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The mere lapse of time, especially of such a time as that in which we have lived, is a great advantage to modern interpreters ; and they have, by adopting and combining the many various suggestions of former interpreters, obtained certain principles, which are found to apply uniformly to all the prophecies of Scripture; and serve, like a key of many wards, to unlock all the mysteries of God, for the instruction and warning of the church in these glorious but perilous times. These principles apply to all the prophecies, and give us, in all of them, certain fixed points, from whence, as by landmarks, we may by care draw the intermediate lines of boundary. There is one book of prophecy, however, in which not only the landmarks are set down, but the boundary lines, also, are drawn with precision; and we should not attempt to draw them ourselves in the other prophecies, without continually referring to this book, which is, the Apocalypse given by Jesus Christ to his servant John.

The principles to which we allude are derived, First, from God's dealings with his people, all of which were typical of his dealings with the church ; and those visible interpositions on behalf of the Jews, are the exponents of his invisible interpositions on behalf of his church: Secondly, from the deliverers raised up at different times to typify the great Deliverer, who shall come at the end of time to deliver his church from Antichrist: Thirdly, from the seasons of the year, and the Jewish feasts connected with the seasons, which typify the order and time of the several states of the church, and of God's interposi tion for her deliverance : Fourthly, from the numbers contained in various parts of Scripture, by combining which the dates of these several times may be ascertained : Fifthly, from the several parts of the tabernacle, of the temple, and of the primitive churches, which, by their arrangements, and by the places occupied by the different orders of worshippers, indicate the arrangement of the whole creation at the restitution of all things.

The first two of these principles-namely, God's dealings with the Jews, and sending them deliverers-haveguided all interpreters from the beginning of the Christian dispensation, and we need not enlarge upon them here. But we would observe, that these principles have their largest application to the prophecies of the Old Testament, and to the future dealings of God with the Jewish people; and bear upon the Gentiles and the Christian church chiefly in the way of allegory, and ensample for conduct.

The third of these principles is, we believe, altogether modern in its application to prophecy, at least with any detail and exactness. Vitringa, and the earlier commentators, make some passing allusions to the seasons, feasts, and temple services, but these are so slight that they teach scarcely any thing. The first work we know of, wherein this important principle is drawn out in any exactness, bears date 1787; it is entitled, “The Revelation of St. John, considered as alluding to certain Services of the Jewish Temple ; according to which the Visions are stated, as well in respect to the Objects represented, as to the Order in which they appeared.”. Mr. Cuninghame of Lainshaw has also made use of this principle, probably without knowing the work to which we allude; and a very exact and able investigator of prophecy has perfected the principle, and shewn its application, in a paper which appeared in an early Number of this Journal, “on the Times and the Seasons,” and from whom we have derived our acquaintance with this most important principle.

The numbers are no less important than the times and the seasons, and will, when fully understood, give the stamp of demonstration to prophecy; but for that very reason will not be fully understood till the end, that it may be known that God hath kept the times and the seasons in his own power, both for controul and for concealment, and that we may ever be kept, till the end, walking by faith, and not by sight. And for the same reason the fifth principle of interpretation is only available now to assist us in comprehending the future state of things in which it shall be realized,--the things not seen as yet; the new heavens and the new earth, wherein righteousness shall dwell; in the several compartments of which, as in the several courts of the tabernacle, the several ranks of the millennial age shall dwell, and compass the throne of God with songs of deliver


All these principles have their full bearing upon the Apocalypse, which, as it is the last of the prophecies, may also be called the sum-total of them all; and its full interpretation has been reserved for the time of the end, the days in which we are now living. In an early Number of this Journal (vol. I. p. 292) we endeavoured to explain the structure of the Apocalypse and some of the principles for its interpretation; and we now wish to add to it the results of the study and experience of three most eventful years, during which God has been working, by his providence, changes which by their rapidity baffled all conjecture, and by their character have utterly confounded all but the students of prophecy. These three years of peace have been characterized by anarchy, rapine, and burning : the more ful knowledge, as it is called, has been diffused, the more brutal the people have become; and the more religion has been professed, the more ungodliness has abounded. In three days France was revolutionized-in three years the constitution of England has been destroyed. Every throne in Europe totters; and no sound-headed man will now dare to say that the clouds


which blacken the whole heavens can be dispersed without a storm. What shall be the character of the storm, and what its issues, no politician can tell, though some may dream of halcyon days, and a golden age to ensue.

But the student of prophecy well knows what this day of gloominess portends,--that it ushers in the day of the Lord; when he shall arise to shake terribly the earth, to cut off the sinners from among men, to save his people and to destroy their oppressors; the day of vengeance in his heart, and the year of his redeemed being come. “With righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked : after which (and not before] the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea ” (Isai. xi. 4, 9).

Having arrived at this time of the end, when all is about to be accomplished, let us reverently examine into the predictions of the Apocalypse, that from this last revelation of the mind of God we may, by his teaching, receive direction to apply to the interpretation of this book the principles we have enumerated above: and may He by His Holy Spirit give us a right understanding to discover the truth, and prepare our hearts to receive it when discovered, that we may grow in grace thereby, and be prepared for his coming and kingdom !

