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AD70 Dispensationalism: According to that view, AD70 was the end of 'this age' and the start of the 'age to come'.    Those who lived before AD70 could only 'see in part' and such, lacking the resurrection and redemptive blessings which supposedly came only when Herod's Temple in Jerusalem fell.    Accordingly, AD70 was not only the end of Old Testament Judaism, but it was also the end of the revelation of Christianity as seen in the New Testament.

HYPER PRETERISM

"Full preterist" material is being archived for balanced representation of all preterist views, but is classified under the theological term hyper (as in beyond the acceptable range of tolerable doctrines) at this website.  The classification of all full preterism as Hyper Preterism (HyP) is built upon well over a decade of intense research at PreteristArchive.com, and the convictions of the website curator (a former full preterist pastor).  The HyP theology of final resurrection and consummation in the fall of Jerusalem, with its dispensational line in AD70 (end of old age, start of new age), has never been known among authors through nearly 20 centuries of Christianity leading up to 1845, when the earliest known full preterist book was written.  Even though there may be many secondary points of agreement between Historical/Modern Preterism and Hyper Preterism, their premises are undeniably and fundamentally different.

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING MATERIAL HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED AS "HYPER PRETERIST"



 

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Prof. Alpheus Crosby, Greek professor at Dartmouth College, for a long term of years, was brought up and educated, and converted, as he thought, in the Congregational Church, but after long years of deep study in the Greek, Latin and Hebrew, he became converted to Universalism, and when he became fully convinced, he told the other faculty of the college, and shortly after he was turned out of Dartmouth. And the President and Dr. Crosby, of the Medical School, and an Orthodox member too, told me that the turning away of Prof. Crosby was the greatest mistake Dartmouth ever made, for there was no Greek scholar in America equal to him. He is the author of Crosby's Greek Grammar, used by most colleges, and is living at Cambridge, Mass., and is the first proof-reader, of all Greek manuscript, in New England.

Systematic Hyper Preterism
(aka "Full Preterism")



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Jesus: "It is finished" (AD30)
cf. Hebrews 10:19-22

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Hyper Preterism: Defining "Hyper Preterism"- Criticisms from the Inside - Criticisms from the Outside || Progressive Pret | Regressive Pret | Former Full Preterists | Pret Scholars | Normative Pret | Reformed Pret | Pret Idealism | Pret Universalism

William Bell
Max King
Don Preston
Larry Siegle
Kurt Simmons
Ed Stevens
 

SOME DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES OF SYSTEMATIZED HYPER PRETERISM

It is important to keep in mind that many ideas and doctrines full preterism appeals to - such as the complete end of the Old Covenant world in AD70 - are by no means distinctive to that view.   Many non HyPs believe this as well, so one need not embrace the Hyper Preterist system in order to endorse this view.   Following are exceptional doctrines which, so far as I've seen, are only taught by adherents of Hyper Preterism.:

DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES TAUGHT BY STANDARD FULL PRETERISM

  • All Bible Prophecy was Fulfilled By AD70

  • Atonement Incomplete at Cross ; Complete at AD70

  • The Supernatural Power of Evil Ended in AD70

  • The Spirit of Antichrist was Destroyed in AD70

  • "The Consummation of the Ages" Came in AD70

  • "The Millennium" is in the Past, From AD30 to AD70

  • Nothing to be Resurrected From in Post AD70 World ; Hades Destroyed

  • The Christian Age Began in AD70 ; Earth Will Never End

  • "The Day of the Lord" was Israel's Destruction ending in AD70

  • The "Second Coming" of Jesus Christ Took Place in AD70-ish

  • The Great Judgment took place in AD70 ; No Future Judgment

  • The Law, Death, Sin, Devil, Hades, etc. Utterly Defeated in AD70

  • "The Resurrection" of the Dead and Living is Past, Having Taken Place in AD70

  • The Context of the Entire Bible is Pre-AD70 ; Not Written To Post AD70 World

DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES TAUGHT BY VARIOUS FORMS
(under construction)

  • Baptism was for Pre-AD70 Era (Cessationism)

  • The Lord's Prayer was for Pre-AD70 Era (Cessationism)

  • The Lord's Supper was for Pre-AD70 Era (Cessationism)

  • The Holy Spirit's Paraclete Work Ceased in AD70 (Cessationism)

  • The Consummation in AD70 Caused Church Offices to Cease (Cessationism)

  • The Resurrection in AD70 Changed the "Constitutional Principle" of Marriage (Noyesism)

  • Israel and Humanity Delivered into Ultimate Liberty in AD70 (TransmillennialismTM)

  • The Judgment in AD70 Reconciled All of Mankind to God ; All Saved (Preterist Universalism)

  • Adam's Sin No Longer Imputed in Post AD70 World ; No Need to be Born Again (Preterist Universalism)

  • When Jesus Delivered the Kingdom to the Father in AD70, He Ceased Being The Intermediary (Pantelism/Comprehensive Grace?)

  • The Book of Genesis is an Apocalypse; is About Creation of First Covenant Man, not First Historical Man (Covenantal Preterism)

 

 


The Second Advent:

Or, what do the Scriptures teach respecting the Second Coming of Christ, the End of the World, the Resurrection of the Dead, and the General Judgment ?
 

Alpheus Crosby

Written in 1850

"The predictions in the Scriptures of the second coming of Christ, the end of the age, the resurrection of the dead, and the general judgment with its awards, MUST BE EXPLAINED IN A FIGURATIVE OR SPIRITUAL RATHER THAN A LITERAL SENSE, and in such a sense as admits an application to what has already taken place. " (aka Hyper-Preterism)

"This imperious theory, in audacity of interpretation, goes far beyond what we used to call ultra-Universalism."
Alexander Wilson M'Clure
 

CLICK HERE FOR PDF FILE OF ENTIRE BOOK

"Our modern Hymeneus may, like his prototypes, overthrow the faith of some, but it is presumed the number will not be very large."

Baum's Church Review (1850) | The Christian Observatory Review (1850) | Theological and Literary Journal Review (1850) | The Christian Examiner and Religious Miscellany Review (1850) | Freeman G. Brown Review (1851) | Freewill Baptist Quarterly Review (1855)

PROPOSITION V
The predictions in the Scriptures of the second coming of Christ, the end of the age, the resurrection of the dead, and the general judgment with its awards, MUST BE EXPLAINED IN A FIGURATIVE OR SPIRITUAL RATHER THAN A LITERAL SENSE, and in such a sense as admits an application to what has already taken place. "

Any attempt to determine the precise nature and character of this sense, which I should myself term a spiritual rather than a merely figurative sense, must involve a careful study of the teaching of the Scriptures, in respect to the nature and characteristics of the Messianic dispensation — that new and glorious kingdom, which forms the great subject of the New Testament, and to which the events above named were to constitute an introduction. Let me commend this investigation to the studious, the thinking, and the devout, as presenting most distinctly the great peculiar problems of Christianity, those which are alike grandest in theory, and most practical in application. Among the most important subsidiary inquiries are such as relate to the nature and significance of oriental, and especially of Hebrew and prophetic IMAGERY ;to the design and character of our Saviour's teaching ; to the nature and objects of the apostolic office, and of apostolic Christianity ; and to the distinctive characteristics of the several great dispensations or economies under which the world has been placed. I conclude by expressing my fullest conviction, my most assured belief, that the predictions of our Saviour respecting the great events which we have now considered, have been all fulfilled in the precise sense which he himself contemplated, when he uttered the sublime attestation, ' heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away ;' and that this is no lower or more earthly sense, but thievery highest, noblest, heavenliest, of which the words are susceptible." —Pp. 98-100


WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID

Orestes Augustus Brownson
"We have not read this book: we broke down before we had got beyond half a dozen pages."

John Holmes Agnew (1850)
Professor Crosby's defection from the truth was known some months since. This book is put forth specially to vindicate his new views. But it cannot fail to disappoint his friends, and certainly will not convince any who consider him essentially unsound in the faith. We admire the style, the spirit, the logical arrangement of his book ; but in argument, as to the point at issue, he totally and singularly fails. Several of his six propositions are believed by all Christians; we have no dispute with him here. The whole argument turns on a single point: Are the Scriptures which declare the Second Coming of Christ, the End of the World, the Resurrection of the Dead, and the General Judgment, to be explained in a Figurative or a Literal sense ? These items are embraced in the 5th and 6th propositions. Prof. Crosby says they are to be explained in a. figurative or spiritual sense, and " must have already taken place." But he gives us not even the form of an argument to support such an opinion— an opinion, too, which sweeps away at a dash the profoundest realities of Christian revelation, and runs counter to the received opinions of the entire Christian world: will you believe it, reader, not even an attempt at an argument— not so much as one text of Scripture, when the argument professes to be from the Scriptures alone ! What does it mean ? Really we are at a loss to know. The book is certainly harmless. Universalists, if they are wise, will not be overanxious to circulate it." (The Biblical Repository and Classical Review, 3ser, v.6)

Isaac Case Knowlton, Published by Universalist Publishing House 1885

XV. THE GENERAL JUDGMENT.

"We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ." — 2 Cor. V. 10.

WE suppose the word all in this passage means every human being, — all who lived before the birth of Jesus, all who have lived since, and all who are yet to be born. Each one of us is included in the number, and hence each one of us has a personal interest in the affair; and each one of us ought to know what the Bible teaches respecting the great and general judgment. A judgment seat is a seat, bench, or throne for a judge to occupy. It implies a court room or area large enough to accommodate the judge and the persons on trial. Christ has or is to have such a seat and such a court room; and to it all of us have been or shall be summoned for trial and award according to our deeds. We are amenable to law, and accountable for our conduct. All this is clearly taught in the Scriptures and believed by all Christians.

