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The following treatise consists of three parts. In the first, the Rules for the Arrangement of the prophecies are laid down, in order to shew, that the detached passages brought to illustrate the same event, are collected, not according to the writer's imagination, but according to marks inserted in the prophecies themselves; so that the arrangement, and the light arising from it, depend not on the authority of the interpreter, but of the prophet.
The second part contains Observations on the Dates of the several remarkable Events; particularly a resolution of that question, When the kingdom of Antichrist commenced? That being the period to which the several prophetic calculations chiefly refer.
In the thrid part, the Events are detailed according to the order laid down in the Apocalypse; while the passages of of the Old Testament prophecies which refer to these events ar e quoted and explained, as we go along the series, in order to illustrate them more fully.
WHICH ARE NOT YET ACCOMPLISHED.
Rules for their Arrangement.
HE obscurity of the prophecies arises partly from the language in which they are conveyed, but chiefly from the manner in which they are arranged. The labours of the learned have already thrown fo much light on the language of prophecy, that it can be no longer unC intelligible
intelligible to the attentive reader'. I would only obferve, that in order to understand the language of prophecy, it is not abfolutely neceffary to be skilled in the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians, or the Oneirocritics of the Indians; it will be fufficient for the reader to be familiarly acquainted with his Bible. The prophets conftantly allude to the history and cuftoms recorded in Scripture. A knowledge of these, as well as of the figurative expreffions in the prophets, which have their explication annexed, will go a great way to remove the difficulty arifing from the prophetical language.
The arrangement of the prophecies is not fo eafy a matter; to bring together the feveral paffages which refer to the fame event, so as to view it by their united light. Such an arrangement, like the glafs of a telescope, collects the fcattered rays of a diftant object to one point, and fo forms a diftin&t image. The difficulty of arranging the prophecies, is owing to various caufes. They were delivered by feveral men, in
(1.) See Mede's Clavis Apocalyptica, Perpetual Dictionary, prefixed to Daubuze on the Apocalypfe, and Hurd's fermons at the Lincoln's Inn lectures.
(2.) A book of this name, on the Indian method of interpreting dreams, is frequently referred to by Mede in his Clavis Apocalyptica.
in various and diftant periods of time; fo that, taking to the account their several abilities, dif pofitions, knowledge, education, and manners, it is not eafy to fay what particular paffages in one prophet correspond with those in another, and relate to the fame event.
Again, in the same prophet the different vifions feem to be arranged without any regard to the order of time in which the prophet received them'. But it is obvious that this, in fome degree, increases the obfcurity.
After all, we should miftake the mattergreatly, did we suppose that the prophet received a view of future events according to the order of time in which they were to be accomplished; that is, that the nearer events were communicated to him firft, and the more remote events laft. The fact is, that the prophet being commiffioned to instruct the men of his own time, he introduces future events, as they are related to the confolation or reproof which he communicates at the
(1.) The prophecy contained in the 34th chapter of Jeremiah, the prophet received towards the clofe of the reign of Zedekiah, ver. 1, 2. That in the following chapter he received in the reign of Jehoiakim, at leaft twelve years before; chap. xxxv. 1. And the prophecy contained in the 36th chapter he received the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign; that is, eighteen years before.
time, without any regard to the time or order in which these events fhould be accomplished. In this confifts the chief difficulty of arrangement. But it is likewife to be obferved, that future events are fometimes introduced according to their natural order, and that purely for the inftruction of the church in after ages.
But though the difficulty is great, it is not I hope infuperable. There are marks in the prophecies themselves which direct to their arrangement, and will obviously occur, upon a frequent and attentive perufal of them; fo that the general order of events may be ascertained, and the. feveral paffages relating to the fame event, may, be brought to bear upon it with their united light; and thus reprefent it, though ftill future, with a degree of clearness and perfpicuity, which the inattentive could hardly conceive or believe. I fhall briefly ftate thofe rules for the arrange ment, which have occurred to me.
THE Apocalypfe is not only a diftin&t prophecy by itself, but may be likewife confidered as an index to all the prophecies which refer to the period of which it treats; that is, from the beginning