« PreviousContinue »
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CIXURCHMAN'S
I wish to submit to the consideration of those, among your learned Core
respondents, who turn their thoughts to the understanding of the prophecies which remain to be accomplished, the following passages from Mi. Mede, which seeni to deserve particular attention at the
present time.--He observes, T UPLICEM Babylonis interitum in hisce Vaticiniis
describi—primò Babylonis, pro urbe, bestiæ Regiâ, puta nrbe Romanâ, ad phialam quintam ; deinde Babylanis, pro Civibus aut civitate Romanâ quam nimirum constituit Papa cum cardinalium purpuratorum senatu, reliqua que civium præsertim ecclesiasticorum turbâ, qui Roma destructâ et concrematâ alio sese habitatum conferent, ad phialam novissimam reservandi. P. 489. Ed. 1677... • Further-Phiala quinta in thronum seu sedem Bestiæ effundenda est, hoc est in Romam ipsam, &c. &c. Hac vero urbis Romanæ clade, nomen Pontificium non quidem penitùs interibit, sed gloriâ et splendore suo deinceps spoliabitur, adeò ut linguas mordeant præ dolore, interim tamen in impænitentiâ adhuc obfirmatis animis perseverantes, doloribus suis ad ulteriorem Blasphamiam abutentur. P. 529. And in a preceding passage, at p. 526, talking of the first destruction, he says, that it is to be understood, “ Saltem de tempore potestatis et regni finiendo quod mensibus XLII determinabitur, &c.Quod vera adhuc supererit Bestia, id adeò (ut hinc collégi datur) dissimile a priore, Specie futurum est, ut eodem censu non seu habendum.
I could wish, however, that the passages themselves, with the reasoning upon them and their contexts, particularly in p. 489' and 490, should be connected, as I am afraid of intruding upon your Magazine with larger extracts. . .
It must be evident, upon consulting these passages; that Mr. Mede considered a double destruction of the papal power to be foretold in the Revelations. The first of which was, to overwhelm the political, temporal, local power of the Pope, as exercised in his seat and throne, the city of Rome, which he supposes is to be destroyed at the effusion of the fifth phiali; whilst the Pope himself, and the senate of cardinals, and the rest of the citizens, constituting his ecclesiastical state, would bez
take take themselves elsewhere, in a state of diminished glory and spleudor, to be there reserved for their final desiruction, which would at no long interval overtake them on the effusion of the last phial. · He seems to have thought, indeed, that the destruction foretold under the fifth phial, would be the total and instant ruin of the city of Rome, so much so, as to render the city immediately no longer habitable by man. If I understand him right in this particular, he has surely not adopted this opinion with due caution or his usual judgment. In the first place, if this total destruction of the city is to be effected by the effusion of the fifth phial, nothing is more reasonable than to suppose that it should require the whole phial to be run out (that is, the whole space of time that phial is to occupy to be spent) before the complete effect of that phial can be produced: -further, the expression, which, in connection with one of these passages, he particularly notices, that its smoke shall ascend for ever and ever, is a figure much better calcu. lated to express an unextinguishable fire, progressive in its fury, and that cannot be stopped or subdued, than one thatwas to involve in immediate destruction the whole of the city. Besides this, I question whether there is oneexpression which denotes that its destruction will come upon it in one day, and at one time (not even the simile of the millstone flung into the midst of the sea), which has not been before : applied to the case of the real Babylon in the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah.* And if those prophecies re-specting the real Babylon have been confesscdly accomplished, by the ultimate destruction of that city, though it remained a place of habitation for men for years, nay, centuries, after the overthrow by Cyrus, from which its destruction is to be dated : is there any thing unreasonable in expecting, likewise, a gradual and progressive accomplishment of the similar prophecies relative to Rome, the mystic Babylon ?-Bishop Newton, in his Dissertation on the Prophecies, Vol. I. 168, with reference to several of these prophecies respecting Babylon, says, " Weshall see how these and other prophecies . have, by degrees, been accomplished; for, in the nature of things, they could not be fulfilled all at once. But as. the prophets often speak of things future as if they were already effected, so they speak often of things to be brought
about in process of time, as if they were to sacceed immer diately.”
