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divine authority, we might expect to out devils, they shall speak with see Peter exhibiting it, to satisfy new tongues, they shall take up serthese gentile strangers : on the con- pents, and if they drink any deadly trary, we see the gift communicated thing, it shall not hurt them, they to them,--that is, to Cornelius and shall lay hands
shall lay hands on the sick and his friends, as a consequence of their they shall recover. So then, after repentance and faith.
the Lord had spoken unto them, he We trace the same process in was received up into heaven, and chap xix, with the addition of a sat on the right hand of God; and striking fact in illustration of my they went
and preached every argument. Paul goes to Ephesus, * where, the Lord working with them and finding certain disciples he said ' and confirming the word with signs unto them, Have ye received the following. Amen." e Here is an in
Holy Ghost since ye believed? and junction to preach the Gospel to they said unto him, We have not
every creature in all the world;" so much as heard whether there be then comes the declaration, any Holy Ghost.”
Here we find that believeth and is baptized shall certain disciples who believed, and yet be saved ;' and in the next verse we had not received the Holy Ghost. have the signs, which shall follow Now if we admit, that a man cannot “ them that believe." be a believer, in the scriptural Here are two things well worthy sense of the term, without the influ- of notice in this remarkable pasences of the Spirit, it follows that sage. The first is, that the promise the mere influences of the Spirit is to all that believe : not they who and the gift of the Holy Ghost are teach merely, in order to attest their not identical : yet it was unquestion- divine mission by miraculous signs ; ably “the gift of the Holy Ghost" but to all that believe and are to be which was promised in so ample and saved, in contradistinction to all unlimited a degree at the day of Pen- who believe not and are to be tecost; and it must surely be a mis- damned.'
damned.” This must surely include take to say, that this gift meant only the whole Church of Christ from its its sanctifying influences.
first establishment until his second I now turn to a most interesting coming. They who contend for the period of our Lord's life; and let us limitation of these miraculous signs hear his testimony to the same ef- to the apostles and their immediate fect': the last words of a departing successors must, to be consistent, friend usually make a deep impres- limit “belief and salvation” to them sion on the mind; and what I am now also ; for “ he that believeth," (reabout to quote are, according to St. ferred to in verse 16,) and them Mark, the last words of our depart- · that believe” (in verse 17) are asing Lord, previous to his being suredly one and the same party.
And he said unto What is promised to one is promised ' them, Go ye into all the world and to the other; and what is withheld
preach the Gospel to every crea- from the one must be withheld from 'ture : he that believeth and is bap- the other. The first includes of
tized, shall be saved ; but he that necessity the whole christian Church • believeth not shall be damned. And to the end of time; and the signs, pro
these signs shall follow them that mised to the second, must certainly • believe : in my name shall they cast be admitted as of equal duration.
e Chap. xvi, 15.
The second thing to be noticed is, dowing the receiver with miraculous that the signs are to follow them that power, and given unto the Church believe. They are not to precede till the end of time : for as long as them, in order to convince them into there are any who believe on his name, belief by an appeal to their senses ; so long will there be men who may but to follow that is to be a conse- legitimately claim the fulfilment of quence and accompaniment of their this promise. That the promise apbelief.
pears to be forgotten by the great The argument receives consider Head of the Church, is probably beable force from another declaration cause it has not been claimed; but of our blessed Lord, in alluding to this does not come immediately the miraculous power which should within my argument : my object at accompany belief in his Name.
He present being to prove, that the says,
Verily, verily, I say unto gifts of the Holy Ghost imply someyou, he that believeth on me, [the thing more, than merely its sanctisame parties referred to in the for- fying influences ;—and that these mer quotations; viz. all the true gifts are a boon to the Church in · christian Church,] the works that I perpetuity. If, Mr. Editor, any of do shall he do also ; and greater your Readers can prove, that this works shall he do, because I go to view of the subject is incorrect and my Father.”f Why did he go unto unscriptural, I shall be very happy his Father, but to send the Com- to have it corrected; my object forter ? & And who is the Comforter, being, not the establishment of any but the Holy Ghost ? bo-that same particular hypothesis, but the eluciHoly Ghost which he did send on the dation of the truth. day of Pentecost, in visible power en
our intention to have passionately before our Readers offered a few remarks on the im- for we are aware, that it is connected portant topic contained in the com- by many with the signs which are munication of Quæsitor. The view to precede the Advent of Christ; which he takes of it, though care- and therefore ought to be considered. fully expressed, and quite In the meanwhile we avail ourselves exceptionable in regard to the spirit of the present opportunity to repeat in which it is written, is nevertheless the substance of the notification preso intimately connected with that fixed to our first Number : viz. that
second object for investigation" every writer is responsible for his which he for the present waives, that own individual sentiments only; we are sensible it must, if pursued, and that the views of any one necessarily involve it. We still Correspondent must not be imputed hope, at some early opportunity to the other Contributors to the to bring the whole subject dis- Investigator.
