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of the worship of the Virgin Mary, the twelve apostles, and a host of saints, for the Saviour, and the endless jargon of the priests for the pure faith of the primitive Christians.”
“ A king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.” This most accurately describes both the king and the nation to which he belongs. “ He early led a roving life, following the caravans of the desert; he delighted in the weird tales of his comrades, eagerly grasped the histories of the various places which he visited, studied the religions of the various peoples with whom he came in contact; and at length, having come in possession of a fortune by a lucky marriage, retired from active life, spent much of his time in a cave near his residence; at length, as the result of his researches and profound investigations, he gave to the world the Koran, a book abounding in dark sentences, which holds the faith of more millions of human beings than any book save the Bible.”
“ And his power shall be mighty but not by his own power." This is more strictly true of Mohammed than of any other conqueror who came in contact with the Jewish people. He was poor caravan boy, destitute of power or patronage, was raised to affluence by his marriage, and extended his conquests, as did his successors, by conciliating the nations conquered, and incorporating them into his own faith and kingdom; “through his policy he caused craft to prosper in his hands.”
“ And he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall practice and prosper.” Had some distinguished novelist, with the breadth and fertility of imagination of Sir Walter Scott, been called upon to write a romance of the seventh century, he could not have produced a more wonderful composition than is afforded in the simple narration of the facts attending the rise of the Mo
While yet his forces were busying themselves with subduing the peninsular of Arabia to the sway of Mohammed, his embassadors were visiting the most distant kingdoms and demanding, in the name of the“ Prophet of God,” submission and tribute ; these courts were in doubt whether the Arab were a madman or a fanatic, but while they were yet discussing the matter his fierce warriors were scaling the walls of their capitals or laying waste their pleasant fields.
“ He shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.”
If this refers to the Jews it was very accurately fulfilled by the Romans; if to Christians, we have but to look to those countries where Christianity flourished most in the early centuries, to behold its fulfillment by the Mohammedans.
“ And he shall stand up against the Prince of princes.” The Romans crucified the Prince of princes and persecuted his followers. Mohammed claimed to be greater than Jesus Christ, supplanted the religion of the cross by that of the crescent, and gave the world the Koran for the Bible.
6. By him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down.” Rome overthrew the city of Jerusalem-burned the temple, and put an end to the daily sacrifice. But it will be observed that the word “sacrifice" is not in the original. If we substitute “ worship" in its stead, and note still further that it does not say that this power threw down the sanctuary, but the place of the sanctuary, the preponderance of the evidence will be for Mohammed and against Rome. This view is still further corroborated when we observe that by this power “the truth was cast down to the ground.” The overthrow of Jerusalem by the Romans was for the establishment of the truth, and must be considered as a prosperous event rather than otherwise, while the conquest of the East by the Saracens effectually dislodged truth from the whole country.
As the sanctuary, or the place of it, was to be trodden down for 2300 days, which we are disposed to consider so many years, there can be but little difficulty in finding the time when it is to be cleansed, or at least, in showing that the day is quite distant. If we take Rome as the power symbolized by the “ little horn,” the sanctuary cannot be cleansed before A. D. 2370, as the Romans overthrew the city in the year 70. But if we take the Mohammedan power as the one intended, the time of
cleansing the sanctuary” will be deferred to A. D. 2935.
Some suppose that by cleansing the sanctuary is meant the end of the world, but nothing of the kind is hinted at. What was polluted will be cleansed. Both Romans and Mohammedans have trampled down Jerusalem. Jesus said it should be trampled down until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
When these times are fulfilled it is not unreasonable to suppose the city will be rebuilt and the scattered nation restored.
Whoever discusses such a subject as Regeneration with any thoroughness, will, of necessity, exhibit all the main features both of his thcology and his mental philosophy, as well as set forth more or less the principles of interpretation which he applies to the Scriptures. Such a discussion must include a view of human character as it lies under the cloud of sin, an exhibition of its degree of moral power and responsibility, the relation of divine help to its deliverance, the method and means by which its redemption is to be secured, and its state after the new creative work has been wrought in its behalf. In a word, it involves a philosophy of moral life, such as will classify and harmonize the main facts of consciousness and all the distinctive utterances of inspiration that bear on the subject. It is a theme for a volume rather than a topic for a brief article. All that will be attempted now is to present a merc outline of the principles by the aid of which this result would be sought, and indicate a few of their applications.
