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which vain theories had long attached to the word of Him who is light, and in whom is no darkness at all. This is not a thing to be wondered at. A rabbinist, to this day, is more impenetrable, as less accessible to argument, than a rationalist, if he be not a materialist also. The Sadducees of old were silenced sooner than the Pharisees; and that too by an appeal to what is recorded in the writings of Moses, which Jesus charged the latter with not believing, though they were read in their synagogues every Sabbath-day. To them He said, Because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. In his prayer to his Father, he said, Thy word is truth.
The plan of this treatise if that unhappily can be called a novelty or a plan, which is ever the duty of every believer of the word of God—is simply to search the Scriptures, to compare Scripture with Scripture, collecting, as before, the different testimonies on each subject successively, as Scripture itself defines it; and, not shunning to declare all the counsel of God. Hence it will be seen what that counsel as to each thing is, and whether it be not manifest that prophecy as it did not come by the will of man, has no more need now of any interpretation of his, in regard to things yet future, than it had in regard to the past: or that the word of God, if his own testimony therein given be believed, is as much truth in respect to yet unfulfilled, as to fulfilled prophecy.
In regard either to prophecies which are manifestly and expressly symbolical, or to others that are yet unaccom. plished, the harmony of prophecy may be a startling title to those who are conversant with the variety of interpretations. Because of the discordance of these, the very subject has to many assumed a repulsive aspect. It was long the practice of the writer of these lines, in taking up any book on such themes, to lay it aside so soon as any private interpretation was substituted for the Divine Word itself: and thus he has sometimes closed a volume at the
If the words of the living God be perverted, there is then full scope for discordant theories, as varied and conflicting as the imaginations of the hearts of men
- The anger
The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream ; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat ? saith the Lord. Behold I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. In the same chapter in which these verses occur, it is written, of the Lord shall not return, until He have executed, and till He have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall CONSIDER IT PERFECTLY.' Past and passing events, as recorded by fallible men, can not always be thus known or considered. But with the Father of lights, whose word the Scriptures are, is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Nor is there any variableness in the word of the unchangeable Jehovah. Let it only be read, believed, compared and combined in all its parts where testimonies throughout it are borne respectively and expressly to the self-same things, and then it will be scen that there is no harmony greater, or more worthy to be considered perfectly by all men of faith, whose eyes are opened to read it as it is written, ere that day come in which the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.
It has been well said, that “in so iar as error is harmless, truth is worthless." If the opinions—that the Constantinian revolution was the great day of the wrath of the Lamb, described, as seen, by the Apostle John on the opening of the Sixth Seal; that the death of the witnesses preceded the Reformation ; that their ascension into heaven was their “elevation to civil power ;” and that the symbolical Babylon the great (for her name is Mystery), is fallen, is fallen ; be errors, then these errors are far from being harmless, inasmuch as the word of the Lord, which has testified of all these things, is not worthless. If it be an error that the subject-matter of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is the continuous fortunes of the church and of the world, from the time it was given to the end of all things, then that error is fundamental. 1 Jer. xxiii. 20, 28, 31.
2 Isa. xxix. 18.
Nothing but a thorough conviction of the unscriptural character, and evil effect, as he witnessed, on the minds of truth-loving Christians, would ever have induced the writer to enter on an examination of what he deemed the most pernicious parts of some prevailing theories of the day.
If in these pages the reader find any perversion or wresting of the word of truth; or any substitution of a mere human fancy for a Divine testimony, the very object of the Treatise—to show that there is no need of any such, but that the light of God's word is alone sufficient to dissipate the darkening imaginings that have been raised around it-would not only be thereby in so far frustrated ; but the reader may be well assured that any
such thing must be essentially erroneous, and, if embraced, just as full of danger as of error. Where the Lord hath spoken, as in his word He ever speaks, it is man's wisdom as well as duty to learn, and not to teach otherwise ; to keep his sayings, and not to pervert them. The writer would here say to every reader, as he said several years ago to an individual in Rome, whom he was asked to converse with, as being then about to embrace the Roman Catholic faith, “Do not believe one word I tell you, except you yourself see it in the Scriptures, and see if will tell you this." About the same time three hundred clergymen of the Church of England signed a similar declaration.
The last warning of Scripture, given by Jesus to every man who hears the words of the Revelation which God gave unto him, is, “I testify unto every man that hear. eth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. man skall take away from the words of this prophecy, God shall cake away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and (from) the things which are written in this book.” That to which nothing can be added, and from which nothing can be taken, without involving in either case the threatened condemnation,
And if any
has to be left in its integrity, without being plumed or pared, by the fancy of any man, to suit the exigencies of any system of interpretation. One of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and who showed unto the apostle the bride, the Lamb's wife, said unto him, “ These sayings are faithful and true : and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done." In the Revelation of Jesus Christ, record in also borne that “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God shall be finished, as He hath declared unto his servants the prophets."
Whoever the inspired penman be, they all spake by the same Eternal Spirit; and wherever Scripture is compared with Scripture, it is that Spirit's words which are compared with His own. The Lord God of the holy prophets is alike the Lord of the apostles. From Moses to Malachi, and from the Gospel of Matthew to the Book of Revelation, they all wrote as they were moveů by the same Spirit of the Lord. He is the Father of lights ; and the God of truth. His testimonies are very sure. They are faithfulness and truth. He can not deny hinself. The mind of the Spirit is known by the testimonies of the Spirit. Abstractedly, the harmony of prophecy is thus the simplest of truths. Practically, the discordance of human and therefore erring interpreters, ranks among the plainest of facts. And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie : though it tarry, wait for it: because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him : but the just shall live by his faith. Of the power, and truth, and efficacy of the word, the Spirit whose it is hath spoken, the Lord hath testified. The harmony of prophecy may here be seen in that which has its bearing on all Scripture besides. 1 Rev. xxi. 6.
2 Hab. ii. 22-24.
It will surely come—the just shall live by his faith. The word of our God shall stand for ever.
" As the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth—so shall my word be that goeth out of my mouth : it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."'1—" What is the chaff to the wheat ? saith the Lord. Is not my word like fire, saith the Lord ; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces ?"2—". If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”—“O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”3_All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, &c.—Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.—The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. S " I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.” They overcame him (Satan, the accuser of the brethren) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.' · I saw them that had gotten the victory over the beast and over his image.--And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty ; just and TRUE are thy ways, thou King of saints. —All nations shall come and worship before thee ; for thy judgments are made manifest. And after that I looked, and behold the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.” -" And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them- and the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God,”&c.- -At the end it shall speak, and not lie—the just shall live by his faith.
Made plain upon tables as the vision is, that he may run that readeth it, and living as the just shall by
· Isa. Iv. 10, 11. % Jer. xxiii. 28, 29. 3 Luke xvi. 31.; xxiv. 25. * 2 Tim. iii. 16; Eph. vi. 17; Heb. iv. 12. 5 Rev. vi. 9. 6 Rev. xii. 11.