Page images


Biblical Criticism.-On the Contents of the Book of the Revelation: be done; but also, that the knowledge though all the parts of this book har. derived from the other would be a monize together, yet the book, to be strong inducement to the practice of understood, must be considered as the moral principles of Christianity. dividing itself into three parts. 1. Is Under this impression I shall take the the figurative description of the Chrisliberty of submitting to your readers tian church, as the temple, with Jesus the following sketch of its contents, ministering in it as high priest. Then as they appear to ine, upon comparing follows the description of the peculiar it with the ecclesiastical and civil his state of each church, through the tory of the first centuries of Chris. whole period of the prophecy: with tianity :

propriety this may be considered as Chap. i. 1—3, is the authority for the ecclesiastical part of the prophecy, publishing this book, it being the and is contained in the three first revelation made by the Deity of future chapters. events, to Jesus the Christ, and by The second part of this prophecy him, through his messenger, in vision, represents Jesus as enthroned, and made known to John, who herein going forth with his army of saints to bears his testimony to all that he saw; break into pieces the kingdoms of the and pronounces him blessed who stu- world. This part begins at the 4th diously pays attention to it, because chapter, and concludes at the 18th the time of commencement was fast verse of the 11th chapter; and the approaching.

remaining chapters may be considered Ver. 4—20: John's address to the as descriptive visions of various scenes, seven successive ages of Christianity, which take place from the first estadescribing the manner in which the blishment of nominal Christianity, vision was given to him, that the till the grand period of the consumscene was laid in the Temple or Chris- mation of all things. Under this view tian Church, (1 Cor. ii. 16, 17,) in of the prophecy we shall find that which Jesus, clothed as high priest, the 4th and 5th chapters correspond was in every succeeding age walking with the Ephesian church-state, and amongst the lamps or churches, trim- are an account of the general political ming them and keeping them con- state of Christianity until the destrucstantly bright. The last verse unfolds tion of Jerusalem. The 6th and 7th the mystery of this whole chapter, chapters run parallel with the church by explaining that the stars in the of Smyrna, and describe the overright band of the bigh priest, are the turning of Rome Pagan. The 8th Christian teachers, in the seven ages and 9th chapters describe the overof the Christian Church; and that turnjog of the Eastern Roman Cbristhe seven lamps are the Churches, tian empire. The 10th and 11th whose lamps, in seven successive pe- describe the Christian world, as it riods, are to follow each other in may be called, from the commencebeing the lights (Matt. v. 14) of the ment of nominal Christianity, under world.

Constantine, till the conclusion of the The second and third chapters con- Millenial age, including the whole of tain the messages that Jesus, our high the remaining five churches, which priest, sends in each period to the will be more distinctly seen by noChurch. The prologue of each message ticing their respective periods of is taken from the descriptive appear- commencement and conclusion. ance of Jesus in the first chapter. The Returning back to the 4th chapter, second part describes, in few words, the I notice, that, in the descriptive mes. general state of the Church in each sage to this church, it was to continue age. This is followed by directions from A. D. 83, to A. D. 73. Its chasuitable to the period, and interspersed racter was to be reniarkable for their with threats and promises; and the laborious exertions in spreading the whole concluding with rewards to Gospel, their patience under Jewish be given to overcomers, and an ex- persecution, and their trying the crehortation to those who bave under. dentials of those judaizing teachers standing, to hearken to the prophetic who called themselves apostles; their directions.

undauntedness in suffering; their abChap. iv. Johu is invited to look horrence of ambition in Christian into futurity: and before we do so, teachers; that at the commencement it may be proper to observe, that of this period they were unitedly of

one heart and mind, but that at the on which the twenty-four ancients
close of it, a party spirit would be again pay their homage, saying,
admitted, which was to be endea- “ Thou art worthy to take the scroll,
voured to be destroyed by exhorta- and open its seals;
tions to unity under the threat of the For thou wast slain, and hast re-
light of this church being extinguished. deemed us to God by thy blood,
Let any one upon comparing this “ From every tribe, aud tanguage,
message with the writings of the New and people, and nation :
Testament, say, if the prophecy does “ And bast made us kings and
not agree with its accomplishment, priests to our God.
and if it is possible to place any other “ And we shall reign upon the
period of the history of Christianity earth."
which it would have so well agreed To this sublime acknowledgment
with. Let us now turn to the pro- of the royal and priestly rank being