" We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ;" but where that judgment seat is or is to be, when we are to " appear" there, whether all at once or in divisions or separately, how long the trial will last, are questions on which there is not a general agreement among religious people. Many Christians have held the idea that the judgment would occupy but an hour, and that hour be at the second corning of Christ. Then, suddenly, the Judge will descend from heaven, the dead be raised and assembled before him, the judgment transpire, and the world — or at least its present sinful condition — terminate. Others are of the opinion that no dramatic scene of the kind is ever to take place ; that the second coming of Christ was a purely spiritual affair which occurred soon after his ascension ; that his seat is in every man's conscience ; that the judgment has been going on, everywhere, all the time, ever since; and that it will go on until the end of time. There are good reasons for believing the first-mentioned idea wrong, and the second right.

1. A scenic display seems incompatible with the dignity and glory of the world's Redeemer. Eastern monarcbs did sit on elegant thrones, and trembling culprits were brought before them for condemnation ; and the scene was well calculated to awe the weak and ignorant, and to aggrandize the ambitious and selfish king. But for Christ, who promised to be with his disciples " alway, even unto the end of the world," to come down from heaven to earth, and sit down anywhere, even on " a great white throne," and play the role of an Oriental tyrant, would not be in harmony with his gentle, saving spirit. The solemn spectacle on Calvary was needful and beneficial. It sealed in blood the Saviour-s mission in the flesh, and touched the world-s heart with pity, love, admiration. The crucifixion of the man Jesus had to be at a certain time and place ; but a spectacular judgment in some special place at the end of the world is not needful, and would do no good. It could not make the saved anv happier, the lost any more miserable, or God and Christ any more glorious. No witnesses need be heard, because the Judge knows all things, even the secrets of all souls. No proximity is necessary, because the Judge can as easily and quickly communicate his decision to a person ten millions of miles distant as to one only ten feet away. In the Divine economy, what is not becoming, needful, or beneficial will not be. Thus, in the light of reason, the imagery of a general judgment dissolves and vanishes ; and the judicial dispensation of Christ expands to all time, all lands, and all human beings.

2. The theory that the judgment is a future, far- off, simultaneous affair may be in accordance with, and essential to, the belief that the main awards for human conduct are in the immortal world ; and it may also seem merciful to give the sinner a whole lifetime in any hour of which he may repent, believe, beg for mercy, be forgiven, and thus escape deserved retribution ; but what is apparently gained in consistency and mercy is more than counterbalanced by a loss of moral power. If the sinner is convinced that at any time, in old age or in his dying hour, he may by proper effort secure full pardon from God, and go to judgment with a clean breast, and thus escape being rewarded according to his works, the inevitable tendency of his conviction will be procrastination and continuance in wrong-doing. Many an eloquent sermon on the " danger and folly of procrastination " has been preached ; but the many still prefer to run the risk a little longer, — to continue in sin until death stares them in the face. But the theory of a continuous, universal court of justice in which every person every day is judged and rewarded according to his deeds, has an immense moral influence. Convince a man that all sin results in misery, and that each sin he commits increases the amount of his mis- ery; that all virtue results in happiness, and that each virtuous act he does increases the amount of his happiness ; that the great Judge of all is constantly weighing his conduct and working out these results, and that there is no possibility of losing the happiness or escaping the misery; and unless he is totally depraved or wholly a fool, he will try with all his energy to " cease to do evil and learn to do good." We are aware that the fear of punishment and the hope of blessings are not the only or the strongest incentives to virtue (love is far stronger) ; but when they are absolutely certain and immediate, as under the government of God in Christ they must be, they exert a healthy moralizing power.

3. The main reason for believing that the general judgment is now going on, and that every person on earth is now being judged, is that this doctrine is clearly taught in the Bible. We see and know that by natural laws some awards are made, both for doing right and for doing wrong; that, other things being equal, the temperate are more healthy than the intemperate, the good man happier and more hopeful than the bad man; but outside of Revelation there is Do assurance that every person is or is to be rewarded fully, according to his works. In fact, apparently the virtuous suffer, and the vicious are happy. It is therefore a relief to search the Scriptures, and find therein " more light."

Ps. Iviii. 11: " Verily He is a God that judgeth in the earth." This cannot mean that He sometimes judges some people, and at other times abstains from judging. Instead, it is an announcement of the important fact that the omnipresent God is at all times judging all the people on the earth. It is a general, universal, continuous judgment. Moreover, it is absolutely just and right, and is going on every moment from birth to death. No case is " put over" to a future session ; and an appeal from God-s judgment is not supposable. There is no need of another judgment at the end of the world; and what is not needed, will not be. Essentially practical, all Christians concur in this opinion. At the moment of death every man's case and account is settled beyond any possibility of any change in the Divine verdict. To the -wicked who hope to escape retribution, the certainty of immediate justice may be alarming; but in reality, all that God does is good and for the best good of all. Hence it is written (Ps. xix. 9, 10) : " The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold ; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb." In other words, the best thing in the world and for the world is the superintendence and management of the all-wise and all-good Judge. One feature of the blessed results of Christ-s judgeship is foretold by the prophet Micah (iv. 3, 4) : "And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into priming-hooks; nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war an)- more. But they shall sit every man under his own vine and fig tree; and none shall make them afraid." In other words, the result of the judging or administration of Christ will be the redemption of the human race on earth from strife and sin and the misery that attends them. In ancient Oriental monarchies the king was the supreme judge; and if he was kind and competent, his nation enjoyed prosperity and happiness. Christ, the king and judge of all the earth, is kind and competent, and under his reign the Prophets foretold a time when the Holy Spirit would be poured on all flesh, and all. from the greatest to the least, would know the Lord.

In the Old Testament, God is spoken of as the judge of all; in the New Testament, Christ is the sole judge. The law and the policy are the same in both dispensations ; but in the new regime the Son is the official agent of the Father. Jesus said (John v. 22): "The Father judgeth no man, but bath committed all judgment unto the Son." He adds (John v. 27) that the Father " hath given him authority to execute judgment." Again (John ix. 39): "Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world." And finally he said (John xii. 31), "Now is the judgment of this world." Putting all this together, and bearing in mind that the risen Lord s:iid, " All power in heaven and earth is given nnto me," the conclusions seem to us irresistible, that there is a Divine judgment now going on in this world among living men; that Christ is the judge ; that it began immediately after his resurrection ; that every person of each successive generation must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to receive in body the things he hath done ; and that another judgment of the same people for the same offences or virtues, at the end of time, is utterly needless and improbable.

Several years ago, Professor Alpheus Crosby of Dartmouth College published a small volume entitled u The Second Advent," in which he clearly shows, by a multitude of proof-texts, (1) that the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the general judgment, and the end of the world (aion) are simultaneous events; and (2) that the second coming of Christ must have taken place before some of the Twelve had tasted death, and hence before the generation in which he lived -had passed away. All the writers of the New Testament expected his immediate return to earth ; and their expectations were realized, not perhaps in the manner of his coming, but in its date. In saying to the Revelator, " Behold, I come quickly," the Saviour uttered the exact truth. He did come the second time, immediately; and of course the three other contemporaneous events — the resurrection, the judgment, and the end of the world — transpired. But there is no historical record of these events in a material form. The old earth still rolls peacefully in its orbit, the bones of the patriarchs quietly repose in the cave of Machpelah, and no outward eye has ever seen Jesus coming in the clouds, or the great white throne of judgment. And for the best of reasons, no such physical changes ever occurred or ever will occur; no such outward events were predicted or were to be expected. They were all spiritual affairs. Christ did come again as a spirit; the dead in sin, the human race, was summoned to his spiritual tribunal. The Jewish world, age, dispensation, ended; and the Christian age began. In no other way can the passages that speak of these events be interpreted as true. We must abandon the Bible, or abandon the old notion of a literal resurrection and judgment at some yet future date. We prefer to give up the notion and hold on to the Bible.

Being thus obliged to adopt a spiritual exegesis of the general judgment, let us examine with care some of the Scripture statements on the subject, and try to ascertain whether they do or do not warrant our theory. A study of the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth chapters of Matthew will satisfy any logical mind that there is good reason to believe that they both refer, and only refer, to events synchronous with the destruction of Jerusalem, the end of the Jewish dispensation, and the beginning of the Christian. If such an interpretation can be fairly made, we shall be glad to accept it and retain our faith in the Word of God. We can still believe that Jesus spoke the simple truth ; that the great judgment described in Matt. xxv. 31-46. began eighteen hundred years ago, that it has not ended, and that it will not end until the reign of Christ shall terminate.

There may be no warrant for asserting that the judgment is restricted to persons in this earthly life. It is certain that Christ is the judge of all, both the living and the dead, whether in the body or out of the body. It is also certain that a large majority of mankind have died in their sins ; and perhaps the general judgment extends to them, and causes each one of their guilty souls to go to its own place and receive a just recompense of reward. The possibility of this we are not disposed to deny ; but it is a noteworthy fact that in the two great passages of Scripture in which the future life is spoken of with most distinctness, no allusion is made to a judgment. In reply to a question of the Sadducees respecting the marital relationships of the future life, Jesus said (Luke xx. 35, 36) : " They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither many, nor are given in marriage : neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God. being the children of the resurrection." This is a clear and precious statement of the immortal realm, but it has no hint of any judgment there. It may teach a conditional resurrection, but it completely excludes the idea of an after-resurrection judgment. Those who are the immortal sons of God, and equal to the angels, certainly do not need to be judged. If there is to be a general judgment of those raised from the dead, it is strange Jesus did not mention it to the infidel Sadducees. Equally silent is Saint Paul in his lucid and explicit exposition of the resurrection in 1 Cor. xv. He distinctly states that all are to be raised, each in his own order, in incorruption, power, glory, in a spiritual body, and are to be unlike each other as stars differ in brilliancy; but he does not even remotely allude to any judgment in that exalted life. It may be that " he that is dead is freed from sin," and that the close of the earthly life is to each soul the end of judgment.

