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Pruves incontestables de la Verite de l'Eglise Catholique

Romaine, deduites des Propheties de l'Apocalypse, &c.&c.

Liege, 1819, 8vo. Incontrovertible Proofs of the Truth of the Roman Catholic

Church, deduced from the Prophecies of the Apocalypse, &c. &c.

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This work is the production of an English lady of the name of Freeman, and was originally written in English, though, we believe, never published in our language, the present volume being her own translation into French. We think it peculiarly deserving of notice at this time for several reasons; and among these must be enumerated the sensation lately created in Ireland by certain prophetic conjectures upon part of the Apocalypse by the late venerable Dr. Walmesley, under the name of Pastorini. The work under this name is well known, and has been muchread and admired. Whether the present work of Miss Freeman will be likely to diminish the credit of Pastorini, we shall not, especially thus early in our remarks, attempt to conjecture, but the two explications are continually at variance, and on the most important points they differ, toto cælo. To refresh the memory of our readers, and to enable them to estimate more correctly the comparative merits of both, we shall first give an outline of the plan followed by Dr. Walmesley, whom we shall designate as Pastorini, and afterwards give a similar sketch of the work under consideration. To these we shall subjoin a notice somewhat more extended of the more important parts as treated by each, with some ideas which have occurred to us during an attentive reading and comparison of these authors. It may

be useful to notice the intentions of the writers respectively, as collected from their own declarations, Dr. Walmesley, a bishop, a doctor of divinity, and a great philosopher, deeply read in the scriptures and fathers, after much study of the mysterious book of the Apocalypse, undertook to give a detailed explanation of it, furnished, it would seem with every necessary qualification for such a work. On the other hand, Miss Freeman, a lady of great learning and piety, recently converted to the Catholic faith, was so circumstanced as

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to be in great danger of losing the precious treasure which she had found; and after several months of doubts and temptations against faith, was directed, as she considered, by the Holy Spirit, to read the scriptures alone, and her prayer for his light to understand them, was heard. By her own declaration, she lighted on the Apocalypse, as if by accident, and wrote the interpretation as she read, without "any research or study," and understood the meaning of various passages immediately. Our readers will, no doubt, think this a novel way of finding, as Miss F. prefesses to have found, “ incontestable proofs of the truth of the Catholic church, its immutability, infallibility,

and even temporal power ;' (which last the church certainly does not possess, though the pope does in his own dominions,) but

from the intentions of the authors to their plans. Pastorini collects the scattered prophecies of this mysterious book, and refers them severally to seven uneqaal portions of time, which he designates as the seven ages of the church, from her establishment on earth to her triumphant state in heaven. He takes no notice of the directions to the seven churches of Asia, in the second and third chapters, considering them as par ticular instructions, “ not belonging to the general history of Christianity." The seven periods or ages of the church, accordiog to the distribution of Pastorini, are as follows: The first comprehends the establishment of Christianity over the world, during the space of the first 300 years. The second he styles the age of heresy, beginning about 320, and containing nearly 100 years, and chiefly' refers to the rise and diffusion of Arianism. The third, is the age of barbaric desolation upon Rome and the western empire: it begins about 406, and continues nearly 220 years. The fourth, or the age of Mahometanism, and of schismatical defection, on the part of the Greeks, which brought on their subjugation by the Turks, comprehends the long period from 620 to 1520. The fifth is the age of the Reformation, so called, and begins with 1520, or 1525, and will continue 300 years, to the year 1825. The sixth, or last age of the church upon earth, is not attempted to be fixed by Pastorini, as to its duration, but he leans to the general idea of the world existing 6000 years. The seventh is the awful age of eternity!

To each of these age, Pastorini respectively refers a seal, a trumpet, and a vial, of the seven which St. Joho mentions; applying the first three to the first age; the second seal, trumpet, and vial, to the second age, and so to the end. At the opening of each seal a part of the history of the church is disclosed, from the mysterious book held by the Lamb. The corresponding trumpet indicates some alarming events to happen in that age, such as persecutious, heretical convulsions, &c. Then follows the vial pouring out the wrath of God on the enemies of his church. Such is the general plan followed by Pastorini, in pursuing which, he goes ioto a minute explanation of every verse of the text, holding every word of the Apocalypse to be of great importance for discovering the sense of the whole..

