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Here then, according to analogy, the drama recommences, and a new group or series is begun; namely, that of the Three Enemies of God and his People. These are the Dragon, the Sea-Monster, and the EarthMonster. We have first a vivid scenic exhibition of the enemies themselves. The dragon is the devil, in his belligerent and persecuting character. The two beasts or monsters are his representatives and instruments on earth. The sea-monster is the great opposing worldly power presented, first collectively, or in the aggregate, and then in the successive phases, under which the warfare against God and his people has been manifested. The land-monster represents that earthly, sensual, and devilish wisdom, by which this great opposing power has at all times been seconded and strengthened. The description of these formidable enemies (in ch. xi. xiii.) is followed (in ch. xiv.) by an anticipated view of their destruction and the triumph of God's people, the full disclosure of this glorious issue being reserved for a later group or scene of the grand drama. The fifth group or series is that of the Seven Vials (ch. xv. xvi.), exhibiting the seven plagues by which the beast, the godless worldly power, is accompanied, not at one time merely, but throughout all ages. This forms the prelude to the sixth (ch. xviii.—xx.), in which the destruction of the Three Foes of God and his Kingdom is depicted, beginning with the beast as the instrument, and ending with Satan as the prime agent. The seven heads of the beast denote as many phases of triumphant and God-defying heathenism; five of these, viz. the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, and Macedonian, had already fallen at the date of the Apocalypse. The Church was then persecuted by the sixth, the Roman empire, the downfal of which is predicted in ch. xvii., and vividly described in ch. xviii. Chapter xix. opens with a triumphal song over this event, followed by another, which anticipates the downfal of all other enemies. The ten horns on the seventh head of the beast are the ten barbarian monarchies which rose out of the ruins of the Roman empire. Having been used as instruments of vengeance, they are now themselves destroyed. This being the last phase of the Heathenish Ascendency, the two beasts themselves experience the same fate with their followers and adherents.
The prime foe, Satan, still survives, and is yet to have a temporary triumph; but before this he is bound and rendered harmless to the Church, now at length in the ascendant, for a thousand years (ch. xx. 1-6). It is rather unfortunate for the effect of Hengstenberg's interpretation, that while he confidently sets down every other number and measure of time in the Apocalypse as merely symbolical, he no less confidently represents the millennium of chapter xx. as a literal period of a thousand years. The grounds on which he vindicates this seeming inconsistency are chiefly these : that this whole group, unlike the rest, is chronological in character; that this number is repeated ten times, showing that it is to be strictly understood ; and, finally, that ten and its multiples are sometimes used as round, but never as symbolical numbers in Scripture.
The millennium, according to our author, is the thousand years from the crowning of Charlemagne to the beginning of the present century. During this period the Church has been paramount throughout the civilized world, to the exclusion of heathenism in all its forms. Satan has not been allowed to tempt the nations back to their former state. But now he is unbound again, and the Church begins to be environed by the most malignant form of gentilism; not that of gross idolatry, but that of a malignant anti-christian infidelity, in its various phases of pantheistical neology, revolutionary democracy, and socialistic anarchy. In this part of the interpretation, it is easy to trace the influence of contemporaneous events in European, and especially in German politics, which have evidently operated on the mind of Hengstenberg precisely as the great events of their times did on Bengel and Vitringa. In either case, the great majority of readers will suspect that the proximity of these events has given them an undue magnitude in the expounder's field of vision.
This view of the millennium is one of the three salient points of Hengstenberg's interpretation. Another, really involved in this, is his indignant and contemptuous rejection of the theory which identifies the beast with Papal Rome, a theory, as he asserts, of modern origin, the product of temporary causes, and utterly untenable on any consistent principles of exposition. The third point is his similar rejection of all previous solutions of the enigmatical number of the beast, which he maintains is explicable only for some scriptural analogy, since all the other symbols, types, and enigmas of the book may be distinctly traced to the Old Testament. The number of a man he explains to mean, not a number denoting a man's name, but an ordinary intelligible number. The number itself he finds in Ezra ii. 13, the only place where it occurs in conjunction with a name, which name he therefore holds to be the one intended, viz. Adonikam, 'the Lord arose, or has arisen,' a formula expressing the arrogant and blasphemous pretensions of the beast.
