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to the contemplation of a great and immaterial LAW GIVER * Finally, the Title-page in its present form, sufficienly indicates its object. That the subject of which it treats is one of absorbing interest, it is presumed none will deny. Of all other subjects however, in the entire range of Theology, not one is called to encounter similar prejudices—not one less likely to gain universal credence. The diversified conclusions of the learned in the department of sacred historic chronology—the frequent proofs af. forded by the lapse of time of errors regarding prophetical dates—and the denial, consequently, of any practical good resulting therefrom, have contributed to confirm the general impression, that the disclosure of a knowledge of “times and seasons” forms no part of the divine purpose, in the dispensations of his providence and grace to mankind. . To a reflecting mind, however, it cannot but appear as passing strange, that the Great Disposer of all events connected with the affairs of men in this lower world, should have furnished no ray of light to guide them in these premises. That he has done so in various instances, is fully demonstrated in the 'sequel. True, as it respects the entire period assigned to the divinely constituted order of things in the physical and moral worlds, it is not pretended that we are anywhere furnished with an explicit declaration. This, however, it will be found, forms no valid objection to the claim as herein set forth, viz. – That God in his infinite wisdom has assigned to the present
constitution of things in this world, under three dispensations, Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian, a limited and definite duration; and that he has imparted a knowledge of the same to his people in his word. ". As it respects the differences of the learned in the department of sacred historic chronology, while we revere great names, we can only admit them as authoritative in proportion as we are furnished with evidence of accuracy in their deductions. And we shall find ourselves not a little mistaken if a perusal of these pages does not result in a thorough conviction, that the past errors of the great and good in these premises are predicated of the fact, that as to every period is assigned a special purpose in the divine plans of Providence and Redemption; and as to each belongs some great and appropriate truth; so any attempt at a complete elucidation of it is more than premature, till a sufficient maturity of the divine plan should render it necessary. Now this, we say, by way of illustration, is specially true of “THE TIME of THE END,” spoken of by Daniel, Chap. xii. 6. All the intervening events pourtrayed in his series of chronometrical prophecies, he was commanded to “close and seal up,” till that period should arrive. This, however, will not apply to the age of the Apostles, they, interpreting prophetical time literally, (i. e., a day for a day,) being led to expect a very short interval to elapse between the two advents; nor, during the life-time of our Redeemer, receiving any definite replies in answer to their frequent inquiries respecting this point.
That additional light, however, was given to the Church on this subject previous to the close of the New Testament Canon, we think we have fully shown. The instructions conveyed to St. John respecting the prophecies of his book, was directly opposite to that of Daniel. “SEAL NoT THE say INGs of THIs Book.” The entire contents of the apocalyptic visions, therefore, and which are synchronic with those of Daniel, (save the seven apocalyptic thunders of chap. x. 4.) are given to us as a key to unlock the Divine purposes as well respecting times and seasons, as the nature and character of the events themselves; not that it was indispensable that these should be understood, except as pointing to CRIsrs. Hence their comparative concealment till “the time of the end,” under certain mystic forms, the practical effect of which was, to place the Church constantly on the watch-tower, “as though the day of Christ was at hand.” Now, however, having the advantage of historic light in pointing out the coincidence of combined prophetic events (as those of Daniel and St. John) with what has ac, tually transpired, there can, we think, remain but but little, if any doubt, as to the point of time upon which we now stand, in the successive evolutions of God’s dispensations to man.
Of the abuses of this subject, by the fanatical, we have treated at large in the sequel. .
The corroboration of the present “Signs of the Times,” as brought to view in the second Lecture, with the deductions of chronology, will, we trust, receive the serious and attentive perusal of all. They show that “the end of all things is at hand.” " Copious references to authorities in this compilation are given; nor will it, we trust, be found to derogate from the merits of our work, that we have been compelled, in some instances, to quote second-hand. It will be a sufficient apology for our use of emphatic words, to state that we have written for the benefit of ALL. - We, in conclusion, commit these pages “to God, and to the word of his grace,” which alone are able. “to present you faultless before the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy.”
1. Rev. xxii. 10. . . . . 4 - - " il, Pet, iv. 7, . . . . . . . . /
“. . . . . . . . . . . . . . R. C. SHIMEALL.
, or of . . . . . * - - ) “s
3. , ... . . . . . * : . . . . . . . . . . . .
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We respectfully request the special attention of the reader to the Preface of this volume. Our manuscript was completed, and nearly printed off, when our attention was called to a series of Lectures on the subjects of Geology, Terrestrial Magnetism, &c.; the tendency of which, in the view of many, was decidedly
derogatory to the interests of our venerable and holy. religion. To satisfy ourselves on this point, so far as: they are available to us up to this date, and the limits.
of our Preface would allow, we have examined them. The result is before you. A perusal of the volume
however will furnish additional data on these points, which you will be enabled to apply at your leisure. This volume enters upon and canvasses every question at all connected with the all-exciting and frequently agitated subject of scFIPTURE chro
NoLogy, Historic and Prophetic. The conclusion to
which it conducts the reader, (in opposition to that of a cotemporary writer, Mr. Wm. Miller, who makes A. D. 1843 as the termination of the 6000th year of the world,) is, that it places the great day of crisis at 1847, and the end of the 6000th year, at 1868.
“Blessed is he that readeth.”