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PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
The work now offered to the Public in a second edition, was composed in the year 1812, while the French power was yet unbroken, and during the campaign of Bonaparte in Russia. The author having long entertained a persuasion, that the events of our own times are rapidly unfolding the intricacies of the prophetic roll of the Scriptures, has, for many years, been in the habit of associating an attentive view of all the passing scenes, which in this age, have astonished and confounded the anticipations and calculations of human wisdom, with the study of the divine word of inspiration.
If, however, it be difficult, as in many cases it confessedly is, to interpret predictions, which are already completely fulfilled, it certainly is a more arduous task to apply prophecy to events which are only in part developed. Some, indeed, are so convinced of the impossibility of success in such an undertaking, as to reject, as rash and illegitimate, all attempts, to read in the sacred volume the occurrences of our own times. But it may be shown, from the Scriptures, that this opinion is wrong.
-Our Lord reproved the Jews for not discerning the signs of their own times. Now what were these signs, but the strict correspondence of the events which they beheld, with the prophetic annunciations of a former age? Again, our Saviour, after predicting in highly figurative language the political convulsions, which in the last ages were to be the forerunners of the second advent, says to his Church, “ When ye see these things
“ begin to come to pass, then lift up your heads, for your re“ demption draweth nigh."* But how, in this case also, are believers to discern the accomplishment of the predicted signs, unless by comparing the words of Christ with current events ?
Indeed, the sentiment I am now refuting, though it comes to us under the specious guise of humility and self-diffidence, is in reality founded on indolence and sloth, and partakes largely of that spirit of unbelief, which has usually pervaded the minds of the great body of mankind, under the most unequivocal indications of the wrath of the Almighty, and when his judgments have been most conspicuously poured forth on a profane and thoughtless world.
What has been said, may be sufficient to vindicate the legitimacy of the inquiries pursued in this volume. But when the observations already made, with respect to the great difficulty of this department of sacred researches are considered, it will not be matter of surprise, that I should, in my first edition, have fallen into very important mistakes. These errors are acknowledged in their proper places, and it is, therefore, unnecessary for me to mention them more particularly here. I shall, however, observe, that though the late mighty political changes in Europe, have entirely contradicted some of my former anticipations, they seem to be in no degree inconsistent with my general theory. On the contrary, the present pacification of the nations which occupy the territories of the Western empire, the great theatre of the Apocalyptic prophecies, appears to fill up an important chasm in the exposition I had previously offered of the vision at the beginning of the seventh chapter, which I consider to be the great key to the present state of the world. In other respects also, my views of the characters of the present period, of its place in the chronology of prophecy, and of the nature of the events that are approaching, not only remain unchanged, but are more and more confirmed by the events of the last four years.
The interval which has elapsed since the first publication of the work, has afforded me an opportunity of carefully reviewing its principles. But whatever errors I have been led into
• Luke xxi. 18.
with respect to the meaning of particular passages, I have not as yet seen reason to abandon any one of my canons of interpretation ; and after having considered all the objections that I have met with to my general arrangement of the seals and trumpets, I remain satisfied of its truth. Yet I know too well how painful and difficult was my own perception of the system I have attempted to develop in these pages, which has been slowly and gradually matured during a period of sixteen years, to expect that even if true, it will make a very rapid progress in public opinion. I am content to leave its fate to time. So far as my theories are just they will ultimately prevail. If they be false, they will deservedly sink into oblivion among the ephemeral novelties of the day. Feeling as I do very little anxiety on this point, I have not thought myself called upon to answer the strictures made upon my interpretations by more recent writers, where I am unconvinced of their solidity. To undertake such a task would swell the present volume to an undue size, and for the same reason (as well as from a sense of the dangers and unprofitableness of controversy), I have abstained from any discussion of the merits of those theories of prophecy which have lately appeared. The opinion of the more judicious and enlightened of the students of this branch of sacred literature, will decide between these systems and the one contained in this volume.
I am bound here, however, to observe, that the judgment already pronounced on my work by two very able reviewers, has very far exceeded the expectations I had formed when I first
gave it to the public; and as neither of them are known to me, I take this opportunity of expressing my thanks to them for the indulgent manner in which they treated it.
