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XXVII. Additional Section, on " The Two Witnesses" . 2St
Receive yet one, the crown of all the earth,
Thou who alone art worthy! It was thine
By ancient covenant, ere Nat urn's birth;
And thou hast made it thine by purchase since,
And overpaid its value with thy blood.
Thy saints proclaim thee King; and in their hearts
Thy title is engraven with a pen
Dipp'd in the fountain of eternal love.
Thy saints proclaim thee King; and thy delay
Gives courage to their foes, who, could they see
The dawn of thy Last Advent, long desired.
Would creep into the bowels of the hills,
And flee for refuge to the falling rocks.
CowpEK'8 Task. A
INTRODUCTORY REMARKS ON THE STUDY OF PROPHECY.
It is painful to contemplate the inconsistencies of even pious minds concerning Divine Revelation. Many who formally assent to the truth, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," do in effect deny it. Some are not ashamed to assert that the rule of Christian conduct is contained in the New Testament alone; and, acting on the principle they avow, altogether neglect the Old. Yet it was this very portion of revelation which Christ enjoined the Jews to search, as testifying of Him, and which he commends to our careful consideration by his frequent quotations from it.
Convinced that such utter neglect of any part of God's word must be criminal, others obey in form 1 he Savior's injunction, while they forget its spirit. They read without seeking sufficiently to understand: they search not for its meaning as for hid treasure. Thus, much of Heaven's precious gift is regarded as of little value, and many of its unfulfilled prophecies, especially, have become in a great measure a dead letter. Indeed, the opinion had long and almost universally prevailed, that it was alike useless and impious to attempt to withdraw the veil of mystery which overhangs the revelation of events still future; and although more correct ideas now partially obtain, exhortations to the obvious duty of prophetic inquiry are still occasionally met by the undutiful evasion, "It is presumptuous to pry into the secrets of God-" There are, doubtless, mysteries, the full knowledge of which is far beyond the reach of human ken, and into which it would be sinful curiously to pry. But never can presumption attach to our endeavor to know and understand what God himself has revealed, and to the investigation of which He has promised his special blessing. "Secret things," we know, " belong to the Lord our God, but those which are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever." Deut. xxix. 29. If, then, we would not be found chargeable with neglect of a large portion of that Book which bears the impress of its divine original—which is the record of God's doings, and the revelation of His unfulfilled designs—it becomes us reverently to inquire, with prayerful diligence, what he has been pleased to declare, and to seek to know " what Israel ought to do." It is a common objection to the study of Prophecy, that it is dark, and that its meaning is not designed to be understood till after its accomplishment. It is, indeed, essential to the very nature of certain prophecies, that their import should not be known to all, nor perceived by any at a glance. But it ought not to be forgotten, that while we are informed these very mysteries shall be hid from the wicked, the promise is to the wise that they shall understand. Dan. xii. 10. And although the fulfilment of Prophecy does effectually serve to attest the truth of Christianity, and gives a glorious display of the omniscience of God, yet the opinion that it is not designed to be at all understood till fulfilled, is refuted alike by the express declaration of Heaven, and the past experience of the Church. This is neither the only end it was designed to serve, nor the only approved use to which it has been applied. "We have," says an inspired apostle—and examination will show that it is really the "Prophecy of the Scripture" concerning Christ's future glory and the hope of be