« PreviousContinue »
passages, or the rules given shall suggest to persons of superior abilities and greater op portunies, a mode of investigating their genuine meaning, the apology of the author, for offering this treatise to the public, will be sustained, by those who desire a farther knowledge of the sacred oracles.
The prophecies concerning the Jewish nation in the latter days, have not been hitherto properly investigated. The comments of Christians on these prophecies have a tendency to confirm the Jews in their prejudices against Christianity. Prophecies which are exclusively applica. ble to the Jewish nation, are commonly applied to the Christian church in general. Prophecies which relate to the Millennium, when the kingdom of Christ shall be established in the world, are frequently applied to the first propagation of the Gospel. Important events respecting the Jewish nation, which the Jews themselves see in the prophecies, are treated by Chris, tians as extravagant fancies. The Jews discern the misapplication, in these instances, and therefore hastily conclude,
that the prophecies, concerning the Mes. siah are equally misapplied by Christians. But in the following treatise, the prophecies which relate to the Jewish nation in the latter days, are separated from such as respect the Christain church in general, arranged in their proper order, and represented under one view. : In them we see, that events expected by the Jews, are not altogether without Scripture 'aụthority; such as a glorious manifestation of the Messiah to their na, tion; and that they shall be employed, as the instruments in his hand, for subdu, ing idolatry and irreligion on earth, as well by the temporal as by the spiritual sword; while these events are so blended with the prevous ill treatment and long rejection of the Messiah by their nation, that he appears to be no other than Jesus OP NAZARETH, If the detail given has a tendency to soften the prejudices of the Jews, and procure from them a patient hearing to the truth, it will be allowed that the author's attempt may prove of service to the interests of religion.
- The following treatise consists of three parts. In the first, the Rules for the Arrangement of the prophecies are laid down, in order to shew, that the detached passages brought to illustrate the same event, are collected, not according to the writer's imagination, but according to marks inserted in the prophecies themselves; so that the arrangement, and the light arising from it, depend not on the authority of the interpreter, but of the prophet. .;.... i
The second part contains Observations on the Dates of the several remarkable Events ; particularly a resolution of that question, When the kingdom of Antichrist commenced? That being the period to which the several prophetic calculations chiefly refer. refer. . . . . ,
; * In the thrid part, the Events are de. tailed according to the order laid down in the Apocalypse ; while the passages of of the Old Testament prophecies" which refer to these events are quoted and ex.. plained, as we go along the series, in order to illustrate them more fully.
THE obscurity of the prophecies arises part
1 ly from the language in which they are conveyed, but chiefly from the manner in which they are arranged. The labours of the learned have already thrown so much light on the language of prophecy, that it can be no longer un
intelligible intelligible to the attentive reader". I would only observe, that in order to understand the language of prophecy, it is not absolutely ne. cessary to be skilled in the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians, or the Oneirocritics of the Indians; it will be sufficient for the reader to be familiarly acquainted with his Bible. The prophets constantly allude to the history and customs recorded in Scripture. A knowledge of these, as well as of the figurative expressions in the prophets, which have their explication annexed, will go a great way to remove the difficulty arising from the prophetical language.
The arrangement of the prophecies is not so easy a matter; to bring together the several pafsages which refer to the same event, so as to view it by their united light. Such an arrange.' ment, like the glass of a telescope, collects the scattered rays of a distant object to one point, and so forms a distinct image. The difficulty of arranging the prophecies, is owing to various causes. They were delivered by several men,
. (1.) See Mede’s Clavis Apocalyptica, Perpetual Dictionary, prefixed to Daubuze. on the Apocalypse, and Hurd's sermons at the Lincoln's Inn lectures.
(2.) A book of this name, on the Indian method of interpreting dreams, is frequently referred to by Mede in his Clavis Apocalyptica.