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all the unruly wills of men who are deceived by the old serpent, to whom such extensive power has been given. St. John was forbidden to measure the outer court, which is given unto the Gentiles; "and the holy city," that is the Christian Church, "shall they tread under foot forty-and-two months," or 1260 years. 1 And that the cleansing will be the thousand years of comparative holiness, when Satan shall be chained up, and kept from deceiving the nations.
The 1260 days conterminate with the 2400 days; and it is necessary to find a commencement for that period also. Mr. Faber computes the first period from the year of our Lord 606, when Phocas, the usurper of the imperial throne forbade the patriarch of Constantinople to style himself universal bishop, and conferred that title, with a corresponding power, on Boniface III., bishop of Rome. The saints of God were then formally delivered into the hand, and placed under the control, of the little horn, which was the commencement of the papal empire. By computing forwards 1260 years, from the spring of the year 606, therefore we arrive at the spring of the year 1866; and, by computing 2400 years backwards, from the spring of 1866, we arrive at the spring of the year before Christ, 535, and which, Mr. Faber thinks, is the true date.
"I have already observed," he says, "that the greater period mentioned in the vision of the ram and the he-goat, and the smaller period of 1260 days, plainly terminate together; and I have likewise stated that, according to the most natural interpretation of another prophecy of Daniel, the Jews will begin to be restored at the end of the 1260 days, and consequently at the end of the larger period likewise. Now the reading of the LXX., or 2400 days, computed as I have made the computation, will bring us into the very midst of the restoration of the Jews from Babylon. For in the second year of their return, and within a few months after their arrival in their own country, they laid the foundations of the temple in the second month Ijar, which corresponds with the latter end of April, and the beginning of May. Consequently, since they began to return in the year A. C. 536, this must have happened in the spring of the year A. C. 535. Thus, unless I be entirely mistaken, 2400 years, the length of the whole vision of the ram and the he-goat, is also the space which will intervene between the two restorations of the Jews. About the commencement of this period they began to return from Babylon; and exactly at its commencement they laid the foundation of the temple; at the end of it, they will begin to be restored from all the different countries of their present dispersion. On these grounds I much incline to think that the memorable event of the laying the foundations of the second temple, at the close of the first, or at the beginning of the second, year of Cyrus, affords us the true date of the vision; and, consequently, that the number 2400 is the genuine reading.
"The sum of what has been said, respecting the date of the 1260 years, amounts then to this. Since the desolating revolt of Mohammedism is to flourish 1260 years; since the saints are to be delivered into the hands of the papal little horn for the space of 1260 years; since the Roman beast is to practise prosperously in this revived state, during space of forty-two prophetic months; and since the two horns and the
' Rev. xi. 2.
beast are all to perish together at the time of the end, which commences at the termination of the 1260 years, it seems necessarily to follow, that the date of those years can only be an era marked by the following triple coincidence—the completion of the Eastern revolt by the rise of Mahommedism;—the commencement of the papal little horn's spiritual universal empire;—and the revival of the Roman beast, by conferring upon his little horn that spiritual universal empire, or, in the language of prophecy, by giving the saints into his hand." 1
W. J. D. W. points to no event in the year A. C. 553, but simply thinks that it was the year in which the prophet had his vision. Mr. Faber specifies an event of some importance in the Jewish history, their restoration from the Babylonian captivity, in the year 535, and which might be a type of their ultimate restoration, after the time has been accomplished for scattering the power of the holy people. The dates of the commencements of the two periods of 2400 and 1260 years, according to Mr. Faber's computation, are the year A. C. 534, or the second year after the return of the Jews, when they laid the foundation of the temple; and the year 606 of the Christian era, when the Pope received his spiritual empire, which two periods conterminate in the year of our Lord 1866. The restoration of the Jews will not be the work of a day; it may occupy the remaining thirty-four years of unexampled "trouble," of war and bloodshed, before they sit down in peace in the land of their fathers.
