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is by no means agreeable. Moreover, we have been struck with the equal confidence with which almost all interpretations are propounded. The author seems to feel no difficulties, and to be equally sure of all. This is a bad omen. But our business is only with the part which bears on the Free Church of Scotland. Some will consider his treatment of this Church as an illustration of the self-esteem, joined with High-church pride and prejudice, to which we allude. However this may be—whatever illustration of general error or presumption might be drawn from other parts of his book, and which might be pleaded as showing how little trustworthy he is in his interpretations as to the Free Church in particular—as where he finds the Anti-corn-law League under the croaking of one of the frogs!—we do not appeal to these ; we limit ourselves to the single point in hand respecting the Free Church, except in so far as its defence necessarily involves Mr Elliott's general prophetic views.
What, then, is his statement? The sum and substance of it is contained in the Fourth volume, page 288, where, speaking of the Free Church party, though_in a pitiful spirit he regularly abstains from mentioning the Free Church by name, preferring his own invention of “ Scotch Secession,” he says ---" The Apocalyptic prophecy seems to have pronounced distinctly against them, representing as it does the original constitution of the Lutheran and Anglican Reformed churches on that very principle (the relation of church and state,) not as an act of sinful Erastianism, but as Christ's own doing, and so with the stamp of His approbation on it." After this, no one need wonder at what follows, for it is a fair inference. “In truth, instead of the Secession being a coming out of Egypt,' as some of its advocates would represent, it seems rather, if our exposition of the Apocalyptic passage where the word occurs be correct, (and the evidence is such as I hope may approve itself even to the Seceders themselves,)-it seems rather, I say, to be a departure out of that which still is, as it was originally, one of the strong Protestant bulwarks against the Apocalyptic Egypt;—and that alike by its principles on the headship and kingdom of Christ doctrinally, and its disintegration of the Protestant orthodox body practically, the Secession is furnishing, however unintentionally and unconsciously, a most powerful help and strengthening to the cause of that self-same New Testament Egypt among us.
The Free Church of Scotland “a most powerful help and strengthening to the cause of Popery"!! The man who can believe this may believe any thing. Rome herself has a very different opinion. But that is not the point before us. The reader will be curious to know where the Apocalyptic prophecy " has
pronounced distinctly against” the Free Church--so distinctly as to warrant the astounding conclusion which we have quoteda conclusion in opposition to universal observation and notorious fact. He will be surprised at the narrowness and obscurity of the foundation. “And there was given me," says John, “a reed like a rod; and the angel stood, saying, Arise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein: but the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not, for it is given to the Gentiles; and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” Rev. xi. 1, 2.
The whole force of Mr Elliott's argument lies in the brief expression-a reed like a rod. He holds that the prophecy refers to the period of the Reformation—that by the rod we are to understand the sceptre of civil authority, and that by John's being required to take the rod and measure the temple of God, we are to understand the civil governments adopting the Protestant churches of the Reformation-in short, the union of church and state then formed.
The first remark which occurs to us respecting this interpretation is, that it is altogether new. Of course, novelty is not fatal to it. But it is worth noting, that among the numerous and varied interpretations which have been given of the vision of the witnesses, to which the verses quoted are an introduction-amounting, we dare say, to a hundred—this is the first time, so far as we remember, where the reed like a rod is interpreted to signify the union of church and state at the Reformation. What is more remarkable, some interpreters put the same interpretation on the vision of the witnesses as Mr Elliott, but have never dreamed of his original idea of the union of church and state symbolized by the rod. This is certainly no great presumption in favour of his accuracy. It is not very likely that the middle of the nineteenth century of the Christian era should be the earliest season when so important a discovery should be made. Naturally we have no prejudice against what honours the union of church and state. In principle, the Free Church is as strongly Church-establishment as ever.
She is almost the only party which holds scriptural views upon the subject. But we confess, that with all our leanings, we cannot go along with him, and that we feel the novelty of the view, at this time of day, adds nothing to its value, but the reverse.
Our second remark is, that Mr Elliott's interpretation necessarily involves the most tremendous consequences. Most will feel that it is presumptuous enough for our author, an imperfectly informed Englishman, to sit in judgment on such a body as the Free Church of Scotland, and in the face of all the talent, Chris
tian excellence, sacrifices, and services of her many members, coolly pronouncing her to be labouring under a gross “ delusion.” The first men in Scotland, whether in the church or in the universities, on the bench or at the bar, are it seems all under a delusion, and Mr Elliott, a late vicar of the Church of England, looking on from a distance, clearly sees their error, an error in behalf of which the careful and sagacious but withal poor people of Scotland have raised the better part of a million and a half of money in three years !! This presumption is somewhat staggering as well as offensive, but it is nothing compared to the consequences which his interpretation carries in regard to all churches non-established from the period of the Reformation downwards. If the measuring with the reed like a rod be the adoption of the Reformed Church by the State, then all not so measured, in other words, all non-established, must belong to the outer court, unmeasured, given over to the Gentiles, and be destined to be trampled by them under foot. There is no third space or party. The humanity, if not the common sense and piety, of Mr Elliott may revolt at such a conclusion; he may shrink from unchristianizing and unchurching millions of the best men in Christendom through successive generations, men giving at least as much evidence of union to Christ and devotedness to His service as any measured with the reed like unto a rod.' But we cannot allow him to escape. We hold him to the logical consequences of his interpretation, and call upon him by their very absurdity to be convinced that he has been labouring under a “ delusion,” that his premises must be wrong which necessarily conduct to results so appalling and abhorrent to his own feeling. We say abhorrent to his own feeling, for we believe it impossible that any man who has any knowledge or experience of evangelical truth, can look unmoved upon such a conclusion as that to which we have referred ; at the same time we must say that the deleterious influence of such interpretations is sufficiently apparent in the volumes of Mr Elliott. He writes too much as if the Established churches of Protestant Europe, and particularly the Church of England, or the Anglican Church, as he delights to denominate it, were the only Church of Christ : any recognition of others is slight, and constrained, and narrow-spirited, and far short of their claims,-all showing that the conclusions which we charge upon his interpretation are correct, and that the interpretation itself is pernicious even to a mind otherwise well-disposed and devout. To be forced to entertain such conclusions at all is serious, but to entertain them on so slender and obscure a footing as the brief solitary expression, a reed like a rod, is more serious still. Never surely were vast conclusions, unsupported by any thing else in Scripture, suspended from a more insignificant or dubious premise: this of itself might well constitute a strong presumption against the interpretation.
