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Nor do they limit the reigning saints to this world. “May not,” says Noel," the glorified saints range with happy eagerness, through unnumbered regions of tranquillity and joy ? (John, xiv : 2, 3; I. Thess., iv: 17,) and amidst heavenly dominions, and societies of which they now can form no definite conceptions, receive continual accessions of knowledge and felicity ?”
It is needless to say that these views, if true, are of vast moment. This will be, in the highest sense, the establishment of an entirely new dispensation. It will involve, of necessity, the opening of a new series of revelations to the human race. By them, not only will all existing controversies be definitively settled, but new disclosures, of higher truth, will constantly be made. There will, therefore, be not only what the Romish Church now professes to be, an infallible interpreter of God's word, and judge of controversies, but a present incarnate God, to reveal new truth, as he of old revealed it when on earth.
This, of necessity, will make a material difference in the relations of the Bible to the world. Of this the advocates of these views seem to be aware, and the Rev. J. W. Brooks has fully avowed it. He states that, if even the common views as to the millennium were fully carried out, the Holy Scriptures would, in part, be rendered inapplicable to the then existing condition of men in the flesh, and that there would be need of some farther revelation of God. For instance, those parts which relate to Satan, persecution, and days of mourning, would be superseded. Satan will be bound, persecution cease, and the Church be prosperous. So the representations of the Church as a little flock, and of the whole world as lying in wickedness, would no longer be true. The same may be said of those passages which represent
. the Church as mixed, -- a field of mingled wheat and tares. He anticipates revelations so full, that the Scriptures will be superseded. “Nor will the Scriptures, superseded in the Millennium, be devoid of interest or use, but they will serve, in the way of retrospect and memorial ; cxcepting some very few passages, respecting the little season when Satan shall be loosed, and the events which are to follow." In favor of these views, they argue from two sources, philosophy and Scripture.
Rev. Henry Woodward is the only person who, so far as we recollect, has handled the philosophical argument. He endeavors to shew, that something is needed to fill the great vacuum which VOL. III.
will be made when Popery shall be removed ; that no church nor system now on earth is fit to do it ; that things do not seem to be tending to prepare any such system ; and that the human mind needs, in order to perfect society on earth, and fully to develop its own powers, what nothing can supply but such a coming of Christ. Men need what Rome offers. They need an infallible judge. “ The high claims of the Romish Church have always appeared to me, not so much absurd in theory, as false in point of fact. That Church is a dark shadow, or rather an actual counterpart or antithesis of the real body of Christ. Hence her power. She is a counterfeit of the real kingdom of Christ, and will keep her power till he comes to fill the void created by her fall.”
He argues, too, that this view is better adapted to satisfy a sceptical mind, as to the Bible, or even natural religion; as more perfectly harmonizing the Bible, and meeting a strong want of supernatural interposition. Such are the opposing views. Let us look at the present state of the last.
We shall, for the present, pass over the developments of the Millennarian views in the early Church, and those which coincided with or followed the Reformation; and notice those which syn. chronize with the present efforts to convert the world. The Millennarians of Great Britain have taken the lead, and written numerous treatises to defend their views. In the year 1840, the writings of the most prominent among them were republished at Philadelphia, in a series of volumes, entitled “ The Literalist.” Since then, Dr. Duffield, Dr. Henshaw, and others, have promulgated similar views; and still more recently, the Rev. David N. Lord has established a quarterly magazine, in which he is advocating, substantially, the same theory. He denies the organic regeneration of human society as the result of the present efforts to convert the world; and insists that Christ's kingdom cannot be established on earth, till he shall come in person to defeat his foes. His theory is this : “ Christ is, within a brief period, to come from heaven in person, and visibly; raise the sanctified who shall have died, and judge and accept those who are living; destroy the civil and ecclesiastical powers who usurp his rights and persecute his people, and renewing the nations that survive, reign over them with his glorified saints through a long round of ages."
He holds up the Church and the ministry as involved in deep error on this subject; — not merely error of theory, but, as he
asserts, in many cases, error of the heart. He thinks, however, that a disposition to investigate the subject is on the increase, and remarks: “ This disposition has been strengthened by the views we have propounded of the principles of symbolization; and a considerable number having become convinced that they are revealed in the Scriptures and obligatory, are applying them.” As the result, he anticipates the formation of “ a large body, embracing persons of the highest rank, in intellect, learning, and piety,” who will adopt and promulgate views similar to his own.
IIe also adds, “ that those generally, who are engaged in the conduct and support of missions and other agencies for the conversion of man, are acting on mistaken notions, both of God's purposes and of their instrumentality, and will be disappointed.”
