« PoprzedniaDalej »
Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1837, by
WHIPPLE AND DAMRELL, the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
WILLIAM S, DAMRELL, PRINTER,
No. 9, Cornhill,....Boston.
The Apocalypse is a precious part of our holy Revelation. But it is, to a great degree, a sealed book. Is it always to remain thus ? God, having given it to man, with commands to study, understand, and improve it, decides in the negative. This book is the finishing piece of the word of God; and is one worthy of God. It may be called a collection of the golden rays of light in the prophecies, in the doctrines, the duties, and motives of the Bible, to a focus ;—a burning point;—that they may melt the heart of man. It is a most happy blending of majesty, sublimity and simplicity, in the great things of God. Whenever this book shall be understood, probably its simplicity will excite more surprise, than that excited in the mind of Naaman by the simplicity of the means of his being healed of his leprosy. He looked for great things; but a small one (which at first excited only his contempt) was the means of his cure. A good and cultivated mind and a patient, persevering attention are no doubt essential to a correct exposition of the Revelation. But these are not enough. To them must be added, not only the new heart, much prayer, and those teachings of the Holy Ghost, essential to the true saint, but also a peculiar unction of soul in the spirit and analogies of prophecy. And one must devoutly feel the sacred hints like these ;—“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” “Not by words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” It was the still small voice, and not the strong wind, the earthquake, or the fire, which made Elijah to wrap his face in his mantle. There is a kingdom which "cometh not with observation;" and which the natural man, with ever so great learning,-does not understand. It is his, who did “not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the streets.” God will so work, as that no flesh shall glory in his presence. See 1 Cor. i. 18-31.
Between forty and fifty years ago, and early in my ministry, I had a strong desire to understand the book of Revelation; and determined, if possible, to do it. My pastoral preaching, during my long ministry, has been of the doctrinal and practical kind; seldom on the prophecies. But I have long delighted in devoting a part of my time to the study of the prophecies. 1 early wrote a Dissertation ou Rev. xiv. 6; and read it to my Association; which I have inserted on the above passage, in this book. See page 226. After about eighteen years of my ministry, I was led to form the outlines of the parts of my scheme of the Revelation, which are new. I then visited most able divines in NewEngland, and spent some time in laying my views before them; such men as Rev. Drs. Hemmenway, Spring, Emmons, Morse, Lathrop (West Springfield), Thayer (New Hampshire), Lewis (Connecticut), and received their full and written approbation; and requested that these views might be given to the public. i visited President Dwight, with the full expectation of receiving aid; but he said that such had been the state of his eyes, that he had not paid much attention to the prophecies; and could afford me no assistance. President Moore assured me my scheme on the Revelation was the best he had ever seen. In the next twenty years, 1 filled up my plan of the Lectures in my Key. I kept them long, after I supposed them finished, for reëxamination, and to watch the signs of the times; being determined to prevent, if possible, my book being added to the many wrecks which line the shores of the apocalyptic sea. I waited especially, to see if the events of the sixth vial, in my plan of the vials, formed between twenty and thirty years ago, would give its testimony in my favor; which it now has fully done.
July 1, 1833.
TO THE SECOND EDITION.
FIFTEEN hundred copies of the first edition sold very soon; and for some time the book has been called for, and none could be obtained. I have deferred the second edition,—desirous to learn the views of able men on the subject. And it now seems but due to say, that I have heard nothing but commendations of the work. I should not say this, nor what I am about to add, were it not that there is a general deep-rooted prejudice in the public mind against writings on the Revelation. Such is this prejudice, that nothing which can be written on the subject would be likely to gain even candid reading, without considerable to recommend it, and to gain the public confidence. Feeling then, as I do, an interest in this subject, and having devoutly labored 80 long upon it, I take the liberty to adduce the following testimonials. I asked a celebrated Doctor of Divinity in a first city, for his critical remarks, for the benefit of a second edition. He replied, that he had none to make; that he was pleased with the work at first; and had since been more and more pleased with
it; and was then preaching a course of weekly lectures to his young people, on the Revelation; and had this for his text book. To a friend, sitting by, he added, This is the best work I have seen on the Revelation; you must have it. In the first edition, was inserted a vote of the Association of Salem and vicinity, in favor of the work; also testimonials from most of the members of the Central Worcester Association : and from various other ministers; which will not here be reinserted. The following are again given :
From Rev. Mr. BURR. “I have read a considerable portion of the Lectures in your Key, &c. in manuscript, and have attended, more or less, to every Lecture, with much satisfaction. I am well pleased with the plan of the work, and with your exposition of that difficult and highly important part of the prophetic Scripture, so far as I can judge. It appears to me that not a few rays of new light are thrown upon this closing part of the volume of Inspiration. I am highly delighted with the numerous and judicious remarks, doctrinal, experimental, and practical, with which the work is interspersed. This work, it appears to me, will be one of the few books which may live, in many improved editions, through the Millennium. It will be thought, I doubt not, by those who discern the signs of the times, a very seasonable and useful publication at this highly interesting period of the church and the world. I therefore hope
will soon be given to the public, and be extensively read.”