The Jewish people were designed in the purpose of God to typify the Christian church (Gal. iv. 26; Heb. xii. 22), and they were by his providence brought into circumstances to foreshew to us what will be our history if we pursue the same course ; their rebellions, apostasies, and punishments foreshewing the consequences of our disobedience to Christ our Lord ; and their glory under David and Solomon, notwithstanding the many provocations of Israel, typifying that glory which God has determined to manifest in the latter days upon the earth, when Christ and his church shall hold the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

When the Jews rejected Christ, God rejected them as a people; and put the church, the Israel of God, in their place. For eighteen centuries God had offered them favour, and borne with their multiplied provocations, because he had set his love upon them. For eighteen centuries He hath borne with the Christian people, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth. The end is now approaching-it draweth very near. The series of events by which the providence of God has been working out the accomplishment of his purposes towards the church and the world, as announced in his prophetic word, is nearly run out. Only a small portion

of the Christian dispensation remains yet to be fulfilled. And God is about to begin another series of events, fulfilling another page of prophecy, by gathering his church to himself, both of the quick and the dead; and by setting his anointed King upon his holy hill of Zion; and by returning with favour to his longrejected people of Israel, making them once more a praise and a glory amongst all the nations of the earth.

The termination of one dispensation and the beginning of another must of necessity be a time of unprecedented importance; for all the successions are fresh rays of glory, waxing brighter and brighter unto the perfect day and the day we now look for is that which all the former dispensations had in view, in which the martyrs of all past time shall receive their reward, and the expectants of the present time receive their inheritance; the triumph of one band, and the marshalling of another band under their guidance and tutelage. The remaining events, which wind up the present dispensation and usher in the next, are few : which circumstance of itself gives them a deep interest, as it indicates that a short time only of the day of grace is now remaining : but this interest is still further increased by the intrinsic importance and fearful character of these few events: when the church is called both to lift up her head with joy, as knowing that her redemption draweth nigh; and to watch and pray always, that she may be accounted worthy to escape all those things that are coming on the earth, and to stand before the Son of Man. Trials of every kind are at hand; delusions so subtle in their nature as to deceive, if it were possible, the very elect; and persecutions so fierce that it is called the great tribulation, a time of trouble such as has not been before, no, nor ever shall be: “ for the devil shall come down having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time: and except these days be shortened no flesh should escape, but for the elect's sake these days shall be shortened."

The few unfulfilled portions of prophecy stand out so conspicuously in the word of God, that the impatience common to all men, acting upon the laudable desire of seeing the glory of God revealed in their own day and generation, has led interpreters of prophecy to overleap, at several of the eventful periods in the history of the church, intervening portions of unfulfilled prophecy, and to suppose themselves arrived within sight of the great crisis to be brought about by the Second Advent of our Lord, which shall rid the world of evil, and usher in eternal blessedness under his reign. Every succeeding period of expectation becomes more probable than the last, by the mere lapse of time. The end is fixed in the purpose of God, and draws so much the nearer every year, though man may

have heretofore mistaken the signs of its approach. Warned by past experience, we endeavour not to overleap any prediction, or distort any event, while we give it as the general confession of all accurate interpreters of prophecy, that very little indeed pertaining to the Christian dipensation, in its present form, now remains unfulfilled.

Prophecy is given in many forms, of which we may enumerate the following as the chief. 1. Simple announcement; as in the greater part of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and our Lord's discourses (Matt. xxiv. &c.): the interpretation of this form of prophecy requires only careful comparison with history. 2. Allegory and Parable; as Isai. v., Ezek. xvii., Matt. xiii. &c.: this form represents moral and spiritual truths by visible objects, and by our known conduct in visible things teaches us what will be the dealings of God in spiritual things, under similar circumstances : the interpretation of this form of prophecy requires nothing more than translating the whole from the language of allegory to the language of reality, from the visible and transient to the invisible and eternal things. 3. Symbols; as Dan. vii., Rev.xii., xiii.: in this form heterogeneous characters and forms are combined to represent unnatural and extraordinary transactions : the interpretation of this form requires the greatest spiritual discernment, and the most scrupulous exactness, first, to fix and define the complex character which the symbol is intended to convey ; secondly, to trace the real transactions which the actings by or towards the symbol are meant to foreshew. 4. Types and typical histories; as Joshua, David, and Solomon; or the Passover, the Red Sea, Midian, the Philistines, Jezreel.

Throughout the Scriptures, with the exception of one Book, these forms of prophecy are kept distinct. In Daniel, for instance, the seventh chapter is wholly symbolical, the eleventh is wholly announcement; and the difficulty of interpreting the symbolic form of prophecy is implied in sending an angel to explain the visions, which we do not find done for the other forms of prophecy. In the Apocalypse all the four forms of prophecy are combined; and they operate as a fourfold check upon erroneous interpretation, and a fourfold confirniation of truth. But the full operation of this check, and the convincing force of this demonstration, have been much invalidated by a prejudice which most of us have imbibed unawares, and which continues to operate unconsciously long after we have discovered and endeavoured to discard it,—the prejudice against the full canonicity of the Apocalypse. As long as any vestige of doubt remains, we shall hesitate in giving to every jot and tittle of the Apocalypse the same implicit

reverence which we give to all the rest of the word of God, and can receive no instruction from studying it. It is quite notorious that the generality of professing Christians do less frequently read and appeal to the

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