But we proceed to consider the ground on which it rests. First, It proceeds upon the idea, that the vision describes the Reformation in the 16th century. Now this is by no means clear. The outer court of the temple, which John was told not to measure, was to be trodden down for 42 months, or 1260 years. The language seems to intimate, at least it would be so understood by many plain and intelligent students of the Scriptures, that the measuring preceded the starting of the 42 months. The measurement, we presume, was designed to secure a people for the Lord during the whole period of the down-treading by the Gentiles. But if 80, John's measuring with a reed like a rod must surely have been, not from the 16th century, but from the period when the temple of God, and the altar, and the people who worship therein, were in danger of being swept away by the apostacy; in other words, from the period when the little horn rose to power, and began to oppress God's servants. This was some 900 or 1000 years before the Reformation. Would it not be strange for John to be called to measure a certain space or people previous to the days of their calamity, should it turn out that 900 out of 1260 of these years were already past before the measurement took place? În order to have warranted the prophecy, instead of standing as it does, should not Mr Elliott's interpretation have run, “Rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein, but the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not, for it has been given to the Gentiles for nearly 1000 years already, and the holy city shall they continue to tread under foot for other 260 years, then the forty and two months shall have been accomplished" ?
Mr Elliott indeed says (vol. ii. p. 112,) that the preceding history of the witnesses was set before the eye of John retrospectively, but he supplies no evidence of this. It is taken for granted, without any proof, which surely was required in the circumstances. On the supposition that the 10th and the greater part of the 11th chapters of Revelation constitute a parenthesis or episode between the sixth and seventh trumpets, and give a summary or abridged view of the history of the genuine spiritual people of God during the 1260 years of the Antichristian apostacy, there would be nothing unnatural in the prophet, at that stage in the prophetic history, taking a retrospective glance, and speaking of those as measured then, who had really been measured long before. This were almost unavoidable. But we confess we cannot see the consistency of this on Mr Elliott's interpretation. He believes that the 10th and 11th chapters are in orderly consecutive history from what goes before, and describe regular successive steps in the history of the Reformation of the 16th century, In these circumstances, one would expect that as the grand design of the measurement is to secure a people for the Lord against Antichrist, so that the measurement should go before the currency of the 1260 days, and not come in at the Reformation, which, according to his interpretation, was well onward towards the close. But we pass from this point to others.
The interpretation respecting the witnesses, which follows, prophesying for 1260 years in sackcloth, is not dependent upon Mr Elliott's interpretation of the measurement. We mean that men may hold the opinion which he holds of the witnesses having been slain before the Reformation, without being called in consistency to adopt his view of the measuring the temple and court in which they worshipped. Various interpreters believe that the slaying of the witnesses is past, and that the season immediately before the Reformation was the period of their death. In this idea, however pleasing, we fear that the event may prove they are mistaken. The witnesses are not to be slain until they shall have finished, or be finishing their testimony; and surely men cannot be said to have finished their testimony when 300 years out of 1260 have still to run—that is nearly a fourth-part of the whole. If there be any analogy between the scenes which take place before the destruction of the Jewish and Gentile Antichrists, one would infer that as the slaying of the great Witness, even the Prince of Life, preceded the destruction of the Jewish Antichrist only between 30 and 40 years, so that the parallel period would be much shorter between the crime and the punishment than 300 years. Immediately, too, after the resurrection of the witnesses, at the end of three years and a half, the sackcloth covering is over. They do not rise in sackcloth. There is no mention of mourning. All the indications around are indications of spiritual prosperity. But can any Evangelical Christian read the history of the Protestant church since the Reformation, and remember the Superstition and semipopery of some—the Neology and Socinianism of others, and the Moderatism and Dead orthodoxy of a third party, and imagine that this state of things corresponds, or co-exists, or can be made even to look like the resurrection of the witnesses? But whatever
may be the view which is held of the witnesses, and of their slaying before the Reformation, there is no necessary connection between it and Mr Elliott's interpretation of the measurement by John. Indeed there is an absurdity in their being measured after, according to the supposition, they have been slain. Why measure those who
VOL. XX. NO. I.