derived from the superior virtue of
Chap. iv. 1, John is invited to look their Leader, the army of God, under
into futurity, and 2, in a prophetic his banners, reply, in chorus,
vision beholds a throne; 3, and Jesus “ Worthy is the Lamb that was
gloriously enthroned on it; 4, sur- slain,
rounded by twenty-four ancients in “ To receive power, and wealth,
priestly robes, with regal crowns on and wisdom,
each side encircling him on the throne; “ And strength, and honour, aud
5,6, the usual accompaniments of the glory, and blessing.".
Divine Presence with the sea of glass To this chorus the whole living
before the throne; 7, 8, and the che- and dead repeat in chorus,
rubic standard of Israel displayed: a “ To the Lamb be blessing, and
lion for Judah on the East, an eagle honour, and power,
for Dan on the North, a man for Reu- “ And strength to the age of ages."
ben on the South, and an ox for The four battalions of Israel, i. e.
Ephraim on the West; whilst the army the united church militant throughout
of Israel under their respective stand. the world, under their respective
ards pronounce that he who was dead, standards, exclaim, “ So be it;" on
but is now alive, and who cometh to which the royal priesthood pay ho-
judge the world, God's appojuted ru- mage to their King.
ler, is thrice holy and all-powerful; We see here the enjoined duty on
9-11, whilst the army of Israel with the teachers of that day: whilst the
their standard-bearers, ascribe honour army of Jesus was collecting recruits
and glory to Jesus their ruler, the in Palestine, and the whole civilized
twenty-four ancients, or the united world, it was to unfold the vast poli-
chiefs of the royal priesthood in both tical designs intended to be accom-
dispensations, raise the chorus, plished by the doctrines of the cross;

“ Worthy art thou, our Chief, with and, that though Christianity was the
our God most holy,

most moral and virtuous of all reli-
To receive the glory, the honour gions, yet that was not all, they were

to prove to Christians the importance
“For thou hast formed the whole, of their doctrines, lives and conver-

And they were and are formed sations; they being the weapons by
according to thy will."

which God intended to subdue the
Comp. Eph. i. 10, 20, Coloss. i. 16. world.

Chap. v. continues this grand scene, We are now come to the Smyrna
in which the whole army of Israel state of Christianity. The church of
have by acclamation approved of their Ephesus was, as the name expresses
general officer. 1, the scaled scroll it, the desired Church, that state
of futurity lies on the right side of which prophets and kings bad desired
the throne of God, sealed with seven to see,

the Messiah come. They
seals; 2, a messenger inquires who had left their first love, and, not re-
is worthy to unrol it ; 3, 4, and penting, their lamp, as foretold, was
John weeps because none are found removed. No successors were given
worthy; but 5, is comforted by one to the apostles, by whom miraculous
of the ancients, who tells him who is powers could be conferred on the
worthy; 6—8, Jesus then descends Christian. But he was left to prove
from the throne, and takes the book, the truth of his religion by its own

and the power ;

Biblical Criticism. On the Contents of the Book of the Revelation. 45 superior excellency. And as Smyrna reign of his family for about forty-two signifies myrrh, the incense which years emblemized by a black horse ascended before the altar was the per- and balances. His own cruelties and fume of bitter persecutions, imprison- severe regulations were followed by ments, tortures and martyrdom. This the horrible atrocities of the fierce was declared (chap. ji. 9) should take Caracalla, who was succeeded by the place, and principally owing to the infamous and effeminate Heliogabalus, Jewish nation and priesthood, who, and the murder of the excellent Alexhaving lost their political character, ander. endeavoured, by all their influence, Ver. 7, 8, introduce the fourth seal 10 prejudice, by false representations, from the North, and which contain an the Gentiles against Christianity. It epitome of war, famine, wild beasts was likewise foretold they should have and pestilence, which last about fifty ten years of severe persecution, but years, beginning with the reign of that, if they faithfully suffered mar- Maximin of Thrace, who began his tyrdom for it, they should, by their reign by seizing all the public revedeath, gain for Christianity a crown nues, and exercising the most unheardamong the living; which took place of cruelties, and close with the elecwhen Constantine made it the religion tion of Diocletian to the imperial dig. of the Roman empire.

nity. This is allowed to be the most During the reigns of Augustus, awful period that the empire had ever Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, known. The competitors for the purGalba, Otho, and Vitellius, Christi- ple were so numerous, that, between anity was gaining ground by its sim- civil wars and the invasions of the plicity, and the purity of its doctrines. barbarians, wild beasts, famine and Miraculous powers evidenced its truths pestilence desolated the whole empire. to be of divine origin; these, aided by Ver. 9-11, is the opening of the fifth the apostolic labours, formed Chris- seal, and alludes to the ten years' pertian societies over the whole Roman secution under Diocletian. The scene empire. Christianity was generally is laid in the Temple, and the martyrs free from persecution, excepting from who had been sacrificed are reprethe Jews. The standard-bearers are sented as crying for vengeance upon represented in the square camp, one their persecutors; they are exhorted at each quarter of the world, Rome, to patience, and to consider how the the seat of government, being consi- Ephesian church had triumphed. dered as the centre.