It is quite probable that so far as soul development is concerned, the consequences of the present life extend far into the future in peculiarity of condition, rank, order, and amount or intensity of love and joy. Yet the judicial awards for special deeds of vice or virtue may be made and received before or in death. Adopting the Eevised Version, and omitting the italic word done, this doctrme seems to be clearly taught by Saint Paul in 2 Cor. v. 10 : " We must all be made manifest before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things in [or through] the body, according to what he hath done, whether good or bad." The ': things " must be the awards for good or bad deeds; and if they are received in or through the body, only one question remains: Was Saint Paul right or wrong? If he was right, there is to be no after death judgment, rewards, or punishments ; if he is wrong, not reliable, we are all afloat without holm or anchor. We dare not reject the teaching of the great Apostle to the Gentiles. We believe in him, and rejoice that he repeats in substance the testimony of Solomon (Prov. xi. 31) : " The righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner."  (Through the Shadows, pp. 155-161)


Baum's Church Review (1850) | The Christian Observatory Review (1850) | Theological and Literary Journal Review (1850) | The Christian Examiner and Religious Miscellany Review (1850) | Freeman G. Brown Review (1851) | Freewill Baptist Quarterly Review (1855)

The Freewill Baptist Quarterly
"
A few years since, Prof. Alpheus Crosby, then of Dartmouth College, wrote a book of 173 pages, the design of which is to show that Christ came, the dead were raised, and the day of judgment occurred very near the time of the apostles, if not in their day. He is very confident that every text in the Bible relating to these three grand events, had its exact fulfilment centuries ago, but he seems ignorant of the way and time in which they had their accomplishment. According to his theory, Hymeneus and Phyletus were only a few years too fast in asserting that the resurrection was past already, as their assertion long since ceased to be an error. Our modern Hymeneus may, like his prototypes, overthrow the faith of some, but it is presumed the number will not be very large. Prof. Crosby's arguments are more consistent and conclusive than the reasonings of those who. hold that there is now no day of judgment to be expected, while they assert that the resurrection of all men to a holy and happy state is taught in the Bible. He applies the positions used to prove that there is no future punishment to all the texts that relate to the resurrection, and thus, for any thing I can see to the contrary, he has left the Bible without any proof of man's future existence ! This conclusion seems legitimately to grow out of the arguments used to prove that Christ is not now to be expected to come for the puiu'shmeut of the wicked.

Having already stated in substance my belief that the coming of Christ to judge the world is literal and yet future, I now proceed to give my reasons for believing this doctrine.

1. It is well known and generally admitted, that the coming of Christ was a prominent article in the creed of the primitive Christians, — that the event was much dwelt upon by our Lord and the apostles. With this admission in view, let it be remembered that neither history nor tradition has recorded Christ's coming in such a mauner as to fulfil the expectations that his teachings and the writings of the apostles raised in relation to the subject. Had he ever come in the manner that the teachings of the sacred writers create the impression that he would appear, it seems utterly impossible that the event could transpire without its being known and acknowledged by all who were expecting its occurrence. Nor is this all, for after its transpiration, it would as a matter of course have been referred to as the fulfilment of their expectations. This view of the subject secms so reasonable as to admit of no doubt only on tl|e supposition that his coining when it occurred was so much below their expectations as to be a cause of mortifying silence rather than of triumphant exultation, and frequent, earnest, and animated conversations. Its occurrence would have been so obvious and impressive as to preclude all possibility of forgetfulness on the part of those who witnessed it ; and its nature would have induced them to speak of it to the rising generation who did not behold it, as a glorious manifestation of the power and majesty of Christ.

The promised deliverance of his people from their troubles, and the execution of the vengeance threatened against their inhuman persecutors, would have been handed down from generation to generation as affording undeniable evidence of the truth of Christianity- The knowledge of his appearing would have been as general as the expectation of his coming, and for a long time must have been the general topic of conversation. All expectation of his coming would at once have ceased, and it would from that time have been spoken of as a past act, as earnestly as it had before been named as something future. History and tradition have brought down to us minor occurrences and doctrines in the church from the apostolic age, but neither records a time when Christians ceased to look for the coming of Christ because he had already made his appearance. If he had appeared according to the predictions of the New Testament, it is one of the strangest events of the world, that he came in such a clandestine or mystical manner as to escape the detection of history both written and traditional. History, sacred, ecclesiastical, profane, and tradative, is a perfect "know nothing" on this subject. The accomplishment of such a momentous event, no one knows how, when, or where, is a case without a parallel in the annals of the world. Yet Prof. Crosby and a very few others interpret the Bible in a way to make it sustain this astonishing and monstrous sentiment.

The Romish priest asserts on the direct and positive sayings of Jesus, that the consecrated bread of the eucharist becomes the real body of the Lord which the communicant masticates and swallows. The priest however cannot tell why or how the divine morsel looks and tastes like common bread, when it is in reality a part of the body of Christ; but the positive assertion, "this is my body," removes all doubt from his mind, as he has divine authority for his belief. To me this looks but little more preposterous than the opinion of those who assert that Christ has made his second advent, in an unknown way and manner, because some of his words seem to imply that he must have come soon after his ascension to heaven. In the last of John's days, though he is supposed to have written after the destruction of Jerusalem, he regarded the coming of Christ as still future. Speaking of Christ, he writes, Behold he cometh with clouds ; and every eye shall see him, they also which pierced him ; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. — Rev. 1, 7. This shows that the number who lived to see the Son of man come, or in other words who did not taste of death till his coming, must have been exceedingly small, if indeed he came centuries ago.

At the close of the revolution it was announced that Washington would visit the northern States, and at a later period, that La Fayette would come to this country. Now suppose the bodies of these great men to be as immortal as their names; also that a thousand years hence, the people of the northern States, with very few exceptions, were looking for  the future coming of the Father of his country, and the inhabitants of the United States were generally expecting the arrival of La Fayette at some future day, how could these facts be accounted for when it is now well known that the coming of those great men has already passed? The supposition that Christ has come, but his people almost immediately lost all knowledge of the event, represents it a matter of less importance than the coming of Washington or La Fayette. It is like asserting that some renowned king raised the expectations of his subjects in a province by stirring promises to come and reward them for their loyalty amidst persecution, and to punish his traitorous enemies, yet fulfilled his promises in such a way that no record of the event was preserved, and all knowledge of it was lost in less than four hundred years, though his promises were on record centuries afterwards. Those who could believe such inconsistencies, can believe that Christ has come and judged the world, though history and tradition record no such grand and imposing transactions.

2. If Christ has already come, the event was not only so unimportant as to be soon lost to his people, but it did not take place till after the death of most of those who must have been most concerned in the matter; I mean of course both the friends and enemies of Christ and his cause. If the destruction 'of Jerusalem was the coming of Christ to judgment, which was threatened against the Jews who procured his crucifixion, and persecuted and caused the death of the first Christian martyrs, most of those murderous persecutors escaped the accomplishment of such threatenings, for they died before the destruction of that city. How then did the coming of Christ affect them ? How were they then punished or separated from the righteous? On the other hand, how were most of the followers of Christ, to whom the promises of his coming was first made, benefittcd at that time ? Did Christ then reward their bodies in the grave, or their souls in heaven? Let it be remembered that almost the whole generation to whom the warnings and promises connected with Christ's coming were addressed, passed  away before Jerusalem was destroyed. Hence, to most of the early Jewish believers the promise of Christ's coming as a deliverer or Savior in this sense, was an absolute failure, an actual falsehood, and the same remark applies to the threatenings against the early persecutors of our Lord and his followers. To both of those large classes there never was a coming of Christ, and never can be, if he came when Jerusalem was destroyed, and is to come no more. It will not do for the objector to reply that Christ no doubt came to them in some way before they died so as to make his promise good to them, for this would imply that two of his second comings have occurred, a doctrine which Prof. Crosby and some others utterly repudiate. The same strain of remark as the above applies to the Gentile believers and those who troubled them. Paul comforted the Thessalonians with the assurance that God would, at the coming of Christ, recompense tribulation to their enemies. Yet more than forty years afterwards John spoke of that event as still future. See Rev. 1 : 7. During that period most of the persecuted Christians in Thessalonica had died. To them of course the promise was void and a deception, if their enemies are not to be punished art some future coming of Christ.

Prof. Crosby earnestly insists that all the passages relating to this subject must have been fullille'l soon after they were written, for this he argues is evidently the scope of such passages. On the other hand I take the position that in relation to most of those to whom such texts were addressed, they have never been fulfilled, and never can be, if his views of the subject are correct. The incorrigible rejectors of Christ and his teachings were, above all others, concerned in his coming to punish his "enemies;" and yet it is evident that only a very small number of them lived till the time when it is so confidently asserted that he came to destroy them. Who does not clearly see, as has just been said, that all the threateniugs against such persons were utterly useless — mere idle and false words as far as most of our Lord's dirrct persecutors were concerned, if he came soon after they died? Can we believe for a moment, that Christ threatened multitudes of the Jews with what he well knew would never come upon them ? This, to say the least, would implicate his veracity quite as much as the supposition that he intended to have all understand that he was immediately to come- to judge the world, though the period of his coming was then very remote. It is not however to be supposed that he intended to create either of these impressions, for in the present light of the subject neither is true.

When the subject is properly considered, there seems to be nothing in the Bible against a figurative or spiritual coming of Christ, an event which may be considered as already past, and his literal future coming. Such a view of the case is burdened with less difficulties than the supposition that there is but one event referred to in the Scriptures as the coming of Christ. It is enough to say here that till it can be shown from history that Christ has already come so as to convince his people then living that the momentous event transpired at that time, it will be quite as easy to show why so many texts seem to indicate that our Lord was about to come when they were written, as to prove that the grandest event named in God's word occurred so obscurely as to leave no record of its occurrence. On "the predictions in the Scriptures of the second coming of Christ, the end of the world, the resurrection of the dead, and the general judgment with its awards, " or rather on "the precise nature" of these sublime events, Prof. Crosby is almost silent. He is fully convinced and assuredly believes "that the predictions of our Savior respecting" them "h^ve been all fulfilled in the prcci.if, sense which be himself contemplated when he uttered the sublime attestation, 'Heaven and earth shall pass away, but MY WORDS shall not pass away;' and that this is no lower or more earl/ily sense, but the very luglust, noblist, hcucmlicM, of which those words are susceptible." How plain, how grand, how thrilling are the predictions of Christ's coming, but how obscure, blind, and uninteresting was their fulfilment, if we must believe that the precise nature and character, and consequently time of the event cannot yet be determined, though the scene transpired more than sixteen hundred years ago! Those who can believe all this, should not think very strange that most of the Christian world continue to think Christ's coming is yet future, notwithstanding many texts seem to indicate that he was to come centuries since. Christ's second appearing or coming is directly named but once in the Bible, viz: in Heb. 9. 28, where it is said that " unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." To assert that this appearing of Christ is the same as that named by John, in Rev. 1. 7, which is no doubt true, is virtually saying that Christ appeared without sin unto salvation to scarcely any who were looking for him when the epistle to the Hebrews was written. For those who were looking for Christ's appearance when Paul wrote that epistle were mostly dead when John wrote the book of Revelation, and consequently they are never to see him appear without sin unto salvation, as they died before his appearing, if he is not to come at a time when all the dead will see him.

