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to the capture of Constantinople, the great river Euphrates, inasmuch as it arose in the western parts of may perhaps suffice for the information of the reader. The history of Anatolia; to this it may be replied, the Decline and Fall of the Roman first, that it was, strictly speaking, a Empire, from which this sketch has continuation or revival of the Seljubeen taken, now fails us; but it can kian dynasty;-secondly, that the be hardly necessary to trace the his- expression (as was before observed) tory further. Once seated upon the may as properly be applied to the imperial throne of the Cæsars, the binding power, as to the power bound; Turkish sultan assumed a new name -thirdly, that the expression, the and character among the kings of great river Euphrates (as has been the earth, and his empire attained also observed), may be understood to such a colossal magnitude as to symbolically, rather than literally, become for upwards of two centuries that is, as merely denoting the eastern the scourge and terror of Christen- boundary of the Greek Empire.— dom. Few, probably, will therefore Again, it may be thought that the doubt of the propriety of applying to description of the number of the armies of the horsemen-namely, two it the prophecy of the second woetrumpet. We cannot believe that myriads of myriads-is rather apan event so vitally affecting the plicable to the Turkman hordes at an Roman empire and the Christian earlier period, than to the Ottoman church should have been omitted in armies; but the historic sketch the Apocalyptic visions, and the given above shews plainly that these sixth trumpet is the only one which hordes were scattered over the plains, can be understood as announcing it. not only of Persia, but of the whole There may be some difficulties in the of Anatolia; that they preserved their interpretation, but the application character and habits of life; and that from them were supplied the seems upon the whole irresistible. Spahis, or Asiatic cavalry, of the Ottoman armies: and the single fact, that, of the four hundred thousand men whom Bajazet brought into the field of Angora, above three hundred thousand appear to have been this species of cavalry, may appear to be a sufficient confutation of this objection. But there is, however, another difficulty behind, which I must confess myself unable to clear up, and that is, the want of evidence to shew that fire-arms were in use among the Turkish cavalry on the invasion of the empire by the Ottomans. One peculiarity, which characterized the horses in the vision, was, that out of their mouths issued fire, and smoke, and brimstone; and that by these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. Now, as it seems plain that the discovery and use of gunpowder is here alluded to, so it appears from history that this destructive discovery was applied to the purposes of war about the middle of
It may be asked, how the four angels can be justly considered as emblematical of the Ottoman power, which sprung up in the sultany of Iconium alone: but this difficulty may be, perhaps, sufficiently obviated by the consideration, that the symbol may be rather designed to characterize the power generally, which was the subject of the vision, than as pointing out the particular branch of that power which was to be the instrument of the woe; and that no more distinctive character could be given of the Turkish power after it had been split into the four sultanies. Similarly we see the four horns of the he-goat denote the Macedonian Empire, after the first notable horn had been broken, and that empire divided into four kingdoms; and in like manner, the beast with seven heads and ten horns used to symbolize the Roman Empire of the west, after it was dismembered by the Goths, &c. If it should be further objected, that the Ottoman power could not be said to be bound upon
the fourteenth century, and was in common use among the nations of Europe before the close of that century; and the Turks appear to have employed a Dane or Hungarian ofthe name of Urban, to cast the battering train by which they were enabled to effect breaches in the walls of Constantinople; and to this, expositors generally refer the words of the prophecy. But it must naturally present itself to the mind of the intelligent reader, that this interpretation does not explain the appearance of the fire issuing out of the horses' mouths, which seems evidently to intimate that fire-arms were used by the Turkish cavalry. Now of this I can find no historical evidence; or, I ought rather to say, that small arms do not appear to have been brought to sufficient perfection in Europe to be used on horseback, till some time after the capture of Constantinople. The subject is, however, beset with much obscurity, and the words of the prophecy may perhaps be legitimately applied to the use of fire-arms by the Turks at a later period of their conquests? The other parts of the prophetic description appear to have been sufficiently cleared up. In regard to the breastplates of the horsemen, I willingly quote Bishop Newton: "In the vision, that is, in appearance, and not in reality, they had breastplates of fire, and of jacinth or hyacinth, and brimstone. The colour of fire is red, of hyacinth blue, and of brimstone yellow and this, as Mr. Daubuz observes, hath a literal accomplishment; for the Othmans, from the first time of their appearance, have affected to wear such warlike apparel of scarlet, blue, and yellow.' Of the Spahis particularly, some have red and some have yellow standards, and others red or yellow mixt with other colours. In appearance, too, the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions, to denote their strength, courage, and fierceness." The next distinguishing mark of the horses in the vision, was, that their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. The symbol, as used in the
