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THE SCRIPTURE VIEW
SPIRITS IN PRISON.
CRITICISM OF THE DIFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS.
BY REV. A. CURRIE,
Author of "Practical Non-Conformity to the World;" “God's Bottle for
Believers' Tears;" “The War in its Spiritual Relations,” &c,
“That which we disclose, Those Penmen, whom the Holy Spirit mov'd, Ev'n more than once do in their Sacred Book Attest; as thou by diligent search shalt find: And reason in some sort discerns the same."
DUNN AND WEIGHT, PRINTERS, GLASGOW.
The circumstances which, in one of the Presbyteries of our Scottish Metropolis, have of late been the occasion of directing public attention to that passage of Scripture, of which an Exposition is given in the following pages, are so well known that they require only to be alluded to. With these circumstances, in an Ecclesiastical sense, either initiatorily or subsequently, the Author of this small work presumes not to intermeddle in the slightest; being, as they are, in that respect, as much beyond the line of his duty, as the domain of his liking. All that he intends to do is to consider the subject in its Scriptural light; and, after setting it forth, according to the best of his ability, as he has been led to see it there revealed, to refute such other interpretations as are known to him, and appear to be not merely contrary to Reason, but derogatory to Revelation.
In common with many, he was inclined to believe, till very recently, that the truth contained in this passage could not be elucidated or established from Scripture. However, after reconsidering the subject more maturely than ever, and looking at it solely in the light of Inspiration, he is now led to think, yet not dogmatically, that the view here presented is the “ Scripture View ” of the passage. Such being not merely his own conviction, but that of some Brethren to whom, as most competent judges, he broached the matter, he has taken the liberty of prefixing this title to the interpretation he has adopted, and endeavoured to establish; and, being as that interpretation is, when glanced at for
a moment, so plain and palpable, it is surpassingly strange, that, for so many Centuries, it has remained unknown, and that the subject has so long been regarded unsolvable.
The present remarkable epoch in the history of the Church of Rome, taken in connection with recent Theological discussions in Scotland, has naturally attracted special attention to the “Prison,” or “Purgatory,” which occupies so prominent a place among the doctrines of that Church, and to the passage of Scripture now to be discussed ; this passage being the chief one on which she founds and defends that so-called doctrine. But this passage has, also, of late been brought into prominence in the thoughts of the Christian Public, principally as it may be supposed to "affect the state of the Heathen who have left this world without having heard a distinct proclamation of the Gospel.” To neither of these aspects of the subject, however, does the Author restrict his attention; he rather endeavours to consider it in all its length and breadth.
While he has the pleasure of being familiar to friendship with the beloved and talented Christian Brother, whose Sabbatical prelections have been the occasion of resuscitating, in the World and in the Church, this cru. cial passage of Scripture, he differs from him completely in its interpretation. Yet, such difference, although here freely and fully enunciated, will not, he is sure, give offence to him, or to any other person, and especially, as none is intended; but that, to a certain extent at least, it will be regarded as a truly “open question.” At the same time, just because he differs so widely from him and many other Theologians, as well as because the passage in question is in itself so important, no less than exciting at present so much interest, he avails himself of that liberty which every British