If Heb. 9. 28, refers to what took place soon after it was penned, it relates to only a little handful of Christians who outlived their brethren in the early days of the Christian era, and the import of the passage seems to be narrowed down to almost a glorious nothing ! The same remark may also be made in relation to all other passages of the same import with the one just alluded to, if Christ has already made his only second appearance. On this supposition, had Christians understood the subject aright, many centuries ago they would have ceased to look "for that- blessed hope" and the gloriaus appearing of the great God, and our Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works ; " — Titus 2 : 13, 14. This admonition must have been useless and deceptive to all who died between the years of our Lord about sixty-five and ninety, as the exhortation to look for that "glorious appearing" was given near the first of these two dates, and the event was still future at the last of them, and no one can tell how much longer. Far the larger number of those to whom the admonition to look for the glo-rious event referred to above, must have died between the periods named, and all the hopes they had of witnessing it were utterly in vain — abortive — if the event they were directed to look for occurred after their death, and Christ is to appear no more. Is it reasonable to suppose the sacred writers would thus decieve the larger portion of those to whom they immediately wrote? Perhaps it may be well to notice here, that in the last of the two verses quoted above, from Titus, the term "us" is used twice by the apostle Paul, when he evidently does not mean merely the believers of that generation, but refers to all in every period who are or may be redeemed from iniquity by Christ. The same thing may be said in truth of other texts, which, if applied as Prof. Crosby and others who hold his views apply them, prove that Christ died only for the apostles and those who lived in their time, or very near it. The following passages are of this class. Christ died for us — Christ is sacrificed for us — Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God — Who gave himself for us — Having obtained eternal redemption for us — Christ hath suffered for us. On the text, " We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord," with other similar passages,

Prof. Crosby argues that the term "we" is used by Paul to designate some who would live till the Lord should come, and that it can have no reference to persons living at the time of a yet future coming of Christ. As far as this reasoning goes to disprove this doctrine, it may be used to show that Christ died only for those who lived in apostolic times, a doctrine which has not yet been given to the world. If the coming of Christ to judge mankind is an event of the past, Paul was very careless, to say the least, in asserting that " we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ" — " we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."

Rom. 14: 10., 2 Cor. 5 : 10. As these statements were penned some thirty years, or a whole generation of our time, before the destruction of Jerusalem, or any other asserted coming of Christ, it is evident that most of those to whom the apostle wrote did before the occurrence of that event, in which case it cannot be true that they have appeared before the judgment seat of Christ for trial. The words "all" and " every one " used by Paul in these passages, are too definite and explicit to indicate only the remnant of his readers who remained nearly or quite thirty years after his epistles were written. As there is no proof whatever that the dead were tried at the judgment seat of Christ in some unknown period that has gone by, and as it is evident that only by far the smaller part of Paul's readers lived till what is called our Lord's second coining, the conclusion seems inevitable that the time when every one shall receive the things done in his body, is yet in the future."

Henry Mason Baum (1850)
"Nothing but the principle which we have already stated, (on p. 69, bot.,) can enable one to account for the statement made by  its author, on page 95 : " There is no promise to believers of REST at death, but when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven." Had the author, after " he had shut himself up alone with the Bible," forgotten that St. Paul " desired to depart and be with Christ," because it was " far better" than " to abide in the flesh ?" that " we who have believed do enter into his rest ?" that the Saviour promised the dying criminal, that he should participate with himself in the rest of " Paradise that day?"  Did not St. Paul expect to die, when he assures Timothy that he is " ready to be offered and the time of his departure is at hand ?" and when he says, " if our earthly house of this tabernacle be dissolved ?" and, " I am ready to die at Jerusalem ?"  Did not St. Peter expect to die when he said, " I must shortly put off this tabernacle," and, " I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance ?"  And can it admit of the shadow of a doubt, that these friends and servants of the Lord Jesus expected rest as confidently as the penitent thief? Does not St. John promise immediate rest to the departed saints when he says : " Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth?" adding: " Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors."  Verily, a man may "shut himself up alone with the Bible," and yet fail of appreciating some of its plainest declarations." (The Church Review, "Theories of the Second Advent," p. 76)

"Did the end of the world, and the resurrection of the dead, and the general judgment with its awards, actually take place nearly eighteen hundred years ago ? And ever since that time have the " righteous" been enjoying " life eternal," and the wicked suffering " everlasting punishment?" Marvelous hallucination of mind, which could prompt such an exhibition! We say again, wisely does the author decline " any attempt to determine the precise nature and characters of the spiritual sense," which he would give to the predictions." (p. 77)

 

David N. Lord (1850)
"THE SECOND ADVENT, or, What do the Scriptures teach respecting the Second Coming of Christ, the End of the World, the Resurrection of the Dead, and the General Judgment. By Alpheus Crosby.

THE author's object in this volume is to show, that the Scriptures exhibit the great events which he enumerates in his title, as having long since taken place, and forbid the expectation of them as still future ; first, on the ground that they were predicted as of the same period, and one of them, Christ's coming, as very near ; and next, on the assumption, that as they have not occurred literally, the language in which they are predicted must be figurative, and has had its verification in events of a wholly different species ; the overthrow, as he supposes, of Jerusalem by the Romans under Vespasian, destruction of the temple, termination of the ritual worship, and slaughter and dispersion of the Israelites. He relies for the establishment of his propositions almost altogether on a mere allegation of passages, without any proof that their meaning is that which he assigns to them, or attempt to reconcile his constructions with the representations of other parts of the Sacred Word. He states his several positions affirmatively, and quotes the Scriptures as indubitably having the meaning which his theory avers ; or contents himself with suggesting the difficulties of a different construction, and expects his readers, by assenting to his first propositions, to acquiesce in his conclusions as demonstrated, respecting the language which he quotes, although he alleges no direct evidences of it.

We notice his work, first, because he claims the sanction of philology for his treatment of the predictions of Christ's second coming, the end of the age, the resurrection of the dead, and the judgment of the race, as figurative. He was educated, he intimates, at Andover ; has cultivated the modern hermeneutics, and been professor of the Greek language and literature in Dartmouth College; and implies that he has been led to the result in which his investigations have terminated, by interpreting the Bible "by the common principles of language," and the application of sound rules " to prophetic exegesis ;" and next, because the assumption on which the validity of his conclusions depends — that language is figurative although it involves no figure whatever — is common to him and all others, who assign to the predictions of Christ's coming, the resurrection and reign of the saints anterior to the millennium, and other associated events, a figurative meaning; and that, therefore, if they can vindicate their theory of interpretation, it is impossible for them to show that Professor Crosby's conclusions are not its legitimate results. This, indeed, is not seen, or not acknowledged by many, who, while they discard his theory, reject the doctrine of Christ's personal reign during the thousand years. We have seen a number of notices in which his views are treated as almost too obviously false to need a formal refutation, without a hint that the assumption on which he proceeds is identically the same as that on which the writers found their theory of a spiritual, instead of a personal reign of Christ, and a figurative instead of a literal resurrection of the saints and reign on earth during the millennium.

They have, however, but candidly to look at the nature of their own system of interpretation, to see that its fundamental principle is the same as his.

The inquiry, then, whether his pretensions are legitimate or not, is of high importance. The question whether the new exegesis is what it professes to be, almost absolutely perfect, and an infallible guide to the truth, or, in respect to figures and symbol sat least, radically defective, and in truth, a system of quackery, not only depends on it, but the question, also, whether any of the great truths commonly supposed to be taught in the Scriptures are verifiable by the legitimate laws of language. If the assumptions on which these parties proceed are just, there is not a fact or doctrine, a prediction or promise of the Sacred Word, that may not as easily and effectually be swept away, as they set aside the great announcements respecting Christ's coming and reign which they assail.

We shall show that none of his premises justify the conclusions which he deduces from them ; that his constructions of many of the passages which he quotes are wholly mistaken ;and that his pretence that philology authorizes his treatment of the great predictions whose meaning he affects to determine by it as figurative, in place of being indictable, indicates that he is unacquainted with the nature of figures, and is not, therefore, a master of his profession.

His first proposition, that " the Scriptures often speak of second, but never of a third coming of Christ," does not require consideration. His next, that " with the second coming of Christ the Scriptures associate the end of the world," or rather of the age, as he admits it should have been translated, " the resurrection of the dead, and the general judgment with its awards," instead of yielding support to his conclusion — that that which they denote has already passed, — disprove it; unless, irrespective of the question whether they have been accomplished or not, he can demonstrate that the language in which they are announced is, by the established usages of speech, metaphorical, and therefore indicates a different class of events from those which it literally denotes. His argument is, — Christ's second advent, the end of the age, the resurrection of the dead, and the last judgment, have not actually taken place; .therefore they cannot be the events that are really predicted in the prophecies, that taken literally foreshow them ; and consequently, the language of those prophecies cannot bilateral, but must be figurative. But that argument is wholly false and absurd. It implies that no prediction can be literal unless it has already been fulfilled ; and thence, that there cannot be a literal prediction of an event that is future ; and sweeps away, therefore, all our certainty of the most important revelations that God has made to us, such as our immortal existence, and happiness or misery according to our life here.

