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The Revelation of St. John may be considered a treatise shewing the vital changes which have taken place, and which are to take place in the world, in connection with the church of Christ; revealing the hidden springs of the rise, continuance, and fall of nations; in a few words, it may be pronounced A PERFECT CHURCH History. Before proceeding to its interpretation, it will serve to place the whole scope of the subject in a more striking light, very summarily to retrace the ground over which we have trodden in the Old Testament
prophecies. In doing this I would point out—
FIRST. Those predictions of Daniel which were accomplished before the Christian era, and therefore do not relate to events in this prophecy.
These consist of all those which have any connection with the three successive ruling kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, and Greece, to the full establishment of the fourth or the Roman empire. Before this prophecy commences, likewise, the whole of those Old Testament predictions relative to the Death of Christ, the consequent termination of the Jewish Dispensation, as well as those relating to the fall of Jerusalem, and the entire and complete dispersion of the Jews themselves, had all been fulfilled. Nothing, when this last great Revelation was given, was left unfulfilled but what belonged to the Christian Dispensation. To these—
Seco NDLY, I would direct attention, as forming the nucleus of St. John's prophecies. Those of this description that have most particularly attracted our notice have been, 1. The destruction of the undivided Roman empire, represented by the cutting down of the Great Tree of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, which chiefly took place when it was attacked on all sides by the barbarous nations; and after which, it is said, it was bound together by a band of iron and brass, or by the Latin and Greek kingdoms. 2. The division of the Western or Latin branch of the Empire, or the Roman Empire proper, into the ten kingdoms predicted by the ten toes of the Great Image, and by the ten horns of the monstrous wildbeast. 3. The springing up of the little papal Horn, or the rise of the Papacy in the midst of these ten kingdoms, described in the vision of the four wild beasts, and which was to last for a time, times, and an half. 4. The appearing of the Mahometan little horn out of or behind one of the four Grecian kingdoms into which Alexander's conquests were divided, described in the vision of the Ram and He-goat. 5. The great, universal, and overwhelming declension of religion, which the existence of these two apostacies indicated, and which is likewise noticed in the “Great Vision” of Daniel. 6. The reformation, spoken of in the same chapter as a “little help.” 7. The appearance of the chief actor in the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte, whose principles, policy, and success are so particularly described likewise in the same chapter. 8. The present signs of the Times, which are, the Mahometan little horn “breaking without hand;” the sudden and prodigious increase of travelling, or
“many running to and fro;” and the unexampled “increase of knowledge.” These are the leading. Old Testament prophecies, expanded more or less in the Revelation, which have been fulfilled, or are now fulfilling. Those which remain to be accomplished, and which the above
Signs of the Times, in connection with the various chronological Periods, proclaim to be so very near at hand, and which in fact are only those that now remain to be fulfilled on the roll of prophecy, tare1. The persecution of the Church, and the remarkable wickedness of the wicked. 2. The complete extinction of the Mahometan power. 3. The destruction of the Papacy, or the end of the 1260 years. 4. The restoration of the Jews to their own land. 5. The conquests and career of the kings of the South and North, spoken of by Daniel to happen at the Time of the End. 6. The time of unprecedented trouble that is to be consequent upon that event. 7. The first Resurrection. 8. The reign of Christ on the Throne of David, and the establishment of his kingdom upon earth. For the particular consideration of all these predictions, the reader is referred to “the Dissertation,” where they are each and separately enlarged upon. The more special use that we have now to make of them, is to explain the principles that may be deduced from them, for the interpretation of the greatly enlarged history of the Christian Dispensation, which is here
given; as an attention to such principles must assuredly tend to throw much light upon the subject, and be the means of preventing many mistakes.
In the first place, it will be perceived, from a careful consideration of the nature of events that have answered to the predictions, that they have on all occasions had a respect to profane history, or to the affairs of this world, only as they especially bore upon those of the Church, and as they were connected with the history of Redemption. Thus, for instance, no account whatever is taken of any of the great events of ancient history, but those which are connected with the destinies of the Jewish church and people. There is nothing in prophecy of the history of the Medes and Persians before the time of Cyrus, in whose reign they first came in contact with the affairs of the Jews by the conquest of Babylon;– nothing respecting the polished Grecian States of Athens, or Sparta, or Corinth, with numerous others, which make so distinguished a figure in classical literature before the time of Alexander the Great, when the interests of the Jews became involved in his conquests, and Greece became the ruling power of the world. And after Alexander's death, when his great empire was divided into four kingdoms, no account is taken but of those two to which the land