There is at present a great diversity who read the writings of the proof opinion on subjects of prophecy; phets, do not believe what the and this arises chiefly from the man- prophets say, according to the proner in which the language of the per import of their words; and sacred Scriptures is interpreted, therefore they put a figurative coneither literally or figuratively, struction upon literal passages ?
It has been the custom of all There has been for a long time a nations, from the first age to the disposition in expositors to allegorize present, to express their sentiments and spiritualize the Scriptures ; so in figurative language; yet in read that the “sure word of prophecy, ing books of uninspired authors, whereunto ye do well to take heed," whether ancient or modern, we is by the aid of figurative interpretararely meet with a passage respect- tion forced to say any thing, ing which we entertain a doubt, according as caprice or prejudice whether it should be understood shall direct. Thus they take as literally or figuratively; nor do we much liberty with a text, as the consider ourselves at liberty to de- wind does with a weathercock, part from the literal meaning of the turning it according to their pleasure. words employed without necessity. It is however very evident, that And ought not the same rule to be some passages are literal and others observed in reading the sacred figurative : therefore he that would writings ? Yet when we open the teach that they are all literal, and Bible and read its prophecies we he that would teach that they are meet with many passages, yea, even all figurative, would be alike unwhole chapters, concerning which deserving our regard. we are in doubt whether they are The following question naturally literal or figurative. Is this because presents itself to the inquiring inspired persons did not write with mind :-How can
How can we ascertain to as much propriety and perspicuity which class certain passages of the as other men ? or is it as some sup- sacred Scriptures belong? It must pose, that they employed mysterious be plain to every one, that we can terms on purpose that they might understand our Bibles only in pronot be understood, until near the portion as we are able to answer this time of the accomplishment of their question. Our Lord foretold his predictions ? But what saith the suffering and death to his disciples Scripture?
5. Let him that read in the plainest terms; but " they eth understand.”a Blessed is he (not taking the words in their com' that readeth, and they that hear the mon acceptation) understood none words of this prophecy.'
"b Is it not of these things.” Jesus said rethe rather, because many persons, specting the daughter of Jairus, "The
a Mark xiii, 14.
b Rev. i, 3.
c Luke xviii, 31--34.
damsel is not dead but sleepeth ;" terpretation involves an absurdity or and the people, not taking the terms incongruity, interpret figuratively. in a figurative sense, "laughed him Example.
" The trees went forth It seems therefore
on a certain time to anoint a king very desirable, that some general over them; and they said unto rules should be laid down, by which the olive tree, “Reign thou over we might ascertain what portions of
“ I will plant them in this Scripture are literal, and what are land.”f Now it is absurd to supfigurative. But it is highly probable pose that the trees walked, and that the best rule would have its ex- talked, and desired a king. It is ceptions; for no human rule can also very unnatural and incongruous perfectly measure God's Word or for people to be planted in the land. his works : for My thoughts are Therefore the terms employed in ' not as your thoughts, neither are these and similar passages must be your ways my ways, saith the interpreted figuratively. Lord. For as the heavens are Rule III. All symbolic portions higher than the earth, so are my of Scripture must be interpreted ways higher than your ways, and figuratively. 'my thoughts than your thoughts.' Example. The kine of Pharaoh,
By what means therefore can we the great image of Nebuchadnezzar,8 ascertain, whether certain passages the beast described by Daniel, the of Scripture are to be understood ephah of Zechariah, h the seals, literally or figuratively? This is a trumpets, vials, &c. of the apostle question of great importance to John, must all be interpreted figuraevery one who reads the Bible ; and tively : for it would be absurd to unit deserves the serious consideration derstand them literally. See Rule II. of every believer in divine Revela- RULE IV. Interpret the unfulfilled tion, whether Jew or Christian. prophecies in the same manner, as
To excite attention, inquiry and historical facts have verified those discussion, I beg leave to submit that are already fulfilled. the four following Rules.
