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ever so clearly, by a combination of emblems, the great final catastrophe, the interpreter may substitute for it some local and temporary woe. This is exactly what has been done in the case before us, in opposition, as we hope our readers will admit, to the fi rst principles of prophetic interpretation.
In determining to what period the events of the sixth seal do actually belong, we must compare them with other prophecies of the Old and New Testaments. We find, in passages of the Old Testament to which we have already referred, that similar signs in the heavenly bodies are associated with predictions belonging to Jerusalem, Babylon, &c.; and we have seen reason for believing that they are so associated in virtue of the typical character of these catastrophes, as shadowing forth some still more terrible epoch of the latter days. It seems natural, therefore, to suppose that it is to that very epoch that the seal before us refers. And then again, turning to the New Testament, we find in our Lord's prophecy regarding Jerusalem a very marked similarity of language to the apostle's description of the sixth seal. We shall place the respective passages in parallel columns, that the resemblance may be more clearly seen.
Matt. xxiv. 29, 30. LUKE xxi. 25, 26. . Rev. vi. 12-17. Immediately after the tri- Jerusalem shall be trodbulation of those days, den down of the Gentiles,
until the times of the Gen-
The sun became black as
sackcloth of hair, and the moon shall not give and in the moon,
and the moon became as her light,
blood; and the stars shall fall from and in the stars.
and the stars of heaven fell heaven;
unto the earth, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs when she is shaken
of a mighty wind. for the powers that are in The powers of the heavens And the heaven departed the heavens shall be shak- shall be shaken.
as a scroll when it is rolled
together. The sea and the waves And every mountain and roaring.
island were moved out of
their places. And then shall appear the On the earth distress of And the kings of the earth, sign of the Son of man in nations, with perplexity. &c. hid themselves in the heaven; and then shall all Men's hearts failing them dens and rocks of the the tribes of the earth for fear, and for looking mountains, and said ...
after those things which are Fall on us, and hide us coming on the earth. from the face of him that
sitteth on the throne, and And they shall see the Son And then shall they see from the wrath of the of man coming in the the Son of man coming in Lamb; for the great day clouds of heaven with a cloud, with power and of his wrath is come, and power and great glory. great glory.
who shall be able to stand ?
No one, surely, on comparing these passages, can doubt that they refer to the same period. From our Lord's prophecy, then, we gather that its place is immediately after the time of Jerusalem's tribulation, or down-treading by the Gentiles, and immediately before the appearance of the sign of the Son of man. If, then, the tribulation, or the latter part of it, be contemporaneous with the fifth seal, and if the great day of the wrath of the Lamb be the same with the sign of the Son of man appearing in the heavens, we have arrived at a solution of our question. We believe that the sixth seal describes the convulsions which shall precede, not the coming of the Lord, but the sign of his coming, which is a different thing. Mr Elliott, indeed, may ask, as he is entitled to do, whether we hold the events of the seal to be symbolical or literal, and whether the events of which Christ prophesies are symbolical or literal. We answer, that we are inclined to regard both of them as symbolical, and as exactly answering the one to the other.
Our interpretation derives additional corroboration from the subsequent portions of the Apocalyptic vision. For the earthquake of the sixth seal appears to be identical, not with the earthquake of the 16th chapter, (which, as Mr E. observes, contains in it certain marked points of difference,) but with that recorded in the 13th verse of the 11th chapter.* At least, in our arrangement of the Apocalyptic visions, which no doubt is different altogether from Mr Elliott's, the two fall into the same place. That earthquake immediately precedes the pouring out of the vials, which seems to us to be unquestionably the great day of the wrath of the Lamb; for we are told that in them is filled up the wrath of God (xv. 1.) So that there is an exact agreement between the two portions of the vision. The earthquake of the sixth seal immediately follows the period of papal persecution (the fifth seal :) the earthquake of the sixth trumpet (xi. 13) immediately follows the 1260 days of the prophesying of the witnesses, and their subsequent death. The earthquake of the sixth seal is the immediate forerunner of the great day of the wrath of the Lamb: the earthquake of the sixth trumpet is followed by a period called “ the time of God's wrath,” (xi. 18,) or more particularly, the time of the pouring out of the vials in which is filled up the wrath of God.
Having occupied so much space with our preliminary discussion on the date of the Apocalypse, we find we must postpone our remarks on the remaining topics which are offered us to an
ing lice of the sixth sea the Lamb: the the time of
• We agree with Mr Elliott that the earthquakes of the seventh seal (xvi. 3-21,) and the earthquake of the seventh trumpet (xi. 19,) are the same.
other opportunity. They are too important to be treated briefly, and we believe our readers will not regret another article on a subject so interesting.
ART. II.-Four Letters to the Rev. E. B. Elliott, on some passages
in his Horae Apocalypticae ; relative to the Question of Church Establishments, and the recent Disruption of the Church of Scotland. Particularly on his Interpretation of the “ Measuring of the Temple,” Rev. x. 1, xi. 2, and the “ Ascension of the Witnesses, Rev. xi. 3-14. By ROBERT S. Candlish, D.D., Minister of the Gospel, Edinburgh. 8vo., pp. 128. London: Johnstone, 1846.
