeree... The demonstration, if such it may be called, is wholly inconclusive; and although it might be assumed with much more plausibility than he gives it, still his building on such a foundation as he has laid for this date is fatal to the soundness of his reasoning on any subject requiring historic accuracy or probable evidence.
Not presuming at this time to enter into this part of the examination, or farther to dissent from Mr. Miller, because of the alleged looseness and inconclusiveness of his demonstration, nor to give my reasons for dating the 490 and the 2300 days from the same decree, I shall glance still more briefly into the first opening of the first Alarm of the alarmist.
That our assent may be given in advance to all his views, he assures us, on the word of a Layman, and in the best judgment of one whose education never extended to the end of orthography or the first rule of Murray's syntax, that “a successful refutation of my views can never be made by Bible. Holy writ, reason, and common sense is on our side.!! I quote from himn literally and exactly. Now this being the fourth period in his preface, ought we not to suppose that he intended to make us think with him before he has offered one reason? He has laid his pre-emption or warrant upon "holy writ, reason, and common sense," and solemnly assures us that they are on his side! Now should we ever think of dissenting from him, what a naked and forlorn appearance must we make, holy writ, reason, and coinmon sense having decided against us, and that too before either party has offered, one argument! Two other sentences from abis preface fully sustain the preceding demands in advance upon our assent to whatever he may say:
“The conversion of the Jews to the present superannuated Christianity of the world is perfectly visionary. No doubt but they will in a few years return to their land in peace there to have another struggle for existence against certain confederated nations, called Gog and Magog by Ezekiel, and be delivered from inevitable ruin by the longlooked for Prince-the once rejected Christ—and to say, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord'- '-are to be converted by sight and the most imposing facts known since the creation!"
“The burden of unfulfilled prophecy stands pointing at the dissolution of the present-Christian dispensation-not ihe dissolution of nature at all: the dissolution of the world, or the great field of nature by fire, being both unreasonable and unscriptural! This is the key thai un. locks the whole secret of prophecy! No other consistent system of expounding its meaning ever has, or ever can, be proposed to the faith of man!"
The matter is already decided. It is this or nothing. We shall next treat our readers to a synopsis of the times according to our adventurous Layman. He speaks as one that has some authority not derived from the ordinary sources of intelligence. His words are
“Relative to the age of the world, we offer opinions which we consider something more than conjecture. A prevalent opinion is this: That the Millennium is to take place about the close of 6000 years from the creation, and that the ushering in of the seventh will be replete with millennial glory and blessedness—the reign of peace. This probably may be true, and the overthrow of the son of perdition at hand-the casting down of thrones and empires--the pulling down of all rule and authority at the very doors. The seven thousand th year is probably nearer at hand than many are anticipating. We consider the world, froin very plausible data, to be at least seventy-five years older than the common reckoning. There is a difference between the genealogy given by Luke and that given in Genesis xi. Luke, in tracing the genealogy of Christ back to Adam, places the generation of Cainan between Salah and Arphaxad. In Genesis, where the chain of succession is given from Shem to Abraham, Cainan is left out. This we consider a mistake in copying the scriptures. An author to whom I am indebted for this hint, makes the generation of Cainan to have been sixty years. Add this to the age of the world, and we lack only about thirteen or fourteen years of having all the dates found in Daniel to correspond with the idea of ushering in the full millennial glory with the seven thousandth year-the great Sabbatic thousand. 'l'o our satisfaction we can dispose of this mite of time. When time was counted by generations and the reign of kings, the fractional parts of years were oftener lost than gained. In a few centuries this fractional parts of years would make up the years in requisition. Our object is to show that the world is about seventy-five years older than the common reckoning: sixty of these must be granied, the little balance is plausible enough to be admitted without debate. Now, if about the year 1846 or 8 the Man of Sin is to be destroyed, the thrones cast down, and all rule and all authority put down, with the treading of the wine-press, and other terrible things recorded in holy writ against a corrupt world; there remains, then, but seventy-five years to be disposed of, before time will introduce the Sabbatic thousand, or the period which Daniel pronounces "blessed."
