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earliest writers do not interpret days symbolically. Mr. M. we think successfully proves this point; at least, that they did not understand the alleged symbolical periods in the exact sense in which protestant interpreters receive them.* If Daniel himself "heard but understood not;" if the words were to be sealed up till the time of the end; it would be contrary to all reasonable argument to suppose, that the Fathers who lived in the beginning of the christian dispensation should have properly apprehended them.
On the whole, we decidedly think Mr. Maitland has failed in making good his chief argument; and we must therefore hold to the principle of protestant interpretation, so generally adopted, until we see better reason to abandon it.
We purpose, if the Lord will, to resume the subject at an early period, and give our view of the controversy on the other points: in the meanwhile, we would earnestly recommend the perusal of Mr. Cuninghame's Strictures to all those who have read Mr. Maitland's Works; and to any others who may be desirous to see that which we deem the most complete reply. The work of Mr. Digby will also be found useful as containing much valuable matter though it is not a direct
reply to Mr. Maitland, but to a writer of similar opinions in the Christian Examiner.
Before however we close the present article, we conceive it due to Mr. Maitland to endeavour to remove some of that odium which improperly attaches to him in certain quarters. He must have expected, when he commenced his attack, to be viewed by all those commentators and their adherents who coincide with the ordinary exposition of the 1260 days-he must, we say, have expected to be viewed as speckled bird;" and truly "the birds round about do set themselves against him." It is unjust however to suppose, as many do, that Mr. M. is an enemy to the investigation of prophecy, or to the literal principle of interpretation contended for by Millennarians. He is an ultra-literalist if any thing: and we should say, (though he does not,) that he decidedly inclines to the premillennial advent and personal reign of Christ; and only wonders, that all those who hold the same do not at once fall into his views. His sentiments towards all students of prophecy may be judged from the following passage in his first pamphlet:
While I am obliged to speak of
' various writers, and to refer to their works, it would deeply grieve
* We say, they did not understand them in the same sense as protestant interpreters :—that is to say, a day was not with them the symbol of a year, nor a time of 360 years. Otherwise, it appears, that the Jews did not always mean by a day 24 hours, nor by a time a literal year which is important to notice, as it proves that the ancient writers might understand periods of time in a mystical sense, though they Thus in Medrasch Tehillim R. Jehosuas is might not correctly understand them. quoted as making the days of Messiah two thousand years: "that is (he adds) according to two days. Lactantius lays a foundation for this extension of the meaning of the word, remarkably similar to that given by modern interpreters for making a day a year: Sæpe diximus, minora et exigua magnorum figuras et præmonstrationes esse; et hunc diem nostrum, qui ortu solis occasuque finitur, diei magni speciem gerere, quem circuitus annorum determinat." (De Institut. lib. vii, cap. 14.) Mr. Maitland very candidly admits a passage in Justyn Martyr's Dialogues with Trypho, in which he says that the Jews understood by a time" a century, and therefore that "the man of sin must at least reign 350 years." What Justin Martyr's own view was, whether he thought it a longer or a shorter period, it is questionable from the context to say.
'me should one word of this pamphlet give offence to any Christian, and especially to those who are engaged in that study, which appears to me the best and the noblest in which the human mind can be em'ployed-the study of the word of God. I trust however, that I have 'not written and shall not write offensively; and I know that they 'who sincerely love truth will pardon some freedom in the search of 'it." We are sorry however to feel compelled to say, that after this
notice, and his first pamphlet altogether, Mr. Maitland greatly degenerates, and provokes, as we think, just indignation by the vein of ridicule and sarcasm which in some instances he indulges. Mr. Maitland may likewise complain, that contemptuous and bitter things have also been written against himself: alas! how rarely can discussion be prolonged, even among Christians, without its betraying us into some breach of the spirit, and leading us to forget “the meekness of wisdom!"
COMPENDIUM OF CORRESPONDENCE.
THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN.
Matthew x, 23.
