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circumstances attendant upon both advents are so blended, that it would be impossible, without having seen the accomplishment of those which belonged to the first, to separate them from those which appertain exclusively to the second. The Jewish commentators give, as the meaning of the words “ In the futurity of days,”.“ In the days of Messiah the King,
In the New Testament there are four different words used to denote portions of time: and these likewise are often used indiscriminately; so that the precise period to which they relate is to be gathered either from their immediate context, or from parallel passages : these words are ημερα, ωρα, καιρος, and αιων. The calling in of the Gentiles to the privileges of the knowledge of the true God, and the casting out of the Israelites during the whole of that time, was but very darkly shadowed forth, and enigmatically expressed, during the Jewish dispensation. It follows, therefore, that if the general time of that event was obscure, the subdivisions of that period must have been still more obscure; and, in fact, they are rarely touched upon by the Prophets at all. Our Lord first distinctly revealed by his own mouth, that the kingdom of heaven was about to be taken from the nation of the Jews, and transferred to another nation: and in a subsequent part of his ministry he informed his disciples that the period of the triumph of the abomination of desolation, or trampling the holy nation under foot, which he characterizes by the term “ the great tribulation, was to be of as long duration as that period called “ the times of the Gentiles.”
The next further subdivision which is given us, is in the Epistles of the Apostles : and this brings us down to the two addressed to Timothy; in the second of which the passage occurs from which Mr. Irving has taken the subject of his Discourses. In these two Epistles the Apostle describes two different apostasies which were to try the faith of the church, and of which he gives very detailed characteristics : the one he says, is to take place vsepois kaipois, " in the latter times;" the other to arise coxarais nuspaic, " in the last days.” Both these predictions are ushered in by the
Apostle with very peculiar solemnity. In the first he says, " The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall apostatize from the faith; giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats,” &c. It is well known to all scholars, that the daquoves, demons, were the intermediate agents between the heathen gods and men; and that the worship of dead men and women by the Papists is exactly similar, in every particular, to that Greek and Roman idolatry: and as no apostasy, which enjoined celibacy and abstinence from meat, has ever arisen in the Christian church but
the Papacy, the identity of the Apostle's description with that apostasy cannot admit of any doubt. The particular years, indeed, from whence the rise of this apostasy is to be dated-the true chronology of these latter times-is a point which must be ascertained upon other grounds, and from other Scriptures ; and as it is not material to the discussion in hand to ascertain this very accurately, any of the dates which are ordinarily assigned to that event will suffice.
In the year following that in which the Apostle wrote this First Epistle, he wrote the Second to Timothy; and it is supposed to be the last he ever did write. Its whole character and tone is more solemn and earnest than the preceding : he seems to have his immediate departure from this scene, to enter into the joy of his Lord, pressing upon his soul : he has the day of the Lord so present to his mind, that he alludes to it twice in the first chapter, without naming it, or describing it otherwise than as kar' efoxny, “ THE day ;” and he consoles himself, in ch. ii. ll, for all his sufferings, with the remembrance that, having suffered, he “ shall also reign with” his Lord. Of these things” he charges Timothy to put his hearers in remembrance; and particularly censures some who maintained that “ the resurrection was past already,” (as certain preachers do now,) declaring that the first resurrection means regeneration. He then proceeds to give another prophecy : “ This know also, that in the last days, Ev çoxataıç nuepais, perilous times shall come: for men shall be, 1, lovers of their own selves ; 2, covetous; 3, boasters ; 4, proud; 5, blasphemers ; 6, disobedient to parents ; 7, unthankful ; 8, unholy; 9, without natural affection; 10, truce-breakers; 11, false accusers ; 12, incontinent; 13, fierce ; 14, despisers of those that are good ; 15, traitors ; 16, heady, high-minded ; 17, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; 18, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.' The Apostle further describes these persons as creeping into houses, to procure disciples among silly women; and withstanding the truth in those who preach it, as the Egyptian magicians withstood Moses : that these evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse; that the way to oppose them is by all Scripture, which is to be preached, for that they would not endure sound doctrine, but, having itching ears, heap to themselves teachers. After which solemn warning, the Apostle turns, for his own consolation and support under the prospect of such perilous times, to the day when the Lord shall come, and give to all who love his appearing a crown of righteousness.
Mr. Irving shews these characteristics fulfilled in the following circumstances : -Selfishness ; in the want of a catholic spirit and love for the church as one body. Covetousness; over-trading and love of gain, as much in religious tradesmen and societies
as in irreligious. Boasters ; bragging of their religious and benevolent societies. Proud; comparing themselves with others, and determining in their own favour. Blasphemers ; coalescing with the Papal man of sin, Socinians, and Infidels. Disobedient to parents ; increase of juvenile offences. Onthankful; want of rejoicing spirit towards God. Unholy ; paying little regard to the ordinances appointed of God for preserving a holy church or state. Without natural affection; parents neglecting the education of their own children, and delegating it to others.
Truce or covenant-breakers; breaking all the covenants between the nation and God, and discipline of the church.
False accusers ; slandering all persons in high office. Incontinent; unskilled and unrestrained in their judgments and actions by any thing but law. Fierce, untamed; want of meekness and spirit of quiet meditation on the purposes of God. Despisers of the good ; lovers of expediency, rather than of principle. Traitors ; masters defrauding their workmen, and workmen combining against their masters. Heady, high-minded; pronouncing opinions upon sermons and subjects without examination. Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; worshipping benevolence, intellect, &c. rather than God. Having a form of godliness ; being the religious world.
