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know of its course and terminus sooner than they; and while government officers are surveying the route and calculating the expense, one of these tireless men is in company taking notes, and marking the important points for schools and churches. And no sooner is the work commenced, than you will find a lot purchased or donated for the buildings a few miles from the starting-point of the canal or road; and during the two or three years of its construction past this point, there goes up a handsome gothic structure, unduly large and splendid for the wants of the country or the number of their adherents. It is partly finished, perhaps; the doors and windows boarded up; and twenty or thirty miles a-head, at the next prominent point, another is commenced; in a year or two that is enclosed, and another commenced; and so on through the whole line. And thus through the western valley hundreds of Romish churches are going up for future occupancy. Do you ask whence come the means? I know not how much is wrung from Austria's poor, nor what the Propaganda of Lyons sends to our valley, (although 'tis said above a million francs have come to our country the last year), but I do know something of the system by which they secure money from their votaries along the line. And let it be well remembered by the most liberal Protestants in this the most liberal of our American cities, that the deluded Romanists give one-fourth, not of their gain but of their income, and this regularly. Does a labouring man receive sixteen dollars per month, then four dollars are given to the priest. Does a servant girl receive four dollars per month, then one is given. And this along some of the western works is said to have been the fixed law. This is giving with a liberal hand if not with a willing heart.
“Now mark the process of Romish church-building. The Protestant government collect taxes chiefly from a Protestant community to carry on internal improvement. Romanists do most of the work, and receive the means; a liberal portion of it is securely invested in church buildings along the line, to be occupied hereafter in abusing the Government that gave the money, in undermining the liberties that allowed the building, and in fulminating anathemas against the Protestants who donated the land! Are these churches needed now ? No. They stand unfinished and unconsecrated, and the passer-by exclaims, 'How foolish these priests to throw away their money thus! A wily Jesuit in company, who travels, perbaps, as a foreign tourist, nods assent, while in his heart he scorns the short-sightedness that does not perceive in these the nuclei of Roman power—that does not see ten years a-head, the parsonage, and nunnery, and orphan school-necessary appendages of this · Mystery of Iniquity's' workings.
“And their cunning they display still farther in seizing, with a giant's hands, the strongest points. Is Detroit a post of eminence for the north-western states? Then mark their efforts there. Does Cincinnati exert a predominant influence over the adjacent states north and south? Then see her concentration of men and means there. Does St Louis command the resources of the Missouri and Upper Mississippi? Then mark her score of churches, her numerous schools, her ably-manned college, her massive cathedral there. Is New Orleans the New York of the valley, receiving within its wide crescent the boundless products of the country above--the depot of a continent? Then see their concentration of priests and nuns, churches and cathedrals there! And this is but one phase of their deep-laid plans against Evangelical religion. They retain their adherents at the prominent points, exclude them, as far as possible, from Protestant influence, educate them in a foreign language, and encourage their foreign feelings and prejudices; so that Rome spiritual, with all her arts at work, is a mightier foe to Evangelical religion than ever Rome temporal was to freedom, even when the seven-billed city boasted herself the mistress of the world."
No. LXXVI. APRIL 1847.
Art. I.1. Horce Apocalypticæ; or a Commentary on the Apocalypse,
Critical and Historical. By the Rev. E. B. ELLIOTT, AM.
Second Edition. London. 1846. 2. A Commentary on the Apocalypse. By Moses STUART. Lond.
One great error into which Mr Elliott has fallen in his system of Apocalyptic interpretation, is, that after dividing the prophecy into two parts, the one supplementary of the other, he concludes that the several visions are, almost without exception, strictly consecutive; and so he holds on his march down the path of history, finding chapter after chapter of the Apocalypse fulfilled in the successive epochs along which he passes. This sort of triumphal procession is at first sight sufficiently imposing. It seems as if the wand of an enchanter had touched the heaps of ruins which had hitherto presented only a chaos of confusion even to the most eager and earnest eye, and that there had suddenly risen out of them long lines of colonnades and porticoes stretching far away till lost in the dim haze of distance. On a second perusal of his work, however, much of this first impression vanishes. We seem to notice traces of the application of force in order to bring the visions into such close relation; and a nearer inspection reveals the fact that the effect produced is in a great measure owing to the careful and prominent display of all points of agreement, while those which might be deemed less favourable to the theory are suffered to remain in the shade. Every man who has a theory to support is led, almost unconsciously to himself, to present matters in a light more accommo
VOL, XX. NO. II.
dated to his own views than strict impartiality would permit; and we do not intend, therefore, in the remarks we have made, to charge Mr Elliott with any thing like unfair dealing with his subject. We only mean to say, that his natural predilection for his own scheme of interpretation has induced him to put it forward as far more free from objection than (as we believe) subsequent investigation will warrant.