e of the Rev. xi. 3-14. 'nxi2, and tution of the Arch of Scot
ns hov. Rex, te ay his fnterpretation of election or re gions
WHATEVER may be the danger to which the Free Church of Scotland is exposed, she seems to be pretty safe meanwhile against the woe pertaining to those of whom “ all men speak well.” Though she has done as little as could have been expected, in the circumstances, to provoke, she has been treated, with few exceptions, by all parties, political and religious, as if she had been the greatest offender. It was not, perhaps, to be much wondered at that the State and the World should, previous to and since the erection of the Free Church, indicate no small dislike and displeasure. Disappointment at the prophesied result-falsified by principle, mingled with native hatred to Evangelical truth and government, would explain much. It is more marvellous that professedly religious parties should have betrayed so keen a jealousy and enmity. No one needs wonder at the friends of the shattered Establishment—but who could have anticipated that Evangelical Dissenters should have pursued the course which they have followed? Their recent conduct towards the Free Church party, on the question of fellowship with American churches, is surely very discreditable. Cowardly silent where they should have stood forward to defend-condemning the Free Church for doing what, down to the present time, they themselves, and, with one small exception, the whole Evangelical churches of Christendom, had been doing without question or challenge, from the first day of the Christian era—and then, in the course of a few weeks thereafter, to accept, without a whisper of disapprobation, of a measure in regard to West India produce which certainly encourages slavery and the slave trade, ten thousand times more than the Free Church's acceptance of a gift of £3000 from Christian churches in the slave-holding states of America, could by the most violent supposition be imagined to do,—what
Emany opponents ay, in the face to unaid
viewed ingreat call or hotel But
can be conceived more unworthy of common consistency, not to speak of Christian principle, —what explanation can possibly be given of their spirit save what is conveyed in the expression* Hatred to the Free Church,” and why? let the parties themselves answer. *
But the hostility has appeared in another quarter. It seems to be the intention of Providence that the Free Church shall stand alone, and work out the great moral and religious lessons which she is destined to inculcate, unaided by others, unobscured by their help—nay, in the face of their opposition. Among her many opponents we are sorry, with few exceptions, to class the Evangelical party of the Church of England. She has taught them unpalatable lessons in regard to their own Church which they are unwilling to receive. Hence, with a few conspicuous exceptions, their enmity and dislike. The most memorable illustration of this which we have lately met with, is in the work of the Rev. E. B. Elliott, A.M. of Trinity College, Cambridge, reviewed in another article. One would have thought that there was no great call or scope in such a work for an assault on the Free Church of Scotland. But her opponents are not very scrupulous. Not only does Mr Elliott deal in various false charges and grievous misrepresentations of the principles and publications of the Free Church, but he attempts to find that Scripture prophecy has pronounced against her ; nay, he gives this as his deliberate opinion, and attaches much importance to the prophetic interpretation on which it is founded! The Free Church has had great difficulty in getting any of her opponents, whether here or elsewhere, to meet her on the field of the word of God. They have contented themselves with views of expediency, or of civil and ecclesiastical law. All Erastians seem to feel that they have no ground on which to stand when the appeal is directly made to the Scriptures, and hence the general and anxious disclaiming of the very name of Erastianism as indefensible. But Mr Elliott has got over this difficulty. He holds, from his interpretation of Scripture prophecy, that all the Established churches of the Reformation are established under the express approbation of the great Head of the Church, and, consequently, that to separate from any of them, as has been done by the Free Church of Scotland, is opposed to the mind of Christ, and subjects the party to the charge of sinful schism! This is the first attempt, so far as we remember, to enlist the word of God, through prophecy, in be
* No sooner did the tidings of the measure of the late session of Parliament respecting sugar reach Cuba, than the price of slaves rose, and steps were taken for adding to their number, by reviving the trade.
half of Erastianism, and Erastianism of the grossest form. One might have expected that such a result of his prophetic interpretation would have convinced the author of the error of the interpretation, and have led him to abandon it. But no: all the other teaching of the Scriptures, in plain didactic passages, against Erastianism, is forced to give way to a prophetic interpretation in the very teeth of them all. Erastianism is vindicated by Scripture prophecy, however much it may be condemned by Scripture doctrine and history!
To many of our readers the mere statement of the point at issue may be sufficient to settle the whole question. Mr Elliott's ground, in their view, must appear so untenable and absurd, that his attack may seem unworthy of an answer; and certainly there is no great danger of its doing harm among intelligent Free Churchmen. But when it is considered that the author is a member of, and stands high with the Evangelical party in the Church of England—that though, as might have been expected from his prophetic interpretations, he is High-church in his attachments, yet that he is also a devout man, and advocates sound doctrine against Tractarian error--that his book is very interesting to all, and seductive to those who have not read and thought much on prophecy -- that in proof of this, the second edition, in four octavo volumes, was exhausted in a few weeks, and a third is in the press — when, moreover, it is remembered that this is the first attempt to whitewash Erastianism, nay, to obtain a direct sanction for it through the prophetic Scriptures, thereby grossly perverting God's word, while the attempt is fitted to lull the churches asleep at a time when they should all be wide awake, putting themselves in the best possible posture for the great conflict with Antichrist - when these things are taken into account, we are persuaded that our readers will not think that either our time or theirs is unprofitably spent in briefly considering and exposing the false interpretations and injurious misrepresentations of Mr Elliott. In this we are seeking to do a service to the good men of the Church of England, whose day of trial is coming, and whom our author would hopelessly prejudice against a Free Church movement.
We do not feel called upon in this article to pronounce any opinion on the author's work as a whole, whether in its matter or its spirit. In the former, there is much to approve-much in which we agree, while there is much also, especially in what is new, with which we entirely differ. In regard to the latter, while we admire the learning, we cannot but feel that there is much self-confidence and self-glorification-a depreciation of others, and anxiety to put himself forward as a great discoverer, which
t a piece and wh of the cm In this