But Daniel mentions another period, and the angel pronounces a blessing on him "who waiteth and cometh to the thousand, three hundred, and five and thirty days." If we add to this number the number of the beast, or 666, the two thousand years under the Gospel, or Covenant of Grace, will be completed, and the first year of the millennium will be commenced. St. Peter says that " one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day," on which words Mr. Pyle has the following note: "The verse before us may bear this meaning, viz., Be not ignorant that the ONE (great) DAY OF THE LORD, so often prophesied of in the Old Testament, and so called by Zechariah in particular, is (not a, but) the thousand years promised in St. John's Revelation; and his thousand years no other than the ONE (great) DAY (or time) in the old prophets." The Jews had a very rational tradition, that the ages of the world were divided into distinct periods: the first time, from Adam to Abraham, was 2000 years; the second time, from the father of the faithful to Christ, was 2000 years, towards the conclusion of which time He began his ministry; and the last time, or 2000 years under the Christian dispensation. The 1000 years will be a period of rest corresponding with the rest and sanctification of the Sabbath, as the 6000 years correspond with the six days which it pleased God to take in framing the world, although he could have called it into being in a moment by the word of his power.
St. John informs us that Satan will be bound a thousand years, at the end of which time "he must be loosed a little season," and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth. I imagine that the millennium will be a period when the church shall have rest
1 Dissertation on the Prophecies, &c. vol. i. 292-294. 2 Dan. xii. 7.
from her enemies, but especially from her arch enemy, the devil, and be a season of tranquillity and comparative holiness; but not free from the ordinary business and pursuits of this world, seeing our Saviour says men shall be marrying and giving in marriage up to the "last syllable of recorded time." Nay, farther," as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man: they did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot: they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed." conclude, therefore, that in the millennium men will not be in a sinless state of perfection, but only in a state of greater holiness and obedience, when wars and fightings, heresies and schisms, will cease, because the father of pride and lies will not then be permitted to deceive them. If the fall of the Jews brought salvation, and the riches of the world, to us of the Gentiles, even although the sanctuary be defiled and trodden under foot by our lusts and passions, how much greater blessing and holiness will their second restoration produce in those who shall live in the season which will succeed the last time," in which we live ?2
Should the foregoing remarks fall under the notice of any of your readers better acquainted with this subject than myself, I shall be glad to be favoured with their opinions, and trust you will give their answers a place in your pages. I am, &c.,
A. LEARNER. P.S.-I subjoin the following newspaper intelligence as a sign of the times, and which, if true, and the missionaries be of the right sort, is important:
"A letter from Jerusalem says, 'The building of the Protestant chapel proceeds rapidly. For the present a house is hired. The English Church liturgy is translated into Hebrew, and printed, and the missionary Nickolayson performs divine service with his assistand Pient. Of 400 Jews, 100 have embraced Christianity. An institution for converts has been established by the English Missionary Society, and a Hebrew prayerbook is to be published. The English consul endeavours to engage the Jews to cultivate the land of their fathers, under the favour of Mehemet Ali, and considerable quantities of land have been purchased for foreign emigrants. It is said that there is somewhere a Talmudic saying, that when there shall be 25,000 Jewish inhabitants in the Holy Land, the laws and regulations must be again enforced which prevailed when Palestine was a Jewish state. The rabbis in Turkey are endeavouring to complete the above number by colonists, which doubtless will not be difficult under the powerful protection of England. Some rich Jews in London and Italy intend to establish factories and manufactories in Jerusalem and some other considerable towns, under the protection of England. The English Government has appointed a vice-consul at Jerusalem for all Palestine.'-Hamburgh Correspondent, May 14."
1 St. Luke, xvii. 26-30. 2 Rom. xi. 2.
THE DIFFICULTIES OF PRESBYTERIANISM.
In a periodical devoted to the support of episcopacy, it is sometimes necessary to reconnoitre our adversary's camp. In this and some subsequent papers, therefore, we intend to offer some remarks upon the difficulties which the Presbyterian doctrine and discipline present to the mind of one humbly inquiring after truth. This we will endeavour to do in a charitable spirit, from their own standard, the Westminster Confession of Faith, which itself presents a considerable difficulty in limine; but we shall postpone its consideration, and proceed to one which appears to be insurmountable, and that is the origin of Presbyterian government, whether it be divine or human.
