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temperate introduction of new interpretations is highly dangerous and mischievous: because it has a natural tendency to unsettle the minds of the careless and the wavering, and is apt to induce them hastily to take up the preposterous opinion that there can be no certainty in the exposition of the Prophecy. On these grounds I have ever been persuaded, that a commentator discharges his duty but very imperfectly, if, when he advances a new interpretation of any prophecy that has been already interpreted, he satisfies himself with merely urging in favour of his scheme the most plausible arguments that he has been able to invent. Of every prediction there may be many erroneous expositions, but there can only be one that is right. It is not enough therefore for a commentator to fortify with elaborate ingenuity his own system. Before he can reasonably expect it to be adopted by others, he must shew likewise, that the expositions of his predecessors are erroneous in those points wherein he differs from them. Such a mode of writing as this may undoubtedly

doubtedly expose him to the charge of captiousness: it will likewise unavoidably increase the size of his Work; and may possibly weary those readers, who dislike the trouble of thoroughly examining a subject: but it will be found to be the only way, in which there is even a probability of attaining to the truth. This plan I have adopted: and it has at least been of infinite use to myself. It has at once compelled me, in the course of writing and revising the present Dissertation, to relinquish as utterly untenable, many opinions which I had once adopted; and it has confirmed me in adhering to those, which I have retained. In short, it enables me to say, that not a single new interpretation is here advanced without having been previously subjected to the severest scrutiny. Whatever would not bear the test of all the objections, which I was able to allege against it myself, has been rejected, as still less being able to bear the test of those which others might allege.


Flattering as the countenance of the great may be, that of the good as well as great is much more rationally satisfactory. Your Lordship's character can be heightened by no testimony of mine. Yet I may be allowed to that the favours which I have received from you, have been rendered doubly valuable, both by the manner in which they have been conferred, and by the recollection of the hand that conferred them.


I have the honour to be,


Your Lordship's much obliged

and dutiful humble Servant,


Stockton-upon Tees,
June 29, 1805.*



THE work, which is here offered to the Public, is founded upon the three following very simple principles.

1. To assign to each prophetic symbol its proper definite meaning, and never to vary from that meaning;

2. To allow no interpretation of a prophecy to be valid, except the prophecy agree, in every particular, with the event to which it is supposed to relate;

3. And to deny that any link of a chronological prophecy is capable of receiving its accomplishment in more than one event *.


As this rule has been more than once strangely mistaken by some who have noticed my work, I think it right to mention definitely and explicitly, that I here speak of chronological prophecy in contradistinction to unchronological prophecy. The former of these is utterly incapable, from its very nature, of being accomplished in more than a single event: the latter, on


- If we examine the predictions of Daniel and St. John agreeably to these principles, we shall find, that two great enemies of the Gospel, Popery and Mohammedism, are described as commencing their tyrannical career together at the beginning of a certain period which comprehends 1260 years, and as perishing together at the end of it: that, towards the close of this period, a third power is introduced; whose characteristic marks are a total disregard of all religion, an impious. determination to do according to his will, and an open profession of absolute atheism blended nevertheless with the worship of a certain foreign god and other tutelary deities whom his fathers never knew that this last power is likewise destined to be destroyed at the end of the 1260 years: that he will previously unite himself, for political reasons, with Popery:

the contrary, as is eminently the case with several of the predictions relative to the first advent of Christ, may, and often does, receive a double accomplishment. This obvious dif ference between chronological and unchronological prophecy I hoped I had stated with sufficient clearness, in my work on the restoration of Israel and the overthrow of Antichrist, to prevent even the possibility of my being misunderstood (See Prelim. Statement to that work. § III. 1.): yet have I been pertinaciously represented, as strenuously opposing the theory of double accomplishment in the case of all prophecy whatsoever. July 30.

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