« AnteriorContinuar »
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take
IN THREE PARTS.
The Apocalypse has been always considered a most difficult and mysterious book. During the last two hundred years innumerable works have been written upon it, and many of them by men of the most distinguished learning and genius. But it does not appear to have been distinctly observed, or to have been kept steadily in view, that the Revelation requires three keys to open it; one of which is to be found in the Apocalypse itself; another in the prophecies of the Old Testament; and the third in history.
Now, as the first and second keys make known the scope of the prophecy, the mutual relation of its parts, the meaning of the enigmatic symbols, and the subject of many symbolic visions, they are so necessary to the Apocalyptic student, that, unless he hold them in his hands, and apply them constantly, the most piercing intellect and the best stored mind will endeavour in vain to penetrate and unfold the prophecy. Whereas, by steadily using them, any person who has assiduity and a competent knowledge of civil and ecclesiastical history, may understand so much of the prophecy as has been fulfilled, and explain it to all who take an interest in such inquiries.
Whether I have succeeded, is not for me to determine. But I may say, that I have pursued an independent course of study, and that by uniformly resorting to the Sacred keys, as well as to the historic, I have been led to results that are widely different from the views of every other commentator; in the division of the prophecy, in the relation of the parts to one another and to the whole, in the uniform signification of the symbols, in the scope of many symbolic visions, their time and order, and generally in the events by which they are fulfilled.
Induced by circumstances, which need not now be specified, I attempted, some years ago, to explain the seventeenth chapter of the Apocalypse; but I soon found it must be studied in connexion with many other visions. While engaged in these investigations I was gradually convinced that the Apocalypse, from the first seal to the end of chapter xix., is a great prophetic system, and that it can be understood only by being studied as a whole, and in connexion with the prophecies of the Old Testament. I was thus made to see the necessity of the uniform application of the Apocalyptic and prophetic keys, as well as of the historic.
I beg to direct particularly the reader's attention to the manner in which they have been used, and to the light that has thereby been thrown on visions that are, otherwise, so dark and inexplicable.
As the Apocalypse is a closely connected system, which ought to be viewed as a whole, and not in detached portions, I should have liked to publish the entire of my exposition at once, or at least to the end of chapter xii., where a very remarkable Apocalyptic and historic period terminates. But I could not venture to incur the expense of a large book; so my exposition must end, for the present, with the fourth trumpet.
Of course it depends very much upon the reception of the first part, when the second shall appear. But I have a confident hope, that the reader will be satisfied with the soundness of the principles, and the fairness with which they are applied ; and that he will feel, that no inconsiderable amount of information, not readily to be got elsewhere, has been communicated on the Apocalypse, on prophecy in general, and on some historical subjects of great interest.