The other persecutions had been Chap. vi. 1, 2, opens the first seal, occasioned by various causes emanaby introducing to the throne of the ting from Christianity; but this was Cæsars, Vespasian from the West. This occasioned by a full determination to seal lasts with the Flavian family, destroy the Christian name, instead of twenty-eight years. Its white horse which it occasioned the overturning and bow is the emblem of victory, of the Pagan Idolatry of Rome, and and the reign of the princes of this substituting nominal Christianity in family was one season of conquest. its stead.

Ver. 3, 4. The second seal ushers Ver. 12—17, is the sixth seal opened in Nerva from the West, and lasts with an account of the overturning of to the murder of Didius Julianus. Paganism. By a reference to Haggai Nerva was a Spaniard, west of Rome, ii. 1, Heb. xii. 27, Isaiah xiii. 12–14, as was also Trajan, who succeeded xxxiv. 4, Jeremiah iv. 23, 24, Joel ii. him. This period is well emblemized 10, 31, Matt. xxiv. 39, as well as other by the red borse; it being remark. places, it will appear that this lanable for the conquests of Trajan, the guage of the Revelator signifies that slaughter of the Jewish nation, the the Christian Church was completely bloody victories of Antoninus on the triumphant over its Heathen adversaDanube, and the horrible cruelties ries, and that a new temporal order of of Commodus, followed by the mur- things had taken place, which it did, ders of the emperors Pertinax and when the emperors Galerius, Maxi. Julianus.

min, and Licinus, made a public proVer. 5, 6. The third seal is from the fession of their guilt, recalled their South, and introduces the Severian fa- decrees, and acknowledged the dimily from Africa. Equally well is the vine judgments in their chastisement.

T. T.





tal lays,



Whilst man with universal concord blest Written, but not sent, to Dr. Priestley, Shall clasp each friend and brother to his on his Address to the Jews.


Idolatry no longer boast her flane, O Thou, whose pious hand with just dis

One God in heaven, One on earth his dain Hath freed Religion from its servile chain, Hath taught the soul with purer aim to


He wlro walks in Virtue's way,
And give its Maker undivided praise ; Firm and fearless, walketh surely;
Accept the tribute of a Hebrew muse, Diligent while yet 'tis day,
Forgive ber rashness, and her faults ex- On he speeds, and speeds securely.

Flow'rs of peace beneath bim grow, O could she speak her own emphatic Suns of pleasure brighten o'er him; tongue,

Mem'ry's joys bebiud bim go, And emulate the glow of ancient song,

Hope's sweet angels fly before him. Thy deathless vame should grace immor. Thus he moves from stage to stage, And nations yet unborn should chaunt thy Softly sinking down in age,

Smiles of earth and heav'n attending ; praise.

And at last to death descending. But now such tasks no longer Israel's

Cradled in its quiet deep, care,

Calm as Summer's loveliest er'n, In exile doomed their tedious lives to

He shall sleep the hallow'd sleep; wear; Struggling to live unmindful of their fame,

Sleep, that is o'erwatch'd by heav'n. Their bread, alas! they seek, and not a

Till that day of days shall come,

When th' archangel's trumpet breaking No patriot spark durst fire their humble Through the silence of the tomb, breast,

All its prisoners awaking; To see their oft-repeated wrongs redrest;

He shall hear the thund'ring blast, Th’ Almighty fiat which pronounced their

Burst the chilling bands that bound him; doom,

To the throne of glory haste, Hath not in pity yet dispelled the gloom,

All leav'n's splendors op'ning round 'Till then, withheld from each ennobling

him. plan, Which makes man glory in the name of man;

HYMN. 'Till then, unconscious of the sacred flame When before Thy throue we kneel, Which fires to Merit, and which lifts to Fill’d with awe and holy fear,

Teach us, 0 our God, to feel Jests of the theatres--the people's scorn All Thy sacred presence near. Must we remain oblivious and forlorn. Check each proud and wand’ring thought And is it then to such thou stretch'st thy When on Thy great name we call; hand,

Man is nought-is less than vought: E’en to the poor-vile stranger of the Thou, our God, art all in all. Pointing to where their warmest wishes

Weak, imperfect creatures, we

In this vale of darkness dwell; tend, And ardent to promote the glorious end?

