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judiced, and has seen in his own painful, past, personal experience, that "prejudice has neither eye nor ear," will readily make allowances for such a state of mind, and by patient forbearing, and loving manifestation of the truth, commend it to the consciences of all men.

4. GUARD AGAINST HUMAN SYSTEMS. It is very observable how much some men have been carried away by a favourite system, so as to think that it is entwined with every part of the word of God, and explains every difficulty. They seem to suppose, that one key will turn all the locks, and open every door of every room and every cabinet in that room. There are many locks in scripture; outside locks and inside locks, and we must take the particular key which will open, first, the general lock, and then the one we want to have opened; or we shall only wrest the scriptures. But here is our comfort—the Bible itself contains the keys for its treasures, and the Holy Spirit will guide us (if diligently sought for) into all truth.

Each human system also is more or less connected with some error, and those who pursue prophetical studies, and hold the speedy coming of our Lord, have special need to be on their guard against those errors which the enemy has contrived to associate with that truth. Some of these errors are more serious than others, but the tendency of all error is to famish the soul. We may see hence persons hold the highest and newest Aights of doctrine, and yet proud, censorious, dogmatical, severe, covetous, [35] worldly, lovers of pleasure, and sunk in earthly lusts. O how offensive this must be to the pure, holy, and heavenly Saviour! It is a great preservative against such things, to keep constantly before us the spirit which our Lord commends in the beatitudes, and practical epistles like those of St. James and St. Peter. “To ask also for the old paths, where is the good way, and to walk therein, is the means to find rest for our souls." Jer. vi. 16.

If we are indebted to another for the first views of divine truth, we are greatly in danger of leaning upon him, and being carried


with all his views. This is to lean on an arm of flesh, and not on the Lord, (Jer. xvii. 5,) and to refuse to follow the beautiful example of the Bereans, who went no farther with the Apostle himself, than a diligent search of the scriptures justified. Acts xvii. 11.

5. BE NOT AFRAID TO SUSPEND YOUR JUDGMENT about more obscure and hidden things. Vitringa applies Isaiah xxviii. 16, here: He that believeth shall not make haste; he will resign to the Deity the scope of executing his vast designs. It is thus our blessed Saviour taught his disciples to wait the event of his prophecies, In your patience possess ye your souls, Luke xxi. 19. Where the completion is still future, we must not indulge our conjecture, but as becomes the faith and moderation of Christians, those things which are spoken indefinitely, and are not determined by parallel prophecies, we should consider as reserved in the hands of God, with respect to the mode and persons, times, places, and other circumstances of their completion. Whether Christ and his saints shall personally be visible in their reign over the earth; what may be the precise nature of [36] his kingdom, or of the destruction of his enemies which precedes its establishment; these and a thousand similar questions may, without any damage to the soul, be left in the hidden state in which they seem now to be left by the scriptures, till God shall throw more light upon them by the researches of his servants, or events shall fully develope them.

6. NEGLECT NOT PROPHECY BECAUSE OF THE ERRORS, controversies and misinterpretations of THOSE WHO HAVE INTERPRETED IT. It is perfectly clear, by events, that those who have written on this subject have made great mistakes; we have the advantage of living in a later period, and of having these mistakes manifested. Some, in these days, prominent in their prophetical statements, have, in the Author's view, fallen into doctrinal errors; an unchristian spirit of judging, and condemnation of others, or even serious delusion; or a rash spirit of throwing aside all preceding labourers. Was it not the artifice of the enemy to destroy the power of those weighty truths which prophetical writers have distinctly brought forward, and especially to turn the attention of the church from the prophetic word? There is, however, a plain direction, (1 Thess. v. 20,) Despise not (pen etx:Jevēite, do not set at nought, or count for nothing,) prophesyings. The same thing took place at the time of the Reformation, and Gurtler has some valuable remarks upon it. He says, that, “After the beginning of the sixteenth century, the gospel being recovered from anti-christion darkness to light, many interpreters employed themselves in the Exposition of the Prophecies; but at the end of that century the ardour for this most [37] divine study began to cool in the churches and schools,” and he states one principal cause of this lamentable issue to be, the unhappy disputes which arose among Protestants; in Germany between the Lutheran and Reformed; and in Holland between Remonstrants and Contra-Remonstrants: from the origin of these disputes, controversial volumes were sent forth, rather than Commentaries on the Sacred books. Afterwards another thing arose, from which the study of prophecy was not only despised by irreligious men, but also by learned and even pious persons. Some came to treat of it with unwashed hands, and an unsuitable mind; for enjoying riches of genius, and facility of writing, and blandishments of language, they promulgated the fulfilling of prophecies in that immediate nearness of time and place, which inconsiderate hope, impatience under undeserved calamities, and too great love of their country dictated. Gurtler shews also how others failed in their predictions of an immediately happy state of the church; and adds, "books of this kind were eagerly read, translated into different languages, and filled the minds of the curious; but, by and bye, the event not answering to the promises, where only the vanity of the writer was to be reprehended, the holy prophetic Theology was, after the manner of the age, carped at, and despised; and the wisdom of the prophecy of the supreme King of Kings, knowing, determining, and foretelling all things, was given up to oblivion.” He then shews how God rescued, by his Spirit, the church out of this state, by raising up such men as Brightman, Mede, More, and Hofman.

