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would the labor of writing have been less than that of collecting. But it was the aim of the author to convince; and this aim, in many cases, appeared most likely to be attained by appealing to writers, who are distinguished by their abilities or their learning, and whose opinions carry with them a degree of weight and authority.
Should the reader be of opinion, that any of the more important conclusions, contained in the following pages, are unaccompanied by any satisfactory proofs; let him recollect, that he will not, from that circumstance, be authorised in deciding, that they are incapable of being proved. Let him be reminded, that no error is more frequent than to attribute a deficiency, in the mode of treating a subject to the subject itself. That he may not, in this instance, be deceived by this error, and that the contents of she present volumes may be the less likely to disappoint him; I think it right to acknowlege, that, in consequence of having altogether neglected the study of Daniel and the Apocalypse, I know not that I had, till the year before last, and before a part of it had passed away, read a single page of any one of the writers on those two prophets. Let it also be remembered, that the researches of a single individual on a subject like this, if it be a part of his object to collect authorities on any particular points, even if carried on for se. veral years, must necessarily be partial and confined.
When I look back on the comparatively small portion of time, which I have dedicated to the study of prophecy; when I contrast the imperfection of the execution with the extent of my design and the importance of my subject; I feel happy, that I have in some degree the power of shielding myself from the charge of presumption, as I have been able truly to assert, that the present work derived not its origin from a consciousness of my being competent to the performance, but that it has been the result of different accidental circumstances, and has been swelled, by little and little, to a size which was very far from my primary intention.
At a time when three hundred pages of it were printed, much of the remaining part was yet unwritten. Had it been otherwise, some advantageous alterations miglit have been made in the arrangement of the work. But I know not, that I should have been able to have introduced any very material improvement in this respect; and, indeed, were I not apprehensive, that the preface may
be chargeable with too minute a detail of particulars, I should now perhaps, proceed to vindicate and unfold the order?', in which the several topics are arranged. But, omitting this, I conclude, with assuring the reader, that had not a very large proportion of my time, since the commencement of the work, been occupied by. other pursuits and by a variety of engagements, and, had I not been convinced, that to delay22 įt would be in a great degree to counteract any efficacy it may be supposed to have, I should have retrenched its redundancies, and should have rendered it, in all respects, less unworthy of his perusal.
21 The Order of Time is in a great measure observed ; and it has been my endeavor to arrange, near to each other, those predictions, which, though they proceed from different prophets, relate to the same events.
22 No motive, indeed, but this should have prompted me to so hasty a publication of the present work ; impressed as I am with the assertion of Vitringa, when speaking of the Apocalypse, absque intensissima mentis exercitatione neminen ad arcanos ejus sensus pervenire posse ; and with the caution which he gives, ut ad interpretationem ejus nemo nisi timide et lente absque nimia festinatione accedat, post cogitationes omnes diligenter subactas digestasque. Præfat. That a great part of the present work, with respect to style, is written hastily and with too little care, is also admitted. Yet, it is hoped, that it may almost every where lay claim to the praise of perspi. cuity. Instances of inelegance and incorrectness are also to be found, in consequence of the work having been printed more than a hundred miles from the place where I reside, and of my not having received the revise of a single sheet. • LONDON, 19th Dec. 1795. ·
THE author of the present work, some time since, intended to have subjoined at the end of it a series of chapters on the FUTURE IMPROVED STATE OF MANKIND. Had he not been led by accident to elucidate Mr Fleming, and in consequence to investigate the nature of the millennium, they would never have been written. But, though much of his time has been exclusively employed in the composition of them, and though these chapters are now almost in a finished state, yet he has been induced to omit them; partly because what is now printed is, of itself, of a very large size, and may not improbably exhaust the reader's patience ; and partly because the subject of the two divisions of his work are materially different, although the one would, indeed, be naturally supplemental to the other. În composing the present performance, the writings of commentators and theologues have been principally consulted, and principally quoted. In that which remains unprinted, where authors are appealed to, appeal has been ordinarily made by him to those of a very different description, and particularly to naturalists, philosophers, and physicians, to politicians, historians, and the writers of travels. Whilst the first part of the work, or, as he ought rather to express himself, the subject of it, is best calculated to please some classes of readers ; others would probably be more interested by the second and remaining portion, which is founded, not on the interpretation of scripture and prophecy, but on the deductions of reason and experience. Should a favorable sentence be pronounced with respect to the present volumes, by such as are competent judges ; and should those multiplied engagements, which have long occupied the greater part of his time, permit him to prepare the subsequent work for the press; it is his intention, at some future time, to submit it to the judg: ment of the public
THAT the pages may not be unnecessarily crowded with the dates and titles of books, I shall here enumerate those writers on the subject of prophecy, from which citations have most frequently been made.
The following authors have written expressly on the book of Revelation, and therefore their titles may not be enumerated. They have given a regular commentary, chapter by chapter, and therefore, when I refer to their explanation of any particular chapter or verse, it will scarcely ever be necessary to cite the page, as by consulting them it will be easy to find the paragraph quoted. Mr. Brightman,
1644 Mr. Durham,
1660 Dr. Henry More
1680 Mr. Cradock
without date Translated from the High Dutch, and sold by Moses Pitt, at the White
Hart in Little Britain.
1715 Mr. Daubuz
1720 Mr. Jam. Robertson fol.
1719 Mr. Tho. Pyle
1735 Mr. Moses Lowman 4to.
1745 Of the Dissert. on the Proph. by Bp. Newton vol. III. 8vo. Lond.
1758 is almost entirely on the Apocalypse: Dr. Bryce Johnson, 2 vols. 8vo. Edinb.
In my citations from the subsequent commentators on the Apocalypse, I have quoted the page, as they do not illustrate it in the order of the chapters.
Joseph Mede, in his works, 2 vols.
1683 M. Jurieu.
2 vols. 8vo. Lond.
1687 Mr. W. Whiston 4to. Cambridge
For the same reason in quoting from those which follow, I have also specified the page. A Calculation of the Name, Mark, and Number of the Name, of the
1656 The Mystery of Iniquity, by Dr. Henry More
1664 Apocalyptical Mysteries. By H. K.
1667 The Judgments of God upon the Roman Catholic Church, by Dr. Cressener
1689 Demonstration of the First Principles of the Protestant Applications of the
1690 Obs. upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse, by Sir Isaac Newton
1733 Bengelius's Introd. to his Expos. of the Apoc. with the greatest part of
the conclusion of it; translated from the High Dutch by J. Robertson, M. D. 8vo.
1757 The Evidence of Christianity Deduced from Facts and the Testimony of
Sense, in a Series of Discourses, preached at Boyle's Lecture, by Wm. Worthington, D. D. 2 vols. 8vo. Lond.
1769 Introd. to the Study of the Prophecies concerning the Christian Church
in 12 Serm. preached at bishop Warburton's Lecture, by Rich. Hurd, D. D. 2 vols. 12mo. Lond.
1776 Twelve Sermons on the Prophecies concerning the Christian Church,
preached at bishop Warburton's Lecture, by Dr. Hallifax
1776 Discourses on Prophecy, preached at bishop Warburton's Lecture, by East Apthorp, 2 vols. 8vo.
1786 A Letter to bishop Hurd, wherein the Importance of the Prophecies of
the New Testament, and the Nature of the Grand Apostacy predicted in them, are particularly and impartially considered by Rich. Evanson, A. M. 2d Ed. 8vo. Lond