HUMILIS would put a still more literal interpretation on this passage than that usually given; and inclines to think, that our Lord, instead of alluding to his second advent, merely intended to signify to the disciples, that he would soon follow them in person to "the cities of Israel," all of which he had declared he must visit during the course of his earthly ministry.
Humilis supports this view on the ground, that the charge given to the twelve in this instance was limited: -"Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not." Whereas his last charge was, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature."
This view is further sustained from Luke x, 1:-" After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two ' and two before his face into every city and place WHITHER HE HIMSELF WOULD COME." This mission cannot well be confounded with the last; being distinguished from it by our Lord himself, Luke xxii, 35, 36.
There be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."
XATAX Considers the reference to the beloved disciple, If I will that he tarry till I come, &c." the best solution of the above text; for
the brethren understood the words to mean that that disciple should not die," (John xxi, 20-23) and the apostles, he thinks, had the best and original means of judging of their import. This interpretation he thinks cannot be set aside, but by some well authenticated account of the death of John, the existence of which he appears to question.
We presume our Correspondent to question, if there be any account of the death of John previous to the destruction of Jerusalem; (though he does not express this ;) and thus to make that event, as many do, a figurative fulfilment of the coming of the Son of Man. We cannot suppose he thinks John to be still living; though one passage of his letter would seem to bear
that construction. It may be well also to observe, that the word rives, the original for "some" or certain, is in the plural; and
therefore signifies, not that some one per
son, but "certain ones," should survive till they should see the Lord coming in his kingdom which it is much more congruous with the context in all three Gospels to interpret of Peter, James, and John. Finally we notice, that whatever view the Apostles took of the words of our Lord, John xxi, 22, they did not "judge of their import" correctly for they understood "that that disciple should not die; yet Jesus (it is added) said NOT unto him, he shall not die ;" thus evidently correcting their judgement. ED.
DISCREPANCIES OF SCRIPture. In reference to what is said in page 181, H. S. L. states-“These These discrepancies serve to rebuke the pride of human reason, that receives not the revelation of truth with simplicity and by its own light, but requires it to be conformed in all points with the arrogant line drawn by its own private judgement. And they are profitable also to exercise the faith and humility of the true Christian; seeing it impossible either to question or to fathom the procedure of God, "who giveth not account of any of his matters.'
If we look for such a reason for the discrepancies in question, as
shall satisfy the sceptic, I presume we shall never find one: but "shall right?"-He hath done what pleased not the Judge of all the earth do him; and if the wise and prudent be confounded, even so Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight."
If it be alleged that discrepancies are inconsistent with verbal spiration, it may be concluded that they are inconsistent with inspiration altogether; since the divine work must be perfect. And whether we suppose that, in constructing the sacred canon, the blessed Spirit condescended verbally, in such instances, to conform to the human knowledge of the penman; or left him to dehis own mode of thinking, and in liver certain statements according to his own words; it was a sovereign and requiring submission of judgepurposed act, equally of the Lord,
truth consists in speaking things acment, and silence, from men. Moral minds: I do not therefore conceive cording to the persuasion of our the apparent contradictions have, as for a lie, or falsehood, means somesome suppose, the property of a lie; thing counterfeited and designedly opposed to the truth,-whereas the statements before us, though not correct in matter of fact, had the nature of truth in the mind of the penman, as the accountable agent; and being enrolled in the canon of Scripture, in subservience to some divine purpose, it was manifestly not of a nature to be offensive to the Spirit of holiness.
ON INSPIRATION. (By the same.)
That the reasoning faculties of the natural mind are more operative with many Christians of the present day, than the enlightening graces of the Spirit, we may infer from the liberties taken with the word of God; in wresting some passages,
expunging others, attributing parts only to inspiration, and basing other parts on the authority of St Peter or St. Paul. Human reason having thus superseded simple faith in the divine inspiration of the Word, an easy step is made to scepticism and infidelity by men professing evangelical truth. Archbishop Leighton says:
It is the very life of divine faith, 'touching the mysteries of salvation, firmly to believe their revelation by the Spirit of God. The word of God carries the lively stamp of divine inspiration; but there must be a spiritual eye to discern it. He that is blind knows not that the sun shines at noon, but by the report of others; but they that see are assured they see it, and assured by no other thing than its own light. To ask one who is a true believer, How know you the Scrip⚫tures to be divine? is the same as to ask him, How know you the light to be light."