The term Regeneration occurs only twice in the New Testament, it is not found at all in the Old. The first instance of its occurrence appears in Matt. 19: 28; where Christ promises large future distinctions to those who have followed him in the regeneration. It is proper to observe, however, that many eminent critics regard the pointing in this passage, which is found in
common versions, as improper and unauthorized. As at present punctuated, the passage makes the following to be in the regeneration ; with the modified pointing, it makes the promise to find its fulfilment in the regeneration. The other instance of its use occurs in Tit. 3:5; where Paul speaks of our being saved by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the
Holy Ghost—a use of the word evidently figurative and typical in a high degree.
But while this precise word is thus sparingly used, the idea conveyed by it frequently appears in equivalent expressions. Such are “ born again ;” “ born of God;" “ born of the Spirit ;" “ born from above;" begotten again;" begotten of God;" “ created anew;” “renewed in the spirit of your mind;" &c., &c.
Indeed, though the Scriptures give new prominence to this idea, and make the idea itself more radical than before, it appears in the religious literature of almost every people. The human heart yearns every where for a new and higher life, and so it pictures to itself some new and nobler existence, to reach which is regarded as the accomplishment of the great end and the attainment of the supreme good of existence. True, the ideals have often been very low, and the modes of reaching and realizing them have been often very strange and foolish ; but the conception of a redeemed nature has still haunted men and inspired their noblest and worthiest efforts.
As the term is used in theology, Regeneration signifies, in its results, a new spiritual life either begun or completed—in the germ or matured. Omitting the prefix, and we have the word generate, which is expressive of a familiar physical act and process which perpetuate and extend the domain of life; and is taken, as nearly all our words denoting spiritual things are taken, to signify. an act and process by means of which the spiritual life mounts to a higher plane and reveals higher forces and phenomena.
It seems proper to remark here, that violence is done both to Scripture and to reason by an attempt to find complete correspondence between all the facts of the physical and the spiritual process. Those zealous interpreters of Scripture who will at all hazards have something in the spiritual process answering perfectly to all the consecutive phenomena of the physsical—who insist on discovering the impregnation, the quickening with vital force, the gradual development of the spiritual fætus, the painful birth into self-consciousness, &c., &c., are not expounding Scripture, but setting forth their own foolish fancies. It would be just about as wise to insist that, when the “ God is a rock,” he must have meant the granite which upholds the other species and which has three elements, viz., quartz, felspar, and mica, and that these respectively correspond to the three persons in the Trinity. There are two Greek words, gennao and ginomai, with their derivatives and variations, employed in the New Testament to express the idea of Regeneration. In their original use the first word, gennao, more frequently signified, as applied to the physical process, the act of generating, while the second, ginomai, was more generally used to denote the birth ; but gradually this distinction grew less and less observable in use. In examining most of the passages where either of these words is used to denote a spiritual idea or otherwise, we cannot discover that either the writers or the translators of the New Testament meant anything different when they use one word from what they would express when they employed the other. Thus in Heb. 11: 23,“By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid,” &c.; it is not ginomai but gennao that is used ; and yet it cannot mean when he was generated, but when he was born. So in 1 Pet. 2: 2,— “As new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word,” &c.; it is gennao again; but it must mean born, of course, though ginomai is not chosen. This, without farther illustration, indicates that the New Testament writers use the words interchangeably. Take as an example of translation, 1 John 5:1,4" Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him.” Here we have born, begat and begotten; but the original word is the same in all the three cases, and that word is gennao. It is the same word also that is used in the conversation between Christ and Nicodemus, and yet our version invariably reads born again. Besides the Greek word for Regeneration has for its chief element, not gennao but genesis,-a derivitave of ginomai, originally expressive more fully of birth than of generation. All this shows the almost entire synonymousness of the words begotten and born as used in Scripture, when they are applied to the spiritual nature, and the folly of attempting to engraft a theory of complete correspondence upon the letter of the New Testament.