Page images

reasoning in no other way. What St. John says is this: “ Little children, it is the last time: and, as “ ye have beard that the Antichrist shall come, even “ now are there many antichrists; wbereby we know " that it is the last time." From these words, Vi. Whitaker strangely concludes, that tbe last time, in the sense in which the Apostle here uses it, denotes that tbe ubole period of the 1260 days; and, since tbose 1260 Days are undoubtedly the permitted hour of tbe Roman little born or tbe Papacy, that tbe Pae pacy must necessarily be tbe Antichrist. St. John however assures us, that tbe last time had already commenced, and that at tbe moment in which he was then writing he was living under tbe last time. Hence, if Mr. Whitaker's argument prove any thing, it will prove that tbe 1260 days must be computed from the age of St. John, and that the venerable apostle and the Roman little born were contemporaries! But, in truth, Mr. Whitaker has totally mistaken the import of the phrase tbe last time as here used by St. John. As I have clsewhere very fully shewn*, whenever this phrase is used by the evangelical writers declaratively and not propbetically, it denotes tbe wbole period of tbe christian dispensation to the commencement of the Millennium, or as what Mr. Mede styles the king. dom of the stone as contradistinguished from the kingdom of the mountain. All that the Apostle therefore teaches his disciples is, that, since the delusive spirit of the Antichrist was already working, they might be sure they were living in the last time,

* See my Dissert. Chap. 3.


and need not look for any further dispensation*. As get however, although there were many individual antichrists in the world, the great Antichrist him. self, whose special badge should be a denial of the Father and the Son, was not manifested. This spirit indeed was already working in the children of disobedience, but he himself was not as yet revealedt: nor does the Apostle give us the slightest intimation, that his appearance would be connected either with the taking away of that which prevented the developement of tbe papal man of sin, or with the commencement of the 1260 years.

* I apprehend that he insisted so strongly upon the circum. stance of their living in the last time, in order to convince them that they were not to look for any kingdom of the Messiah answering to the gross notions of the Jews, which the disci. ples themselves found it so difficult to shake off. " The last is time has already commenced; dream not of any yet further or last time." See Doddridge in loc. who rightly supposes the last time spoken of by St. John to mean the period of the Christian dispensation, not, as Mr. Whitaker fancies, the period of the 1260 years.

f The Jesuit Cornelius à Lapide seems to me to explain properly enough the latter part of 1 John, iv. 3. Et nunc « jam in mundo est. Non in persona, sed in spiritu, puta in "s suis præcursoribus.” (Comment, in loc.) I interpret much in the same manner 2 John, 7. The deceivers, who confessed not that Jesus Christ was come in the flesh, were, considered collectively, the deceiver and the Antichrist in its infancy as it were, before the period of what Bp. Horsley aptly calls his adolescence. In short, wherever St. John mentions the Antichrist, he studiously and almost anxiously tells us that his badge is a denial of the Messiahship of Jesus Christ.



A full reply to the objections and misrepresentations

of the Rev. E. W. Whitaker.

Y HEN first I saw Mr. Whitaker's pamphlet advertised, as containing certain strictures on my Dissertation on the 1260 years, I felt the highest degree of satisfaction; because I am persuaded, that nothing is more favourable to the cause of truth than fair and liberal controversy. I accordingly prepared myself either to defend my positions, if I had reason still to think them tenable; or openly to give them up, if I found, in consequence of perusing the pamphlet, that they were untenable. Provided only the truth can be attained, it is a matter of the very least.consequence whether the person who is the instrument of attaining it be Mr. Whitaker, myself, or any other person. I. have never yet thought it a disgrace either to be mistaken, or to acknowledge myself mistaken. An obstinate perseverance in error alone deserves reprehension: a candid confession of it will always be accounted praise-worthy by the thinking part of mankind. With a hearty desire to discover the


Turi veer I II de Munt, XIII miraca

ten guri: veici. I TO Tonan zous

er ute et av det man I a I; : rentrei n a ISIS :ITUTE · muc Scorini zenc, ferm any a win Tom e cremes cycsi ir ny reiecers. From a visa at je noteci de mir IT sited, consional. Doceed se ens of my contemporaries; and I rere to Seat most undesgoedly on my part, I appear to have given 30 soat ofence, not to others, yet to Mr. Whicaker. He has answerad me perhaps not quite in that pare spirit of brotherly love which he professes, & yet I nevertheless rejoice that he bas answered me. No one has courted discussion move than myself, and no one deprecates it less.

The result of Mr. Whitaker's strictures be supposes to be this: that, like the instantaneous operation of a magician's wand, they cause che whole of my extensive structure to fall to the ground in undistinguished ruin; and that my Work must henceforth be numbered amongst those ephemeral theories, which, unlike his owa sober however little novel interpretation, flash numerously like ignes fatui in our present loaded hemispbere, and serve only to envelope the whole subject in confusion.*

* Mr. Whitaker says, that he is obliged to me for the very favourable manner in which I have, in several places, expressed myself on his Commentary; and he acknowledges, that, where I have differed from him, he has not the least reason to complain of the terms in which my opinion is given. I wish that it was in my power to return this compliment with any degree of truth.

+ Whitaker's Letter to Dr. Ogilvie, p. 59, 67, 81.


« PreviousContinue »