In the Presbyterian polity there are four courts, all of which exercise judicial, and three of them legislatorial powers, of neither of which do we read any thing in Scripture. In the chapter of " Classical Assemblies," it is asserted that "the Scripture doth hold out a presbytery in a church;"! and in proof of this position they cite Acts, xv. 2, 6, as well as the words of St. Paul to Timothy, 1 espistle, iv. 14. The coming together of the apostles and elders is certainly very far from being a classical assembly like a modern presbytery, consisting of presbyters and lay-elders for the elders here mentioned were the second order of Christian ministers, whom we now call priests and presbyters. There were no laymen present in that council as members; the multitude spoken of were spectators or auditors, and merely applauded the speeches, and approved of the decree of the apostles and priests. This was not a presbytery or classical assembly, but the first general council, and the model of all that have succeeded in the Christian Church. As a concluding proof of presbyterial government, our Saviour's epistles to the Apocalyptic churches are cited, which is rather unlucky, because the angels who are there addressed are undoubtedly the bishops or governors of the churches, for which we have no less authority than the word of Christ himself:- "The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches; and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” 2 A candlestick is the emblem of a church, as the candle is of the light of the gospel; and angel signifies a messenger of God, as likewise do apostle and bishop; and St. Paul takes the title of angel when he says the Galatian church" received him as an angel of God." The summoning of the elders of Ephesus to Miletus is not forgotten also among the proofs of presbyterial government, over whom, a short time afterwards, St. Paul sent Timothy to preside as their star, angel, apostle, or bishop, with full authority to govern them, and ordain others. If ordination was confined to Timothy their bishop, of what benefit can the case of the Ephesian elders be to the presbyterial system? It does not require a messenger from the dead to convince us that the Ephesian priests had not the power of presbyterial government, else the appointment of a governor over them would have been a work of supererogation.
1 Form of Presbyterial Church Government, attached to the Westminster Confession of Faith, p. 577. 2 Rev. i. 20.
3 Gal. iv. 14.
Here, then, is a stubborn difficulty at the first starting, as the origin of their mode of government does not appear in Scripture. No such court as a kirk-session is ever mentioned, or even hinted at, neither courts of presbytery, nor synod, nor general assembly, all of which are of vital importance in the Presbyterian scheme. Yet it appears somewhat inconsistent that the Seceders, who are reckoned the best Presbyterians, have only three courts, whereas, the Scottish establishment reckon four to be indispensible. This presents another difficulty, because, when doctors differ, how shall the unlearned say Amen to their contradictory decisions? In all ecclesiastical history there is no trace of any of these courts till we reach nearly the end of the sixteenth century. Where, then, can the Presbyterial government have hid itself during the long period of fifteen centuries?
A special difficulty now presents itself as a consequence of the former. The men who set up the Presbyterian system of ecclesiastical polity have never, at least that we have ever heard of, pretended to any new revelation of the divine will: but only that they have restored the system which they assert Christ instituted, and which, they allege, was so soon lost after his ascension that it is almost demonstrable the loss must have been incurred by the apostles themselves. From the moment that those men who had so faithlessly broken their master's commandment, went to give an account of their stewardship, that commission which he gave to the apostles was lost, and could not be renewed but by a fresh commission direct from heaven. Christ expressly told the apostles that they were the salt of the earth that he should be with them to the end of the worldthat he was the vine, and they were the branches, and that severed from him they could do nothing effectual towards the salvation of men. Now, if it can be proved that the apostles, or those who succeeded them, changed our Lord's ordinance, and for a Presbyterial government substituted an Episcopal, it must follow that there is no Christian church in the world, because the commission which Christ gave the apostles could not be transmitted by a different channel than the one which he himself had appointed, nor transferred from one to another at the guilty caprice of faithless men. Episcopalians say it has been transmitted through them; but this will not serve the turn of Presbytery, because if it be right, Christ's commission could not be handed down through any other channel than the Presbyterian, and it is notorious that, if it ever was in existence, it was entirely lost for at least fifteen hundred years. The difficulty, therefore, to which we especially allude is, that the Presbyterian ministers have either received their commissions originally from Popish or Protestant bishops, both of whom, they allege, are anti-Christian corruptions, or they have acted, in spiritual things, without any commission at all. This is a difficulty of some moment, because, if they have their commission from an anti-Christian institution, they themselves must be anti-Christian, and if they have been acting without any divine commission, they are cast forth as a branch, and withered.”1
This is a dilemma which seems to have been foreseen by the Westminster divines themselves, who have accordingly provided for it; and they have therefore set it down with authority, that," In extraordinary cases, something extraordinary may be done, until a settled order may be had, yet
1 St. John, xv. 6.