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signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." We likewise meet with a similar exhortation in Isaiah, where the question is put to the watchman,
66 Watchman, what of the night?” and which is repeated—“Watchman, what of the night?” -as is usually done when persons are in a panic, or when they fear the watchman did not hear them the first time. (Isaiah xxi. 11, 12.) The exhortation is then given: “If ye
will inquire, inquire ye: return, come ; implying that it is of the utmost importance that the question should be answered: as much as if it had been said, “Do not go away without an answer : return, come.” “ If you will inquire,” says Dr. Gill, “ about the time of the night, and when the morning will come, inquire in good earnest ; inquire seriously ; search the Scripture ; look into the prophetic parts of it—the several prophecies of the Old and New Testament respecting both the spiritual and PERSONAL COMING of Christ, and particularly the book of the Revelation, which is a prophetic history of events that should befall the church and the
world, from the first times of Christianity to the end of all things ; many of which have been fulfilled, and others remain to be fulfilled ;-carefully read over these accounts, and get the best help you can from those who have made it their study to understand and explain the things written therein; whereby you will in some measure know what is to come to pass, and what is left behind.”
Thus, whilst to the unbelieving world the future, with all the contingencies of human policy, is hidden behind a veil impenetrable by the human intellect, and which unaided by Revelation it in vain endeavours to pierce, the Lord's believing people, like the Israelites of old amidst the surrounding Egyptian darkness, “ have light in all their dwellings : ” for “ surely the Lord God will do nothing but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos iii. 7). And in the opening of the book of Revelation he thus encourageth the investigation and study of its contents : “ Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep
those things that are written therein ; for the time is at hand."
The pious and judicious Milner, author of the Church History, in reference to an observation of the infidel Gibbon on the book of Revelation, says,—“ I know no subject more sublime, more important, more glorious, than this of Revelation : it gives a regular and consistent scheme of God's administration of the affairs of the world, from St. John's time to the end of all things; in which the opposite interests of His kingdom, and that of his enemy Satan, are each unfolded, in the most simple and yet in the most nervous language. Would any one know what is the religion that comes from Jehovah, and what is not ? Jehovah bids him make use of this test of prophecy. He only who is omniscient and omnipotent can at once predestinate, foretell, and execute in due season, his own decrees. This is the peculiar proof of the Divinity of the Scriptures. It shines in various parts of the Old and New Testament, and in the book of Revelation with uncommon lustre. Here we are not called on to weigh
abstruse conceptions and settle metaphysical difficulties : only to exercise our reason on plain matters of fact, and compare events with prophecies. What subject more copious, more elevated, more magnificent, than such an historical view of the world, considered as God's own world, hastening in the course of its events to fulfil the Divine decrees, and educing the beauty and glory of the Godhead from the giddy, and apparently fortuitous, distractions of human affairs, both civil and ecclesiastical; till we behold in anticipation the mystery of God's providence consummated in the last day, in the destruction of all the powers of darkness and iniquity, and in the perfect everlasting establishment of the kingdom of truth and righteousness? Should it be said, after all, how can you secure us from being mistaken in the use and application of these things ? Every man must do this for himself. Should any man ask, how do you prove the propositions of Euclid? Would not this be the answer ? Consult him, and exercise your own faculties on his argumentation ? The same, with all due allowances between mathematical and moral
subjects, should be done in the case before
The belief of real Christians is not so irrational as infidels are apt to suppose. Whilst these are towering with uncertain sight on the heights of metaphysical speculation, to confirm themselves in infidelity, those are humbly creeping on the terra firma of prophetic matter of fact, which lies even with the powers of the human mind, and was given by Jehovah himself as the fairest and most satisfactory proof of His revelation. Let infidels answer, if they can, these proofs : let them detect their fallacies and expose their weakness. Till this is done Christians have a right to act on what has once been demonstrated.”
The principal object of the present undertaking is, by the application of correct principles of interpretation, to refer the important scenes and momentous events amidst which we are living, to their proper place in the prophetic page; and to direct particular attention to that very important period, which is apparently so near at hand, denominated in the Scriptures of truth,
THE TIME OF THE END.
In treating of these subjects, which take