From the brief statement which we have given of these opposing views, it is obvious that great interests are involved in the discussion. The theory of Millennarianism has never as yet originated and sustained a rational system of benevolent enterprise, like the present. It has, on the other hand, been held in connection with great extravagancies, and the minds of some of its advocates have been unbalanced, if not quite deranged, by its influences. Moreover, there is no evidence that a system of benevolent enterprise, like the present, could be sustained if it were to become prevalent, and there is reason to believe that it could not.
On the other hand, the common view tends to stimulate and sustain Christian enterprise, by the high motives of an assured hope of success. It does not turn away the mind from a study of the laws of social progress, and from the use of wisely adapted means, to anticipations of a supernatural revelation of Christ, and an entire change of dispensation. It does not unsettle the mind, and tend to extravagancies. But, under its influence, primitive energy, liberality, and self-denial have been manifested in the efforts for the conversion of the world.
All efforts, then, to revolutionize the public mind on this subject, deserve a careful scrutiny. Let no Christian hastily yield himself to those views, which may, if prevalent, overthrow all the benevolent enterprises that we have, and give us nothing of any value in their place.
We propose hereafter to make some remarks on the principles and modes of reasoning employed by the advocates of the Millennarian system.
THE HUGUENOTS IN NEW ENGLAND.
In a recent Boston newspaper, we noticed an account of the death of Mrs. Mary Sigourney Le Mercier, widow of the late Pierre Le Mercier of St. Malo, France, at the age of ninety. We are not certain that this lady and her husband were descendants of those Huguenot refugees of the same names, who found an asylum in Massachusetts, during the time of persecution in France. Be this as it may, the incident alluded to has recalled
. a passage in the early ecclesiastical history of New England, which, although of less interest than many others belonging to that period, deserves to be kept in remembrance, if for no other purpose, as an illustration of the generous hospitality with which the Puritans of New England received all who came among them in order to enjoy the civil and religious liberty which they were denied in other lands.
While our Fathers, driven from their native country by the cruel oppression of the secularized Church of England, had found a refuge, and were laying the foundations of a free Christian commonwealth on these shores, the Protestants of France, of the same faith, were suffering a persecution, unparalleled in its severity, from the apostate church of Rome, then, and long before, drunk with the blood of the saints, and with furious hatred endeavoring to blot the true Church of Christ froin the world. These confessors and martyrs were called Huguenots, a name of uncertain origin ; but probably, like that of Puritan, applied to them by way of reproach. The sufferings which they endured for conscience' sake fill one of the gloomiest and most heartrending pages of the world's history. On the twenty-second of August, 1572, a day which the souls under the altar remember well, the massacre of Bartholomew commenced; and before its close, more than seventy thousand Protestants, of every age, sex, and rank, were cruelly put to death ; - a bloody sacrifice to the Moloch of ecclesiastical vengeance, for which the Pope ordered a jubilee throughout christendom. The Edict of Nantes, which was passed by Henry IV., in 1598, gave these persecuted people a season of rest; and secured them in the public profession and practice of the religion which was so dear to their hearts. But the revocation of it, by Louis XIV., in 1685, opened again the flood-gates of ruin, and compelled multitudes of them to
shelter from renewed persecution, in England, Holland, and other Protestant countries. More than half a million of the best citizens of France, were thus exiled from their native land, and made pilgrims and strangers wherever true religion was suffered to do its work, or enjoy its ordinances, in peace.
Although the government of Massachusetts could afford little or no aid to their suffering brethren abroad, it was able, and ever ready, to furnish an asylum here to all who were compelled, like themselves, to seek in this wilderness a place of personal safety, and of civil and religious freedom. The Puritans have often been charged with selfishness and illiberality ; but upon no point have they been more deeply misrepresented and wronged, than upon this. They were, indeed, unwilling to have their peace disturbed and their whole undertaking endangered, by vagabonds, without religion or conscience, who, having “ left their country for their country's good,” came here to disseminate their revolutionary and disorganizing principles; and some stringent, but salutary laws were passed, in order to protect the infant colony from such nuisances. But toward all the oppressed and afflicted, of every name, denomination, and country, who fled to them for protection, and had the grace to refrain from injuring their best benefactors, our Fathers, poor and oppressed as they themselves were, manifested a liberality seldom equalled, and never surpassed by any community. And their charity, rejoicing in every opportunity of doing good, was expressed in their laws, as well as in their individual benevolence. In a statute passed in 1641, they
, say: “If any strangers or people of other nations, professing the true Christian religion, shall fly to us from the tyranny of oppression of their persecutors, or from famine, or the like necessary and compulsory cause, they shall be entertained and received amongst us according to that power and prudence God shall give us.”
Not many years elapsed before our Fathers were furnished with an opportunity to prove, by the practical exhibition of a Christian hospitality, the sincerity of their profession. As early as 1662, John Toulon, a citizen of Rochelle, where the Huguenots were exposed to peculiar trials, applied to the government of this colony, in behalf of himself and numerous others who were suffering on account of their religion, for permission to transport themselves to Massachusetts for safety; a request which was