The increasing importance which, during the last twenty or thirty years, has been attached to the study of the prophetic writings of the Old and New Testament ; and the deep interest which every individual has in the issue of the consummations which appear to be closing around us, whatever be his rank, station, or calling in society; may well serve as an apology for any attempt to throw additional light on the difficulties which have ever been found to involve the subject.

The assertion made by Sir Isaac Newton, who, it is well known, devoted much time and study to these subjects, that, among the interpreters of the last


there was scarcely one of note who had not made some discovery worth knowing, is a great encouragement to any person who considers he has any thing new to offer, not to


withhold it from the public. It is only by such means that all the light which God intendeth us to have from prophecy, under all its aspects, whether general or chronological, literal or symbolical, can be elicited. And it ought to be no discouragement to this study that hypotheses have been formed which time has proved to be erroneous, and that injudicious opinions have been sometimes hazarded.

6. There is not a question in natural philosophy, in chemistry, in morality, in theology, nor scarcely a text of Scripture, on which there has not been a diversity, and even a contrariety, of opinion. If, therefore, we are to neglect the study of any branch of knowledge because of the variety or discrepancies of opinion that have been maintained by different men, we must close all our books, the Bible among the rest, and return at once to Gothic darkness and barbarism.”

And, surely, if we consider the names and the number of those distinguished individuals, both clergymen and laymen, who in modern times have directed the best energies of their minds to the study of the sacred prophecies, the obloquy with which commentators on prophecy have been assailed seems a good deal misplaced. Whatever difference of opinion there may have been among them, they have faithfully announced the awful truth—and they have Scripture warrant for having done so—that tremendous judgments will shortly be poured out upon the world. It is due to the labours of these eminent men to acknowledge, that, although they may possibly have “said many things which they cannot


and some which are strange and fanciful, false and dangerous," yet that each one, more or less, has contributed to throw light on a confessedly difficult subject, and one which from its very nature can only be gradually unfolded. The Author of the present work gratefully acknowledges that he has availed himself of the valuable assistance which their writings afford; and he would particularly mention the names of Mede, Sir Isaac Newton, Bishop Newton, Bishop Horsley, Rev. Mr. Faber, and Mr. Cuninghame; and he may add, Mr. Frere, Mr. Brown, Rev. Mr. Cooper, and a valuable work on the Destinies of the British


Empire,” by the late Rev. Mr. Thorpe of Bristol.

The present state of the subject of prophetical interpretation appears to be this that the occurrences of the last few

years, in connection with the systems that have hitherto been offered to the public, have thrown peculiar difficulties in the way of a satisfactory explanation. These difficulties arise chiefly from its being assumed that the Edict of the Emperor Justinian, in A.D. 533, constituting the Pope “ head of all the churches,” is the true and only commencement of the 1260 years' duration of Popery; and, consequently, the year 1793 its only termination. Hence it has been considered that the other two durations of this great period—namely, 1290 and 1335 years —- calculating from the same commencement, would terminate in the years 1823 and 1868.

The year 1823 having, however, passed over without any event transpiring of sufficient importance to mark a prophetical era, it is now generally acknowledged there remains some discovery to be made, to get clear of the difficulty thus occasioned, and

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