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1. What is intended by the parties engaged in this contest, Michael the Archangel and the Devil.
2. What is meant by the body of Moses, the subject of the contest.
1. Then, we are to inquire what is intended by the persons engaged in this contest,-Michael the Archangel and the Devil. One of these is Mi chael, but who is Michael, and what is he? Is he a celestial or a terres trial or a symbolical being? We are told that he is the Archangel; but this, in itself, furnishes no answer to the above questions, because neither of the terms, angel or archangel, is a name of nature but of office. In order, therefore, to understand the sub ject, we must inquire into the meaning of these terms, and endeavour to trace out their application.
The term angel, afyɛhog, is a Greek word, from the verb afyλhw, to tell or deliver a message, formed into a noun by the masculine termination os. The English translation rejects the Greek termination, and retains angel only; but still the word is Greek, and requires to be explained. Its literal meaning is, one sent or employed by another, a messenger, a legate, an agent, a minister, a servant; it is a relative term, implying one who is sent or commissioned by another. The word angels, therefore, does not necessarily mean (as it is generally supposed to mean) a species of incorporeal celestial beings superior to mankind, of different degrees of dignity, power and perfec tion, but simply messengers or agents. In the Scriptures it has a variety of applications. It is applied to John the Baptist, Matt. xi. 10: "Behold, I send my angel, messenger." It is applied to the two disciples of John, who were sent by him with a message to Jesus, Luke vii. 24: "When the angels, the messengers of John, were departed." When Jesus steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem we are told, chap. ix. 52, he "sent angels, messengers, before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him," It is said of Rahab, the harlot, that she received the angels, the spies, and sent them out another way, James ii. 25. We have the same application of the term angel in the Old Testament. 2 Sam. ii. 5, David sent angels unto
the men of Jabesh Gilead; Joab sent an angel to inform David of the death of Uriah, chap. xì. 19; see also vers. 22, 23, 25. The prophet Haggai is called an angel, ch. i. 13; it is applied to a priest, Mal. ii. 7. The prophet's name, Malachi, is my angel.
The term is applied to the elements, to storms, to pestilence, and to every agent in nature which God is pleased to make use of to accomplish his own purposes. The plagues which God sent among the Egyptians are said to be evil angels, Ps. lxxviii. 49. winds and the lightning are God's angels. And of these angels, mes sengers, the Scripture saith, (Ps. civ. 4,)" "Who maketh the winds his messengers, and the flames of lightning his ministers." In these pas sages the term angel is a personi fication of that to which it is applied.
In prophecy, angels are probably nothing more than symbolical or typical characters; for we know that none of the prophecies relate to the affairs and transactions of celestial and infernal spirits in the upper or lower world, but to the affairs of the inhabitants of this world, to the convulsions of nations, to the rise and fall of kingdoms and empires, and the various revolutions to which they are subject, and to the accomplishment of the purposes of God respecting the children of men. Angels, then, who are represented in these scenes as agents employed for the accomplishment of those great events which are the subject of prophecy, are not spiri tual but human beings; for the fact is, that the prophecies which have been fulfilled have been accomplished by human agency. Thus in the Reve lation of John, angels sounding trumpets represent those agents or mes sengers who gave the alarms of wars; and the first of these is supposed, by the best commentators, to predict the hostile invasions of Italy by the Goths and Huns: the second, by the emblem of a great mountain cast into the sea, the naval invasion of Italy by the Vandals, under the command of Genserie, whom Gibbon calls the ty rant of the sea. I shall only notice two other of the trumpets, the fifth
* Imp. Version.
