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portion of time, which I have dedicated to the fudy of prophecy; when I contrast the imperfection of the execution with the extent of my design and the importance of my fubje&t; I feel happy, that I have in some degree the power of shielding myself from the charge of presumption, as I have been able truly to affert, that the present work derived not its origin from a confciousness of my being competent to the performance, but that it has been the result of different accidental circumstances, and has been swelled, by little and little, io a fize, which was very
far from my primary intention. - At a time when three hundred pages of it were printed, much of the remaining part was yet unwritten.. Had it been otherwise, - some advan: tágeous alterations might have been made in the arrangement of the work. But I know not, that I should have been able to have introduced any very material improvement in this respect; and, indeed, were I not apprehensive, that the preface may be chargeable with too minute a detail of particulars, I should now, perhapsy proceed to vindicate and unfold the order, in which the feveral topics are arranged. But, omitting this, I conclude, with assuring the reader, that had not a very large proportion of my time, since the com
81 The Order of Time is in a great measure observed ; and it has been
arrange, near to each other, those predictions, which, though they proceed from different prophets, relate to the same events,
mencement of the work, been occupied by other pursuits and by a variety of engagements, and, had I not been convinced, that to delay ?? it would be in a great degree to counteract any efficacy it may be supposed to have, I should have retrenched its redundancies, and should have rendered it, in all respects, less, unworthy of his perusal.
22 No motive, indeed, but this should have prompted me to so hasty a publication of the present work; impreffed as I am with the assertion of Vitringa, when speaking of the apocalypse, absque intenfifima mentis exercitatione neminem ad arcanos ejus fenfus pervenire poffe ; and with the caution which he gives, ut ad interpretationem ejus nemo nisi timide et lente abfque nimia feftinatione accedat, poft cogitationes omnes diligenter suba&tas digeftasque. Præfat. That a great part of the present work, with respect to style, is written haftily and with too little care, is also admitted. Yet, it is hoped, that it may almoft every where lay claim to the praise of perspicuity. Instances of inelegance and incorrectness are also to be found, in consequence of the work having been printed more than a hundred miles from the place where I reside, and of my not having received the revife of a fingle theet.
HE author of the present work, fome time
since, intended to have fubjoined at the end of it a series of chapters, ON THE FUTURE IMPROVED STATE OF MANKIND. Had he not been led by accident to elucidate Mr. Fleming, and in consequence to investigate the nature of the millennium, they would never have been written. But, though much of his time has been exclusively employed in the composition of them, and though these chapters are now almoft in a finished state, yet he has been induced to omit them; partly because what is now printed is, of itself, of a very large size, and may not improbably exhaust the reader's patience ; and partly because the subjects of the two divisions of his work are materially different, although the one would, indeed, be naturally supplemental to the other. In composing the present performance, the writings of commentators and theologues have been principally consulted, and principally quoted. In that which remains unprinted, where authors are appealed to,
appeal has been ordinarily made by him to those of a very different description, and particularly to naturalists, philosophers, and physicians, to politicians, historians, and the writers of travels. Whilst the first part of the work, or, as he ought rather to express himself, the subject of it, is best calculated to please fòme classes of readers; others would probably be more interested by the second and remaining portion, which is founded, not on the interpretation of fcripture and prophecy, but on the deductions of reason and experience. Should a favourable sentence be pronounced with respect to the prefent volumes, by such as are competent judges; and. Should those multiplied engagements, which have long occupied the greater part of his time, permit him to prepare the subsequent work for the press; it is his intention, at some future time, to submit it to the judgment of the public.
LIST OF AUTHORS.
dates and titles of books, I shall here enumerate those writers on the subject of prophecy, from which citations have most frequently been made.
The following authors have written expressly on the book of Revelation, and therefore their titles need not be enumerated. They have given a regular commentary, chapter by chapter, and therefore, when I refer to their explanation of any particular chapter or verse, it will scarcely ever be necessary to cite the page, as by consulting them it will be easy to find the paragraph quoted. Mr. Brightman,
1644 Mr. Durham
fol. Amsterdam Dr. Henry More
1680 Mr. Cradock 8vo. Lond.
Lond. without date
1715 Mr. Daubuz
1720 Mr. Jam. Robertson fol.
1730 Vitringa 4to. Amftelodami
1719 Mr. Tho. Pyle
1735 Mr. Moses Lowmanı
1745 Of the Differt. on the Proph, by
vol. III. 8vo. . Lond.
is almost entirely on the apocalypse. Dr. Bryce Johnson 2 vols. 8vo. Edinb,
citations from the subsequent commentators on the anos, calypse, I have quoted the page, as they do not illustrate it in the order of the chapters, Joseph Mede, in his Works, 2 vols. Fol. Lond.
1663 Dr. Tho',