If the fact that Christ has not yet come in person in the clouds of heaven, raised the holy dead, and judged the living, proves that he is never to come in that manner and exert those great acts ; why does not the fact that we have not already entered on a life after death, and been adjudged to eternal happiness or misery, prove equally that we are never to be the subjects of those great events? It implies, also, that the question, whether a prediction is literal or metaphorical, does not depend on its structure, and is not determinable from the mode of which its terms are applied, but on its having been literally accomplished or not. On his theory, the question whether a. bank or promissory note is literal or metaphorical, an engagement to pay the sum which it specifies, or only to exert some wholly different act. turns, not on its language, or the mode in which its terms are used, but on the acts the drawer has exerted towards it ; or on its having or not having been paid. If it has been literally paid, that proves that it is literal ; if it has not been literally paid, that demonstrates that it is metaphorical, and denotes something wholly different from a promise to pay the sum which it specifies. What admirable logic ! What a brilliant result of the new exegesis !

But if Professor Crosby cannot prove that the language in which the affirmations of these predictions are expressed, is metaphorical from the mode in which it is used, by showing that it is transferred from objects to which it is properly applicable, to others of which it is not literally true, he cannot demonstrate from any other consideration that it is figurative. He might as well attempt to change the nature of mathematical figures, or the ratios of numbers to each other. He might as well undertake, by mere syllogism, to reduce men from intelligences to brutes, or raise brutes to intelligences. Language that is metaphorical is such, because of the modern which it is used ; and being metaphorical, cannot he made literal by logic, any more than anything else can be by such a process invested with a new nature.

His third proposition, that "our Saviour both variously intimated, and even expressly declared, that his second coming, with its associate events, would take place before the death of some who were then living," is not only wholly unproved by him* and mistaken ; but, on his theory of figurative language, cannot by any possibility be shown to be true ; nor could it had the intimations and declarations to which he refers been expressed in any other language. For he assumes in his argument that the word " death " in Christ's expression, is used literally to denote a corporeal decease, or the separation of the soul from the body. But, on his view of the nature of the metaphor, he cannot have any evidence that it is employed in that manner:. as, according to him, the fact that a term is not transfer from a subject to which it is properly applicable, to one of which that which it literally denotes, is not really true nor possible, is no proof that  it is not used metaphorically.

It may, he assumes, be metaphorical, though there is no metaphor in the mode in which it is used ! He builds his argument thus on an assumption that contradicts the position on which the system he endeavors to maintain by it rests ! How is it that this fact escaped his perspicacity ? On his principles then, Christ's declaration that there were some standing in his presence who should not taste of death till they saw the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. no more proves that his second advent has already taken place, than it proves the occurrence of any other event ; inasmuch as there is no evidence that any of those who were then standing in his presence have undergone a metaphorical death. Mr. Crosby must show what a metaphorical death is, and demonstrate that some one who was then standing "in the Saviour's presence has suffered that death, before he can verify his argument. He, however, will not find that an easy task, we apprehend. Can he designate any one of the persons who then stood before Christ, and prove that he has been the subject of a metaphorical death ? Who is the individual ?

What is the nature of that death ? What are the proofs that that individual has undergone it ? How is it that Professor. has omitted to explore this field of inquiry so suited to gratify his love of novelty ; and unfolding so fine a theatre for the display of his genius and learning ? Is he apprehensive that something more than the grammar and dictionary, those grand instruments of the fashionable philology, are requisite to its successful investigation ?

But apart from this consideration, which demolishes his whole system, his representation that Christ expressly declared that his second coming, with its associate events, would take place before the death of some who were then living, is wholly mistaken. He has fallen into that error by confounding Christ's presence on earth, and institution of his kingdom in its first form, soon after his resurrection, with his second coming, and institution of it in its second form, at the commencement of his millennial reign. There are two institutions and two forms of his kingdom. It received its first institution at the commission probably of the disciples before his ascension, and during his presence, therefore, at his first coming. Thus it was proclaimed, as at hand, by his forerunner, and during his ministry by himself also and his apostles.

John came preaching and saying, " Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," Matt. iii. 4. Jesus came preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, saying, " the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand," Mark i. 14, 15 ;and he commanded his disciples to preach, " The kingdom of heaven is at hand," Matt. x. 7. It is the prediction of the coming of THIS KINGDOM, accordingly, and Christ's presence at its institution, that Professor C. has mistaken for a prediction of his second coming, before the death of some who then stood before him should take place. This is manifest from the language of Mark. " And he said unto. them, verily, I say unto you, that there be some of them that stand here which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power," ix. 1. The parallel passage in Luke relates also exclusively to the kingdom. " But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the kingdom of God," ix. 27. In Matthew the Saviour is exhibited as present at the institution of his kingdom. " Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man, come in his kingdom," xvi. 28. The event foreshown in these passages is undoubtedly the same, and is the institution of the kingdom of heaven, which was proclaimed by him and the apostles during his ministry as at hand. In other passages he represents his casting out demons by the Spirit of Jehovah, as a signal to them, before its visible institution, that it had already come. " If, by the Spirit of God, I expel demons, certainly the kingdom of God has come to you." That miracle indicates that he who is to institute that kingdom is already in your presence, and exerting his almighty power, Matt. xii. 28 ; Luke xi. 20.

It is of the kingdom in this first form, that he taught the Pharisees and his disciples that it was not to come with observation. Luke xvii. 20-32. " And being questioned by the Pharisees, when cometh the kingdom of God ? he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation ;"is not to commence in a form that is obvious to the senses, by the personal presence and manifestation of the Messiah in his glory. " They shall not say, look here, or look there," as though Christ had revealed himself at the temple, in some city, or in the desert ; " For, behold the kingdom of God is within you." In its first dispensation, it is a kingdom over individuals only who profess to believe in the Messiah ;not over the nations and world universally. That this is his meaning is shown by his pointing out to his disciples the false expectations they entertained that he was publicly to manifest himself at the establishment of his kingdom ; and forewarning them that the revelation of himself, when it took place, instead of being confined to some narrow scene, would be visible in all places, and conspicuous to all eyes. "

And he said unto the disciples, days will come when ye will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and will not see it." He then indicates that there would be a general expectation that he would visibly reveal himself. " And they will say to you, See here, or see there," as though he had appeared in some local scene. But he commands them not to be misled by such representations. •' Go not forth, nor follow." He then shows, first, that when he comes visibly it will be in a wholly different form ; and next, that at the time of his advent, instead of a general expectation of his coming, the world will be taken by surprise, as it was at the flood, and as the inhabitants of Sodom were at its overthrow. " For as the lightning that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven, so shall also the Son of Man be in his day. . . And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was in the days of Lot ; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builder ; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed," v. 24-30. While he thus apprises them that the expectation of his visible presence in his kingdom, units first form, was to be disappointed, he shows that a time was at length to come when he would reveal himself in his glory to all eyes, and gather to himself all his true disciples, v. 31-37.

His disciples, during this form of his kingdom, were not tube freed from all evil, as they seemed to expect, and raised toad complete redemption, but were to be subjected to severe trials. Instead of princes triumphing over their enemies, they were to be as lambs among wolves. Instead of a scene of peace and bliss, the world was to be a vale to them of sorrow and tears. " They shall lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolk's, and friends, and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake," Matt. xxiv. 12-17. Sorrow, calamities, and sufferings, were to be the characteristics of their life, and were to be expected and welcomed. " In the world ye shall have tribulation." "The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you." " Count it all joy, when ye fall into diverse trials ; knowing that the trying of your faith worked patience."' "We glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worked patience, and patience experience, and experience hope." Into the kingdom, in this form, the devil introduces his own children, and intermixes them with the children of the kingdom, like tares with wheat, and they are to continue together till Christ's second coming, at the end of the age, when his angels are to gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them that do iniquity, and cast them into a furnace office. Then the righteous are to shine forth like the Son in the kingdom of their Father. The kingdom in which they're to shine is the same as that out of which they who do iniquity are to be gathered ; it is only then to receive a new form, and be placed under a different dispensation, Matt. xiii. 24-43. During this dispensation some of the evil who enter the kingdom, and are spared by God's forbearance, are to show that they are wholly thankless and malignant, by tyrannizing over their fellow servants, Matt. xviii. 23-35. Multitudes of those who are invited to partake of the blessings of salvation, from worldly occupations, and a love of pleasure and wealth, reject them, Matt. xxii. 1-10.

While Christ is absent preparing for the introduction of a new dispensation, some of his subjects revolt and refuse submission to him, and are to be judged and punished at his return, and institution of his kingdom in its second form, Luke xix. 12-27.

And the period during which the kingdom was thus to subsist without Christ's visible presence, did not terminate at the overthrow of Jerusalem, and dissolution of the Jewish polity.

It is expressly foreshown that Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled ;and that it is not till after that long tribulation that the Son of Man is to come in the clouds, with power and glory, and give his people redemption, Luke xxi. 24, Matt. xxiv. 29-31.

What then is the period denoted by the times of the Gentiles ?The meaning of the prediction is not that Jerusalem should be trodden by the Gentiles till the Romans, having completed its desolation, withdrew their armies. That would be a mere prediction that it should be trodden by them as long as they occupied it, which would give no information of the length of the time during which it was to continue in desolation. Instead of such an indeterminate prediction, the times of the Gentiles are a definite period that was understood, undoubtedly, by the disciples. and are the times during which it was foreshown to Daniel the daily sacrifice was to be taken away and the place of the sanctuary cast down by the Romans, represented by the fourth wild beast. This is manifest from Christ's express representation that the destruction of Jerusalem, and slaughter and dispersion of the nation he was predicting, was that which was foretold by Daniel, Matt. xxiv.15.. The whole length of the period embraced in that vision, was twenty-three hundred evenings — mornings, a symbol of twenty-three hundred years ; at the end of which the sanctuary's to be cleansed, Danl. viii. 9-14. That period has not yet terminated ; and as Christ is not to come, we are explicitly shown, till after the tribulation of that long season has passed, his second advent has not yet taken place.