and sixth. The fifth is supposed to denote the invasion and diminution of the Eastern Roman Empire by the Arabian successors of Mahomed; and the sixth, the wars of the Turks against the same empire. Upon the sounding of the fifth angel, a star is said to fall from heaven unto the earth, and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. This star is supposed to represent Mahomed, and the smoke of the pit, his falsehood and imposture, which obscured, at the same time that it overspread, the country of Arabia: out of this smoke proceeded the locusts, the rapid and destructive armies of the Saracens, who supplanted in every province they conquered, the religion established by Constantine, by the propagation of that of the Koran. Mahomed is said to be the king over these locusts, and the angel of the bottomless pit. "The sounding of the sixth trumpet," (says a learned writer, to whom I have frequently referred,)" is justly interpreted as prophetic of the wars of the Turkish Mahomedans against the Eastern Ro man empire. The four principal tribes of the Turks," he adds, " had settled themselves in the countries east of the Euphrates." This is represented in the prophecy, (Rev. ix. 13, and fol lowing verses,) as brought about by loosing the four angels which were bound in the great river Euphrates (probably the same as the four winds said, chap. vii. 1, to be bound till the servants of God were sealed): "And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men; and the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand." The four angels here, then, are the emblems of this great army of the Sara
But enough has been said to shew that the term angels does not necessarily mean celestial or infernal spirits; but that it is very generally applied to human agents. I now proceed to consider the other term, arch angel, which is applied to Michael, and to inquire who this Michael is, and the reason why that appellation is applied to him? The term archangel occurs but twice in the Scriptures; in the passage under consideration, and in 1 Thess. iv. 16. The Greek word
apyzys, archangel, from ap, head, and afryeλos, messenger, a head messenger, apxa, authority, rule, dominion, power; hence apxnyos, applied to Jesus Christ, a leader, author, prince, captain. Archangel, then, is a rating messenger, a messenger possessing authority, dominion and power, a sovereign messenger. Such, then, is Michael, who is as God, as the name signifies; one possessing supreme pow er in his own dominions, as God does over all: but notwithstanding his sovereignty, he is the messenger, the agent and servant of God, to execute his purposes.
The account we have of Michael is contained in five passages in the Sacred Scriptures, three in the prophecy of Daniel, one in the passage under consideration, and one in the Revela tion of John. In the first of them, Dan. x. 13, Michael is denominated one of the chief princes. In the con text, ver. 5, we are told that Daniel had a vision, in which he saw a certain man, clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz, &c.
That this man was not either a real, celestial or human being, but merely a visionary being, seems pretty clear from what Daniel says, ver. 9, that "when he heard the voice of his words, he was then in a deep sleep on his face, with his face to the ground." This man, then, was probably nothing more than the vision itself by which the divine communication was made to him, personified, and his appearing in the habit of a priest clothed in linen and girt with a gold girdle, and the splendour of his appearance, denoted that the vision was from heaven. In his address to Daniel, he says, ver. 12, "Fear not, Daniel; for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words," referring to Daniel's prayer, in the preceding chapter, which he put up to the Lord his God, in consequence of his understanding by books the nuinber of the year whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jeru
Acts iii. 15, v. 31; Heb. ii. 10, xii. 2.
salem that period being now accomplished, he set his face to seek to the Lord by prayer, and in that prayer he thus addresses him, vers. 17, 18: "O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake. O my God, incline thine ears and hear, and open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name." This prayer, the vision informs him, was heard, but that the deliverance for which he prayed was obstructed by one of the princes of Persia, "who," says he, withstood me" (speaking as the representative of the Jewish High-priest) one and twenty days; but lo," says he, "Michael, one of the chief princes, helped me, and I remained with" (in the favour of) "the kings of Persia." Now, who can this Michael be but Cyrus, the great deliverer of Israel, and God's chosen instrument, at that time, to restore Jerusalem, and to establish his sanctuary and worship there?" And now" (says he, ver. 20) "will I return and fight with the prince of Persia ; and when I am gone forth, the prince of Grecia shall come; but," he adds, "I will shew thee that which is written in the scripture of truth;" namely, what was written by Isaiah, ch. xlv., concerning this great prince Cyrus, for to what else could he refer, since we never read that God ever made Heathen princes his agents and ministers for the salvation of his people, till he raised up Cyrus for that purpose; but of Cyrus it is written, Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him," &c.: "I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; he shall build my cities, he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward"? The divine vision then adds, "And there is none that holdeth with me in these things but Michael, your prince." Daniel was at this time a captive in Babylon, which Cyrus had recently subdued, and of which he became the supreme ruler; he is therefore properly denominated his prince.