Gurtler then, after giving the system of Mede and [38] others, had these interesting reflections:-"I will not carp at the structure delineated by these learned and pious men, or subject it to my censure, for I had rather congratulate them on that eternal blessedness in which they now enjoy God, and more thoroughly and entirely know his works. In this life, we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away, (1 Cor. xiii. 9, 10,) and we shall clearly see these things which we now conjecture, or inquire into with much labour; or altogether are ignorant of. As the human mind of the Son of God, which with the angels knew not on earth the day and hour of judgment, (Mark xiii. 32,) in heaven, had given to him, and perceived the whole history of the world and the church. Rev. i. 1-3."

May we learn lessons from past experience, and especially the lesson of not neglecting any part of God's word, and being turned aside by the enemy to despise prophecyings from the faults of those who have studied it. God has given increased light, age after age, to his church on this subject, and should even some material parts of the views of the leading modern interpreters turn out to be pre-anticipations, or unfounded interpretations of what God has foretold, may we, notwithstanding such stumbling-blocks, take heed to that which is still the more sure word of prophecy, (2 Pet. i. 19,) the light shining in the dark place, and only pray the more earnestly that our love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judg


ment, that we may try things that differ (oorspes{ty Te olepepovra) and be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Phil. i. 9.

Plan of Study of Prophetical Wrilers. [39] The author having several times been requested to give a little plan of study, subjoins the following:

Older Works. Huru's Introduction to the Study of Bishop Newton on the Prophecies, Prophecy.

Cressener's Demonstration of the ReMede's Key to the Apocalypse, and velation. Letters.

Cressener's Judgments on the Romish Sir I. Newton on Daniel and the Church. Apocalypse.

Home's Millennium, new edition.

Modern Works. Brooks' Elements of Prophecy. Cuninghame on the Seals and TrumKeith's Evidence of the Christian Re- pets. ligion.

Faber's Restoration of the Jews, 2 vols, Myers on the Prophecies delivered by 8vo. Christ.

Fry on the Second Advent, 2 vols. 8vo. Woodhouse on the Apocalypse. Greswell on the Parables, vol. i, Abdiel's Essays.

Habershon on the Prophecies. Cuping hame's Premillennial Advent. The Investigator, a Quarterly PeriFaber's Sacred Calendar, 3 vols. 8vo. odical. Cuninghame's Answers to Wardlaw, White's Practical Reflections on the

Faber, and the Theological Maga- Second Advent. zine, and his Political Destiny.

Latin Books. Vitringa Typus Doctrinæ Prophe- Vitringa Anacrisis Apocalypseos. ticæ.

Venemæ Dissertationes in Daniel.

It will be easy to enlarge this list from the books in the list at the end. The translation of the "Typus Doctrinæ Propheticæ” of Vitringa would be very useful to the English student of Prophecy. *

The purpose of Cocceius in his prophetical studies will be a good guide for us in ours. He says-We[40] therefore, with the blessing of God, will so act, as to attend to the scriptures (as lucid, and having clear and by no means twisted or forced significations, conformed to itself in all its parts, and shining through the whole body of the sacred oracles according to the sincerity of the Divine Testament, and the truth which is in Christ Jesus) until a most clear sense, satisfying the conscience through the words of the Holy Spirit, shall rise up to refresh us.

In which these things shall minister help to us. 1. The proper meaning of words.

2. The conformity or proportion of phrases and sentences. 3. The scope and series of antecedents and consequences. 4. Remarkable examples of the meaning of expressions shewn by the events fulfilling them. It cannot be that the words themselves should fully and exactly, in a series of examples, and in a consistent harmony of prophecies be verified, without its pointing out the mind of the

* The most important parts have been, since this was written, translated and printed in the Investigator, vol. iv.




[41] On that point which especially concerns our highest interest, even our eternal salvation, and which is the grand theme of all the prophets, from the beginning to the close, there is no obscurity of any moment; the first coming, the atoning death, the perfect righteousness, the resurrection and ascension, the supreme power, and the constant intercession, of our Divine Redeemer; the gifts of his Spirit; the subjugation of his enemies, and his certain return.

On these points, the predictions are, in the main, clear as the noonday. Even those who deny their application to Jesus Christ, still refer them to the Messiah. Let it ever be remembered, then, that THE PROPHECIES OF SCRIPTURE CHIEFLY BEAR ON THIS ONE POINT, our LORD JESUS CHRIST. Their great design is to do honour to him, to manifest the sufficiency of his atonement, and the riches and fulness of his grace, and the nature and glory of his kingdom; that thus we may be led to believe in him, to the salvation of our souls, and be filled with joy and peace [42] in believing; and all the glorious ends for which he came might be accomplished; to deliver a world from ruin, to abolish sin and death; to purify man and make him a partaker of the divine nature, and finally so to bless the human race, that God's will might be done on earth as it is in heaven.

It is expressly said, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Rev. xix. 10. “To him give all the prophets witness.” Acts x. 43."

There are many plain, express, and literal prophecies referring to Christ and his kingdom, which have no other application, and cannot be expected to have any other fulfilment than in him. The following instances have been selected as proving this:-Mal. iii. 1; iv. 5, 6. Haggai ii. 6—9. Zech. ix. 9; xii. 10. Dan. ii. 44; vii. 13, 14; ix. 24–27. Micah v. 2. Isaiah liii.*

* A full table of the chief prophecies respecting Christ is given by Mr. Horne in his Introduction.

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