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SIGNS OF THE TIMES:
JJV THREE PMTS.
A NEW EDITION, CORRECTED AND ENLARGED.)
TO WHICH ABE ADDED
FOR THE FARTHER
ILLUSTRATION OF THE PROPHECIES,
PROGRESSIVE CALAMITIES OF EUROPE.
A SYMBOLICAL VOCABULARY,
EXPLANATION OF THE PROPHETIC STYLE*
BY jf BICHENO, M.A.
Printed by J. Adlard, Duke»street, Smithfield;
SOLD BY JOHNSON, ST. PAUL'S CHUCRCH-YARD; LANDSDOWN, BRISTOL;
[Entered at Stationers' Hall.]
. . TO
THE SIXTH EDITION.
Newburv, May 2, 1808.
JT is now nmeteen years since the calamities, which continue to afflict Europe, had their beginning; nor is there yet any appearance of their soon terminating in the tranquil scenes of peace and security. Instead of this, every thing portends their increase and wider range. Revolutions, and the most astonishing changes in things, both civil and religious, continue to proceed, with an accelerating rapidity, from kingdom to kingdom, from Europe to Asia: and surely they must be devoid of all reflection, as well as of all piety, who perceive nothing of the finger of God in all these tremendous occurrences.
And would it not be very extraordinary, if, in such times as the present, none were to be found, amongst all the thousands of our clergy of different denominations, and other learned and pious Christians, to turn their attention to the sacred prophecies, and attempt their illustration by the uncommon events which are every year and month rapidly succeeding each other? It is, indeed, too true, and much to be lamented, that multitudes, not only among the illiterate and irreligious, but among the ministers of religion, and those who talk the most about vital Christianity, are much prejudiced against the study of the prophetic writings, and against all application of their contents to present events, however extraordinary or awful: and drowsily ask, Cui bono? Yet we have to thank God, that this stupifying prejudice, and awful apathy, are not universal: there are a few who have not been ashamed to blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound the necessary alarm, however great the ridicule they have had to encounter.
The French revolution—peculiar in its aspect—had not made much progress, before many began to suspect that that great and finishing scene of God's judgments was disclosing, of which the scripture prophecies speak so much; and in which are to be overthrown all those Antichristian systems, civil and ecclesiastical, which have so long been opposed to genuine Christianity, hindered its benign effects, and occasioned, under the mask of the Christian religion, so much affliction to the church of God, and so much hypocrisy and wickedness, misery and bloodshed, in the world. When the French monarchy and church fell, in ninety-two, and the angry nations (Rev. xi. 13,18.) began the violent conflict in which all of them have been either dashed to pieces or sorely injured, then, that which had been only a suspicion, increased to confidence, a confidence which has been continually strengthening, as events have proceeded from that time to the present.
From the first moment of the French revolution, my ow'n mind was deeply impressed with an awful apprehension of what was coming; and when the nations began to shew their anger, I felt deeply for my country, fearing the danger into which -evil counsels might plunge her. Insufficient, therefore, as I felt myself, I thought it right to hazard, not only the sneers and ridicule, which they who apply the scripture prophecies to passing events must always expect, but even more than these: I thought it a duty, to hazard all that obloquy and persecution, with which the ignorant, the illiberal, and infatuated, pursue those who oppose their measures—and to which the advocates of peace and liberty were, at that period of peculiar delusion, unusually exposed—and publish to my countrymen those reflections, which had led me to conclude, that the,nations were approaching an awful crisis; that a storm was gathering, which was likely to overwhelm in ruin all who exposed themselves to its conflicts. That my feeble voice has been no more heard, or attended to, is no great matter of surprise; but that my countrymen have been blinded to their interest, either by their own prejudices and folly, or by the sophistry of their deceivers, and deluded to take the part they have, is, in my opinion, a matter of deep regret; that, warned as they have been, from the hour of the great reformation from popery, of what was some time to be expected, as to the fate of the Antichristian church and kingdoms, they have not heen aware of the hand of God extended to punish his enemies and the enemies of mankind; nor heard the rod, (Micah, vii. 9.) nor him who hath appointed it; is indeed matter of great concern,.and indicates, I fear, serious consequences: consequences, which appear now, more than ever, rapidly approaching. In contemplation of the attack to be made on Babylon the great, God, in mercy, uttered this warning, Come out of her, my people, thai ye be not partakers of Her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. But, if we have not despised it, we have certainly been criminally inattentive to it. If we had not, we should never have united ourselves with papal despots, in defence of those ancient reigning families of Europe, and for the preservation of that old order of things, which the word of God, on account of the sufferings and blood of saints and mar- tyrs, has certainly doomed to perish by the most exem