The 12th chapter, where Michael is again introduced, carries Daniel's predictions down to a very late period, to the final overthrow of the anti
christian powers, and the complete restoration of the children of Israel to their own land, when the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ. Now, as their restoration from the Babylonian captivity was brought about by the instrumentality of a great temporal prince, denominated in prophecy by the name of Michael; so their future restoration from the present much greater and longer captivity, will be effected by the instrumentality of some great and potent prince or princes predicted under the same name. “At that time," says the prophecy, ver. 1, "shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people." The period of the accomplishment of this prediction being so remote, Michael is not denominated Daniel's prince, as in the former passage, nor the prince of the children of his people, but only á prince that shall stand up for them; that is, espouse their cause, and exert his power and influence on their behalf.
That this in fact will be the case, we learn from the following passages which predict the future restoration of the Jews: Isaiah xlix. 22, 23: "Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders; and kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers; they shall bow down to thee with their faces toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet." See also lx. 3, 10, 11.
A writer in the Monthly Repository says, "At p. 216, Vol. VI. of Theol. Repos., I beg to correct a passage relating to the Prince Michael, who is there represented as the leader or great prince of the children of Israel, to restore them to their country," &c., as foretold by Daniel. (See x. 13-21 and xii. 1.) It does not necessarily follow that this temporal prince was to spring from the stem of Jesse, as is supposed in the paper referred to; I rather think now, he may be of Gentile race, as Cyrus was, who was the great deliverer of the Jews
* For May, 1822, p. 269.
N common, I doubt not, with most
ceased: their objects are better and more generally understood; their characters and motives have gained respect; and a number of new and important friends to Negro instruction have appeared within the past year.” The number of Negroes under the Society's instruction is stated to be 22,936; being an increase in the year of 758. The children in the schools
I of your readers, I feel much obliged were 4227. As a representation of
to your correspondent Mr. Cooper, for his interesting communications relative to the improvement of the Negroes in the West Indies. The difficulties that stand in the way of that desirable object are, no doubt, great and numerous, in consequence of the degrading and demoralizing influence of a state of slavery. It cannot be easy to raise, with the hand of mercy, the being whom we continue to trample on with the feet of despotism. Mr. C., from personal experience, seems to consider the attempt as altogether hopeless, and to think that it is but lost labour to endeavour the religious improvement, till we have obtained the political emancipation, of the Negroes. Never having set my foot on the unblest shores of a WestIndian Island, I should not presume to call in question the justness of this view, were I not struck with a considerable disagreement there is between it and the report of other labourers in the same field. All indeed represent the difficulties as very great, but there are many actually engaged in contending with them, who are so far from thinking them insurmountable, that they are very sanguine in their hopes of final success. To justify this statement, I wish to lay before your readers a few particulars taken from the last Report of the Wesleian Missions in this quarter, which, among several undertaken by different Christian Societies, are, I believe, the most considerable. Their Committee states, that they are happy to report the continued progress of the Missions to the Negro Slaves, with scarcely any exception. The number of Missionaries having of late been considerably increased, a much larger portion of this long-neglected field has been brought into cultivation, and it has yielded its expected produce of truth and righteousness. Open opposition to the efforts of Missionaries has
that wretched state of the slaves which calls for these exertions, we may extract the following account of the condition in which they lately were found in the island of Tobago: "The extreme ignorance of the Negroes of this colony concerning whatever pertains to religion, is such as no language can describe. Their children, as soon as they are able to lisp, are taught the art of dissimulation; and to speak lies appears as natural and familiar to them as to speak at all. In their passions, particularly that of anger, they are violent beyond all description; and seldom do they forget or forgive an injury received. They have no idea that to steal is an evil. Without natural affection, they harden themselves against their young ones, as though they were not theirs. A gentleman, whose estate I am in the habit of visiting, assured me that there were some female slaves on his plantation, with whom he could not entrust the food intended for their own offspring. In the direful principles of witchcraft they are deeply immersed; even a look from one reputed an
Obiah man' is sufficient to fill their minds with dread, and they sicken, pine away and die, under a disease which has no cause but their own superstitious fears."