We do not think that the analogy of Scripture prophecy warrants us in believing that the visions of the Apocalypse will be found strictly consecutive. When we examine the writings of the prophet Daniel, we find that a succession of visions were vouchsafed to him, intended apparently, in their fulfilment, to embrace the whole period between the date of their being seen and the consummation of all things. We observe, also, that instead of each of these visions taking up the story where the preceding vision had left it, they run to a certain extent parallel with one another. Thus, the vision of the four beasts goes over the same ground as the prophecy of the great image, expanding, however, towards its conclusion, into the events connected with the little horn. Thus, again, the vision of the ram and the he-goat runs parallel with that of the second and third beasts, and then diverges into a prediction of the eastern Antichrist. Another peculiarity is
, that one and all of these visions run on to the time of the end. We are disposed to believe that the visions of the Apocalypse are constructed on the very same principle. They seem to us invariably to overlap one another, so to speak, and, almost without exception, to terminate in the consummation of all things. The seven seals, the seven trumpets, the seven vials, and all the other visions, appear to close at one and the same time, and the problem of arranging them, therefore, is reduced to fixing the date of their commencement. And to enable us to do so, there are multitudes of cross references from one vision to another which determine their relations so accurately, that no error can be committed in interpretation, without rudely severing some of these hidden links.
Nor do Mr Elliott's principles seem altogether consistent. The most cursory reader of the Apocalypse must be aware that besides other visions it contains three great series, that of the seals, that of the trumpets, and that of the vials. Each of these series is preceded by an introductory vision, and with these it becomes a question of some interest how the interpreter is to deal. Mr Elliott deals with them on no fixed principle whatever, and this is the first objection we have to bring against his system of interpretation.
When he meets with the introductory vision containing the
delivering of a seven-sealed book into the hand of the Lamb, with the chorus of praise following on that action, he regards it as teaching the nature and bearing of the symbol, and nothing more. In like manner, when he comes to the vision introductory to the vials, he explains it as teaching the state of matters in the church during the whole time of their outpouring. But when he expounds the vision introductory to the trumpets, he deals with it quite differently, giving to it a meaning of its own quite independent of the vision which it introduces. This will be better understood by referring for a little to the vision itself. The seven trumpet-angels are seen ready to sound their blasts, but before they are permitted to do so, another angel appears standing by the golden altar, and receives much incense, which he offers upon the altar. He then takes the censer, fills it with coals from the altar, and casts it into the earth, upon which there immediately follow voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And after this act is performed, the seven angels sound their trumpets.
Now, we agree with Mr Elliott in believing that this angel, ministering as the high priest, is Christ: and that his receiving the incense from the worshippers is emblematic of his sole mediatorship, and suggests also that at the period to which this vision belongs there was a necessity for prominently holding forth that doctrine, seeing that the intercession of saints had become commonly received in the church. We also believe, and still in common with Mr Elliott, that it was this apostacy which drew down the judgments denoted by the seven trumpets. But our difference with him is this: We regard the judgments of this introductory vision as being an abbreviated form of the whole judgments of the seven trumpets; and the lightning, thunders, and earthquake as being the very same which are introduced under the seventh trumpet, brought in here in connection with the incense-vision, in order to trace clearly the connection between the sin on the one hand, and the punishment on the other. In fact, had there been no trumpets at all, we would consider the same space to
There would have been no blank. The only difference would have been, that what is now given in detail would have been given concisely and imperfectly. The vindication of Christ's insulted priesthood would have seemed but one act instead of seven. But Mr Elliott refers the scattering of the coals to the first invasion of the Goths under Alaric; thus making the act of the angel the first of a series of calamities, of which the seven trumpets constitute the remainder. Our view seems to be corroborated by a vision of Ezekiel exactly parallel with the one be
The Almighty had revealed to the prophet the secret idolatries of Israel, and threatened his judgments upon the guilty nation. Six men with destroying weapons, answering to the seven trumpet-angels of the Apocalypse, draw near to execute the sentence. But before they are permitted to strike, one is sent to set a mark upon the foreheads of such as are to be spared; just as in the vision before us, 144,000 of the tribes of Israel are represented as being sealed before the sounding of the trumpets. And then, at last, when the ministers of eternal justice had gone forth aud executed their task, coals from between the cherubims were scattered over the city in token of the wrath of God, which for seventy years was to pursue it. So in the Apocalyptic vision the great High Priest, grieved and indignant at the contempt cast upon his intercession, scatters the coals of the altar over the earth, -an image of that hot displeasure consequent on the apostacy, of which the trumpets are only the beginning, but which shall not end till the last vial is poured out.
It may seem that this, after all, is but a small matter, and that our difference with Mr Elliott on this point is scarcely worth the space we have bestowed upon it. We have selected it, not so much on account of its intrinsic importance, as because it affords an opportunịty of explaining, with the least possible tax upon the patience of our readers, an important point in the machinery of the Apocalypse. Some of the visions carry forward the story of God's providential care of his church, and his judgments upon its enemies : such are the visions of the seals, the sealing of the tribes, the trumpets, and the vials. Other visions trace the connection between these events and the causes which led to them: as when Christ, as the slain Lamb, takes the seven-sealed book,
great High Priest, scatters the coals of fire. It is of importance to distinguish between the one class of visions and the other, or else we are sure to lose the clue by which we attempt to thread the mazes of this wonderful book. We cannot, however, pursue this part of our subject any farther. It might of itself afford materials for an essay.
It will probably, however, be more interesting to our readers if we attempt to exemplify our principles by applying them to the text of the Apocalypse itself. Let us turn, then, to the 10th chapter, and present our readers with Mr Elliott's translation of the text.
“And I saw a mighty angel descending from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and the rainbow was upon his head; and his face was as the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire, and he had in his hand a little book opened. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left on the land, and cried with a loud voice as a lion roareth. And when he had cried, the seven
or, as the