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very last mind, in which such a purpose would originate. A very peculiar training was needed before I could be disciplined into an enlightened persuasion that it was my duty to devote any of my time to the study of those scriptural predictions that are future as to the time of their accomplishment, and when at length a variety of circumstances and events forced the subject upon my attention, I shrank from a work so arduous, a responsibility so tremendous, as the execution of such a work involves.
The occasion of my thoughts being turned in this direction is not less remarkable than the results of my investigation : very early in my christian career I was brought, through a series of severe afflictions, during the time of which I was taught practically, and realized experimentally, the truth, that God is working in all things according to His own purpose, predetermined by Him before the foundation of the world, and that His care is so minute as to embrace the very numbering of the hairs of our head. This turns out to be the foundation upon which God has reared the superstructure, which, through me as the feeble instrument, will go forth as an encouragement to His people, and a warning to His adversaries, in these perilous times. My belief in God's predetermined plan of governing our world, was not theoretical or speculative,-it was thoroughly practical : just in proportion to my confidence in God in this matter, was the amount of my anxiety to know all His will concerning my duty, and the strength and constancy of my desire never to form any purpose, or follow any pursuit, contrary to His mind : such was the effect produced upon me, that I learned the habit of studying all God's dealings in providence affecting my circumstances, and thus by a gradual process, spread over many years in its accomplishment, I was in some measure prepared for the solemn events which have recently transpired.
The frame of the interpretations of Scripture unfolded in this work, was first wrought out and disclosed to me in the events of my own life. The principal occurrences are spread over a period of 430 days : the calculations are more numerous in the personal events, than what has as yet been disclosed to me in the Scriptures, and this probably with the intention of wholly overcoming my scruples to begin a work, to which I was naturally so disinclined. My mind has again and again been awed into a solemn stillness, as view after view burst upon it, while meditating upon the wonders of the ways of Him who ruleth in heaven and in earth : carried away as it were in spirit beyond the vanities and shadows of this fleeting world, I gazed with fondness and delight, but also with profoundest reverence, upon what was shown me of the past; but when pointed to the future, when the near prospect of the glory of my great Redeemer, in the full accomplishment of a world's redemption, was set before me ; when the vision of the new heavens and the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, was opened up unto me, and I saw at the very door, the diffusion of holiness and happiness throughout all the nations of the earth-more than once my nature gave way, unable to bear the load.
I claim for the work the prayerful consideration of all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity: it may, by the outpouring of God's Holy Spirit, prove to be to every one of the faithful, a light shining in a dark place, to which they would do well to give heed. The Spirit of God, who inspired the Prophets and Apostlos when
they wrote, can alone interpret His own meaning : He is promised to every one that asks Him, so that they shall be without excuse who remain ignorant in regard to matters concerning which God, in His adorable Providence, is giving such wondrous light.
To the unconverted and worldly minded, it should convey a solemn admonition; and it is well worthy their patient perusal: where is now the promise of his coming ? say they: let them read God's answer in this book, and perhaps they shall rise from its study in the experience of that joy, which the world can neither give nor take away, all old things having passed away with them, and all things having become new.
Whatever merit may belong to this work is not mine: all the honour must be ascribed to Him, whose I am, and whom I serve. I could have known nothing except it had been revealed to me from above, and to prevent any thing like a substitution of the creature for the Creator in the minds of any, I have resolved to withhold my name for a season, so that none can be tempted to give to the human instrument, that praise which is wholly due to the Almighty God. I am extremely solicitous, that God should be glorified in His well beloved Son: that glory is given him in the highest degree when sinners of mankind believe in that Son, and acknowledge Him as the sent of God : and if the eternal triumphs of the Redeemed in Heaven are swelled by the Hallelujahs of one single soul, through the instrumentality of this book, a work would be accomplished, so great as to be worthy the labour of a lifetime. It is my earnest prayer to Him who doeth according to His own will, that He may work so mightily upon the hearts of all into whose hands this book may be placed, that they shall hear Him, when He says, “ be still, and know that I am God."
The nature of this work demands simplicity but faithfulness on my part. I tremble lest I advance any thing unsupported by Scripture: I am equally concerned lest I keep back any thing that should be told. I espouse no particular ecclesiastical party. I appear not as the advocate of Episcopacy, as preferable to Independency: or of Independency, as preferable to Episcopacy: I wholly disclaim any thing so arrogant as sitting in judgment upon the principles and opinions held or practised by any man. I have but one duty to discharge : I must make known to others what has been made known to myself: let all measure it by the pattern God has given in His word, and according as it fits thereto, let what I say be received or rejected. The prevailing desire of my heart is to promote the cause of pure and undefiled religion. I am sincerely anxious that the truth should prosper : not the truth held by one denomination of Christians as opposed to the truth held by another : that would be a defeat, not a triumph in my estimation. What I hope to see accomplished is, the triumph of God's truth, the truth of the Bible, the whole truth.
I am of opinion, however, that the churches of Christ at the present day are in a position somewhat similar to the Seven Churches of Asia, whom our Lord addresses in the Book of Revelation. Every section of the church needs the word of admonition : “every founder is confounded by the graven image.” No doubt some are less faulty than others : but alas ! each has enough of imperfection and shortcomings to deplore in itself, to prevent its members from engaging in the unprofitable
work of declaiming against their neighbours. As far as regards our faults and blemishes, each should certainly look upon his own things, and not upon the things of others : and if individual Christians, and denominations of believers, would just remember that the surest way to make men inveterately obstinate in an error, is to expose them to ridicule or reproach on account of it, they would endeavour to follow that more excellent way of walking together so far as they are agreed, and then the influence of the godly example of one good man upon another-of each Christian denomination upon the other—would, by the blessing of God, accomplish what angry controversy and unseemly disputings have hitherto rendered impossible. Should any be so unkind to their Christian brethren, as to draw from this book any weapon wherewith to assail others, they will cause me great pain and unfeigned regret : yea, they will violate the great law of Christian love; they will, to the extent of their influence, hinder the answer to our Lord's last intercessory prayer, which embraces the visible union of all who believe in Him; and through that union the belief of the world in Him : they will abuse the mercy of that Blessed One, who, with infinite condescension, has come to prepare His people, by timely warning of those mighty events that are impending over us, and upon which hang the redemption of our world. God forbid that I should be, even unwillingly, the instrument of humbling any Christian, or society of Christians, in the sight of another: God grant rather, that all may be humbled in His sight, under His mighty hand, and that finding enough to deplore in themselves, they may have neither time nor inclination to search out the faults of others.