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REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST,
EXPLAINED AGREEABLY TO
The Analogy of Holy Scripture :
INTERPRETATION OF ITS SYMBOLS.
BY A CLERGYMAN.
«« Μακάριος και αναγινώσκων, και οι ακούοντες τους λόγους της προφητείας, και
« Και λέγει μοι. Μή σφραγίσης τους λόγους της προφητείας του βιβλίου
AND 78, NEW BOND STREET,
This Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, was expressly written for the instruction and comfort of the Church of God, and our Lord Himself most earnestly inviteth us to the meditation of this wonderful prophecy : and calleth them blessed, who read, and keep the things which are written therein. It therefore well becometh the members of His body, who have received that anointing from the Holy One, which teacheth them all things, in their devout meditations of this book, earnestly to seek for its true interpretation, that reading, they may understand the mysteries that are contained therein ; and this duty especially devolves upon His ministers, whose calling is to feed the flock of God, which He has purchased with His own blood. In order to this, two things are indispensably necessary :
The light of the Holy Spirit of God, in whose light alone we can see light, or compare spiritual things with spiritual ; and
A knowledge of the true interpretation of the symbolic forms and imagery.
All failures in the attempts to explain the mysteries of this book, and all false interpretations, have arisen from the absence of these requisites : and those who look to oriental customs, to the conjectures of learned men, or to any theory of interpretation based upon past history, for light on this portion of Holy Scripture, without first having arrived at the true interpretation of its symbolism, are not walking in the light of God's Spirit, and cannot attain unto any right knowledge of its mysteries.
It will be admitted, that in order to comprehend any book, even of human composition, the language in which it is written must first be understood. Now the language of the prophecy of this book being purely symbolic, we must on the same principle learn the true meaning of its emblems, before we can understand the things which are contained therein.
Moreover, as this book is the Revelation of Him from whom all the other Scriptures proceeded, its symbolism must necessarily be in perfect analogy and keeping with them. And we may be assured, that no interpretation of its symbols, which will not bear this test, that is, which has not been derived from the Scriptures, is of God.
On this principle we have, for some years past, meditated upon this wonderful Revelation. In so doing, its mysteries have opened before us more and more, and such marvellous light has been thrown upon
them, as greatly to humble us before God, and at the same time to fill us with gratitude and praise. And we are persuaded, that those who are unwilling to adopt this system of interpretation, will never be able either rightly to understand, or attain unto any true knowledge of these prophecies.
We are, therefore, glad to find that this principle is now becoming recognized by others, who are making this Book their study, as will be seen from the following passage, which we extract from “The Church Page 267. of England Quarterly Review,” for October, 1849.
The writer, in speaking of the failure of others, who had misinterpreted the prophecy, says, “When they attempted the interpretation of the Apocalypse, they stumbled at the very threshold, from not considering that it is a symbolical book; and by their gross literal expectations, degraded the whole subject, and have done much towards rendering it as ridiculous and contemptible as those persons esteem it, who have only heard of the writings of such men as Papias, or the other parties who are branded with the name of
Chiliasts.' They ought to have remembered that it is a symbolical book, and that the very first step to be taken in getting at the meaning of such a book is understanding what the symbols denote; that is, what real thing is described by each symbol, what real act is meant by each symbolical action, and what current time is signified by the symbolical notes of time, in such a book; for everything, without exception, is symbolical-seals, trumpets, vials—as the beasts and