JONATHAN BURR. Boston, April 3, 1833.
From Rev. Dr. EMMONS. “ When I, many years ago, heard you read to me some of your Lectures on the Revelation, I thought you treated that deep, difficult, and important subject in a very ingenious and lucid
I wish to see this work published; and I have no doubt but it will meet the approbation of good judges, and will subserve the great cause which now agitates the minds and awakens the hopes and zeal of the Christian world. The friends of Zion were never more anxious than at present to learn the signs of the times, and what they may anticipate will be the state of the church and of the world, before the Millennium, during the Millennium, and thence to the end of the world. I know all Christians ought, and I trust they will be disposed to promote the circulation of a volume which may serve to enlighten and animate them to pursue the best means to bring on the universal spread of the gospel, and the latterday glory of the church.'
NATHANIEL EMMONS. Franklin, April 15, 1833.
Many of the divines in New-York were from home, on account of the sultry season, when I went thither to obtain the printing of the first edition. The following were consulted, and they approved :
From Rev. Drs. BROWNLEE and De Witt. “ The work, entitled a Key to the Revelation, we have heard explained, and much of it read, by the author, Rev. Mr. Smith. It is the fruit, we understand, of many years' study of the prophecies. And Mr. Smith has evidently bestowed much pains to arrive at the true and correct meaning of the syrobolic language of prophecy: The work is, in our judgment, of deep and labored research. There is much ingenuity in his arguments, and his historical illustrations. It has much that is new; and his theory,—which is brought forward with becoming modesty,
3-seems to us to possess unity and consistency. And it does not consist merely of dry dissertations on difficult passages, but has a pleasing and edifying spirit of piety pervading the whole. We are persuaded that the book will be interesting and instructive to all classes of Christians: and we recommend it to our friends accordingly."
W. C. BROWNLEE,
THOMAS DE WITT. From Rev. Mr. Peters. “Having been favored with the perusal of Rev. Mr. Sunith’s ‘Key to the Revelation,' I am happy to express my entire concurrence with the above recommendation of it by the Rev. Drs. Brownlee and De Witt. It may be read with profit by all who desire to know the signs of the times.'
ABSALOM PETERS. From Rev. Messrs. McCARTEE, IRVIN, SPENCER and Mason. “We have heard a portion of Rev. Mr. Smith's Key to the Revelation read, and its general views explained by the author; and we are very happy to recommend it to the attention and patronage of the Christian public. It is a work of great research and originality, with many very important and ingenious views of Scripture prophecy. The author bas evidently made himself acquainted with the peculiarities of symbolic language, and with the general design, as well as with the particular views of the prophetic Scriptures of which he treats. There is a very happy addition to all this -in the vein of pious and practical feeling and remark, which runs through the work. It is important, peculiarly at the present period, that such works should be patronized, read, and studied; “ for the time is at hand!"!
ERSKINE MASON. From Rev.WM. PARKINSON. " Mr. Smith has read to me some of his Lectures on the Revelation; and has added his outlines, views, and the divisions of his book; and, I cheerfully say, that I feel a strong desire to see this work published, hoping it will prove a seasonable help to the church of Christ.”
WM. PARKINSON. From Rev. Mr. BALDWIN. “Attempts of inferior and hasty writers on the Revelation have often resulted in mistake, not to say injurious error. Mr. Smith's Key to the Revelation has, in my opinion, better claims to our respect. It is clearly a production of deep thought and research. His plan is, to a good extent, new; and the work throughout is interesting. I have read nothing on the Revelation which afforded me equal satisfaction.”
ELIHU W. BALDWIN. New-York, August, 1833.
Many more might have been obtained for this edition ; but it was dispensed with. The two following are added :
From Rev. Dr. SPRAGUE, - From the attention I have been able to render to this work, as well as from the opinions I have heard expressed