« VorigeDoorgaan »
It is with feelings of real diffidence that the Writer sends forth this publication. The study of prophecy, indeed, has long been to him an interesting and a favourite pursuit, from which he has derived both delight and profit; and, occasionally, he may have ventured, through the medium of a periodical work, to communicate, under an assumed signature, his thoughts on some of those prophetical discussions, by which the present times have been distinguished. But that he should ever intrude on the public notice, in a detailed and distinct form, his own speculations and sentiments on this very important subject, especially when they should go the length of proposing a new interpretation of any part of the prophetical writings, is a proceeding which, till lately, he never contemplated, and one from the very thought of which he should have shrunk back with unfeigned timidity. It may be, therefore, expedient to state the circumstances which have embold. ened him now to come forward, and have given rise to the present publication.
The view taken of the subjects which he has discussed in the following pages was suggested to his mind a considerable time ago, and gradually and imperceptibly gained possession of it. The more fre. quently and diligently he consulted the Scriptures in reference to them, and the more attentively he compared the predictions of the Word of God with the Signs of the Times, the more nu. merous and convincing appeared the evidences in favour of the interpretation which he has been led to adopt, and the stronger became his persuasion of its apparent and probable correctness. At length, for his own satisfaction, and for that of a few friends with whom he occasionally discussed the subject, he determined to arrange his thoughts upon paper, and to reduce them to some tangible shape. As he advanced, he found his materials to increase, and the work to swell upon his hands; till, at last, it assumed the form in which it now appears. In this form he submitted it at different times to the inspection of several persons, some of whom are much conversant in prophetical studies. All of these, on perusing the manuscript, admitted that a strong case was made out; and most of them recommended the publication of it:
It was not, however, merely or chiefly in consequence of this recommendation that the Writer came to the resolution of committing the work to the press : he was mainly induced by another considera ation, which, during the time he had spent in composing it, had strongly forced itself upon his mind ; namely, the vast importance of the subject which he has ventured to discuss. On the sup
position that the conclusions to which he has arrived are really sound and legitimate, the consequences resulting from them are so momentous, and the Crisis in which the Church of Christ now stands is so peculiarly aweful, that he feels it a paramount duty not to withhold from the Public the premises on which these conclusions are founded. He feels that he should be guilty of a culpable omission, if he failed to submit a case so interesting in itself, and so strongly supported, as it appears to him, by Scriptural testimony and by“the Signs of the Times,” to the consideration of many, who in all respects are much more competent than himself to form a solid opinion on the subject, but to whom he has no other way of submitting it than that which the
press affords. It is truth, and not the support of any favourite opinion of his own, which is the object of his pursuit. Let the view which he has taken of the points discussed in the following pages be fully and fairly canyassed. If he shall be proved by argument, or by sub