The distinguishing terms of the proposition are these : 1. That in the last days a certain set of had characters shall be manifested : 2. That the time of their manifestation shall be perilous; 3. That these bad characters shall not be open infidels, and public, avowed atheists; but, on the contrary, shall be among those who have the form of godliness of the day in which they appear : 4. That they shall seek to make converts rather by teaching in private houses than in public : 5. That they shall withstand those who preach the truth, as the magicians withstood Moses : 6. That they shall elect to themselves teachers, instead of submitting to authority: and, 7, As he contrasts himself with them, and gives us as his hope the day of the Lord, when he shall give a crown of righteousness to those who love his appearing, he inculcates that the persons of whom he has been prophesying will not love the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, nor even to hear of it.
have occurred to many of our readers to ask, “Why take
up much time to prove that the last days' come after the * latter days; a point which no person with one grain of plain common sense ever dreamed of doubting ?” To this question we have only to reply, that we have not to do with people of plain common sense, but with those who will mystify all the simplest words of Scripture, till, under the term spiritualizing, they leave no sentence with any definite idea contained in it.
The Eclectic Review, which says of itself that it is established
on purpose to reconcile those long divorced parties, religion and literature-of which divorce, however, we ourselves never heardand moreover, that it is the only critical journal embracing........ literature, which is conducted.......upon Evangelical principles, is very angry with Mr. Irving for saying that this age is " boastful” and in a very long, very personal, and very abusive article, labours to shew that the term “last days ” means, either -not last days, but-all days, including first days, middle days, and latter days, as well as last days; or else, that those circumstances which the Apostle characterizes as belonging to the last days belong no more to the last than to any other days; and therefore, that the passage in his letter to Timothy contains a mere common-place truism, applicable to all times alike. We do not mean at present to enter into a discussion of the merits of this journal, either in respect to the literary or theological attainments of its conductors, further than the present article is concerned; but in this we shall feel it incumbent to shew that it is deficient in knowledge of Grammar, of Greek, of Logic, and of Doctrines of Divinity. It commences with an attack upon the motto which Mr. Irving has prefixed to his work, from Isaiah xxxii. 5, “The vile person shall no more be called liberal ;" which the editor of the Eclectic says “has no bearing whatever upon the subject of the orator's philippic against modern liberalism.” This is the bald unsupported assertion of the editor of the Eclectic Review: in opposition to which we make another counter-assertion, and which, as he has not stopped to justify, neither shall we; but we are ready to do so on another occasion-namely, that the expression itself, and the passage from which it is taken, are strictly applicable to all persons who, calling themselves religious, shall foster that spirit of liberalism which is the very opposite to all religion. But, lest we should be supposed to mistake the only Christian and Literary journal in England upon the subject of the period indicated by the term “ last days," the passage is transcribed :
“ Under the expression the last days,' he evidently comprehended the Christian dispensation, which had then commenced ; and the perilous times are as evidently spoken of, not as a future and specific epoch, but as incident to that whole period."
“ Shall come,” says the Apostle : “not future,” says the Eclectic. “Shall be lovers,” says the Apostle : “not future,” says the Eclectic.
The first lesson, therefore, which we mean to give the only Christian and Literary journal in the land is, that shall is an invariable sign of the future tense.
Our next lesson is in Greek. The editor of the Eclectic ReVOL. 1.-NO. 1,
view quotes Heb. i. 1,“ in these last days," as the same expression as “in the last days” which occurs in Timothy. They are, however, perfectly different in the original; not only in the words themselves, but also in their grammatical construction, and also in their meaning. In the first passage it is eni coxatwy ημερών
TOYTS2N : in the last it is ev eoxatais nuepais. The translation of the one is, “at the last of these days:" the translation of the second is general,“ in the last days. The meaning is perfectly simple and clear: the Apostle is writing to his nation, and says to them, “God, who spoke formerly in many ways and at many times to our fathers by the Prophets, has now, in the last of these days, spoken to us by his Son :” where it is perfectly obvious that the whole period which the Apostle has in eye is that in which his nation was the peculiar people of God, to whom alone God spake by the Prophets; the last of these days being, therefore, the last of the days of the Jewish dispensation. This passage illustrates the remark which we made at the commencement of these observations ; namely, that the date to which the words " last days” applies must be gathered from the context. Thus, “ the last days” may, if opposed to the Jewish days, signify the Gentile days; or they may, if opposed to the former days of the Jewish dispensation, signify the end of that dispensation; or they may, if opposed to the former days of the Gentile dispensation, signify the end of that dispensation.
As we are on a point of Greek criticism, we may as well get rid of another at the same time, and which would not be worth noticing if we were not dealing with “the only journal that unites religion with literature;" in which the editor censures Mr. Irving for translating the word diaboloi, accusers, and for saying that the falsehood or truth of the accusation is not a necessary point of its diabolical character.
The editor says, “ that falsehood does not enter into the composition of calumny is a new discovery : the word is daßolos, calumniator.” Mr. Irving does not use the word calumny, but accusation : an accusation is not necessarily a calumny." We accuse the Editor of the Eclectic Review of ignorance of the meaning of the word daßolos, but we do not calumniate him. The literal and simple meaning of the word is detractor: in accusing the Editor of the Eclectic Review of ignorance, we detract from his claim to scholarship, but we do not calumniate him.
Our next lesson is in Logic; and here we instruct our pupil that the only way to understand a proposition is to take in all the terms of it: from not doing which he has fallen into an error similar to that which misled all those to whom he refers in ecclesiastical history at the time of the “ relaxation of morals which disgraced the rival churches of Rome and Byzantium,