Miss Freeman has also adopted the division of seven periods or unequal portions of time, but she considers all the seven as applying to the church on earth, whereas the seventh of Pastorini is the age of eternity. She moreover considers the directions to the seven churches of Asia as inexplicable in any other point of view, than as referring to the seven ages; but affording the key to the engines of the Apocalypse, when regarded as prophetic exhortations. The seven ages of this author's arrangement differ entirely from those of Pastorini. She professes to have made the division without having seen any

other commenttator; and that these epochs are so striking, that it would be impossible to mistake them. Dr. Walmesley at this rate must have been completely mistaken! But we rather suspect that this lady has found it more possible to err in this matter than she imagined; for she always calls the addresses to the seven churches prophetical, and yet her first age goes no farther than the first persecution under Nero, which took place some thirty years before this prophecy was written! This is rather an awkward blunder to set out with ; but we shall have more to say of this writer's high pretensions. She is very far from disclosing or following her arrangement with the perspicuity of Pastorini';. but after some research we found her division to be this. The first age extends from the time of Christ to the first persecution under Nero. in 64, The second, from 64 to the council of Nice, in 325. The third, from 325 to the establish

ment of the empire of Charlemagne, in 800. The fourth, from 800 to the taking of Constantinople in 1453. The fifth, from 1453 to the council of Trent, in 1545. The sixth, from 1945, to about the year 1750; and the seventh, from that period till the end of time. Whatever may be thought of this division, there appears no natural order or connexion in her application of the seals and trumpets to these ages. Instead of the beautiful and easy regularity of Pastorini, where every age has its seal, trumpet and vial, this writer has a most confused, and as it appears to us, most arbitrary application, though this also she professes to have compris sur le champ! We had rather she had not been quite so precipitate, for we find it very difficult to follow on such a disposition as the following. The trumpets and seals do not follow in succession the progress of the seven ages ; but the first seal and trumpet operate together during the second epoch! The second seal and trumpet begin at the third period, the third seal and trumpet at the fourth period, and at last for the seventh age there are three seals and three trumpets! All this is surely arbitrary in the extreme, and totally loses sight of the fine and natural idea of Pastorini, that as the book of the Lamb contained the history of his church, so at the opening of each of its seals, a new period of this history was disclosed. The seven vials are still more confusedly applied ; and by the acknowledgment of Miss F. they are irregular portions of chastisements, separate from the seals and trumpets, and continuing to operate together or separately at interrupted periods. We think the remarks upon the vials the weakest part of this work, and bearing no comparison with the sublime and powerful application of them by Pastorini to his seven ages.

It would carry us too far to analyse each of these authors, and compare their comments upon each age: we shall therefore select the three most striking and important periods in the history of the church, and briefly remark upon the method which each has followed in regard to them. From these the reader may fairly estimate the respective works. There are three more distinguished and momentous periods in the history of the church of Christ ; viz. the rise and spread of Mahometanism,those of Protestantism, and the reign of Antichrist, with his

final destruction. These important events have been particularly dwelt upon by both writers. Pastorini gives the rise of Mahometanism to the fourth age, and of course to the fourth seal, trumpet and vial. At the opening of the fourth seal, St. John saw a pale horse : and he that set upon him, his name was death, and hell followed him, &c. This he illustrates in a masterly manner by a brief account of Mahomet and the Mahome. tan empire. The fourth trumpet he applies to the Greek schism which followed soon after; and the fourth vial pours out the judgment of God upon the Greeks, by the taking of Constantinople and extinction of the Eastern empire, in 1453.

On the other hand, Miss F. discovers Mahomet in the rider of the red horse, at the opening of the second seal. But as it could only confuse the ideas of the reader to go through her other applications, we shall coine to the point at once by stating that she considers the red horse as a symbol of the false religion opposed to that of the Son of God; and its rider as no less a personage than Antichrist himself! So that according to Miss F. this redoubtable personage is come and gone long ago ; though she finds herself obliged to continue on the antichristian power by the Mahometans almost to the end of her seventh age, when she is compelled to bring up some other leading Mahometan to be vanquished by a prodigious army of Christians before the end of the present century! Pastorini computes the period of the reign of Antichrist at three years and a half; and supposes he will be a Mahometan, probably of the name of Mahomet, the letters of which name, according to the spelling and numeration of the Greeks, will amount to the number of the beast 666 : and expects his coming towards the end of the world. He concludes that in the short period of his reign, he will extend his conquests in all directions, and carry desolation and destruction to every part of Christendom. Miss F. however completely says the reverse.

She understands the period of forty-two months, during which the holy city is given to the infidels, to signify so many months of years, at the rate of 30 to a month, which will amount to 12 centuries, or at most 1260 years. Dating the profanation of the holy city by the Mahometans from 636, the twelve centuries will bring us to the year 1836, the period when, Miss F. conjectures, that a war of extermina

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