Soft words and hard arguments is a good maxim. Modest assertions and ample demonstrations; the premises first-the conclusion afterwards; weak in assumption-strong in proof; ask no favors, and give no offences, are aphorisms in argument; and certainly on the recondite and always more or less mysterious subject of prophecy, they are peculiarly apposite. Men of strong and positive assertion are as rarely distinguished for consecutive reason and proof as enthusiasts for moderation or prodence. I regret to see any indications of the spirit of dogmatism while seeking for the true meaning of prophecy.
ENJOYMENT OF RELIGION-No. I.
EXPERIENCE OF EUSEBIA. Eusebia, the daughter of Pistis and Agapee, had, what is usually called, a very religious and moral education. Her parents were exemplary professors, and their parental affections were exquisitely delicate and refined. No opportunity was suffered to pass unimprovedno personal attention wanting to infuse into the mind of this their only surviving offspring the most correct views of religion and morality, and the most exalted sentiments of personal piety and devotion. For this purpose sermons, catechisms, formularies of belief, and the sacred scriptures were not only put into her hands, but impressed in the most solemn and interesting manner upon her early and constant attention. Under such inquences, and amidst such circumstances, Eusebia could scarcely fail to be interested in this most insinuating and important of all the concerns of mortals.
Accordingly at a period of life unusually early she fell under deep convictions of the necessity and advantage of making a public profession of her faith in the Messiah, and of her detera ination to lead a virtuous and pious life. She joined the church of her excellent parents, which happened to be that of the Congregativnalists in New England, and was received to the sacramental festival on the then apa proaching periodical occasion. She was. punctual in all the observe ances of the church, regular in her attendance, devout in the closet, in the family, and in the whole circle of her acquaintance. Still she felt not fully satisfied with herself, nor with her religion; and the more she consulted sermons, preachers, and religious books, the less she enjoyed both herself and her religion. Thus things went on from week to week, and from month to month, without any real improvement in her feelings, or any well-grounded expectation of a change for the better. She became exceedingly dissatisfied with the forms and cetemonies of religion. They all seemed to fail in the great point of administering consolatian, and of yielding what she most of all desired a portion of that "joy unspeakable and full of glory" of which the primitive disciples of Christ seemed all to partake. She mourned in solitude for almost two years on the barrenness of her profession in yielding those fruits of “love, joy, and peace,” for which she panted as does the thirsty roe for a brook of water in the burning desert. She resolved on innumerable expedients; but under them all her heart became no better satisfied with itself. She only experienced more and more of the bitterness of disappointment, and had well nigh rosolved to abandon a profession which afforded her no genuine satisfaction.
Meanwhile, Elder Evangelicus, celebrated for his fervent piety, esperimental preaching, clear views, and great biblical knowledge, was on a missionary tour through that district of country where stood the chapel frequented by Eusebia and her parents. An appointment was made for him by the Bishop of the church; and on the day appointed, ind with great expectation and much preparation of heart, Eusebia iasted to the meeting. His text was 2 Cor. xiii. 5.—“Examine your. lelves whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves; know ye jot your own selves how that Jesus Christ is in you except you be eprobates?" "This is just what I have been doing,' said she to hertelf the moment she heard him read the text; but, alas! I cannot find hrist in me. This is just what I want-Christ in me! I would give he whole world could I be sure that Christ dwelt in my heart. With-ut that, am I not a reprobate? Ah! me!! A reprobate! What a thonght!' Her cheeks streamed with tears and her soul fainted within her.
Meantime, the good man by his emphatic manner, his peculiar earnestness, and deep-loned piety and fervor, soon decosed her from herself and riveted her attention upon the subject of his discourse. He was a man of method as well as of eloquence. He proposed three points of consideration:
1. The faith.
3. The concomitants and consequences of being in the faith. These he discussed with much clearness and interest. “The faith," with him, was the gospel truth believed; "being in the faith” indicated obeying the gospel truth-not merely making the profession, bat being