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But they embrace subjects of the deepest research which come up before the mind of the Bible student. They are, therefore, not to be recommended suddenly, or upon a cursory examination; nor to be lightly set aside. It would require years of profound research in the application of these Principles to the various prophecies of the Holy Bible, fully to test their truth and establish their usefulness.
While, therefore, I cannot, of course, approve every thing in them, and determine the result of their efficient application to the evolving of Scripture Prophecy, I would earnestly recommend this little book to all my Christian friends, as an admirable manual to excite to the close and careful study of the prophetic parts of God's Holy Word. The intense labor and study which this little work must have cost its author, ought by no means to be lost to the Christian public. W. C. BROWNLEE,
Pastor of the Collegiate Reformed Dutch Church. New-York, August 31, 1837.
In the above recommendation I cordially acquiesce.
Pastor Baptist Church, Mulberry-street. New-York, September 1, 1837.
Having listened to the reading of the Principles above referred to, with a brief explanation from the author, I concur in the above recommendation by the Rev. Dr. Brownlee. ABSALOM PETERS,
Corresponding Secretary of the A. H. M. S. New-York, September 2, 1837.
I very cheerfully unite in the above recommendation.
Pastor Scotch Presbyterian Church, Grand-street. New-York, September 2, 1837.
Having partially examined the Principles laid down for the
Illustration of Scripture Prophecies, referred to in the above recommendations, I cheerfully recommend the work to the notice of the Christian community.
C. W. CARPENTER,
Pastor of Greene-street M. E. Church.
New-York, September 4, 1837.
I fully approve of the above, and cheerfully join in the same recommendations of the work to the Christian public.
Pastor Congregational Church, Thompson-street. New-York, September 4, 1837.
I cheerfully concur in the opinions above expressed in reference to this work, including the qualifications of Dr. Brownlee. CHARLES K. TRUE,
Pastor of the M. E. Church, John-street. New-York, September 5, 1837.
Having examined the work of Rev. Mr. Jones on the Interpretation of the Prophecies, as it has been passing through the press, I do not hesitate to subscribe to its recommendation as given above by the Rev. Dr. Brownlee.
Cor. Sec. of the Am. Sea. Fr. Soc
New-York, November 20, 1837.
Every attempt to ascertain the Principles which ought to govern the interpretation of the Prophetic Writings, merits encouragement. On this account the subscriber hopes that the work of the Rev. Mr. Jones on the subject, may be published and extensively circulated.
Professor of Moral Philosophy Union College, [Clergyman of the Episcopal Church.] Schenectady, September 6, 1837.
I hereby certify, that having read the Principles, Illustra tions and Proofs of the following work, as far as enabled from once reading them, I am prepared to give them my unqualified approval as being just, reasonable and scriptural.
Pastor of the M. E. Church.
Lowville, October 2, 1837.
Having once hastily perused the following work of Mr. Jones, I am prepared to say, that whether every part of it will bear the test of rigid scrutiny or not, he has bestowed unwearied labor on the important subject of which it treats, and exhibited no small degree of ingenuity. I think it worthy of the attention of such persons as study and labor after a full and perfect understanding of the Sacred Scriptures. ISAAC CLINTON, Presbyterian Minister. Lowville, October 17, 1837.
I have been favored with an opportunity of forming an opinion of the Principles of Interpretation, as contained in a manuscript of Mr. Jones; and so far as I have been enabled to decide in relation to the merits of it from a discourse on the same subject delivered to the people of my charge on the Sabbath, and a single reading during his stay with me, I feel at liberty to give my approbation of the work, and believe it to be well calculated to aid in the reading and understanding of the Holy Scriptures.
Pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church at
N. B. Forty or more other clergymen of different denominations in country towns, have given written recommendations of the above work, so far as to encourage its being published and examined by the Christian community, while a far greater number have done the same orally.
THE object of the following work is not to discuss in general, the Principles of Biblical Interpretation; but rather to present briefly and simply some important and leading facts, as, "First Principles of the Oracles of God," with special reference to the study of the HOLY PROPHECIES; and in some degree to assist in the more full examination of the Scriptures. These "First Principles," it is believed, have heretofore been, and are still too much overlooked in the study of the Prophecies, while in the improper use of much human learning, the mind has probably been led to soar above the benevolent condescension of the Almighty in his making the way of life so plain that babes in Christ shall understand it, and (C wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." It is a fact too painfully known to admit dispute, that for some cause, the Prophetical Writings of both the Old and New Testaments, are at present comparatively but little read and less understood; while their quickness and power, as means of grace, are but little experienced by a vast proportion even of hopeful Christians. Since it is, therefore, thus apparent, that the Prophecies have so far lost their original converting and sanctifying power, it must be considered altogether suitable for the friends of God and the Bible, to inquire into, and, if possible, search out the true cause why these things are so, and to devise some effectual remedy against the evil.
From a diligent and somewhat protracted research into these matters, it has appeared that the leading cause of the present inefficacy of the Prophecies, as intended means of grace, is the want of their being better understood, appearing,
as they have done too generally, so much like a dead letter, or as the words of a book that is sealed;" or, what is much worse than this, their sometimes having a meaning attached to them which is contrary to the spirit of the gospel, and thus directly calculated to destroy their spirituality and power in the work of the Lord. This evil, it is believed, has come upon us as the work of the false prophet in his sowing tares among the good seed; or falsehood among the truths of God's word, while men have slept. For centuries past, it must be acknowledged, that there has been a gradual, and at the same time imperceptible falling away in Zion. Under these circumstances, in the want of due watchfulness and care, it is believed that our fathers in Israel, for ages past, who have instructed us most on the Prophecies, have admitted in their works, certain principles of interpreting those writings, which are in their spirit at variance with the spirit of the gospel, or "First Principles of the Oracles of God." The incautious admission of such principles in their study of the Prophecies, would naturally furnish interpretations equally erroneous for their posterity in the same declining state of the Church. Such interpretations, it will be allowed, would rather destroy than sustain the Prophecies as means of grace, in converting the ungodly, or furnishing the spiritual mind with its natural and necessary food.
It must be admitted by all who make the Bible their study, that the preaching of God himself, contained in the prophetical, as well as other parts of his Holy Word, was designed to be, and remain to the end of time, as a work in all respects perfect, like its Author, and most naturally calculated, when rightly wielded, to operate as a more powerful means of grace than any thing besides ever preached or written. Consequently, those interpretations of the Prophecies which would naturally make them powerless, or ineffectual as means of grace, are to be regarded as suspicious, from whatever source they may have come; while others which allow them their original force and efficacy as the sword of the Spirit in converting the soul, are to be received, however unpopular or repulsive they may be to the carnal mind,