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Views,” by Bryant of Michigan. It is a work to make you smile, in reading some of his chapters, at the writer's child-like simplicity and perfect naïveté; quoting texts without the shadow of an argument; carrying the literal sense of Scripture promises to an extent bordering on the ludicrous; and yet with no signs of misgiving, or consciousness of any call to show the connection between his conclusion and his premises. His argument, for instance, in his Chap. II. to prove that “All men are to be converted,'' by which he says he means, “ All men, universally, from the least to the greatest,” is so perfectly oblivious of the usus loquendi of the Bible, that if adopted, Universalists would have no difficulty in taking the whole human race to heaven. To quote, with him, is to convince. Had he wished to prove the imperfection of the Saviour, the acknowledgment from His own blessed lips that “virtue had gone out of him,” would have closed the argument.
And yet we must say, that in other parts of his book, there is more plausible logic and ingenuity of argument, than we have ever seen in Bickersteth, or Cunningham, or Brooks, and other leading Literalists of our day. Volumes of Literalism have we read, without being stumbled for five minutes by any argument presented; and yet in this little volume were found some things which for a moment startled us, and left us for a season puzzled for an answer.
His system, though like all the rest very indefinite, repudiates some of the grosser inconsistencies of the earlier writers of that school. He does not look for a proper literal residence of the Saviour, nor of the Saints upon the terra firma of the globe. The New Jerusalem, their dwelling place, will be in the air, above the earth, and perhaps over the old site and the new city of the literal Jerusalem. The Saviour will only “manifest himself occasionally” to the saints living on the earth, though more frequently and more gloriously than at present. The glorified saints will do the same, and bear about the same relation to the saints in the flesh, as the angels of the Old Testament did to the saints of ancient days.
The nations of Gog and Magog, (Rev. xx. 8,) whom Satan, after his thousand years imprisonment, stirs up against the camp of the saints are the resurrection spirits of the wicked of former ages, who as spirits attack “the aerial habitation of the New Jerusalem !” Is not this original ?
Like all the other writers of his school, he expects the Millennium to be brought about, not by the Bible, the ministry, and the means of grace now employed, and accompanied by a larger measure of the influence of the Holy Ghost, but by miracle, as a consequence of the personal re-appearance of the Saviour, and the resurrection of the righteous dead. For all this, however, there is not even a decent show of argument, while the whole spirit of the Bible is against it. This book, therefore, though evincing a most amiable and delightful spirit in the author, will utterly fail to satisfy thinking men, and will leave the reader just where it found him, wondering as much as ever, on what good ground so many excellent men build their hope of the Visible Reign.
Of ELLIOTT and CUMMING, we have hardly left ourselves room to speak. But it was never our intention to extend this notice much beyond the late American works.
The work of Elliott, however, is one of the most complete dissertations on the Apocalyptic prophecy ever given to the world. All the materials necessary for a student of the Book are garnered up in him. Our chief and almost only objection to his system is the exceeding minuteness of his applications, and the prominence he gives to individuals, as Constantine, Luther, and others, whom, however, it is but fair to say, he regards less in their individual character, than as types of events.
Cumming's work is as its title intimates, mere “sketches," in the form of pulpit lectures on the Apocalypse, most eloquently done, and giving a bird's eye view of the general plan.*
• As specimens of the attractive style of these sketches, we feel disposed to give a few sentences, without reference to the argument.
Of the Apocalypse, he says: “I regard this book, not as a dark and inexplicable bieroglyphic, which it is humility and duty to leave unopened, but as a light that shines on the dark and troubled waters of time, those waters over which the church of the redeemed is ploughing her arduous and perilous way ; not like a light upon the stern, leaving useless brilliancy in her wake; but a light upon the prow, showing before the beacons it is our safety to avoid, and the course it becomes our duty to pursue, till that day break upon the waste of waters, when the good Pilot himself shall enter into the vessel, and say to the stormy waves around it— Be still,'-and guide her to a haven of perpetual peace.” p. 13.
He follows Elliott in all things, and deems his work to be in the interpretation of prophecy, what the Principia has been in astronomy and the natural sciences.
Both are Millenarians. And it is not a little startling to old spiritualists like ourselves, to find so many of the later writers upon prophecy sober in the main, and interpreting other portions of the Apocalypse by the rules of Mede and Newton, when they reach the xx. chapter, some how or other coming to the Millenarian conclusion! It seems to us, therefore, worth while to give in brief our reasons for still rejecting “ Millenarian views,” and for having no more disposition to embrace them than before these writers appeared upon the stage. This article, however, is already so long, that our views of MILLENARIANISM must necessarily be postponed.