This passage illustrates the truth, that the Spirit of God, which renews the sons of men, teaches them unhesitatingly to receive all Scripall Scripture as given by inspiration of God;" and that from the peculiar light of its own pages. And this considerAnd this consideration suggests an awful question to the mind in regard to equivocators, concerning which they would do well to examine themselves: viz. whether they have indeed received the teaching of God the Spirit.
THE SEPTUAGINT VERSION of the 2300 years. W. G. inquires "on what grounds writers on prophecy give the preference to the Septuagint reading of Daniel viii, 14, making the number of days 2400 instead of 2300.Do any existing Hebrew MSS sanction the LXX version ?""I have never heard that the Septuagint has any claim on our belief ex
cept as it agrees with the Hebrew."
W. G. will be surprised to learn, that there is not a single manuscript known to sanctions the reading of 2400 days. It be extant, whether Hebrew or Greek, that rests entirely upon a manifest typographical error of the Vatican EDITION, taken from the Vatican manuscript; which the Chisian edition of Daniel notices, and says, that the Vatican manuscript reads 2300. W. G. will find this point fully discussed in "The scheme of prophetic arrangement of the Rev. E. Irving and Mr. Frere critically examined, &c. by W. Cuninghame, Esq." a small work, well worthy of a perusal.
In regard to the general authority of the Septuagint, if the version be genuine, it may be well to observe, that our Lord Jesus and the Apostles commonly quote from it, and not from the Hebrew; which certainly stamps it with an authority equal to the Hebrew. The Fathers likewise commonly quote it and we cannot ourselves but view is as a most important Work for reference to, when the meaning of Hebrew words is disputed in such cases it weighs far more with us than the Masoretic points. ED.
ISAIAH XXVI, 9.
H. in reply to a notice of the above text at page 276, observes,
that it rather speaks of a coincidence cidence between the last judgements of Jehovah and the preparation of the earth for the reign of righteousness, than indicates that the nations usually learn righteousness in consequence of God's judgements. The Prophet
had just delivered the inspired song to be sung in Judah's land by the righteous nation" on its return to Jehovah; and after speaking of the desire of all Israel, adds, personally, With my soul have I desired thee in the night, yea with my Spirit. within me will I seek thee early." Having just before (chap. xxiv) described the long desolation of his people; and then (chap. xxv) their salvation from it; it was probably to the long "night" of adversity he referred, as the context following seems to declare.
AND THERE SHALL BE NO MORE WAR.
Now, as of old, the nations quaffed
But Judah in his splendor rose :b
a Compare Jer. xxv, c Isa. liv, 3; xlix, 24. Xxxviii, 15; Isa. xiii, 4.
Their long lost heritage obtain, And hail the promised land again.
What ails ye? Oh! ye nations, tell-
Now ships unnumbered crowd the seas;
Oh! what can Israel do? but weep, When foes so fierce his borders sweep;
b Ezek. xxxvi, 24; Jer. xxxi, 8. f Isa. xlix, 11. g Isa. li, 11. b Ezek.
15-34 with Isa. xxiv, 4, to the end.
i Zech. xiv, 2.
* For an examination of the identity of the site of Armageddon with the plan of Esdraelon, See the Eventide, by J. A. Brown, Vol. i, p. 332.
† This plain has been a chosen place for encampment in every contest carried on in this country from the days of Nabuchodnosar king of the Assyrians, until the disastrous march of Buonaparte from Egypt into Syria. Jews, Gentiles, Saracens, Christian Crusaders, and Antichristian Frenchmen, Egyptians, Perses, Druses, Turks, and Arabs, warriors out of every nation which is under heaven have pitched their tents on the plain of Esdraelon, and have beheld the various banners of their nations wet with the dews of Tabor and Hermon." Dr. E. D. Clarke.