This prophecy thus, instead of yielding any countenance to Professor Crosby's construction, presents the most resistless demonstration of its total error. What admirable indications of critical research and philological skill he and the writers whom he quotes and follows, present, in overlooking these proofs, stamped in the plainest characters on the face of the prediction, that the coming of Christ, foreshown in it, cannot have taken place at the destruction of Jerusalem ?

The reference of the prediction of Christ's coming to the subversion of the Jewish polity is refuted also by every other consideration that affects the question. That catastrophe wasn't attended by any of the extraordinary events that are to distinguish Christ's advent. There were no portents in the sun, moon, and stars, or the seas ; his sign was not seen in heaven. There was no mourning because of it of all the tribes of the earth. Most of the nations had no knowledge of the capture, or even existence of the city ; and to the population of the Roman empire generally, its fall was undoubtedly source of exultation, instead of alarm. The Son of Manias not seen coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. His angels were not sent with the sound of great trumpet to gather together his elect from the four winds from one end of heaven to the other. There is no more ground for the reference of any of these events to that epoch, than to any other in the history of the world at which there's the most absolute evidence that they did not occur. Prof. Crosby might with as much propriety assume that they took place at the fall of Rome or Constantinople.

Mr. Miller might, with as much reason, have claimed that they occurred at the period which he assigned for Christ's advent. The pretence that these predictions are figurative does not, even if admitted, furnish any ground for the assumption that they had their accomplishment at the overthrow of Jerusalem ;for, on Prof. Co's theory of figures, he has no more evidence that the prediction of the overthrow of Jerusalem is not also altogether metaphorical and significant of some wholly different event. Any argument by which it can be proved that that part of the prophecy is literal, will prove with equal certainty that this is also. How happened it that this consideration escaped his notice ?

Prof. Crosby regards the declaration, v. 32, this generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled, as decisive that they must have been verified at the fall of Jerusalem. The passage, however, in which it occurs, refutes instead of supporting his construction. After foreshowing that there should be signs in heaven, and upon the earth, distress of nations with perplexity, men's hearts failing them for fear, Christ adds, "And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory ; and when these things begin to come to pass, look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh ; and he spake to them a parable. Behold the fig tree, and all the trees ; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see you  see -- these occurrences, know ye that the kingdom of God is night hand. Verily, I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till Taut — all this — that is, the train of events announced in the prophecy — " begins" or appears. Here that to which the signs in the sun, moon, and stars, and the distress of nations, bear the same relation as the spring bears to summer, is the coming of the Son of Man in the clouds, the redemption of his people, and the establishment of his kingdom. But there were neither any such signs in those heavenly bodies, nor any such distress and terror of the nations at the fall of Jerusalem ;nor was there any visible advent of Christ at that epoch, redemption of his disciples, or new institution of his kingdom.

It had been instituted in its first form nearly forty years before, and has not received any other institution since. The occurrences, the commencement of which is to be a sign of their redemption, are to follow the long tribulation during the times of the Gentiles, not to precede it.

But on the other hand, the Mark, which were to commence before that generation passed, were the train of events foreshown in the prophecy, the signs of which had just been mentioned ; viz. the persecution of the disciples, the slaughter and capture of the Jews, and the treading of Jerusalem, — .that were to extend down to the time of the signs of Christ's coming. The verb yew>jar, improperly rendered in the common version fulfilled, often has the sense here ascribed to it — of commencing, appearing, or being present.

In this prediction he indicates the period when the tribulation, that is to last through the times of the Gentiles, was to begin ; in the other, he gives the signs of his coming that are to follow the close of those times.

The whole of the grounds on which Prof. C. places his construction of the passage, is thus mistaken. Christ's kingdom is to continue in its first form till his second coming. It is then to be instituted anew and placed under different dispensation. That he is then to receive the dominion of the earth and reign over it, as its king, in a new manner, is abundantly taught in the sacred oracles.

Thus, in Daniel's vision, it was after the destruction of the fourth wild beast that the Son of Man came in the clouds of heaven tithe Ancient of Days, and there was given him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him, — a dominion that shall not pass away, and kingdom that shall not be destroyed : and it is at that epoch that the kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, are to be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, who are at his coming to be raised from the grave and reign with him, Dan. vii.13-28. In like manner, at the sound of the seventh trumpet, it is announced that the sovereignty of the world has become our Lord's, and he shall reign for ever, Rev. xi. 15. The peculiarity that is then to distinguish his dominion of the world is, that he is to reign in it ; that all people, nations, and languages are to serve him ; and that his risen saints arête reign with him. It is indicated also in Christ's prediction of the signs of his coming ; — When ye see these things that are to precede his advent in a cloud, as spring precedes summer, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand, Luke xxi. 31, which implies that it is then to receive a new institution. Christ teaches, also, that it is then to assume anew form in the prediction in the parable of the wheat and tares; that after the removal from it, at his coming, of all that do iniquity, the righteous are to shine in it as the sun. It is implied, likewise, by Paul, that his kingdom is to be established at his coming. " I charge thee before the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and kingdom," 2 Tim. iv. 1. The great changes that are then to take place in its administration will constitute it in an emphatic sense a new kingdom ; and the events that are to signalize its introduction will distinguish it in the utmost degree from that which precedes it. 1. He is to come in the clouds of heaven, and be visible to every eye at its institution. 2. He is to reign in it as its king. 3. His saints are to be raised from the dead and reign with him. 4. Satanist then to be banished from it, and imprisoned in the abyss.5. The wild beast and false prophet who now usurp his throne and persecute his witnesses, will then be destroyed. 6. Althea wicked will then be gathered out of his kingdom. 7.His dominion will extend over the nations universally, not over individuals merely. 8. The curse is then to be repealed, and instead of sorrow, the world be made a scene of bliss. 9. Christ is then to manifest himself to men visibly.10. That kingdom is to endure for ever. It is thus, at that epoch, to present a total contrast to its present form.

This twofold institution and form of the kingdom, reconciles all the passages respecting it which Professor C. perplexes and confounds, by referring to the subversion of the Jewish capital and polity. It explains, and is corroborated by the parable of the nobleman who went into a distant country to receive a kingdom and return ; some of whose subjects revolted during his absence, and were, on his receiving the kingdom and returning, judged and punished by him, Luke xix. 12-27. But that is wholly inexplicable, if Christ isn't to receive the dominion of the earth in a new form during his absence, and exert his kingly power in a wholly different manner on his return. It shows how, though the kingdom of God was at hand at the commencement of Christ's ministry, it is also to be at hand when the signs appear of his second coming. It explains the consistency of his representation, that some who stood in his presence should not taste of death till they saw his kingdom come with power; with the revelation to Daniel and John, that he should not receive the dominion of the earth, to exercise a personal reign in it, and bring all nations to obedience, till his second coming.

Professor C's fourth proposition that "the apostles evidently expected that the second coming of Christ, with its associate events, would take place before the death of some who were then living," is equally unauthorized. Their teachings on the subject are in entire harmony with Christ's.

As he showed in the prophecy we have been considering, that the space that then remained of the times of the Gentiles waste intervene between the dissolution of the Jewish capital and sanctuary, and his second coming ; so they taught that a long period of trials, apostasies, and judgments, was to pass before his advent was to take place. John expressly represents that the epoch of his coming was to be after the period of the wild beast had closed, and the time of its judgment had arrived.

Paul explicitly taught the Thessalonians that the day of his coming was not then immediately at hand, but that a train of apostates was first to arise in the church and make themselves objects of worship in the place of God, and reminded them that he had apprised them of it before, 2 Thess. ii.

Peter also foretold that in the last days scoffers would arise who would deride the promise of his coming, because of the long space that had passed since it was predicted ; and reminded those whom he addressed, that as one day is with the Lords a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, the delay of his advent is no proof that it is not to take place.

While Christ and the apostles thus foretold that a vast series of events, that must necessarily occupy a considerable period, was to precede his advent, they also taught that the exact time of his coming was unrevealed, and that its arrival would take the world by surprise. " But of that day and hour knoweth no one ; no, not the angels of heaven ; but the Father only." And that uncertainty was the ground of command to watch and be ready for its approach. " Watch, therefore, for ye know not what hour your "lord doth come." "

Of the times and the seasons " — that are to precede Christ's coming — " brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For you yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, and they shall not escape. But ye brethren are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief," 1 Thess. v. 1-4.

These commands and exhortations, however, and the fact that believers were led by the teaching of the apostles to look with earnest expectation and desire to Christ's coming, as the great crisis of their being, Prof. Crosby regards as evidence that his advent was contemplated by them as almost immediately at hand, and must, therefore, long since have taken place. But that inference is wholly unauthorized. In the first place, it is confuted by the fact that Christ and his apostles, on the one hand, taught that it was not vitas, immediately to take place ; and on the other, predicted a great succession of events that was to precede it, that must naturally occupy a long period. In the next place, it proceeds on the mistaken assumption, that those commands and exhortations were designed only for the generation to which they were originally addressed. But that can no more be presumed in respect to them, than any other commands that are appropriate to the generations of subsequent periods, and are enforced by a reference to Christ's coming and the judgment that is to follow, as that of 1 Thess. iv. 3-6. " Fortis is the will of God. . . . that no one go beyond and circumvent his brother in the matter; because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we have forewarned you and testified."

Watchfulness and a readiness for the event were rendered appropriate and obligatory, by the fact of the uncertainty of the time of its occurrence ; and the command to live in preparation for it was proper — not only as an expression of duty which was incumbent on those to whom it was originally addressed ; but also because, like the other directions and' exhortations of the New Testament, it was designed for all others who were to precede Christ's coming; and, especially, because an actual expectation of his advent, and readiness for it, are to be the characteristic of his .true people, and witnesses at the time of his arrival. To have omitted those directions, would have been to omit to command a most palpable and important duty ; and to leave his most faithful disciples without the aids that are requisite to a preparation for his coming, and the discharge of the peculiar duties to which they are to be called in reference to it. And, in thither place, it overlooks the fact that Christ's advent is to bead great epoch to the saints, when the event that is for ever to distinguish them from the lost, and render their redemption and blessedness complete, is to take place ; and an epoch therefore, to which, if they understand it, they naturally —whatever space may intervene before its arrival, — look forward with the utmost fervor of desire.

