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TO FIFTH EDITION.
PROPHECY has been rightly called a " growing evidence." Of late years that evidence has greatly accumulated. And after the successive additions which have been made to this treatise, no one can be more conscious than the author how very far it yet comes short of fully exhibiting the evidence of prophecy.
It is not in times like the present that, on such a subject, the precept of Horace-nonum prematur in annum-can be regarded. Had it been complied with in the present instance, the following Essay would not yet have been before the public.—But the desire of any credit, as an author, yielded to the better hope as a Christian, that the treatise, in however imperfect a form, might "not be altogether unproductive of good,”—and that hope has not been vain.
For facilitating and promoting the means of its usefulness to a degree which he ventured not even to
hope, his grateful acknowledgments are due to the Right Honourable Lord Bexley; and never was a debt more freely paid than he tenders them. To the public notice which he took of the volume, his Lordship afterwards added a lively interest in the publication of an abridgment of it, the concluding chapter of which, on the Seven Churches of Asia, was written entirely at his suggestion. And, at his expense, the Abridgment has been stereotyped, and published in English and in French, by the Religious Tract Society; and is now also in the course of publication in the same manner, in German. While it was in preparation, a tract on the prophecies concerning Ammon, Moab, and Philistia, was drawn up by one of the secretaries of the Religious Tract Society, of which about twenty thousand copies have already been sold.
To Sir Robert Ker Porter the writer is also indebted for permission to copy an engraving from the striking view of fallen Babylon, inserted in his Travels, and taken by him on the spot.
The additional matter in the present volume refers chiefly to Judea and Babylonia.
Importance of the Subject
Antiquity of the Old Testament Scriptures
The Cities of Judea, &c.
The Countries, Inhabitants, &c.
Partial Exceptions from Desolation, &c.
No subject can be of greater importance, either to the unbeliever or to the Christian, than an investigation of the evidence of Christianity. The former, if his mind be not fettered by the strongest prejudice, and if he be actuated in the least by a spirit of free and fair inquiry, cannot disavow his obligation to examine its claim to a divine origin. He cannot rest secure in his unbelief, to the satisfaction of his own mind, without manifest danger of the most fatal error, till he has impartially weighed all the reasons that may be urged on its behalf. The proof of a negative is acknowledged and felt to be difficult; and it can never, in any case, be attained till all direct and positive evidence to the contrary be completely destroyed. And this, at least, must be done before it can be proved that Christianity is not true. Without this careful and candid examination, all gratuitous assumptions