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acquaintance he has with the facts of history-the more honestly he has sought for that acquaintance from the writers who have least desired to make out a case for the Christian Church, even from those who have been utterly sceptical about its worth-the more, I believe, will the Revelations of St. John assist in explaining those facts, and in harmonizing his own thoughts respecting the government of God in the world. But my plan precludes me from the attempt to detect any minute parallels between particular sentences in the book and particular events that have happened or that are hereafter to happen in one period or another. The principal historical allusions in these Lectures are to the state of the Roman world during the years preceding the fall of Jerusalem. These, I should like my reader to test by the Histories of Tacitus; as he will, of course, turn to Josephus for the records of the crimes and calamities of the Jewish people.
The method which I have adopted is, I believe, a very simple one. But I do not therefore pretend that I discovered it for myself. The first hint of it was given me by a revered friend, a clergyman of the school of Cecil and Venn, who had devoted much of his life to the study of Prophecy, and who, more than
twenty years ago, was permitted to leave the school in which he had been learning, for the home in which his spirit had long dwelt. He is not answerable for any of the special conclusions to which I have been led. But I can never be thankful enough for having
arrived, through his teaching, at the conviction that the words, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand," were used by the Evangelists in the strictest sense; that the Apostles were not wrong in believing that the end of an age was approaching; that they had no exaggerated anticipations respecting the age which was to succeed it; that if we accepted their statements simply, we should understand far better in what state we are living; what are our responsibilities; what are our sins; what we have a right to hope for.
I have called these discourses Lectures, because they are not lessons deduced from separate texts. But they were delivered from the pulpit, like ordinary
sermons. They were addressed to what I thought were the wants of a congregation with which I had been connected for fourteen years, and to which, during all those years, I had been speaking often on the subject of Prophecy. I have had no heart to remove from them allusions to passing events,