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place the events of the present important crisis in their proper position. This has been hitherto attempted to be done by fixing on other dates for the commencement of the 1260 years; but still equal perplexities and decrepancies have remained ; and
every attempt to pass over the Edict of Justinian has only appeared to involve the whole in greater mystery.
How far the Author of the present work has succeeded in removing the difficulties he has named, must be left to the judgment of his readers, and to the lapse of a very few years.
His attention was first led more immediately to the subject of prophecy by a friend, who had in a special manner studied that portion of it connected with the Saviour's second coming. Until this time he was quite unconscious of the deeply interesting era of the world in which we are living. His closest attention was, however, now excited, and his warmest feelings interested on reading the works of some of the writers above named. With the view of impressing the various systems and dates more fully upon his mind, he was induced to construct a chart, on a plan
similar to those which
this volume. Whilst thus engaged, the two leading ideas which form the basis of his hypothesis soon presented themselves to his mind.
The first of these ideas was, that no ONE commencement of this great period (of 1260 days) can ever be brought, by any accommodation whatever, to meet all the difficulties of the question ; that it absolutely required the admission of a double commencement, and consequently a double termination ; and that there exists an unequivocal and decided precedent for such a peculiarity, in the prophecy of the seventy years' Babylonish captivity. The second idea impressed upon
his mind was, that the proper starting point for the application of this peculiarity of structure of the prophetical dates, and for ascertaining the exact time of their completion, is not from the half period, of “ time, times, and an half” (or 1260 years), but from the full and complete period of
seven times” (or 2520 years).
The application of these two principles appeared to rectify and properly adjust
the valuable labours of other interpreters, bringing the various facts which they had elicited to their proper position and true bearing. And the important events by which the dates are marked are too distinctly fixed and established, by the most authentic histories, and the best and most approved chronological tables, to justify any charge that they have been here chosen by way of accommodation, for the mere purpose of supporting a system. And since this volume was prepared for press
the author has met with a striking corroboration of the correctness of his views, in a condensed table of the chronology of the different nations of antiquity upon which he happened to lay his hands, compiled by the late learned and estimable Rev. Dr. Edward Williams of Rotherham ; which most fully confirms the correctness of the dates chosen for the two “ starting points” from which to reckon the 2520 years, or “ seven times”—viz., the years 727 and 677 B.C.
It will be perceived, by a reference to the chart, that by the adoption of this double commencement to these dates
other equally important eras of time are calculated and confirmed.
It will no doubt, by some, be objected to the arrangement proposed in this work, however harmonious it may appear in its parts and bearings, that it rashly tears aside the veil that hides futurity from our view, in so particularly affixing dates to unfulfilled prophecies. To this objection the author would reply, that the very nature of the subject authorizes and calls for it; for such, from the very structure of prophecy, must be the unavoidable consequence of every attempt to interpret it. He considers, that in this respect he has done nothing more than, in common with other writers, drawn legitimate inferences from certain and well-established data, alike bearing the sanction of history and the word of God; and as “ things that are revealed,” whether that revelation be more clearly or more obscurely made, “ belong to us and to our children for ever," these data, with all their legitimate inferences, are undoubtedly ours. On this subject he would adopt the language of Dr. Gill, in
one of his prophetical sermons: “Now in all that I have said upon the whole, I do not pretend to any extraordinary impulse from God, or to any prophetic spirit, but I ground all upon the word of God; and if what I have said does not appear from thence, and upon the face of things in Providence, I have no pretensions to any thing else to support my opinion with; and as such only I deliver it.”
The voice of Prophecy being intended to serve as a guide to the church through all ages, it is unquestionably of great importance to ascertain, as far as possible, what portion of it really relates to the times in which we live, and to those events which are passing before our eyes. To this spiritual duty we are exhorted by the Apostle Peter, when he saith : “ We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto
ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day-star arise in your hearts.” We have, moreover, the example of holy
of old, who inquired diligently, searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did