vision, plainly designates the venom of false religion, which was enforced by the sword wherever the Turkish conquests extended; and which is represented by a symbol in the vision of the Saracenic locusts. The poison is seated in the tail, to indicate that it followed the success of their arms: as in the following vision, of the woman and man-child, the great red dragon is described as drawing with his tail a third part of the stars of heaven.—Lastly, with respect to the commencement and termination of the woe, different dates may be assigned, and different readers may prefer one or the other. The prophetic period of its duration is distinctly limited to an hour and a day and a month and a year, i.e. (as was before observed) three hundred and ninety-one years and fifteen days. Those who, on the authority of Cantimer, date the decline of the Turkish power, from its conquest of Camenice in Poland, in 1672, fix the commencement of the period at the taking of Kutahi by Ortogrul, in 1281. This exposition is not satisfactory to my mind, because I do not see how the woe can be properly said to have terminated in 1672, when eleven years afterwards we see the Grand Vizier traversing Hungary, and besieging Vienna itself with a powerful army, and the inhabitants of that capital, with the imperial family itself, flying in dismay for safety in all directions; and again, A. D. 1690, another Vizier taking Nissa, Widin, and even Belgrade, after a bloody siege, and subjecting all the Hungarian territories beyond the Teisse. If, on the other hand, we fix the termination of the woe at so late a date as the fatal battle of Zenta, in which the Sultan in person was utterly defeated by Prince Eugene; or, two years later,' at the treaty of Carlowitz, by which several of the Turkish conquests were ceded, and its power for ever restrained; it is difficult to discover any prominent epoch, corresponding to either date, from which to commence the prophetic period. It ap
pears to me, that the successful campaign of the Turks in Hungary, just mentioned. A. D. 1690, may with the most propriety be considered as closing the victorious career of the Turkish arms; for in the next and succeeding campaigns they underwent a series of defeats; and the attempt made by Mustapha, in 1697, to retrieve the honour of his arms, was but a last expiring effort, and totally unsuccessful. Now, if we fix the close of the Turkish woe at this campaign, the prophetic hour and day and month and year carry us precisely back to the date so singularly marked out by Gibbon-namely, the twenty-seventh of July in the year twelve hundred and ninetynine, when Othman first invaded the territory of Nicomedia; and of which he makes this striking observation, that the singular accuracy
QUERY ON EDUCATION in Sheffield.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. MR. BEST observes, in his excellent volume of sermons noticed in your last number, that "more juvenile offenders are committed for trial from the town of Sheffield than from any other town in the county.” In one of your former numbers I find it stated, that the clergy of Sheffield bear an honourable character for piety, and a zealous attention to their duties; and Sheffield is proverbial for the education of the children of the poor, especially by means of Sunday-schools. Whence, then, the fact noticed by Mr. Best? The returns of our school-societies amply prove, that, among the lists of those who are tried for offences against the laws, very few have received the elements of mental cultivation-(see, for instance, the convincing statements, relative to the late trials of the rioters in the southern counties, in the British and Foreign School Society's paper affixed to your number for last May.) How, then, are we to account for the fact announced by Mr. Best? It deserves to be fairly inquired into; because such statements are eagerly laid hold of by the enemies of popular education, but I am convinced with
of the date seems to disclose some foresight of the rapid and destructive growth of the monster." But, which ever of the foregoing dates be preferred by the reader, he can hardly fail to acknowledge the accurate fulfilment of the prophecy. On the closing declaration of the prophecy, that all these Divine judgments should be ineffectual as to the reform of the rest of the Christian church, I cannot do better than cite the words of Bishop Newton. "Though the Greek church was thus ruined and oppress-out justice; for I feel sure, that, if the ed, the rest of men, who were not killed by these plagues, the Latin church, which pretty well escaped these calamities, yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils (daiporia, demons, or second mediatory gods, saints, and angels) and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and wood, which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: neither repented they of their murders, their persecutions and inquisitions; nor of their sorceries, their pretended miracles and revelations ; nor of their fornication, their public uncleanness; nor of their thefts, their exactions and impositions on mankind." D. M. P.
case of the juvenile offenders in Sheffield be fairly inquired into, it will prove, that, whoever or whatever may be in fault, it is not Scriptural education, or the faithful pulpit or private ministrations of pious clergy
Still the apparent anomaly deserves investigation; and the result, I doubt not, will be to encourage the friends of instruction, as similar investigations elsewhere have uniformly done.
A MEMBER OF VARIOUS
THE BISHOP OF BRISTOL'S MISSIONARY
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
HAVING observed in your pages many notices of the proceedings of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, I the more wonder that it has not occurred to you to look over the sermons prefixed to the society's Annual Reports, and some of which contain sentiments far from scriptural, and such as it does not become a Christian missionary institution to put forth. I was induced, by the perusal of the interesting summary of the Society's last year's proceedings in your pages, to refer to the report itself, and to the Bishop of Bristol's sermon prefixed to it. The sermon being published, istaken from that range of privilege against strictures from the press which I should be disposed in general to claim for pulpit addresses; but I am not inclined to offer any minute critique on it, especially as it contains much that is instructive and excellent, and the whole is penned in a devout and serious spirit, becoming so momentous a subject as that of the propagation of Christianity throughout the world.
