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W. SNELL CHAUNCY
THE LORD GOD OF THE HOLY PROPHETS SENT HIS ANGEL TO SHEW UNTO HIS
SERVANTS THE THINGS WHICH MUST SHORTLY BE DONE. REV. XXII. 6.
PUBLISHED BY JAMES NISBET & Co.
HAMILTON, ADAMS, & Co., PATERNOSTER-ROW; J. JOHNSTONE, EDINBURGH;
AND WILLIAM CURRY, JUN., & Co., DUBLIN
NOTWITHSTANDING the various treatises on prophecy which have appeared during the two last and present centuries, many of which afford proof of extensive learning and research,-none have as yet furnished us with what may be deemed a probably correct arrangement of unfulfilled events ; so that the reader who has not studied the prophetic writings, is left in doubt, or has, perhaps, imbibed confused or inconsistent ideas respecting the order of succession in which these events should be considered. The author conceives, therefore, that such an arrangement presented in the probable order of time, so far as can be deduced from the Sacred Volume, and authorized by the generally acknowledged periods at which the Scripture dates commenced, would prove more acceptable, to the Christian reader than any partial course which has been hitherto adopted. While he advances no opinion in a spirit of implicit confidence or self-reliance, but merely in that of humble conjecture, he finds it necessary to exhibit his own peculiar views, which have been derived from a serious and attentive examination of the Divine Oracles.
The reader will not be conducted through a series of unprofitable controversies on subjects of slight importance, or merely speculative;—while due regard has been bestowed on those obscure but important portions of prophecy which require much deference of judgment and patient investigation. “Notwithstanding which,” as Dr. Althorp remarks, “ the links of the chain of prophecy, to a well informed mind, seem disposed in such a mode of succession as to form a regular system, all whose parts harmonize in one amazing and consistent plan, forming a perfect moral demonstration."
The author invites attention to this volume, from the various individuals who differ on subjects of real national interest, but who sincerely combine to advance the cause of true religion. He would humbly suggest to such, that as prophecy is nothing less than a faithful mirror of historical record relative to the church of Christ, interspersed with practical injunctions.--declarations of approval or displeasure,-of promise or denunciation,-it cannot be a very arduous task to discover the mind and will of God in the great and leading particulars, if regarded in close connexion with the prominent events of history. Indeed, were it possible that his servants who are scattered among the several sections of the Christian church, could agree to concentrate their political differences, basing them on one connected or analogical view of prophecy, in respect to previous and passing events, the strifes and animosities of the present day would eventually, if not speedily, become extinct.
As all periods of the Christian church are comprised in the comprehensive vista of prophecy, the ingenuous and unbiassed student will not find it difficult to fix his attention on those governments and factions, both ecclesiastical and secular, which are more especially condemned, or those which have incurred a less degree of guilt and condemnation. This is, doubtless, one great and important end of prophecy; “ Though,” as Mr. Bickersteth says, “ prophetic interpretation may be despised by the world, and be neglected as a chaos by one part of the church, and perplex another part who may not now have light enough to rescue it out of its apparently chaotic state; yet there is solid ground for thinking, and there is light to show that ground.
The obstructions or redoubts which are to be met with in this study have a beneficial tendency to humble the pride of man. Though constrained to acknowledge that it is a system of divine wisdom, he is incapable of thoroughly comprehending it, so as satisfactorily to represent it in all its relations. This, indeed, is observable in all the works of God. But it is probable that none have laboured ineffectually, so as to produce no profit nor advantage to the cause of religion. Even the most unsatisfactory expositions have à tendency to demonstrate more clearly the wisdom and inimitable perfection of the Omniscient Mind; and the children of God will glory in his wisdom, though their own be laid prostrate.
It will be acknowledged by many that the Millennial doctrines are, in general, not only much misapprehended,