In the Preface to my first edition were contained strictures upon certain opinions advanced in an anonymous work on prophecy, which has since been avowed by Mr. Granville Penn. That gentleman, in the Preface to his Dissertation on Ezekiel's Prophecy of Gog, has done me the honour to notice my observations. I deem it therefore to be incumbent upon me, to make a very few short remarks on what he has said, for as I was myself the assailant in this instance, were I to make no reply, it might be construed into want of respect for Mr. Penn.
Of the two primary points at issue, between the great body of Protestant commentators and the author of the Christian's Survey, which formed the principal subject of my strictures, the first relates to the meaning of the symbolical little horn of Daniel's fourth beast, which by the almost unvarying consent of these commentators bas been applied to the Papal power, but is by Mr. Penn supposed to describe the late empire of France.
As events have occurred which prove Mr. Penn's exposition of that symbol to have been fallacious, it seems quite unnecessary to prolong the controversy respecting it. The French power has perished, but the body of the Roman empire survives. Nay the Papal monarchy, the final and absolute extinction of which was pronounced by Mr. Penn to have taken place in 1810,* exists still in 1817. That these events have also disappointed my conjectures, I have already freely acknowledged. But while they are fatal to Mr. Penn's system, they leave the body of mine entire, and overthrow only some conclusions which were not essential to it.
I shall here, however, as Mr. Penn thinks it incumbent upon me to do it, give a concise view of the reasons on which is founded the application of the above symbol to the Papal power.
1st. The little horn was seen to arise after the other horns.t Now the rise of the ten Gothic horns took place before the end of the fifth century. But that of the Papal power cannot be dated earlier than the beginning of the sixth century, consequently it rose after the horns, and in this respect the type answers the supposed antitype.
2d. The horn was little, and always remained so. Mr. Penn avers that this is to be interpreted in respect of the shortness of its duration. But in the very next vision, viz., that of the ram and he-goat, (Dan. viii.) the first horn of the he-goat, symbolizing the individual power of Alexander the Great, is represented as being notable nun or great, though he reigned only twelve years.
We may hence infer, that the size of a horn denotes not, as Mr. Penn supposes, the period of its
duration, but its intrinsical physical power. The smallness of the anomalous horn of the fourth Beast indicates therefore, not its more recent origin, but that its physical power when compared with that of the others is small. This corresponds with what history testifies of the Papal dominion. The influence of that power has never arisen from its physical force, but from its policy and cunning, pointed out by the eyes of the horn ;* and from its spiritual pretensions, symbolized by its mouth speaking great things, whereby it obtained a paramount control over the minds of men, which even in the present period they have been unable entirely to shake off.t
Dan. vii. 8. + The late Papal bull against Bible Societies, which I here insert, is in some measure illustrative of the meaning of the expression, that “this horn hath a “ mouth speaking great things.” The following is a copy of this bull.
Translation of the Bull against Bible Societies, issued from Rome, June 29th, 1816, by Pope Pius VII, to the Archbishop of Gnezn, Primate of Poland.
POPE PIUS VII. “ VenerABLE Brother, “ Health and Apostolic benediction. " In our last letter to you we promised, very soon, to return an answer to yours, in which you have appealed to this Holy See, in the name also of the other Bishops of Poland, respecting what are called Bible Societies, and have earnestly inquired of us what you ought to do in this affair. We long since, indeed, wished to comply with your request; but an incredible variety of accumulating concerns have so pressed upon us on every side, that till this day we could not yield to your solicitation.
“ We have been truly shocked at this most crafty device, by which the very foundations of religion are undermined: and having, because of the great importance of the subject, convened for consultation our venerable brethren, the cardinals of the holy Roman Church, we have, with the utmost care and attention, deliberated upon the measures proper to be adopted by our Pontifical authority, in order to remedy and abolish this pestilence as far as possible. In the mean time, we heartily congratulate you, venerable brother; and we commend you again and again in the Lord, as it is fit we should, upon the singular zeal you have displayed under circumstances so hazardous to Christianity, in having denounced to the Apostolic See, this defilement of the faith, most imminently dangerous to souls. And although we perceive that it is not at all necessary to excite him to activity who is making haste, since of your own accord you have already shown an ardent desire to detect and oppose the impious machinations of these innovators; yet, in conformity with our office, we again and again exhort you, that whatever you can achieve by power, provide for by counsel, or effect by authority, you will daily execute with the utmost earnestness, placing yourself as a wall for the house of Israel.
" For this end we issue the present letter, viz., that we may convey to you a