That to be supplied with the means of Christian instruction and religious worship must be a great blessing to these miserable people, no one could reasonably doubt, and there is much pleasing evidence that this is actually the case. From Antigua they report that several of the managers of the estates bear testimony to the influence of religion on the slaves. One said, "A very great change has taken place in their conduct, since they began to act from religious principles. The whip is not needful now!" Another said, "The sound of the whip is now rarely heard on the estate. The chil
dren come to school neat and clean, without those gaudy decorations so common among other children in this part of the world. Several have died in the course of the year; some of the eldest of them very happy; the praises of God dwelt on their lips throughout their afflictions." "The mission at Dominica is in a state of prosperity; true religion is apparently taking a deeper hold on the hearts of the members of the society, and extending its influence among others." These quotations might be multiplied, but those already produced may be sufficient to shew, that Negro improvement is not a thing to be despaired of, nor the attempt to effect it one which ought to be postponed to an unknown and distant day.
November 11, 1822.
I HAVE sent you the inclosed which I have recently received from a respectable Presbyterian Minister in the North of Ireland. The 14th edition of the "Sketch" having been just published, with its usual impression of five thousand copies, it is not likely that another edition will be soon published. I therefore send you this communication for the Repository, desirous of giving a speedy and per manent publicity to every document which may be deemed conducive to the spread of truth, and to the triumph of evangelical charity.
October 18, 1822. It may appear singular, that a person wholly unknown to you should address you from a distant part of the kingdom. I trust, however, the sub ject of this letter will render it unnecessary to offer any apology; especially as I am satisfied of your anxiety to render your Sketch as perfect as possible.
I have read your book with satisfaction, and have recommended it to my friends. It is calculated to do good, by removing prejudices and abating hostility amongst Christians. Your account of the Scotch Presbyterians and English Dissenters, is, I dare say, correct. But you are not probably aware that there exists in
the north of Ireland a body of Pres byterians, amounting to about half a million, quite distinct, as to church government, from any sect or society mentioned in your book. Their his tory is given in "An Historical Essay on the Loyalty of Presbyterians," written above one hundred years ago, by Dr. James Kirkpatrick, of Belfast. A sketch of their principles is also set forth in an Appendix to an edition of Towgood's Letters, published in Newry and Belfast, in 1816. Now, so considerable a body is well worthy of notice in your Sketch. Lest you should not be able to procure either of the above-named publications, I may here give you a brief account of the body of whici. I speak.
By encouragement from the crown, a great number of Scotch Presbyterians came over to Ireland, in the beginning of the seventeenth century, and settled chiefly in the province of Ulster. Their ministers accompanied
them, and formed themselves into a Presbytery, which met at Antrim, Belfast, Bangor and other places. The first congregation that was settled, Broad-Island, in 1611. For nearly a was that of the Rev. Mr. Bryer, of century a considerable union subsisted between the mother church and the colony. The same church government by sessions, presbyteries and synods, and the same standards of orthodoxy were used in both. However, in proof Ireland became quite independent cess of time, the Presbyterian Church of the Scottish Establishment; and for many years a peculiar and exclusive jurisdiction has prevailed in it. Government is still conducted by sessions, presbyteries and synods; but with less strictness and more congregational liberty than in the parent church. The Westminster Confession of Faith is still supposed to be the standard of faith, &c., but is not used as such by the great majority of presbyteries, and is not known at all in very many congregations. Liberty is now granted to all presbyteries and congregations to use it or not; and candidates for the ministry are licensed and ordained in such forms as presby teries see cause. Hence the prevailing custom is to use no human written standard. Young men are examined by presbyteries touching their ac quaintance with languages, science,