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complete in itself) for future publication, if circumstances should call for it.
In this situation my papers continued till the end of the year 1824, when an occurrence in the literary world induced me to examine the opinion I had given in my former work concerning one of these prophecies, as yet fulfilled only in part. From a review of this I proceeded to others of the same class; and, my spirit of enquiry reviving, I resumed my suspended pursuits. I resumed them with a determination to attempt the solution of the more difficult prophecies by a new analysis, without previously referring to the expositions of them, deduced either by myself, or others. Whether in any, or to what degree I may have succeeded in these attempts, I must leave to the judgment of those of my readers who are best qualified to estimate them.
In the execution of the task assigned me, I have consulted a second time the best commentators, especially those enumerated and recommended by my excellent patron, together with others who had been useful to my first publication. Of all these I esteem Vitringa the most valuable. Yet it so happened, that, in my former work, I did not reap all the benefit I might from his Anacrisis. I had the book for some time in my hands, but was obliged to relinquish it before I could obtain another copy, and I am sorry to add, before I was so perfectly aware of
my loss, as to feel myself indispensably obliged to redress it. In the present work I have availed myself of his labours to a much greater extent, and
have had the pleasure to find his interpretations more accordant to my own, than those of any other writer of that period.
Of modern writers on the Apocalypse, I have generally forborne to bring forward the names, or canvass the opinions, yet I have not neglected them; taking care to obtain such an insight into their productions, as might enable me to correct my notions by theirs, in any instances which seem to require it.
With the greater part of these authors, who have imagined the prophecies to be fulfilled almost entirely in the French revolution, I seem to have no common relation, except that the same divine book is the object of our studies. We are not amenable to the same rules of enquiry, or under any similar restriction ; and the consequence has been, that our several interpretations have diverged, to such a distance from each other, that there is no hope of mutual accommodation but by the ungrateful and unpromising means of controversy,a method of conviction which I have always avoided, and am still more desirous to decline, at my present advanced period of life. I wish at the same time to acknowledge my sincere respect for that display of genius and learning, and that spirit of enquiry, which has distinguished some of these productions.
1 No one can wonder, that the prophecies have been diligently searched, for predictions relating to the French revolution, that formidable series of events, which has so occupied the times in which we have lived. At its first irruption, I was perfectly alive to the danger in which it seemed to place our holy religion. I watched its progress with extreme anxiety for a time. But as it advanced into magnitude, involving the fates of other nations, it was easy to perceive that the danger to religion decreased, in proportion as that which affected the rights and happiness of the political world increased, till the object of the wide-spreading contest became wholly political. The religious persecution, while it lasted, was expended upon the massacred and expatriated priests of the Roman Catholic persuasion, and afterwards upon the Pontiff himself, but chiefly for political purposes. The Protestants escaped, excepting so far as they were politically engaged; and in France, the centre of religious violence, they obtained, from their government, a toleration of their religion, which they had never enjoyed since the revocation of the edict of Nantes. This blessing has been since secured to them by the charter of their restored kings.
And here I must also testify my regret, that, under this general determination concerning living authors, I am not at liberty to express in particular my feelings towards those writers, who, with candour and courtesy, have acquiesced in my peculiar opinions, and adopted them, more or less, into their own expositions. I request them, in this only way now left to me, to accept my sincere thanks.
The raging conflict at length ceased in all parts, subsiding into a general peace; in which the interests of the nations, political and religious, have been settled upon a basis more firm and rational than before; and a prospect is opened for a much greater advance and improvement in the means of national and individual happiness.
More will be said upon the French revolution, as a subject of sacred prophecy, in the sequel. In the mean time, it must be apparent to the reader, that consistently with my second and third rules of interpretation, the French revolution cannot be considered as a woe, upon
the Christian religion, nor can we expect that it should have been predicted as such in the divine prophecies.
I conclude by saying, that as the object of this publication is, to lead the student in divine prophecy by a safer course than he has hitherto been led, to the interpretation of a very important but difficult book of sacred Scripture, I regret that it has not been sooner and better accomplished.