With respect to the closing chapters, we need only add, that they contain the final overthrow of Satan, the judgment of his followers, the renewal of the present frame of nature rendered necessary by the banishment of sin, and the description of the New Jerusalem, or new condition of the Church under this altered state of things, which last is the theme of the seventh and concluding group or series.
The simple statement of our author's exegetical method and conclusions has more than occupied the space allotted to the whole subject, and must therefore be allowed to pass for the present without note or comment, the materials for which, we need not say, are abundantly furnished, even by the meagre outline which we have been tracing, for the information among such of our readers as have not access to the work itself. We state, in conclusion, that, although the book is far more popular in form than any of the author's earlier exegetical productions, a demand seems to exist in Germany for something still more suited to the wants of ordinary readers, and an abridgment by another hand, but no doubt with the author's sanction, is announced, and has, perhaps, appeared already.
Dissent in Scotland : its Rise aud Progress,
In the proposals of the English army laid before Parliament in the month of November, 1647, it was laid down as a fundamental proposition, that 'the ways of God's worship are not at all entrusted to human power.'* The English Independents, who enunciated this principle, held that, if it was wrong to impose Prelacy, it could not be right to impose Presbytery' on the nation; and thus they were far a-head of the Scotch Presbyterians, the successors of Knox, in their knowledge of Christian ethics; for the Church of Scotland now held that she had reached her golden days, and, armed with the Act of Parliament, Feb. 7, 1649,+ ruled the nation with a rod of iron, and yet gloried all the while in her spiritual independence.' Referring to this era of the history of the Church of Scotland, Orme, in his Life of Owen,' says, • If true religion consists in the regular meeting of Church courts, and the overwhelming power of ecclesiastical rulers, “the golden age of religion in Scotland," as the period from 1638 to 1649 has been called, would, indeed, be very distinguished; but if much of the form may exist without the power of religion, we shall be cautious how we may judge of it by the proceedings of assemblies.' And Bishop Burnett, in his ' History of his Own Times,' says, “Their strictness of piety and good life,' that had gained the early leaders of the Covenant so much reputation,' began to wear off;' and `instead of that, a fierceness of temper, and a copiousness of many long sermons, and much longer prayers, came to be the distinction of the party - the grace before and after meat sometimes extending in length to a whole hour.'
Christianity was thus more a thing of form than practice—a name to live without the power which enlightens the mind and renews the heart—the natural and necessary consequence of the teachings of a State Church.
But truth cannot always be thus repressed. In the north of Scotland there were a few distinguished Covenanters, whose consciences were ill at ease under this régime, and Divine Providence soon brought them to light. One of those Covenanters—Alexander Jaffray, chief magistrate of the city of Aberdeen-having espoused the cause of the Royalists, enrolled himself in the Scottish army of thirty thousand men, raised to fight for the king and the Covenant,' and marched on England. Cromwell met this army at Dunbar, with sixteen thousand men, and speedily put them to flight, killing three thousand of the Scots troops, and taking ten thousand prisoners. Jaffray was among the wounded, and having had his wounds dressed by order of the republican general, was carried into the town, where he was used with great kindness and courtesy. Having respect to his high position and character, Jaffray was privileged with the sympathy and personal intercourse of Cromwell, Fleetwood, and Dr. Owen, one of the chaplains of Cromwell's army; and finding that his mind was open to conviction, and that his conscience was not at all comfortable under the bondage of the Covenant, they took occasion to discuss with him the whole subject of civil and religious freedom, and ultimately made out to his satisfaction, not only some more clear evidences of the Lord's controversy with the family and person of the king, but more particularly the sinful mistake of the good men of this nation about the knowledge and mind of God as to the exercise of the magistrate's power in matters of religion-what the due bounds and limits of it are.'* One of Cromwell's champions reasoned with Jaffray after this manner:- Gospel institutions, in the case of heresy and error, seem not to favour any course of violence, I mean of civil penalties. Foretold it is, that heresies must be; but this is for the manifestation of those that are approved, not the destroying of those that are not. Admonitions, and excommunications upon rejection of admonitions, are the highest constitutions against such persons ; waiting with all patience on them that oppose themselves, if at any time God will give them repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth. Imprisonment, banishing, slaying, is scarcely a patient waiting. God doth not so wait on unbelievers.'
