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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 de. tached passages brought to illustrate the same event, are collected, not according to the writer's imagiriation, 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.
Κ. Ε Υ
PROPHE CI E S,
WHICH ARE NOT YET ACCOMPLISHED.
Rules for their Arrangement.
THE obscurity of the prophecies arises
partly from the language in whịch they are conveyed, but chiefly from the manner in which they are arranged. The labours of the learned have already thrown so much light on the language of prophecy, that it can be no longer un
intelligible to the attentive reader'. I would only observe, that in order to understand the language of prophecy, it is not absolutely neceffary to be skilled in the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians, or the Oneirocritics? of the Indians; it will be sufficient for the reader to be familiarly acquainted with his Bible. The prophets constantly allude to the history and customs recorded in Scripture. A knowledge of these, as well as of the figurative expressions in the prophets, which have their explication annexed, will go a great way to remove the difficulty arising from the prophetical language.
The arrangement of the prophecies is not so easy a matter; to bring together the several paffages which refer to the same event, so as to view it by their united light. Such an arrangement, like the glass of a telescope, collects the scattered rays of a distant object to one point, and so forms a distinct image. The difficulty of arranging the prophecies, is owing to various causes. They were delivered by several men,
in (1.) See Mede's Clavis Apocalyptica, Perpetual Dic
) tionary, prefixed to Daubuze on the Apocalypse, and Hurd's sermons 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 Claris Apocalyptica.
in various and distant periods of time; fo that, taking to the account their several abilities, dispositions, knowledge, education, and manners, it is not easy to say what particular passages in one prophet correspond with those in another, and relate to the same event.
Again, in the same prophet the different visions seem to be arranged without any regard to the order of time in which the prophet received them'. But it is obvious that this, in some degree, increases the obscurity.
After all, we should mistake 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, thatthe nearer events were communicated to him first, and the more remote events last. The fact is, that the prophet being commissioned to instruct the men of his own time, he introduces future events, as they are related to the consolation or reproof which he communicates at the time, without any regard to the time or order in which these events should be accomplished. In this contists the chief difficulty of arrangement. But it is likewise to be observed, that future events are fometimes introduced according to their natural order, and that purely for the instruction of the church in after ages.
(1.) The prophecy contained in the 34th chapter of Je. remiah, the prophet received towards the close of the reign of Zedekiah, ver. 1, 2. That in the following chapter he received in the reign of Jehoiakim, at least 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.
But though the dificulty is great, it is not I hope insuperable. There are marks in the prophecies themselves which direct to their arrangem ment, and will obvioully occur, upon a frequent and attentive perufal of them; so that the general order of events may be ascertained, and the several passages relating to the same event, may, be brought to bear upon it with their united light; and thus represent it, though still future, with a degree of clearness and perfpicuity, which the inattentive could hardly conceive or believe. I shall briefly state those rules for the arrange: ment, which have occurred to me,
The Apocalypfe is not only a distinct prophecy by itself, but may be likewise considered as an index to all the prophecies which refer to the period of which it treats; that is, from the