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imperfect state of our knowledge, and diseased condition of our moral powers, let us at least endeavour to infuse into our warfare, as large a share as may be of a courteous spirit of Christian chivalry, by imbibing more and more of the meekness and gentleness of Christ.
It only remains for me to add, that in this edition of my work will be found an engraving, which may, I hope, assist the reader to understand my scheme of interpretation.
EXPLANATION OF THE PLATE.
To prevent misconception I shall first state, that this Plate is not designed to represent the form or shape of the book with seven seals, seen by the Apostle, Rev. v. 1, but only its chronological arrangement and proportions, and the relative places of the different visions.
I wish to hazard no positive conjecture with respect to the form of the book, but I think it probable that it consisted of seven distinct rolls enveloped one under the other, the seventh being the inmost one.
The representation of the Apocalyptic prophecies here given, is founded upon the simple principle, that the whole of the book, from the beginning of chap. vi. to the end, is included within the seven seals. The idea of a separate codicil, or little book, is rejected, as having no existence but in the imaginations of commentators.
The first six seals are represented by the same number of semicircles, following each other in chronological succession. The seventh seal is supposed to be commensurate in time with the whole of the preceding six, and is represented by a semicircle whose diameter is equal to the whole diameters of the other six.
If the idea of a codicil be rejected, I believe it will be found impossible to give a representation of the Apocalypse consistent with truth, without carrying the seventh seal back to the beginning of the prophecy; for the vision of the woman, seen in chap. xii. confessedly belongs to the
earliest age of the Church ; and that vision, if the codicil be discarded, must be placed in the seventh seal.
The remaining parts of the plate explain themselves. I shall only add, that I disclaim any merit of originality in attempting to represent the Apocalyptical periods by a series of semicircles. I borrowed the idea from a plate in Medes' Commentary; but, of course, my arrangement widely differs from bis.
PREFACE to the First Edition
The First Seal
The Fifth Seal
Hundred and Sixty Years.--General