But, to speak with the freeness which the solemnity of the doctrines of salvation demand, whatever may be the quarter in which they are erroneously stated, it does not appear to me that the basis on which the sermon under consideration is constructed is scriptural. I cannot adequately illustrate my meaning by particular passages, as the discourse is by no means so obviously erroneous as many of those of the same school; but one or two expressions may furnish a clue to the system upon which the whole is founded; as for example: "The covenanted promise of a resurrection to eternal life, to those who serve God in faith and righteousness: and again; Intellectual and moral attainments which may enable us to look with humble confidence to the approbation
of God, and more and more to discern and appreciate the excellency of his works and the designs of his government, must render the remembrance of every demonstration of faith, and of every good work done in the flesh, a subject of unceasing delight to those who shall be permitted to stand before our Lord when He shall have pronounced judgment on their fidelity, in whose commendation there must indeed be the fulness of joy."
Now I would ask, with all due respect to the character and station of the Right Reverend author, is this a scriptural view of the only foundation of human hope? What is meant by "the covenanted promise of a resurrection to eternal life to those who serve God in faith and righteousness?" Is this mode of expression compatible with the doctrine that we are justified freely by faith, and accounted righteous before God only for the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ? Are not "faith" and "righteousness" put altogether out of their relative places? When the Jailor asked, "What must I do to be saved;" did the Apostle reply, “You must serve God in faith and righteousness?" No; he said "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved:" the "serving God" and growth in "righteousness" were fruits of faith, and not its precursors. The being saved" was predicated of believing, and not of serving; though equally true it is, that real faith necessarily brings forth good works; and that if any man say that he has faith, and has not works, such faith cannot save him. And where are we told in Scripture that "moral and intellectual attainments" may enable us to look with humble confidence to the approbation of Almighty God?" Our Saviour spoke very differently, when he taught us, after all we have done, to confess ourselves unprofitable servants, not challenging "approbation," but pleading for mere mercy. The Pharisee looked with confidence, but, alas! in vain, to his attainments
for "the approbation of God;" but it was he who said, "Lord be merciful to me, a sinner," that went down to his house justified, and not the other. What the Right Reverend Prelate intends by our "intellectual" attainments having any share in enabling us to calculate on the approbation of God, I cannot even conjecture. That our "moral" attainments may lead us to cherish such a confidence, is unhappily a very common, though a very unscriptural, opinion; but that our intellectual attainments, though they were equal to those of Voltaire himself, can have any share in securing the approbation of God, is a notion as peculiar as it is unfounded.
I would submit the inquiry, whether sentiments like the above are not an exemplification of the effort to combine in one claim, what St. Paul teaches us to keep wholly distinct. He tells us that salvation is either wholly of grace, or wholly of works; it cannot, he says, be of both. The Gospel teaches us that it is of the former: that we are justified freely, by faith, and not for our own works. Natural religion, so called, leads us erroneously to the opinion that it is of the latter, and that a man may justly cherish confidence of being accepted with God in proportion to his own supposed goodness. The system to which I am adverting seems to wish to unite both. As though it said, It were too bold, it were unphilosophical, it were dangerous to good morals, to say, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved;" and it were equally contrary to the Gospel to leave out faith altogether, and to place our confidence before God wholly in our own righteousness: therefore let there be a compromise. Hence has arisen such vague language as that above objected to. The scriptural scheme is, the vicarious merits of the Saviour; faith in those merits; and holiness of life springing from faith. The neutralized scheme begins with the end, and ends with the beginning: the naked creed is CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 356.
faith, but it is practically paraphrased into self-reliance. The trumpet gives an uncertain sound; and, in place of such plain, distinct statements as those of the Inspired Writers, or, I might add, of our own Reformers, we have such vague expressions as the above, which may be construed with a further or lesser remove from orthodoxy, according to the taste of the reader, but usually with the lowest measure which they will permit.
BENEFITS OF PRIVATE MEANS OF
GRACE IN PARISHES.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. IN your Number for February a correspondent asks, Is it true that Dissent decreases where, in addition to public services, the active private means of spiritual edification are used in the Establishment? I herewith beg to transmit to you the account of the effects of such means in the parish where the plan named in my former communication is in full operation. It is written by the minister of the parish; and to his statement I only wish to add, that in several other parishes, where similar plans have been instituted, similar results have followed; and I have not been able to find one country parish, where the system is at work, in which the Church has not been materially strengthened and Dissent diminished. It is possible that in towns, under some peculiar circumstances, this may not be the case; but, in general, Dissent will never make progress where the ministers of the Establishment do their duty, by teaching the people the truth of the Gospel, not only publicly, but from house to house. Circumstances may make it necessary for the plans used in one parish to differ from those in another; but without some private means, and some plan of lay co-operation, it is impossible that the spiritual interests of the people can be properly attended to. My friend's plan may 30