If, then, Mr. Mede's idea of a double destruction of the papal power be well founded, and at the same time bis notion respecting the total, immediate, apd literal extermination of the city, is open to the correction I have ventured to suggest, is it not a question to interest the attention and consideration of men at this day, whether the taking of Rome by the French, in 1798, was not the inception of that destruction of the city which is foretold to take place under the fifth plial, whether the captivity of Pope Pius VI, the subsequent pillage and spoil which the city has witnessed, the late degradation or rather captivity of the present Pope, by being dragged to Paris against his will, to be disgraced in the eyes of all Europe, are not all further stages in the fall of this fated city, fairly referable to the epoch of its capture in 1798, from which time, I apprehend, all idea of independent sonereignty and dominion in the Pope, as a temporal prince, must be conceded to have vanished. And if that state of dependence and vassalage, to which he has been reduced, should continue (whether he goes back to Rome, or sets up his ecclesiastical state any where else) it will remain to be seen whether he will not be reserved in that state of diminished splendor and glory, as to temporal dominion, till the effusion of the last phial? And, perhaps, , if Mede had written after that event rather than before it, be could hardly have used inore appropriate or happy expressions, as descriptive of the part acted by the Pope and his cardinals at the late blasphemous mockery of a religious ceremony at Paris, than those which I have given above, “ interim in in pænitentiâ suâ, adhuc obfirmatis animis, perseverantes, doloribus suis ad ulteriorem blasphemiam abutentur.” , I have ventured to suggest a doubt, whether Mr. Mede has acted with due caution in delivering the opinion which be seems to have formed relative to the total and instant extermination of the city of Rome, upon the effusion of thie fifth phial. I wish to impress the grounds of that doubt upon the attention of all persons who venture conjeetures respecting the manner of the accomplishment of any prophecies whose accomplishment is yet future; especially on the attention of those who, upon the subject of the restoration of the Jews, the reign of the saints upon earth, the millenium, &c. feel and express a confi
dent opinion either for or against the literal or the figurative accomplisment of those prophecies. All that any man has a right to expect from any prophecies not yet accomplished, is, that they will be accomplished so as to be consistent with the truth of God's word. But to pronounce, with any degree of authority, that they are to be accomplished figuratively, or that they are to be accom. plished literally, seems to be assuming the province of the prophet himself, provided they are in their nature capable of being accomplished either in the one way or the other. In such a case, a confident opinion must necessarily be open to error: but of the two errors that seems the least dangerous which expects a figurative accomplishment of a prophecy, than that which expects it to be literal ; and for this reason, if the figurative be expected, and the natural accomplishment takes place, there will be no disappointment, the literal accomplishment fulfilling all that was expected and more. But if a literal accomplishment be expected and taught, when a figus rative one is only intended, a disappointment to the extent of not believing it to be any accomplishment at all may be the consequence. The importance of this, and some other observations upon this most interesting subject of prophecy which now press themselves upon my mind, woald induce me, if I were to indulge my inclination, to trespass at more length and detail upon your patience and that of your readers. But, I fear, I have already gone too far; if, however, by the atlention you bestow upon this letter, you encourage me to think my thoughts upon this subject run in a train that may be deserving of your notice, I may find some other opportunity of addressing you with the purpose of attempting the removal not only of some unfounded prejudices which are entertained against the study of prophecy by those who discourage the pursuit of it, but also of some opinions, which, seeming to me to be erroneous and to open rate very much to the detriment of that study, are, nevertheless, entertained by many who pursue it the most earnestly.
Your humble Servant,
MAGAZINE. Gentlemen, TN your Magazine for September last, page 206, i I promised to collate two or three almanacks for this year, and if the result were worth notice, I said I would lay it before your readers. That promise I now fulfil. I took, of course, the calendar of the Common Prayerbook as the standard. Being a Cambridge, man, and purchasing annually the Cambridge University Almanack, I examined it first. Here follows a list of omissions. Jan. 13, Hilary, Bp. 18, Prisca, V. 29, Vincent, M. -- Feb. 3, Blasius, B. and M. 5, Agatha.-Mar. 2, Chad, B. 7, Perpetua. 12, Greg. M. B. 18, Edw. K. W. S. 21, Benedict. ---April 3, Richard, B. 4, S. Ambrose. May 3, Invention of the Cross. 19, Dunstan, A. B. 27, Ven. Bede, Pr.--June 1, Nicomede. 5, Boniface. 17, S. Alban, M. 20, Tr. of K. Edw. of West Sax.-July 2, Visit. of Mary. 2 Tran, Mart. B. (15, Swithin, so this name is written in our almanacks, in-: stead of Swithun, an abbreviation of Swithunus. This name is retained in all the almanacks. It is written short in the Oxford alm. Swith.). 20, Margaret V: 22, Mary Magd. 26, S. Anne.-Aug. 7, Name of Jesus. 10, S. Lawrence. 28, S. Augustin, B. 29, S. John beheaded. - Sept. 1, Giles, Abbot. 7, Enurchus, B. 8, Nativity of Vir. Mary. 14, Holy Cross. . 17, Lambert, Bp. 26, S. Cyprian. 30, S. Jerom. Pr.-Oct. 1, Remigius, Bp. - 6, Faith, V. & M. 9, S. Denys, Bp. 13, Transl. of K. Edw. Conf. 17, Etheldreda. 25, Crispin.-Nov. (5, Powder-plot, a vulgarism for Papists' Consp.) 6, Leonard, Con. 13, Britius, Bp. 15, Machutus, Bp. 17, Hugh, Bp. 20, Edm. K. & M. 22, Cecilia, V. & M. 03, S. Clement.--Dec. 6, Nicholas, Bp. 8. Conception of V. Mary..13. Lucy, V. and M. !, O Sapientia.
I found in the Oxford Almanack no omissions. : One ancient saint's name, left out in our calendar, but occurring in that prefixed to the Scottish Liturgy, is replaced in it. Mar: 17, S. Patrick.-Rider's British Merlin, commonly bound with the Court Calendar, leaves out no names, bus has a few mistakes.
Principiis obsta. There is wisdom in this adage. I do not approve of this reforming spirit in the setters forth of the Cambridge Almanack; and I hope to see it more of
na Principie of this retack; an