Yet presume to look to Thee, And canst thou, vers'd in nature and in

'Midst Thy light ineffable.

O forgive the praise that dares art,

Seek Thy heav'p-exalted throne; Thus kindly stoop and speak unto our

Bless our oft®'rings, hear our pray’es, heart? Durst we, then, venture on the hallowed

Infinite aud Holy One!

A. theme, And you not idolize nor we blaspheme? 'Then, Judah, were not all thy woes in vain,

ON HEARING MR. The bright reward might well o'erpay our


Go, favour'd youth, and to the sons of men, Then may we hope to see the uations join, The vast designs of Provideuce explain; And with one voice. proclaim the One Go, and to all lois doubting children prove

Th' Alurighty Father's everlasting love;





Poetry.-Sonnet to Sir Samuel Romilly. Deo Optimo Maximo.



Teach men the joys which self can never In acts of mercy, and such deeds record, know,

Then in their annals InGRAM's dame must To check the ready tear prepared to flow,

shine, And tell them what a strong and tender Who view'd the God of nature's kind declaim

sign, Centres in all who bear a brother's name : And cruel treatment to his works abhorr'd: Instruct mankind, too firmly bound to Fain would bis generous sympathy asearth,

stage What lasting joys of more transcendant All human tyranny unjust and base, worth,

The dumb creation's pain and man's disWhat purer, loftier pleasures are design'd

grace, To be the portion of th' immortal mind.

And for humanity all hearts engage: Of strong persuasive eloquence possess'd, O happy sympathy of pow'r benign, By learning aided, and with talents blest, Diffusing blessings like thy source divine! Let earth's low cares assail thy heart in

R. P. vain,

Kidderminster, Nov. 7, 1818. Its pomps, its pleasures, and its wealth

disdain; One task alone, one noble work be thine,

SONNET. To vindicate the ways of Power Divine.

I. L. [From “ Apeleutherus ; or an Effort to Kendal.

attain Intellectual Freedom.” 8vo.]


O Thou, whose bounty gave this mantling Composed a short time before his

bower lamentable decease.

Where, from the world retired, I oft When Mercy weeps, and Justice pines con

recline, vuls'd

And trace Thy wonder-working band For statutes blurr’d, that blushing Albion

divine, Jongs

And read Thy name in ev'ry blushing To have annull’d, O ROMILLY, against such wrongs

Sor’reign of nature, all-directing Power! Foremost to strive is graceful, though re

Great source of being, life, and light, puls'd

and joy! By all the chieftains of the legal roll:

To Thee I dedicate this best employ, The bird that wander'd o'er the water This sweetest solace of the silent hour. spread,

O search this heart, that seeks no vain Whose likeness hover'd on th' anointed disguise, head,

Accept the tribute, and the labour Is a fair emblem of thy clement soul

bless : That, with unwearied pity, perseveres

View the pure motive with approving The bloodless criminal from death to save :

eyesMore sterling bonour to thy name adheres Thy glory, in Thy creature's happiness. Thav to proud streamers that in victory Smile on the page that bids the mind be wave,

free, The martial truncheon of supreme renown, And points the path to virtue, and Or mighty splendour of a despot's crown.

Thee !

R. F.
Kidderminster, Nov. 7, 1818.


From the Chester Guardian.
To the memory of the late Mr. Ingram, of Life's a varied, bright illusion,

Ticknal, near Bewdley, who boqueathed Joy and sorrow-light and sbade:
£600 that the interest might be annually Turn from sorrow's dark suffusion,
employed for procuring sermons to be Catch the pleasures, ere they fade,
preached against inbumanity to dumb
creatures, especially horses.

Fancy paints, with hues unreal,

Smile of bliss, and sorrow's mood;
If from the high abode of glorious light If they both are but ideal,
Angels descend, to mark how those de-

Why reject the seeming good ? Form'd in their Maker's image not in Hence, no more! 'tis wisdom calls ye, vain,

Bids ye court time's present aid; Watching with joy th' attested love of the future trust not-hope enthrals ye, right

Catch the pleasures, ere they fade.


« PreviousContinue »