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too that are effective to raise man so above this world, as to enlarge to the uttermost of his ability, all efforts for the glory of Christ and the good of man. THE TREASURY OF THIS WORLD'S RICHES has never yet been fully opened in THE PROFESSING CHURCH, for the service of our Heavenly Master. (Isaiah lx. 9.) THE HOPE OF HIS COMING IS THE KEY TO OPEN THAT TREASURY.
Many have supposed that views of the pre-millennial advent of Christ, and the first resurrection of his glorified saints, are necessarily connected with their constant, personal, and visible residence on our earth, and being thus generally intermingled with men living in the flesh during the Millennium. It will be seen that whatever may be the manifestation of the sons of God, (Romans viii. 19,) the view here taken of that reign does not require this; it being here considered that its nature has not been so revealed to us as to justify us in coming to such conclusions. We must believe what is written, but not a step beyond. Perhaps the difficulties, which some have felt in admitting the pre-millennial advent and first resurrection may thus be removed.
The author commends the subject with affection and humility to the attention of his beloved brethren in the ministry, and fellow-Christians of every denomination. He trusts that his mind is open to conviction, on being shown a more excellent way. But may we all remember that nothing is more dangerous than groundless expectations of peace. The encouraging of them is very much condemned in the scripture (Isaiah xxx. 10; Jer. xiv. 13, 14; vi. 14; xxiii; Ezek. xiii.) May we so act that the reproach of the Lord (as given in Lam. ii. 14,) may never have to rest upon us as ministers of Christ; Thy prophels have seen vain and foolish things for thee, and they have not discovered thine iniquity to turn away thy captivity. And may we rather obtain that promise, Jer. xxiii. 22; But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from iheir evil way, and from the evil of iheir doings. These directions may also show how important it must be to have just and spiritual views of the future, not only for our own acceptance by our Lord, but for the good of all over whom we have influence.
The author has been the more induced to give an enlarged list of works on Prophecy, as from his having but little turned his attention to the study of Prophecy, when he published his “Christian Student,” he said but little on the subject in that work, and has given a very scanty list of works upon it; and this publication, on that point, may now be considered as supplementary to the List of Books in the Christian Student. He has endeavoured to omit no work of importance that he was acquainted with, because it opposed his own views.
It has been a material object with the author, to avoid as much as possible a controversial spirit; his main object being the edification of the reader.
The sum of the author's views, and in which sum, so generally and scripturally is it expressed, there are few Christians who cannot concur, may be given in the words of a prayer used at the most impressive and affecting season, in the church to which he belongs. May every reader heartily and fully present this prayer at the throne of grace. "That it may please thee shortly to accomplish the number of thine elect, and to hasten thy kingdom; that we, with all those that are departed in the true faith of thy holy name, may have our perfect consummation and bliss both in body and soul, in thy eternal and everlasting glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
May the gracious Redeemer bless this little effort, to the increase of scriptural knowledge, the benefit of his own church, and the good of every one who reads it.
E. BICKERSTETH. Watton Rectory, August 17, 1839.
REV. EDWARD BICKERSTETH,
RECTOR OF WATTON, HERTS.
DEAR CHRISTIAN FRIEND,
The feelings of my heart, combined with the circumstances of the case, prompt me to inscribe this volume to you, who are instrumentally the cause of its appearance, and to whom I am indebted for many suggestions afforded me during its progress. I may indeed truly assert, that I should not have entered on the work but at your solicitation; and had you not urged on me the undertaking, as a duty which I owed to the Church of Christ. Not that I would have any infer from this, that you fully accord with all that the book contains: for though I believe that we have been led into the same views in the general, and I trust by the guidance of the Spirit of God; yet am I bound to acknowledge that there are in the latter chapters some particulars, concerning which you either differ or are disposed to hesitate.
In regard to the topics of the two latter chapters, I would state farther, in the way of apology for their appearance, that had I not been in a measure compelled to treat of them, by the course which was previously laid down for me, I should not have entered upon them at all. I have several times, in the course of this volume, drawn the attention of the reader to the circumstance, that Prophecy may be divided into two principal portions; viz. that which, in the main, is delivered in plain and literal terms, and that which is involved in symbols and mystical expressions. As regards the former portion, my mind is, in the general, fully persuaded; and as I consider it as plain
that all or to the wing of
to be understood, and as susceptible of demonstration, as any other subject of divine revelation, so I have not hesitated to treat it with the same degree of confidence and decision that I should discuss the doctrine of justification. In regard, however, to the other portion, the meaning of which, independent of its application, is not always so apparent, I confess my own mind is not on several points decidedly made up; and I have therefore felt reluctant to commit myself on topics, which I do not clearly and convincingly see my way in. Much injury has been done to the cause of prophetical interpretation by writers publishing their views too hastily; insomuch that some have no sooner caught a glimpse of what they have imagined to be the correct meaning of a passage, than they have immediately given it to the world, and have almost as quickly been led to recall or to modify their statements. I have seen, however, that a work of the description which I have been induced to undertake would be exceedingly defective, did it not comprehend both classes of Prophecy; and I have therefore resolved at least to prepare for the student such information concerning the latter class as I possessed, or was within my reach; preferring on these points rather to assume the functions of the historian than of the expositor. If indeed I must speak the truth, there is a lamentable want among professing Christians of ordinary information on all subjects connected with Prophecy; the consciousness of which deters many from entering seriously upon its investigation; and it has consequently been a special object with me throughout, that the laborious minister, who is prevented by his numerous avocations from reading many works, may have at hand something like a summary of the history of prophetical interpretation, together with the principles brought into view, on which all prophetical interpretation should proceed.
It is almost superfluous, after the above statement, to add, that I am greatly indebted for many things, both in the way of exposition and of information, to the writings of others. If I have not always quoted their works by name, it has been because I have omitted in many instances to take extracts; and my recollection sometimes fails to supply me even with the name of the author to whom I stand indebted. I have occasionally also been obliged to take authorities at second hand, from the want of access, in a country town, to the original authors: though I trust that I have in no case done this where the matter quoted is of fundamental importance to the argument in hand. At the same time, however, that I make these acknowledgments, I feel myself equally called upon to declare, in regard to the first class of prophecies to which I