The great gift that is for ever to mark them as God's children, and separate them from the unrighteous, is then to be conferred on them, viz. their resurrection from the dead in glory and immortality, and elevation to the offices of kings and priests in Christ's kingdom. It is that that is to contradistinguish their destiny from that of the unsanctified, and consummate their redemption. It is in that form that they were taught by the apostles to contemplate their salvation. Though they were distinguished in this life from the unholy by a partial sanctification ; and are in the intermediate state, by a perfect freedom from sin, and a lofty blessedness ; yet the lot of each is in both, unimportant respects, essentially the same. In this life they area like subjected to trials, sorrows, and a sentence to death.; and in the intermediate state, to death's actual

But at Christ's coming, this last, which is the great public penalty of sin, will also be withdrawn from the holy, and they will be discriminated in every respect from the lost, by perfect exemption from the penalty, as well as the dominion of sin. With this view of the high place which their resurrection or change to immortality at Christ's coming holds in their redemption, it was perfectly rational that the believers even of the apostolic age looked forward to it with earnest desire, and fixed their thoughts and hopes on it, rather than on any intermediate event ; and the fact, accordingly, that that great epoch, which held such a place in the thoughts and expectations of the primitive disciples, is no longer the objector special desire or consideration to believers, is a portentous proof that their notions of redemption have greatly changed from those of the first age, and become deeply mixed with error.

These views which were entertained by the apostles and their disciples of the place which their resurrection holds in their salvation, thus furnish an explanation of their waiting and looking for the coming of Christ, as the great epoch of their hopes and expectations ; while, on the other hand, on Professor Crosby's theory, it is wholly inexplicable. There was nothing in the fall of Jerusalem, and slaughter, dispersion, and captivity of the Jews, to excite so profound an interest in the believers of Thessalonica, Galatia, or the seven churches of Asia, and prompt them to watchfulness and desire. The supposition of their watching for it is indeed preposterous, asset was an event that did not in any respect affect their personal safety and well-being. Men watch for events that directly concern them, not that simply respect others who reside in remote countries, and whose misfortunes are confined to themselves. It would be absurd to exhort the people of the United States to watch and be ready for an earthquake in Chili, or the eruption of a volcano in Italy. The passages which Prof. C. alleges on this subject, thus confute his theory instead of supporting it. To this series of propositions which form the basis of Proofs' system, he adds two others, which embody the conclusions which he regards as their necessary result.

PROPOSITION V
The second coming of Christ, with its associate events, the end of the world, the resurrection of the dead, and the general judgment, must have already taken place, and all expectation of these events as still future is forbidden by the Scriptures. "

The question of time determined, that of mode succeeds, How have these events taken place ? In what consisted the fulfillment of the predictions relating to them ? These are questions alike interesting and important; but they open a new and broad field of inquiry, into which we cannot now enter. Let it here suffice to ascertain ten what direction this field lies. It is needless to say, we shall search in vain all the volumes of history, to find anything like a literal and outward fulfillment these predictions. Even the predictions of the end of the world, orange, which, in its proper sense, has literally come to pass, are too muck involved in imagery to be made an exception.

It requires no argument, therefore, to establish the following proposition. as an UNAVOIDABLE CONCLUSION FROM THOSE WHICH HAVE PRECEDED:

PROPOSITION VI
The predictions in the Scriptures of the second coming of Christ, the end of the age, the resurrection of the dead, and the general judgment with its awards, MUST BE EXPLAINED IN A FIGURATIVE OR SPIRITUAL RATHER THAN A LITERAL SENSE, and in such a sense as admits an application to what has already taken place. "

Any attempt to determine the precise nature and character of this sense, which I should myself term a spiritual rather than a merely figurative sense, must involve a careful study of the teaching of the Scriptures, in respect to the nature and characteristics of the Messianic dispensation — that new and glorious kingdom, which forms the great subject of the New Testament, and to which the events above named were to constitute an introduction. Let me commend this investigation to the studious, the thinking, and the devout, as presenting most distinctly the great peculiar problems of Christianity, those which are alike grandest in theory, and most practical in application. Among the most important subsidiary inquiries are such as relate to the nature and significance of oriental, and especially of Hebrew and prophetic IMAGERY ;to the design and character of our Saviour's teaching ; to the nature and objects of the apostolic office, and of apostolic Christianity ; and to the distinctive characteristics of the several great dispensations or economies under which the world has been placed. I conclude by expressing my fullest conviction, my most assured belief, that the predictions of our Saviour respecting the great events which we have now considered, have been all fulfilled in the precise sense which he himself contemplated, when he uttered the sublime attestation, ' heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away ;' and that this is no lower or more earthly sense, but thievery highest, noblest, heavenliest, of which the words are susceptible." —Pp. 98-100

That is, he expresses " the most assured belief,'' that those predictions have no literal meaning whatever, but only a "figurative" one, " the precise nature and character" of which he does not pretend to determine, but holds that it is to be deduced chiefly from the nature of oriental and Hebrew prophetic imagery, and partly from what is taught respecting the divine government in other parts of the Sacred Volume.

He thus founds and attempts to justify his exhibition of the second coming of Christ, the end of the age, the resurrection of the dead, and the last judgment, as having already taken place, on the assumption that the passages in which they are predicted are altogether figurative ; asserts that that conclusion is unavoidable ; and represents that it is the result of the laws of philology. But if such be the fact, why did he not demonstrate it ? If he is sure that that conclusion is unavoidable, he must be aware of the media by which it is connected with its premise. If he is really certain that these predictions are figurative, he must be, in an equal degree, aware of the nature of the figures which they involve, and the process by which they obtain the sense which he ascribes to them. Why, then, did he not point them out ? It was precisely the work which he professedly undertook, the very task that was requisite to the attainment of his object, and to which all his other labor should have been merely introductory and subsidiary.

He could no more neglect it with credit to  himself, than a mathematician could neglect to define  and verify a principle by which he attempted to explain the phenomena of the universe. If his assumption respecting figures is just, and his declining to explain and establish it arises from a consciousness that it is not in his power, it demonstrates that he is not a master of the question he has undertaken to debate, and not competent, therefore, to assert, that by the laws of philology those predictions are  metaphorical. If that assumption is not just, but mistaken, then that demonstrates also, that he is no master of the subject, and has no qualification for the office he has assumed. What can be more unprofessional and unscholarly than thus to found the interpretation of a large part of the sacred volume on a principle or law, of which he can neither demonstrate the reality nor explain the nature ? Is it any better than the sheerest quackery ? an attempt to disguise ignorance under the pretence of accurate knowledge? The term figurative manifestly stands in his vocabulary, for something that is altogether unknown both in kind and quantity; and his protestation of his assured belief in the result in which his speculations have terminated, is, accordingly, nothing else than an acknowledgment that he is incapable of stating a principle by which his conclusion can be substantiated ; and a confession that his belief is without any intelligible reason ! The import of his sixth proposition, therefore, expressed without disguise, is, that " the predictions in the Scriptures of the second coming of Christ, the end of the age, the resurrection of the dead, and the general judgment with its awards, must be explained on some principle, the nature of which is wholly unknown, in order to assign to them a sense that admits of the supposition that they have already been accomplished ! " And this acknowledgment and profession that ignorance is the medium of his construction of these predictions, is undoubtedly in accordance with truth.

It is indicated by his whole method of procedure. It is because of a total in acquaintance with the peculiarity of figures, that he supposes language may be proved to be metaphorical by the fact, that that which it expresses has not been literally accomplished, or other considerations that are independent of its nature. It implies that there is nothing peculiar in the metaphorical use of terms that distinguishes it absolutely from their literal use, which is as mistaken and absurd as it were to suppose that there is nothing in the mode in which verbs are used that distinguishes them from nouns and adjectives, but that their office depends on grounds that lie wholly out of the relations in which they are employed. It is because of an in acquaintance with the nature of figures, that he assumes that language may be figurative, although it involves no figure whatever; for it is on that supposition that he founds his attempt to prove, that the predictions he undertakes to explain are figurative.

But that is as false and absurd as it were to assume, that vocal sounds have a certain specified sense without having any sense whatever, or mathematical figures certain qualities without having any qualities whatever. A passage is metaphorical because of the mode in which the term or phrase expressing the affirmation which it embodies is used; and passages in which terms are used in that mode, are, in virtue of that fact, metaphorical, and cannot be made literal by any process of logic. Their literal meaning must be changed and become identical with what was at first a metaphorical meaning, in order that they may become literal. Thus, the expressions the sky frowns, the thunder growls, the rain-drops dance, are metaphorical, because they ascribe acts to those several objects that are not proper to them, nor compatible with their nature, but are transferred to them from other agents to which they are appropriate, in order to indicate that there is a strong resemblance of the one to the other ; and being metaphorical they cannot by any possibility be literal. The qualities of the two are as incompatible and as unpredictable of the same expression, as the properties of the circle and the square are of the same figure. And finally, it is because of his want of acquaintance with his own principles, as well as with the nature of the metaphor, that after assuming that the passages which he treats as figurative are such, notwithstanding there is no figure in them, he yet supposes, that those which he treats as without a figure, such as the prediction of the overthrow of Jerusalem, and the fulfillment of the prophecy before the death of some of those who were present when it was uttered, must of necessity be regarded as literal. If the prediction of Christ's coming in the clouds with power and glory may be metaphorical, notwithstanding the terms in which the affirmation is expressed are not used by a metaphor, then clearly, for aught Prof. C. can prove or render probable, the prediction that the temple should be demolished, the Jews carried into captivity, and Jerusalem trodden of the Gentiles, may be metaphorical also, and denote wholly different events, although there is no metaphor in them. His assumption thus confutes his own construction of the prophecy as completely as, were his premise and conclusion admitted, it would those whom he assails. Is it credible that he would have written a volume that thus carries with it its own refutation, had he understood the import of the principle on which he proceeds ? The whole process, indeed; by which he attempts to reach his result is as ill-reasoned as it is amphibological. If, as he avers, the considerations which he adduces demonstrate, that the predictions of Christ's second coming, the end of the age, the resurrection of the dead, and the last judgment with its awards, cannot hereafter take place, and are forbidden by the Scriptures to be regarded as future ; then they demonstrate that those predictions are false ; not, what is wholly irrelevant, that they are figurative. That conclusion against their truth, is the conclusion that results logically from his premise. It is no more demonstrated by it that they are figurative, than it is that they are written in Chinese, the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians, or Sanskrit.