Example. The promises and threatRULE I. Interpret every passage enings relative to persons; such as of God's Word literally, unless Abraham, Moses, David, Ahab, Cythere be a necessity to the contrary. rus, Jesus, &c.—relative to cities;
Example. “ And the house which as Niniveh, Babylon, Jerusalem, &c. ' king Solomon built for the Lord, --relative to nations; as the Egypthe length thereof was three score tians, Chaldeans, Moabites, Edom
cubits, &c. (1 Kings vi, 2, com- ites, Jews, Persians, Greeks, &c. pared with Acts vii, 47.) They To ascertain the bearing of this rule gave me also gall for my meat, and recourse must be had to history, in my
thirst they gave me vinegar sacred and profane; by which it may ' to drink.” (Ps. Ixix, 21, compared be shown, that all the fulfilled prowith Matt. 27, 34.) In these pas- phecies, which were not evidently sages the words are to be taken in figurative, have had a literal actheir plain, literal, and obvious complishment. This is now de
monstrated by the testimony of RULE II. Whenever a literal in- more than thirty travellers, who
d Mark v, 39, 40.
8 Dan. ii, 31.
e Judges ix, 8. f Jer. xxxii, 41 ; Amos ix, 15.
n Zech. v, 6-8.
have been eye witnesses of the plished; and why should they not? events foretold by the Prophets. Has not he that hath literally ful
If however the first rule were uni- filled his threatenings, in the very versally admitted, there would yet be same manner engaged to fulfil his a diversity of opinion about the ne- promises ? If the sacred Writers cessity. “ Therefore, as no human say, " that Jerusalem shall be rule will include every case, it is evi- encompassed with armies; that it dent, that every passage must stand shall be taken ; and that the city upon its own merits; and that the con- * and temple shall be destroyed ; nexion and scope must direct us to the land of Israel become desolate, decide, whether it be literal or and its inhabitants be carried away figurative. Nevertheless, the stand- captive into all nations ;” all exing rule applied by the most judi- positors are agreed in a literal incious expositors is worthy of general terpretation : but if these same adoption, and is thus expressed by inspired writers say, “that the Dr. John Smith, in his Summary • outcasts of Israel shall be restored ; View and Explanation of the Writ- " that Jerusalem and the temple ings of the Prophets.—“* Although shall be rebuilt; that divine wor' the Prophets use words so fre- ship shall be re-established there,
quently in a figurative or meta- and that all nations shall go thither phorical sense, yet we ought not ' from year to year to worship the
without necessity to depart from King, the Lord of Hosts; and that • the primitive and original sense of • Jerusalem shall become a praise in
language; and.such necessity there ' the earth ;” more than half these • is when the plain and original sense same expositors tell us, that we is proper, less suitable to the must understand these things figura
subject and context, or contrary to tively. But we would ask-By ' other Scriptures.” In general there what rule of interpretation ? Who is no necessity where the predictions will venture to say, that the curses can be literally accomplished. The denounced upon mount Ebal were Jews could be scattered among all literal, and that the blessings pronations, and they are : they can nounced upon mount Gerizim were be restored; Palestine can be de- figurative ?
figurative ? Who can say, that the livered from its present possessors, threatenings denounced against Isand the land assigned them can be rael, in the twenty-sixth chapter of divided among the twelve tribes, Leviticus, have not been literally each possessing it in equal and fulfilled ? and who will dare to say, parallel portions, according to the that the promises contained in the prophecies of Ezekiel ; the city same chapter shall not also have a and temple can be rebuilt ; the Jews literal accomplishment ? Surely can be brought to believe in Messiah there is a consistency in the language their prince; and He can reign in of the Sacred Volume equal to any Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and thing that can be found in any other before his ancients gloriously. All book." + these things can be literally accom- The folly of understanding the
* See “ Evidence of the truth of the Christian Religion derived from the literal fulfilment of Prophecy,” by the Rev. Alexander Keith ; sixth edition. This is one of the very best books extant on fulfilled prophecy. A selection from it constitutes No. 282 of the Religious Tract Society.
t Tyso's Inquiry after Prophetic Truth, page 12-14.