* Rushworth on Records of the Kirk.
+ The Estates of Parliament having seriously considered the Catechismsviz. the Larger and Shorter ones—with the Confession of Faith, with three Acts of Approbation thereof, by the commissioners of the General Assembly, presented to them by the commissioners of the said General Assembly, do ratify and approve the said Catechisms, Confession of Faith, and Acts of Approbation, of the same, produced as it is; and ordains them to be recorded, published, and prac. tised.'--Vide Scottish Estates Acts, 1649.
There is abundant evidence extant which goes to show that such arguments as these not only served to confirm Jaffray in the doctrines of Noneonformity, but others, also, who were privileged to hear them. And it can also be proved, that during the time Cromwell's soldiers were in Scotland, they did more to promote the cause of religious freedom and personal godliness than the historians of Scotland generally care to allow. It is true,' says Orme, ‘Cromwell put down the assemblies, and curbed the spirit of interference with politics which then so much prevailed among the ministers. But he interfered with none of the other rights of the Church, and encouraged the profession of the gospel in all its ranks.' 'I remember well,says Bishop Burnett, “three regiments coming to Aberdeen; there was an order and discipline, and a face of gravity and piety among them, that amazed all people. Most of them were Independents and Anabaptists; they were all gifted men, and preached as they were moved.' But the strongest testimony to the prosperous condition of religion in Scotland at this period, is from the pen of Mr. James Kirton, afterwards one of the ministers of Edinburgh, who, from his opportunities, was well able to judge, and, from his sentiments as a Presbyterian, unlikely to overrate the salutary influence of the measures of the Commonwealth. He says, They did indeed proclaim a sort of toleration to Dissenters among Protestants, but permitted the gospel to have its course, and presbyters and synods to continue in the exercise of their powers; and all the time of their government the gospel prospered not a little, but mightily.' At the king's restoration he further says, “Every parish had a minister, every village had a school ; every family, almost, had a Bible : yea, in most of the country all the children could read the Scriptures, and were provided with Bibles either by their parents or their ministers.'*
* Jaffray's Diary. By John Barclay.
Thus, then, it appears that the golden age of Scotland' was not when the Church was united to the State, but when it was practically free from such connexion; and that instead of the credit being due to John Knox, which has been so long claimed as to have become tacitly admitted, of giving to every parish in Scotland a Protestant church, and to every church a school, it is due to Oliver Cromwell for throwing the Church of Scotland on her own resources, and hence one of the most powerful and practical arguments that has yet been given to the world of the truth which lies at the foundation of Dissent, and constitutes its real distinguishing character, viz., that Christianity needs no help but from itself.
Jaffray and his few associates, though Independents in principle, did not find it practicable to institute a Christian church of the Congregational order. Appointed by Cromwell to high and responsible offices in the State, Jaffray was but seldom at home; and there does not appear to have been any other master-mind in the North that had practical talent sufficient to form any Nonconformist organization on this ground. But afterwards Jaffray became a convert to the doctrine and discipline of the Society of Friends, and these were the first thorough-going Dissenters of Scotland. Deputations were sent from the Friends in England to the city of Aberdeen; and besides Jaffray, David Barclay, of Ury, the great grandfather of the present sporting gentleman of that name, and other influential parties in Aberdeenshire, became members of their society. This connexion numbered amongst its associates the able and pious author of the ' Apology,' Robert Barclay, and others distinguished for their learning, piety, and devotion.
The restoration of Charles II., which has been partly anticipated by our first article, was the signal for the commencement of the cruelest oppressions of those devoted Nonconformists. First, they were persecuted by the Church of Scotland now again in power, and then
by the Episcopal Church, as next established by law in Scotland. The arm of the civil magistrate was invoked, and fell on the Friends with tremendous force. They were tried, imprisoned, tortured; had their meeting-house in the city of Aberdeen pulled down, and the dead bodies of their departed relatives and Christian brethren, that had been interred in their own burial-ground, even torn from their graves! But • the more these people were persecuted,' says Jaffray, “the more they
Kirton's History of the Church of Scotland, p. 54, &c.