The false assumption on which Professor Crosby thus proceeds, that language may be figurative without a figure, and consequently that the principle by which it is figurative is wholly unknown, is unhappily not peculiar to him, but common to the whole, body of interpreters, whether orthodox in other respects or not, who reject Christ's premillennial advent, the resurrection of the holy dead anterior to the thousand years, the restoration of the Israelites, and other teachings of the prophetic Scriptures; and is especially characteristic of the philologists who profess to be the disciples of the new German exegesis, and are tinctured with neology ; and it is the instrument by which they attempt to set aside the great doctrines of redemption, and both they and the orthodox endeavor to erase from the sacred page, the revelations God has made of the future. The writers and teachers particularly, who have acquired a degree of reputation as biblical scholars, and profess to adhere rigidly in their interpretations to the laws of philology, adopt that preposterous notion of figures. Any one may see from their treatises or expositions, that however carefully they follow the laws of philology in the treatment of simple historical and didactic passages, the moment they attempt to interpret a prophecy, they discard their established laws and usages of speech, and proceed on a theory which they can neither verify nor explain. Their knowledge is  almost literally confined to the mere grammar of the sacred languages. With its higher elements, the nature and laws of figures and the principles of symbolization, they are not only unacquainted, but they proceed on assumptions so erroneous, as necessarily to misrepresent every passage to which they are applied, and to overturn, if carried to their legitimate results, every truth that is taught in the Scriptures. If this is not the fact, let it be proved. If it can be shown that their rejection of Christ's personal advent, the resurrection of the holy dead anterior to the thousand years, and his reign with the glorified saints on earth during that period, are not founded on an assumption that language is figurative without a figure, let it be demonstrated. When that experiment is made, let it be shown by what process, on the theory that language may be figurative without a figure, it can be proved that any of the passages are literal that teach Christ's deity, expiation, and resurrection ; the renovation of the mind by the Spirit ; justification by faith ; the existence of the soul after death ; the resurrection of the dead ; the immortality and blessedness of the redeemed ; the punishment of the lost ; or any other fact or doctrine that is taught in the Inspired Volume. Nothing, we apprehend, but the grossest delusion can prevent its being seen to be wholly impracticable. The false principles on which they thus proceed, prove that the science of interpretation, in place of having reached the high perfection which is ostentatiously assigned to it by some of its professors, is extremely defective, and the instrument of misrepresenting the Scriptures on a far greater scale, than of unfolding and vindicating their true teachings. We do not state this for the purpose of detracting from the just merits of those who are engaged in the exposition of the sacred languages, but to show the necessity, in order to their credit as scholars, as well as to the discharge of their official duty, that they should relinquish their unscientific and absurd hypotheses, and investigate this subject with the care which, they bestow on others, and adjust their interpretations throughout to the indisputable laws of philology. There was never a more urgent necessity, either to the reputation of the profession or the maintenance of the truth ; and such, with whatever dislike it may be received by the narrow-minded, prejudiced, will be the judgment of all who are animated by the genuine spirit of learning. Who that is candid and liberal will hesitate to admit, that it is unworthy of scholars to construe a large portion of the Scriptures on an assumption which they can neither verify nor explain ? Yet such is the theory, that language may be figurative without a figure, on which expositors proceed in a large proportion of their interpretations, and by which they set aside, without hesitation, what they are aware is indisputably the true meaning, if the passages are interpreted by the usual laws of language ; and they employ their theory for the very purpose of escaping that meaning, and substituting constructions that harmonize with the views they have formed on other grounds, of the aims of the divine administration, or the nature of the salvation that is bestowed on the redeemed. Was the word of God ever subjected to a violation more gross, and unworthy of those who profess to be masters of language, and governed in its explication by its ascertained and indisputable laws?

Was there ever a more open admission than their theory involves, that the principle on which they profess to found their constructions is wholly unknown and inexplicable ?

As there is nothing which distinguishes figurative language from that which is literal, except that it involves a figure, the assumption that language may be figurative without a figure, is an assumption that that which is figurative has no peculiarity by which it can be distinguished from that which is not ; and, therefore, that that which constitutes it figurative is wholly undefinable and unknown. Is it the part of learning, of fidelity to God, of integrity to the church, to build vast systems of explication on a theory which thus bears on its face a confession, that its results are but the offspring of ignorance and presumption !

It is equally unscholarly also, it will be admitted, to found their interpretations of one part of the Scriptures on assumptions that are the converse of those on which they proceed in the construction of others of the same nature ; — yet this is characteristic of the interpreters generally now most in repute. While they treat a large part of the historical and a portion of the didactic Scriptures as literal, because they involve no figures, they construe other portions as figurative, though without a figure, simply because of the topics of which they treat, or the truths which they reveal. But that is obviously as just a reason for treating all the other passages as figurative. What can be more unbecoming a scholar than thus to build his interpretations on arbitrary theories, and make the import of the sacred oracles depend on his whim and caprice ?

It is unprofessional also, and unscholarly, it will be acknowledged, to interpret the prophetic Scriptures on principles, that if applied to the other parts of the sacred volume, subvert the facts and doctrines which they teach. Yet such is their method. If the ground on which they treat the great predictions of the future as figurative be legitimate, there is not a proposition in the whole compass of revelation that can be proved to be literal, and express the meaning that is assigned to it by the usual laws of language. It can no more be shown on the ground of that theory, that the narrative of Christ's crucifixion is not metaphorical, than it can that the prediction, Matt. xxiv. 30, of his coming in the clouds of heaven is not. It can no more be demonstrated that he rose from the grave, than it can that the saints are to be literally raised anterior to the thousand years.

It is inconsistent with a thorough knowledge of the art of interpretation — it will likewise be conceded — to proceed in the exposition of the Scriptures on principles that are inadmissible in the construction of other writings. Yet, such is the theory by which they construe the prophecies. A lawyer or judge who should attempt to exculpate a criminal arraigned for a misdemeanor, on the pretence that the language of the indictment was metaphorical, although there was no metaphor in it, would be universally regarded as having lost his senses, or become regardless of truth. Yet, that is the pretence on which the genuine meaning of a large part of the prophetic word is set aside, and a false import thrust in its place. If it were applied to the affairs of common life, there is not a commercial obligation, there is not a title to property, there is not a legal instrument of any description, that would not be emptied by it of its legitimate meaning, and become charged with a sense altogether unnatural and false. Can the friends of truth and learning need any more effective consideration to induce them to discontinue such a method of interpretation ? Can the keen sighted, who observe the spirit of improvement which animates every department of society, avoid the conviction, that, however the sluggish, the prejudiced, or the reckless may desire to perpetuate the reign of ignorance, there are crowds who will discern and prefer the truth, and devote themselves to its culture. In the arts and sciences the detection of a mischievous error, or discovery of an important principle, is immediately proclaimed, and attracts the scrutiny of innumerable eyes. He who should choose to remain ignorant of it, or disregard it, and go on in the repetition of false views, from pride, obstinacy, or selfishness, would instantly divest himself of authority, and sink into neglect and contempt. It surely is not too much to expect that the friends of biblical learning will exhibit an equal alacrity in embracing the aids of which they are apprised, to the just interpretation of the Scriptures. " (The Theological and Literary Journal, Vol. III, October 1850, p. 262-287)

 

 


By Carl Schwartz (1867)
 

PAST AND PRESENT STATE OF PALESTINE ; Christ's Second Coming not fulfilled at the Destruction of Jerusalem.—This is the title of a little pamphlet aiming to establish that the second coming of Christ could not, as some suppose, have taken place at the period of the destruction of Jerusalem. The author proves clearly to our mind that the issue of the destruction of Jerusalem was very different from the effects that were to result to the Jews at Christ's second coming, and that the promises to them, connected with that event, have not yet been fulfilled. The author proves first of all—and it is really a sad token that such a proof is required— that Christ did not certainly appear on earth during that period. He then proceeds to narrate the events we are led to expect before our Lord's coining. He mentions the works and signs of Antichrist, and his appearance, and argues—and we herein agree with him—that he has not yet come, and that the description given of him is only in part applicable to any of the supposed Antichrists. One of the signs is, the Jews will receive him; for our Saviour says,' 'If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." Now if the Jews had ever received such an one, they could not still be looking for Messiah, as they are to this day.

The coming of Christ is to be immediately after the tribulation of those days. Those days, our author says, are not yet ended ; they will close with the tribulation of the last days, after which Jesus will immediately appear. Christ is to come after the Jews are converted ; now if He had come at the destruction of Jerusalem, how is it that the veil continues unto the present day ? Christ is to light for Israel. He certainly did not fight for them at the destruction of Jerusalem. .Again, a resurrection must attend our Lord's return to this earth, and the judgment must take place after He has come. The author demonstates that these things have not yet taken place, but most surely will be fulfilled.

We have given a very meagre outline of this little book, as we are pressed for want of space. But even this mere sketch will suffice to show that the contents are interesting and varied, and worthy to be studied."  (The Scattered nation and Jewish Christian magazine, vol. II)

A response to: The Second Advent: Or, what do the Scriptures teach respecting the Second Coming of Christ, the End of the World, the Resurrection of the Dead, and the General Judgment ?

 

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