Speaking of the Roman Apostacy : “ The approach of this Apostacy was worthy of the name of Woe, for never did so colossal a woe oppress the earth, or wear out its inhabitants. Assuming the name of Christ, it has done the work of Satan : calling itself Christian, it has perpetrated under the shadows of that name the most terrible evils ; pretending to set its affections above the world, it has lived and labored only to subjugate the world to its ambition. I have seen the eagle rise and soar with outstretched wing, until he seemed to touch the firmamental ceiling, and bathe his plumage amid sunshine,-it seemed as if his heart was set on something beyond the sky, and his eye kindling to catch a vision of it; but in reality, his heart and eye were riveted upon the prey, or the quarry that lay below! So has it been with Anti-Christ, he seemed to aim at heaven only to enable him to possess more surely the earth.” p. 76.
Take one extract more, on the safety of the church : “In the worst of times, and in the most terrible apostacy, God has a people. In the most unfavorable circumstances, and in the least suspected ages, they are and have been found. Bleak indeed must that desert be in which there is no oasis; and Alpine snows must have more than Alpine cold, amid which no flower blooms; we may not see them, but God does; and even we, dim as our vision is, if we will only look below the turbid and agitated surface, we shall see a silver stream that flows onward in beauty and in splendor to the main." p. 79.
For popular reading on the subject of the Apocalypse, we know nothing which we would more readily recommend.
Art. II. GIDEON BLACKBURN.
[On applying to an eminent minister of our Church in the south-west for an article on the Life and Times of Dr. Blackburn, he informed us that at the request of the Rev. Dr. Sprague of Albany, he had furnished him, for a forthcoming work, some recollections on that subject. With his permission we wrote to Dr. Sprague, who with a courtesy which does him honor, has placed the sketch at our disposal. It therefore now appears in print for the first time, and we are quite sure will delight all who ever saw or heard the venerable father, who may be called not only a pioneer of the Church, but the general of a pioneer host. EDITORS.]
It is with a melancholy pleasure that we note down some recollections and impressions of Dr. Blackburn, for the effort brings him back before our memory and imagination with all the freshness and distinctness of yesterday, and revives our reverence and affection for the man and his memory.
Regarding him through the medium of a just and grateful affection, as well as through the mellow light of bygone and earlier years, we might be pardoned, if our portrait in some of its features should seem too flattering, or its tone too high, or its colors too bright; but as truth is always preferable to fiction, and indiscriminate praise, like indiscriminate censure, of little value, we shall endeavor to guard against all extravagance, and instead of eulogy, confine ourselves to facts. We will try to give a sketch of him as he appeared in his person, in his manners, in his social and domestic relations, and in his character as a teacher, as a pastor, and as a Christian. The means of information of the writer in respect to all these points may be regarded as ample and accurate, he having been a student with Dr. Blackburn for three years, two of which were spent in his family, and having lived the greater part of his life in that portion of the State of Tennessee, which was the principal theatre of his public life and labors.
1. In his person, Dr. Blackburn was much above the ordinary
height, being about six feet one or two inches high. He was not fleshy, but ordinarily of a habit rather full than lean. He had a slight stoop of the shoulders, and when in motion, you might perceive that he was somewhat lame. His lameness was occasioned by a two-fold cause, by a fracture of the thigh-bone in early life, which was badly set, and by a white swelling afterwards on the same limb, from which he suffered dreadful pain for many months. Owing to these causes, the right leg became shortened about an inch, and its muscles contracted considerably. But although he was lame, yet his movement in walking created no painful sympathy, for he moved with ease, elasticity, grace and dignity. Indeed it was often remarked, that his gait as well as his whole bearing was military, resembling rather a man who had been trained in a camp, than one who had been educated in a cloister, or a college. His features were strongly marked. He had a high and somewhat receding forehead, eye-brows prominent but smooth, eyes large, full, light blue, or rather greyish. His nose was large, but not heavy, and slightly aquiline ; his lips were thin, finely chiselled and gently compressed, and the corners of his mouth being slightly elevated, he usually looked as one wearing a benignant smile; his chin was broad and prominent, giving the aspect of solidity and firmness to the whole countenance ; his complexion was ruddy and healthful, his head large, and in youth covered with a profusion of glossy black hair; in his latter years, his hair became perfectly white, and being parted on the crown of his head, it hung in large and graceful curls over the back part of his neck, and down almost to his shoulders, which added to his fresh complexion and fine face, gave him a most venerable and even majestic appearance. It was his eye, however, that was the most striking feature in his countenance. Calm, mild, benevolent, and even somewhat languid in its ordinary expression, it was capable of outshadowing every thought, feeling, emotion or passion without effort. It was the
“Throne of expression! whence his spirit's ray,